The Russian bounty hoax

Donald Trump said today that the Russian bounty story is a hoax. It is not.

We know that the Russians, through Unit 29155 of the G.R.U., has been offering Taliban-linked fighters up to $100,000 for each American military member they’ve been able to kill. And, as of this evening, it looks as though we even know the name of the Afghan contractor who was making these payments on the behalf of the Russian government. His name, according to the New York Times, is Rahmatullah Azizi. Here’s a clip.

He was a lowly drug smuggler, neighbors and relatives say, then ventured into contracting, seeking a slice of the billions of dollars the U.S.-led coalition was funneling into construction projects in Afghanistan.

But he really began to show off his wealth in recent years, after establishing a base in Russia, though how he earned those riches remained mysterious. On his regular trips home to northern Afghanistan, he drove the latest model cars, protected by bodyguards, and his house was recently upgraded to a four-story villa.

Now Rahmatullah Azizi stands as a central piece of a puzzle rocking Washington, named in American intelligence reports and confirmed by Afghan officials as a key middleman who for years handed out money from a Russian military intelligence unit to reward Taliban-linked fighters for targeting American troops in Afghanistan, according to American and Afghan officials…

And news this, of course, comes just after yesterday’s bombshell that Donald Trump had first been alerted to the existence of the Russian bounty program in March 2019 by then-national security adviser John Bolton… just weeks before our President so memorably said, “I have a very good relationship with Putin.” So Donald Trump has known of this bounty program for over a year. And the public has known for a week now. And, in spite of this, he’s yet to come out and condemn the Russians. Quite the contrary, he’s saying that the whole thing is a hoax, in spite of the considerable evidence to the contrary. [The entire timeline of events can be found here.]

It’s kind of like that time back in July of 2018, when Donald Trump, standing next to Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, said that he accepted the word of the Russian dictator over that of his own intelligence officials on the subject of the DNC hacking. [“My people came to me, [Director of National Intelligence] Dan Coats came to me, some others, they said they think it’s Russia,” Trump said. “I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this, I don’t see any reason why it would be.”] In this instance, we know the name of the Afghan distributing the funds, we have the records of the financial transfers, we have the confirmation of our allies, and it’s being reported by The Washington Post that, “Some officials think the Russian operation led to the deaths of several U.S. service members, according to intelligence gleaned from captured militants in recent months.” And yet the President refers to it as a “hoax.”

As Senator Chris Murphy said today, “I just reviewed the intel. It’s not a hoax, Mr. President. And if you continue ignoring the facts, more soldiers and marines are going to die.” And yet there’s still no condemnation of the Russians from the White House.

And, again, we’re left to wonder why. Why is it that President Trump, who ordered a targeted execution in Iran in response to one U.S. contractor having been killed, can’t so much as say that, if these stories are true, Russia will have to pay a price? What is it that terrifies him so?

Thankfully, our friends at the Lincoln Project are asking the same questions, and doing so in a way that, one would hope, would resonate with conservatives who profess to be pro-military. [The folks at the Lincoln Project aren’t fucking around and running ads like Democrats. They’re going straight for the jugular. And they’re absolutely right to do so.]

PS… In related news, the Republican-led Senate just striped a provision from an intelligence bill requiring campaigns to report foreign election assistance, opening the door to more of what we saw happen in 2016.

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  1. John Brown
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    The real Manchurian Candidate. To preserve the integrity of the Constitutionend he must hanged for treason Some of his Manchurian supporters should join him, swinging in the breeze.

  2. Wobblie
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Aloha, other than mixing every arms control treaty with Russia, supporting armed attacks on ethnic Russians in Ukraine, putting missil batteries in Poland and Romania, sending troops to the Russian border of Lithuania, sending nuclear B1 bombers on patrols of Russia’s borders, imposing economic sanctions on both Russian state actors and individuals , having our Syrian mercenaries kill Russians in Syria blocking Russian attempts to sell fossil fuels to Europe —- what do the liberal war wingers want Trump to do?

