An Army carry team places the remains of Army Sgt. Joshua Rodgers, 22, of Bloomington, Ill., who was killed during a raid on an alleged ISIS compound in eastern Afghanistan. The Trump administration plans on sending thousands of additional troop to what is now America’s longest running war. (AP/Cliff Owen)
MINNEAPOLIS– U.S. media has been abuzz with the latest controversy to strike the Trump administration, centering around accusations that the president attempted to impede the disgraced former Director of the FBI James Comey from fully investigating the administration’s alleged ties to the Russian government.
The media-driven anti-Russia mania, a dominant feature of the U.S. media landscape since last year’s election, has now reached new heights – conveniently heating up at the same time that the Trump administration is bombing the Syrian Army and is set to send tens of thousands of U.S. ground troops to Afghanistan.
The crux of this latest Cold War-esque hysteria has been a New York Times article published last Tuesday, describing a memo allegedly written by James Comey that details a conversation with the president in which Trump asked Comey to stop investigating former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn over his ties to the Russian government, ties that the corporate media and many Democrats assert the president himself shares.
But like so many of the Trump-Russia collusion stories that have appeared in the mainstream press, the Times article, despite using the memo as its main source, fails to mention that the article’s author never even saw the memo – instead relying on an “anonymous source” who merely read sections of the memo to the author.
Unfortunately for the New York Times, the mysterious memo is likely nonexistent, given that Comey’s under-oath testimony in front of Congress earlier this month debunks the story’s main assertion: that Trump attempted to obstruct an FBI investigation involving former members of his administration.
On May 3, James Comey stated: “I’m talking about a situation where we [the FBI] were told to stop something for political reasons, it would be a really big deal. It hasn’t happened in my experience.” Given that the memo cited by the Times was allegedly written in February, Comey either lied under oath to Congress – thus committing perjury – or the document itself is falsified – making the Times article the very “fake news” it claims to be a bastion against.
However, the fact that the Times article was contradicted by Comey’s own testimony earlier this month has failed to stop other corporate media outlets from joining the anti-Russia frenzy. Time chose to run a controversial cover for its late May issue, depicting the White House being overtaken by the most internationally famous building in Russia, St. Basil’s Cathedral. Corporate media outlets were quick to jump on the implications of the cover, including CNN, which mislabeled the cathedral’s iconic onion domes as minarets.
— Jake Rudnitsky (@Rudnit) May 18, 2017
Awkward. CNN quickly realised it had gotten a little confused about what a 'minaret' is… pic.twitter.com/9yE0tep0qh
— Nick Megaw (@NicholasMegaw) May 18, 2017
An illustration of cultural context in which Donald Trump became the president of the United States https://t.co/rc0iN6qSnr
— Leonid Ragozin (@leonidragozin) May 18, 2017
While it may seem unusual for the U.S. media to continue to focus on stories based on flimsy evidence or the possibility that evidence will eventually emerge to finally prove the Trump-Russia collusion theory, the timing of this latest wave is actually quite opportune for the U.S. establishment, as it distracts from recent military actions that could generate public outrage.
One day after the New York Times article on the Comey memo was published, Bloomberg reported on a new Afghanistan war strategy approved last month by Trump’s top military and national security advisors, one that would require at least 50,000 U.S. ground troops to “save the government in Kabul.”
While the plan must ostensibly await formal approval from the president, Trump’s relegation of executive authority in war matters in recent months suggests that it will be Trump’s national security advisor H.R. McMaster and Secretary of Defense James Mattis who will make the call. Both have already voiced support for the plan.
And just days after the Comey memo story, the U.S.-led coalition once again bombed pro-government fighters in Syria, killing at least six Syrian Army soldiers. Unlike last month, no alleged act by the Syrian government was cited as provocation for the attack, other than the fact that pro-government forces were “too close” to a base where U.S. officers train “moderate rebels.” Russia’s Foreign Ministry condemned the move as “unacceptable” and “a violation of Syrian sovereignty.”
These stories have been conveniently buried in the U.S. media, while stories critical of Trump and his administration’s alleged connections to Russia continue to dominate the news cycle. But the expansion of the U.S.’ military presence in Afghanistan and Syria present a much greater threat to the U.S. than the opinions of anonymous sources meant to further foment anti-Russia hysteria.
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