Hollywood is finally asking questions about the FBI. Maybe now we’ll get some answers about Malcolm X, MLK and others

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The real possibility that federal officers were involved in the assassinations of a host of civil rights leaders is finally being explored by filmmakers might, at long last, make Americans notice the excesses of our government.

This week, members of famed civil rights activist Malcolm’s X’s family made public a letter they described as being written by a former police officer that admits that the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and FBI were responsible for his assassination in 1965.  

The letter, confirmed as written by former undercover officer Raymond Wood, makes damning allegations that the NYPD and FBI conspired to have Malcolm killed.

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“Under the direction of my handlers, I was told to encourage leaders and members of the civil rights groups to commit felonious acts,” Wood’s letter stated, alleging that two member of Malcolm’s security detail were entrapped by authorities and arrested.  

This left them unable to manage door security for him at New York’s Audubon Ballroom on the night of his death, which would later result in the arrest and conviction of three members of the Nation of Islam, an African-American Muslim group that Malcolm was once a promiment member of but later broke with. 

In terms of whether the idea that Malcolm was really killed by the NYPD in collusion with federal authorities is plausible, there is little doubt that it could have happened. As is the subject of a newly released Netflix film titled Judas and the Black Messiah, the FBI was deeply involved in subverting – and even assassinating – prominent civil rights leaders during its COINTELPRO operations.  

For example, the subject of that film, Fred Hampton, a charismatic 21-year-old Black Panther party leader in the Chicago area, was assassinated by the FBI in 1969 along with fellow Panther Mark Clark. Identified as a threat by intelligence in 1967 for his organizing work and breakthrough with white labor activists, the FBI began subverting his operations through disinformation before his eventual assassination. 

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In 1982, survivors and relatives of Hampton and Clark won a $1.85 million civil lawsuit paid by the City of Chicago, Cook County and the federal government, which is about as close to an admission of guilt as anyone could expect to get from the feds. 

Even Martin Luther King Jr., who was seen as a more moderate Black activist compared to Malcolm X or members of the Black Panther Party, was targeted by COINTELPRO. In 1964, he received a letter that he correctly suspected (and was later confirmed) to have been sent by the FBI urging him to commit suicide or else proof of alleged sexual indiscreditions would be made public.  

There have been a number of dubious convictions of Black leaders as a result of the program including Assata Shakur, who is now a fugitive living in Cuba; Marshall “Eddie” Conway; Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt, later found innocent in 1997 after serving 27 years in prison; and Mumia Abu-Jamal. 

Though the FBI publicly claims that COINTELPRO ended when the program was exposed in 1971 after activists with the Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI ransacked an FBI field office in Pennsylvania and found dossiers, there is clear evidence that it continued. 

One notable case in the 1990s had to do with leading environmentalist and labor leader Judi Bari, who I wrote about in an RT column in January. (Her website details exactly how her involvement with the FBI mirrors the tactics of COINTELPRO). 

Though there is no definitive evidence connecting these cases to COINTELPRO, we also have the suspicious death of Gary Webb, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who ran a series claiming that the CIA was selling cocaine to gangs in the U.S. in order to fund paramilities in Latin America in the 1980s. In 2004, after long being cast as a liar by the mainstream media in conjunction with U.S. intelligence, he was found dead with two gunshot wounds to the head in what was ruled a suicide. 

Then there’s the death of Buzzfeed journalist Michael Hastings in 2014. Before the time of his death, he was apparently “onto a big story” on the CIA and believed he was being investigated by the FBI. In what was described by Former U.S. National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism Richard A. Clarke as being “consistent with a car cyber attack,”a witness saw Hastings’s car going maximum speed and shooting sparks before crashing into a palm tree in Los Angeles. His body was burned beyond recognition.  

The entire subject of this program, though it was huge news in the 1960s and 1970s and is a matter of public record, is so unbelievable and heinous that average Americans find it hard to believe, even conspiratorial in nature. It’s great that Hollywood has now given the opportunity to publicly revisit this subject because not only did COINTELPRO clearly continue past its official end, a program like this could happen again – if it isn’t still ongoing. 

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Fred Hampton is widely known and celebrated on the political left. He was a charismatic figure that understood the intersections of oppression in American society and used this to organize across racial lines. Finally Hollywood is telling his story and giving him some of the messianic status the FBI wanted to steal from him.  

On the other hand, Malcolm X, though he is indeed a polarizing figure, is a more visible figure in public consciousness. If indeed it is the case that he was killed by police, which is highly likely and is already being investigated by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, then the country really needs to have a serious conversation about these kinds of activities by U.S. intelligence. 

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Social media, have mercy! FBI laments that deplatforming of ‘extremists’ makes it harder to spy on Americans

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Law enforcement is complaining about social media platforms’ full-frontal assault on American political dissidents’ freedom of speech, crying that removing so-called ‘extremists’ from the internet makes it harder to spy on them.

A former FBI profiler recently took to NBC to complain that while Big Tech restricting Americans’ ability to freely communicate was all well and good, it was making it harder for the US intelligence apparatus to properly snoop on every aspect of these people’s lives.

FBI alum Clint Van Zandt complained that a 70-year-old man involved in the raid on the Capitol earlier this month was totally unknown to the bureau, showing up with a truck full of Molotov cocktails, a rifle, and some “improvised grenades” unheralded by any sort of presence on social media.

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Lonnie Coffman, the man in question, had no criminal record or ties to any extremist groups, but “was struggling financially and fixated on right-wing views,” Van Zandt explained, adding – in all seriousness – that the senior citizen was the sort of threat that keeps FBI agents “up at night.” 

Leaving aside the laughable image of the US’ deep-pocketed intelligence apparatus being thwarted by a 70-year-old man from Alabama – who, it’s worth pointing out, is not known to have even entered the Capitol building (!) – FBI agents like Van Zandt and their local counterparts in small-town sheriffs’ offices are really worried that if social media keeps purging Trump supporters and other undesirables, these platforms will create an unstoppable army of Lonnie Coffmans.

