Monday, July 29, 2019

The Russia Hoax: Who Benefits?

Over at Zerohedge there's a perceptive piece that raises the obvious question. If the Russia Hoax is so transparently bogus--and it is--then the only reason it has shown so much staying power must be because someone or some group derives a substantial benefit from it. And so the author asks: Cui Bono? RussiaGate As Organized Distraction. The author is Oliver Boyd-Barrett at, and he focuses largely on actors in the global influence sphere. However, he then moves on to note the effect the use of an inherently implausible hoax has had on the free exchange of information in the US. Here is the concluding section:

Why then does the RussiaGate discourse have so much traction? Who benefits? 
RussiaGate serves the interest of a (No. 1) corrupted Democratic Party, whose biased and arguably incompetent campaign management lost it the 2016 election, in alliance (No. 2) with powerful factions of the U.S. industrial-military-surveillance establishment that for the past 19 years, through NATO and other malleable international agencies, has sought to undermine Russian President Vladimir Putin’s leadership, dismember Russia and the Russian Federation (undoubtedly for the benefit of Western capital) and, more latterly, further contain China in a perpetual and titanic struggle for the heart of EurAsia. 
In so far as Trump had indicated (for whatever reasons) in the course of his campaign that he disagreed with at least some aspects of this long-term strategy, he came to be viewed as unreliable by the U.S. security state. 
A further beneficiary (No.3) is the sum of all those interests that favor a narrowing of public expression to a framework supportive of neoliberal imperialism. Paradoxically exploiting the moral panic associated with both Trump’s plaintive wailing about “fake news” whenever mainstream media coverage is critical of him, and social media embarrassment over exposure of their big-data sales to powerful corporate customers, these interests have called for more regulation of, as well as self-censorship by, social media. 
Social media responses increasingly involve more restrictive algorithms and what are often partisan “fact-checkers” (illustrated by Facebook financial support for and dependence on the pro-NATO “think tank,” the Atlantic Council). The net impact has been devastating for many information organizations in the arena of social media whose only “sin” is analysis and opinion that runs counter to elite neoliberal propaganda. 
The standard justification of such attacks on free expression is to insinuate ties to Russia and/or to terrorism. Given these heavy handed and censorious responses by powerful actors, it would appear perhaps that the RussiaGate narrative is increasingly implausible to many and the only hope now for its proponents is to stifle questioning. These are dark days indeed for democracy.


  1. The entire article reads like a mind-meld of the far left and the far right.

    RussiaGate, as the author terms it, serves as a distraction from the efforts to influence the outcome of the election, then the attempted coup to turn out the winner when the initial efforts didn't pan out--and now, it serves as a cover-up of the earlier efforts.

    The interjection of corporate media and social media as bogeymen, or the Electoral College and wealth inequality as relevant factors, serve no purpose--distractions, rather than evidence--to reach the author's conclusion of who benefits.

    The beneficiaries are a corrupted Democrat Party (#1) and Deep State (#2), who are one and the same when it is the sitting government. This is a corruption and cronyism on the scale of a Third World country--not the leading constitutional republic in the developed world. It should be an embarrassment--instead it is treated as a partisan grudge match.

    The story the author misses in all the slings and arrows fired is the active intervention by the government--the Obama administration--to influence the electoral outcome for selecting the successor president.

    Like a chess match, there may be many pieces on the chessboard, but the objective to capture the King is the same.

    1. There's a reason I only quoted the last part of the article--I didn't want to spend time sifting through all of it. However, I do think he has some valid points that you should reconsider. For example, you write:

      "a corrupted Democrat Party (#1) and Deep State (#2), ... are one and the same when it is the sitting government."

      I think the situation is for more complex than that. The Deep State includes GOPe players--no matter which party controls the "sitting government." Paul Ryan actively hindered Devin Nunes' investigation. John McCain and other senators actively worked to advance the "dossier" narrative. Trump has had to continually weed out key personnel who have colluded with the Deep State--Rod Rosenstein, Dan Coats. Need I say more? Nor would Barr be launching a probe of "corporate media and social media" if these were merely "bogeymen."

      This whole thing would be very simple, really, if it were just a matter of Dem misbehavior. If that were the whole story it would be over by now and the GOP would still control the House.

    2. Trump promised to disrupt the $$$ channels controlled by D.C. politicians.
      That explains the typical corporate & political resistance by D.C. to Trump.
      But it doesn't explain the actions of the CIA & FBI. That's institutional, anti-Constitutional corruption, installed by Obama/Biden etc.

    3. I think if you examine some of the worst of the Deep State actors at the CIA and FBI (and DoJ) that they have had bipartisan support. Just off the top of my head, Mueller was appointed by Bush and brought Weissmann to the FBI, Comey was a fair haired boy at DoJ during the Bush years, yet there was a reason Obama felt safe appointing Comey to the FBI.

    4. Yeah, well, Barr is the guy most likely to know who, how, and why we are where we are. Anybody in D.C. with something to hide should be scared right now.

    5. @Forbes and @Mark

      I have to agree with Forbes that much of Oliver Boyd-Barrett's article veers way too far to the left -- for me at least. For just one example (and there are many more in the article) consider Boyd-Barrett's statement that 'U.S. electoral procedures are profoundly compromised by an Electoral College that detaches votes counted from votes that count.' I almost stopped reading right there. Obviously, the Electoral College result is not wholly dependent on the outcome of the popular vote. The Electoral College mechanism was and is a key part of our constitutional weighting among the competing interests of the several states and the people. Most thoughtful observers, especially on the Right, believe it has served us well.

