Stovepiping to produce fake news

Image credit: THOSE ’17 INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES’ CITED BY HILLARY CLINTON ABOUT TRUMP AND RUSSIA TURNED OUT TO BE FAKE NEWS

I have discovered a new word – “stovepiping.” Must admit I had to look it up – but it seems to be highly relevant to the way media seem to authenticate their news reports today – particularly in the current political hysteria emanating from the USA. And, I think, stovepiping plays a central role in the promotion of fake news.

There is nothing new about fake news – we have been subjected to it for ages. But suddenly everyone is talking about it. Of course, it is always the “other” side which indulges in fake news – never “our” side. But I suggest that just demonstrates our own prejudices and confirmation bias. We should look more critically and objectively at the way “our” news media gathers and present what it feeds us.

Stovepiping in the intelligence community

So we come to “stovepiping” which Wikipedia says:

“has been used, in the context of intelligence, to describe several ways in which raw intelligence information may be presented without proper context. . . . . the lack of context may come from a particular group, in the national policy structure, selectively presenting only that information that supports certain conclusions. “

On the one hand, this may be an inevitable result of the way intelligence agencies work – “due to the specialised nature, or security requirements, of a particular intelligence collection technology.”

On the other hand, it may be purposely used to deceive politicians and the public  (to support “certain conclusions”) – the issue of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the justification for the US invasion of that country provides a clear example.

Unfortunately, stovepiping is rampant in the current US media and political hysteria surrounding the current political struggles resulting from an election result which didn’t go the way the establishment wanted and believed it would.

Consider all the “confidence” that the US presidential elections were “hacked” by Russia – even by, or under the personal orders of, the president of the Russian Federation. The assertion is claimed to be unassailable, beyond any question, because it was a conclusion reached, unanimously, by 17 US intelligence agencies. Hillary Clinton made the claim last October in a presidential election debate:

 “We have 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin, and they are designed to influence our election. I find that deeply disturbing.”

The really “deeply disturbing” aspect is that this claim was repeated again and again without a sniff of evidence. Anyone questioning the claim, or asking for evidence, was jumped on as a “Kremlin troll” and no politician seemed to have the courage to draw parallels with the Emperors Clothes.” To actually ask – “where is the evidence.” Neo-McCarthyism is alive and active.

Welcome to evidence-free reporting – where stories rely on unattributed, unnamed sources. Where “intelligence reports” are completely free of evidence – yet presented with high authority. And worse – the media then claims the evidence-free reports themselves as “evidence!”

The retractions are buried and ignored

Sometimes such stories do get retracted. On June 29 The New York Times issued a retraction of the claim that 17 intelligence agencies had reported Russian hacking. The NYT admitted:

“The assessment was made by four intelligence agencies — the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. The assessment was not approved by all 17 organizations in the American intelligence community.”

Worse – we had stovepiping within stovepiping. Not only was the claim not approved by the 17 agencies – the claim itself was made by selected personal within the four agencies involved. Heavy reported:

“Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had already essentially admitted to this when he testified in May in front of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee. He said the Russia hacking finding came from a special intelligence community assessment, formed by hand-picked analysts from the NSA, FBI, and CIA.”

This sort of stovepiping is loaded with possibilities for anyone wishing to promote evidence-free but politically damaging claims as part of a political battle. Just hand-select a few anonymous agents who you know will support the story you want. The ultimate confirmation bias.

One might think the news media has the ethical responsibility to be a bit more critical of such stories. To refuse to repeat evidence-free claims. To avoid unnamed, and unchecked, sources. And to publish an analysis of the origins of these claims, stressing the lack of evidence.

Unfortunately, in the USA it appears that the mainstream media has forgotten these ethics. It is wholeheartedly participating in this political battle. It is cooperating with elements in the intelligence community who have also joined this political battle. The mainstream media and this politically motivated section of the intelligence community are taking in each others laundry. Unnamed intelligence sources are providing evidence-free information to fill the news reports. The media is giving public voice to these disaffected intelligence agents and the intelligence community (or elements within it), in turn, is giving “authority” to the reported evidence-free claims. After all, what patriotically-minded US citizen will refuse to accept the authority of the intelligence agencies – even without evidence?

Weak retractions, or even the absence of retractions, seems to be an accepted procedure within the mainstream media. Remember Omran Dogneesh, the “Aleppo boy?” Much media hysteria was spent on his story (accompanied by an admittedly outstanding photograph) promoted by the al Qaeda-affiliated White Helmets as part of their propaganda campaign against Syria. His family was liberated with the rest of eastern Aleppo and they can now tell their story about the way their boy was used – in effect kidnapped by the White Helmets – for propaganda purposes. His family’s story has been reported to some extent – certainly without any of the fanfare the original misleading story was promoted (see How Omran, the dazed Aleppo boy who reappeared this week, became a political pawn in Syria’s war). And a gullible public will be encouraged to continue to believe the original distortions.

Aleppo boy – his true story was buried. The first photo was trumpeted around the world as part of anti-Syria propaganda. The second practically ignored. Credit: India.com.  Aleppo boy Omran Daqneesh makes his first appearance since 2016 bombing! See heart warming pictures of the Syrian kid 

Just as “authoritative” mainstream media sources continue to report that 17 intelligence agencies had a “high confidence” the Russians “hacked” the US elections.

It’s wider than the Clinton-Trump conflict

While this example of stovepiping and fake news is typical of the current political conflict in the USA the problem is not going to go away when that conflict disappears. I think stovepiping and fake news have resulted from the danger the established news media sees itself in as a result of social media and wider digital sources for news.

In fact, when we look at the intelligence reports about the so-called Russian hacking of the US elections we find the main concern being expressed is the possible influence of alternative media. These reports concentrate on media like RT and Sputnik which have Russian origins – but the concern is really about alternative media in general. After all, if the best they can do is complain that RT gave coverage to minority candidates and ran one interview with Trump then we can see what their crime is. RT and Sputnik, just like the rest of the alternative media, is not under the thumb of the establishment. They are free to question the narrative promoted by that establishment.

The alternative media, just like the internet, is not going to go away. It will persist and it will provide alternatives to those of us tired by the conformity and fake news of the establishment mainstream media.

The political establishment in the US and Europe is trying to nip this phenomenon in the bud – after all the alternative media has limited reach so far. But the establishment can see the danger it represents and we cannot avoid the possibility it may take extreme action to prevent the loss of its influence a wider spread of alternative media represents.

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166 responses to “Stovepiping to produce fake news

  1. ,i> It [MSM] is cooperating with elements in the intelligence community who have also joined this political battle.

    Joined?? The intelligence “communities” have always been politically aligned, both in the West and elsewhere such as Russia and earlier in the USSR. In NZ they have been supporting the right wing establishment for decades and decades, destroyng career prospects of left wing activists etc, the SIS even targeting for surveillance the children of left wing activists (Keith Locke is prime example has disclosed he was under surveillance from before he was a teenager), right wing proponents seldom, if ever, suffer such targeting in NZ.

    RT and Sputnik, just like the rest of the alternative media, is not under the thumb of the establishment. They are free to question the narrative promoted by that establishment.

    Well, to be fair, so says Glen Beck.

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  2. Yes, intelligence organisation have always been politically aligned – but usually not in the partisan way we are seeing in the USA. And I use “partisan” in a more limited sense – I think the same sort of illegal activity of a section of the intelligence community would have occurred if Sanders had been elected.

    I personally experienced the way the SIS behaved towards left-wing activists in NZ. I was not surprised – it is the sort of thing we expect. Most people thought Muldoon went too far when he used SIS information to attack trade unionists but the US situation is far worse. The equivalent thing would be for disaffected SIS members to leak information so as to interfere with, say, a leadership vote in the National Party. Partisan interference within a party.

    I think there are reasons for this. Trump (and Sanders if elected) comes from left field – he is not part of the establishment. he is a Maverick. The establishment cannot trust him. Nor can they control him (whether just because he is a maverick or because he is a buffoon)? Hence this political campaign to either control him via media and perceived public pressure – or even to get rid of him.

    And it is more than the normal political campaign. It is a controlled political campaign operating within the media and the intelligence community – and they are operating in an alliance. And surely illegally considering the use of “leaks” – from intelligence agents!

    We can see how effective this contrived political campaign is in controlling Trump. It has so far prevented him from taking sensible steps to defuse the dangerous situation of the relationship with the Russian Federation. Specifically, he has not yet been able to reverse Obama’s expulsion of diplomatic staff or seizure of diplomatic property – a situation which can not be allowed to continue without some sort of reprisal. And Trump’s behaviour regarding Syria smacks of appeasement towards the neocons.

    Your comment about Glen Beck is completely valid. I am not saying the alternative media is good just because it is alternative. The intelligent reader must approach all the media critically and sensibly – they should not put their uncritical faith in Glen Beck any more than they should in RT, Sputnik, CNN, NYT or Washington Post.

    I don’t know about Glen Beck, but I do know that the RT editors do advocate that readers should make use of the various sources available. They don’t pretend to be completely objective – they acknowledge they are presenting a viewpoint. I think that is honest. Whereas the Washington Post, for example, is advocating the exact opposite – trying to advocate that readers wear blinkers. They even got involved in promoting software which would warn against using sources they didn’t like.

    Worryingly the European Parliament and NATO are doing much the same thing. And the US intelligence report I referred to here clearly expressed this sort of attitude towards alternative media.

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  3. David Fierstien

    A couple of things about your article. You and Richard Christie have it backwards.

    Ken: “On the other hand, it (Intelligence) may be purposely used to deceive politicians and the public (to support “certain conclusions”) – the issue of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the justification for the US invasion of that country provides a clear example.”

    Completely Wrong. That is a myth that is repeated over and over again with no thought. Trump repeats it all the time, (ironically, to blast his own intelligence) and sadly you are repeating it here.

    Prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, U.S. Intelligence was correct. There were no WMD in Iraq. It was the Bush Administration that lied, and the Intelligence Community did not support it. (And of course you, like Trump, are using this false example as a foundation upon which to continue the argument.)

    However, one only need look at the stories of Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame to underscore the reality of what actually happened prior to the invasion of Iraq.

    Another lie from Trump that you are repeating for the purpose of blasting Western Mainstream Media, in Trump-like fashion:
    “Worse – we had stovepiping within stovepiping. Not only was the claim not approved by the 17 agencies – the claim itself was made by selected personal within the four agencies involved.”

    The 17 U.S. Intelligence Agencies referred to are: Air Force Intelligence, Army Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, Coast Guard Intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency, Energy Department, Homeland Security Department, State Department, Treasury Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Marine Corps Intelligence, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, National Security Agency, Navy Intelligence and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

    Some of these are large, independent agencies, like the FBI, CIA and NSA. Others are smaller offices within agencies whose main focus is not intelligence, like the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research or the Treasury’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis.

    Four out of the 17 were involved in the January assessment about Russia: CIA, FBI, NSA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which is an umbrella agency that oversees all 17 organizations.

    This doesn’t mean the remaining 13 intelligence organizations disagree with the January assessment, nor does it mean the report was insufficient, according to multiple national security experts.

    The 17 organizations differ on their missions and scope, so they wouldn’t all be expected to contribute to every intelligence assessment, including one of this import.

    “What matters is the agencies that (were involved) and whether, based on their mandate and collection responsibilities, those are the agencies best positioned to make the assessment,” says Carrie Cordero, counsel at law firm ZwillGen and former counsel for various federal agencies focusing on national security.

    For example, the intelligence arms of the Drug Enforcement Agency or the Coast Guard would not be expected to collect intelligence related to Russian interference in an election, according to Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists.

    “So their endorsement or non-endorsement basically means nothing in this case,” Aftergood said, adding, “In this context, the assessments that count the most are those of CIA, NSA, FBI and ODNI.”

    The intelligence community likely limited the Russia assessment to those four agencies because they have the most to contribute on this topic, and because they wanted to contain the highly sensitive intelligence as much as possible, said Paul Pillar, senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies who served in the intelligence community for 28 years.

    “The ones that participated are the ones you’d expect on this,” Pillar said. “It’s hard to see any of the others having something to contribute.”

    “That does not vitiate the conclusions. It does not mean the jury is still out,” he added.

    ACCORDING TO POLITIFACT:

    “Back in October 2016, we rated this statement by then-candidate Hillary Clinton as True: “We have 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin, and they are designed to influence our election.”

    Many readers have asked us about this rating since the New York Times and Associated Press issued their corrections.

    Our article referred to an Oct. 7, 2016, joint statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security that presented a preliminary conclusion about Russia’s involvement in the election.

    We noted then that the 17 separate agencies did not independently declare Russia the perpetrator behind the hacks; however, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence speaks on behalf of the group.

    We asked experts again this week if Clinton’s claim was correct or not.

    “In the context of a national debate, her answer was a reasonable inference from the DNI statement,” Cordero said, emphasizing that the statement said, “The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident” in its assessment.

    Aftergood said it’s fair to say the Director of National Intelligence speaks for the intelligence community, but that doesn’t always mean there is unamity across the community, and it’s possible that some organizations disagree.

    But in the case of the Russia investigation, there is no evidence of disagreement among members of the intelligence community.”

    Ken: “The political establishment in the US and Europe is trying to nip this phenomenon in the bud – after all the alternative media has limited reach so far.”

    And yet, it looks like it was the mainstream media that got it right. Only after the MSM asked Donald Trump, Jr. for a comment on emails it had obtained, he forced to become “transparent,” and he fully disclosed at least one email chain which included this:

    “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr Trump.”

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  4. David, I may be fighting personal distractions at the moment but surely I am not mistaken to be amazed at your statement:

    “Prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, U.S. Intelligence was correct. There were no WMD in Iraq. It was the Bush Administration that lied, and the Intelligence Community did not support it.”

    Yes, we know there were no WMD any more than there was Russian collusion in the 2016 elections. Yet the US administration claimed there were and claimed this was based on their intelligence information. Just as the US Democrats claimed about Russian collusion. The US even went to the UN with this “intelligence information.”

    Yet you are telling me it was the other way around! That in fact, the US intelligence agencies opposed the administration claims!

    As I said, I am very distracted at the moment so perhaps I am wrong in my memories. But you can surely show that by citing and linking to the intelligence report, from that time, you rely on for this claim. From the time – not well afterwards when the lies were exposed (after all, I expect that in a few years time the intelligence agencies will report they were completely mistaken about their “Russian collusion” claims and that Clinton was lying).

    Or is this just another example of the way US political assertions operate today. Anything can be claimed, no evidence is required, and the gullible public will accept the claims provided it evokes their anti-Russian racist prejudices which have been carefully cultivated by the establishment?

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  5. As for the Trump Jr. emails – what a fiasco. I am of course talking about the media hysteria on this although Goldstein seems to be rather a clown).

    Here is a bit of sense from a US source on this. And it points out the danger of this sort of witch hunt and neo-McCarthist hysteria.

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  6. David Fierstien

    Ken, to your second comment first. You are using Tucker Carlson as a valid source? You are allowing him to speak for you in describing the sense of hysteria in the United States? . . Ken, I thought we were past this.

    By the way, and on a completely different subject, here is his file from Politifact: http://www.politifact.com/personalities/tucker-carlson/

    To your first comment, I referenced Joe Wilson (Joseph C. Wilson) and Valerie Plame in my comment as an example of the knowledge that U.S. Intel had prior to the war. Either you are not familiar with their story, or you didn’t take the time to look.

    In February of 2002, the CIA authorized Joe Wilson to go to Africa to investigate claims that Saddam Hussein was purchasing yellow cake uranium from Niger in his pursuit of WMD.

    In January, 2003, President Bush included these words in his State of the Union Address: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

    You will recall that the U.S. invaded Iraq in March of 2003. Shortly afterward, Mr. Wilson began a series of op-eds in the New York Times questioning the validity of claims made by the Bush Administration. This is from July 6, 2003. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/06/opinion/what-i-didn-t-find-in-africa.html

    Although this is not an official Intelligence Report, as you have requested, it does reflect open knowledge from the time. As I said, U.S. Intelligence got it right. It was the Administration that lied.

    (I also suggest you take a look at Knight Ridder’s reporting on the Iraq war. And Bill Moyers did an excellent job of documenting how the war was sold to the American people in this documentary: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/btw/watch.html )

    Mr. Wilson’s story continues. I suggest you take a look at it. His wife, CIA Agent Valerie Plame, was punished for her husband’s efforts. I suggest you take a look at the role of Scooter Libby, from Dick Cheny’s Office in this affair, and his conviction for criminal activities for his efforts.

    From my own recollection, I remember that Donald Rumsfeld actually said, ‘We know where his weapons are, they’re in the Tikrit area.” – No one ever told him that.

    I also remember that just prior to the war, UN Inspectors were all over Iraq looking for WMD, and couldn’t find them. Meanwhile, Rumsfeld said that they knew where they were.

    It occurred to no one that the Bush Administration could have easily provided this information to the UN Inspectors. There may have been a few reasons why no one questioned it. There was an unhealthy patriotism at the time, and certain networks, particularly Fox News (where your Tucker Carlson is now employed) “branded” anyone who dared question the Administration.

    There’s your neo-McCarthyism in the U.S.

    One particular case stands out in my mind. Cindy Sheehan was a mother who had lost her son in the war. She questioned the validity of the war and openly criticized President Bush. Take a good look at how the network of your Tucker Carlson operated as they tried to bully her https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIIGwOTHcDI

    Take a good look at the way Fox News operates. I point this out to you in case you ever consider using Fox as any kind of source again.

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  7. David Fierstien

    Good comment. It depends on how you define “Intelligence Failure.” And I don’t think we’re spitting hairs here.

    It’s possible that Powell believed in the arguments he presented at the U.N. In fact, that is what I believe. The blame falls on George Tennant’s shoulders. He was present when Powell gave the speech, and he was little more than a Bush lackie . . He was the thing that Trump wanted when he asked for a pledge of loyalty from James Comey.

    So . . If by “Intelligence Failure,” you mean that the head of the CIA provided false information to people in the Bush Administration (Powell), then yes, there was an intelligence failure.

    However, if by Intelligence failure you mean that the intelligence actually gathered by the intelligence community was wrong, then no. There was no failure. The intelligence community knew full well that, at best, evidence of Iraqi WMB was meager.

    I draw your attention to the Downing Street Memo, which has never been denied by the Bush Administration. This from it:

    “There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”

    And: “It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran.”

    And of course, let’s not leave Cheney off the hook. Scooter Libby, from the office of Dick Cheney, and later pardoned by Cheney, was convicted for his actions.

    Whether Bush knew all the facts or not is questionable, at least in my mind.

    However – getting back to the subject at hand, you can’t compare “intelligence failures” from the Bush Administration to what is happening in the Trump Administration. If anything, it is a complete opposite. U.S. Intel is clearly not bending over backwards to accommodate the wishes of a U.S. president.

