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Ilhan Omar’s case for foreign influence is more convincing than Mueller’s

Media Analysis
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The Russians interfered in the 2016 elections, no doubt about it; yet the case that they made a difference in the outcome is slender. The Facebook ads they ran were absurd, a drop in a bucket of slop. As for the fabled 70,000 voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin who gave the election to Trump, they were surely influenced by other factors more than the Russians. For starters, Hillary Clinton’s failure to visit the midwest and her record as a warmonger in war-scarred states leap out as more significant issues.

Then there’s Wikileaks. We all remember Trump’s bluster about it, but tell me one memorable revelation from the Wikileaks disclosures from the Democratic National Committee. All the revelations I recall were about Israel’s role in the Clinton campaign: Clinton’s assurances that she’d fix the relationship with Netanyahu, Netanyahu’s advice to Clinton to attack, attack, attack the boycott campaign, and Clinton’s promises to the organized Jewish community aimed at maintaining Haim Saban’s support. It’s hard to imagine these revelations affected many votes, but they have the merit of being true and important, information voters ought to have. Like the Access Hollywood tape.

Which brings us to Ilhan Omar’s case for foreign influence. In February the first term congresswoman from Minnesota marveled at/deplored such influence: “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.” Omar was plainly referrring to the role of the Israel lobby in US political life. She said nothing about Jews. But she has reaped the whirlwind: denounced for allegedly expressing anti-semitic statements by everyone from the Democratic Party leadership to the New York Times and Jake Tapper, because she dared to criticize the role of the lobby in policymaking.

But who has influence? The House of Representatives just passed by an overwhelming margin a resolution championed by AIPAC that denounced the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting Israel as a bigoted undertaking based on “principles of collective guilt, mass punishment, and group isolation.”

This is just what Netanyahu told Hillary Clinton the U.S. should do, three years ago, per Wikileaks. when Hillary was promising AIPAC that she would take the US-Israel relationship to the “next level.” Netanyahu told a Clinton aide:

“On BDS, Israel should move from the defense to the offense. It should be attacked on moral grounds. It is ‘unjust’ and ‘cruel.’ Israel must attack its attackers. The best defense is a good offense: ‘attack, attack, attack.’”

Twenty-seven states have passed anti-BDS legislation. And yesterday after the House passed its resolution— which said that US relations with Israel should only get stronger — Netanyahu promptly celebrated the American government’s dedication to his country. Remember this is the leader who once bragged that “America is a thing you can move very easily.” At that time Netanyahu also urged Congress to invade Iraq.  Netanyahu assured Congress that Saddam was trying to get nuclear weapons, and great things would come of a war:

If you take out Saddam, Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region

AIPAC also pushed that war.

Of course no one talks about Israel’s influence. That’s verboten. You get labeled an anti-semite for endorsing a theory of international Jewish influence, an “ancient trope” of Jew hatred, as the New York Times says virtually every time it mentions Ilhan Omar.

So we are supposed to ignore the fact that Donald Trump’s biggest contributor, who owns an Israeli newspaper and says he wished he’d been in the Israeli army not the US one, called for the embassy move to Jerusalem, the withdrawal from the Iran deal, and the hiring of John Bolton. Sheldon Adelson has more power than the secretary of state

Democrats are also desperate to hold on to pro-Israel donors, notably Haim Saban, who was born in Egypt, raised in Israel, and is an ardent Zionist.

“Gosh, imagine the Russians having the power over Congress that the lobby has,” Donald Johnson writes to me. “Imagine a wildly lopsided Congressional vote condemning a grassroots campaign for human rights in Russia. Trump, contrary to liberal fantasies, has done things that Putin doesn’t want, including opposing a pipeline to Germany from Russia. He has given Israel almost everything it wants except an actual US war against Iran.”

Both political parties are anti-Russia. But if you’re anti-Israel it’s political death. That explains the pressure brought to bear on progressive Democrats to support the anti-BDS legislation. Ro Khanna and Ayanna Pressley were surely told that if they opposed the anti-boycott resolution they were playing into the hands of Donald Trump in 2020. Because he is going to continue to say that the Democrats are anti-Israel so as to peel away Zionist supporters.

