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Washington Post promotes shady website attempting to smear independent journalism as Russian propaganda

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The feverish coverage of “fake news”, or propaganda and disinformation spread in order to manipulate public perception, and its alleged impact on the U.S presidential election has given rise to at least one elusive blacklist which features hundreds of  websites and publications, all of whom fall prey to one common accusation, that they either willingly or unwillingly serve Russian interests by peddling propaganda targeting U.S audiences. Meet PropOrNot, the new McCarthyism—this time at the touch of a screen.

Last week the Washington Post ran a story on Russia’s “sophisticated propaganda machinery” and an anonymous website organized by “a nonpartisan collection of researchers with foreign policy military and technology backgrounds” calling itself PropOrNot. This “nonpartisan collection” claims to have identified hundreds of websites, which it’s compiled into a handy list, who are doing Russia’s dirty propaganda work. Offering readers no names, the Post goes on to refer to the group as “researchers” who claim that the Russian campaign during the U.S. presidential election “worked by harnessing the online world’s fascination with “buzzy” content that is surprising and emotionally potent, and tracks with popular conspiracy theories about how secret forces dictate world events.”

The story made waves, prompting former Senior Adviser of strategy and communications to Obama, Daniel Pfeiffer, to tweet “why isn’t this the biggest story in the world right now?” But as Adrian Chen, staff writer at The New Yorker, vigorously argues the methodology used by PropOrNot is troubling because, among other things, the accusation of being a mouthpiece for the Russian government is broad in its application.

“PropOrNot claims to be uninterested in differentiating between organizations that are explicit tools of the Russian state and so-called “useful idiots,” which echo Russian propaganda out of sincerely held beliefs. “We focus on behavior, not motivation,” they write. To PropOrNot, simply exhibiting a pattern of beliefs outside the political mainstream is enough to risk being labeled a Russian propagandist,” Chen writes.

Some of the websites listed by PropOrNot include Truthout, Black Agenda Report, and Truthdig, publications which are invaluable sources of hard-hitting, left analysis. Mondoweiss spoke to Joe Macaré, publisher at one of the websites targeted by PropOrNot’s blacklist, Truthout.

Despite being alarming, it wasn’t news that Truthout was smeared as a propaganda outfit, Macaré says. “Four years ago, we were seeing some people complain Truthout was doing Mitt Romney’s work by publishing reports on or criticism of Barack Obama’s policies, while others simultaneously accused us of being in Obama’s pocket because we did the same to Mitt Romney and other Republicans. So inevitably, in the course of the past year or so we have been accused of being de facto agents for both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. This is a damning symptom of a media and political culture in which it’s an unfamiliar and strange idea that a genuinely independent publication might hold all candidates and parties to account.”

Macaré argues that there’s now a clear sign of escalation when the Washington Post is feeding into a narrative that labels Truthout and other independent publications are “echoing Russian propaganda”. He says that “the prospect of a future in which both the Trump administration and its critics are smearing independent journalism is a grim one.”

“PropOrNot’s criteria as listed on their site are so broad that it tips their hand and makes clear how absurd their allegations are: They basically state that if an outlet has ever criticized the US government, NATO or the EU, “the center-right or center-left,” or the mainstream media, then they too may be an unwitting stooge for the FSB. We have written to PropOrNot not only demanding that they remove Truthout from this list, but also condemning these criteria and the project as a whole as it stands — and we are in discussion with other members of the independent media about how to push back more broadly against attacks like these. We’re confident that Truthout‘s credibility remains beyond reproach, and we’re heartened by the number of people who’ve said so.”

Ali Abunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, tells Mondoweiss that the Washington Post’s spurious article profiling PropOrNot “demonstrates the irresponsibility of the mainstream media”. The article not only indicated the Washington Post’s “clear agenda to discredit independent media” but made it apparent that “they are trying to undermine media that doesn’t function as a government mouthpiece”. And nowhere is it more important to have independent reporting than on Palestine, Abunimah argued. On the subject of publications targeted by PropOrNot’s blacklist, Abunimah noted that it is “particularly despicable” that Black Agenda Report was included, pointing out that their radical Black analysis is not only necessary but unparalleled, especially in their unwavering of opposition to mainstream political discourse. Abunimah said that we must stand in solidarity with publications like Black Agenda Report, now more than ever.