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  8. David – when you say that “U.S. Intel is clearly not bending over backwards to accommodate the wishes of a U.S. president” you are actually supporting a main message in my post. There is currently a campaign involving the media and elements of the intelligence community aimed at constraining the president’s actions. The methods used are often illegal and certainly ethically wrong.

    And, importantly, the claims made are not based on any evidence at all – or at least the campaigners refuse to produce evidence and just adopt the attitude of “trust me – we know what we are doing.” This hubris no longer works – unless you are gullible. We saw the consequences of such approaches in Iraq and they were catastrophic.

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  9. David, you clearly did not watch the Tucker interview or understand my point. I was not using the interview as a source of information. Just to illustrate the consequences of the current political hysteria in the US. He expressed these consequences well. I can understand your political commitment to that hysteria motivates you to discredit the source – but that attempt is irrelevant.

    Your attempt to avoid the issue by questioning Fox as a “source” is a diversionary tactic that you use continually. To my mind, such diversions illustrate at least a lazy attitude (in that you avoid dealing with substance by shooting the messenger) and more likely simply a dishonest avoidance of the real issue because you are incapable of dealing with the substance.

    I keep on repeating to you that relying unquestionably on sources because they are “reputable” is simply ignorant in today’s situation. readers must approach any and every source intelligently and critically. The way you limit the information you consider by wearing blinkers, and naively expect that of others, is not something to be proud of – quite the opposite.

    Tucker has, in this case, identified a dangerous result of the current US political hysteria – and he has actually made similar intelligent comments on the political childishness rampant in the US at the moment in some of his other interviews.

    You say “Take a good look at the way Fox News operates.” Well, why be so restrictive? Take a good look at the way all media operates – and particularly the mainstream media in the USA at the moment. I have tried to illustrate in my article how politically motivated the US media is in a limited partisan way at the moment. That should ring alarm bells. As should the use of unnamed sources for unsubstantiated information. Add on top of that the way media like the Washington Post is campaigning against anyone who steps out of line in their understanding and against alternative media sources.

    The intelligent observer has a lot to be concerned about at the moment and only fools will continue to rely uncritically on sources like the Washinton Post and NYT while wearing blinkers to prevent getting information from other sources. In this case, the comments from Tucker are of much higher value than the brainwashing hysteria being promoted by sources you seem to rely on and uncritically accept information from.

    I find it really disappointing when people who I might otherwise consider to be rational resort to source bashing as a way of avoiding the consideration of information. Iit is not rational or honest.

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  10. Perhaps I need to spell it out. Maybe, David, you could not bring yourself to watch Tucker’s comments because the word “Fox” on the screen froze your mind.

    Tucker was simply showing the consequences of the attitudes being expressed by politicians who saw Trump Jr’s meeting as evidence of a capital offence – of treason.

    Tucker pointed out what that attitude could mean for the ordinary person – is meeting with a foreigner now a capital offence? Does having an exchange student in your home qualify as treason? And what does that mean for all those lobbyists and their huge numbers of meetings held every day in Washington? Could those lobbyists be guilty of an offence which could result in a lethal injection?

    And, yes that goes for the Clinton crowd too. After all the Democrat election committee personnel and agents met often with staff of the Ukrainian Embassy and agents working for that embassy as they considered information they could use against the trump campaign. And the Ukrainian regime had a clear interest in preventing Trump’s election.

    Now it is sad that i have had to extract these details from the short video. I had hoped you would be able to watch it and see the points being made.

    Nevertheless – I have now given the detail that I hoped you could watch for yourself so that you now have no excuse to avoid those points.

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  11. This current US political hnysteria is bringing some crazy people out of the woodwork. These people are dangerous.
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/clinton-ally-paul-begala-trump-should-consider-bombing-russia

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  12. David Fierstien

    Well, there is a lot here, and rather than, “attempting to avoid the issues,” I will attempt to answer each, head on.

    Ken: “David – when you say that “U.S. Intel is clearly not bending over backwards to accommodate the wishes of a U.S. president” you are actually supporting a main message in my post. There is currently a campaign involving the media and elements of the intelligence community aimed at constraining the president’s actions.”

    Response: I am not supporting the cited message in your post. There is a difference between standing up to the President, in defense of a truth, and “constraining a president’s actions.” In some cases, I suppose they could be one in the same. For example, if George Tennant had stood up to President Bush, allowed free access to all Intel, that would have constrained the President’s actions and his invasion of Iraq would not have been so easily sold.

    So, no, I am not supporting that message in your post.

    Ken: “The methods used are often illegal and certainly ethically wrong.”

    Response: Please cite one example in which the media had done anything illegal to constrain this president. (Asking for an example of something ethically wrong would be asking for a subjective opinion – and we could bat that around for weeks and nothing would be accomplished.)

    Ken: “ . . campaigners refuse to produce evidence and just adopt the attitude of “trust me – we know what we are doing.” This hubris no longer works – unless you are gullible. We saw the consequences of such approaches in Iraq and they were catastrophic.”

    Response: Again you raise the spectre of Iraq. That was the President who lied to you. As I said earlier, Joseph C. Wilson told you the truth. He was one of the gatherers of Intel prior to that war, and he made public what he found. He did it because he found it unacceptable that the Bush Administration was twisting its own Intelligence.

    And here you are, using that example to defend this President against his Intelligence agencies. I find that ironic, to say the least. . . More likely, however, you have inadvertently chosen the worst possible example possible to illustrate your point.

    Ken: “David, you clearly did not watch the Tucker interview or understand my point. I was not using the interview as a source of information. Just to illustrate the consequences of the current political hysteria in the US.”

    Response: I did watch the video and I understood your point. That is why I said, “You are allowing him to speak for you in describing the sense of hysteria in the United States.” That is what you just said.

    Ken: “I can understand your political commitment to that hysteria motivates you to discredit the source – but that attempt is irrelevant.
    Your attempt to avoid the issue by questioning Fox as a “source” is a diversionary tactic that you use continually.”

    Response: Tucker Carlson was discredited long before you posted his video here. It’s not about you or your arguments this time. It’s about him. Fox as a source? I can’t think of another U.S. Network which has openly bullied U.S. citizens who have openly criticized a president which they support. For example, Jeremy Glick, whose father died on September 11, 2001, and was critical of the Bush Administration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IwIRNM5noY

    You want to use Fox as a source? Go ahead. It’s not news, (when it doesn’t “become” news). It is a propaganda machine. Please cite one other network which has openly tried to bully and suppress ordinary citizens who have dared to speak up against their political agenda.
    HOWEVER, the truly remarkable irony in your statement is that Tucker Carlson might well have been talking about Fox News as he described current U.S. hysteria. Here we see Tucker defending himself against Fox political analyst, Ralph Peters, whom Tucker claims just called him a Nazi sympathizer:
    https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2017/07/11/Fox-analyst-compares-Tucker-Carlson-to-Nazi-sympathizer-as-the-Fox-host-defends-Putin/217224

    The sharks have turned on themselves.

    Ken: “To my mind, such diversions illustrate at least a lazy attitude (in that you avoid dealing with substance by shooting the messenger) and more likely simply a dishonest avoidance of the real issue because you are incapable of dealing with the substance.”

    Response: Again, my distaste for a network that openly bullies and tries to disenfranchise anyone who dares to hold an opposing opinion is hardly a diversion. I held these values long before I read your post, and I intend to continue living by them. If the “messenger” be Fox, or CNN, I hope I will apply these values fairly and equally.

    Ken: “I keep on repeating to you that relying unquestionably on sources because they are “reputable” is simply ignorant in today’s situation. readers must approach any and every source intelligently and critically. The way you limit the information you consider by wearing blinkers, and naively expect that of others, is not something to be proud of – quite the opposite.”

    Response: Reputable: “held in good repute; honorable; respectable; estimable:”

    Ok. I think we’re still talking about Fox here – a “news source” Reputable? You are quite right not to include Fox among the reputable.
    I have looked at Fox intelligently and critically. Have you? Let’s take a look at Fox’s biggest money-maker. Oh, that’s right . . he just got fired for his un-reputable behavior . . . How about we just look at Fox.

    On this scorecard, Politifact gives Fox a whopping 10% True, 12% Mostly True . . . 29% False, and 10% Pants on Fire. The rest are somewhere inbetween: http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/tv/fox/

    Yes, Ken, one thing you got right. I do rely on reputable news sources. Apparently, you don’t.

    Ken: “You say “Take a good look at the way Fox News operates.” Well, why be so restrictive? Take a good look at the way all media operates – and particularly the mainstream media in the USA at the moment.”
    I have taken a good look. To my knowledge there is no other network which openly bullies ordinary citizens who hold opposing viewpoints to this degree. Again, this is a perfect example of what they do: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IwIRNM5noY This is entertainment, nothing more.

    Show me CNN doing this. This is about values and ethics, it’s not about wearing blinders. If you want to be entertained, if you want to watch the undesirables being eaten by lions in the arena . . then by all means, Fox is the network for you. As for myself, I would like to become informed.
    To your last comment – Ken: “This current US political hnysteria is bringing some crazy people out of the woodwork. These people are dangerous.”
    Response: That is interesting. I hadn’t seen it before, and since it was a CNN interview I naturally wondered why you wouldn’t have used the primary source. I looked for it on the CNN website & couldn’t find it, but I do see it repeated by other “less reputable” news services, so, since you are the source presenting it to me, I am going to uncritically accept it as valid, and assume that it was not in any way taken out of context.

    I will “just adopt the attitude of “trust me – we know what we are doing.”” I will rely “unquestionably on sources because they are “reputable”” (Ahh, where have I heard these comments before? From you.) I will believe you.

    Yes, Ken. I completely agree. If this guy actually suggested bombing Russia he is dangerous. And, to be fair, I completely disagreed with Hillary Clinton when she ran against Obama and said that she would “obliterate Iran.” That was extremely reckless and dangerous.
    HOWEVER, When Trump tells his minions that he will pay their legal fees if they inflict violence on anti-Trump protesters, that is extremely reckless and dangerous. . . .

    And when Trump refuses to disavow his White Supremacist followers – very dangerous. He is actively courting the worst in us. He is inviting the crazies to come out of the woodwork, and he is trying to normalize them by lowering the bar of our own values.
    Trump has identified that which separates us as a democracy, he has identified our cancer, and instead of looking for a cure, he has exploited it and made it worse.

    Why aren’t you upset about that hysteria? And why don’t we hear about the governmental hysteria resulting from the June 12 crackdown against protesters in the Russian Federation? Or the governmental hysteria that lead to the crackdown of protesters on May 6, 2012 . . . or March 26 . . Certainly the arrests of peaceful protesters on March 26 in Russia was a form of hysteria by it’s government? Why are you so focused on the United States and it’s free press?

    The word hypocrisy comes to mind. . . I digress. I’ll work on controlling my passions.

    Like

  13. David, you are not being honest. I cannot see how one can have discussion with a partner who is not interested in understanding and relating to the actual points being made – only in wilfully misrepresenting and diverting.

    Life is too short to waste in this way.

    Like

  14. David Fierstien

    Thank you for your response, Ken. Please let me know exactly what you mean so that we can have a rational discussion. I actually agreed with your last comment, but please, let me know what you feel is dishonest.

    I had asked you to “Please cite one example in which the media had done anything illegal to constrain this president.”

    I’ll be honest. I don’t believe you when you say, “There is currently a campaign involving the media and elements of the intelligence community aimed at constraining the president’s actions. The methods used are often illegal and certainly ethically wrong.” . . . So, please cite anything illegal that the media or Intelligence has done to constrain President Trump. Please show me that you are not dishonest.

    One of the most real things I’ve ever written: “He (Trump) is actively courting the worst in us. He is inviting the crazies to come out of the woodwork, and he is trying to normalize them by lowering the bar of our own values.
    Trump has identified that which separates us as a democracy, he has identified our cancer, and instead of looking for a cure, he has exploited it and made it worse.”

    Please enlighten me. Show me the dishonesty in that.

    Like

  15. David Fierstien

    I have thought that Trump has been quite clever with the media. In recent history, when despots have wanted to seize control of a population, the Media was one of the first victims.

    Trump can’t march into a radio station with a group of soldiers and a few machine guns. He can’t have journalists assassinated. He has done something quite different and impressively effective. He has coined the phrase “Fake News.” He is attempting to de-legitimize the media. He is attempting to render its effectiveness impotent.

    Sadly, you have bought into his sales pitch – as your post suggests. “Stovepiping.” And, for example, “There are not 17 U.S. Intelligence agencies that have concluded there was Russian meddling in the U.S. election.” (I have responded to your inaccuracies. Unfortunately, you either chose not to defend them, or to divert away from the facts.)

    Even more ambitious of Trump –

    He has coined the phrase, “Alternate Facts.” He is attempting de-legitimize reality. Will we see an alternate reality in your future posts? . . I eagerly await a trip into Trump’s Twilight Zone in one of your future posts.

    Like

  16. I am sorry David, I really do not have the energy or time to devote to these diversionary internet debates at the moment. The issues are, I think, clear and I haven’t the patience for any argument relying on misrepresentation or shooting the messenger.

    My partner of 30 years died a few weeks back and my granddaughter has just gone into labour. So you can see I am on an emotional roller coaster dealing with both grief and joyful anticipation and there are more important issues I need to spend my time on.

    I did explain what I meant by illegality in a previous comment:

    “And it is more than the normal political campaign. It is a controlled political campaign operating within the media and the intelligence community – and they are operating in an alliance. And surely illegally considering the use of “leaks” – from intelligence agents!”

    Leaks by intelligence agents, whether factual or lies, are illegal. Otherwise, why does your government want to get hold of Snowden?

    Of course, the media situation might be more complex. I did not specifically say the media had done anything illegal as you charge (I haven’t got any tolerance for arguments putting words in my mouth at the moment). It might be that a legal case could be made against news media knowingly using information illegally obtained and of doubtful accuracy because of its origin.

    However, ethically the US media has become extremely partisan. It is deep in a political campaign which has the declared intention of reversing an election result by any means. The political motivations (and, yes, there are other factors) mean the mainstream reportage is completely unreliable nowadays and people are, understandably, drifting to other sources. The internet makes this easier (while at the same time may be one reason for the dramatic drop in quality and reliance of the mainstream media).

    This mainstream media is also campaigning against alternative news sources – and doing so in alliance with the neocons, government bodies, military organisations and think tanks. NATO’s Stratcom is one high-level example.

    Yes, in this situation we have events we may in the past have deemed impossible. For example, media which in the past “progressives” relied on refusing to present certain information, presenting distorted information and preventing communication by certain experts because the media does not approve of their information (the virtual ban on Prof Cohen by that media at the moment is one example). On the other hand, media like Fox which “progressives” would not have touched with a barge pole in the past are sometimes breaking through the mainstream media bans and presenting the information more truthfully. Why is Tucker developing a following of former self-described “progressives” at the moment? Because the information he provides is of better quality than that provided by the campaign driven CNN, NYT and Washington Post. Aand his opinions more in touch with rational thinking than the opinions from those other news media people. Tucker did interview Professor Cohen on the current political hysteria, for example, and Cohen’s contribution should have got far wider coverage it was so good and so relevant. He is an expert on US-Russia relations and his warnings should be listened to.

    So please – stop this shooting of the messenger. Stop disparaging sources just because you refuse to accept the information presented. And stop advocating sources which confirm you bias as reliable. That is just avoidance and refusal to consider the actual information itself.

    No sources are reliable or trustworthy today. We have to stop accepting what the media says on faith and start thinking for our selves.

    Like

  17. David Fierstien

    Part of the problem here, Ken, is that you are so partisan you lack the ability to look at even your own arguments rationally, let alone mine. Your tunnel vision makes you blind. When you can’t look at what is being said rationally, when you are blinded to reason, your arguments have no merit.

    Allow me to juxtapose two of your own comments,

    Ken: “So please – stop this shooting of the messenger. Stop disparaging sources just because you refuse to accept the information presented.”

    And, Ken: ” . . Goldstein seems to be rather a clown).”

    Let it sink in.

    Like

  18. David Fierstien

    One more thing. At least try to pretend to be honest.

    If Hillary Clinton were under investigation for exactly the same thing that Donald Trump is under investigation, do you honestly believe that Tucker Carlson would be defending U.S. cooperation with Russia? Do you seriously believe he would be crying about all the anti-Russian hysteria in the U.S.?

    If you do, you really are ignorant.

    Like

  19. David Fierstien

    Let’s be clear about something. You lied.

    This is your quote, in its full context, in its entirety:

    “There is currently a campaign involving the media AND elements of the intelligence community aimed at constraining the president’s actions. The methods used are often illegal and certainly ethically wrong.”

    To be clear, the media has done NOTHING illegal to constrain President Trump.

    And then you lied again.

    ” I did not specifically say the media had done anything illegal as you charge”

    Yes you did. Anyone who reads your quote can clearly see what you said: “The media AND elements of the intelligence community.” . . And then, when called on that lie, you lied again.

    “(I haven’t got any tolerance for arguments putting words in my mouth at the moment).”

    No one put your words in your mouth other than you.

    I point this out, as if it weren’t obvious enough, because the entire thesis of your post is accusatory in nature. You have accused Mrs. Clinton of lying, you have accused U.S. Intelligence of lying, and you have accused the media of lying.

    You have not one shred of evidence to support anything you have said here. You are a proven liar, you have shown your lack of intelligence by using a partisan opinion mouthpiece (who would be making a completely opposite argument had Mrs. Clinton been caught with her fingers in a russian cookie jar) . . .

    And now, after picking a fight in the first place, this: “I haven’t the patience for any argument relying on misrepresentation or shooting the messenger. . . . there are more important issues I need to spend my time on.”

    Don’t pick fights if you can’t handle it when you are called on your inaccuracies.

    Like

  20. David Fierstien

    I can’t wait to see how you spin the events of October 30, 2017.

    Like

  21. Well, David – that is a rather pathetic spin on “the events of October 30, 2017” – whatever they were. Are you referring to the announcement of the date for the opening of our new parliament?

    If you want to know what I think of something you have simply to ask.

    Or to make it more interesting tell us what you think and we may be able to have a discussion. Especially if you can be specific.

    I might suggest that your comment comes across as “passive aggressive.” 🙂

    Like

  22. David Fierstien

    I’m sorry, that was rather U.S.-centric of me, wasn’t it. The first indictments were issued by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

    Out of curiosity, I took a look at Fox News to get their take on it (as you always encourage looking at a wide spectrum of sources), and interestingly enough Fox was focused on Hillary Clinton.

    So naturally, I was interested on your perspective.

    Like

  23. Much as I expected. Absolutely no evidence of “collusion” – which rather reinforces the position that there was none if this is the best that can be produced.

    But I welcome the indictment of Manafort. His guilt has yet to be proven but I suspect he is guilty. Interestingly the indictment shows how widespread such corruption is – and even his case implicates the Democrats as well.

