Why ‘Russiagate’ Is the Same as ‘WMD in Iraq’ for America’s Mainstream Media
Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org
America’s Democratic Party ‘news’-media are now defending themselves against charges that they had trumpeted false allegations against Donald Trump regarding “Russiagate.” Republican Party ‘news’-media are strutting because they didn’t. But in the lead-up to America’s invasion and destruction of Iraq (and here’s “How the U.S. Destroyed Iraq”), the mainstream ‘news’-reporting was just as bad then as now, only with the partisan sides switched. ‘Russiagate’ thus mirrors ‘WMD in Iraq’. The chief difference between then and now is only that the media now have been fictitiously demonizing Putin and Trump by means of lies, whereas back in 2002 and 2003, they were fictitiously demonizing Saddam Hussein by means of lies.
In that prior instance (lies about Iraq), the Republican media were the worse of the two Party-propaganda-lines. Republican Party followers were the more-deceived back then, just as Democratic Party followers are the more-deceived today. Whereas, in 2003, increased exposure to news, about what had led up to the invasion of Iraq, produced, for Democrats, higher scores on a test of knowledge about that matter; for Republicans, it actually produced lower scores about that matter. For Republicans, at that time, the ‘news’-reporting decreased, rather than increased, a historically accurate understanding of the lead-up to (and into) Iraq-invasion events. By contrast, now in 2019, when the evidence has finally become clear that the Russiagate accusations against Trump were intensely politically motivated, it is Democratic Party followers who are the more-deceived today. In fact, whereas, back in January of this year, 83% of Republicans said that the reason for the Russiagate investigation was “politically motivated,” 84% of Democrats said that it was not. The more that Democrats had become influenced by Democratic-Party ‘news’-media, the more inaccurate their understandings of the events were. On this matter, Democrats were oblivious about the reality, just swamped by their own Party’s propaganda — just like had happened to Republicans regarding the invasion of Iraq.
In both of these two instances (both Democratic ‘news’-media now, and Republican ‘news’-media then), all of America’s major media actually hid — and continue to hide — the key facts, from the public (even 16 years, now, after the invasion of Iraq). On the deeper-level issues concerning Governmental policies, there is bipartisan deceit against the American public. These are issues on which all of the billionaires were and are united, against the American public (and especially against the “40.6% million people in poverty” — the neediest instead of the richest who are themselves, those billionaires), and they therefore benefit from the public’s ignorance and misconceptions about such matters (so that the Government will continue serving chiefly themselves). These super-rich are determined to continue controlling Government-policies, for their own benefits, like increased ‘defense’ spending to buy increased products from their corporations such as Lockheed Martin, and for increased access to raw materials by their firms such as ExxonMobil. It’s all — according to their propaganda-media, ‘in defense of freedom and democracy and human rights’. That’s always the billionaires’ line. It’s always “Trust us!” “Our Government is democratic — a democracy, not a dictatorship [by us]!” So, the message from them is: invade Iraq! And: oppose any U.S. President who would meet privately to negotiate with Russia’s President! America’s billionaires fear peace abroad. They thrive on conquest (their coups and invasions) abroad. For example, this is the reason why, consistently in Gallup’s findings, “The military” (which is actually the most corrupt of all American institutions) scores, by far, at the very top of the 17 listed “Institutions” in American society — way above (for examples) “the Supreme Court,“ or “The church or organized religion,” or “The public schools.” The billionaires shape the culture, and this is how they’ve managed to get the U.S. to spend about half of the entire world’s total military expenses — all to be paid for by the taxes and governmental debts that the public (and their descendants), and not merely those billionaires (the actual beneficiaries) pay, and will be paying in the future. This is the way that a global empire is built, and maintained — ‘for peace and freedom and democracy and human rights around the world’.
