Senate Dem Seeks Investigation of RT for Being Russian-Funded

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D – NH) is pushing a bill that would seek a Justice Department investigation of whether television station RT America is “coordinating with the Russian government,” saying there is reason to believe that there are financial ties between the channel and the Russian government, and that “the American public has a right to know if that is the case.”

It is the case, of course. RT was founded by RIA Novosti in 2005 as a nominally “autonomous” non-profit organization. RIA Novosti is wholly owned by the Russian government. Continue reading “Senate Dem Seeks Investigation of RT for Being Russian-Funded”

Kerry: Inappropriate for Trump to Directly Comment on Other Nations’ Policies

Hypocrisy is not an unfamiliar site in the comments of top political officials, but Secretary of State John Kerry really took it to new levels today, complaining it was “inappropriate” for President-elect Donald Trump to publicly criticize internal policy of other nations, after Trump’s comments panning Germany allowing refugees into the country.

That Trump’s comments were the same sort of simplistic distrust of “illegals” copied and pasted onto another country in a totally different situation is all true, though really beside the point, as Kerry’s argument wasn’t that Trump was wrong, rather it was that he should keep his mouth shut.

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US Spy Chief Presents Third-Party Debates as Proof RT Is Anti-US

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s latest report on the alleged “election hacking” by Russia includes a substantial section focused around the idea that Russian government-funded channel RT is overtly anti-American. This is a common enough accusation, but when set out in a multi-page report format, a lot of the charges fall remarkable short.

Nowhere was this more apparent, however, than on the first page of the Annex on RT, which presented the fact that RT America hosted US presidential debates which included third-party candidates.

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WAPO Admits: Russia Didn’t Hack US Electrical Grid

It took a few days to get there, but the Washington Post has finally made the circuitous voyage from a headline declaring “Russian operation hacked a Vermont utility, showing risk to U.S. electrical security, officials say” to finally arriving at “Russian government hackers do not appear to have targeted Vermont utility, say people close to investigation.”

One big thing you’ll notice about the second headline is that it’s not really a story in and of itself. Russia not hacking the US electric grid would not, on its own, be even a low level story in a newspaper, because every single day of history Russia has managed to not hack Vermont and not bring down the nation’s electrical grid.

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Israeli Army Admits Tweeted Hezbollah Map Actually Fake

Having passed it around to foreign diplomats as a real thing, and tweeted it on Tuesday with the claim it proved Hezbollah’s “war crimes,” the Israeli military today was forced to admit that a map of “Hezbollah positions” around southern Lebanon was actually totally fabricated by the military itself, and not based on any intelligence.

The tweeted image claimed to have been “declassified,” and was hyped as proving Israel’s massive intelligence-gathering capabilities in southern Lebanon, in anticipation of Israel’s next invasion. Officials also say it was presented to foreign diplomats as proof Hezbollah poses a threat to Israeli territory.

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NY Times Attacks Gary Johnson for Equating US, Syrian War Crimes

Following an interview with the New York Times, Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson is coming under fire for noting a moral equivalence between killing civilians in airstrikes, and killing civilians in airstrikes.

Pressed on the civilian death toll of Syrian airstrikes against populated areas, and whether he saw those as equivalent to US airstrikes against populated areas, Johnson mockingly declared “no of course not – we’re so much better than all that. We’re so much better when in Afghanistan, we bomb the hospital and 60 people are killed in the hospital.”

Johnson is referring to last year’s Kunduz airstrikes, in which a US warplane repeatedly and deliberately bombed a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital near Kunduz, Afghanistan, in what officials later characterized as “a mistake.” The Syrian government has recently been heavily criticized for airstrikes around Aleppo which hit hospitals.

Johnson further went after Hillary Clinton for overly interventionist instincts, noting that a number of civilians have been killed in US airstrikes in Syria as well, and saying that Clinton shares some of the responsibility for those deaths.

While charges of “moral equivalence” against antiwar candidates are a recurring theme in US elections, they have tended in the past to center around at least moderately different methods of killing civilians, like arguing suicide bombings to be “worse” than airstrikes. In this case, however, it’s difficult to avoid equating the two incidents, since they both involve remarkably similar aircraft dropping remarkably similar ordinance on hospitals run by international aid groups.

Johnson also said it would be important to know what sort of “deals” the Obama Administration promised to other nations to join the coalition bombing Syria, though he conceded he was at a disadvantage on that point as, unlike his opponents, he was not given classified briefings on the matter.