    As for the indictment on lying – this is also the sort of thing I expected. Launch a fishing expedition and you may not catch any fish but you will inevitably find people who have told a few fibs about their fishing. Particularly in an atmosphere of persecution.

    This particular investigation is a very expensive waste of time. On the positive side, it might catch people like Manafort – but this could surely have been done in other ways without threatening geopolitical stability.

    Like

  24. For a minute I thought that David was talking about the Kevin Spacey affair, but then sex with children and the Democrats are never that far apart. Spacey and Bill Clinton even shared the same “Lolita Express” plane once to Jeff Epstein’s personal island in the US Virgin Islands where he procured 12 year old girls for various activities

    As for Manafort, he was working for the Podesta brothers at the time of the alleged offenses. Those guys are a bit creepy too, with their “Spirit Cooking” sessions and sexualised pictures of children on their office walls.

    Obviously the NZ media, that merely syndicates “news” from the WaPo, mentions nothing of this.

    Like

  25. David Fierstien

    Well . . at least you didn’t bring up Hillary. Kudos to you.

    Ken: “As for the indictment on lying – this is also the sort of thing I expected. Launch a fishing expedition and you may not catch any fish . . . ”

    Response: Are you aware what he was lying about? Or are you just parroting a sound-bite that you heard from some biased news outlet?

    Ken: “Much as I expected. Absolutely no evidence of “collusion””

    Response: Thank you for answering my question. You are not aware of what he was lying about. You were parroting some soundbite.

    Have a looksey at the indictment of one George Papadopoulos which references statements made under Oath. https://www.justice.gov/file/1007346/download

    If your response will be your typical, “Particularly in an atmosphere of persecution,” I remind you that Mr. Papadopoulos was under oath when he made his statements, being fully aware of the repercussions of perjury which, at the end of the day, are far more consequential than “an atmosphere of perjury.

    Like

  26. Well . . at least you didn’t bring up Hillary. Kudos to you.

    Yeah good on Ken for not bring up the wife of a rapist. She is up to her rancid neck in corruption and has been for decades. This piece of trash has trousered millions of dollars from the Russians by selling off the Uranium assets. These are of course all inconsequential issues to democrats, as is having sex with children and raping White House staffers

    Like

  27. I see the Podesta’s lawyers are now threatening Fox News over this

    Like

  28. David, I suggest you examine your motives for your question here to me. I suggested there was a hint of passive aggressiveness and I think your reaction confirms this. Really, I have a lot on my plate at the moment and do not want to get into a childish talking past each other.

    Your specifically asked me about the indictments.

    As Clinton has not yet been indicted I can not see why you then say “Well . . at least you didn’t bring up Hillary. Kudos to you.” Why should I discuss that – it’s a separate issue and you did not ask me about it. Although, as I said the alleged Manafort corruption does extend to her campaign people according to the indictment document.

    You are claiming I am “parroting some soundbite.” No. I actually quickly read both indictments. You may not have – here are links to my copies (downloadable copies were a bit difficult to find at the time):

    Manafort – https://1drv.ms/b/s!Ah6TuA1O6sT9iKUKohkpMBuDdGG-vQ

    Papadopoulos – https://1drv.ms/b/s!Ah6TuA1O6sT9iKUL0s-hC5QB0EBknQ

    I notice you are embarrassed about Manfort’s indictment – this was meant to be the big one. On the face of it, this guy is guilty of corruption – and I am not surprised. Washington is a huge cesspool of corruption and of course, the Trump and Clinton campaigns were part of this.

    But collusion with Russia!! Come on. Russia got two mentions in the indictment – one in the list of Manaforts overseas companies (no further discussion of that) and another in the annoying political characterisation of the Ukrainian politicians as “pro-Russian.” I would have thought an official document would not resort to such childish political descriptions – then again the indictment also claimed Tymoshenko had been the previous Ukrainian president – a huge blunder which will probably need some legal rewriting. I guess these lawyers always win financially no matter what happens.
    I guess that is why you avoid that indictment.

    Perhaps you should read the Papadopoulos indictment to find what he was lying about, and admitted to lying about. This was basically the timeline – was he part of the Trump campaign personel before or after his contacts. My reading is that he claimed after – and that was the lie.

    There is a detail I do need to check – his claim that he had met with the ambassador of the Russian Federation in the UK. This is being described as a lie but I need to reread the indictment to check any details of this. Was the lie to the investigating committee – or to the higher-ups in the Trump campaign ((suggesting the guy may be a bit of a Walter Mitty character embellishing his achievements. The same goes for Putin’s niece).

    In future, if you are going to allege “collision” please provide the evidence. Neither indictments provide any evidence of collusion – just corruption and lying (about the timeline) under oath

    Like

  29. David Fierstien

    Andy, the wife of a rapist? Why, do you have any evidence that President Clinton raped anyone? While you’re looking for some evidence, enjoy this

    Like

  30. Do I have any evidence that Clinton raped anyone?

    Jesus F Christ which rock have you crawled from David? There are hoards of women who claim that Clinton sexually assaulted them or raped them. Juanita Broderick for starters. Furthermore, Mrs Clinton threatened to “destroy” these women if they reported them to anyone.

    By the way, I am not going to watch your video. As you succinctly put it to me a while back, if you can’t make an argument in words then why should I watch your video?

    Actually I am feeling a bit unclean conversing with a rape and paedophilia apologist. I think i need to take a shower. You guys gross me out.

    Like

  31. David Fierstien

    Ken,

    I think you missed the point. In the previous comment I said that I had watched some Fox News to get their particular spin on the Mueller indictments. They were focusing only on Hillary Clinton . . hence the comment, “Well . . at least you didn’t bring up Hillary. Kudos to you.”

    Kudos may not be a New Zealand colloquialism. It means ‘good for you.’

    Good for you for not bringing up Hillary Clinton.

    Ken: “I notice you are embarrassed about Manfort’s indictment – this was meant to be the big one.”

    Embarrassed? That’s an odd thing to say.

    When you say Manifort’s indictment was “meant to be the big one,” it suggests that you don’t know your Watergate history. It never starts with “the big one.” In that instance, the indictments began with 5 burglars, 4 were U.S. Citizens of Cuban decent. None had ever been heard of before.

    That’s how it starts. We are only in the 4th inning. at this point.

    Ken: “But collusion with Russia!! Come on. Russia got two mentions in the indictment – one in the list of Manaforts overseas companies (no further discussion of that) and another in the annoying political characterisation of the Ukrainian politicians as “pro-Russian.” ”

    Response: I never brought up the Manifort indictment. Nor did I say the word collusion in my comment. You brought up both. Perhaps as some sort of diversion from the Papadopoulos indictment. This from it:

    “Defendant PAPADOPOULOS further told the investigating agents that the
    professor was “a nothing” and “just a guy talk[ing] up connections or something.” In truth and in fact, however, defendant PAPADOPOULOS understood that the professor had substantial connections to Russian government officials (and had met with some ofthose officials in Moscow immediately prior to telling defendant PAPADOPOULOS about the “thousands of emails”) and, over a period of months, defendant PAPADOPOULOS repeatedly sought to use the professor’s Russian connections in an effort to arrange a meeting between the Campaign and
    Russian government officials. ”

    It is clear, despite your attempted diversions, that George Papadopoulos stated, under oath, that “In truth and in fact” he “understood that the professor had substantial connections to Russian government officials” and that this fellow had “thousands of emails,” dirt on Hillary Clinton.

    Where’s my evidence? A sworn statement made under oath, upon penalty of perjury, is considered valid evidence. The Russian government attempted to influence the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.

    Like

  32. Dirt on Hillary Clinton isn’t hard to find

    Like

  33. David, no I didn’t miss your point – you surely weren’t’ asking me to comment on your viewing of Fox. Cleary you were referring to the indictments.

    Yes, I notice that commenters who were expecting something big are now giving excuses like yours., Even to the extent that Mandort might be tempted to lie and say there was collusion to get off the huge sentence he is facing for corruptions.

    Face it, David, Washington is a cesspool. Mandort is probably someone who has got caught. It will embarrass both campaigns but it won’t show collusion with a foreign power (well not in the way the neo-McCarthyists want. He obviously did collude with Ukraine, as did Clinton. But they aren’t the only ones who have done that. The US and US politicians have really been messing around in that country.)

    Yes, Papadopouloos may have underrepresented the academic he met with and over-presented the women he contacted. But that is not the issue. The issue is the lies he told – not the fact of the contacts. That is the substance of the indictment.

    So, no, no evidence of collusion. Yet I sense you don’t want to use that word (because it is not the subject of the indictments) – just imply it.

    In fact, the real interesting thing, and one that should concern Americans interested in free speech and access to information, is the pressure coming on social media and alternative news sources at the moment. This was the real substance of the January “intelligence” report – and clearly the establishment is upset that alternative media are getting an audience.

    Where is that going? That is a real concern.

    Like

  34. The Telegraph has identified the professor contacted in the UK and reports (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/10/30/revealed-london-professor-centre-trumprussia-inquiry-says-have/):

    “The London professor is not named in the official court documents but the Telegraph can disclose his identity as Professor Joseph Mifsud, honorary director of the London Academy of Diplomacy, which is affiliated to the University of Stirling in Scotland.
    Prof Mifsud confirmed he was the London professor described in the document drawn up by special counsel Robert Mueller but vehemently denied any wrongdoing. He told the Telegraph: “I have a clear conscience.”…..
    Prof Mifsud poured scorn on the FBI case, insisting he had no knowledge of any emails containing ‘dirt’ on Mrs Clinton.
    His denial bolsters suggestions that Papadopoulos may have fabricated or at least exaggerated claims of his Russian connections to impress Trump campaign bosses back in the US.
    Prof Mifsud said he had introduced Papadopoulos to the director of a Russian think tank because it was right for him – as one of Mr Trump’s then advisers – to understand better Russian foreign policy.
    “We are academics,” said Prof Mifsud, “We work closely with everybody.”
    He said he had also tried to set up Papadopoulos with experts linked to the European Union.
    Prof Mifsud, a former official with Malta’s ministry of foreign affairs, confirmed some of the details of the inquiry – such as he met Papadopoulos at a meeting in Italy in March 2016 and ten days later in London.
    But Prof Mifsud disputes the contents of the further crucial conversation said by the FBI to have taken place at a London hotel in April 2016.
    According to the court document: “During this meeting, the Professor told defendant Papadopoulos that he had just returned from a trip to Moscow where he had met with high-level Russian government officials.
    “The professor told defendant Papadopoulos that on that trip he (the Professor) learned that the Russians had obtained ‘dirt’ on then-candidate Clinton.”
    Prof Mifsud told the Telegraph he was “upset” by the claims because they were “incredible”.
    He also described as a “laughing stock” a suggestion in the report that he had introduced Papadopoulos to a “female Russian national” described as a relative of President Vladimir Putin. The FBI statement later asserts that the claim by Papadopoulos that the woman was a relative was not true.
    Papadopouls also appeared to over-exaggerate the extent of his Russian contacts in messages to the Trump campaign, according to court documents. In one email sent to the Trump campaign Mr Papadopoulos says he has just been introduced to the Russian Ambassador in London. He has since admitted the pair never met.”

    Like

  35. David Fierstien

    Andy. What a hypocrite.

    Like

  36. David Fierstien

    Ken, you say, “Yes, I notice that commenters who were expecting something big are now giving excuses like yours.”

    What excuses am I giving? You are the only one discussing Manifort and some alleged disappointment. I had no prior knowledge of who the special counsel would indict. So how could I have been disappointed? I don’t know what you are talking about.

    Ken: “He obviously did collude with Ukraine, as did Clinton. But they aren’t the only ones who have done that. The US and US politicians have really been messing around in that country.)”

    I missed the part where anything about a legal transaction, in which Hillary Clinton may have played a part (as one of twenty) had anything to do with the 2016 election. Does it? Please clarify how this is related to a U.S. Presidential election. Your clear distraction is a manifestation of your glaring bias. A little subtlety would suit you well.

    As for your article from the Telegraph, Ok. If this is true, then Mr. Papadopoulos is in a LOT of trouble. This is why we consider sworn testimony given under oath under penalty of perjury to be valid evidence.

    We will see.

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  37. David Fierstien

    By the way, Ken, regarding your bizarre argument, that Mark Zuckerberg (a 33 year old multi-billionaire) caved under the pressure of the neo-McCarthyistic government, and made a false admission that Russia had used its Facebook platform to influence the 2016 election, . . . .

    Your unique argument seems to loose some credibility in light of the pressure that Facebook is now facing from the U.S. government. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/31/facebook-russia-ads-senate-hearing-al-franken

    Again, why would Mark Zuckerberg make a false admission that a Russian troll farm used its FB website as a vehicle to wedge divisive issues into the U.S. population prior to the 2016 election, knowing . . .

    1.) Such a false admission could damage his capital and his business . . and

    2.) Such a false admission would only raise questions about his own incompetence . . . and

    3.) Such a false admission could possibly put his company under even more pressure from the U.S. government, which is occurring?

    Like

  38. David – excuses like this in your reference to the indictments, and including the Manifort one:

    “. . . it suggests that you don’t know your Watergate history. It never starts with “the big one.” In that instance, the indictments began with 5 burglars, 4 were U.S. Citizens of Cuban decent. None had ever been heard of before.”

    You and others were salivating at the prospects that the impending indictments would have some sort of evidence to support your collusion claims. You seem unwilling to accept that the January “intelligence” report indicated the way things would go with its complete absence of evidence.

    Yes, Papadopoulos is in trouble. He lied to the campaign that employed him and to the investigators. I have no sympathy for him (or Manifort) but, of course, the fake news media will do its best to spin his lies in a way that supports their fake claims of collusion – even if the investigators seem to have given up on that angle.

    Like

  39. Pleased to see, David, you accept the US political institutions (not government) are putting the social media company spokespersons under pressure.

    You should draw the appropriate conclusions and critically analyse what “evidence” they present (have a look at https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/meetings/extremist-content-and-russian-disinformation-online-working-with-tech-to-find-solutions for some of it) and how they spin it under such pressure.

    Like

  40. It’s a bit rich being called a hypocrite by a Clinton supporter

    These Clinton people have no moral values, nothing. They are just opportunistic scum. The fact that the NZ taxpayer paid millions into the Clinton Foundation really grates with me

    Like

  41. David Fierstien

    Alright, Andy, you are absolutely right. I provided a video and just told you to watch it. That was incorrect procedure. I should have first stated my case and then backed it up with with tangible evidence.

    Let’s do this again. Andy says, “Yeah good on Ken for not bring up the wife of a rapist. She is up to her rancid neck in corruption and has been for decades. This piece of trash has trousered millions of dollars from the Russians by selling off the Uranium assets. These are of course all inconsequential issues to democrats, as is having sex with children and raping White House staffers.”

    My response was, “Andy, the wife of a rapist? Why, do you have any evidence that President Clinton raped anyone?”

    By evidence, I mean something tangible. For example, do you have a court conviction? Do you have an actual confession from Clinton in which he admits raping someone? Do you have polygraph results from one of these alleged victims?

    It seems not. What you have given me was some alleged hearsay (because you didn’t actually interview these alleged people, did you), about some alleged story which involves some alleged crime. Does that about sum it up?

    Definition of rape: “unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person, with or without force, by a sex organ, other body part.”

    Just for fun, let’s do this with Trump. Trump is a serial rapist. He often uses his Vienna-sausaged-sized fingers to grope and penetrate the genitalia of women. I document this accusation with this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o21fXqguD7U

    I hope this is more acceptable to you.

    Like

  42. David Fierstien

    Ken, you are delusional. What is this?:

    “David – excuses like this in your reference to the indictments, and including the Manifort one:

    “. . . it suggests that you don’t know your Watergate history. It never starts with “the big one.” In that instance, the indictments began with 5 burglars, 4 were U.S. Citizens of Cuban decent. None had ever been heard of before.”

    You and others were salivating at the prospects that the impending indictments would have some sort of evidence to support your collusion claims.”

    What are you talking about? I wasn’t salivating at anything. Where are you getting this? I had no idea who Mueller would indict. Please show me where I said that I believed or hoped that Manifort, or any other high-level figure, would be indicted.

    The fact is (contrary to your pre-conceived beliefs) I suspected some low-level figure, who nobody ever heard of before, would be the center-piece of the indictment. That is because this is what history has taught us, as in the case of Watergate, it always begins with the nobodies.

    Are we clear on that? Can you prove me wrong? Would you please stop telling me what I was thinking? (for example, “You and others were salivating . . “) Would you please wait until you have some evidence of what you are saying before you go off on these wild tangents?

    Like

  43. I’m interested in your views of Trump inserting his fingers into the vaginas of women, also the insertion of cigars by Bill Clinton into Monica Lewinsky’s vagina

    Wikipedia has an extensive article on the allegations of rape against Bill Clinton

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Clinton_sexual_misconduct_allegations
    Juanita Broderick has repeatedly accused Bill Clinton of raping her

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juanita_Broaddrick

    Of course, if Trump is a rapist, as you claim, and has inserted his fingers into vaginas, without consent, then he should swing from the same tree as Bill Clinton. For that I hope you will not accuse me of hypocrisy.

    In NZ the new National Socialist Coalition has just repealed the “Three Strikes” law which will allow rapists to get out of jail earlier and rape more women. In that respect, NZ is Pro-Rape, a fact that sits uncomfortably with me.

    If you are claiming that a video of Trump talking about “grabbing pussies” is evidence of rape, then I look forward to the women coming forward and providing evidence to put Trump behind bars. At least Mrs Trump won’t threaten to destroy these woman, as far as I know, and there probably won’t be a rash of mysterious “suicides” that seem to accompany any criticism of the Clintons

    By the way, Trump as been to Jeff Epstein’s Orgy Island, as has Kevin Spacey and Bill Clinton. I don’t know if any or all of them had sex with children. But please don’t accuse me of hypocrisy on that one too

    Like

  44. David Fierstien

    As to your other bizarre links, your first was a feed from Senate chambers which were not in session. Ok. Was there some point to it?

    And your last video, a propaganda piece, is meaningless. For example, @ 43 seconds, some unidentified person says, “Was there collusion?” The next frame shows a CNN anchor-woman uttering the word “absolutely.”

    You can’t be serious. Do you actually watch this stuff? A scarier question, do you actually believe in it?

    Like

  45. David Fierstien

    By the way, you never gave me a good answer explaining why, as you believe, Mark Zuckerberg gave a false admission, he lied, when he said Russians had purchased divisive advertisements prior to the 2016 election.

    Like

  46. David Fierstien

    Andy, let me repeat the question, it seems to have been above your level of understanding:

    “Why, do you have any evidence that President Clinton raped anyone?”

    By evidence, I mean something tangible. For example, do you have a court conviction? Do you have an actual confession from Clinton in which he admits raping someone? Do you have polygraph results from one of these alleged victims?”

    You gave me a Wikipedia article. Can you provide one example of any person who was ever convicted based on the evidence of a Wikipedia article?

    I think not.

