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14 February 2018

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DianaLC

I think I need a tranquilizer instead of popcorn. I'm just an ordinary citizen who had excellent government and civics teachers in high school, after some good old-fashioned history classes in fourth grade, seventh, and eighth grade. I was also required to take a Government class as a freshman in college.

None of this is what we were taught should happen.

It makes me angry and sad. And you are right about the seeming Alzheimer's and dementia, or just plain lack of knowledge or curiosity on the part of the media and the regular citizenry. Our once-trusted "fourth estate" is in disarray. We are left to search for the truth on our own, so we come to blogs like this. And thank heavens they have not been banned yet or put out of existence because of the tendency of many to use the legal system to sue good people until they can't afford to tell the truth.

I caught Obama and Michele at the introduction of their official portraits. I'm sorry. Perhaps I am not trained in art enough or perhaps I have too much white privilege, but I felt that these two people are continuing to poke their fingers into the eyes of the Americans who actually grew up being proud of our country and its founding values.

Fred

"We now know that Brennan was the one who briefed Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid in August 2016."

I was going to ask did the Republicans get the same briefing, but you answered that with a no. So why did John Brennan choose to inform only one political party in the House of this "intelligence" and isn't that a violation of law?

james

on the surface, it looks like john brennan is in trouble here.. intelgate, instead of russiagate is what it does indeed look like to me at this point as well..

Keith Harbaugh

On the title of this post,
the following seems relevant:

"Someone’s Doing The DOJ and FBI Interrogations and It’s Not Congress…"
by "sundance", 2018-02-14
https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2018/02/14/someones-doing-the-doj-and-fbi-interrogations-and-its-not-congress/
To answer the obvious question, the "someone" sundance identifies is DOJ IG Michael Horowitz.
sundance has some interesting assertions about who he thinks is singing to Horowitz.

Lefty

"I was going to ask did the Republicans get the same briefing, but you answered that with a no. So why did John Brennan choose to inform only one political party in the House of this "intelligence" and isn't that a violation of law?"

My recollection is that the rest of the Gang of 8 had been briefed and that Reid got his separately later. Did he get the same briefing, or one with some extra secret sauce and spices?

On a different but related topic, we have also subsequently learned that Obama communicated with Hillary over her email server using a pseudonym. Could that have made him reluctant to see her charged with him as an accessory?

The Twisted Genius

Fred,

Brennan started briefing the Gang of Eight individually beginning with Reid. He finished all individual briefings on 5 Sep 2016 commenting that it proved difficult to get appointments and talk with certain Republicans. Obama also sent Comey, Jeh Johnston and Lisa Monaco to brief the "Gang of Twelve" that included the chairmen and ranking minority members of Homeland Security and Intelligence to seek bipartisan support to respond forcefully to the Russians in early Sep 2016. McConnell reacted forcefully to stifle the intelligence and any forceful response saying “he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.”

Publius Tacitus

I don't know. Good questions.

Publius Tacitus

No, Brennan did not brief all of the Republicans. Stop regurgitating Dem talking points. I'll save you time. Here's the best example of the Dem talking points/excuse (which was posted on SLATE):
Why didn’t Obama raise public alarms about Russian infiltration? Because that might have backfired. “Trump was predicting that the election would be rigged,” says the Post. “Obama officials feared providing fuel to such claims, playing into Russia’s efforts to discredit the outcome.” According to the paper, Obama and his team “worried that any action they took would be perceived as political interference in an already volatile campaign.” Rather than speak up when the CIA first warned him about Putin’s moves, Obama waited for “a high-confidence assessment from U.S. intelligence agencies on Russia’s role and intent.” He asked congressional Republicans to join him in cautioning citizens and state election officials. You can argue that this was politically naïve. But Obama wasn’t playing politics. He was trying to unite the country.
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2017/06/obama_s_response_to_russian_interference_he_did_his_job.html

If you buy into that crap you are beyond help. Their argument is this---They knew for CERTAIN that Russia was meddling, but did not want to make this public because it would show that Donald Trump was right. And yet we're asked to buy the horseshit that "Obama wasn't playing politics." Really, you are too smart to endorse jello-brained thinking like that.