“The purging of people with radical views from popular social platforms, which has escalated in recent weeks, deprives investigators of a crucial tool in tracking people who might move along the continuum of ideation to action,” the former agent said.

In plain English, the profiler lamented that mass deplatforming prevents FBI agents from both spying on the majority of Americans whom it considers to be potential domestic terrorism threats and entrapping wannabe criminals by posing as terrorists, militia members, and other law-breakers. 

Indeed, given that nearly all high-profile FBI cases involve the bureau entrapping suspects, and that this work is increasingly done online, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have become crucial tools in what the FBI describes as its fight against domestic extremism. Ordinary Americans might describe the agency’s work, however, as an unjustifiable effort to lure ordinary people into committing crimes in order to make the FBI and the rest of the US’ sprawling intelligence apparatus seem indispensable.

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Now that – according to such free-speech-loathing figures as former CIA director John Brennan and House intel committee chair Adam Schiff – the War on Terror is coming home, the FBI is going to need all the help it can get to manufacture the terror statistics that could possibly justify criminalizing political dissent in a nation whose Bill of Rights includes an ironclad guarantee to protect the individual right to free speech. The bureau certainly isn’t going to get that if it hasn’t been cultivating a pool of bored young men with no economic future across multiple platforms, stringing them along with promises of things that go boom.

So please, Twitter and Facebook, the next time you highlight a bunch of users whose views fall outside the ever-more-stifling claustrophobia of the mainstream media and prepare to hit ‘delete’, think of the FBI.

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Christopher Steele’s declassified FBI interview: Playing up fake sources and juggling spying jobs

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By Kit Klarenberg, an investigative journalist exploring the role of intelligence services in shaping politics and perceptions.

Newly declassified papers dismantle what little remains of Christopher Steele’s credibility, and raise more questions as to why his infamous dossier consumed the media’s attention, and imaginations, for much of Trump’s presidency.

On the morning of January 20, it was announced former US president Donald Trump had ordered the declassification of a binder full of previously unreleased documents pertaining to the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane probe into Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia.

In what’s said to be the first instalment of a batch, two documents have since been released. Oddly, the first – a set of notes taken by Bureau representatives who met with former MI6 operative Christopher Steele, author of the now-notorious ‘Trump-Russia’ dossier in September 2017 – is just a slightly less redacted version of a document released in December 2020.

More substantively, the second is the FBI’s full ‘FD-302’ interview summary of that meeting, which took place in London’s Grosvenor Hotel. Eyebrow-raising nuggets are dotted throughout the 28-page file.

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Pick a horse, any horse

For one, the writeup of the meeting reveals the former MI6 spy was accompanied by Christopher Burrows, an associate at Steele’s private intelligence firm Orbis, for the first hour. He used the opportunity to say he was “pretty upset” with how Orbis’ relationship with the FBI concluded, given the “time and effort” it took to get information to the agency.

While he was producing his dodgy dossier, Steele was also a paid informant for the FBI, although his contract was terminated in November 2016 for speaking to the media. The previous month, Mother Jones had reported on the existence of the dossier, but Steele was unnamed, referred to instead variously as a “former Western intelligence officer” and a “veteran spy.”

Discussing his work with journalists was directly contrary to his agreement with the Bureau, and his FBI controller believed breaking this covenant to be a clear indication Steele was “completely untrustworthy,”“could not be handled,” and “would not be reliable.”

Burrows and Steele apologized and explained that Orbis was “riding two horses” – opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which had been commissioned to dig up dirt on Trump by the Democratic Party, and the FBI.

After Bureau Director James Comey reopened the agency’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s secret use of a private email server for official public communications, they felt they had to pick “one horse,” and chose their client.

“They followed what their client wanted, and spoke to the press,” the 302 records. “Steele commented that it was not about money owed, but Burrows remarked that [while] Steele might not be concerned about the money, but Burrows was (sic).”

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‘Massive impact on our lives’

It wasn’t merely monetary issues that caused the Orbis chiefs grief. They expressed “frustration” to the FBI that the dossier had been included in the ‘Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent Elections’ (ICA), published in January 2017.

“Steele and Burrows felt that they should have had advance warning that the company’s reporting was going to be used in the annex. The inclusion… and subsequent public leak of the annex put Steele’s name out there and had a ‘massive impact on our lives,’” the 302 states.

The Bureau representatives’ response, if any, isn’t recorded in the writeup – but how the ICA came to be compiled, and the dossier included therein, is a murky story indeed.

In September 2020, it was revealed that only a small minority within US intelligence were of the view Russia had attempted to impact the outcome of the 2016 vote, with several senior analysts concluding the Kremlin in fact banked on a Clinton victory, and considered Trump to be a “wild card.”

However, then-CIA director John Brennan moved aggressively to not only exclude all dissenting voices from the ICA, but also include the dossier, on the basis some of its contents were “consistent with the judgment in the assessment.” In other words, Steele’s memos furthered the one-sided, minority view the assessment reflected.

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Rumours over drinks

Coincidentally, the same month the ICA was published, the FBI quizzed Steele’s “primary subsource” for the dossier, Brookings Institute staffer Igor Danchenko. Danchenko confessed to having no contacts within the Kremlin, and selling Steele “rumor and speculation” provided by his Moscow drinking buddies.

Bizarrely, the newly released 302 indicates Steele repeatedly refused to name Danchenko, implying he and the FBI agents present alike were unaware of Dancehnko’s interview eight months earlier – or more sinisterly, Steele knew they were.

Either interpretation may account for why Steele still stood so strongly by his subsource, boasting of how Danchenko had “provided information used in earlier, non-election related reporting provided to the FBI,” and “his reporting was consistent over multiple projects,” which Steele “used as a vetting and validation point of reference.” The former MI6 operative also lied to the Bureau pair outright, claiming to have confirmed Danchenko’s reporting “through other sources.”

