Saturday, March 3, 2018

Contradictions In Seth Rich Murder Continue To Challenge Hacking Narrative



As rumors swirl that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is preparing a case against Russians who are alleged to have hacked Democrats during the 2016 election – a conclusion based solely on the analysis of cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike, a Friday op-ed in the Washington Times by retired U.S. Navy admiral James A. Lyons, Jr. asks a simple, yet monumentally significant question: Why […]

The post Contradictions In Seth Rich Murder Continue To Challenge Hacking Narrative appeared first on The Last American Vagabond.


You Won’t Believe How Much Water In America Is Contaminated With A Group 1 Heavy Metal Carcinogen



Water is an often overlooked and under appreciated natural resource. We need to consume it to sustain human life, we require it to bathe, we depend on it to grow our food, and so much more. And while water may serve as a luxury for many of our lifestyle needs, when it comes to the basics, it’s essential.

Drinking water is often a no-brainer for many. We grab a cup and fill up whenever thirst hits, never thinking twice about what a luxury it is to do so. But what if you were told that the water you consume could be doing the opposite of helping you to thrive?

According to an Environmental Working Group’s review of government water analysis, 75% of America’s drinking water is ridden with cancer-causing hexavalent chromium, or chromium-6. And 200 million Americans are currently being exposed to it.

Chromium-6 is a heavy metal categorized as a Group 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization, or WHO. The same heavy metal Erin Brockovich brought to attention, it’s a by-product of industrial manufacturing and is known to cause cancer even in minute concentrations. Indeed, California scientists labelled it dangerous when it surpasses a mere 0.02 parts per billion — the equivalent of one drop of water in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

Research has exposed that no level is safe in your water, however. A two-year study conducted by the National Toxicology Program (2008) concluded that drinking water with traces of chromium-6 resulted in cancer among the test subjects.

The scary news is that, while the numbers and results are right in front of us, California remains the one state to have a public health record on the heavy metal’s effects, and is the only state that has mandated a legal limit on it. Unfortunately, even that is not enough for residents of the state, since they permitted levels of chromium-6 500 times higher than what’s known to be safe. The EWG reported:

The California scientists based their public health goal of 0.02 parts per billion solely on protecting people from cancer and other diseases. Public health goals are not legally enforceable, but legal limits are supposed to be set as close as possible to health goals “while considering cost and technical feasibility.”[8] But the California Department of Public Health relied on a flawed analysis that exaggerated the cost of treatment and undervalued the benefits of stricter regulation,[9] and adopted a legally enforceable limit of 10 parts per billion.

And even if you wanted to be mindful of it yourself, chromium-6 has neither taste nor smell, and leaves no sign of its presence. In order to ensure you are not ingesting it, you would have to take your water to a specialized lab for testing.

As for why more is not being done to protect America’s drinking water, it seems to be an issue of the cost and work needed to properly filter out the harmful contaminants. Way too many gallons are needed in the process, and at a cost too high to resolve a nation-wide concern.

There are plenty of people trying to support it, oddly enough, as well. In fact, some unethical superfood and raw food companies say that eating heavy metals like lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium is good for you because they are “naturally occurring.” But if that’s the case, then chromium-6, which is also naturally occurring, and causes cancer, must be beneficial as well.

The EPA website said: “Chromium-6 occurs naturally in the environment from the erosion of natural chromium deposits. It can also be produced by industrial processes. There are demonstrated instances of chromium being released to the environment by leakage, poor storage, or inadequate industrial waste disposal practices.”

Chromium-6 is just one of the issues with our water these days. tested hundreds of municipal water samples across the nation and discovered  high levels of lead and other heavy metals in 6.7% of samples.

So how can you take action? Buy and use a water filter like the Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher, which has been tested to remove chromium-6 by up to 96 percent, the lab-verified Big Berkey gravity filter, or the AquaTru countertop filter, which removes chromium-6 along with hundreds of other toxic chemicals and heavy metals. Note that brands like Brita will not protect you against this form of contamination.

Picture Source




Friday, March 2, 2018

Arab Daily: British Diplomatic Cable Unveils US Plots to Disintegrate Syria


A Lebanese newspaper wrote that it has gained access to an email from the British embassy in the US which reveals Washington’s 5-paragraph plan to disintegrate Syria.

The Arabic-language al-Akhbar newspaper wrote on Saturday that the US officials along with


Thursday, March 1, 2018

U.S. livestock raised for food found to have HUGE levels of antibiotics – five times more than what is allowed in the U.K.

Antibiotic-Pills-Capsules-Drugs-168x95.j (Natural News) British consumers got quite the shock when they discovered that antibiotic levels in the meat products they’re planning to buy from the U.S. have gone through the barn roof. American farm animals are dosed with several times the antibiotics given to locally-raised livestock, reported The Guardian. According to newly-acquired research data from the Alliance...


Uber and Lyft drivers' median hourly wage is just $3.37, report finds


Majority of drivers make less than minimum wage and many end up losing money, according to study published by MIT

Uber and Lyft drivers in the US make a median profit of $3.37 per hour before taxes, according to a new report that suggests a majority of ride-share workers make below minimum wage and that many actually lose money.

Researchers did an analysis of vehicle cost data and a survey of over 1,100 drivers for the ride-hailing companies for the paper published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research. The report – which factored in insurance, maintenance, repairs, fuel and other costs – found that 30% of drivers are losing money on the job and that 74% earn less than the minimum wage in their states.

Continue reading...


It should be alarming to everyone that such an attempt at censorship was made.

g-4RgPcr_normal.jpg Anti-Media
It should be alarming to everyone that such an attempt at censorship was made.


Hacked Ex-CBS Journalist Says Obama DOJ Swapped Her Hard Drive While Inspecting Computer


Former CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson has accused the Obama DOJ of swapping out her hard drive while it was in their possession in a Thursday tweet.

"What would you think if I told you the hard drive of one of my personal computers was secretly switched out w/another while in custody of the Justice Dept. Inspector General-- before they gave it back to me?" Attkisson tweeted, adding "Tick-tock" at the end, suggesting there's more to the story. 

Re: My govt. computer intrusions...What would you think if I told you the hard drive of one of my personal computers was secretly switched out w/another while in custody of the Justice Dept. Inspector General-- before they gave it back to me? (Tick-tock.) #GettingCloserToAnswers

— Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) March 1, 2018

they returned my computer with a different hard drive inside. which they were not supposed to do. They have my property somewhere.

— Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) March 1, 2018

Attkisson says that Inspector General Michael Horowitz was the Inspector General which she gave her computer(s) to, and who she she claims has her hard drive.  

Yes the same DOJ IG as is currently there.

— Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) March 1, 2018

When one commentor on Twitter said "it would be reckless to make such a claim withou evidence, Attkisson replied "It would be." 

It would be.

— Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) March 1, 2018

Attkisson's computer was famously hacked in 2012 while she was reporting on the Benghazi scandal for CBS - which the journalist captured on video given to Politico in 2014. A cybersecurity firm hired by the network "determined through forensic analysis" that "Attkisson's computer was accessed by an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions in late 2012." 

