The World’s Happiest Countries–2017


The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness. The World Happiness Report 2017, which ranks 155 countries by their happiness levels, will be released today at the United Nations at an event celebrating International Day of Happiness. The report, the fifth one to come out since 2012, continues to gain global recognition as governments, organizations and civil society increasingly use happiness indicators to inform their policy-making decisions. In addition to the rankings, this year’s report includes an analysis of happiness in the workplace and a deeper look at China and Africa.

WHR 2017 CoverThe first World Happiness Report was published in April, 2012, in support of the UN High Level Meeting on happiness and well-being. Since then the world has come a long way. Increasingly, happiness is considered to be the proper measure of social progress and the goal of public policy. Now on the International Day of Happiness, March 20th, we launch the World Happiness Report 2017, once again back at the United Nations, again published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and now supported by a generous three-year grant from the Ernesto Illy Foundation.


“Chances are, if you live in the U.S., you feel worse today than you did 10 years ago. Don’t worry, it’s not you. This is a national problem: America’s rank on the happiness scale is falling.

When it comes to happiness, the U.S. ranked 19th among the 34 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development in 2016, down from third among 24 countries on a similar measure in 2007, according to the World Happiness Report, produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and funded by the Ernesto Illy Foundation.”

The Nordics dominate the top 10. What will move the needle for the U.S.?

“Norwegians have one more reason to smile, not that they need it.

After placing fourth last year, Norway is now the world’s happiest country, according to the 2017 World Happiness Report, released on Monday. The Central African Republic was the least happy of 155 countries.

The authors of the report found that a half-dozen socioeconomic factors explain much of the difference in happiness among countries, but that social factors play an underappreciated role. As evidence, they cite periods of substantial economic growth that were nonetheless matched by declining happiness in China and the United States, which ranked 14th.”

Nordic countries top the rankings in the latest World Happiness Report, which explores who’s happiest and why.

“(CNN)Norwegians have more reason than ever to celebrate the International Day of Happiness.

After ranking fourth for the last two years, Norway jumped three spots and displaced three-time winner Denmark to take the title of “world’s happiest country” for the first time.
Denmark dropped to second place this year, followed by Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand and Australia and Sweden (which tied for ninth place), according to the latest World Happiness Report, released Monday by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations.”

People in the world’s happiest countries live longer, freer, more generous lives, according to the 2017 World Happiness Report, released on World Happiness Day.

Resistance in the Age of Trump: Chris Hedges and Kevin Zeese

From–On Contact

–Published time: 5 Mar, 2017 06:46

Also published at Dandelion Salad

Excellent interview by Chris Hedges of Kevin Zeese co-founder of Popular Resistance.  This  is a must-see video which you can see by clicking on link immediately below the picture.

“On this weriek’s episode of On Contact, Chris Hedges discusses successful strategies for resistance in the age of Trump with activist and attorney, Kevin Zeese. RT Correspondent Anya Parampil looks at how Republican lawmakers are attempting to quell demonstrations across the U.S.”



Thomas Paine, Common Sense (Audio book) Plus Chris Hedges on Why Thomas Paine is Important

Published on Nov 3, 2015
Common Sense is perhaps the work single most responsible for the American Revolution. It brought the idea of freedom and liberty down from the intellectuals to the common American colonist. Written by Thomas Paine and published January 10th, 1776, it was the first publication to openly ask for independence from Britain.

When it was released, it was an instant best seller. Most every literate colonist was very familiar with it. In fact, it sold an amazing 600,000 copies to a population of only three million. Of the three million colonists at the time, twenty percent were slaves and fifty percent were indentured servants. For the colonies as a whole, it provided a rallying cry uniting the colonists in the common cause of liberty.

There probably is no other document that served such a vital role in creating American independence than Common Sense. Common Sense was used by Thomas Jefferson when he wrote the Declaration of Independence and helped George Washington decide for succession. Many of the founding documents rely on it and without it, history would have no doubt played out vastly differently.

If you are at all interested in American history or the cause of freedom, take the time to listen to Common Sense.

This Audio shared with permission from

flickr photo by democracychronicles… shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license







Why Thomas Paine’s Common Sense Is Important: Chris Hedges & Cornel West (2014)

Published on Nov 23, 2015

Thomas Paine (February 9, 1737 [O.S. January 29, 1736] – June 8, 1809) was an English and American political activist, philosopher, political theorist and .

