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Danielle Ryan

Mueller Was Supposed to be the Democrats' Savior, But Now They’re Out For Blood

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The Mueller report has finally dropped and instead of being relieved to discover, once and for all, that the president didn’t collude with a foreign power to steal an election, Democrats and media pundits are utterly devastated.

This is America in the era of Russiagate.

The partly-redacted, nearly 400-page report, delivered to Congress on Thursday afternoon, offered no new evidence or indication that Donald Trump or his 2016 campaign were in cahoots with Moscow to prevent Hillary Clinton from ascending to what Democrats believed was her rightful presidential throne.

Of course, their high expectations for the report had already come crashing down when Mueller wrapped up his investigation mid-March and Attorney General Bob Barr sent a four-page letter summarizing its anti-climactic findings to Congress. No evidence of collusion, it said.

The opposition party and the media’s most ardent Russiagate pushers had been moving the goalposts on “collusion” for months. In the earliest days of the two-year investigation, Special Counsel Robert Mueller was given savior status; he would be the one, they said, who would deliver them from the evil of the Trump presidency. “Wait for the Mueller report!”they had screamed, as the weeks and months dragged on with “bombshell” after “bombshell” evaporating into thin air.
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Newsweek Gets Russia Experts from the Atlantic Council, the Atlantic Council & the Atlantic Council

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Sources are everything to a journalist. Without them, their stories would be hollow. Imagine there was a ready-made list of experts always willing to bring that crucial air of credibility to any story about...Russia, for example.

Well, it turns out there is — and that list can be found on the website of the Atlantic Council — a think tank well-known for its ceaseless and enormous hostility toward Russia. Wherever there is an opportunity to throw balance and fairness to the wind in a story concerning Russia, an Atlantic Council analyst will always show up to lend a hand.

You see, experts and analysts bring the believability and legitimacy to a story; if the expert said it, that must count for something, is the general theory. These ‘experts’ provide journalists with insight into the issues and places they report on — so a journalist covering, say, Eastern Europe and Russia would make it their business to cultivate a list of people who know a little something about that region’s political, economic, social and cultural landscape who they can then approach for analysis on various stories and topics. Usually, it’s a good idea, too, to take these experts from a broad spectrum of society and political thought, so that readers are given a well-rounded and balanced view of a particular issue.

Or, you could scrap all that and just choose from the same pool of people who think exactly the same way — in this case, the Atlantic Council — over and over again. Much handier...and sure, who’s going to notice, anyway? That seems to be the modus operandi for a number of journalists on the Russia beat. Atlantic Council ‘analysis’ is prevalent across the entire Russia-focused Western media, but Newsweek seems to have a particular problem with over-reliance on the US-government and arms manufacturer-funded think tank.
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Amnesty Strips Aung San Suu Kyi of its Highest Honor; Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize Should be Next

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Amnesty International announced it would strip Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi of its top award, saying it was “profoundly dismayed” at her failure to acknowledge the full scale of atrocities against the Rohingya people.

Before you are tempted to view this as some kind of principled, honorable move on Amnesty’s part, stop yourself and check out its dubious government and corporate funding sources, its selective support for the concept of free speech and the fact that it spends quite a bit of time soft-pedaling Western imperialism and its atrocities while magnifying the wrongdoings of the West’s adversaries.

Amnesty’s attempt to win plaudits for its decision to revoke Suu Kyi’s award has come after mounting calls for the controversial figure’s 1991 Nobel Peace Prize to be stripped from her. Nearly half a million people have signed a Change.org petition calling for the Nobel Committee to take back the award.

Given that the committee has been, shall we say, less than picky, about who it bestows the honor on, we can probably assume Suu Kyi will remain on the recipients list. Not to mention, the committee has already confirmed that worrying about what recipients do after the award ceremony isn’t part of the job. You see, the rules regulating the Nobel Prize, apparently, do not allow for the award to be withdrawn, which is fairly convenient.

I say convenient, because if they started taking Nobel Prizes back from all the people who (oops!) didn’t actually deserve them, the list of remaining recipients would shrink very quickly indeed.
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US Directs Iran to Act Like a ‘Normal’ Country. What is a Normal Country?

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After reimposing crippling sanctions on Iran this week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened that Iran should “act like a normal country, or see its economy crumble.” But, how exactly does a “normal” country act?

Since the dictat was issued from Washington DC, it seems only fair to start there. Is the United States itself a “normal” country? What makes a “normal” country as opposed to an “abnormal” one?

Foreign Policy

If the US is indeed a “normal” country, there is a lot we can glean from that, including that a militaristic and bullying foreign policy, which regularly features bombings, invasions and the sponsorship of regime change operations around the world, is normal behavior. If this is normal, is Mike Pompeo suggesting that Iran should start invading its neighbors and engineering foreign coups?

The ideology of “American exceptionalism,” the belief that the US is inherently good and unique among nations, is so pervasive in American society and media, that any politician who does not strictly adhere to it will find themselves labeled as un-American or unpatriotic.
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Zuckerberg Admits Social Media is a Weapon, Says Facebook in 'Arms Race' Against 'Bad Actors'

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If you had any lingering doubt that Facebook has become little more than a vehicle for US government censorship and Western propaganda, a recent Washington Post op-ed by Mark Zuckerberg should remove any ambiguity. In his short and snappy op-ed, Mark Zuckerberg admits that “protecting democracy” is an “arms race” and reaffirms Facebook’s commitment to winning. Put another way, Zuckerberg is telling us that social media is a weapon — and that he has picked a side.
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False Flags are Real – US Has a Long History of Lying to Start Wars

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Use of the term "false flag" is often met with raised eyebrows and accusations of conspiracism. But false flags are a very real and very present feature of geopolitics — and denying that is simply denying reality.