Khanna and Pressley’s efforts to justify their support for Israel on social media have been flimsy. Pressley cited her “solidarity” with Jewish families:

What I heard resounding in community was that voting yes on this resolution affirmed to my constituents raised in the Jewish faith Israel’s right to exist…

Pressley’s collapse reminded me of what Barney Frank, the former congressman from a neighboring Boston-area district, once told the anti-occupation activist Jeff Halper after a tour of the settlements gobbling up East Jerusalem and destroying any idea of Palestinian sovereignty. Halper says Frank challenged him:

“Bring me the names of 5000 Jews in my district that support you… If you can’t do that…. I’m not going to commit political suicide for the sake of the Palestinians… “

Ayanna Pressley stuck with that pro-Israel Jewish community this week.

The tragedy is that there is still no real force in American politics for Palestinian human rights. Politicians are allowed to say the most racist things about Palestinians, and the media can run endless justifications for massacring unarmed Palestinian demonstrators, and– there are no consequences. No, you only get ahead that way…


Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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31 Responses

  1. Donald on July 25, 2019, 3:21 pm

    I agree with all of this, I think, except for one thing—

    “We all remember Trump’s bluster about it, but tell me one memorable revelation from the Wikileaks disclosures from the Democratic National Committee. ”

    If my memory is right, we found out that the DNC was doing what it could to ensure Clinton beat Sanders. Now that revelation genuinely could have made a difference in November if some Sanders voters refused to vote for Clinton.

    That said, I think that is the sort of thing we should know about. If the information wasn’t hacked then it should have been leaked.

    The Democrats were embarrassed, so they made it about the source of leak rather than what we found out, including about Saban. And they succeeded. The mainstream press never talks anymore about what Wikileaks exposed, only about the evil Russians.

    ( And some people question whether the Russians did the hacking, but I don’t know enough to have an opinion about the technical arguments.)

  2. JWalters on July 25, 2019, 5:52 pm

    Thanks for this excellent run-down of Israel’s influence on America’s elections and policies. (Though only the tip of the iceberg can be covered in a single article).

    I encourage all MW readers to link to this article at other news outlets, especially mainstream media news outlets. We MUST inform MSM news consumers that their favorite MSM sources are withholding key information about the predatory control of their democracy, war and peace, and life and death.

  3. Elizabeth Block on July 26, 2019, 9:06 am

    Same in Canada: it’s still political suicide to say anything against Israel. The best we can hope for from progressive politicians is silence. And the occasional defence of freedom of speech, re the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.

    • Misterioso on July 26, 2019, 10:32 am

      @Elizabeth Block, et al

      A friend sent me this article by Canadian commentator, Yves Engler. He notes that Elizabeth May, anti-BDS leader of Canada’s Green Party, has chosen to ignore the fact that as determined by poll after poll, the majority of Canadians support the Palestinians, not Israel. She has also jumped in bed with ultra-Zionist Irwin Cotler, Justice Minister in a former Liberal government, and is downplaying the fact that pro-Palestinian, Paul Manly, just won an important election for the Green Party.

      MAY 14, 2019
      “Green leader May supports same old pro-imperialist foreign policies”

      “Does Elizabeth May hate Palestinians? Does the Green Party leader want the Trump administration to attack Iran?…”

      “I’ve been asking myself these questions since reading a Canadian Jewish News story about Paul Manly’s recent victory in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith bi-election. In a story titled ‘Concerns raised over new Green MP’s views on BDS’ May strongly implies that the Palestinian civil society-led Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement is racist. ‘We have nothing to do with BDS,’ May is quoted as saying. ‘We repealed it. We are not a party that condones BDS. We would never tolerate anybody in our party who violates our core values, who are anti-Semitic.’

      “May is seeking to downplay the significance of Manly’s election to anti-Palestinian forces, particularly within the NDP. Only the second MP ever elected under the Green banner, Manly was blocked from running for the NDP in the 2015 federal election because he defended his father (a former NDP MP) after Israel detained him as he sought to break the illegal blockade of Gaza.

      “In the CJN interview May also appears to boast that she forced the party to spend $100,000 to overturn an August 2016 convention resolution in which members voted for ‘the use of divestment, boycott and sanctions (BDS) that are targeted to those sectors of Israel’s economy and society which profit from the ongoing occupation of the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territories].’ In response to the clearly stated will of party members, May threatened to resign if the party didn’t revisit the issue and then announced that a special general meeting would be held four months later to discuss the party’s stance on Palestine.

