Friday, February 22, 2019

Cogent fantasy

"How the Russiagate Hoax Has Led to the ‘Sovietization of America’" (Cohen):
"Soviet authorities, through the KGB, regularly charged and punished dissidents and other unacceptably independent citizens with linguistic versions of “collusion” and “contacts” with foreigners, particularly Americans. (Having inadvertently been the American in several cases, I can testify that the “contacts” were entirely casual, professional, or otherwise innocent.) Is something similar under way here? As the former prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy has pointed out, to make allegations of Trump associates’ “collusion” is to question “everyone who had interacted with Russia in the last quarter-century.” In my case and those of not a few scholarly colleagues, it would mean in the last half-century, or nearly. Nor is this practice merely hypothetical or abstract.
The US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence recently sent a letter to an American professor and public intellectual demanding that this person turn over “all communications [since January 2015] with Russian media organizations, their employees, representatives, or associates,” with “Russian persons or business interests,” “with or about US political campaigns or entities relating to Russia,” and “related to travel to Russia, and/or meetings, or discussions, or interactions that occurred during such travel.” We do not know how many such letters the Committee has sent, but this is not the only one. If this is not an un-American political inquisition, it is hard to say what would be. (It was also a common Soviet practice, though such “documents” were usually obtained by sudden police raids, of which there have recently been at least two in our own country, both related to Russiagate.)
In this connection, Soviet authorities also regularly practiced selective prosecution, which is persecution intended to send a chilling signal to other would-be offenders. For example, in 1965, Andrei Sinyavsky and Yuli Daniel were arrested for publishing their literary writings abroad under pseudonyms, an emerging practice the Kremlin wanted to stop. And in 1972, an important dissident figure, Pytor Yakir, was held in solitary confinement until he “broke” and signed a “confession,” even naming some of his associates, which greatly demoralized the dissident movement. Paul Manafort is no American dissident, literary or otherwise, and he well may be guilty of the financial misdeeds and tax evasion as charged. But he is facing, at nearly age 70, in effect a life sentence in prison and, through fines imposed, the bankruptcy of his family. We may reasonably ask: Is this selective prosecution/persecution? How many other hired US political operatives in foreign countries in recent years have been so audited and onerously prosecuted? Or has Manafort been singled out because he was once Trump’s campaign manager? We may also ask why a young Russian woman living in Washington, Maria Butina, was arrested and kept in solitary confinement until she confessed – that is, pleaded guilty. (She is still in prison.) Her offense? Publicly extolling the virtues of her native Russian government and advocating détente-like relations between Washington and Moscow without having registered as a foreign agent. Americans living in Russia frequently do the same on behalf of their country. Certainly, I have often done so. Are patriotism and promoting détente as an alternative to the new and more dangerous Cold War now a crime in the United States, or is the selective prosecution of Butina a response to Trump’s call for “cooperation with Russia”?
Now we have an even more alarming Soviet-like practice. Former acting head of the FBI  Andrew McCabe tells us that in 2017, he and other high officials discussed a way to remove President Trump from office. As Alan Dershowitz, a professor of constitutional law, remarked, they had in mind an “attempted coup d’état.” Which may remind students of Soviet history that two of its leaders were targets of a bureaucratic or administrative “coup”- Nikita Khrushchev twice, in 1957 and 1964, the latter being successful; and Gorbachev in August 1991, though perhaps several other plots against him may still be unknown. Khrushchev and Gorbachev were disruptors of the bureaucratic status quo and its entrenched interests – very much unlike President Trump, but disruptors nonetheless.
Finally, at least for now, there is the role media censorship played in Soviet repression. To a knowing reader who could read “between the lines,” the Soviet press actually provided a lot of usable information. Equally important, though, was what it excluded as taboo—particularly news and other information that undermined the official narrative of current and historical events. (All this ended with Gorbachev’s introduction of glasnost in the late 1980s.) In the era of Russiagate, American mainstream media are practicing at least partial censorship by systematically excluding voices and other sources that directly challenge their orthodox narrative. There are many such malpractices in leading newspapers and on influential television programs, but they are the subject of another commentary."
"FBI Official Admits To Infiltrating Trump Campaign - Just Don't Call It Spying" (Durden:
"Halper's former father-in-law was Ray Cline, former Deputy Director of the CIA. He also allegedly spied on the Carter administration - collecting information on foreign policy (an account disputed by Ray Cline)."
and:
"Halper's involvement in surveilling the Trump campaign was exposed by the Daily Caller's Chuck Ross, who reported that the 74-year-old spook was enlisted by the FBI to befriend and spy on three members of the Trump campaign during the 2016 US election.
Halper received a DoD contract from the Obama administration for $411,575 - made in two payments, and had a start date of September 26, 2016 - three days after a September 23 Yahoo! News article by Michael Isikoff about Trump aide Carter Page, which used information fed to Isikoff by "pissgate" dossier creator Christopher Steele. The FBI would use the Yahoo! article along with the unverified "pissgate" dossier as supporting evidence in an FISA warrant application for Page."
and:
"Halper approached Page during an election-themed conference at Cambridge on July 11, 2016, six weeks after the September 26 DoD award start date. The two would stay in contact for the next 14 months, frequently meeting and exchanging emails.
He said that he first encountered the informant during a conference in mid-July of 2016 and that they stayed in touch. The two later met several times in the Washington area. Mr. Page said their interactions were benign. -New York Times
And as the Daily Caller reports, Halper used a decades-old association with Paul Manafort to break the ice with Page.
In September 2016, the FBI would send Halper to further probe Trump aide George Papadopoulos on an allegation he made that Russia had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton. According to Papadopoulos in an interview with Dan Bongino, Halper angrily accused him of working with Russia before storming out of a meeting.
Halper essentially began interrogating Papadopoulos, saying that it’s “obviously in your interest to be working with the Russians” and to “hack emails.” “You’re complicit with Russia in this, isn’t that right George” Halper told him. Halper also inquired about Hillary’s hacked emails, insinuating that Papadopoulos possessed them. Papadopoulos denied knowing anything about this and asked to be left alone. -Bongino.com"
"The FBI’s Coup Attempt Failed" (Van Buren).

Tweet (Glenn Greenwald):
"There's already an effort underway to assure confused Dem partisans that the end of the Mueller investigation means nothing: oh, don't worry, Adam Schiff will take care of it. The SDNY will get them all. At least that's cogent fantasy. Insinuating Mueller was silenced is lunacy."
Greenwald versus emptywheel (who I think is the undisputed winner of the lost reputation sweepstakes - she literally sounds insane).

Post Mueller, perhaps we can get to the real Russia collusion treason:  "Solomon: Evidence Mounts Of Democrats' Collusion With Russia".
blog comments powered by Disqus