Category Archives: Investigations

Covering Up the Massacre of Mosul, by Nicolas J.S. Davies

The US military has trouble counting how many people it kills, especially civilians. From Nicolas J.S. Davies at antiwar.com:

Iraqi Kurdish military intelligence reports have estimated that the nine-month-long U.S.-Iraqi siege and bombardment of Mosul to oust Islamic State forces killed 40,000 civilians. This is the most realistic estimate so far of the civilian death toll in Mosul.

But even this is likely to be an underestimate of the true number of civilians killed. No serious, objective study has been conducted to count the dead in Mosul, and studies in other war zones have invariably found numbers of dead that exceeded previous estimates by as much as 20 to one, as a United Nations-backed Truth Commission did in Guatemala after the end of its civil war. In Iraq, epidemiological studies in 2004 and 2006 revealed a post-invasion death toll that was about 12 times higher than previous estimates.

The bombardment of Mosul included tens of thousands of bombs and missiles dropped by U.S. and “coalition” warplanes, thousands of 220-pound HiMARS rockets fired by US Marines from their “Rocket City” base at Quayara, and tens or hundreds of thousands of 155-mm and 122-mm howitzer shells fired by US, French and Iraqi artillery.

This nine-month bombardment left much of Mosul in ruins (as seen here), so the scale of slaughter among the civilian population should not be a surprise to anybody. But the revelation of the Kurdish intelligence reports by former Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari in an interview with Patrick Cockburn of the U.K.’s Independent newspaper makes it clear that allied intelligence agencies were well aware of the scale of civilian casualties throughout this brutal campaign.

The Kurdish intelligence reports raise serious questions about the US military’s own statements regarding civilian deaths in its bombing of Iraq and Syria since 2014. As recently as April 30, 2017, the US military publicly estimated the total number of civilian deaths caused by all of the 79,992 bombs and missiles it had dropped on Iraq and Syria since 2014 only as “at least 352.” On June 2, it only slightly revised its absurd estimate to “at least 484.”

To continue reading: Covering Up the Massacre of Mosul

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British spy behind Trump-Russia dossier could be forced to talk after US court ruling, by Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross and Rhonda Schwartz

At the very least, it would be interesting to find out who paid for the dossier. From Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross and Rhonda Schwartz at abcnews.go.com:

A U.S. District court judge has put a former British spy one step closer to facing questions under oath about the controversial dossier he authored alleging President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign team plotted with Russian agents.

A ruling by Judge Ursula Ungaro allows lawyers for a Russian technology executive named in the dossier to seek British approval to question onetime MI6 agent Christopher Steele about the funding and sourcing of the dossier under oath. The request was made as part of a libel suit brought by Webzilla CEO Aleksej Gubarev against the website Buzzfeed, which was first to publish the dossier Steele prepared.

“I suspect that I’ll be the first to speak to him,” Gubarev’s attorney, Valentin Gurvits, told ABC News this week. “I know that he is trying very hard to prevent that from happening.”

The potential interview with Steele is part of a widening effort to pierce the secrecy surrounding the now infamous dossier that raised the first questions about then-candidate Trump’s ties to Russia. The 35-page document contains a range of unverified allegations – some of which have been discredited – laying out a history of ties between several Trump associates and Russia operatives. It also levels salacious claims about Trump’s own behavior during a visit to Moscow in 2013 – claims Trump later refuted and denounced during a Jan. 11 news conference.

“I think it was disgraceful, disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out,” Trump said.

Interest in the funding and sourcing for the dossier led the Senate Judiciary Committee to summon Glenn Simpson, the head of the Washington, D.C.-based research firm Fusion GPS that commissioned Steele’s work, to a closed session meeting scheduled for Tuesday. In a letter to Simpson, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, indicated he wants Simpson to reveal who first hired him to investigate Trump’s Russia ties and which government agencies received copies when it was completed.

“We are interested in the history of the dossier, including how it was funded, compiled and how it was used,” a Grassley aide told ABC News.

To continue reading: British spy behind Trump-Russia dossier could be forced to talk after US court ruling

 

Russia-gate’s Evidentiary Void, by Robert Parry

Can the mainstream media stoop any lower? Now the New York Times is relying on unsupported assertions from Ukraine’s notoriously unreliable government, which regards Russia as an enemy, concerning the alleged Russian “hacks” of the election. From Robert Parry at consortiumnews.com:

The New York Times’ unrelenting anti-Russia bias would be almost comical if the possible outcome were not a nuclear conflagration and maybe the end of life on planet Earth.

A classic ample of the Times’ one-sidecoverage was a front-page article on Thursday expressing the wistful hope that a Ukrainian hacker whose malware was linked to the release of Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails in 2016 could somehow “blow the whistle on Russian hacking.”