    “If you are claiming that a video of Trump talking about “grabbing pussies” is evidence of rape . . ”

    Yes I am. In that video that you were afraid to watch, Trump admitted to his crimes. An admission of a crime is evidence of a crime.

    For example, Trump “admitted” to Lester Holt that he was thinking about the Russia investigation when he fired FBI Director James Comey. That “admission” to Lester Holt is “evidence” of obstruction of justice. We will have to wait to see what “Robert Mueller” does with said evidence.

    Andy: “By the way, Trump as been to Jeff Epstein’s Orgy Island, as has Kevin Spacey and Bill Clinton.”

    Have any evidence? Pictures? Videos? Anything other than a Wikipedia article?

    Are you trying to be pathetically stupid, or is it a natural attribute?

    Like

  47. David Fierstien

    Andy says, “I’m interested in your views of Trump inserting his fingers into the vaginas of women, also the insertion of cigars by Bill Clinton into Monica Lewinsky’s vagina”

    Do you know the word “Consensual?” Do you know what it means? Do you understand that it is not a crime?

    Like

  48. David, do you have any evidence that Trump raped anyone?

    No you don’t because you are a disgusting Clinton sycophant. The accusations against Clinton are manyfold. The crimes that the Clintons and their “foundation” committed are manyfold. The movie “Clinton Cash” was a bit of a red pill for me.

    The Clinton’s are disgusting, revolting filth. Utter vermin,, like most of the pro-rape pro-pedo creeps that hang around them. If it’s not Anthony Weiner texting pictures of his penis to underage girls, it’s Hollywood glorying child rapists like Roman Polanski.

    This isn’t a problem for guys like you David, because you are a US “liberal”, someone that has no moral values whatsoever. A sewer rat that eats off the decaying corpse of our rotting society

    Have a nice day

    Like

  49. David Fierstien

    “David, do you have any evidence that Trump raped anyone?”

    Gosh, Andy, you really can’t read, can you. I’ll copy/paste my previous answer to that same question:

    “In that video that you were afraid to watch, Trump admitted to his crimes. An admission of a crime is EVIDENCE of a crime.

    For example, Trump “admitted” to Lester Holt that he was thinking about the Russia investigation when he fired FBI Director James Comey. That “admission” to Lester Holt is “evidence” of obstruction of justice. We will have to wait to see what “Robert Mueller” does with said evidence.”

    Let it sink in this time.

    Liked by 1 person

  50. If there is evidence of rape then why hasn’t Trump been imprisioned and why haven’t we heard about it in the 24×7 Trump bashing media?

    Larry Flynt is offering $10 million for dirt on Trump. Here is your chance David. Make yourself rich! Imagine how many tickets to underage sex romps that could buy you!

    Like

  51. David, I watched your video. I assume that we are talking about the “grab a pussy” one

    I don’t see any evidence that Trump raped a woman in this video.

    Perhaps you can explain.

    Like

  52. David, you are not paying attention. My first link was to the web page providing the links (pdfs) to the contributions made at the “Extremist Content and Russian Disinformation Online” meeting in the Senate.

    I also thought the 2nd video was quite good in illustrating the political craziness in the US at the moment.

    Like

  53. David Fierstien

    You never answered the question, Ken. For the 4th time:

    Your unique argument seems to loose some credibility in light of the pressure that Facebook is now facing from the U.S. government. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/31/facebook-russia-ads-senate-hearing-al-franken

    Again, why would Mark Zuckerberg make a false admission that a Russian troll farm used its FB website as a vehicle to wedge divisive issues into the U.S. population prior to the 2016 election, knowing . . .

    1.) Such a false admission could damage his capital and his business . . and

    2.) Such a false admission would only raise questions about his own incompetence . . . and

    3.) Such a false admission could possibly put his company under even more pressure from the U.S. government, which is occurring?

    Like

  54. This article in the daily Wire reports of a march against Trump organised by an organisation called BlackMattersUS that is linked to the Kremlin and a Russian troll farm that used Facebook.

    http://www.dailywire.com/news/23037/thousands-including-michael-moore-duped-attending-emily-zanotti?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_content=062316-news&utm_campaign=dwbrand

    Specifically it says

    According to The Hill, Facebook identified IRA as one of several Russian groups operating 470 dummy accounts and buying thousands of Facebook ads in an effort to sway the election. BlackMattersUS appears, so far, to be one of only a handful of Russian accounts still active after the election, and the only group to be facilitating ensuing unrest.

    Like

  55. RT puts the social media fracas into perspective.

    Like

  56. David Fierstien

    Andy: “Larry Flynt is offering $10 million for dirt on Trump.”

    I didn’t know that. thank you. I remember when Larry Flynt offered $1 million for proof of a sex scandal involving any of the Republicans who were impeaching Bill Clinton. Guess what . . From an article entitled,

    “THE RIGHT WING
    The Right-Wing’s 20 Biggest Hypocrites About Sex”

    (because Ken likes us to look at that alternative media)

    8. Henry Hyde
    Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones, but the late Illinois Republican Henry Hyde (who spent 32 years in the House of Representatives and died in 2007) threw plenty of stones (figuratively speaking) during the impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton. Clinton, Hyde insisted, had disgraced the presidency by committing adultery and lying about it under oath. But it turned out that Hyde had his own history of adultery. In the 1960s, Hyde was married with four sons when he had an affair with a woman named Cherie Snodgrass, who had three children with Fred Snodgrass, her husband at the time. In a 1998 interview with Salon.com, Fred Snodgrass denounced Hyde as a “hypocrite who broke up my family.” Hyde described his affair with Cherie as a “youthful indiscretion,” although he was 41 when the affair started.
    https://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/right-wings-20-biggest-hypocrites-about-sex

    As I recall, Flynt paid out the million dollars. And as I recall, Hyde was appalled at the lack of decency for the invasion of his privacy and personal life.

    Ahh, here’s the story, “Larry Flynt, who had offered a reward of up to $1 million to anyone who could document adulterous affairs by members of Congress or high government officials.” http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1998-12-18/news/9812180366_1_impeachment-house-speaker-elect-bob-livingston-monica-lewinsky

    and: “Flynt said Hustler is investigating about a dozen officials, including at least one senator. “There’s only one Democrat in the whole slew of them,” he said. But Flynt, a self-described “partisan Democrat,” said he is not sure he will out the Democratic official.

    And then there is the monetary question. While Flynt says he has already paid $500,000 to some of the women involved,” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/flynt121998.htm

    Like

  57. David Fierstien

    Ken.

    Well thank God for RT, otherwise how would you know what to think?

    Just to be clear about something, are you now saying that you DO believe that certain Russians tried to influence the 2016 election? If so, this would be a shift in your thinking from, “Where is the evidence?” . . to, “RT admits it, so . . damnit, so will I.”

    What your propaganda video (with its obvious propaganda music) didn’t mention was that it is now estimated that 150 million people were exposed to these advertisements. That is almost half the entire population of the United States. So your propaganda video, trying to put things into perspective via its own spin, is bullshit.

    Like

  58. I regard the whole topic quite pointless.

    I mean, does anybody seriously think the two superpowers DON’T do their utmost to influence the political processes of the other?

    The amusing/sad thing is the hypercritical indignation from the US population when it happens to them (for which Ken blames the MSM, I think that blame is way too simplistic as US anti Russian attitudes go back a century).

    The sentiment is just being used in deadly political struggle precipitated by the election of a maverick president.

    Like

  59. Hell, these “Russians” must have been extremely clever to swing the US elections using Twitter. it’s worth researching this and finding out what their secret is. Was it, according to one Senator, that they used the US people’s “viewpoints and biases” against them.

    Anyway, help me out David, Provide one or two examples of these very effective advertisements – I really want so see why they were so powerful.

    RT has released their tweets (or at the least the top rating one they promoted) over the election period. Was it one of those I can’t see it myself.

    The top twenty RT tweets from September 2016:
    sdept
    sept b

    Or one of the top 50 promoted tweets that RT promoted from September 29 through the end of November.

    Nov
    nov a
    Nov B
    nov c
    null

    Like

  60. David Fierstien

    Sorry, Ken, I can’t read your RT spin. It’s too small for me to clearly make out.

    But to answer your question, here is a fairly powerful anti-Clinton ad that was paid for in rubles. “Hillary Clinton has a 69% disapproval rate among all veterans.” – below a picture of a soldier (and it looks like he is) carrying another wounded soldier over his shoulders. (A fairly “powerful” image.) http://mashable.com/2017/10/31/facebook-russian-ad-heart-of-texas-tech-hearing/#sJv6pYhfraqN “The ad apparently was purchased by a Facebook Page called Heart of Texas, which has since been connected to Russian propagandists. The ad was paid for in Rubles, Coons said.”

    By the way, you never answered the question. Has your position shifted on this issue? Do you now accept the fact that Russians placed divisive adds in US social media platforms in an attempt to influence the election?

    Like

  61. David Fierstien

    No, I take that back. Looking closer, he is not carrying another wounded soldier, but would have been good. He is kneeling.

    Richard, if the topic is so pointless, why does Putin so vehemently deny it?

    Like

  62. David Fierstien

    Richard, your cliche anti-U.S. rhetoric is duly noted. But that’s all it is. Please provide an example, or evidence, in which the U.S. influenced a Russian election? If that was true, that would have been the First thing Putin would have said.

    Unless, of course, you are saying that the U.S. put Putin in the Office of President of the Russian Federation?

    Like

  63. Richard, if the topic is so pointless, why does Putin so vehemently deny it?

    I don’t know if that has any bearing on it. Both sides are involved in a continuing dance of deceit. Denials and lies are business as usual and part of the playbook, on both sides, on both sides. (that’s a well known rhetorical device, ha ha)

    By pointless, I mean what’s the point of taking sides when both are as bad the other.

    Richard, your cliche anti-U.S. rhetoric is duly noted. But that’s all it is.

    FFS David, you really are blind as to your own nation’s behaviour on the international stage. It’s not simply anti US rhetoric, it’s fact.

    US interference in Central America, well documented (Oliver North anyone?) US complicity in the overthrow of regimes in Chile and Argentina and elsewhere.
    Assassination plots against Castro.
    THE VIETNAM WAR,
    Propping up facsist regimes and strongmen in SE Asia (Philippines and Indonesia etc)

    The list goes on and on and fucking on.

    Are you seriously suggesting that the USA has made no attempt to internally undermine their arch enemy, the USSR?

    Like

  64. David Fierstien

    Your answer to this question, ” Richard, if the topic is so pointless, why does Putin so vehemently deny it?” was you don’t know.

    Regarding the rest of your comment: Irrelevant.

    We are not discussing US interference in Central America, . . . Chile and Argentina and elsewhere Cuba, or Southeast Asia, or Iraq for that matter. Nice try at a diversion.

    You said, “I mean, does anybody seriously think the two superpowers DON’T do their utmost to influence the political processes of the other?”

    You were talking about Russia and the United States, Correct?

    And I said, “Please provide an example, or evidence, in which the U.S. influenced a Russian election?”

    Again, your answer was: You don’t know. You made it up. Thus your comment is nothing more than cliche anti U.S. rhetoric.

    Like

  65. David Fierstien

    If you would like to discuss the Vietnam War, and why that example is not relevant to your cliche anti-U.S. rhetoric of foreign regime change, I would be delighted to discuss that.

    Presently, we are discussing the U.S. and Russia.

    As to this comment, “Are you seriously suggesting that the USA has made no attempt to internally undermine their arch enemy, the USSR?” . . .

    my response is: I don’t know what you mean by “internally undermine.” If you are talking about U.S. interference in a Russian presidential election, then you are spot on, because that is the issue at hand.

    Please cite the example you are talking about, and provide evidence of it.

    Like

  66. David Fierstien

    Richard, just out of curiosity, in which country do you live? I hope it is New Zealand, because people who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

    Like

  67. Jezus it’s like trying to talk rationally with a religious apologist or anti fluoridationist.

    Like

  68. people who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

    (facepalm)

    What the hell do you think my comment on the self righteous hypercritical indignation arising in the US over Russian interference was all about?

    Like

  69. Seriously, David. This is the best you could do? A Facebook post from a group called “Heart of Texas” posting claims that Clinton did not have majority support??

    Do you think this post changed a single person’s vote? Granted it will have appealed to anti-Clinton veterans – but come on.

    It is hardy powerful.

    So I am, disappointed. This is pathetic. I certainly would not take any lessons from this in how to influence people’s votes – certainly in how to capture an election.

    You are surely aware of far more powerful messages that were promoted by the major campaigns – yet you want to claim that this pathetic post overrode all those??

    It seems hardly necessary to deal with your claims.

    “The ad was paid for in Rubles.” That it was somehow part of an evil Russian campaign to capture the USA? Christ, if it was, the Russian Federation has huge problems. I am impressed at the progress they are making in building the Crimean Bridge – it will be the longest in Europe and is proceeding according to plan. It is an impressive example of Russian skills in engineering and organisation – and you are telling me that such a state would divert precious finds into pathetic facebook pages like this.

    I tell you what – Hitler used fluoride in the concentration camps to suppress the Jews. It’s a fact. The fluoride was bought with Deutschmarks.

    Of course, you don’t believe that but you are basing your claim that the Russian state successfully captured the US election on the same level of evidence. You should hang your head in shame at such an attempt.

    Your evidence:

    An unsubstantiated claim by a politician – senator Coons. Are you that naive?

    Your quote from a paper:

    “The ad apparently was purchased by a Facebook Page called Heart of Texas, which has since been connected to Russian propagandists. The ad was paid for in Rubles, Coons said.”

    Come on David, you surely aren’t expecting me to be convinced by such a sentence – with the oft-used word “apparently” as evidence! Have you not heard anything I have said about the need for readers to beware, to consume media reports, from whatever media, intelligently and critically.

    As for Face of Texas – it is hardly an impressive organisation and I can well imagine it is a typical astroturf organisation. We come across them all the time on the fluoridation issue. It may have been a “bot” – whatever that means. But a Russian plant??

    So

    “The Facebook group, called Heart of Texas, had over 225,000 followers as of last summer. It was shut down last week as part of Facebook’s takedown of accounts and pages “affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russia,” a Facebook spokesman told Business Insider on Wednesday.”

    That word “likely” again. Used in the absence of evidence. Yes, Facebook is running a campaign against sites it considers unauthentic (they made this clear at the Senate conference) – unauthentic – not “pro-Russian” or “Russian-funded” according to the Facebook spokesperson. It is an obvious problem for social media (another case for readers to read these things intelligently and critically). But in the current climate, and in the situation of the obvious pressure social media companies are facing from politicians in the US these days (that was clear at the Senate conference) they are being heavy-handed and shutting down sites the consider anti-Clinton, pro-Russian, pro-Syrian, etc. I see complaints about this all the time, particularly from journalists and academics active on the Syrian war and geopolitical aspects where the US is criticised. I saw an interview of a US women whose Facebook page was closed permanently because, said Facebook, she was a “Russian bot!”

    No, come on, David. I provided you with examples of a legal Russian entity, RT, which has used Twitter and Facebook advertising and has been very successful on Google videos. They have provided evidence of their advertising budget over the election period, and proposals they got from Twitter for their advertising during the US elections (a proposal RT turned down becuase of its expense).

    So we have clear examples of Russian paid advertising on social media. From a legitimate Russian source. Why don’t you use that material? You don’t then have to use words like “apparently,” and “likely” as the authenticity is clear. You don’t have to rely on the unsupported claims from a politician who was pressuring the Facebook spokesperson.

    Give me some proper evidence (not rely on the level the anti-fluoride people use for their “Hitler did it” campaign). Provide the examples from RT and Sputnik (who I think may also make their material public).

    By the way – that is a challenge. But I have absolutely no confidence you can front up to it.

    Like

  70. Richard, you ask “what’s the point of taking sides when both are as bad the other?”

    True, and I don’t take sides politically. But I do take the side of truth.

    If a person is prepared to believe any old rubbish simply by saying each side is as bad as the other then they are consciously giving up the will to think independently.

    This is particularly true in the current context where evidence-free claims are made and then presented as truth. For example, the Facebook persons at the Senate conference was attacked for not closing down pro-Russian facebook pages immediately after the January “intelligence” report – you know the evidence-free report.

    It’s one thing to be a political realist (I am all for that) – but quite another to naively accept the arguments of one side, especially childish arguments like this. And especially when this sort of hysteria is aimed at preventing the reduction of international tension. That is very far from political realism.

    Like

  71. David Fierstien

    Ken, your quote: “Seriously, David. This is the best you could do? A Facebook post from a group called “Heart of Texas” posting claims that Clinton did not have majority support??

    Do you think this post changed a single person’s vote? Granted it will have appealed to anti-Clinton veterans – but come on.

    It is hardy powerful.”

    Response: Being from New Zealand it looks like you lack the appreciation of the nuance. “Heart of Texas?” Are you joking? Nothing could be MORE powerful.

    You may not understand Texas. The last time I was in Texas, I bought beer in a gun store.

    Let me make a similar political analogy. In the year 2000, when George W. Bush was running against John McCain in the Republican Primaries, Bush employed what is now called a “whisper campaign.” In the state of South Carolina of all places, South Carolina, where the first shot of the Civil War was fired, where slavery and racism are more as volatile than any issue I can imagine, Bush and Carl Rove employed their whisper campaign.

    What was their whisper campaign? In South Carolina of all places, Rove had Bush volunteers call registered Republicans, prior to the primary, and ask them, under the guise of poll-taking, if they would vote for John McCain if they knew he had an illegitimate black baby. In South Carolina!! That was a very powerful (and unethical) tactic.

    Now you have this Facebook group, “Heart of Texas.” Texas of all places. No other precisely targeted state could this ad have been more effective.

    I have friends in Texas whom I have come to blows with about Trump. And it sickens me that these ads may have influenced their judgment.

    Fuck you, Ken.

    Like

  72. David Fierstien

    I hope that wasn’t too passive-aggressive for you. But seriously, Texas? This ad? And you don’t think that was powerful? A U.S. Soldier in a war zone with the caption, ““Hillary Clinton has a 69% disapproval rate among all veterans.”

    My friend in Texas, with whom I have come to blows, who was under fire with me in Afghanistan, who took the job of our supervisor when he was blown up, shared FB ads like this. This is personal to me, and millions of my fellow citizens.

    If you don’t get that, educate yourself.

    Like

  73. David Fierstien

    Richard Christie,

    your quote: “people who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

    (facepalm)

    What the hell do you think my comment on the self righteous hypercritical indignation arising in the US over Russian interference was all about?”

    Let’s look at your comments. While completely off topic, you used cliche anti-U.S. rhetoric to criticize my country for its activities in Central America, Cuba, THE VIETNAM WAR (and I would love to discuss that one with you), and the Philippines. Your criticism involved regime change.

    Since you didn’t answer the question, I am going to assume you live in New Zealand.