  3. Anonymous
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Rep. Seth Moulton on Trump’s Handling of Russian Bounty Intelligence: ‘If This is Not Treason Then I Don’t Know What Is’

  4. John Galt
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    How do we know that these American soldiers weren’t killed by Hillary Clinton? Isn’t it possible that they knew about her subterranean baby eating, and that she put on a disguise, flew to Afghanistan, and murdered them?

  5. Eel
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    If the Lincoln Project really meant business they’d show us the dead bodies with the word “hoax” over them.

  6. Jay Steichmann
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    but but but BENGHAZI

  7. EOS
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Why are so many more concerned about Russia than China?

  8. EOS
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Is it better if Russia merely supplies money and arms? Does anyone think the Taliban need more incentive to fight Americans? Will Russia go back into Afghanistan when we leave? Would there be fewer terrorists if we obliterated Afghanistan or would that cause more to join the fight? Why are we sending Americans to die there?

  9. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    It’s probably about as reliable as the “ICA”. What exactly is the appeal of being a CIA dupe?

  10. Anonymous
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    “Why are so many more concerned about Russia than China?”

    I’ll have to go back and check, but I don’t remember you saying “What about China?” when four Americans were killed in Benghazi, EOS.

  11. EOS
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Because it was an embassy, an ambassador was killed, and they lied to cover up the fact that they were supplying arms to terrorists to sequentially overthrow the leaders of two sovereign nations. On the other hand, the troops in Afghanistan that are targeted are there as combatants.

    Russia, Russia, Russia. Except we defeated them in the Cold War and they are no longer a threat to us.

    Why do so many focus on Russia to the extent that they do while ignoring more serious threats?

  12. EOS
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    We started a war in Afghanistan after a group of Saudis flew planes into the towers and the Pentagon. What is the real reason that Russia and the US want to establish bases in Afghanistan? Does anyone think beyond the talking points of MSM?

  13. EOS
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Six persons head the corporations that control all of all MSM. Just because they all report the same things does not in any way prove that their explanations are true.

  14. EOS
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    We gave the Taliban SAMs when Russia was occupying Afghanistan. So now they put a bounty on Americans. Can someone tell me why we are both concerned about this underdeveloped country?

    Think. Reason. Don’t parrot MSM.

  15. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Charges against Ghislaine Maxwell announced!

  16. EOS
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    What is the mission in Afghanistan? How will we determine if “we won”? What is the benefit for the American public?

  17. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Arrested this morning!

  18. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 1:14 pm | Permalink


  19. BrianB
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Do you have any answers EOS or are you just throwing up a bunch of questions to muddy the water? It looks like you’re implying that US Media Companies are trying to create conflict with Russia by reporting on this non-story and somehow that ties to the US and Russia both wanting to control Afghanistan? I agree that it was foolish for Bush to invade after 9/11 — but what would media companies gain from inventing this story now? More Anti-Trump content? Trump is already fucking up in more ways than they can keep up with here at home. What big story are you implying that they missing in China? Trump encouraging them to open more concentration camps? Trump ignoring another virus? Ivanka selling more purses?

  20. Lynne
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    We are in Afghanistan because George W Bush started some shit there and now we are stuck. It is one of those things that happened because liberals didn’t get out to vote in 2000 and too many voted for Nader.

  21. EOS
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Why did Bush start some shit there? Why are we stuck there? What could we possibly gain by having American troops in Afghanistan? The stories we have been told don’t add up.

  22. Sad
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Hey HW if you see and good photos of Maxwell in cuffs could you share a link here?

  23. Wobblie
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Aloha, looks like success. You should be happy Lynne we are going to keep killing and being killed in Afganistan. It sure is a good thing the Afgan people don’t care.

  24. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Pretty good pic

  25. Posted July 2, 2020 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    You mean this Ghislaine Maxwell? Damn.

  26. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    Too bad Ghissie and Jeffy went to jail in the Trump era. Obama protected them, Trump is wrecking them.

  27. Lynne
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    EOS, I don’t know why Bush started stuff there. He claimed terrorists were hiding there and needed to be rooted out. I think it is more likely that he knew darn well that guys like Cheney and their like would make a lot of money off of it.

