Tag Archives: Russiagate

Mueller Mugs Again – The Roger Stone Farce

Just like all of the Mueller investigation’s previous indictments, the most recent against Roger Stone will bring Mueller no closer to proving nonexistent Russian-Trump collusion. From David Stockman at antiwar.com:

There is nothing more grating than the constant sanctimonious carping by partisan Dems, beltway lifers and their mainstream media megaphones about upholding the “rule of law”. Robert Mueller is held to be the very quintessence of it – meaning that his bully-boy prosecution must be permitted to grind to a conclusion unimpeded and unchallenged come hell or high water.

We beg to differ. Profoundly.

The real U.S. election meddling event was conducted at the highest levels of the Obama Administration by rogue elements of the FBI, CIA and DNI, and was designed to thwart Donald Trump’s election and then to undermine his presidency once the voters had spoken. So the entire RussiaGate/Mueller witch-hunt is not merely an affront to the rule of law; it’s an attack on the heart of America’s constitutional democracy itself.

After all, the essence of the latter is free elections and the absolute neutrality of the organs and agencies of the state during the course of their conduct.

Needless to say, the very opposite has transpired. Federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies have weighed in blatantly and heavily against Donald Trump every step of the way.

That includes the utterly unjustified opening of an FBI investigation of the Trump campaign in July 2016 based on virtually nothing but hearsay; the subsequent embrace of the Clinton funded oppo research embodied in the groundless Steele dossier; the abuse of the FISA courts to conduct an illegal wiretap of Carter Page and the Trump campaign; and the orchestrated Brennan and FBI leaks about alleged Russian influence to the press in the run-up to the election.

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Stone Cold Counter-Story, by James Howard Kunstler

The last thing Robert Mueller wants is for his case against Roger Stone to actually go to trial. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:

Maybe twenty-nine FBI agents in tactical combat gear and a fleet of SUVs with K-Force LED lights flashing wasn’t enough to flush out the arch-villain Roger Stone from his South Florida hide-out. Ever consider that? He might have charged out of the place like John Wayne in Rio Bravo, brandishing a spatula or a shoe-horn, since he didn’t happen to have a Colt-45 on hand. Maybe they should have sent in a SEAL team and the Boston Patriots offensive line for back-up. Anyway, they got their man! And CNN was there to record it, thanks to their 2018 hire of FBI former special agent Josh Campbell, who had been FBI Director James Comey’s majordomo in a previous career incarnation. Isn’t it a small world? Somehow Josh got wind of the pre-dawn raid.

Roger Stone is not everybody’s cup of antifreeze. I don’t want to go too tweet-mean on the guy, but let’s face it, physically he does look a little like Zippy-the-Pinhead — if, say, Zippy had made it to community college and learned how to manage a four-in-hand necktie. Mr. Stone represents a certain kind of stock character in American politics: The Joker. In the Batman sense of the role: the sociopathic trickster. He made his bones cooking up gags for “Tricky Dick” Nixon, and carved out a long career as a behind-the-scenes political black-opster on the Republican side. American politics, in my lifetime anyway, is just one long game of innuendo — proctology as practiced among the goodfellas in the electoral trade — and ole Roger was famous for finding new and comical ways of putting it to the opposition.

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Pelosi Aghast – Stone Indictment Proves That Trump Campaign Deliberately Campaigned For Trump, by Moon of Alabama

The Roger Stone indictment will not move Robert Mueller any closer to proving any kind of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.org:

On Friday Roger Stone, a political consultant who in 2016 publicly supported the Trump campaign, was arrested on criminal charges filed by special counsel Robert Mueller. He has since been released on bail. Stone is indicted (pdf) in five cases for making false statements, one attempt of influencing a witness and an obstruction of a proceeding.

Since May 2017 the former FBI chief Mueller investigates an alleged collusion between Trump, his campaign and something Russian with regards to the 2016 election. No evidence has been produced so far that substantiate any such collusion. The people who fanatically claim that there must have been such a connection are now disappointed. The long awaited Stone indictment was one of their last straws. But there is absolutely nothing in it that hints at any collusion.

