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Congress Relying On Debunked 'Guilt By Association' Online Tool To Track 'Russian Influence'

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As we previously warned, the latest McCarthyite scam called "Hamilton 68" is increasingly serving as a go-to source for major media outlets and more disturbingly, now even members of Congress. This week Republican Senator James Lankford (Oklahoma) added another layer to the seemingly endless 'Russiagate' conspiracies - he claimed Wednesday during a hearing on threats faced by the US that Russia is using the NFL anthem kneeling controversy to drive a wedge through the American populace.

Lankford, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, made the bizarre claim that, "We watched, even this weekend, the Russians and their troll farms, their internet folks, start hashtagging out #TakeAKnee and also hashtagging out #BoycottNFL,” during a hearing on threats faced by the United States. Lankford, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, explained further that, "They were taking both sides of the argument this weekend... to try to raise the noise level of America and make a big issue seem like an even bigger issue as they are trying to push divisiveness in this country."

Representative Adam Schiff of California, a Democrat, has also been a leading congressional voice demanding investigations into supposed Russian social media manipulation and election meddling. Stories in Reuters and the New York Times this week which uncritically amplified the claims, referenced the Hamilton 68 online platform as a key source of information for congressional investigators. Reuters described the online tool as:
A website built by researchers working with the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a bipartisan, transatlantic project to counter Russian disinformation, showed tweets promoting both sides of the football debate from 600 accounts that analysts identified as users who spread Russian propaganda on Twitter. A Senate aide said the website was viewed as credible among congressional investigators.
But a cursory glance at Hamilton68 - which is mostly funded by the US and NATO states (Bill Kristol is on the project's board, need we say more?) - reveals that both its list of "600 accounts" and methodology for determining these accounts as purveyors of "Russian disinformation" are largely hidden from public view.
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Coverup? FBI, DOJ Refuse To Comply With Congressional 'Trump Dossier' Subpoena

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In what looks like a naked coverup meant to obscure the fact that the Department of Justice's decision to launch a criminal investigation into possible Russia-Trump collusion was based on a lie, Reuters reports that the DOJ and FBI are resisting a Congressional subpoena from to turn over documents that would reveal details about how the infamous "Trump dossier" factored into their decision to launch said investigation.

Despite receiving the subpoena from US Intel Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, the FBI is steadfastly refusing to turn over the documents because the agency says they would purportedly compromise an ongoing criminal investigation (the FBI’s investigation into Mueller). More likely, the agency’s intransigence stems from fears that the one Russia collusion narrative that Democrats have actively worked to suppress could come back to haunt them.
The U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee issued subpoenas in August seeking “any and all documents” about both agencies’ dealings with former MI6 officer Christopher Steele, according to a letter seen by Reuters from committee chairman Devin Nunes, a Trump supporter.

Steele compiled the so-called Trump dossier, which Trump was told by FBI director James Comey contained salacious material about the businessman-turned president. Trump and his associates have said the dossier’s contents were false.
As we noted earlier this month when the subpoenas were first filed, the now-infamous Trump dossier was provided to the FBI even though it contained knowingly inaccurate allegations. Russia-born financier and Putin opponent Bill Browder revealed as much during an explosive piece of testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee over the summer that was multilaterally ignored by the media, when he claimed that the document was indirectly financed by a “senior Russian government official.”
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Dissonance: When Cult of Personalities Gets in the Way of Understanding

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You know what gets in the way of progress? Dogma. When people are wedded to ideologies, society atrophies and ideas become non-existent. Voltaire once said, “it is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.” Truer words have rarely been spoken; it’s as though America has morphed into a society of Jim Jones cultists. Personalities the Kool-Aid and politics the cyanide; we keep swallowing poison only to complain of migraines after we get bludgeoned by policies our political idols implement once they get to DC. The sheer masochism of it all would be comical if our fixation did not have such lethal consequences.
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'US in Grip of Anti-Russia Hysteria, Worse Than Days of Salem Witch Trials'

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The whole "Russia thing" is due to the neocons who are looking for another Cold War because it is very profitable for them, Daniel McAdams, executive director of the Ron Paul Institute, told RT.

