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Demonization of Putin

Reuters/David W Cerny

PseudoScience > Who Rules America > Pathological Russophobia of the US elite

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Europe has manufactured an artificial "Russian enemy"
 in order to create an artificial "European identity"

Guy Mettan

Demonization of Putin is integral part of policy of the US and British elite toward Russia, designed to weaken, and, if possible, dismember the Russian state. It is also an instrument of increasing national unity by creating a demonized external enemy.

Russophobia of the US elite should be understood in the context of Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism as Russia represent an obstacle for complete domination of the globe by the US neoliberal empire. Nothing personal here, just business. Recent statements by Putin made at Valday club in Sochi (October 24, 2014) also do not produce any love to Putin from the global and first of all the USA neoliberal elite as well as London-based financial oligarchy. Not accidentally for both the US and GB elite Putin is a "Great Satan".

Like anti-Semitism, Russophobia is based on standard mechanism of Demonization (Wikipedia):

In colloquial usage, the term demonization is used metaphorically to refer to propaganda directed on delitimization of particular individual or group.

Delegitimization is the psychological process which undermines or marginalizes an individual or entity by presenting value judgments as facts which are construed to devalue legitimacy. The ultimate goal of justifying harm or war.

The concept applies to a wide spectrum of social contexts but generally means categorization of individual or groups into extreme social categories which are ultimately excluded from society. Delegitimization provides the moral and the discursive basis to harm the delegitimized group, even in the most inhumane ways.

It is related to stereotyping in a sense that it leads to prejudice when people emotionally react to the name of the person, ascribe evil intention and characteristic to the person or group without evaluating objective evidence.

As always in such cases three-letter agencies are in the vanguard of such complains (Is the CIA Running a Defamation Campaign Against Putin - Russia Insider)

A major topic in the Russian media is mystification with how Putin is portrayed in the Western media. Wildly popular at home, and seen as a decent, modest, an admirable person, and Russians don't understand how there can be such a disconnect with Western impressions.

Recently, leading Russian commentators and politicians have been suggesting that this can only be explained by a deliberate campaign to defame Putin, by governments or other groups.

Yesterday, at a briefing to foreign journalists, Sergey Ivanov, Putin's chief of staff, arguably the 2nd most powerful man in Russia, spoke of an "information war" consisting of "personal attacks" on Putin.

The western media hit a new low...
>The day before another member of Putin's inner circle, Vyasheslav Volodin, made similar remarks, telling foreign journalists "an attack on Putin is an attack on Russia."

The logic, they argue, is that by defaming the leader of a country, you weaken his power domestically by undermining popular support for him, and internationally, by rallying popular opinion to support policies against that country. The ultimate goal, they argue, is to weaken the country itself. They also talk about regime change.

They argue that if one looks at the facts, that there is evidence of ongoing character assassination which cannot be explained by a vague popular zeitgeist in the West, but is more likely the result of a dedicated effort to introduce this defamation into the news flow.

Newsweek has been one of the most virulent Putin-bashers for years

The issue of manipulation of news by intelligence services has been in the news recently with revelations that the CIA and German Secret Service (GSS) have long-running programs to influence how media executives and top journalists convey and interpret the news, including direct cash payments.

Here are some examples they point to:

RI sat down with The Saker, a leading analyst of Russia in international affairs, and asked him what he thinks:

So, is there any credence to this line of thinking, or is this conspiracy theorists running wild?

There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the US is waging a major psyop war against Russia, although not a shooting war, for now, and that what we are seeing is a targeted campaign to discredit Putin and achieve "regime change" in Russia or, should that fail, at the very least "regime weakening" and "Russia weakening".

And the Economist has been the very worst of them all...

So this is a US government program?

Yes, Putin is absolutely hated by certain factions in the US government two main reasons:

1. He partially, but not fully, restored Russia's sovereignty which under Gorbachev and Yeltsin had been totally lost … Russia then was a US colony like Ukraine is today … and,

2. He dared to openly defy the USA and its civilizational model.

… a free and sovereign Russia is perceived by the US "deep state" as an existential threat which has to be crushed. … this is a full-scale political assault on Russia and Putin personally.

So what the Russians are saying, that the constant personal attacks against Putin in the global media are partly the result of deliberate efforts by US intelligence services, … basically, planted stories…

Yes, absolutely

It seems like “Operation Mockingbird” all over again… Are you aware of other instances aimed at Putin?

(Editors Note: Operation Mockingbird was a CIA program started in the 1950s to influence the US media, which was gradually exposed by investigative journalists starting in the late 60s, culminating in sensational televised congressional hearings in 1975 which shocked the nation, forcing the program’s termination. Critics maintain that the same tactics have continued since, under different programs. Wikipedia)

Yes, of course. Since this defamation has very little traction with the Russian public … Putin's popularity is higher than ever before .., there is an organized campaign to convince them that Putin is "selling out" Novorussia, that he is a puppet of oligarchs who are making deals with Ukrainian oligarchs to back-stab the Novorussian resistance…

… So far, Putin's policies in the Ukraine have enjoyed very strong support from the Russian people who still oppose an overt military intervention…

… but if Kiev attacks Novorussia again - which appears very likely - and if such an attack is successful - which is less likely but always possible - then Putin will be blamed for having given the Ukrainians the time to regroup and reorganize.

Warm and fuzzy...

So you are saying that if the Ukrainian military strengthens its position enough to deliver a serious blow to the East Ukrainians, the US can use this as a method to strike at Putin’s support base…

Yes, that’s right ... there are a lot of "fake patriots" in Russia and abroad who will reject any negotiated solution and who will present any compromise as a "betrayal". They are the "useful idiots" used by western special services to smear and undermine Putin.

Is it limited to government special ops, or are there other groups who might have an interest in doing this?

Yes, well here is something that most people in the west don’t appreciate… there is a major behind-the scenes struggle among Russian elites between what I call the "Eurasian Sovereignists" (basically, those who support Putin) and what I call the "Atlantic Integrationists" (those whom Putin refers to as the "5th column).

The western media talks about this as the struggle between Russian liberals and conservatives, reformers and reactionaries, right?

Well its sort of like that, but not exactly…

The former see Russia's future in the Russian North and East and want to turn Russia towards Asia, Latin America and the rest of the world, while the latter want Russia to become part of the "North Atlantic" power configuration.

The Atlantic Integrationists are now too weak to openly challenge Putin - whose real power base is his immense popular support - but they are quietly sabotaging his efforts to reform Russia while supporting anti-Putin campaigns.

Regarding the revelations of CIA activities in Germany, do you think this is going on in other countries, in the US?

I am sure that this is happening in most countries worldwide. The very nature of the modern corporate media is such that it makes journalists corrupt.

As the French philosopher Alain Soral says "nowadays a reporter is either unemployed or a prostitute". There are, of course, a few exceptions, but by and large this is true.

This is not to say that most journalists are on the take. In the West this is mostly done in a more subtle way - by making it clear which ideas do or do not pass the editorial control, by lavishly rewarding those journalists who 'get it' and by quietly turning away those who don't.

If a journalist or reporter commits the crime of "crimethink" he or she will be sidelined and soon out of work.

There is no real pluralism in the West where the boundaries of what can be said or not are very strictly fixed.

Ok, but is it like what has been revealed in Germany, …similar specific operational programs in France, the UK, Italy, Latin America, etc.

Yes, one has to assume so – it is in their interests to have them and there is no reason for them not to.

As for the CIA, it de-facto controls enough of the corporate media to "set the tone". As somebody who in the past used to read the Soviet press for a living, I can sincerely say that it was far more honest and more pluralistic than the press in the USA or EU today.

Joseph Goebbels or Edward Bernays could not have imagined the degree of sophistication of modern propaganda machines.

If the US is doing it, can't one assume other governments are too? Are the Russians doing it against western leaders?

I think that all governments try to do that kind of stuff. However, what makes the US so unique it a combination of truly phenomenal arrogance and multi-billion dollar budgets.

The US "deep state" owns the western corporate media which is by far the most powerful media on the planet. Most governments can only do that inside their own country ... to smear a political opponent or discredit a public figure, but they simply do not have the resources to mount an international strategic psyop campaign. This is something only the US can do.

So foreign governments are at a great disadvantage in this arena vis-a-vis the US?

Absolutely.

Quotes from Putin speech and answers to the questions at the meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club

 


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[Feb 23, 2019] Guardian neoliberal presstitutes: Trump's bid to upend Russia inquiry unprecedented, experts say

Feb 23, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

pretzelattack , Feb 22, 2019 9:58:52 AM | link

for the first time in weeks (months?) i don't see anything about mueller or russia on the featured articles at the guardian. are they implicitly going to admit it was all bullshit, without ever acknowledging it? (by "they" i mean the msm).
Ghost Ship , Feb 22, 2019 1:06:41 PM | link
>>>>: pretzelattack | Feb 22, 2019 9:58:52 AM | 3
for the first time in weeks (months?) i don't see anything about mueller or russia on the featured articles at the guardian

You spoke too soon :

'Even Nixon wasn't like him': Trump's bid to upend Russia inquiry unprecedented, experts say

And now they've gone "live" about Manafort .

One last hurrah, one Hail Mary before Mueller says there was no provable collusion.

[Feb 22, 2019] FBI Official Admits To Infiltrating Trump Campaign - Just Don't Call It Spying

Feb 22, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
A top FBI official admitted to Congressional investigators last year that the agency had contacts within the Trump campaign as part of operation "Crossfire Hurricane," which sounds a lot like FBI "informant" Stefan Halper - a former Oxford University professor who was paid over $1 million by the Obama Department of Defense between 2012 and 2018, with nearly half of it surrounding the 2016 US election.

According to portions of transcripts published on Tuesday by the Epoch Times of a Aug. 31, 2018 deposition by Trisha Anderson, the FBI relied on sources who "already had campaign contacts" in order to surveil the Trump team.

"To my knowledge, the FBI did not place anybody within a campaign but, rather, relied upon its network of sources, some of whom already had campaign contacts, including the source that has been discussed in the media at some length beyond Christopher Steele ," said Anderson - who was the #2 attorney at the FBI's Office of General Counsel, and had extensive involvement with the Trump counterintelligence investigation.

Halper is reportedly a longtime CIA and FBI informant, and has been involved in US politics at the highest levels for decades, becoming George H.W. Bush's National Director for Policy Development during his presidential campaign. After Bush lost to Reagan, Halper worked as Reagan's Deputy Assistant Secretary of State - where he served under three different Secretaries .

He then became a senior advisor to the Department of Defense and DOJ between 1984 and 2001. Halper's former father-in-law was Ray Cline, former Deputy Director of the CIA . He also allegedly spied on the Carter administration - collecting information on foreign policy (an account disputed by Ray Cline).

Halper's involvement in surveilling the Trump campaign was exposed by the Daily Caller 's Chuck Ross, who reported that the 74-year-old spook was enlisted by the FBI to befriend and spy on three members of the Trump campaign during the 2016 US election .

Halper received a DoD contract from the Obama administration for $411,575 - made in two payments, and had a start date of September 26, 2016 - three days after a September 23 Yahoo! News article by Michael Isikoff about Trump aide Carter Page, which used information fed to Isikoff by "pissgate" dossier creator Christopher Steele . The FBI would use the Yahoo! article along with the unverified "pissgate" dossier as supporting evidence in an FISA warrant application for Page. Halper approached Page during an election-themed conference at Cambridge on July 11, 2016, six weeks after the September 26 DoD award start date. The two would stay in contact for the next 14 months, frequently meeting and exchanging emails .

He said that he first encountered the informant during a conference in mid-July of 2016 and that they stayed in touch. The two later met several times in the Washington area. Mr. Page said their interactions were benign. - New York Times

And as the Daily Caller reports, Halper used a decades-old association with Paul Manafort to break the ice with Page.

In September 2016, the FBI would send Halper to further probe Trump aide George Papadopoulos on an allegation he made that Russia had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton. According to Papadopoulos in an interview with Dan Bongino, Halper angrily accused him of working with Russia before storming out of a meeting.

Halper essentially began interrogating Papadopoulos, saying that it's "obviously in your interest to be working with the Russians" and to "hack emails." " You're complicit with Russia in this, isn't that right George " Halper told him. Halper also inquired about Hillary's hacked emails, insinuating that Papadopoulos possessed them. Papadopoulos denied knowing anything about this and asked to be left alone. - Bongino.com

https://youtu.be/45m5DP1xfRg

Just don't call Halper a spy...


hugin-o-munin , 1 hour ago link

All of these blatant crimes done by the Democrat cheerleading swamp creatures NEVER get investigated and I am starting to wonder what the hell Trump is doing. Is he stupid or is all of this just a charade and they are all on the same team. How could this creep Rod Rosenstein have been left at his position until this time? It makes no sense to me. Sure all of these rodents have control files on each other but come on how scared are they? It's ridiculous. If Trump soon gets impeached I'll hold him responsible himself for not doing anything.

schroedingersrat , 59 minutes ago link

They are all on the same team. Trump was never your saviour. He was designed to be a distraction so the 0.01% that own both parties can rape you some more.

hugin-o-munin , 57 minutes ago link

Correct. It's all a big lie and show for the uninformed masses. God help these liars when all the Qanon followers wake up to this truth. All this 'tremendous winning' bs will boomerang back big time.

donkey_shot , 5 hours ago link

The above Halper story has been circulating for about a year now, so this isn`t actually big news. As for the FBI and the CIA subverting just about every political campaign or social movement in existence: Well, duh. The deep state and its satanic minions will remain in control as long as such "intelligence" and State Security agencies (the FBI is essentially nothing but a US version of the SS) are allowed to exist.

youshallnotkill , 5 hours ago link

Not a word on here on the breaking news in the Epstein case.

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5745926-Epstein-Order.html

Typical.

punchasocialist , 1 hour ago link

Alex Acosta works out an illegal deal for Epstein = Trump gives Acosta a cabinet position = Trump is a protector of Pedo protectors = Trump doesn't give 2 shits about Pedos

[Feb 22, 2019] Neo-McCarthyism is used to defend the US empirical policies. Branding dissidents as Russian stooges is a loophole that allow to suppress dissident opinions

Highly recommended!
Unfortunately the article does not mention the term McCarthyism, which is fully applicable. Also the role of CNN of the voice of Clinton wing of Democratic Party presuppose the attitudes the Caitlin is complaining about. This is a party MSM masquerading as impendent new outlet. This are neoliberal presstitutes and warmongers, for the lack of stronger worlds.
Also correlation with RT policies does undermine the US foreign policy. We need only decide whether this is a good or bad thing and whether the US imperial policies are good for American people, or only for large transnational corporations. I think Tucker Carlson also undermines the US foreign policy and as such you can find a correlation between his positions and RT position. Now what ?
Money quote: "the possibility of an American opposing US warmongering and the political establishment which drives it without being ordered to by a rubles-dispensing FSB officer was a completely alien idea to them."
Yes, they actually care only in the "politically correct" reason for suppression. So the only new moment is blatant hypocrisy. But that's how all societies work and in this sense there is nothing special in the fact that dissident voices are suppressed. In middle ages heretics were burned at the stake.
The situation is interesting because neoliberalism is definitely on the decline and as such represent now (unlike say 10 year ago) and rich target of attack and as the USA support it neoliberal empire such attacks usually attack the US foreign policy. The real question is what alternative the particular outlet proposes -- the return to the New Deal Capitalism in some form or shape, or new socialist experiment is some form of shape.
Notable quotes:
"... CNN knew that Facebook was going to be suspending the pages of her company Maffick Media before she did, suggesting a creepy degree of coordination between the two massive outlets to silence an alternative media platform. ..."
"... the US government has found a legal loophole to suppress speech, in this case speech that is critical of destructive US government policies around the world. ..."
"... Thirdly, and in my opinion weirdest of all, the article goes to great lengths to make the fact that a dissident media outlet supports the same foreign policy positions as Russia look like something strange and nefarious, instead of the normal and obvious thing that it is. ..."
"... the possibility of an American opposing US warmongering and the political establishment which drives it without being ordered to by a rubles-dispensing FSB officer was a completely alien idea to them. ..."
"... Nimmo said the tone of Maffick's pages is 'broadly anti-US and anti-corporate. That's strikingly similar to RT's output. Maffick may technically be independent, but their tone certainly matches the broader Kremlin family.' ..."
"... This is a truly obnoxious mind virus we're seeing the imperial narrative controllers pushing more and more aggressively into mainstream consciousness today : that anyone who opposes the beltway consensus on western interventionism is not simply an individual with a conscience who is thinking critically for themselves, but is actually "boosting the Kremlin narrative" ..."
"... Don't even subscribe to an anti-establishment subreddit. Those things are all Russian. Listen to Big Brother instead. Big Brother will protect you from their filthy Russian lies. ..."
"... "If CNN would like to hire me to present facts against destructive US wars and corporate ownership of our political system, I'll gladly accept," Khalek told me when asked for comment ..."
"... Russian media influence is not their actual target. Their actual target is leftist, antiwar and anti-establishment voices. That's what they're really trying to eliminate. ..."
"... It doesn't take any amount of sympathy for Russia to see that the unipolar empire is toxic for humanity, and most westerners who oppose that toxicity have no particular feelings about Russia any more than they have about Turkey or the Philippines ..."
Feb 21, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Caitlin Johnstone Exposes "The Truly Obnoxious Mind Virus" Of Imperial Narrative Controllers

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

In an extremely weird article titled " Russia is backing a viral video company aimed at American millennials ", CNN reports that Facebook has suspended popular dissident media outlet "In The Now" and its allied pages for failing to publicly "disclose" its financial ties to a subsidiary of RT.

According to CNN, such disclosures are not and have never been an actual part of Facebook's official policy, but Facebook has made the exceptional precondition of public disclosure of financial ties in order for In The Now to return to its platform.

I say the article is extremely weird for a number of reasons.

Firstly , according to In The Now CEO Anissa Naouai, CNN knew that Facebook was going to be suspending the pages of her company Maffick Media before she did, suggesting a creepy degree of coordination between the two massive outlets to silence an alternative media platform.

Secondly , the article reports that CNN found out about Maffick's financial ties thanks to a tip-off from the German Marshall Fund, a narrative control firm which receives funding from the US government. In The Now 's Rania Khalek has described this tactic as "a case where the US government has found a legal loophole to suppress speech, in this case speech that is critical of destructive US government policies around the world."

Thirdly, and in my opinion weirdest of all, the article goes to great lengths to make the fact that a dissident media outlet supports the same foreign policy positions as Russia look like something strange and nefarious, instead of the normal and obvious thing that it is.

The article repeatedly mentions the fact that all the people working for In The Now "claim" to be editorially independent as opposed to being told what to report by Kremlin officials, a notion which Khalek says was met with extreme skepticism when she was interviewed for the piece by CNN. As though the possibility of an American opposing US warmongering and the political establishment which drives it without being ordered to by a rubles-dispensing FSB officer was a completely alien idea to them.

Check out the following excerpt, for example of this bizarre attitude:

"Ben Nimmo, a senior fellow for information defense at the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab, told CNN that while Russian state-backed outlets claim to be editorially independent, 'they routinely boost Kremlin narratives, especially those which portray the West negatively.'

"Nimmo said the tone of Maffick's pages is 'broadly anti-US and anti-corporate. That's strikingly similar to RT's output. Maffick may technically be independent, but their tone certainly matches the broader Kremlin family.' "

This is a truly obnoxious mind virus we're seeing the imperial narrative controllers pushing more and more aggressively into mainstream consciousness today : that anyone who opposes the beltway consensus on western interventionism is not simply an individual with a conscience who is thinking critically for themselves, but is actually "boosting the Kremlin narrative". If you say it in an assertive and authoritative tone like Mr Nimmo does, it can sound like a perfectly reasonable position if you don't think about it too hard. If you really look at it directly, though, what these manipulators are actually saying is "Russia opposes western interventionism, therefore anyone who opposes western interventionism is basically Russian."

Which is of course a total non-argument. You don't get to just say "Russia bad" for two years to get everyone riled up into a state of xenophobic hysteria and then say "That's Russian!" at anything you don't like. That's not a thing. More to the point, though, there is no causal relationship between the fact that Russia opposes western interventionism and the fact that many westerners do.

As we discussed recently , there will necessarily be inadvertent agreement between Russia and westerners who oppose western interventionism, because Russia, like so many other sovereign nations, opposes western interventionism. If you discover that an American who opposes US warmongering and establishment politics is saying the same things as RT, that doesn't mean you've discovered a shocking conspiracy between western dissidents and the Russian government, it means people who oppose the same things oppose the same things.

We're seeing this absurd gibberish spouted over and over again by the mainstream media now. The other day the delightful pro-Sanders subreddit WayOfTheBern was smeared as a Russian operation by the Washington Times, not because the Washington Times had any evidence anywhere supporting that claim, but because the subreddit's members are hostile to Democratic presidential hopefuls other than Sanders, and because its posts "consistently support positions that would be amenable to the Kremlin." All this means is that the subreddit is full of people who support Bernie Sanders and oppose US government malfeasance, yet an entire article was published in a mainstream outlet treating this as something dangerous and suspicious.

If you really listen to what the CNNs and Ben Nimmos and Washington Timeses are actually trying to tell you, what they're saying is that it's not okay for anyone to oppose any part of the unipolar world order or the establishment which runs it . Never ever, under any circumstances. Don't work for a media outlet that's funded by the Russian government even though no mainstream outlets will ever platform you. Don't even subscribe to an anti-establishment subreddit. Those things are all Russian. Listen to Big Brother instead. Big Brother will protect you from their filthy Russian lies.

"If CNN would like to hire me to present facts against destructive US wars and corporate ownership of our political system, I'll gladly accept," Khalek told me when asked for comment.

"But the corporate media doesn't allow antiwar voices a platform. In The Now does. I've worked for dozens of different outlets, from Vice to Al Jazeera to RT, and my message has always been the same: leftist, antiwar and pro justice and equality. People should be asking why US mainstream media outlets that claim to be free and independent refuse to air critical and adversarial voices like mine."

Why indeed? Actually, if CNN is so worried about Russian media influence in America, all they'd have to do is put on a few shows featuring leftist, antiwar and pro-justice voices and that would be the end of it. They could easily out-spend RT by a massive margin, buy up all the talent like Khalek, Lee Camp and Chris Hedges, put on a sleek, high-budget show and steal RT America's audience, killing it dead and drawing all anti-establishment energy to their material.

But they don't. They don't, and they never will. Because Russian media influence is not their actual target. Their actual target is leftist, antiwar and anti-establishment voices. That's what they're really trying to eliminate.

So yes, Moscow will of course elevate some western voices who oppose the power establishment that is trying to undermine and subvert Russia. Those voices will not require any instruction to speak out against that establishment, since that's what they'd be doing anyway and they're just grateful to finally have a platform upon which to speak. And it is good that they're getting a platform to speak. If western power structures have a problem with it, they should stop universally refusing to platform anyone who opposes the status quo that is destroying nations abroad and squeezing the life out of citizens at home.

It doesn't take any amount of sympathy for Russia to see that the unipolar empire is toxic for humanity, and most westerners who oppose that toxicity have no particular feelings about Russia any more than they have about Turkey or the Philippines. Sometimes Russia will come in and give them a platform in the void that has been left by the mainstream outlets which are doing everything they can to silence them. So what? The alternative is all dissident voices being silenced. The fact that Russia prevents a few of them from being silenced is not the problem. The problem is that they are being silenced at all.

* * *

Thanks for reading! My articles are entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook , following my antics on Twitter , throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal , purchasing some of my sweet merchandise , buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone , or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers . The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website , which will get you an email notification for everything I publish.

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[Feb 22, 2019] Sic Semper Tyrannis Analytic piece on staged chemical attacks

Feb 22, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Analytic piece on staged chemical attacks " ... weaponized disinformation campaigns, staged videos and fake news are common approaches used by the US military and special services to promote their own agenda around the world. The US was actively using these tools during its intervention in Iraq and after it.

According to the later revelations, the employed programs were varying from placing Pentagon-provided articles in Iraqi newspapers as "unbiased news" to producing footage, which were made to look as if they had been "created by Arabic TV," and CDs with fake al-Qaeda videos, which then distributed through various channels.

The employed propaganda approaches are constantly evolving. Therefore, propaganda coverage of the conflict in Syria has some differences with those which were observed in Iraq. Now, mainstream media, the Pentagon, the intelligence services and diplomats are actively using Hollywood-style approaches. This style of the coverage is based on providing catchy, even if horrible, pictures and videos influencing the emotions of the audience rather than convincing it with logical conclusions.

Just like with Hollywood movies, the mainstream news has increasingly been turning away from the logical narration of stories with realistic motivations to emotional judgements based on anonymous sources, non-verified images, pocket citizen journalists and even open speculation. The content developed within the framework of this approach is usually based on the results of social and psychological research. This allows results to be maximised by the targetted development of content and appropriate segmentation of the audience. An interesting and successful example of this audience reaction modelling can be seen in the mainstream media coverage of the Salisbury incident, which gave rise to large-scale hysteria in Western countries about Russian spies." SF

-------------

Well, pilgrims, you heard it first here and often over the last years. This piece speaks for itself. pl

https://southfront.org/staged-chemical-attack-videos-and-other-trends-in-modern-propaganda/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wag_the_Dog

Fred , 5 hours ago

"mainstream news... to emotional judgements based on anonymous sources, non-verified images, pocket citizen journalists and even open speculation. " That fits the latest news events from the Right to Life March or the Jussie Smollett hate hoax.

"weaponized disinformation campaigns" I was thinking of writing something along the lines of "Where have all the good communists gone". It sure seems their agitprop tactics are alive and well.

[Feb 21, 2019] The Empire Now or Never by Fred Reed

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... When the Soviet Empire collapsed, America appeared poised to establish the first truly world empire. The developed countries were American vassals in effect if not in name, many of them occupied by American troops: Among others, Europe, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Latin America, Saudi Arabia, and Australia. The US had by far the dominant economy and the biggest military, controlled the IMF, NATO, the dollar, SWIFT, and enjoyed technological superiority.. Russia was in chaos, China a distant smudge on the horizon. ..."
"... Current foreign policy openly focuses on dominating the planet. The astonishing thing is that some people don't notice. ..."
"... A major purpose of the destruction of Iraq was to get control of its oil and put American forces on the border of Iran, another oil power. The current attempt to starve the Iranians aims at installing a American puppet government. The ongoing coup in Venezuela seeks control of another vast oil reserve. It will also serve to intimidate the rest of Latin America by showing what can happen to any country that defies Washington. Why are American troops in Nigeria? Guess what Nigeria has. ..."
"... America cannot compete with China commercially ..."
"... Beijing's advantages are too great: A huge and growing domestic market, a far larger population of very bright people, a for-profit economy that allows heavy investment both internally and abroad, a stable government that can plan well into the future. ..."
"... Increasingly America's commercial power is as a consumer, not a producer. Washington tells other countries, "If you don't do as we say, we won't buy your stuff." ..."
"... As America's competitiveness declines, Washington resorts to strong-arm tactics. It has no choice. A prime example is the 5G internet, a Very Big Deal, in which Huawei holds the lead. Unable to provide a better product at a better price, Washington forbids the vassals to deal with Huawei–on pain of not buying their stuff. In what appears to be desperation, the Exceptional Nation has actually made a servile Canada arrest the daughter of Huawei's founder. ..."
Feb 21, 2019 | www.unz.com

... ... ...

When the Soviet Empire collapsed, America appeared poised to establish the first truly world empire. The developed countries were American vassals in effect if not in name, many of them occupied by American troops: Among others, Europe, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Latin America, Saudi Arabia, and Australia. The US had by far the dominant economy and the biggest military, controlled the IMF, NATO, the dollar, SWIFT, and enjoyed technological superiority.. Russia was in chaos, China a distant smudge on the horizon.

Powerful groups in Washington, such as PNAC, began angling towed aggrandizement, but the real lunge came with the attack on Iraq. Current foreign policy openly focuses on dominating the planet. The astonishing thing is that some people don't notice.

The world runs on oil. Controlling the supply conveys almost absolute power over those countries that do not have their own. (For example, the Japanese would soon be eating each other if their oil were cut off.) Saudi Arabia is an American protectorate,and, having seen what happened to Iraq, knows that it can be conquered in short order if it gets out of line. The U. S. Navy could easily block tanker traffic from Hormuz to any or all countries.

A major purpose of the destruction of Iraq was to get control of its oil and put American forces on the border of Iran, another oil power. The current attempt to starve the Iranians aims at installing a American puppet government. The ongoing coup in Venezuela seeks control of another vast oil reserve. It will also serve to intimidate the rest of Latin America by showing what can happen to any country that defies Washington. Why are American troops in Nigeria? Guess what Nigeria has.

Note that Iraq and Iran, in addition to their oil, are geostrategically vital to a world empire. Further, the immensely powerful Jewish presence in the US supports the Mid-East wars for its own purposes. So, of course, does the arms industry. All God's chillun love the Empire.

For the Greater Empire to prevail, Russia and China, the latter a surprise contender, must be neutralized. Thus the campaign to crush Russia by economic sanctions. At the same time Washington pushes NATO, its sepoy militia, ever eastward, wants to station US forces in Poland, plans a Space Command whose only purpose is to intimidate or bankrupt Russia, drops out of the INF Treaty for the same reasons, and seeks to prevent commercial relations between Russia and the European vassals (e.g., Nordstream II).

China of course is the key obstacle to expanding the Empire. Ergo the trade war. America has to stop China's economic and technological progress, and stop it now, as it will not get another chance.

The present moment is an Imperial crunch point. America cannot compete with China commercially or, increasingly, in technology. Washington knows it. Beijing's advantages are too great: A huge and growing domestic market, a far larger population of very bright people, a for-profit economy that allows heavy investment both internally and abroad, a stable government that can plan well into the future.

America? It's power is more fragile than it may seem. The United States once dominated economically by making better products at better prices, ran a large trade surplus, and barely had competitors. Today it has deindustrialized, runs a trade deficit with almost everybody, carries an astronomical and uncontrolled national debt, and makes few things that the world can't get elsewhere, often at lower cost.

Increasingly America's commercial power is as a consumer, not a producer. Washington tells other countries, "If you don't do as we say, we won't buy your stuff." The indispensable country is an indispensable market. With few and diminishing (though important) exceptions, if it stopped selling things to China, China would barely notice, but if it stopped buying, the Chinese economy would wither. Tariffs, note, are just a way of not buying China's stuff.

Since the profligate American market is vital to other countries, they often do as ordered. But Asian markets grow. So do Asian industries.

As America's competitiveness declines, Washington resorts to strong-arm tactics. It has no choice. A prime example is the 5G internet, a Very Big Deal, in which Huawei holds the lead. Unable to provide a better product at a better price, Washington forbids the vassals to deal with Huawei–on pain of not buying their stuff. In what appears to be desperation, the Exceptional Nation has actually made a servile Canada arrest the daughter of Huawei's founder.

The tide runs against the Empire. A couple of decades ago, the idea that China could compete technologically with America would have seemed preposterous. Today China advances at startling speed. It is neck and neck with the US in supercomputers, launches moonlanders, leads in 5G internet, does leading work in genetics, designs world-class chipsets (e.g., the Kirin 980 and 920) and smartphones. Another decade or two of this and America will be at the trailing edge.

The American decline is largely self-inflicted. The US chooses its government by popularity contests among provincial lawyers rather than by competence. American education deteriorates under assault by social-justice faddists. Washington spends on the military instead of infrastructure and the economy. It is politically chaotic, its policies changing with every new administration.

The first rule of empire is, "Don't let your enemies unite." Instead, Washington has pushed Russia, China, and Iran into a coalition against the Empire. It might have been brighter to have integrated Iran tightly into the Euro-American econosphere, but Israel would not have let America do this. The same approach would have worked with Russia, racially closer to Europe than China and acutely aware of having vast empty Siberia bordering an overpopulated China. By imposing sanctions of adversaries and allies alike, Washington promotes dedollarization and recognition that America is not an ally but a master.

It is now or never. If America's great but declining power does not subjugate the rest of the world quickly, the rising powers of Asia will swamp it. Even India grows. Either sanctions subdue the world, or Washington starts a world war. Or America becomes just another country.

To paraphrase a great political thinker, "It's the Empire, Stupid."


WorkingClass , says: February 20, 2019 at 7:56 pm GMT

The U.S. is broke. And stupid. Soon she will be forced to repatriate her legions.
Carlton Meyer , says: Website February 20, 2019 at 8:04 pm GMT
Great summary!

"Washington has pushed Russia, China, and Iran into a coalition against the Empire."

Turkey may soon join them, then Iraq might revolt. South Korea has tired of the warmongering and may join too, which is why Washington is giving them the lead in dealing with North Korea. But a united Korea identifes more with China than the USA, so the USA wants to block that idea. The Germans are unhappy too, with all the warmongering, immigration, and American arrogance.

Isabella , says: February 20, 2019 at 8:05 pm GMT
Sorry Fred, but you're too late. It's all over. Just that your maniacal rulers, i.e. Pompeo, Bolton et al can't see it. Or, Cognitive Dissonance being painful, refuse to.

Warsaw recently was a case in point. The two biggest European countries, Germany and France refused to even send a senior representative. All people did was listen in an embarrassed silence while Pompeo tried to make like a latter day Julius Cesear. At the same time, Russia, Turkey and Iran met in Sochi, and worked out how they were going to take the next solving the mess in Syria, the way they want it.

Incidentally, you could also go onto YouTube and watch RT's subtitled [also horrible voice over, but you can't have everything I guess] of President Putin's "Address to Parliament and the Nation". It runs for close to 1.5 hours. You will hear the problems Russia has, how Putin addresses the concerns of the people, their complaints re poor access in country areas to medicine, and his orders on how this is to be fixed.

But you will also hear the moves forward, that Russia now has a trade surplus [remember those?] and can afford all the programs it needs. It's the world leading exporter of Wheat, and other commodities are catching up.

Then he will tell you and show videos of the latest 2 defense weapons – and they are things America cannot defend against. He also in light of the US withdrawing from the INF treaty made a very clear statement, should the US be so stupid as to think it can use Europe as it's war ground, and have Europeans get killed instead of Americans. "Put Intermediate sites in Europe and use just one, and not only will we fire on the European site that sent it, but we will also take out the "decision making centre", wherever this is".

Ponder that for a while. There is nothing US can do. The dollar is slowly being rejected and dumped. The heartland is reamed out after billions took the productive facilities and put them in China [so kind]. The homeless and desperate are growing in numbers.

It's all over, Fred. Time to start planning what to do when the mud really hits the fan.

foolisholdman , says: February 20, 2019 at 8:56 pm GMT
Can't argue with that! Usually, I read Fred for amusement, but this is all spot on. I particularly liked:

The American decline is largely self-inflicted. The US chooses its government by popularity contests among provincial lawyers rather than by competence. American education deteriorates under assault by social-justice faddists. Washington spends on the military instead of infrastructure and the economy.

Asagirian , says: Website February 20, 2019 at 9:15 pm GMT
Incredible. US government cooks up lies to invade and wreck Iraq, destroy Libya, and subvert Syria. It pulled off a coup in Ukraine with Neo-Nazis. US and its allies Saudis and Israel gave aid, direct and indirect, to ISIS and Al-Qaida to bring down Assad or turn Syria upside down.

But, scum like Pompeo puts forth hard-line stance against terrorists. What a bunch of vile phonies and hypocrites.

Andrei Martyanov , says: Website February 20, 2019 at 9:41 pm GMT

It might have been brighter to have integrated Iran tightly into the Euro-American econosphere, but Israel would not have let America do this. The same approach would have worked with Russia, racially closer to Europe than China and acutely aware of having vast empty Siberia bordering an overpopulated China.

Russia is more than racially closer, Russia is culturally much closer and by culturally I don't mean this cesspool of new "culture". But, as you brilliantly noted:

The US chooses its government by popularity contests among provincial lawyers rather than by competence.

Philip Owen , says: February 20, 2019 at 10:22 pm GMT
Britain's time of full spectrum dominance (well trade, industry and navy really) did not emerge fully formed from isolation as did America. England and the UK played balance of power politics. The US can still do that for a very long time, given some basic diplomatic sense.

India, China & Pakistan present an interesting triangle. Indonesia and Vietnam are no friends of China. Nigeria is heading for 400m people and will want to exert its own power, not take instructions from Peking, etc, etc. Balance of power requires more fluidity than the US has shown to date. Seeing Russia as an hereditary enemy illustrates this failure.

Can the US make the changes necessary to play balance of power politics?

Si1ver1ock , says: February 20, 2019 at 10:24 pm GMT
I for one do not wish the Chinese any ill. They have worked hard to get where they are, whereas our leaders have betrayed us.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?103023-1/the-great-betrayal

Philip Owen , says: February 21, 2019 at 12:46 am GMT
@Godfree Roberts Something wrong here. Government spending in either country is far more than 2%.
atlantis_dweller , says: February 21, 2019 at 2:19 am GMT

The astonishing thing is that some people don't notice.

.

Not to notice (or rather, not to notice one's own noticing) what the majority doesn't notice (OK: they don't notice that they notice, actually) is part of humankind's cerebral package too.
You once called it the law of the pack. It can be given innumerable names -- just it doesn't change.

The American decline is largely self-inflicted.

.
It's what follows ripe democracy, invariably -- meanjng that it can arguably not be helped.

Achmed E. Newman , says: Website February 21, 2019 at 2:23 am GMT
@Godfree Roberts Finally a bright spot in an otherwise depressingly-fairly-truthful article. Less Government spending is a GOOD thing, I mean, unless you are a flat-out Communist, of course ohhhhh .

And yes, the scale is WAY off. How could those 0.8 to 2.05% numbers seem even close to reality to anyone who has a clue. I can't vouch for China, but the US number is off by a factor of 20 to 25 . Come on, Godfree, you're (a tad bit) better than that!

Achmed E. Newman , says: Website February 21, 2019 at 2:36 am GMT
That's not a bad article in general, but, as usual, Mr. Reed doesn't really have that analytical mind to know what's really been, and is, going on.

1) There were PLENTY of Americans, many of them even politicians who wanted a "peace dividend" after the Cold War was won. G.H.W Bush and the neocons put the kibosh on that. The current version of empire-building didn't have to be. The Israeli-influenced neocons are most of the reason for the post-Cold-War empire building.

2) It's not ALL about oil anymore – it seems to be a diminishing factor, what with the US producing more oil than it imports, at this point. Mr. Reed could use a dose of Zerohedge.com, as, along with their gloom-and-doom, they have opened my eyes to the American meddling around the world to keep support of the Reserve Currency, the US dollar. Lots of the countries in which the US causes trouble were trying to get out of the dollar world with their trade.

3) Related to (2) here, China and Russia both want to eliminate the use of the dollar in trade, including with each other. That bothers a lot of people who understand how bad the outlook for the US economy really is, and what it would mean for the dollar to no longer be used around the world for trade.

4) American government has handed China a completely one-sided deal (FOR China) in trade since the mid-1990's and Bill Clinton. It's time to end that, which is what the trade war is about. I don't dispute that American could be in a whole lot more pain over it than the Chinese, but it's like medicine – take it now, or suffer even more later.

America? It's power is more fragile than it may seem. The United States once dominated economically by making better products at better prices, ran a large trade surplus, and barely had competitors. Today it has deindustrialized, runs a trade deficit with almost everybody, carries an astronomical and uncontrolled national debt, and makes few things that the world can't get elsewhere, often at lower cost.

AGREED wholeheartedly!