To further reinforce his subsource’s credibility, Steele noted Danchenko “exhibited behavior indicative of someone who is scared,” framing this as one of several “positive signs” that his subsource had delivered 28-carat intelligence, along with the fact he “went to ground in early 2017.”

An alternative explanation for Danchenko’s disappearing act at that time, of course, could be his contemporaneous FBI interview, and a resultant desire to both escape the international web of fantasy and deceit Steele had dragged him into, and shield himself from potential reprisal.

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‘Make a little extra money’

The ex-spy also disclosed to the Bureau he’d been introduced to Danchenko by Fiona Hill, deputy assistant to the president and senior director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council between April 2017 and July 2019.

This occurred in 2011 – Steele stated that Hill had “a very high opinion” of Danchenko, and suggested he “take a look at him.” Given the warm and long-lasting relationship between Steele and Hill, it’s understandable her recommendation was followed up.

“Hill is one of Steele’s close friends, later described in the interview that his wife went to university with Hill, and that Hill’s daughter is named after a now-deceased mutual college friend of Hill and his wife,” the 302 continues.

It’s unclear if Hill was aware at the time that Danchenko had been arrested, jailed and convicted years earlier on multiple public drunkenness and disorderly conduct charges in the Washington area and ordered to undergo substance abuse and mental wellness counseling.

Conversely, Hill – who testified for 10 hours at Trump’s 2019 impeachment hearing – almost certainly had no way of knowing Danchenko was also at one time investigated by the FBI as a potential espionage agent.

At a “work-related event in late 2008,” around the time Barack Obama was preparing to take office, Danchenko approached two Brookings staffers and said that if either of them “[got] a job in the government and had access to classified information,” he “knew some people to whom they could speak” if they wanted wanted “to make a little extra money.”

One was so suspicious they alerted the FBI, which launched an investigation – it found he was “an associate of two counterintelligence subjects” and “had contact in 2006 with the Russian Embassy and known Russian intelligence officers.”

Further digging raised yet more concerns, and in July 2010 the Bureau applied for a FISA warrant to put Danchenko under surveillance – however, before its approval was secured, Danchenko left the US, and the probe was shelved.

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‘Provably false’

Towards the end of the 302, Steele is recorded as “advising” the FBI representatives that his “favourite” part of the dossier “involved Michael Cohen, Webzilla, and Alexej Gubarev.”

This refers to the dynamite dual-claim that Trump’s then-attorney Cohen secretly traveled to Prague in August 2016 to meet aides of Russian President Vladimir Putin and arrange hush payments to hackers who stole the Democratic National Convention’s emails, and that a tech firm founded by a Russian entrepreneur had been involved in the cyberattack operation, under coercion by the FSB.

Cohen vigorously denied he’d ever been in Prague, a denial supported by his passport lacking a Czech Republic stamp, and a travel itinerary for a trip he’d taken to California concurrent with the alleged visit.

Still that narrative refused to die, with Western media sending teams of journalists to the Czech capital on fruitless investigations and reporting anonymous claims that Robert Mueller had evidence to confirm it.

However, the special counsel report ultimately concluded Cohen “never traveled to Prague,” and was moreover “not concerned” about such allegations, as they were “provably false.”

And what of Webzilla? In October 2020, the Wall Street Journal revealed Steele’s ultimate source for the charges against the company and its chief was Olga Galkina, a long-term friend of Danchenko, who in 2016 had been working in Cyprus at an affiliate of XBT Holding SA, the web-services parent of Webzilla, owned by Gubarev.

Things weren’t going well in the office however, to the point that her manager filed a statement with police over her conduct. It stated that she was chronically late to work, sometimes appeared to be intoxicated on-the-job, and had threatened to have him killed unless he paid her €10,000 ($11,740) in compensation.

In November that year, her employment was finally terminated, and weeks later the disgruntled problem drinker implicated Webzilla and Gubarev in the purported hacking.

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Newly declassified transcripts shed further light on FBI’s farcical failure in Russiagate hoax

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By Kit Klarenberg, an investigative journalist exploring the role of intelligence services in shaping politics and perceptions.

The just-published transcripts of interviews carried out by US lawmakers scrutinising the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane probe reveal the incompetence, bias, and dishonesty that marred the investigation from the very start.

On January 15, the Senate Judiciary Committee declassified a number of interviews conducted over the course of 2020 with assorted officials conducted during its investigation of the origins and aftermath of Crossfire Hurricane, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) probe into potential collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Kremlin.

In an accompanying statement, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, Committee Chair, said the material furthered his contention that Crossfire Hurricane was “a massive system failure” on the part of senior FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials, who were “either grossly incompetent or knowingly allowed tremendous misdeeds.”

“Crossfire Hurricane was one of the most incompetent and corrupt investigations in the history of the FBI and DOJ. The FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] court was lied to. Exculpatory information was withheld on those being investigated,” he fulminated. “Investigators, with some notable exceptions, were incredibly biased and used the powers of law enforcement for political purposes. The subjects of the investigation had their lives turned upside down. At every turn, the FBI and DOJ ran stop signs that were in abundance regarding exculpatory information.”

Given what so many of the individuals quizzed by the Senate revealed under oath, Graham’s incendiary condemnations seem thoroughly warranted. One can only hope his view that the actions of the officials in question were “not representative of the dedicated, hardworking patriots who protect our nation every day” is correct.

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No evidence of collusion

On June 8, 2017, former FBI Director James Comey appeared before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSIC), following his abrupt firing by Donald Trump a month prior – a move that precipitated the launch of Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation.

The mainstream media widely forecast in advance that his testimony would provide bombshell insight into the White House’s intimate, illicit connections with Moscow, and could spell the beginning of the administration’s end, if not the end itself.

