Stephen Cohen has another excellent article out about Russiagate (from December 15). Stephen Cohen is an editor at The Nation and professor emeritus of Russian studies, history, and politics at New York University and Princeton University. Cohen advised George H.W. Bush in the late 80s when the latter was vice president. The conclusion of this Russia expert’s piece, focusing on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, is interesting:
Evidently, Tillerson has established a “productive” working relationship with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, the two of them having just announced North Korea’s readiness to engage in negotiations with the United States and other governments involved in the current crisis.
Tillerson’s fate will tell us much about the number-one foreign-policy question confronting America: cooperation or escalating conflict with the other nuclear superpower, a détente-like diminishing of the new Cold War or the growing risks that it will become hot war. Politics and policy should never be over-personalized; larger factors are always involved. But in these unprecedented times, Tillerson may be the last man standing who represents the possibility of some kind of détente. Apart, that is, from President Trump himself, loathe him or not. Or to put the issue differently: Will Russia-gate continue to gravely endanger American national security?
Any time that you read Consortium News, you should probably take a glance at the comments. There are intelligent people in there. I read an interesting comment by Bill. Below, I have excerpted a portion of it and added a note:
The best way to get up to speed on all the alternative voices that RT gives a platform to is to watch the following clip by American comedian Lee Camp. While Redacted Tonight is supposed to be funny, it can also be pretty darn oppressive– because the truth hurts. But do not fear, in this clip Camp is in fine form and pretty darn amusing the whole time (one of the best since the Syria episode):
Since Russiagate’s substantive claims against Russia as a country are now essentially that Russian media (e.g. RT) has given a platform to anti-Establishment American voices, I guess we have no choice but to admit that the Russiagaters are right.
Time to ‘fess up and admit that “the Russians” sowed discord in our society. But then, so did teleSUR with Abby Martin’s Empire Files, so did Jimmy Dore, Lee Camp, George Carlin, Bill Hicks, Noam Chomsky, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Flint Michigan’s drinking water, FDR, fracking, the French Revolution, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, every philosopher after Hegel including Marx, every rebellious punk and heavy metal band ever, weed, Alan Watts, Timothy Leary & co., magic mushrooms, every poet and artist who ever existed, morality, Plato, ideas, words, thoughts, transgender chicks from Brazil, the human race in general, humanity as an abstract concept, dolphins, the Earth’s magnetic core, and every Green and Libertarian party independent who has ever run.
To anyone who I forgot, which undoubtedly includes almost all other concepts, countries, people, interesting rock formations, geometric shapes, pie charts, Chinese food, Robert Parry, investigative journalism, quasars, acid rain, love as a phenomenological experience, astrology written by far-left anti-Capitalists, every philosopher before Hegel, celestial objects including but not limited to gas giants (shout out to guitarist Trey Azagthoth), Freedom Fries for being so stupid, political cartoonists, and the billions and billions served, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.
When you define “election” as the American status quo and “Russian interference” as anything that doesn’t reflexively support the status quo, yeah, you can argue “Russian interference affected the election.” X affected Y. According both to Leibniz and strains of modern quantum physics, you can put literally anything in that formula and it will work!
But maybe we should ask “why” the Russians (e.g. RT) try to educate the American masses by giving a voice to America’s own exiled-from-MSM thinkers and pundits. Maybe we should ask whether “sowing discord” is really a fair phrase to use here. Are they are not doing their small part, as any decent citizen of Earth would, to get the American populace to wake up before they die in their sleep (meanwhile the MSM sits back like Walter White)?
On October 31, 2017, ex-Army officer Clint Watts (a “dubious Russia ‘meddling’ expert,” as Max Blumenthal calls him) testified before a Senate Judiciary Committee that social media needed to be censored, because “Civil wars don’t start with gunshots, they start with words:”
“We all must act now on the social media battlefield to quell information rebellions that can quickly lead to violent confrontations and easily transform us into the Divided States of America.”
