Amidst all of the frenzied weeping and whooping going on in the PermaGov press and its subsidiary followers regarding “THE RUSSIAN ISSUE!!!”…most of the perpetrators of which are media dupes themselves, plain and simple fools honestly reporting their credulous belief in the scam and thus amplifying it even further with every passing day…several truly important issues are being submerged in the resultant shitstorm of unverifiable information. (At the very least, it is “unverifiable” except by quite thoroughly verified professional serial liars of the spook persuasion.)
Read the following excerpts from two articles in today’s issue of Counterpunch for more. (Thurs, 3/30/17)
Enough of Russia! There’s an Epidemic of Despair in the US by Howard Lisnoff
If the left is waiting for Donald Trump to be impeached by the Republican Congress, then we need to take a collective deep breath and be ready to wait until hell freezes over. Trump-Russia ties are all the rage on nightly news programs and in the print media. The pontificating is almost without end. And it’s the liberal commentators who seem to be giving the issue the most emphasis on their nightly programs.
James S. Henry gets to the heart of the matter on The Reality News Network in “Why Further Revelations on Trump’s Russian Connection Might Fail to Bring Him Down” (March 24, 2017). Henry, an economist, attorney, and investigative journalist put it this way:
I think there’s a risk that the U.S. center-left is basically obsessed with this story and is looking for kind of a magic bullet solution to the Trump administration. That’s going to distract us from going back to work doing the kind of organizing at the grassroots level that’s necessary for the 2018 elections. We need to fight and get ready for all of the issues that are on the table… with respect to climate change, Obamacare, the social programs that are being stripped, the outrageous increases in the defense budget.
James S. Henry got it right! This obsession over Trump’s and Trump’s advisers’ connections both before and after the 2016 election to Vladimir Putin and Putin’s lapdog oligarchs is keeping those on the left focused on issues that won’t add up to a hill of beans save some nonexistent photo or video of Donald Trump literally in bed with someone. And even that wouldn’t do all that much damage given the words and audacious actions by Trump that are already known. People were beaten up at Trump campaign rallies and that didn’t do much to sway his base and, it may even have garnered him more support. He refers to women with the degrading word “pussy,” and he gets a lion’s share of a segment of the vote of white women. He talks about an O.K. Corral scenario on Fifth Avenue and he still gets elected! He gets pummeled on healthcare and his base conducts extremely small but sometimes violent rallies around the country.
If readers really want to see some compromising information about interference in elections around the world, then a brief journey into U.S. direct interference in democratic elections would fill volumes, in fact it’s an alphabet soup of interventions of both electoral and military kinds (“The long history of the U.S. interfering with elections elsewhere,” The Washington Post, October 2016). Interventions in Chile, Iran, Iraq, and Vietnam come to mind with disastrous and lethal human consequences.
Back on the ground and grounded in reality, The Washington Post reports in “New research identifies a `sea of despair’ among white, working-class Americans” (March 23, 2017), that suicide rates among both white working-class men and women have skyrocketed since the late 1990s and dwarfs the suicide rate among people from other industrialized countries. The two Princeton University researchers who conducted the study point to “family dysfunction, social isolation, addiction, obesity, and other pathologies,” for the worsening suicide epidemic in the U.S. And this is the electoral cohort who gave Trump his Electoral College victory and propelled him in a losing alliance with the extreme right in Congress in their failed attempt to take healthcare benefits away from this voter base. Besides the terror of despair that can cause people to turn to suicide, it seems that this base of disaffected people are crying out for social, political, and economic remedies that will bring them back to health and well-being in the wealthiest society on Earth. Digging up dirt, both real and imagined, on Vladimir Putin isn’t going to accomplish anything and will serve to keep us occupied while the far right tries and succeeds in getting away with murder of one type or another.
And from two well respected, high level ex-intelligence operatives who have opposed what is going on here for a long, long while, William Binney and Ray McGovern. (See their bona fides at the end of the article.):
The Surveillance State Behind Russia-gate: Will Trump Take on the Spooks?
Although many details are still hazy because of secrecy – and further befogged by politics – it appears House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes was informed last week about invasive electronic surveillance of senior U.S. government officials and, in turn, passed that information onto President Trump.
This news presents Trump with an unwelcome but unavoidable choice: confront those who have kept him in the dark about such rogue activities or live fearfully in their shadow. (The latter was the path chosen by President Obama. Will Trump choose the road less traveled?)