In the event, while Comey had some harsh words indeed for the man who’d dismissed him, he was repeatedly evasive on key questions related to investigations into the Trump campaign’s potential ties to the Kremlin, merely confirming all its members were being scrutinized – which he’d already disclosed to much fanfare three months earlier.

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Among the newly declassified transcripts is the June 2020 Senate testimony of Dana J. Boente, a senior DOJ official who oversaw pivotal periods of Crossfire Hurricane. It raises obvious concerns about Comey’s public statements, and his motivations for making them.

“I recall being told at some point, maybe not February [2017], [but] between February and April, because, thankfully, my involvement ended in April, that there was no evidence of collusion with the Trump campaign,” he told the Committee.

Boente also made clear that Comey was determined to publicize the ongoing investigation, and outlined his intention to do so before his SSIC appearance, which the DOJ had misgivings about.

“Well, I certainly felt that he could [mention it]. ‘Should’ is a much more difficult question, but I ceded to his request to brief on it …We don’t like to brief on pending criminal investigations as a matter of policy … I think he said … that the Intelligence Committee should know about or understand a maligned foreign power had attempted to affect our presidential election,” Boente recalled.

Since Comey’s Senate appearance, it’s been revealed that only a small minority within the US intelligence community were of the view that a “foreign power” had attempted to impact the outcome of the 2016 vote. However, then-CIA director John Brennan, with the support of Comey, excluded dissenting voices from the controversial ‘Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent Elections.’

The Assessment has been invoked as proof of meddling by the Kremlin in not merely the US but democracies the world over ever after – and was used to justify keeping Crossfire Hurricane going.

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Completely untrustworthy

That Boente was told within the first four months of 2017 that the FBI had no evidence of collusion is striking but unsurprising.

Previous disclosures of internal Bureau files and communications related to Crossfire Hurricane reveal that nothing to support the notion of covert collaboration, much less contact, between Trump’s campaign and the Russian state had been unearthed by that time, despite intensive investigation of all the individuals involved.

This included direct targeting by at least four covert human intelligence sources and numerous undercover agents, and the securing of a FISA warrant against Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page in late 2016.

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In seeking the warrant, the Bureau depended almost exclusively on the contents of the now-notorious and utterly discredited ‘Trump-Russia’ dossier produced by former MI6 operative Christopher Steele at the behest of opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which had been hired to dig up dirt on the Republican candidate by the Democratic National Committee.

At the same time he was producing the dossier, Steele was also a paid informant for the FBI, although his contract was terminated in November 2016. The newly declassified transcript of the Senate testimony of his FBI handler – unnamed in the document, but identified elsewhere as Michael Gaeta – sheds light on why.

On October 31 that year, Mother Jones became the very first news outlet to report on the existence of the dossier. Steele was unnamed, referred to instead variously as a “former Western intelligence officer” and a “veteran spy.” His handler was alerted to the piece and duly dropped him a line.

“I got him on the phone and said, did you see this article? My first question was, was that you, meaning, were you the source for that article? … I said this changes everything. We’re not going to be able to go forward from here on out. I told him specifically you’re not to collect any information on behalf of the FBI,” Steele’s handler recalled. “It told me that he was completely untrustworthy at that point as a source and could not be handled and would not be reliable.”

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Obviously political

Tantalisingly, Steele’s handler also revealed that the Bureau was well aware of the highly politicized nature of the dossier when his work for Fusion GPS had only just begun. That this represented an obvious conflict of interest was apparently not considered, or indeed of no concern.

At a meeting in London on July 5, 2016, requested the day prior by the former MI6 operative, Steele provided his handler with two memos he’d produced on Trump’s alleged ties to Russia to that point. There was “not even a question” in the handler’s mind that the information was “definitely political” and had been solicited by one of the parties involved in the impending election “to be used against the other.”

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That the Democrats were the ultimate beneficiary of Steele’s reports would surely seem obvious to many, but the ex-spy professed he was unaware of who or what was bankrolling Fusion GPS’s research efforts, merely saying the endeavour was funded by a law firm, the name of which he did not know.

“When I left there, there was not an understanding as to which party was actually paying for this information. It was clear that a party was paying for this information and that this information was going to be used by a party somehow. It was completely obvious,” Steele’s handler testified. “One of the goals was trying to identify the law firm, which would then hopefully help in identifying who was behind it … I had no understanding as I left that meeting that it was for one party or the other, but [knew] clearly that it was a political party.”

The law firm in question was Perkins Coie and, if Steele was indeed ignorant of that fact during the rendezvous with his FBI handler, he was undeniably aware of it when he met the firm’s representatives Michael Sussman and Marc Elias face to face that same month. Elias concurrently served as general counsel for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and personally hired Fusion GPS in April 2016.

Steele alleges Sussman outlined to him purported ties between Russian financial institution Alfa Bank, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Those allegations were noted in a resultant memo that became part of the dossier in September that year. He later told US government officials that Alfa Bank’s server was a mode of communication between Trump and the Russian state.

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Inaccurate or misleading

On July 8, 2020, the English and Welsh High Court ruled in favour of two Alfa Bank principals in a legal action they brought against Steele’s company Orbis Business Intelligence, as falsehoods in the dossier breached the UK’s Data Protection Act.

​In a 53-page ruling, the court awarded the duo damages totalling around US$45,000, and also raised serious questions about Steele’s probity and integrity, finding the dossier’s allegations against the bank’s executives were “inaccurate or misleading,” and reasonable steps to verify the claims hadn’t been undertaken. The judge also found Steele had frequently offered “very different versions” of key events, which were “mutually inconsistent in a number of respects.”

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Intriguingly, the judgment also noted that Steele “understood the intelligence he gathered would be used to advise the Ultimate Client on the prospect of legal proceedings and, if necessary, deployed in such proceedings to challenge the eventual outcome of the Presidential Election,” suggesting the dossier was always intended to serve as an insurance policy should Clinton fail to seize the presidency.