      However, I certainly don't disagree with Mark that anti-Trumpism has flourished in the GOPe and we have certainly paid (and are paying) a high price for this.

      Lastly, I agree with Boyd-Barrett (and presumably Forbes and Mark both) that Russiagate (his term) was certainly not an honest inquiry into meaningful meddling in our election process by a foreign adversary. Rather, as probably everyone here agrees, it has been an entirely political initiative intended wholly by its proponents to gain and preserve power -- and destroy Donald Trump.

      The interesting question to me, at this stage, is why our national elites, our 'best and brightest' if you will, the beneficiaries of the best educations and the best jobs (and job experience) we have to offer in this our top universities, industrial corporations, media outlets, law firms, financial institutions, think tanks, and government agencies...are so wilfully blind to the corruption of our country under their 'leadership'.

      I suppose it is useful to remember Lord Acton's warning (perhaps taken out of context here) that:

      Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    6. "I almost stopped reading right there."

      I'll be right up front about that and say: I never even read that. I expect stuff like that from Consortium News, and skipped down to see, Cui Bono? That part, with the suggested to me role of a bipartisan establishment hostile to reform, was what interested me. I wanted to spark reflection and discussion. :-)

      "why our national elites, our 'best and brightest' if you will, the beneficiaries of the best educations and the best jobs ... are so wilfully blind to the corruption of our country under their 'leadership'."

      Just guessing. They want more of that corruption for themselves? They're afraid that Trump could upset the gravy train?

    7. mark --

      It is -- very -- tempting to conclude that the corruption of the elites is simply venal.

      You may remember that I commented several weeks ago on the extraordinary financial rewards which have accrued to the Enron task force prosecutors whom Sydney Powell has convincingly outed. Many have ended up in Big Law partnerships worth many, many millions of dollars. Perhaps a sufficient reward for their corruption.

      If it turns out this is the whole answer, so be it.

      I have to think, however, that there is more to it. More than just outsized power and wealth. If I had to guess I would say there is also a fear motivating the elites...a fear that if they do not harness the power and wealth of this country that others (the deplorables, perhaps) will ...and they will exact a painful and costly retribution.

      So maybe its a witches brew of greed, power and fear...all perhaps different sides (if there can be three) of the same coin...

      I hope we find out.

    8. I do think there's an ideology behind the elites--and ideology powered by far more millions than star prosecutors can ever command. The millions of Soros and others of that sort, who are ideology driven.

      I don't think the ideology really fears the deplorables. They're just angry that Trump mobilized them. I think they believe that if they get rid of Trump they'll be able to go back to business as usual--obeying their wealthy ideologically driven funders and feathering their nests.

    9. I represented numerous of these guys -- Forbes 400 types and their wannabes -- for many years. I honestly never did figure out the whole story of what motivated them. I just knew they were different than me.

    10. I agree. The Muellers and Comeys and such like of this world. I won't pretend I can figure them out, either. It's like in my prior life--people who sought what we called "administrative advancement." I just couldn't see the reason.

  2. Replies
    1. I think you should consider my response to Forbes.

  3. Another Eric Felton article at Real Clear: Why the Mystery of Russiagate Hinges on the Mystery of Joseph Mifsud

    1. I read it, but it doesn't add much if anything. A bit like CTH discovering only yesterday that Barr is investigating Comey. Mifsud is undoubtedly important--which is why Durham and Horowitz have now interviewed him--but the hinges to "the Mystery of Russiagate" are located in WDC.

  4. Mark, you make good points with which I agree. No doubt elements of GOPe are part and parcel of the Deep State problem.

    E.g., "Republican" Robert Mueller hires Democrat partisans for a Special Counsel hit-job on a Republican president. "Republican" James Comey is nominated by Democrat Barack Obama to be FBI Director. Reputations presumed, Caesar's wife-like, to be above suspicion. Rather, it's the Deep State credentials that matter--partisan affiliation is used as window dressing.

    I was staying within the parameters of the article for purposes of my critique.

    And yes, the Felton article doesn't cover new ground, but it pushes back against the falsehood peddled in the media narrative that Mifsud is a Russian asset--a whopper big enough to drive a truck through.


    1. My basic point was, I guess, that I don't want anyone to suppose that I agree with every author I cite about everything, that's all. When the author referred to

      "powerful factions of the U.S. industrial-military-surveillance establishment that for the past 19 years, through NATO and other malleable international agencies"

      I took that as a reference to a very wide group of people, who wouldn't necessarily agree on every issue but who would be united in their esteem for the Deep State. People like Jack Goldsmith, for example, whom I've quoted in the past.

      I'm not offended by disagreement.

  5. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I thought that we could've been headed for another revolution. We kind of got one with the election of DJT.

    Conservatives need to educate themselves, speak out, question authority, etc.

    In our archdiocese, a list of creditably accused priests came out. A special diocesan newspaper was mailed to all Catholic households to which the archdiocese had an address. It contained the names, dates, etc. There was an FAQ. One of the questions was along the lines of "What do I tell my children"?

    Why does a parent need an archdiocesan reporter, or even an archbishop to opine on how to talk to his own children? The parents have the prime responsibility. It's the same thing in commercials where clueless pet owners have to ask a customer service rep how do I assemble a crate, can you help me housebreak my dog, etc.

    Give me a break and have confidence in your God-given gifts. Stop listening to "experts" about global warming, how to raise your kids, etc. They usually want to run your life or lighten your pocketbook. Or both!

    1. Freudian slip--"credibly," definitely not "creditably." Sorry, couldn't help myself. :-(

  6. I give you credit for the quip. How's that?