We’re Dealing With a New Type of War Lie

When the U.S. public was told that Spain had blown up the Maine, or Vietnam had returned fire, or Iraq had stockpiled weapons, or Libya was planning a massacre, the claims were straightforward and disprovable. Before people began referring to the Gulf of Tonkin incident, somebody had to lie that it had happened, and there had to be an understanding of what had supposedly happened. No investigation into whether anything had happened could have taken as its starting point the certainty that a Vietnamese attack or attacks had happened. And no investigation into whether a Vietnamese attack had happened could have focused its efforts on unrelated matters, such as whether anyone in Vietnam had ever done business with any relatives or colleagues of Robert McNamara.

All of this is otherwise with the idea that the Russian government determined the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. U.S. corporate media reports often claim that Russia did decide the election or tried to do that or wanted to try to do that. But they also often admit to not knowing whether any such thing is the case. There is no established account, with or without evidence to support it, of exactly what Russia supposedly did. And yet there are countless articles casually referring, as if to established fact to the . . .

“Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election” (Yahoo).
“Russian attempts to disrupt the election” (New York Times).
“Russian … interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election” (ABC).
“Russian influence over the 2016 presidential election” (The Intercept).
“a multi-pronged investigation to uncover the full extent of Russia’s election-meddling” (Time).
“Russian interference in the US election” (CNN).
“Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election” (American Constitution Society).
“Russian hacking in US Election” (Business Standard).”

“Obama Strikes Back at Russia for Election Hacking” we’re told by the New York Times, but what is “election hacking”? Its definition seems to vary widely. And what evidence is there of Russia having done it?

The “Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections” even exists as a factual event in Wikipedia, not as an allegation or a theory. But the factual nature of it is not so much asserted as brushed aside.

Former CIA director John Brennan, in the same Congressional testimony in which he took the principled stand “I don’t do evidence,” testified that “the fact that the Russians tried to influence resources and authority and power, and the fact that the Russians tried to influence that election so that the will of the American people was not going to be realized by that election, I find outrageous and something that we need to, with every last ounce of devotion to this country, resist and try to act to prevent further instances of that.” He provided no evidence.

Activists have even planned “demonstrations to call for urgent investigations into Russian interference in the US election.” They declare that “every day we learn more about the role Russian state-led hacking and information warfare played in the 2016 election.” (March for Truth.)

Belief that Russia helped put Trump in the White House is steadily rising in the U.S. public. Anything commonly referred to as fact will gain credibility. People will assume that at some point someone actually established that it was a fact.

Keeping the story in the news without evidence are articles about polling, about the opinions of celebrities, and about all kinds of tangentially related scandals, their investigations, and obstruction thereof. Most of the substance of most of the articles that lead off with reference to the “Russian influence on the election” is about White House officials having some sort of connections to the Russian government, or Russian businesses, or just Russians. It’s as if an investigation of Iraqi WMD claims focused on Blackwater murders or whether Scooter Libby had taken lessons in Arabic, or whether the photo of Saddam Hussein and Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands was taken by an Iraqi.

A general trend away from empirical evidence has been extensively noted and discussed. There is no more public evidence that Seth Rich leaked Democratic emails than there is that the Russian government stole them. Yet both claims have passionate believers. Still, the claims about Russia are unique in their wide proliferation, broad acceptance, and status as something to be constantly referred to as though already established, constantly augmented by other Russia-related stories that add nothing to the central claim. This phenomenon, in my view, is as dangerous as any lies and fabrications coming out of the racist right.<--break->

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  • Jimmy Robertson

    Here is a fascinating press conference held by Vladimir Putin where he explains his attitude toward America’s anti-Russian sentiment:

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2017/05/russias-assessment-of-americas.html

    It is interesting to see that he has a very clear understanding of America’s increasingly self-destructive political reality.

  • Adreng

    In the beginning, there was at least some concrete claim – that Russia was involved in passing e-mails that, among other things, revealed the unfair behavior of the DNC in the primaries to Wikileaks. No evidence has been shown for Russian involvement, but that would, at least be something concrete that could be discussed. Why did the DNC not allow the FBI to investigate its servers and instead used the services of a private company, Crowdstrike? What remains after the main source Crowdstrike quoted disputed their claims (about Russian hacking of Ukrainian military devices that allegedly had common features with DNC hacks)? Isn’t it contradictory when it is claimed, on one side, that a state actor was needed because the cyberattack allegedly was so sophisticated, but on the other side the main basis for claiming Russian involvement is what would be a very stupid mistake, if Russian secret services had really been involved, leaving Russian language settings and the name Feliks Edmundovich in the metadata? Obviously, the case for the claim that Russian secret services were involved is very weak. It is, of course, possible, it could also have been Seth Rich, and it could have been many others. The attribution of hacks is generally very difficult and in many cases impossible.

