Happy MLK Day!…
Happy MLK Day!…
Full article at The Intercept…
THE REVELATION THAT WikiLeaks secretly offered help to Donald Trump’s campaign, in a series of private Twitter messages sent to the candidate’s son Donald Trump Jr., gave ammunition to the group’s many detractors and also sparked anger from some longtime supporters of the organization and its founder, Julian Assange.
One of the most high-profile dissenters was journalist Barrett Brown, whose crowdsourced investigations of hacked corporate documents later posted on WikiLeaks led to a prison sentence.
Brown had a visceral reaction to the news, first reported by The Atlantic, that WikiLeaks had been advising the Trump campaign. In a series of tweets and Facebook videos, Brown accused Assange of having compromised “the movement” to expose corporate and government wrongdoing by acting as a covert political operative.
Brown explained that he had defended WikiLeaks for releasing emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee, “because it was an appropriate thing for a transparency org to do.” But, he added, “working with an authoritarian would-be leader to deceive the public is indefensible and disgusting.”
He was particularly outraged by an Oct. 26, 2016 message, in which Assange had appealed to Trump Jr. to let WikiLeaks publish one or more of his father’s tax returns in order to make his group’s attacks on Hillary Clinton seem less biased. “If we publish them it will dramatically improve the perception of our impartiality,” the Assange-controlled @Wikileaks account suggested. “That means that the vast amount of stuff that we are publishing on Clinton will have much higher impact, because it won’t be perceived as coming from a ‘pro-Trump’ ‘pro-Russia’ source, which the Clinton campaign is constantly slandering us with.”
As Brown pointed out in another tweet, it was all-caps exasperating that Assange was in this case “complaining about ‘slander’ of being pro-Trump IN THE ACTUAL COURSE OF COLLABORATING WITH TRUMP.”
The journalist, an Intercept contributor, whose work had been championed by WikiLeaks, also shared a link to a Reddit AMA conducted two days after the election in which WikiLeaks staff, including Assange’s longtime collaborator Sarah Harrison, had denied point-blank that they had collaborated with the Trump campaign.
“The allegations that we have colluded with Trump, or any other candidate for that matter, or with Russia, are just groundless and false,” the staffers wrote then. “We were not publishing with a goal to get any specific candidate elected.”
It is not surprising that Brown felt personally betrayed by Assange, since, as he explained on Facebook Tuesday night, “I went to prison because of my support for WikiLeaks.” Specifically, Brown said, the charges against him were related to his role in “operations to identify and punish members of the government and members of private companies that had been exposed by Anonymous hackers of my acquaintance, via email hacks, as having conspired to go after Assange, to go after WikiLeaks.”
That sort of activism, dedicated to making public secret wrongdoing, Brown argued, is very different from “colluding with an authoritarian presidential campaign backed by actual Nazis while publicly denying it.”
“Plainly,” he observed with bitterness, “the prospect of a Clinton in the White House was such an unimaginable nightmare scenario that all normal standards of truth and morality became moot and it became necessary to get people like Sebastian Gorka into the White House to establish order.”
Before his private messages to Trump Jr. were leaked, Assange himself had categorically denied that he or WikiLeaks had been attacking Hillary Clinton to help elect Donald Trump. “This is not due to a personal desire to influence the outcome of the election,” he wrote in a statement released on November 8 as Americans went to the polls.
Even though Assange had by then transformed the WikiLeaks Twitter feed into a vehicle for smearing Clinton, he insisted that his work was journalistic in nature. “The right to receive and impart true information is the guiding principle of WikiLeaks — an organization that has a staff and organizational mission far beyond myself,” Assange wrote. “Millions of Americans have pored over the leaks and passed on their citations to each other and to us,” he added. “It is an open model of journalism that gatekeepers are uncomfortable with, but which is perfectly harmonious with the First Amendment.”
For Brown, and others who have been critical of Assange for using the platform of WikiLeaks to fight his own political and personal battles, his secret communication with the Trump campaign was damning because it revealed that he had been functioning more like a freelance political operative, doling out strategy and advice, than a journalist interested in obtaining and publishing information, concerned only with its accuracy.
James Ball, a former WikiLeaks volunteer who has described the difficulty of working for someone who lies so much, was also appalled by one post-election message to Trump Jr., in which WikiLeaks suggested that, as a form of payback, it would be “helpful for your dad to suggest that Australia appoint Assange ambassador to DC.”
