Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Manufactured Russia scandal is a nothing burger

My distinguished colleagues on this site, Eli Rabbet and Brian, are convinced that the ruling-class media (NY Times, Washington Post, MSNBC) is hot on the trail of a major scandal. According to the mainstream media, the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to smear Hillary Clinton’s campaign and allow Trump to win.

I respectfully dissent.

Allegation: A server holding a large collection of emails by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was hacked by the Russians, which then leaked the emails to the US media, to the great embarrassment of the DNC and Hilary’s campaign.

Rebuttal: A group of retired spooks, the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) has performed forensic investigations of the metadata. The VIPS determined the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceed an internet capacity for a remote hack. Forensics also shows that the copying was performed on the East coast of the US.

I readily admit that I have no expertise in this area. But the VIPS do have such expertise. I have not seen any coverage by the MSNBC, the NYTimes, or the Washington Post that addresses the claims made by the VIPS. Instead, the Establishment aims to drown out the opposition by dint of constant repetition. The summary of the VIPS study, entitled

Was the Russian Hack an Inside Job?

can be found at www.counterpunch.org/2017/07/25/was-the-russian-hack-an-inside-job

Allegation: Russia colluded with the Trump campaign to subvert the democratic election.

Rebuttal: A recent book on the 2016 election, Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign by journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes. In the book’s final pages, the authors describe the utter shock experienced by the top campaigners, who never dreamed that Hillary could lose the election. At the same time, the top campaigners were staggered by the unflattering revelations of the leaked DNC emails. Allen and Barnes describe how Hillary successfully changed the subject: Instead of inquiring into the content of the emails, Hillary staffers asked, WHO hacked the DNC server. The answer of the Hillary campaign? Russians hacked the emails.

See link at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shattered:_Inside_Hillary_Clinton%27s_Doomed_Campaign

Gary Leupp, history professor at Tufts University, does not agree with the official line that

“Russia had rigged the election by providing stolen DNC emails to Wikileaks, using them to discredit Hillary. (It’s rarely mentioned how, precisely, they had done that, by showing that the DNC under Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had rigged the primaries against Bernie Sanders.)”

See link at www.counterpunch.org/2017/09/20/manafort-news-a-blockbuster-or-nothingburger

Journalist Chris Floyd scoff at the anti-Russian hysteria.

Floyd has actually looked at some of the online advertisements that the Russian government (supposedly) bought.

“What did we see? Hillary Clinton in a devil costume boxing with Jesus. A Clinton-backing Satan arm-wrestling with Jesus. Pro-gun memes. Anti-immigrant memes. Memes about military-hating Democrats. Basically, the same sort of things your cranky uncle or Foxicated cousin has been sending around on email for the past 20 years. The idea that someone could be dissuaded from voting for Hillary Clinton because of something like this is absurd.” See link at www.counterpunch.org/2017/09/20/manafort-news-a-blockbuster-or-nothingburger

Consider the careful work by the journalist Robert Parry, cited by Norman Solomon.

Stripping the 25-page DNI (Director of National Intelligence) report down to its essence, Parry pointed out that it “contained no direct evidence that Russia delivered hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta to WikiLeaks.” Parry added: “The DNI report amounted to a compendium of reasons to suspect that Russia was the source of the information — built largely on the argument that Russia had a motive for doing so because of its disdain for Democratic nominee Clinton and the potential for friendlier relations with Republican nominee Trump. But the case, as presented, is one-sided and lacks any actual proof.”

Solomon concludes that Democrats are playing with fire.

See link at www.counterpunch.org/2017/01/10/democrats-are-playing-with-fire-on-russia

Aaron Mate writes in the Oct 6, 2017 issue of The Nation magazine that

Russiagate is More Fiction than Fact

From accusations of Trump campaign collusion to Russian Facebook ad buys, the media has substituted hype for evidence, Mate writes.

“Since Election Day, the controversy over alleged Russian meddling and Trump campaign collusion has consumed Washington and the national media. Yet nearly one year later there is still no concrete evidence of its central allegations.”

See link at www.thenation.com/article/russiagate-is-more-fiction-than-fact

Journalist Max Blumenthal addresses a headline in The Washington Post on Sunday Nov 5, 2017. The scare headline reads

At least nine people in Trump’s orbit had contact with Russians during campaign and transition

Wow! Pretty scary! Until Max Blumenthal puts it in perspective.

“Many of these forbidden contacts consisted of meetings with Russian diplomats.”

