Not a Law Firm: Watts, Berger and Weisburd's Incirlik Lie of Omission
RogueMoney readers may recall an article the Russia Analyst published in April, after former FBI agent Clint Watts testimony in Senate hearings about alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Watts blamed President Trump and his former campaign aide Paul Manafort for allegedly making it easy for Putin and the Kremlin's vast army of disinfo agents to manipulate Americans. Watts cited a key piece of #fakenews in his testimony, that spread like wildfire across Twitter and Facebook after the failed July 2016 coup in Turkey. According to Watts and his 'co-researchers', J.M. Berger at the grandly named International Centre for Counter-Terrorism at The Hague and Aaron Weisburd, identified by Wikispooks as 'an American computer programmer from Illinois', Russian trolls manipulated Americans into believing that terrorists had stormed the nuclear-weapons holding Incirlik Air Base.
Weisburd Reads @Webradius the R.I.O.T Act, with Suspicious GRU/SVR Hashtags Hiding in Plain Sight on Your Twitter Feed Like...#SundayMorning, Coming Down
Weisburd's current gig (with no obvious means of support aside from 'computer programming' for whoever's paying in Carbondale, IL these days) is publishing at his @webradius Twitter account. Here Weisburd produces a round up of alleged 'Russian Influence Operations Today' acronymed RIOT, based on Hamilton 68's supposedly rock solidly ID'd 600 Russian or Russian-influenced Twitter accounts. This wannabe man from U.N.C.L.E with his 'former' Mossad contacts is of course, certain that stories the new media is promoting that RT and Sputnik pick up (not the other way around) is like total proof that alt-media = Kremlin media. Just look at those incriminating hashtags, like Hiroshima (on the 72nd anniversary of the U.S. nuking Japan), #Trumpified, or our favorite in terms of Russian sneakyness, #SundayMorning. Nothing gets by Carbondale Andy!
It should be noted that after his Internet Haganah antics which allegedly included cyberstalking and harassing pro-Palestinian activists, Weisburd was 'promoted' to the title of "Provider of Instruction and Expert Services to the Intelligence Community" at the George Washington University in D.C. Weisburd's GWU page lists no biographical details or qualifications for said role, but American investigative journalist George Eliason has heavily criticized Weisburd's 'work' as little more than aggressive trolling on behalf of a foreign power, namely Israel:
As we pointed out in our critique of Watts, Berger and Weisburd's War on the Rocks November 2016 article 'Trolling for Trump', their article omitted (lied about) a critical fact: although the NATO B61 nuclear gravity bombs hosting base had not been attacked, Turkish authorities did cut off the electricity to the American portion of Incirlik. That expression of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's displeasure with Turkish Air Force coup participants having worked with the Americans left hundreds if not thousands of American airmen and women sweating in the Mediterranean mid-summer heat. It was the discomfort and inconveniencing of these servicemen, as well as immediate allegations from Erdogan's supporters that the CIA and U.S. military were complicit in the aborted coup, that led relatives of Incirlik airmen to post their worries on Facebook. Some of these expressions of sincere concern were then picked up on Twitter, and perhaps were magnified by 'Russian trolls', into Paul Manafort's wildly exaggerated statement about 'terrorists' threatening Incirlik.
When Mike Cernovich's Alt-Lite Hashtags are Trending, #BlameRussia
In his Senate testimony before Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), Watts spun Manafort's misstatement or falsehood into a tale of Russia feeding Trump and his surrogates disinfo via Sputnik News and trolls. Several months later, with the newly appointed Independent Counsel Robert Mueller producing zero evidence of actual collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians and therefore expanding his fishing expedition to suspected improprieties unrelated to Mueller's original remit from the Congress, Watts and his cohorts are pushing the story that Russia is either egging on or promoting so-called 'alt-right' supporters of the President on Twitter. The specific cause of this alleged ideological collusion is White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster's firing of multiple National Security Council aides brought on board during the short-lived tenure of his predecessor, former Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) chief and Trump campaign adviser Lt. Gen. (USA ret) Michael T. Flynn.
The clash between former Breitbart publisher Steve Bannon and McMaster, pitting the two men's supporters against each other in a war of leaks, has splashed onto the pages of the Democrat deep state propaganda rag The Daily Beast, as well as The Atlantic and Breitbart News. Mike Cernovich, a California-based author who posts to Periscope and Twitter out of his home, has promoted the #FireMcMaster hash tag, and claimed McMaster is colluding with Jim Comey's number two FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe (who's wife received a fat campaign donation from Clintons' fundraiser Terry McAuliffe). According to the presumed Bannon loyalists leaking to Cernovich, McMaster is protecting Obama holdovers against charges that they're constantly leaking to the Trump hating press (NYT/WaPost/CNN/MSNBC), the general drinks heavily while carrying on an affair with a colleague, denigrates pro-Israel or Israel-visiting members of the NSC, and pushes for Trump to pour more troops into the Afghanistan quagmire.