Had legal proceedings actually proceeded in the wake of her loss, the public might have learned the sorry story of its composition far earlier. It wasn’t until July 2020 that the identity of Steele’s sole source for the dossier’s allegations, Brookings Institution staffer Igor Danchenko, was publicly revealed.

His unmasking followed the release of his January 2017 interview by FBI agents, as the Bureau attempted to verify the dossier’s contents. He exposed how he’d fed drunken tittle-tattle to Steele in return for cash, and expressed intense dismay it had been used in a criminal investigation in any capacity.

Despite Dancheko’s determined disavowals, officials continued to cite the dossier in submissions for renewals of the warrant against Carter Page on three occasions thereafter.

In December 2019, the DOJ identified at least 17 “significant errors and omissions” in the last two warrants, secured in April and June 2017 respectively, and ruled them invalid. Page has since launched legal action against the FBI and top officials, including James Comey, in federal court.

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The American Empire has fallen, though Washington may not know it yet

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Wanting to turn back the clock and restore the American Empire to what it was before Donald Trump’s presidency is a fool’s errand. It’s already a thing of the past – and the storming of the US Capitol was just the last straw.

Don’t take my word for it, though. “If the post-American era has a start date, it is almost certainly today,” argued none other than the head of the Council on Foreign Relations – the foremost think tank advocating for the Empire in Washington – after Wednesday’s storming of the Capitol by several hundred Trump supporters protesting the certification of the election for Biden.

“No one in the world is likely to see, respect, fear, or depend on us in the same way again,” lamented CFR president Richard Haas.

We are seeing images that I never imagined we would see in this country-in some other capital yes, but not here. No one in the world is likely to see, respect, fear, or depend on us in the same way again. If the post-American era has a start date, it is almost certainly today.

— Richard N. Haass (@RichardHaass) January 6, 2021

Sure enough, as Haas was saying this the NATO secretary-general tweeted about the “shocking scenes” in Washington and demanded that Joe Biden’s election “must be respected.” British and French leaders followed suit, as did the Organization of American States. Turkey “expressed concern.” Canada and India chimed in. 

Even Venezuela got into the act, condemning “acts of violence” in Washington and “political polarization” in the US, while expressing hope that Americans “can blaze a new path toward stability and social justice.”

#COMUNICADO| Venezuela expresa su preocupación por los hechos de violencia que se están llevando a cabo en la ciudad de Washington, EEUU; condena la polarización política y aspira que el pueblo estadounidense pueda abrirse un nuevo camino hacia la estabilidad y la justicia social pic.twitter.com/krqqFVV866

— Jorge Arreaza M (@jaarreaza) January 6, 2021

Keep in mind that the US has refused to recognize Venezuela’s elected president or parliament, attempting for the past two years to install an unelected ‘interim president’ instead and call it democracy. While the Trump administration has led this effort, the Democrats – now poised to have absolute power in the US – have been fully on board.

Likewise, the only time the Republican establishment and the Democrat ‘Resistance’ banded together in near-unison was to override Trump’s veto of the NDAA military funding bill, which contained a provision that would block him or any future president from withdrawing troops from overseas endless wars without prior congressional approval. The commitment to the Empire runs deep in the Washington ‘swamp’, as Trump used to call it.

“We are seeing images that I never imagined we would see in this country – in some other capital yes, but not here,” said Haas. 

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Do you realize now what you have done? US gets the kind of ‘democracy’ it championed overseas

This unwitting admission of ‘American exceptionalism’ basically says it’s fine for US-backed activists to storm parliaments in “regimes” that Washington dislikes and wants to change, but when Americans rebel against their own government they believe is acting illegitimately, that’s beyond the pale.

While what happened Wednesday was not actually a “color revolution,”  the visuals were certainly similar enough for the world to take notice. It would be wrong, however, to blame the Capitol “insurrection” for the demise of the American Empire, when it was merely the last domino to fall.

Again, don’t take my word for it – here’s Ishan Tharoor, a columnist for the notoriously pro-establishment Washington Post, declaring on Thursday that for “many abroad,” the vision of the US as a shining city on a hill with global moral influence and authority “has already died a thousand deaths.” 

For many abroad, that vision of the “shining city on the hill” has already died a thousand deaths. For some, it was always an illusion to obscure the Washington-engineered coups and client military regimes that defined their national politics for decades. https://t.co/DG1SnNGmBy

— Ishaan Tharoor (@ishaantharoor) January 7, 2021

For some of these people, Tharoor argued, this narrative was “always an illusion to obscure the Washington-engineered coups and client military regimes.” Indeed. 

Democrats and their neocon allies have spent the past four years blaming Trump’s ‘America First’ policy, lamenting that he was acting unilaterally, antagonizing “allies” and creating a “leadership vacuum” in the world. Those are the talking points of the incoming administration as well. 

Except they’ve clearly forgotten the events of January 2020, when Trump ordered the drone assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. There were no protests from US “allies” – or should we say vassals? Instead, they fell in line with amazing alacrity.

Also on rt.com
Exposing empire: How Soleimani’s killing put paid to myths the US told itself and others

Trump actually embraced the American Empire, he simply dispensed with the polite fictions it had used to dress up as something else over the years.

Ironically, it was the mobilization of the entire US political establishment to get rid of Trump – starting with ‘Russiagate’ and the impeachment circus over the phone call to Ukraine, with nationwide riots about “racial justice” and the politically weaponized coronavirus lockdowns along the way – that did the lion’s share of exploding the myths that maintained US hegemony, both at home and abroad.

Remember the ‘Deep State’ that was supposedly a Trumpian conspiracy theory? Yet its existence was confirmed in the impeachment hearings, a former CIA director openly praised it, and the eventual revelations of a FBI plot to frame General Flynn removed any vestiges of doubt. 