For his piece in The New Yorker Chen spoke to someone at PropOrNot and given the many incoherent statements his anonymous source gave him it’s clear this McCarthyist project is a bumbling one, though it is certainly a threat to independent media all the same. The website’s anonymous “researchers” have even called for the FBI and Department of Justice to investigate those blacklisted as they suspect “some of the individuals involved have violated the Espionage Act, the Foreign Agent Registration Act, and other related laws…” The complete lack of transparency while peddling Russian panic is not lost on anyone.

“The story of PropOrNot,”, Chen writes, “should serve as a cautionary tale to those who fixate on malignant digital influences as a primary explanation for Trump’s stunning election.” Unable to cope with a loss that was steeped in, among other things, Hillary Clinton’s own floundering campaign, one which offered little to those most in need, many are reaching for anything else to blame, in this case the Russian bogeyman. The rise of projects like PropOrNot means that alternative media outlets must struggle even more than they already do to survive while combating establishment media narratives. The new McCarthyism is here, and independent media is even more necessary now.

Roqayah Chamseddine
About Roqayah Chamseddine

Roqayah Chamseddine is a Lebanese-American writer based in Sydney. She writes the Sharp Edges column at Shadowproof and politics at Paste Magazine. She tweets at @roqchams.

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50 Responses

  1. lysias
    lysias
    December 7, 2016, 10:32 am

    What’s alarming is the support this PropOrNot nonsense has been getting from governmental and quasigovernmental authorities.

    House Quietly Passes Bill Targeting “Russian Propaganda” Websites.

    Obama adviser Pfeiffer.

    The social media that cooperate so much with the U.S. government. This Is the Purge We All Knew Was Coming: “Shutting Down Extremist Content”.

    The Washington Post has long been a semiofficial organ of the U.S. government and especially its intelligence agencies. The Timberg article was followed immediately by approving coverage from such MSM organs as NPR and the PBS Newshour.

    This whole campaign had obviously been organized in advance.

    That the Republican House should approve a bill supporting the campaign when the campaign was apparently a negative reaction to the election of Trump is particularly disturbing.

  2. annie
    annie
    December 7, 2016, 12:40 pm

    naked capitalism has lawyered up, demanded wapo retraction, public apology and “immediately removed from your website and all web-accessible archives”. copy of letter here: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/12/we-demand-that-the-washington-post-retract-its-propaganda-story-defaming-naked-capitalism-and-other-sites-and-issue-an-apology.html

    truthdig has lawyered up too https://twitter.com/Truthdig/status/805912239207088128

    for the record…

    Last week the Washington Post ran a story on Russia’s…

    nov 24, 2 weeks ago.

    • lysias
      lysias
      December 7, 2016, 3:00 pm

      Nov. 24, Thanksgiving Day.

      At least they picked a day when a lot of people would not have read the paper.

      I wonder if the regular editor was on duty that extended weekend.

      • annie
        annie
        December 7, 2016, 3:43 pm

        or maybe they mistook thanksgiving for april fool’s day! perhaps not many people read the paper that day but LOTS of people read the article. it was covered by practically everyone, from rolling stone to the intercept to daily beast to huffpo. not sure the big msm’s cover it tho, but you’d have to be living under a rock to have missed it.

      • JWalters
        JWalters
        December 7, 2016, 7:31 pm

        “”maybe they mistook thanksgiving for april fool’s day!

        Maybe so. That level of awareness would explain a lot about what happened to the Washington Post. I’d welcome a few hard-hitting lawsuits to get the story straight. WaPo editors and owners might claim they were just trying to provide an example of fake news, to illustrate what they were talking about. (The “I was just testing the burglar alarm” defense.)

      • lysias
        lysias
        December 8, 2016, 10:36 am

        Washington Post has finally issued a sort of limited retraction, but only as an addendum to the original article on line. Washington Post Appends “Russian Propaganda Fake News” Story, Admits It May Be Fake.

        They were so slow in making any response to all the criticism of the article that I suspect they were under orders from management (i.e., Jeff Bezos) to print the thing.

      • annie
        annie
        December 8, 2016, 12:13 pm

        i don’t think that limited retraction is going to cut the mustard lysias. mark ames at alternet has an excellent article up — blacklist has ties to CIA and ukranian fascism. http://www.alternet.org/media/anonymous-blacklist-promoted-washington-post-has-shocking-roots-ukrainian-fascism-eugenics-and

      • Keith
        Keith
        December 8, 2016, 6:38 pm

        ANNIE- “…blacklist has ties to CIA and ukranian fascism.”