Bruce County , says: February 21, 2019 at 3:33 am GMT
@peterAUS I agree .. Canada is "not" under America's boot. As a Canadian I respect the security America provides Canada on the world stage but it would be a cold day in hell when i would submit to an America with a gun in his hand. And im pretty sure our best buddies in jolly ol England might have something to say. This isnt a pissing match. Empire is a fickle bitch.
peterAUS , says: February 21, 2019 at 4:16 am GMT
@Bruce County Pretty much.
As far as Australia and New Zealand are concerned it's crystal clear. Somebody has to provide security for our way of life here; before it was United Kingdom, now it's USA.
Hehe definitely preferable to China.
Or Japan.
Or anyone here in Pacific.

If Americans want to deploy a full corps, whatever, no prob. Again, as far as "fair skinned" English speaking citizens here are concerned. I'd even say it applies to Polynesians around.
Now, can't say it applies to our Mohammedan citizens, and definitely not to Chinese.

It's amusing to see Westerners around here keen on replacing USA empire with Chinese. Hehe talking about self-hate.
Granted, there are people among them who really believe in all that propaganda coming from Beijing. Well better than taking Prozac or similar, I guess, so all good.

swamped , says: February 21, 2019 at 5:09 am GMT
"Current foreign policy openly focuses on dominating the planet. The astonishing thing is that some people don't notice." That is pretty astonishing, given that most of the columns on sites like this & even in more MSM-style publications rehash this theme ad infinitum. It may, in fact, be more a matter of people simply getting tired of hearing it over and over that leads them to shrug and turn to something different. It's not news anymore. How many columns can anyone squeeze out of the same threadbare topic. Many years ago, during first Cold War, it was still somewhat daring to expose this partially hidden truth; but now it's old hat on both the left & right.No one really needs someone to tell them again what everyone already knows, that's easy – but what to do about it, that's the hard part!
Godfree Roberts , says: February 21, 2019 at 5:25 am GMT
@Simply Simon I'm not an economist either, but it looks like the Chinese have outspent us 2:1 in R&D since 2012.

That, plus their better educated youngsters, gives them an awesome advantage going forward.

Godfree Roberts , says: February 21, 2019 at 5:27 am GMT
@Philip Owen This is a subset of government spending and only covers R&D.

It doesn't cover corporate R&D spending, though I'm guessing that in that regard, the two countries are even. If anyone has the numbers I'd be grateful if they'd share them.

Godfree Roberts , says: February 21, 2019 at 5:29 am GMT
@Achmed E. Newman Can you provide sources and figures for your claim that the US number is off by a factor of 20 to 25?

That would imply that the USG is spending $9 trillion–50% of GDP–on R&D alone.

chris , says: February 21, 2019 at 5:35 am GMT
@Isabella Excellent comment, Isabella!
Stevelancs , says: February 21, 2019 at 5:47 am GMT
@Simply Simon Godfrees graph should be entitled "USA v China in Gov't R&D Spending".
It's here..

https://www.quora.com/There-are-predictions-about-Chinas-economy-surpassing-the-USs-economy-in-the-future-but-are-there-predictions-of-China-surpassing-the-US-in-science-and-innovation-in-the-future

[Feb 21, 2019] Russiagate In Flames No Evidence Of Collusion, New Findings Challenge DNC Hack Narrative

Feb 21, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Russiagate In Flames: No Evidence Of Collusion, New Findings Challenge DNC Hack Narrative

by Tyler Durden Wed, 02/20/2019 - 18:50 791 SHARES

Authored by Elizabeth Lea Vos via Disobedient Media ,

In the last few weeks, we have witnessed two pillars of the Russiagate narrative continue to disintegrate and erode. First, we heard that a bipartisan inquiry by the Senate Intelligence Committee admitted that they have yet to find evidence indicating that the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia in the run-up to the 2016 US Presidential election. Secondly, new light was shed on the process by which the DNC Emails published by WikiLeaks may have been sourced, thanks to two reports: one authored by former NSA Technical Director Bill Binney and former CIA analyst Larry Johnson, with the other work penned by Disobedient Media's Adam Carter.

Of course, this does not entail that the establishment-backed media will stop promoting the neo-McCarthyist insanity that has held legacy press audiences captive for the last two and a half years.

No Evidence For Trump-Russia Collusion

A recent report from NBC related an admission from both Democratic and Republican members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, indicating that they have discovered no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion to date. NBC's report reads in part:

"The Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into the 2016 election has uncovered no direct evidence of the Trump campaign conspiring with Russia, Democrats and Republicans on the committee told NBC News. But different parties' investigators in the probe, which is winding down, disagree over the implications of a pattern of contacts between Trump associates and Russians."

Let's review that again: the only thing the Democrats and Republicans disagree on is the significance of an alleged "Pattern of contacts between Trump associates and Russians."

Note: the "pattern" here does not specify that the "Russians" in question were associated in any sense with the Russian government. One should not have to stress the significance of differentiating between a nationality versus affiliation with the Kremlin. Meanwhile, the characterization of "Trump associates" is entirely vague.

To conclude from such sentiments that anyone who so much as has "contacts" with "Russians" (again, not the same thing as contacts with proxies or employees of the Russian state) must be working at the behest of Putin would represent an intense strain of xenophobia, if not outright racism.

Independent journalist and comedian Jimmy Dore also commented on NBC's report, saying: "For two and a half years, [Rachel Maddow] has been an out-of-her-mind conspiracy theorist. She said that Russia is going to freeze you when it gets cold... These people are the biggest conspiracy liars in the world."

One does not have to rely on the statements of the Senate Intelligence Committee to understand that no shred of evidence of Trump-Russia collusion has yet been shown to the public. Last month, The Nation's Aaron Mate wrote:

"Not a single Trump official has been accused of colluding with the Russian government or even of committing any crimes during the 2016 campaign. As The New York Times recently noted, "no public evidence has emerged showing that [Trump's] campaign conspired with Russia."

In the wake of the latest news regarding such lack of evidence, Mate wrote via Twitter :

The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald also chimed in on NBC's report, writing via Twitter: "When even NBC, [Ken Dilanian] and Democrats (excuse the redundancy) are admitting this so clearly in the first paragraph of their article, it's time for people to start facing some facts about what they've been telling people."

Of course, many have long pointed to evidence countering the Trump-Russia collusion narrative, expecting such contrary evidence to become the " death of Russiagate. " Unfortunately for the sake of truth and sanity, it seems that this writer's opinion on the immortality of Russiagate is going to continue to prove true, as long as the saga serves the establishment's need for deflection from real election interference and other pressing domestic issues.

As this author opined last year :

"Standing on the shoulders of this methodical evidence, it seems at this point that no amount of contrary evidence, exposure or implosion will ultimately kill the undead Russiagate monster. If that were possible, the Thing would have been put irrevocably into the ground over a year ago. Or six months ago. Or a few weeks ago."

Russian Hacking Narrative Implodes

The Russian hacking aspect of the scandal was also severely discredited in recent days, in the wake of two new reports . One article was authored by Disobedient Media's Adam Carter, with a separate piece published by Bill Binney and Larry Johnson . Binney is a former NSA Technical Director; Johnson an ex-CIA analyst. Both are active members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

The two articles discussed revelations arising from studies of the DNC Emails released by WikiLeaks in 2016. We remind our readers that, while Adam Carter, Disobedient Media, The Forensicator, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, Stephen McIntyre, and others have regularly reported regarding documents published by the Guccifer 2.0 persona, the latest pieces focus instead on the DNC Emails as published days before the DNC convention.

Though this writer will not attempt to present every aspect or technical detail contained in the articles, we will endeavor to make our readers aware of the essential points which Carter , Binney, and Johnson have raised.

Carter's work suggests that the DNC Emails were originally accessed via a USB thumb drive or similar device, concluding: "The evidence strongly suggests that the first three batches of DNC emails were transferred via a USB storage device at some stage between acquisition and then subsequently being published by WikiLeaks."

As noted by Carter, such a scenario aligns with allegations made by former UK Ambassador Craig Murray, who claimed that he was the recipient of the files via an intermediary rather than the original source. Carter adds: "However, transfer speeds observed for the batches with last-modified dates matching the dates of acquisition indicate that they were transferred at approximately 3 megabits/second, a lot slower than we would expect if it were a local or LAN transfer, so the transfer we're looking at likely involved a remote transfer at some point between acquisition and delivery ."

Carter continued: "... It seems likely that the original emails were copied soon after acquisition... The (hypothetical) existence of an intermediary doesn't tell us anything about the individual (or individuals) who originally acquired the emails. Thus, this scenario does not necessarily rule out the possibility of an insider acquiring the emails. If we contemplate the intermediate use of cloud storage, this could have been used as a method to decouple the acquisition of the emails from delivery to another party that subsequently delivered them to Wikileaks."

The article by Binney and Johnson also discusses the relevance of indications that the DNC emails published by WikiLeaks were likely accessed via a storage device, rather than leaked. They state in part:

"An examination of the Wikileaks DNC files do not support the claim that the emails were obtained via spearphishing. Instead, the evidence clearly shows that the emails posted on the Wikileaks site were copied onto an electronic media, such as a CD-ROM or thumb-drive before they were posted at Wikileaks... We believe that Special Counsel Robert Mueller faces major embarrassment if he decides to pursue the indictment he filed--which accuses 12 Russian GRU military personnel and an entity identified as, Guccifer 2.0, for the DNC hack -- because the available forensic evidence indicates the emails were copied onto a storage device."

Binney and Johnson conclude: "Taken together, these disparate data points combine to paint a picture that exonerates alleged Russian hackers and implicates persons within our law enforcement and IC taking part in a campaign of misinformation, deceit and incompetence. It is not a pretty picture."

The Real Cost Of Russiagate

Though Russiagate may be summed up as a never-ending theatrical performance designed to hold attention rather than prove itself, that ineffability does not mean that the saga has had no tangible effects in the real world. Regardless of what one makes of the legitimacy of Russiagate or any one of its sub-narratives, we can all agree that it has wreaked havoc directly and indirectly on many fronts.

Journalist and award-winning author Patrick Lawrence wrote a ground-breaking article with The Nation in August of 2017, covering a Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) memorandum to President Trump. The memo, and Lawrence's article, indicated that the Guccifer 2.0 persona had published documents that were likely accessed locally, rather than hacked remotely.

The repercussions for Lawrence - professional, financial, personal - continued for many months. In an interview, Lawrence told Disobedient Media: "My working principle from the first is that disagreements and other such matters internal to a publication - any publication - shouldn't be aired outside the newsroom door. When I was trained, you'd be summarily fired if you went public with such a stunt. I thought this at the time my article came out, and on that same principle, I won't comment now." Lawrence concluded: "I should add I have no reason to retract a single syllable of what I wrote."

A hit-piece authored last year by Duncan Campbell saw the doxxing of Disobedient Media's Adam Carter, putting his livelihood in jeopardy and conflating anonymity with wrongdoing, among other things. Campbell's text received much criticism from this outlet and others for its disastrously inaccurate depiction of the opinion of Bill Binney and other VIPS members.

NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake was also quoted in the piece , comparing CIA veteran and VIPS co-founder Ray McGovern with George W. Bush's politicization of intelligence in the lead-up to the Iraq War.

Most readers do not require the reminder that McGovern and other members of VIPS were strongly opposed to the faulty intelligence used by the Bush administration as a pretext for the 2003 war in Iraq. This history makes Drake's comparison particularly odious and is additionally damaging because like McGovern, Drake is a respected member of VIPS. Disobedient Media reached out to Drake for comment on this point and others, to which we received no reply by the time of publication.

McGovern spoke with Disobedient Media, saying:

" I knew Tom Drake to be a straight shooter, an impression strengthened by our teamwork in Moscow presenting Ed Snowden with the Sam Adams integrity award that Tom himself had won two years before. I normally cut Tom some slack, in view of all he has been through. But when he belatedly took issue with the key VIPS memo of July 24, 2017 on "Russian hacking," and made claims unsupported by evidence (claims strongly challenged by his fellow NSA "alumni" in VIPS), I, as chair of that memo, had to call him out of order. He reacted poorly and seems now to be in for further embarrassment."

Disobedient Media also spoke with Bill Binney, who told this author:

"Tom has been a friend of mine for about 20 years. During that time he has demonstrated sound analytic judgment on technical issues with the exception of one. That is the issue of Russiagate and association with the Trump campaign and administration. In this case, I believe he has allowed himself to be diverted by the rather large hoard of emotionally motivated who are intent on associating the Russians with Trump to form the basis for impeachment. They have and continue to convict Trump based on statements made by large numbers of people - as if that were proof of anything. So, on this issue, a good chunk of the US population have lost their objectivity and instead of demanding proof based on observable facts (available to be inspected) they accept assertions generated by emotion. The true test will be in a court of law where all these assertions would be treated as hearsay and inadmissible as none are first-hand observers."

Disobedient Media has been separately smeared by entities like Media Bias Fact Check , whose report appraising this outlet laughably alleged that we have been a "defender" of the Guccifer 2.0 persona. While such an absurd statement would carry no weight with even the most cursory of Disobedient Media's readers, it is nonetheless noteworthy in that it specifically uses a false neo-McCarthyist narrative to attempt to assassinate the credibility of this outlet.

When asked about the real-world implications of Russiagate thus far, Ray McGovern - who, as we remind our readers, is a former CIA analyst with decades of experience during the cold war period - expressed deep concern, saying:

"I worry about what conclusions President Putin may draw from attempts to demonize him and to make Russia a pariah. Inflammatory rhetoric can be prelude to war. Worse still, the temperament and hubris of President Trump's advisers are a far cry from the sage, sober advice Ambassador Llewellyn Thompson, for example, gave President Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. Shattered, at this point, is any residual hope Putin may have harbored that Trump would be able to improve ties with Russia. Trump is not his own man. Putin, thus, must prepare for the worst. This is the most serious damage from the Russia-gate narrative so far."

Patrick Lawrence also appraised the damage done by Russiagate in a piece published via Consortium News, writing: "Numerous sets of sanctions against Russia, individual Russians, and Russian entities have been imposed on the basis of this great conjuring of assumption and presumption."

As described by McGovern and Lawrence, the tensions raised between two major nuclear powers is perhaps the most important real-world result of over two years of neo-McCarthyist fervor in the US. However, the smearing of members of the independent press and the worsening division amongst VIPS members comprise additional serious damage stemming from a scandal-that-never-was.

In terms of the larger political picture, Russiagate has been endlessly hyped to deflect from public outrage that rightfully erupted in response to overt election interference by the Democratic Party in the 2016 primary season. It has been used in an attempt to mask the failure of the Democrats and specifically Hillary Clinton as a Presidential candidate.

As long as the legacy press continues to use Russiagate to gaslight the public from focusing on ongoing domestic election interference, it remains imperative to point out that Russiagate, to date, has no basis whatsoever in fact. For that reason, Disobedient Media will continue to report on the subject as it develops.


youshallnotkill , 1 hour ago link

Really have to admire what Burr did there.

... they have yet to find evidence indicating that the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia in the run-up to the 2016 US Presidential election.

He was very careful in saying that they did not find direct evidence. Knowing very well that it would be reported like this as the public does not know what this legal technical term means.

And that is exactly what is needed right now to give Mueller the space he needs. Beautifully played.

Schroedingers Cat , 2 hours ago link

Don't you find it suspicious that Russiagate is abruptly winding down. Mueller waits until a week later to issue his non-report when nobody is paying attention. Russiagate is disappearing and the only reason big enough for that is WAR. They want "unity" between the parties so we can all be good patriots and start Iraq V2.0 or WWIII. The last time the parties buried the hatchet like this was before invading Iraq after 911 attacks.

youshallnotkill , 1 hour ago link

Don't you find it suspicious that Russiagate is abruptly winding down

It isn't. It just looks that way.

youshallnotkill , 2 hours ago link

ongoing domestic election interference

Like the election fraud in NC?

https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article226492265.html

brane pilot , 3 hours ago link

The only collusion was between the FBI and a foreign national to create a phony dossier of bald faced lies in an attempt to take down the POTUS and invalidate a free and fair election.

Somehow, the Leftist media does not think that is newsworthy.

lowkeyjc , 3 hours ago link

Seth Rich

CatInTheHat , 3 hours ago link

These narratives, like the build up to the Iraq war, have a foreign policy context to them, for which unsuspecting Americans know nothing about

This war on Russia accelerated under Obama's watch.

How many RUSSIAGATERS know about Obama/Nuland/McCain regime change in Ukraine that put neonazis on RUSSIAS border?

How many Russiagaters know that Obama ordered the Ukies to blow up flight MH-17 with 298 people onboard in a false flag attack to justify FRAUDULENT sanctions on Russia?

How many Russiagaters know that it is dual Israeli Democrats pushing this narrative most? Schumer, SCHIFF, CARDIN, who was responsible for the fraudulent Magnistsky Act, along with fraud Bill Browder, a CIA asset who owes hundreds of millions to the Russian government in back taxes ? There are more dual Israelis involved from Congress too.

Lastly, how many Russiagaters know anything about foreign policy?

What a convenient narrative to throw out in blaming Russia for Clinton's loss, but which serves the deep state well that has Russia on it's target list for regime change and balkanizing by a bunch of dual Israeli psychopaths & two whack Christian Zionist extremists (Pompeo, Pence)

It always comes down to ISRAEL, doesn't it? Russia did the unthinkable in interfering in Greater Israhell! Stopping the US, Saudi Israhelli war on Syria.

Most Russiagaters can't find Russia on a map

I do wonder how many Americans really buy this ********

100 million did not vote in 2016 and my guess is that most Americans don't give one hoot about Russia at all. Busy just trying to survive.

A couple of years ago, CNN did a poll asking Americans how they see Russia, and most DID NOT care nor think about Russia. The reporter who helped with the poll laughed when asked why CNN continued to go on and on about Russia knowing people didn't care.

Just laughed. Coming from the same crowd at CNN that called viewers dumbshits and were laughing about that too .I can't recall verbatim what they said but maybe someone here can recall better than I.

Russiagate is a neocunt war narrative. Russiagate is a smokescreen for Israhelli influence in our government

Russiagate is a cover-up for many crimes committed by Democrats and the DNC, including but not limited to primary rigging and election fraud and URANIUM ONE in which Mueller himself was involved .

francis scott falseflag , 1 hour ago link

foreign policy context

more important than having a foreign policy context, is their

"Totalitarianism for Dummies" aspect

How many RUSSIAGATERS know about Obama/Nuland/McCain regime change

how many russiagaters don't think there's anything hypocritical about Obama not returning the Peace Prize to the Nobels.

it is dual Israeli Democrats pushing this narrative most? Schumer, SCHIFF, CARDIN,

won't they be surprised when a new Israeli Government expects their support for some pro-Russian, anti-US controversy about foreign policy, trade, military, etc. legislation or action?

can't find Russia on a map

hyperbole

I seem to agree with you on most of the important things, except for your ending.

a smokescreen for Israhelli influence in our government

I think God named the Jews His Chosen People, but He never mentions what they were chosen for or chosen to do. The point being that if you believe in God, then Jews' self-promoting, self-aggrandizing chosenness is irrefutable evidence of the Existence Of God.

Not the God of Forgiveness like Christ. But the God of the Cities of the Plain.

I wonder if Christians can ever accept the fact that the God that Christ became was first God the Creator, who gave mankind its choice between good and evil?

Good and Evil. The two parts of <ONE GOD>

Moving and Grooving , 3 hours ago link

I'm going to see what's being reported in Moscow about this.

iSage , 4 hours ago link

More learning for ya

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsajeFETEWk

StheNine , 4 hours ago link

Send the bill for this clown show to the Clintons and Soros.

East Indian , 4 hours ago link

This world has indeed come to a fork in the road. If what is common knowledge to one set of people is "discovery" to another set, then they are not even living in the same universe. There are two roads here onwards. Either we eliminate the purveyors of false narratives or we are turning the population into ignorant masses again.

lurker since 2012 , 4 hours ago link

Rosenstein Mueller are unconstitutional Brief from Miller in regards to Mueller being duly appointed..........

"

1

STATEMENT OF JURISDICTION

The district court had subject-matter jurisdiction to enforce a subpoenaissued by the Special Counsel to Appellant to appear before the grand jury on June29, 2018. After denying the motion to quash the subpoena on July 31, 2018, thecourt issued a contempt order on August 10, 2018, but stayed the order pendingappeal. Appellant filed his notice of appeal on August 13, 2018. This Court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1291 to review the final order.

STATEMENT OF THE ISSUES

1. Whether Congress, under the Appointments Clause of Article II, § 2, of

the U.S. Constitution, "established by law" the appointment of a private attorney toserve as a special counsel as an "Officer of the United States."

2. Whether Special Counse

l Robert S. Mueller III (the "Special Counsel")was unconstitutionally appointed because he is a "principal officer" under the

Appointments Clause of Article II, and thus was required to be

--

but was not

--

appointed by the President with the Advice and Consent of the Senate.

3. Whether Congress "by Law vest[ed] the Appointment" of the SpecialCounsel as an "inferior Officer []" in "Head of the [Justice] Department[ ]," andthus, under the "Excepting Clause," was unconstitutionally appointed because he

2

was required to be

--

but was not

--

appointed by Attorney General Jeff Sessionsrather than by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.""

http://nlpc.org/2018/09/12/brief-makes-compelling-case-that-mueller-appointment-is-unconstitutional/

bh2 , 4 hours ago link

The War Party (AKA Democrats) do not regard inflaming tensions with a nuclear power abroad if the result is to deliver political power into their own hands at home.

They are defective psychopaths, dangerous people who should be tried for treason and incarcerated for life as a merciful alternative to hanging in the gallows which they so richly deserve.

William Dorritt , 4 hours ago link

Who murdered Seth Rich ?

The FBI never investigated the server break in, they took the DNCs word for it.

Moving and Grooving , 3 hours ago link

That has to be a piece of this. The entire affair had 'Clinton' all over it.

iSage , 4 hours ago link

Watch and learn folks

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7Y1g6amvPQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OECaqtQWqw

pparalegal , 4 hours ago link

Funny that we have not heard a peep from the usual klacking bullhorns Hillary and Obama.

Yars Revenge , 4 hours ago link

All the people responsible for Russiagate, politicians, rogue intelligence and the media, should be sent to Gitmo.

Theyve brought the world to the edge of disaster through nuclear war and deserve to be punished accordingly.

Lie_Detector , 4 hours ago link

Long overdue. Get Mueller off the federal payroll!

smacker , 4 hours ago link

Yes, put him on the prison workgang payroll ;-)

commiebastid , 4 hours ago link

another will take its place

Dickweed Wang , 4 hours ago link

With the majority of the left and quite a few Republicans (who for all intents and purposes are Democrats with an "R" next to their name) Russiagate has become just like the man-made global warming scam. They continue to believe it like a religion, regardless of mounting facts to the contrary, because it serves a purpose for them.

Cheap Chinese Crap , 4 hours ago link

They don't believe it. You get to be a politician by being lazy, evil, and calculating-- not happily naive and trusting.

The narrative is custom tailored to suit their purposes and veracity is not part of the calculation at all.

fersur , 2 hours ago link

Most all of them start out in Law school, their Lawyers by default, lesson number one, truths assided !

DIGrif , 4 hours ago link

WE THE PEOPLE, want our millions back that was spent on this ********. Deduct it from the Democrats paychecks.

flatearther , 4 hours ago link

Money? Hell! there will not even be an apology OR any admission it was a witch hunt. Such is the nature of our MASTERS.

commiebastid , 4 hours ago link

pocket change compared to the overall hoovering

Herdee , 4 hours ago link

Former CIA Officer explains:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOu4TpvydUI

Occams_Razor_Trader_Part_Deux , 4 hours ago link

Isn't about time for a "Stormy" sighting- or an allegation from the admitted liar Michael Cohen?

south40_dreams , 4 hours ago link

Democrat are ******* liars. The End.

commiebastid , 4 hours ago link

it is a bi partisan pastime

2willies , 5 hours ago link

Is that Richard Branson a psycho or what? he gives me the English willies

Schroedingers Cat , 5 hours ago link

Suddenly, the Democrats want to support Trump, the man they insisted was a dangerous foreign agent, in leading us to war with Venezuela. Demotards are truly insane fucked up little moppets with **** for brains!!!

fersur , 5 hours ago link

Haters Shoo' Shoo Fly Shoo, been bugging me, arms tired of giving a Whiping !

aloha_snakbar , 5 hours ago link

Uncle Scam needs to be put down like the rabid dog he has become...

2willies , 5 hours ago link

rabid dog is to nice

Francis Marx , 5 hours ago link

The Russian sanctions are a farce. I think they are using them so that Russia will hand over Snowden, nothing else. Its just kept quiet.

[Feb 19, 2019] Tulsi Gabbard kills New World Order bloodbath in thirty seconds

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Tulsi Gabbard has recently launched a new attack on New World Order agents and ethnic cleansers in the Middle East, and one can see why they would be upset with her ..."
"... Gabbard is smart enough to realize that the Neocon path leads to death, chaos, and destruction. She knows that virtually nothing good has come out of the Israeli narrative in the Middle East -- a narrative which has brought America on the brink of collapse in the Middle East. Therefore, she is asking for a U-turn. ..."
"... The first step for change, she says, is to "stand up against powerful politicians from both parties" who take their orders from the Neocons and war machine. These people don't care about you, me, the average American, the people in the Middle East, or the American economy for that matter. They only care about fulfilling a diabolical ideology in the Middle East and much of the world. These people ought to stop once and for all. Regardless of your political views, you should all agree with Gabbard here. ..."
Feb 19, 2019 | www.veteranstoday.com

Tulsi Gabbard has recently launched a new attack on New World Order agents and ethnic cleansers in the Middle East, and one can see why they would be upset with her. She said:

" We must stand up against powerful politicians from both parties who sit in their ivory towers thinking up new wars to wage, new places for people to die, wasting trillions of our taxpayer dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives and undermining our economy, our security, and destroying our middle class."

It is too early to formulate a complete opinion on Gabbard, but she has said the right thing so far. In fact, her record is better than numerous presidents, both past and present.

As we have documented in the past, Gabbard is an Iraq war veteran, and she knew what happened to her fellow soldiers who died for Israel, the Neocon war machine, and the military industrial complex. She also seems to be aware that the war in Iraq alone will cost American taxpayers at least six trillion dollars. [1] She is almost certainly aware of the fact that at least "360,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans may have suffered brain injuries." [2]

Gabbard is smart enough to realize that the Neocon path leads to death, chaos, and destruction. She knows that virtually nothing good has come out of the Israeli narrative in the Middle East -- a narrative which has brought America on the brink of collapse in the Middle East. Therefore, she is asking for a U-turn.

The first step for change, she says, is to "stand up against powerful politicians from both parties" who take their orders from the Neocons and war machine. These people don't care about you, me, the average American, the people in the Middle East, or the American economy for that matter. They only care about fulfilling a diabolical ideology in the Middle East and much of the world. These people ought to stop once and for all. Regardless of your political views, you should all agree with Gabbard here.


[Feb 19, 2019] Warmongers in their ivory towers - YouTube

Highly recommended!
This is a powerful political statement... Someaht similar to Tucker Carlson stance...
Feb 19, 2019 | www.youtube.com

"We must stand up against powerful politicians from both parties who sit in their ivory towers thinking up new wars to wage, new places for people to die, wasting trillions of our taxpayer dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives and undermining our economy, our security, and destroying our middle class."

[Feb 18, 2019] "After Putin" anxiety in Russia

Feb 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Grieved , Feb 16, 2019 8:16:54 PM | link


Grieved , Feb 16, 2019 8:52:46 PM | link

@33 Fiona Jenkins and others

I've read the article by Dugin now, and gone back to read Surkov. I probably need to read them both again, perhaps forever, because I think they illustrate the nation of Russia trying to find its way forward into "life beyond Putin", and both articles are of extreme importance as two sides of a dialog.

I think Dugin is correct when he says that Putin has fallen short of creating a new system of state that can itself endure. And that the oligarchs will naturally attempt, after Putin, to rule the state as in the old way. He is correct in saying that no alternative to Putin has come forth in all this time, and that this is a failing of the situation. He is also correct, as many friends of Russia here would agree, that the day of reckoning for the fifth column and the corrupt vested interests has not come under Putin, and that it remains yet to happen - if at all - after Putin.

And this is the crux. Will that day of reckoning come, or will evil gain in strength again when Putin is gone?

Dugin says that the Russian people have to have this fight and overthrow that privileged, non-patriotic, class of people. I personally would call it a class revolution of sorts that establishes a formal strain of socialism into the system - creating a hard-wired system that Dugin himself would trust to endure, regardless of leaders.

Surkov meanwhile is saying that the people are the source of all power, and that Putin's genius is that he is naturally plugged into that source. And that any successive leaders must follow the Putin model and be plugged into the people. Surkov seems to think that this will happen because it must, by force of the dynamic itself, and its imperative itself. Maybe this is so. And maybe it happens because of advocates like Surkov in attendance to its birth.

What I take from both these sides of the one argument - which is simply and purely how to envision a world beyond Putin - is that Putin has not left a changed system but he has left a spiritual benchmark for the goodness of the state, and it is intimately bound up with the well being of the people. This benchmark will endure, for a time, after Putin, but how the people rise to fill the void and create a more perfect system, I think remains to be seen, remains to happen. In this regard, I see no reason for despair or complacency.

karlof1 , Feb 16, 2019 9:06:26 PM | link
I humbly thank those thanking me. It's very gratifying!

Jose Garcia @59 distilled much into his short appraisal, to which I only endorse. I see the following caught b's eye and those of others:

"Russia ... returned to its natural and its only possible condition: that of a great and growing community of nations that gathers lands. It is not a humble role that world history has assigned to our country, and it does not allow us to exit the world stage or to remain silent among the community of nations; it does not promise us rest and it predetermines the difficult character of our governance."

Any open-minded, closely watching, student of Russian history would easily understand what's meant by the bolded text; although presently, the lands being gathered are those of its allies. And in those words, the author admits Russia remains an Empire, although diminished somewhat from its greatest extent. However, it's a Communal Empire, embracing over 100 different ethnic groups, numerous tongues, and every major religion. Yet, the "Nationality Question" that so intrigued Sovietologists as a possible way to implode the USSR provides the inner core of Russia's "deep nation," and on almost every public occasion I've seen Putin attend he shows a pride in Russia's diversity Trump and ilk are completely incapable of.

And what would be the state of the world today if not for Russia? What coalition would have been capable of stopping Napoleon if Russia hadn't sacrificed first? The Kaiser's racial war for dominance between Teutons and Slavs, which would've likely been a slam-dun repeat of 1870 if not for the need for two fronts. The 25+ Million Soviets and other nationalities that allied on the Eastern Front to defeat Hitler's Armies. And perhaps I'll go outside the box and allege that if not for the USSR, post-war USA would have colonized the planet as it still desires.

But what of "Putinism." We should return to Jose's sharp analysis and add: Putin insists on the dedicated involvement of his fellow citizens; that they work just as hard and diligently as he; and that they also play and enjoy life just as much. In return, he will be as honest and open with his fellows as possible--which is really rather amazing to observe and is of another universe from what we get "treated" to in the West. He wants feedback--positive and negative--he wants to hear about the problems he never gets to hear about--his humanism is startling, again, as it's so diametrically different. And he's almost always positive--even when he's being negative. If he errs, he owns up. Then there's the courage of his convictions and constancy of being morally, ethically, and legally correct--which in Russia means he's also politically correct. Does it really require someone special to have those traits? I don't think so, although there're personality types that would never be capable of performing as does Putin. I think it's all related to the basics: Parenting, schooling, mentoring, but also the overall context of growing up in what is truly a cosmopolitan nation that's accepting of Others--again, to be Russian means to embrace Russianness, which is unique amongst national cultures as noted above. In short, only a Russian is capable of emulating Putin.

But, the question's begged: Would Putin fit as head-of-state for a Western nation, or would that be impossible due to the vastly differing contexts?

veritas semper vincit , Feb 16, 2019 9:38:37 PM | link
This was one of your best articles, and there's no short supply here. Thank you, Mr. B.
Russia is fulfilling old prophecies.
The country is an enormous mass land, between East and West, and because of this and its history, I believe it is the world 's balancer.
Russia has been to Hell and back and in the process managed to learn from past mistakes( and we have to remember that some of those mistakes, like the Bolshevik revolution, were financed by the west: Trotsky( Bronshtein) and his 2 Bil in today's money from Kuhn and Loeb Bank, Jacob Schiff, Lenin with millions in gold from Germany).
What did not kill Russia, made her stronger. Russia witnessed the "superior" US system, liberalism, during Yeltsin's era, not only communism. And Russia chose neither.
She chose Mr. Putin, a real patriot, who took Russia from her knees and elevated her to the role she has today: a superpower.
I don't think the Russians wanted this role, but they didn't have a choice. Somebody has to fight the psychopaths.
As for US, the coup d'erat was incremental: the cornerstone was in 1913, with the creation of the private Federal Reserve, with its 9 big banks shareholders,the root of all evil .Money created as debt( credit) and loaned to people with interest. Fractional reserve banking later. Everything else is bribes and blackmails.
Then 1963, the removal of the only semi independent president, who would have put a stop to their NWO.
1970's with replacement of Bretton Woods with the petro-dollar deal and the subsequent wars .
And 2001 as the grand finale: total control.
Now US has to protect the petro-dollar, the only think giving it relevance; This explains our wars, enemies, allies( like KSA).
Some say that US was a FreeMason construct from the very beginning. And looking at all Masonic signs: dollar bill, Statue of Liberty, apotheosis of Washington , Washington DC plans, most founding fathers, etc. they may be right.

[Feb 18, 2019] The problem of unrealistic expectations and its role in the collapse of the USSR

Feb 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

wagelaborer , Feb 16, 2019 1:03:08 PM | link

I was listening to a podcast and one speaker asserted that Venezuelans would be grateful for their improved living conditions and remain loyal to Maduro, and the other speaker said that people tend to take their improvements for granted and demand more. https://cprnews.podbean.com/e/cpr-news-february-11-2019/
As I understand it, that is what happened in the USSR. The recovery of housing and food after the destruction of WW2 was completed by the 80s, and then people wanted more. The leaders started increasing meat production, leading to buying grain from the US, and then the US bribed top KGB officials and bureaucrats, and then Yeltsin and the bribed leaders of Ukraine and Belarus signed away the USSR, against the wishes of the vast majority of the population.

Only brainwashed westerners would announce that that the destruction of the Soviet Union was "bloodless". That ignores the bombing of the White House, the murders of opposition leaders and the mass die off of millions of people, referred to in the West as "life expectancy dropped dramatically" (because the west is the undisputed king of spin and propaganda).

The population of Russia is only now recovering to their 1990 level, but let us blather on and on about how wonderful the destruction of the USSR was.

It wasn't so great for the rest of the world, either. Our gloating leader, George H. W. Bush, flush with delight and greed, as Russia lay prostrate and ready for plundering, in 1991, announced "There is now a New World Order", meaning that the USA would rule the world. We can all see what that means for the rest of the world, and for the population of the US, now also stripped and looted, increasingly in the last 26 years. The US went on a worldwide killing spree, while at home, with no USSR as a good example, or to support rational left politics, we have lost our unions, our jobs, our houses and our damn common sense. Now they are telling us that men can be women and vice versa, in the final Big Brother control of reality and perception. War is Peace, check. Ignorance is Strength, check. It is possible to change your biological body with the power of your mind, check.
They have turned us into blithering idiots, fit only to bicker as the final looting commences.


[Feb 18, 2019] Who will lead Russia after Putin

Feb 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

The Scalpel , Feb 16, 2019 9:00:22 AM | link

This is a "big picture" article short on detail. Putin will go down as one of the great leaders of Russian (and world) history. Fine. What comes after him? What is the plan to transfer power to a subsequent COMPETENT leader? It is fine to trust Putin, power flowing from Putin outward, but what if after Putin Russia gets another Gorbachov? What then?


vk , Feb 16, 2019 9:16:13 AM | link

@ Mister Roboto | Feb 16, 2019 7:50:25 AM | 3

On the contrary: evidence shows us the military was the last resistance against the desintegration of the USSR. The thing here is that it didn't need to desintegrate to reform.

The main problem with the USSR is that it created a system where any reform could only be radical. It wasn't a question of "ideological rigidity": the Soviets knew their problems since at least the 1950s (and, even before that, when Lenin was still alive, after the Kronstadt tragedy, an event that triggered the NEP - the reforms which would, 58 years later, inspire the new Chinese socialist model).

DontBelieveEitherPropaganda , Feb 16, 2019 9:30:03 AM | link
One thing to add:
While Surkov writes that people in the west are losing faith in their politicians and now would be looking at Russia as a positive example of a political system:
The problem for the majority of people in the western country i live in (Germany) and IMHO for the most other so called western countrys is NOT that the demoocratic system itself would be the problem, but that this system has been corrupted by politicians, neoliberals, neocons, and anti democratic cancers like deep state elites and the like.
Here most people HATE e.g. the social democrats NOT because they are social democrats, but because the are now only social democrats by NAME ONLY.
The democratic system may be flawed, but it still is without any real alternative for the majority of non extremist people.
Scrapping that for toothless pseudo opposition like in Russia would not be in the interest for the majority of people.

This is IMHO a different story for every country. Russia IMHO needs to go its own way, and like Putin said himself, is not ready for a full democracy. It would lead directly back into the 90s, and the huge majority of Russians know that, and therefore vote for the much lesser "evil".
This may be hard to understand for a western person, but IMHO it is a sane and consious decision for the russians.

But again, every country is different. This is why the right for every people and country to develop in its own pace and values is to important, and why globalism is creating faliure for each and everyone exepct some rich SOBs.

Michael Droy , Feb 16, 2019 10:51:50 AM | link
The 'western' view of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the "long-lost meaningless war", is that it was the catastrophic for the Soviet Union and led to its demise (pdf). That view is wrong. The war was neither meaningless, nor lost.

I think that is the "western" view that justifies throwing money at Nazis or terrorists in order to create problems for US enemies.
John Dowser , Feb 16, 2019 11:27:46 AM | link
@Ellis "I get stuck understanding what gathering lands might mean in this context"

It would seem to refer to the traditional move to expand the sphere to what is believed by some in Russia to be their "natural" dimensions: to add by various means including annexation all the Russian territories, East Slavic lands, Belarus and the Ukrainian regions

See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_III_of_Russia#Gathering_of_Rus%27_lands

In that light the Russian view of the conflict in Ukraine has to be understood: not just as reaction towards to expansion of EU and NATO but more as reaction against the EU/NATO's interference with Ukraine's direction of moving closer to the Russian sphere over time, seen as something inevitable unless countered with lots of effort, promises and energizing of radical movements or other nationalistic or young, pro-West groups.

In other words, some claims that the Kremlin desires to expand are not wholly unjustified. But as explained in the article some Russian leaders might see expansion as unavoidable and therefore deep down rational to pursue. One can counter this view with the remark that it's almost like some echo of the Soviet (and pseudo-Marxist) view of historical materialism. Ending at the time with transporting intellectuals who differed, to re-education camps as one concluded that something wrong "had to be wrong" with them, opposing the inevitable and rational! Search for the term "psycho-pathological mechanisms of dissent" to see how it might reflect some of the elite thinking in Russia still today!

Jackrabbit , Feb 16, 2019 11:47:39 AM | link
Surkov supports the 'Deep State' in Russia and elsewhere to the extent that he derides/undermines democratic process.

Surkov's viewpoint is aligned with that of the neocons. Neocons argue that democratic processes can not properly weigh matters that concern the 'Deep State'. Those that benefit from Deep State largess (MIC, intel agencies, oligarchs, and large corporations) naturally support that view.

The "Deep State" is ultimately class warfare. IMO the best that we can hope for (for now) is that 'Deep States' of the major powers will try to improve the lives of the ordinary people they govern as part of the State-to-State competition. A unilateral world order would have no such virtue. In such a world we would quickly feel the truth of: "We are all black, we are all Palestinian, we are all ... a plaything or a nuisance of the oligarchic in-group.