Attkisson alleges that government agencies were behind the attack, and also claims that her TVs and phone were tampered with. Someone she knows finds a “stray cable” attached to her FiOS box, which can be used to download data. -Politico

"Evidence suggests this party performed all access remotely using Attkisson's accounts," said CBS News spokeswoman Sonya McNair at the time. "While no malicious code was found, forensic analysis revealed an intruder had executed commands that appeared to involve search and exfiltration of data. This party also used sophisticated methods to remove all possible indications of unauthorized activity, and alter system times to cause further confusion." 

Attkisson wrote in her memoir that a source linked to a government agency implicated a "sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that's proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency" in the hack. 

Attkisson wrote last August on her blog:

The IG investigators found and described to me significant suspicious anomalies in that system much like the CBS laptop, unearthing similar efforts by someone to erase data and evidence. However, when the IG computer experts finished their review, the findings went to higher ups and the resulting report was inexplicably withheld from me in its entirety.

I was shut out.

Many months later, under pressure from Congress, the IG eventually released a very different-sounding summary of its forensics report to the press. It recast or excluded much of what the investigators had told me they’d found. I attempted to obtain the full report and original notes, some of which I reviewed while the investigation was underway, describing the suspicious activity found on my personal computer. However, the IG has stonewalled my Freedom of Information (FOI) requests for these documents for several years. If the Department of Justice won’t comply with FOI law, then what recourse does a citizen have?

Vault 7

Last June, WikiLeaks released a trove of over 8,000 documents as part of their "Vault 7" series of leaks on the CIA, which detail sophisticated tools the government can use to infiltrate, control, and manipulate computer systems - even making it look like another country did it with digital "fingerprints." 

From our reporting on last year's release: 

The CIA also runs a very substantial effort to infect and control Microsoft Windows users with its malware. This includes multiple local and remote weaponized "zero days", air gap jumping viruses such as "Hammer Drill" which infects software distributed on CD/DVDs, infectors for removable media such as USBs, systems to hide data in images or in covert disk areas ( "Brutal Kangaroo") and to keep its malware infestations going.

It is unclear whether any of these tools were used on Attkisson, whose video shows that she was running an Apple operating system at the time of her hack. The vault 7 release also describes ultra-stealthy techniques used to spy on Apple products through the computer's EFI firmware.

“The EFI is what orchestrates the entire boot sequence. If you change something before that, you’re controlling everything,” says Karsten Nohl, the founder of Security Research Labs and a well-known firmware hacker. “It becomes part of your computer. There’s no way of knowing that it’s there, and also hardly any way to get rid of it.”

One manual explains how to modify the firmware of a standard Apple Thunderbolt-to-ethernet adapter, turning it into an spyware-planting tool the CIA calls "Sonic Screwdriver." When plugged in, the altered adapter can trick a Mac into thinking it's booting its operating system from a spoofed network source that the adapter impersonates, allowing tweaks to its firmware even in the rare cases when the user has set a password for any changes to that deep-seated code. -Wired

CIA uses techniques to make cyber attacks look like they originated from enemy state. It turns DNC/Russia hack allegation by CIA into a JOKE

— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) March 7, 2017


BREAKING: CIA turns Smart TVs, iPhones, gaming consoles and many other consumer gadgets into open microphones. #Vault7

— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) March 7, 2017

The former CBS News Journo is suing the Department of Justice for $35 million, accusing the Obama administration of breaching her computers. 

I am currently suing the Dept. of Justice, FBI, Verizon and unnamed federal agents "John Does."

— Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) March 1, 2018


DOJIG has already refused my FOIs, will not comply with FOI law. This is all to be part of my federal computer intrusion lawsuit.

— Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) March 1, 2018


We look forward to the "BOOM" to Attkisson's "tick tock." 


Education for Obedience

TimedOp-Ed: Et Tu, The Intercept? Smear Of Assange Murderously Timed

Monday, February 26, 2018

The FDA’s War on Kratom Will Make America’s Opioid Crisis Even Worse

'There's enough to arrest Hillary now'

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

WASHINGTON – There is enough evidence now to arrest former Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and send her to jail, says the president of a well-known government-watchdog organization.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton

But Americans shouldn’t hold their breath, because federal authorities are too consumed with politics, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in an exclusive interview with WND.

“As far as I am concerned, there is enough to arrest Hillary Clinton now,” Fitton said bluntly. “And I just want the Justice Department to finally start enforcing the rule of law.”

What do YOU think? Is America still a nation under the rule of law? Sound off in today’s WND poll

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation, and he also promised to recuse himself from the Clinton email investigation during his Senate confirmation hearings.

“The next person up is [Deputy Attorney General] Rod Rosenstein,” Fitton said. “What is he doing?”

Many officials at the Justice Department want to prosecute Clinton, he said, but they haven’t acted because of politics.

“It’s something they want to do now. Maybe they are waiting for the IG report to come out. The Department of Justice’s Inspector General is … looking into how the Clinton email investigation was handled,” Fitton said. “Maybe they will expose the misconduct there and use that to reopen the investigation in a serious way.

“Maybe we can give them a month or two for the IG investigation to come out, but people want justice.”

Still, neither Clinton nor former FBI Director James Comey – who exonerated Clinton during the investigation of her private email server before even interviewing her – are likely to face indictment, despite their brazen disregard for the law, Fitton suspects.

Indictment is “unlikely given the way that Washington is being run these days, certainly out of the Justice Department and FBI – they are more interested in protecting Hillary and Comey rather than enforcing the rule of law,” he said.

In the meantime – while it appears Clinton, for now, will not be prosecuted – President Trump is being targeted by U.S. intelligence agencies “as if he doesn’t deserve protections of the law,” Fitton said.

“The concern is that no one is above the law – right now, it’s like the Obama-Clinton gang are above the law. On the other hand, no one should be below the law or below any protection of the law,” he said. “President Trump is being treated as if he doesn’t deserve the protections of the law. You can do whatever you want against him if you are the FBI and the Justice Department, it doesn’t matter.

“That’s got to stop,” he said.

President Trump and former FBI Director James Comey (Photo: Twitter)

President Trump and former FBI Director James Comey (Photo: Twitter)

As for the whole Russia investigation, Fitton explained “it’s only a problem for Donald Trump because of the abuses of power by the FBI and the Justice Department, [which are] targeting him illicitly.”

“It’s not a problem, because he didn’t do anything wrong. It is a problem because he is a victim of misconduct by government agencies.”

As WND has reported, the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid nearly $12 million for the salacious anti-Trump “dossier,” commissioning former British spy Christopher Steele to author the political opposition research.

To keep the Clinton campaign’s funding of the dossier secret, the campaign gave the cash to the law firm Perkins Coie and classified the payment as compensation for “legal services” in FEC disclosures.

Two crimes may have committed in this instance. Making a payment or donation, or trading anything of value with a foreign national in connection with any election in America is a crime, according to 52 USC 30121. It’s also a violation to file a false or misleading campaign report (52 USC 30101).

In October 2017, the Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission accusing the Clinton campaign and the DNC of violating campaign finance laws and failing to disclose payments made for the anti-Trump dossier.

A Republican memo released this month claimed the FBI based its FISA court request for a warrant to spy on Trump adviser Carter Page on the unverified dossier.

