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Aug 07 2020

The Real Purpose for Sally Yates’ Testimony: Propaganda to Elect Trump

You remember Sally Yates, who served as Acting Attorney General for 10 days in the fledgling Trump Crime Regime before the unindicted co-conspirator fired her for refusing to back his Muslim ban. She was back testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee chaired by Senator Lyndsey Graham (R-SC). Ms. Yates blew the GOP conspiracy theories undercutting the legitimacy of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election out of the water:

Former deputy attorney general Sally Yates provided as definitive an account as you are going to get regarding former national security adviser Michael Flynn, the Russia investigation and the politicization of the Justice Department during testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. Republicans have been so immersed in a false account of events and in conspiracy-mongering for a failed president that they seemed startled when Yates corrected them again and again.

Yates’s testimony boiled down to seven points: 1) The Trump transition team was not being surveilled, nor was Flynn. While she could not say why because of national security concerns, it was obvious that then-Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak was the one being monitored. Flynn wound up being recorded when he spoke with Kislyak; 2) Flynn was attempting to undercut sanctions (per Yates’s testimony: “General Flynn had essentially neutered the U.S. government’s message of deterrence”); 3) Flynn lied to the vice president about his calls; 4) The FBI’s investigation was a counterintelligence — not criminal — investigation; 5) The investigation was not closed on Jan. 4 precisely because the FBI learned of Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak; 6) Flynn’s lying to the FBI was material and indeed at the core of the counterintelligence investigation, contrary to Attorney General William P. Barr’s assertion in trying to undo Flynn’s guilty plea by dismissing the case; and 7) It was highly abnormal and unprecedented for the attorney general to step in to rescue a friend of the president in this way, an action that damages the Justice Department’s credibility. [..]

Yates batted down a number of popular Republican lies. No, no one in the Obama administration tried to steer the investigation; to the contrary, they warned against it. (During a meeting on the topic, then-Vice President Joe Biden did not say much of anything.) No, Yates did not know of the inaccuracies in the FISA application to monitor Trump campaign adviser Carter Page at the time she signed off on it. No, the Trump campaign was not treated differently — because it was the only campaign that the Russians approached and helped.

These attempts by the Senate and House GOP to somehow discredit the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election on behalf of Donald Trump is nothing more that a Psychological Operation. As Adam L. Silverman explained in an article in Balloon Juice just prior to Trump’s impeachment, the short definition of Psychological Operations, popularly known as PSYOP, is the weaponization of information for effect.

The effect being to influence the targeted population, whether a group, an organization, a society, an element within a society, or a government, to either undertake an action or to prevent an action from being taken. Black PSYOP refers to the attempts to launder the influence operation through a legitimate third party that is not connected to those conducting the influence operation.

In that article Dr. Silverman explained how Attorney General William Barr strategically leaked information of his criminal investigation under US Attorney John H. Durham of how the Russian investigation began under the Obama administration. In his lasted post at Balloon Juice, he demonstrates how the Senate has now become an arm of the Black PSYOP to reelect  Trump:

Since the President’s acquittal in the Senate back in January, several key senators have been working to turn their committee’s oversight functions into both an information laundry as part of the Black PSYOP against Vice President Biden and an oppo research and distribution arm of the President’s reelection campaign. These efforts are being led by Senator Ron Johnson, who chairs the Homeland Security Committee; Senator Charles Grassley, who chairs the Finance Committee; and Senator Lindsey Graham, who chairs the Judiciary Committee and are intended to do one thing and one thing only: dirty up Vice President Biden ahead of his election, as well as a number of his senior advisors who would be expect to have senior appointments in a Biden administration should he win in November. Should he indeed win, expect the Senate Republicans to use these hearings to either deny, should they hold their majority, or try to derail and deny, should they be in the minority, the Senate confirmation for these senior Biden aides and advisors. In this way the Black PSYOP campaign against VP Biden has metastasized in a new ugly way: to not just try to make him unelectable, but to damage many of his most senior and trusted aides and advisors so that they would be unconfirmable should he be elected and appoint them to the most senior positions in his administration.

Senator Graham kicked off the next phase of the Black PSYOP today with hearings into how the counterintelligence investigation into the connections between the President’s 2016 campaign and a variety of Russian nationals who all link back to Vladimir Putin, which is being referred to by Republicans and conservatives as Obamagate, was started and conducted. The focus of today’s hearing was on former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. You can see this whole hearing at the video below:

As you can imagine, Senator Graham, as well as the other Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee were functioning in the closed epistemological bubble of conspiracies about the 2016 election.

Since the President’s acquittal in the Senate back in January, several key senators have been working to turn their committee’s oversight functions into both an information laundry as part of the Black PSYOP against Vice President Biden and an oppo research and distribution arm of the President’s reelection campaign. These efforts are being led by Senator Ron Johnson, who chairs the Homeland Security Committee; Senator Charles Grassley, who chairs the Finance Committee; and Senator Lindsey Graham, who chairs the Judiciary Committee and are intended to do one thing and one thing only: dirty up Vice President Biden ahead of his election, as well as a number of his senior advisors who would be expect to have senior appointments in a Biden administration should he win in November. Should he indeed win, expect the Senate Republicans to use these hearings to either deny, should they hold their majority, or try to derail and deny, should they be in the minority, the Senate confirmation for these senior Biden aides and advisors. In this way the Black PSYOP campaign against VP Biden has metastasized in a new ugly way: to not just try to make him unelectable, but to damage many of his most senior and trusted aides and advisors so that they would be unconfirmable should he be elected and appoint them to the most senior positions in his administration.