        I have long suspected that the CIA has connections with the major digital corporations- Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc. Covert government assistance can provide one heck of a competitive advantage. In “The CIA As Organized Crime,” which I have just begun to read and highly recommend, Douglas Valentine maintains that the Department of Homeland Security is organizationally patterned after the Phoenix program utilized in Viet Nam. The National Security State which has evolved considers the 99% to be the enemy population to be controlled, hence, the militarization of the police as an occupying army. We live in interesting times.

      • annie
        annie
        December 8, 2016, 10:56 pm

        long suspected that the CIA has connections with the major digital corporations- Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Amazon

        without a doubt keith. i’d be astonished if they were not connected.

        Department of Homeland Security is organizationally patterned after the Phoenix program utilized in Viet Nam

        domestically? that would surprise me. ukraine, much more likely.

        yes, we live in interesting times.

      • Keith
        Keith
        December 9, 2016, 11:02 am

        ANNIE- “domestically? that would surprise me.”

        Why? I didn’t say that they had death squads operating, I relied on Douglas Valentine’s intimate knowledge of the Phoenix program and how it was organized.

        “The key word is coordination. When the National Security Establishment wanted to centralize the War on Terror here in the United States, through the DHS, they copied how Phoenix had coordinated multiple agencies in order to streamline and bureaucratize the war against the Viet Cong Infrastructure (VCI).” (p23, “The CIA as Organized Crime,” Douglas Valentine)

        The key concept to take away is that the Department of Homeland Security is primarily intended as a means of domestic population control and is organized along the lines of the Phoenix program. How this compares to Jeff Halper’s description of Israel’s matrix of control is another matter. I suspect that they share many features as their intent is the same.

      • annie
        annie
        December 9, 2016, 11:58 am

        thanks keith.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        December 9, 2016, 1:03 pm

        At this point, their biggest problem is what to do with the data that they have. Getting it seems to be no problem. But knowing what it means, and when to let go of it?

      • Keith
        Keith
        December 9, 2016, 1:35 pm

        MOOSER- “At this point, their biggest problem is what to do with the data that they have.”

        I’m not sure they have a problem with that. The bigger problem for us is to even guess at what they are doing with the data they have. Between modern high capacity computers and mega storage devices and high powered search engines we are in such a totally new environment from even 30 years ago that I am finding it difficult to even contemplate all of ramifications of what is going on. I have dark forebodings, but….

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        December 9, 2016, 2:05 pm

        “I have dark forebodings, but….”

        You think you’ve got problems? I just got a Windows 10 computer. Cortana tells Bill Gates everything I say.

        And the damn thing is full of suggestions “Why don’t you this…? Why don’t you that?” Worse than the old Harper’s Bazaar.

      • lysias
        lysias
        December 12, 2016, 10:04 am

        In their answer to a letter of complaint from Truthdig, one of the sites maligned, a letter from WaPo’s lawyers only referred to that editor’s note with the limited retraction. Truthdig: Here’s The Washington Post’s Letter Responding to Truthdig’s Demand for a Retraction.

        This lawyer thinks WaPo is on very shaky legal ground. They may end having to pay such large damages that the paper will have to fold.

        Is it worth Jeff Bezos’s time and money to keep the paper up and running if Trump is president?

  3. mijj
    mijj
    December 7, 2016, 3:34 pm

    i take it that “Fake News” is the propaganda term for “Heretical News”.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      December 7, 2016, 4:19 pm

      No, fake news is just fake.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        December 7, 2016, 10:07 pm

        Mooser what about about the Financial Times saying “Obama hands over a healthy economy to Trump”. Or Stanley Fisher of the Fed saying “I can see inflation in the data”, That is also fake. And reported very respectably.

    • JWalters
      JWalters
      December 7, 2016, 7:01 pm

      The propaganda term, yes. Actual Fake News is the smokescreen being used in the Heretical News witchhunt.

  4. lysias
    lysias
    December 7, 2016, 3:47 pm

    The U.S. Senate just approved today a cloture motion on the National Defense Authorization Act, S. 2943, section 1259C of which would establish a Global Engagement Center “to lead and coordinate the compilation and exchange of foreign government information warfare efforts “and to develop initiatives to “expose and counter foreign propaganda and disinformation,” among other things. http://www.cq.com/doc/billtext-4924376?5&search=z1TxlrLW . The very lopsided vote on the cloture motion means that the Senate will certainly adopt it, and the cloture motion means that the Senate vote will occur within a couple of days. Since the House has already adopted the bill, it will then become law unless Obama vetoes it, which he has said he will not do. And even if he were to veto it, the margins of the votes in both Houses of Congress indicate that Congress would override any veto. So this is soon going to be law.

