Potty mouth and palling with Putin: The bizarre reasons Democrats want to impeach Trump

From dealing with Russia to insulting representatives, the list of Trump’s impeachable offences is running long for Democrats, and they are threatening action if they retake the House in November.

“There’s a good likelihood there will be articles of impeachment.” Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) swore on CSPANTuesday.

“Every member of the House is accorded the opportunity to bring up impeachment…I am not sure that there will be members who are going to wait for someone else if that someone else, doesn’t matter who it is, is declining to do it. We can all do it.”

Article Two of the United States Constitution states in Section 4 that the President can be removed from office “on Impeachment for, and conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

If White House Special Counsel Robert Mueller found any evidence that Trump obstructed justice or accepted foreign payments, there is a possibility that impeachment proceedings could start. Likewise, Democrats say that Trump’s order this week to have the Justice Department investigate the FBI’s alleged surveillance of his campaign could constitute an abuse of office and lead to his removal.

Green, however, has called for Trump’s impeachment no less than nine times, and often for far less serious offenses. His fellow Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters (California) has demanded impeachment dozens of times, for some equally ludicrous ‘crimes.’

While Democrats like Senator Cory Booker (New Jersey) and Rep. John Yarmuth (Kentucky), as well as liberal hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer, have all demanded impeachment at some point, Green and Waters have been the most prolific.

For saying NFL players should stand

After former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem last September to protest racism and police brutality, he kicked off a protest movement that spread through the NFL.

Trump called the kneeling “unacceptable” and said that the players involved should be fired. This was enough for Green to call for impeachment. He told Congress that Trump had “undermined the integrity of his office with impunity and…brought disrepute on the presidency with immunity,” but acknowledged that he had not actually committed any crime.

For being friends with Putin

Last October, as several investigations were still looking for collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian actors, Rep. Waters told CNN that the House Intelligence Committee simply had not “connected the dots.”

Trump, she argued, should be impeached for “being such good friends with Putin.” When asked for proof of this, Waters replied: “I know. And that’s why we have a special counsel.”

Eight months later, the House Intelligence Committee concluded that no collusion took place, and Mueller’s investigation has yet to turn up any evidence of collusion or obstruction.

For being unfunny and disrespectful

In March, Waters again took to TV to claim that it was “absolutely clear” that Trump had colluded with Russia, and to call the president “stupid,” “ignorant,” “racist,” and a “moron.”Waters then demanded that Trump be impeached for name-calling.

Several days beforehand, Trump had called Waters “a low IQ individual” at a rally in Pennsylvania.

For promoting ‘xenophobia’

Last November, Green promised House Democrats an early Christmas present: a vote on impeachment. Citing no concrete examples of crime or misdemeanor, Green announced that “before Christmas, there will be a vote on the ‘Chief Inciter’ of racism, bigotry, hatred, xenophobia, sexism, ethnocentrism.”

As usual, Green’s anti-Trump tirade delivered no results.

For his potty mouth

In January, 66 House Democrats, led by Green, attempted to force a procedural vote to initiate the impeachment process after Trump allegedly referred to Haiti and some African countries as “s**tholes.” Green said that a comment like this was an attempt to “convert his bigoted statements into US policy,” and it demonstrated that Trump was “unfit to be president.”

The vote failed, with 355 votes against 66. Had it succeeded, the issue would have gone to the Senate, where a team of lawmakers would have tried the president. If two-thirds of the senators found the president guilty, he would have been removed from office.

Facing this fruitless struggle, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California), a vehement opponent of Trump, tamped down talk of impeachment last month. She argued that frivolous calls for Trump’s removal were divisive, and could hurt Democrats in the upcoming midterms.

“I don’t think we should be talking about impeachment. I’ve been very clear right from the start,” she said in a press briefing. “On the political side I think it’s a gift to the Republicans.”

“Impeachment to me is a divisive issue unless there’s something so conclusive as we saw … in Watergate,” she said. “This election is not about what’s going on in the White House and the rest of that. It’s about our addressing the needs of the American people, and we cannot take our eye off that ball.”

