Commentary: For a great example of “fake news” just read this sentence from an op-ed column in Thursday's Sun-News: “This traitorous deal was facilitated by the head of the FBI at the time — none other than Robert Mueller. ” The “deal” was Russian acquisition of a Canadian company that controlled a lot of uranium. The writer offered no supporting facts.
For “false advertising,” watch city council candidate Steve Montañez's video designed to mislead voters into thinking actor and environmentalist Morgan Freeman endorsed him.
The Mueller allegation was nonsense – and had nothing to do with the big uranium deal.
In 2006 Republic of Georgia police, and the U.S. Department of Energy, carried out a sting operation against several men (one Russian, several Georgians) trying to sell highly-enriched uranium. The sting was kept secret until it succeeded. Then it was widely reported. “Republic of Georgia authorities, aided by the CIA, set up a sting operation last summer that led to the arrest of a Russian man who tried to sell a small amount of nuclear-bomb grade uranium in a plastic bag in his jacket pocket, U.S. and Georgian officials said,” the Washington Post reported.
A 2009 U.S. cable (courtesy of Wiki-leaks) notes that Russian investigators had asked the U.S. for a ten-gram sample of the stolen uranium, formerly owned by Russia. The U.S. complied. Normal international police cooperation. Mueller, then head of the FBI, was directed to deliver the sample when he arrived in Moscow. The delivery occurred on an airport tarmac, a detail that excited some highly partisan web sites and Trump fans who suddenly wanted to attack Mueller recently.) I don't know whether Mueller was flying to Russia on other business; but the cable mentions “chain-of-custody,” an important principle in criminal evidence law. That could explain why Mueller was the delivery-boy.
Mueller has an excellent reputation. He's a registered Republican and somewhat conservative. He's said to be highly diligent and a model of integrity. This kind of attack shows how desperate some are to prevent an impartial investigation of Trump's possible collusion with Russia regarding the 2016 election.
I'll assume the local op-ed columnist honestly, but naively, believed that Mueller had something to do with Russian acquisition of a much larger lot of uranium.
But Montañez – does he think we're that dumb? He knows Morgan Freeman (from Mississippi) had no interest in urging District 5 voters to unseat Councilor Gill Sorg for Montañez.
He apparently funded and posted a video narrated by a Freeman imitator, with a picture of Freeman at the end, urging voters to elect Montañez (By the time I looked, the still was gone. The video's still up.)
The Freeman bit isn't even original. Fake Freeman ads started in 2010 with far-right Republican Scott Walker in Wisconsin.
Ironically, Freeman's strong environmentalism suggests he'd prefer Sorg, who actually knows something about water and the environment. Sorg wants the best for Las Crucens – not higher real estate profits. The same Montañez video that lies by implying Freeman supports him adds that “We are here to serve the families and residents.” Sorry, Steve. You've undermined your own credibility.
In a supposedly non-partisan race, Montañez also ran an ad saying he was endorsed by “Isabella Solis, Democrat.” He's a registered Republican. Is he ashamed to be a member of Donald Trump's party?
Next, watch for a mailer saying Gill Sorg helped steal that uranium.
Note: The video using a Morgan Freeman impersonator has apparently been removed from YouTube.