Twitter has published a report on how the company battled against alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election and also mentioned RT.

In the report, Twitter revealed confidential information to the US Senate on RT's advertising outlay.

The company claims over a thousand tweets, "definitely - or potentially - targeted the US market."

RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan, however, pointed out that all media outlets spend money on promoting themselves.

“Somehow it did not cross our mind that in a developed democracy, regular media advertising can be considered suspicious or detrimental activity,” Simonyan said.

RT:  How credible do you think these allegations are, given the US media isn't naming its sources?

Daniel McAdams: I think the whole story has already fallen apart for the most part. At first, it was the Russian government spent a $100,000 on Facebook ads to support President Trump. Well, that completely fell apart. So they started saying that this troll army somewhere in St. Petersburg spent this money. That’s never been shown to anyone, that’s never been proven, that’s speculation. We’ve never seen any of the ads. Some of them we are told are pro-Hillary, some are anti-Hillary; some are pro-Trump, some are anti-Trump.
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The Push To 'Fight Foreign Propaganda' Is The Same As Government Book Burning

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As with all the over-hyped and under-substantiated claims that have been shown to the public over the last year about Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election, the latest forced effort by America’s unelected power establishment to show Russian meddling via Facebook ads has been getting ripped to shreds by critical thinkers everywhere.

These arguments and essays have been very effective in further exposing how utterly fact-free the neoconservative establishment’s campaign to manufacture support for escalating tensions with Russia has been, but in my opinion there’s one extremely important and intensely creepy aspect of this whole thing that needs a bit more attention.

Is it not disturbing, in and of itself, that your government is concerning itself with attempting to “fight foreign propaganda” on your behalf? Even if all their allegations were true about Russian Facebook ads and Twitter bots targeting key US demographics to try and manipulate voter turnout in Donald Trump’s favor, is not the underlying assumption in those allegations the notion that there are some ideas that the American people should not have been exposed to? That Americans are too stupid to show up to the polls and vote in their best interest unless they’re kept isolated from the narratives being promulgated by other governments?

How creepy is that?? How creepy is it that the US government kept sending Facebook back again and again to search for evidence of Russian meddling via propagandistic advertisements and then used the non-evidence they finally returned with to support their argument that more needs to be done to fight foreign propaganda on behalf of the public? How creepy is it that the US Senate is trying to label WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service” to expand the US government’s authority to stamp out the outlet’s ability to share authentic, factual documents with the world?


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North Korea Would Be Stupid to Trust the US

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To many mainstream pundits, the solution to the crisis in Korea is for US officials to sit down and “talk” to North Korea in the hopes of negotiating a mutually beneficial agreement. While it won’t guarantee that a deal will be worked out, they say, “talking” is the only chance there is to resolve the crisis.

They ignore an important point: Any deal that would be reached would involve trusting the US  government to keep its end of the bargain. And trusting the US government would be the stupidest thing North Korea could ever do. That’s because as soon as US officials found it advantageous, they would break the deal and pounce on North Korea, with the aim of achieving the regime change they have sought ever since the dawn of the Cold War more than 70 years ago.

Look at what US officials did to Libya. Its dictator, Muammar Qaddafi, agreed to give up his nuclear-weapons program in return for regime security. That turned out to be stupid move. As soon as US officials saw an opening, they pounced with a regime-change operation. Today, Qaddafi is dead and Libya is in perpetual crisis and turmoil. That wouldn’t have happened if Qaddafi had a nuclear deterrent to a US regime-change operation.
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Surviving The Coming Bond Crash

Central banks have created a worldwide bond bubble that threatens to destroy economies and nations. US and global debt skyrockets. The financial system on life support. Investment advisor Michael Pento  joins today's Liberty Report to tell us what to expect and what we can do about it...
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The Atlantic Council: ‘Debates' Between People Who Hate Russia & People Who Really Hate Russia

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Welcome to the Atlantic Council. A think tank which isn't given to introspection and which ultimately amounts to NATO's propaganda arm. This week, I endured an Atlantic Council echo-chamber to spare you the bother.