    But that is not what is usually discussed in the US media. This “Russian hacking” story is usually just taken as the background and mostly taken as a given (and absurdly interpreted as an attack against democracy, when the leaks could rather be a chance to avoid such antidemocratic behavior by the DNC in the future) and the evidence for the allegation that the Wikileaks publication of these mails is linked with the Russian state is not discussed very often any more. The stories have moved on to allegations about “collusion”. It is not even clear what this should mean. It could be anything, from one extreme – a large-scale conspiracy, according to which Russian agents groomed Donald Trump and collected kompromat at a time when hardly anyone thought that he might in 2017 become president – to something relatively harmless, perhaps just Russian attempts to do some lobbying, as other countries (Saudi Arabia, Israel, Qatar, Bahrain, Ukraine, other European countries) have done for a long time, and probably much more intensively. But this elusive notion of “collusion” guarantees a steady flow of “news” because, of course, if the circle of people related to the Trump campaign is wide enough, there are inevitable people who had contact with Russians. A similar investigation could be made for the Clinton campaign, and there would also be many contacts with Russians (especially in the case of the Podesta brothers, but probably many more, and Bill Clinton received much more money for speeches in Russia than Flynn). Furthermore, of course, both for the Trump and the Clinton campaign, contacts with representatives of many other countries apart from Russia could be found, some of which, like Saudi Arabia, should be regarded as more problematic for various reasons – worse human rights situation, support of terrorist groups in other countries, and a much stronger influence through financing foreign policy think thanks and similar institutions.

    • CMC761

      The guy whose server hosted the hackers said he shut them down and that the FBI never contacted him for information.
      The one document released was basically “we assess” with the hacking evidence shown to be some code that they said Russians used. The rest of “we assess” was RT programming that appeared to support Trump. So they claimed that Putin ordered this coverage. But we know others can use the same software code, not many Americans watch RT or get their main news from it, and we did not see any direct evidence of a Putin order or creation of the hack or direct release to wikileaks. So now they’re going after Flynn, Kushner, and any other straw they can grab.

  • jason walker

    seth rich

  • joeymac

    I am amazed at people, and how they claim to believe unbelievable crap. First, they need to have a bias toward believing an unsupported claim. Then an advocate will make a claim and express how that claim folds into the victimś´ biases.

    The Hellary panty sniffers that swallow and regurgitate the ¨Russia did it!¨ lie are just as irrational and deplorable as the Obama birthers. Both are evidence-free wishful thinking claims–I hesitate to call them beliefs, because I doubt if either groups really believe it, but, instead seek to proselytize other fools.

    Rosey O´Grady and the Colonel´s lady… .</i?

    • Y@mailinator.com

      https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/1*2294NCRo24MrzFyGwyGdJQ.jpeg
      He played the troll card! He played the troll card! We’re still in amazement he won that match, he was +10 subservient troll force himself. Remarkable. Apparently the insider news troll card, as inconsequential as it may have seemed at the time, clearly was better than an army of +10 cave trolls. Truly remarkable.

  • CNDFOX

    You know what would seal the deal against Trump and oust him from the presidency? Having experts audit his tax returns. Right there – his business ties to that country – would be all the proof the American people would need. And you know what? I think that the widening investigation will get there.

    • CaperAsh

      If you think a savvy businessman would put illegal financial ties with foreign nationals in his tax return, then you have a point. Why does everyone keep forgetting that he released a far more revealing full financial statement? That shows all holdings etc. which tax returns do not necessarily do (not all debt needs to be in there for example, nor all losses need be reported, only gains…)

      • CNDFOX

        What the hell are you talking about? What wing nut web site do you get your disinformation from?

        • CaperAsh

          He released his financial statement right at the beginning of his run and used to mention it regularly, so I got my information from the horse’s mouth. I didn’t read it myself but his website used to link to it, I think. Calm down.