Pelosi’s concerns have been echoed in the polls, where impeachment is looking like a losing position. Forty-seven percent of registered voters would vote against a candidate pushing impeachment, compared to 42 percent who would vote for such a candidate, according to an NPR/PBS poll taken last month.

Only three presidents have ever been subjected to impeachment proceedings. Andrew Johnson was impeached but acquitted in 1868, as was Bill Clinton in 1998 and 1999. Both stayed in office afterward. Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 to avoid being impeached.

How the FBI set out, in secrecy, on trail of Trump team

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Operation Crossfire Hurricane was a mission so secretive that all but a handful of officials were kept in the dark about it.

By Matt Apuzo, Adam Goldman and Nicholas Fandos

Within hours of opening an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia in the summer of 2016, the FBI dispatched a pair of agents to London on a mission so secretive that all but a handful of officials were kept in the dark. 

Their assignment was to meet the Australian ambassador, who had evidence that one of Donald Trump’s advisers knew in advance about Russian election meddling. After tense deliberations between Washington and Canberra, top Australian officials broke with diplomatic protocol and allowed the ambassador, Alexander Downer, to sit for an FBI interview to describe his meeting with the campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos.

The agents summarized their highly unusual interview and sent word to Washington on Aug. 2, 2016, two days after the investigation was opened. Their report helped provide the foundation for a case that, a year ago Thursday, became the special counsel investigation. But at the time, a small group of FBI officials knew it by its code name: Crossfire Hurricane.

The name, a reference to the Rolling Stones lyric “I was born in a crossfire hurricane,” was an apt prediction of a political storm that continues to tear shingles off the bureau. Days after they closed their investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, agents began scrutinizing the campaign of her Republican rival. The two cases have become inextricably linked in one of the most consequential periods in the history of the FBI.

This month, the Justice Department inspector general is expected to release the findings of its lengthy review of the FBI’s conduct in the Clinton case. The results are certain to renew debate over decisions by the FBI director at the time, James Comey, to publicly chastise Clinton in a news conference, and then announce the reopening of the investigation days before Election Day. Clinton has said those actions buried her presidential hopes.

Those decisions stand in contrast to the FBI’s handling of Crossfire Hurricane. Not only did agents in that case fall back to their typical policy of silence, but interviews with a dozen current and former government officials and a review of documents show the FBI was even more circumspect in that case than has been previously known. Many of the officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.

Agents considered, then rejected, interviewing key Trump associates, which might have sped up the investigation but risked revealing the existence of the case. Top officials quickly became convinced they would not solve the case before Election Day, which made them only more hesitant to act. When agents did take bold investigative steps, like interviewing the ambassador, they were shrouded in secrecy.

The facts, had they surfaced, might have devastated the Trump campaign: Trump’s future national security adviser was under investigation, as was his campaign chairman. One adviser appeared to have Russian intelligence contacts. Another was suspected of being a Russian agent himself.

In the Clinton case, Comey has said he erred on the side of transparency. But in the face of questions from Congress about the Trump campaign, the FBI declined to tip its hand. And when The New York Times tried to assess the state of the investigation in October 2016, law enforcement officials cautioned against drawing any conclusions, resulting in a story that significantly played down the case.

Comey has said it is unfair to compare the Clinton case, which was winding down in the summer of 2016, with the Russia case, which was in its earliest stages. He said he did not make political considerations about who would benefit from each decision.

James Comey, the FBI director, at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 10, 2017

But underpinning both cases was one political calculation: that Clinton would win and Trump would lose. Agents feared being seen as withholding information or going too easy on her. And they worried that any overt actions against Trump’s campaign would only reinforce his claims the election was being rigged against him.

Trump says he is the victim of a politicized FBI. He says senior agents tried to rig the election by declining to prosecute Clinton, then drummed up the Russia investigation to undermine his presidency. He has declared that a deeply rooted cabal — including his own appointees — is working against him.

That argument is the heart of Trump’s grievances with the federal investigation. In the face of bipartisan support for the special counsel, Robert Mueller, Trump and his allies have made a priority of questioning how the investigation was conducted in late 2016 and trying to discredit it.