    • lysias
      lysias
      December 8, 2016, 3:05 pm

      The U.S. Senate just passed the National Defense Authorization Act. It now goes to President Obama for his signature.

      That’s the bill that establishes a center for collecting and counteracting foreign propaganda.

      Obama’s spokesman was asked whether Obama would veto the bill. He didn’t give a definite answer, but, even if Obama did veto, the bill was passed with overwhelming majorities in both Houses of Congress that would easily override a veto.

      • lysias
        lysias
        December 8, 2016, 3:14 pm

        A bill has been introduced in the House, the Protecting Our Democracy Act that would establish a commission, the National Commission on Foreign Interference in the 2016 Election, with subpoena powers to investigate the alleged Russian hacking in the U.S. election.

      • lysias
        lysias
        December 8, 2016, 3:24 pm

        Meanwhile Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, declared Wednesday that “there must be consequences” for Russia’s election meddling, and pledged to reintroduce legislation to create a commission to reduce digital safe havens for terrorists and criminals using encryption.

      • Keith
        Keith
        December 8, 2016, 6:03 pm

        LYSIAS- “…create a commission to reduce digital safe havens for terrorists and criminals using encryption.”

        A “terrorist” being anyone who doesn’t support the empire 100%, and encryption the enemy of spying on the citizenry. Things have gotten real bad real fast. Full spectrum dominance is coming home to roost.

  5. JWalters
    JWalters
    December 7, 2016, 7:16 pm

    The oligarchy can buy a company with a good reputation, then use that reputation as a cover to swindle people.

    Here’s another excellent article on the Washington Post’s foray into the dark pit of disinformation, “Media Complicity Is Key to Blacklisting Websites”
    http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/12/05/media-complicity-key-blacklisting-websites

    And another, “WPost Won’t Retract McCarthyistic Smear”
    https://consortiumnews.com/2016/12/05/wpost-wont-retract-mccarthyistic-smear/

    Both these articles are on solid news and analysis websites, the latter also being on the WaPo’s witchhunt list.

  6. Vera Gottlieb
    Vera Gottlieb
    December 8, 2016, 10:05 am

    What else should one expect from the Washington Post?

  7. AddictionMyth
    AddictionMyth
    December 8, 2016, 10:10 am

    Washington Post usually does good stuff, but this was a huge failure and they should retract the story with an apology, not merely a correction. Just scratch the surface of PropOrNot and it’s obviously a huge troll. For example, they link to an article on Seeking Alpha as ‘obvious propaganda’ but if you actually read the article, it is a ringing endorsement of capitalism and criticism of socialism. Now that doesn’t sound like Russian propaganda to me. I tweeted them about it but they never responded. They might be right about Alex Jones, but I’m not about to wade into that swamp to find out.

    But apparently the damage has already been done – we will now be told that we’re being ‘protected’ from Russia propaganda – so that they can ply us with it. Ugh.

  8. lysias
    lysias
    December 9, 2016, 11:23 am

    The Hill story: White House orders intelligence report of election cyberattacks:

    President Obama has directed the intelligence community to conduct “a full review” of the 2016 election in light of reports of Russian interference, homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco said Friday.

    The report is expected to be completed and transmitted to Congress before he leaves office Jan. 20.

  9. annie
    annie
    December 10, 2016, 10:00 am

    the washington post is stepping up its game. instead of merely publishing a cia front group claiming our free press are russian agents now they’ve published a “secret cia assessment” claiming russia tried to help trump. not only that, not mentioned in the article but named in the accompanying wapo video, the culprits who carried out the subterfusion are named, by the cia (get ready for this), “cuddly bear” and “fancy bear”.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obama-orders-review-of-russian-hacking-during-presidential-campaign/2016/12/09/31d6b300-be2a-11e6-94ac-3d324840106c_story.html?tid=sm_tw&utm_term=.60d3a5e9998b

    i am so concerned, the cia would never engage in influencing a sovereign nation’s election.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      December 10, 2016, 12:53 pm

      “now they’ve published a “secret cia assessment” claiming russia tried to help trump”

      What a convenient dead end for the Washington Post to go down.
      So they don’t have to report on what the Trump administration is going to do to the US.