    Wobblie, sometimes leaving too soon means blood on our hands. Besides this is just a pause in order to better assess the situation. Let’s hope the situation is such that troop removal can continue.

  28. Lynne
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    HW, There is no reason to think that Obama was protecting them.

  29. Wobblie
    Posted July 2, 2020 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Aloha Lynne, after 20 years, with good liberals like you in charge of Congress, I don’t think we will leave until we have harvested the last poppy plants and extracted the last precious minerals. By then, we should have converted the natives and turned them into real Americans. MAGA.

  30. Wobblie
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Aloha HW, and how goes the investigation into Epstein death? So far only the two guards on the bottom of the totem pole have paid a price. Wonder what odds Las Vegas is giving on her living long enough to go to court.

    It seems obvious that this is the best way to distract from the 130000 Americans the tRumpvirus has killed. MAGA

  31. EOS
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Look deeper Wobblie. It’s not about poppy plants and precious metals. Lynne, try an analysis that includes more than pointing the finger at the other. Bush, Obama, and HRC were all in lockstep on invading and occupying Afghanistan. Who really determines our foreign policy and why don’t our elected representatives compel them to explain why they put our soldiers lives at risk?

  32. EOS
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Russia is our Oceana. Are they a threat to our republic or have we hit the reset button and established detente? Were they really our allies in WWII? Or the reason why schoolchildren practiced hiding under desks? How are we informed of their current status and why do the sheeple so easily change their opinions?

  33. Wobblie
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Aloha EOS, Afganistan is poised at the heart of Muslim Russia. The “Stans” are also ripe for looting and exploitation. The strategic value Was articulated by Brezinski back in the Carter administration. The bi-partisan agreement has been war and occupation. Based on the same type of incessant propaganda, as we have seem with Russiagate.
    But hey the Trump family and his cronies are all foing great. Wonder who gave the order to arrest Maxwell? I see where Barr wanted to meet her, and her attorney refused—must not have been an investigatory meeting, the defense can refuse to answer, but must attend those.

  34. EOS
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    There is a globalist agenda that wants to keep us distracted with meaningless battles between Ds and Rs, red and blue states, black and white, rich and poor, etc. And if we don’t wake up and start reasoning on our own, and not blindly following the party or media, we will lose our liberty, our freedom, and our way of life. Don’t be passive and don’t allow yourselves to become useful idiots.

  35. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    “HW, There is no reason to think that Obama was protecting them.”

    No reason, after all it was only that the Secretary’s husband, the former President that was stuck like glue to Ghizzy and Jeffy.

  36. Lynne
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    wobblie, yes yes we KNOW. You are 100% OK with throwing women under the bus and it doesn’t matter if it is Afghanistani women or American women.

    EOS, considering the way you lobby to remove fundamental rights from women, I am not sure I trust you about a concern about freedom. It feels like you are about to drop some kind of conspiracy theory about Afghanistan so why don’t you just tell us all why you think Obama or HRC agreed with Bush about getting into war there. I haven’t seen anything at all that indicates that.

  37. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    ‘Wonder what odds Las Vegas is giving on her living long enough to go to court.
    It seems obvious that this is the best way to distract from the 130000 Americans the tRumpvirus has killed. MAGA”

    Why don’t you make a bet if you think it’s so likely? I see you got tired of your real name you earned last time you tried to make one..

  38. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    It’s a fundamental right to rip your unborn baby out and let them be thrown in the trash (after their organs are harvested and sold).

  39. EOS
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    What kind of sick, distorted morals allows a person to think it is a fundamental right to kill their offspring? If it is OK a day before birth, what makes it wrong to do so a month later. A one month old is as dependent on a mother as it was in the womb. Why would you lobby to take away the right to life of both males and females in the womb?

  40. EOS
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Did you hear the latest rumors? Trump will announce at the convention that he will not run for a second term. Tucker Carlson will be nominated with DT Jr. as his running mate. Do you think Sleepy Joe would have a chance?