    Your basic argument against the U.S. in citing all these examples (which were completely off topic) is that the U.S. has the audacity to impose its own decisions, and values, and political and cultural change, upon those who are less able to defend themselves against this cultural imperialism.

    Correct?

    Which begs the question: As an Anglo living in New Zealand, why aren’t you speaking Te Reo? Why were the indigenous people of your country forced to learn English? Why were the indigenous people of New Zealand forced to worship the God of Christianity? Why were the Maori forced to adapt a European political identity, abandoning their own tribal society?

    Facepalm!!

    Again, People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

    Like

  74. David Fierstien

    Ken, By the way, for the third time, you never answered the question. Has your position shifted on this issue? Do you now accept the fact that Russians placed divisive adds in US social media platforms in an attempt to influence the election?

    A Yes or No will do.

    Like

  75. David Fierstien

    Richard Christie, your quote: ” does anybody seriously think the two superpowers DON’T do their utmost to influence the political processes of the other?”

    We are discussing the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

    Again, for the second time, please cite an example of the United States interfering with a presidential election in the Russian Federation.

    If you cannot cite such an example, please admit that you were lying.

    Like

  76. If you are talking about U.S. interference in a Russian presidential election, then you are spot on, because that is the issue at hand.

    David. I know you are desperate to narrow things down to this, hence your strawman demand for me to show evidence of such, even though I made no such claim.

    My claim is the reality that the US and associated agencies/allegiances have actively worked to interfere in the political and economic affairs of dozens of nations over the past 150 years. Often setting out to destroy democratically elected governments because the policies of said governments did not align with US interests. The USSR as a target is no exception. This observation is not a diversion, it is central to my opinion that all your moaning about Putin and how dare he blah blah blah is risible hypocrisy. And I’m 100% with Ken on that, I just don’t buy his position that it’s almost all the MSM’s fault (or thst’s how I read his position).

    So spare us the “anti american rhetoric” line, you sound like Trump playing a victim card. Go by a hanky.

    Like

  77. Plus, I never refer to the USA as “America” and avoid calling its inhabitants “americans”.

    Thus I avoid insulting inhabitants of the whole southern continent and half of of the northern one.

    Like

  78. No, Richard, you are wrong to read my position as “that it’s almost all the MSM’s fault.” that is not my position – far from it.

    But I do recognise the media is part of society, subject to the ideological and political pressures of that society. And often more specifically directed pressure (eg the CIA involvement in the Washington Post).

    There is a dialectal interaction where the media reflects opinion (but usually not all opinion and mostly the opinion of the leading classes and political elements) in society and it also directs that opinion. Obviously, if the mainstream media has been the main source of information and opinions for most people they will inevitably, for the most part, accept those opinions(the opinions of the ruling class and state elements) as their own.

    That analysis is hardly new.

    However, (and many people of late have pointed this out) the mainstream media has largely given up their role of proper in-depth investigation and their challenging of the stories presented to them. This is currently no more obvious than in the way they have accepted the January “intelligence” report, which was evidence-free, as actual evidence and fact – not to be challenged. To the extent they will describe as bizarre anyone who challenges that opinion. In fact, we have had to rely on “alternative media” to find any proper analysis or critique of that report.

    Another thing that became obvious in the US presidential election is how partisan the mainstream media was there. At least that is the impression – but to be realistic our access to the US mainstream media is largely to the media in California and the East Coast. We can be completely unaware of what is being said in the rest of the country and this is probably a major reason politicians and media were so badly misinformed on the likely outcome of that election.

    This partisanship and bias was more widespread than the media (although, of course, the media probably feeds it). I was amazed at even here very naive stories were being promoted by people who should have known better purely because of their anti-Trump bias. For example, I challenged people on the “alternative facts” story (which I thought particularly childish) and for my sins, I was accused of being a Trump supporter. Really confirmed for me that even those people who call themselves scientific and rational are in the end driven by emotion. We are just not a rational species.

    And we have the political/media/commenter blatant prejudice now when anyone who protests for freedom of expression or presents a view supporting the legitimately elected president, is called a Nazi or white supremacist! In this case (a blatant example was the Boston Free Speech Rally) the politicians and media are combining to lie top the people – to fool the people.

    I agree, the mainstream media is not the cause of the problem – but it is part of the problem. Fortunately, in this digital age we can access alternative sources, search for the real facts, read the actual documents and make up our own mind. I think the leaders of the mainstream media are aware of that and it worries them. Hence the current campaign for social media to control what is posted according to the beliefs of the politicians (the Senate conference was telling in this respect) and to actually eliminate some alternative media – or make life very difficult for them.

    Like

  79. John Pilger is always worth a listen.

    Recent interview, related topics:

    How the World May End – John Pilger on Venezuela, Trump & Russia

    Like

  80. On the subject of John Pilger, he was on record as saying that the Hilderbeast, aka Felonia von Pansuit, would be more dangerous than Donald J Trump
    https://newmatilda.com/2016/03/23/john-pilger-why-hillary-clinton-is-more-dangerous-than-donald-trump/

    Like

  81. David Fierstien

    Richard Christie’s comment to me:

    “David. I know you are desperate to narrow things down to this, hence your strawman demand for me to show evidence of such, even though I made no such claim.

    My claim is the reality that the US and associated agencies/allegiances have actively worked to interfere in the political and economic affairs of dozens of nations over the past 150 years.”

    Really Richard? . . I am narrowing the discussion down and creating a straw man argument? . . We are discussing Russian interference in the U.S. election. We are not discussing a dozen nations over the past 150 years. Nor were you, until I asked you for evidence of what you said.

    So let’s look at what you said. Here’s your original comment:

    “I mean, does anybody seriously think the two superpowers DON’T do their utmost to influence the political processes of the other?

    The amusing/sad thing is the hypercritical indignation from the US population when it happens to them (for which Ken blames the MSM, I think that blame is way too simplistic as US anti Russian attitudes go back a century).

    The sentiment is just being used in deadly political struggle precipitated by the election of a maverick president.”

    End-quote.

    PLEASE SHOW ME WHERE in your original comment you discuss a dozen nations over 150 years. “two superpowers.” YOUR quote. Russia (and I don’t know if you can call Russia a superpower) and the U.S.

    So what do you do when I ask you for evidence of your cliche anti U.S. rhetoric? Since the U.S. has never involved itself in a Russian presidential campaign, you broaden the subject so that you can find fault with U.S. foreign policy. Not only is that off topic, it is hypocritical of you to accuse me of creating a straw man.

    Your quote: “This observation is not a diversion, it is central to my opinion that all your moaning about Putin and how dare he blah blah blah . . . “

    Well, that’s your opinion NOW. Now that you were asked for evidence to support your original comment.

    So it appears that you can not cite an example of the U.S. involving itself in a Russian presidential election. It also appears that you are unable to admit that you lied in your original comment . . and your tactic of widening the topic from beyond the “two superpowers” is your means of avoiding that admission.

    But if you want to talk about cultural imperialism (of which “THE VIETNAM WAR” is not an example, at least it is not an example of U.S. cultural imperialism), let’s talk about what you Anglos did to the Maori Culture.

    People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

    One more thing. Your quote: “Plus, I never refer to the USA as “America” and avoid calling its inhabitants “americans”.”

    Perhaps not. But here’s a newsflash for you: The USSR no longer exists. Please try to keep up.

    Like

  82. David Fierstien

    Ken, please clarify this comment: “(eg the CIA involvement in the Washington Post)”

    The only relationship that I could find between the Washington Post and the CIA was a “warning shot” fired by The Post at CIA Director Mike Pompeo in an August 24 article by Greg Miller.

    I am curious about this comment also: “I challenged people on the “alternative facts” story . . . ”

    Do you mean the point in history when the phrase “alternative facts” was invented? Is there some question about that? Here it is in all it’s glory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSrEEDQgFc8

    And are you being ironic here: “And we have the political/media/commenter blatant prejudice now when anyone who protests for freedom of expression or presents a view supporting the legitimately elected president, is called a Nazi or white supremacist!”

    That is rich, considering the fact that Trump has compared his own intelligence community with Nazis: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/01/17/cia-director-says-trump-crossed-the-line-by-comparing-cia-officers-to-nazis/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.e5c5ff3fa78b

    And this from you is a laugh: “(a blatant example was the Boston Free Speech Rally) the politicians and media are combining to lie top the people – to fool the people.”

    In another one of your posts, after over 80 comments in which I asked you again . . and again . . and again . . and again to cite one example of the MSM lying about that rally, Andy found one example of a lazy reporter from CBS who didn’t do his job and repeated something that he heard on social media. That was wrong and inexcusable. And a retraction should have been forthcoming.

    On the other hand, I provided you with stories from ABC and CNN in which reporters Had done their jobs and reported accurately about planned events in Boston.

    Your comment, cited above, is an exaggeration of the facts to fit your personal contempt of the Mainstream Media.

    One more thing, Ken, for the 4th time, you never answered the question. Has your position shifted? Do you now accept the fact that Russians placed divisive adds in US social media platforms in an attempt to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election? A simple Yes or No will do.

    (I’m beginning to think you are avoiding the question.)

    Like

  83. David Fierstien

    I did want to say something more about this comment from you, unfortunately your blog-site doesn’t allow editing after the button is pushed.

    Ken: ““And we have the political/media/commenter blatant prejudice now when anyone who protests for freedom of expression or presents a view supporting the legitimately elected president, is called a Nazi or white supremacist!””

    Well, I will come right out and say it, and I’ve said it before, . . . that President is a white supremacist (although he wouldn’t have been the first – Andrew Jackson, one of Trump’s favorite presidents, and his genocidal program, comes immediately to mind.)

    No pun intended, but White Supremacy is a black and white issue. Either you condone it, or you condemn it. Trump’s glaring refusal to immediately place proper blame of the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville spoke volumes about his position.

    John Lennon once said, “A conspiracy of silence speaks louder than words.” And Trump’s silence during those first two days was deafening.

    Now look at Trump’s position on the issue of black NFL football players taking the knee during the National Anthem. Although the players have clearly said they do this to highlight inequality of justice in the U.S., Trump has made it about Veterans, and disrespecting the Flag.

    And yet . . .

    Trump objects to Confederate statues being torn down. These are not only statues of white men who owned, beat, and raped their black slaves . . they are statues of white men who Shot and Killed U.S. soldiers who were carrying that Flag that Trump is so concerned about at football games.

    ACCORDING TO TRUMP, black men can’t kneel when the flag is flown – it is disrespectful. . . . But white men who killed people for carrying that same flag are to be honored.

    Trump is a fucking white supremacist hypocrite. End of story.

    Like

  84. David, you keep asking of Richard for an example of when the uS interfered in a “Russian presidential election” and then act as if that has never happened.

    Yet we have discussed here and I thought it was generally accepted knowledge that the US did interfere in the 1996 Russian presidential election. An election which the polls strongly indicated would be won by the Communist Party as Yeltsin has disgraced himself so thoroughly. In fact, he seemed resigned to his fate.

    But the oligarchs in cooperation with US companies and advisors and with huge injections of US money swung the election for Yeltsin. This has been pretty well documented – to the extent that Newsweek even did a front page article on it.
    Yeltsin

    Those were particular times and I can imagine such direct intervention is relatively rare (especially for a major power like the Russian Federation. But there was a lot at stake in this case. The US and the Russian oligarchs won (and got well rewarded by the state) but the Russian people lost. They suffered horribly because of this situation.

    Like

  85. David, I have no idea why you keep assuming that my views on “Russian interference” in the US presidential elections have changed. Why ask a question for which there is no evidential reason?

    My views on this subject are determined by the evidence and I have repeatedly underlined the fact that your claims are not supported by any evidence at all.

    I challenged you to produce proper evidence instead of relying on unsupported claims of politicians – you have backed away. I assume from that you have no evidence at all.

    Please don’t try to divert attention away from that by implying that my views have somehow changed.

    Like

  86. David, I am aware you are going through an emotional period – but please try not to misrepresent mm. I do not have “personal contempt of the Mainstream Media.” In fact, I use the mainstream media. How can one not? But, unlike you, I sue it in an intelligent and critical way – in exactly the same way I use alternative media (and, incidentally, the scientific literature). I try not to rely on it for confirmation bias.

    If I have contempt it is an equal opportunity contempt – I am very often frustrated by the mainstream media, the alternative media and the scientific literature and end up swearing. I suppose that comes with adopting an intelligent critical approach.

    Like

  87. David Fierstien

    Ken,

    1.) Regarding the Yeltsin election, fair enough. That election was in 1996.
    The Time Magazine cover that you posted was from July 15, 1996. It remains to be seen that if facts are uncovered showing direct Kremlin involvement (and it’s doubtful that Mueller would have begun his indictment process if he didn’t have somewhere to go with them) will the Russian government be as open with its activities as the United States has been. So far, we’ve seen nothing but denial from Putin. Time will tell.

    2.) Your comment: “David, I have no idea why you keep assuming that my views on “Russian interference” in the US presidential elections have changed. Why ask a question for which there is no evidential reason?”

    Good question. My “evidential (sic.) reason” is this comment from you which was nothing more than a propaganda video from RT. Remember, this is YOUR comment: https://openparachute.wordpress.com/2017/07/11/stovepiping-to-produce-fake-news/#comment-102007

    At timestamp 45 seconds, RT says, “1.4 MN Russia Linked Tweets.” At timestamp 53 seconds RT says, “Just 0.3% of all Election Related Tweets,” (And the implication is U.S. election tweets. So while that may be a technically true comment, 0.3% may represent all Globally related election tweets.)

    At timestamp 1:05, RT says, “80,000 Russia Linked Posts.” At timestamp 1:10, RT says, “Just 0.004% of Newsfeed Content.”

    And at timestamp 1:21, RT says, “18 Russia Linked Accounts. Over 1000 Videos.” At Timestamp 1:26, RT continues, “Average of 300 Views Each.”

    So, my “evidential (sic.) reason” for asking the question is that it appears you have reached the SECOND STAGE OF TRUMPISM. The 5 stages of Trumpism are:

    “The Five Stages of Trumpism-
    1. “It’s a total lie, never happened, fake news.”

    2. “It happened, but it’s not a big deal.”

    3. “OK it might be a big deal, but it isn’t illegal.”

    4. “OK it’s illegal, but Hillary and Obama something something, so it’s OK.”

    5. “Get over it, libturd, you’re just a sore loser.””

    Your comment, the RT propaganda video, which you have endorsed by posting it, pretty much says, “It happened, but it’s not a big deal.”

    Now you are saying you are still at Stage 1. Ok. Fair enough.

    3.) Regarding your third comment which included this: “But, unlike you, I sue it in an intelligent and critical way – in exactly the same way I use alternative media (and, incidentally, the scientific literature). I try not to rely on it for confirmation bias.”

    Response: No you don’t. Please refer to my comment above in which I discussed your indictment of the MSM over the Boston Free Speech Rally. After over 80 comments, and countless times of me asking for an example to support your thesis, Andy found one example of a lazy CBS reporter who didn’t do his job properly. That was inexcusable.

    Other MSM reports had diligently reported the facts accurately.

    I submit that you, like that lazy CBS reporter, failed to look critically and intelligently prior to the Boston event, and you, like him, relied on social media gossip as evidence of something.

    This laziness by the media is particularly egregious in light of MSM’s failures leading up to the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. It may surprise you, but I have contempt for this kind of laziness from the media.

    And unlike you, Ken, I have provided a concrete example of your inability to “sue (sic.) it in an intelligent and critical way.” Your comments are meaningless without evidence.

    Like

  88. It is difficult to determine the ratio of the extent that the MSM drives US anti Russian sentiment to the extent it just reflects it.

    Obviously it does both.

    Like

  89. David, you really are away with the birds. I suggest you get a life and divert your attention towards something useful.

    I post a video and you treat that as an “endorsement” of absolutely everything in the video. Come on – it was basically a news report. RT reports the claims that are being made. They also often also use the phrase “despite the absence of evidence.”

    So now you diagnose me at the level of “stage 2 Trumpism!”

    Really, David, get a life.

    But if you want to pursue this please note I have challenged you to provide a single example, backed by evidence, that the Russian state interfered in the US elections in the way that is being claimed (via social media advertising.

    I know you are diverting – but that would be a more productive approach for you. If you can produce evidence that is what will convince me.

    Like

  90. David Fierstien

    Ken, you seem to have a case of what people in this country are calling “Russian amnesia.”

    Ken: “I post a video and you treat that as an “endorsement” of absolutely everything in the video. Come on – it was basically a news report. RT reports the claims that are being made.”

    So, now your story is that the RT video is NOT valid? Really?

    Let’s look at your exact “endorsement,” your exact words, when you posted that video: Ken: “RT pouts the social media fracas into perspective.”

    Now I realize there may be certain nuances in New Zealand colloquialisms of which I may not be aware. So to be sure I wasn’t missing anything, I looked up the exact meaning of “put into perspective.”

    “Verb[edit]
    put something into perspective
    (idiomatic) To compare something with a similar thing to give a clearer, more accurate idea.” https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/put_something_into_perspective

    You said this video puts things (the social media fracas) into perspective. This video gives a “clearer, more accurate idea.” Your comment was a validation of that video.

    Now you are saying RT wasn’t putting things into perspective. Now you are saying RT is only reporting what it has heard, therefore it isn’t necessarily true. Ken: “RT reports the claims that are being made.”

    You changed your story, Ken.

    When caught in a lie, you resort to insults, “David, you really are away with the birds. I suggest you get a life . . ” What a shining example of the critical and insightful thought process that you continually brag about.

    Like

  91. David Fierstien

    Ken, your comment: “please note I have challenged you to provide a single example, backed by evidence, that the Russian state interfered in the US elections in the way that is being claimed (via social media advertising.”

    Please note, this is what I said, “It remains to be seen that if facts are uncovered showing direct Kremlin involvement (and it’s doubtful that Mueller would have begun his indictment process if he didn’t have somewhere to go with them) will the Russian government be as open with its activities as the United States has been.”

    Please note, I also said, “Do you now accept the fact that Russians placed divisive adds in US social media platforms in an attempt to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election?”

    I guess I am missing the part where I said the Russian state did anything. If they did, we will find out. Of that I have no doubt.

    Like

  92. David – you responded the video I posted which puts the alleged social media use from Russian links at extremely small (in the words of the social media spokespersons – eg 0.004% on Facebook) with the allegation:

    “What your propaganda video (with its obvious propaganda music) didn’t mention was that it is now estimated that 150 million people were exposed to these advertisements. That is almost half the entire population of the United States. So your propaganda video, trying to put things into perspective via its own spin, is bullshit.”

    I put to you the following request as a result:

    “Anyway, help me out David, Provide one or two examples of these very effective advertisements – I really want to see why they were so powerful.”

    You came up with an unsupported claim based on something a politician said and presented a facebook post which for the life of me I cannot see having any influence on the election results. Certainly very ineffective compared with the far more active and effective (and widespread) campaign advertising.