What President Trump decides will largely determine the freedom of action he enjoys as president on many key security and other issues. But even more so, his choice may decide whether there is a future for this constitutional republic. Either he can acquiesce to or fight against a Deep State of intelligence officials who have a myriad of ways to spy on politicians (and other citizens) and thus amass derogatory material that can be easily transformed into blackmail.
This crisis (yes, “crisis” is an overused word, but in this highly unusual set of circumstances we believe it is appropriate) came to light mostly by accident after President Trump tweeted on March 4 that his team in New York City’s Trump Towers had been “wiretapped” by President Obama.
Trump reportedly was relying on media reports regarding how conversations of aides, including his ill-starred National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, had been intercepted. Trump’s tweet led to a fresh offensive by Democrats and the mainstream press to disparage Trump’s “ridiculous” claims.
However, this concern about the dragnets that U.S. intelligence (or its foreign partners) can deploy to pick up communications by Trump’s advisers and then “unmask” the names before leaking them to the news media was also highlighted at the Nunes-led House Intelligence Committee hearing on March 20, where Nunes appealed for anyone who had related knowledge to come forward with it.
That apparently happened on the evening of March 21 when Nunes received a call while riding with a staffer. After the call, Nunes switched to another car and went to a secure room at the Old Executive Office Building, next to the White House, where he was shown highly classified information apparently about how the intelligence community picked up communications by Trump’s aides.
The next day, Nunes went to the White House to brief President Trump, who later said he felt “somewhat vindicated” by what Nunes had told him.
The `Wiretap’ Red Herring
But the corporate U.S. news media continued to heckle Trump over his use of the word “wiretap” and cite the insistence of FBI Director James Comey and other intelligence officials that President Obama had not issued a wiretap order aimed at Trump.
As those paying rudimentary attention to modern methods of surveillance know, “wiretapping” is passé. But Trump’s use of the word allowed FBI and Department of Justice officials and their counterparts at the National Security Agency to swear on a stack of bibles that the FBI, DOJ, and NSA have been unable to uncover any evidence within their particular institutions of such “wiretapping.”
So, were Trump and his associates “wiretapped?” Of course not. Wiretapping went out of vogue decades ago, having been rendered obsolete by leaps in surveillance technology.
The real question is: Were Trump and his associates surveilled? Wake up, America. Was no one paying attention to the disclosures from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013 when he exposed Director of National Intelligence James Clapper as a liar for denying that the NSA engaged in bulk collection of communications inside the United States.
The reality is that EVERYONE, including the President, is surveilled. The technology enabling bulk collection would have made the late demented FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s mouth water.
Intelligence Community’s Payback
However, earlier this year, there was a stark reminder of how much fear these surveillance capacities have struck in the hearts of senior U.S. government officials. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that President Trump was “being really dumb” to take on the intelligence community, since “They have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”
Maddow shied away from asking the logical follow-up: “Senator Schumer, are you actually saying that Trump should be afraid of the CIA?” Perhaps she didn’t want to venture down a path that would raise more troubling questions about the surveillance of the Trump team than on their alleged contacts with the Russians.
At his evening meeting on March 21 at the Old Executive Office Building, Nunes was likely informed that all telephones, emails, etc. – including his own and Trump’s – are being monitored by what the Soviets used to call “the organs of state security.”
By sharing that information with Trump the next day – rather than consulting with Schiff – Nunes may have sought to avoid the risk that Schiff or someone else would come up with a bureaucratic reason to keep the President in the dark.
A savvy politician, Nunes knew there would be high political cost in doing what he did. Inevitably, he would be called partisan; there would be more appeals to remove him from chairing the committee; and the character assassination of him already well under way – in The Washington Post, for example – might move him to the top of the unpopularity chart, displacing even bête noire Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Now, we suspect that much more may be learned about the special compartmented surveillance program targeted against top U.S. national leaders if Rep. Nunes doesn’t back down and if Trump doesn’t choose the road most traveled – acquiescence to America’s Deep State actors.
William Binney (firstname.lastname@example.org) worked for NSA for 36 years, retiring in 2001 as the technical director of world military and geopolitical analysis and reporting; he created many of the collection systems still used by NSA. Ray McGovern (email@example.com) was a CIA analyst for 27 years; he briefed the president’s daily brief one-on-one to President Reagan’s most senior national security officials from 1981-85.