Then-FBI Director Robert Mueller, left, acknowledges applause during then-President Barack Obama's remarks on June 21, 2013. Obama had announced James Comey, right, as his nominee to succeed Mueller as FBI director (Official White House photo)

Then-FBI Director Robert Mueller, left, acknowledges applause during then-President Barack Obama’s remarks on June 21, 2013. Obama had announced James Comey, right, as his nominee to succeed Mueller as FBI director (Official White House photo)

Fitton told WND he believes special counsel Robert Mueller should end his investigation into Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia, because the probe was spawned by political opposition research funded by the opposing political party and its candidate.

“The Russian collusion investigation – at least with its targeting of President Trump – its reason for being is being eliminated because the dossier we now know isn’t worth the paper it was written on. It’s a Clinton, DNC document,” he said. “There is no evidence of Russian collusion with Trump – but [there’s] plenty of evidence that has been pointed out with Hillary Clinton and the DNC in all of that.”

The Clinton- and DNC-funded dossier claims Trump worked with Russia. The document states that an “ethnic Russian close associate of … Trump” said there was a “conspiracy” between the Trump campaign and Russia. The source claimed Russia hacked the DNC server and provided the files to WikiLeaks to maintain “plausible deniability.”

The FBI never actually accessed the DNC server during its investigation of the alleged hack.

Federal investigators asked the DNC to surrender its allegedly breached servers to the bureau in July 2016, but the DNC didn’t comply. As WND reported, the DNC instead hired the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike to make a “replica” of all the information on its server for the bureau.

Former DNC chairwoman Donna Brazile has indicated that the DNC destroyed the server, the key piece of forensic evidence in Russia’s suspected interference in the election.


A January 2017 intelligence community assessment, titled “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections,” contends that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. The report, which was ordered by former President Obama, concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally “ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election” and sought to “denigrate” Clinton while showing “a clear preference for President-elect Trump,” the New York Times reported.

The intelligence report – reflecting assessments by the CIA, FBI and NSA – never indicated how the agencies collected their data or settled on their conclusions.

The agencies said they believe “with high confidence” that Russia’s military operations generated a “persona” known as Guccifer 2.0 and a site,, to dump emails from the DNC and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Then, according to the report, Russian operatives relayed the emails to WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange has insisted Russia wasn’t the source of the emails leaked by his organization.

If the DNC had allowed the FBI to directly examine its server, intelligence agencies could determine whether the DNC was actually hacked and, if so, establish the source of the breach.

While the dossier alleges Trump and the Kremlin conspired and that Russia is behind the DNC server hacking, hacker Kim Dotcom claimed murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich helped provide the emails to WikiLeaks and was developing technologies to expose corruption and influence of corporate money in politics.

As the Russia probe continues, determining whether the Democrats’ server was hacked or if it was an inside job should be a priority for the Justice Department, Fitton told WND.

“There needs to be pressure brought to bear about just how that DNC server was hacked, if it was hacked at all, whether it was an inside job or not,” Fitton said. “And, frankly, we can’t trust the current establishment to get to the bottom of it.

“Mueller isn’t going to get to the bottom of it. This is why the Justice Department appointees need to step up and take a more aggressive approach to get to the bottom of all of these issues.”

Imran Awan

Imran Awan

Fitton has also insisted that Mueller should investigate the Awan brothers IT scandal as part of the Russian investigation to see if there is an intersection between the purported DNC hack and the alleged crime ring on Capitol Hill involving Pakistani-born Democratic congressional IT aides.

As WND reported, IT staffer Imran Awan, his brothers Abid and Jamal, and their wives Natalia Sova and Hina Alvi, were highly paid IT administrators working for dozens of House Democrats until Capitol Police began probing them in early 2017.

The IT staffers allegedly ran a ghost employee scheme with a take of nearly $6 million over the years. After wiring approximately $300,000 to his native Pakistan in July, Imran Awan was arrested by the FBI at Dulles International Airport. He was then indicted on four counts of bank fraud in connection with his wire transfer. He was carrying $12,000 in cash on him at the time of his arrest.

Awan remained on the payroll of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz – who served as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee when its IT network was allegedly hacked in 2016 – until he was arrested in July. The Florida congresswoman insists Awan didn’t have access to any classified information.

“[Judicial Watch] has asked questions about the Awan brothers,” Fitton said. “We’ve asked questions about Seth Rich killing. We haven’t gotten answers because they are ongoing investigations, so the agencies don’t want to tell us what’s going on.”



Outspoken Vaccine Advocate States Measles Vaccine Can't Prevent Measles Outbreaks

Shooting: ‘We Were Told The Police Would Do A Fake Code Red, With Fake Guns’

The Shooting At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School In Parkland Florida


The Shooting At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School In Parkland Florida

Paul Craig Roberts

Readers have inquired about my silence about the Florida shooting on Valentine’s Day. The answer is that school shootings are not my expertise. Moreover, a country, such as the US, which no longer has an independent TV and print national media, is unable to find out and is dependent on the story told by authorities. Although it is probably impossible to find out what happened, independent Internet media makes it possible for a person willing to invest the time and effort, to arrive at a conclusion on their own. Here are some of the things to think about.

A Parkland FL Stoneman Douglas high school teacher says the school had been told there would be a code red drill. When he heard shooting, he assumed it was the drill.

A woman, Debbie, provides videos of reporters interviewing students who say they were told there would be a drill with police firing blanks with people screaming, the purpose of which was to prepare the students in the event a real shooting occurred. At about the 28 minute mark in the video Parkland FL high school students tell news reporters interviewing them that they were told there would be a realistic drill at the school that would simulate a real attack.

I do not know anything about Debbie. It is important to note that it is not Debbie who is making the claims. The interviews with the students are interviews broadcast by news organizations.

Debbie’s video could have been better organized, much shorter, and less confusing. Instead of preparing a concise report beforehand, she prepares her report as you watch. At the 55 minute mark Debbie becomes emotional over the gullibility of the public and the inability of Americans to see the inconsistencies between the official timeline and news reports and the inconsistencies between the evidence the media presents and the media’s explanation of the evidence.

There is no doubt about the inconsistencies. Whether this is just sloppy reporting or simply reporters reading the official story off of pre-prepared press releases I do not know.

There is no doubt that the video interviews with school teacher and students who say they had been told there would be a code red drill are real. What I find disturbing is that there does not seem to be mention of the drill in the official story. Remember the Boston Marathon Bombing. That day the Boston newspaper had announced that there would be a bombing drill at the end of the race, and in videos of the event an announcement of a drill is made at the scene just prior to the explosion, which the announcement says will not be a real bomb.

Other puzzling features of the Parkland FL shooting are (1) one student says she was walking out of the building with the suspect while shooting was going on elsewhere in the building, which leads her to the conclusion that there were two shooters. Another shooter says there were three shooters. (2) Students seem to think that police were in the building while shooting was underway. (3) Apparently there is no news interview with the Uber driver who delivered the shooter to the school. (4) The timeline which allows only a few minutes for the shooting is not sufficient time for the suspect to have put on his bulletproof vest, helmet, gasmask, go up a stairwell and shoot up 3 different floors.

What I have to say about this is the same as what I have said about other events. Instead of clearing up the inconsistencies and acknowledging that a drill had been announced, the media dismisses those who ask the obvious questions as conspiracy kooks. In place of rational explanations we get name-calling. Why?