The mainstream media’s war on Trump, later joined by social media platforms – censorship of the legitimate and accurate Hunter Biden laptop story just before the election being just the most egregious example – also played out for the world to see. In the end, they banned Trump from every social media platform while he was still in office, even as he said he would leave peacefully. 

Also on rt.com
‘Turning point in the battle for control’: Edward Snowden, others warn of consequences to Trump’s Facebook ban

Basically, the entire US establishment was so consumed by the desire to burn Trump at the proverbial stake, they chopped up the scaffolding that held up the Empire to use as firewood.

In a speech recently, Joe Biden vowed to “rebuild, reclaim America’s place in the world” as a country that will “champion liberty and democracy once more.” That’s a daunting task, on par with putting the genie back into the bottle, un-spilling milk, or putting Humpty Dumpty back together again. 

Ironically, the only thing that could repair American prestige in the world might be to patch up the American Republic, almost broken by the four years of ‘Resistance’ to Trump. But as that would entail some self-awareness and soul-searching, it remains, shall we say, highly unlikely.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Again with the ‘likely’: US spies accuse Russia of SolarWinds hack in repeat of Russiagate hysteria

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US intelligence and security agencies declared that the SolarWinds hack was ‘likely Russian in origin,’ echoing evidence-free mainstream media claims as well as their own language in the ‘assessments’ about the 2016 election.

In a joint statement on Tuesday, the FBI, NSA, Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said that their investigative work “indicates that an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) actor, likely Russian in origin” was behind the compromise of SolarWinds Orion software, first revealed three weeks ago.

“At this time, we believe this was, and continues to be, an intelligence gathering effort. We are taking all necessary steps to understand the full scope of this campaign and respond accordingly,” the statement added.

#SolarWindsHack NEW: Intel community statement @CISAgov calls it “serious compromise” + “likely Russian in origin” + goal was intel gathering + reconnaissance rather than network destruction – “fewer than 10” USG agencies impacted by follow on activity – still considerable # https://t.co/PhUztCgkuZ

— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) January 5, 2021

What does “likely of Russian origin” even mean? Don’t expect the mainstream media outlets to ask – they’ve all been accusing Moscow for weeks, using unverifiable assertions by anonymous sources instead of any actual evidence.

Several things in the statement jump out. One, that CISA was put in charge of “asset response” and mitigation. This is the same agency that on November 13 hosted a statement – attributed to it by the media, but in reality coming from two advisory committees – declaring the 2020 US election “the most secure in American history,” hastening to add that “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”

Also on rt.com
2020 was ‘most secure election in American history’ says DHS advisory council, claims NO EVIDENCE of lost or deleted votes

That was a remarkable rush to judgment, given the subsequent claims to the contrary that seem far more credible than any assessments of “likely” Russian hacking.

Americans can surely sleep easy knowing the FBI is the “lead agency for threat response,” which is presently still collecting evidence, and analyzing it “to determine further attribution.” 

This is the agency once run by James Comey and Andrew McCabe, who discussed an “insurance policy” in case Donald Trump gets elected with senior staff like Peter Strzok and Lisa Page and framed General Michael Flynn over a perfectly legal and legitimate conversation with a Russian ambassador. 

This is the same FBI that hastened to send 15 agents to investigate a garage rope pulley in Talladega, but sat on Hunter Biden’s laptop for a year and did nothing with tips about the suspected Nashville RV bomber. 

The Nashville bomber suspect's girlfriend told police he was making bombs in his RV in 2019, reports @Tennessean. Her lawyer also said he “frequently talks” about bomb making. The report was sent to the FBI.Investigators have said he was not on their radar before the bombing. pic.twitter.com/atEW5837mY

— AJ+ (@ajplus) December 30, 2020

Again, the mainstream media will not point any of this out, but will parse the “likely” as “definitely” and claim the statement somehow proves their claim Russia was behind the SolarWinds breach. Just watch.

That’s precisely what happened with the infamous “Intelligence Community Assessment” published in January 2017. A handpicked group of FBI, CIA, ODNI and NSA staff was first conflated with “all 17 US intelligence agencies” and then their “assessment” treated as established fact. Only in November 2018, after the midterm elections, did the source material the ICA was based on see the light of day. 

It was quickly forgotten, however, as it made clear that the assessment was based on wishful thinking about what the US spies believed was “consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts.” Couldn’t have this frank admission interfere with the fantasy political interests in Washington needed to believe, after all.

Also on rt.com
We want to believe: ‘Russian hacking’ memo REVEALS how US intel pinned leaks to Kremlin

Note also that no one involved in the exercise in dissembling that was Russiagate ever faced any consequences. Only one person – a FBI lawyer named Kevin Clinesmith – has been prosecuted for altering evidence in the Flynn case, and he got a slap on the wrist. Meanwhile DNI James Clapper and CIA chief John Brennan got cable news sinecures, while FBI director Comey landed lucrative book and TV deals. McCabe, Strzok and Page went on to become media darlings and heroes of the #Resistance.

With all that in mind, it’s curious that the “likely” and “believe” are doing a lot of heavy lifting in that joining statement about the SolarWinds hack. Why should US spies couch their claims in bureaucratic language, designed to shield the author from consequences of being wrong, when impunity is the order of the day in Washington? Policy is based on assessments anyway, and it’s pretty obvious at this point that evidence – or lack thereof – is an irrelevant detail to the US establishment. 