      “She then fired three members of her shadow cabinet for defending the party’s new Palestine policy from attacks by the head of the British Columbia Greens. Before what was shaping up to be an embarrassing defeat, May endorsed a compromise resolution at the special convention that dropped the BDS formulation in favour of support for ‘economic measures such as government sanctions, consumer boycotts, institutional divestment, economic sanctions and arms embargoes’ while simultaneously endorsing all three (versus just one in the initial resolution) goals of the BDS movement (‘Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall; ‘Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality;’ Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.’)

      “As May besmirched Palestinian civil society’s call for international solidarity, the Green leader stood with those pushing for war on Iran. Last week May attended a press conference organized by Irwin Cotler calling on Canada to impose sanctions on 19 Iranian officials and to follow the Trump administration in listing the country’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. May’s support for ramping up Canadian hostility towards Tehran takes place amidst increasingly bellicose moves by Washington that could lead to a war on Iran.

      “The press conference in Ottawa was part of parliament’s Iran Accountability Week, which Cotler established in 2012. May has participated in previous Iran Accountability Weeks alongside individuals such as Mark Dubowitz who Ynet, Israel’s largest English language news site, dubbed ‘The Man Who Fights Iran.’ But, when current and former Green Party candidates organized a 2010 conference on a ‘just and sustainable peace’ in Iran May told Postmedia it should be ‘canceled’ because it was ‘unbalanced.’

      “May is a regular at events led by Cotler who has devoted much of his career to defending Israeli human rights violations. (His wife, Ariela Zeevi, was a ‘close confidant’ of Likud founder Menachem Begin when the arch anti-Palestinian party was established to counter Labour’s dominance of Israeli politics. His daughters were part of the Israeli military and one of them ran in Israel’s recent election.) The Green leader is part of the Cotler-led Raoul Wallenberg All-Party Parliamentary Caucus for Human Rights and in 2014 she tweeted, ‘honouring Irwin Cotler, with Raoul Wallenberg Award. Tributes from John Baird, Justin Trudeau, Murray Rankin and me.'”

  4. echinococcus on July 27, 2019, 7:44 am

    “The Russians interfered in the 2016 elections, no doubt about it…”

    My, my, my!

    “The” Russians, eh?
    This, coming from a Philip Weiss who zips you dead before you finish saying “«The» Jews did this and that!”

    Is this your entry ticket to Russiagater electioneering?
    Let’s hear it, Mister Weiss. What do you mean by “interference”, exactly?
    What do you mean by “The Яussians”? Precise wording, please. Let’s hear it!

    • Keith on July 27, 2019, 11:27 am

      ECHINOCOCCUS- “What do you mean by “interference”, exactly?”

      Your point has much broader significance than most folks realize. In globalized capitalism, attempting to influence the imperial government is normal. Why is a Japanese or British corporation different from a foreign government? Billions of dollars are routinely spent annually to influence the US government if the INVESTMENT is deemed cost effective. The Russian economy is relatively small (less than Britain, France, etc). Their ability to make any significant impact versus the financial clout of those who profit from demonizing Russia is virtually nil. Money spent would be a poor investment and a waste of scarce resources. The notion that Russia could steal Trump’s affection away from Robert Mercer, Sheldon Adelson, et al, is ludicrous. My main point is that those talking about “interference” don’t understand capitalism. The system is INTENDED to be influenced by those with the resources to do so.

      • echinococcus on July 27, 2019, 11:44 am


        In fact, it’s even worse than that. All the rants published until now show that, for the Democrat-CIA alliance, “interference in elections” means also the raising of any protest against the class oppression within, and war of aggression by, the US Zionist Empire. As used unashamedly by “left” Dims.

      • Donald on July 27, 2019, 11:48 am

        This is what the Russiagate hysterics either don’t understand or pretend not to understand. Even if everything said about Russian “ meddling” really turned out to be true , it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the lies and half truths that corporations and billionaires and other governments spread. We’ve spend decades, for instance, listening to people paid to deny climate science. That’s normal. It’s how the system works. And I hate that term “ our democracy”. Whose democracy? As if we had this working system where ordinary people were presented with a clear factual view of the issues and possible policy choices and a wide range of options to choose from.