What is so difficult about the authorities and the media explaining either that the teacher and students misunderstood and are mistaken that a drill had been announced, or, alternatively, explaining why there are several instances of an actual event occurring simultaneously with an announced drill? A person would think that the print and TV media would find a very interesting subject in real events occurring simultaneously with drills of the events, including apparently 9/11 itself, and how facts are known in advance of the actual event.

Instead, once again we get a pre-prepared story. In this one, timeline problems are reminiscent of the BBC reporter standing in front of a still standing World Trade Center Building 7 on September 11, 2001, announcing that the unexpected collapse of the building had occurred 20 or 30 minutes before the event.

The post The Shooting At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School In Parkland Florida appeared first on


Parkland teacher: ‘I assumed that it was a code red drill because they had told us earlier in the day that they were going to be having a code red drill using blanks’


Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School history teacher Ernest Rospierski told the Associated Press he thought the Valentine’s Day massacre was a drill at first and was warned earlier that day that a code red drill would be taking place in which blanks were to be used.


Did Trump Cut a Deal on the “Collusion” Charge?


Here’s your legal koan for the day: When is an indictment not an indictment?

Answer– When there is no intention of initiating a criminal case against the accused. In the case of the 13 Russian trolls who have just been indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, there is neither the intention nor the ability to prosecute a case against them. (They are all foreign nationals who will not face extradition.)

But, if that’s the case, than why would Mueller waste time and money compiling a 37-page document alleging all-manner of nefarious conduct when he knew for certain that the alleged perpetrators would never be prosecuted? Why?

Isn’t is because the indictments are not really a vehicle for criminal prosecution, but a vehicle for political grandstanding? Isn’t that the real purpose of the indictments, to add another layer of dirt to the mountain of unreliable, uncorroborated, unproven allegations of Russian meddling. Mueller is not acting in his capacity as Special Counsel, he is acting in his role of deep state hatchet-man whose job is to gather scalps by any means necessary.

Keep in mind, the subjects of the indictment will never be apprehended, never hire an attorney, never be in a position to defend themselves or refute the charges, and never have their case presented before and judge or a jury. They will be denied due process of law and the presumption of innocence. Mueller’s ominous-sounding claims, which were the centerpiece of his obscene media extravaganza, made sure of that. In most people’s minds, the trolls are guilty of foreign espionage and that’s all there is to it.  Case closed.

But the indictments themselves suggest that Mueller’s narrative is wrong. The objective was not to influence the election, but make money by getting viewers to “click on” advertisements. Check it out:

“Defendants and their co-conspirators also used the accounts to receive money from real U.S. persons in exchange for posting promotions and advertisements on the ORGANIZATION-controlled social media pages. Defendants and their co-conspirators typically charged certain U.S. merchants and U.S. social media sites between 25 and 50 U.S. dollars per post for promotional content on their popular false U.S. persona accounts, including Being Patriotic, Defend the 2nd, and Blacktivist.”

That sounds like a money-making scheme to me not an attempt to subvert US democracy.  So why is Mueller in such a lather? Isn’t this all just an attempt to divert attention from the fact that the Nunes’ investigation has produced proof that senior-level officials at the FBI and DOJ were “improperly obtaining” FISA warrants to spy on members of the Trump Campaign? Isn’t that what’s really going on?

If we can agree that the indictments were not intended to bring the “accused” to justice, then don’t we also have to agree that there must have been an ulterior motive for issuing them? And what might that ulterior motive be? What are the real objectives of the investigation, to cast a shadow on an election that did not produce the results that powerful members of the entrenched bureaucracy wanted, to make it look like Donald Trump did not beat Hillary Clinton fair and square, and to further demonize a geopolitical rival that has blocked Washington’s imperial ambitions in Syria and Ukraine? Which of these is the real driving force behind Russiagate or is it ‘all of the above?’

Nothing will come of the indictments because the indictments were not designed reveal the truth or bring the accused to justice. They were written to shape public perceptions and to persuade the American people that Trump cheated in the elections and that Russia poses a serious threat to US national security. The indictments have no legal merit, they are a form of domestic propaganda and disinformation. The real target is the American people.

It’s worth noting, that if Mueller really wanted to get to the bottom of the Russia-gate allegations, he would interview the people who have first-hand knowledge what actually happened. He would question Julian Assange (WikiLeaks) and Craig Murray, both of whom have stated publicly that they know who stole the Podesta emails. Mueller hasn’t done that, nor has he contacted the VIPs (Ray McGovern, William Binney, Skip Folden, etc) who did extensive forensic investigation of the “hacking” allegations and proved that the emails were not hacked but leaked. Mueller has not pursued that line of inquiry either. Nor has he interviewed California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who met with Assange personally and who has suggested that Assange may reveal the name (of the DNC “leaker”) under the right conditions. Instead of questioning witnesses, Mueller has spent a great deal of time probing the online activities Russian trolls who were engaged in a money-making scheme that was in no way connected to the Russian government, in no way connected to the Trump campaign, and in no way supportive of the claims of hacking or collusion. None of this reflects well on Mueller who, by any stretch, appears to be either woefully incompetent or irredeemably biased.

The indictment states that the organization that employed the trolls “had the strategic purpose of sowing political discord in the United States.” This seems to be a recurrent theme that has popped up frequently in the media as well. The implication is that the Russians are the source of the widening divisions in the US that are actually the result of growing public angst over the lopsided distribution of wealth that naturally emerges in late-stage capitalism.  Moscow has become the convenient scapegoat for the accelerated parasitism that has seen 95% of the nation’s wealth go to a sliver of people at the top of the foodchain, the 1 percent. (But that’s another story altogether.) Here’s a brief clip from the portentous-sounding indictment:

“The general conspiracy statute… creates an offense “[i]f two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose….

The intent required for a conspiracy to defraud the government is that the defendant possessed the intent (a) to defraud, (b) to make false statements or representations to the government or its agencies in order to obtain property of the government, or that the defendant performed acts or made statements that he/she knew to be false, fraudulent or deceitful to a government agency, which disrupted the functions of the agency or of the government. It is sufficient for the government to prove that the defendant knew the statements were false or fraudulent when made.”

The above statement helps to prove my point that the indictments are not a vehicle for criminal prosecution, but part of a politically-motivated information campaign to damage Trump and vilify Russia. No one seriously believes that Mueller would ever try to prosecute this case based on the spurious and looney claims of a criminal conspiracy. The whole idea is laughable.

There are a couple interesting twists and turns regarding the indictments that could be significant, but, then again, maybe not.  We found it interesting that Rob Goldman, who is the Vice President of Facebook Ads, tweeted this revealing disclaimer on Monday which Trump posted on Twitter:

“I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal.”

Then there are the puzzling comments by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who said on Friday:

 “There’s no allegation in this indictment that any American had any knowledge. And the nature of the scheme was the defendants took extraordinary steps to make it appear that they were ordinary American political activists, even going so far as to base their activities on a virtual private network here in the United States so, if anybody traced it back to that first jump, they appeared to be Americans….”

Do you notice anything unusual about Rosenstein’s remarks?

There’s no mention of Trump at all, which is a striking omission since all of previous public announcements have been used to strengthen the case against Trump. Now that’s changed. Why?