Source: Max Blumenthal at Alternet
It’s possible that Watts really believes what he is doing is virtuous, but then again, a lot of people are reaping fame and fortune today by blowing the Red Scare out of proportion. At any rate, Watts’ scaremongering about “civil war” seems disingenuous when the guy is currently tweeting about how the Mueller probe needs to be protected:
Protected?! More like it should be splintered into a thousand pieces! See, to a more or less neutral observer, the Mueller probe is starting to look like a deep state coup, which, if successful, would cause those well-armed Trump supporters to lose their minds. And the FOX news folk (and the Wall Street Journal and many others) are on to it.
But we are supposed to believe it’s the Russians that are inciting “civil war” here?!
Consider the following theory about the Strzok demotion, which Alexander Mercouris calls “the true scandal of the 2016 election” or “Strzok-Gate.” Peter Strzok was a member of Mueller’s team who was demoted to an HR role when some of his virulently pro-Hillary / anti-Trump texts were discovered. Mercouris argues that Strzok probably did more than say some mean things about Trump. He may have been the guy responsible for using the “p.p. Dossier” (Steele Dossier)– which he must have known was bogus– as the basis for a wiretap on Trump’s team:
“On the strength of a fake Dossier paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community carried out surveillance during the election of US citizens who were members of the campaign team of Donald Trump.”
The Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal says:
“[T]he public [should] know if, and how, America’s most powerful law-enforcement agency was influenced by Russia or partisan U.S. actors. All the more so given Mr. Comey’s extraordinary intervention in the 2016 campaign, which Mrs. Clinton keeps saying turned the election against her. The history of the FBI is hardly without taint.”
When it asks if the FBI was “influenced by Russia,” the WSJ is asking whether the FBI used the bogus intel in the Steele Dossier (which was actually provided by Russian contacts) as the basis for a wiretap. The WSJ continues:
“[T]he FBI have continued to defy legal subpoenas for documents pertaining to both surveillance warrants and the infamous Steele dossier that was financed by the Clinton campaign and relied on anonymous Russian sources.
While there is no evidence so far of Trump-Russia collusion, House investigators have turned up enough material to suggest that anti-Trump motives may have driven Mr. Comey’s FBI investigation. The public has a right to know whether the Steele dossier inspired the Comey probe, and whether it led to intrusive government eavesdropping on campaign satellites such as Carter Page [former Trump foreign policy adviser].”
Meanwhile, other commentators are speculating as to whether Adam Schiff (D-CA), a ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, which is also investigating “Russian influence,” leaked classified information to the media.
The leaked information turned out to be false, even though it initially appeared to show collusion between Trump Jr. and Wikileaks. The inestimable Glenn Greenwald says of the events of Friday, Dec. 8, 2017:
“The humiliation orgy was kicked off by CNN, with MSNBC and CBS close behind, and countless pundits, commentators, and operatives joining the party throughout the day. By the end of the day, it was clear that several of the nation’s largest and most influential news outlets had spread an explosive but completely false news story to millions of people, while refusing to provide any explanation of how it happened.”
The Greenwald article is brilliant and everyone should read it. Multiple news outlets reported the fake news, bringing into mind the question of how they all received the same fake intel. None have been willing to give up the source(s) who fed them the false information. Was the intel fed to Schiff or one of his compatriots by a secret counterintelligence unit to see if he would leak it?
It would not be surprising that the desperate Schiff would leak something that he thought would justify his own non-stop “Russia!” babble. As James Freeman puts it in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece:
“[N]early nine months later, he’s still going on talk shows and making accusations. He’s still declining to back them up. And he’s still finding friendly news organizations to broadcast his claims, even though by this time a fact-free Schiff accusation of collusion with Russians can hardly be considered news.”
As Greenwald says,
“Virtually every false story published goes only in one direction: to be as inflammatory and damaging as possible on the Trump-Russia story and about Russia particularly. At some point, once “mistakes” all start going in the same direction, toward advancing the same agenda, they cease looking like mistakes.”
With the spying on a rival political campaign and all, Russiagate is really starting to live up to its name. As always in the perverse psychology of Russiagate, the accuser turns out to be the actual perp.* If folk like Clint Watts are sincerely worried about a civil war, maybe they should worry less about a few lefties on RT and worry more about the obvious-coup-is-obvious against the President.
*but when I accuse people of babbling ceaselessly about Russia and then babble ceaselessly about Russia, it’s for a good reason.