      • echinococcus on July 27, 2019, 12:06 pm

        P.S. In fact, this Russiagate interference hoax is an open invitation, by the Democrat Party, no less, to make any anti-imperialist speech prosecutable as espionage.

      • Mooser on July 27, 2019, 3:12 pm

        There’s so much wrong with the world, why should Trump’s campaign have to follow US election laws?

      • echinococcus on July 27, 2019, 6:17 pm

        Mr Mooser and Mr Mueller still have to prove there is any crime involved here… better start by exactly defining the crime.
        It would be such a pity to have our multisecular snow-white virginity suddenly soiled by a latecomer.

      • Donald on July 27, 2019, 7:10 pm

        Mooser, there is so much wrong with Trump, why would people focus on this trivia?

        I will answer my own question. Focusing on Trump and the Russians puts the focus on a foreign country our elites want us to hate. It justifies spending more money on weapons and security. It tells us that our system is basically good except for the fact that our evil enemy’s attempts to corrupt and divide us. Pretty much what McCarthyites always say.

        Personally, to the extent that I care about Russiagate at all, I would like to see an investigation of the investigation. Both sides seem corrupt. Unlike you apparently, I don’t assume one can trust the intelligence agencies or the DNC or a former (?) British spy.

      • Mooser on July 27, 2019, 8:48 pm

        “Mooser, there is so much wrong with Trump, why would people focus on this trivia?”

        With an impeachment inquiry opening, there will be a place for all the evidence, not just the Muller Report, to get focused on.

        But I understand your permissive attitude. It’s not as if Trump threatens you in any way.

      • Keith on July 28, 2019, 12:33 am

        DONALD- “Focusing on Trump and the Russians puts the focus on a foreign country our elites want us to hate.”

        Right on, Donald! Worse than that, it indicates that Russia is the PRIMARY target, Trump a means to an end. Mooser, however, is a Democratic loyalist to the core. He will distort reality in support of Democratic warmongering. I am all for impeaching Trump as long as it isn’t based upon Russiagate BS. Of course, that is an impossibility, isn’t it? The Deep State needs Russia as a villain and Mooser is there to serve! The party of Clinton! (FDR was a commie, wasn’t he?)

      • Donald on July 28, 2019, 12:36 pm

        “The Deep State needs Russia as a villain and Mooser is there to serve! The party of Clinton! (FDR was a commie, wasn’t he?)”

        I don’t actually understand Mooser on this subject. I think he voted for Clinton. So did I, because I accept the lesser evil logic. But the centrist liberal Democrats (of which Clinton is a good example) are a big part of what is wrong with our politics. They have been the gatekeepers preventing any serious discussion of real change in both domestic and foreign policy.

        And Russiagate , wherever the truth about it happens to be, obviously serves the purpose for centrist Democrats of distracting from their own failures. This was obvious right from the start. The Wikileaks revelations themselves disappeared from mainstream discussion, to be entirely replaced by outrage at Trump, Putin, and Assange. That was all quite deliberate. You expect that from elites. The weird thing was watching some ordinary Democrats going along with it.

      • Donald on July 28, 2019, 12:46 pm

        “I am all for impeaching Trump as long as it isn’t based upon Russiagate BS”

        Agreed. He can’t be impeached because there aren’t the votes, but he deserves it for several reasons, including open incitement of racial hatred and war crimes (though on the last one he doesn’t really differ from his predecessors).

        The obstruction one might be right and it would fit with our American tradition of going after Presidents for their smallest crimes. Nixon for Watergate, rather than for bombing Cambodia, for example

      • Mooser on July 28, 2019, 3:41 pm

        Well, it’s looking like President Trump is expected to nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) to replace Dan Coats as director of national intelligence, so you can count on investigations Russian influence and interference to be reduced to the level it deserves.

        You heard Rep. Ratcliffe’s questioning of Mueller?

      • Keith on July 28, 2019, 8:39 pm

        MOOSER- “You heard Rep. Ratcliffe’s questioning of Mueller?”

        A guy who seems befuddled and unsure of what is contained in his own report is your hero?