The two Parties disagree with each other, but each Party represents only a different faction among the billionaires (not among the public) regarding what they want the public to believe. The billionaires and their corporations contribute the vast majority of the money to the major candidates, and control the think tanks and ‘news’-media that enables each winning national U.S. politician to become and remain a winning national U.S. politician and thus to become and be the President, or member of Congress. So, these few extremely wealthy individuals are America’s real, behind-the-scenes, government — the “Deep State” that’s represented by the top levels at CIA, Britain’s MI6, Wall Street, etc. (all servants — a few of whom are billionaires themselves — of America’s billionaires, and of their allied foreign billionaires).
No faction within America’s 585 billionaires actually represents the American public — neither group of billionaires (Democrats or Republicans) represents the public of either Party. Each of them represents only him-or-her-self and the property (and employees and other agents) which that individual controls. (Of course, that’s millions of people, who are hired and promoted and demoted by the billionaires.) But because billionaires’ wealth is so extremely concentrated within this tiny number of people (585), and is so huge, and because their corruption reigns, these few individuals effectively control the Government. Especially America’s foreign policies (including, in 2002, toward Iraq; and, in 2016-18, ‘Russiagate’, toward Russia and Trump) represent only the interests of billionaires, not of the American people, who are mainly interested in domestic affairs, such as health care, education, crimes, etc.
Right now, the billionaires are (via their media-proxies) battling each other over whom to blame for ‘Russiagate’: if not Trump, then whom? But that’s only a Democrat-versus-Republican issue. It appeals to the partisans on each side. It’s more of the same, so that the billionaires’ control over America’s Government continues to face no challenge.
Whenever American billionaires’ desires contradict the public’s needs, the latter have “a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy”, and this has been scientifically proven to have been true since at least 1981. Though it’s true regarding any field of public policy, it is the most true regarding international policies, because those are the ones on which deceiving the public is the easiest to do. Furthermore, the controlling owners of international corporations (and these are billionaires) are vastly more concerned about foreign affairs than the general public is. Whereas domestic affairs interest everyone, foreign affairs receive far less attention from most people — but not from billionaires, who are, if anything, often even more interested in those matters.
Donald Trump represents one faction of America’s billionaires; Barack Obama represented another faction of them; but each President (at least since 1981) has been representing only them (America’s billionaires). Furthermore, the 2016 Presidential contest was no exception to this rule; and, so, American democracy has been destroyed by America’s own billionaires, and not by any foreign country. Russia didn’t do this to us. Not even Israel (which interferes in American national elections vastly more than does Russia, and which also has officially the fourth-largest of all foreign nations’ lobbies in the U.S. Congress) did. America’s billionaires did (and do) it. Overwhelmingly, it is they who actually control America’s foreign policies. (Moreover, on international matters, there appears to be virtual unanimity amongst the aristocracies of Britain, Israel, and U.S.; and, on 15 February 2009, Britain’s Guardian reported that “The pro-Israel lobby’s contributions reach a majority of US politicians. In 2018, it spent money on 269 representatives’ and 57 senators’ campaigns, and gave to Democrats at a two to one ratio.” So: it’s not only the Republican Party that’s fronting for Israel. To front for Israel is also to front for America’s billionaires — even for the roughly 70% of America’s non-Jewish billionaires. But to front for Russia is ‘traitorous’ while to front for Israel is ‘not’ — and yet Russia never attacked and slaughtered Americans, whereas Israel did, and so did another ‘U.S. ally’, Saudi Arabia. (Yet, America’s aristocracy is closely allied with both Israel’s and Saudi Arabia’s — not just with Britain’s.)
All of these assertions will be further documented and exemplified in what follows.
The two examples to be focused upon here will be America’s successful rape of Iraq in 2003, and the Democratic Party’s unsuccessful effort, which started in 2016, to delegitimize the Republican President Donald Trump as being some type of Russian agent.
THE INVASION OF IRAQ IN 2003
Here’s Robert Mueller testifying to Congress about WMD (weapons of mass destruction) in Iraq, before we invaded and destroyed Iraq:
On 11 February 2003, the then-FBI Director Mueller testified, to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, that: “Secretary Powell presented evidence last week that Baghdad has failed to disarm its weapons of mass destruction, willfully attempting to evade and deceive the international community. Our particular concern is that Saddam may supply al-Qaeda with biological, chemical, or radiological material.”