Thomas Paine (February 9, 1737 [O.S. January 29, 1736] – June 8, 1809) was an English and American political activist, philosopher, political theorist and .

Thomas Paine began writing Common Sense in late 1775 under the working title of Plain Truth. With Benjamin Rush, who helped him edit it, publish it, and .

Laura Flanders, Moderator Professors Chris Hedges, Cornel West and Richard Wolff begin a ten part series at the Left Form that will focus on the great modern .

US late-night comics fall into (anti-Russian) line – World Socialist Web Site

“The various well-heeled comedians have responded instinctively—and eagerly—to the McCarthyite, anti-Russian initiative launched by the Democratic Party, the New York Times and other media outlets, along with important portions of the US military and intelligence apparatus.”

“The comics are working off a script provided for them by the Democrats and the media and political establishment as a whole. Stupid, irresponsible and conformist, they take the line of least resistance. In fact, in pursuing the campaign against Russia, they are able to feel at one with powerful political and social forces. It is a warm, comforting sensation.

Their wealth is a significant element in their political and social conformism. These are not individuals who want to rock the boat. O’Brien’s net worth is an estimated $75 million, Colbert’s is $45 million, Kimmel’s is $35 million, Fallon’s is $25 million, Olbermann’s is also $25 million, Maher’s is calculated to be between $23 and $30 million and Meyers’ is $10 million.

For eight years, these people shut their mouths about the crimes of the Obama administration against the populations of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan and elsewhere. They kept quiet about the growing misery of the American working class. They proved themselves the worst sort of sycophants and toadies.

Now they’ve “come to life,” opposing Trump on the most unprincipled and reactionary basis. They deserve only contempt.”

Predictably, America’s late-night comics and television talk show hosts have joined the right-wing campaign to depict Trump as an ally or even pawn of…

US late-night comics fall into (anti-Russian) line

By David Walsh
18 February 2017

Predictably, America’s late-night comics and television talk show hosts have joined the right-wing campaign to depict Donald Trump as an ally or even pawn of Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

The various well-heeled comedians have responded instinctively—and eagerly—to the McCarthyite, anti-Russian initiative launched by the Democratic Party, the New York Times and other media outlets, along with important portions of the US military and intelligence apparatus. These elements of the ruling elite have been terrified by the mass popular opposition to Trump’s right-wing policies and are making every effort to divert the outrage into reactionary channels.

Everything about the talk show hosts, their histories, outlooks and social positions, ensured they would take up this campaign. As we have noted before, the comic monologues on the late-night talk shows are an integral part of a painstaking process—the daily cycle by which “public opinion” and an official “national consensus” are formed in the US.

On his program Wednesday night, Stephen Colbert, the host of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS, staked out an especially persistent and repugnant position.

Colbert first took part in a “remake” of a scene from the 1995 film, The Usual Suspects. He played the part of an individual under police questioning. In response to his interrogator’s comment (Chazz Palminteri as a detective in the original film), “You’re not telling us everything, I know you know something,” Colbert replied, “Yes, I do know something, and I’m telling you everything. You’re just not listening! I’ve been telling you for like a year! There’s something weird going on between Trump and the Russians!” The sketch went on from there.

Colbert devoted much of his opening monologue Wednesday night to the “Russian question.” These are samples:

“We just learned from multiple intelligence sources that Trump aides were in ‘constant touch’ with senior Russian officials during the campaign. ‘Constant touch,’ by the way, is also Trump’s Secret Service code.”

“We do know that Trump’s campaign was talking to the Russians a lot, and ‘the frequency of the communication and the proximity to Trump of those involved ‘raised a red flag’ with US intelligence.’ Yes, intelligence were worried that once he got in the White House, he might raise a red flag.”

“But he [Trump] did not take the opportunity of the press conference to address any of the rumors that he’s being run by the Kremlin, and the two handpicked reporters he called on were polite enough not to ask whether our country is over.”

Brilliant, witty material.