Senator Graham kicked off the next phase of the Black PSYOP today with hearings into how the counterintelligence investigation into the connections between the President’s 2016 campaign and a variety of Russian nationals who all link back to Vladimir Putin, which is being referred to by Republicans and conservatives as Obamagate, was started and conducted. The focus of today’s hearing was on former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. You can see this whole hearing at the video below:

As you can imagine, Senator Graham, as well as the other Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee were functioning in the closed epistemological bubble of conspiracies about the 2016 election.

The short version of these conspiracies are that it was not Russia interfering in the election, nor was it the President’s campaign, campaign officials, members of the President’s family, and official and unofficial surrogates all either conspiring to and working with various elements of Russian intelligence or trying to, but being so inept they failed to actually do so. Rather, the Clinton campaign successfully conspired with both the Obama administration, especially senior Department of Justice and FBI officials like Director Comey, and the Ukrainian government of Petro Poroshenko to subvert the will of the American people and rig the 2016 election and by creating a false flag that Russia was in fact interfering in the election on behalf of the President’s campaign. [..]

The origin of the conspiracy theory that the Senate Republicans, the President, other Republicans, and conservatives are pushing was actually created by Konstantin Kilimnik and pushed to Paul Manafort who then laundered it through his criminal defense. It was also laundered through Politico by a discredited Ukrainian junior foreign service officer. And before you ask, yes the Politico reporter was Ken Vogel who has continued to try to peddle this made up garbage at The New York Times.

Former Acting Attorney General Yates did a very effective job of pushing back and knocking down the conspiracies that the Republican senators on the committee kept asking her about or suggesting happened. [..]

Senator Graham’s efforts in the Senate Judiciary Committee are not, however, the only Republican efforts to turn the US Senate and its oversight functions into an information laundry against Vice President Biden. Senators Johnson and Grassley are running the other part of the Black PSYOP, which is receiving information from some of Putin’s assets in Ukraine, who are working with the President’s private attorney Rudy Giuliani, to dirty up Vice President Biden ahead of the election. [..]

The four Ukrainians working to launder this information through Senators Johnson and Grassley are not in very good standing back in Ukraine and their information has been widely debunked and discredited. [..]

Senators Johnson and Grassley are, of course, undaunted and are both pushing ahead with their efforts and pushing back on the criticism they are receiving.

Note what Senators Johnson and Grassley have done in their letter. Despite the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s extensively documented multi-part report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election on behalf of the President, Senators Johnson and Grassley call this a “the false ‘Russian disinformation’ narrative”. They also deny that they are using Russian disinformation, despite having previously stated that they were in receipt of that information:

Spokespersons for Johnson and Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley, who is aiding Johnson in the Biden probe, defended their inquiry and use of information from Telizhenko and other Ukrainians.

In a written response to questions, the senators told BuzzFeed News: “As with any inquiry, you get answers by asking questions. Those who restrict themselves from reviewing matters associated with ‘people of ill repute’ won’t have much luck uncovering wrongdoing or improving accountability.”

We know that these accusations against Vice President Biden and his son Hunter Biden are part of a Russian disinformation campaign that began in April 2014 and was intended to dirty up three potential candidates for president in 2016, VP Biden, Secretary Kerry, and VP Cheney, by insinuating that they were facilitating and benefiting from unethical behavior engaged in by their children. [..]

Senators Graham, Grassley, and Johnson are all twisting the Senate’s oversight function in order to launder this six year old Russian disinformation through the Senate and through the news media to damage Vice President Biden and harm his electoral chances in November and to dirty up a number of his most senior aides and advisors to harm their chances for Senate confirmation should Biden win and nominate them for senior positions in his administration. They are aided and abetted in this by conservative news, digital news, and social media. [..]

What Senators Graham, Johnson, and Grassley are doing is not intended to produce new legislation to prevent foreign interference in US elections, to require campaigns to immediately notify the FBI if members of the campaign are approached by foreign actors or agents of foreign powers, or protect the integrity of the 2020 elections – presidential, congressional, state, and local. Rather what they are doing is intended to produce disinformation and agitprop that will be laundered through conservative news media, conservative digital news media, and conservative social media to damage Vice President Biden, his campaign, and his senior aides and advisors. The laundering of this information through these sources is intended to force the mainstream news media to cover it as news that has to be reported and then fact checked, which will then push it into mainstream digital news and social media, furthering the reach of the disinformation and agitprop. Especially as most, if not all of these mainstream news sites are paywalled, which restricts the ability to access the fact checking and the debunking. Thanks to the efforts of Senators Graham, Johnson, and Grassley, the Senate is the laundry used to wash this disinformation and agitprop, disinformation and agitprop that is documented as originating in Russian state backed news media in 2014 and that has been thoroughly debunked.

If we stipulate that Senators Graham, Grassley, and Johnson are not Russian assets or under Russian influence, the question is what would they be doing differently if they were? And the answer is nothing!

Dr. Silverman’s other articles on the BlaclPSYOP of  the GOP to discredit Democrats and especially, Vice President Biden can all be read at Balloon Juice, no pay walls or membership required.

Black PSYOP, l’Affaire Ukraine, AG Barr’s Investigation, and the Impeachment Inquiry of the President

Black PSYOP Part II: The Republicans Are Trying To Turn the US Congress Into an Information Laundry for Misinformation, Disinformation, and Information for Provocation,