He just reiterated the President’s lies (and he credited Colin Powell’s supposed naiveté in having spouted them — for which deception Powell subsequently apologized, but Mueller never did). Mueller’s concern wasn’t to raise any question about the lies that led to the Iraq-invasion, but was simply to reinforce these lies. He didn’t work for the public. He worked for the President.
As I said 16 September 2016:
On 7 September 2002, U.S. President George W. Bush blatantly lied to concoct a “new report” by the IAEA about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction program, and the U.S. news-media reported the statement but hid that it was a lie. He said (and CNN and others quoted it): “a report came out of the Atomic — the IAEA that they were six months away from developing a weapon. I don’t know what more evidence we need,” when he was asked at a press conference, “Mr. President, can you tell us what conclusive evidence of any nuclear — new evidence you have of nuclear weapons capabilities of Saddam Hussein?” Immediately, the IAEA said then that there was no such “new report,” and that the last they were able to find, there was nothing left of WMD in Iraq. The American news-media simply ignored the IAEA’s denial, and we invaded Iraq, almost six months after that boldfaced lie, a lie the press refused to expose, at all — ever. They still haven’t exposed it, even to the present day; and instead there remains a ‘debate’ as to whether George W. Bush lied or was instead merely misled by “defective U.S. intelligence.” In this particular instance, he wasn’t even citing U.S. intelligence, but instead citing the IAEA, and they immediately denied it, but the press failed to report that fact; so, really, the President was simply lying, and the press just continue to lie by saying he had only “been misled by the CIA” (which he actually controlled; but he didn’t control the IAEA). The American press hide the fact that the American President lied his nation into invading Iraq. The press lie that it was only “bad intelligence,” no lying President.
(Because of the news-media’s ignoring the IAEA’s denial of the President’s statement, the author of the IAEA’s denial, Mark Gwozdecky, spoke three weeks later, by phone, with the only journalist who was interested, Joseph Curl of the Washington Times, who headlined on 27 September 2002, “Agency Disavows Report on Iraq Arms” — perhaps that should instead have been “President Lied About ‘Saddam’s WMD’” — and Curl quoted Gwozdecky: “There’s never been a report like that [which Bush alleged] issued from this agency. … When we left in December ’98 we had concluded that we had neutralized their nuclear-weapons program. We had confiscated their fissile material. We had destroyed all their key buildings and equipment.” Other news-media failed to pick up Curl’s article. And, even in that article, there was no clear statement that the President had, in fact, lied — cooked up an IAEA ‘report’ that never actually existed — and that he never corrected his false allegation; that he compounded his lie by not correcting it.)
This is hardly the only instance where the U.S. news-media cover for the President’s lies about foreign affairs, by merely stenographically reporting what he says, while hiding the truth that his statement was a baldfaced lie. For example, how many times have you read in the newspapers, or in a magazine, or seen on TV, or heard on the radio (all of which are supposed to report these things), that in February 2014, the Obama Administration perpetrated a bloody coup d’etat that overthrew the democratically elected President of Ukraine, and replaced his government with a racist-fascist, or anti-Russian nazi, government, so that Ukraine, which had been at peace for decades, was now suddenly torn by a racist bloody civil war — a war of ethnic cleansing? Oh? You were instead told that ‘democracy’ started (instead of ended) when Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown then, in a ‘revolution,’ not in any U.S. “coup”?
The very next day, on 8 September 2002, the New York Times bannered “THREATS AND RESPONSES: THE IRAQIS; U.S. SAYS HUSSEIN INTENSIFIES QUEST FOR A-BOMB PARTS”, and reported that, “In the last 14 months, Iraq has sought to buy thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes, which American officials believe were intended as components of centrifuges to enrich uranium.” That, too, turned out to be fiction, which the ‘news’-media stenographically reported to be reality, as any propaganda-agency is paid or otherwise rewarded to do.