Colbert also described Russia as “America’s greatest foe since World War II” and referred to contact between former National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn and the Russian ambassador as an “act of treason.” In response to the claims of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort that he had “never knowingly spoken” to Russian intelligence officers on the telephone, who, after all, did not wear badges that said, ‘I’m a Russian intelligence officer,’ Colbert joked, “Well, how do you know? You were on the phone! You can’t hear a badge… the guy on the other end could have a hammer-and-sickle face tattoo for all you know.”

This is filthy stuff, which makes an effort, among other things, to revive the anticommunist propaganda of the Cold War era.

Colbert is hardly alone. Also on Wednesday night, Jimmy Fallon, the host of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on NBC, chimed in with this: “The big story is that last night, the New York Times published a bombshell report that President Trump’s campaign was in contact with Russian intelligence since 2015. When asked if it was true, Trump said, ‘Nyet! I mean, no!’”

Seth Meyers too, host of NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers, focused Wednesday on Trump and his “ties” and “regular contact” with Russia during his “Closer Look” segment. Meyers displayed the old Soviet flag as well, with its hammer and sickle, and suggested that “this one is about to make a comeback.”

On his January 23 program, Meyers, formerly a head writer for NBC’s Saturday Night Live (2001–2014), quipped, “During his inaugural address, President Trump said that the ideology for his administration will be ‘America First.’ Which also happens to be Putin’s ideology: ‘America first, then we go into Ukraine, then Eastern Europe…’”

On the February 11 edition of the long-running Saturday Night Live program, a mock Trump played by Alec Baldwin appeared in “People’s Court” over his travel ban and called in a faux Vladimir Putin as a “character witness.” Baldwin-Trump described Putin as “Someone who’s known me for years, he’s family, he’s an incredible person with impeccable credentials.” As Putin (Beck Bennett) swaggered into the courtroom, the narrator commented, “This is Russian President Vladimir Putin. He’s an authoritarian leader who has invaded other countries and killed rivals. He’s President Trump’s long-time crush.”

Referring to Trump, the shirtless Bennett-Putin explained to the court, “This man is a great friend. He’s my little American Happy Meal. He’d do anything for you. Go against his own country just to make you happy.” The skit was genuinely foul.

Bill Maher, of the HBO political talk show Real Time with Bill Maher, has been almost pathological about Trump’s alleged Russian connections. On the night of the inauguration, in his opening monologue, Maher said, “We have a new leader… [long pause] Vladimir Putin.” Later, he referred to Trump as “a president from Moscow.”

One of his guests on the same program, Keith Olbermann, former host of a political commentary program on MSNBC, described Trump as “a Russian puppet” and the inauguration as a coup d’état. Olbermann declared, “We were invaded, is what it boils down to… We’re now only debating at this point… how much the Russians decided our election.”

Not to be outdone, Conan O’Brien, host of Conan on the cable channel TBS, commented January 11, “In a tweet today, Donald Trump compared the way he’s been treated to Nazi Germany. Which is unfair, because everyone knows Hitler won his election without the help of the Russians.”

In the “Confusing Question of the Day” segment on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on ABC recently, one of Kimmel’s sidekicks asked people on the street, along with other things, how concerned should Americans be about Russian interference in US elections.

Of course, the various hosts and programs have also mocked other moves by the new president, including his travel ban, the presence in the White House of extreme right-wingers like Steve Bannon and the activities of such Trump aides as Kellyanne Conway and Stephen Miller. The theme they always return to, however, and whose presentation seems most deeply felt, is the anti-Russian one.

The comics are working off a script provided for them by the Democrats and the media and political establishment as a whole. Stupid, irresponsible and conformist, they take the line of least resistance. In fact, in pursuing the campaign against Russia, they are able to feel at one with powerful political and social forces. It is a warm, comforting sensation.

Their wealth is a significant element in their political and social conformism. These are not individuals who want to rock the boat. O’Brien’s net worth is an estimated $75 million, Colbert’s is $45 million, Kimmel’s is $35 million, Fallon’s is $25 million, Olbermann’s is also $25 million, Maher’s is calculated to be between $23 and $30 million and Meyers’ is $10 million.

For eight years, these people shut their mouths about the crimes of the Obama administration against the populations of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan and elsewhere. They kept quiet about the growing misery of the American working class. They proved themselves the worst sort of sycophants and toadies.