All these alleged crimes were committed in relation to an appearance of Stone before a House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) investigation.

During the 2016 election Stone publicly claimed that he was in direct communication with Wikileaks and its editor Julian Assange. Steve Bannon, then part of the Trump campaign, asked Stone to ask Wikileaks at what time it would release new batches of emails that had been obtained from the Democratic National Committee. The Trump campaign was naturally interested in using these releases to attack the competing candidate Hillary Clinton.

Wikileaks and Assange denied that they had any relations or communications with Roger Stone. It later turned out that Stone had two contact persons, the New Yorker comedian Randy Credico and the conservative writer Jerome Corsi, who he MIGHT have had some contact or insight into Wikileaks. The indictment says nothing about their relations to Wikileaks.

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Mueller hunt for Russia collusion turns into circus show with Stone, by Jonathan Turley

Mueller’s pursuit of Stone has almost nothing to do with possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. From Jonathan Turley at thehill.com:

Mueller hunt for Russia collusion turns into circus show with Stone
© Greg Nash

Years ago I read about a Wisconsin man who found a dead deer on the road, took it home, ate it, and then mounted the head as a trophy. It was never clear why he valued his roadkill to mount it, or why state game wardens went to court to recover it. The story came to mind with the indictment of Donald Trump associate Roger Stone by a grand jury in the special counsel investigation. Stone is charged with false statements, obstruction based on those false statements, and witness tampering.

This is not the big game that Robert Mueller was hunting when he began his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Despite the breathless news coverage, the indictment is underwhelming and far from what many predicted. As for the media, it seems to be only counting heads of Trump associates indicted, as opposed to what they were actually charged with. The media has long described Stone as the possible Trump campaign conduit to WikiLeaks and the Russians, citing his presumed communications with Julian Assange and his advance knowledge of the Democratic Party and Clinton campaign email hacks.

Yet, none of that was confirmed or even suggested in the indictment. There was no charge of collusion. No hint of meetings or arrangements with Assange. Not even a charge as an unregistered foreign agent of the Russians. Just collateral crimes with nary a mention of collusion and a defendant who alternatively presents himself as the tragically comic and the comically tragic figure mired in the special counsel investigation.

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The End of Russia’s ‘Democratic Illusions’ About America, by Stephen F. Cohen

There was a contingent in Russia that thought US style governance was something to which they should aspire. The operative word is “was,” Russiagate has destroyed that notion. From Stephen F. Cohen at thenation.com:

For decades, Russia’s self-described “liberals” and “democrats” have touted the American political system as one their country should emulate. They have had abundant encouragement in this aspiration over the years from legions of American crusaders, who in the 1990s launched a large-scale, deeply intrusive, and ill-destined campaign to transform post-Communist Russia into a replica of American “democratic capitalism.” (See my book Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia.) Some Russian liberals even favored NATO’s eastward expansion when it began in the late 1990s on the grounds that it would bring democratic values closer to Russia and protect their own political fortunes at home.

Their many opponents on Russia’s political spectrum, self-described “patriotic nationalists,” have insisted that the country must look instead to its own historical traditions for its future development and, still more, that American democracy was not a system to be so uncritically emulated. Not infrequently, they characterize Russia’s democrats as “fifth columnists” whose primary loyalties are to the West, not their own country. Understandably, it is a highly fraught political debate and both sides have supporters in high places, from the Kremlin and other government offices to military and security agencies, as well as devout media outlets.

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The Fetishization of the Corporate Media, by C. J. Hopkins

How many “bombshells” can the mainstream media drop, only to have them discredited and discarded within a day or two, before people stop paying attention to them at all? From C. J. Hopkins at unz.com:

So the corporate media have gone and done it again. As they have, repeatedly, for the last two and half years, they shook the earth with a “bombshell” story proving beyond any reasonable doubt that Donald Trump colluded with the Russians to steal the presidency from Hillary Clinton, or at least committed an impeachable felony in connection with something to do with the Russians, or Ukrainians, or other Slavic persons … which story turned out to be inaccurate, or not entirely accurate, or a bunch of horseshit.

