Deep State Bounty Hunters + Russia Bounty-Hunter Story Another Pulp Fiction Release, by Finian Cunningham


Image by tq2cute via Flickr

by Finian Cunningham
Writer, Dandelion Salad
East Africa
Crossposted from Sputnik, June 30, 2020
July 2, 2020

The media firestorm over alleged Russian intelligence collusion with Afghan militants to kill US troops has the hallmarks of a psy-ops orchestrated by America’s Deep State.

The real bounty hunters in this high-risk game are not Russian operatives allegedly directing militant assassins. Rather, it is domestic political enemies of Donald Trump directing US media outlets to hobble his presidency or chances of re-election.

Since his shock election back in 2016, the political establishment and their favored Democrat surrogates along with media affiliates have been unrelenting in trying to crash Trump’s presidency.

Trump may be an odious figure of dubious character. He’s a plutocrat and demagogue accused of harboring racist tendencies.

Nevertheless, there seems little doubt that the Deep State have him marked down for sabotage. That’s not Trump being paranoid. The whole non-entity Russia meddling “scandal” which began as soon as he was elected to the White House in November 2016 was the foremost expression of the “resistance”.

You don’t have to be a supporter or apologist for Trump to see that powerful elements of the US ruling class wanted the big-mouth billionaire ousted and the 2016 election result overturned. That’s the fundamental anti-democratic reality of the United States in action.

Under Trump, the US has descended into political and economic chaos.

The coronavirus pandemic and protests over police racial violence have magnified the deep divisions within American society.

Trump has also through his imitable, brash style alienated America’s allies around the world. The transatlantic alliance between the US and Europe has been trashed by Trump over spats about NATO military spending and commercial trade.

The US-led Western political order is splintering apart as is its domestic order. That must be extremely alarming for the US establishment to view the architecture vital for American power projection around the world becoming undone.

Not that Trump is a secret anti-American saboteur. That’s the fantasy stuff peddled by Democrats and pundits who allege that he is a stooge of Russian President Vladimir Putin. No, Trump is simply sabotaging American political authority – inadvertently – at home and abroad because of his clumsy, boorish ignorance.

This alarming downward spiral in US image (always overblown but smartly prettified by previous presidents) would explain the latest renewed push by the Deep State to liquidate the Trump presidency.

The claim that Russian military intelligence was running an assassination program against US troops in Afghanistan is designed to be explosive. Moreover, it is further claimed that Trump was indifferent to the alleged information.

But this “journalism” by prominent US media outlets is a gas-lighting psychological operation. Tellingly, there is no evidence provided to substantiate the supercharged claims. It all relies on unnamed anonymous sources.

Trump denies being briefed on the alleged kill program, as reported by media. Russia has panned the bounty-hunter claims, and the Afghan Taliban dismiss them too. Furthermore, the US Director of Intelligence John Ratcliffe and the National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien have confirmed Trump’s version that he wasn’t briefed.

The Pentagon has also come out and said it has seen no evidence to corroborate the “bombshell” claims published by the media and their anonymous “senior official” sources.

It seems significant, however, that the psy-ops has gained traction in a desired direction. The salacious claims of Russians colluding in the assassination of Americans and a “treacherous” President Trump have managed to divide Republican lawmakers who are now reportedly increasing their criticism of the White House.

It can also be expected that the highly emotive reported bounty-hunter scheme will undermine Trump’s support among the military ranks.

One of the flimsy pieces of “evidence” cited in US reports of alleged Russian collusion with Afghan militants was the discovery of large amounts of dollars in Taliban bases. How that find is supposed to implicate Russian operatives is a good guess. But if such loose logic can be applied, then why not speculate that the alleged dollars were sourced from US intelligence agencies who wanted fellow Americans killed in order to justify an ongoing Afghan war quagmire – a quagmire that is a two-decade boon for the Deep State and the military-industrial complex?

The way powerful American political and economic forces view it, the Trump presidency threatens US national security from its unleashing of chaos at home and abroad. That’s why for the political establishment, Trump has to go, or at least that he certainly not be re-elected. The latest media gas-lighting psy-ops appears to be aimed at Trump’s own political base to ensure that outcome.

In effect that outcome is something the US Deep State is good at – regime change.

Russia Bounty-Hunter Story Another Pulp Fiction Release

by Finian Cunningham
Writer, Dandelion Salad
East Africa
Crossposted from Strategic Culture Foundation, July 1, 2020
July 2, 2020

The main peddlers of the alleged Russian-sponsored bounty-hunter scheme in Afghanistan against US troops are the New York Times, Washington Post and CNN. All three have excelled in publishing a series of pulp fiction-style stories over the past four years to discredit President Trump and demonize Russia.

From allegations of Russian meddling in elections to Putin having blackmail on “agent Trump” thanks to hookers in a Moscow hotel. And much more besides.

That dubious record of propaganda-as-journalism serves as a foghorn alert about the latest yarn without even delving into the supposed details.

The story “broke” last Friday with the Times claiming that anonymous “US officials” informed the outlet that Russian military intelligence were paying militants in Afghanistan to assassinate American troops, and that President Trump had been briefed on the matter as far back as February or even last year but didn’t do anything about it.

In “follow-up” reports, the Washington Post and CNN, among others, are reporting that the alleged Russian bounty-hunter scheme did result in American casualties. Trump is being accused of treachery for allegedly ignoring warnings on security, and that – conveniently – piles the pressure on the White House and the Congress to get tough on Moscow.

Democrat presidential rival Joe Biden has fulminated that it is a “truly shocking” dereliction of duty by Trump whose presidency, says Biden, is “a gift” to Russian leader Vladimir Putin. The Democrat vows to confront Moscow if he is elected to the White House in November.