Dr. Puck

Have you seen the full FISA application? You make claims "as if" you have. Thank you for clarifying.

Fred

TTG,

You mean the Congress couldn't be bothered to give up an hour of "dialing for dollars" fundraising to hear about the national security threat. Sounds like the hogwash from Brennan and company that was surprie! released after Hilary lost. At least nobody is talking about the content of the Podesta emails that came out of the un-secured email server Hilary set up.

Bill Herschel

If anyone is engineering a coup, it is the Republicans. Why on earth would the Democrats want to get rid of Trump? He is the gift that keeps on giving. Alabama? C'mon.

All the talk about Russia, peu importe whether it's directed by Trump or against Trump, is just the, largely CIA directed, propaganda machine at work. They understand better than anyone that it simply doesn't matter which side the American people think the Russians are on as long as they think the Russians are behind every bush.

We used to joke in the 50's that the Russians controlled the weather. We were a lot saner then, even though the risk of being vaporized in a nuclear war was a hell of a lot more real then than now.

Charles Michael

I love this one:
"It doesn't really show the kind of leadership and toughness that you'd want out of a president. You start whining before the game's even over? If whenever things are going badly for you and you lose you start blaming somebody else? Then you don't have what it takes to be in this job," Obama said.

very prescient about HRC post election reactions.

J

Brennan belongs in a Gitmo prison cell

Fred

Bill,

So Donna Brazile and co. rigged the DNC primary so Trump would win? Ah, the CIA did it.

J

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-02-14/john-brennan-mastermind-behind-russiagate


I reiterate, Brennan belongs behind prison cell bars for the crime of Sedetion to start with.


Bill H

I was watching a news clip of one of the "head of intelligence agency" types briefing Congress today. Yesterday? I forget which one it was that said, "We don't want Russians telling us how to vote on Facebook."

Think about it. If people are deciding how to vote based on Russian posts on Facebook, the problem isn't that Russians are posting on Facebook, it's that voters are deciding how to vote based on Facebook posts.

Richardstevenhack

Just a reminder that in the infamous audio tape of Sy Hersh, he explicitly declared the entire Russiagate nonsense to be a CIA disinformation campaign run by Brennan. I believe he also described the NSA head as an "f'ing moron."

The fun part is this nonsense: "a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race." Absolutely zero evidence has been produced to back that up on any level, let alone tying it to the Russian government or Putin.

Furthermore it's next to impossible short of directly hacking election machines - and as everyone knows most of the fraud in that area is being controlled by both Republican and Democratic voting offices in the swing states and by redistricting and by cleansing the voting rolls of members of the electorate who don't fit the party's demographics.

So the notion that Russia would even try something like is ludicrous on its face. There's no way they could even remotely swing the vote to one candidate or the other, certainly not without being detected.

Interestingly I read an English translation of a Russia TV program recently where the panelists were discussing US efforts to influence the Russian election. The conclusion they came to is that the US was trying, but that there was no real way the US could influence the Russian elections over and above what the Russian people themselves were doing. Apparently the Russians have more common sense than the US media.

What it should remind us is that without the alleged Russia hacking of the DNC the rest of Russiagate would be much less likely to be believed by the public. Which is why that entire situation needs to be reopened by an independent investigation.

English Outsider


"We used to joke in the 50's that the Russians controlled the weather. We were a lot saner then, even though the risk of being vaporized in a nuclear war was a hell of a lot more real then than now."

Less danger now? I'd be happier if you could give me a written guarantee.

And Trump got elected. Whatever your opinion of him I'd have thought anyone prepared to put himself through an American Presidential election might deserve a bit of time afterwards simply to try to get through the policies he was elected on. Else why bother to pretend it's a Constitutional Democracy?

Ex 11B

I do not agree with the second part of your last sentence. The take away being you/we were saner then.I could find you lots of expert opinions that think it is much worse today.Paul Craig Roberts makes a convincing case. You tube has a bunch of interviews you might want to look at.

turcopolier

raven

that is your answer? you obviously have no answer. pl

Greco

If it hasn't been said often enough, your commentary here is always appreciated PT.

