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Phony Justifications for Mueller's Phony Investigation

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Russia's "intervention in a close US presidential election" is a hot topic. House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff used those very words when he opened the July 24 questioning of former special counsel Robert Mueller.

Schiff went on to call the intervention "the most serous attack on our democracy by a foreign power in our history." Representative Jackie Speier ramped things up by calling it an "invasion" of the US. Are they really serious? Perhaps neither of them had heard of the War of 1812 when Great Britain briefly occupied Washington DC and set fire to the White House. The Schiff/Speier comments sound quite hyperbolic to me. What are they trying to do?

Many had expected to hear a breakthrough from Mueller. Previously he had frustrated lawmakers when he failed to go beyond the contents of his report. But Mueller's congressional testimony fell short. He maintained the same stance. Congress members grilled Mueller on Trump obstruction. Ironically he responded by obstructing their inquiries with numerous variants of "no comment."

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Russian media openly wondered if the hearing would finally put an end to Russiagate. They call it the "Russia hoax."

Of course, it did not. That's because according to my analysis Russiagate has little to do with Russia. It seems more of a broader reaction to Trump's campaign promise to get the US out of foreign wars and achieve an accommodating relationship with Russia. Actualizing that promise would likely threaten powerful political and financial interests that receive essential benefits from a high level of world tension. Perhaps that's one reason why Trump has been largely impeded from fulfilling that campaign promise.

If you strip away all the histrionics, the Russiagate allegations we're talking about are what's always been called plainly international intelligence-gathering and propaganda. What major world power can claim that it does not engage in those practices? This not an attack on democracy or an invasion. But Trump's opponents have cleverly succeeded in exaggerating matters beyond sensible proportions. In the hearing Adam Schiff spoke of Russia "intervening in our election." But irrefutable proof has been elusive.

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Trump has shown great strategic ineptness by being sucked into that framing of the situation put forth by his political enemies. Instead he should be stripping away the histrionics and unmasking the perpetrators of the mischaracterizations. Putin has also responded to the matter with a similar lack of strategic sophistication.

But it's high time that they both smarten up. If they don't, American University in Moscow president Edward Lozansky warns, the worst is still to come. Lozansky explains that "according to an increasing number of experts and former US government officials, the decade-long anti-Russia hysteria may end up in a direct military US-NATO vs. Russia confrontation with the use of nuclear weapons."

Nonetheless, Trump's opponents witlessly persist in inflaming the American public with specious allegations.

A lot is made of Mueller's statement that he was unable to exonerate Trump. Representative Mike Turner homed in on this. He pointed out that neither Mueller nor the Attorney General has the power to exonerate. He added, "In our criminal-justice system there is no power or authority to exonerate." A befuddled-looking Mueller was totally unable to refute that.

In the end, Mueller has characterized himself as a clown. It wasn't bad enough that he stretched out a specious investigation that had no credible basis from the start. But his statements at the hearings belied what is either a lack of serious intent or simply tragically muddled thinking.

As proof, I offer the statement by Mueller that he "can not rule out that unavailable information would lead to a different conclusion." In other words he's saying we don't know whether what we don't know would change a conclusion that is based on what we do know. What a dopey remark.

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So now will Trump's opponents have to come up with a new approach to stymie him? Actually, they don't have to do anything new. The tactics they've been using are working. They are successful in obfuscating the reality.

CNN's spin on the Mueller hearing: "Mueller confirmed details Trump doesn't like to admit." MSNBC chimed in with "Mueller makes strong warning on 2020 Russian interference threat." No mention of the weaknesses of Mueller's testimony. The game goes on. The cause endures. Trump is continually maligned by specious allegations that are widely believed. Nothing's new. The grave danger Lozansky warns of lives on.

 

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William Dunkerley is author of the books "Litvinenko Murder Case Solved," "The Phony Litvinenko Murder," "Ukraine in the Crosshairs," and "Medvedev's Media Affairs," all published by Omnicom Press. He is a media business analyst and consultant (more...)
 

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Rob Kall

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sorry, but you don't convince me. Your "analysis" ignores actual evidence of known, concrete social media interventions.


What you are doing is wrapping an unsupported claim with truth, a common propaganda strategy. Sure, all states use spycraft. And sure, the US has interfered with other nations' elections. But that observation does not mean your analysis is correct.

Submitted on Thursday, Jul 25, 2019 at 3:29:13 PM

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Susan Lee Schwartz

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What he offers is something I call a "waddabout-this". You are supposed to offer proof to him: "what are YOU talking about."-- as he would be interested in seeing it. Gosh. I hear such 'arguments' all the time. it works with folks who do not see how fallacious it is.

Submitted on Friday, Jul 26, 2019 at 1:32:19 AM

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William Dunkerley

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Rob, thanks for your comment. But I was not attempting to convince you of anything. My objective is simply to present an analysis to give readers greater perspective. You claimed I ignored "actual evidence of known, concrete social media interventions." But those activities are simply one of the modern means of propaganda. And I've never seen proof of exactly who is behind the activities. If you have such proof I'd be very interested in seeing it. You accused me of "wrapping an unsupported claim with truth." That certainly was not my intention. What unsupported claim are you talking about?