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak
      December 10, 2016, 8:07 pm

      Annie Robbins: the washington post is stepping up its game. instead of merely publishing a cia front group claiming our free press are russian agents now they’ve published a “secret cia assessment” claiming russia tried to help trump
      ————–

      And the “liberal” press is really running with this story. Huffington Post headlines today are screaming out:

      HACK HELL

      ELECTION STOLEN?

      ‘INVESTIGATE’

      “Intelligence Community Grows Concerned… How To Brief A President Who Doesn’t Believe The Intel?… Trump Only Getting One Intelligence Brief A Week… Concerns Grow Over Trump Ties To Russia With Leading SecState Pick…

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
      ————————–

      I think what we are seeing goes much deeper than simply partisan politics, although that’s a big part of it (e.g., the Democratic establishment looking for excuses for Clinton’s loss.)

      The possibility of a rapprochement between the West and Russia is deeply threatening not only to the U.S. deep state, but to the entire “Western” geopolitical/ideological order.

      By launching such a serious attack on the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency, I believe the neoliberal/neocon stablishment aims to make it politically difficult for Trump to undermine the New Cold War anti-Russian consensus, since any such steps would only seem to confirm the charges of Russian electoral manipulation.

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak
      December 10, 2016, 8:11 pm

      Jonathan Chait writes:

      Of the many things that resulted in Donald Trump’s election, from Hillary Clinton’s own errors to James Comey’s extraordinary insinuations against her in the contest’s final stages, Russian hacking played a meaningful enough role to tilt a razor-tight contest, Russia successfully riled up Bernie Sanders die-hards against the Democratic Party by leaking minor intrigue that fueled their suspicions, aggravating a Clinton liability with young voters that never healed. They also dribbled out enough emails in the succeeding months to keep stories using the word “emails” in the lead of Hillary Clinton news, adding more smoke to the haze of scandal that permeated coverage of her campaign.

      We now know with near-certainty that Russia did this with the goal of electing Trump president. During the campaign, this reality was not quite certain enough to be reported as fact. Trump, of course, insisted there was no evidence Russia even had a hand in the attacks, let alone with the goal of helping him. (It “could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”)

      Elements of the left decried suspicions of Russia’s role as “neo-McCarthyism.” The Nation editorialized, “ liberal-media elites have joined with the Clinton campaign in promoting the narrative of a devious Russian cyber-attack.” Others on the left insisted that the substance of the stolen emails command far more importance than their provenance, which in any case was disputed and unknowable. On October 31, the New York Times reported that the attack was probably “aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Mr. Trump.” [emphasis added

      http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/12/trump-mcconnell-putin-and-the-triumph-of-the-will-to-power.html

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak
      December 10, 2016, 8:12 pm

      What’s the evidence ? Jonathan Chait again:

      The CIA’s analysis is obviously not infallible, but it fits with a wide array of other evidence. Russia had a clear motive: chilly relations with the Democratic administration that had orchestrated sanctions against it, close ties with Donald Trump and several of his advisers, and a series of pro-Russian positions from Trump on such issues as Crimea, NATO, and Vladimir Putin’s human rights abuses.

      A qui bono argument is not evidence. Besides, many groups/individuals might be motivated to hurt Clinton, to help Trump, or…simply to get the truth out.

      [Chait:] Russia also hacked the Republican National Committee but declined to release any of the contents.

      Unsubstantiated assertion. Not evidence. Same dubious sources.

      [Chait] The disruption was intentionally one-sided. The CIA’s conclusion merely lends incrementally more confidence to a deduction that was already fairly obvious.

      “It’s obvious” is not evidence!

      Seriously, that’s all the “evidence” Chait could muster to support his claim of “near-certainty.”

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        December 10, 2016, 11:35 pm

        Cui bono.

        Dative case.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        December 11, 2016, 2:15 am

        The Russians wanted Trump to win. Cos he is an asshole that will be be very bad for the US

      • lysias
        lysias
        December 11, 2016, 12:33 pm

        Hillary, a neocon who would have caused war with Russia, would have been much worse for the U.S. and the rest of the world, including Russia.

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak
      December 10, 2016, 8:18 pm

      blocked

      • annie
        annie
        December 10, 2016, 8:33 pm

        “blocked” huh?

        anyway, it’s being met with lots of pushback all over the net. i think it’s a plot to scare up a furry and influence the electoral college to vote for hillary instead. not going to happen.