“It’s a witch hunt,” Trump said last month on Fox News. “And they know that, and I’ve been able to message it.” 

Congressional Republicans, led by Rep. Devin Nunes of California, have begun to dig into FBI files, looking for evidence that could undermine the investigation. Much remains unknown and classified. But those who saw the investigation up close, and many of those who have reviewed case files in the past year, say that far from gunning for Trump, the FBI could actually have done more in the final months of 2016 to scrutinize his campaign’s Russia ties.

Crossfire Hurricane spawned a case that has brought charges against former Trump campaign officials and more than a dozen Russians. But in the final months of 2016, agents faced great uncertainty — about the facts, and how to respond.

Crossfire Hurricane began exactly 100 days before the presidential election. The mood in early meetings was anxious, former officials recalled. Agents had just closed the Clinton investigation, and they braced for months of Republican-led hearings over why she was not charged. Crossfire Hurricane was built around the same core of agents and analysts who had investigated Clinton. None was eager to re-enter presidential politics, former officials said.

The question they confronted still persists: Was anyone in the Trump campaign tied to Russian efforts to undermine the election?

The FBI investigated four unidentified Trump campaign aides in those early months, congressional investigators revealed in February. The four men were Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Papadopoulos, current and former officials said. Each was scrutinized because of his obvious or suspected Russian ties.

Flynn, a top adviser, was paid $45,000 by the Russian government’s media arm for a 2015 speech and dined at the arm of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Manafort, the campaign chairman, had lobbied for pro-Russia interests in Ukraine and worked with an associate who has been identified as having connections to Russian intelligence.

Page, a foreign policy adviser, was well known to the FBI. He had previously been recruited by Russian spies and was suspected of meeting one in Moscow during the campaign.

Lastly, there was Papadopoulos, the young and inexperienced campaign aide whose wine-fueled conversation with the Australian ambassador set off the investigation.

Trump was not under investigation, but his actions perplexed the agents. Days after the stolen Democratic emails became public, he called on Russia to uncover more. Then news broke that Trump’s campaign had pushed to change the Republican platform’s stance on Ukraine in ways favorable to Russia.

The FBI bureaucracy did agents no favors. In July, a retired British spy named Christopher Steele approached a friend in the FBI overseas and provided reports linking Trump campaign officials to Russia. But the documents meandered around the FBI organizational chart, former officials said. Only in mid-September, congressional investigators say, did the records reach the Crossfire Hurricane team.

Steele was gathering information about Trump as a private investigator for Fusion GPS, a firm paid by Democrats. But he was also considered highly credible, having helped agents unravel complicated cases.

In October, agents flew to Europe to interview him. But Steele had become frustrated by the FBI’s slow response. He began sharing his findings in September and October with journalists at The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker and elsewhere, according to congressional testimony.

So as agents tried to corroborate Steele’s information, reporters began calling the bureau, asking about his findings. If the FBI was working against Trump, as he asserts, this was an opportunity to push embarrassing information into the news media shortly before the election.

That did not happen. Most news organizations did not publish Steele’s reports or reveal the FBI’s interest in them until after Election Day.

JULIAN ASSANGE IS YET ANOTHER REASON TO #FIRESESSIONS

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Why would Trump’s AG keep a lid on an Obama/Clinton-era scandal?

Marty Gottesfeld | – MAY 14, 2018

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been holding back for more than a year now on exposing a scandal of epic proportions that would largely vindicate the arguments which President Trump (R-USA) has consistently been making about the DOJ.

Further, it’s not at all clear why Sessions (?-??) has been forsaking Julian Assange, seemingly in order to protect Obama, Holder, Hillary Clinton and probably Loretta Lynch, amongst others. As many know, Assange founded the whistle blowing organization WikiLeaks and he was a consistent and persistent thorn in the sides of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton when they were respectively in office. Then, during the 2016 presidential election, WikiLeaks released tens of thousands of emails from the account of Hillary’s campaign manager John Podesta, earning Assange new found respect from conservatives and most likely additional ire from the Clintons and their fellow Democrats.

