Monday, May 20, 2019

Who Controls the Information We Use?


On February 5, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell delivered his presentation making the case for war with Iraq at the United Nations. He was armed with satellite photos showing the movement of weapons of mass destruction! He had numerous intelligence reports supporting that narrative. His claims were supported by intelligence agencies both here in the US and by those in the allied countries.

And yet... The charge has been since been made that "Bush Lied, People Died!" After all, Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction were not found in Iraq, either during or after the War. So was Secretary Powell lying to the U.N. in 2003?  Those who wanted to believe Secretary Powell was truthful tried to argue that in the long buildup to the war that Hussein had somehow successfully hidden or smuggled those weapons out of the country.

But what if there's another explanation that never occurred to us at the time? Have we learned anything since then that would clear Secretary Powell of that charge?


On November 8, 2016, Donald J Trump was elected President of the United States. His election was certified by Congress on January 6, 2017. A few Democrats in the House of Representatives protested, but because they had no support from the Senate, the certification passed.

Between those two events a rumor started that somehow Trump had had outside help from Russia to win the election. A few months later, on May 17, 2017, Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed to investigate that claim. That happened amidst an avalanche of news stories in the New York Times and other papers, as well as on CNN and other networks, that supported the Trump-Russia collusion story... and every report was from anonymous inside sources.

Finally, on March 22, 2019, Attorney General Bill Barr received Mueller's report, marking the end of the Mueller's investigation into possible Russian collusion with the Trump Campaign. While Mueller had discovered some ancillary events resulting in indictments for a few Russian operatives for buying ads on social media to spread misinformation and some of Trump's people for crimes unrelated to the campaign (for example: tax issues years before the campaign, perjury for not telling the same story, word-for-word, each time they answered questions by investigators, and so forth), there was NO EVIDENCE FOUND to support the collusion charge. Also, there was no definitive proof of obstruction of justice, just a few instances of Trump, in the privacy of the White House, losing his temper and shouting things about the "witch hunt." But note: Trump never withheld any documents or claimed executive privilege during the investigation as did President Nixon.


What do these events have in common?

  • Both involved Republican presidents who were elected amidst controversy since they didn't win the popular vote nationwide, but did win in the electoral college. And let's just say that they were not popular with Democrats or with the media.
  • The materials that Colin Powell used at the U.N. were provided by the intelligence community. The avalanche of reports condemning Trump were coming from unnamed sources...

More Questions:

What if those unnamed sources were also in the intelligence community? What if there were people in those organizations who were leaking misinformation to reporters who chose to believe them without corroboration? What if those leakers resented President Trump because of things he had said about not needing daily briefings from their agencies? (

A Possible Conclusion:

Republicans are not just viewed as political opposition by member of the Democratic party, many of them also view Republicans as evil, as mortal enemies to all that's good. Therefore anything you can do to oppose a Republican is thereby ethical! The end justifies the means... even if that involves lying, creatively charging them with imaginary crimes, or anything else. And this POV may exist in the intelligence community!

So, creating satellite photos and providing a false narrative to Bush's Secretary of State was permissible in order to embarrass Bush... never mind the lives the war cost. "Leaking" false information to reporters wouldn't be a crime if it brought down the detestable Donald J Trump.

What This Means to Us:

In our lives we rely on certain sources to inform us so we can make wise choices. That includes things like Consumer Reports to warn us off buying bad products, and news networks to report the news accurately, using multiple sources to confirm their stories.

What if those sources are not accurate? What if they're deliberately lying? Who do we trust? And why do we trust them?