Cernovich has spread these allegations through his own Periscope channel viewed every week by tens of thousands, his Twitter account which gets millions of impressions a month, and on Infowars' Alex Jones Show. The reaction of neocons like Bill Kristol and former George W. Bush 'axis of evil' speech writer David Frum has been quite telling, as has the legacy media rallying around McMaster. Kristol and Frum claim the Russians are playing the 'alt-right' to spread anti-Semitic and anti-McMaster rumors, citing a Bill Garrison cartoon depicting the Rothchilds and George Soros pulling McMaster and his disgraced ex-CIA Director mentor Gen. David Petraeus along on puppet strings.
The fact that Ben Garrison is a staunch supporter of Israel and denies any allegations of anti-Semitism while having Jewish conservative and Republican friends is skipped over in the Anti-Defamation League, Kristol and Frum's invoking of the overcharged 'anti-Semitic' card. The fact that the Soros-funded Democrat attack dog group Media Matters for America is also defending McMaster has raised eyebrows among Trump's #MAGA base.
The 'deep state' friendliest media outlets such as the U.K.-based Reuters, The New York Times and Washington Post have done their part by simply parroting Hamilton 68's claims without any critical examination of their sources and methods whatsoever. An example below coming from pro-Syria jihadist neocon journalist Josh Rogin:
In Addition to Their Active Measures/Memes Agent Mikhail Cernovich, Do 'the Russians' Control Circa News and Sara A. Carter Now?
More problematic for the likes of Watts, Weisburd and Berger, Breitbart, Cernovich and brother Alex Jones aren't the only ones asking tough questions. The Trump friendly but tough on Russia reporter Sara A. Carter of Circa News has reported that McMaster declared former White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice did nothing wrong in unmasking dozens of Trump associates during the 2016 campaign, even before an investigation can be completed. More incredibly according to Sara A. Carter's sources, McMaster has opted to maintain Rice's security clearance, when he easily could have had it pulled pending the outcome of the investigation. According to Cernovich, McMaster has been using pulled security clearances as a way to push out American nationalist Trump supporters in favor of 'globalists' and G.W. Bush/Obama appointed staffers.
Besides the 'alt-lite', which unlike the miniscule, mostly online shitposter community of the alt-right is staunchly pro-Israel, there are other critics of the Hamilton 68 project who've questioned its donors and proponents intentions. One of these is Jeff Giesea, who in 2015 published a paper in NATO's own unofficial journal on memetic warfare to counter ISIS and 'Russian propaganda' online. Having established his credentials in the successful 'meme wars' on behalf of Trump, the former technology executive and business coach notes on his Periscope account that Hamilton 68 is linked to hardline #NeverTrump er neocons and Democrats.
The German Marshall Fund's advisory board includes Washington (Bezos/Langley) Post columnist David Ignatius, who has become the go to guy for the Saudi government's PR efforts in D.C. The Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), Clint Watts' employer, includes avowed defender of British and American imperialism Robert Kaplan on its board. The full press release from the German Marshall Fund's launch of Alliance for Democracy from July 11 lists an impressive advisory board of neocons and deep state hacks. In his Periscope video Giesea identifies Bill Kristol, ex-deputy CIA director Mike Morrell (who told Charlie Rose the U.S. needed to 'kill Russians and Iranians' by proxy after Moscow's intervention in Syria) and retired Admiral James George Stavridis who was in line to become a President Hillary Clinton's Secretary of Defense as part of this list. By any stretch as investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald noted in The Intercept, this is a hardline Cold War 2 pushing crew standing behind the quirky 'John Wayne says it's time to get the Rooskies out of the White House' antics of Weisburd, Berger and Watts.
Jeffrey Carr and Crowdstrike's Fraudulent Attribution of the DNC Hacks
Another problem Watts, Weisburd and Berger have is criticism from cyber researcher Jeffrey Carr. Mr. Carr, who has been an outspoken critic of the Comey FBI's blind faith in the reliability of the Atlantic Council (NATO think tank) linked, Democrat deep state IT firm Crowdstrike, has attacked the methodology of the Hamilton 68 project. Without revealing the identities of the 600 accounts it claims to be tracking, Carr tweets, no one else can verify that Watts, Weisburd and Berger are in fact tracking 'Russian trolls', foreign nationals tweeting from outside the United States, or simply Americans or with the 'wrong' sort of anti-globalist and anti-Cold War II views. J.M. Berger has tweeted general rather than individual specific replies to these critiques, by promising more details about the Hamilton 68 project's methods.
However, it looks like Hamilton 68 is simply a more 'up market' and 'interactive' version of the infamous list pushed by The Washington Post and published by the anonymous group @PropOrNot last year. Which among other things, embarrassed Second Cold Warriors by claiming the Drudge Report among other mega conservative sites was wittingly or unwittingly spreading Russian propaganda. In ascribing every #MAGA hashtag to the Russians, Hamilton 68 may be jumping the same shark, even if it avoids naming names to dodge the threat of libel lawsuits from alt-media who won't take any crap from the deep state. For now, Hamilton 68 appears to be a dud -- but that won't stop the increasingly desperate deep state from continuing its malicious efforts to 'link' Americans in the new media with Russia or 'Russian propaganda'.