Now they’ve “come to life,” opposing Trump on the most unprincipled and reactionary basis. They deserve only contempt.

Demonizing Russia: Fake News And The Conflict Of Interest Involving Amazon, The Washington Post, And The CIA

Reproduced from Medium Com  


As the controversy over fake news rages on, a notable conflict of interest exists concerning one of the media outlets that has driven much of the conversation.

While much of the blame for so-called “fake news” has been placed on smaller, more independent publications, it may turn out that the lion’s share of responsibility actually belongs to the more established media outlets.

As a leading American publication, the Washington Post has earned an air of legitimacy that many newer, less well-known publications do not yet possess. This may not last however, as the conflict of interest that was created when the ownership of the Washington Post changed hands recently may have already begin to call into question the credibility of one of America’s most distinguished publications.

In 2013, the Washington Post was purchased by Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon. That same year, Amazon also obtained a CIA contract worth $600 million. At the time, the Nation pointed out the conflict of interest that these dealings posed.

[Jeff Bezos] recently secured a $600 million contract from the CIA. That’s at least twice what Bezos paid for the Post this year. Bezos recently disclosedthat the company’s Web-services business is building a ‘private cloud’ for the CIA to use for its data needs.

Additionally, The Institute for Public Accuracy released a statement by Robert McChesney condemning the move.

When the main shareholder in one of the very largest corporations in the world benefits from a massive contract with the CIA on the one hand, and that same billionaire owns the Washington Post on the other hand, there are serious problems. The Post is unquestionably the political paper of record in the United States, and how it covers governance sets the agenda for the balance of the news media. Citizens need to know about this conflict of interest in the columns of the Post itself.

If some official enemy of the United States had a comparable situation — say the owner of the dominant newspaper in Caracas was getting $600 million in secretive contracts from the Maduro government — the Post itself would lead the howling chorus impaling that newspaper and that government for making a mockery of a free press. It is time for the Post to take a dose of its own medicine.”

However, despite condemnation, the Washington Post continued to operate without addressing the conflict presented by Bezos’ financial interests at Amazon being intertwined with the interests of the CIA. Shortly after the CIA contract was finalized, Amazon issued a statement, saying simply, “We look forward to a successful relationship with the CIA.”

Bezos’ conflict of interest is again worth mentioning after the Washington Post used highly questionable sources to promote identifying and blacklisting “fake news” sites in late November. Using a sensationalized headline claiming Russian involvement, this story relied on unnamed analysts from an shadowy group known as PropOrNot to cast suspicion on Russia.

While Rolling Stone condemned the article, calling it “shameful and disgusting” and saying that the PropOrNot group sounded more like an angry teenager than a sophisticated organization, the Post’s credibility became the catalyst for an flurry of anti-Russian sentiments and fake news anxiety.

“Any sane reporter would have booted them out the door. You want to blacklist hundreds of people, but you won’t put your name to your claims? Take a hike. Yet the Post thought otherwise, and its report was uncritically picked up by other outlets like USA Today and the Daily Beast. The ‘Russians did it’ story was greedily devoured by a growing segment of blue-state America that is beginning to fall victim to the same conspiracist tendencies that became epidemic on the political right in the last few years.”

In an article for The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald also criticized the Washington Post, zeroing in on the hypocrisy of both the publication and the PropOrNot researchers.

“The article is rife with obviously reckless and unproven allegations, and fundamentally shaped by shoddy, slothful journalistic tactics.”

Ironically, as Greenwald pointed out, the Washington Post’s fake news expose was riddled with questionable information and unsubstantiated claims.

“In casting the group behind this website as ‘experts,’ the Post described PropOrNot simply as ‘a nonpartisan collection of researchers with foreign policy, military and technology backgrounds.’ Not one individual at the organization is named. The executive director is quoted, but only on the condition of anonymity, which the Post said it was providing the group ‘to avoid being targeted by Russia’s legions of skilled hackers.’

In other words, the individuals behind this newly created group are publicly branding journalists and news outlets as tools of Russian propaganda — even calling on the FBI to investigate them for espionage — while cowardly hiding their own identities.”

