President Clinton had nothing to do with this tragedy, a fact that I imparted to my conservative source who was in touch with the makers of the list. Yet, several months later when an updated list was sent my way, the same "mystery" was still there.
In other words, the list creators were not interested in fairness toward Clinton or the merits of any one case. They understood that it was the cumulative number of cases that sent the desired propaganda message, building up a suspicion that Clinton was a murderer. Then, anyone who challenged the methodology and pointed to the absence of any real proof could be dismissed as a "Clinton apologist."
Stephanopoulos saw these tactics up close in the 1990s. I even met with him once at his White House office to discuss this pattern of right-wing conspiracy-mongering. But now he is practicing the same tactics against Putin and Trump.
The WMD Scam
In the early 2000s, a similar technique was used to trick the U.S. intelligence community into buying into the falsehoods about Iraq's Saddam Hussein hiding stockpiles of WMD and reviving a nuclear-weapons program. Then, it was a case of the Iraqi National Congress funneling a series of Iraqi "defectors" into the CIA with well-rehearsed tales about supposed first-hand knowledge of Hussein's trickery.
As at least 19 "defectors" walked in, the CIA analysts succeeded in debunking some of them, but the sheer number -- combined with heavy White House pressure to find "proof" of its WMD claims -- led the analysts to begin accepting the allegations as true. Only after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 did the CIA analysts realize that they had been had by an organized effort at fabrication. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Chalabi's Legacy of Lies."]
Given the U.S.-inflicted havoc on Iraq, Afghanistan and a wide variety of other countries -- including a large number of civilian deaths -- the rest of Stephanopoulos's tirade toward Trump on Sunday was instructive about other deep-seated biases of Official Washington and its compliant mainstream media.
Though a key principle of journalism is objectivity, Stephanopoulos made it clear that he was part of Official Washington's team, decrying Putin "when he backs our adversaries like [Syrian President] Bashar Assad, when he backs Iran, when he invades Ukraine." He then asked Trump, "Is it wise to be praising our adversaries and alienating our allies?"
Stephanopoulos added, "you said, 'I think our country does plenty of killing too.' What killing are you talking about there, ordered by the United States government?"
Trump answered: "Well, take a look at what we're doing in the Middle East. We went into Iraq. We shouldn't have. You know that I was opposed to going into Iraq many years ago. In 2003/2004 there were headlines in Reuters that Trump is opposed to the war, because you're going to destabilize the Middle East.
"I said, if you do this, you'll destabilize the Middle East and Iran will take over. Very simple, Iran will take over Iraq. That's exactly what's happening. And on top of that we have ISIS, which is another problem and another complicating factor. Now, we should have never gone into Iraq. When we left, we made a mistake.
"We made a big mistake with Libya. We've destabilized all these places. We now have a migration with thousands and hundreds of thousands and even millions of people that don't know where they're going. I mean it's a terrible thing. We have been run by incompetent people, incompetent politicians. They don't know -- and that's probably why I'm leading so high in the polls because people are tired of seeing very, very stupid and very, very incompetent people running our country into the ground.
"In the meantime, we owe $19 trillion, soon going to be $21 trillion and we better get our act together fast, George, because our country is going down if we don't."
In stunned disbelief, Stephanopoulos shot back with the old "moral equivalence" argument that was developed by CIA propagandists and neoconservatives during the Reagan administration to justify U.S.-backed slaughters in Central America and elsewhere: "Your comments seem to suggest some moral equivalence for the United States and Russia. Is that what you believe?"
Trump: "I'm not saying anything. I'm saying, when you say a man [Putin] has killed reporters, I'd like you to prove it. And I'm -- I'm saying it would be a terrible thing if it were true, but I have never seen any information or any proof that he killed reporters, George. You're just saying, he killed reporters. You and other people tell me he killed reporters. I don't know that he killed reporters. I haven't seen it. If he did, I think it's despicable. I think it would be horrible. But you're making these accusations and I don't -- I don't see any proof. And, by the way, he totally denies that he kills reporters. He totally denied it."
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