Hoarsewhisperer , Feb 16, 2019 12:14:10 PM | link Red Ryder , Feb 16, 2019 12:26:14 PM | link
There are a number of commenters here who, living up to their former ignorance on many topics, expose their lack of knowledge and understanding of things Russian.

Russia is a civilization. It's psyche is neither East nor West. It's vocabulary and syntax are not Western, either.

Surkov's work, even by ideologues of vast disparate differences is recognized as a political-literary work whose translation requires deft handling.
Think of de Tocqueville or some of Tom Paine.

And all Russian commenters at the highest level perceive exactly what his words and his construction means.

You might try reading Dmitri Orlov's translation. http://thesaker.is/putins-lasting-state-translated-by-dmitri-orlov/

You also, those of you who think you are more intelligent than Surkov, should want to read his article of last year. In that, he describes Russia's unique path forward. Use Yandex for a translation.

https://globalaffairs.ru/global-processes/Odinochestvo-polukrovki-14-19477

You will see the linkage from last year's article and this year's work. Surkov is a gifted "grey cardinal" whose intellect is valued by Putin.
When he speaks, and especially, when he writes, Sukov has the top echelon of Russia paying "deep attention".

If you fall for the word usage of Deep in this present work and equate it with our Western Deep State, you do not comprehend the Russian context.

Trailer Trash , Feb 16, 2019 12:38:36 PM | link
>The Deep State wants no competition, just obedience.
> Posted by: stonebird | Feb 16, 2019 8:33:39 AM | 10

This. This is the central organizing principle of Uncle Sam Land. Every interaction with the police and other state actors says: "Obey or Die". And they mean it, a thousand dead civilians a year. Every year.

Its not only black and brown people. I live in the whitest part of the whitest US state. It is rural, remote, and sparsely populated. White skin did not save my neighbor's brother who was gunned down in his own home. What really happened? Only the cops know, and they ain't sayin.

My conclusion is that the US police state is the inevitable result of imposing a top-down hierarchy on society. This is why skin color, clothes, education, religion, sex, income, etc. are so important: these characteristics and others are used to put everyone in their proper slot in the hierarchy, and to make sure everyone knows their place, and stays there.

Uncle Sam Land is a downwardly-mobile society. The fear of downward mobility keeps people passive, afraid, and easier to control. The lack of labor strife is a good example. After decades of failure, workers understand that most strikes and other job actions will end with less pay and worse working conditions.

The psychopathic scum at the top like it there and intend to stay, regardless of the cost to the peons, who only exist to serve the state. Therefore everyone is disposable. None of this is new, of course, but Bull-in-the-China-Shop Trump has done an excellent job of unintentionally shredding the facade of "freedom". It is now getting difficult even for establishment elites to ignore the nature of the machine they are dedicated to sustaining.

The Dear Leaders will not take a hint and step down, or work to create a more humane society where just being alive is good enough reason to get access to the Earth's bounty. Instead they will use even more violence to impose obedience. A near-monopoly on violence is what makes a nation-state, so violence is the only tactic it knows.

Can Russian really be a nation-state that is not based on hierarchy, violence and coercion? I'd like to think it could be possible, but I remain very, very skeptical.

Fiona Jenkins , Feb 16, 2019 1:01:10 PM | link
This is one of the few times I strongly disagree with (the brilliant political commentator) Moon of Alabama. A better perspective can be found here:

https://www.fort-russ.com/2019/02/its-time-for-super-putin-dugin-on-surkovs-putin-analysis/

And here is an excerpt:

I find that in the article of Surkov the main message is sincere and reflects the will of the current elites to self-preservation and to preserve the regime in an unchanged state and in the post-Putin period. So that Putin himself does not decide to change something by chance, he is reassured: everything is perfect. But sincerity does not mean truth. The solipsism of the ruling elite still cannot replace history and political logic. Therefore, Surkov's analysis of the state of the political regime in modern Russia is entirely and completely false in its very foundations.

Lohmann , Feb 16, 2019 1:10:09 PM | link Noirette , Feb 16, 2019 1:28:28 PM | link
Re. Surkov piece. http://thesaker.is/putins-lasting-state-translated-by-dmitri-orlov/

Any message that praises Russia and goes against demonising + slandering it is welcome to me. If it can prod some to re-think, I'm all for it.

The text is superficial, a straightforward 'bash others' and Laud the True Nation essay, close to school-boy-ish, grade 12.

The ability to hear and to understand the nation, to see all the way through it, through its entire depth, and to act accordingly -- that is the unique and most important virtue of Putin's government.

Is v. similar to the USA's mealy mouthed enshrining of demo-crassy, freee-dom and equality, etc. Putin may be doing a good job, is imho, but seeing into the entire depth etc. is hyperbole, .. OK, cultural standards differ.

It is adequate for the needs of the people, it follows the same course with it, and this means that it is not subject to destructive overloads from history's countercurrents. This makes it effective and long-lasting.

Many Kings Queens Despots Tyrants touted the same. Meaningless.

The various branches of government come together at the person of the leader and are considered valuable not in and of themselves but only to the extent to which they provide a connection with him. Aside from them, and acting around formal structures and elite groups, operate informal methods of communication.

Translation may be poor, styles of writing vary greatly in diff. cultures, etc. But what does it mean? Note the 'person of the leader'

Our state is not split up into deep and external; it is built as a whole, with all of its parts and its manifestations facing out.

Should be queried.

Missing is anything of substance, ex. method of Gvmt. of a large Federation (geographical, climate, cultural, variations..), which would be interesting to know about, put forward, for praise. E.g. health care, housing, transport, education - Relations with China, for ex.

Yes! I get it, that was not the point.

Puff Pieces don't address such practical matters.

Why is this article praised on MoA? One might write something very similar about Trump, Macron, Erdogan or Italy, etc.


vk , Feb 16, 2019 2:50:19 PM | link
I disagree with Surkov in the sense that, albeit it may have a political purpose for the specific historical time it was written, it doesn't have scientific value.

Modern Russia is a full-fledged capitalist country, therefore equally subject to the inner contradictions of the system. No, I don't think Russia is some kind of "third system". No, I don't think it is a stable society: it is full of inner contradictions. Yes, it has a different culture from the West. Yes, it is good Russia still exist. But let not kiss the cross: this Russia is not the future for humanity; unless it suddenly becomes socialist again, there's nothing there.

Jen , Feb 16, 2019 3:57:22 PM | link
The underlying message of Vladislav Surkov's essay is that the relationship between a leader and the nation he leads must be based on mutual trust, and that trust must be based on a system of governance that is transparent to all, and on foundations and values that a would-be leader must respect and with which s/he must align her/his own values and beliefs.

The foundations and values on which government relies and which the leader must always bear in mind (and heart as well) arise from the history or histories and the beliefs of the nation the leader governs.

The Chinese have a similar concept known as the Mandate of Heaven.

If the West ever had something similar to what Surkov is suggesting, it was embodied in the Social Contract.

The significant difference is that the West with its Roman Catholic / Protestant view of humans as having been born in sin and needing to be saved by belief in Jesus as their saviour (and the corollary that human nature essentially is incapable of moral and spiritual improvement, and can only be made perfect by being forced into the right spiritual path), has long been governed by a set of values that based on suspicion and mistrust of others. In a sense, much of European history (with its history of small states at constant war or rivalry against one another, which they later took beyond European bounds during the 15th century and after) and why it was so, compared to other parts of the world, might be explained as a result of societies based around a particular set of beliefs, values and view of the human condition.

The US Constitution with its checks and balances on the executive, legislative and judiciary functions of government reflects something of the view of humans as untrustworthy and essentially moral and spiritual infants, obsessed with their own immediate self-gratification and short-term interests. Much classical economics (with the belief in the free market and the idea that competing interests eventually reach a balance or equilibrium point) is based on this despairing view of humans; the neoliberal incarnation of classical economics exalts this view and portrays it as the ideal.

veritas semper vincit , Feb 16, 2019 9:38:37 PM | link
This was one of your best articles, and there's no short supply here. Thank you, Mr. B.
Russia is fulfilling old prophecies.
The country is an enormous mass land, between East and West, and because of this and its history, I believe it is the world 's balancer.
Russia has been to Hell and back and in the process managed to learn from past mistakes( and we have to remember that some of those mistakes, like the Bolshevik revolution, were financed by the west: Trotsky( Bronshtein) and his 2 Bil in today's money from Kuhn and Loeb Bank, Jacob Schiff, Lenin with millions in gold from Germany).
What did not kill Russia, made her stronger. Russia witnessed the "superior" US system, liberalism, during Yeltsin's era, not only communism. And Russia chose neither.
She chose Mr. Putin, a real patriot, who took Russia from her knees and elevated her to the role she has today: a superpower.
I don't think the Russians wanted this role, but they didn't have a choice. Somebody has to fight the psychopaths.
As for US, the coup d'erat was incremental: the cornerstone was in 1913, with the creation of the private Federal Reserve, with its 9 big banks shareholders,the root of all evil .Money created as debt( credit) and loaned to people with interest. Fractional reserve banking later. Everything else is bribes and blackmails.
Then 1963, the removal of the only semi independent president, who would have put a stop to their NWO.
1970's with replacement of Bretton Woods with the petro-dollar deal and the subsequent wars .
And 2001 as the grand finale: total control.
Now US has to protect the petro-dollar, the only think giving it relevance; This explains our wars, enemies, allies( like KSA).
Some say that US was a FreeMason construct from the very beginning. And looking at all Masonic signs: dollar bill, Statue of Liberty, apotheosis of Washington , Washington DC plans, most founding fathers, etc. they may be right.
Peter AU 1 , Feb 16, 2019 11:00:21 PM | link
psychohistorian "My thought is that Putin knows that the only way to limit the control of his internal oligarchs is to insure the fall of the private finance led Western system that they need to execute their perfidy."

I have watched a youtube video of Putin talking about the CIA victory parade in Moscow in the early nineties. I looked for this when I read Grieved's comment but could not find it. There was lot of anger - savagery perhaps a better word - in his voice.
When the US pulled out of the ABM treaty in, I think 2002, he initiated the research and development of deterrent that would bypass and make obsolete any US ABM system.
I think Putin will see out the US empire. Like the next gen weapons that were unveiled last year with the publication of Trump's Nuclear Posture Review, I believe Putin would have been working on the downfall of the US empire since the day he took office as president of the Russian federation.

Jackrabbit , Feb 16, 2019 11:30:35 PM | link
Jen, Grieved

The Mandate of Heaven is similar but IMO there are important differences.

1) Putinism is grounded in the people, not a heavenly authority.

2) It appears that Putinism has, or will have, specific mechanisms that are meant to keep the leader in tune with the people.

I wonder if the Orthodox church is part of that mechanism, given reporting by John Helmer:

PUTIN PROMOTES PATRIARCH'S PUTSCH


THE RUSSIAN COMMUNIST PARTY AND THE REVIVAL OF THE TSAR'S IDEOLOGY – ORTHODOXY, AUTOCRACY, NATIONALITY

3) Putinism is (by design?) transferable 0 it's being offered as a practical model that other countries can adopt / are adopting.

4) My sense is that Putinism transcends politics. There is a cultural aspect that rejects Western philosophy and theology.

The Western church has failed its moral mission. It was always compromised but now that "God is dead", Western political elites pay little heed to moral principle. Heartless neolibs and neocons meet with virtually no resistance as they comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted.

Coinciding with the moral decay, "checks and balances" have also failed. Western government debt has soared. Western political elites circumvent Constitutional rights and government oversight (by using cut-outs and foreign funding). Wealthy Westerners (the "people that matter") do not speak up - instead they keep tens of trillions "off-shore". And Western corporate presstitutes serve as a propaganda mouthpiece.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

As many details are yet unknown, it's difficult to access how robust the "Deep Putin" model of politics and governance may be.

Russia's delineating their own independent path is somewhat good news for the West. It means that they will not be subservient to China. But Western neocon asshats might muck that up by probing every possible way of undermining Russia.

Repeating what I've said before: countries don't have friend's, the have interests -BUT- if a country hopes to rule the world, those interests must include some sort of morality. The West is reaping what it sowed. Will they take that to heart, or succumb to neocon asshats that always seek to double-down?

Peter AU 1 , Feb 16, 2019 11:58:59 PM | link
The American reality of today is the the polar opposite of what is known as the American Dream.

Putinism and the American Dream.
https://patrickarmstrong.ca/2018/06/20/yes-putin-once-dreamed-the-american-dream/

Putin began laying a solid foundation for a fair democracy in Russia shortly after coming to office.

Kalen , Feb 17, 2019 12:42:34 AM | link
Deep state exists in any state officially under any political system democracy and autocracy. As for Tsar letters from 1917 who confirmed that his was abandoned and power was taken over by security apparatus, the same was in 2014 in Ukraine that his personal security unit mutined while he, his family and two security guard we saved due to Russian help as they were evacuated from Donbass where rhetoric fled. Electoral theater makes no difference to deep state that continues until real and bloody revolution occurs, to create new deep state protecting ruling elite interests same in Russia, same in the US as Mills noticed over a century ago.

As they posited, when men want to rule without seeming to do so, .. because they cannot [openly] lay claim to the required legitimacy, they will rule invisibly and "benignly," shielding themselves behind the rhetoric of popular rule.

Although "authority [in the US supposedly] formally resides 'in the people,' . . . the power of initiation is in fact held by small circles of men."[In hands of behind the scenes ruling oligarchic elite]. This is not to be known. There is the risk that power becomes identified by its true colors. "That is why the standard strategy of manipulation is to make it appear that the people . . . 'really made the decision'" (ibid., 317).

This is the idea behind allowing people or as Lippmann described them "meddlesome spectators" to go through in fact meaningless voting ritual.

[In the US we have,] .. to use Sheldon Wolin's terminology, .. a "managed democracy," political form in which governments are legitimated by elections that they have learned to control," form of government that attempts to keep alive appearance of democracy while simultaneously defeating democracy's primary purpose, self-government.

As quoted above both, Tocqueville and Mills, identified hidden menacing power structure of fused state and private tyranny [also called Deep State] and its rules of control that are hidden, subtle unutterable, unspoken about, power that denies itself as power under guise of false free choice and propaganda of democratic participation.

The mere existence or if necessary exertion of this hidden power is the key ingredient in fragmenting population, producing masses of "sheeple" who lack capacity of self-understanding or even recognizing that they are being directly controlled both individually and collectively, that acquire their irrational/self-defeating behavior within a political realm.

Peter AU 1 , Feb 17, 2019 1:22:43 AM | link
Deep Russia.

Yeltsin had a lot of faults. He also appointed and sacked many prime ministers. He appointed Putin prime minister, then appointed Putin president to serve out the remainder of his own term. For all Yeltsin's faults, in appointing and sacking pm's, he was looking for somebody who could lead Russia.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVitEiKkRZ8

I have watched this speech several times. Now I would have to term it Deep Russia.

Steve D Keith , Feb 17, 2019 2:41:26 AM | link
Back to the Future
George Orwell was born in Bihar, India. The name Bihar comes from the root word, Vihar, which means temple. An auspicious place. A place where we can understand the idea of time; the past, present and future as one. Mr Orwell certainly achieved this feat; perhaps destined to by virtue of the circumstances of his birth. He was, or at least his writings were, prophetic. He could see the reality of how the world was, because of how the people were and consequently he could see how the future would unravel, logically. He was not wrong then and he is not wrong in these darkened days in which we are dying.

In his masterpiece, 1984, he introduces us to a dystopian reality that has encompassed the globe; three fascistic power blocs of the northern hemisphere, Oceania, Eurasia and East Asia fighting each other for the resources of the southern hemisphere. London was the capital of Airstrip One, an offshore island and part of the superstate of Oceania (North America and the British Isles). She was at endless war with her neighbours, rivals and enemies in the battle for global domination, Eurasia (Europe and Russia) and East Asia (China and the states that border her today).

The debacle which has enveloped the United Kingdom and the European Union over the former's decision to withdraw from the latter's club, has created the opportunity for two thirds of this fiction to become real facts, eventually and inevitably forcing the hand of the Peoples Republic to realise a historical belief and vision, espoused many years before on the BBC's Dateline London programme by a Chinese TV journalist (London correspondent, probably), that if it looks Chinese, then it is Chinese. Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos would return to the bosom of the motherland, as Austria, the Sudatenland etc was annexed to the German fatherland.

All this because Russia and the Europeans would have come together, probably quite naturally, in response to Great Britain and Ireland having joined as the fifty first, second, third and fifty fourth states, of the United States. These four ancient nations will find no other way to resolve the #Brexit conundrum and they will see this as the only logical option - an English speaking block, based on common free trade ideals, that guarantees their sovereignty. It would appeal to each of the four nations, the English, Scots, Welsh and Irish, perhaps for different reasons but they would be accepting because their national ego's will be satisfied with this international recognition of each of their sovereign rights.

There is a certain historical inevitability about the whole thing. As a man who spent the formative years of his life in India, he will be aware of the darkness of the age in which we live, an age that the Hindus know as the age of Kali, Kal Yug. An age of darkness and destruction, of deviance and distrust. It is an age that has come before and that will come again, just as the golden ages have come and in time must pass again, back into history. Each has their time and their place. The creatures born in such an age must accept it and refuse to capitulate to it's mesmerising illusions. Of course they won't - it is all too mesmeric, the illusion too beautiful. The illusion of self, of nation, of country, of power, of right and of wrong. It is the illusion of the physical, of the material, of the possibilities of each, that will drive nations together into the power structures from which there will be no escape until the Armageddon, that is theoretically believed in by many of the participants, will arrive and the age will turn, again.

Montreal , Feb 17, 2019 4:03:32 AM | link
"Glubina" also means the Russian countryside (an analogy would be "la France profonde") - everywhere outside the cities is the "glubina" for which the people have a mystical attachment.

Western sanctions have been a great boon to Russian agriculture, as well cementing national solidarity. The new sanctions being contemplated in Washington will, if they are confirmed, act as a spur for Russia to quarantine itself against the next western financial collapse. My impression has always been that VVP greatly values stability and a reacts to attacks from the outside only reluctantly and after great thought as to where Russia's fundamental interests lie.

QuietRebel , Feb 17, 2019 4:18:22 AM | link
@james 37

Do you also agree with donkeytale's glibe comparison of the Putin go ernment to the Nazi Hitler regime and the Trump administration?

mourning dove , Feb 17, 2019 4:32:08 AM | link
I think that imperialism has invaded the Western psyche to such an extent that many people, particularly in the 5Eyes countries, seem to believe that their first impressions are of such weight and credibility that thoughtful consideration of a subject is unnecessary. This is apparent in so many of the comments here which come off as edicts or proclamations from on high and which treat alternative viewpoints with derision and contempt.

Conversely, many of the comments are thoughtful and well reasoned, open to other's views, but these are often drowned out. I can't be the only one who's noticed that someone here is using numerous identities in order to dominate the discussion, create consensus, and to "gang up" on people. It creates a microcosm of imperialism which, to me, speaks louder than any position or ethic that this keyboard emperor(ess) professes.

somebody , Feb 17, 2019 4:37:44 AM | link
Posted by: Pft | Feb 16, 2019 5:01:40 PM | 60

Yep. It is a joke.

somebody , Feb 17, 2019 4:54:50 AM | link
Add: This is John Helmers unsentimental summary on the recent attempt to find an "official" justification for power.

The issue is not political. It is the economic success of the Chinese model (which is very different from the Russian one, but Russia might get closer to it, than it is to Western neoliberalism).

And China is the present technological leader.

Jen , Feb 17, 2019 5:51:29 AM | link
Jack Rabbit @ 76:

In the doctrine of the Mandate of Heaven, the concept of Heaven encompasses the order of the natural world where the ruler governs the people, and is not merely concerned with humanity's relations with the spiritual world. If the natural world is beset by drought, famine or other natural disasters, that is a sign that the ruler is not caring for the people and the people have the right to overthrow that ruler.

The effects of drought, famine, flooding and some other natural disasters can be prevented, minimised or alleviated, sometimes to the extent that life can even carry on as if the disaster had not happened, so in the past emperors did have reason to fear prolonged or repeated disasters from one year to the next - because those disasters could very well be consequences of past inaction or past actions that were wrong or corrupt.

The concept doesn't advise or tell leaders how to stay in touch with the people; they presumably must figure this out for themselves to be effective leaders.

Spike , Feb 17, 2019 9:08:07 AM | link
"Globalization" would be the diminishing of the strength of the nation-states with the corresponding increase in the strength of the trading entities, the corporations. That's easy to reject!

But when the nation-states fade away because the traders have faded away and there's no longer any need to control and regulate them, then you have the dreamed about condition.

One can formulate any philosophy of government one wants, but it is certainly better that one not see trade as being natural and eternal.

Piotr Berman , Feb 17, 2019 9:14:50 AM | link
Understanding of Russia perplexed Westerners of centuries (Chinese did not seem to care too much). Genuine curiosity can be detected in news sections not related to politics, as it can be witnessed by an article in Forbes, Food and Drink section. Title and a quote:

Want To Find A Rich Person In Russia? Look For The Lemons
Lizzy Saxe Contributor, "I write about the future of food, business, and culture." Food & Drink

Quote: Harold noticed that "Russians consume a lot more lemons per capita than many other parts of the world. I was wondering, is that because they drink a lot of vodka? Is it because they're big tea drinkers? Why are they using so many lemons?" He started to investigate. He discovered that the answer wasn't quite that universal.

Unsurprisingly, lemons don't grow in Russia. It's too cold to produce them, so you have to buy them from far, far away. That makes the sour yellow citrus expensive. So expensive, in fact, that, "wealthy Russians really like to incorporate lemons into their lifestyle. It communicates to people that they have the means to be able to afford them. They call it the bling of produce."

====

Someone sold simple-minded Lizzy a tall story, and Russians and Russophiles have a hilarious stream of twits today. For a journalist in a business publication that should know a thing or two about marketing, the fact that a product has high per capita consumption should suggest that it is not restricted to the rich, unless the country in question has reversed income pyramid, enormous percentage of status seeking rich folks. In fact, since long time, tea drinking was popular in Russia, perhaps because their Siberian holdings required them to sell furs, Chinese mandarins like to have fur hats and fur trimmed robes, and China had to offer products to pay for those furs, and that was tea. Russians got hooked on tea -- as were the Mongols, Tibetans, all nations of Central Asia, iran etc. Tea that trades well at long distances was black and bitter. However, even a relatively small amount of vitamin C reduces bitterness a lot as it reacts with tea tannins (the same holds for another bitter drink, mate, but coffee bitterness is not caused by tannins, so adding lemon to coffee was never popular). The result was that even peasant families would possess samovars for making hot water for tea and brew tea in a hot spot at the samovar top, and would add thin slices of lemons to tea.

As a product needed for the welfare of the working class, lemon supplies were one of Communist priorities, I kid you not. In my youth in Communist Poland, a kilo of bananas and oranges would cost 40, while a kilo of lemons mere 30. The communist blocks produced some lemons, and was getting the rest from barter agreements with India, Brazil etc. In the stores, bananas and oranges could appear and disappear, but lemons were always there.

Of course, a household where lemons are always present would find some other uses. For example, borsch is an ubiquitous dish and it is based on beets that should be fermented for several days to create a sour taste, but in an urban household, beets were sliced, a lemon was squeezed and a borsch would be cooked right away. Fish would always be garnished with lemon etc. In other words, every urban household would use lemons every day, and those slices could add up (I am not sure about villages, there are also forest berries with vitamin C and sour taste, and villagers would collect a lot of them).

As posted on Twitter, the current store price of lemons in Russia is 1 dollar per kilogram, apparently the authorities keep lemon prices low, a tradition inherited from the Communist predecessors. Allegedly, this is the same as average lemon price in the international trade, but (a) Russia has long standing import tradition with low cost producers like India (b) the markup on lemons is low.

That said, it is quite possible that the Russian rich display lemons on their table, but the reasons are not as Harold surmised. In eastern and central Europe there is a strong conviction that the traditional food is healthy, good for soul and body. When my family visited Poland (we lived in USA), it was striking that tourist dominated town sections would have lots of foreign cousines, while the business section would have predominantly traditional food, stuff that "every" household would cook at home.

Noirette , Feb 17, 2019 9:17:57 AM | link
Sasha posted, 50:

..for Surkov unveiling all the Russian policy, internal and external, and that is too much asking

Yes, but I couldn't read beyond it (= between the lines, underneath, etc.), as you say:

Being his personal style of writing most of the time kind of confusing and always sounding like including hided and double meanings/senses

Maybe some stuff went over my head. I failed to grasp a deeper / more intruiging, vital, novel meaning or message.

Jen 54 points out that Good-Gvmt. is based on Trust, sure, like satisfactory business dealings, happy families and solid marriages .. not flash news.

The Saker is potty about Putin and will post anything that idolises the Great Leader (say.)

I'm a 'fan', of Putin and Lavrov myself, and have nothing against Surkov, but going overboard on personalia vs. pol / economic systems, resources, geography etc. is a distraction.

If framed properly it is OK: Who is the nicer person, Ocasio-Cortez or Gabbard? Would Megan M. be a better Queen than Kate M.? Etc.

donkeytale , Feb 17, 2019 10:03:38 AM | link
@james 37

Do you also agree with donkeytale's glibe comparison of the Putin go ernment to the Nazi Hitler regime and the Trump administration?

Posted by: QuietRebel | Feb 17, 2019 4:18:22 AM | 83

Of course he doesn't agree with that "glib comparison."

Neither do I.

What I introduced was a simile to illustrate my implication that Surkov is hardly an objective observer of the Russian political system and thus not creditable in this instance.

But nice bit of of setting a trap for James to keep him captured within community standards of subjectivity. Lol

Also, y'know, if you have any issues with my comment you could, y'know, raise them with me directly.

I will state that Trump would of course enjoy the comparison with Putin, since he is on record as an admirer, would also love to jail his political opponents at election time (as Putin does), clearly enjoys using his political power to enrich himself (as Putin also does), and surely would love to find a way to circumvent term limits to remain President for life (as Putin does). This last may be necessary to keep himself, his family and flunkies out of prison.

In other notes, LMAO at all the high falutin rhetorical flights of fancy in this thread extolling the Godlike virtues of the Russian people and Putin, the Chinese "Mandate of Heaven" etc.

This is doubtlessly inspired by Surkov's own flight of fancy in his essay. Yes, the Russian people are to be commended for their centuries of struggle to overcome their historically sad socioeconomic plight and of course for defeating the Nazis (don't know how much credit I can give the Russian people for defeating Napoleon---that one seemed much more like a win for the czarist forces of oppression as opposed to liberation of the masses).

Putin is a great leader and statesman, easily the most accomplished on the world scene today. The problem lies not with him necessarily. The problem is with Surkov's fantasy as it infects the usual suspects in this thread, who should know well but will never admit (because their goal is to rhetorically reinforce a prevailing blog narrative rather than strive to attain the synthesis of truth--that is, the honest intellectual pursuit of knowledge through debate, point and counterpoint) that one man can never successfully embody the political system and the political system cannot adequately reflect the greatness of one man --- for more than the life of that one man --- because that one man is not a god and will eventually wither away and die.

Thus the system he embodies and animates with his greatness cannot be replicated indefinitely after he goes, if it can be sustained even with his immediate successor.

This is a lesson obtained from history, religious texts, legends, mythology. Man is weak, evil, greedy, all the seven sins. Someone mentioned the US Constitution was formulated as a defense mechanism against agains the perfidy of man and of course it was! Lol. Imperfect as it is look we can fight off Trump much better than the Russians will be able to fight off a future Trumpkov.

The Chinese could not reach their present level of capitalist/imperialist success until Mao was long gone, his cult of personality repudiated and replaced by a "communist" party from which succession is dependent more on bureaucrats than charismatic leaders.

Hatred of the Evil Empire doesn't automatically confer righteousness to its opponents no matter how flowery the oratory supporting such contention.

Especially when the so-called opponents aren't even truly ideological opponents but in fact erely represent differing spheres of influence and trading blocs, at worst.

Mike , Feb 17, 2019 11:33:10 AM | link
donkeytale | Feb 17, 2019 10:03:38 AM | 91

That's an awfully long way of just saying that Russia after Putin is very unlikely to be an improvement along commonly accepted metrics over Russia with Putin, or that whatever Putin has changed will guarantee a modicum of continuity past the next, say, two Russian leaders. Same type of thing for China, but for both you seem to amplify the effects of the few pro-Russia/pro-China posts into more than they are, including a narrative that you attribute to the owner of the blog (b)? And I don't see anyone making the argument that "hatred" of the "Evil Empire" automatically confers righteousness to the adversary(ies) other than perhaps that, given the history, it's nice to see there might actually be some adversaries who may not simply fold and fall in line. They still may, but unlikely.

I kinda wish someone would have talked about - or at least explicitly - the fact that all the praise being heaped on Putin is still just praise for a man and his accomplishments, which to my knowledge don't involve concrete changes to the Russian constitution (or equivalent - not much of a Russia scholar myself) that might serve to "guarantee" (insofar as it's ever possible) that future leaders in his position are constrained or empowered in such a fashion that they are most likely to govern in Putin-esque terms.

I dunno, maybe I should read the essay linked by b, but I can't muster much interest in reading propaganda no matter where it's coming from. To me it's sufficient to know that even if they're just different spheres of influence or competing trading blocs, it's nice that the world isn't necessarily doomed to unipolar US/UK dominance - again, given their sordid history, including the very recent. AND I think it's good that the other side is being presented in such a manner as to reach at least a small western audience given the way the corporate MSM has openly censored any such prose and banned any such thought.

I also happen to think that presenting the other side humanizes the Russians and even Putin and provides a bit of understanding into how they view themselves, all of which and all of the above being helpful in synthesizing a worldview on those matters as well as choosing an appropriate lens through which to view the one-sided, hysterical, often evidence-free, accusations of election tampering, utility grid hacking, and the supposed desire to see "western democracy" toppled, as you might expect to see from someone on NBC or from craigsummers.

QuietRebel , Feb 17, 2019 11:55:52 AM | link
@donkeytale
You blame me for misinterpting you comment, but you are the one who added the Nazi and Trump tropes. If you just wanted to make a point about propaganda you you have just posted the first part of your comment,but you went on. Putin is often seriously compared to Hitler,and you expect me to be able to read your mind when you make a comparison of Putin to Hitler. I stand by my original comment.
donkeytale , Feb 17, 2019 12:02:48 PM | link
Mike, I'm nothing if not longwinded....lol.

I also tend to add layers of digressions which lengthen my statements but don't help me necessarily because it gives more ammo to attack me on one of those instead of my main point.

I don't disagree with anything you say here. Also, as often happens after I post I notice Noirette has also posted a more concise, better made point right above mine.

Noirette rocks.

The Surkov essay is well worth reading, IMHO and shouldn't be dismissed because it's propaganda. It reads more liek self-justification to me but it has blatant logical/historical issues as Noirette points out.

As for the comments by others who drive in automatic extoll the virtues mode all the time, perhaps it is just a figment of my overheated imagination.

Montreal , Feb 17, 2019 12:09:23 PM | link
@93. "Putin enjoys using his political power to enrich himself." Now, you may be right, or you may be wrong, but I am damned if I know how you know. Over the years, the number of times I have been told that Putin secretly owns MTS, Surgutneft, etc etc, that his money is looked after in Zurich (and someone knows his fund managers!). The point being of course is to brand him as a greedy self-serving bandit like all the rest.

I would very much doubt that he keeps wealth outside Russia. Given the theme of this discussion, this is an important distinction. The Panama Papers showed, for example, that Poroshenko has stashed obscene sums of money, presumably looted from Ukraine, in the Caribbean (as have thousands of Russians), so when the time for looting is over, they can go and live the life of rich men in the West.

Putin lives and dies with Russia - there will be no comfortable retirement for him in Switzerland, assuming that he wanted it, which I am sure he doesn't. The Russians know this.

Constantine , Feb 17, 2019 12:15:26 PM | link
I would heartily recommend Dugin's respond to Surkov's essay. Whatever views one holds for Dugin's various works, this is a very somber analysis.

https://www.fort-russ.com/2019/02/its-time-for-super-putin-dugin-on-surkovs-putin-analysis/

donkeytale , Feb 17, 2019 12:16:41 PM | link
QR,

No worries, I'm not blaming you at all, and I'm not asking you to retract or anything. I disagree with you that I was making a glib comparison. In quickly searching for similes I came up with those 2, mainly because I thought they were funny.

Of course, Russia today doesn't compare with Nazi Germany. I apologise if I offended you even though a comparison was not my intent. In my way of seeing the blogosphere, it is always on the writer when the reader miscomprehends. I sought to clarify not blame you.

Quite frankly, the US, China and Russian systems all have much more in common than any of them do with Nazi Germany.

David , Feb 17, 2019 12:18:14 PM | link
It's important to note that the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan was not an invasion. The legitimate Afghan government requested Soviet military intervention, and the Soviets actually hesitated to send military assistance.

From this phone conversation between Taraki (President of Afghanistan) and Kosygin (Soviet Premier), Taraki says:

We ask you that you extend practical and technical assistance, involving people and arms.

In the phone conversation, Taraki begs for military aid from the Soviet Union, but is greeted with hesitation since "It is a very complex matter", as Kosygin put it.

Russia's cause in Afghanistan and Syria are the same -- fighting terrorism -- but only the former is dubbed an "invasion" when it was a perfectly legal police action (unlike the Yankee aggression against Vietnam) under international law.

juliania , Feb 17, 2019 12:28:47 PM | link
Grieved @67 and 68

I agree with your understandings but would take them further:

1)"...that inherent genius of Putin to identify with the ordinary people..."

Here I would expand the term to include all the people, the elites as well as the ordinary (supposing that to mean less well-off). It is important to remember that Putin did offer the wealthy a choice - either to leave or be prosecuted, or to use their wealth in service to the nation. Surov doesn't just mean 'deep nation' to be the earthy folk - he wants every stratum included, and that is what makes it such an all-encompassing enigmatic force. It would include Putin's political opposition as well as the old vestiges of the communist state. All of these are being given the opportunity to contribute, just as all ethnic communities do. And each will be at one point or another asked to sacrifice - as for instance seniors with respect to their pensions - when the need arises. The difference here is that they are not being 'told' this is what is going to happen, like it or lump it - they are given detailed explanations and apologies that this needs to happen for the short term to enable the long term to happen - how different this from what goes on in the US when it comes to state policy![to be continued]

Jackrabbit , Feb 17, 2019 12:29:38 PM | link
Jen

In MoH doctrine the people are an agent of Heaven. Surkov's Deep Putin(tm)/Putinism is an agent of the People. That's why I write @ "Les gens, c'est moi").

MoH Dynastic change includes war/foreign intrigue. That is dangerous in today's world. Under MoH, for example, a Color Revolution stoked by foreign interests becomes a divine manifestation.

Immediate context: It seems to me that there is still much resistance to the turn away from the West, despite it's being forced upon Russia. Many Russian elites could benefit greatly by a reversal. These elites form a competing 'Deep State'.

Piotr Berman , Feb 17, 2019 1:10:20 PM | link
"This unique Russian system makes it superior:

The contemporary model of the Russian state starts with trust and relies on trust. This is its main distinction from the Western model, which cultivates mistrust and criticism. And this is the source of its power."

This is propagandist picture, the reality is less bright for sure, but not THAT bleak. As we are all to well aware, trust is something that can be earn or inculcated by other means. However, it a government wants to be trusted, it helps to focus on what people want.

For example, after the oil prices declined from 90-100 range to 40-ties with subsequent oscillation -- now ca. 55 (Brent and Urals ca. 65), Putin responded with almost terrifying decisiveness. Rubble depreciated by factor 2 or more, in line with oil. Imports were slashed correspondingly. Positive balance of trade was maintained. A huge chunk of foreign reserves was pulled back and Russian debt was sharply reduced. Real incomes were allowed to drop, to meagerly rise afterwards. HOWEVER, as a commentator noted very briefly, the employment did not drop, and thus the number of people severely affected was small. There was a drop in construction, but a rise in agriculture and to lesser extend, manufacturing. Russia engaged in "import substitution". Russian lost growth of incomes but preserved stability, and the majority preferred it that way: oil crisis in an oil country must foster an economic crisis, so the choice was for some minority to loose a lot or everybody loosing a little.

These choices perplexed observers in Western media. Just because it is popular, Russia decreased free trade, competition and "mobility of labour" that The Economist tirelessly advocates. And forget about "free financial markets". But what about "necessary painful reforms"?

Actually, being a budget freak, Putin does have painful stuff on the agenda. Russia amassed reserves during "fat years", but with oil contributing much less to the budget, some taxes have to go up and some benefits have to go down. Road tolls were introduced and truckers rebelled. Retirement age was increased and the popularity of Putin dropped. However, in each case the government modulated the "reforms" with concessions, and of course, it keeps making the case why the reforms are needed, so truckers are still trucking, and the retirement reforms were not entirely abandoned. The popularity is still quite healthy, if not in the stratosphere.

In other words, Putin's government is very cautious and strategic about "necessary painful" stuff that Western politicians dish quite freely. What insanity overtook them to keep pushing for "ever more free trade"? Or foreign interventions -- where are the crowds of Britons of France being jubilant that a few countries got destroyed and refugees are flooding in, documenting the superiority of the economic/political system, voting with their legs?

But what about Putin's own interventions? Again, we can see strategic and careful approach. In the case of Crimea, ca. 80% are glad that it was absorbed by Russia, and in Crimea itself the percentage may be higher. In the case of Syria, Russia made a huge effort to keep costs down, both in treasure and blood, and effects up, Syrians being trained to do the bulk of heavy lifting, and ACTUALLY doing that -- unlike hapless Afghan army etc.

Lastly, the deep state. In Russian there is a newish word "siloviki" = "people of strength/power", and they are definitely a material phenomenon rather than a myth. The main difference is that in the West, the smart people work for financial services, or big pharma etc., and intellectually, the "deep state" is very, very mediocre, the casting of The Ministry of Silly Walks.

Jackrabbit , Feb 17, 2019 1:27:24 PM | link
Putinism sounds a lot like Erdogan's MB-infused nationalism. Erdogan propagandists/apologists conflate the people's interests and Erdogan's policies/actions to the point that they are essentially the same. Erdogan thus embodies the people and critics are perceived as traitors.

Kurov hints at an institutional mechanism(s) that:

1) ensures Putinism remains connected to the people/people's interests, and

2) is able to be adoptable by other countries.


Looking forward to details of this mechanism that might elevate Kurov's Deep Putin(tm) from propaganda to political model.
Piotr Berman , Feb 17, 2019 3:29:35 PM | link
Piotr Berman @107

So you're saying that Putinism is a philosophical approach to governance that doesn't have (or has no need for) institutional mechanism(s) for correctness and longevity? Jackrabbit | Feb 17, 2019 1:42:39 PM

I am not a great believer in "philosophical approaches". More precisely, you can design a mechanism that will surely work badly, but you cannot assure good outcomes with a "mechanism". US constitution is pretty good, but if the Congress members, President etc. choose to be beholden to special interests and the population tolerates it, then hard to see how it could be improved with, say, proportional representation, ban on moving from key political and administrative position to lucrative posts in private sector etc.

