the spooks are engaged in such infantile smearing of trump it’s downright sad

The Spy State Unleashed – And You’re Next!
Justin Raimondo, Antiwar.com, Apr 21 2017

After hearing about an alleged Russian plot to throw the election to Donald Trump for eight months, amid leaks by former government and intelligence boxtops galore, this media narrative being pushed relentlessly by Rachel Maddow and the fake journalists over at CNN has come to naught. I’ve pinned a tweet to the top of my Twitter profile that’s my answer to this sort of nonsense:

None of the official reports issued by our intelligence agencies and made public contains a lick of real evidence that the Kremlin guided and encouraged Trump’s rise to power. They consist of simple assertions and exclamations of high confidence, without giving anyone any reason to feel the least amount of confidence in their conclusions. They hide behind the old excuse of protecting sources and methods, to explain their failure to provide what could be defined even loosely as proof of their allegations. Yet some of these sources and methods have come to light anyway, as the leakers desperately try to salvage their failing narrative. The latest theory of the conspiracy theorists is that Carter Page, an economic consultant specializing in Russian energy resources who served as an unpaid and informal advisor to the Trump campaign, is the key link between it and the Russian intelligence agencies. A report in the WaPo alleges that the FBI obtained an order from the FISA court allowing it to spy on Page, and CNN followed up with a story telling us that the pretext for the surveillance request was the infamous dirty dossier compiled by ex-MI6 agent Chris Steele, which alleges that Carter Page was bribed with offers of a deal with Rosneft, in exchange for somehow effecting a 180-degree turnabout in Pindo policy in Ukraine. Steele was paid initially by a mysterious group of anti-Trump Republicans, and later by an opposition research firm linked to the Demagogs. Furthermore, Steele paid his sources, thus providing an incentive to make stuff up, or at least blow marginal intelligence out of proportion. In a letter to FBI director Comey requesting documents relating to this arrangement, Sen Chuck Grassley writes:

The idea that the FBI and associates of the Clinton campaign would pay Mr Steele to investigate the Rethug nominee for President in the run-up to the election raises further questions about the FBI’s independence from politics, as well as the Obama administration’s use of law enforcement and intelligence agencies for political ends.

The media and other Clinton deadenders are unconcerned about the implications of such an arrangement. That the FBI and who-knows-what other “intelligence” agencies were paying Steele to spy on the opposition party in the run-up to, and in the aftermath of, a presidential election is just routine as far as these people are concerned. It doesn’t matter to them that a bought-&-paid-for dossier consisting of unconfirmed speculation was the basis for the FISA court’s approval of a request to spy on the Trump campaign. Evidence? Facts? Don’t be so old-fashioned! The Surveillance State is a lawless entity, and there’s no use trying to tie it to traditional standards of legality, never mind propriety! The NYT reports that the FBI’s interest in Page was sparked when he went to Russia and made a speech criticizing Pindosi foreign policy:

When he became a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign last year and gave a Russia-friendly speech at a prestigious Moscow institute, it soon caught the bureau’s attention. That trip last July was a catalyst for the FBI investigation into connections between Russia and Pres Trump’s campaign, according to current and former law enforcement and intelligence officials.

It doesn’t take much to attract the FBI’s attention! All you have to do is dissent from the foreign policy “consensus”! As Mollie Hemingway notes over at The Federalist:

If this is true that this was the catalyst, it is concerning. The NYT article explains at great length how little a role Page had in the campaign and how far from central he was, to put it mildly. It notes that he worked in Russia and was critical of Pindo foreign policy toward Russia. At no point is anything illegal alleged. To be clear, since many in the media are not clear on this point, it is still legal in this country to be critical of Pindo foreign policy toward another country.

It may still be legal to be critical of Pindosi foreign policy, but it’s also legal to spy on you if you get too noisy about it. When, as Hemingway notes, you have a secret court that has only denied permission to spy on Pindosis a mere 12 times out of some 34,000 requests, then the standard of legality is formally met, but in reality what you have is a police state apparatus in place. The FISA court and its legal underpinnings have been around since 1978, and in all that time we never heard a peep out of anyone but a few marginalized libertarians pointing out its potential for political repression. Now suddenly conservatives are waking up the fact that our “intelligence” agencies are policing the political discourse, because it’s their ox being gored. Well, better late than never. It’s not like the FBI has been politically neutral all these years, and lest you think it’s just the left they’ve gone after, here’s a little bit of largely hidden history for you. FDR sicced the feds on the Pindostan First Committee and other opponents of going to war in Europe in the run-up to WW2. He had his Attorney General charge war opponents with sedition and the media, far from rising up against this abuse of power, cheered the President on. Indeed a WaPo reporter named Dillard Stokes collaborated with the FBI in setting up the defendants for the phony charge of encouraging mutiny in the armed forces. I don’t recall anyone at the Federalist rushing to the defense of Antiwar.com when it was revealed that the FBI was spying on us due to our foreign policy position. Not a single conservative voice was raised in protest at their designation of myself and our webmaster Eric Garris as possible agents of a foreign power, a conclusion based on absolutely nothing substantial. First they came for the right, and liberals said nothing but “Good job!” Then they came for the left, and conservatives said “But communism!” Then they came for Antiwar.com, and nobody said a word. Now that they’re coming for Trump and the left is once again cheering while the right is aghast, and the Trump administration, far from dismantling the apparatus of repression, wants to give “law enforcement” a blank check to spy on the Pindo creeple! Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