The Wa Po story authored by Rosalind S. Heiderman, Tom Hamburger and Carol D. Leonnig

Blumenthal goes on to comment sarcastically “Diplomacy must cede to brinksmanship if not all out war.”


CapitalistImperialistPig said...

Who the heck is this 'John', and why is he polluting Eli's site with this nonsense? The so-called VIPS report has been convincingly debunked (see, e.g., Wikipedia). Most of his other points is either irrelevant to his central thesis or contradicts it.

Arthur said...

So “Counterpunch” has been spreading Russian propaganda lately? I suppose that’s not surprising. Its founder (Cockburn) was notoriously in denial about climate, and they were big Wikileaks supporters all along. Your substantive claims are silly. Hackers go through many systems to reach their target, and some of those connections will be over local networks rather than the internet. And many internet links these days are as fast as local networks anyway. The “inside job” claim sounds as likely as with the CRU emails. Have you actually read any of the supposedly damning DNC emails? There’s very little there (which is presumably why further nonsense like “Pizzagate” had to be invented) and all the ones involving Clinton directly actually make her seem even more kind and compassionate and real. Every “Clinton scandal” involving Hillary has ended up being a “nothingburger” as far as she was concerned, though the “optics” is somehow always bad. In any case, we already have several Trump campaign people in jail so this kind of counter-propaganda looks sillier by the day,

jrkrideau said...

Post hoc, propter hoc.

Someone has done something, therefore it was the Russians.

Thon Taddeo said...

Has the site been hacked?

John McCormick said...


Everett F Sargent said...


Dan said...

The VIPS analysis relies on unwarranted assumptions about the provenance of the timestamps. It's a sloppy piece of work, if you want to get into the weeds start here:


The forensic evidence linking the Podesta phish to Russian intelligence is quite convincing. DNC hack is muddier, but the weight of the evidence still points towards the Russians. How things got to WikiLeaks is still unknown.

wrt meetings with "diplomats", every intelligence service in the world uses diplomatic cover whenever possible. The big issue, as I see it, is the extrene lack of transparency by Trump, his campaign and administration.

rumleyfips said...

I read about the hacker/whistleblower thing quite a while ago. The bits about speed , disgruntled employees etc looked to me like classic deflection. Still do. The deniers said exactly the same things about the climategate emails.

Fernando Leanme said...

Let's be realistic. The Russians want a weak USA military, the Pentagon converted into the USA War Crimes Museum, and the USA economy run by socialists obsessed with Chinese made solar panels. Only a democrat can deliver that. The Russians wanted Bernie Sanders to win, their second choice was Hillary. Then they decided to knock off Trump, and that's why their agents in CNN and NBC are so active. Plus they financed those anti pipeline Indians and Greenpeace. And they put junk on Trump's hairspray to make him tweet like a nutcase. Russians are sneaky as heck.

Anonymous said...

Fernando presents his alternative facts.

Puffin said...

Bunnies have waited hours for Eli's clarification, and deserve better.

Drunk Country Doctor said...

Just a drunk country doctor, but when all the people with innocent contacts with Russia lie about it, and claim they didn't know about it (Pence) these people are acting guilty. Why not just invite Lord Monckton for a guest post?

Drunk Country Doctor said...

Eili? help!

Everett F Sargent said...


Have you squashed all those 'red bugs under your bed" yet?

You need to work in your comedy routine some more but your about 80% of the way there, so let me present you with today's Attaboy Award. Congratulations.


And no, it's the facial tanning cream that he used daily that hides his cracker ginger lilly white face that makes him tweet like giant douche.

I'm comic gold, so write all this stuff down, to use in your very next RR comic outing.

elspi said...

There are plenty of blogs filled with gibberish. This blog didn't used to be one of them. This post needs to be retracted.

Anonymous said...

It is nice to have all the deflections and excuses collected in one place that are used to 'exonerate' the Trump campaign.

It is clear from the facebook/twitter adverts that Russia tried to influence the US election. They also tried to collude with the Trump campaign, but discovered that the contacts they made were incompetent.

@-“Many of these forbidden contacts consisted of meetings with Russian diplomats.”

Most often Kislyak the ambassador who is of course above any suspicion of wanting to influence US policy.

barry said...

Either the site is hacked and Eli locked out, or the blog has (temporarily?) gone newspaper and offers commentary from other perspectives. If the latter, no need for conniptions.