Several weeks later, in early December, the Washington Post again created controversy by alleging Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election. Although the source of the email leaks that plagued the Democratic party this year remains unclear, the Washington Post nonetheless published a bombshell report accusing Russia of meddling in the U.S. presidential election. The article cited an anonymous CIA source with knowledge of a secret assessment that allegedly confirmed Russia had actively worked to help Trump win the White House. While no substantiating evidence of this accusation was given, the unknown source was adamant that the Russians were to blame.

“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected. That’s the consensus view.”

However, in an interview with The Guardian, Craig Murray, a U.K. Ambassador and close associate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, quickly refuted that claim.

“I know who leaked them. I’ve met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it’s an insider. It’s a leak, not a hack; the two are different things.”

In response to the report, the White House ordered a full investigation into the matter. A spokesperson for President-elect Donald Trump simply dismissed the charges, taking a swipe at the CIA’s credibility in the process.

“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.”

As Norman Solomon wrote for CommonDreams several months after the Washington Post changed hands, the job of the media is to expose potential corruption, not cover it up.

“News media should illuminate conflicts of interest, not embody them. But the owner of the Washington Post is now doing big business with the Central Intelligence Agency, while readers of the newspaper’s CIA coverage are left in the dark.”

Now that the Washington Post has published multiple stories based on unnamed sources that seem intent on painting Russia as a villain, it’s worth questioning where the propaganda is actually coming from. When the owner of the Washington Post also owns the majority of Amazon, at a minimum, it should be disclosed to the public that Amazon earns massive profits directly from the CIA, and Bezos has a financial incentive to keep his clients happy.

For the Washington Post to promote the conversation about fake news without being honest about their own conflicts of interest perfectly exemplifies the manufactured fake news crisis. If a well-known, highly-respected media outlet doesn’t hold itself to this very basic standard of journalism, we shouldn’t act surprised when people begin turning to alternate sources to find the truth.

Socialism “101” and Socialism for Dummies–Poccast and Videos


It’s an American symbol. The rose, on the other hand, is the most widely used symbol by democratic socialist, social democratic, and labor parties.Aug 29, 2013

New Appeal to Reason: The Rose: Symbol of Socialism


It is frequently mentioned in presentations on the subject of Socialism that groups of Americans are beginning to realize that Capitalism is failing, perhaps catastrophically.  Along with that obsservation, many in the alternative media are regularly giving evidence that the Americxan Empire is in decline and giving way to a multipolar powers which include both Russia and China.  Even the all powerful Military Industrial Complex (MIC) is being met with new challenges by these powers.

Although some believe from polling data the favor of Socialism over Capitalism appears to be gaining strength, one must question whether people really have an indepth understanding of what that actually means.  This is because media forces with the help of policial forces have continually demonized Socialism as being equivalent to Communism since the period of the Cold War and as far back as the 1920’s.  Years of indoctrination and false information have served as an impediment for Americans to learn much about Socialism and, thankfully this is changing.

This report and subsequent ones will serve to better inform the public because the need for a new system and a new way of thinking is being clearly demonstrated from Capitalism failure to address the masses economic and basic needs.  The income/wealth distribution has reached disastrous levels with extremely harmful results and resuling in increasing levels of American distress, with increased levels of societal unrest.

I present here two important and somewhat recent presentations.  The first is a podcast by Carson’s Corner.  The first thirty minutes of the podcast is a presentation entitled “Socialism 101” and given by Christopher Driscoll.  A converstation continues by Bob Carson and Thomas Baldwin contributing.

The main presentations here are YouTube presentations by Professor Richard Wolff which are entitled “Socialism for Dummies” and are part of his monthly program.  Readers and viewers are strongly urged to subscribe to Professor Wolff’s work which can be reached at and


Carson’s Corner: Socialism 101



Join us Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, at 11 pm Eastern Standard Time, for Carson’s Corner with the Election Boycott Advocates. On Carson’s Corner, we discuss the news and events of the last week, with a socialist, revolutionary, and non-electoral perspective.This week’s episode is devoted to a special topic: socialism, what is it and what is it not?

With most of the country favoring ideas and programs first introduced by socialists; with more than half of all millennials and 36 percent of all adults favoring socialism over capitalism, there are more people interested in socialism now than possibly at any other time in U.S. history, certainly more than in the memories of most alive today.