Naturally, Trump picked up on Rosenstein’s omission and blasted this triumphant message on Twitter:

“Deputy A.G. Rod Rosenstein stated at the News Conference: “There is no allegation in the indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.” Donald Trump

So, what’s going on here? Mueller and Rosenstein are smart guys. They must have known that Trump would use the dates and the absence of anything remotely suggesting collusion as vindication. Was that the purpose, to let Trump off the hook while the broader propaganda campaign on Russia continues?

This is the great mystery surrounding the indictments, far from helping to establish Trump’s culpability, they appear to imply his innocence. Why would Mueller and his allies want to do that?  Are the Intel agencies and the FBI looking for a way to end this political cage-match before a second Special Counsel is appointed and he starts digging up embarrassing information about the involvement of other agencies (and perhaps, the White House) in the Russiagate fiasco?

Just think about it for a minute: There is nothing in the indictments that suggests that Trump or anyone in his campaign was involved with the Russian trolls. There is nothing in the indictments that suggests Trump was acting as a Russian agent.  And there’s nothing in the indictments that suggests the Russian government helped Trump win the election. Also, the timeline of events seems to favor Trump as does Rosenstein’s claim that the online activity did not have  “any effect on the outcome of the election.”

Bottom line: The indictments were very good news for Donald Trump, but very bad news for Robert Mueller who appears to have run into a brick wall. But has he? Has Mueller abandoned the attacks on Trump or is there something else going on just below the surface?

I can only guess at the answer, but it looks to me like Trump may have made a deal to support the attacks on Russia provided he is acquitted on charges of collusion. That’s what he’s wanted from the beginning, so, maybe he won this round? Here’s one of his recent tweets that helps to support my theory:

“I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said “it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.” The Russian “hoax” was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did!” Donald Trump

Hmmm? So Trump now Trump is okay with blaming Russia as long as he’s not included too? Is that what he’s saying? Here’s more in the same vein:

 “If it was the GOAL of Russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the U.S. then, with all of the Committee Hearings, Investigations and Party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America!” Donald Trump

Okay, so now Trump is turning the tables and saying, ‘Yeah, maybe Russia has been ‘sowing discord’, but the Democrats are the ones you should be blaming not me.’

So Trump is not opposed to demonizing Russia, he’s just opposed to demonizing Donald John Trump. That’s where he draws the line.

What’s wrong with that? If Trump’s enemies want to provide him with a Get-Outta-Jail-Free card, then why shouldn’t he snatch it up and put this whole goofy probe behind him? That’s what most people would do.

The problem is that Trump’s biggest supporters want him to continue struggle against “The Swamp”. They want him to fight for their interests and expose the crooked goings-on behind the Russiagate scandal. They want him to lift up the rock that conceals the activities of the National Security State so everyone can see the maggots squirming below.  That’s what they want, a modern-day Samson who shakes the temple’s pillars and brings the whole crooked system crashing down around him.

These same people are hopeful that the Nunes memo and the Grassley-Graham “criminal referral” are just the tip of the iceberg that will inevitably lead to the bigger fish involved in this deep-state conspiracy, namely former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Former FBI Director James Comey, and very likely, Barack Hussein Obama himself.  What role did these men play in spying on the Trump campaign? Were they actively trying to sabotage the elections by giving Hillary an edge? Should a second Special Counsel be appointed to investigate whether crimes were committed in their targeting of the Trump team?

All of these questions need to be answered in order to clear the air, hold the guilty parties accountable and restore confidence in the government. Trump’s backers hope that he is principled and pugnacious enough to go nose-to-nose with these Intel agency serpents and give them the bloody whooping they so richly deserve.

Unfortunately, I don’t see any evidence that that’s what he has in mind. We’ll see.


Sunday, February 25, 2018

SILENCE! Twitter, YouTube scrubbing all content and banning all users who question the official (false) narrative on the Florida school shooting

censored.jpg (Natural News) A few years from now, looking back on why Twitter collapsed and YouTube was abandoned by every intelligent person, we’ll remember what these totalitarian tech giants did in February, 2018. Starting a few days ago, both Twitter and YouTube began scrubbing all videos and tweets that don’t follow the “official narrative” on the...


Media Roots retweeted: I see many cheering the shut down of Alt Right accounts on medium. Although I abhor their views, in this hysterical climate I’m worried the online censorship could easily flip toward people questioning narratives of war & Russiagate. We already see it used to marginalize leftists

ap9GFk90_normal.jpg Abby Martin
Media Roots retweeted:
I see many cheering the shut down of Alt Right accounts on medium. Although I abhor their views, in this hysterical climate I’m worried the online censorship could easily flip toward people questioning narratives of war & Russiagate. We already see it used to marginalize leftists


The Real Reason Establishment Frauds Hate Trump and Obsess About Russia


PVE, then, is first and foremost a narrative device: a tool used, largely unconsciously, to inject fresh legitimacy into a war on terror that by 2008 had fallen into disrepute. More specifically, PVE appears to dampen the queasiness felt at pursuing a course of action that quite obviously conflicts with Western liberal values, wrapping hard-edged counterterrorism in gentle language. In that sense, it renovates a long-held tradition.

Indeed, the roots of PVE and the broader war on terror date back to a centuries-old tendency among most societies—Western and non-Western alike—to forge their identities in an almost perpetual state of conflict, aiming to control resources or counter rivals. Such war footing demands a positive, legitimating narrative—an understanding that we fight to reclaim, defend, pacify, stabilise, illuminate and liberate. Rarely do eradication and predation announce themselves unabashedly. Rather, virtually all forms of conquest and colonisation hinge on the notion of an enemy to defeat and, alongside it, a population begging for deliverance…

Today, it is difficult to pin down even the healthy pretense of moral standards in Western foreign policy. Barack Obama, his motto of restraint notwithstanding, presided over not only the vast expansion of borderless warfare via killer drones, but also the redeployment of all-out aerial campaigns that have destroyed entire cities in Syria and Iraq. In the meantime, America and its allies have lied shamelessly about civilian casualties, thus denying victims even meager compensation; slammed shut their borders to refugees, and been complicit in the latter’s forced return to warzones; and broadcast almost satirically poisonous, jingoistic narratives regarding the “enemy.” In other words, Western societies have not only ceased to exert meaningful pressure on abusive regimes abroad—they have also, increasingly, emulated some of these regimes’ worst practices.

– From: The West’s War on Itself

The political space I inhabit isn’t very popular because it fails to make anyone particularly happy. Although I’m stridently against the U.S. status quo and its predatory and corrupt paradigm, I do not embrace Donald Trump’s vision. At the same time, I won’t allow my distaste for him to propel me into the duplicitous and toxic arms of a dishonest resistance movement manufactured and led by the corporate media, intelligence agencies and hack politicians.

There are all sorts of important critiques of the Trump administration that aren’t seeing the light of day because “the resistance” insists on diverting all our collective energy to Russiagate. While the hordes of people buying into this nonsense are being ruthlessly manipulated, the manipulators know exactly what they’e doing.

Blaming Russia for all the nation’s problems serves several key purposes for various defenders of the status quo. For discredited neocons and neoliberals who never met a failed war based on lies they didn’t support, it provides an opportunity to rehabilitate their torched reputations by masquerading as fierce patriots against the latest existential enemy. Similarly, for those who lived in denial about who Obama really was for eight years, latching on to the Russia narrative allows them to reassure themselves that everything really was fine before Trump and Russia came along and ruined the party.