        “Although these Hoover successors, now occupying center stage in the investigation of President Trump, have been hailed for their impeccable character by much of Official Washington, the truth is, as top law enforcement officials of the George W. Bush Administration (Mueller as FBI Director and James Comey as Deputy Attorney General), both presided over post-9/11 cover-ups and secret abuses of the Constitution, enabled Bush-Cheney fabrications used to launch wrongful wars, and exhibited plain vanilla incompetence.” (Coleen Rowley)

      • Sibiriak on July 29, 2019, 2:19 am

        Mooser: …You heard Rep. Ratcliffe’s questioning of Mueller?

        Yes, just horrible. Suggesting that Mueller didn’t have the power to “exonerate” anyone! But we’ve seen Radcliffe in action before, so we already knew which team he was playing on:

        FBI debated whether Trump was ‘following directions’ of Russia, transcripts reveal

        […] The New York Times reported on Friday that the FBI opened a counterintelligence probe into whether Mr Trump could have been acting to benefit Moscow following the president’s decision to fire Mr Comey in 2017.

        Mr Baker’s testimony – and the testimony of former FBI lawyer Lisa Page – reveal the extent of concerns among top officials about possible obstruction of justice by the US president and the potential for Russia-related motives.

        The then-general counsel met with around half a dozen others, including then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, to discuss whether Mr Trump was “acting at the behest of and somehow following directions, somehow executing their will”.

        Mr Baker explained: “Not only would it be an issue of obstructing an investigation, but the obstruction itself would hurt our ability to figure out what the Russians had done, and that is what would be the threat to national security.

        “I’m speaking theoretically. If the president of the United States fired Jim Comey at the behest of the Russian government, that would be unlawful and unconstitutional,” he added.

        “Is that what happened here?” asked congressman John Ratcliffe , a Texas Republican.

        “I don’t know,” said Mr Baker

      • Sibiriak on July 29, 2019, 3:17 am

        Keith: A guy who seems befuddled and unsure…

        Signs of senility aside, the man did know when to keep his mouth shut:

        REP. JIM JORDAN, R-OH: Did you interview Mifsud?

        ROBERT MUELLER: Can’t get into that.

        JORDAN: Is Mifsud Western intelligence or Russian intelligence?

        MUELLER: Can’t get into that.

        JORDAN: A lot of things you can’t get into.

        (Mueller declined or deflected questions 198 times, according to an NBC count.)

      • Keith on July 29, 2019, 10:20 am

        SIBIRIAK- “(Mueller declined or deflected questions 198 times, according to an NBC count.)”

        This whole Trump/Putin “bromance” BS is fascinating. Nowhere does the press state the obvious that Trump is close primarily to Netanyahu who, in turn, has warm relations with Putin?

        “In effect Israel also has an unspoken and unofficial alliance with the Russian Federation, and we’ve seen this evolving, where Netanyahu has a personal relationship with Putin. I’m not passing any judgments; this is simply very factual. We have to understand they have a close personal relationship. We must also understand that many of the senior officers of the armed forces are from the former Soviet Union; they have families in the Russian Federation.” (Michel Chossudovsky)

        “One of the most enduring narratives pushed forth by the Alt-Media Community is that Russia is “allied” with Iran in spite of all the evidence suggesting that it’s actually much more closely aligned with “Israel” in an intimate strategic partnership that can best be described as “Putinyahu’s Rusrael“. (Andrew Korybko)

  5. Donald on July 28, 2019, 12:25 pm

    “But I understand your permissive attitude. It’s not as if Trump threatens you in any way.”

    It’s a sign of a weak case when you have to make stuff up.

    Trump threatens everyone in numerous ways, most of all with his climate policy, but also with his warmongering towards Iran. He really does do the bidding of the Saudis and the Israelis and the people who focus almost exclusively on Russia are trivializing the people who have real power and wield it in ways which are far more a threat to us than Putin is. Though if you guys have your way, we will have Cold War II, with Russia and China unified together by the irrational idiocies of both Trump and the self- styled Resistance. Wonderful. The real problem with Trump is that if you get past the media circus he and the Resistance enjoy so much, he has been aggressive towards both Russia and China. But I guess that doesn’t threaten you in any way. I don’t actually mean that last part about you. Just handing you back your own rhetoric.

    Why focus on Russia? First, because a new Cold War is big business. And second, because Russian meddling has almost zero to do with all the real threats we face. It distracts attention from the people in this country ( and in both parties) who are the real problem. But if people worry about hacking elections from any source, there is a simple solution. Paper ballots hand counted in public. And maybe have a press that people could trust.