This turn toward socialist ideas and away from blind faith in capitalism presents a excellent opportunity for the revolutionary socialist left to promote our ideas, to recruit to the revolutionary socialist movement and to organize.

It also presents great risks and potential pitfalls. Over the last 8 years, as the economic downturn known as “The Great Recession,” has pushed large numbers of working class, and even middle class people to seek an alternative to the calamity of capitalism, there have been many faux socialists, pied pipers and charlatans attempting to win these tens of millions of new socialists over to some tired, old, failed strategies. Chief among those failed ideas are reformism, electoralism, parliamentarianism, reliance on the American plutocratic form of government and the twin parties of capitalism, the Democrats and Republicans.

We will discuss why those strategies failed and why only revolutionary socialism offers a solution.  Join us, and call in with your questions and comments at: (347) 326-9749


Published on May 17, 2015

Professor Richard D. Wolff explains in 50 minutes what socialism is NOT.
Where does the American fear of Socialism, Communism and Marxism come from?


Published on Jun 14, 2015

Professor Richard D. Wolff continues his lecture on socialism….
The Past, Present and possible future of America!


Published on Apr 25, 2016

Richard D. Wolff, Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Friday, April 22, 2016
4:45–6:30 pm

Levy Economics Institute Conference Room

Richard D. Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University in New York. Wolff has also taught economics at Yale University, City University of New York, and the University of Paris I (Sorbonne). Wolff has published many books and articles, both scholarly and popular. Most recently, in 2012, he published Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism (Haymarket Books) and Contending Economic Theories: Neoclassical, Keynesian, and Marxian, with Stephen Resnick (Cambridge, MA, and London: MIT University Press). He writes regularly for and has been interviewed on The Charlie Rose Show, Up With Chris Hayes, Bill Maher’s Real Time, RT-TV, Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now!, Al Jazeera English, Thom Hartman, National Public Radio, Alternative Radio, and many other radio and TV programs in the United States and abroad. The New York Times Magazine has named him “America’s most prominent Marxist economist.” Sponsored by: Economics Club; Economics Program; Hannah Arendt Center; Levy Economics Institute.

For more information, call 845-758-7714, or e-mail



A Spy Coup in America? by Robert Parry, Consortium News

Reproduced from Consortiumnews
Independent Investigative Journalism Since 1995

A Spy Coup in America?

December 18, 2016 

Exclusive: As the Electoral College assembles, U.S. intelligence agencies are stepping up a campaign to delegitimize Donald Trump as a Russian stooge, raising concerns about a spy coup in America, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

As Official Washington’s latest “group think” solidifies into certainty – that Russia used hacked Democratic emails to help elect Donald Trump – something entirely different may be afoot: a months-long effort by elements of the U.S. intelligence community to determine who becomes the next president.

I was told by a well-placed intelligence source some months ago that senior leaders of the Obama administration’s intelligence agencies – from the CIA to the FBI – were deeply concerned about either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump ascending to the presidency. And, it’s true that intelligence officials often come to see themselves as the stewards of America’s fundamental interests, sometimes needing to protect the country from dangerous passions of the public or from inept or corrupt political leaders.

It was, after all, a senior FBI official, Mark Felt, who – as “Deep Throat” – guided The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in their Watergate investigation into the criminality of President Richard Nixon. And, I was told by former U.S. intelligence officers that they wanted to block President Jimmy Carter’s reelection in 1980 because they viewed him as ineffectual and thus not protecting American global interests.

It’s also true that intelligence community sources frequently plant stories in major mainstream publications that serve propaganda or political goals, including stories that can be misleading or entirely false.

What’s Going On?

So, what to make of what we have seen over the past several months when there have been a series of leaks and investigations that have damaged both Clinton and Trump — with some major disclosures coming, overtly and covertly, from the U.S. intelligence community led by CIA Director John Brennan and FBI Director James Comey?

Some sources of damaging disclosures remain mysterious. Clinton’s campaign was hobbled by leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee – showing it undercutting Clinton’s chief rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders – and from her campaign chairman John Podesta – exposing the content of her speeches to Wall Street banks that she had tried to hide from the voters and revealing the Clinton Foundation’s questionable contacts with foreign governments.