  41. Jean Henry
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    I think they would go down in a ball of fire. What a terrible fucking idea. Trumpers would be furious as well as everyone else.

    A few Fox News junkies would love it.

    I really hope they try that.

    Tucker has some very serious skeletons on his closet… But maybe the bar has been moved so far down by Trump that it won’t matter.

  42. Jean Henry
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    HW– “It’s a fundamental right to rip your unborn baby out and let them be thrown in the trash (after their organs are harvested and sold).”– yes it is.

    You don’t have a fundamental right to tell me what to do with my body or any fetus that I may be growing in it. I really don’t care about how attached you are to that clump of cells, Mr Reason.

    I wonder how many abortions the Donald paid for? Stormy said he doesn’t like condoms…

  43. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    All you do is say “clump of cells”. You may be just a clump of cells yourself so why not give yourself a late post-birth abortion?

  44. Frosted Flakes
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    If my parents met at Harvard would I be better equipped to understand important stabbing metaphors?

  45. Frosted Flakes
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Trump’s 4th of July speech sucks. He does not need to prove Lincoln, Washington, Roosevelt, and Jefferson were saints. They weren’t. All he needed to do is to show that they were more good than bad and to demonstrate the modern day leftists and Dems suck. They do. He is blowing a big opportunity. Too bad.

    It’s pretty simple. If you deface public art you are an anti democracy criminal.

  46. Lynne
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    What if you deface an indigenous culture’s sacred mountain and then have a fireworks celebration there?

  47. EOS
    Posted July 4, 2020 at 1:04 am | Permalink

    Every inch of our country was once an indigenous culture’s sacred land.

  48. Frosted Flakes
    Posted July 4, 2020 at 2:51 am | Permalink

    According to Wikipedia the Lakota stole the black hills from the Cheyenne. I suspect, like all property the Cheyenne “ won” it from someone else if we went back far enough….

    Similar to Trump trying to make our presidents out to be saints, it is also problematic to just assume legitimacy ownership of the land. I wish Trump could have done better but he is not a philosopher and not a historian. I think it would be great if Trump would have acknowledged the legitimacy issue of Mt Rushmore and then he should have focused on the overwhelming positives of the USA. The best country in the history of the planet, imo.

  49. Sad
    Posted July 4, 2020 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    Does anyone know of any local statues that are offensive?

    I’d like to celebrate the holiday by trying to push them over.

  50. Jean Henry
    Posted July 4, 2020 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    The Black Hills are claimed by 5 different tribes, including both of those you mentioned. There were no treaties between the Sioux and the Cheyenne. False equivalency. If Mexico reclaimed Texas and California booted us out, that would be the equivalent.

    Actually the equivalent would be if we carved a statue of Hitler and co into the side of a mountain in Israel…

    This was good:

  51. Jean Henry
    Posted July 4, 2020 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    “Every inch of our country was once an indigenous culture’s sacred land.” It was their land, but not sacred land…

    The issue with the Black Hills is different:
    1) it was actually sacred and to 5 different Tribes.
    2)There was a negotiated Treaty to keep it in Indian hands (all 5 tribes)
    3)That Treaty was abandoned within 10 years upon discovery of gold
    4)In no other place have we erected graven images of the men who committed genocide against Native people on a sacred site.

    I commend Trump only for finding a place to optimally demonstrate his tyranny and political heritage.

  52. Jean Henry
    Posted July 4, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    I was wrong about the treaty being with all 5 tribes. It was with the Sioux only because htey claimed the land a that time. Negotiations for repatriation and reparations have since included more than the Sioux, but the Sioux have been hold outs. Their intent for co-management is reasonable and their refusal to accept monetary compensation indicates the unique sacred value of the land. Lakota Sioux are a very very poor tribe. Pine Ridge is a tough place.

  53. Jean Henry
    Posted July 4, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

  54. Frosted Flakes
    Posted July 4, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink


  55. Wobblie
    Posted July 4, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Aloha Lynne, 500000 dead civilians mainly woman and children and millions of refugees again primrily woman and children (brown and poor) is an acceptable price to make you feel good.