By throwing every problem in Putin’s lap, the entrenched bipartisan status quo can tell themselves (and everybody else) that it wasn’t really them and their policies that voters rejected in 2016, rather, the American public was tricked by cunning, nefarious Russians. Ridiculous for sure, but never underestimate the instinctive human desire to deny accountability for one’s own failures. It’s always easier to blame than to accept responsibility.

That said, there’s a much bigger game afoot beyond the motivations of individuals looking to save face. The main reason much of the highest echelons of American power are united against Trump has nothing to do with his actual policies. Instead, they’re terrified that — unlike Obama — he’s a really bad salesman for empire. This sort of Presidential instability threatens the continuance of their well oiled and exceedingly corrupt gravy train. Hillary Clinton was a sure thing, Donald Trump remains an unpredictable wildcard.

I recently came across a fantastic article titled The West’s War on Itself, which I highly recommend everyone read it. It helps put into context much about the current position the American empire finds itself in, and shines a light on the origins of our dysfunctional and increasingly insane national political dialogue. The authors use the term PVE (preventing violent extremism) throughout, which is described in the following manner:

PVE, then, is first and foremost a narrative device: a tool used, largely unconsciously, to inject fresh legitimacy into a war on terror that by 2008 had fallen into disrepute. More specifically, PVE appears to dampen the queasiness felt at pursuing a course of action that quite obviously conflicts with Western liberal values, wrapping hard-edged counterterrorism in gentle language. In that sense, it renovates a long-held tradition.

In other words, it’s just a linguistic way to justify policies of imperial aggression abroad using palatable terminology. The authors go on to note:

Indeed, the roots of PVE and the broader war on terror date back to a centuries-old tendency among most societies—Western and non-Western alike—to forge their identities in an almost perpetual state of conflict, aiming to control resources or counter rivals. Such war footing demands a positive, legitimating narrative—an understanding that we fight to reclaim, defend, pacify, stabilise, illuminate and liberate. Rarely do eradication and predation announce themselves unabashedly. Rather, virtually all forms of conquest and colonisation hinge on the notion of an enemy to defeat and, alongside it, a population begging for deliverance.

This is precisely why the powers that be in the U.S. are always trying to sell the public on a new enemy. The 21st century alone has seen us seamlessly transition from being terrified of al-Qaeda to ISIS, and now Russia, in less than two decades. Such external enemies are needed in order to justify the overseas military action required to hold together an increasingly shaky global empire. Same as it ever was.

The article goes on to explain why Obama was the perfect salesman for U.S. imperial ambitions.

In the Western sphere, the war on terror originally was associated with the conservative right-wing. That linkage crystallised throughout the half-decade following the 11 September 2001 al-Qaeda attacks on US soil, as self-identifying liberals came to identify the war on terror with President George W. Bush’s catastrophic invasion of Iraq, and with a host of practices deemed antithetical to Western values, including ramped up domestic surveillance, torture euphemistically dubbed “enhanced interrogation,” extrajudicial killings and “extraordinary renditions” (that is, outsourcing the interrogation of terror suspects to cooperative authoritarian regimes).

So intense was the backlash that Americans, in 2008, turned to a presidential candidate explicitly framing himself as the liberal antithesis to Bush’s approach: Barack Obama was expected to wind down the wars and generally rein in the illiberal excesses of the preceding era. The rest of the Western sphere, which had almost universally come to decry the war on terror as undermining global stability, acclaimed a leader poised to redress that legacy.

It is striking, therefore, that by the end of President Obama’s second term, the war on terror was alive and well. The US remained engaged in a series of shadowy wars across Africa, the Middle East and Asia, albeit with Bush’s predilection for regime change swapped out for a deepening reliance on airstrikes and killer drones. Most other Western governments either joined in or, in the case of France, took the lead in military operations of their own. To paper over their interventions’ obvious shortcomings, all chimed in around a growing rhetorical emphasis on redressing “root causes” of extremism. In sum, the fundamental contours of a timeless, borderless military conflict endured, but received an eight-year makeover salving uneasy Western consciences.

Obama said all the right things while methodically doing the bidding of oligarchy. He captured the imagination of millions, if not billions, around the world with his soaring rhetoric, yet rarely skipped a beat when it came to the advancement of imperial policies. He made bailing out Wall Street, droning civilians and cracking down on journalists seem progressive. He said one thing, did another, and people ate it up. This is an extraordinarily valuable quality when it comes to a vicious and unelected deep state that wants to keep a corrupt empire together.

Trump has the exact opposite effect. Sure, he also frequently says one thing and then does another, but he doesn’t provide the same feel good quality to empire that Obama did. He’s simply not the warm and fuzzy salesman for oligarchy and empire Obama was, thus his inability to sugarcoat state-sanctioned murder forces a lot of people to confront the uncomfortable hypocrisies in our society that many would prefer not to admit.

Here it bears noting that the “West” is a relatively recent, highly ideological and generally ambiguous construct. The concept revolves around a similarly loose value-system broadly qualified as “liberal,” which combines representative government, rule of law, individual liberties, private property, free commerce and regulatory states—albeit with national and partisan varieties. The liberal worldview is inherently elastic, prone to a host of discrepancies and double-standards—not least when it comes to international affairs. Liberalism has frequently been invoked, for example, to justify violence in one place while denouncing precisely the same violence elsewhere.

The notion of liberalism has nonetheless proved profoundly structuring in how “Western” countries conceive of themselves, organise internally, interact with the rest of the world, and are intellectualised by their counterparts. Indeed, these concepts underpin an expansive set of international norms consecrated by the UN, even though such norms are often implemented selectively. In other words, the liberal agenda is as influential as it is aspirational—a symbolic lynchpin in the edifice of Western identity, all the more vital given its inconsistency.

Bush-era foreign policy pushed this tension to breaking point, as the US and various allies increasingly flouted core tenets of precisely the liberal order they purported to uphold. This dynamic was all the more uncomfortable for the blatant reality that the war on terror had incurred immense financial, human and reputational costs, without approaching anything like victory.

At first, Obama—the youthful, cosmopolitan president with a message of humility and restraint—stepped in to right this wrong. He withdrew troops from Iraq, downsized the mission in Afghanistan, and scaled back—though never closed—the infamous penitentiary of Guantanamo. Yet Obama and his advisors, along with defense and intelligence careerists, invested in the lingering, politically-supercharged spectre of Jihadism, all but guaranteeing that the war on terror would endure and evolve.

Obama allowed oligarchy and empire to expand and flourish with little-to-no resistance from the segments of society that would typically push back against such polices. So-called “liberals” failed to live up to their self-professed values so long as Obama was President, thus exposing themselves as frauds in the process. This resulted in widespread disillusionment across large swaths of the U.S. populace, and ultimately led to a resounding rejection of the status quo preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton. Some went for Trump, others went for Bernie Sanders, but the key message is enough people were sick and disgusted of business as usual to swing the election. Russia didn’t do that, the U.S. establishment did with its destructive, corrupt and anti-human polices.