For decades the DOJ has prosecuted whistleblowers like Assange and WikiLeaks due to concerns they would run afoul of the First Amendment. Not to be stymied by that pesky Constitution though, the apparently even less scrupulous Obama Justice Department tried to go after Assange and WikiLeaks outside of the courtroom and perhaps outside of the law itself. And the Obama administration took some friendly fire from the media for its antics:

In addition to the above though, many believe (including me) that the Justice Department under then-Attorney General Eric Holder and the State Department, which had found itself mired in controversy following major releases from WikiLeaks detailing diplomatic shenanigans under Secretary Clinton, had Assange falsely accused of rape in Sweden so that he could be arrested in the EU, with the likely goal of his eventual extradition to Washington where he would face a show trial for bogus espionage charges brought by the Obama DOJ.

The logistics would have been complicated, but basically, few EU countries will extradite anyone to face life in prison with the possibility of an extrajudicial killing, and espionage is a capital offense in the United States. So, the UK, where Assange was at the time, would not have publicly handed him over to the Obama administration directly. However, Sweden could have under the terms of its extradition treaty with America. But first, the UK would have had to extradite him to Sweden while no such capital offense or corresponding extradition request by the United States was pending.

Tellingly, the U.S. DOJ has never formally charged Assange, and while anyone being charged with a crime in the U.S. has a Sixth Amendment right to confront their accuser, the alleged victims in the Swedish case against Assange have only ever been identified by initials and have never spoken publicly. Further, that case was eventually dropped after Assange was granted political asylum by the Ecuadorian government in its embassy. Then, last year, Sweden formally rescinded its arrest warrant. However, while Sweden theoretically operates under the same strictures from the EU Human Rights Court, it may have been easier under the terms of its extradition treaty with America for it to handover Assange while no such capital offense or corresponding extradition request by the United States was pending. But first, the UK would have to extradite him to Sweden. Assange now faces bail-jumping charges from the UK government of Prime Minister Theresa May, who herself has been a vocal critic of President Trump.

Long story short though, pulling the lid off of all of this now would be devastating for the Obama holdovers in the DOJ and the Clinton holdovers in the State Department as well as to Trump’s critics in the UK government. It would also validate what President Trump has been saying about the “rigged” justice system in America, which appears to have been trying to bring down his administration since before he even took office.

But vindicating President Trump, exposing the likely crimes of his predecessors and freeing Assange and other political prisoners certainly doesn’t appear to be on the agenda for AG Sessions. Maybe that’s part of the reason over 4,800 Americans have signed this WhiteHouse.gov petition here to fire him. Again, that petition is here, :).

And time is of the essence for Assange, whose internet and other communications inside the embassy were cut off 7 weeks ago by the Ecuadorian government after he publicly expressed skepticism about the British government’s theory that Moscow was behind the deaths of a former Russian spy and his daughter on English soil. Ecuador has said that Assange’s social media posts were causing the country to have diplomatic issues and that Assange had violated an agreement he made not to disseminate material which would complicate its international relations.

Over the weekend, several independent outlets reported on a Spanish-language interview given by the Ecuadorian foreign minister in which the South American country’s government apparently said that it looked forward to negotiating with the UK to bring an end to the standoff that has kept Assange trapped in its embassy. While the precise meaning of this statement wasn’t clear, many have been speculating that left-leaning Ecuador has grown weary of sheltering right-leaning Assange and that its new president is getting ready to evict him.

However, any move by Ecuador to force Assange out would contradict the word of its former president Rafael Correa, whose officials had said that he could stay “However long it takes. Eight years. Two centuries,” when the former leader first granted him asylum citing that he “didn’t have the basic guarantees for a fair trial. His life was in danger.” And, just a little while ago, rather than turn Assange in, the South American nation, which insists that it will not by bullied by other sovereign powers, tried to appoint Assange to its diplomatic corps in an attempt to extend him diplomatic immunity. But under normal international custom, the host country has the right to refuse such appointments, which the UK did in his case.