          • CNDFOX

            Do you know the difference between a “self-prepared/written financial statement’ versus what you submit to the IRS? This is a man who went bankrupt and had to turn to other countries for financing for a number of years. We need to see those tax returns. And I believe that the investigation will head there and when it does…he’s done.

          • CaperAsh

            No, not really, am not a finance expert. However, I do know that you do not have to list losses or debts in a form. Most people do in order to get deductions, but what if you already have enough deductions to cover yourself for a while and what if you want to hide certain relationships? You won’t put them in and you don’t have to either. You are only reporting income essentially. If you look through your own forms you can see it for yourself. A financial statement – in theory at least, and the one linked below is signed by a govt. ethics officer attesting it obeys laws (about which I have no knowledge whatsoever) – does include debts, which therefore would include debts to whom and for how much. But of course it could be fudged too.

            Here, you can look at it for yourself:
            https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-stat/graphics/politics/trump-archive/docs/trump-fec-financial-disclosure-2015.pdf

            And here is a picture of the thousands of pages of his tax forms:
            https://ichef-1.bbci.co.uk/news/624/cpsprodpb/15049/production/_89798068_trumpsigningtaxreturn.jpg

            The tax returns should only be surrendered as part of a criminal investigation. Otherwise, they are private property. There can be no law requiring someone to hand them over to the general public; it’s against all constitutional norms many of which, after all, were set up to protect against tyranny or tyrannically powered governments.

            Furthermore, he was elected as President and enjoys certain protections.

            Finally, I am not a fan of his, although I do still hope that he is better than all the other crooks and liars in the DC swamp, many of whom are running the intelligence agencies, banks, congress and so forth.

            Lastly, given his income tax filings are one of the largest of any filed in the US because of the way he structures each business as a separate corporation, and given the hostility and bias of the US media, only a madman would willingly submit such voluminous reports to them. They can pick and choose choice morsels absent full context and totally go to town.

            IMO, he should never have floated the audit argument, rather simply stated that he was not willing to hand them over to anyone.

            Am curious: if Hillary had won – the only other choice – would you also be in favor of rooting through everything in order to find something to lock her up with? That’s what you seem to be advocating here: because you are convinced he is a crook, therefore we should go after him to prove it. I think that is a very dangerous path to go down.

            It also explains why we don’t get good people running the country. The process is horrific, as are the demands made by people like you.

          • CaperAsh

            looks like my reply was rejected. I sent in links to the financial statement and a picture of his (thousands of pages) of income tax forms. Best of luck!

          • CNDFOX

            Doesn’t matter. Not interested in stuff you can just make up. Tax returns and supporting documentation, please.

          • CaperAsh

            Like I said: I sent links to the actual financial statement (published by Wash Post, all 100+ pages) and a picture of the tax returns – several thousand pages. Nothing I made up. But you seem to like making up insults like that; I guess that’s what a troll does so it’s my fault for engaging with one! Over and out.

          • CNDFOX

            No..you don’t get it or understand it. A financial statement can be made up of anything you want it to be. If it is being submitted to receive a loan anyone williing to lend that money will ask for supporting documentation JUST LIKE you have to do when you submit your TAX RETURNS to the IRS! That is why the tax returns are what the American people need to see.It’s not about
            making up insults’ it’s about NOT letting YOU to divert from the truth of whom he has dealt with for loans.

          • CaperAsh

            No, this statement is required by law if you run for president and is gone over by an ethics officer. Instead of pontificating why don’t you read the actual document. Just google for it and it comes up, then you don’t have to keep talking about other types of document. In any case, it doesn’t go into the detail of all the loans as you say, but nor does an income tax form necessarily either.

            That said, I am still right: unless and until there is a criminal investigation, neither you nor I nor anyone else has the right to delve into every detail which is all I care about. I have little doubt that he has done some shady things, but also have little doubt that his businesses have been audited frequently and are above board by and large. The real issues are probably not legal, let alone criminal, but moral. But you are not interested in those.

            If there is a crime then someone has been hurt and has causes of action for a lawsuit which will seek to remedy that hurt, or he has violated a criminal law and the People can bring an action against him. Then maybe they can go through these documents like you wish. However, he has handled a huge number of lawsuits over the years with an 80% record if I remember aright, so clearly he knows most of what is required legally.