=============

Someone compared Putin to Erdogan. One big difference is that Putin is very careful, plans long term and gets approval from a decisive majority, using "dirty tricks" like actually paying attention to what people want. Erdogan gets 50% of popular support and when in doubt, increases repressions, censorship etc. If you compare with Turkey, China, etc., the hand of the state in Russia is pretty light, opposition minded people may have newspapers, websites, if demonstrations are "illegal" the demonstrators are released quickly etc. If you are a policeman or a prison guard in Russia who killed a person, the chances of getting seriously sentenced are much higher than in USA where those professions enjoy considerable impunity -- which is used.

brian , Feb 17, 2019 3:46:11 PM | link
'Why Russia no longer regrets its invasion of Afghanistan'

FYI russia nver 'invaded' afghanistan! it was asked to help by the legit govt in Kabul

james , Feb 17, 2019 4:24:34 PM | link Blooming Barricade , Feb 17, 2019 4:26:54 PM | link
It's a shame that they "apologised" to begin with. They were wrong to have ever done so. The recent dialogue over this war by the US media laughing at Trump and telling him off for calling the Mujahideen terrorists (which they were) as opposed to "freedom fighters" has amazingly been phrased as "Trump's comments aren't in line with what the US believed at the time," as opposed to citing actual opinion, ie the US's opinion is "reality" on every given event regardless of the facts. By far the worst part of this is that I don't even think that the individual journos are purposefully propagandising the public, they actually believe that the US tells the truth. Similarly, the New York Times intelligence editors wrote that they learn the most from the official DNI presentation meetings. Aren't reporters supposed to go beyond what the government tells them? Sad, so sad....
Grieved , Feb 17, 2019 5:51:12 PM | link
Not only were the Russians invited - even beseeched - into Afghanistan, the locals still remember them with great fondness and respect. Andre Vltchek took a drive through that country in 2017 and reported that very fact:

Andre Vltchek: On the road in Afghanistan - Lies, legends and myths

karlof1 , Feb 17, 2019 7:03:33 PM | link
Grieved @126--

Yes, the last chapter in the Anti-Communist Crusade consists of the massive Big Lie about the USSR and Afghanistan--many within the Outlaw US Empire think Rambo-3 was based on fact, particularly the Soviet Sadism. The Truth is almost the exact opposite of the West's propaganda as was even clear at the time for those of us who relied on different print sources and already knew not to believe the false narrative generated by the Crusade.

hopehely , Feb 17, 2019 8:31:02 PM | link
Posted by: vk | Feb 17, 2019 5:34:14 PM | 124
Even Russian banks still bow the Americans:
Russia's Gazprombank freezes accounts of Venezuela's PDVSA: source

PDVSA denies it.

donkeytale , Feb 17, 2019 9:10:39 PM | link
vk, james, pft, et al

One would have to be incredibly naive on the order of say a 3 year old or maybe Forrest Gump to believe Putin isn't a very wealthy man who will never want for anything as long as he has billionaire cronies indebted to him politically in one way or the other.

Of course, some people must cling to their illusions, er I mean their idealism, of others no matter what. Dog knows why.

Thomas Piketty :

More generally, the Soviet disaster led to the abandon of any ambition of redistribution. Since 2001, income tax is 13%, whether your income be 1,000 roubles or 100 billion roubles. Even Reagan and Trump have not gone as far in the destruction of progressive taxation. There is no tax on inheritance in Russia, nor in the People's Republic of China. If you want to pass on your fortune in peace in Asia, it is better to die in the ex-Communist countries and definitely not in the capitalist countries such as Taiwan, South Korea or Japan where the tax rate on inheritance on the highest estates has just risen from 50% to 55%.

But while China has succeeded in conserving a degree of control on capital outflows and private accumulation, the characteristic of Putin's Russia is an unbounded drift into kleptocracy. Between 1993 and 2018, Russia had massive trade surpluses: approximately 10% of GDP per annum on average for 25 years, or a total in the rage of 250% of GDP (two and a half years of national production). In principle that should have enabled the accumulation of the equivalent in financial reserves. This is almost the size of the sovereign public fund accumulated by Norway under the watchful gaze of the voters. The official Russian reserves are ten times lower – barely 25% of GDP.

Where has the money gone? According to our estimates, the offshore assets alone held by wealthy Russians exceed one year of GDP, or the equivalent of the entirety of the official financial assets held by Russian households. In other words, the natural wealth of the country, (which, let it be said in passing, would have done better to remain in the ground to limit global warming) has been massively exported abroad to sustain opaque structures enabling a minority to hold huge Russian and international financial assets. These rich Russians live between London, Monaco and Moscow: some have never left Russia and control their country via offshore entities. Numerous intermediaries and Western firms have also recouped large crumbs on the way and continue to do so today in sport and the media (sometimes this is referred to as philanthropy). The extent of the misappropriation of funds has no equal in history.


evilempire , Feb 17, 2019 10:03:14 PM | link
It might be that russia has invested its surplus into massive internal
investment, like the military with projects such as the technopolis and
rebuilding its industrial base and technical expertise. I've read that
russia was acutely consciousness of the demonic game empire was playing
and maybe that accounts for the concentration on the military. Russia is again
a military superpower and that requires enormous expenditure and investment. For
the well-nigh impossible task of simultaneously being a servant of the people
and a servant of the supreme being, putin seems to be doing as admirable a job
as any human being is capable. He is certainly supremely intelligent, maybe a
political genius, and a decent person, but as the article points out he is
just the tip of the iceberg of the deep russian culture and spirit, honed by
centuries of suffering. Didn't dostoevsky say that suffering was the beginning of
consciousness? This is where russia has the decadent west beaten, because obscene
wealth corrupts obscenely. Italy also seems to have found decent leadership.
Grieved , Feb 17, 2019 10:16:17 PM | link
There's a great clip at Vesti News right now, with Karen Shakhnazarov on Vladimir Soloviev's show. It's 12 minutes but I highly recommend it. He talks around the 6 minute mark about how Russia has not developed an economic model, and needs to get one. The US has one, China has one, Russia needs one.

This evolves into the concept that a nation has to have an IDEA of what it's doing and where it's going, something that it believes in. Soloviev joins in at the end with some excellent commentary too.

Russia is looking for its way forward, and the debate is open and intense throughout the country.

The clip also has the usual matter-of-fact, clear-eyed perspective on the US - hence the title of the clip by the headline-lovin' gang at Vesti - but in the end it's about the crucial survival value of meaning in a nation's life, with lives being lived meaningfully, from the soul.

Top Russian Expert: American Elites Too Busy Swindling Their Own People to Fight Russo-Sino Alliance

evilempire , Feb 18, 2019 12:41:36 AM | link
There is an article over at russia insider that debunks the picketty report;
https://russia-insider.com/en/business/west-attacks-russia-pickettys-
overblown-claims-abour-oligarch-wealth/ri24927
pogohere , Feb 18, 2019 1:34:24 AM | link
somebody @86

A very useful interview of John Helmer, an Australian journalist who began reporting from Russia in 1989.

2-14-19

John Helmer and a special, Gorilla Radio double-yolker, getting to know too much about Russia.

~52 min

As the first cracks of the Soviet Empire's eroding iron facade opened, Australian-born author, political essayist, professor of political science, and policy advisor to presidents and prime ministers, John Helmer headed for Moscow, determined to establish what was to become the longest continuously operating foreign press bureau in the capital.

From his position as an independent of single-national, or commercial sponsorship reporter, he ventured into the country's unpredictable, and often precarious economic transition period; a time that would see coup attempts, the undoing of international political superstar, Mikhail Gorbachev, and fall of Russia's communist system itself. It would too usher in the tempestuous Age of the Oligarchs.

Some of John Helmer's book titles include: 'The Deadly Simple Mechanics of Society', 'Drugs and Minority Oppression', (with Claudia Wright) 'The Jackal's Wedding – American Power, Arab Revolt', 'Grand Strategy for Small Countries, Case Studies in Transforming Weakness into Power,' (and with Ajay Goyal) 'Uncovering Russia'. His latest book is the newly out political and personal memoir, 'The Man Who Knows Too Much About Russia'.


pogohere , Feb 18, 2019 1:34:24 AM | link pogohere , Feb 18, 2019 2:04:52 AM | link
evilempire @ 141

Awara link to RI article

THE CASE AGAINST THOMAS PIKETTY. LIES, DAMNED LIES, AND STATISTICS. THE TRUE LEVEL OF INCOME AND WEALTH INEQUALITY IN RUSSIA.

evilempire , Feb 18, 2019 4:06:20 AM | link
For the real scoop on russia read Andrei Martyanov
at his Reminiscence of the Future blog:

https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com

Peter AU 1 , Feb 18, 2019 5:02:41 AM | link
The "Deep Nation of Russia". An apt title.
Earlier in the thread I put up a link to Yeltsin's speech. Putin when asked in interviews about some of the things that happened in the 90's is exceptionally angry, yet when asked of his views on Gorbachev and Yeltsin, he says that everybody knew Russia, or the Soviet Union at that time, had to change, but nobody knew how.
Russia like China cannot be looked at in the same perspective as so called western nations, who's politics and outlook derives from westminster.
China is east. Russia is where east meets west.
vk , Feb 18, 2019 7:28:37 AM | link
PDVSA has just denied the Reuters story:

Pdvsa desmiente falsa noticia sobre bloqueo de banco ruso

But I think my point in general stands: Russia is still vulnerable to American sanctions in the financial sector. Otherwise, it wouldn't be working on another system and buying gold.

[Feb 18, 2019] See the real connection between the fake Steele Dossier and the Skipal hoax

Feb 18, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

war is coming , February 17, 2019 at 9:37 pm

See the real connection between the fake Steele Dossier and the Skipal hoax.

The UK MI6 is behind everything with Australia and Nato. War with Russia is coming to avoid the Brexit. It has been planned 5 years ago. The Brexit is just a good excuse.

The continued NATO harassment, sanctions and campaigns of lies and false accusations against Russia, including the blatant war rhetoric of the British Defence Secretary, do not bode well for the future. For the US to tear up nuclear arms treaties and then blame Russia is beyond shameful: it is destroying all possibility of negotiations to avert war. The Kerch Strait incident staged by the puppet regime in Kiev, sending gunboats into the Kerch Strait without observing the 2003 Protocol requiring them to notify in advance the Port of Kerch (a protocol observed by the dozens of ships that go through the Strait peacefully every day) was clearly part of a NATO plan to set up a major naval clash in the Black Sea.

That clash (followed by an attempt to recapture Crimea or at least blow up its magnificent bridge, a reproach to a man who cannot even build a wall) may be expected in coming months, perhaps as a distraction from Brexit or a way of derailing it. NATO, in short, is on a clear trajectory towards war with Russia, which their deluded worldview convinces them they can win.

Their initial use of Russia as a scapegoat and bogeyman to unite the NATO vassals against a common threat, keeping Europe in subjection to America, has got out of hand, and is heading, under the impetus of hysterical rhetoric, towards actual war. Unless decent people unite to stop this escalation then the nuclear catastrophe will occur.

Exposing the barefaced lie of the Skripal false flag attack may be a step towards averting that global cataclysm.

http://thesaker.is/the-alternative-skripal-narrative/

[Feb 17, 2019] Trump is Russian asset memo is really neocon propaganda overkill

Highly recommended!
The ability of those in power to manipulate the ways ordinary people think, act and vote has allowed for an inverted totalitarianism which turns the citizenry into their own prison wardens, allowing those with real power to continue doing as they please unhindered by the interests of the common man.
In neoliberal MSM there is positive feedback loop for "Trump is a Russian agent" stories. So the meme feeds on itself.
Notable quotes:
"... And yet the trending, most high-profile stories about Trump today all involve painting him as a Putin puppet who is working to destroy America by taking a weak stance against an alarming geopolitical threat. This has had the effect of manufacturing demand for even more dangerous escalations against a nuclear superpower that just so happens to be a longtime target of U.S. intelligence agencies. ..."
"... the mass media is not in the business of reporting facts, it's in the business of selling narratives. Even if those narratives are so shrill and stress-inducing that they imperil the health of their audience. ..."
"... Trump is clearly not a Russian asset, he's a facilitator of America's permanent unelected government just like his predecessors, and indeed as far as actual policies and administration behavior goes he's not that much different from Barack Obama and George W Bush. Hell, for all his demagogic anti-immigrant speech Trump hasn't even caught up to Obama's peak ICE deportation years ..."
"... Used to be that the U.S. mass media only killed people indirectly, by facilitating establishment war agendas in repeating government agency propaganda as objective fact and promulgating narratives that manufacture support for a status quo which won't even give Americans health insurance or safe drinking water ..."
"... Now they're skipping the middle man and killing them directly by psychologically brutalizing them so aggressively that it ruins their health, all to ensure that Democrats support war and adore the U.S. intelligence community . ..."
"... The social engineers responsible for controlling the populace of the greatest military power on the planet are watching France closely, and understand deeply what is at stake should they fail to control the narrative and herd ordinary Americans into supporting U.S. government institutions. ..."
"... The ability of those in power to manipulate the ways ordinary people think, act and vote has allowed for an inverted totalitarianism which turns the citizenry into their own prison wardens, allowing those with real power to continue doing as they please unhindered by the interests of the common man. ..."
Jan 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The always excellent Moon of Alabama blog has just published a sarcasm-laden piece documenting the many, many aggressive maneuvers that this administration has made against the interests of Russia, from pushing for more NATO funding to undermining Russia's natural gas interests to bombing Syria to sanctioning Russian oligarchs to dangerous military posturing.

<picture deleted>

And yet the trending, most high-profile stories about Trump today all involve painting him as a Putin puppet who is working to destroy America by taking a weak stance against an alarming geopolitical threat. This has had the effect of manufacturing demand for even more dangerous escalations against a nuclear superpower that just so happens to be a longtime target of U.S. intelligence agencies.

If the mass media were in the business of reporting facts, there would be a lot less "Putin's puppet" talk and a lot more "Hey, maybe we should avoid senseless escalations which could end all life on earth" talk among news media consumers. But there isn't, because the mass media is not in the business of reporting facts, it's in the business of selling narratives. Even if those narratives are so shrill and stress-inducing that they imperil the health of their audience.

Like His Predecessors

Trump is clearly not a Russian asset, he's a facilitator of America's permanent unelected government just like his predecessors, and indeed as far as actual policies and administration behavior goes he's not that much different from Barack Obama and George W Bush. Hell, for all his demagogic anti-immigrant speech Trump hasn't even caught up to Obama's peak ICE deportation years.

If the mass media were in the business of reporting facts, people would be no more worried about this administration than they were about the previous ones, because when it comes to his administration's actual behavior, he's just as reliable an upholder of the establishment-friendly status quo as his predecessors.

Used to be that the U.S. mass media only killed people indirectly, by facilitating establishment war agendas in repeating government agency propaganda as objective fact and promulgating narratives that manufacture support for a status quo which won't even give Americans health insurance or safe drinking water.

Now they're skipping the middle man and killing them directly by psychologically brutalizing them so aggressively that it ruins their health, all to ensure that Democrats support war and adore the U.S. intelligence community .

They do this for a reason, of course. The Yellow Vests protests in France have continued unabated for their ninth consecutive week , a decentralized populist uprising resulting from ordinary French citizens losing trust in their institutions and the official narratives which uphold them.

The social engineers responsible for controlling the populace of the greatest military power on the planet are watching France closely, and understand deeply what is at stake should they fail to control the narrative and herd ordinary Americans into supporting U.S. government institutions. Right now they've got Republicans cheering on the White House and Democrats cheering on the U.S. intelligence community, but that could all change should something happen which causes them to lose control over the thoughts that Americans think about their rulers.

Propaganda is the single most-overlooked and under-appreciated aspect of human society. The ability of those in power to manipulate the ways ordinary people think, act and vote has allowed for an inverted totalitarianism which turns the citizenry into their own prison wardens, allowing those with real power to continue doing as they please unhindered by the interests of the common man.

The only thing that will lead to real change is the people losing trust in corrupt institutions and rising like lions against them. That gets increasingly likely as those institutions lose control of the narrative, and with trust in the mass media at an all-time low, populist uprisings restoring power to the people in France, and media corporations acting increasingly weird and insecure , that looks more and more likely by the day.

[Feb 17, 2019] Kremlin Spokesman Says U.S. Sanctions Bill Borders on Racketeering

Feb 17, 2019 | larouchepub.com

Feb. 14, 2019 (EIRNS) -- Responding to the U.S. Senators' efforts to impose new sanctions on Russia by proposing a bill on Feb. 13 called the "Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA)" of 2019, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said behind such proposals

"there is an absolutely concrete, pragmatic and aggressive trading approach, having nothing to do with international trade rules.... This policy sometimes borders on racketeering. I mean various provisions of the draft law aimed at disrupting various energy projects of Russian companies, undermining the activities of Russian banks with state participation,"

Peskov said, reported TASS.

The proposed legislation, an updated version of an earlier bill that did not muster enough support, seeks to increase economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on Russia "in response to Russia's interference in democratic processes abroad, malign influence in Syria, and aggression against Ukraine, including in the Kerch Strait," said Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who proposed the bill with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), among other members of the Foreign Relations Committee.

[Feb 16, 2019] MSM Begs For Trust After Buzzfeed Debacle by Caitlin Johnstone

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... This is the behavior of a media class that is interested in selling narratives, not reporting truth. And yet the mass media talking heads are all telling us today that we must continue to trust them. ..."
"... More accountability in media than in politics, Chuck? Really? Accountability to whom? Your advertisers? Your plutocratic owners? Certainly not to the people whose minds you are paid exorbitant sums to influence; there are no public elections for the leadership of the mass media. ..."
"... CNN, for the record, has been guilty of an arguably even more embarrassing Russiagate flub than Buzzfeed 's when they wrongly reported that Donald Trump Jr had had access to WikiLeaks' DNC email archives prior to their 2016 publication, an error that was hilariously due to to the simple misreading of an email date by multiple people ..."
"... The mass media, including pro-Trump mass media like Fox News, absolutely deserves to be distrusted. It has earned that distrust. It had earned that distrust already with its constant promotion of imperialist wars and an oligarch-friendly status quo, and it has earned it even more with its frenzied promotion of a narrative engineered to manufacture consent for a preexisting agenda to shove Russia off the world stage. ..."
"... The mainstream media absolutely is the enemy of the people; just because Trump says it doesn't mean it's not true. The only reason people don't rise up and use the power of their numbers to force the much-needed changes that need to happen in our world is because they are being propagandized to accept the status quo day in and day out by the mass media's endless cultural engineering project . ..."
"... They are the reason why wars go unopposed, why third parties never gain traction, why people consent to money hemorrhaging upward to the wealthiest of the wealthy while everyone else struggles to survive. The sooner people wake up from the perverse narrative matrix of the plutocratic media, the better. ..."
Jan 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

Following what the Washington Post has described as "the highest-profile misstep yet for a news organization during a period of heightened and intense scrutiny of the press," mass media representatives are now flailing desperately for an argument as to why people should continue to place their trust in mainstream news outlets.

On Thursday Buzzfeed News delivered the latest "bombshell" Russiagate report to fizzle within 24 hours of its publication, a pattern that is now so consistent that I've personally made a practice of declining to comment on such stories until a day or two after their release. "BOOM!" tweets were issued by #Resistance pundits on Twitter, "If true this means X, Y and Z" bloviations were made on mass media punditry panels, and for about 20 hours Russiagaters everywhere were riding the high of their lives, giddy with the news that President Trump had committed an impeachable felony by ordering Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about a proposed Trump office tower in Moscow, a proposal which died within weeks and the Kremlin never touched .

There was reason enough already for any reasonable person to refrain from frenzied celebration, including the fact that the story's two authors, Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier, were giving the press two very different accounts of the information they'd based it on, with Cormier telling CNN that he had not personally seen the evidence underlying his report and Leopold telling MSNBC that he had. Both Leopold and Cormier, for the record, have already previously suffered a Russiagate faceplant with the clickbait viral story that Russia had financed the 2016 election, burying the fact that it was a Russian election .

Then the entire story came crashing down when Mueller's office took the extremely rare step of issuing an unequivocal statement that the Buzzfeed story was wrong , writing simply, "BuzzFeed's description of specific statements to the special counsel's office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen's congressional testimony are not accurate."

According to journalist and economic analyst Doug Henwood, the print New York Times covered the Buzzfeed report on its front page when the story broke, but the report on Mueller's correction the next day was shoved back to page 11 . This appalling journalistic malpractice makes it very funny that NYT's Wajahat Ali had the gall to tweet , "Unlike the Trump administration, journalists are fact checking and willing to correct the record if the Buzzfeed story is found inaccurate. Not really the actions of a deep state and enemy of the people, right?"

This is the behavior of a media class that is interested in selling narratives, not reporting truth. And yet the mass media talking heads are all telling us today that we must continue to trust them.

"Those trying to tar all media today aren't interested in improving journalism but protecting themselves," tweeted NBC's Chuck Todd.

"There's a lot more accountability in media these days than in our politics. We know we live in a glass house, we hope the folks we cover are as self aware."

More accountability in media than in politics, Chuck? Really? Accountability to whom? Your advertisers? Your plutocratic owners? Certainly not to the people whose minds you are paid exorbitant sums to influence; there are no public elections for the leadership of the mass media.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/rMY-zTxPCuY

"Mueller didn't do the media any favors tonight, and he did do the president one," griped the odious Chris Cuomo on CNN. "Because as you saw with Rudy Giuliani and as I'm sure you'll see with the president himself, this allows them to say 'You can't believe it! You can't believe what you read, you can't believe what you hear! You can only believe us. Even the Special Counsel says that the media doesn't get it right.'"

"The larger message that a lot of people are going to take from this story is that the news media are a bunch of leftist liars who are dying to get the president, and they're willing to lie to do it, and I don't think that's true" said Jeffrey Toobin on a CNN panel , adding "I just think this is a bad day for us."

"It does reinforce bad stereotypes about the news media," said Brian Stelter on the same CNN panel.

"I am desperate as a media reporter to always say to the audience, judge folks individually and judge brands individually. Don't fall for what these politicians out there want you to do. They want you to think we're all crooked. We're not. But Buzzfeed now, now the onus is on Buzzfeed. "

CNN, for the record, has been guilty of an arguably even more embarrassing Russiagate flub than Buzzfeed 's when they wrongly reported that Donald Trump Jr had had access to WikiLeaks' DNC email archives prior to their 2016 publication, an error that was hilariously due to to the simple misreading of an email date by multiple people.

The mass media, including pro-Trump mass media like Fox News, absolutely deserves to be distrusted. It has earned that distrust. It had earned that distrust already with its constant promotion of imperialist wars and an oligarch-friendly status quo, and it has earned it even more with its frenzied promotion of a narrative engineered to manufacture consent for a preexisting agenda to shove Russia off the world stage.

The mainstream media absolutely is the enemy of the people; just because Trump says it doesn't mean it's not true. The only reason people don't rise up and use the power of their numbers to force the much-needed changes that need to happen in our world is because they are being propagandized to accept the status quo day in and day out by the mass media's endless cultural engineering project .

They are the reason why wars go unopposed, why third parties never gain traction, why people consent to money hemorrhaging upward to the wealthiest of the wealthy while everyone else struggles to survive. The sooner people wake up from the perverse narrative matrix of the plutocratic media, the better.

* * *

The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website , which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My articles are entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook , following my antics on Twitter , throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal , purchasing some of my sweet new merchandise , buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone , or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers .

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[Feb 16, 2019] Guccifer 2.0's American Fingerprints Reveal An Operation Made In The USA

Feb 16, 2019 | disobedientmedia.com

Paul E. Merrell, J.D. , May 31, 2018 at 4:53 am

Guccifer 2.0's American Fingerprints Reveal An Operation Made In The USA: https://disobedientmedia.com/2018/05/guccifer-2-0s-american-fingerprints-reveal-an-operation-made-in-the-usa/

[Feb 13, 2019] MoA - Russiagate Is Finished

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... You can take this to the bank. Hardcore Russiagaters will never give up their belief in collusion and Russian influence in the 2016 campaign -- never. Congress and Mueller will be accused of engaging in a coverup. ..."
"... Thus, even if the Mueller report is underwhelming, I think that the Democrats and TDS-saturated Trump opponents will attempt to rehabilitate it by pretending that it contains important loose ends that need to be pursued. In other words, to perpetuate the Mueller-driven political Russophobia by all other available means. ..."
"... Russiagate has exposed the great degree of corruption within the Justice Department bureaucracy, particularly within FBI, and within the entire Democrat Party. ..."
"... Since this is obviously not going to be allowed to happen, and since these people get away with everything, expect this to never end, despite all evidence to the contrary. It doesn't matter if they've been exposed as CIA propagandists or Integrity Initiative stooges, the game goes on...and on.... the job security of these disgraced columnists is the greatest in the Western world. ..."
"... Stephen Cohen discusses how rational viewpoints are banned from the mainstream media, and how several features of US life today resemble some of the worst features of the Soviet system. https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/02/12/stephen-cohen-on-war-with-russia-and-soviet-style-censorship-in-the-us/ ..."
"... The US needs an enemy, how else can they ask NATO members to cough up 2% of GDP [just for one example Germany's GDP is nearly 4 Trillion dollars [2017] for defence spending, what a crazy sum all NATO members must fork out to please the US, but then most of that money must be spent on the US MIC 'interoperability' of course. ..."
"... Another great damage of Russiagate was the instigating of a nuclear arms race directed primarily at Russia, and ideologically justified by its diabolical policies. ..."
"... Russiagate was very successful. You just have to understand the objectives. It was a great distraction. Diverting peoples attention from the continued fleecing of the "real people" which are the bottom 90% by the "Corporate People" and their Government Lackeys. ..."
"... It provided an excuse for the acting CEO (a figurehead) of the Corporate Empire to go back on many of the promises made that got him elected, and to fill the swamp with Neocon and Koch Brother creatures with the excuse the Deep State made him do it. More proof that there is no deception that is too ridiculous to be believed so long as you have enough pundits claiming it to be so ..."
"... If you've done just a cursory look into Seth Rich, you'd be very suspicious about the story of his life and death. IMO Assange/Wikilleaks were set up. And Flynn was set up too. What they are doing is Orwellian: White Helmets, election manipulation, propaganda, McCarthism, etc. If you're not angry, you're not paying attention. ..."
"... See also this primer on Mueller's MO. ..."
"... The button pushers behind the Trump collusion and Russia election hacking false narratives got what they wanted: to walk the democrats and republicans straight into Cold War v2; to start their campaign to suppress alternative voices on the internet; to increase military spending; and more, more, more war. ..."
"... Russiagate was very successful <=pls read, re-read Pft @ 46.. he listed many things. divide and conquer accomplished. a nation state is defined as an armed rule making structure, designed by those who control a territory, and constructed by the lawyers, military, and wealthy and run by the persons the designers appoint, for the appointed are called politicians. ..."
"... At the beginnng of Russiagate, I wrote on Robert Parry's Consirtium News that Russiagate is Idiocracy piggy-backing on decades and literally billions of dollars of anti-Soviet and anti-Russian propaganda. How hard would it be to brainwash an already brainwashed population? ..."
"... The purveyors of Russiagate will re-compose themselves, brush off all reports and continue on. One just cannot get away from one's nature, even when that nature is pure idiocy. ..."
"... Russiagate will not go away unfortunately because it has evolved in the "Russiagate Industry". As mentioned by others, the Russiagate Industry has been very profitable for many industries and people. Russiagate has generated an entire cottage industry of companies around censorship and "find us a Russian". Dow Jones should have an index on the Russiagate Industry. ..."
Feb 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

For more than two years U.S. politicians, the media and some bloggers hyped a conspiracy theory. They claimed that Russia had somehow colluded with the Trump campaign to get him elected.

An obviously fake 'Dirty Dossier' about Trump, commissioned by the Clinton campaign, was presented as evidence. Regular business contacts between Trump flunkies and people in Ukraine or Russia were claimed to be proof for nefarious deals. A Russian click-bait company was accused of manipulating the U.S. electorate by posting puppy pictures and crazy memes on social media. Huge investigations were launched. Every rumor or irrelevant detail coming from them was declared to be - finally - the evidence that would put Trump into the slammer. Every month the walls were closing in on Trump.

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/qjUvfZj-Fm0

At the same time the very real Trump actions that hurt Russia were ignored.

Finally the conspiracy theory has run out of steam. Russiagate is finished :

After two years and 200 interviews, the Senate Intelligence Committee is approaching the end of its investigation into the 2016 election, having uncovered no direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to both Democrats and Republicans on the committee.
...
Democrats and other Trump opponents have long believed that special counsel Robert Mueller and Congressional investigators would unearth new and more explosive evidence of Trump campaign coordination with Russians. Mueller may yet do so, although Justice Department and Congressional sources say they believe that he, too, is close to wrapping up his investigation.

Nothing, zero, nada was found to support the conspiracy theory. The Trump campaign did not collude with Russia. A few flunkies were indicted for unrelated tax issues and for lying to the investigators about some minor details. But nothing at all supports the dramatic claims of collusion made since the beginning of the affair.

In a recent statement House leader Nancy Pelosi was reduced to accuse Trump campaign officials of doing their job:

"The indictment of Roger Stone makes clear that there was a deliberate, coordinated attempt by top Trump campaign officials to influence the 2016 election and subvert the will of the American people. ...

No one called her out for spouting such nonsense.

Russiagate created a lot of damage.

The alleged Russian influence campaign that never happened was used to install censorship on social media. It was used to undermine the election of progressive Democrats. The weapon salesmen used it to push for more NATO aggression against Russia. Maria Butina, an innocent Russian woman interested in good relation with the United States, was held in solitary confinement (recommended) until she signed a paper which claims that she was involved in a conspiracy.

In a just world the people who for more then two years hyped the conspiracy theory and caused so much damage would be pushed out of their public positions. Unfortunately that is not going to happen. They will jump onto the next conspiracy train continue from there.

Posted by b on February 12, 2019 at 01:38 PM | Permalink

Comments next page " Legally, Maria Butina was suborned into signing a false declaration. If there were the rule of law, such party or parties that suborned her would be in gaol. Considering Mueller's involvement with Lockerbie, I am not holding my breath. FWIW the Swiss company that made the timers allegedly involved in Lockerbie have some comments of its own .


james , Feb 12, 2019 2:00:14 PM | link

thanks b..

I will be really glad when this 'get Russia' craziness is over, but I suspect even if the Mueller investigation has nothing, all the same creeps will be pulling out the stops to generate something... Skripal, Integrity Initiative, and etc. etc. stuff like this just doesn't go away overnight or with the end of this 'investigation'... folks are looking for red meat i tell ya!

as for Maria Butina - i look forward to reading the article.. that was a travesty of justice but the machine moves on, mowing down anyone in it's way... she was on the receiving end of all the paranoia that i have come to associate with the western msm at this point...

Zanon , Feb 12, 2019 2:03:26 PM | link
Considering Mueller hasn't produced its report nor the House dito, its way to early to say Russia gate is "finished".
Jackrabbit , Feb 12, 2019 2:11:44 PM | link
And Russiagate was used ...
... by Hillary to justify her loss to Trump

Hillary's loss is actually best explained as her throwing the election to Trump . The Deep State wanted a nationalist to win as that would best help meet the challenge from Russia and China - a challenge that they had been slow to recognize.

=
... to smear Wikileaks as a Russian agent

The DNC leak is best explained as a CIA false flag.

=
... to remove and smear Michael Flynn

Trump said that he fired Flynn for lying to VP Pence but Flynn's conversations with the Russian Ambassador after Obama threw them out for "meddling" in the US election was an embarrassment to the Administration as Putin's Putin's decision not to respond was portrayed as favoritism toward the Trump Administration.

Rob , Feb 12, 2019 2:28:50 PM | link
You can take this to the bank. Hardcore Russiagaters will never give up their belief in collusion and Russian influence in the 2016 campaign -- never. Congress and Mueller will be accused of engaging in a coverup. This is typical behavior for conspiracy theorists.
bj , Feb 12, 2019 2:30:41 PM | link
Jimmy Dore on same: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgBxfHdb4OU Enjoy!
Ort , Feb 12, 2019 2:34:14 PM | link
I hope that Russiagate is indeed "finished", but I think it needs to be draped with garlic-clove necklaces, shot up with silver bullets, sprinkled with holy water, and a wooden stake driven through its black heart just to make sure.

I don't dispute the logical argument B. presents, but it may be too dispassionately rational. I know that the Russiagate proponents and enthralled supporters of the concept are too invested psychologically in this surrealistic fantasy to let go, even if the official outcome reluctantly admits that there's no "there" there.

The Democratic Party, one of the major partners mounting the Russophobic psy-op, has already resolved to turn Democratic committee chairmen loose to dog the Trump administration with hearings aggressively flogging any and all matters that discredit and undermine Trump-- his business connections, social liaisons, etc.

They may hope to find the Holy Grail: the elusive "bombshell" that "demands" impeachment, i.e., some crime or illicit conduct so heinous that the public will stand for another farcical impeachment proceeding. But I reckon that the Dems prefer the "soft" impeachment of harassing Trump with hostile hearings in hopes of destroying his 2020 electability with the death of a thousand innuendoes and guilt-by-association.

Thus, even if the Mueller report is underwhelming, I think that the Democrats and TDS-saturated Trump opponents will attempt to rehabilitate it by pretending that it contains important loose ends that need to be pursued. In other words, to perpetuate the Mueller-driven political Russophobia by all other available means.

Put more succinctly, I fear that Russiagate won't be finished until Rachel Maddow says it's finished. ;)

worldblee , Feb 12, 2019 2:38:17 PM | link
Once a hypothesis is fixed in people's minds, whether true or not, it's hard to get them to let go of it. And let's not forget how many times the narrative changed (and this is true in the Skripal case as well), with all past facts vanishing to accommodate a new narrative.

So I, like others, expect the fake scandal to continue while many, many other real crimes (the US attempted coup in Venezuela and the genocidal war in Yemen, for instance) continue unabated.

karlof1 , Feb 12, 2019 2:43:34 PM | link
Putin solicits public input for essential national policy goals . If ever there was a template to follow for an actual MAGAgenda, Putin's Russia provides one. While US politicos argue over what is essentially Bantha Pudu, Russians are hard at work improving their nation which includes restructuring their economy.

Russiagate has exposed the great degree of corruption within the Justice Department bureaucracy, particularly within FBI, and within the entire Democrat Party.

BlunderOn , Feb 12, 2019 2:48:51 PM | link
mmm...

I very much doubt it it is over. Trump is corrupt and has links to corrupt Russians. Collusion, maybe not, but several stinking individuals are in the frame for, guess what - ...bring it on... The fact that Hilary was arguably even worse (a point made ad-nauseum on here) is frankly irrelevant. The vilification of Trump will not affect the warmongers efforts. He is a useful idiot

james , Feb 12, 2019 2:52:33 PM | link
for a take on the alternative reality some are living in emptywheel has an article up on the nbc link b provides and the article on butina is discussed in the comments section... as i said - they are looking for red meat and will not be happy until they get some... they are completely zonkers...
Blooming Barricade , Feb 12, 2019 2:55:18 PM | link
Now that this racket has been admitted as such, I expect all of the media outlets that devoted banner headlines, hundreds of thousands of hours of cable TV time, thousands of trees, and free speech online to immediately fire all of their journalists and appoint Glenn Greenwald as the publisher of the New York Times, Michael Tracey at the Post, Aaron Matte at the Guardian, and Max Blumenthal at the Daily Beast.

Since this is obviously not going to be allowed to happen, and since these people get away with everything, expect this to never end, despite all evidence to the contrary. It doesn't matter if they've been exposed as CIA propagandists or Integrity Initiative stooges, the game goes on...and on.... the job security of these disgraced columnists is the greatest in the Western world.

jayc , Feb 12, 2019 3:03:51 PM | link
Stephen Cohen discusses how rational viewpoints are banned from the mainstream media, and how several features of US life today resemble some of the worst features of the Soviet system. https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/02/12/stephen-cohen-on-war-with-russia-and-soviet-style-censorship-in-the-us/
Heath , Feb 12, 2019 3:18:29 PM | link
It turned out getting rid of the Clintons has been a long term project.
Harry Law , Feb 12, 2019 3:21:58 PM | link
The US needs an enemy, how else can they ask NATO members to cough up 2% of GDP [just for one example Germany's GDP is nearly 4 Trillion dollars [2017] for defence spending, what a crazy sum all NATO members must fork out to please the US, but then most of that money must be spent on the US MIC 'interoperability' of course.

Then of course Russia has to be surrounded by NATO should they try and take over Europe by surging through the Fulda gap./s

Then of course there are the professional pundits who have built careers on anti Russian propaganda, Rachel Maddow for instance who earns 30,000$ per day to spew anti Russian nonsense.

folktruther , Feb 12, 2019 3:27:32 PM | link
Another great damage of Russiagate was the instigating of a nuclear arms race directed primarily at Russia, and ideologically justified by its diabolical policies.

I'm sorry b is so down on Conspiracy Theories, since they reveal quite real staged homicidal false flag operations of US power. Feeding into the stigmatizing of the truth about reality is not in the interests of the earth's people.

frances , Feb 12, 2019 3:31:11 PM | link
somehow I see this "revelation: tied to Barr's approaching tenure. I think they (FBI/DOJ) didn't want his involvement in their noodle soup of an investigation and the best way to accomplish that was to end it themselves. I also suspect that a deal has been made with Trump, possibly in exchange for leaving his family alone.

So we will see no investigation of Hillary, her 650,000 emails or the many crimes they detailed (according to NYPD investigation of Weiner's laptop) and the US will continue to be at war all day, every day. Team Swamp rules.

Ash , Feb 12, 2019 3:35:06 PM | link
Meanwhile, MSM is prepping its readers for the possibility that the Mueller report will never be released to us proles. If that's the case, I'm sure nobody will try to use innuendo to suggest it actually contains explosive revelations after all...
Heath , Feb 12, 2019 3:38:37 PM | link
@16

Harry, its vitally important as the US desperately wants to keep Europe under its thumb and to stop this European army which means Europe lead by Paris and Berlin becomes a world power. Trump's attempts to make nice with Russia is to keep it out of the EU bloc.

Anne Jaclard , Feb 12, 2019 3:54:47 PM | link
Well, the liberal conspiracy car crash ensured downmarket Mussolini a second term, it appears...Hard Brexit Tories also look likely to win thanks to centrist sabatoge of the left. You reap what you sow, corporate presstitutes!
wagelaborer , Feb 12, 2019 4:05:25 PM | link
Sane people have predicted the end of Russiagate almost as many times as insane people have predicted that the "smoking gun that will get rid of Trump" has been found. And yet the Mighty Wurlitzer grinds on, while social media is more and more censored.

I expect it all to continue until the 2020 election circus winds up into full-throated mode, and no one talks about anything but the next puppet to be appointed. Oops, I mean "elected".

Jen , Feb 12, 2019 4:15:57 PM | link
Ort @ 7:

You also need to behead the corpse, stuff the mouth with a lemon and then place the head down in the coffin with the body in supine (facing up) position. Weight the coffin with stones and wild roses and toss it into a fast-flowing river.

Russiagate won't be finished until a wall is built around Capitol Hill and all its inhabitants and worker bees declared insane by a properly functioning court of law.

Jackrabbit , Feb 12, 2019 4:16:59 PM | link
frances @18:
I also suspect that a deal has been made with Trump, possibly in exchange for leaving his family alone. So we will see no investigation of Hillary ...
Underlying your perspective is the assumption that USA is a democracy where a populist "outsider" could be elected President, Yet you also believe that Hillary and the Deep State have the power to manipulate government and the intelligence agencies and propose a "conspiracy theory" based on that power.

Isn't it more likely that Trump made it clear (behind closed doors, of course) that he was amenable to the goals of the Deep State and that the bogus investigation was merely done to: 1) cover their own election meddling; 2) eliminate threats like Flynn and Assange/Wikileaks; 3) anti-Russian propaganda?

Jackrabbit , Feb 12, 2019 4:33:16 PM | link
Jen

Steven Cohen once lamented that there were no "wise men" left in foreign policy. All the independent realists were shut out.