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak
      December 10, 2016, 8:20 pm

      “Intelligence officials and private cybersecurity companies believe” = speculation at best, propaganda at worst. Who are these officials? Who pays these companies?

      Andrew Cockburn, “ The New Red Scare

      CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity firm that first claimed to have traced an official Russian connection — garnering plenty of free publicity in the process — asserted that two Russian intelligence agencies, the FSB and the GRU, had been working through separate well-known hacker groups, Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear. The firm contended that neither agency knew that the other was rummaging around in the D.N.C. files.

      Furthermore, one of the hacked and leaked documents had been modified “by a user named Felix Dzerzhinsky, a code name referring to the founder of the Soviet Secret Police.” (Dzerzhinsky founded the Cheka, the Soviet secret police and intelligence agency, in 1917.) Here was proof, according to another report on the hack, that this was a Russian intelligence operation.

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak
      December 10, 2016, 8:22 pm

      Continued:

      “OK,” wrote Jeffrey Carr, the CEO of cybersecurity firm Taia Global, in a derisive blog post on the case. “Raise your hand if you think that a GRU or FSB officer would add Iron Felix’s name to the metadata of a stolen document before he released it to the world while pretending to be a Romanian hacker.”

      As Carr, a rare skeptic regarding the official line on the hacks, explained to me, “They’re basically saying that the Russian intelligence services are completely inept. That one hand doesn’t know what the other hand is doing, that they have no concern about using a free Russian email account or a Russian server that has already been known to be affiliated with cybercrime. This makes them sound like the Keystone Cops. Then, in the same breath, they’ll say how sophisticated Russia’s cyberwarfare capabilities are.”

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak
      December 10, 2016, 8:24 pm

      Bill Binney, the former technical director of the NSA, shares Carr’s skepticism about the Russian attribution.

      “Saying it does not make it true,” he told me. “They have to provide proof. . . So let’s see the evidence

      http://harpers.org/archive/2016/12/the-new-red-scare/1/

      ————————

      There doesn’t appear to be any evidence.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        December 13, 2016, 10:36 pm

        Regarding supposed evidence for Russian hacking, let’s take a look back at the critical statement from Jim Clapper, the head of the DNI.

        [Keep in mind that Clapper was previously busted for perjuring himself in testimony to Congress:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_R._Clapper#False_testimony_to_Congress_on_NSA_surveillance_programs
        http://www.hasjamesclapperbeenindictedyet.com/ ]

        ——————

        Joint Statement from the Department Of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security Release Date: October 7, 2016

        The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts.

        These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow—the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities. [emphasis added]

        So the “evidence” against Russia boils down to these arguments:

        1) The hacking methods were consistent with Russian methods.
        2) Russia had a motive to do the hacking.
        3) The hacking was such a “sensitive” effort that senior Russian officials must have authorized it.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        December 13, 2016, 10:43 pm

        The hacking methods were consistent with Russian methods.

        This is an incredibly weak argument. Are there some specifically Russian methods of hacking emails? It certainly doesn’t seem like it, and that has never been demonstrated.

        If standard, well-known, widely-used hacking methods were employed, then the consistent with Russian methods argument is completely meaningless and constitutes no evidence whatsoever for Russian involvement.

        So, what were the highly sophisticated methods used?

        Well, now we learn that:

        An obvious phishing scam and a hasty email allowed hackers into campaign chair John Podesta’s inbox.

        […]John Podesta, saw a warning email in his inbox back in March, claiming to be from Google. Podesta needed to change his Gmail password immediately, the email said.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hillary-clinton-typo_us_58505fe4e4b0e411bfd415e2

        So an “obvious” phishing email of the most basic sort requesting Podesta change his password—that’s “consistent” with the supposedly highly sophisticated Russian methods we’ve been told about over and over?

        No, the “consistency” argument fails completely.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        December 13, 2016, 10:52 pm

        Russia had a motive to do the hacking

        This is the basis for an incredibly weak cui bono argument:

        * Trump gained from the email hacking.
        * Russia gained from Trump’s election.
        * Therefore, Russia was responsible for the email hacking.

        The conclusion, of course, does not logically follow. There are many other individuals and groups that might have been motivated to do the hacking. Assange himself had a motive. Hillary Clinton had many enemies. There are legions of hackers who would have loved to get the emails. The fact that Russia may have gained from it is NOT proof that the Russian government actually did it, merely grounds for suspicion.

