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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/23/18

Living In The Interesting Times Of The Russiagate Myth

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Living In The Interesting Times Of The Russiagate Myth

A year ago, July 24, 2017 to be exact, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS ) sent a memorandum to President Trump signed by 16 members representing a variety of intelligence organizations including military, NSA and CIA. The Memorandum begins with "Forensic studies of 'Russian hacking' into Democratic National Committee computers last year reveal that on July 5, 2016, data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computer. After examining metadata from the 'Guccifer 2.0' July 5, 2016 intrusion into the DNC server, independent cyber investigators have concluded that an insider copied DNC data onto an external storage device".

If the President missed it the first time, VIPS members Ray McGovern and William Binney resent it with some additional comments on Sunday, July 15 of this year, one day before Monday's Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki. Just two days prior to that, July 13, the Special Counsel investigating Russian "meddling" in the 2016 election had issued indictments for 12 Russian intelligence officers, a timing obviously damaging to the Summit. McGovern and Binney alluded to, among other things, the "scarcely imaginable" digital tools of the CIA's new Digital Directorate, specifically the cyber-tool "Marble Framework", used to "obfuscate" and capable of planting fake evidence of Russian hacking. This information was given to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo directly by Binney in October of 2017. It has also been sent to Special Counsel Robert Mueller and to the Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The credentials of McGovern and Binney are sterling. McGovern, a 27-year CIA analyst, was Chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and chaired intelligence estimates for the President's Daily Briefing. Binney, 30+ years with NSA, was a cryptanalyst directing military and geopolitical analysis who developed the information processing system known as "ThinThread". The authors report that independent expert analysis indicates the so-called "hack" could not possibly have come from Russia, because the speed of DNC data being copied exceeded Internet capability for a hack from such a distance. Rather, it had to have come from the eastern U.S. They explain why very clearly in the Memorandum. The story that Russians helped Trump win the 2016 election by hacking (through a character known as Guccifer 2.0) information on Hillary Clinton from the DNC's computers, and then making it available to Julian Assange of Wikileaks, is false. It is a fabrication. The phenomenon of "Russiagate", repeated over and over, 24/7, for months leading into years by every media outlet imaginable until one feels dizzy, is false. VIPS independent analyses indicate that Assange got the data from someone who downloaded directly from DNC computers. An insider who "leaked".

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The January 6, 2016 "Intelligence Assessment" blaming Putin for hacking is depicted by media as representing the opinion of the entire "Intelligence Community", which consists of 16 branches, 17 by some counts. It was actually written by a small number of handpicked individuals from only three: CIA, NSA and FBI. Moreover, the Assessment states only a "high confidence" of Russian involvement. No proof was offered, and none has been given since. And as McGovern and Binney write, "Handpicked analysts, of course, say what they are handpicked to say". Regarding intelligence personnel overall, Glenn Greenwald has discussed the history of U.S. intelligence error (e.g., Gulf of Tonkin, Iraq WMDs), its expertise at disinformation, the tendency to groupthink within its ranks, and the potential for threat to dissenters.

The word "treason" is thrown around a lot now as media and political figures strain to describe Trump as "Putin's puppet", "Putin's b*tch" and the like. But consider the fact that John Brennan, Director of the CIA in 2015 when the Digital Directorate was created, tweeted this on the day of the Summit: "Donald Trump's press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of 'high crimes & misdemeanors.' Not only were Trump's comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???." Think of it: He is asking Republican Patriots " what? Isn't that a call for overthrow in a time known for violence? Here we see a recent CIA head making such a call on a sitting President working on a foreign policy. And that's not treasonous?

It is now widely understood that the American Empire needs Russia-as-enemy to justify cramming the nation's treasure into its war machine, hence Russiagate. If ever there were a textbook example of repetition used as a means of creating a myth for the public mind, Russiagate would take the prize. It has been absolutely relentless. And the competing reality represented by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity is prevented a glimmer of exposure in mainstream news. Even entertainers are part of Russiagate messaging. On Friday, July 20, four days after the Summit, comedian Stephen Colbert, stated flatly "By now it is an established fact that Russian military officers hacked DNC servers to help get Donald Trump elected." Colbert's introductory monologues over the last year have consisted essentially of nothing but Trump bashing, often without any apparent attempt to present it as comedy.

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McGovern and Binney added a "disclaimer" in the recent resend of their Memorandum: "We have no political agenda; our sole purpose is to spread truth around and, when necessary, hold to account our former intelligence colleagues. We speak and write without fear or favor. Consequently, any resemblance between what we say and what presidents, politicians and pundits say is purely coincidental. The fact that we find it is necessary to include that reminder speaks volumes about these highly politicized times."

 

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Bill Willers is emeritus professor of biology, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

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