Submitted on Thursday, Jul 25, 2019 at 6:08:33 PM

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Fred W

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Actually, I was impressed that Mueller avoided having to "take the fifth", getting by with lapses of memory and keeping mum. Exceeded expectations!

Submitted on Thursday, Jul 25, 2019 at 7:34:36 PM

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Michael Payne

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One more Trump "kind of a guy" that calls the conclusions made about Russian intervention by numerous government intelligence agencies phony without any proof whatsoever. Does he think that thousands and thousands of their department heads and employees would see this phonyism and then not one would blow the whistle. Your analysis apparently is not phony but just doesn't exist. Otherwise provide it in depth. Trump puppetry.

Submitted on Thursday, Jul 25, 2019 at 8:55:12 PM

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William Dunkerley

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Oh, c'mon Michael. Why do you have to resort to name calling? Trump kind of guy? Trump puppetry? Actually I never voted for Trump and earlier voted for Obama in both elections. You go on to say my analysis "apparently is not phony but just doesn't exist." Michael, obviously it exists. You just don't like it. And I respect your right not to like it. You apparently claim I have no proof that US governmental agencies are wrong about Russian interference. But that's not what I alleged. I simply pointed out that the hyperbolic claims of an attack on our democracy and an invasion of our country are gross exaggerations. All the alleged transgressions could more civilly be put within the categories of international intelligence gathering and propaganda. These are common activities of most major world powers. I don't know what the people are trying to do by blowing them out of proportion. For all I know Russia very well may be behind those activities. I've seen no solid proof, but maintain a willingness to accept the allegations if they should be unambiguously proven. Your claim that if our intelligence agencies were wrong, surely word would leak out. That wasn't the case with Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. It wasn't the case when it was thought world communist domination could only be stopped by our country's fighting in South Vietnam. I admire your faith, but just can't justify it for myself.

Submitted on Thursday, Jul 25, 2019 at 9:39:06 PM

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Michael Payne

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I am a harsh critic of the highly aggressive US military which gave us the illegal, immoral wars in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and attacks on libya, together with drone attacks on Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. I do have concerns about what I hear our intelligence agencies report but if I feel that so many of them and their employees are all reporting the same threat I will give them the benefit of the doubt until I see them proven wrong.


Now about your analysis. I haven't seen any kind of in depth analysis from you, nothing to back up your phony remarks. And I have heard, so many, many times, individuals on this website and others who say the Russian interference is bogus and totally phony - without providing any supporting evidence that I find them to be the phonies. So you have doubts and that's understandable but don't say that something is phony unless you can prove that it is with concrete evidence.



Submitted on Friday, Jul 26, 2019 at 12:13:48 AM

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William Dunkerley

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Thanks for responding, Michael. First, on my calling the Mueller investigation phony: You may recall that in the beginning it was claimed that 17 intelligence agencies have established Russian culpability. When the implausibility of that claim was exposed, it was admitted that only three agencies were involved. Does that inspire you to trust the story? There are other flaws in the Russiagate narrative. They all constitute the reasons why I called the Mueller investigation phony. But for now I don't see any point in arguing that issue further. US Attorney John Durham is now charged with an investigation that might shed some light. Do you have any reason not to accord him the same presumption of accuracy that you've given the 17 now 3 intelligence agencies? Depending on what verifiable conclusions are reached I'm willing to change my position on the "phony Mueller investigation." Are you open to changing your position?

Second, I also referenced phony justifications. That's predicated upon the characterization of the apparent election concerns as an attack on America's democracy and an invasion of the US. Do you agree with those characterizations? I'm glad to learn of your opposition to unnecessary US military adventurism. But if you are supporting the outlandish rhetoric that seems only intended to whip up the sentiments of an otherwise apathetic public (as was done re Iraq), you are playing into the hands of those for whom you profess to be a harsh critic.

And finally, I think you have the burden of proof reversed. It's not up to the accused to prove himself free of blame. It's up to the accuser to prove his case. I've raised doubts about the common Russiagate narrative. I don't see where the accusers have proved their case. The burden is on them. And trusting verifiably flawed intelligence reports does not add up to proof in my book. I'll post a link with further details.

Submitted on Friday, Jul 26, 2019 at 1:40:26 AM

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William Dunkerley

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Here's the link:

If you'd like to see a more detailed explanation of what's really going on, I refer you to The Nation, a progressive magazine, and the series of articles written by Stephen F. Cohen. His latest is titled "Russiagate's 'Core Narrative' Has Always Lacked Actual Evidence." Here's the link: http://bit.ly/2Z99Fry --Please let me know what you think. Thanks.

Submitted on Friday, Jul 26, 2019 at 1:42:02 AM

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George King

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William, the article appears to have been scrubbed from your link as well as The Nation's link.

Outside of google search and browser here and here are a couple of links to the article. You may well find this interesting as well as this. Not all are offended by your article but there are those that are frightened and angered of being fooled and are not willing to accept it.