That request for payback, on December 16, 2016, came three weeks after Trump’s father had called on the British government to make his friend Nigel Farage its ambassador. “This should be it, game over, end of it, for anyone who tries to suggest Assange looks out for anyone except himself,” Ball observed on Twitter. “That’s his cause, and plenty of good people have been played, badly.”
There was also criticism from journalists, like Chris Hayes of MSNBC, a network Assange accused of being, along with the New York Times, “the most biased source” in one note to Trump Jr. Pointing to a message from WikiLeaks sent on Election Day, advising Trump to refuse to concede and claim the election was rigged, Hayes asked how, exactly, offering that sort of political advice squared with the organization’s mission to promote transparency.
Jay Smooth breaks down why The Mooch getting fired is no joke…
While the neo-fascist alt-right is not entirely happy with President Donald Trump’s first few months in office, one thing for which they are grateful is that the new administration is giving them free reign to engage in building their movement, completely unencumbered by any law enforcement scrutiny of their activities.
“He’s going to give us space to destroy,” Michael Peinovich, the creator of The Right Stuff, an alt-right podcast network said during a Sunday guest appearance on “Fash the Nation,” the movement’s most popular web radio show.
Peinovich, who also goes by the pen name “Mike Enoch,” was referencing a 2015 remark by Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, then the mayor of Baltimore, which some people interpreted as giving support to rioters who committed numerous acts of violence in the city following the acquittal of several police officers who had been on trial for the death of a black resident.
“He’s going to give us space to operate, and frankly, it is space to destroy,” Peinovich continued.
“Now is the time that we have to make hay while the sun shines . . . while these investigations of ‘domestic terrorist groups’ are not being funded by the government, they’re not being pushed by the Department of Homeland Security” argued one of the co-hosts of the program, an anonymous former Republican political staffer who calls himself Jazzhands McFeels.
“We’d probably be facing fucking [racketeering] charges or some shit like that,” Peinovich said, discussing what he believed might have happened if Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 presidential election.
“We have to use these four years to grow into something that can’t be defeated by that kind of thing,” Peinovich said, referring to possible future investigations of neo-fascist groups.
Some parts of the Trump administration actively want to encourage the growth of the alt-right, the former Hill staffer “Jazzhands McFeels” said, claiming that Trump’s top strategist Steve Bannon secretly was trying to enable the fringe movement.
“They kind of expect us to be doing this. I’m not saying he’s our guy, but they want — at least Bannon, I would think — wants us to be able to operate in that space. So we should and we are,” he said.
Both podcasters’ statements were met with agreement by podcast guest Richard Spencer, an alt-right editor who operates a series of niche web publications and conferences catering to self-styled racist intellectuals who has since tried to rebrand himself as more of an activist.
In 2016, Bannon told Mother Jones writer Sarah Posner that Breitbart News, the website he oversaw before going to work for Trump, was “the platform for the alt-right.” Subsequently, the White House strategist claimed that he was referring to the anti-Washington ethos that permeates the larger Republican base.
As a matter of policy, the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation do not publicize ongoing investigations but presumably, given how tightly knight the small alt-right movement is, the two podcasters likely have some knowledge about the lack of law enforcement oversight.
One government policy area which does appear to have changed under Trump is that government grants to non-profit groups that seek to combat domestic extremism appear to have been frozen.
Those funds were to be disbursed under a program called Countering Violent Extremism which was approved by the GOP Congress and former president Barack Obama shortly before he left office in January of this year.
In February, Reuters reported that the Trump administration had decided to take the $10 million budget of the program, which was supposed to be given to private-sector groups trying to discourage extremism of all types, and redirect it toward counteracting Islamist influence only. The program itself would be renamed the “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism” initiative, according to the wire service. Since that report, several nonprofit groups which had been approved for funding allocations have publicly stated that they have not received any information from the federal government, despite the fact that the money was supposed to be disbursed within 30 days.
“I hope the way that he [Trump] is looked back on in history is that he was the vehicle that moved the alt-right movement, the white identity movement in the United States, back into the forefront of the political scene,” Peinovich said on the podcast.
While he is not as widely covered in the political press as some other alt-right activists, Peinovich’s “The Right Stuff” podcast network currently hosts over a dozen neofascist web radio shows that in total have hundreds of thousands of downloads every week, far in excess of the audience the podcasts of many nationally syndicated conservative radio hosts.