In addition to your points, back in late July 2016 Sen. Harry Reid had publicly encouraged giving then nominee Donald Trump "fake [intelligence] briefings":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aPIIRQmvPM

He implies they don't have to lie. They just don't "have to tell him everything."

There may be a possibility Reid held discussions with others in terms of how to share the report dated July 19th and he had concluded that they should go ahead and give "fake briefings." Despite Reid's public endorsement, it appears they declined to give briefings to anyone other than their own political allies. So it appears they took a safer route. The likes of Rep. Devin Nunes were simply not briefed and now they have the excuse, depending on how one views it, that this was due to scheduling conflicts.

I think it's also worth stressing another important consideration. This apparent coup/meddling goes well beyond an effort to remove/debilitate Pres. Trump. For instance, Sen. John McCain had said Sen. Rand Paul was "working for Vladimir Putin."

https://www.cnn.com/2017/03/16/politics/john-mccain-rand-paul-rule-19-vladimir-putin/index.html

I think they aimed to remove a rash of Freedom Caucus Republicans, not just Trump. Maybe they thought, due to a constitutional crisis this Russian collusion scandal would have evoked, that they could hold a new emergency election of some kind under broader Federal (Deep State?) control.

It seems they're still pushing this idea as we speak in regards to the 2018 midterms.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/13/politics/intelligence-chiefs-russia-2018-elections-target/index.html (the article was updated as of yesterday)

Current NI Dir. Dan Coats said, "There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 US midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations."

Personally, I happen to agree with TTG's assessment, that the collusion and Russian meddling should be understood separately; however, I outright consider the collusion narrative to be a complete lie, on par with Birthrism, while the notion Russia had meddled during the election campaign is a very real possibility that may just as well be treated as fact. That said, I don't think the Russians were alone and the threat Russia posed pales in comparison to the role others have played, like we see here with this apparent coup effort.

Vic

Besides the Steele document, the other half of this Russia gate sage was the computer forensics on Russian election hacking NOT from the NSA or FBI, but instead from Crowdstrike a private IT security firm who also worked for the DNC. The DNC did not allow the FBI to touch their servers.

MSM needs to start investigating Crowdstrike.

Vic

Fred

Bill H,

" it's that voters are deciding how to vote ..." and didn't vote for your preferred candidate. I wonder how many people were influenced to vote for Hilary by stuff on Facebook. Is it okay when predatory capitalist Mark Zuckerburg tells us how to vote on Facebook? How about Planned Parenthood or any of a number of others who give Mark money - except the Russians (whose money Mark was quite happy to keep) to put up ads on Facebook? How about Twitter or the NYT, they take money for political ads too.

David Habakkuk

PT and all,

Some of what ‘sundance’ has been publishing on ‘The Conservative Treehouse’ site brings us back to the British input into the conspiracy, and the way the transnational nature of the ‘Borg’ is used to enable its members to hide their traces. Specifically, it brings one to the significant – and neglected – role played by the former GCHQ employee Matt Tait.

It was on 14 June 2016 that the claim that the DNC had been hacked by the Russians originally appeared, in the ‘Washington Post’. The allegations were buttressed with interviews with two people from ‘CrowdStrike’: the company’s President, Shawn Henry, who is apparently a former Executive Assistant Director at the FBI, and its co-founder and chief technology officer, Dmitri Alperovitch, who as the paper notes is also a senior fellow with the ‘Atlantic Council.’

(See https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/russian-government-hackers-penetrated-dnc-stole-opposition-research-on-trump/2016/06/14/cf006cb4-316e-11e6-8ff7-7b6c1998b7a0_story.html?utm_term=.cb575ff26802 .)

The following day, in a detailed defence of the claims, having linked the group referred to as ‘Cozy Bear’ with the FSB and that referred to as ‘Fancy Bear’ with the GRU, Alperovitch went on to say, of both, that ‘their tradecraft is superb, operational security second to none’.

(See https://www.crowdstrike.com/blog/bears-midst-intrusion-democratic-national-committee/ .)