    I thought this was pathetic so repeated my challenge:

    “Give me some proper evidence (not rely on the level the anti-fluoride people use for their “Hitler did it” campaign). Provide the examples from RT and Sputnik (who I think may also make their material public).

    By the way – that is a challenge. But I have absolutely no confidence you can front up to it.”

    You retreated wghcih did noit suprsie me.”

    Really let it go. Get a life and allow things to develop in its own time instead of straw-clutching.

    Like

  93. David Fierstien

    Well, I’m confused, Ken. Are you still at the 1st level of Trumpism (denial), or are you now in the 2nd level, acceptance, “It happened, but it’s not a big deal?”

    Let’s recap.

    First you said it never happened (1st), then you presented an RT video, which according to you, “put things into perspective,” but that it was no big deal (2nd), then you said the RT video didn’t really mean it was true (back to 1st again), and now you are saying, “the video I posted which puts the alleged social media use from Russian links at extremely small . . ”

    I’m not sure about this last comment, because you insert the word “alleged,” but I don’t see the word “alleged” anywhere on the RT video. RT presents these stats as facts.

    Could you please document the timestamp on that RT video in which the word “alleged” is used?

    So it appears you are putting a word in the mouth of RT, by adding the word “alleged,” so that I can’t call you a liar again. . . But in that case, you are saying RT is lying because they present these stats as factual.

    So, it looks like you are still at level 1, but in presenting your argument to remain in the “denial” level, you deny the accurateness of a video that you present in the first place. (Oh, “what a tangled web we weave . .”)

    Again, for those who are having trouble keeping up:

    “The Five Stages of Trumpism-
    1. “It’s a total lie, never happened, fake news.”

    2. “It happened, but it’s not a big deal.”

    3. “OK it might be a big deal, but it isn’t illegal.”

    4. “OK it’s illegal, but Hillary and Obama something something, so it’s OK.”

    5. “Get over it, libturd, you’re just a sore loser.””

    For the record, Stage 1, right?

    Like

  94. David Fierstien

    Ken, regarding your challenge, you have said, “You came up with an unsupported claim based on something a politician said and presented a facebook post which for the life of me I cannot see having any influence on the election results.”

    Now, that “politician” was testifying before a United States Congressional Hearing. As a matter of procedure, all those who testify at these events are sworn under oath. So the testimony of that politician, which you try to spin as some insignificant point, maybe factual, maybe not, but who cares .. was in reality sworn testimony. That politician risked penalty of perjury to bring this evidence to light. A president was impeached for that crime.

    Speaking of perjury, we now know that Attorney General Jeff Sessions committed perjury when he testified at a Senate Hearing, answering the question of Senator Al Franken (one of my personal heroes):

    Franken: “Now, again, I’m telling you this as it’s coming out, so you know. But if it’s true, it’s obviously extremely serious and if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?”

    Sessions: “Senator Franken, I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I didn’t have — did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.”

    We know that AG Sessions perjured himself because George Papadopoulos swore under penalty of perjury (a punishable felony) that this was discussed at a meeting in which AG Sessions and President Trump were present. After Trump called Papadopoulos a liar, that he was a “low level coffee boy,” a photograph emerged of that meeting at which Sessions, Papadopoulos, and Trump were present. A photograph, and sworn testimony are tangible evidence.

    All this begs the question: What is so bad that Attorney General Sessions felt the need to perjure himself to cover it up? Senator Franken has since issued a letter to AG Sessions, requesting his return for clarification of his previous comments. https://www.franken.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=3798

    Now all of this is separate from the Mueller investigation which provided the Papadopoulos testimony. This has proven to be a very meticulous undertaking by Mueller, beginning slowly (you know, that’s why you accused me of “salivating” at the prospect of high level indictments, and how disapointed I must be . . Ken, you just make shit up, don’t you.)

    Three House Republicans have now called for Mueller’s resignation. This is great stuff. Again . . I have no doubt that if there was collusion, these facts will be brought to light.

    Like

  95. David Fierstien

    Ken, I’m afraid I can’t view your youtube video. Your link is giving me this message: “www.youtube.com sent an invalid response.”

    Is there something relevant on it that you would like to share?

    Like

  96. David Fierstien

    Ken, I finally was able to watch your informative video. Interesting.

    Didn’t Ken Burns also do a documentary about the Russians creating the genocide of the Maori culture by White New Zealanders?

    No . . wait a minute, on second thought, it wasn’t the Russians was it. It was U.S. hypocrisy and a policy of foreign regime change that was at the root of Anglo New Zealander cultural obliteration against the native people of those islands, wasn’t it.

    That’s what I love about Ken Burns.

    Like

  97. Not to be outdone Al Jazeera comes out with this extraordinary evidence-free video.

    This really is taking the “blame Russia” excuse to absurd lengths.

    Like

  98. have to agree, very poor show by Al Jezeera.
    What was the context of the clip (how/where was it programmed?)

    Like

  99. According to David, Trump is a proven rapist, a white supremacist, and has colluded with Russians to influence the US elections.

    For your information, David, there is going to be a protest in which people will kneel down and scream at the sky, to mark the first anniversary of the inauguration

    Although disturbing to the uninitiated, it provides unlimited opportunities for meme-creation. You too could be the next Aids Skillex or Carl The Cuck

    Like

  100. If you need some practice at the screaming, this video might help

    Like

  101. David is of course correct that NZ whites destroyed Maori culture. We sent them all to death camps (not a lot of people know that)

    The Maori and Pacifica people in the All Blacks are all fakes. They are actually English Public Schoolboys wearing blackface..

    This is an actual fact.

    Like the Russians rigging the US elections

    Like

  102. David Fierstien

    Andy says, “According to David, Trump is a proven rapist, a white supremacist, and has colluded with Russians to influence the US elections.”

    Not true, Andy. Sure, he has admitted to rape, and he has bragged about getting off on looking at naked under aged girls for that matter – so you forgot voyeuristic pedophile.

    I’m pretty sure that looking at a naked 15 year old girl, and then bragging about how hot it was . . is a crime. (“one who was 15 at the time — recalled that Trump walked into the dressing area while they were changing. . . . One of them called it “shocking” and “creepy” and said she rushed to cover herself.”) https://thinkprogress.org/trump-beauty-pageants-naked-2dc4b6c6d507/

    And in my mind he has colluded with Russia to help him win the election, since he openly asked them for help ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kxG8uJUsWU ) , and even RT has admitted that Russians have helped him by using social media (see Ken’s RT video) . . . so he asked for help, they gave him help. There is a logical conclusion there, but Ken doesn’t buy into it because it rubs his bias the wrong way . . so we’ll leave that hanging for now.

    But yeah, the rest is true. (It must be a drag trying to defend this guy with all the stuff that Trump has put out there himself.)

    Oh, Andy, you also forgot fraudulent con artist: “Just two weeks before Election Day, at least 75 of the 4,000-plus lawsuits involving Trump and his businesses remain open,” https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/10/25/pending-lawsuits-donald-trump-presidency/92666382/

    Like

  103. David Fierstien

    Ken, your comment: “Not to be outdone Al Jazeera comes out with this extraordinary evidence-free video.”

    Do you mean ‘not to be outdone by RT and that video you posted which even you have admitted you don’t believe?’

    Like

  104. According to David, Trump has admitted to rape

    If this is the case, why hasn’t he been arrested?

    By the way, having an affair with a married woman, or bragging about “grabbing p**y”, isn’t an admission of rape.

    Of course Trump has many dubious business practices which i don’t condone.

    Like

  105. David Fierstien

    Andy says: “According to David, Trump has admitted to rape
    If this is the case, why hasn’t he been arrested?”

    You’ve said the same thing about Clinton. Why hasn’t he been arrested?

    By the way, Clinton never bragged about committing a sexual crime. Trump has.

    “Another story of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump publicly bragging about violating women’s privacy and bodily autonomy has emerged. . . . . Trump described going backstage at the beauty pageants while the contestants were undressed. “Before a show, I’ll go backstage and everyone’s getting dressed, and everything else, and you know, no men are anywhere, and I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it,” he said. . . . . former Miss Teen USA contestants, Trump did just that in 1997. Four women who were competing in the pageant that year — including one who was 15 at the time — recalled that Trump walked into the dressing area while they were changing. . . . One of them called it “shocking” and “creepy” and said she rushed to cover herself. Another recalled that the contestants were “just scrambling to grab stuff… whatever garments they had.”
    Another called it “really shocking,” saying, “We were all naked.” . . . Some girls were topless, other girls were naked.” She added that they were in “a very physically vulnerable position.””

    Could you please show me where Clinton has ever bragged so shamelessly about being a pedophile?

    And I don’t know why he hasn’t been arrested. He certainly should be.

    Like

  106. No Clinton hasn’t bragged about being a paedophile or a rapist. There have been many women claim that Clinton raped them, and in the case of Juanita Broderick, violently

    As far as I know, walking into a changing room and looking at naked women isn’t rape. Creepy for sure, but not rape

    I wasn’t aware that someone had to brag about being a rapist to be accused of being a rapist.

    Like

  107. Bill Clinton took many trips to Jeff Epstein’s personal island where girls as young as 12 were procured for “services” Epstein has conviction(s) for sex with minors. On some occasions, Clinton left his security detail behind, which is very unusual

    Nothing to see here, just hearsay, like those wackjob #pizzagate conspiracy theories

    Like

  108. David Fierstien

    Andy says, “As far as I know, walking into a changing room and looking at naked women isn’t rape. Creepy for sure, but not rape.”

    No? Go ahead and prove me wrong. Purposely walk into a room on a naked 15 year old girl, and then publicly brag about how hot it was.

    Let me know how long it takes before you are arrested.

    Like

  109. Being illegal doesn’t make it rape.

    Like

  110. Fake news media are now spinning a story about Trump overfeeding fish.

    Yes really, they are that desperate

    http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2017/11/06/anti-trump-media-makes-up-fake-story-about-overfeeding-fish-at-japanese-koi-pond.html

    Like

  111. David Fierstien

    Andy says, “Being illegal doesn’t make it rape.”

    Progress, I’ve gotten you to admit that Trump, because of his sexual misconduct, is a criminal. And he is. There is no question about it.

    As for rape? An uninvited fondling of a woman’s, or man’s, genitals is sexual assault by any definition. If he penetrated any of these women with his fingers, he committed rape. “Rape (verb) unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person, with or without force, by a sex organ, other body part, or foreign object, without the consent of the victim.”

    Regardless of whether or not you believe uninvited finger-fucking is rape, he has been accused of rape by 12 women, and his wife:

    “As for women, there are now 12 individuals who’ve come forth claiming that Trump sexually assaulted them, although the list of serious allegations is much longer. What’s not even in the mainstream news is Trump’s first wife, Ivana, accused Trump of rape in a divorce deposition. She later clarified, saying that “Mr. Trump and I had marital relations in which he behaved very differently toward me than he had during our marriage. As a woman, I felt violated,” yet she added that the incident should not be interpreted as rape”in a literal or criminal sense.” As the special counsel of The Trump Organization, Michael Cohen stated in defense of Trump: “You cannot rape your spouse.” (Note that as of 1984, New York law states that a husband can rape his wife, and the aforementioned incident occurred in 1989. Unsurprisingly, Cohen gets the facts wrong.)

    The recent spate of women claiming that Trump assaulted them followed a now-famous tape was released in which Trump admits to sexually assaulting women. He says that when you’re famous, you can “grab them by the pussy” without any consequences. (Note here that one of Trump’s top advisers, Roger Ailes, recently stepped down from his job because of sexual harassment allegations.) In response to huge public outcry, Trump decided to exploit women even more by using the victims of Bill Clinton’s own horrendous acts as props to make a “guilt by association” argument against Hillary.”

    This guy is not fit to be the President of the United States, by any standard.

    Like

  112. Meanwhile, I find the admissions of Donna Brazile interesting

    She is claiming that the DNC primaries were rigged (is this news?) and that she felt fear for her life on hearing of Seth Rich’s murder.

    Hang on, I thought it was only “conspiracy theorists” that thought the murder of Seth Rich had anything to do with the DNC. The plot certainly thickens.
    I’m sure we’ll hear more of this and also all those mysterious “suicides” that have occurred in the Clinton camp over the decades.

    By the way, David, this isn’t a good time to be slinging mud about sexual misconduct, with “liberal” Hollywood in full meltdown right now. Not just women being assaulted, but kids too. Yuck

    Like

  113. Progress, I’ve gotten you to admit that Trump, because of his sexual misconduct, is a criminal. And he is. There is no question about it.

    OK so walking into a woman’s changing room is a crime. Unless of course you identify as a woman, (not having a penis is not a prerequisite)

    Which reminds me that Mr Trump said that Caitlyn Jenner could use whichever restroom in Trump Towers he/she/xyr wanted.

    “Caitlyn” is a woman with a penis. I am advised

    We can thank the Obama administration for this piece of progressive legislation.

    If I recall, several rock stars cancelled their gigs because a certain state would let biological males into women’s restrooms.

    Like

  114. David Fierstien

    Andy says, “OK so walking into a woman’s changing room is a crime.”

    and

    “Meanwhile, I find the admissions of Donna Brazile interesting . . . . . I’m sure we’ll hear more of this and also all those mysterious “suicides” that have occurred in the Clinton camp over the decades.”

    Well, congratulations Andy. You have graduated to the 4th level of Trumpism. Again, the 5 stages of Trumpism are:

    “The Five Stages of Trumpism-
    1. “It’s a total lie, never happened, fake news.”

    2. “It happened, but it’s not a big deal.”

    3. “OK it might be a big deal, but it isn’t illegal.”

    4. “OK it’s illegal, but Hillary and Obama something something, so it’s OK.”

    5. “Get over it, libturd, you’re just a sore loser.””

    You are ascending the ladder faster than poor Ken who insists on staying at level 1. He almost got to level 2 when he posted a video that RT put out, but then he said that wasn’t true either.

    Like

  115. So talking about something other than Trump walking into a locker room means I have a mental health problem

    I see….

    Sorry but your graphic description of Trump’s tiny fingers and where they have been put has slightly put me off my dinner

    Like

  116. David Fierstien

    Richard Christie,

    At this comment
    ( https://openparachute.wordpress.com/2017/07/11/stovepiping-to-produce-fake-news/#comment-102141 )
    you said, “FFS David, you really are blind as to your own nation’s behaviour on the international stage. It’s not simply anti US rhetoric, it’s fact.

    US interference in Central America, well documented (Oliver North anyone?) US complicity in the overthrow of regimes in . . . . THE VIETNAM WAR, . . ”

    I’ve been itching to ask you this: Could you please explain to me which regime the United States tried to overthrow in Vietnam? And could you please explain what U.S. goals were in its interference in that country?”

    I can’t wait to hear this.

    Like

  117. David Fierstien

    Ken,

    In the second comment of this thread, you said, “I think the same sort of illegal activity of a section of the intelligence community would have occurred if Sanders had been elected.”

    I am extremely curious about this comment. Could you tell me what illegal activity you are referring to?

    And could you please tell me what your source of information was in determining that the intelligence community was involved in illegal activity? I mean, you didn’t make it up yourself, so there must have been some source you relied on. What was that source?

    Like

  118. I can excuse a few senior moments, David, but we have actually discussed this before. The only thing I would add is that the FBI also seems to have been involved in this illegal activity of leaking, and lack of duty in following properly investigating the DNC computers, stoppi9ng the Clinton email investigation, etc., and some commentators have argued that the current period of the investigation cannot pursue things properly in that direction because of his strong links to the FBI. It has been suggested that he needs replacing to allow the investigation to expand.

    Like

  119. David Fierstien

    Yes, I know we have discussed it before. You were referring to leaks that came out of the intelligence community. That was the answer to my first question.

    I was more interested in your response to the second question, which you didn’t answer. (Was that intentional avoidance, or a senior moment?)

    Again,could you please tell me what your source of information was in determining that the intelligence community was involved in illegal activity? I mean, you didn’t make it up yourself, so there must have been some source you relied on. What was that source? How exactly did you determine that the intelligence community was involved in illegal activity?

    Like

  120. David Fierstien

    Ken, you specifically say, “The only thing I would add is that the FBI also seems to have been involved in this illegal activity of leaking, . . ”

    Therefore, you seem to be aware of something that the FBI leaked and that it was illegal for it to do so.

    Could you please cite the example of leaked FBI material, why it was illegal, and how you determined that it was illegal?

    Like

  121. We have discussed this before, David, and your attempt to relitigate seems frivolous to me. Have you really nothing better to do.

    Obviously, Snowdon’s leaking of intelligence material was illegal – we do not have to wait for his capture and prosecution to know that. Similarly, an intelligence official leaking information (invented or factual) is also illegal. That is simple – and being described as unnamed, secret, etc., source doesn’t change the fact.

    The same goes for the FBI, of course.

    But my comment on the expansion of the investigation to cover apparent misdemeanours of the FBI do not refer to leaks but to the fact it did not make its own investigation of DNC servers but relied on what a company employed by the DNC claimed. That seems an incredible abandonment of responsibility. The other point was the arbitrary decision to stop further investigation of Clinton, despite determining there were grounds for finding her guilty. The investigation should get some clarity on why this happened.

    Commenters are raising these two aspects of FBI behaviour as a necessary field of investigation – the current head of the investigation is too closely connected to the FBI to allow a credible investigation of these – hence the recent calls for his replacement and widening of the investigation.

    Like

  122. David Fierstien

    Ken, you say, “Obviously, Snowdon’s leaking of intelligence material was illegal – we do not have to wait for his capture and prosecution to know that.”

    We are not discussing Edward Snowdon or anything that happened during the Obama Administration. That is a diversion. Your comments involved what you alleged was illegal leaking from the intelligence community under Trump.

    You say, ” . . my comment on the expansion of the investigation to cover apparent misdemeanours of the FBI do not refer to leaks . .”

    Actually, it did. Ken’s comment: “The only thing I would add is that the FBI also seems to have been involved in this illegal activity of leaking, . . ”

    So again, . . could you please tell me what your source of information was in determining that the intelligence community was involved in illegal activity? I mean, you didn’t make it up yourself, so there must have been some source you relied on. What was that source? How exactly did you determine that the intelligence community was involved in illegal activity?

    When you say that “the FBI also seems to have been involved in this illegal activity of leaking, are you referring to James Comey? Please clarify, your sources, and explain your critical analysis of these sources.

    Like

  123. David Fierstien

    So we are on the same page, please explain this comment:

    “Similarly, an intelligence official leaking information (invented or factual) is also illegal. That is simple – and being described as unnamed, secret, etc., source doesn’t change the fact.”

    Which intelligence official, and which information?

    Like

  124. David Fierstien

    Also, please explain why you believe this is illegal. What is your source for that belief?

    Like

  125. David, surely it’s too early to be on the turps (at least in the US).

    You ask “Which intelligence official, and which information?”