The Right Stuff has begun recovering some of its audience after Peinovich was exposed in January as having a Jewish wife. His business partner claimed after he was “doxxed” that Peinovich was “separating” from her but neither activist has ever offered any proof of the assertion.
The deep state is not some enigmatic entity that operates outside the US government. It is the US state itself. Like all elements of that state, the so-called deep state exists to enforce the economic supremacy of US capitalism. It does so primarily via the secret domestic and international police forces like the FBI, CIA and other intelligence agencies. The operations of these agencies run the gamut from surveillance to propaganda to covert and overt military actions. Naturally, this so-called deep state operates according to their own rules; rules which ultimately insure its continued existence and relevance. Although it can be argued that it was the 1950 National Security Directive known as NSC-68 along with the Congressional Bill creating the Central Intelligence Agency that launched the “deep state” as we understand it, a broader understanding of the “deep state” places its genesis perhaps a century prior to that date. In other words, a structure designed to maintain the economic and political domination of certain powerful US capitalists existed well back into the nineteenth century. However, the centralization of that power began in earnest in the years following World War Two.
For those who don’t know what the NSC-68 actually was, it is essentially a directive that militarized the conflict between US capitalism and Soviet communism. It was based on the correct understanding that US capitalism required open access to the resources and markets of the entire planet and that the Soviet Union represented the greatest threat to that access. Not only did this mean the US military would grow in size, it also ensured that the power of the intelligence sector would expand both in terms of its reach and its budget. When one recalls that this period in US history was also a period when the FBI and the US Congress were going after leftists and progressives in the name of a certain right-wing ideological purity, the power of the US secret police becomes quite apparent.
As the 1950s turned into the 1960s, the so-called deep state’s power continued to grow. Some of its better known manifestations include the failed attempt to invade revolutionary Cuba that became known as the Bay of Pigs, the use of psychoactive drugs on unsuspecting individuals as part of a mind control study, and numerous attempts to subvert governments considered anti-American. Among the latter actions one can include covert operations against the Vietnamese independence forces and the murder of the Congolese president Patrice Lumumba. In terms of the “deep state’s” domestic operations, this period saw the intensification of spying on and disrupting various groups involved in the civil rights and antiwar organizing. Many elements of the domestic operation would become known as COINTELPRO and were directed by the FBI.
Although the agencies of the so-called deep state operate as part of the US state, this does not mean that those agencies are of one mind. Indeed, like any power structure, there are various factions represented. This means that there are disagreements over policies, priorities, direction, and personnel. The only certainty is that all of its members agree on the need to maintain the supremacy of US capital in the world. At times, the seemingly absolute power of the CIA and FBI have caused the US Executive Branch to try and set up other means and methods in order to circumvent that power. Two examples of this that come quickly to mind are the establishment of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) by the Kennedy administration in 1961-1962 and the failed attempt (known as the Huston plan after its creator Tom Huston) by the Nixon White House to centralize the direction of all US government intelligence operations in the White House.
There is no soft coup taking place in DC. The entire government has been owned by big business and the banking industry for more than a century, if not since its inception. That ownership has been dominated by the military-industrial complex since about the same time as when the aforementioned agencies were created. That is no coincidence. However, their role in the current uproar over Russia and Michael Flynn is not because they are taking over the government. It is because their current leadership represents the factions of the US establishment that were removed from power in November 2016.
Donald Trump is not against the so-called deep state. He is against it being used against himself and his cohorts. . In the world of capitalist power, the factions Trump represents are not the same factions represented by the presidents former FBI director Comey served—the factions represented by Bush and Obama. He understands that if he can install individuals in key positions at the FBI, CIA, DHS and other security and military agencies, he and his allies will be more than happy to use the power of these agencies against their opponents. Indeed, he would most likely greatly enhance those agencies’ power, making a further mockery of the US Constitution. If Trump is able to get the agencies of the deep state to work for the factions he represents—either by replacing those loyal to others not named Trump or by cajoling and coercing them to change their loyalty—he will think the deep state is a great thing. In this way he is no different than every other US president. He understands that whoever controls the deep state controls the US. The struggle we are witnessing between the FBI and the Trump White House is part of a power struggle between US power elites.
When the ruling class is in crisis, as it is now, the job of the left is not to choose one side or the other. Nor is it to accept the narrative provided by one or other faction of the rulers, especially when that narrative supports the police state. Instead, it is the Left’s job to go to the root of the crisis and organize resistance to the ruling class itself.