Michael McNulty , Feb 12, 2019 4:49:32 PM | link
US anti-Russian hysteria is moving into that grey area beyond McCarthyism approaching Nazism.
Circe , Feb 12, 2019 4:58:40 PM | link
Dowd, Trump's former lawyer on Russiagate stated there may not even be a report. If this is the case then the Zionist rulers have gotten to Mueller who no doubt figured out that the election collusion breadcrumbs don't lead to Putin, they lead to Netanyahu and Zionist billionaire friends! So Mueller may have to come up with a nothing burger to hide the truth.
Danny , Feb 12, 2019 5:02:34 PM | link
B is the only alternative media blogger I've followed for a significant amount of time without becoming disenfranchised. Not because he has no blind spot - his is just one I can deal with... optimism.

hopehely , Feb 12, 2019 5:14:49 PM | link

I will believe Russiagate is finished when expelled Russian staff gets back, when the US returns the seized Russian properties, when the consulate is Seattle reopens and when USA issues formal apology to Russia.

Posted by: hopehely | Feb 12, 2019 5:14:49 PM | link

bevin , Feb 12, 2019 5:16:18 PM | link
Nobody has ever advanced the tiniest shred of credible evidence that 'Russia' or its government at any level was in any way implicated either in Wikileaks' acquisition of the DNC and Podesta emails or in any form of interference with the Presidential election.

This has been going on for three years and not once has anything like evidence surfaced.

On the other hand there has been an abundance of evidence that those alleging Russian involvement consistently refused to listen to explore the facts.

Incredibly, the DNC computers were never examined by the FBI or any other agency resembling an official police agency. Instead the notorious Crowdstrike professionally russophobic and caught red handed faking data for the Ukrainians against Russia were commissioned to produce a 'report.'

Nobody with any sense would have credited anything about Russiagate after that happened.

Thgen there was the proof, from VIPS and Bill Binney (?) that the computers were not hacked at all but that the information was taken by thumbdrive. A theory which not only Wikileaks but several witnesses have offered to prove.

Not one of them has been contacted by the FBI, Mueller or anyone else "investigating."

In reality the charges from the first were ludicrous on their face. There is, as b has proved and every new day's news attests, not the slightest reason why anyone in the Russian government should have preferred Trump over Clinton. And that is saying something because they are pretty well indistinguishable. And neither has the morals or brains of an adolescent groundhog.

Russiagate is over, alright, The Nothingburger is empty. But that means nothing in this 'civilisation': it will be recorded in the history books, still to be written, by historians still in diapers, that "The 2016 Presidential election, which ended in the controversial defeat of Hillary Clinton, was heavily influenced by Russian agents who hacked ..etc etc"

What will not be remembered is that every single email released was authentic. And that within those troves of correspondence there was enough evidence of criminality by Clinton and her campaign to fill a prison camp.

Another thing that will not be recalled is that there was once a young enthusiastic man, working for the DNC, who was mugged one evening after work and killed.

Baron , Feb 12, 2019 5:16:49 PM | link
The 'no collusion' result will only spur the 'beginning of the end' baboons to shout even more, they'll never stop until they die in their beds or the plebs of the Republic made them adore the street lamp posts, you'll see. The former is by far more likely, the unwashed of American have never had a penchant for foreign affairs except for the few spasms like Vietnam.
Circe , Feb 12, 2019 5:20:11 PM | link
There was collusion alright but the only Russians who helped Trump get elected and were in on the collusion are citizens of ISRAEL FIRST, likewise for the American billionaires who put Trump in the power perch. ISRAEL FIRST.

That's why Trump is on giant billboards in Israel shaking hands with the Yahoo. Trump is higher in the polls in Israel than in the U.S. If it weren't that the Zionist upper crust need Trump doing their dirty work in America, like trying today get rid of Rep. Omar Ilhan, then Trump would win the elections in Ziolandia or Ziostan by a landslide cause he's been better for the Joowish state than all preceding Presidents put together. Mazel tov to them bullshet for the rest of us servile mass in the vassal West and Palestinians the most shafted class ever. Down with Venezuela and Iran, up with oil and gas. The billionare shysters' and Trump's payola is getting closer. Onward AZ Empire!

Les , Feb 12, 2019 5:24:36 PM | link
He proved himself so easy to troll during the election. It wouldn't surprise me if aim of the domestic intelligence agencies all along was to get him elected and have a candidate they could manipulate.
Zachary Smith , Feb 12, 2019 5:38:03 PM | link
@ Harry Law #16

At least Germany has the good sense not to throw taxpayer money at the F-35. German F-35 decision sacrifices NATO capability for Franco-German industrial cooperation I don't know what they have in mind with a proposed airplane purchase. If they need fighters, buy or lease Sweden's Gripen. If attack airplanes are what they're after, go to Boeing and get some brand new F-15X models. If the prickly French are agreeable to build a 6th generation aircraft, that would be worth a try.

Regarding Rachel Maddow, I recently had an encounter with a relative who told me 1) I visited too many oddball sites and 2) he considered Rachel M. to be the most reliable news person in existence. I think we're talking "true believer" here. :)

Zachary Smith , Feb 12, 2019 5:43:19 PM | link
@ Les @42
It wouldn't surprise me if aim of the domestic intelligence agencies all along was to get him elected and have a candidate they could manipulate.

Considering how those "intelligence agencies" are hard pressed to find their own tails, even if you allow them to use both hands, it would surprise me.

That Trump would turn out to be a tub of jello in more than just a physical way has been a surprise to an awful lot of us.

Pft , Feb 12, 2019 5:44:54 PM | link

Russiagate was very successful. You just have to understand the objectives. It was a great distraction. Diverting peoples attention from the continued fleecing of the "real people" which are the bottom 90% by the "Corporate People" and their Government Lackeys.

It provided an excuse for the acting CEO (a figurehead) of the Corporate Empire to go back on many of the promises made that got him elected, and to fill the swamp with Neocon and Koch Brother creatures with the excuse the Deep State made him do it. More proof that there is no deception that is too ridiculous to be believed so long as you have enough pundits claiming it to be so

Allowed the bipartisan support for the clamp down on alt media with censorship by social media (Deep State Tools) and funded by the Ministry of Truth set up by Obama in his last days in office to under the false pretense of protecting us from foreign governments interference in elections (except Israel of course) . Similar agencies have been set up or planned to be in other countries followig the US example such as UK, France, Russia, etc.

Did anyone really expect Mr "Cover It Up " Mueller to find anything? Mueller is Deep State all the way and Trump is as well, not withstanding the "Fake Wrestling " drama that they are bitter enemies. All the surveillance done over the past 2-3 decades would have so much dirt on the Trumpet they could silence him forever . Trump knew that going in and I sometimes wonder if he was pressured to run as a condition to avoid prosecution. Pretty sure every President since Carter has been "Kompromat"

Jackrabbit , Feb 12, 2019 6:29:51 PM | link
james, bevin

If you've done just a cursory look into Seth Rich, you'd be very suspicious about the story of his life and death. IMO Assange/Wikilleaks were set up. And Flynn was set up too. What they are doing is Orwellian: White Helmets, election manipulation, propaganda, McCarthism, etc. If you're not angry, you're not paying attention.

stevelaudig , Feb 12, 2019 6:34:12 PM | link
Russians and likely at the behest of the Russian state interfered and it was fair payback for Yeltsin's election. It is time to move on but not in feigned ignorance of what was done. Was it "outcome" affecting, possibly, but not clearly and if the US electoral college and electoral system generally is so decrepit that a second level power in the world can influence then its the US's fault.

It's not like the 2000 election wasn't a warning shot about the rottenness of system and a system that doesn't understand a warning shot deserves pretty much what it gets. But there's enough non-hype evidence of acts and intent to say yes, the Russians tried and may have succeeded. They certainly are acting guilty enough. but still close the book move and move on to Trump's 'real' crimes which were done without a Russian assist.

spudski , Feb 12, 2019 6:52:50 PM | link
@38 bevin @47 james

I seem to recall former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray saying that it was not a hack and that he had been handed a thumb drive in a field near American University by a disgruntled Democrat whistleblower. Further, I seem to recall William Binney, former NSA Technical Leader for intelligence, conducting an experiment to show that internet speeds at the time would not allow the information to be hacked - they knew the size of the files and the period over which they were downloaded. Plus, Seth Rich. So why does anyone even believe it was a hack, @32 THN?

Johan Meyer , Feb 12, 2019 6:55:54 PM | link
Just another comment re Mueller. There is a great documentary by (Dutch, not Israeli---different person) Gideon Levy, Lockerbie Revisited. The narration is in Dutch, but the interviews are in English, and there is a small segment of a German broadcast. The documentary ends abruptly where one set of FBI personnel contradict statements by another set of FBI personnel. See also this primer on Mueller's MO.
frances , Feb 12, 2019 7:11:07 PM | link
reply to Les 42
"It wouldn't surprise me if aim of the domestic intelligence agencies all along was to get him elected and have a candidate they could manipulate."

Not the intelligence agencies, the Military IMO. They knew HC for what she was; horrifically corrupt and,again IMO,they know she is insane.

They saw and I think still see Trump as someone they could work with, remember Rogers (Navy) of the NSA going to him immediately once he was elected? That was the Military protecting him as best they could.

They IMO have kept him alive and as long as he doesn't send any troops into "real" wars, they will keep on keeping him alive.
This doesn't mean Trump hasn't gone over to the Dark Side, just that no military action will take place that the military command doesn't fully support.

Again, I could be wrong, he could be backed by fiends from Patagonia for all I really know:)

AriusArmenian , Feb 12, 2019 8:44:27 PM | link
The button pushers behind the Trump collusion and Russia election hacking false narratives got what they wanted: to walk the democrats and republicans straight into Cold War v2; to start their campaign to suppress alternative voices on the internet; to increase military spending; and more, more, more war.
james , Feb 12, 2019 9:34:59 PM | link
ot - further to @65 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK5YFos56ZU and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK5YFos56ZU

as jr says - welcome to the rabbit hole..

ben , Feb 12, 2019 10:11:05 PM | link
Hope you're right b. Maybe now we can get on with some real truths.
  1. That there is really only one party with real influence, the party of $.
  2. That most of the Dems belong to that club, and virtually all the Repubs.
  3. That the U$A is not a real democracy, but an Oligarchy.
  4. That the corporate empire is the greatest purveyor of evil the world has ever known.

And these are just a few truths. Thanks for the therapy b, hope you feel better...

Circe , Feb 12, 2019 10:52:22 PM | link
Boy, I hope Jackrabbit sees this. Everyone knows I believe Trump is the anointed chosen of the Zionist 1%. There was no Russia collusion; it was Zionist collusion with a Russian twist...
Circe , Feb 12, 2019 11:11:17 PM | link
Oh yeah! Forgot to mention the latest. Trump is asking Kim to provide a list of his nuclear scientists! Before Kim acts on this request, he should call up the Iranian government for advise 'cause they have lots of experience and can warn Kim of what will happen to each of those scientists. They'll be put on a kill-list and will be extrajudicially wacked as in executed. Can you believe the chutzpah? Trump must think Kim is really stupid to fall for that one!

Aye! The thought of six more years of Zionist pandering Trump. Barf-inducing prospect is too tame.

PHC , Feb 13, 2019 2:25:44 AM | link

Russiagate is finished. So, now is the time to create Chinagate. But how ??

V , Feb 13, 2019 2:25:48 AM | link
The view from the hermitage is, we are in the age of distractions. Russiagate will be replaced with one of a litany of distractions, purely designed to keep us off target. The target being, corruption, vote rigging, illegal wars, war crimes, overthrowing sovereign governments, and political assasinations, both at home and abroad. Those so distracted, will focus on sillyness; not the genuine danger afoot around the planet. Get used to it; it's become the new normal.
Circe , Feb 13, 2019 3:53:19 AM | link
@76Hw
I have yet to read anything more delusional, nay, utterly preposterous. Methinks you over-project too much. Even Trump would have a belly-ache laugh reading that sheeple spiel. You're the type that sees the giant billboard of Zionist Trump and Yahoo shaking hands and drones on and on that our lying eyes deceive us and it's really Trump playing 4-D chess. I suppose when he tried to pressure Omar Ilhan into resigning her seat in Congress yesterday, that too was reverse psychology?

Trump instagramed the billboard pic, he tweeted it, he probably pasted it on his wall; maybe with your kind of wacky, Trump infatuation, you should too!

Starring role

Circe , Feb 13, 2019 4:15:37 AM | link
Russiagate is finished because Mueller discovered an embarrassing fact: The collusion was and always will be with Israel. Here's Trump professing his endless love for Zionism: Trump Resign
snake , Feb 13, 2019 5:13:14 AM | link

Russiagate was very successful <=pls read, re-read Pft @ 46.. he listed many things. divide and conquer accomplished.
a nation state is defined as an armed rule making structure, designed by those who control a territory, and constructed by the lawyers, military, and wealthy and run by the persons the designers appoint, for the appointed are called politicians.

Most designs of armed nation states provide the designers with information feedback and the designers use that information to appoint more obedient politicians and generals to run things, and to improve the design to better serve the designers. The armed rule making structure is designed to give the designers complete control over those targeted to be the governed. Why so stupid the governed? ; always they allow themselves to be manipulated like sheep.

When 10 angry folks approach you with two pieces of ropes: one to throw over the tree branch under which your horse will be supporting you while they tie the noose around your neck and the other shorter piece of rope to tie your hands behind ..your back you need at that point to make your words count , if five of the people are black and five are white. all you need do is say how smart the blacks are, and how stupid the whites are, as the two groups fight each other you manage your escape. democrat vs republican= divide to conquer. gun, no gun = divide to conquer, HRC vs DJT = divide to conquer, abortion, no abortion = divide to conquer, Trump is a Russian planted in a high level USA position of power = divide to conquer, They were all in on it together,, Muller was in the white house to keep the media supplied with XXX, to keep the law enforcement agencies in the loop, and to advise trump so things would not get out of hand ( its called Manipulation and the adherents to the economic system called Zionism
For the record, Zionism is not related to race, religion or intelligence. Zionism is a system of economics that take's no captives, its adherents must own everything, must destroy and decimate all actual or imaginary competition, for Zionist are the owners and masters of everything? Zionism is about power, absolute power, monopoly ownership and using governments everywhere to abuse the governed. Zionism has many adherents, whites, blacks, browns, Christians, Jews, Islamist, Indians, you name it among each class of person and walk of life can be found persons who subscribe to the idea that they, and only they, should own everything, and when those of us, that are content to be the governed let them, before the kill and murder us, they usually end up owning everything.

snake , Feb 13, 2019 6:08:16 AM | link
Here might the subject matter that Russia Gate sought to camouflage https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/02/13/588433/US-Saudi-Arabia-nuclear-deal-nuclear-weapons 'This comes as US Energy Secretary Rick Perry has been holding secret talks with Saudi officials on sharing US nuclear technology.'

Finally, a hypothesis to explain

1. why the Joint non nuclear agreement with Iran and the other nuclear power nations, that prevented Iran from developing nuclear weapons, was trashed? Someone needs to be able to say Iran is developing ..., at the right time.

2. Why Netanyohu made public a video that claimed Iran was developing nuclear stuff in violation of the Iran non nuclear agreement, and everybody laughed,

3. Why the nuclear non proliferation agreement with Russia, that terminated the costly useless arms race a decade ago, has been recently terminated, to reestablish the nuclear arms race, no apparent reason was given the implication might be Russia could be a target, but

4. why it might make sense to give nukes to Saudi Arabia or some other rogue nation, and

5. why no one is allowed to have nuclear weapons except the Zionist owned and controlled nation states.

Statement: Zionism is an economic system that requires the elimination of all competition of whatever kind. It is a winner get's all, takes no prisoners, targets all who would threaten or be a challenge or a threat; does not matter if the threat is in in oil and gas, technology or weapons as soon as a possibility exist, the principles of Zionism would require that it be taken out, decimated, and destroyed and made where never again it could even remotely be a threat to the Empire, that Zionism demands..

Hypothesis: A claim that another is developing nuclear weapon capabilities is sufficient to take that other out?

Kiza , Feb 13, 2019 8:26:29 AM | link
I am glad that most commenters understand that Russiagate will not go away. But the majority appear to miss the real reason. Russiagate is not an accusation, it is the state of mind.

At the beginnng of Russiagate, I wrote on Robert Parry's Consirtium News that Russiagate is Idiocracy piggy-backing on decades and literally billions of dollars of anti-Soviet and anti-Russian propaganda. How hard would it be to brainwash an already brainwashed population?

The purveyors of Russiagate will re-compose themselves, brush off all reports and continue on. One just cannot get away from one's nature, even when that nature is pure idiocy. Of course, the most ironic in the affair is that it is the so called US "intellectuals", academics and other assorted cretins who are the most fervent proponents. If you were wondering how Russia can make such amazing defensive weapons that US can only deny exist and wet dream of having, there is your answer. It is the state of mind. The whole of US establishment are legends in their on lunch time and totally delusional about the reality surrounding them - both Russiagate and MAGA cretins, no report can help the Russiagate nation.

Finally, I am thinking of that crazy and ugly professor bitch from the British Cambridge University who gives her lectures naked to protest something or other. I am so lucky that I do not have to go to a Western university ever again. What a catastrophic decline! No Brexit can help the Skripal nation.

NemesisCalling , Feb 13, 2019 8:46:48 AM | link
Russiagate is finished, but is DJT also among the rubble?

Hardly any money for the border wall and still lingering in the ME?

If Hoarsewhisperer proves to be correct above re: DJT, he will really have to knock our socks off before election 2020. To do this he will have to unequivocally and unceremoniously withdraw from the MENA and Afghanistan and possibly declare a National Emergency for more money for the wall.

The problem is, when he does this, he will look impulsively dangerous and this may harm his mystique to the lemmings who need a president to be more "presidential."

My money is on status quo all the way to 2020 and the rethugz hoping the Dems will eat their own in an orgy of warring identities.

I would love to be proven wrong.

morongobill , Feb 13, 2019 9:52:25 AM | link
Rush Limbaugh has been on a roll with his analysis of Russiagate, in fact, his analysis is in line with the writer/editor here at MOA.
Bart Hansen , Feb 13, 2019 10:52:12 AM | link
The collusion story may be faltering, but the blame for Russia poisoning the Skripals lives on. The other night on The News Hour, "Judy" led off the program with this: "It has been almost a year since Kremlin intelligence officers attempted to kill a Russian defector in the British city of Salisbury by poisoning him with a nerve agent. That attack, and the subsequent death of a British woman, scared away tourists and shoppers, but authorities and residents are working to get the town's economy back on track. Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports."
Erelis , Feb 13, 2019 12:15:48 PM | link

Russiagate will not go away unfortunately because it has evolved in the "Russiagate Industry". As mentioned by others, the Russiagate Industry has been very profitable for many industries and people. Russiagate has generated an entire cottage industry of companies around censorship and "find us a Russian". Dow Jones should have an index on the Russiagate Industry.

Here is one recent example. You know the measles outbreak in the US Pacific Northwest. Yup, the Russians. How do we know. A government funded research grant. The study found that 899 tweets caused people to doubt vaccines. Looks like money is to be had even by academics for the right results.

Measles outbreak: Anti-vaccination misinformation fueled by Russian propagandists, study finds
https://www.oregonlive.com/clark-county/2019/02/measles-outbreak-anti-vaccination-misinformation-fueled-by-russian-propagandists-study-finds.html

[Feb 13, 2019] Sic Semper Tyrannis WHY THE DNC WAS NOT HACKED BY THE RUSSIANS by Binney and Johnson

Looks like Gussifer 2.0 person is a fake created to cover tracks and ofload the blame to Russians.
Notable quotes:
"... The phrase, "moderate confidence" is intelligence speak for "we have no hard evidence." ..."
"... Instead, the NSA only claimed to have moderate confidence in the judgement regarding Russian meddling. If the NSA had hard intelligence to support the judgement the conclusion would have been stated as "full confidence." ..."
"... Why does a cyber security company wait 45 days after allegedly uncovering a massive Russian attack on the DNC server to take concrete steps to safeguard the integrity of the information held on the server? This makes no sense. ..."
"... We know one thing for certain -- CrowdStrike did not take steps to shutdown and repair the DNC network until 18 days after the last email was copied from the server. ..."
"... Taken together, these disparate data points combine to paint a picture that exonerates alleged Russian hackers and implicates persons within our law enforcement and intelligence community taking part in a campaign of misinformation, deceit and incompetence. ..."
Feb 13, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

By William Binney, former Technical Director NSA & Larry Johnson, former State CT and CIA

The FBI, CIA and NSA claim that the DNC emails published by WIKILEAKS on July 26, 2016 were obtained via a Russian hack, but more than three years after the alleged "hack" no forensic evidence has been produced to support that claim. In fact, the available forensic evidence contradicts the official account that blames the leak of the DNC emails on a Russian internet "intrusion". The existing evidence supports an alternative explanation--the files taken from the DNC on between 23 and 25May 2016 and were copied onto a file storage device, such as a thumb drive.

If the Russians actually had conducted an internet based hack of the DNC computer network then the evidence of such an attack would have been collected and stored by the National Security Agency. The technical systems to accomplish this task have been in place since 2002. The NSA had an opportunity to make it clear that there was irrefutable proof of Russian meddling, particularly with regard to the DNC hack, when it signed on to the January 2017 "Intelligence Community Assessment," regarding Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election :

We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump's election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.

The phrase, "moderate confidence" is intelligence speak for "we have no hard evidence." Thanks to the leaks by Edward Snowden, we know with certainty that the NSA had the capability to examine and analyze the DNC emails. NSA routinely "vacuumed up" email traffic transiting the U.S. using robust collection systems (whether or not anyone in the NSA chose to look for this data is another question). If those emails had been hijacked over the internet then NSA also would have been able to track the electronic path they traveled over the internet. This kind of data would allow the NSA to declare without reservation or caveat that the Russians were guilty. The NSA could admit to such a fact in an unclassified assessment without compromising sources and methods. Instead, the NSA only claimed to have moderate confidence in the judgement regarding Russian meddling. If the NSA had hard intelligence to support the judgement the conclusion would have been stated as "full confidence."

We believe that Special Counsel Robert Mueller faces major embarrassment if he decides to pursue the indictment he filed -- which accuses 12 Russian GRU military personnel and an entity identified as, Guccifer 2.0, for the DNC hack -- because the available forensic evidence indicates the emails were copied onto a storage device.

According to a DOJ press release on the indictment of the Russians, Mueller declares that the emails were obtained via a "spearphising" attack:

In 2016, officials in Unit 26165 began spearphishing volunteers and employees of the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, including the campaign's chairman. Through that process, officials in this unit were able to steal the usernames and passwords for numerous individuals and use those credentials to steal email content and hack into other computers. They also were able to hack into the computer networks of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) through these spearphishing techniques to steal emails and documents, covertly monitor the computer activity of dozens of employees, and implant hundreds of files of malicious computer code to steal passwords and maintain access to these networks.

The officials in Unit 26165 coordinated with officials in Unit 74455 to plan the release of the stolen documents for the purpose of interfering with the 2016 presidential election. Defendants registered the domain DCLeaks.com and later staged the release of thousands of stolen emails and documents through that website. On the website, defendants claimed to be "American hacktivists" and used Facebook accounts with fictitious names and Twitter accounts to promote the website. After public accusations that the Russian government was behind the hacking of DNC and DCCC computers, defendants created the fictitious persona Guccifer 2.0. On the evening of June 15, 2016 between 4:19PM and 4:56PM, defendants used their Moscow-based server to search for a series of English words and phrases that later appeared in Guccifer 2.0's first blog post falsely claiming to be a lone Romanian hacker responsible for the hacks in the hopes of undermining the allegations of Russian involvement.( https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/grand-jury-indicts-12-russian-intelligence-officers-hacking-offenses-related-2016-election )

Notwithstanding the DOJ press release, an examination of the Wikileaks DNC files do not support the claim that the emails were obtained via spearphising. Instead, the evidence clearly shows that the emails posted on the Wikileaks site were copied onto an electronic media, such as a CD-ROM or thumbdrive before they were posted at Wikileaks. The emails posted on Wikileaks were saved using the File Allocation Table (aka FAT) computer file system architecture.

An examination of the Wikileaks DNC files shows they were created on 23, 25 and 26 May respectively. The fact that they appear in a FAT system format indicates the data was transfered to a storage device, such as a thumb drive.

How do we know? The truth lies in the "last modified" time stamps on the Wikileaks files. Every single one of these time stamps end in even numbers. If you are not familiar with the FAT file system, you need to understand that when a date is stored under this system the data rounds the time to the nearest even numbered second.

We have examined 500 DNC email files stored on Wikileaks and all 500 files end in an even number -- 2, 4, 6, 8 or 0. If a system other than FAT had been used, there would have been an equal probability of the time stamp ending with an odd number. But that is not the case with the data stored on the Wikileaks site. All end with an even number.

The DNC emails are in 3 batches (times are GMT).

Date       Count Min Time Max Time FAT Min Id Max Id
2016-05-23 10520 02:12:38 02:45:42 x    3800  14319
2016-05-25 11936 05:21:30 06:04:36 x       1  22456
2016-08-26 13357 14:11:36 20:06:04 x   22457  44053    

The random probability that FAT was not used is 1 chance in 2 to the 500th power or approximately 1 chance in 10 to the 150th power - in other words, an infinitely high order. This data alone does not prove that the emails were copied at the DNC headquarters. But it does show that the data/emails posted by Wikileaks did go through a storage device, like a thumbdrive, before Wikileaks posted the emails on the World Wide Web.

This fact alone is enough to raise reasonable doubts about Mueller's indictment accusing 12 Russian soldiers as the culprits for the leak of the DNC emails to Wikileaks. A savvy defense attorney will argue, and rightly so, that someone copied the DNC files to a storage device (Eg., USB thumb drive) and transferred that to Wikileaks.

We also tested the hypothesis that Wikileaks could have manipulated the files to produce the FAT result by comparing the DNC email files with the Podesta emails (aka Larter file) that was released on 21 September 2016. The FAT file format is NOT present in the Podesta files. If Wikileaks employed a standard protocol for handling data/emails received from unknown sources we should expect the File structure of the DNC emails to match the file structure of the Podesta emails. The evidence shows otherwise.

There is further compelling technical evidence that undermines the claim that the DNC emails were downloaded over the internet as a result of a spearphising attack. Bill Binney, a former Technical Director of the National Security Agency, along with other former intelligence community experts, examined emails posted by Guccifer 2.0 and discovered that those emails could not have been downloaded over the internet as a result of a spearphising attack. It is a simple matter of mathematics and physics.

Shortly after Wikileaks announced it had the DNC emails, Guccifer 2.0 emerged on the public stage, claiming that "he" hacked the DNC and that he had the DNC emails. Guccifer 2.0 began in late June 2016 to publish documents as proof that "he" had hacked from the DNC.

Taking Guccifer 2.0 at face value -- i.e., that his documents were obtained via an internet attack -- Bill Binney conducted a forensic examination of the metadata contained in the posted documents based on internet connection speeds in the United States. This analysis showed that the highest transfer rate was 49.1 megabytes per second, which is much faster than possible from a remote online connection. The 49.1 megabytes speed coincides with the download rate for a thumb drive .

Binney, assisted by other colleagues with technical expertise, extended the examination and ran various tests forensic from the Netherlands, Albania, Belgrade and the UK. The fastest rate obtained -- from a data center in New Jersey to a data center in the UK--was 12 megabytes per second, which is less than a fourth of the rate necessary to transfer the data, as it was listed from Guccifer 2.

The findings from the examination of the Guccifer 2.0 data and the Wikileaks data does not prove who copied the information to a thumbdrive, but it does provide and empirical alternative explanation that undermines the Special Counsel's claim that the DNC was hacked. According to the forensic evidence for the Guccifer 2.0 data, the DNC emails were not taken by an internet spearphising attack. The data breach was local. It was copied from the network.

There is other circumstantial evidence that buttresses the conclusion that the data breach was a local effort that copied data.

First there is the Top Secret information leaked by Edward Snowden. If the DNC emails had been hacked via spearphising (as alleged by Mueller) then the data would have been captured by the NSA by means of the Upstream program (Fairview, Stormbrew, Blarney, Oakstar) and the forensic evidence would not modify times - the data would be presented as sent.

Second, we have the public reporting on the DNC and Crowdstrike, which provide a bizarre timeline for the alleged Russian hacking.

It was 29 April 2016, when the DNC claims it became aware its servers had been penetrated (see https://medium.com/homefront-rising/dumbstruck-how-crowdstrike-conned-america-on-the-hack-of-the-dnc-ecfa522ff44f ). No claim yet about who was responsible.

According to CrowdStrike founder, Dimitri Alperovitch, his company first detected the Russians mucking around inside the DNC server on 6 May 2016. A CrowdStrike intelligence analyst reportedly told Alperovitch that :

Falcon had identified not one but two Russian intruders: Cozy Bear, a group CrowdStrike's experts believed was affiliated with the FSB, Russia's answer to the CIA; and Fancy Bear, which they had linked to the GRU, Russian military intelligence.

( https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a49902/the-russian-emigre-leading-the-fight-to-protect-america/ )

And what did CrowdStrike do about this? Nothing. According to Michael Isikoff, CrowdStrike claimed their inactivity was a deliberate plan to avoid alerting the Russians that they had been "discovered." This is nonsense. If a security company detected a thief breaking into a house and stealing its contents, what sane company would counsel the client to do nothing in order to avoid alerting the thief?

We know from examining the Wikileaks data that the last message copied from the DNC network is dated Wed, 25 May 2016 08:48:35. No DNC emails were taken and released to Wikileaks after that date.

CrowdStrike waited until 10 June 2016 to take concrete steps to clean up the DNC network. Alperovitch told Esquire's Vicky Ward that :

Ultimately, the teams decided it was necessary to replace the software on every computer at the DNC. Until the network was clean, secrecy was vital. On the afternoon of Friday, June 10, all DNC employees were instructed to leave their laptops in the office.

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a49902/the-russian-emigre-leading-the-fight-to-protect-america/

Why does a cyber security company wait 45 days after allegedly uncovering a massive Russian attack on the DNC server to take concrete steps to safeguard the integrity of the information held on the server? This makes no sense.

A more plausible explanation is that it was discovered that emails had been downloaded from the server and copied onto a device like a thumdrive. But the culprit had not yet been identified. We know one thing for certain -- CrowdStrike did not take steps to shutdown and repair the DNC network until 18 days after the last email was copied from the server.

The final curiosity is that the DNC never provided the FBI access to its servers in order for qualified FBI technicians to conduct a thorough forensic examination. If this had been a genuine internet hack, it would be very easy for the NSA to identify when the information was taken and the route it moved after being hacked from the server. The NSA had the technical collection systems in place to enable analysts to know the date and time of the messages. But that has not been done.

Taken together, these disparate data points combine to paint a picture that exonerates alleged Russian hackers and implicates persons within our law enforcement and intelligence community taking part in a campaign of misinformation, deceit and incompetence. It is not a pretty picture.

[Feb 13, 2019] My understanding is that the Democratic Party person who passed the USB stick to Craig Murray was not Seth Rich

Feb 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jen , Feb 12, 2019 10:54:05 PM | link

James @ 65, Spudski @ 54, Bevin @ 38:

My understanding is that the Democratic Party person who passed the USB stick to Craig Murray was not Seth Rich. Seth Rich died on 10 July 2016 and Murray received the USB stick in September of the same year. So there were quite a few disgruntled Democratic Party whistleblowers at the time.

spudski , Feb 12, 2019 11:48:22 PM | link
@Jen 70

You're right - Seth Rich was not alive in September 2016. Craig Murray says he received a package in a wooded area near the American University in Washington DC in September 2016 from "the source" and that the leak source was the deed of a disgruntled Democrat employee.

james , Feb 13, 2019 1:12:42 AM | link
@71 jen / 73 spudski... i went and checked craigs site, but was unable to find him mentioning this.. i did re-read his post from july 3rd 2017 that came up in a search of seth rich.. The Stink Without a Secret

to quote from it.. "That is it. To this day, that is the sum total of actual "evidence" of Russian hacking. I won't say hang on to it as a fact, because it contains no relevant fact. But at least it is some form of definable allegation of something happening, rather than "Russian hacking" being a simple article of faith like the Holy Trinity.

But there are a number of problems that prevent this being fact at all. Nobody has ever been able to refute the evidence of Bill Binney, former Technical Director of the NSA who designed its current surveillance systems. Bill has stated that the capability of the NSA is such, that if the DNC computers had been hacked, the NSA would be able to trace the actual packets of that information as those emails travelled over the internet, and give a precise time, to the second, for the hack. The NSA simply do not have the event – because there wasn't one. I know Bill personally and am quite certain of his integrity.

As we have been repeatedly told, "17 intelligence agencies" sign up to the "Russian hacking", yet all these king's horses and all these king's men have been unable to produce any evidence whatsoever of the purported "hack". Largely because they are not in fact trying. Here is another actual fact I wish you to hang on to: The Democrats have refused the intelligence agencies access to their servers to discover what actually happened. I am going to say that again.

The Democrats have refused the intelligence agencies access to their servers to discover what actually happened." - why is that???

Jackrabbit , Feb 13, 2019 7:21:34 AM | link
james, jen, spudski, bevin

Look at the interviews of Seth Rich's family on Youtube. The interviews are just weird. And the Seth Rich family has acted in a weird way too.

pantaraxia , Feb 13, 2019 8:07:59 AM | link
Seymour Hersh, surreptitiously taped while discussing Seth Rich's murder.

Seymour Hersh discussing Wikileaks DNC leaks Seth Rich & FBI report (6:30 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJpQPGeUeQY

Jackrabbit , Feb 13, 2019 8:39:31 AM | link
As you consider the weirdness of the Rich family, also keep in mind the substantial efforts made to discredit and disable Assange/Wikileaks and Trump's call, in summer 2016) for Putin to release Hillary's lost emails.

The timeline is as follows:

January 2016
FBI report says Hillary emails contained highly classified info
By this time, Trump has all but locked up the GOP nomination - Michael Bloomberg makes urgent public announcement that may enter the race to prevent Sanders and Trump from winning.

February 2016
Never Trump Movement is born

March/April 2016
Trump hires Manafort

May 2016
DNC is hacked

June 2016
Trump Jr. meets with Russians that say they have info about Hillary

July 2016
Wikileaks publishes DNC emails (July 22)
Trump">https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/28/us/politics/donald-trump-russia-clinton-emails.html">Trump calls on Putin to release Hillary's lost emails (July 28)

July 2016
Manafort resigns/is fired

September 2016
Flynn signs agreement with Turk company Inovo BV: $500k "sweatheart deal"

October 2016
Assange's Internet access is terminated for the first time due to "election interference" by publishing DNC emails

November 2016
Flynn's agreement with Turk company ends on election day (Nov 8)
Flynn accepts position as National Security Advisor (Nov 18)

January 2017
Flynn is under investigation due to his work for Inovo BV
Chuck Schumer says Intel agencies "have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you"

February 2017
Trump fires Flynn after he is evasive/untruthful about his conversation with Russian Ambassador

>> Trump's positioning as pro-Russia was bolstered by his hiring pro-Russia Manafort who has links to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. This is a strange choice for the "America First" Trump campaign.

>> Assange/Wikileaks and Flynn are all ultimately snared by anti-Russia hysteria. Wikileaks would later be described as a "hostile intelligence agency" and Assange as a "Russian agent".

spudski , Feb 13, 2019 10:38:17 AM | link
james @75

CM does say this in a December 2016 post:

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/12/cias-absence-conviction/
[The overall extract is between the lines below.]
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I had a call from a Guardian journalist this afternoon. The astonishing result "was that for three hours, an article was accessible through the Guardian front page which actually included the truth among the CIA hype:

"The Kremlin has rejected the hacking accusations, while the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has previously said the DNC leaks were not linked to Russia. A second senior official cited by the Washington Post conceded that intelligence agencies did not have specific proof that the Kremlin was "directing" the hackers, who were said to be one step removed from the Russian government.
Craig Murray, the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, who is a close associate of Assange, called the CIA claims "bullshit", adding: "They are absolutely making it up."
"I know who leaked them," Murray said. "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.
"If what the CIA are saying is true, and the CIA's statement refers to people who are known to be linked to the Russian state, they would have arrested someone if it was someone inside the United States.
"America has not been shy about arresting whistleblowers and it's not been shy about extraditing hackers. They plainly have no knowledge whatsoever."

But only three hours. While the article was not taken down, the home page links to it vanished and it was replaced by a ludicrous one repeating the mad CIA allegations against Russia and now claiming – incredibly – that the CIA believe the FBI is deliberately blocking the information on Russian collusion.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

jackrabbit

Thanks for the info. The Seth Rich story always bothered me. I also recall that in one article CM was quoted as saying that who he got the leaked materials was not "the source." Was the original source SR?

james , Feb 13, 2019 12:18:47 PM | link
@84/87 jr / @91 spudski... thanks for all that..

i tend to believe julian assange when he says the stakes are very high when one is involved in sharing information that could be detrimental others - a large organization in particular, and etc..

I suppose the 2 choices here are one believes either Seth Rich was murdered in a bad part of Washington dc - conceivable, or that someone knew he had passed the emails and wanted to kill him for it..

If you believe 2 - then you have to come up with a reason for why they had to kill him.. The reason jr appears to offer is it makes Russia and WikiLeaks the 2 main suspects, as opposed to seth rich.. and on and on it goes..

I lean towards the later view which jr articulates, but i don't expect to ever find out..

[Feb 13, 2019] Stephen Cohen on War with Russia and Soviet-style Censorship in the US by Russell Mokhiber

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... War with Russia. ..."
"... Cohen said the censorship that he has faced in recent years is similar to the censorship imposed on dissidents in the Soviet Union. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... "Katrina and I had a joint signed op-ed piece in the New York Times ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... "The alternatives have been excluded from both. I would welcome an opportunity to debate these issues in the mainstream media, where you can reach more people. And remember, being in these pages, for better or for worse, makes you Kosher. This is the way it works. If you have been on these pages, you are cited approvingly. You are legitimate. You are within the parameters of the debate." ..."
"... "When I lived off and on in the Soviet Union, I saw how Soviet media treated dissident voices. And they didn't have to arrest them. They just wouldn't ever mention them. Sometimes they did that (arrest them). But they just wouldn't ever mention them in the media." ..."
"... "And something like that has descended here. And it's really alarming, along with some other Soviet-style practices in this country that nobody seems to care about – like keeping people in prison until they break, that is plea, without right to bail, even though they haven't been convicted of anything." ..."
"... "That's what they did in the Soviet Union. They kept people in prison until people said – I want to go home. Tell me what to say – and I'll go home. That's what we are doing here. And we shouldn't be doing that." ..."
"... Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter.. ..."
Feb 12, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

On stage at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C. this past week was Princeton University Professor Emeritus Stephen Cohen, author of the new book, War with Russia: From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate.

Cohen has largely been banished from mainstream media.

"I had been arguing for years -- very much against the American political media grain -- that a new US/Russian Cold War was unfolding -- driven primarily by politics in Washington, not Moscow," Cohen writes in War with Russia. "For this perspective, I had been largely excluded from influential print, broadcast and cable outlets where I had been previously welcomed."

On the stage at Busboys and Poets with Cohen was Katrina vanden Heuvel, the editor of The Nation magazine, and Robert Borosage, co-founder of the Campaign for America's Future.

During question time, Cohen was asked about the extent of the censorship in the context of other Americans who had been banished from mainstream American media, including Ralph Nader, whom the liberal Democratic establishment, including Borosage and Vanden Heuvel, stiff armed when he crashed the corporate political parties in the electoral arena in 2004 and 2008.