Last week, the United States, along with the United Kingdom and France, bombed Syrian government targets, ostensibly in retaliation for an alleged chemical attack which was carried out one week before in the city of Douma.

The story we’re told is simple: Syrian President Bashar Assad is an evil maniac who uses poison gas on his citizens for the sheer entertainment value. As neocon think tank the Atlantic Council put it last week, when Assad gasses people, he is simply “indulging an addiction” — an addiction which he seems to have only recently acquired, given the fact that before Syria’s war began, American journalists were busy praising the “educated” and “informed” Assad and marveling at the “phenomenal” levels of peace and religious diversity within Syria.
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Reasons to Doubt the Veracity of the ‘Steele Dossier’ on Trump are Still Emerging

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There is a parallel but lesser-publicized narrative running alongside the dominant media-favored Trump-Russia collusion story.

It centers not on Trump and his alleged collusion with Moscow, but on Fusion GPS, the shady firm behind the infamous Steele dossier.

Stories about the 35-page ‘intelligence report’ written by former MI6 spy Christopher Steele very often do not make so much as a passing mention of Fusion GPS or its co-founder, former journalist Glenn Simpson, but both are crucial players in what could potentially be a scandal of massive proportions.

A recent investigation by online magazine Tablet using public sources to “trace the evolution” of the dossier has pieced together information which suggests central elements of the Russiagate story emerged “not from the British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s top-secret “sources” in the Russian government” but from a series of stories co-written by Simpson and his wife Mary Jacoby, which were published in the Wall Street Journal before Fusion GPS ever existed.

Simpson and Jacoby had written about former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his dodgy dealings in Ukraine as far back as 2007. It stands to reason, Tablet writer Lee Smith explains, that when the Trump campaign hired Manafort in 2016, Simpson and Jacoby's ears perked up again. Could Manafort be the key to bringing down Trump? Manafort was a corrupt guy with some dubious connections, and Trump had just hired him, so the stage was set. 
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US-Led Anti-ISIS Coalition Ignores Civilian Deaths – and the Media Let Them Get Away With It

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The US-led coalition against ISIS has vastly played down the number of civilians that have been killed in Iraq as a result of their own airstrikes. In fact, the war against ISIS may be the "least transparent war in recent American history."


The conclusion comes from a report published by the New York Times. Reporters Azmat Khan and Anand Gopal spent 18 months investigating coalition bombing in Iraq, traveling to more than 150 sites of airstrikes across the northern part of the country. Their goal was to determine which air force launched which strikes — and whom they killed.

Troubling findings

The US-led coalition has admitted to killing civilians in a tiny minority of airstrikes. According to official figures, one civilian has been killed for every 157 airstrikes. In reality, Khan and Gopal found the actual rate is one civilian died for every five airstrikes. That means the rate of civilian deaths is 31 times higher than the US military has admitted.

The report said the most common justification given by the coalition when denying civilian casualty allegations is that it has “no record” of carrying out a strike at the time or area in question. This response, which amounts to brushing off the allegation, places the blame at someone else’s feet. The military wash their hands of the incident, and there is very little probing by politicians or the media after that.
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Making Stuff up on Twitter is the New 'Journalism' — and We Deserve it

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On Monday, The Guardian published a story which should have surprised no one: Information pushed aggressively on Twitter by anti-Trump conspiracy theorist duo Louise Mensch and Claude Taylor came from a hoaxer who duped Taylor in an email.

Taylor, a former White House staffer under Bill Clinton, tweeted out “fake details of criminal inquiries” related to Donald Trump which did not exist and were “invented” by a hoaxer claiming to work for the New York attorney general.

Mensch, a former conservative member of parliament in the UK and now a self-styled journalist, helped Taylor to spread the information on Twitter, while also claiming to have separate sources to back it up.
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Reports of Hungary’s Slide into ‘Dictatorship’ Have Been Exaggerated

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Is Hungary sliding into tyranny and dictatorship? According to headlines which have painted a rather grim picture of Hungary’s present and future under Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the answer is a resounding yes.

Hungary is “held hostage” by “tyrant” Orban who is returning the country to “totalitarianism,” claims The New Statesman. The International Business Times worries about Hungary’s “dark path toward dictatorship”.

The EU struggles to contain “dictator” Orban, says the Sydney Morning Herald. Orban is Europe’s “enemy within,” warns the Financial Times. He is “Europe’s New Dictator,” says Politico.

These attention-grabbing headlines and dramatic portrayals exaggerate the political situation in Hungary. Of course, there are plenty of legitimate complaints to be made about Orban (though, naturally, the specifics of the complaint will vary based on who is speaking). The problem is that the media has taken those complaints, exaggerated and embellished them, and used them to predict this country's slide into absolute tyranny irresponsibly. This distorts reality and lessens the readers’ ability to understand what is going on in Hungary.

Brussels likes to believe it promotes democracy within the 28 EU member states. Yet, when Orban begins to implement policies that they don’t like (but that his voters support), he becomes an outcast. Those shouting "dictator!" fail to take into account the wishes of the many Hungarians who voted for Orban’s reelection in 2014 and who support many of his policies. Disregarding the will of the people to score ideological points about democracy is ironic indeed.

Let’s break it down.
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