But again, that’s a question one shouldn’t expect the mainstream media to ask.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Fifth Harmony – Down (feat. Gucci Mane)

[Intro: Gucci Mane]
It’s Gucci
Fifth Harmony

[Verse 1: Lauren]
I need somebody with some patience
‘Cause you know I got a temperament
And yeah, you got a reputation
Nothin’ that a little love can’t fix
There ain’t no kind of situation
Where I wouldn’t cross a line for you
FBI interrogation
I would get up there and lie for you

[Pre-Chorus: Dinah]
When push come to shove
You show me love
When push come to shove, aye

[Chorus: Lauren + Normani]
Long as you’re holding me down, down, down
I’m gon’ keep lovin’ you down, down, down
Long as you’re holding me down, down, down
I’m gon’ keep lovin’ you down, down, down
I’m gon’ keep lovin’ you

[Verse 2: Normani]
You the type that I could bake for (bake for)
‘Cause baby, you know how to take that cake
And I’m the only one you wait for
‘Cause baby, you know that I’m worth the wait

[Pre-Chorus: Ally & (Lauren)]
When push come to shove
You show me love (you show me love)
When push come to shove, aye

[Chorus: Lauren + Normani]
Long as you’re holding me down, down, down
I’m gon’ keep lovin’ you down, down, down
Long as you’re holding me down, down, down
I’m gon’ keep lovin’ you down, down, down
I’m gon’ keep lovin’ you

[Verse 3: Gucci Mane]
It’s like Bonnie and Clyde just walked in
A gangster and his bride just walked in
We on the same team and we ballin’
Got me showin’ off my ring like I’m Jordan
And I’ma hold you down like you hold me
And I’ll never tell a soul what you told me
When I was sittin’ in the cells is when you showed me
It takes a real one to put up with the old me
That’s why you in the coupe with the low seat
That’s why we at the game on the floor seats
My diamond that they seein’ from the nosebleeds
You make ’em mad, feel like you won a trophy

[Chorus: Lauren + Normani & Lauren & {Normani} & Dinah]
Long as you’re holding me down, down, down
I’m gon’ keep lovin’ you down, down, down
Long as you’re holding me down, down, down
I’m gon’ keep lovin’ you down, down, down (love you down)
I’m gon’ keep lovin’ you down, down, down
Long as you’re holding me down, down, down
I’m gon’ keep lovin’ you down, down, down {down, down, down, down}
Long as you’re holding me down, down, down (I’m gon’ love you down)
I’m gon’ keep lovin’ you down, down, down (long as you’re lovin’ me, boy)
I’m gon’ keep lovin’ you

Fifth Harmony – Down Lyrics

[Intro: Gucci Mane]
It’s Gucci
Fifth Harmony

[Verse 1: Lauren]
I need somebody with some patience
‘Cause you know I got a temperament
And yeah, you got a reputation
Nothin’ that a little love can’t fix
There ain’t no kinda situation
Where I wouldn’t cross a line for you
FBI interrogation
I would get up there and lie for you

[Pre-Chorus: Dinah]
When push come to shove
You show me love
When push come to shove, aye

[Chorus: Lauren + Normani]
Long as you’re holding me down, down, down
I’m gon’ keep lovin’ you down, down, down
Long as you’re holding me down, down, down
I’m gon’ keep lovin’ you down, down, down
I’m gon’ keep lovin’ you

[Verse 2: Normani]
You the type that I could bake for (bake for)
‘Cause baby, you know how to take that cake
And I’m the only one you wait for
‘Cause baby, you know that I’m worth the wait

[Pre-Chorus: Ally & (Lauren)]
When push come to shove
You show me love (you show me love)
When push come to shove, aye

[Chorus: Lauren + Normani]
Long as you’re holding me down, down, down
I’m gon’ keep lovin’ you down, down, down
Long as you’re holding me down, down, down
I’m gon’ keep lovin’ you down, down, down
I’m gon’ keep lovin’ you

[Verse 3: Gucci Mane]
It’s like Bonnie and Clyde just walked in
A gangster and his bride just walked in
We on the same team and we ballin’
Got me showin’ off my ring like I’m Jordan
And I’ma hold you down like you hold me
And I’ll never tell a soul what you told me
When I was sittin’ in the cells is when you showed me
It takes a real one to put up with the old me
That’s why you in the coupe with the low seat
That’s why we at the game on the floor seats
My diamond that they seein’ from the nosebleeds
You make ’em mad, feel like you won a trophy

[Chorus: Lauren + Normani & Dinah]
Long as you’re holding me {down}, down, down
I’m gon’ keep lovin’ you down, down, down
Long as you’re holding me down, down, down
I’m gon’ keep lovin’ you down, down, down (love you down)
I’m gon’ keep lovin’ you down, down, down
Long as you’re holding me down, down, down
I’m gon’ keep lovin’ you down, down, down (down, down, down)
Long as you’re holding me down, down, down (i’m gon’ love you down)
I’m gon’ keep lovin’ you down, down, down (long as you’re lovin’ me, boy)
I’m gon’ keep lovin’ you

M.I.A – P.O.W.A lyrics

Don’t you wanna
Tell me if you’re gonna
Put down your armour
Promise no more drama

Throw up my hands I say I’m not Dalai Lama
Throw up my hands say I’m not Obama

I’m not Osama
Monsanto farmer
I don’t drink no soda
I believe in Karma
They try to shut me down
I’ve still got the power
They try to hate me
But I still be that lover

I know my mind
In me I’m gonna find
This is my time
And I’m searching for the signs
Throw up my hands
Say this is people power
Throw up my finger and I’m taking on the Tower

Don’t you wanna
Tell me if you’re gonna
Put down your armour
Promise no more drama

You know me I don’t watch TV
People watching me are only gonna see
I’m not your enemy FBI checking me
Curbing my money but that don’t bother me

I’m much tougher
I don’t need the buffer
I keep it light
Keep my head out the gutter

I’ma do it now
I’ma do it
I’ma do it now
I’ma do it
I’ma do it now
I’ma show you how

Put your hands up
Put your middle fingers in the air
M.I.A. make it spray like it’s raining up in here
Think you’re getting baptised
With the sweat on your tree

Where where where
You say where my water there

You say wa wa wa wa wa
I say pa pa pa pa pa
You say wa wa wa wa wa
I say pa pa pa pa pa