The list of lobbyists retained by the club (who prefer to call each other 'fellows') reads like a veritable who's who of professional Russia bashers. From Eliot Higgins to Anders Aslund and Michael Weiss to Dmitri Alperovitch. And its main financial backers include Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, the Ukrainian World Congress and the United States Department of State. All entities for whom promoting the "Russian threat" is a profitable, and essential, enterprise. 

On Tuesday, the pressure group held a sort of social day for its staffers and admirers. The event was billed as "The First Transatlantic Forum on Strategic Communications and Digital Disinformation in Washington, DC." And it certainly seemed to feature a lot of trans-continental flights as the diaspora flocked back to the mothership for the festivities. 

There were three main forums on the day and, as the final one concerned ISIS, I decided to suffer the first two only. Here is what I experienced.

Panel One - "Transatlantic Response to Disinformation: Paving a Way Forward" (all times EDT)

10:12 AM: Your correspondent joins 36 other YouTube viewers for the opening salvos. Five men, all in navy suits, sit down. They are Daniel Fried (an Atlantic Council employee and former US ambassador), Tacan Ildem (a Turkish diplomat until last year, now at NATO), Nils Svartz (a Swedish civil defense director) and Jakub Durr (the Deputy Foreign Minister ofCzechia, incidentally lazily described as the "Czech Republic" by the organizers). The moderator, Jim Sciutto, introduces himself as the “bad news correspondent of CNN.” Immediately I start thinking that if all 37 viewers paid €25 a piece each for access, it’d barely cover a return flight from Istanbul to DC. But, luckily, today's nod-fest is directly supported by NATO and a few other vested interests.
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Trump Says 'No' To Catalan Independence

The Catalan push for independence from Spain appears to be part of a larger European -- and possibly worldwide -- movement away from larger, more distant governance and toward more local control. Elsewhere in Europe, the old order is slowly breaking down. New parties find success in German elections, Hungary continues to defy Brussels on immigration, talk of secession on all levels increases. Will the referendum in Catalonia take place as scheduled, or will the central government successfully crack down? Will a crack-down eliminate the growing demand for independence? What's the US position? More in today's Liberty Report...
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Christians Return to Syria- But Not to Iraq

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Christians in the Middle East are voting with their feet for the government of President Assad in Syria. With all that American government officials and the news media have said to condemn the secular government of Syria, surely no one should want to return there, with the civil war seemingly winding down in favor of President Assad. But that is not the case.

So far in 2017, more than 600,000 Syrians, both Christians and Muslims, have returned to their homes in Syria, as the Islamic State and the Sunni Muslim “rebels” supported by Saudi Arabia and the United States have been driven back. Of those Christians who fled their homes in Syria, many are returning from Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. Wealthier Christians who fled the civil war are returning from Europe as well.

Unlike Iraq and other majority Muslim nations, Syria has a secular constitution, so Shariah law is not enforced as the law of the land. Christians have their own court system for family issues, separate from the Shariah court system of Muslims. In fact, Christian religious leaders in Syria call the several decades of rule by the Assad family a “golden era for Christians.”

It is no wonder, then, that Syrian Christians are returning to their homes in Syria in large numbers.

But Christians are not returning to Iraq, where the United States and other Western nations have established a “democracy.” Why? Probably because the constitution of Iraq, written in a “democratic assembly” after the fall of Saddam Hussein, states that “Islam is the official religion of the State and it is a fundamental source of legislation.” To reinforce this, a second clause states: “No law that contradicts the established provisions of Islam may be established.”
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