        And yet Clapper & Co don’t merely report reasonable suspicions, they jump straight to a guilty verdict.

      • Keith
        Keith
        December 14, 2016, 3:15 pm

        SIBIRIAK- “2) Russia had a motive to do the hacking.”

        Notice how the CIA and MSM assume that a motive for hacking is the same as a motive for providing the emails to WIKILEAKS. These are two different issues. Multiple people may have hacked these unsecured emails to gather intelligence. What would be Russia’s motive for releasing these emails to WIKILEAKS? Has WIKILEAKS ever published hacked information or has it always been LEAKED information from whistle blowers? Is there solid evidence that the WIKILEAKS email dumps significantly effected the results of the election? I seriously doubt that Russia would incur the wrath of empire without more substantial odds of success. I doubt that the WIKILEAKS email dumps had significant impact but have been unable to find specific data dealing with this. Notice, also, how the CIA/MSM have conflated emails with Russia. The more serious email issue was the FBI investigation into Clinton’s improper and potentially illegal use of a private server. Right now it would appear that the CIA is interfering with the US election.

        As an aside, I recommend “The CIA As Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America And The World,” by Douglas Valentine, which I am now reading.

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak
      December 10, 2016, 8:44 pm

      Annie Robbins: “blocked” huh?
      ————————–

      Yes, I often get blocked by:

      Sucuri WebSite Firewall – CloudProxy – Access Denied
      —–
      Block reason: Exploit attempt denied.

      I’ve emailed both CloudProxy and MW multiple times to no avail.

      I’ve figured out a few workarounds, but they don’t always work.

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak
      December 12, 2016, 1:07 pm

      Annie Robbins: Anyway, it’s being met with lots of pushback all over the net.

      —————

      Yes, some pushback –against an overwhelming tsunami.

      Former Acting CIA Director Calls Russian Interference In Election ‘The Political Equivalent Of 9/11’

      “A foreign government messing around in our elections is, I think, an existential threat to our way of life,” he said.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mike-morell-russia-election-hacking_us_584eb2cde4b0bd9c3dfd73cc

      The equivalent of 9/11?? Think about the implications of that!
      ———–

      [Annie Robbins:] i think it’s a plot to scare up a furry and influence the electoral college to vote for hillary instead.

      It’s much bigger than that, bigger than the Democrats looking for a scapegoat, bigger than a partisan attempt to delegitimize Trump.

      This is deep state pushback against and a possible Trump-led detente with Russia . And more than that: the CIA may be taking the momentary lead (infuriated by the recent Russian/Syrian victory in Aleppo, no doubt), but this is a preemptive war waged by the entire transnational political/military Establishment against an existential threat to their world order.

      And it seems huge numbers of liberals and progressives are willing to jump on the bandwagon– anything to hurt Trump, by any means necessary.

      • annie
        annie
        December 12, 2016, 2:31 pm

        i agree it’s an overwhelming tsunami launched by the dem/neocon juggernaut in harmony with the msm. i just don’t think it’s going to be received (psychologically) by the american public as if we were back in the cold war era. i think they’re trying to make a big enough imprint on the election so the meme sticks in the same way the meme of the 2000 election w/ bush/gore will go down in history.

        i think the whole war on terror and the neocon control of the ME which has been a decades long competition is at risk of unraveling. the neocon chattering class in DC, what obama called the ‘washington playbook’ in goldberg’s ‘obama is responsible for US no longer being a superpower because he didn’t bomb syria’ article — is being dismantled and they are not going down without a fight.

        americans are sick of the neocons. it’s a very big reason why hillary lost, if not the primary reason then a serious contributing factor. they’ve been ruling to roost in dc for too long and need to be taken down.

        and yes, while i agree “huge numbers of liberals and progressives are willing to jump on the bandwagon” huge numbers on the left are not jumping — at all.

        there’s a competition between the FBI and the CIA over this claim. the fbi is not jumping: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/12/what-are-the-hearsay-leaks-about-russian-election-hacking-attempting-to-achieve.html

  10. lysias
    lysias
    December 11, 2016, 9:42 am

    Even if Russia tried to influence and succeeded in influencing the U.S. election, what’s wrong with that? It’s not as if the U.S. has never influenced foreign elections.

    Since a Hillary victory threatened to bring about a war between the U.S. and Russia, it seems to me it would have been quite reasonable for Russia to try to prevent that outcome.

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