Robert Muller's investigation moves slowly forward, getting guilty pleas and closing in ever so slowly on Donald Trump. In all the allegations, many crimes have been uncovered, and many more will be. Muller, even with his ability to compel testimony and seize documents, has yet to uncover actually effective Russian interference with the 2016 General Election. He is also not the only one with eyes on the events.
Many journalists and investigators, including the partisan, the incompetent and the delusional alongside the hardworking, honest and patient have focused on every aspect. This author covered the elections, has read every leak that time permits and is preparing a series of articles on the outcome.
As an introduction to that series, here are 15 facts that define the scandal. Some might not even call it a scandal, but a crisis. Others might not view it as a crisis, but a natural evolution of American so-called democracy.
There is no such thing as the deep state. If it existed there would be two of them.
Conspiracy advocates routinely refer to the so-called deep state as some secret monolithic conspiracy stretching back to the JFK assassination, or the Roosevelt Administration, or some UFO event in Roswell or Illuminati something something New World Order something something. Sounds cool. Do they have membership cards and secret handshakes? Is every government employee involved or just some? If only some please tell me which ones?
There have been covert government operations since George Washington had an army. That is how Benedict Arnold got caught. However there is no monolithic government within a government. There are people within government perfectly willing to do horrible things at home and abroad in what they see as the national interest. Their version of the national interest has very little to do with democracy and everything to do with empire. This is evidenced as far back as the machinations set in play during the Jefferson Administration by the Louisiana Purchase. Even then, there were factions, personalities and competing goals and interests.
Today, there are people in government service that absolutely think they know what is best for the rest of us and would gleefully let us some of us die to enforce that. However governments have factions and divided loyalties and differing views on how to go about the business of empire. Today the dominant two could roughly be called the Neo-Conservatives and the Neo-Liberals. These factions compete.
The so-called Deep State is nothing more than an attitude towards the public and a culture of superiority. Think of it as the Deep State of Mind ™.
There is no credible evidence that Russia hacked the DNC.
When “Russian Hacking” is referenced, it is some version of the concept that a Romanian hacker, who might have been Russian, carried out the penetrations that collectively are the Clinton Email Hack, The DNC Email Hack and the Podesta Files. All were released by Wikileaks.
Through Cambridge Analytica, the Trump Campaign sought to have the Russians release the missing 33,000 emails from Clinton's private server to Wikileaks. This never happened. Would Wikileaks have released them if they had gotten them? Absolutely and with great joy. This means that the Russians either had the ability to take down Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information in the middle of the election and cause a constitutional crisis and they passed or they did not possess the emails. Since the alleged Russian goal was destabilization of the American government, it would seem that they would certainly act on this sure thing if they were able.
The only forensic analysis of the transfer of data out of the DNC headquarters carried out by anyone not directly hired by the Clinton Campaign and directly financed by the CIA concluded that the speed of the data transfer was inconsistent with a network transfer and entirely consistent with a thumb drive. The hacks were an inside job. There is scientific evidence to prove this.
If the Russians were involved, then a former Secretary of State let a Russian spy onto her internal network with possibly classified information with a CIA funded security company watching and they somehow got away with it while she is not to blame.
Seth Rich was not the source of the DNC leaks.
DNC staffer Seth Rich was mysteriously murdered during the campaign. His murder remains unsolved. The Mockingbird reported on the murder within a day and got the police report within hours of it being filed. Later, the murder was officially called a robbery although Rich's watch and cellphone were not taken. Something more than a robbery definitely was in the works here.
Conspiracy buffs claim he was murdered because he was the DNC leaker and Hillary Clinton has assassins. This falls apart instantly. Wikileaks has denied that Seth Rich was their source. If he had been the source, Wikileaks would have claimed it. They will defend their sources, if for no other reasons than self-promotion.
Rich was killed for some reason connected with his work. Whether that was the elimination of a potential witness, or some other reason is not clear. What is clear is that he was not the source and something is amiss.
Not one word of the DNC leaks has been denied
There are thousands of emails in the Wikileaks databases of the Clinton, Podesta and DNC hacks. They are all keyword searchable and are a goldmine for reporters. This author found nearly a dozen stories there, unnoticed by other outlets, nearly all accidentally while researching other things. This has included violations of campaign finance law, voter suppression and outright media collusion.
The story of Wikileaks and the files has been a story of the how the files got there not what is in the files. This is classic mainstream deflection, because the actual content of the files is quite damning.
At no time, and in not one single instance, has any author of any email in any of those files stood up and said “I did not write that, it is a forgery.” Not one single denial. It is all a matter casting an eye away from the content files themselves and onto how they may or more likely may have not gotten into the public view. The same thing happened with Edward Snowden.