News shorts from Antiwar.com:

CW Watchdog Spurns Russian Call for New Syria Probe
Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, Apr 20 2017

The OPCW is conducting a very limited fact-finding into this month’s accused gas attack in Syria’s Idlib Province, simply determining what sort of chemical people were exposed to. Russia and Iran were both pushing for a new, bigger investigation, but the OPCW has “overwhelmingly” rejected that idea, arguing that it would harm the credibility of the fact-finding mission if they had to carry out the broader investigation seeking specifics. The Russian proposal sought an investigation into whether or not the chemical exposure was actually an attack with a weapon, how such a weapon would have been delivered, and most importantly visiting the Shayrat airbase, which Pindostan attacked after the incident, to follow through on Pindosi claims that chemicals are being stored at the site. The OPCW fact-finding mission found that the people were likely exposed to sarin or something similar, but all the other questions remain totally unanswered. This is likely to be a victory for the West, as Pindostan and its vassals have opposed any deeper investigation, claiming Syria’s guilt is obvious.

Attorney General Sessions Seeks to Jail Publishers of Leaks
Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, Apr 20 2017

Reports that Pindostan is about to bring charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appear to be just the tip of the iceberg, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions saying he wants to put people in jail for publishing classified leaks any time a “case can be made.” Where a case can be made is the tricky part, as despite years of demonizing publishers of embarrassing leaks, constitutional assurances of freedom of the press likely preclude any move against journalists for publishing newsworthy information, and as Assange lawyer Barry Pollack pointed out, there is no basis for treating WikiLeaks any different from any other publisher. That’s a big part of why years of looking into leaks by the Obama Administration never led to any actual charges for publishers, and then-Attorney General Eric Holder conceded that it was unlikely they’d ever charge anyone with violation of the Espionage Act for journalism. D/CIA Pompeo may have given some insight into the path the Trump Administration is going, saying that Julian Assange has no First Amendment rights because he’s “not Pindosi.” This might open up charges for foreign publishers, though it’s also unclear if the courts will buy this argument.

Pindostan Won’t Investigate Results of MOAB Bombing in Afghanistan
Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, Apr 20 2017

Aiming to deflect criticism about the Trump Administration’s use of the MOAB, or “Mother of All Bombs,” in the Nangarhar Province, Afghan officials issued a pair of dubious death tolls, first claiming a few dozen Daesh killed, then ratcheting that number up when the first figure didn’t play very well in the media. Underscoring just how little Pindostan cares about the consequences of the strikes, Sec Def Mad Dog Mattis has insisted that Pindostan will never carry out any sort of investigation into what the result of the bombing was at all, saying they don’t want to “get into that.” Mattis insisted that he has “full confidence” in the commanders who made the decision to drop the MOAB, and that figuring out what happened was “probably not a good use of our troops’ time.” Instead, the official record will just assume that the incident went well. The political leadership probably won’t make any sort of effort to look into what the MOAB did either, with the administration focusing primarily on the “message” that the bombing sent to North Korea about Trump’s “resolve,” even though by all indications the decision on the MOAB was made well down the chain of command.

UN Rejects Ukraine’s Call to Order Russia to Stop Supporting Rebels
Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, Apr 19 2017

UN judges at the Hague today rejected calls by the Ukrainian government to order Russia to stop supporting secessionist rebels in eastern Ukraine, saying that there is no treaty requirement which would provide a basis for making such an order. Ukraine had argued that global treaties on terrorism would apply to the case, but the court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to claim that Russia would have any reason to believe the rebels might commit terrorist acts against the government. The Ukrainian government has been labeling the rebels, mostly ethnic Russians, as terrorists from the start of the eastern civil war, which was launched when the rebels attempted to secede after a 2014 regime change in the western capital led to attempts by the government to eliminate Russian as an official language, and restricting economically vital trade along the Russiian border. The court did, however, agree with Ukraine’s call to require Russia to continue education in Ukrainian language for ethnic Tatars in the Crimean Peninsula. The Tatars are a minority in Crimea, but generally opposed the secession of Crimea from Ukraine, and its accession into the Russian Federation. The Ukrainians claimed not allowing the Tatars to continue education in Ukrainian amounted to ethnic discrimination against them.

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