            Your attitude is that I spout platitudes from strange websites (something you simply made up but seem to believe) whereas mainly what I’m saying is that Trump is an individual citizen like everyone else and lives under the US constitution and common law. I didn’t get that from a website, it’s just my opinion. You don’t have to agree with me, but you also don’t have to make stuff up about all these weird websites you keep referencing.

            In any case, you don’t have the right to demand his private IRS information. And just because he is running for public office doesn’t mean he has to surrender it either. He chose not to and people voted for him anyway. You should respect those votes, sixty million of them, instead of whining and snarkily insulting people whose motivations and background you don’t know and clearly – and mistakenly – imagine. I am not a fan of his, but at the same time I find the way he is being demonized quite reprehensible so generally speaking I find him preferable to most of those who are so childishly attacking him. Like you, frankly.

            Like I said before: calm down!

          • Y@mailinator.com

            I’ve got trump hate news fatigue syndrome, had it since day one of his presidency. Trump is president and the snowflakes of the world can simply deal with it. The daily hate is calling, and emmanuel goldstein has teamed with trump! It’s true! If the conspirators impeach trump, we vow to boycott every single sponsor and every single company and in turn also refuse to listen to their future candidates. We will become obstructionists for life if Trump is impeached. Ron Paul 2020!

          • CaperAsh

            I have been both fatigued, amazed and worried by the hate-fest because as far as I can tell the main purpose is not just to bring him down but tear down the Republic in so doing. I think most of the idiots in the media and congress are just following orders, some forced into it, some paid, some willing dupes etc., but clearly from above are coming marching orders to disrupt, resist, disrespect, tear down. It’s not good. But then, look what happened to Kennedy when he tried to go against the War Machine Money Power. I don’t think Trump is nearly on that level – if at all – but yet they are going after him.

            It’s not him they are going after: it’s normalcy. As Bush Jr Jeb said: ‘he’s the Chaos Candidate’. Partly it’s his way of doing things, but mainly it’s ‘Them’. They want Chaos and they are engendering it. And far too many people are going along with all this childish demonisation not seeing how they are being used. As Trump would tweet: Sad!

          • Y@mailinator.com

            Sometimes, political pictures say it all.
            My line to snowflakes is this; What’s it like to be a parrot in a cage, shouting red blue red blue! Somebody may need a political cracker…
            For this line of conversation, please take the time to actually watch Ron Paul on taxation which I posted above. It is an invaluable additional perspective to have.
            For the russian thing, I like Russians. They’re all like pro family, anti gmo, pro national unity, and there is reports of dramatic emerging christianity and a stark move away from their version of planned parenthood. I know it’s not the same as over here in the US, but dang, I don’t really understand why we’re so far apart right now. I’d much rather trust a russian than any of these middle easterners. If in doubt stick with your own, I want peace with all Christian nations. What’s the big russian deal about anyways? Corruption is corruption and everyone should be focusing on the larger vote fraud issues which are much easier to chase down. Sometimes an ounce of prevention goes much further than a pound for a cure. What about the million unregistered alien voters? What about the vote bussing? What about the advertisements admitting to bussing voters? What about the Project Veritas investigative reporting discoveries? What about the millions of dead people voters? What about the sudden changing votes in front of peoples eyes via digital voting? What about the late counting and concerted removal of paper ballots (that one happened to me and they only finally sent me requested notice my vote was counted like 2 weeks after the election. Scumbag liberal vote counters in Adams county, CO.) What about the need for better safeguards regarding voting? With all this technology we don’t have the ability to scan in a vote, verify the vote was counted properly ourselves, and get a return receipt right there on the spot? The soros related business connections to digital vote machines. The infowars Weavers discovery of registration fraud? The conflict of interest issues with the private company whom owns the vote machines? The 100% one way county vote instances? The fraud is facilitated by unnecessary burdensome bureaucracy. What about washblog’s very own vid where the tech guy so much as confessed in front of congress, how digital vote fraud happens? It goes on and on. What the hell does any of that have to do with Russia? The answer is nothing and you know something big is cooking, when everyone not just asks, but demands you look the other way. I want full deposition from Assange, and we should trade him immunity for it.

          • shropster

            It took you a while to see where this Obamabot was coming from. But, better later than never, which is what this troll was counting on.