In another recent effort to help Assange, PETA board member, model, and former Playboy Playmate and Bay Watch star Pamela Anderson wrote an open letter, available here to musician Kanye West, asking him to speak on Assange’s behalf. Assange and Anderson have been rumored to be dating since 2014.

You can help Assange by donating to WikiLeaks here or by signing the aforementioned WhiteHouse.gov petition to replace Attorney General Sessions here.

At the time of publication, Anderson had not returned a request for comment about Assange’s situation, her letter or if she has any indication as to whether West has read her message. Similarly, neither the Ecuadorian government of President Lenin Moreno nor the UK government of Theresa May returned requests for comment on the status of any negotiations regarding Assange and their intentions toward him and his situation at this point. Finally, neither a White House DOJ spokesperson nor the current U.S. State Department returned requests for comment as to whether they would be willing to come forward with evidence of past malfeasance on the part of previous administrations regarding Assange’s situation.

The author, Marty Gottesfeld, is an Obama-era political prisoner. FreeMartyG is currently conducting a fundraiser to help keep Marty’s phone account funded and the articles flowing. You can donate at FreeMartyG.com.

Another leak, another ‘witch hunt!’: Trump brands Mueller questions stunt ‘disgraceful’

After a list of questions Special Counsel Robert Mueller apparently has for Donald Trump was leaked, the president hit back on Twitter, calling the act “disgraceful”. The bizarre publication has sparked interesting theories.

“So disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russian Witch Hunt were “leaked” to the media,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. “No questions on Collusion. Oh, I see…you have a made up, phony crime, Collusion, that never existed, and an investigation begun with illegally leaked classified information. Nice!”

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The list of questions, published by the New York Times on Monday evening, is extensive, and often bizarre.

The special counsel reportedly wants to ask Trump about Russian real estate developments, his opinion on meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin, his knowledge of “Russian hacking,” and his discussions on President Barack Obama’s Russia sanctions.

Mueller reportedly wants to ask: “What knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign?” None of the charges against Manafort actually relate to Russia or alleged collusion between Trump and Moscow.

The leak comes after the US House Intelligence Committee released a report Friday officially confirming there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 US presidential election.

Trump again blasted the investigation and its relentless search for collusion and obstruction of justice. “It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened!” read a second tweet from the president on Tuesday. “Witch Hunt!”

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Many of Mueller’s questions center around Trump’s interactions with former FBI Director James Comey, whom the president fired last year. More seek to pinpoint obstruction, and Mueller reportedly wanted to ask Trump about his plans to fire him.

Another question reads: “What consideration and discussions did you have regarding terminating the special counsel in June of 2017?”

In a curious twist, a CNN analyst who used to work for Mueller said on Tuesday that he believes the interview questions were leaked to the NYT by Trump’s own team. He told CNN that the questions’ wording and grammar indicate that they did not come from someone with a legal background.

“Because of the way these questions are written… lawyers wouldn’t write questions this way, in my estimation. Some of the grammar is not even proper,” said Michael Zeldin, the analyst. “So, I don’t see this as a list of written questions that Mueller’s office gave to the president. I think these are more notes that the White House has taken and then they have expanded upon the conversation to write out these as questions.”

Mueller has long angled for an interview with Trump. While the president has previously indicated he is amenable to an interview, nothing has thus far been arranged. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani recently joined Trump’s legal team, with a view to deciding whether or not to schedule such an interview.

John Down, one of Trump’s attorneys, quit his post in March. Dowd had been strongly opposed to the idea of an interview, and had attempted to talk the president out of a face-to-face meeting with Mueller, despite Mueller telling Down in March that Trump was not a target of his investigation.

Mueller’s investigation is ongoing, despite failing to turn up any evidence of collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia over a year after it began.

MSNBC Russiagater Joy Reid says ‘hackers’ made her blog look homophobic

MSNBC’s JOY REID interacts with the students surrounding the stage at Washington University, site of the second presidential debate between Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton. © Brian Cahn / Global Look Press

MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid claims her old blog has been hacked and updated to include anti-gay content to make her look bad.