The day after that, a post appeared on a site called ‘Ars Technica’ entitled ‘“Guccifer” leak of DNC Trump research has a Russian’s fingerprints on it; Evidence left behind shows leaker spoke Russian and had affinity for Soviet era.’

(See https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/06/guccifer-leak-of-dnc-trump-research-has-a-russians-fingerprints-on-it/ .)

A key part of this ‘evidence’ was the fact that one of the documents released by ‘Guccifer 2.0’ was last edited by someone using, in cyrillic, the name and patronymic ‘Felix Edmundovich’, a clear reference to Dzerzhinsky, described by ‘Ars Technica’ as ‘the 20th Century Russian statesman who is best known for founding the Soviet secret police.’

Already we have a howler. Like very many of the original Bolsheviks, the founder of the Cheka was a man of the ‘borderlands’, and also had nothing ‘proletarian’ about him – his family were Polonised Lithuanian nobility.

Moreover, either ‘Fancy Bear’ have ‘superb’ tradecraft, or they are dolts leaving the most obvious of clues: it is difficult to have it both ways. It would seem relevant that the GRU comes under the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, General Valery Gerasimov, who does not show any visible signs of being a blithering idiot (mild irony alert.)

And then, one really does not have to know much history to be aware that it is less than totally obvious that the successor to Tukhachevsky, Zhukov, and Vasilevsky, and indeed Aleksandr Svechin would naturally regard Dzerzhinsky as his kind of person. This kind of inanity is much more what one would expect from, say, Christopher Steele or Mike Pompeo – or indeed John Brennan.

According to ‘Ars Technica’, this and other supposed ‘smoking gun’ pieces of evidence were ‘teased out of the documents and noted on Twitter by an independent security researcher who goes by the handle PwnAllTheThings.’

Currently, this ‘Twitter’ account identifies its proprietor as Matt Tait, ‘Now @StraussCenter, @UTAustin. Formerly @GCHQ, @Google etc. Views mine.’ However, if one looks back at articles – by himself and others – in which his claims were discussed at the time, one finds him referred to as ‘CEO and founder of Capital Alpha Security, a UK based security consultancy which focuses on research into software vulnerabilities, exploit mitigations and applied cryptography.’

The online records from Companies House show that ‘Capital Alpha Security’ was incorporated in February 2016, with Tait as sole shareholder, and last November 2017 filed ‘dormant accounts’ for the year to February 2017.

So, the company never did any business that year, and the notion that Tait was running a consultancy was a fiction. How, one asks, was he keeping alive and funding his relentless exposés of Russian malignity – busking on the Tube perhaps?

Clues to what was going on may lie in the site on which he published his own account of how he – supposedly – came to identify the ‘smoking gun’ of the name and patronymic of Dzerzhinsky. This came in a post entitled ‘On the Need for Official Attribution of Russia’s DNC Hack’ published on the ‘Lawfare’ blog, to which Tait had started contributing that April, on 28 July 2016.

(See https://www.lawfareblog.com/need-official-attribution-russias-dnc-hack .)

As it happens, one of the founders of this site, Benjamin Wittes, has been in the news recently, and has been another focus of the investigations of ‘sundance.’ A former editorial writer for the ‘Washington Post’, he co-founded ‘Lawfare’ in September 2010, and is now its editor in chief, as well as a ‘Senior Fellow in Governance Studies’ at Brookings.

In a piece in the March 2018 issue of ‘The Atlantic’ Wittes and Jonathan Rauch claim that Trump is a menace to the Republic because of ‘his attempt to erode the independence of the justice system’ and his ‘encouragement of a foreign adversary’s interference in U.S. electoral processes.’

They further argue that the Republican party is enabling this threat. Accordingly, they contend, citizens should ‘vote mindlessly and mechanically against Republicans at every opportunity, until the party either rights itself or implodes’ – regardless of their views on issues such as guns, taxes, and abortion.

(See https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/boycott-the-gop/550907/ .)

Relevant background comes in a recent piece by ‘sundance’ entitled ‘October 2016: James Comey Friend Benjamin Wittes Discusses “The Insurance Policy” Against Trump…’ As he notes, on 24 October 2016 – which appears to be three days after the FBI secured the FISA “Title-1” surveillance authority over former Trump campaign official Carter Page, using the Steele dossier, Wittes produced a post on ‘Lawfare’, entitled: ‘A Coalition of All Democratic Forces, Part III: What if Trump Wins?’