Cohen said the censorship that he has faced in recent years is similar to the censorship imposed on dissidents in the Soviet Union.

"Until some period of time before Trump, on the question of what America's policy toward Putin's Kremlin should be, there was a reasonable facsimile of a debate on those venues that had these discussions," Cohen said. "Are we allowed to mention the former Charlie Rose for example? On the long interview form, Charlie would have on a person who would argue for a very hard policy toward Putin. And then somebody like myself who thought it wasn't a good idea."

"Occasionally that got on CNN too. MSNBC not so much. And you could get an op-ed piece published, with effort, in the New York Times or Washington Post ."

"Katrina and I had a joint signed op-ed piece in the New York Times six or seven years ago. But then it stopped. And to me, that's the fundamental difference between this Cold War and the preceding Cold War."

"I will tell you off the record – no, I'm not going to do it," Cohen said. "Two exceedingly imminent Americans, who most op-ed pages would die to get a piece by, just to say they were on the page, submitted such articles to the New York Times , and they were rejected the same day. They didn't even debate it. They didn't even come back and say – could you tone it down? They just didn't want it."

"Now is that censorship? In Italy, where each political party has its own newspaper, you would say – okay fair enough. I will go to a newspaper that wants me. But here, we are used to these newspapers."

"Remember how it works. I was in TV for 18 years being paid by CBS. So, I know how these things work. TV doesn't generate its own news anymore. Their actual reporting has been de-budgeted. They do video versions of what is in the newspapers."

"Look at the cable talk shows. You see it in the New York Times and Washington Post in the morning, you turn on the TV at night and there is the video version. That's just the way the news business works now."

"The alternatives have been excluded from both. I would welcome an opportunity to debate these issues in the mainstream media, where you can reach more people. And remember, being in these pages, for better or for worse, makes you Kosher. This is the way it works. If you have been on these pages, you are cited approvingly. You are legitimate. You are within the parameters of the debate."

"If you are not, then you struggle to create your own alternative media. It's new in my lifetime. I know these imminent Americans I mentioned were shocked when they were just told no. It's a lockdown. And it is a form of censorship."

"When I lived off and on in the Soviet Union, I saw how Soviet media treated dissident voices. And they didn't have to arrest them. They just wouldn't ever mention them. Sometimes they did that (arrest them). But they just wouldn't ever mention them in the media."

"Dissidents created what is known as samizdat – that's typescript that you circulate by hand. Gorbachev, before he came to power, did read some samizdat. But it's no match for newspapers published with five, six, seven million copies a day. Or the three television networks which were the only television networks Soviet citizens had access to."

"And something like that has descended here. And it's really alarming, along with some other Soviet-style practices in this country that nobody seems to care about – like keeping people in prison until they break, that is plea, without right to bail, even though they haven't been convicted of anything."

"That's what they did in the Soviet Union. They kept people in prison until people said – I want to go home. Tell me what to say – and I'll go home. That's what we are doing here. And we shouldn't be doing that."

Cohen appears periodically on Tucker Carlson's show on Fox News. And that rankled one person in the audience at Busboys and Poets, who said he worried that Cohen's perspective on Russia can be "appropriated by the right."

"Trump can take that and run on a nationalistic platform – to hell with NATO, to hell with fighting these endless wars, to do what he did in 2016 and get the votes of people who are very concerned about the deteriorating relations between the U.S. and Russia," the man said.

Cohen says that on a personal level, he likes Tucker Carlson "and I don't find him to be a racist or a nationalist."

"Nationalism is on the rise around the world everywhere," Cohen said. "There are different kinds of nationalism. We always called it patriotism in this country, but we have always been a nationalistic country."

"Fox has about three to four million viewers at that hour," Cohen said. "If I am not permitted to give my take on American/Russian relations on any other mass media, and by the way, possibly talk directly to Trump, who seems to like his show, and say – Trump is making a mistake, he should do this or do that instead -- I don't get many opportunities – and I can't see why I shouldn't do it."

"I get three and a half to four minutes," Cohen said. "I don't see it as consistent with my mission, if that's the right word, to say no. These articles I write for The Nation , which ended up in my book, are posted on some of the most God awful websites in the world. I had to look them up to find out how bad they really are. But what can I do about it?"

Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Russell Mokhiber

Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter..

[Feb 13, 2019] The US neoliberal MSM are engaged in a "privilege protection racket"

Notable quotes:
"... Maté explains why he thinks this narrative ultimately aligns with the longstanding interests of U.S. establishment power. He calls it a "privilege protection racket" that thrives on distraction and misdirection, turning the public away from a real critique of the rise of Trumpism that would otherwise implicate the neoliberal policies of democrats and conservatives alike, foreign policy think tanks, and the media. ..."
Feb 13, 2019 | teamhuman.fm

Aaron is gong to break down "Russiagate," taking a sober look at the media frenzy of "bombshell" stories asserting a Russian conspiracy behind the 2016 election.

Maté explains why he thinks this narrative ultimately aligns with the longstanding interests of U.S. establishment power. He calls it a "privilege protection racket" that thrives on distraction and misdirection, turning the public away from a real critique of the rise of Trumpism that would otherwise implicate the neoliberal policies of democrats and conservatives alike, foreign policy think tanks, and the media.

[Feb 12, 2019] Watch MSNBC Host Squirm During Live Update On No Collusion Intel Committee News

Feb 12, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

And in a prior NBC News article Tuesday morning, Dilanian spelled out :

After two years and 200 interviews , the Senate Intelligence Committee is approaching the end of its investigation into the 2016 election, having uncovered no direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia , according to both Democrats and Republicans on the committee.

MSNBC anchor Hallie Jackson and her guest panelists' faces looked visibly confused and uncomfortable as they learned the Senate report is going in the opposite direction of everything MSNBC and other mainstream outlets have been breathlessly reporting on a near 24/7 basis.

More importantly, if this is a precursor of what the Mueller report concludes in a few weeks/months, the TV station that built its current reputation on the premise of Russian collusion, may have no option but to go on indefinite hiatus.

Watch the segment below, with host Hallie Jackson appearing to grow exasperated by the 2:20 mark : "If and when the president, as he may inevitably do, points to these conclusions and says look, the Senate intelligence committee found I am not guilty of conspiracy... he would be correct in saying that? "

https://www.youtube.com/embed/a4DKItxvKfU

Dilanian noted that while the Republican chair of the committee made what he characterized as "partisan" comments the week prior, it turned out be unanimous fact. "What I found," he said, "is that Democrats don't dispute that characterization ."

But perhaps sensing how "contrary" to the network's own hysterical 'Russiagate' coverage his reporting was, he tried to soften the blow, saying, "But, again, no direct proof of a conspiracy. As one democratic aide said to me, 'we never thought we were going to find a Democrat between Trump and Vladimir Putin saying let's collude, but the question is how do we interpret all these various contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia.'"

Hallie Jackson followed with further probing: "Not to put too fine a point on it, but I want to make sure I'm understanding this..." and asked "If and when the president, as he may inevitably do, points to these conclusions and says look, the Senate intelligence committee found I'm not guilty of conspiracy... he would be correct in saying that? "

Her face looking rather incredulous at this point, Dilanian responded by invoking the Mueller investigation, reassuring her his inquiry is not complete and likely could uncover more information. But then the bottom line: "That said, Trump will claim vindication through this, and he'll be partially right," he said. But Dilanian also noted the Senate intel committee has access to classified material, which means "if there was an intercept between officers suggesting they were conspiring with the Trump campaign, [the committee] would see that. And that has not emerged."

"So that evidence does not exist, and Trump will claim vindication," he repeated.

Yet after all this, during the full segment Vice News guest panelist Shawna Thomas actually invoked impeachment in what appeared a desperate attempt to grasp for anything . "There's two things I question about [the report]," she began.

"Number one, if and when the report finally comes out from the Senate intelligence committee, is there anything in there that will cause, especially some of these new House Dems, to start to clamor, even if there isn't 'conspiracy' or 'collusion', for impeachment?" said Thomas.

But then she tried to deflate the whole thing, upsetting as it was for purveyors of the collusion narrative: "The other thing is, based on what Ken is saying, it's all stuff we knew already," she said.

Right... cause in MSNBC's Russiagate-land "the walls are closing in" on Trump, constantly. Except the network just woke up to the reality that it's not the case.

We only wonder what Rachel Maddow will be left with after this.

[Feb 10, 2019] One Step Closer To Nuclear Oblivion US Sabotages The INF Treaty by Federico Pieraccini

Notable quotes:
"... The Trump administration announced on February 1 that the country was suspending its participation in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF treaty) for 180 days pending a final withdrawal. Vladimir Putin, in a meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu, announced on Saturday that the Russian Federation is also suspending its participation in the treaty in a mirror response to Washington's unilateral decision. ..."
"... "Two years before making public unfounded accusations against Russia of alleged INF Treaty violations, Washington not only took a decision, but also started preparations to production of missiles of intermediate and shorter range banned by the Treaty. Starting already June 2017, the program of expansion and upgrade of production facilities with the aims of developing intermediate and shorter range missiles banned by the Treaty was launched at Raytheon's plant in the city of Tucson, Arizona. The plant is a major diversified enterprise of the US aerospace industry that produces almost all types of missile weapons. Over the past two years the space of the plant has increased by 44% – from 55,000 to 79,000 square meters, while the number of employees is going to rise by almost 2,000 people, according to official statements. Almost at the same time as production facilities expanded, on November 2017, Congress provided the first tranche amounting to $58 mln to Pentagon, directly pointing at the development of a land-based missile of intermediate range. Consequently, the nature and time of the works demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that the US administration decided to withdraw from the INF Treaty several years before unfounded accusations against Russia of violating the Treaty were made public." ..."
"... "The (US) has announced research and development works, and we will do the same. I agree with the Defense Ministry's proposals to start the work on 'landing' Kalibr missiles and developing a new area to create a land-based hypersonic missile with intermediate range." ..."
Feb 08, 2019 | theduran.com
Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation

The Trump administration announced on February 1 that the country was suspending its participation in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF treaty) for 180 days pending a final withdrawal. Vladimir Putin, in a meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu, announced on Saturday that the Russian Federation is also suspending its participation in the treaty in a mirror response to Washington's unilateral decision.

The INF treaty was signed by the US and the USSR in 1987 at the height of negotiations that had begun years earlier and directly involved the leaders of the two countries. The treaty entered into force in 1988, eliminating missiles with a range of 500-1,000 kilometers (short to medium range) and 1,000-5,500 km (intermediate range). The treaty has always concerned land-based launchers and never sea- or air-launched missiles, a legacy of a bygone era where most nuclear warheads were positioned on missiles launched from the mainland. In subsequent years, thanks to technological advances, solutions like submarines, stealth bombers and the possibility of miniaturizing nuclear warheads became increasingly important in the military doctrines of both the US and Russia, nullifying the basis on which the INF treaty was initially signed, which was to avert a direct confrontation between Washington and Moscow on the European continent.

The INF treaty, together with the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks/Treaty (SALT treaty), signed by Washington and Moscow on the issue of long-range missiles, aimed to create a safer global environment by seeking to avoid the prospect of a nuclear exchange. It was also aimed at reducing the number of nuclear warheads owned by the US and the USSR, as well as generally reducing proliferation in line with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). In particular, the INF treaty guaranteed a lasting peace on the European continent through Washington not deploying nuclear weapons in Europe aimed at the USSR and Moscow in turn not deploying systems capable of eliminating these European-based US missiles. The initial promoters of an INF agreement were obviously the European countries, who would have found themselves in the middle of a nuclear apocalypse in the event of war between Moscow and Washington.

With 1970s technology, the time between the launch and impact of a missile with a range of 500-5500 km was about 10-12 minutes; that was the amount of time Moscow and Washington's leaders had during the Cold War to decide whether to retaliate and thereby launch WWIII. With today's technology, the time to decide would probably be reduced to less than 5 minutes, making it all the more difficult to avert a nuclear exchange in the event of an accident or miscalculation. The INF treaty was thus a life-insurance policy for humanity that decreased the statistical probability of nuclear provocation or of an accident.

During the Cold War, the concept of mutually assured destruction (MAD) was central to the nuclear doctrines of the two great powers. The INF treaty served the purpose of taking concrete steps towards greatly reducing the possibility of mutually assured destruction.

With the unilateral withdrawal from the treaty by the US, all these safeguards and guarantees are lost, with all the consequences that ensue from such a reckless as dangerous act.

The American and European mainstream media have applauded the withdrawal from the INF, in the same way that they have applauded Trump whenever he has been pro-war. Former CIA and military personnel, as well as the former CEO's of major arms manufacturers, have been eager to share their views as "experts", literally invading television programs and thereby showing why they are paid lots of money to lobby for the military-industrial complex. They praised Trump's move, blaming Moscow for the ending of the treaty, but in the end revealing the covert geopolitical reason why Washington decided to end the deal, namely, the fact that China is not bound by the same treaty.

These vaunted experts on MSNBC, CNN and Fox News alluded to the danger of Washington being bound by such a treaty while Beijing was not, thereby limiting Washington's options in the Asia-Pacific. Trump and his staff view the INF treaty as an intolerable imposition that ties America's hands in its efforts to contain China.

US foreign policy, especially under this administration, sees every kind of agreement, past or future, as a concession, and therefore a sign of weakness. Trump and his generals drafted the National Defense Posture, stating that the time of great-power competition is back and that Washington's peer competitors were Moscow and Beijing. The return of great-power competition is an excuse to "strengthen the military", as Trumps loves to say, and his decision is in line with the new defense posture review Trump approved, seeking to confront every adversary in any domain by all means. The newly announced Space Force is a reflection of this, seeking to put weapons in space in violation of all existing treaties. At the same time, the development of tactical nuclear weapons also expands the use of nuclear weapons in certain circumstances, pushing the envelope on the prohibition on the use of nuclear weapons. These new programs will end up draining even more money from taxpayers to fill the coffers of shareholders, CEOs and lobbyists for the big arms manufacturers.

To justify the withdrawal from the INF, the military-industrial complex, which drives US foreign policy, needed a suitable justification. Of course in a time of anti-Russia hysteria, the choice was obvious. Since 2014, the attention of so-called US experts has been focused on the 9M729 missile in particular, an evolution of the 9M728, used by the Iskander-K weapons system, a Russian technological gem with few equals.

NPO Novator, the company that produces the 9M729, reassures that the missile does not violate the INF treaty and has a range shorter than the 500 km limit (470 km). Moscow even organized an exhibition open to the public, with the missile on display along with its main features, inviting Washington to officially send its experts to view the characteristics of the 9M729. Washington refused, knowing full well that the missile does not violate the the INF, preferring instead to use the 9M729 as an excuse to abandonment the treaty.

Washington will suspend its participation in the treaty within 180 days, and Moscow has responded with an identical measure. With hysteria surrounding Russia (Russiagate) and the impossibility of Trump and Putin engaging in dialogue following the complete sabotaging of relations between Moscow and Washington, it is almost impossible that a fruitful dialogue can be created to seal a new agreement in the remaining 180 days. This, however, is not even the basic objective of the Trump administration. Unofficially, Trump says that he would rather include Beijing in the agreement with Moscow. But knowing that this goal is impossible to achieve, he is pursuing his broader objective of withdrawing the US from all major treaties, including the INF treaty.

In the specific case of withdrawing from the INF, there is little need to raise a big hue and cry as was the case with the Paris Agreement, as the media-intelligence-military apparatus has a lot to gain from this. This just goes to show how the MSM and their rolled-out "experts" thrive on war and the money that is to be made from it. There is a major psyop going on to convince the American public that the withdrawal from the INF treaty, and the resulting arms race with major nuclear-armed countries, is apparently the best way to keep America safe!

The withdrawal from the INF treaty opens the gates for a new nuclear-arms race that will bring great advantages to arms industries, with great returns for shareholders, executives and CEOs, all paid for by the American taxpayer. It is more than probable that the official defense budget in 2020, having to cover for the development of weapons previously prohibited by the INF treaty, could be more than 800 billion dollars, seeing an increase of tens of billions of dollars in the space of 12 months.

Moscow has for several years been accusing the US of malfeasance regarding various aspects of nuclear-weapons agreements. Russia's defence minister stated to Tass News Agency:

"Two years before making public unfounded accusations against Russia of alleged INF Treaty violations, Washington not only took a decision, but also started preparations to production of missiles of intermediate and shorter range banned by the Treaty. Starting already June 2017, the program of expansion and upgrade of production facilities with the aims of developing intermediate and shorter range missiles banned by the Treaty was launched at Raytheon's plant in the city of Tucson, Arizona. The plant is a major diversified enterprise of the US aerospace industry that produces almost all types of missile weapons. Over the past two years the space of the plant has increased by 44% – from 55,000 to 79,000 square meters, while the number of employees is going to rise by almost 2,000 people, according to official statements. Almost at the same time as production facilities expanded, on November 2017, Congress provided the first tranche amounting to $58 mln to Pentagon, directly pointing at the development of a land-based missile of intermediate range. Consequently, the nature and time of the works demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that the US administration decided to withdraw from the INF Treaty several years before unfounded accusations against Russia of violating the Treaty were made public."

The unilateral withdrawal by George W. Bush from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty) in 2002, citing the need for the US to protect itself from countries belonging to the Axis of Evil (Iran, Iraq, North Korea), was an excuse to deploy the Aegis system (land- or sea-based) in strategic areas around the Russian Federation, so as to diminish Moscow's deterrent capacity for a nuclear second strike.

The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System (Aegis BMD) is designed to be able to theoretically intercept Russian missiles in their initial boost phase, the period when they are the most vulnerable. Moscow has been openly questioning the rationale for the Aegis system deployed in Romania. According to Russian military experts, the possibility of reprogramming the system from defensive to offensive, replacing the conventional warheads used for intercepting missiles with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, could be undertaken within an hour, without the Russian Federation possibly being aware of it. Putin has cited this specific case and its technical possibility more than once when pointing out that the US is already in violation of the INF treaty by deploying such systems in Romania.

The US unilaterally withdrew from the ABM treaty in 2002 in order to be able to disguise the deployment of an offensive system under the guise of an ABM system for the purported purposes of defending against Iran, thereby de facto violating the INF treaty, an excess of arrogance and presumption. Such perfidy caused Putin to make his famous 2007 Munich speech, where he warned the US and her allies of the consequences of reneging on such treaties and agreements. Deploying defensive systems close to the Russian border that can easily be converted into offensive ones with a nuclear capacity was a red line that could not be crossed.

At the time the West ignored Putin's warnings, dismissive of the Russian leader. But only a few months ago, the Russian Federation finally showed the world that the warnings issued in 2007 were not empty bluster. Hypersonic weapons, a submarine drone and other cutting-edge systems were presented by Putin in March 2018, shocking Western military planners and analysts who had not taken Putin seriously back in 2007. These new technological breakthroughs provide Russia with the ability to eliminate targets by kinetic, conventional or nuclear means. Such offensive deployments near the Russian border as the ABM systems in Romania can now be eliminated within the space of a few minutes, with no possibility of being intercepted.

Putin recently said:

"The (US) has announced research and development works, and we will do the same. I agree with the Defense Ministry's proposals to start the work on 'landing' Kalibr missiles and developing a new area to create a land-based hypersonic missile with intermediate range."

Putin has already put his military cards on the table, warning 10 years ago what would happen if Washington continued in its duplicitous direction. As Putin said in March 2018: "They did not listen to us in 2007. They will listen to us now".

The consequences of withdrawing from the INF treaty fall most heavily on the shoulders of the Europeans. Federica Mogherini indicated deep concern over Washington's decision, as well as the new super-weapons that were either being tested or were already operational in Russia, causing consternation amongst the Western military establishment that had thought that Putin was bluffing in March 2018 when he spoke about hypersonic weapons.

The US military-industrial complex is rejoicing at the prospect of money rained down as a result of this withdrawal from the INF treaty. But in Europe (with the exception of Romania and Poland), nobody is too keen to welcome US missiles that have no defense against Russian hypersonic weapons. NATO's trans-Atlantic arms lobby will try to push as many European countries as possible towards a new Cold War, with US weapons deployed and aimed at Moscow. It will be fun to see the reactions of European citizens facing the prospect of being annihilated by Russian missiles simply to please the CEOs and shareholders of Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. No doubt there will be some European politicians in countries like Poland keen to scream about the "Russian threat", ready to throw tens of billions worth of Polish taxpayers' money into useless and ineffective projects for the purposes of pleasing their American friends.

Are US generals even aware of how idiotic it is for the US to withdraw from the INF for Washington? Moscow is already ahead in the development of such systems, both land-based but above all sea- and air-launched, without forgetting the hypersonic variants of its conventional or nuclear missiles. Washington has a huge gap to close, exacerbated by the fact that in spite of heavy spending over many years, there is little to show for it as a result of massive corruption in the research-and-development process. This is not to mention the fact that there are few European countries willing to host offensive missile systems aimed at Russia. In reality, there is little real advantage for Washington in withdrawing from the INF treaty, other than to enrich arms manufacturers. It diminishes US military options strategically while expanding those of Beijing and Moscow, even as the latter oppose Washington's unilateral withdrawal from the treaty.

The hope of expanding the INF treaty to include the US, Russia, China and the EU appears slim due to Washington's intransigence. Washington only aims to increase expenditure for the development of weapons prohibited by the treaty, and in strategic terms, improbably hopes to find some Asian and European countries willing to host these systems aimed against China and Russia.

The world is certainly more dangerous following Washington's decision, heading in a direction where there are less and less rules while there are more nuclear powers. For decades, the United States has been trying to achieve nuclear supremacy by overcoming the limitations of MAD, whereby Washington would be able to carry out a decapitating nuclear first strike without worrying about an opponent's ability to launch a retaliatory second strike. It is precisely this type of thinking that is bringing humanity closer to the brink of destruction from a nuclear accident or miscalculation. The miniaturization of nuclear warheads and the apparently limited nature of "tactical nukes" further encourages the justification for using such weapons.

Moscow's decision in 2007 to develop state-of-the-art weapons and focus on new technologies like hypersonic missiles guarantees that Russia and her allies have an effective deterrent against the attempts of the US to alter the nuclear balance of power, which otherwise threatens the future of humanity.

The withdrawal from the INF treaty is another worrying sign of the willingness of the US to push the world to the brink of catastrophe, simply for the purposes of enriching the CEOs and shareholders of it arms manufacturers through a nuclear arms race.

[Feb 10, 2019] With endless military interventions, the end of U.S. empire fast approaches by Richard Galustian

Notable quotes:
"... Vidal's view was that liberation from this system will come about as a result of an economic collapse possibly a global one. He further said as far as the US is concerned "This is inevitable, on the basis of the colossal debts we have been building up. This must lead to monetary breakdown at some stage. The writing is on the wall." ..."
Feb 10, 2019 | theduran.com

America has bankrupted its economy, abandoned its original ideals, its sense of decency, its core morality, that's what it looks like anyway.

One book that predicted and encapsulated the description of what America used to be and will be was published in July 2002, it was in fact a series of essays written over 10 years. Its name 'The Decline and Fall of the American Empire' written by the outstandingly unique genius, the late Gore Vidal.

Vidal explained in his book how the pillars of the US constitution have been eroded and are gone forever, until we force a violent people's revolution, something akin to the revolts all across France today. Necessary, not least, to stop the latest idea of regime change in places like Venezuela and Iran.

There has sadly been what looks like a silent coup in America – that has surrounded Trump with warmongers, bringing the NeoCons of the 1990s back!

Trump appears to have been, to a degree, marginalised somehow.

In the first part of the 21st Century, resulting and triggered by 9/11, we witnessed the destruction of the US constitution, due process of law and tragically the end of 'fair play' by Britain as She became a mere US satellite or as Blair was described when Prime Minister, a lap dog to American (and Israeli) interests.

Endless wars like Afghanistan. Why pray tell.

This fall of the American Republic in a worse case scenario could eventually lead to a totalitarian State.

In Gore's opinion, "the [American] Republic ended in 1950. Since then we have had an imperial system." What are the chief characteristics of this system?

First, the USA intervenes in an aggressive way in almost every part of the world. According to Vidal research, since 1776, the USA has waged over 100 interventions and wars in different parts of the globe. Yet the Constitution stipulates that any war must be approved by Congress, not one of these wars or conflicts has been so approved. In fact, the last time an American President sought and obtained congressional approval for a war was in 1941, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour.

Vidal points out something that has been long known to academics and historians but has never been publicly admitted, namely that President Roosevelt deliberately provoked the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor. "Roosevelt wanted the USA to enter the war against Hitler, but he knew that 80 percent of Americans were against this. He knew that the only way to change this was by a major shock, and therefore set out to provoke the Japanese – who were the allies of Germany and Italy – to attack the US.

False flags have always been around one seems to be able to deduce.

Vidal then explained how President Truman got the USA involved in the Korean War ("which we lost like Vietnam") by presenting it as a "police operation" (or 'stopping communism' in the case of Indo-China) that did not require the approval of Congress.

The US military aggression in Korea took place under the banner of the UN – like many many subsequent adventures.

Now we have wars called 'humantarian interventions' like Libya and soon could be in Venezuela.

Its important to reflect that Vidal was a most effective raconteur, who also possessed the necessary sense of humour. In his hands, wit is a deadly weapon, as sharp as a dagger. The young George W. Bush ("How I love that man!") provides him with an endless source of anecdotes, one of which was new to me and very worth repeating. Bush's opinion of the French: "The trouble with those guys is that they just don't have a word for entrepreneur!"

If one is a pessimist, it wouldn't be difficult in surmising that the US 'Elite', 'the Deep State' would seems to support a US led world akin to an 'Empire'.

US interventions are connected with only money; mega-projects, gas and oil.

Worth mentioning is another of Vidal's books 'Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace', which was published in the USA, but then, as he remarked wryly, it 'vanished' to all intent and purposes. Not a single American newspaper was prepared to review the book. There was no publicity and no advertisements were accepted. As a well-known public figure and broadcaster, he received seven invitations to appear on different television programmes. Five of these were soon cancelled. CNN had invited him to debate his views, but the programme was cancelled half an hour before it was due to commence. The instructions evidently came from the top level in Washington. Do the words Orwellian or totalitarianism spring to mind and of course covert censorship seems far more prevalent today than it was then.

Citizens' rights were demolished (the knee jerk after 9/11) when they passed the US Patriot Act, a document of 300 odd pages that Vidal stated "nobody bothered to read". Rest of Europe and Britain followed with similarly intrusive laws.

Vidal's view was that liberation from this system will come about as a result of an economic collapse possibly a global one. He further said as far as the US is concerned "This is inevitable, on the basis of the colossal debts we have been building up. This must lead to monetary breakdown at some stage. The writing is on the wall."

So if you want to know what will happen next and for the rest of this century, should we see it out without a nuclear Armageddon, just read Gore Vidal and also books and articles written in the 1930s and 40s by Huxley, Orwell.

You will conclude the future looks pretty bleak. Let's hope not.

[Feb 09, 2019] The US scraps the INF treaty Another step toward nuclear war by Andre Damon

Notable quotes:
"... New York Times ..."
"... "Constrained by the treaty's provisions, the United States has been prevented from deploying new weapons to counter China's efforts to cement a dominant position in the Western Pacific and keep American aircraft carriers at bay. China was still a small and unsophisticated military power when Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of a rapidly-weakening Soviet Union, negotiated the INF agreement." ..."
"... Over the past two years, the American military establishment has grown increasingly alarmed at the rapidity of China's technological development, which the United States sees as a threat not only to the profitability of its corporations, but the dominance of its military. ..."
"... As the latest US Worldwide Threat Assessment warns, "For 2019 and beyond, the innovations that drive military and economic competitiveness will increasingly originate outside the United States, as the overall US lead in science and technology shrinks" and "the capability gap between commercial and military technologies evaporates." ..."
"... The United States hopes that, by leveraging its military, it will be able to contain the economic rise of China and shore up US preeminence on the world stage. ..."
"... Nearly 75 years ago, the United States, after having "scorched and boiled and baked to death," in the words of General Curtis Lemay, hundreds of thousands of civilians in a genocidal "strategic bombing" campaign over Japan, murdered hundreds of thousands more with the use of two nuclear weapons: an action whose primary aim was to threaten the USSR. ..."
"... But ultimately, the continued existence of the Soviet Union served as a check on the genocidal impulses of US imperialism. ..."
"... Despite the triumphalist claims that the dissolution of the Soviet Union would bring about a new era of peace, democracy and the "end of history," it has brought only a quarter-century of neocolonial wars. ..."
"... the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria have not achieved their intended purpose. Having spent trillions of dollars and killed millions of people, the global position of US imperialism is no better than when it launched the "war on terror" in 2001. ..."
"... Now, the United States is upping the ante: setting "great-power conflict" with Russia and China on the order of the day. In its existential struggle for global hegemony, US imperialism is going for broke, willing to employ the most reckless and desperate means, up to and including the launching of nuclear war. ..."
Feb 09, 2019 | www.wsws.org

In an article that fully backs the White House's accusations against Russia, the New York Times ' David Sanger, a conduit for the Pentagon, spells out with perfect lucidity the real reasons why the United States is leaving the INF treaty:

"Constrained by the treaty's provisions, the United States has been prevented from deploying new weapons to counter China's efforts to cement a dominant position in the Western Pacific and keep American aircraft carriers at bay. China was still a small and unsophisticated military power when Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of a rapidly-weakening Soviet Union, negotiated the INF agreement."

Sanger's own words make perfectly clear why the United States wants to leave the treaty, which has nothing to do with Russia's alleged violations: Washington is seeking to ring the island chain surrounding the Chinese mainland with a hedge of nuclear missiles. But Sanger somehow expects, without so much as a transition paragraph, his readers to believe the hot air spewed by Pompeo about Russia's "bad behavior."

Over the past two years, the American military establishment has grown increasingly alarmed at the rapidity of China's technological development, which the United States sees as a threat not only to the profitability of its corporations, but the dominance of its military.

Two decades ago, at the height of the dotcom bubble, China was little more than a cheap labor platform, assembling the consumer electronics driving a revolution in communications, while American companies pocketed the vast bulk of the profits. But today, the economic balance of power is shifting.

Chinese companies like Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo are capturing an ever-greater portion of the global smartphone market, even as their rivals Samsung and Apple see their market share slip. The Shenzhen-based DJI is the uncontested global leader in the consumer drone market. Huawei, meanwhile, leads its competitors by over a year in the next-generation mobile infrastructure that will power not only driverless cars and "smart" appliances, but the "autonomous" weapons of the future.

As the latest US Worldwide Threat Assessment warns, "For 2019 and beyond, the innovations that drive military and economic competitiveness will increasingly originate outside the United States, as the overall US lead in science and technology shrinks" and "the capability gap between commercial and military technologies evaporates."

It is the economic decline of the United States relative to its global rivals that is ultimately driving the intensification of US nuclear war plans. The United States hopes that, by leveraging its military, it will be able to contain the economic rise of China and shore up US preeminence on the world stage.

But a consensus is emerging within the US military that Washington cannot bring its rivals to heel merely with the threat of totally obliterating them with its massive arsenal of strategic missiles. Given the fleet of nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines possessed by both Russia and China, this option, even ignoring the effects of nuclear winter, would result in the destruction of the largest cities in the United States.

Rather, the US is working to construct a "usable," low-yield, "tactical" nuclear arsenal, including the construction of a new nuclear-capable cruise missile. This week, a new low-yield US nuclear warhead went into production, with a yield between half and one third of the "little boy" weapon that leveled the Japanese city of Hiroshima, and hundreds of times smaller than the United States' other nuclear weapons systems.

The Trump administration's Nuclear Posture Review, released last year, envisions using such weapons to turn the tide in conflicts that begin with conventional weapons, under the pretense (whether the Pentagon believes it or not) that such wars will stop short of full-scale nuclear exchanges.

Nearly 75 years ago, the United States, after having "scorched and boiled and baked to death," in the words of General Curtis Lemay, hundreds of thousands of civilians in a genocidal "strategic bombing" campaign over Japan, murdered hundreds of thousands more with the use of two nuclear weapons: an action whose primary aim was to threaten the USSR.

But ultimately, the continued existence of the Soviet Union served as a check on the genocidal impulses of US imperialism.

Despite the triumphalist claims that the dissolution of the Soviet Union would bring about a new era of peace, democracy and the "end of history," it has brought only a quarter-century of neocolonial wars.

But the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria have not achieved their intended purpose. Having spent trillions of dollars and killed millions of people, the global position of US imperialism is no better than when it launched the "war on terror" in 2001.

Now, the United States is upping the ante: setting "great-power conflict" with Russia and China on the order of the day. In its existential struggle for global hegemony, US imperialism is going for broke, willing to employ the most reckless and desperate means, up to and including the launching of nuclear war.

... ... ...

[Feb 09, 2019] Putin General Wesley Clark on destruction of the Middle East - YouTube

Feb 09, 2019 | www.youtube.com

4TruthBeTrue 9 months ago Putin is the most articulate leader I have seen. He demonstrates clear understanding of the issues and causes at the core of the situation. Very intelligent. The world needs more leaders of this calibre. The USA have stuck there beak in and stirred up a hornets nest, and now there is unrest and instability in the land that has caused scores of people to perish or be dislocated. And the repercussions a still being felt today. Obscure Shadow 2 years ago Putin speaks with the common sense & diplomacy of a true statesman. Compared to him, US speak like a bunch of immature imbeciles. Many blessings & protection to him. 100+% support to him & Russia from this American. I wish we could clone him here...

[Feb 09, 2019] Did The Department Of Justice Protect Brenda Snipes From Prosecution For Ballot Destruction by Elizabeth Lea Vos

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... it is important to remember that Wasserman-Schultz and Snipes are merely the public faces of an extensive, deeply problematic system of corruption. It is then also essential to understand who, and what mechanisms, have allowed figures like Wasserman-Schultz, Snipes, the Awan brothers, and others to go unprosecuted. ..."
"... As readers may recall , Snipes illegally destroyed ballots from the 2016 primary race between Wasserman-Schultz and Tim Canova. The Sun Sentinel explained Snipes's direct involvement in the destruction of ballots, writing: ..."
"... Canova's contention that US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein may have been responsible for preventing legal consequences for Brenda Snipes is profoundly concerning. Last year, Rosenstein faced heavy criticism in the wake of the publication of the infamous FISA Memo. Last year, The Daily Beast described the memo's account of surveillance abuse, saying: "[The memo] specifically names FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein along with former FBI Director James Comey." ..."
"... Needless to say, the fact that Rosenstein was directly involved with the strongly partisan activities documented by the FISA memo makes it unsurprising that he would interfere on behalf of associates of Hillary Clinton. ..."
"... Setting the possibility that Wasserman-Schultz's brother may also have been involved in protecting Snipes from prosecution aside for the moment, Canova's allegations raise a myriad of new questions, including: who benefits from protecting Snipes? ..."
"... "In stories like this, the image painted of the Department of Justice is one of a federal agency that functions in a manner far more akin to organized crime than to a governmental body." ..."
Feb 07, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Via Disobedient Media.

A vast caldera of public rage has rightfully been aimed at Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Brenda Snipes over the last few years. However, it is important to remember that Wasserman-Schultz and Snipes are merely the public faces of an extensive, deeply problematic system of corruption. It is then also essential to understand who, and what mechanisms, have allowed figures like Wasserman-Schultz, Snipes, the Awan brothers, and others to go unprosecuted.

This issue became clearer earlier this week when former congressional candidate Tim Canova Tweeted:

As readers may recall , Snipes illegally destroyed ballots from the 2016 primary race between Wasserman-Schultz and Tim Canova. The Sun Sentinel explained Snipes's direct involvement in the destruction of ballots, writing:

"Canova, who was checking for voting irregularities in the race, sought to look at the paper ballots in March 2017 and took Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes to court three months later when her office hadn't fulfilled his request. Snipes approved the destruction of the ballots in September, signing a certification that said no court cases involving the ballots were pending. Snipes called the action a "mistake" during testimony she gave in the case, saying the boxes were mislabeled and there was "nothing on my part that was intentional" about destroying the contested ballots."

Big League Politics also reported: "On May 11, 2018, the Florida Circuit Court granted Plaintiff Canova summary judgment, and found that Snipes had violated numerous state and federal statutes, including laws punishable as felonies with up to five years in prison. The Court's ruling made clear that Snipes' destruction of ballots was illegal on several separate counts."

Disobedient Media spoke with Tim Canova, who told us:

"I was recently informed by election officials in Florida that it's the Deputy AG, Rod Rosenstein, who would have been the DOJ official making the decision not to move forward with a criminal investigation in our ballot destruction case. I also believe that Steve Wasserman, an Assistant US Attorney at the DOJ headquarters in Washington, DC, may well have been involved in the decision, particularly since Wasserman spoke out publicly against prosecuting Awan in the days before Awan's sentencing."

A Floridian official set to prosecute Snipes was also said to have backed down after a trip to Washington DC, which involved meetings with the DOJ. Canova stated:

"Last May, the acting US Attorney for South Florida, Ben Greenberg, was about to open a criminal investigation into Snipes's destruction of our ballots when he flew to DC for a week of meetings at DOJ. When he returned, the investigation was off."

Canova's contention that US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein may have been responsible for preventing legal consequences for Brenda Snipes is profoundly concerning. Last year, Rosenstein faced heavy criticism in the wake of the publication of the infamous FISA Memo. Last year, The Daily Beast described the memo's account of surveillance abuse, saying: "[The memo] specifically names FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein along with former FBI Director James Comey."

The Washington Times reported: "The memo from Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee shows that at least one questionable surveillance warrant application was signed by Mr. Rosenstein, who already had a difficult relationship with President Trump. The memo said information supporting the application was obtained from a partisan anti-Trump dossier funded by Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic Party."

Needless to say, the fact that Rosenstein was directly involved with the strongly partisan activities documented by the FISA memo makes it unsurprising that he would interfere on behalf of associates of Hillary Clinton.

Setting the possibility that Wasserman-Schultz's brother may also have been involved in protecting Snipes from prosecution aside for the moment, Canova's allegations raise a myriad of new questions, including: who benefits from protecting Snipes?

Undeniably, the most obvious answer is Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the alleged beneficiary of Snipes's illegal ballot destruction. Similarly, one wonders what connection such a decision may have with the DOJ's refusal to prosecute the Awan scandal, a move from which Debbie Wasserman-Schultz also directly benefited.

In light of this, we are led to ask: Who benefits from shielding Debbie Wasserman-Schultz from the blowback of multiple national scandals? What would induce the DOJ to prop up such an embarrassment?

Farts and Leaves,

"In stories like this, the image painted of the Department of Justice is one of a federal agency that functions in a manner far more akin to organized crime than to a governmental body."

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...

Taras Bulba

Dis ob Media-good report-thanks.

This abolute outrageous info about snipes, the wassermanschultzes, awans, dimocrats in congress shouts loudly that we really have no system of justice in this country, at least for the powerful and connected. This is outrageous-where in the hell is the DOJ, oh, that is the problem with ,rosenstein, prob the clintons, et al

My guess is wasserman schultz is mossad-to my mind, there can be no other explanation.

It appears that George Webb has been shut down, he was bird dogging this info, now daily caller luke has cut him off.

The vomit factor on this one is off the scale!