The weekend host apologized last year for a number of homophobic blog posts she wrote from 2007 to 2009 about Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who was married to a woman at the time. Among other homophobic comments, Reid called Crist“Miss Charlie” and suggested he was “ogling male waiters” on his honeymoon.

But this week the story became more sinister. The Twitter user who initially discovered Reid’s homophobic postings has now unearthed some articles which also appear to have come from her old blog, and sound far worse.

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Jamie Maz found the old articles through the Wayback Machine — an online archive that stores old content even after it has been deleted — of Reid’s blog as it had been.

Mediaite has reported some of the highlights, including comments about how “most straight people cringe at the sight of two men kissing” and about how finding gay sex “gross” is just “intrinsic” to being straight.

The author of the posts also suggested that anti-gay attitudes were rooted in “concerns” that adult gay men “tend to be attracted to very young, post-pubescent types.”

There has been no apology from Reid this time, however. Instead, she claims her now-deleted blog was somehow hacked through the Wayback Machine, supposedly by people who want to ruin her stellar reputation.

Anumber of experts consulted by the Intercept website said that, although it is not impossible, they were unaware of any instances of the Wayback Machine being hacked and altered before — and that to do something like that would require quite a sophisticated effort.

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“That’s an awful lot of work for a hacker to do, and for what end? To make a homophobic person appear MORE homophobic?” cyber-security expert Jeffrey Carr said.

The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald has chastised the liberal media for failing to cover the story, given the important issues at hand – including LGBT equality, the security of online information and the dangers posed by hackers.

“One would think that [the liberal media] would be quite interested in this story and the critical questions it raises,” he wrote. Instead, he added, liberal outlets have “steadfastly ignored the story almost completely.”

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One of the few liberal journalists who has commented on the story defended Reid by suggesting that “Russians” hacked her old blog to make her look bad.

Come on, you knew it was going to be the Russians.

 

Twitter bots are bad…unless they’re pushing the ‘right’ narrative?

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In what should be a source of embarrassment to the British government and the journalists who parroted it, a number of prominent Twitter users have recently been accused of being automated Russian bots rather than real humans.

Two of these government-identified “bots” are the accounts @Ian56789 and @Partisangirl — and they are in fact definitely not bots, but real live people. In the case of @Partisangirl, whose real name is Maram Susli, any three-year old could have figured out that she is a real person simply by viewing the multiple videos and interviews she has posted online in recent years.

But Guardian journalist Heather Stewart didn’t do that. Instead she unquestioningly reported the ‘news’ that Susli is a bot.

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Challenged on Twitter, all Stewart could say in her defense was that it was the government’s analysis, not her own. Given that the government’s ‘analysis’ is very clearly completely wrong, one would think that Stewart might want to correct her story to reflect that fact, but she has not bothered to do so.

READ MORE: ‘I’ve seen the censorship’: Syrian blogger tells RT how she was labeled a ‘Russian bot’ (VIDEO)

The other user accused of being a bot by the British government, @Ian56789, whose real name is Ian Shilling, has given an interview to Sky News, which also makes abundantly clear that he is a human, not a Russian bot. Stewart has not updated her story to include that information either — and both Susli and Shilling are still identified only as “bots” in her story.

Attacks on @Partisangirl are not new. For years, she has fought off allegations from prominent Western analysts that she is not real, or that if she is, she has had plastic surgery. In 2014, Susli tried to prove she had not had cosmetic surgery by posting a photograph of herself as a child. Responding to the photo of the very young Susli, senior editor at the Daily Beast and CNN analyst Michael Weiss said it looked like her parents raised her as a “streetwalker”.

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In 2013, Phillip Smyth, who is a ‘Soref Fellow’ at the Washington Institute —   a D.C.-based think tank which focuses on foreign policy analysis — attacked Susli for her looks, twice accusing her of having plastic surgery. In one tweet, Smyth said the “plastic surgery guy” who “fixed her up” didn’t do a good jo b. Ironically, some time after Smyth posted an article about how men who abuse women online are “literally losers”.