    Just a few years ago it was only the Right that obsessed about Putin. Back in the civil rights era the Birchers said the commies were behind it all, stirring up trouble. Now it is mainstream liberals who sound like paranoid McCarthyite lunatics about Russian Facebook memes and give a pass to the corporations and their lackies in this country who have lied about global warming, terrorism, war crimes, Social Security, health care and just about every other issue. After all, we had a great democracy until the Russians divided us.

    • Citizen on July 28, 2019, 3:58 pm

      I await Mooser’s response.

    • Keith on July 28, 2019, 7:06 pm

      DONALD- “…there is so much wrong with Trump….”

      Donald, you don’t know the half of it and neither did I. I recently have become aware of a Mint Press investigation by Whitney Webb looking into the Jeffrey Epstein case and the long history of sexual entrapment and blackmail by the Mafia, FBI, CIA, Mossad, etc. It is unbelievable. And before anyone says “conspiracy theory,” those things I was aware of have been accurately portrayed. Things are much worse than I imagined and I usually imagine the worst. As Lily Tomlin said, no matter how cynical I become it is never enough to keep up. I provide a quote and link to part 2 of this investigation which has a link to part 1. For those who have the time I highly recommend this. This is what capitalist “democracy” looks like.

      Part III of this series will focus on the Mega Group and its ties to the network that has been described in Parts I and II. In addition, the role of the state of Israel, the Mossad, and several global pro-Israel lobby organizations will also be discussed in relation to this network of sexual blackmail operations and Jeffrey Epstein.

      It is here that the full breadth of the Epstein scandal comes into view. It is a criminal and unconscionable blackmail operation that has been run by influential figures, hidden in plain sight, for over half a century, exploiting and destroying the lives of untold numbers of children in the process. Over the years, it has grown many branches and spread well beyond the United States, as seen by the activity of Covenant House in Latin America and Epstein’s own international effort to recruit more girls to be abused and exploited.

      All of this has taken place with the full knowledge and blessing of top figures in the world of “philanthropy” and in the U.S. government and intelligence communities, with great influence over several presidential administrations, particularly since the rise of Ronald Reagan and continuing through to Donald Trump.” (Whitney Webb)

    • Sibiriak on July 29, 2019, 1:50 am

      Donald: “Now it is mainstream liberals who sound like paranoid McCarthyite lunatics…”

      Kamala Harris said that the backlash surrounding former San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick was “not a thing” until Russian bots “started taking it on.”

      Harris discussed Russian interference in the 2016 election during a radio interview with “The Breakfast Club” Friday. “They test out a couple of things to see what can get the American public going at each other, pointing fingers at each other,” Harris said. “Guess what gains the most heat? Race.”

      She then cited the controversial national debate surrounding Kaepernick’s choice to kneel during the national anthem. “Remember the heat that ended up around ‘bend the knee’ and Colin Kaepernick? Many smart people have said it actually was not a thing, the Russian bots started taking that on,” she said.

      Harris also added that she “already knows” that her campaign is being targeted by Russian bots now, and discussed ways for Americans to counter Russian bots on social media.

    • Sibiriak on August 1, 2019, 10:29 pm

      Fruits of Russiagate: more McCarthyite lunacy from Kamala Harris.

      Progressives Say Kamala Harris Team ‘Inventing Conspiracies’ About Tulsi Gabbard Rather Than Addressing Critiques

      Supporters of Sen. Kamala Harris’ run for the 2020 Democratic presidential primary nomination suggested Thursday that criticisms of Harris’ record as a prosecutor in California were being driven by a Russian disinformation plot, a theory that was met with ridicule from progressives.

      In Wednesday’s second primary debate on CNN, Harris faced tough questions on her record as San Francisco district attorney from 2004 to 2011 and California attorney general from 2011 to 2017 from Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii). In a blistering series of criticisms of Harris’ tenures, Gabbard accused Harris of not doing enough to change the brutality of the criminal justice system

      […]Harris after the debate dismissed Gabbard as an “Assad apologist,” a reference to the Hawaii congresswoman’s perceived coziness with Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

      […]It wasn’t just Syria. On Wednesday night, Harris’ campaign jumped to tie Gabbard and her campaign to a nebulously defined and unclear Russian conspiracy.