Though full of airy suspicions and often reading like a conspiracy theory, the article by Andrew E. Kramer and Andrew Higgins contained one important admission (buried deep inside the “jump” on page A8 in my print edition), a startling revelation especially for those Americans who have accepted the Russia-did-it groupthink as an established fact.

The article quoted Jeffrey Carr, the author of a book on cyber-warfare, referring to a different reality: that the Russia-gate “certainties” blaming the DNC “hack” on Russia’s GRU military intelligence service or Russia’s FSB security agency lack a solid evidentiary foundation.

“There is not now and never has been a single piece of technical evidence produced that connects the malware used in the DNC attack to the GRU, FSB or any agency of the Russian government,” Carr said.

Yet, before that remarkable admission had a chance to sink into the brains of Times’ readers whose thinking has been fattened up on a steady diet of treating the “Russian hack” as flat fact, Times’ editors quickly added that “United States intelligence agencies, however, have been unequivocal in pointing a finger at Russia.”

The Times’ rebuke toward any doubts about Russia-gate was inserted after Carr’s remark although the Times had already declared several times on page 1 that there was really no doubt about Russia’s guilt.

To continue reading: Russia-gate’s Evidentiary Void

 

 

A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack, by Patrick Lawrence

A comprehensive, well-written report packed with supporting evidence on why the DNC could not have been “hacked” last year. From Patrick Lawrence at thenation.com:

It is now a year since the Democratic National Committee’s mail system was compromised—a year since events in the spring and early summer of 2016 were identified as remote hacks and, in short order, attributed to Russians acting in behalf of Donald Trump. A great edifice has been erected during this time. President Trump, members of his family, and numerous people around him stand accused of various corruptions and extensive collusion with Russians. Half a dozen simultaneous investigations proceed into these matters. Last week news broke that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had convened a grand jury, which issued its first subpoenas on August 3. Allegations of treason are common; prominent political figures and many media cultivate a case for impeachment.

The president’s ability to conduct foreign policy, notably but not only with regard to Russia, is now crippled. Forced into a corner and having no choice, Trump just signed legislation imposing severe new sanctions on Russia and European companies working with it on pipeline projects vital to Russia’s energy sector. Striking this close to the core of another nation’s economy is customarily considered an act of war, we must not forget. In retaliation, Moscow has announced that the United States must cut its embassy staff by roughly two-thirds. All sides agree that relations between the United States and Russia are now as fragile as they were during some of the Cold War’s worst moments. To suggest that military conflict between two nuclear powers inches ever closer can no longer be dismissed as hyperbole.

All this was set in motion when the DNC’s mail server was first violated in the spring of 2016 and by subsequent assertions that Russians were behind that “hack” and another such operation, also described as a Russian hack, on July 5. These are the foundation stones of the edifice just outlined. The evolution of public discourse in the year since is worthy of scholarly study: Possibilities became allegations, and these became probabilities. Then the probabilities turned into certainties, and these evolved into what are now taken to be established truths. By my reckoning, it required a few days to a few weeks to advance from each of these stages to the next. This was accomplished via the indefensibly corrupt manipulations of language repeated incessantly in our leading media.

To continue reading: A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack

A New Twist in Seth Rich Murder Case, by Joe Lauria

A very good summary of the DNC leaked email case. From Joe Lauria at consortiumnews.com:

Exclusive: The U.S. mainstream media dismisses any link between the murder of DNC official Seth Rich and leaked DNC emails as a “conspiracy theory” – while blaming Russia instead – but a new possibility has arisen, writes Joe Lauria.

With U.S.-Russia tensions as dangerously high as they’ve been since the worst days of the Cold War, there is potential new evidence that Russia was not behind a hack of the Democratic National Committee, although Congress and the U.S. mainstream media accept the unproven allegation of Russia’s guilt as indisputable fact.

Slain Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich

The possible new evidence comes in the form of a leaked audiotape of veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh in which Hersh is heard to say that not Russia, but a DNC insider, was the source of the Democratic emails published by WikiLeaks just before the start of the Democratic National Convention in late July 2016.

Hersh said on the tape that the source of the leak was former DNC employee Seth Rich, who was murdered on a darkened street in a rough neighborhood of Northwest Washington D.C. two weeks before the Convention, on July 10, 2016. But Hersh threw cold water on a theory that the murder was an assassination in retaliation for the leak. Instead, Hersh concurs with the D.C. police who say the murder was a botched robbery.

Mainstream news outlets have mocked any linkage between Rich’s murder and the disclosure of the DNC emails as a “conspiracy theory,” but Hersh’s comments suggest another possibility – that the murder and the leak were unrelated while Rich may still have been the leaker.

In dismissing the possibility that Rich was the leaker, mainstream media outlets often ignore one of the key reason why some people believe that he was: Shortly after his murder, WikiLeaks, which has denied receiving the emails from the Russian government, posted a Tweet offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the solution of the mystery of who killed Rich.