This time it was BuzzFeed’s Jason Leopold, “a reporter with a checkered past” (i.e., a history of inventing his sources) who broke the “bombshell” Russiagate story that turned out to be a bunch of horseshit. Leopold, and his colleague Anthony Cormier, reported that Trump had directed his attorney, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress about plans to construct a Trump Tower in Moscow, thus suborning perjury and obstructing justice. Their sources for this “bombshell” story were allegedly “two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter.”

Approximately twenty-four hours later, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office (i.e., the office “involved in an investigation of the matter”) stated that the BuzzFeed story was “not accurate,” which is a legal term meaning “a bunch of horseshit.” BuzzFeed is standing by its story, and is working to determine what, exactly, Mueller’s office meant by “not accurate.” Ben Smith, BuzzFeed’s Editor-in-Chief, has called on Mueller “to make clear what he’s disputing.”

Liberals and other Trump-obsessives have joined in the effort to interpret the Special Counsel’s office’s cryptic utterance. French hermeneuticists have been reportedly called in to deconstruct the meaning of “accurate.” Professional Twitter semioticians are explaining that “not accurate” doesn’t mean “wrong,” but, rather, refers to something that is “accurate,” but which the user of the word doesn’t want to disclose publicly, or that legal terms don’t mean what they mean … or something more or less along those lines.

Glenn Greenwald, in August 2018, reporting on another “bombshell” story that turned out to be a bunch of horseshit, compiled a partial list of Russiagate stories that the corporate media had published and promoted over the course of the previous eighteen months which turned out to be a bunch of horseshit (i.e., the stories did, not Greenwald’s list). In the wake of this latest horseshit story, Greenwald revised and renamed this list “The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump/Russia Story.

But Greenwald’s list is just a small sample of the Russiagate stories that have turned out to be horseshit. For the record, here are several more:

My personal favorite remains the one about how Hillary Clinton may have been poisoned by Putinist operatives back in 2016. And then there’s the pot-smoking, prostitute-banging, incompetent Novichok perfume assassins, the African American-brainwashing memes, the Putin-orchestrated Yellow Vest rebellion, the brain-eating Russian-Cubano crickets, and various other bunches of horseshit.

I am using the terms “horseshit” and “a bunch of horseshit” (as opposed to terms like “failures” and “errors”), not just to be gratuitously vulgar, but, also, to try to make a point. One is not supposed to use these terms in connection with “serious,” “respected” news outlets. Which is why journalists like Greenwald and Aaron Maté (who have extensively reported on the corporate media’s ongoing production and dissemination of horseshit) do not use such terms in the course of their reporting, and instead use less inflammatory terms like “false,” “inaccurate,” “mistake,” and “error.” Principled journalists like Greenwald and Maté are constrained by (a) their journalistic ethics, (b) their integrity, and (c) their belief in the idea of a “free and independent press,” which is one of the pillars of Western democracy.

Being neither a respected journalist nor a believer in the existence of an “independent press,” I am under no such constraints. Because I’m not trying to get or keep a job, or maintain a “respectable” reputation, I’m free to call a spade a spade and a bunch of horseshit a bunch of horseshit. I am also free to describe “journalists” like Leopold, Luke Harding, Craig Timberg, Franklin Foer, and many of their corporate media colleagues (not to mention TV clowns like Rachel Maddow) as the liars and rank propagandists they are. I don’t need to pretend their fabricated stories are simply the result of “shoddy journalism,” or “over-reliance on official sources,” or any other type of “error” or “failure.” These people know exactly what they are doing, and are being extremely well paid to do it. They went to school to learn how to do it. Then they butt-sucked and back-stabbed their way up the ladder of establishment power to be able to do it.

Yes, of course, there are still principled journalists working for the corporate media, but they are doing so by walking a very fine line. No one has to tell them where it is. Every professional journalist knows precisely where it is, and what it is there for. Though they are permitted to walk right up to it, occasionally (to keep them from feeling like abject whores), one step over it and they will be cast into the Outer Darkness of the Blogosphere and excommunicated from the Church of Respectable Journalism. If you don’t believe me, just ask Seymour Hersh, or John Pilger, or any other journalistic heretic.