  56. EOS
    Posted July 4, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Trump’s speech was good and delivered at the appropriate location. BLM, when they act to destroy historical monuments, are acting like an American Taliban. You can’t change history by destroying statues. Trump appropriately defined it as tyrannical.

    Democratically controlled areas have had looting and burning. Democratic states put Covid patients in nursing homes to drive up the number of victims and keep us fearful. Now the numbers are rising, but the virus has mutated. It is more infectious and less deadly. The Dems want us locked down so that everybody votes absentee and they can manipulate the ballots. The counts in every state will be like Florida’s when Gore wanted only certain counties recounted, boxes of ballots appeared from nowhere, hanging chads count as votes, whatever is necessary to ensure a victory. It will be a record turnout, with large numbers of voters on each side, supplemented by deceased persons and illegal immigrants on one side.

    Trump was calm and spoke the truth. Our country is at war with those who want to destroy it and enslave its citizens under tyrannical conditions where speech is censored, movements are tracked, taxes are burdensome, lawbreakers run amok with no police to protect private property or persons, history is rewritten, and values are turned upside down.

    It’s going to be a long hot summer.

  57. Posted July 4, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

  58. Jean Henry
    Posted July 4, 2020 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.”

  59. EOS
    Posted July 4, 2020 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Except there are no longer any slaves. We can all celebrate.

  60. Jean Henry
    Posted July 4, 2020 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Wrong EOS. Read the 13th amendment again:
    “”Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, ***except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted***, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

    I’m wondering is FF and EOS still approve of Trump’s handling the epidemic…

  61. Wobblie
    Posted July 4, 2020 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    Aloha Lynne, do you realize or care that you agree with Liz Cheney and most of the Republican Party to keep the war going on forever in Afganistan. Never saw you in a MAGA hat, oh well all that really matters is gender.

  62. Wobblie
    Posted July 4, 2020 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Aloha, the contradictions among the ruling elite are becoming transparent and obvious. I thought Dershowitz was one of Trumps guys. I guess he didn’t get the word that we are throwing Maxwell under the bus.

  63. Jean Henry
    Posted July 5, 2020 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    “throwing her under the bus?”
    You don’t think Maxwell deserves prosecution??

  64. Posted July 5, 2020 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    VoteVets Ad – Don’t Thank Us

  65. Wobblie
    Posted July 5, 2020 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Aloha, she should have been arrested and tried years ago I wonder who made the decision to attest her now? There is no new evidence, no new indictments. They need a distraction from the tRumpvirus

  66. Wobblie
    Posted July 5, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Aloha answered my own question. Audrey Straus, the new acting prosecutor for the southern district of New York. No surprise a Democatic woman.

  67. Wobblie
    Posted July 5, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Aloha this is a typical example of the Leader not caring about consequences. He clearly thinks that his fixer Barr can cover up Maxwell as well as he dealt with Epstein. Trump was confident he would get his sycophant supporter Clay appointed prosecutor. Might be the biggest mistake of Trumps career.

    Remember her name Audrey Strauss, American Patriot.

  68. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 5, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    You don’t see the significance of the old prosecutor being fired and the arrest coming right after that? It’s amazing you don’t have any sense of how fucked you are.

  69. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 5, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    I also find it amazing how naturally you spew propaganda. Da tRuMpViRus! Da tRuMpViRus! Da tRuMpVirUUUUUUUS!!!!

    It’s so empty and weak and…annoying. How can you stand it?

  70. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 5, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Weiner’s laptop to become bombshell evidence? Guarded in the SDNY till now or no?

  71. Lynne
    Posted July 5, 2020 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Wobblie. Oh yeah. I am soooo MAGA. LOL. At least I didn’ t vote in a way that helped get Trump elected. You can’t say the same.

    With that said, I think it is ok for members of congress to care about human rights and what happens after we leave. i.e. it really is important to have something in place so we can leave without it becoming a human rights disaster. I do not at all think this is an immoral position any more than I think it was immoral for the USA to fight Nazis in WW2 over human rights abuses.

  72. EOS
    Posted July 8, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

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