(See https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2018/02/08/october-2016-james-comey-friend-benjamin-wittes-discusses-the-insurance-policy-against-trump/ .)

In this he argued that ‘our democracy needs a health insurance policy’, using arguments, and wording, very close to those used by the then Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division of the FBI to his mistress Lisa Page that August.

And ‘sundance’ also notes that Wittes has himself made plain that he is a personal friend of James Comey, and has acted as a conduit for leaks from the former FBI to the media, and specifically the ‘New York Times.’

As its name implies, the ‘Lawfare’ blog has to do with the relationship of ‘law’ and ‘warfare.’ It then becomes interesting to look at the opening post which Wittes published on that site in September 2010.

(See https://www.lawfareblog.com/about-lawfare-brief-history-term-and-site .)

It seems that the term was popularised by Air Force General Charles Dunlap, in the wake of the 1999 Kosovo campaign. The initial concern behind its coining, apparently, was largely with the possibility that international law might be used by weak states to stop interventions such as that in Yugoslavia.

As it happens, that intervention was the first instance of a pattern which has become recurrent since.

Time and again, military intervention, and ‘régime change’ more generally, are advocated on the basis of the central ‘borgist’ premise, that somehow the problems of complex and bitterly fractured societies can be interpreted in terms of some wicked ‘dictator’ repressing the natural aspirations of his subjects to some harmonious, multicultural, ‘freedom.’

First it was Milosevic, then Saddam, then Assad, then Yanukovych, and Putin is clearly targeted for ‘régime change’ on the same basis.

This premise is intimately involved with the ideology of ‘COIN’, in that this is intimately linked to the belief that Western countries have it in their power to remodel other societies on the basis of their own values and institutions. Unsurprisingly, another theme of the introductory post by Wittes is the potential for using law to do this in Afghanistan.

That this dotty – and commonly corrupt – utopian project has produced disaster after disaster, from the total economic collapse produced by ‘shock therapy’ in the former Soviet Union, to the shambles we have created in Iraq, Libya and Syria, does not worry its advocates.

The backlash it has produced, both on the right and left of the political spectrum, may however have created a situation in which its proponents have felt they have little option but to resort to extreme measures. So it is perhaps perfectly natural to find that when compromising DNC material is clearly going to be provided to ‘WikiLeaks’, one has a – rather incompetent – cover-up being mounted by former FBI, MI6 and GCHQ people in collusion, probably also with a strong CIA involvement.

It appears likely that ‘Lawfare’ may indeed be an important part of the networks involved in the conspiracy to subvert the constitution. A co-founder with Wittes, Robert Chesney, is a Law Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and directs the ‘Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law.’

In 30 May last year an item appeared on a university website, entitled ‘Chesney’s Lawfare Blog Makes Headlines, Reaches 10 Million People a Year.’ This tells us that, having started as a three-man operation, ‘the masthead now features over 60 names, including a who’s who of top national security media analysts and law professors.’

It also notes that ‘Matt Tait, a British hacker who formerly worked for GCHQ (the British NSA) and Google, and who will arrive in Austin this fall to teach cybersecurity courses at Texas Law.’ Perhaps that was how Tait made his living – by hacking. But, however he was funded until then, from last autumn Tait had a steady income from the ‘Strauss Center.’

(See https://law.utexas.edu/news/2017/05/30/chesneys-lawfare-blog-makes-headlines-reaches-10-million-people-a-year/ .)

A critical question then becomes whether his involvement can be seen as another indication that the former GCHQ head Robert Hannigan, who resigned in January last year in mysterious circumstances, was intimately involved with this whole process of corruption.

As it happens, his history turns out to be very interesting. But that is a matter for another comment.

el sid

Wrap your heads around this:

Obama & Rice Asked Brits to Spy on Trump, 2055
The Still Report
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgHjSmEq2Lk

As far back as 28 Aug 2016

"Five eyes are better than two!"

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