Some Republican lawmakers have also jumped on the bandwagon assailing Trump for treacherous neglect over allegedly not acting on the alleged intelligence. (Apologies to readers for the repetition of “alleged”, but it is necessary for clarity and factualness.)

As the story gathers some legs, it soon runs at breakneck speed. British media reports are quoting anonymous British security officials who “confirm” that the US intelligence claims about Russia bounty-hunting in Afghanistan. What’s more, the British “sources” are saying that the alleged Russian operation is being run by the same military intelligence team that allegedly organized the alleged poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in March 2018.

Pulp fiction stories are thus being referenced supposedly as confirming precedents for the latest episode in Afghanistan. That’s like building an edifice from straws.

Denials and declined comments can be revealing. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has called the bounty-hunter reports “lies”. The Russia foreign ministry said it was an “unsophisticated fabrication”.

A spokesman for the Taliban militants in Afghanistan derided the US claims, saying the militants did not need any foreign help to defeat the Americans.

President Trump in his usual fashion slammed the media reports as another “Russia hoax”. He says he was never briefed on the alleged intelligence and neither was Vice President Mike Pence or White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

John Ratcliffe, the US Director of National Intelligence, has poured cold water on the reports, saying that Trump was not briefed. So too has Trump’s National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien.

The CIA has declined to comment, while the Pentagon has stated it has seen no evidence to substantiate the reported claims.

It seems significant that the New York Times described its sources as “US officials who were briefed on the matter” and not as “US intelligence” sources. That way, the newspaper avoids any potentially embarrassing rebuttal from intelligence agencies. The choice of words “US officials” is suitably vague and uncompromising.

A second dodgy detail is the claim that the alleged “recovery of large amounts of American cash” in a raid by US special forces on some Taliban base provided the basis for the concept that Russian military intelligence was organizing the scheme for paying militants to assassinate American troops. It is also claimed that US intelligence gained information on the pay-for-kill plot from “interrogation of captured militants”.

That’s an incredible admission of how weak is the basis for the reporting and its “bombshell” claims.

Seriously, finding a suitcase of US dollars in a Taliban hideout is cited as implicating the involvement of Russian hit squads.

It is speculated that the Kremlin is waging a “shadow war” against the US in Afghanistan as “revenge” for Washington’s sponsoring of the mujahideen forerunners of the Taliban who dealt defeat to Soviet troops during the 1980s.

A propaganda wheeze always has tell-tale gas-lighting effects whereby thoughts and speculation appear to easily (too easily) flow from one to the other as desired by the orchestrator.

What Joe Biden and others should find “truly shocking” is the flimsy detail that supposedly holds up a “blockbuster” story.

It all has the hallmark of an electioneering ploy to undermine Trump’s support among rank-and-file members of the US armed forces. They are seen as a bedrock for Trump votes in the November elections. What better way to alienate the military ranks than accuse Trump of turning a blind eye to intelligence reports of Russian-assisted murder of troops in Afghanistan?

On top of that, to boot, there is also the desired bipartisan outrage among Democrats and Republican lawmakers demanding more sanctions to “punish” Russia and “hold Putin to account”. More irrelevant melodrama on the Hill of Beans.

It’s another pulp fiction release, but the signs are the sick and tired American public are not buying it. Which means even more dwindling credibility for US mainstream media propaganda outlets, and diminishing power of the Deep State to orchestrate election outcome. Neither Democrats nor Republicans can galvanize voters, which means US politics is increasingly seen to be in a profoundly futile mess.

Finian Cunningham, is a columnist at the Strategic Culture Foundation, Sputnik, and a Writer on Dandelion Salad. He can be reached at

US claim of ‘Russian Bounty’ plot in Afghanistan is dubious and dangerous

The Grayzone on Feb 16, 2020

Pushback with Aaron Maté

Multiple US outlets, citing anonymous intelligence officials, are claiming that Russia offered bounties to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan and that President Trump has taken no action. The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal breaks down the story’s flaws and how it continues a Russiagate-era push of the Democratic Party to the right.

“The constant flow of Russiagate disinformation into the bloodstream of the Democratic Party and its base is moving that party constantly to the right, while pushing the US deeper into this Cold War,” Blumenthal says.

Guest: Max Blumenthal, editor of The Grayzone and author of several books, including his latest The Management of Savagery.

NY Times is trying to keep Russigate alive – fmr CIA analyst

RT on Jul 1, 2020

After a New York Times article alleged that Russia was paying bounties to the Taliban to kill American soldiers, there’s now fallout over what the US intelligence community knew. Top lawmakers call for action while Trump calls the entire story another “hoax.” RT America’s Rachel Blevins has the story. Then former CIA analyst turned activist Ray McGovern shares his insights.

See also:

Russiagate’s Last Gasp by Ray McGovern

From the archives:

The Russian Menace and the Dangers of Believing the New York Times, by David Swanson

Abby Martin: Afghanistan War Exposed—Part 2: An Imperial Conspiracy

Abby Martin: Afghanistan, The Forever War—Part I: From The Killing Fields

Abby Martin: US Empire Exploits COVID-19 For More War

Chris Hedges: US Brokered Opaque Deal Kabul Government Had No Say In

Chris Hedges: The Afghanistan Papers

Will Griffin: Afghanistan Papers–Another Circus Show

The New Cold War and the Redoubling of U.S. Propaganda Power by Rainer Shea

CIA: World’s Biggest Terrorist Organization, featuring William Blum

The Secret Wars Of The CIA by John Stockwell (1987)