There is no evidence that the Russians penetrated the voter registration databases of the US
The government alleges that Russian intelligence attempted to gain access to voter registration databases in 16 states. The attempt was based on spear-phishing attacks delivered via email designed to get users to enter their passwords. There are no reports of these attacks being successful. It is considered to be the Russians because the attacks took place during business hours in Moscow and spear-phishing is a Russian tactic.
This one falls apart on so many levels. The first level is that spear-phishing is as old as active content in web based email. It is not a “Russian tactic.” Teenagers do it. Business hours in Moscow means the middle of the night on the East Coast. Hackers are up all night. They don't keep business hours. Government run hacking centers like the one the NSA has in Ft Meade are staffed round the clock.
Lastly and most damningly, the ability to hack into a voter registration database does not require a massive, loud, and easily detectable spear-phishing effort. This author has published an article detailing the exact security holes in America's voter registration databases and exactly how to exploit them. The research took me literally less than a week. I published that article more than two years before the alleged incidents.
Hacking a voter registration database does not require the resources of a nation state. It requires the resources of a medium sized construction company. 1 programer, 1 Janitor and 1 statistician and $100,000. Those Russian hackers are lazy people doing things the hard way without any research and only working in the daytime. Or, they don't exist.
Russian Election Hacking means Russian Election Trolling.
The other thing alleged is that the “Russians” used “Fake News” to alter the outcome of the election. That is not hacking. That is trolling. Most of the so-called fake news that I saw, and I was targeted, should not be called “fake news.” It was in fact crappy click-bait.
Internet Advertising bills by the view and the click. If you want to make a ton of money, writing fake news stories without attribution and jazzing them up with an eye catching headline during a very divided election is definitely a way to do it.
The only actual fake news story that had any traction was the so-called “PizzaGate” story. People involved in the “PizzaGate” investigation actually contacted me for help. I examined all their so-called evidence. I told them I wouldn't touch it and they should walk away also. They didn’t. Then they decided to set up some alternative to reddit. Down the rabbit hole they went and then some idiot shot up a pizzeria to try and find the hidden murder chamber under the linoleum tile. Because an AR-15 is in his mind was more effective than a stud finder. There is no talking some people out of stupidity sometimes.
So the Russians interfered with the election saying incredibly obviously false things and everybody believed them and now MAGA Trump.
So-called Russian Trolling was not effective, American Trolling was slightly effective.
As I point out above, most of the trolling attributed to the Russians was ham-fisted at best. Yes, they organized demonstrations and put together non-existent groups. These were mostly not very big demonstrations and not very big, effective or long-lived groups.
The participants in these demonstrations and groups were not people who suddenly switched sides and decided vote Republican. They were in the Republican base already. Their energy could have been better used by the Republican party campaigning rather than joining self-referential feel-good outlets.
The work done by Cambridge Analytica was more effective, and more targeted. It was also obviously illegal, and 100% American. This is why it is being brought to the forefront of conversation now and not as it was happening. The Democratic Party was attempting similar things, with less effectiveness through their own contractors and super-PACs while Facebook accepted advertising dollars from both sides like the information war arms dealer that it is.
There is no evidence that any Russian attempts at anything were directed by Trump, even when they helped him.
No one has put forward any actual evidence that the Trump Campaign directed the ineffective and inefficient Russian efforts. All communication between the two parties seems to be that the Trump campaign asked, the Russians promised and then failed to deliver.
It is illegal to ask for help from a foreign power, but it is harder to prove when that power does not deliver.
Certainly Russia would prefer to a Trump Whitehouse to a Clinton Whitehouse. Clinton foreign policy is a direct outgrowth of a worldview that is informed by the thoughts and legacy of Henry Kissinger and has a hard line on Russia. The increased use of hydraulic fracking during the Obama administration drove down the cost of fossil fuels. This was very harmful to the Russian economy. At the same time, a Democratic controlled Whitehouse is more inclined to NATO expansion and cooperation with Europe. Russia is an empire also, and it's leaders are literate people who can read maps. They would vastly prefer someone who can do neither of those things.
Donald Trump did not win. Hillary Lost.
The only thing more deluded than Hillary Clinton's allegations that she was somehow entitled to the Whitehouse before it was stolen from he is Donald Trump's claims that he won it.
The overall Clinton strategy was to appeal to the middle-class suburban voter on the basis of centrist politics and take the voters of the traditional working-class base of the party from granted. The Clintons, both Bill and Hillary, are famed for triangulation and the that triangulation led to an attempt to win the election via an appeal to moderate Republicans.
Early memos endorsed the idea of running against Trump before his candidacy was announced seeing a Trump win in the primary as the key to electoral victory in the general election. This lead to the tactic I call scream at the right while punching to the left. That tactic failed when disappointed voters on the left side of the party stayed home on election day.
Trump did not actively win. Clinton actively lost.
Voter Suppression was key to the Republican Victory. Democrats did not fight it even in battleground states.
Clinton won the popular vote and lost the electoral college. There was provable voter disenfranchisement in Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana and Ohio. This author was not allowed to vote because he was struck from the rolls illegally.