This why establishment frauds to this day can’t admit their beloved Hillary Clinton lost fair and square. Admitting this would mean accepting that they too were rejected, which would invariably lead to some unwanted introspection and a radical restructuring of domestic and foreign policy. They don’t want to do this for obvious reasons, so blaming Russia lets them absolve their own responsibility for the unfolding disaster they created. This is why neocons and neoliberals are totally united in this fraud resistance. It seems crazy on the surface, but it actually makes perfect sense. It was the short sighted policies of neocons under Bush and then neoliberals under Obama that led us directly to Trump, yet neither side will ever admit this. So they manufacture a super enemy to distract the public away from their well documented and catastrophic failures over the past two decades.

Russia’s provides the perfect scapegoat for some of history’s most corrupt, incompetent and bloodthirsty elites. Disgraced villains get to preen around like heroes as the corporate media works overtime to reinvent their tarnished images. George W. Bush becomes popular with Democrats. Trump conveniently becomes the root of all our problems, versus a mere symptom of our longstanding national decline. Tens of millions eagerly embrace a comically Orwellian “resistance” manufactured and led by intelligence agencies and corporate media talking heads. Problems remain unsolved and oligarchy continues to entrench, but this time the mask is off and establishment frauds can smell that the end is near.

As our previously slick salesman for empire kitesurfs with Richard Branson in the Caribbean, the neocon/neoliberal alliance panics that Trump can’t keep the ship afloat. They’re not worried about the wellbeing of the American public, they’re just deeply fearful that Trump threatens their imperial gravy train thanks to his uncouth demeanor. They like it when he drops bombs, they’re just concerned he’s not particularly good at selling war to the rest of the world. This fraudulent “resistance” has nothing to do with ethics or Russia and everything to do with money and power.

Same as it ever was.


Mueller Indictment – The “Russian Influence” Is A Commercial Marketing Scheme


By Moon of Alabama. Originally posted at Moon of Alabama under Mueller Indictment – The “Russian Influence” Is A Commercial Marketing Scheme.

Yesterday the U.S. Justice Department indicted the Russian Internet Research Agency on some dubious legal grounds. It covers thirteen Russian people and three Russian legal entities. The main count of the indictment is an alleged “Conspiracy to Defraud the United States”.

The published indictment gives support to our long held believe that there was no “Russian influence” campaign during the U.S. election. What is described and denounced as such was instead a commercial marketing scheme which ran click-bait websites to generate advertisement revenue and created online crowds around virtual persona to promote whatever its commercial customers wanted to promote. The size of the operation was tiny when compared to the hundreds of millions in campaign expenditures. It had no influence on the election outcome.

The indictment is fodder for the public to prove that the Mueller investigation is “doing something”. It distracts from further questioning  the origin of the Steele dossier. It is full of unproven assertions and assumptions. It is a sham in that none of the Russian persons or companies indicted will ever come in front of a U.S. court. That is bad because the indictment is build on the theory of a new crime which, unless a court throws it out, can be used to incriminate other people in other cases and might even apply to this blog. The later part of this post will refer to that.

In the early 1990s some dude in St.Petersburg made a good business selling hot dogs. He opened a colorful restaurant. Local celebrities and politicians were invited to gain notoriety while the restaurant served cheap food for too high prices. It was a good business. A few years later he moved to Moscow and gained contracts to cater to schools and to the military. The food he served was still substandard.

But catering bad food as school lunches gave him, by chance, the idea for a new business:

Parents were soon up in arms. Their children wouldn’t eat the food, saying it smelled rotten.As the bad publicity mounted, Mr. Prigozhin’s company, Concord Catering, launched a counterattack, a former colleague said. He hired young men and women to overwhelm the internet with comments and blog posts praising the food and dismissing the parents’ protests.

“In five minutes, pages were drowning in comments,” said Andrei Ilin, whose website serves as a discussion board about public schools. “And all the trolls were supporting Concord.”

The trick worked beyond expectations. Prigozhin had found a new business. He hired some IT staff and low paid temps to populate various message boards, social networks and the general internet with whatever his customers asked him for.

You have a bad online reputation? Prigozhin can help. His internet company will fill the net with positive stories and remarks about you. Your old and bad reputation will be drowned by the new and good one. Want to promote a product or service? Prigozhin’s online marketeers can address the right crowds.

Pic: A Russian influencerTo achieve those results the few temps who worked on such projects needed to multiply their online personalities. It is better to have fifty people vouch for you online than just five. No one cares if these are real people or just virtual ones. The internet makes it easy to create such sock-puppets. The virtual crowd can then be used to push personalities, products or political opinions. Such schemes are nothing new or special. Every decent “western” public relations and marketing company will offer a similar service and has done so for years.

While it is relatively easy to have sock-puppets swamp the comment threads of such sites as this blog, it is more difficult to have a real effect on social networks. These depend on multiplier effects. To gain many real “likes”, “re-tweets” or “followers” an online persona needs a certain history and reputation. Real people need to feel attached to it. It takes some time and effort to build such a multiplier personality, be it real or virtual.

At some point Prigozhin, or whoever by then owned the internet marketing company, decided to expand into the lucrative English speaking market. This would require to build many English language online persona and to give those some history and time to gain crowds of followers and a credible reputation. The company sent a few of its staff to the U.S. to gain some impressions, pictures and experience of the surroundings. They would later use these to impersonate as U.S. locals. It was a medium size, long-term investment of maybe a hundred-thousand bucks over two or three years.

The U.S. election provided an excellent environment to build reputable online persona with large followings of people with discriminable mindsets. The political affinity was not important. The personalities only had to be very engaged and stick to their issue – be it left or right or whatever. The sole point was to gain as many followers as possible who could be segmented along social-political lines and marketed to the companies customers.

Again – there is nothing new to this. It is something hundreds, if not thousands of companies are doing as their daily business. The Russian company hoped to enter the business with a cost advantage. Even its mid-ranking managers were paid as little as $1,200 per month. The students and other temporary workers who would ‘work’ the virtual personas as puppeteers would earn even less. Any U.S. company in a similar business would have higher costs.

In parallel to building virtual online persona the company also built some click-bait websites and groups and promoted these through mini Facebook advertisements. These were the “Russian influence ads” on Facebook the U.S. media were so enraged about. They included the promotion of a Facebook page about cute puppies. Back in October we described how those “Russian influence” ads (most of which were shown after the election or were not seen at all) were simply part of a commercial scheme:

The pages described and the ads leading to them are typical click-bait, not part of a political influence op.

One builds pages with “hot” stuff that hopefully attracts lots of viewers. One creates ad-space on these pages and fills it with Google ads. One attracts viewers and promotes the spiked pages by buying $3 Facebook mini-ads for them. The mini-ads are targeted at the most susceptible groups.A few thousand users will come and look at such pages. Some will ‘like’ the puppy pictures or the rant for or against LGBT and further spread them. Some will click the Google ads. Money then flows into the pockets of the page creator. One can rinse and repeat this scheme forever. Each such page is a small effort for a small revenue. But the scheme is highly scaleable and parts of it can be automatized.

Because of the myriad of U.S. sanctions against Russia the monetization of these business schemes required some creativity. One can easily find the name of a real U.S. person together with the assigned social security number and its date of birth. Those data are enough to open, for example, a Paypal account under a U.S. name. A U.S. customer of the cloaked Russian Internet company could then pay to the Paypal account and the money could be transferred from there to Moscow. These accounts could also be used to buy advertisement on Facebook. The person who’s data was used to create the account would never learn of it and would have no loss or other damage. Another scheme is to simply pay some U.S. person to open a U.S. bank account and to then hand over the ‘keys’ to that account.