          • CaperAsh

            Yes, you are right. And it reminds me why for a long time I stopped contributing to these comment sections. And suspect that this will inspire me to go back to that mode again. Without plenty of goodwill these places do more harm than good and there are far too many people without manners trolling around. It’s just another way they are bringing society down. There have always been such forces in all civilisations and ours is no exception. And yet it is always hard to see what is happening right now in this society at this time. Proper information helps, just like disinformation hinders, but ultimately it depends more on having a sense of principles and gauging those against the information and discourse being thrown around. So pretty much always when you encounter snarky, combative, insulting tones, I guess it’s fair to say that whatever the commentary is coming from an essentially unhelpful place and more than that one really doesn’t need to know. On some level, I guess, tone is more important than data. Facts aren’t all they’re cracked up to be anyway, but that’s another story…

          • shropster

            As you are approaching cynicism, you must be getting close to my age. Old guys like me who aren’t cynical, just haven’t been paying attention.
            I just calls ’em like I see ’em, and enjoy the ride.

          • Y@mailinator.com

            You know, it might be the site administrators, but they’re so commendable in their free speech approach here, i’d be more apt to believe that the disguss integrated platform is censoring again. Disguss is disgusting. It’s not that hard to run a self contained blog, and if you’re allowing open reader posts without requiring logins, disguss platform use is absolutely pointless. Disguss will get hacked or claim they were one day. This event will represent possibly the largest wipe out of free speech content in history. It’s not a matter of if, but of when. The power of the printing press unfortunately does not readily translate to integrated blogging platforms.

          • CaperAsh

            in my email I got a reply from you about Russia etc. but cannot find it here on the page. About Russia, I think you might enjoy going through the Kruschoff Kennedy correspondence. These two world leaders were on the verge of true peace but the bad guys got Kennedy and here we are today.
            https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1961-63v06/comp1

  • CMC761

    Good catch. I call it “assuming facts into existence.” Our media does it all the time. It’s fun to catch it but it’s alarming that so many receive the message and accept it at face value.

    • CMC761

      Also, our local news now includes segments of national/international news from the networks. I don’t know if the networks force them to run these things or if it’s a natural development. But to cover the same story twice in an hour will also serve to reinforce the propaganda.

  • CNDFOX

    “The tax returns should only be surrendered as part of a criminal
    investigation. Otherwise, they are private property. There can be no law
    requiring someone to hand them over to the general public; it’s against
    all constitutional norms many of which, after all, were set up to
    protect against tyranny or tyrannically powered governments”. – from you

    No it is quite the opposite of what you are saying and the NORM has been for every president to submit his tax returns to the American public. What you are advocating is exactly how oligarchs like him become a dictator. Exactly opposite of what are system has been. Why you would even suggest or insist on protecting this arrogant, narcissistic person in his attempt to be a dictator and destroy our democracy..I have no idea. His ties to Russia are there in that information and need to be exposed so the extremely naive and dumbed down base quits supporting him. Because they have no idea whom they are supporting and freedoms and democracy hangs in the balance here.

  • Bob

    Find out who killed Seth Rich, and/or who ordered the hit, and the whole Russia narrative unravels. In order to protect the current 2-party structure, which serves the interests of the corporate Deep State, they must protect the Democratic Party. In actuality they are protecting the pro-corporatist leaders of the party. A Democratic Party led by Bernie Sanders or anyone who has his philosophies is something they will avoid at all cost, even if 60% of the population would support the platforms of such a party.

    • Y@mailinator.com

      Freedom of information request from the NSA? How about asking Assange for an interview. Or even just run through existing wikileaks information. It’s not rocket science.

  • CMC761

    “Belief that Russia helped put Trump in the White House is steadily rising in the U.S. public”
    I wonder if that belief will equal the one about Saddam having something to do with 9/11.

    • shropster

      It has.

  • Y@mailinator.com

    ‘There is no more public evidence that Seth Rich leaked Democratic emails than there is that the Russian government stole them.’ What The!?!?!? Did you sleep through wikileaks disclosures? Apparently so.

  • Zartan

    The US is involved all over the world Hacking, Assassinating and Owning hundreds of illegal wars and proxy wars all over the globe. The US sponsors regime change! Russia must have no intelligence whatsoever, because if they did, they would be telling the US about all of its state sponsored terror and warning it, that IF they want to continue living on this planet than they had better knock of the BS!