Letter to My Representatives on Gaslighting and Source Burning: Post-truth is Pre-fascism

Respected and sober voices in the diplomatic and natsec communities are sounding the alarm and even using the words treason and traitor. Such words are merited when a request to turn over private citizens, including ethical patriots like Bill Browder, is greeted as an “incredible offer”.

Crazy day today as Putin wants to swap 12 Russian GRU agents who hacked the US election for me in his meeting with Trump in Helsinki. Here’s my take for @TIME on why I’ve gotten Putin so rattled and what he’s really afraid ofhttps://t.co/FoJkJKtLhl

— Bill Browder (@Billbrowder) July 17, 2018

For the last ten years, I’ve been trying to avoid getting killed by Putin’s regime, and there already exists a trail of dead bodies connected to its desire to see me dead. Amazingly, Trump stood next to him, appearing to nod approvingly. He even later said that he considered it “an incredible offer.”

Source: I’m Bill Browder. Putin Made a Mistake When Talking About Me | Time

This moment is striking in both its ineptitude and its thoughtless treachery.

It should be noted that not only did Trump fail to recognize the request to interrogate Browder & Amb. McFaul as outrageous, it seems not to have occurred to him that a president has no power to order a private citizen to submit to interrogation by foreign agents.

So basically: Putin makes a completely disingenuous proposal to “trade” interrogations, knowing the U.S. won’t & probably can’t meet his conditions. Trump cluelessly takes the bait & fawns all over the “incredible offer” Putin has made.

Note this is a direct result of Trump’s bizarre insistence on meeting with Putin alone. Any minimally competent diplomat would have recognized the “offer” as bogus and prevented Trump from embarrassing himself. Or tried to, anyway.

Source: Julian Sanchez on Twitter

OMG. OMG. OMG. https://t.co/uPg301Clf5

— Gen Michael Hayden (@GenMhayden) July 18, 2018

Burns is a diplomat’s diplomat. He chooses his words very carefully. For him to be this blunt is extraordinary. https://t.co/BtsRhLjRak

— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) July 16, 2018

Ambassador Thomas Pickering is one of the most measured, most highly experienced, exceptionally respected statesmen of his generation. https://t.co/Ahb7q4DIl2

— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) July 16, 2018

DNI Coats last week on Russia: “The warning lights are blinking red again. Today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack.” https://t.co/2PXzM5RhhH

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 18, 2018

8. And, not to put too fine a point on it, this is yet another self-inflicted wound because the administration is patently incompetent, doesn’t do its homework, and thinks it’s OK to openly lie from the podium on topics where signalling matters.

— Pwn All The Things (@pwnallthethings) July 18, 2018

Dropping F-bombs is nearly compulsory here. https://t.co/r66NH4lOsq

— David Carroll 🦅 (@profcarroll) July 18, 2018

From the start, Trump has muddied a clear message: Putin interfered.” “In January 2017, Donald Trump was shown evidence that Vladimir Putin personally ordered pre-election hacking. He has since publicly questioned it.” Natsec folks are discussing how many sources POTUS possibly has burned. “Trump, who was briefed in Jan 2017, burned the source to Russia just like he burned Israeli intelligence.” “Did Trump tell Putin the name of CIA source close to Putin?” “I’d speculate the intel sources here reasonably concluded that Trump has already burned their sources and methods to Putin.” “This sensitive intelligence didn’t leak in this kind of detail through all the sturm and drang of the last year and a half. Trump’s fawning behavior in Helsinki shook this loose and into public view.

How many of the “trail of dead bodies” were burned by the Trump administration? The operational reality we live and work in is that we must assume POTUS has burned sources and methods. The EU is now treating the US as an adversary. So too are the many professionals tasked with protecting our systems.

BREAKING: A Senior German official just told CNN that Germany, for the first time since WWII ended, requires a strategy that treats the United States as an ‘ADVERSARY’.

July 16, 2018 – An incredibly SAD day in American History.

— Brian Krassenstein (@krassenstein) July 16, 2018

The sitting President and the party in the power are gaslighting us, telling us that what we witness every day isn’t true. Jeff Flake spoke to this today in a speech I’m glad he delivered. I have no faith he will vote in accordance with his words, but hearing a Republican MoC acknowledge the mentally abusive mass gaslighting of a nation going on right now was a needed affirmation of objective reality.