Piece is unconvincing. References explaining why have already been provided upthread. Not much here to nibble on.

Eli commented on another thread a few hours after the piece was posted, so I'm guessing he's just enjoying the show.

Fernando Leanme said...

Everett, the red bugs are solidifying their hold on Venezuela with Cuban dictatorship help. Nicaragua, also a Castro ally, is turning into an corrupt autocracy whith very fascist tingles, In Colombia a murderous communist terrorist is running for president, in Bolivia a communist, Evo Morales, used government funds to build a museum to himself and is violating the Bolivian constitution's term limits by running for president again. The autocratic, dictatorial, and corrupt nature of these regimes was well known to the Obama state department, and yet he chose to visit Havana with his family, to get his photograph taken with Raul Castro smiling, doing the wave at beaseball games, etc.

So not only are red bugs a serious threat, they seem to be getting a lot of help and assistance from USA and European closet red bugs (or overt red bugs like film maker Moore, the UKs Jeremy Corbyn, Spain's Pablo Iglesias, etc. The USA is focused too much on Middle East politics because the Israel lobby controls so many in congress, and USA foreign policy is now subverted to serve as a Netanyahu instrument. Meanwhile, the Western Hemisphere is falling to the new breed of communist, which celebrates the October Revolution, pays homage to Fidel Castro, and also forms alliances with multinationals and large investment banks to exploit the slave labor it controls.

Kevin O'Neill said...

A little more research should have been done before this was posted. The Wikipedia critique of the VIPS memo is a strong counter-point.

Everett F Sargent said...


What you call communism I call authoritarianism. You do understand that communism is only one subset of authoritarianism? If not, then read no further, as you are seeing things that are not there.

I do care that Obama tried to open up relations with Cuba. I was hoping for further improved relations but then came Trump The Destroyer. I won't be drawn into a long discussion on this matter either. Sorry.

Your last paragraph is so incoherent (or Gish Gallopy) and conspiracy laden, that I can't consider it worthy of comment by myself (and IMHO anyone else).

Bernard J. said...

FL, look up the definition of a phobia.

And don't look under your bed.

BBD said...

Trump himself has been up to his neck in filthy Russian money for decades.

Denying that there was some sort of Russian influence in the election requires ignoring the other mountain of evidence. Although hardly anyone talks about it, despite the absolutely jaw-dropping connections between Trump businesses and criminal Russian money.

IMO this will ultimately be what pulls the Trump administration down. Sometime next year.

Toby said...

I'm with BBD.

Just follow the money.

The collusion, whatever there was, was probably just assorted Russian oligarchs and Mafiosi trying to protect their investments. It did not have to be massive to be significant.

EliRabett said...

Bunnies, the deal is that Brian and John post what Brian and John want. Eli agrees, Eli disagrees, whatever

jrkrideau said...

@ BBD & Toby Joyce

Indeed follow the money.
As I said earlier
Post hoc, propter hoc.
Someone has done something, therefore it was the Russians.

The US main stream media is responding to the accusations of Russian interference in the US election with all the cutting edge analysis and keen skepticism it showed in the built-up to the Iraq invasion.

While I am willing to believe this may have happened the data is so far less than totally convincing

On the other hand, the alarm that Trump shows about Mueller investigating his and his associates financial affairs suggests that he is so deep in dubious deals and money laundering with people in Russia and some of the other former Soviet Republics that federal prosecutors might be able to have life-time careers prosecuting Trump and many of his staff and associates.

Thanks for the list. Just this morning I was thinking that we might refer to the Great Orange One as D. Maytag Trump.

Everett F Sargent said...

Speaking of nothingburgers, it would appear that John's post is the biggest nothingburger of them all.

BTW, John you squared dipshit, nothingburger is one word not two (it's not hip to be a squared dipshit, for fuck sake do you go to get a ham burger or do you go to get a hamburger, D'oh!)

I think I'll round up some alt-right types. I think a post/linkie at Breitbart will work, others might bring the alternative facts crowd here via Shitter and Fartbook.

So how about it people? Let's flood this post with the most obnoxious racist bigoted sexist white supremacist people the world has ever seen since the 1930's, mkay?

Flood this place with Trumpkinites PLEASE!

Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog

Everett F Sargent said...

jrkrideau you effin' fascist, please bring more of your own type here. Please.

Florifulgurator said...

Thank you dear comment section for being a beacon of sanity. But please don't feed Fernando.

rumleyfips said...