Ajax-1

At the very least, why hasn't Trump or his new AG fired Rosenstein?

space junk

Probably because the stay behind networks from the Sessions/Obama/Holder and even Bush eras, have so much entanglement into the system, that change cannot be made in quick order. One only can hope that T-man will chop off the head of the snake and not just the tail.

hooligan2009

the two key extracts from the article are these:

"... the Department of Justice is one of a federal agency that functions in a manner far more akin to organized crime than to a governmental body. The DOJ's refusal prosecute the Awans, and Rosenstein's alleged decision to prevent legal consequences for Brenda Snipes shows us that corruption allowed to stagnate in Broward County affected the whole country. "

and

"... the Department of Justice refuses to prosecute such crimes as detailed in the Awan scandal and as committed by Snipes, how can the public hope to hold their government accountable for election interference and other forms of corruption? "

the case is clear. the DoJ has, again, acted against the national interest and the staff involved are guilty of electoral fraud, sedition and treason. the awan brothers sold congressional secrets to Pakistan (and mossad probably).

cui bono? from not prosecuting these blatant, obvious AND DISCLOSED crimes? there is a fetid swamp of criminality here and a flagrant, in your face, contempt for the american people and their security.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? where is the oversight of this criminality? the inspector general? internal affairs? where are the lawyers that leap to defend civil rights abuses against covington schoolkids, but not issues such as this?

hooligan2009, 7 hours ago

h/t anthony aaron's link below

http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/the-tale-of-the-brothers-awan/

" Congress paid the Awans more than $4 million between 2004 and 2016 at their $165,000 salary level, a sum that some sources suggest to be three or four times higher than the norm for government contractor IT specialists performing similar work at the same level of alleged competence. "

-ALIEN-

The US Dept of INjustice is a criminal organization, of course it is protecting those who subvert elections at the direction of the Oligarchs.

Our whole system of voting has been carefully crafted and tuned to ensure the USA Citizen has almost no effect on the functioning of government.

boattrash

One thing not mentioned in the article, was the dead body of federal prosecutor Beranton J. Whisenant Jr. found on the beach in Debbie's District...Dead from a suicide gunshot to the head...he used a "magic gun" I suppose, because local police think in "floated off in the surf" FFS

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article167403992.html

GotGalt

It is pretty amazing how the story of the Awan brothers is *already* swallowed into the black hole of media silence.

They are winning... :-(

[Feb 08, 2019] Is Putin a Russian Nationalist ?

Feb 08, 2019 | angrybearblog.com
  1. Barkley Rosser , February 8, 2019 2:15 am

    While China is clearly a concern, the main beneficiaries of the INF treaty were neither US nor USSR/Russia. It was European nations, especially the western ones on the continent. So iit should be no surprise that they opposed ending the treaty, even as Russia was violating it, and Trump withdrew from it unilaterally with Russia immediately following.

    Putin is not already a "hard core nationalist"? Compared to Putin, Trump looks very much like a soft core one. Has he pulled anything remotely as hard core nationslist as annexing Crimea?

likbez , February 8, 2019 3:14 pm

Barkley,

You should probably read more Professor Stephen F. Cohen on Russia, not NYT or WaPo.

Of course, as you do not know the language, it is difficult for you to access the situation on the ground. And in this sense reading Stephen F. Cohen might be very helpful as he operates with Russian language sources, nor NYT or WaPo propaganda. Also traveling to Moscow on vacations might help to access the situation in a more rational style ;-)

> Putin is not already a "hardcore nationalist"? Compared to Putin, Trump looks very much like a softcore one.

FYI Putin a "soft neoliberal," and as such he can't be the hardcore nationalist. For those, you need to look at Ukraine's political scene. At best he can be "cultural nationalist," but I doubt even that. He is a Philo-German politician, I think.

I think the main countervailing force that prevents Russians from jailing Yeltsin close circle of neoliberal reformers (like Chubais, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatoly_Chubais , aka the most hated man in Russia) is Putin.

The only guy who IMHO might qualify as a hardcore nationalist I think is Zhirinovsky ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Zhirinovsky ). But I do not know much about Russia anyway, so there might be more. In any case, it looks like nationalism is on the upswing in Russia like in most European countries. Especially after Euromaidan, when pro-Western neoliberals in Russia were decimated and lost all political influence.

Putin also keeps Medvedev as the Prime minister and recently appointed Kudrin to an important office. Both are neoliberals, proponents of "free markets" and privatization. Both might well be jailed without Putin.

Trump also is a neoliberal politician (his tax cuts were clearly a neoliberal act), but his main and defining features are incompetence and impulsivity.

He betrayed all his key promises to the electorate and thus can be called Republican Obama.

To qualify for a far-right politician, you need to adhere to key points of NSDAP program of 1920:

7. We demand that the state is charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens. If it is impossible to sustain the total population of the State, then the members of foreign nations (non-citizens) are to be expelled from the Reich.

8. Any further immigration of non-citizens is to be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans, who have immigrated to Germany since 2 August 1914, be forced immediately to leave the Reich.

9.All citizens must have equal rights and obligations.

10.The first obligation of every citizen must be to work both spiritually and physically. The activity of individuals is not to counteract the interests of the universality, but must have its result within the framework of the whole for the benefit of all. Consequently, we demand:

11.Abolition of unearned (work and labor) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery.

12.In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people, personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore, we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.

13.We demand the nationalization of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).

14.We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.

15.We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.

16.We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.

17.We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.

18.We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, profiteers and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race.

21.The State is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young.

22. We demand abolition of the mercenary troops and formation of a national army.

[Feb 08, 2019] The End Of The End Of The Cold War

Feb 08, 2019 | angrybearblog.com

ilsm , February 7, 2019 5:09 pm

Trump's comment about missile defense "improvements" in the SOTU; following the attention the war media gave to the missile defense agency (MDA) report recently released imply some mixing of theory around missile defense with offensive weapons. A concept that is misguided if not frightening!

In Europe MDA is deploying two aegis ashore weapon systems, one operating in Rumania and one to be built (2020) in Poland the sensors are SPY-1 for foreign sales (not the latest greatest as upgraded SPY 1 on US Navy ships to be replaced by SPY-6 on new Arleigh Burke destroyers). The interceptors are SM-2 vertical launch again not the greatest as US Navy going SM 3 and later SM 6.

With Patriot for close in and EU systems not sure I would call ABM in Europe not worthy of defeating much more complex threats than Saddam SCUDs.

No rapid pentagon move to design new Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles.

https://thehill.com/policy/defense/428845-pentagon-official-no-plans-to-develop-new-missile-system-amid-end-of-russian?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ebb%2007.01.19&utm_term=Editorial%20-%20Early%20Bird%20Brief

Pershing II was dismantled in 1989, no similar missile is readily available and given the botch job on MX I doubt one will be forth coming in the mid range future.

However, late versions of Tomahawk could be adapted to ground launchers and motivators already carrying US Army Tactical Ballistic systems. That was the deployments in England and Belgium that caught the most protests prior to INF treaty.

The main claim of Russian violation is a cruise missile that could be modified like the US could modify Tomahawk .

INF is Asia need to think about that!

likbez , February 8, 2019 12:14 am

First of all, INF was tremendously beneficial for the USA, as the USSR has to destroy more missiles then the USA: 654 SS-20 missiles were build by the USSR. These and the 499 associated mobile launchers were destroyed by May 1991.

Gorbachov was a very weak negotiator (and an extremely mediocre politician) who tried too much to please the USA. There were even some speculations in Russia now that he was a British agent ( http://aanirfan.blogspot.com/2015/10/gorbachev-is-british-agent.html 😉

Now the problem for the USA is that other countries who did not sign this treaty are developing such systems. First of all China. So this is probably the main consideration as for the USA.

But the devil is always in detail: the USA re-opens its forces in Europe and Japan to direct attack by this type of ground-based missiles from Russian territory. Which now will be more sophisticated and difficult to intercept then famous SS-20 (Saber or Invisible) with its unprecedented for its time accuracy of 450 meters.

So the shadow of SS-20 is again all over Western Europe. From military point of view the chances of surviving WWIII of any European country with the USA bases in case WWIII starts dropped significantly

On Russia part, the fact that the USA unilaterally withdraw from the treaty that cost Russia so much is like a slap in the face. That why Russia already demanded from the USA the destruction of all attack drones and all Tomahawks-compatible silos, which means all negotiations ended.

Russian MIC is less well fed then the USA MIC and as such is definitely more happy then the USA MIC. They also probably has some nasty asymmetrical surprise already on the drawing boards to compensate for the humiliation.

Most probably this response will became a huge headache for future US presidents. As if Putin is replaced by a hard-core nationalist of Trump-style and temperament that will increase dangers of WWIII.

So, in a way, history repeats and Trump now is taking measures that are clearly in Russia favor (as one would expect from the "Russia stooge" ;-) : Kaliningrad to Berlin distance is 328 miles. Distance from Kamchatka to Okinawa is 630 miles. The INF Treaty prohibits ranges 310–620 mi and 620–3,420 miles and did not cover air- or sea-launched missiles which are the USA forte. And mobile ground-based intermediate missiles are Russian forte: they already have the technology and variety of mobile launchers including railcar based. .

So all huge advantages negotiated by Reagan team went into dumpster.

[Feb 08, 2019] One Step Closer To Nuclear Oblivion US Sabotages The INF Treaty

Feb 08, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

... ... ...

The US military-industrial complex is rejoicing at the prospect of money rained down as a result of this withdrawal from the INF treaty. But in Europe (with the exception of Romania and Poland), nobody is too keen to welcome US missiles that have no defense against Russian hypersonic weapons. NATO's trans-Atlantic arms lobby will try to push as many European countries as possible towards a new Cold War, with US weapons deployed and aimed at Moscow. It will be fun to see the reactions of European citizens facing the prospect of being annihilated by Russian missiles simply to please the CEOs and shareholders of Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. No doubt there will be some European politicians in countries like Poland keen to scream about the "Russian threat", ready to throw tens of billions worth of Polish taxpayers' money into useless and ineffective projects for the purposes of pleasing their American friends.

Are US generals even aware of how idiotic it is for the US to withdraw from the INF for Washington? Moscow is already ahead in the development of such systems, both land-based but above all sea- and air-launched, without forgetting the hypersonic variants of its conventional or nuclear missiles. Washington has a huge gap to close, exacerbated by the fact that in spite of heavy spending over many years, there is little to show for it as a result of massive corruption in the research-and-development process. This is not to mention the fact that there are few European countries willing to host offensive missile systems aimed at Russia. In reality, there is little real advantage for Washington in withdrawing from the INF treaty, other than to enrich arms manufacturers. It diminishes US military options strategically while expanding those of Beijing and Moscow, even as the latter oppose Washington's unilateral withdrawal from the treaty.

The hope of expanding the INF treaty to include the US, Russia, China and the EU appears slim due to Washington's intransigence. Washington only aims to increase expenditure for the development of weapons prohibited by the treaty, and in strategic terms, improbably hopes to find some Asian and European countries willing to host these systems aimed against China and Russia.

The world is certainly more dangerous following Washington's decision, heading in a direction where there are less and less rules while there are more nuclear powers. For decades, the United States has been trying to achieve nuclear supremacy by overcoming the limitations of MAD, whereby Washington would be able to carry out a decapitating nuclear first strike without worrying about an opponent's ability to launch a retaliatory second strike. It is precisely this type of thinking that is bringing humanity closer to the brink of destruction from a nuclear accident or miscalculation. The miniaturization of nuclear warheads and the apparently limited nature of "tactical nukes" further encourages the justification for using such weapons.

Moscow's decision in 2007 to develop state-of-the-art weapons and focus on new technologies like hypersonic missiles guarantees that Russia and her allies have an effective deterrent against the attempts of the US to alter the nuclear balance of power, which otherwise threatens the future of humanity.

The withdrawal from the INF treaty is another worrying sign of the willingness of the US to push the world to the brink of catastrophe, simply for the purposes of enriching the CEOs and shareholders of it arms manufacturers through a nuclear arms race.

DFGTC , 11 minutes ago link

Empires don't voluntarily give up power ...

They collapse in a soft-way: like the USSR in the 1990's.

OR

They collapse in a HARD-WAY: like the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Ottoman Empire, and Russian Empire before and during WW1.

Hard or soft imperial collapse - those are our choices.

But empires, invariably, eventually, collapse.

[Feb 08, 2019] A slide to nuclear war ? Bluffing is quite a dangerous game... Trump in his narcissistic self probably does not know that

Notable quotes:
"... This seems entirely in line with the wishes of the antirussianitic mainstream establishment. Part of the reason is to re-establish the social mass-brain controls against American society believed to have obtained during the coldest Cold War. The establishment wants to re-impose social discipline to contain or suppress discontent during our upcoming Revolution of Falling Expectations. ..."
"... Does anyone know what the real impetus for this withdrawal is? Who gains and how? ..."
"... In general, however, the main reason is US economy whose main two pillars are US Dollar and perceived, largely inflated, US military omnipotence, and US fading as a "hegemon" is not taken lightly by increasingly irrational D.C. It needs some kind of "triumph", so we are entering the period of geopolitical volatility until US "elites", in full accordance to Kubler-Ross Grief Model, transition from Anger to Depression (in process) and eventually to Bargaining and Acceptance ..."
"... How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?Only one. But the light bulb has to want to change. ..."
Feb 08, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

smoothieX12 . , 9 hours ago

Russia does not have military bases near US territory, where a large number of intermediate and shorter range missiles could be deployed

This phrase alone discredits the whole piece by South Front which increasingly begins to remind sites similar to Russia-Insider, hell bent on fund raising instead of sound analysis.

Russia DOES have bases near the United States within (West) coastal range--those "bases" are called Kamchatka Peninsula. Of course, Russia can recall 1980s experience of planning to position her RSD-10 Pioneer (one example is currently in the US in Smithsonian) at Chuckotka, thus covering all of Canada and most North West and parts of mid-West of the US. One of the arguments which convinced the American side to negotiate.

So, the article is a complete click-bait pseudo-analysis. This is not to mention the fact that national security is built and exists across all platforms and forces.

O rly -> smoothieX12 . , 4 hours ago
Having a single piece of territory technically in range is not the same thing as surrounding a country's borders with missile emplacements. And the very best scenario for intercepting a missile is when its fired from a single known location, rather than a flurry from all sides.

Literally if you take the two closest points the tip of Washington state to the coast of Kamchatka you are the very limit of the treaty ranges.

Julius HK , 8 hours ago
Bluffing is quite a dangerous game...
Mad_Max22 , 5 hours ago
How is it possible that the Russian nation renounced the most death dealing ideology in human history and fear and loathing for all things Russian in the Brit and American deep states and on the American political left increased exponentially?

Trump was elected, in part, for trying to bring accountability to those responsible for that development, but that's all gone, along with any prospect for a near term exit into normalcy.

It looks like Cold War as far as the eye can see. Trump himself put this in evidence by the gaping hole in his SOTU he left with the omission of exactly how the American future is going to pay for the welfare - warfare state that continues to burgeon on his watch.

TTG , 6 hours ago
Just from a technological point of view, the INF treaty and probably similar treaties are becoming obsolete. So many nations are now developing effective missiles including hypersonic cruise missiles and launching capabilities that are bound to be in violation of this treaty.

The improvement in air defense capabilities are bound to violate the ABM treaty at some point.

We all surely have the desire to keep developing these technologies. That desire is obviously stronger than our desire to negotiate new treaties to address this increase in lethality.

Eugene Owens , 7 hours ago
Amazing to me that a GOP senator would cheer about the breakup of a treaty signed by and pushed for by President Reagan:

"Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., cheered the president's decision to withdraw from the treaty, saying out that the Russians have violated the treaty for years and China has stockpiled "thousands of missiles.""

different clue , 7 hours ago
This sure feels like it goes against the spirit of Trump's sometime-voiced wistful wish that " wouldn't it be nice if we had good relations with Russia?"

This seems entirely in line with the wishes of the antirussianitic mainstream establishment. Part of the reason is to re-establish the social mass-brain controls against American society believed to have obtained during the coldest Cold War. The establishment wants to re-impose social discipline to contain or suppress discontent during our upcoming Revolution of Falling Expectations.

Has the RussiaGov been testing and bending what is permitted under the INF treaty? Can anyone offer a fact-based well-argued answer offered in a spirit of truth? And if the RussiaGov has been doing that, would it be in response to NATO expansion and hostility right up to Russia's border?

Could this be Russo-American kabuki so they both can set eachother free to both address IMF missilization by a rising China which never did sign that treaty?

One thing for sure, there is no missile defense against a hypersonic missile. Or a fleet of hypersonic missiles.

If any wannabe-officeseeker considers Cold War 2.0 a bad thing to get started and a bad thing to stay in, such officeseeker(s) will have to run on discussions with Russia to stand down the violations-if-any on both sides and then re-instate the IMF. Because any officeseeker elected withOUT that stated intention will have trouble seeking to intend it after getting elected. Whereas any officeseeker overtly running ON that intention is free to pursue it and advance it if elected in whole or in part because of it.

blue peacock , 8 hours ago
Does anyone know what the real impetus for this withdrawal is? Who gains and how?
smoothieX12 . -> blue peacock , 7 hours ago
1. China and her primarily intermediate-range missiles in the region -- in a futile attempt to "re-negotiate" -- China may fold, but...

2. Russia will not, in fact, Russia already called the bluff, but the US also needs to threaten Russia from Europe while simultaneously putting Europe under the thumb.

3. In general, however, the main reason is US economy whose main two pillars are US Dollar and perceived, largely inflated, US military omnipotence, and US fading as a "hegemon" is not taken lightly by increasingly irrational D.C. It needs some kind of "triumph", so we are entering the period of geopolitical volatility until US "elites", in full accordance to Kubler-Ross Grief Model, transition from Anger to Depression (in process) and eventually to Bargaining and Acceptance. Granted US economy functions. US will have to learn to live as ONE OF the great power and maybe (just maybe) become a normal country dealing with own serious problems--there are many of those for sure.

different clue -> smoothieX12 . , 3 hours ago
EUrope has more overall people and more overall economic activity than the US has. EUrope does not have to be under any thumb which the current Lords of EUrope do not exactly want EUrope to be under.

EUrope is legally free to dissolve NATO from its end any time it likes. If they want to have their own "after-NATO" defense organization, they can set it up just for their side of the Atlantic, which is the Eastern Side. They could call it NEATO . . . for North East Atlantic Treaty Organization. NEATO . . . get it?

As to America becoming a normal country among normal countries . . . that would require a change of hearts and minds. It could be done, but only from within America its own self. And as the joke goes . . . How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?Only one. But the light bulb has to want to change.

What would be a step toward the light bulb wanting to change? Setting aside the psycho-cultural need to be Great. No more Greatness. Let's just make America an okay place for the Americans.
MAOkayFA. Make America Okay For Americans. We will be partway there when a majority of American people become comfortable saying to themselves . . . ." I am not an American Greatness Exceptionalist.
I! am an American Okayness Ordinarian. And I'm okay with that."

Time to lay this burden down..

Stumpy , 9 hours ago
Trump likes to rip up any old deal just for the sake of raising his profile, methinks. Whatever happens to INF, it's the NPT that would be the bigger priority. Not a big Al Haig fan, but he wrote a book about WW3 wherein his theory put the rogue Arab terrorist state in the lead role as the nuke attacker that destroyed the world. I threw my copy away a long time ago, but it resonates in my mind that the more likely scenario is the Nuke of Jihad is employed against Tel Aviv. Would this not have an attenuating effect if the US had to retaliate against say, Tehran, rather than a clear Russian or Chinese attacker?
James Thomas , 9 hours ago
I am old enough to remember when there was a lot of anti-nuclear demonstrations in Europe (especially in Germany). One might argue that the INF treaty was a stroke of genius in terms of taking the wind out of the sails of the lefty peaceniks.

Since Russia wishes to cultivate allies in the anti-war left, perhaps an end to the INF treaty will help in those efforts. I do wonder how long the Borg can accuse both Trump and Tulsi Gabbard of being Russian stooges before people start to think "hey, maybe the Russians are not as bad as our own news media".

smoothieX12 . -> James Thomas , 7 hours ago
Since Russia wishes to cultivate allies in the anti-war left, perhaps an end to the INF treaty will help in those efforts.

I am not sure there is anti-war Left left as it was circa 1980s. Russia is really apprehensive towards all kinds of Euro-left which is a totalitarian LGBTQC4ISR sect which has nothing in common with Old Left. In fact, all of this left are globalist shills. Russia has much better chances addressing real European conservative and nationalist circles. But I am 100% positive that this is viewed, correctly, as a routine foreign policy activity and maintenance of contacts as it was previous years.

[Feb 07, 2019] The British government has made very little of the evidence behind its stupid claims public, and what they have made public doesn't add up.

Feb 07, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Ghost Ship , Feb 7, 2019 4:06:14 PM | link

>>>>: james | Feb 7, 2019 2:51:13 PM | 4

... ... ..

Finally for all you Skripal conspiracy theorists out there, that other source of "fake news" run by the Kremlin, Sputnik News, has an article by Kit Klarenberg about that Bellingcat, The Guardian and MI6 favourite Dan Kaszeta who was the first person apparently to suggest that it was Novichok wot did it.

I ran into Dan Kazeta a number of times at Bellingcat because of his dodgy claims about Khan Sheikhoun and chemical weapons (Why has the green tube involved in delivering the alleged chemical weapon never appeared in the west? Because it ain't what the jihadists claimed it was and forensic tests would prove that?)

BTW, with Skripal, there can only be conspiracy theorists out in the wild because the British government has made very little of the evidence behind its stupid claims public, and what they have made public doesn't add up.

[Feb 05, 2019] Washington Plays 'Russian Roulette' With EU Lives By Trashing INF Treaty

Feb 05, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Washington Plays 'Russian Roulette' With EU Lives By Trashing INF Treaty

by Tyler Durden Tue, 02/05/2019 - 05:00 55 SHARES Authored by Robert Bridge,

In a flash, the US has scrapped the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which safeguarded Europe and the world from a deadly US-Russia arms race. This is particularly bad news for Europeans.

Russia must be feeling a lot like the Native Indians these days with regards to treaties signed with the duplicitous Americans. For the second time in as many decades, the US has gone back on its word, removing another pillar from the global arms reduction architecture.

The Trump administration, in its infinite wisdom, announced on the weekend it would freeze US participation in the INF " for 180 days ," which, from a military perspective, must be interpreted to mean forever. In the spirit of reciprocity, Vladimir Putin, expressing regret that Russia " could not save " the Cold War treaty, said he would be forced to follow suit.

The Russian leader emphasized, however, that Moscow would not deploy intermediate or smaller range weapons " until the same type of American weapons " were placed in Europe or elsewhere in the world.

This latest ratcheting up of tensions between Moscow and Washington was wholly avoidable – that is, if avoiding confrontation is a goal of the US. Clearly, it is not. The unpredictable hotheads now dictating foreign policy in the Trump administration, particularly National Security Advisor John Bolton, a veteran hawk who the Washington Post recently called a " serial arms control killer, " have somehow concluded that playing a game of nuclear chicken on the European continent with Russia is the best way to resolve bilateral issues.

The White House appears to be incensed over Russia's upgrade of a cruise missile, the '9M729', which it claims exceeds the 500-km flight threshold set down by the treaty. The INF treaty specifically banned the development, deployment, and testing of ground-based missiles with a range between 500km and 5,500km (310-3,400 miles).

In fact, the development of this weapon has so irked the Trump administration that last year the US Ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hutchison, warned Russia that if it did not halt its development NATO would be forced to " take out " the missile. Although Hutchison later backtracked on the hyperbole, saying she did not mean to suggest a preemptive strike on Russia, the remark nevertheless underscored the gravity of the situation.

me title=

The obvious question is: does the US have legitimate grounds to be concerned over this cruise missile, one of the latest in a series of new weapon systems to be rolled out by the Russian military? Well, if they did have real cause for concern, they deliberately missed several opportunities to examine the weapon firsthand. In fact, Moscow invited US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to attend a public presentation where Russian military brass were on hand to field queries about the missile. Yet the Americans snubbed the event, which could have persuaded them to think twice before dumping a landmark arms control treaty.

On this point, it would have been refreshing to hear some impartial European voices weighing in on the matter. After all, in the event of another arms race between the US and Russia, the European continent will once again be forced to wear a large crosshairs on its back. Instead, EU leaders predictably approached the issue from the American stance, parroting the narrative that Russia, the perennial bogeyman, is in violation of the INF.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for example, without providing a shred of evidence, said ,

"It is clear to us that Russia has violated this treaty the important thing is to keep the window for dialogue open."

Immediately assuming Russia's guilt seems to be a non-starter for any sort of productive negotiations.

What's behind America's madness?

In order to get a clearer picture of what exactly is motivating Washington's reckless behavior, it is essential to remember that the Trump administration's withdrawal from the INF is just the latest in a long string of aggressive moves against Russia . Indeed, this is not the first time Washington has torn up an arms agreement with Moscow.

In 2002, the Bush administration terminated the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty), which maintained something of a suicide pact between the Cold War nuclear rivals known as 'mutually assured destruction'. From there it has been all downhill for bilateral relations.

With the ABM Treaty swept away, the Bush and subsequent Obama administration proceeded to unilaterally build – despite repeated offers from Moscow to cooperate on the system – a US missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, just a stone's throw from the Russian border. In May 2016, NATO announced its missile defense base in Romania was fully operational. Following the announcement, Mikhail Ulyanov, head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's department for arms control issues, warned that not only did the US missile defense system threaten the strategic balance between nuclear powers, the launchers in Romania could easily be re-fitted with offensive cruise missiles, thereby turning a shield into a sword at a moment's notice.

In other words, Washington is now accusing Moscow of violating an arms control treaty that it itself had most likely violated almost three years ago.

Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann, a geopolitics analyst from Paris 8 University, told RT this is the desired outcome Washington was looking for, which already decided " beforehand to get out of the treaty " irrespective of possible concessions from Moscow.

" The US already destabilized the nuclear balance when they decided to get out of the ABM treaty in 2002, and when you look at a map the United States [is] putting missile defense bases all around Eurasia, creating a feeling of encirclement in Russia and China ," Thomann said.

This leads us to another possible reason why the Trump administration made the rash decision to kill the INF treaty, and that is due to the huge strides made by the Chinese military of late. Last year, as just one example, a Chinese firm reportedly completed the successful launch of a supersonic missile, which the Chinese government said could compete on international markets.

China, which is not bound by the conditions set down by the INF, has undergone breakneck militarization ever since. Yes, the United States became an existential threat to Beijing when the Obama administration announced the so-called ' pivot to Asia '. This disastrous doctrine saw a large chunk of US naval forces enter the Pacific theater. Thus, Washington may be trying to bring the Chinese and Russians into some sort of new three-way arms control treaty, but if that were true, it seems to be going about it in the worst possible way.

Whatever the ultimate cause may be, the United States and its quest for global supremacy, in cooperation with the European Union, which behaves like a powerless vassal state inside of the 'American empire', must assume a heavy part of the blame for the increasingly perilous state of global relations today.

Konstantin Kosachev, head of the foreign affairs committee in the upper house of Russia's parliament, adequately summed up the fate of the world following the latest US withdrawal from yet another arms reduction pact.

" I 'congratulate' the whole world ," Kosachev told the Russian Senate.

" The United States has taken another step toward its destruction today. "

[Feb 05, 2019] When Conspiracy Is The Only Explanation For Failed Neo-Liberal Dreams by William S. Smith

Muller investigation is at least 50% about the masking cracks in neoliberal facade with Russia interference smoke screen (and, especially Hillary fiasco as War Party candidate) , as it is about deposing of Trump. It also puts pressure of Trump to behave as War Party expect him, or...
Looks like the "United War Party" (which encompass most Republicans and Democrats) felt the threat to the money flows and acted accordingly. Add to this interest of Deep State (especially CIA) are completely opposite to the end of foreign wars that Trump professed.
Notable quotes:
"... What causes otherwise intelligent people to put their faith in conspiracy theories? A common explanation on the Right is that these conspiracies are cynically concocted to overthrow the Trump presidency. Another explanation points to declining standards of journalism, i.e., reporters being too incompetent to refute groundless claims. Both reasons have merit yet both fail to explain the peculiar estrangement from reality that a belief in baseless conspiracies represents. ..."
"... When the luminescence of France began to fade and the revolutionary army began to falter, the Jacobins felt there could only be one explanation: conspiracy. Only a deep-seated plot could be preventing France the Savior from vanquishing retrograde monarchs. From the beginning, the virtuous Jacobins saw themselves as fighting a conspiracy against the rights of humanity. Hence the Reign of Terror, with the guillotine deployed against priests and nobles who were seen as forming the core opposition to a better world. ..."
"... Idealism and conspiracy theories are, it seems, opposite sides of the same coin. When the dream fails to materialize, its validity is not questioned; instead the search to find those who connived against it begins. ..."
"... Fukuyama's Hegelianism was both warmed over and unmoored from reality. And yet the foreign policy establishment swooned over him. The Bush 43 administration fell so hard for him that they tried to give history a little push by invading Iraq. ..."
"... Or consider the globalist dreaming of the elites that Samuel P. Huntington labeled "Davos men." In the Davos dream, culture, history, and religion are archaic relics of a world fading away. National borders are disappearing, and a new global order is emerging, led by secular multilateral institutions staffed by an all-knowing "cosmopolitan" elite ..."
"... With cultures clashing, nationalism on the march, and religious wars raging, the Davos men continue to worship their dream from the safety of their Gulfstream jets. ..."
"... And to the Davos men, only a conspiracy can explain the election of Donald Trump. How else could such a regressive development have occurred when history is cascading toward open borders, democracy, and international institutions? How could an American president question the value of NATO and other alliances whose glorious mission is to midwife the end of history by democratizing everything from Lisbon to the Urals? ..."
"... But Trump and Putin will not be permitted to conspire against the dream. Their conspiracy must be destroyed, even at the risk of nuclear war. Special counsels must be created, eavesdropping must be expanded, foreign spies must be employed, and jackbooted agents must break down every door linked to this insidious conspiracy. The ruling elites are prepared to tear up the Constitution itself to save humanity from this diabolical cabal. ..."
"... The resilience of the Russia conspiracy in the minds of our establishment should remind us that the primary obstacle to a sensible foreign policy is our ideologized culture, in which the Western outlook of common sense has been eroded by a Romantic utopian idealism. When people within reach of massive military power are this estranged from reality, the situation can only be described as frightening. ..."
"... With you on "Davos Man" (Love that expression!) and the Trump conspiracy idiocy, though! Two thumbs up! ..."
"... You are making this much too complicated. The cultural stuff had some importance, but much more fundamentally Trump threatened the money/power game of the War Party. They have just about won anyway, because Trump is stupid. So, maybe they will just let Russia-gate fade out. ..."
"... Neolibs and neocons are . Dreamers. GIGO. Whoever wrote the headline and lede made sense, the author might want to match that. The text as is is a useful exhibit for: "to see the world how they wish it to be rather than how it is." Jacobins at Davos? Idealists with lots of loot? ..."
"... At one time, any occurrence that the establishment of the day didn't like was automatically blamed on Jews. No evidence necessary. Because Jews. If you questioned the conspiracy theory, you were instantly accused of being in league with "them". Today's establishment does the same, except they substitute "Russia" for "Jews". Anything they don't like is automatically blamed on Russia. No evidence necessary. Because Russia. Question the conspiracy theory and get accused of being a "Russian troll". ..."
"... If only HRC and her friends were in the White House all these current conspiracies and Mueller investigation wouldn't be an issue. Be the eighth wonder of the world, if Trump survives the deep state. ..."
"... Unfortunately, this article overreaches. I agree that Russiagate is an excuse that liberals embrace to excuse the disastrous failures of Clinton and the Democratic Party, but you don't need to connect this with some grand theorizing about the history of conspiracy theories. People simply don't want to admit their side did anything wrong. ..."
"... And as SteveK9 points out, it's really about how the mainstream War Party wants to keep Trump in line. Trump is a loose cannon. They want a steady reliable warmonger. ..."
"... Call me a child, then, but wisdom often comes from the mouth of babes. There is no evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. Read The phoney indictment of the Internet Research Institute. It admits it was a commercial enterprise. It was nothing but a commercial click bait operation. Similarly, the DNC was not hacked, the data was downloaded to a USB, probably by a disaffected Sanders supporter, possibly Seth Rich. Also, Germany, Macedonia, the Netherlands have investigated alleged Russian interference in their elections, and found none. ..."
Feb 05, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Intercept 's Glenn Greenwald recently compiled a list of the top 10 "most embarrassing media failures on the Trump-Russia story." All of them exhibit a common theme: Russian conspiracies are undermining American interests everywhere. Greenwald's piece was followed by a bizarre New York Times story from January 16 with the headline: "Trump and Putin: Five Meetings Infused With Mystery." The story implied something sinister in undisclosed conversations between the two leaders while offering no evidence whatsoever.

What causes otherwise intelligent people to put their faith in conspiracy theories? A common explanation on the Right is that these conspiracies are cynically concocted to overthrow the Trump presidency. Another explanation points to declining standards of journalism, i.e., reporters being too incompetent to refute groundless claims. Both reasons have merit yet both fail to explain the peculiar estrangement from reality that a belief in baseless conspiracies represents.

In the early stages of the French Revolution, the Jacobins imagined that the beacon of a democratic France would shine across the world and tyrannical kings would topple before its luminescence. The Jacobin imagination was polluted by utopian idealism, the ideology that causes people to see the world how they wish it to be rather than how it is.

When the luminescence of France began to fade and the revolutionary army began to falter, the Jacobins felt there could only be one explanation: conspiracy. Only a deep-seated plot could be preventing France the Savior from vanquishing retrograde monarchs. From the beginning, the virtuous Jacobins saw themselves as fighting a conspiracy against the rights of humanity. Hence the Reign of Terror, with the guillotine deployed against priests and nobles who were seen as forming the core opposition to a better world.

Idealism and conspiracy theories are, it seems, opposite sides of the same coin. When the dream fails to materialize, its validity is not questioned; instead the search to find those who connived against it begins.

Like the Jacobins, the foreign policy establishment in the United States has for decades hitched its wagons to idealistic dreaming. The Romantic ideas of Hegel and Rousseau permeate their thinking. Consider the establishment's obsequious reaction to Francis Fukuyama's " end of history " thesis. Fukuyama presented himself as the all-seeing gnostic who had divined the direction of all human history. One does not need the acumen of an Aristotle to know that this was far from an original thesis. Fukuyama's Hegelianism was both warmed over and unmoored from reality. And yet the foreign policy establishment swooned over him. The Bush 43 administration fell so hard for him that they tried to give history a little push by invading Iraq.

Or consider the globalist dreaming of the elites that Samuel P. Huntington labeled "Davos men." In the Davos dream, culture, history, and religion are archaic relics of a world fading away. National borders are disappearing, and a new global order is emerging, led by secular multilateral institutions staffed by an all-knowing "cosmopolitan" elite .

The reality of a borderless world is global migration that threatens to extinguish much of Western civilization in a generation or two. With cultures clashing, nationalism on the march, and religious wars raging, the Davos men continue to worship their dream from the safety of their Gulfstream jets.

Venezuela Presents an Opportunity for Peace With Russia Russia Sure Behaves Strangely for a Country Bent on Conquest

And to the Davos men, only a conspiracy can explain the election of Donald Trump. How else could such a regressive development have occurred when history is cascading toward open borders, democracy, and international institutions? How could an American president question the value of NATO and other alliances whose glorious mission is to midwife the end of history by democratizing everything from Lisbon to the Urals?

For those in a dream world, the only possible explanation for Trump is a conspiracy. His presidency was hatched by Vladimir Putin, the world leader with the strongest reasons for slowing the progressive march of history. Trump won the election because Putin has the powers of a Rasputin. He can thwart history by crossing his eyes, pulling secret levers, and deploying hackers.

But Trump and Putin will not be permitted to conspire against the dream. Their conspiracy must be destroyed, even at the risk of nuclear war. Special counsels must be created, eavesdropping must be expanded, foreign spies must be employed, and jackbooted agents must break down every door linked to this insidious conspiracy. The ruling elites are prepared to tear up the Constitution itself to save humanity from this diabolical cabal.

The resilience of the Russia conspiracy in the minds of our establishment should remind us that the primary obstacle to a sensible foreign policy is our ideologized culture, in which the Western outlook of common sense has been eroded by a Romantic utopian idealism. When people within reach of massive military power are this estranged from reality, the situation can only be described as frightening.

William S. Smith is research fellow at and managing director of the Center for the Study of Statesmanship at The Catholic University of America.


cka2nd February 3, 2019 at 9:43 pm

"In the early stages of the French Revolution, the Jacobins imagined that the beacon of a democratic France would shine across the world and tyrannical kings would topple before its luminescence. The Jacobin imagination was polluted by utopian idealism, the ideology that causes people to see the world how they wish it to be rather than how it is."

And yet, idealism or not, republican ideals DID spread around the world and WERE taken up to oppose, undercut, reign in or overthrow monarchies from Latin America through the Middle East, and from Europe (e.g., the bourgeois members of the Duma singing "La Marseillaise" after the abdication of the Tsar) to Asia and Africa.

"When the luminescence of France began to fade and the revolutionary army began to falter, the Jacobins felt there could only be one explanation: conspiracy. Only a deep-seated plot could be preventing France the Savior from vanquishing retrograde monarchs. From the beginning, the virtuous Jacobins saw themselves as fighting a conspiracy against the rights of humanity. Hence the Reign of Terror, with the guillotine deployed against priests and nobles who were seen as forming the core opposition to a better world."

I don't doubt the pernicious influence of conspiracy theories, I really don't – I'm a Trotskyist, for Heaven's sake! – but the author might also acknowledge the reality of the threats that the Jacobins faced. The armies of the united crowned heads of Europe that had been sent against France, for instance. That the church and aristocracy WERE parts of the old order (official estates, remember?), some of whose members WERE actually fighting to restore the old regime and then drown, as they always drowned past peasant and popular rebellions, in blood.

With you on "Davos Man" (Love that expression!) and the Trump conspiracy idiocy, though! Two thumbs up!

SteveK9 , says: February 3, 2019 at 10:48 pm
You are making this much too complicated. The cultural stuff had some importance, but much more fundamentally Trump threatened the money/power game of the War Party. They have just about won anyway, because Trump is stupid. So, maybe they will just let Russia-gate fade out.
b. .. . ... ... . , says: February 4, 2019 at 9:51 am
Neolibs and neocons are . Dreamers. GIGO. Whoever wrote the headline and lede made sense, the author might want to match that. The text as is is a useful exhibit for: "to see the world how they wish it to be rather than how it is." Jacobins at Davos? Idealists with lots of loot?
Sid Finster , says: February 4, 2019 at 10:10 am
At one time, any occurrence that the establishment of the day didn't like was automatically blamed on Jews. No evidence necessary. Because Jews. If you questioned the conspiracy theory, you were instantly accused of being in league with "them". Today's establishment does the same, except they substitute "Russia" for "Jews". Anything they don't like is automatically blamed on Russia. No evidence necessary. Because Russia. Question the conspiracy theory and get accused of being a "Russian troll".
CLW , says: February 4, 2019 at 1:43 pm
Are we supposed to take this seriously? Your entire "argument" against the so-called Russia Conspiracy is itself nothing more than a conspiracy theory: an overwrought, paranoid, absurd conspiracy theory involving The Establishment, Davos Elites, Neo Liberals, et al.

There isn't enough publicly-disclosed evidence to support the claim that Russian interference tilted the 2016 election decisively in Trump's favor or that Trump has conspired with or been compromised by Russia. But only a child would believe that Russia didn't actively interfere in the election, or that various Trump associates didn't have inappropriate contacts and dealings with Russian entities, which they then lied about and continue to lie about.