    Will obviously the unnamed one which the “trusted” media keep citing. (And you rely on completely as you have absolutely no other information).She is always described as unnamed or unwilling to be named. But they are definitely sure that the “Russians did it” – they know that for a fact. “You can quote me but you can’t officially name me!”

    Come on. The whole thing is a circus.

    Like

  126. David Fierstien

    Ken, surely it is too early in your life for this constant stream of senior moments.

    Please explain why you believe anyone in the intelligence community did something illegal. What is your source for that belief?

    To be clear, we are talking about leaking.

    Ken: “I did explain what I meant by illegality in a previous comment:

    “And it is more than the normal political campaign. It is a controlled political campaign operating within the media and the intelligence community – and they are operating in an alliance. And surely illegally considering the use of “leaks” – from intelligence agents!”” https://openparachute.wordpress.com/2017/07/11/stovepiping-to-produce-fake-news/#comment-86901

    You are saying that someone, or some people, in the intelligence community leaked material, and the act of leaking was illegal. Correct?

    Let me be as clear as I can possibly be. What exactly is your source of information that leads you to believe anyone in intel did something illegal by leaking material (“to constrain this president” – your words)?

    You didn’t make it up, did you? If not, there must be a source for this belief. What is that source?

    Is that clear enough? (I would like to fully understand this “critical and intelligent” approach that you so often endorse.)

    Like

  127. David is good at identifying trees but piss poor at noticing the forest he inhabits.

    Like

  128. Worse, Richard, he actively excludes any discussion of these forests by insisting that we are not allowed to notice them either.

    For example, he tirelessly asks for a source that the illegal leaking of information by intelligence people is actually illegal. Yet when it is pointed out to him:

    “Obviously, Snowdon’s leaking of intelligence material was illegal – we do not have to wait for his capture and prosecution to know that.”

    He responds with:

    “We are not discussing Edward Snowdon or anything that happened during the Obama Administration. That is a diversion. Your comments involved what you alleged was illegal leaking from the intelligence community under Trump.”

    Somehow what is recognised as illegal under Obama can no longer be recognised as illegal under Trump!!

    And why, because of David’s bias. He believes any action, no matter how illegal, can be defined as legal if it is aimed at constraining or removing the currently legally elected president.

    David’s naive attempts at diversion and exclusion of details from a discussion really make any rational discussion with him impossible.

    Apparently, the concept of rational discussion in the US has been banned. That is the only conclusion I can come to looking from outside at the current hysteria there.

    Like

  129. TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome), left untreated, can cause blindness, insanity and is presented as symptoms by screaming mindlessly into the sky (as seen recently)

    China seems to suffer little from TDS, which is surprising given the flak that Trump gave them during the election

    They treated him as royalty during his recent visit, him being the first US President to dine in the Forbidden City

    Apparently the Chinese media have been referring to Trump as “Uncle Trump” or “Emperor Trump”

    Curious, and sure to provide lots of triggering for the snowflake generation in the USA and beyond.

    I can hardly wait.

    Like

  130. David Fierstien

    Ken, this is what you said:

    ” There is currently a campaign involving the media and elements of the intelligence community aimed at constraining the president’s actions. The methods used are often illegal and certainly ethically wrong.”
    “https://openparachute.wordpress.com/2017/07/11/stovepiping-to-produce-fake-news/#comment-86871

    Now if you can show me how Edward Snowdon is “currently” doing anything to “constrain the president’s actions,” then, yes, you might have a valid point.

    Your comment: “Somehow what is recognised as illegal under Obama can no longer be recognised as illegal under Trump!!

    And why, because of David’s bias.”

    Response: Actually it is because I can read. We aren’t talking about Obama, . . . and how did anyone constrain him? We are talking about the current situation of Trump complaining about leaks from intel. And you full well know it, since you brought it up.

    The intelligence community is doing nothing illegal to constrain this president, and I would like to know how you got the idea that it is.

    Like

  131. David Fierstien

    Andy, your comment: “They treated him as royalty during his recent visit, him being the first US President to dine in the Forbidden City . . ”

    By “him” you mean Trump, correct? (I hope you aren’t suffering from the same ailment that Ken seems to be suffering from – we are not talking about Obama, right?)

    Anyway, Nixon was the first U.S. President to dine in the Forbidden City, about 45 years before Trump.

    Like

  132. David Fierstien

    Ken, I really am trying to get on the same wave-length that you’re on so I can figure out exactly what you are saying. For example:

    Ken: “Somehow what is recognised as illegal under Obama can no longer be recognised as illegal under Trump!!”

    Response: Are you seriously putting Edward Snowdon’s detailed exposure of a vast NSA surveillance program on par with leaks about Jared Kushner’s meeting with Sergey Kislyak? . . Or Michael Flynn’s resignation because he lied to VP Pence about meetings with Kislyak? They’re not quite the same thing, are they.

    Moreover, when you said, “The methods used are often illegal and certainly ethically wrong,” I highly doubt you were referring to Snowden . . I doubt you have a problem with his ethics.

    Ken: “And why, because of David’s bias. He believes any action, no matter how illegal, can be defined as legal if it is aimed at constraining or removing the currently legally elected president.”

    It’s not just me, Ken. And it has nothing to do with bias. If you would like me to explain why there is nothing illegal about these leaks that Trump tweets about, I can do that. But first I’d like to know how you got the idea that they were illegal.

    Like

  133. Re the dining in the Forbidden City, “Very Fake News” CNN reports:

    “Trump to become first foreign leader to dine in Forbidden City since founding of modern China”
    http://edition.cnn.com/2017/11/07/politics/trump-forbidden-city-beijing-china/index.html

    It is quite interesting to read the Chinese and Indian news reports on Trump which are generally quite favorable. The Chinese weren’t that keen on Mr Obama, if I recall

    The NZ media is generally syndicated WaPo and other TDS sufferers from the USA. The NZ media is getting excited about the world number one Airhead (Justin Trudeau) coming to NZ.

    Like

  134. David Fierstien

    Andy, . . . I yield to CNN.

    While Nixon did visit the Forbidden City in 1972, he didn’t eat there. Who knew. (I can’t believe he didn’t even buy a bag of nuts or a candy bar at the gift shop. – If I find out that he did, you’ll hear about it.)

    ” President Nixon and members of his official party arrived at there just after 10 o’ clock on the morning of the 25th and were greeted at the Gate of Supreme Harmony by Wang Yeh-chin. Wang, a noted archaeologist and an employee of the Palace Museum housed in the Forbidden City, conducted a tour of the city for the President and his party, which included a visit to the main throne room of the Emperor, the Imperial residences, and the Palace Museum.”
    https://www.nixonfoundation.org/2012/02/february-25-1972-the-forbidden-city/

    Like

  135. David, this debate has become pretty childish and I see no value in continuing it by attempting to respond to your diversions and confusions.

    But having raised Snowden as an example of the illegal release of information by an intelligence agent and the questions of ethics, especially regarding the differences between Snowden’s actions and those of unnamed intelligence agents quoted in the media of late, it is worth considering a few aspects.

    A couple of things that characterise Snowdon’s actions.

    They were open – not cowardly hiding behind anonymity.

    They were evidence-based – he produced documents.

    They were criminal – they violated his conditions of employment and US law.

    As for ethics – that depends on the viewer. Clearly, some US political leaders consider his actions unethical – even to the extent of advocating his physical elimination. Many people consider his actions ethical – the ethics of the whistle-blower. He was revealing bad things the US government was (and is) doing.

    They were courageous. Although some people like President Putin believe he should have stayed home and faced the legal consequences probably most people will accept he had good reasons to flee the US as the record of treatment of whistleblowers is not pretty. He has honestly accepted the consequences of his act in that he can no longer live in his own country and is clearly unhappy with the country he has been forced to reside in.

    They were principled – as is showing by the fact he had no partisan motives, either politically or ideologically. In fact, he has continued to criticises similar problems he observes in the country he is now forced to take asylum in – giving no favour to that country which has effectively saved his life.

    A couple of things that characterise the actions of individuals in the US intelligence community who have been leaking information of late.

    They are not open – they are cowardly hiding behind anonymity and this is done with the connivance of the media which is working in tandem with them and the political actors using their “information”.

    They are not evidence-based. Absolutely no evidence has been produced to cover the important claims of collusion, etc. These claims could be completely manufactured (and an intelligent and critical observer must surely see this as a strong possibility).

    (Here, I should make note that there is some factual material – completely unrelated to the charges of collusion. I refer to their description of the activities of RT and Sputnik. These documented claims can be, and should be, judged on their merit).

    These actions are criminal – theory surely violated their conditions of employment and US laws against revealing intelligence information. This is true even if done with the connivance of their immediate superiors, political leaders and the mainstream media (who benefit from getting the story). Trump is perfectly correct to be concerned with these illegal activities of people who are in the end responsible to him and we can certainly understand that if he does find out who the individuals are they should have the legal book thrown at them.

    These actions are obviously not courageous. They are cowardly.

    These actions were not principled – these agents have acted as players in a very dishonest partisan political game.
    Again, ethics depends on the viewer. Clearly, Clinton sees that anything – including lies – is ethical if it excuses her failures and attacks her political enemies.

    But, poltics is hardly an ethical game. That is why people like Snowden and Assange come across as so principled – they have kept out or partisan politics.

    Like

  136. The questions of ethics is a tricky one. Is it ethical to release information that may endanger the lives of soldiers or civilians?

    Like

  137. David Fierstien

    Ken, You finally answered my question. You got the idea that leaks against the Trump W.H. were illegal because of your faulty understanding of U.S. law. So . . you made it up.

    And thank you for proving my point for me. Let’s review what just happened here.

    You originally said, “” There is currently a campaign involving the media and elements of the intelligence community aimed at constraining the president’s actions. The methods used are often illegal and certainly ethically wrong.”

    Emphasize: “The methods used are often illegal and certainly ethically wrong.” This is not a comment about Snowdon. About Snowdon, you said, “Many people consider his actions ethical – the ethics of the whistle-blower . . They were courageous. . . They were principled.”

    You were speaking about leaks by the intelligence community under the Trump Administration. I pointed out that nothing they did was illegal. In an attempt to divert away from that discussion, you said, ““Obviously, Snowdon’s leaking of intelligence material was illegal – we do not have to wait for his capture and prosecution to know that.”

    Your logic, as I understand it, is ‘Snowdon did it, what Snowdon did was illegal, therefore what these guys are doing is illegal. You are trying to compare apples to oranges.

    Leaking by the intelligence community about activities during the Trump campaign, and in the Trump White House were NOT illegal. Why?

    First, let’s talk about Comey. Trump has said (tweeted) that his leaking of his personal memo was illegal. Was it?

    “In the Senate hearing, Comey confirmed that at least one of the memos he created of his meetings with Trump was typed on an FBI classified laptop because the Jan. 6 briefing at Trump Tower had been classified.
    “It was a classified briefing and so I wrote that on a classified device,” Comey said in response to a question on whether all the memos were unclassified. “The one I started typing … in the car — that was a classified laptop that I started working on.”
    But Comey said the memo he shared with a friend was unclassified. In his written testimony, Comey says of the Feb. 14 memo: “I immediately prepared an unclassified memo of the conversation about Flynn and discussed the matter with FBI senior leadership.”
    “So you didn’t consider your memo or your sense of that conversation to be a government document?” Sen. Roy Blunt asked in the June 8 Senate hearing. “You considered it to be, somehow, your own personal document that you could share with the media as you wanted to through a friend?”
    “Correct,” Comey said. “I understood this to be my recollection recorded of my conversation with the president. As a private citizen, I felt free to share that. I thought it important to get it out.”” . . . further . . .

    “In his tweet, the president leaps to an assumption — that Comey illegally shared classified information with the media — that is simply not established in the Hill report. We reached out to the White House press office, but it declined to provide any further evidence to back up the president’s tweet.”
    http://www.factcheck.org/2017/07/trumps-unfounded-leak-claim/

    “”My view was that the content of those unclassified — the memorialization of those conversations — was my recollection recorded,” Comey said.
    “Several law professors told us there are no laws prohibiting Comey from sharing conversations he had with Trump in an unclassified manner.
    “It absolutely is legal for Comey to share his own private reflections that do not consist of closely held national security secrets with the press, whether by passing on the information himself or through a friend,” said Heidi Kitrosser, a law professor at the University of Minnesota.”
    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2017/jun/11/donald-trump-comeys-leak-memos-totally-illegal/

    So Comey did nothing illegal. You and Trump are both wrong. Moreover, when Trump fired Comey, Comey became a private citizen who was freely allowed to testify in public Hearings. Trump screwed up by firing him.

    But what about these other leaks, having to do with Flynn & all that Russia stuff about Jared Kushner and Trump jr., that you and Trump so self-righteously condemn? Let’s take a look. From Politifact:

    “The most relevant law is the Espionage Act, which bans transmitting or communicating information “relating to the national defense” if the leaker believes the information could be used to harm the United States or aid a foreign nation.

    “While it doesn’t explicitly criminalize giving classified information to the media across the board, “the Espionage Act is broad enough that it comes close to having that effect,”

    “The terminology in the Espionage Act is also notoriously vague, Papandrea said. Information about Flynn’s conversations with Russia, for example, could arguably fall under the umbrella of “relating to national defense,” classified or not.

    “There’s also 18 U.S. Code § 798, which criminalizes making some types of classified information public, if that information could harm the United States or aid a foreign nation. This law mainly covers classified information related to intelligence communication tools.
    Regarding the current news about Trump’s possible Russia ties, Papandrea said she hasn’t seen any leaks that appear to violate section 798.

    “The government occasionally relies on another law, 18 U.S. Code § 641, to prosecute leaks. Section 641 criminalizes stealing, selling and giving away records that belong to the government. But not all courts have agreed that this statute applies to giving the media information contained in a government record, as opposed to physically stealing a document, which would almost certainly fall under the statute.
    Papandrea said there’s significant debate among scholars over whether it’s even constitutional for these statutes to apply to leaks to the media, which is a question the Supreme Court has yet to weigh in on. For example, in a case where a leak to the media violates one of these statutes, but the leak exposes illegal government activity, the public’s right to know might outweigh the government’s interest in keeping the information secret.
    “The Espionage Act is so broad, Kitrosser said, that “that there is nothing remotely unusual about a Washington leak that technically violates the act,” including intentional leaks that reflect favorably on the White House.
    “Indeed, every day, major newspapers publish stories that technically violate the Espionage Act,” she said.”
    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2017/feb/20/russia-stories-stem-illegal-leaks-trump-says/

    From the above passage, I would like to note these sections:

    “ . . the Espionage Act, which bans transmitting or communicating information “relating to the national defense” if the leaker believes the information could be used to harm the United States or aid a foreign nation.” . . . and . . . “There’s also 18 U.S. Code § 798, which criminalizes making some types of classified information public, if that information could harm the United States or aid a foreign nation.”

    (Here I would like to note this comment you made: “Trump is perfectly correct to be concerned with these illegal activities of people who are in the end responsible to him and we can certainly understand that if he does find out who the individuals are they should have the legal book thrown at them.”)

    Let’s look at some of the things Trump has leaked. Here are two small examples.

    On April 9, 2017, Trump disclosed the approximate location of two nuclear submarines – information which is classified – to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte in a phone call.[47]
    On September 15, 2017, Trump tweeted about the Parsons Green bombing in the United Kingdom, which led Nick Timothy to comment that “this is so unhelpful from leader of our ally and intelligence partner.”[48] UK Prime Minister Theresa May described Trump’s comments as “not helpful” and characterized the tweets as inaccurate speculation.[49]

    Now, bear in mind, the Espionage Act also safeguards information that could be harmful to U.S. allies. Israel for example:

    “President Donald Trump discussed highly classified intelligence during a May 10, 2017, Oval Office meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, providing sufficient details that could be used by the Russians to deduce the source of the information and the manner in which it was collected, according to current and former government officials.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Trump%27s_disclosures_of_classified_information

    Were Trump’s leaks illegal? Apparently not. By law, the President decides what violates the Espionage Act and what does not violate it. Therefore, by the very act of leaking dangerous classified material which threatened the National Security of the United States and its Allies, Trump de-classified it. Anyone else would have been arrested for treason. But not the President.

    I hope this ends your uninformed biased blathering against my country’s right to be informed by a Free Press.

    Like

  138. Sorry, David, didn’t read the entire submission. But it certainly comes across as a great argument for the defence. Which sort of makes my point.

    If these roosters are ever caught and face legal action perhaps you could put yourself forward as a defender in court. Although I wouldn’t advise either Snowden or Assange employing you for that purpose as I do not think your heart wouldn’t be in it (you are too partisan) for them.

    Sytill, that is a long way down the track. Hell, Trump does not seem to have the political skills to do what he should to root out these criminals. He actually doesn’t seem to have any political skills at all – which means the Washington swamp and the establishment are probably quite safe. I guess this just shows how pissed off voters with the establishment and the swamp for them to actually choose Trump, despite his obvious disadvantages.

    As for his opposition – the best they have come up with is two indictments on corruption and one on perjury. Flynn may be done for his lobbying action over Turkey. But absolutely nothing to corroborate Clinton’s story. In fact, she and her party look like they will have the attentions turned on them now.

    As for your “country’s right to be informed by a Free Press.” If that is a genuine sympathy on your part you should worry about the legal pressures being placed on some of your media. Real threats just in the last few days of arresting editors and demanding financial details don’t look like a free press to me. Nor does the Senate pressure placed on social media companies.

    Margarita Simonyan makes a very valid point. Having been educated in the US she grew up believing in the US arguments for a free press, diversity of opinion, etc. She now laments at how the western countries are throwing away these values.

    Like

  139. Mind you, the western media, and particularly the US media, seems to have lost their sense of humour as well as their former respect for their obligation to inform.

    Once again it is left to someone like Margarita Simonyan to preserve that humour – but in a different country.

    Like

  140. Once again Alexander Mercouris seems to have nailed it. This guy impresses me.

    http://theduran.com/another-special-counsel-investigate-real-scandal-2016-election/

    Like

  141. David Fierstien

    Interesting comment from you:

    “If these roosters are ever caught and face legal action perhaps you could put yourself forward as a defender in court. Although I wouldn’t advise either Snowden or Assange employing you for that purpose as I do not think your heart wouldn’t be in it (you are too partisan) for them.”

    You know, this might surprise you, but I am not unsympathetic to Edward Snowdon. The problem with Snowdon, however, is that he is a criminal. As for my comments about those leakers under Trump, I did nothing. I was merely pointing out why they are not criminals.

    Snowdon, however, is in violation of 18 U.S. Code § 641. Section 641 criminalizes stealing, selling and giving away records that belong to the government. Physically stealing a document, government records, or actual programs, as Snowdon did, would almost certainly fall under the statute.

    This is why Mr. Snowdon, whom you have praised for his courage, waited until he was on the run in a foreign country, before he released what he had stolen.

