Friday, December 16, 2016

Maybe he wasn't committing treason: Reprise

Image by Brian Watt via Ricochet.

Flagging memory jerked up by a tweet from the billiant Joan Walsh

That confusion between the emails on Clinton's private server and the Democrats' burgled emails, exemplfied today in some insane remarks by RNC communications director Sean Spicer, made me recall something I'd totally forgotten, which is that I myself noticed it back in July, with evidence that
  1.  Donald Trump himself confused the Hillary emails with the DNC emails;
  2. The confusion was being directly promoted by Russia's English-language propaganda press and its rightwing acolytes (ZeroHedge, Ingraham, Joe Hoft brother of Jim, and the like); and thus
  3. The whole brouhaha was a kind of evidence of the Russian government trying to influence the US elections against Hillary Clinton and in Grump's presumptive favor.
I'm just going to rerun the whole thing below the fold so you-all can judge for yourselves. because in the light of Trump's "election" it turns out to be a lot more relevant than I ever imagined it could be.
BooMan notes a weird confusion in Trump's plea to Russian intelligence to hack US institutions, between the internal emails of the Democratic National Committee which were leaked to Wikileaks by Russian government hackers and the "30,000 missing emails" of the private server used by the former secretary of state :
Trump seems to have gotten a smear campaign mixed up with something real, and he wasn’t just asking Russia to release everything they have from the DNC. He was asking them to go find (if they haven’t already) emails that Clinton wrote as Secretary of State.
I'm pretty sure that confusion didn't originate with Trump; I think you can see it being staged, in a weird little flurry of rightwing reports from last spring, with some interesting Russian fingerprints on it, summarized in a story Media Matters ran at the time:
On the March [should be May] 10 edition of The Sean Hannity Show, Hannity claimed that “there’s a report out today the Kremlin may release 20,000 of Hillary’s hijacked and hacked emails,” citing GatewayPundit, Russia Today (RT), and the Associated Press (AP).
While RT and AP did not report on the claim, a post on GatewayPundit cited to claim that "the Kremlin is debating whether to release the 20,000 emails they have hacked off of Hillary Clinton's server." 
WhatDoesItMean is a retailer of conspiracies, including stories from Russia under the byline "Sorcha Faal" (after "Sister Maria Theresa", "the 73rd Sorcha Faal of the Sorcha Faal Order, Elected as Mother Superior 3 February 2007", an order "established in 588 (BCE) in Tara, County Meath, Ireland, and claim as their Founder the oldest daughter of King Zedekiah, Tamar Tephi"). For instance I bet you didn't know that Russia has been at war with Japan for the past two and a half weeks.

This particular story, from May 6, identified the 2011 Sidney Blumenthal letters published in RT in March 2013 as part of
tens-of-thousands of top secret and classified emails obtained by the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) from the private, but unsecured, computer (email server) belonging to former US Secretary of State, and present American presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton...
Which is a sign, if you needed one, that the whole story is bogus—in reality the Blumenthal emails weren't hacked from Clinton's server but from Blumenthal's own AOL account, as the RT story clearly noted. (It was, however, this episode that revealed the existence of Clinton's private server.)

Anyway now, the article went on to suggest, Valentina Matviyenko, Chair of the Federation Council (upper house of the Russian parliament), wants to release all the rest of the tens-of-thousands, for interesting reasons:
In March (2016), this report continues, Chairwoman Matviyenko “hinted/suggested” to her “peers/comrades” that due to President Putin’s favorable “opinion/thoughts about American presidential candidate Donald Trump, as it relates to the Federation, the Security Council should considering releasing all of Secretary Clinton’s top secret and classified emails in a bid to assist him against a person (Hillary Clinton) whose global catastrophes are well documented and who is, also, hated/repugnant” by the Russian people.
(The expressions in quotes are alternatives suggested by a scrupulous translator or perhaps robot.)

Given the self-evident falsity of the report, this clearly does not constitute any kind of evidence that Chairwoman Matviyenko was really plotting to give a boost to the Trump campaign four or five months ago, because of President Putin's favorable opinion/thoughts about the candidate. But it does say so, and you'd think anybody who believed the story would have been pretty interested in that.

But no, nobody in the wing nut press was interest in reporting that at all. Judge Andrew Napoletano told Megyn Kelly, and Joe Hoft, brother to the stupidest man on the Internet, told his readers, and Hannity told his, and Ingraham told hers, and Zerohedge was not far behind, and all of them spoke in virtually identical language about the 20,000 Clinton emails that the Russian government was threatening to divulge.

But not one of them mentioned the explanation, that the purpose of divulging it would be to promote the electoral prospects of Donald J. Trump.

Now, almost three months later, it's pretty clear that the Russian government did not divulge 20,000 emails from Hillary Clinton's private server, for some pretty obvious reasons, starting if you like with the fact that the Russian government did not have 20,000 emails, or indeed any emails, from the private server.

But curiously enough, it's also clear that somebody who looks a lot like the Russian government in a certain light did divulge about 20,000 emails from somewhere else, Clinton-associated—the Democratic National Committee—with a leak that some people have certainly interpreted as likely to assist the Trump candidacy. Is that a pure coincidence?

The way I can imagine it is like this:
  • It was indeed Russian agents who obtained the DNC emails and eventually leaked them
  • but first they studied them, of course, and weren't so impressed with the product;
  • they inflated the expectations of something huge being about to happen with the story of the private server emails
  • counting on febrile conspiratorialists like Napoletano, Hoft, and Trump to be unable to tell the two distinct stories apart.
When you think about it, the unspoken construction arising from the confusion, that Hillary Clinton might somehow be keeping state department documents on a server belonging to a political party, might not even seem odd to a Republican, given that they used to do that kind of thing pretty enthusiastically themselves during the George W. Bush administration, with the 22 MILLION DELETED EMAILS whereof we have spoken recently. And similar behaviors dating back to the CREEP of 1972. And then for Russians there's nothing unusual about governments being run from inside a political party; it's what they call Leninism, and it applies to all the country's governments since 1917, whether left like Lenin's own or right like Putin's.

And then there's that weird statement from Sister Theresa, the 73rd Sorcha Faal, to the effect that of course the Russian government would be interested in underhandedly influencing the American election, because Hillary is "repugnant by" the Russian people. Is that informing the Russian-dominated organs like Zerohedge of what the job is, or maybe giving Hofts and Hannitys a hard-on?

I don't quite know how to make it add up, but I'm readier than ever to believe that Trump (inattentive enough to have that confusion, vicious enough to take Putin's help in subverting our democracy) is really Putin's useful idiot, borrowing his money and enjoying his flattery and semiconsciously doing whatever Vladimir Vladimirovich wants him to.

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