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This wouldn’t be the first time Western news outlets and analysts have falsely accused Twitter users of being bots in the employ of the Russian government, either. Last year, the crowdfunded website Byline published “analysis” suggesting that the account @didgery77332nd, which used the nickname “Smoo” was a “foreign-based troll pushing Russian messaging.”

That Russian “troll” turned out to be a security guard from Glasgow. “Smoo has been my nickname since I was six years old. It’s not difficult to track me down. People might not agree with my opinions, but that doesn’t make me a Russian troll,” he told The Scotsman newspaper.

Another Twitter user in the firing line for her “pro-Russia” views is @sahouraxo which uses the name Sarah Abdallah. It is true that little is known about Abdallah outside of her very popular Twitter account, but that does not necessarily mean she is a bot. Although without more information to go on, it’s impossible to say she is who she says she is, either. The BBC has questioned Abdallah’s authenticity and highlighted her as one of the most influential Twitter accounts on the Syrian war.

Former Middle East editor of the Guardian Brian Whitaker has recently attempted to expose Abdallah and her possible “connections” to Hezbollah. But perhaps he is just trying to make up for past mistakes.

In 2011, Whitaker was quick to promote the ‘Gay Girl in Damascus’ blog.

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The blog was ostensibly run by a Syrian girl named Amina Arraf who documented her struggles as a gay person in Syria. At one point, ‘Amina’ was even kidnaped by Syrian security forces, worrying gay rights activists everywhere. Whitaker and many others were tricked into believing Amina was a real person. In reality, it turned out that she was an entirely fakepersona and ‘her’ blog was run by a 40 year-old straight man from Edinburgh named Tom MacMaster.

When McMaster was found out, the Guardian wrote that the hoax “exposes the power and the unreliability of the internet” — and yet seven years later, the mainstream media spends more of its time attacking real bloggers than it does trying to expose the real “unreliability” of the internet.

For instance, mainstream outlets are happy to parrot blogger Eliot Higgins who publishes ‘analysis’ on chemical weapons attacks in Syria from the comfort of his home in England. Higgins produces “evidence” of war crimes from his couch and is held up as a hero by Western pundits and activists.

Similarly, activists from the pro-regime change White Helmets ‘rescue organization’ are always just around the corner when they need to film the aftermath of a chemical attack and lobby for regime change in front of Western audiences. The group, which is the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary and proclaims itself to be “neutral” and impartial, has been exposed by investigative journalists for its links to Jabhat al-Nusra — Al Qaeda’s Syria affiliate.

Members of the White Helmets have been filmed assisting in public executions, helping militants discard the bodies of Syrian soldiers in dumpsters, posing while standing on top of piles of dead bodies and waving Jabhat al-Nusra’s flag while brandishing weapons.

But Susli, an Australia-based Syrian girl with a large Twitter following is the real threat?

RT visits hospital seen in Douma ‘chemical attack’ video, talks to boy from footage (VIDEO)

Hassan Diab, who was featured in the video of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, talks to an RT Arabic crew / RT

RT Arabic has traveled to the Douma hospital shown in footage of the aftermath of the alleged chemical weapons attack. The crew talked to a boy featured in the video, who recounted the events.

He says he was with his mother when they were urged to rush to the hospital. “We were outside, and they told all of us to go into the hospital. I was immediately taken upstairs, and they started pouring water on me,” the boy recalled.

“The doctors started filming us here [in the hospital], they were pouring water and taking videos,” he added. Hassan’s father later hurried to the hospital. “I was very surprised, and asked what had happened, why my son’s eyes were red. I found out that it was water, but it was cold, he could have got sick, he was undressed,” the man recalled.

Russian broadcaster VGTRK was the first to find the boy and his father and break the story. Now, Moscow is planning to show the video about Hassan at the next meeting of the UN Security Council, Russia’s UN envoy Vassily Nebenzia said on Thursday.

Despite the doubts, unconfirmed social media posts and claims by the White Helmets were enough for the American-British-French coalition to strike Syria on April 14 over the alleged attack. The US-led force was so sure of its ‘sources’ that it went on with the strikes even though the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had not even started working on the ground to establish the truth.

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