Also on September 8th, Bush’s National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said on CNN, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”
On 9 September 2002, the IAEA denied the existence of the ‘new report’ that Bush (seconded by British Prime Minister Tony Blair) had just said was proof that Saddam was within six months of having a nuclear bomb. Neither the NYT nor other ‘news’-media reported that the President had lied on September 7th. So, Gwozdecky of IAEA tried again, on September 27th, but the NYT and all the others continued to ignore them. That (the U.S. President’s deceiving this nation into an invasion) wasn’t included to report — wasn’t even buried (like on an inside page) — in “All the News That’s Fit to Print”. Did the NYT (and WP and CNN, etc,) lose subscribers, and go out of business, for that serial-deceit of the public? The opposite: they thrived. And, now, they accuse smaller news-media (which had had nothing to do with deceiving Americans into invading Iraq) of providing ‘fake news’. And the standards of American ‘journalism’ are just as poor today as they were back in 2002 and 2003.
Then, on 8 October 2002, President Bush delivered, to the nation, his major address on why we needed to invade Iraq very soon. He said: “Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun, that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.” Condoleezza Rice’s fictitious “mushroom cloud” was now — exactly a month later — President Bush’s, too.
On 18 March 2003, President Bush ordered the U.N.’s weapons-inspectors out of Iraq by telling them that if they wouldn’t be gone within 48 hours they’d be under U.S. bombing there. Hans Blix and his team rushed out, to meet that deadline. The Iraqi people couldn’t do any such thing — Bush’s warning simply spelt doom for them.
Nobody in the mainstream press, at the time, or afterward, reported that the IAEA had actually issued no such ‘new report’. It didn’t exist, at all. The American public didn’t know that Bush was lying through his teeth and that this invasion was 100% a blatant international war-crime. They didn’t know, because the billionaires’ American ‘news’-media hid that fact.
All of these ‘news’ lies are stenographic ‘reporting’, and it’s endemic in all of America’s mainstream ‘news’-media, all of which are controlled by billionaires, via ownership and/or their corporations’ advertising. Stenographic ‘news’-reporting is still as acceptable to them as it was to them then, when we invaded and destroyed Iraq, on the basis of those stenographically reported lies from the Government and its agents.
That’s America’s mainstream. Many in alternative, smaller, news-media had reported over and over and over and over and over and over — and even Rupert Murdoch’s own London Times had reported as early as 26 November 2009 (after the Republican President Bush was no longer in office and had been replaced by a Democrat) — that all of the insiders had known that Iraq didn’t have weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). What all of the mainstream ‘news’-media were publishing, back in 2003, were merely lies from the Government. What should have been the first question, then, on 9 September 2002 when the IAEA said that there wasn’t any “new report” from them, about the matter such as the U.S. President had alleged? The questions were never asked, much less followed up immediately to expose the response to be yet another lie. This is how Bush and his team got away with mass-murder abroad. There was no resistance, in any of the mainstream (the billionaire-controlled) media. Not even in the Democratic-Party ‘news’-media. This was bipartisan evil (by the billionaires) and ignorance (by the public).
On 22 January 2018, CNN reported that, “George W. Bush’s favorable rating has grown from 33% to 61% since he left office. … Most of Bush’s climb back to popularity came from Democrats and independents. His favorability mark among Democrats has soared from only 11% in February 2009 to a majority 54% now.” Maybe that’s because of ‘news’-media such as CNN, continuing to trumpet ongoing official deceits as if those were instead established truths. The U.S. Government can lie as much as it wants, because there’s nothing to stop it from lying. There is no accountability in an aristocracy, but only in a democracy (and the U.S. is an aristocracy).
The media-mainstream, and its supporters, refuse to become honest. Mainstreamers think that they’re terrific as they are, and certainly shouldn’t be put out of business for the mass-murdering lies they’ve pumped. The ‘Russiagate’ fraud is the latest example of this. If it had succeeded, then not only would U.S. ‘defense’-spending soar even more and the Government’s domestic spending plunge, but World War III against Russia would suddenly become enormously more likely.