If Russiagate serves no other useful purpose, it is at least exposing the corporate media as the propaganda factories that they are. Given the amount of obviously fabricated horseshit they have disseminated during the last two years, you’d have to be a total moron or a diehard neoliberal cultist not to recognize the function they perform within the global capitalist ruling establishment (which is essentially no different than the function the establishment media perform in any other society, namely, to disseminate, maintain, and reify the official narrative of its ruling classes).

Sadly, there’s no shortage of morons and cultists. I don’t blame the morons, because … well, they’re morons. The cultists are another species entirely. These are people who, no matter how often the corporate media feed them another “explosive,” “bombshell” Russiagate story that turns out to be a bunch of horseshit, will defend the concept of the “independent media” like head-shaven, bug-eyed Manson followers. Confront them with facts contradicting their beliefs and they close their eyes and start chanting and humming and repetitiously babbling banishing spells. The notion that the Western corporate media may serve the interests of the ruling establishment (just like the media in every other society serve that society’s ruling classes) is unimaginable and tantamount to heresy.

This fetishization of “the independent press” is a phenomenon unique to Western capitalism. Basically, it’s a childish fairy tale, like believing that Santa Claus is an actual person or that voting in elections in a corporate oligarchy has anything to do with actual democracy. Think about it dispassionately for a minute. Why would any ruling establishment permit a genuinely “independent” press to disseminate ideas and information willy-nilly throughout society? If it did, it wouldn’t last very long.

Most people understand this intuitively, which is why the corporate media relentlessly repeat the mantra-like phrase, “free and independent press,” over, and over, and over again. Seriously, switch on NPR, or have a look at The Guardian or the Washington Post, or any of the other corporate media repeatedly reminding you how “independent,” “free” and “democratic” they are. It’s essentially Neuro-linguistic programming.

So let’s not be shocked when the corporate media continue to bombard us with “bombshell” stories about Trump and Russia that turn out to be horseshit. Personally, I welcome these stories. The more corporate media horseshit the better! Who knows, if they dish out enough blatant horseshit, more people might lose their “trust in the media,” and begin to investigate matters themselves. I know, that makes me a Nazi, right? Or at least a Russian propagandist? I mean, encouraging folks to distrust the corporate media? Isn’t there some kind of law against that? Or have they not quite gotten around to that yet?

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and political satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23, is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant Paperbacks. He can be reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org.

Anti-Trump Frenzy Threatens to End Superpower Diplomacy, by Stephen F. Cohen

Why the US would want to get along with another superpower whose weapons may be able to blow out of the water and sky is a mystery. From Stephen F. Cohen at thenation.com:

Baseless Russiagate allegations continue to risk war with Russia.

The New Year has brought a torrent of ever-more-frenzied allegations that President Donald Trump has long had a conspiratorial relationship—why mince words and call it “collusion”?—with Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin.

Why the frenzy now? Perhaps because Russiagate promoters in high places are concerned that special counsel Robert Mueller will not produce the hoped-for “bombshell” to end Trump’s presidency. Certainly, New York Times columnist David Leonhardt seems worried, demanding, “The president must go,” his drop line exhorting, “What are we waiting for?” (In some countries, articles like his, and there are very many, would be read as calling for a coup.) Perhaps to incite Democrats who have now taken control of House investigative committees. Perhaps simply because Russiagate has become a political-media cult that no facts, or any lack of evidence, can dissuade or diminish.

And there is no new credible evidence, preposterous claims notwithstanding. One of The New York Timesown recent “bombshells,” published on January 12, reported, for example, that in spring 2017, FBI officials “began investigating whether [President Trump] had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests.” None of the three reporters bothered to point out that those “agents and officials” almost certainly included ones later reprimanded and retired by the FBI itself for their political biases. (As usual, the Times buried its self-protective disclaimer deep in the story: “No evidence has emerged publicly that Mr. Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials.”)

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