Supa-kala fascist, racist, espi-ala-tazors
Posers with cases
They better not erase us
Batta come face us

I’m not Rihanna
I’m not Madonna
I’m not Mariah
Or Ariana
I’ve been around in this world causing drama
The real spice girl, hot girl power

Don’t you wanna
Tell me if you’re gonna
Put down your armour
Promise no more drama
Throw my hands
Say this is people power
Throw up my finger and I’m taking on the Tower

M.I.A. – P.O.W.A

[Hook]
Don’t you wanna
Tell me if you’re gonna
Put down your armour
Promise no more drama

Throw up my hands I say I’m not Dalai Lama
Throw up my hands say I’m not Obama

I’m not Osama
Monsanto farmer
I don’t drink no soda
I believe in Karma
They try to shut me down
I’ve still got the power
They try to hate me
But I still be that lover

I know my mind
In me I’m gonna find
This is my time
And I’m searching for the signs
Throw up my hands
Say this is people power
Throw up my finger and I’m taking on the Tower

[Hook]
Don’t you wanna
Tell me if you’re gonna
Put down your armour
Promise no more drama

You know me I don’t watch TV
People watching me are only gonna see
I’m not your enemy FBI checking me
Curbing my money but that don’t bother me

I’m much tougher
I don’t need the buffer
I keep it light
Keep my head out the gutter

I’ma do it now
I’ma do it
I’ma do it now
I’ma do it
I’ma do it now
I’ma show you how

Put your hands up
Put your middle fingers in the air
M.I.A. make it spray like it’s raining up in here
Think you’re getting baptised
With the sweat on your tree

Where where where
You say where my water there

You say wa wa wa wa wa
I say pa pa pa pa pa
You say wa wa wa wa wa
I say pa pa pa pa pa

Supa-kala fascist, racist, espi-ala-tazors
Posers with cases
They better not erase us
Batta come face us

I’m not Rihanna
I’m not Madonna
I’m not Mariah
Or Ariana
I’ve been around in this world causing drama
The real spice girl, hot girl power

[Hook]
Don’t you wanna
Tell me if you’re gonna
Put down your armour
Promise no more drama
Throw my hands
Say this is people power
Throw up my finger and I’m taking on the Tower

M.I.A – P.O.W.A lyrics

Don’t you wanna
Tell me if you’re gonna
Put down your armour
Promise no more drama

Throw up my hands I say I’m not Dalai Lama
Throw up my hands say I’m not Obama

I’m not Osama
Monsanto farmer
I don’t drink no soda
I believe in Karma
They try to shut me down
I’ve still got the power
They try to hate me
But I still be that lover

I know my mind
In me I’m gonna find
This is my time
And I’m searching for the signs
Throw up my hands
Say this is people power
Throw up my finger and I’m taking on the Tower

Don’t you wanna
Tell me if you’re gonna
Put down your armour
Promise no more drama

You know me I don’t watch TV
People watching me are only gonna see
I’m not your enemy FBI checking me
Curbing my money but that don’t bother me

I’m much tougher
I don’t need the buffer
I keep it light
Keep my head out the gutter

I’ma do it now
I’ma do it
I’ma do it now
I’ma do it
I’ma do it now
I’ma show you how

Put your hands up
Put your middle fingers in the air
M.I.A. make it spray like it’s raining up in here
Think you’re getting baptised
With the sweat on your tree

Where where where
You say where my water there

You say wa wa wa wa wa
I say pa pa pa pa pa
You say wa wa wa wa wa
I say pa pa pa pa pa

Supa-kala fascist, racist, espi-ala-tazors
Posers with cases
They better not erase us
Batta come face us

I’m not Rihanna
I’m not Madonna
I’m not Mariah
Or Ariana
I’ve been around in this world causing drama
The real spice girl, hot girl power

Don’t you wanna
Tell me if you’re gonna
Put down your armour
Promise no more drama
Throw my hands
Say this is people power
Throw up my finger and I’m taking on the Tower

P.O.W.A – M.I.A lyrics

Lyrics M.I.A – P.O.W.A

Don’t you wanna
Tell me if you’re gonna
Put down your armour
Promise no more drama.(p.o.w.a)

Throw up my hands I say I’m not Dalai Lama
Throw up my hands say I’m not Obama.

I’m not Osama
Monsanto farmer
I don’t drink no soda
I believe in Karma
They try to shut me down
I’ve still got the power
They try to hate me
But I still be that lover.

I know my mind
In me I’m gonna find
This is my time
And I’m searching for the signs
Throw up my hands
Say this is people power
Throw up my finger and I’m taking on the Tower.

Don’t you wanna
Tell me if you’re gonna
Put down your armour
Promise no more drama.

You know me I don’t watch TV
People watching me are only gonna see
I’m not your enemy FBI checking me
Curbing my money but that don’t bother me.

I’m much tougher
I don’t need the buffer
I keep it light
Keep my head out the gutter.

I’ma do it now
I’ma do it
I’ma do it now
I’ma do it
I’ma do it now
I’ma show you how.

Put your hands up
Put your middle fingers in the air
M.I.A. make it spray like it’s raining up in here
Think you’re getting baptised
With the sweat on your tree.

Where where where
You say where my water there.

You say wa wa wa wa waaa
I say pa pa pa paa pa
You say wa wa wa wa waaa
I say pa pa pa pa paaa.

Supa-kala fascist, racist, espi-ala-tazors
Posers with cases
They better not erase us
Batta come face us.

I’m not Rihanna
I’m not Madonna
I’m not Mariah
Or Ariana
I’ve been around in this world causing drama
The real spice girl, hot girl power.

Don’t you wanna
Tell me if you’re gonna
Put down your armour
Promise no more drama
Throw my hands
Say this is people power
Throw up my finger and I’m taking on the Towerrr.
M.I.A. lyrics
Video M.I.A.