On 23 March 2019, main conclusions from the Mueller Report — the report from U.S. Special Counsel Robert Swan Mueller III — became published. Democratic Party politicians and ‘news’-media were shocked and stunned that Mueller’s report asserted: “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” One needs to see the complete sentence, there, not just part of it (which is all that was released); but, if this quotation from the Report isn’t out-of-context, then the entire investigation was pursuing a Democratic Party lie and found it to be a lie.
On 24 March 2019, Michael Calderone at Politico said that “while fair-minded criticism can be beneficial to the news media, there are likely to also be bad faith attempts to delegitimize journalism.” He said there “journalism,” instead of “propaganda.” He was writing propaganda for America’s Democratic-Party ‘news’-media. Calderone was happy to report that “Some journalists have already pushed back on the weekend criticism. ‘Given the issues, stakes, and seriousness with which special counsel treated all of this, the media’s coverage of Russia-Trump connection and possible obstruction over the last two years was somewhere between about right and not quite aggressive enough,’ tweeted Esquire’s Ryan Lizza.” On the same day, Paul Farhi of the Washington Post headlined “Conclusion of Mueller probe raises anew criticisms of coverage” and reported that “Among the theories commentators advanced was one by New York magazine writer Jonathan Chait, who speculated in a cover story in July about whether ‘the dark crevices of the Russia scandal run not just a little deeper but a lot deeper.’ … In a statement Sunday night, Chait stood by his article. ‘That story relied on reports in credible public sources. None of those reports have been refuted.’” That’s rabidly false, though the top editors at both the Washington Post and the New York Times were quoted there as making similar false assertions. Farhi continued: “In fact, revelations by the Times and The Washington Post about contacts between Russian agents and Trump’s campaign advisers in 2016 helped prompt the inquiry that the special counsel took over in May 2017. The two newspapers shared a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on the issue that year.” He seemed to be actually bragging about his very successful and severely failed ‘news’-paper and its main competitor.
On March 25th, Amy Chozick in the New York Times bannered “After Mueller Report, News Media Leaders Defend Their Work”, and she reported that, “Jeff Zucker, president of CNN, said he was ‘entirely comfortable’ with the network’s coverage. ‘We are not investigators. We are journalists, and our role is to report the facts as we know them, which is exactly what we did,’ Mr. Zucker said in an email.” Furthermore: “Ben Smith, the editor in chief of BuzzFeed News, defended coverage of the Russian investigation, including the decision to publish a dossier put together by British intelligence officer Christopher Steele full of tantalizing (and unsubstantiated) reports about Russian efforts to blackmail Mr. Trump. ‘It’s pretty hard to imagine a scenario in which people were aware of its existence but not allowed to see it,’ Mr. Smith said of the dossier.” Smith took seriously the “unsubstantiated” ‘dossier’ that the DNC had hired for creating the myth that the cause of Clinton’s loss was Putin and Russia, instead of herself, and her profoundly corrupt Party (no different, basically, from the Republican Party).
On March 26th, The Hill headlined “Media have account to settle with American people over Mueller investigation coverage”, and a journalism professor said that “the news industry” had been “stumbling around unsuccessfully in the dark trying to find fact nuggets on which to build the Mueller story.” Two days later, he told Wisconsin Public Radio that “The media did underperform over the last couple of years.” The problem was just blunders, and ‘underperformance’ (instead of its long-proven-normal performance) — not the entire corrupt system of ‘journalism’ in America, where the people who do the hiring are answerable ultimately to the same billionaires who effectively control the Government. No — not that — not at all (according to him).
As I have pointed out and documented (via links to solid ultimate sources, sometimes in the linked-to sources in linked-to articles, but all ultimate sources having been very carefully verified by this reporter as being true, and those sources remaining solid), “All U.S. Gov’t. Accusations Against Russia’s Gov’t. Are Lies.” That’s right: all of “Russiagate” is based on very dubious ‘evidence’. This means that the time-line, in the Mueller Report, lists some ‘events’ that did not happen, and some events that were not partisanly involved in the 2016 Presidential contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.