While the quote "it's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled" is often attributed to Mark Twain, there's no evidence that the author actually wrote this phrase but its meaning is not lost on me.

Thank you for the article!

Submitted on Friday, Jul 26, 2019 at 5:40:41 AM

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You said, " It's up to the accuser to prove his case." Hey, you are the accuser and you have proved nothing, your analysis is non-existent. I would gladly agree with you if you or your link provided "concrete" proof of what you contend. Just one more of the doubters who offer nothing of substance except wild speculations. No more of this nonsense please. Proof, proof, proof.

Submitted on Friday, Jul 26, 2019 at 1:55:29 AM

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William Dunkerley

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No I'm not the accuser. I'm challenging the accusations. The intelligence agencies and the politicians are the accusers. You support their positions. Where's your proof? And you didn't answer my question about Durham: "Do you have any reason not to accord him the same presumption of accuracy that you've given the 17 now 3 intelligence agencies?"

Submitted on Friday, Jul 26, 2019 at 2:10:46 AM

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Well, I see that both you and Cohen have strong ties to Russia and I do understand why you might choose to defend that nation against your own country. Cohen's article proves nothing and provides no proof that this charge against Russia and it's footsoldier, Trump, is false. And you know what I tell those like you and Cohen who put forth these baseless opinions? Let's just wait and see how all of this develops and then we will see who is right. That's what I will do instead of initiating theories that I can't begin to prove. If I'm wrong and these agencies are lying then when I find out I will write articles condemning those lies.

Submitted on Friday, Jul 26, 2019 at 2:45:21 AM

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William Dunkerley

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"If I'm wrong and these agencies are lying then when I find out I will write articles condemning those lies." Great, so that's where we'll leave things. Look forward to comparing notes with you later.

Submitted on Friday, Jul 26, 2019 at 3:00:38 AM

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Michael believes that anyone who does not believe his gospel truth is a phony and a delusional conspirator. He would not know a free discussion on an intellectual level if it bit him in the butt. He reminds me of a John Bolton to be honest. Sorry that you have been attacked in such a way. You are in good company of more than you know.

Submitted on Friday, Jul 26, 2019 at 5:53:48 AM

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William Dunkerley

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Thanks George for your comments and reassurance. I appreciate it. Regards.

Submitted on Friday, Jul 26, 2019 at 6:04:27 PM

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stler.com/clusterfuck-nation/what-goes-around/

Submitted on Friday, Jul 26, 2019 at 4:00:17 AM

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William, Your article illustrates a few things I would like to examine in more depth. I think it clearly illustrates the dangers of being devoted to a leader as opposed to ideals, principles and philosophies. When people from any political persuasion become devoted to a personality, be it Trump or Hillary, they begin to rationalize away, excuse or ignore any facts, no matter how self evident that don't fit their preconceived conclusion. They cherry pick and isolate only singular elements in defense of the individual who for whatever emotional reason they are driven to feel protective of. It is not a trait which has a political side, it is employed by both sides to convince their followers to defend them and attack the other side. I have read the entire Mueller report and if you haven't I would recommend it. But as you read it try to imagine each segment as if it were about Hillary or Obama and ask yourself if your feelings change about whether you feel the point is then justified. I won't defend any establishment democrats including Schiff and Pelosi because if they believe Trump is guilty of obstruction they have an obligation to the American people to impeach him. The fact that they stall and refuse but still behave hysterically shows they are unethical and corrupt. In reading your article there are statements which are obvious examples of defending Trump regardless of the clear evidence (such as his decade long status as a Democrat, even donating to Hillary, or his well established and deep connections with Russia) which is proof of your devotion to him over the facts. This is the problem. You have to follow the facts, logic and evidence where they lead. If information arises which is damaging to Trump or which is evidence of his guilt and you will use mental and ethical gymnastics or flat out denial to avoid looking at it objectively, you are only deceiving yourself. I won't refute your facts one by one as I believe you are intelligent and capable enough to do this on your own if you can put down your emotional devotion and be objective. I will only say that we have to remember that Trump wasn't born when he became President. History is a continuum. You can't just choose to ignore Trump's past connections and actions from his life as President. If you do a little research, and remain objective, you will come out with a very different image than the one he has "branded" for his Presidency. Always read the ingredients and the production of a product rather than be fooled by the marketing. Take Care, Michele

Submitted on Friday, Jul 26, 2019 at 2:02:44 PM

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Michelle Goddard
Thank you for your detailed and reasoned comment. You are obviously a person of intellectual sophistication and I'm happy to engage in dialog with you. You packed a lot into your comment. Let's take things one at a time. You said, "In reading your article there are statements which are obvious examples of defending Trump regardless of the clear evidence (such as his decade long status as a Democrat, even donating to Hillary, or his well established and deep connections with Russia) which is proof of your devotion to him over the facts." So you have a belief that I harbor a devotion for Trump. As that is certainly not the case, could you tell me what led you to that belief. Please be as specific and detailed as you can. Thanks.

Submitted on Friday, Jul 26, 2019 at 6:09:11 PM

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