The Justice Department indictment is quite long and detailed. It must have been expensive. If you read it do so with the above in mind. Skip over the assumptions and claims of political interference and digest only the facts. All that is left is, as explained, a commercial marketing scheme.

I will not go into all its detail of the indictment but here are some points that support the above description.

Point 4:

Defendants, posing as US. persons and creating false U.S. personas, operated social media pages and groups designed to attract U.S. audiences. These groups and pages, which addressed divisive US. political and social issues, falsely claimed to be controlled by US. activists when, in fact, they were controlled by Defendants. Defendants also used the stolen identities of real U.S. persons to post on social media accounts. Over time, these social media accounts became Defendants’ means to reach significant numbers of Americans

Point 10d:

By in or around April 2014, the ORGANIZATION formed a department that went by various names but was at times referred to as the “translator project.” This project focused on the US. population and conducted operations on social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. By approximately July 2016, more than eighty ORGANIZATION employees were assigned to the translator project.

(Some U.S. media today made the false claim that $1.25 million per month were spend by the company for its U.S. campaign. But Point 11 of the indictment says that the company ran a number of such projects directed at a Russian audience while only the one described in 10d above is aimed at an U.S. audience. All these projects together had a monthly budget of $1.25 million.)

(Point 17, 18 and 19 indict individual persons who have worked for the “translator” project” “to at least in and around [some month] 2014”. It is completely unclear how these persons, who seem to have left the company two years before the U.S. election, are supposed to have anything to do with the claimed “Russian influence” on the U.S. election and the indictment.)

Point 32:

Defendants and their co-conspirators, through fraud and deceit, created hundreds of social media accounts and used them to develop certain fictitious U.S. personas into “leader[s] of public opinion” in the United States.

The indictment then goes on and on describing the “political activities” of the sock-puppet personas. Some posted pro-Hillary slogans, some anti-Hillary stuff, some were pro-Trump, some anti-everyone, some urged not to vote, others to vote for third party candidates. The sock-puppets did not create or post fake news. They posted mainstream media stories.

Some of the persona called for going to anti-Islam rallies while others promoted pro-Islam rallies. The Mueller indictment lists a total of eight rallies. Most of these did not take place at all. No one joined the “Miners For Trump” rallies in Philly and Pittsburgh. A “Charlotte against Trump” march on November 19 – after the election – was attended by one hundred people. Eight people came for a pro-Trump rally in Fort Myers.

The sock-puppets called for rallies to establish themselves as  ‘activist’ and ‘leadership’ persona, to generated more online traffic and additional followers. There was in fact no overall political trend in what the sock-puppets did. The sole point of all such activities was to create a large total following by having multiple personas which together covered all potential social-political strata.

At Point 86 the indictment turns to Count Two – “Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and Bank Fraud”. The puppeteers opened, as explained above, various Paypal accounts using ‘borrowed’ data.

Then comes the point which confirms the commercial marketing story as laid out above:

Point 95:

Defendants and their co-conspirators also used the accounts to receive money from real U.S. persons in exchange for posting promotions and advertisements on the ORGANIZATION-controlled social media pages. Defendants and their co-conspirators typically charged certain U.S. merchants and U.S. social media sites between 25 and 50 U.S. dollars per post for promotional content on their popular false U.S. persona accounts, including Being Patriotic, Defend the 2nd, and Blacktivist.

There you have it. There was no political point to what the Russian company did. Whatever political slogans one of the company’s sock-puppets posted had only one aim: to increase the number of followers for that sock-puppet. The sole point of creating a diverse army of sock-puppets with large following crowds was to sell the ‘eyeballs’ of the followers to the paying customers of the marketing company.

There were, according to the indictment, eighty people working on the “translator project”. These controlled “hundreds” of sock-puppets online accounts each with a distinct “political” personality. Each of these sock-puppets had a large number of followers – in total several hundred-thousands. Now let’s assume that one to five promotional posts can be sold per day on each of the sock-puppets content stream. The scheme generates several thousand dollars per day ($25 per promo, hundreds of sock-puppets, 1-5 promos per day per sock-puppet). The costs for this were limited to the wages of up to eighty persons in Moscow, many of them temps, of which the highest paid received some $1,000 per month. While the upfront multiyear investment to create and establish the virtual personas was probably significant, this likely was, over all, a profitable business.

Again – this had nothing to do with political influence on the election. The sole point of political posts was to create ‘engagement’ and a larger number of followers in each potential social-political segment. People who buy promotional posts want these to be targeted at a specific audience. The Russian company could offer whatever audience was needed. It had sock-puppets with pro-LGBT view and a large following and sock-puppets with anti-LGBT views and a large following. It could provide pro-2nd amendment crowds as well as Jill Stein followers. Each of the sock-puppets had over time generated a group of followers that were like minded. The entity buying the promotion simply had to choose which group it preferred to address.

The panic of the U.S. establishment over the loss of their preferred candidate created an artificial storm over “Russian influence” and assumed “collusion” with the Trump campaign. (Certain Democrats though, like Adam Schiff, profit from creating a new Cold War through their sponsoring armament companies.)

The Mueller investigation found no “collusion” between anything Russia and the Trump campaign. The indictment does not mentions any. The whole “Russian influence” storm is based on a misunderstanding of commercial activities of a Russian marketing company in U.S. social networks.

There is a danger in this. The indictment sets up a new theory of nefarious foreign influence that could be applied to even this blog. As U.S. lawyer Robert Barns explains:

The only thing frightening about this indictment is the dangerous and dumb precedent it could set: foreign nationals criminally prohibited from public expression in the US during elections unless registered as foreign agents and reporting their expenditures to the FEC.

Mueller’s new crime only requires 3 elements: 1) a foreign national; 2) outspoken on US social media during US election; and 3) failed to register as a foreign agent or failed to report receipts/expenditures of speech activity. Could indict millions under that theory.

The legal theory of the indictment for most of the defendants and most of the charges alleges that the “fraud” was simply not registering as a foreign agent or not reporting expenses to the FEC because they were a foreign national expressing views in a US election.

Author Leonid Bershidsky, who prominently writes for Bloomberg, remarks:

I’m actually surprised I haven’t been indicted. I’m Russian, I was in the U.S. in 2016 and I published columns critical of both Clinton and Trump w/o registering as a foreign agent.

As most of you will know your author writing this is German. I write pseudo-anonymously for a mostly U.S. audience. My postings are political and during the U.S. election campaign expressed an anti-Hillary view. The blog is hosted on U.S, infrastructure paid for by me. I am not registered as Foreign Agent or with the Federal Election Commission.

Under the theory on which the indictment is based I could also be indicted for a similar “Conspiracy to Defraud the United States”.

(Are those of you who kindly donate for this blog co-conspiractors?)

When Yevgeni Prigozhin, the hot dog caterer who allegedly owns the internet promotion business, was asked about the indictment he responded:

“The Americans are really impressionable people, they see what they want to see. […] If they want to see the devil, let them see him.”


James Tracy: Ten Reasons Parkland Narrative Stinks