Clinton – already burdened with a reputation for secrecy and dishonesty – suffered from the drip, drip, drip of releases from WikiLeaks of the DNC and Podesta emails although it remains unclear who gave the emails to WikiLeaks. Still, the combination of the two email batches added to public suspicions about Clinton and reminded people why they didn’t trust her.

But the most crippling blow to Clinton came from FBI Director Comey in the last week of the campaign when he reopened and then re-closed the investigation into whether she broke the law with her sloppy handling of classified material in her State Department emails funneled through a home server.

Following Comey’s last-minute revival of the Clinton email controversy, her poll numbers fell far enough to enable Trump to grab three normally Democratic states – Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin – enough to give him a victory in the Electoral College.

Taking Down Trump

However, over the past few weeks, the U.S. intelligence community, led by CIA Director Brennan and seconded by FBI Director Comey, has tried to delegitimize Trump by using leaks to the mainstream U.S. news media to pin the release of the DNC and Podesta emails on Russia and claiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally trying to put Trump into the White House.

This remarkable series of assessments from the CIA – now endorsed by the leadership of the FBI – come on the eve of the Electoral College members assembling to cast their formal votes to determine who becomes the new U.S. president. Although the Electoral College process is usually simply a formality, the Russian-hacking claims made by the U.S. intelligence community have raised the possibility that enough electors might withhold their votes from Trump to deny him the presidency.

If on Monday enough Trump electors decide to cast their votes for someone else – possibly another Republican – the presidential selection could go to the House of Representatives where, conceivably, the Republican-controlled chamber could choose someone other than Trump.

In other words, there is an arguable scenario in which the U.S. intelligence community first undercut Clinton and, secondly, Trump, seeking — however unlikely — to get someone installed in the White House considered more suitable to the CIA’s and the FBI’s views of what’s good for the country.

Who Did the Leaking?

At the center of this controversy is the question of who leaked or hacked the DNC and Podesta emails. The CIA has planted the story in The Washington Post, The New York Times and other mainstream outlets that it was Russia that hacked both the DNC and Podesta emails and slipped the material to WikiLeaks with the goal of assisting the Trump campaign. The suggestion is that Trump is Putin’s “puppet,” just as Hillary Clinton alleged during the third presidential debate.

But WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has publicly denied that Russia was the source of the leaks and one of his associates, former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray, has suggested that the DNC leak came from a “disgruntled” Democrat upset with the DNC’s sandbagging of the Sanders campaign and that the Podesta leak came from the U.S. intelligence community.

Although Assange recently has sought to muzzle Murray’s public comments – out of apparent concern for protecting the identity of sources – Murray offered possibly his most expansive account of the sourcing during a podcast interview with Scott Horton on Dec. 13.

Murray, who became a whistleblower himself when he protested Britain’s tolerance of human rights abuses in Uzbekistan, explained that he consults with Assange and cooperates with WikiLeaks “without being a formal member of the structure.”

But he appears to have undertaken a mission for WikiLeaks to contact one of the sources (or a representative) during a Sept. 25 visit to Washington where he says he met with a person in a wooded area of American University. At the time, Murray was at American University participating in an awards ceremony for former CIA officer John Kiriakou who was being honored by a group of former Western intelligence officials, the Sam Adams Associates, named for the late Vietnam War-era CIA analyst and whistleblower Sam Adams.

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, a founder of the Sam Adams group, told me that Murray was “m-c-ing” the event but then slipped away, skipping a reception that followed the award ceremony.

Reading Between LInes

Though Murray has declined to say exactly what the meeting in the woods was about, he may have been passing along messages about ways to protect the source from possible retaliation, maybe even an extraction plan if the source was in some legal or physical danger.

Murray has disputed a report in London’s Daily Mail that he was receiving a batch of the leaked Democratic emails. “The material, I think, was already safely with WikiLeaks before I got there in September,” Murray said in the interview with Scott Horton. “I had a small role to play.”

Murray also suggested that the DNC leak and the Podesta leak came from two different sources, neither of them the Russian government.

“The Podesta emails and the DNC emails are, of course, two separate things and we shouldn’t conclude that they both have the same source,” Murray said. “In both cases we’re talking of a leak, not a hack, in that the person who was responsible for getting that information out had legal access to that information.”