      “Reporters writing their stories with eyes on the modern-day assignment desk of Twitter, read this,” said Harris press secretary Ian Sams, sharing a February story from NBC News claiming that Russia is behind the Gabbard campaign.

      […] “The Russian propaganda machine that tried to influence the 2016 election is now promoting the presidential aspirations of a controversial Hawaii Democrat” — Ian Sams (@IanSams) August 1, 2019

      The NBC story was criticized at the time by The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald, who was skeptical of the sourcing:

      The only “expert” cited by NBC in support of its key claim was the firm New Knowledge, which just got caught by The New York Times fabricating Russian troll accounts on behalf of the Democratic Party in the Alabama Senate race to manufacture false accusations that the Kremlin was interfering in that election.

      Irrespective of the story’s validity, the idea that Gabbard’s criticisms of Harris were based in Russian disinformation caught fire Thursday, with a number of prominent Democrats and analysts for news network MSNBC piling on the attacks.

      “And what’s top story at RT (Russia Today) this morning after #DemDebate?” tweeted MSNBC contributor and senior fellow at the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington University Clint Watts. [ More on Clint Watts soon–Sibiriak]

      “Of course, what everyone saw right? Social media going wild for Tulsi Gabbard, populist, after she went after establishment Dem Harris who happens to be on Senate Intel Committee (Russia Investigation).”

      […]Not to be outdone, Richard Stengel, another MSNBC analyst who served as former President Barack Obama’s under secretary of State, implied in a tweet that Gabbard’s criticisms of Harris’ record were part of a deep-cover attack on Harris, who could be an undefined “threat” to Russian interests.

      This is a clear example of Russian disinformation happening in real time,” claimed Stengel. “A hashtag created and promoted by Russia Today against Kamala Harris & supporting Rep. Gabbard, who is an apologist for another Putin puppet, Bashar Assad.”

      “This is a sign that Harris is seen as a threat,” intoned Stengel.

      • Keith on August 2, 2019, 1:43 pm

        SIBIRIAK- “Fruits of Russiagate: more McCarthyite lunacy from Kamala Harris.”

        This lunacy even as the real hackers of our pathetic “democracy” are in action against Gabbard:

        “Google has used its control over online political speech to silence Tulsi Gabbard, a candidate millions of Americans want to hear from. With this lawsuit, Tulsi seeks to stop Google from further intermeddling in the 2020 United States Presidential Election….. Google plays favorites, with no warning, no transparency – and no accountability (until now).” (p. 2)

        “On June 28, 2019 – at the height of Gabbard’s popularity among internet researchers in the immediate hours after the debate ended, and in the thick of the critical post-debate period… Google suspended Tulsi’s Google Ads account without warning.” (p. 3)
        “In 2016, biased search results generated by Google’s search algorithm likely impacted undecided voters in a way that gave at least 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton”. (Epstein notes that he supported Clinton.)”
        (Rick Sterling)

      • Keith on August 2, 2019, 4:12 pm

        SIBIRIAK- Fruits of Russiagate: more McCarthyite lunacy from Kamala Harris.”

        For some reason, the DNC stupidly sued Wikileaks for interfering in the US election. Apparently, there is still at least some integrity in the US judicial system as the judge dismissed the suit for lack of evidence, noting that allegations were not facts.

        “Judge Koeltl said the DNC’s argument that Assange and WikiLeaks “conspired with the Russian Federation to steal and disseminate the DNC’s materials” is “entirely divorced from the facts.” The judge further ruled that the court “is not required to accept conclusory allegations asserted as facts.” (Eric London)

      • Mooser on August 2, 2019, 6:12 pm

        I wonder, do you think it was Kamala Harris that caused Trump to pull out of the INF treaty?

      • Keith on August 2, 2019, 6:55 pm

        MOOSER- “I wonder, do you think it was Kamala Harris that caused Trump to pull out of the INF treaty?”

        Your point being what? Trump is a disaster. By all means go after Trump based upon what he actually does, not some bogus Russiagate crapolla. And going after Wikileaks and Julian Assange? You support that? Assange and Chelsea Manning are HEROES in my book. And Russiagate is less about Trump than trying to demonize Russia and Putin. Since you seem to be a Kamala Harrris fan, I provide a link to an article about her by Margaret Kimberely at the Black Agenda Report.

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