In Virginia police went door to door in communities of color just to let people know that voting without proper ID is a crime. In Indiana, state police shut down a democrat run voter registration drive. In North Carolina a GOP operation registered minority voters, never turned in the cards (which was illegal) and then they were destroyed in a mysterious fire.
The Governor of Virginia was Hillary Clinton's running mate and his own police were suppressing his base. The Indiana operation had the direct support of the party. The voter disenfranchisement in Ohio happened in safe democrat districts. Yet the Democratic party did nothing to defend the rights of it's own base to vote. This alone could have turned the tide for victory.
Combine this with Peter Thiel's data drive “Project Alamo” to strip voters from the rolls and you have a perfect combination. While Thiel, who owns the intelligence contracting firm Palantir, was going over the voter rolls for Trump while being openly pro-Trump, he was also doing data verification for the Clinton foundation. Can I have a conflict of interest to go with that? Oh?..then make it a double.
Both Parties engaged in widespread voter suppression
The Democrats did it in the primaries. It provably happened in Rhodes Island at the polls. 150,000 voters were struck from the roles in Brooklyn on the eve of the election in order to get Clinton the victory in New York she desperately needed.
In Nevada, voting was done in a controlled access room via an applause meter.
The message to the left wing of the party was simple. You get what you get now do what you are told. It's her turn.
The DNC definitely hacked Sanders.
2015 was not quite over when there was a data scandal. Clinton campaign workers had access to Sanders campaign data. Sanders campaign workers were caught trying to reconstruct how they did this. Both sites were co-hosted on the same server which also hosted the missing 33,000 emails.
That same server was also the one the Russians allegedly hacked and was also the one that a CIA backed company was being paid to guard for Clinton. At the Same time the same company was hired by a Russian bank to investigate a data breach while trying to link that bank to the Trump campaign. If you were hacking the DNC, and working for Trump, why would you hire the DNC's security firm to investigate a data breach?
Got all that? I might have to make a chart.
Trump's Russian Collusion was about money laundering.
It's bad when Steve Bannon agrees with you. But he said it and so did I. Essentially so did Robert Muller. The difference is that Robert Muller speaks in indictments.
Trump's dealings with Russian organized crime (which is now barely distinguishable from Russian intelligence and the Russian business community.) go back to at least 1979. They were the subject of a book by a best-selling author and award winning journalist. The book came out during the 2016 election. The media picking up on this could have sunk Trump. An investigation could have started there and worked forward rather than starting at Manafort and working backwards.
Such an investigation would ensnare American organized crime figures and their connections to American business.
All of the guilty pleas and indictments have been for lying or financial crimes. These guilty and the charged and likely soon to be found guilty are people who profited directly from the Trump campaign via off-shore shell companies to evade taxes. They did this with Russian help and the did illegal business with a foreign power.
Their interest was the money. The foreign power's interest was the money. When Trump himself is eventually ensnared with will be about the money.
There is ample evidence that fear of Russia is being used as an ideological club against domestic dissent.
Software products have already been marketed and websites have appeared that list news outlets as Russian propaganda. Propornot is the worst offender but there are others. Invariably many established left wing domestic sites with a solid reputation for journalism find themselves listed or quietly silenced.
It works like this. A person writes a story. The story is anti-establishment. Some Russian bot retweets or reposts the story. The person or site gets listed as Russian propaganda because something was written that the establishment didn’t. like and a it was retweeted by someone in a nation of millions.
When these lists are compiled by academics that are favored by the State Department and wrote most of the policy of the 1990s State Department Russia and Eastern Europe desk, what you have is a roundabout method of government censorship.
Jill Stein is not a Russian spy.
The idea that Jill Stein worked with Vladimir Putin to destroy American democracy is prima facie one of the stupidest things I've heard without a Television tuned to Fox News. Yet is has been said.
People who have appeared on any web show carried by RT's youtube channel must be in league with the Russians is the new line for 2018. This is right up there with calling Al-Jezera the propaganda arm of ISIS, or Al-Queda, or whatever group of brown people are the enemy today.
Yes RT is owned by the Russian state. Lee Camp (for instance) is on RT therefore he must be a Russian agent. No, He's a comedian doing a left wing version of John Stewart. The BBC is owned by the government of the UK. The Voice of America is the propaganda arm of the State Department. It was broadcast into Eastern Europe non-stop during the cold war. It became legal for it to operate inside the United States in 2013. Is this a comparison of apples to other apples or not?
The Trump administration could be criminally prosecuted for any number of crimes, but the crimes that have been chosen, and the dialogue around them are the real object of the exercise. If Trump steps to far out of the bounds of elite consensus his brains will be all over the viewing box of the Ford theater faster than JFK could sign a Brady Bill. Since he is mostly in bounds he will merely get prosecuted, probably in 2019 after the election.