Reading between the lines of the interview, one could interpret Murray’s comments as suggesting that the DNC leak came from a Democratic source and that the Podesta leak came from someone inside the U.S. intelligence community, which may have been monitoring John Podesta’s emails because the Podesta Group, which he founded with his brother Tony, served as a registered “foreign agent” for Saudi Arabia.

“John Podesta was a paid lobbyist for the Saudi government,” Murray noted. “If the American security services were not watching the communications of the Saudi government’s paid lobbyist in Washington, then the American security services would not be doing their job. … His communications are going to be of interest to a great number of other security services as well.”

Leak by Americans

Scott Horton then asked, “Is it fair to say that you’re saying that the Podesta leak came from inside the intelligence services, NSA [the electronic spying National Security Agency] or another agency?”

“I think what I said was certainly compatible with that kind of interpretation, yeah,” Murray responded. “In both cases they are leaks by Americans.”

In reference to the leak of the DNC emails, Murray noted that “Julian Assange took very close interest in the death of Seth Rich, the Democratic staff member” who had worked for the DNC on voter databases and was shot and killed on July 10 near his Washington, D.C., home.

Murray continued, “WikiLeaks offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the capture of his killers. So, obviously there are suspicions there about what’s happening and things are somewhat murky. I’m not saying – don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that he was the source of the [DNC] leaks. What I’m saying is that it’s probably not an unfair indication to draw that WikiLeaks believes that he may have been killed by someone who thought he was the source of the leaks … whether correctly or incorrectly.”

Though acknowledging that such killings can become grist for conspiracy buffs, Murray added: “But people do die over this sort of stuff. There were billions of dollars – literally billions of dollars – behind Hillary Clinton’s election campaign and those people have lost their money.

“You have also to remember that there’s a big financial interest – particularly in the armaments industry – in a bad American relationship with Russia and the worse the relationship with Russia is the larger contracts the armaments industry can expect especially in the most high-tech high-profit side of fighter jets and missiles and that kind of thing.

“And Trump has actually already indicated he’s looking to make savings on the defense budget particularly in things like fighter [jet] projects. So, there are people standing to lose billions of dollars and anybody who thinks in that situation bad things don’t happen to people is very naïve.”

An Intelligence Coup?

There’s another possibility in play here: that the U.S. intelligence community is felling a number of birds with one stone. If indeed U.S. intelligence bigwigs deemed both Clinton and Trump unfit to serve as President – albeit for different reasons – they could have become involved in leaking at least the Podesta emails to weaken Clinton’s campaign, setting the candidate up for the more severe blow from FBI Director Comey in the last week of the campaign.

Then, by blaming the leaks on Russian President Putin, the U.S. intelligence leadership could set the stage for Trump’s defeat in the Electoral College, opening the door to the elevation of a more traditional Republican. However, even if that unlikely event – defeating Trump in the Electoral College – proves impossible, Trump would at least be weakened as he enters the White House and thus might not be able to move very aggressively toward a détente with Russia.

Further, the Russia-bashing that is all the rage in the mainstream U.S. media will surely encourage the Congress to escalate the New Cold War, regardless of Trump’s desires, and thus ensure plenty more money for both the intelligence agencies and the military contractors.

Official Washington’s “group think” holding Russia responsible for the Clinton leaks does draw some logical support from the near certainty that Russian intelligence has sought to penetrate information sources around both Clinton and Trump. But the gap between the likely Russian hacking efforts and the question of who gave the email information to WikiLeaks is where mainstream assumptions may fall down.

As ex-Ambassador Murray has said, U.S. intelligence was almost surely keeping tabs on Podesta’s communications because of his ties to Saudi Arabia and other foreign governments. So, the U.S. intelligence community represents another suspect in the case of who leaked those emails to WikiLeaks. It would be a smart play, reminiscent of the convoluted spy tales of John LeCarré, if U.S. intelligence officials sought to cover their own tracks by shifting suspicions onto the Russians.

But just the suspicion of the CIA joining the FBI and possibly other U.S. intelligence agencies to intervene in the American people’s choice of a president would cause President Harry Truman, who launched the CIA with prohibitions against it engaging in domestic activities, and Sen. Frank Church, who investigated the CIA’s abuses, to spin in their graves.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon