Russiagate is so weird. I went weeks without writing anything about it so I’d forgotten how breathtakingly bizarre it is. A new “BOMBSHELL” Russia story comes out every few hours (all coincidentally right before or right after the Helsinki summit, which is perfectly normal and not at all suspicious), never containing anything other than unsubstantiated assertions by the known liars and manipulators of the US intelligence community. And every time without fail my social media mentions light up with another wave of people screaming “Okay, now you definitely have to admit this is real, Caitlin Johnstone!”
If you point out that no, those are still just unsubstantiated assertions from the same secretive, shady cast of characters who’ve recently organized the decimation of Iraq, Libya and Syria based on lies, you get called a “bot” and accused of conducting psyops for the Kremlin.
“But read the indictment!” they say. “These assertions are really, really detailed!”
“Okay, but they’re still just assertions though, and they’re still completely unsubstantiated by any actual, tangible evidence,” you might say. “Detailed assertions are still just assertions. Assertions are not evidence. You don’t think two years is enough time to make up some detailed assertions?”
“Bot,” they say.
“Gahhh” you say.
Two huge “Russia! Russia!” stories dropped right before the summit, putting immense pressure on Trump, and afterward there’s another deluge of completely different “Russia! Russia!” stories. Pure spontaneous, unscheduled coincidence that this is all coming out now, I’m sure. https://t.co/8s31n59hd5
— Caitlin Johnstone (@caitoz) July 19, 2018
I mean, I get it. The mass media is bashing people in the face with this thing over and over and over again day after day with unprecedented shrillness and hyperbole; it’s hard to imagine that not taking a toll on the American psyche. There’s immense pressure to conform to the establishment narrative, which is reinforced not just by one’s social media feeds and the talking heads on TV, but more importantly by their own peers. It’s difficult being the odd man out still demanding the kind of proof everyone should demand in a post-Iraq invasion world, especially after the hysterical McCarthyite feeding frenzy environment gets people eyeing you suspiciously for it. It can be very tempting to say a quiet “Eh, screw it” and join the herd.
A New York Times story was published that got my social media notifications lighting up with another wave of people screaming “Proof! Here is your proof, Caitlin! Now you must join us!” The story alleges that in a briefing before taking office, Donald Trump was shown documents proving that Russians had launched a campaign of cyberattacks under the personal direction of Vladimir Putin. As we have all come to expect of New York Times stories pertaining to Trump and Russia, it is anonymously sourced, contains none of the documents it refers to, and was probably leaked by the Obama administration intelligence community insiders who gave the briefing.
So of course I was dismissive. Anonymous assertions aren’t evidence either, which should really go without saying. But then those notifications lit up again as people stated saying “Look! It’s not anonymous anymore! James Clapper has personally verified it on CNN! #TrumpKnew!”
Oh. Right. Clapper. Yeah, that’s much better.
James Clapper, who was almost certainly one of the sources for the New York Times story, was the single most essential architect of the establishment Russia narrative. He personally hand-picked the two dozen intelligence agents who made the report upon which the entire Russian cyber attack narrative has been built, which, as the late, great Robert Parry pointed out last year, is actually hand-picking the findings of the report.
“Yet, as any intelligence expert will tell you, if you ‘hand-pick’ the analysts, you are really hand-picking the conclusion,” Parry wrote. “For instance, if the analysts were known to be hard-liners on Russia or supporters of Hillary Clinton, they could be expected to deliver the one-sided report that they did.”
Clapper is also a known liar of the very most egregious sort. In 2013 as National Director of Intelligence he was asked point-blank on the Senate floor about the NSA surveillance practices which would soon be exposed by Edward Snowden, and he lied about it under oath.
“Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Clapper was asked by Senator Ron Wyden in March of 2013.
“No, sir,” Clapper brazenly lied. “There are cases where they could inadvertently, perhaps, collect, but not wittingly.”
This known liar, who was absolutely fundamental in constructing the establishment Russia narrative that is now being used to manufacture support for dangerous new cold war escalations including sanctions, arming Ukraine, NATO expansionism, and a Nuclear Posture Review which takes a much more aggressive posture toward Russia, also happens to be a disgusting Russophobic eugenicist pig.
“And just the historical practices of the Russians, who typically, are almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique,” Clapper casually told NBC’s Chuck Todd last year while explaining why Russians are so dangerous. “So, we were concerned.”
“Genetically driven.” He actually said that. Can you imagine anyone getting away with saying any other ethnic group is “genetically driven” to nefarious behavior on national television without it being a huge, career-ruining scandal? Try to think of literally any other ethnic group for whom that would have been remotely acceptable. But it was such a non-story for the mass media machine that you probably never even heard about it.
In case you’re tempted to give him the benefit of the doubt and wonder if this was perhaps an Ambien-induced fluke or something, he said almost the same thing again a few days later during a speech in Australia.
“But as far as our being intimate allies, trusting buds with the Russians that is just not going to happen,” Clapper said. “It is in their genes to be opposed, diametrically opposed to the United States and to Western democracies.”
In their genes. This vile ghoul of a man now works for CNN. They trot him out whenever there’s something people need to know about Russians.
These are the kinds of people who have built and continue to build the establishment Russia narrative. And people wonder why I’m skeptical. I’ll leave it at that.