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder and publisher, brought up Rich’s murder out of context in an interview with Dutch TV last August. “Whistle-blowers go to significant efforts to get us material and often very significant risks,” Assange said. “As a 27-year-old, works for the DNC, was shot in the back, murdered just a few weeks ago for unknown reasons as he was walking down the street in Washington.”

Pressed by the interviewer to say whether Rich was the source of the DNC emails, Assange said WikiLeaks never reveals its sources. Yet, it appeared to be an indirect way of naming Rich, while formally maintaining WikiLeak’s policy. An alternative view would be to believe that Assange is cynically using Rich’s death to divert the trail from the real source.

But Assange is likely one of the few people who actually knows who the source is, so his professed interest in Rich’s murder presents a clue regarding the source of the leak that any responsible news organization would at least acknowledge although that has not been the case in many recent mainstream articles about the supposed Seth Rich “conspiracy theory.”

To continue reading: A New Twist in Seth Rich Murder Case

After the Coup, What Then? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Patrick Buchanan doesn’t think Trump is winning. From Buchanan at buchanan.org:

That the Trump presidency is bedeviled is undeniable.

As President Donald Trump flew off for August at his Jersey club, there came word that Special Counsel Robert Mueller III had impaneled a grand jury and subpoenas were going out to Trump family and campaign associates.

The jurors will be drawn from a pool of citizens in a city Hillary Clinton swept with 91 percent of the vote. Trump got 4 percent.

Whatever indictments Mueller wants, Mueller gets.

Thanks to a media that savages him ceaselessly, Trump is down to 33 percent approval in a Quinnipiac University poll and below 40 percent in most of the rest.

Before Trump departed D.C., The Washington Post ran transcripts of his phone conversations with the leaders of Mexico and Australia.

Even Obama administration veterans were stunned.

So, it is time to ask: If this city brings Trump down, will the rest of America rejoice?

What will be the reaction out there in fly-over country, that land where the “deplorables” dwell who produce the soldiers to fight our wars? Will they toast the “free press” that brought down the president they elected, and in whom they had placed so much hope?

My guess: The reaction will be one of bitterness, cynicism, despair, a sense that the fix is in, that no matter what we do, they will not let us win. If Trump is brought down, American democracy will take a pasting. It will be seen as a fraud. And the backlash will poison our politics to where only an attack from abroad, like 9/11, will reunite us.

Our media preen and posture as the defenders of democracy, devoted to truth, who provide us round-the-clock protection from tyranny. But half the nation already sees the media as a propaganda arm of a liberal establishment that the people have rejected time and again.

Consider the Post’s publication of the transcripts of Trump’s calls with Mexico’s president and Australia’s prime minister.

When reporter Greg Miller got these transcripts, his editors, knowing they would damage Trump, plastered them on Page 1.

To continue reading: After the Coup, What Then?

Refuse to Accept the Lies – Before It Is Too Late, by Kurt Schlichter

Women are not men, politicians and bureaucrats are just as greedy and self-interested as the rest of us, and there’s nothing to the Russiagate investigation. From Kurt Schlichter at theburningplatform.com:

A woman gave birth the other day, and the liberal media squeed in delight, which is weird – usually the media only cares about babies in the context of waxing them in the womb. Plus, don’t the sacraments of the Weird Weather Religion deem babies bad for Mother Earth, just like pets? Yeah, you can take Bitey when you pry her leash out of my cold, dead hands. Better pry my guns out first.

But this particular birth was celebrated because the mother was pretending to be a man, and her delusion was so intense that she apparently partook of surgical mutilation and chemical intervention to (not really) conform her body to her delusion. I guess we’re supposed to marvel at her physical transformation, but that would be a lie too. She looks like a woman with some surgery and a scraggly goatee. It’s not beautiful. It’s sad. But we’re not supposed to tell that obvious truth. We’re supposed to join in the lie and praise the Emperor’s New Secondary Sex Characteristics.

Of course, the media is delighting in debasing and humiliating itself by proudly and ostentatiously announcing that “A Father Has Given Birth.” Those broken by Orwell’s villains used to exclaim, with tear-streaked faces, how they now loved Big Brother. Today, they writhe in thunderous prog-gasms, ecstatic in their submission, shrieking that they love Beard Mother.

I don’t care what you do to yourself; you don’t get to make me lie.

See, this is where we’re supposed to nod and mouth the word “father” too, where we are supposed to become complicit in what we all know to be a ridiculous falsehood. And by doing so, we are expected to cede our dignity and our sovereignty by giving them the power to make us lie. To enforce it, you get fascists like Lena Dunham waddling about, eavesdropping for heresy, pausing occasionally to remove the bran muffins from her stupid mouth to point and shout “THOUGHTCRIME!”

To continue reading: Refuse to Accept the Lies – Before It Is Too Late