Jeff Flake: “We saw earlier this week in Helsinki what was truly an Orwellian moment. What we saw … is what happens when you wage war on objective reality for nearly two solid years, calling real things fake and fake things real.” (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/qr7aqSEIVi

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 19, 2018

Mr. President, in his dystopian novel ‘1984,’ George Orwell wrote, ‘A party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.’ Well, we saw earlier this week in Helsinki what was truly an Orwellian moment. What we saw earlier this week in Helsinki is what happens when you wage war on objective reality for nearly two solid years, calling real things fake and fake things real, as if conditioning others to embrace the same confusion. Ultimately you’re rendered unable to tell the difference between the two and are at critical times seemingly rendered incapable of thinking clearly. Your mind, a hash of conspiracy theory and fragments of old talking points, deployed in response to a question no one even asked. Ultimately you fail to summon reality in the face of a despot in defense of your country. It wasn’t a hard question, Mr. President.

Source: Jeff Flake: We Saw Earlier This Week in Helsinki What Was a Truly an Orwellian Moment :: Grabien – The Multimedia Marketplace

In Chapter 10, “Believe In Truth”, of “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century”, historian Timothy Snyder writes:

To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.

You submit to tyranny when you renounce the difference between what you want to hear and what is actually the case. This renunciation of reality can feel natural and pleasant, but the result is your demise as an individual—and thus the collapse of any political system that depends upon individualism. As observers of totalitarianism such as Victor Klemperer noticed, truth dies in four modes, all of which we have just witnessed.

Fascists despised the small truths of daily existence, loved slogans that resonated like a new religion, and preferred creative myths to history or journalism. They used new media, which at the time was radio, to create a drumbeat of propaganda that aroused feelings before people had time to ascertain facts. And now, as then, many people confused faith in a hugely flawed leader with the truth about the world we all share.

Post-truth is pre-fascism.

Source: Snyder, Timothy. On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (pp. 65-69, 71). Crown/Archetype. Kindle Edition.

You, Senator Cornyn, ”blocked the passage of a resolution from Flake and Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Del.) that would have given Senate support to the intelligence community’s finding that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election”. You blocked acknowledgement of an obvious and true thing. You have abandoned facts and freedom. “Accepting untruth of this radical kind requires a blatant abandonment of reason.” The endless repetition that Russia did not interfere in the election despite all evidence to the otherwise is “shamanistic incantation”. “The fascist style depends upon “endless repetition,” designed to make the fictional plausible and the criminal desirable.

Meanwhile, you, Representative Williams, and the rest of the Republican House voted down election security spending.

As House Republicans voted against election security funding while the threat of another Russian attack looms, House Democrats chanted “USA! USA! USA!” The GOP did not join in. Pretty damn clear which party is the party of patriotism at this point. pic.twitter.com/HjARm7DyWB

— Adam Best (@adamcbest) July 19, 2018

You too have abandoned facts and freedom

Election and information security professionals have been calling for an overhaul of our election security and voting machines for years. Our infrastructure is a shambles. Our machines are trivially compromised and untrustable. When we don’t spend on security, we get hacked.

House GOP won’t boost election security spending. (In New York, the city BOE spends nearly $1M on Mandiant. Didn’t get hacked. Schuyler county was massively hacked by Russia. Not just the poll books. Even the sheriff’s office. No budget to hire Mandiant.) https://t.co/oiDnLQcb3I

— David Carroll 🦅 (@profcarroll) July 19, 2018

In New York, the city BOE spends nearly $1M on Mandiant. Didn’t get hacked. Schuyler county was massively hacked by Russia. Not just the poll books. Even the sheriff’s office.

You, my reps, are denying Russia interfered in our elections and refusing to invest in badly needed election security. What would you call Democrats who did this given all else going on? Would you hesitate to call them traitors? I don’t think you would.

📈Top searches, in order: treason, abase, traitor, collusion, presser

— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) July 16, 2018

Letter to My Representatives on Gaslighting and Source Burning: Post-truth is Pre-fascism

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