Anybody searching for accuracy in Russian electoral interference should she d the American binders and see what has happened in Europe. Brexit and Farange were supported by Russia, Money to attend " Academic Conferences" helped Farange financially and gave him status. As a fiasco disrupting the British body politic , Russia has neutralized an opponent. La Pin had support from Russia as did other ultra right wing politicians in Europe. Russia also supports separatist parties from California and Texas to Catalonia. Russia is financing, encouraging and electronically supporting any and every organization they think may be disruptive.

Everett F Sargent said...

John, I'm sorry, so sorry.

Your post isn't really a nothingburger ...
"Two pieces of bread slapped together with nothing in between. Usually eaten when you have nothing in the house except bread or are too lazy to spend 2 minutes making a decent sandwich."

No, your post is definitely not a nothingburger, because it's so full of SHIT!

So what your post really is is a turd sandwich!
"two pieces of bread with a juicy turd in the middle"

Drunk Country Doctor said...

Just a drunk country doctor, but John I recommend Zyprexa.

Jeffrey Davis said...

We should ask Donald Trump Jr. about whether or not Russian collusion is an illusion.

We should ask Donald Trump Jr. about the changes to his email which his father dictated.

The Russian collusion story isn't about the hacks. The Russian collusion story is about bribery, obstruction of justice, and money laundering. How and why the change was made to the GOP platform. Why Donald Trump refused to implement the sanctions against Russia that Congress passed over his veto.

BBD said...

@ rumleyfips

[Brexit ... Farage] Russia is financing, encouraging and electronically supporting any and every organization they think may be disruptive.


@ Jeffrey Davis

The Russian collusion story is about bribery, obstruction of justice, and money laundering

Also yep.

More Hydra than Bear.


Has EFS been hacked by Max Headroom, or is big twitter botting him ?

Everett F Sargent said...


Both, buy then again, I'm not too sure.

I do think any discussion of nothingburgere RE: Trump are a tad bit premature, at this point in time.

I have no desire to impeach Trump as that would make Pence POTUS.

File that one under: Careful what you wish for, because you just might not get it, you could even get something much worse.

And Ryan (how cute "And Ryan" and "Ayn Rand" are too close for comfort) is 2nd in line so OMFG!!!

I am for keeping the orangutan caged though or castrated (dick and balls on a chopping block s it were) even.


And now for the weather in Sleepy Hollow.

Gator said...

John did an amazing job a few years back documenting the anti-climate scientist conspiracy. He produced pages of well-researched and documented evidence connecting companies, contrarian "researchers", conservative think-tanks, etc.

Where is that doggedness now? Trusting a few Counterpunch articles (Counterpunch? Counterpunch?? the pro-Putin, pro-Russia Counterpunch??) and a memo by an anonymous group. John, please take another look.

Anonymous said...

rumleyfips said:

"Russia is financing, encouraging and electronically supporting any and every organization they think may be disruptive."

Rachel Maddow did a great piece about this a few weeks back. Let me see if I can dig it up...


Everett F Sargent said...

Logic wins out on this POS strawperson (err, hmm, mkay strawman effin' hey) post ...

"My distinguished colleagues on this site, Eli Rabbet and Brian, are convinced that the ruling-class media (NY Times, Washington Post, MSNBC) is hot on the trail of a major scandal. According to the mainstream media, the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to smear Hillary Clinton’s campaign and allow Trump to win."

"is hot" should be "are hot" but the strawman part is "on the trail of a major scandal."

The MSM are reporting stuff, don't you know. That much we do know.

"According to the mainstream media, the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to smear Hillary Clinton’s campaign and allow Trump to win."

Strawman. It's weak. It's lame. It's 100% factually incorrect. loser sad

That one really needs some links of factual information supporting the strawman claim that the MSM (NYT, WaPo and/or MSNBC) has shown that "the blah blah blah with the blah blah to blah blah blah's blah and blah blah to blah."

Because if they HAD then Trump would have been strung up already.

Jeffrey Davis said...

Late to the dead thread. Trump tweeting out a confession to obstruction of justice is like hearing about someone dying on their birthday.

You just don't ever give a greedy narcissist the power of the pardon.

Jeffrey Davis said...

Tweet from the Democratic members of the House Oversight Committee

Our Committee has credible allegations that #Trump’s NSA sought to manipulate the course of international nuclear policy for the financial gain of his former business partners. These grave allegations compel a full, credible, and bipartisan congressional investigation.
1:20 PM - Dec 6, 2017