    As for this comment: “As for your “country’s right to be informed by a Free Press.” If that is a genuine sympathy on your part you should worry about the legal pressures being placed on some of your media. . . ”

    Response: The only pressures on the media, of which I am aware, are those attempts by Trump to stifle the free-flow of information. And I am concerned about it.
    From an October 5 Trump tweet:

    “”Why Isn’t the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up – FAKE!”

    Chris Cillizza writes: “Let’s be clear about what Trump is suggesting here. He wants the Senate intelligence committee to open an investigation into the “Fake News Networks” to get to the bottom of why so much of the news is “just made up.” He offers no evidence of this claim. And yet, the President of the United States feels entirely comfortable urging the legislative branch to open an investigation into the Fourth Estate.

    “The reason? Because Trump doesn’t like what the media writes about him. . . .” http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/05/politics/donald-trump-media-war/index.html

    This would explain why Trump has so much admiration for human rights abuser, Third-World strongman, Rodrigo Duterte, el-Presidente of the Philippines. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2016/12/08/the-disturbing-bond-between-donald-trump-and-rodrigo-duterte/?utm_term=.32dca3b58d75 . . . https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/11/12/trump-meets-philippine-president/857128001/

    Trump loves this guy. So much so, that he actually divulged the locations of two U.S. nuclear submarines to him.

    So, how does this relate to your comment?: “”As for your “country’s right to be informed by a Free Press.” If that is a genuine sympathy on your part you should worry about the legal pressures being placed on some of your media. . . ”

    According to Freedom House, “Media freedom in the Philippines is compromised by the threat of legal action, violence, and impunity for past crimes against journalists.” https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/2016/philippines

    So, to your point, I am very worried about legal pressures being placed on our media in light of some of Trump’s comments, and his sincere admiration for a 3rd World thug.

    Like

  142. David Fierstien

    If this guy, Alexander Mercouris, impresses you, you might want to re-think your critical approach to how you identify Fake News.

    I laughed at this:

    (3) that the Hillary Clinton controlled and funded DNC paid for the Trump Dossier, which it is now confirmed provides the frame narrative followed by the Russiagate investigation. Moreover it seems that the Hillary Clinton campaign directly provided some of the funding for the “research” that led to the Trump Dossier.”

    “Moreover it SEEMS?” . . . “SOME of the funding?” . . . “for the “research” that LED to the Trump Dossier?” This is a shocking revelation!! I wonder why he doesn’t go into who else paid for that research – since he is saying the DNC only paid for some of it.

    Hmm . .let me think . . what exactly LED to that dossier? According to Wikipedia:

    “the dossier and the investigations preceding it were all part of opposition research on Trump. The investigation into Trump was initially funded by a conservative political website and later by Democrats.

    ” In October 2015, during the Republican primary campaign, The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website primarily funded by Republican donor Paul Singer, hired the American research firm Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research on Trump and other Republican presidential candidates”

    And the New York Times says, “During the Republican primaries, a donor opposed to Mr. Trump becoming the party’s presidential candidate retained a research firm called Fusion GPS to unearth potentially damaging information about Mr. Trump.”

    Now why would the DNC – or as Mercouris alleges, the Clinton Campaign itself, waste its money on opposition research in October of 2015 when they didn’t believe he had a chance to win the Nomination? This dude has mud for brains.

    But, I have to admit, I admire Mercouris too. I love what he says after his first 4 points of fact: “The last four points are not speculations. They are incontrovertible facts.”

    Yes, Alexander, it is a fact that, “it seems that the Hillary Clinton campaign directly provided some of the funding for the “research” that led to the Trump Dossier.”

    It does seem that way if you are trying to spin reality so far out of whack that you can no longer distinguish fact from fiction. In fact, if you keep working at it, it might SEEM that Hillary Clinton is really Manchurian Candidate plant who recently worked at a Russian uranium mining company. Her exposure to high doses of radiation forced her to undertake gender reversal surgery. Hillary Clinton’s real name was Ivan Clintonski.

    After all, it seems that way.

    Like

  143. David Fierstien

    By the way, spinmeister, Mercouris says, “Sixteen months after the Russiagate investigation was started it has produced . . ” and he basically says – has produced very little.

    “By comparison, we know,” — and then he goes into stuff on Hillary, which has no basis – since even Jeff Sessions, the Republican Attorney General, Trump’s AG, said yesterday that there is no basis for a Special Counsel to investigate Clinton. http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-pol-essential-washington-updates-in-house-hearing-even-republicans-are-1510678347-htmlstory.html

    Tell you what, Alexander, let’s compare apples to apples. Let’s compare Russiagate to Watergate, since an investigation of Hillary has no basis.

    Watergate:

    The Crime – September 3, 1971: “White House Plumbers” E. Howard Hunt, G. Gordon Liddy, and others break into the offices of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist Lewis Fielding looking for material that might discredit Ellsberg, under the direction of John Ehrlichman or his staff within the White House.

    January 28, 1974: Nixon campaign aide Herbert Porter pleads guilty to perjury. (That would be an “apples to apples” comparison to George Papadopoulos pleading guilty to perjury. – That’s more than 2 years, Alexander.)

    March 4, 1974: the “Watergate Seven” (Mitchell, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Colson, Gordon C. Strachan, Robert Mardian, and Kenneth Parkinson) are formally indicted.

    Wow Alexander!! It looks like Russiagate is steam-rolling along at a much faster pace than Watergate – At that pace, I am betting we will see some real results just prior to the mid-term elections in 2018.

    Like

  144. David, you of course attempt to ignore the example of the attack on press freedom in your country that I referred to. Perhaps the media you follow has hidden this from you. If so, you should look at this video.

    It also gives a bit more depth to the question of the special investigation if Clinton’s crimes.

    Incidentally, the Duma of the Russian Federation has now passed into law an equivalent piece of legislation to the US registration of foreign agents and this will most likely enable them to provide the tit for tat. It will be interesting to see which US media they move against – and the degree of hypocrisy from the US when it complains about these moves.

    Like

  145. David, you aren’t still looking for WMDs in Iraq, are you? I remember you claiming evidence of Russian interference ages ago – something to do with Sputnik releasing the text of material from a Wikipedia press release before Wikipedia tweeted it.

    I suppose it is wiser not to shoot your bolt this way. But come on. The US intelligence agencies produced their best “evidence” with their January report. And significantly there is no evidence in that for collusion. But there is factual material about RT and how it reported the US elections. One can read through that and see how flimsy the “intelligence” case is. For Christ sakes – a US cable channel reporting, even given interviews to, the minor candidates is evidence of “meddling?”

    Seriously?

    Like

  146. David Fierstien

    Ken: “David, you of course attempt to ignore the example of the attack on press freedom in your country that I referred to.”

    Response: How would I know what example you referred to? I am not a mind reader.

    Your video looks like Fox News is in bed with RT. (Yikes!! — but not surprising) But sure, it basically confirms what I said about the Trump White House. Nothing inconsistent here with what I said. Trump is a thug who wants to dominate and control, and manipulate the media. In this case, manipulate. No news here.

    It is odd that he would do this to RT. Trump likes RT. The result here is more free press for RT in the United States. And Trump loves free press (not to be confused with The Free Press). I am betting that, in the long run, RT will not be restricted in any way. I am betting that this will be helpful to RT. You are doing it here. You are adding to the legitimacy of a fringe news outlet in the minds of anti-government conspiracy theorists, i.e., Trump’s base.

    And of course Trump loves Fox. It has been documented that Trump tweets have often followed Fox news stories. This one, for example, was a real gem. (Trump’s retweet of a Fox News story claiming US satellites detected North Korea moving anti-ship cruise missiles to a patrol boat, which of course was classified): http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/08/politics/trump-retweet-fox-news-north-korea-story-haley/index.html

    Personally, I put RT at the same level as the National Enquirer. But when a government tries to restrict any media’s activities (which I don’t believe is the case here)

    Ken: “David, you aren’t still looking for WMDs in Iraq, are you?”

    No. I never believed they existed. You will recall that I pointed out to you, much to your surprise, that U.S. Intel got it right. (You will recall that I provided a link to Joseph C. Wilson’s op ed piece in the NY Times about what he didn’t find in Niger.) The Republican Administration lied and manipulated the media, much as it tries to do now.

    Like

  147. “Trump likes to manipulate the media”

    Seems like he is not doing a very good job then, given the incessant 24×7 anti-Trump propaganda we get in NZ, syndicated from the USA

    Like

  148. David Fierstien

    Andy, if you are going to paraphrase me, don’t use quotation marks. ‘It looks like Trump is doing a really lousy job at his newspaper manipulation.’ That is how you paraphrase. I hope this helps.

    Like

  149. David Fierstien

    Ken, of course, you will be able to justify this: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/11/15/russia-moves-declare-western-media-foreign-agents/

    “Russia moves to declare Western media ‘foreign agents'”

    Like

  150. Davis, you are simply linking to a report of something I referred you to – the Russian Tit for Tat measure. It is not necessary for me to “justify” (I don’t in the sense I do not justify any limitation of press freedom – something you are well aware of from our discussion). But clearly, the Russian government required legislation if it was to respond to the US restriction of Russian news media in the US.

    it will be interesting to see what western financed media the law gets used against, won’t it?

    By the way – do you not find it rather hypocritical for Amnesty to compare this new law while remaining silent about the use of the Foreign Agents legislation in the US against news media?

    And talk about childish – is it not you who seemingly is attempting to “justify” the actual use of such repressive legislation to curtail press freedom in your own country by what, at this stage, is simply a required move to enable a potential respopnse?

    Like

  151. Honest query, David. You say “The result here is more free press for RT in the United States.”

    I can appreciate the enforced registration has got some coverage in the US – but have any of the mainstream media journalists protested the action? Are any of them protesting against limitations of press freedom?

    I am not aware of any. I am aware RT approached quite a few western journalist and media organisations for comment and could not get any – but perhaps RT is spinning the story and is hiding the sort of protests against violations of press freedom one should normally expect. So help me out – link me to any condemnations in the US media you are aware of.

    I don’t know you are correct when you say “I am betting that this will be helpful to RT.” I think all media suffer when attacks like this happen. And you are quite wrong to claim this is not restricting RT in any way – it is. The requirements of the law are clear.

    But I do think the attack on RT, Sputnik, etc., is a sign of desperation. That desperation was shown very clearly by the UK PM the other day with her tirade. I think the establishment no longer has the security of information control they previously had. They are lashing out in an attempt to restore control. And in the fear that the public might actually use non-establishment sources like RT.

    Personally, I have my criticisms of sources like RT and Sputnick (as I do of any and all media sources) but I do see it is a sign that perhaps they are doing something right to have induced such a fearful response.

    Like

  152. It is true – as she says. This is just the beginning.

    Like

  153. David Fierstien

    I really don’t have anything to say about this. It makes no sense to me why the Trump Administration would do this. I can only speculate . . you’ve read the only theory I can muster that makes any sense.

    Like

  154. David Fierstien

    In situations like this, I always like to look at the end result. Who benefits, and who is disadvantaged. It is interesting that this move came right after Trump’s & Putin’s face-to-face, isn’t it.

    Perhaps RT is disadvantaged in the U.S., I don’t know, I haven’t read the law, but the Western Media is certainly disadvantaged in Russia. It’s almost as if the Russian Parliament was ready for it:

    ” A second reading had taken place earlier on Wednesday, a sign of the speed with which it was moving through parliament. The Duma is known for pushing through Kremlin-approved legislation with little discussion or dissent, but even by the standards of the Russian parliament, it found willing backers.

    “It’s a long time since we’ve been so unanimously agreed,” said the parliamentary speaker, Vyacheslav Volodin.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/15/russia-to-register-international-media-as-foreign-agents

    I will continue to watch how this develops. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

    Like

  155. On the subject of RT, former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond has taken up a job as a talk show host on RT

    Like

  156. David Fierstien

    And I was disheartened to see the career move that Ed Schultz made.

    Liked by 1 person

  157. David looks like you have been unable to find anyone in the mainstream media and similar organisations prepared to critcise the US move.

    I have found this from the Committee to Protect Journalists:

    “”Compelling RT to register under FARA is a bad idea. This is a shift in how the law has been applied in recent decades, so we have little information about how its reporting requirements might affect individual journalists,” said CPJ North America Program Coordinator Alexandra Ellerbeck. “We’re uncomfortable with governments deciding what constitutes journalism or propaganda.””

    And this article from the Nation – “Registering the Cable Channel RT as a Foreign Agent Is a Threat to Press Freedom

    Otherwise dead silence or support for the attack on press freedom.

    Like

  158. David Fierstien

    It was noted on Hardball with Chris Matthews, during his “Tell me something I don’t know.” And of course the Fox News video you provided.

    Do you have any theories as to why the Trump Administration would pursue this, given his departure from past administrations’ relationships with Moscow? Vladimir Putin is one of the Very Few people that Trump has never openly criticized. I am more interested in that question.

    I find this very odd.

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  159. David Fierstien

    From your link to the CPJ: “we have little information about how its reporting requirements might affect individual journalists,” — In the United States.

    It will be very interesting to see how each country, Russia & the U.S., handles the new restrictions placed on foreign press. We really don’t know what this does, do we.

    Like

  160. Nothing to do with Trump and Putin. It is a widespread attack on the media within the USA and NATO. Look at the UK blaming “Russians” for Brexit, Spain blaming “Russians” for Catalonia independence, etc.

    This gives some insight into what is happening.

    Like

  161. David Fierstien

    The first sentence of your Fox News video: “For some reason The Trump White House has cracked down on Russia Today.”

    I hope you’re not telling me Tucker Carlson got it wrong 🙂

    I have a problem with propaganda news outlets anyway. You didn’t live in the United States during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. U.S. Intelligence didn’t get it wrong (as we have previously established), the Bush White House manipulated intelligence to boost the case for war.

    Anyone who dared to publicly question the U.S. right to invade that country was publicly bullied, humiliated, degraded, and called un-patriotic, by Fox’s leading cheerleaders, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity. Fox News, whose sole purpose is to push a particular political ideology, was more to blame for that illegal invasion than anyone, other than the White House itself.

    Be honest. RT is a state sponsored “news” outlet. The only comparable media outlet from the U.S. would be Voice of America, or maybe Radio Free Europe. (I won’t include Fox because its agenda is mainly intra national, as opposed to RT. Its agenda is international.)

    If Russia wants to make VoA register as a foreign propaganda outlet, or foreign agents, I wouldn’t have a problem with that. That would be appropriate.

    Like

  162. David Fierstien

    I watched your RT video. At time-stamp 13:30 weighed in on a national debate we are currently having.

    I personally feel there is no good reason for anyone to own a semi-automatic (much less an automatic) weapon. That is my personal opinion. This isn’t the time or place for that debate.

    However, it doesn’t help my cause when a Russian State Sponsored Propaganda Outlet tells us all to disarm. Since you’re so cozy with these guys, tell them they’re not being helpful to the cause of less slaughter in the U.S. by weighing in.

    Like

  163. I have no idea, David, what you mean by “sponsored” in this context. RT is financed by the state of the Russian Federation. They are quite open about that.

    In this sense, they are similar to many media agencies around the world. Al Jazeera, BBC, TVNZ, Deutsche Welle, French TV, etc. These operate to some extent in many countries, including the Russian Federation and the US.

    My understanding is the Russian legal amendment refers to overseas-funded agencies. I also understand that the Russian department of Justice has made initial approaches to six overseas news agencies. Have no idea of the content of these approaches, what it means and what is intended. But it is likely to include agencies like CNN, Deutsche Welle and BBC.

    The US Foreign Agents law seems a lot vaguer and the current application is being criticised because it is an example of the state defining who is an agent and what news amounts to “propaganda” for a foreign country. But clearly it could be applied to many overseas media operating in the US – and the question of why, after all this time, it is now being applied only to RT (There are a few minor overseas agencies which voluntarily registered some time ago – but in RT’s case registration was made under threat of arrests and seizure of property).

    Yes, I know you wish to define RT as a propaganda organisation (using the word in a vindictive way). But again RT has been completely upfront about their orientation – and honest. In contrast to similar agencies like the BBC (and most US news agencies) R does not pretend to be completely objective. But it does attempt to balance things by also presenting a Russian perspective.

    That is why I include RT, and similar agencies, in my list of the ones I use. A current example will provide a good indication of why this addition of a “Russian perspective” is valuable.

    In the last few days, there have been three resolutions in the UN security council aimed at renewing the JIT – which has been attempting to define the culprits in the use of chemical weapons in Syria. All three resolutions supported the renewal of JIT’s mandate (The US for 2 years [I think], the Russian for 6 months and the Japanese for 30 days). All three resolutions were voted down – so at this stage, the JIT is no longer funded (although the Russian ambassador has stressed his resolution is still on the table and can still be picked up).

    Now watching Al Jazeera I got the impression that the US was for renewing the mandate and Russia was opposed to renewal. Which was completely wrong.

    Watching RT I saw both the US and Russian resolutions compared and found that the US resolution also included acceptance of the JIT blame on the Syrian state for use of chemical weapons but wanted renewal without any modification of procedures. The Russian resolution called for improvement of procedures (I think it particularly mentioned the requirement of visits to sites of alleged weapon use and control of samples).

    The RT report essentially covered what I saw on Al Jazeera (including US ambassador Haley’s rant which was full of lies) but it added details of the other resolution – because it was fulfilling its mandate of conveying a Russian perspective – in this case, some details of the Russian resolution which as not being reported by Al Jazeera and “presumably) many western agencies.

    Clearly, without the Russian perspective, the viewer was being given an incorrect version of the events. And, worse, Al Jazeera might deny it gives the perspective of its country of ownership but anyone who has watched Al Jazeera regularly knows how biased their reports on Syria are and this is no accident considering Qatar’s funding of “rebel” and “terrorist” groups in that war. (The bias of US media on Syria is also well known and that exists for much the same reason as the bias of Qatar).

    I value being able to obtain news reports on issues like this from different news agencies becuase I recognise all such agencies have their own “perspectives” or “biases.” I want to be able to work things out for myself.

    I suggest the forced registration of RT in the US is part of the current information war where the US state, and in this case, the unelected state, is taking on the task of defining what is news and what is propaganda. That state would not like you hearing the Russian perspective of stories like the Security Council voting on the JIT mandate renewal.

    Registration will, of course, make the operation of RT-USA more difficult (there are already reports of substantial job departures as people fear for their personal consequences) and will officially label news reports from RT as equivalent to untrustworthy propaganda.

    Of course, RT-USA is a very minor player in the US. All this attention may be getting it more viewers – I do not know. But this sort of state interference will inevitably spread to other targets and make it more and more difficult for media to be critical of the US, or particular political forces in the US. Remember RT was criticised in the January “intelligence” report becuase it did not fall into the partisan line of most of the US media in supporting Clinton – even went so far as giving coverage to 3rd party candidates.

    Do you really want your state exerting this sort of control – defined for you what news is allowable or not? What is acceptable and what is “propaganda?”

    Like

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