You can do better than this, TAC.

fabian , says: February 4, 2019 at 2:20 pm
SteveK, the military won but not because he is stupid. He just doesn't want to end up like JFK. Nor did Barrack by the way.
, the , says: February 4, 2019 at 3:22 pm
If only HRC and her friends were in the White House all these current conspiracies and Mueller investigation wouldn't be an issue. Be the eighth wonder of the world, if Trump survives the deep state.
Sid Finster , says: February 4, 2019 at 4:13 pm
CLW produces an argument from ignorance. "Just because we have no publicly available evidence to prove that Trump is in fact Mickey Mouse just means we need to look harder! In the meantime, we can safely assume that Trump has round black ears and a tail.".

In the meantime, I suggest you learn about the burden of proof – the burden of proof is on those asserting the existence of a conspiracy (and you in particular are mighty short on details!) and not on those debunking it.

Donald , says: February 4, 2019 at 6:49 pm
Unfortunately, this article overreaches. I agree that Russiagate is an excuse that liberals embrace to excuse the disastrous failures of Clinton and the Democratic Party, but you don't need to connect this with some grand theorizing about the history of conspiracy theories. People simply don't want to admit their side did anything wrong.

And as SteveK9 points out, it's really about how the mainstream War Party wants to keep Trump in line. Trump is a loose cannon. They want a steady reliable warmonger.

S , says: February 5, 2019 at 4:43 am
CLW says "But only a child would believe that Russia didn't actively interfere in the election, or that various Trump associates didn't have inappropriate contacts and dealings with Russian entities, which they then lied about and continue to lie about." It took a child to point out that the emperor had no clothes on, while the adults pretended that a falsehood was tru. Perhaps more children are needed today to point out the truth and ignore blatant propaganda.
Brendan , says: February 5, 2019 at 1:42 pm
Call me a child, then, but wisdom often comes from the mouth of babes. There is no evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. Read The phoney indictment of the Internet Research Institute. It admits it was a commercial enterprise. It was nothing but a commercial click bait operation. Similarly, the DNC was not hacked, the data was downloaded to a USB, probably by a disaffected Sanders supporter, possibly Seth Rich. Also, Germany, Macedonia, the Netherlands have investigated alleged Russian interference in their elections, and found none.

[Feb 04, 2019] The US aggression against Venezuela as a diagnostic tool by The Saker

Feb 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

Remember the almost universal reaction of horror when Bolton was appointed as National Security Advisor? Well, apparently, either the Neocons completely missed that, which I doubt, or they did what they always do and decided to double-down by retrieving Elliott Abrams from storage and appointing him US Special Envoy to Venezuela. I mean, yes, of course, the Neocons are stupid and sociopathic enough not to ever care about others

But in this case I think that we are dealing with a "Skripal tactic": do something so ridiculously stupid and offensive that it places all your vassals before a stark choice: either submit and pretend like you did not notice or, alternatively, dare to say something and face with wrath of Uncle Shmuel (the Neocon's version of Uncle Sam).

And it worked, in the name of "solidarity" or whatever else, the most faithful lackeys of the Empire immediate fell in line behind the latest US aggression against a sovereign nation in spite of the self-evident fact that this aggression violates every letter of the most sacred principles of international law.

This is exactly the same tactic as when they make you clean toilets with a toothbrush or do push-ups in the mud during basic training: not only to condition you to total obedience, but to make you publicly give up any semblance of dignity.

[Feb 04, 2019] Trump s Revised and Rereleased Foreign Policy: The World Policeman is Back

Highly recommended!
This article from 2017 looks like it was written yesterday. Trump betrayal of his elctorate on multiple levels, essentially on all key poin of his election program mkes him "Republican Obama".
What is interesting about Trump foreign policy is his version of neoliberal "gangster capitalism" on foreign arena: might is right principle applied like universal opener. Previous administrations tried to put a lipstick on the pig. Trump does not even bother.
In terms of foreign policy, and even during the transition before Trump's inauguration, there were other, more disturbing signs of where Trump would be heading soon. When Fidel Castro died on November 25, 2016, Trump seemed jubilant as if he had somehow been vindicated, and took the opportunity to slander Castro as a "brutal dictator" who "oppressed his own people" and turned Cuba into a "totalitarian island".
Notable quotes:
"... However, when he delivered his inaugural address on January 20, 2017, Trump appeared to reaffirm his campaign themes of anti-interventionism. In particular he seemed to turn the government's back on a long-standing policy of cultural imperialism , stating: "We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone". In addition he said his government would "seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world," and he understood the importance of national sovereignty when he added, "it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first". ..."
"... Yet when it came to Russia, Trump could have instantly removed sanctions that were imposed by Obama in his last weeks in office -- an irresponsible and dangerous act by Obama, where foreign policy was used as a partisan tool in the service of shoring up a crummy conspiracy theory about "Russian hacking" in order to deny the Democrats any culpability in their much deserved defeat. ..."
"... The entire conflict with Russia that has developed in recent years, on the US side, was totally unnecessary, illogical, and quite preventable. ..."
"... Just two weeks after violating his promise to end the US role as the world's policeman and his vow to extricate the US from wars for regime change, Trump sold out again. "I love WikiLeaks -- " -- this is what Trump exclaimed in a speech on October 10, 2016. Trump's about-face on WikiLeaks is thus truly astounding. ..."
"... AP: If I could fit a couple of more topics. Jeff Sessions, your attorney general, is taking a tougher line suddenly on Julian Assange, saying that arresting him is a priority. You were supportive of what WikiLeaks was doing during the campaign with the release of the Clinton emails. Do you think that arresting Assange is a priority for the United States? ..."
"... AP: But that didn't mean that you supported what Assange is doing? ..."
"... AP: Can I just ask you, though -- do you believe it is a priority for the United States, or it should be a priority, to arrest Julian Assange? ..."
"... While there is no denying the extensive data about the severe impacts of NAFTA on select states and industries in the US, witnessed by the closure of tens of thousands of factories and the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, there is little support for the claim that Canada and Mexico, as wholes, have instead fared well and that the US as a whole has been the loser thanks to them. ..."
"... Since NAFTA was implemented, migration from Mexico to the US skyrocketed dramatically. US agricultural industries sent millions of Mexican farmers into food poverty, and ultimately drove them away from agriculture ..."
"... As for per capita GDP, so treasured by economists, NAFTA had no positive impact on Mexico -- in fact, per capita GDP is nearly a flat line for the entire period since 1994. Finally, Trump does not mention that in terms of the number of actual protectionist measures that have been implemented, the US leads the world . ..."
"... To put Trump's position on NAFTA in bold relief, it is not that he is decidedly against free trade. In fact, he often claims he supports free trade, as long as it is "fair". However, his notion of fairness is very lopsided -- a trade agreement is fair only when the US reaps the greater share of benefits. ..."
"... As argued in the previous section, if Trump is to be the newfound champion of this imperialism -- empire's prodigal son -- then what an abysmally poor choice he is ..."
"... On the one hand, he helped to unleash US anti-interventionism (usually called "isolationism" not to call it anti-imperialism, which would then admit to imperialism which is still denied by most of the dominant elites). On the other hand, in trying to now contain such popular sentiment, he loses credibility -- after having lost credibility with the groups his campaign displaced. ..."
"... As for Trump's domestic opposition, what should be most pertinent are issues of conflict of interest and nepotism . Here members of Trump's base are more on target yet again, when they reject the presence of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in the White House ("we didn't elect Ivanka or Jared"), than are those distracted by identity politics. ..."
"... As Trump leverages the presidency to upgrade the Trump family to the transnational capitalist class, and reinforces the power of US imperialism which that class has purchased, conflict of interest and nepotism will be the main political signposts of the transformation of the Trump presidency, but they could also be the targets for a refined strategy of opposition. ..."
Aug 09, 2017 | zeroanthropology.net

Trump could have kept quiet, and lost nothing. Instead what he was attacking -- and the irony was missed on his fervently right wing supporters -- was someone who was a leader in the anti-globalist movement, from long before it was ever called that. Fidel Castro was a radical pioneer of independence, self-reliance, and self-determination.

Castro turned Cuba from an American-owned sugar plantation and brothel, a lurid backwater in the Caribbean, into a serious international actor opposed to globalizing capitalism. There was no sign of any acknowledgment of this by Trump, who instead chose to parrot the same people who would vilify him using similar terms (evil, authoritarian, etc.). Of course, Trump respects only corporate executives and billionaires, not what he would see as some rag-tag Third World revolutionary. Here Trump's supporters generally failed, using Castro's death as an opportunity for tribal partisanship, another opportunity to attack "weak liberals" like Obama who made minor overtures to Cuba (too little, too late).

Their distrust of "the establishment" was nowhere to be found this time: their ignorance of Cuba and their resort to stock clichés and slogans had all been furnished to them by the same establishment they otherwise claimed to oppose.

Just to be clear, the above is not meant to indicate any reversal on Trump's part regarding Cuba. He has been consistently anti-communist, and fairly consistent in his denunciations of Fidel Castro. What is significant is that -- far from overcoming the left-right divide -- Trump shores up the barriers, even at the cost of denouncing others who have a proven track record of fighting against neoliberal globalization and US interventionism. In these regards, Trump has no track record. Even among his rivals in the Republican primaries, senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul had more of an anti-interventionist track record.

However, when he delivered his inaugural address on January 20, 2017, Trump appeared to reaffirm his campaign themes of anti-interventionism. In particular he seemed to turn the government's back on a long-standing policy of cultural imperialism , stating: "We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone". In addition he said his government would "seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world," and he understood the importance of national sovereignty when he added, "it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first".

Russia

Yet when it came to Russia, Trump could have instantly removed sanctions that were imposed by Obama in his last weeks in office -- an irresponsible and dangerous act by Obama, where foreign policy was used as a partisan tool in the service of shoring up a crummy conspiracy theory about "Russian hacking" in order to deny the Democrats any culpability in their much deserved defeat.

Instead, Trump continued the sanctions, as if out of meek deference to Obama's policy, one founded on lies and antagonism toward Trump himself. Rather than repair the foul attempt to sabotage the US-Russian relationship in preparation for his presidency, Trump simply abided and thus became an accomplice. To be clear, Trump has done precisely nothing to dampen the near mass hysteria that has been manufactured in the US about alleged -- indeed imaginary -- "Russian intervention".

His comments, both during the electoral campaign and even early into his presidency, about wanting good relations with Russia, have been replaced by Trump's admissions that US relations with Russia are at a low point (Putin agreed: "I would say the level of trust [between Russia and the US] is at a workable level, especially in the military dimension, but it hasn't improved. On the contrary, it has degraded " and his spokesman called the relations " deplorable ".)

Rather than use the power of his office to calm fears, to build better ties with Russia, and to make meeting with Vladimir Putin a top priority, Trump has again done nothing , except escalating tensions. The entire conflict with Russia that has developed in recent years, on the US side, was totally unnecessary, illogical, and quite preventable. Russia had actively facilitated the US' war in Afghanistan for over a decade, and was a consistent collaborator on numerous levels. It is up to thinking American officials to honestly explain what motivated them to tilt relations with Russia, because it is certainly not Russia's doing. The only explanation that makes any sense is that the US leadership grew concerned that Russia was no longer teetering on the edge of total socio-economic breakdown, as it was under the neoliberal Boris Yeltsin, but has instead resurfaced as a major actor in international affairs, and one that champions anti-neoliberal objectives of enhanced state sovereignty and self-determination.

WikiLeaks

Just two weeks after violating his promise to end the US role as the world's policeman and his vow to extricate the US from wars for regime change, Trump sold out again. "I love WikiLeaks -- " -- this is what Trump exclaimed in a speech on October 10, 2016. Trump's about-face on WikiLeaks is thus truly astounding.

After finding so much use for WikiLeaks' publication of the Podesta emails, which became incorporated into his campaign speeches, and which fuelled the writing and speaking of journalists and bloggers sympathetic to Trump -- he was now effectively declaring WikiLeaks to be both an enemy and a likely target of US government action, in even more blunt terms than we heard during the past eight years under Obama. This is not mere continuity with the past, but a dramatic escalation. Rather than praise Julian Assange for his work, call for an end to the illegal impediments to his seeking asylum, swear off any US calls for extraditing and prosecuting Assange, and perhaps meeting with him in person, Trump has done all of the opposite. Instead we learn that Trump's administration may file arrest charges against Assange . Mike Pompeo , chosen by Trump to head the CIA, who had himself cited WikiLeaks as a reliable source of proof about how the Democratic National Committee had rigged its campaign, now declared WikiLeaks to be a " non-state hostile intelligence service ," along with vicious personal slander against Assange.

Trump's about-face on WikiLeaks was one that he defended in terms that were not just a deceptive rewriting of history, but one that was also fearful -- "I don't support or unsupport" WikiLeaks, was what Trump was now saying in his dash for the nearest exit. The backtracking is so obvious in this interview Trump gave to the AP , that his shoes must have left skid marks on the floor:

AP: If I could fit a couple of more topics. Jeff Sessions, your attorney general, is taking a tougher line suddenly on Julian Assange, saying that arresting him is a priority. You were supportive of what WikiLeaks was doing during the campaign with the release of the Clinton emails. Do you think that arresting Assange is a priority for the United States?

TRUMP: When Wikileaks came out never heard of Wikileaks, never heard of it. When Wikileaks came out, all I was just saying is, "Well, look at all this information here, this is pretty good stuff." You know, they tried to hack the Republican, the RNC, but we had good defenses. They didn't have defenses, which is pretty bad management. But we had good defenses, they tried to hack both of them. They weren't able to get through to Republicans. No, I found it very interesting when I read this stuff and I said, "Wow." It was just a figure of speech. I said, "Well, look at this. It's good reading."

AP: But that didn't mean that you supported what Assange is doing?

TRUMP: No, I don't support or unsupport. It was just information .

AP: Can I just ask you, though -- do you believe it is a priority for the United States, or it should be a priority, to arrest Julian Assange?

TRUMP: I am not involved in that decision, but if Jeff Sessions wants to do it, it's OK with me. I didn't know about that decision, but if they want to do it, it's OK with me.

First, Trump invents the fictitious claim that WikiLeaks was responsible for hacking the DNC, and that WikiLeaks also tried to hack the Republicans. Second, he pretends to be an innocent bystander, a spectator, in his own administration -- whatever others decide, is "OK" with him, not that he knows about their decisions, but it's all up to others. He has no power, all of a sudden.

Again, what Trump is displaying in this episode is his ultimate attachment to his class, with all of its anxieties and its contempt for rebellious, marginal upstarts. Trump shuns any sort of "loyalty" to WikiLeaks (not that they ever had a working relationship) or any form of gratitude, because then that would imply a debt and therefore a transfer of value -- whereas Trump's core ethics are those of expedience and greed (he admits that much). This move has come with a cost , with members of Trump's support base openly denouncing the betrayal. 6

NAFTA

On NAFTA , Trump claims he has not changed his position -- yet, from openly denouncing the free trade agreement and promising to terminate it, he now vows only to seek modifications and amendments, which means supporting NAFTA. He appeared to be awfully quick to obey the diplomatic pressure of Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and Mexico's President, Enrique Peña Nieto. Trump's entire position on NAFTA now comes into question.

While there is no denying the extensive data about the severe impacts of NAFTA on select states and industries in the US, witnessed by the closure of tens of thousands of factories and the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, there is little support for the claim that Canada and Mexico, as wholes, have instead fared well and that the US as a whole has been the loser thanks to them.

This really deserves to be treated at length, separately from this article. However, for now, let's keep in mind that when Trump complains about Canadian softwood lumber and dairy exports to the US, his argument about NAFTA is without merit. Neither commodity is part of the NAFTA agreement.

Moreover, where dairy is concerned, the problem is US overproduction. Wisconsin alone has more dairy cows than all of Canada . There is a net surplus , in the US' favour, with respect to US dairy exports to Canada. Overall, the US has a net surplus in the trade in goods and services with Canada. Regarding Mexico, the irony of Trump's denunciations of imaginary Mexican victories is that he weakens his own criticisms of immigration.

Since NAFTA was implemented, migration from Mexico to the US skyrocketed dramatically. US agricultural industries sent millions of Mexican farmers into food poverty, and ultimately drove them away from agriculture.

As for per capita GDP, so treasured by economists, NAFTA had no positive impact on Mexico -- in fact, per capita GDP is nearly a flat line for the entire period since 1994. Finally, Trump does not mention that in terms of the number of actual protectionist measures that have been implemented, the US leads the world .

To put Trump's position on NAFTA in bold relief, it is not that he is decidedly against free trade. In fact, he often claims he supports free trade, as long as it is "fair". However, his notion of fairness is very lopsided -- a trade agreement is fair only when the US reaps the greater share of benefits.

His arguments with respect to Canada are akin to those of a looter or raider. He wants to block lumber imports from Canada, at the same time as he wants to break the Canadian dairy market wide open to absorb US excess production. That approach is at the core of what defined the US as a "new empire" in the 1800s. In addition, while Trump was quick to tear up the TPP, he has said nothing about TISA and TTIP.

Mexico

Trump's argument with Mexico is also disturbing for what it implies. It would seem that any evidence of production in Mexico causes Trump concern. Mexico should not only keep its people -- however many are displaced by US imports -- but it should also be as dependent as possible on the US for everything except oil. Since Trump has consistently declared his antagonism to OPEC, ideally Mexico's oil would be sold for a few dollars per barrel.

China

Trump's turn on China almost provoked laughter from his many domestic critics. Absurdly, what figures prominently in most renditions of the story of Trump's change on China (including his own), is a big piece of chocolate cake. The missile strike on Syria was, according to Wilbur Ross, the " after-dinner entertainment ". Here, Trump's loud condemnations of China on trade issues were suddenly quelled -- and it is not because chocolate has magical properties. Instead it seems Trump has been willing to settle on selling out citizens' interests , and particularly those who voted for him, in return for China's assistance on North Korea. Let's be clear: countering and dominating North Korea is an established favourite among neoconservatives. Trump's priority here is fully "neocon," and the submergence of trade issues in favour of militaristic preferences is the one case where neoconservatives might be distinguished from the otherwise identical neoliberals.

North Korea

Where North Korea is concerned, Trump chose to manufacture a " crisis ". North Korea has actually done nothing to warrant a sudden outbreak of panic over it being supposedly aggressive and threatening. North Korea is no more aggressive than any person defending their survival can be called belligerent. The constant series of US military exercises in South Korea, or near North Korean waters, is instead a deliberate provocation to a state whose existence the US nearly extinguished. Even last year the US Air Force publicly boasted of having "nearly destroyed" North Korea -- language one would have expected from the Luftwaffe in WWII. The US continues to maintain roughly 60,000 troops on the border between North and South Korea, and continues to refuse to formally declare an end to the Korean War and sign a peace treaty . Trump then announced he was sending an "armada" to the Korean peninsula, and boasted of how "very powerful" it was. This was in addition to the US deploying the THAAD missile system in South Korea. Several of his messages in Twitter were written using highly provocative and threatening language. When asked if he would start a war, Trump glibly replied: " I don't know. I mean, we'll see ". On another occasion Trump stated, "There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely". When the world's leading military superpower declares its intention to destroy you, then there is nothing you can do in your defense which anyone could justly label as "over the top". Otherwise, once again Trump posed as a parental figure, the world's chief babysitter -- picture Trump, surrounded by children taking part in the "Easter egg roll" at the White House, being asked about North Korea and responding "they gotta behave". Trump would presume to teach manners to North Korea, using the only tools of instruction that seem to be the first and last resort of US foreign policy (and the "defense" industry): bombs.

Syria

Attacking Syria , on purportedly humanitarian grounds, is for many (including vocal supporters) one of the most glaring contradictions of Trump's campaign statements about not embroiling the US in failed wars of regime change and world policing. During the campaign, he was in favour of Russia's collaboration with Syria in the fight against ISIS. For years he had condemned Obama for involving the US in Syria, and consistently opposed military intervention there. All that was consigned to the archive of positions Trump declared to now be worthless. That there had been a change in Trump's position is not a matter of dispute -- Trump made the point himself :

"I like to think of myself as a very flexible person. I don't have to have one specific way, and if the world changes, I go the same way, I don't change. Well, I do change and I am flexible, and I'm proud of that flexibility. And I will tell you, that attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me -- big impact. That was a horrible, horrible thing. And I've been watching it and seeing it, and it doesn't get any worse than that. And I have that flexibility, and it's very, very possible -- and I will tell you, it's already happened that my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much. And if you look back over the last few weeks, there were other attacks using gas. You're now talking about a whole different level".

Bending to the will of the prevailing Cold War and neo-McCarthyist atmosphere in the US, rife with anti-Russian conspiracy theories, Trump found an easy opportunity to score points with the hostile media, ever so mindful as he is about approval ratings, polls, and media coverage. Some explain Trump's reversals as arising from his pursuit of public adulation -- and while the media play the key role in purveying celebrity status, they are also a stiff bastion of imperialist culture. Given his many years as a the host of a popular TV show, and as the owner of the Miss Universe Pageant, there is some logical merit to the argument. But I think even more is at work, as explained in paragraphs above. According to Eric Trump it was at the urging of Ivanka that Donald Trump decided to strike a humanitarian-militarist pose. He would play the part of the Victorian parent, only he would use missiles to teach unruly children lessons about violence. Using language typically used against him by the mainstream media, Trump now felt entitled to pontificate that Assad is "evil," an " animal ," who would have to go . When did he supposedly come to this realization? Did Assad become evil at the same time Trump was inaugurated? Why would Trump have kept so silent about "evil" on the campaign trail? Trump of course is wrong: it's not that the world changed and he changed with it; rather, he invented a new fiction to suit his masked intentions. Trump's supposed opponents and critics, like the Soros-funded organizer of the women's march Linda Sarsour, showed her approval of even more drastic action by endorsing messages by what sounded like a stern school mistress who thought that 59 cruise missiles were just a mere "slap on the wrist". Virtually every neocon who is publicly active applauded Trump, as did most senior Democrats. The loudest opposition , however, came from Trump's own base , with a number of articles featuring criticism from Trump's supporters , and one conservative publication calling him outright a " weakling and a political ingrate ".

Members of the Trump administration have played various word games with the public on intervention in Syria. From unnamed officials saying the missile strike was a "one off," to named officials promising more if there were any other suspected chemical attacks (or use of barrel bombs -- and this while the US dropped the biggest non-nuclear bomb in existence on Afghanistan); some said that regime change was not the goal, and then others made it clear that was the ultimate goal ; and then Trump saying, "Our policy is the same, it hasn't changed. We're not going into Syria " -- even though Trump himself greatly increased the number of US troops he deployed to Syria , illegally, in an escalation of the least protested invasion in recent history. Now we should know enough not to count this as mere ambiguity, but as deliberate obfuscation that offers momentary (thinly veiled) cover for a renewal of neocon policy .

We can draw an outline of Trump's liberal imperialism when it comes to Syria, which is likely to be applied elsewhere. First, Trump's interventionist policy regarding Syria is one that continues to treat that country as if it were terra nullius , a mere playground for superpower politics. Second, Trump is clearly continuing with the neoconservative agenda and its hit list of states to be terminated by US military action, as famously confirmed by Gen. Wesley Clark. Even Trump's strategy for justifying the attack on Syria echoed the two prior Bush presidential administrations -- selling war with the infamous "incubator babies" myth and the myth of "weapons of mass destruction" (WMDs). In many ways, Trump's presidency is thus shaping up to be either the seventh term of the George H.W. Bush regime, or the fifth straight term of the George W. Bush regime. Third, Trump is taking ownership of an extremely dangerous conflict, with costs that could surpass anything witnessed by the war on Iraq (which also continues). Fourth, by highlighting the importance of photographs in allegedly changing his mind, Trump has placed a high market value on propaganda featuring dead babies. His actions in Syria will now create an effective demand for the pornographic trade in pictures of atrocities. These are matters of great importance to the transnational capitalist class, which demands full global penetrability, diminished state power (unless in the service of this class' goals), a uniformity of expectations and conformity in behaviour, and an emphasis on individual civil liberties which are the basis for defending private property and consumerism.

Venezuela

It is very disturbing to see how Venezuela is being framed as ripe for US intervention, in ways that distinctly echo the lead up to the US war on Libya. Just as disturbing is that Trump's Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has a clear conflict of interest regarding Venezuela, from his recent role as CEO of Exxon and its conflict with the government of Venezuela over its nationalization of oil. Tillerson is, by any definition, a clear-cut member of the transnational capitalist class. The Twitter account of the State Department has a battery of messages sternly lecturing Venezuela about the treatment of protesters, while also pontificating on the Venezuelan Constitution as if the US State Department had become a global supreme court. What is impressive is the seamless continuity in the nature of the messages on Venezuela from that account, as if no change of government happened between Obama's time and Trump's. Nikki Haley, Trump's neocon ambassador to the UN, issued a statement that read like it had been written by her predecessors, Samantha Power and Susan Rice, a statement which in itself is an unacceptable intervention in Venezuelan internal affairs. For Trump's part, from just days before the election, to a couple of weeks after his inauguration, he has sent explicit messages of support for anti-government forces in Venezuela. In February, Trump imposed sanctions on Venezuela's Vice President. After Syria and North Korea, Venezuela is seeming the likely focus of US interventionism under Trump.

NATO

Rounding out the picture, at least for now (this was just the first hundred days of Trump's presidency), was Trump's outstanding reversal on NATO -- in fact, once again he stated the reversal himself, and without explanation either: " I said it was obsolete. It's no longer obsolete ". This came just days after the US missile strike against Syria, and just as Ivanka Trump was about to represent his government at a meeting of globalist women, the W20 . NATO has served as the transnational military alliance at the service of the transnational capitalist class, and particularly the military and political members of the TCC. 7

Saving Neoliberalism?

Has Trump saved neoliberal capitalism from its ongoing demise? Has he sustained popular faith in liberal political ideals? Are we still in the dying days of liberalism ? If there had been a centrally coordinated plan to plant an operative among the ranks of populist conservatives and independents, to channel their support for nationalism into support for the persona of the plant, and to then have that plant steer a course straight back to shoring up neoliberal globalism -- then we might have had a wonderful story of a masterful conspiracy, the biggest heist in the history of elections anywhere. A truly "rigged system" could be expected to behave that way. Was Trump designated to take the fall in a rigged game, only his huge ego got in the way when he realized he could realistically win the election and he decided to really tilt hard against his partner, Hillary Clinton? It could be the basis for a novel, or a Hollywood political comedy. I have no way of knowing if it could be true.

Framed within the terms of what we do know, there was relief by the ousted group of political elites and the liberal globalist media at the sight of Trump's reversals, and a sense that their vision had been vindicated. However, if they are hoping that the likes of Trump will serve as a reliable flag bearer, then theirs is a misguided wishful thinking. If someone so demonized and ridiculed, tarnished as an evil thug and racist fascist, the subject of mass demonstrations in the US and abroad, is the latest champion of (neo)liberalism, then we are certainly witnessing its dying days.

Is Trump Beneficial for Anti-Imperialism?

Once one is informed enough and thus prepared to understand that anti-imperialism is not the exclusive preserve of the left (a left which anyway has mostly shunned it over the last two decades), that it did not originate with the left , and that it has a long and distinguished history in the US itself , then we can move toward some interesting realizations. The facts, borne out by surveys and my own online immersion among pro-Trump social media users, is that one of the significant reasons why Trump won is due to the growth in popularity of basic anti-imperialist principles (even if not recognized under that name): for example, no more world policing, no transnational militarization, no more interventions abroad, no more regime change, no war, and no globalism. Nationalists in Europe, as in Russia, have also pushed forward a basic anti-imperialist vision. Whereas in Latin America anti-imperialism is largely still leftist, in Europe and North America the left-right divide has become blurred, but the crucial thing is that at least now we can speak of anti-imperialism gaining strength in these three major continents. Resistance against globalization has been the primary objective, along with strengthening national sovereignty, protecting local cultural identity, and opposing free trade and transnational capital. Unfortunately, some anti-imperialist writers (on the left in fact) have tended to restrict their field of vision to military matters primarily, while almost completely neglecting the economic and cultural, and especially domestic dimensions of imperialism. (I am grossly generalizing of course, but I think it is largely accurate.) Where structures such as NAFTA are concerned, many of these same leftist anti-imperialists, few as they are, have had virtually nothing to say. It could be that they have yet to fully recognize that the transnational capitalist class has, gradually over the last seven decades, essentially purchased the power of US imperialism. Therefore the TCC's imperialism includes NAFTA, just as it includes open borders, neoliberal identity politics, and drone strikes. They are all different parts of the same whole.

As argued in the previous section, if Trump is to be the newfound champion of this imperialism -- empire's prodigal son -- then what an abysmally poor choice he is. 8

On the one hand, he helped to unleash US anti-interventionism (usually called "isolationism" not to call it anti-imperialism, which would then admit to imperialism which is still denied by most of the dominant elites). On the other hand, in trying to now contain such popular sentiment, he loses credibility -- after having lost credibility with the groups his campaign displaced. In addition to that, given that his candidacy aggravated internal divisions in the US, which have not subsided with his assumption of office, these domestic social and cultural conflicts cause a serious deficit of legitimacy, a loss of political capital. A declining economy will also deprive him of capital in the strict sense. Moreover, given the kind of persona the media have crafted, the daily caricaturing of Trump will significantly spur anti-Americanism around the world. If suddenly even Canadian academics are talking about boycotting the US, then the worm has truly turned. Trump can only rely on "hard power" (military violence), because "soft power" is almost out of the question now that Trump has been constructed as a barbarian. Incompetent and/or undermined governance will also render Trump a deficient upholder of the status quo. The fact that nationalist movements around the world are not centrally coordinated, and their fortunes are not pinned to those of Trump, establishes a well-defined limit to his influence. Trump's antagonism toward various countries -- as wholes -- has already helped to stir up a deep sediment of anti-Americanism. If Americanism is at the heart of Trump's nationalist globalism, then it is doing all the things that are needed to induce a major heart attack.

As for Trump's domestic opposition, what should be most pertinent are issues of conflict of interest and nepotism . Here members of Trump's base are more on target yet again, when they reject the presence of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in the White House ("we didn't elect Ivanka or Jared"), than are those distracted by identity politics.

As Trump leverages the presidency to upgrade the Trump family to the transnational capitalist class, and reinforces the power of US imperialism which that class has purchased, conflict of interest and nepotism will be the main political signposts of the transformation of the Trump presidency, but they could also be the targets for a refined strategy of opposition.

[Feb 02, 2019] Alliance of Vladimir Putin and The Russian Orthodox Church Against Neoliberalism

Religion is definitely a useful tool fight neoliberalism. Actually outside of far right and religious fundamentalists almost any tool that is useful for fighting neoliberalism should be viewed positively. Currently Catholicism opposes neoliberalism more actively and probably somewhat more successfully due to the statute of Pope Francis then Orthodox Church.
Notable quotes:
"... The conflict between Russia and the West, therefore, is portrayed by both the ROC and by Vladimir Putin and his cohorts as nothing less than a spiritual/civilizational conflict. ..."
May 21, 2015 | Forbes

Amidst the geopolitical confrontation between Vladimir Putin's Russia and the US and its allies, little attention has been paid to the role played by religion either as a shaper of Russian domestic politics or as a means of understanding Putin's international actions. The role of religion has long tended to get short thrift in the study of statecraft (although it has been experiencing a bit of a renaissance of late), yet nowhere has it played a more prominent role – and perhaps nowhere has its importance been more unrecognized – than in its role in supporting the Russian state and Russia's current place in world affairs.

And while much attention has been paid to the growing authoritarianism of the Kremlin and on the support for Putin's regime on the part of the Russian oligarchs whom Putin has enriched through his crony capitalism, little has been paid to the equally critical role of the Russian Orthodox Church in helping to shape Russia's current system, and in supporting Putin's regime and publicly conflating the mission of the Russian state under Vladimir Putin's leadership with the mission of the Church. Putin's move in close coordination with the Russian Orthodox Church to sacralize the Russian national identity has been a key factor shaping the increasingly authoritarian bent of the Russian government under Putin, and strengthening his public support, and must be understood in order to understand Russia's international behavior.

The close relationship between the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and the Russian state based upon a shared, theologically-informed vision of Russian exceptionalism is not a new phenomenon. During the days of the Czar, the Russian ruler was seen as God's chosen ruler of a Russian nation tasked with representing a unique set of value embodied by Russian Orthodoxy, and was revered as "the Holy Orthodox Czar". Today, a not dissimilar vision of Russian exceptionalism is once again shared by the ROC and the Kremlin, and many Russians are beginning to see Vladimir Putin in a similar vein – a perception encouraged both by Putin and by the Church, each of which sees the other as a valuable political ally and sees their respective missions as being interrelated.

... ... ...

When Putin came to power he shrewdly noted the ROC's useful role in boosting nationalism and the fact that it shared his view of Russia's role in the world, and began to work toward strengthening the Church's role in Russian society. Early in his presidency the Russian Duma passed a law returning all church property seized during the Soviet era (which act alone made the ROC one of the largest landholders in Russia). Over the past decade and a half, Putin has ordered state-owned energy firms to contribute billions to the rebuilding of thousands of churches destroyed under the Soviets, and many of those rich oligarchs surrounding him are dedicated supporters of the ROC who have contributed to the growing influence of the church in myriad ways. Around 25,000 ROC churches have been built or rebuilt since the early 1990′s, the vast majority of which have been built during Putin's rule and largely due to his backing and that of those in his close circle of supporters. Additionally, the ROC has been given rights that have vastly increased its role in public life, including the right to teach religion in Russia's public schools and the right to review any legislation before the Russian Duma.

The glue that holds together the alliance between Vladimir Putin and the ROC, and the one that more than any other explains their mutually-supporting actions, is their shared, sacralized vision of Russian national identity and exceptionalism. Russia, according to this vision, is neither Western nor Asian, but rather a unique society representing a unique set of values which are believed to be divinely inspired. The Kremlin's chief ideologue in this regard is Alexander Dugin (see a good summary of the historical roots of Dugin's philosophy and of his impact on the Russian government here.) According to this vision of the relationship between church, state, and society, the state dominates, the ROC partnering with the state, and individuals and private organizations supporting both church and state. This has provided the ideological justification for Putin's crackdown on dissent, and the rationale behind the Church's cooperation with the Kremlin in the repression of civil society groups or other religious groups which have dissenting political views. And the ROC's hostility toward the activities in Russia of other religious groups have dovetailed with that of Putin, who views independent religious activity as a potential threat to his regime.

Internationally, Russia's mission is to expand its influence and authority until it dominates the Eurasian landmass, by means of a strong central Russian state controlling this vast territory and aligned with the ROC as the arm of the Russian nation exercising its cultural influence. This vision of Russian exceptionalism has met with broad resonance within Russia, which goes a long way to explaining Putin's sky high polling numbers. Putin has successfully been able both to transfer to himself the social trust placed by most Russians in the ROC and has also to wrap himself in the trappings of almost a patron saint of Russia. The conflict between Russia and the West, therefore, is portrayed by both the ROC and by Vladimir Putin and his cohorts as nothing less than a spiritual/civilizational conflict. If anyone thought Europe's wars over religion were finished in 1648, the current standoff with Russia illustrates that that is not the case.

[Feb 02, 2019] In Tit-For-Tat, Russia Suspends INF Treaty; Putin Slams US Demolishing Global Security

Notable quotes:
"... This included "unprecedented steps going far beyond our obligations," Lavrov said, and noted that part of Washington's "systematic" attempts to undermine the treaty included "testing drones that matched the characteristics" of ground-based cruise missiles banned in the treaty, as well as installing "MK 41 launching systems for the defense shield in Europe that can be used to fire mid-range Tomahawk cruise missiles without any modification." ..."
"... Putin noted further in the midst of Lavrov's remarks, "This is a direct a violation of the INF." And Lavrov also added, "Such launchers have already been completed in Romania, more are scheduled to be put into service in Poland and Japan." ..."
"... Alarmingly, Putin concluded his remarks by saying Washington could be imperiling in the long term the landmark New START treaty, set to expire in 2021. ..."
Feb 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) has effectively collapsed following the US announcing Friday that it's suspending all obligations under the treaty. Predictably Moscow's response has been swift, with President Vladimir Putin saying in a meeting with his foreign and defense ministers that Russia will now pursue missile development previously banned under its terms .

Putin said "ours will be a mirror response" in a tit-for-tat move that the Russian president ultimately blames on Washington's years-long "systematic" undermining of the agreement. "Our US partners say that they are ceasing their participation in the treaty, and we are doing the same," the Russian president said . "They say that they are doing research and testing [on new weapons] and we will do the same thing."

Crucially, however, he noted that there were no plans to deploy short and mid-range missiles to Europe unless the US does it first -- a worst nightmare scenario that has rattled European leaders ever since talk began from Trump that the 1987 treaty could be scrapped.

Putin still seemed to allow some degree space for last minute concessions as "still on the table" possibly in line with the Trump administration's desire to modernize and update a new treaty taking into account new technological and geopolitical realities, such as China's ballistic missile capabilities.

"Let's wait until our partners mature sufficiently to hold a level, meaningful conversation on this topic, which is extremely important for us, them, and the entire world," Putin said. But also lashing out during the press conference that followed the meeting with top officials Putin described :

Over many years, we have repeatedly suggested staging new disarmament talks, on all types of weapons. Over the last few years, we have seen our initiatives not supported. On the contrary, pretexts are constantly sought to demolish the existing system of international security .

Specifically he and FM Sergei Lavrov referenced not only Trump's threats to quit the agreement, which heightened in December, but accusations leveled from Washington that the Kremlin was in violation. The White House has now affirmed the bilateral historic agreement signed by Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan will be suspended for 180 days. Lavrov insisted that Moscow "attempted to do everything we could to rescue the treaty."

This included "unprecedented steps going far beyond our obligations," Lavrov said, and noted that part of Washington's "systematic" attempts to undermine the treaty included "testing drones that matched the characteristics" of ground-based cruise missiles banned in the treaty, as well as installing "MK 41 launching systems for the defense shield in Europe that can be used to fire mid-range Tomahawk cruise missiles without any modification."

Putin noted further in the midst of Lavrov's remarks, "This is a direct a violation of the INF." And Lavrov also added, "Such launchers have already been completed in Romania, more are scheduled to be put into service in Poland and Japan."

Alarmingly, Putin concluded his remarks by saying Washington could be imperiling in the long term the landmark New START treaty, set to expire in 2021.


brane pilot , 17 minutes ago link

Putin is an island of calm in a sea of political insanity.

He knows Trump is being gamed into absurd positions by mad dog Democrat politicians seeking a geopolitical scapegoat.

I would call him a Statesman.

SpanishGoop , 40 minutes ago link

" as well as installing "MK 41 launching systems for the defense shield in Europe that can be used to fire mid-range Tomahawk cruise missiles without any modification."

US trying to get from Russia top position first-response list and get Europe on that position.

Putin is much to smart to fall for that.

needtoshit , 44 minutes ago link

Neocons should be remembered as oldcons because their bag of tricks is so well known that they don't fool anyone. Think about this Reagan era fossil who tries to arrange his little coup in Venezuela and will fall flat on his face. Think also about these Pompeo and Bolton who are so desperate that they didn't even spend the necessary time to learn the checkers rules before trying to take on Putin in his favorite chess play. No really, the level of mediocrity and the lack of strategy or even sheer preparedness of these dudes is so low that they may even be hung by their own subordinates who can't even stand that stench of fool play. Trump should be ashamed he hired these clowns to ride their one trick ponies while the titanic goes down. History will not be kind with him.

Totally_Disillusioned , 49 minutes ago link

Putin reads our CIA better than we do!

Totally_Disillusioned , 49 minutes ago link

Putin reads our CIA better than we do!

Son of Captain Nemo , 1 hour ago link

Everything you wanted to know about scuttling an INF Treaty but were afraid to ask ( https://www.rt.com/business/450123-nord-stream-2-ready/ )

Cause when it gets completed without sabotage along the way... Those LNG delivery projects will see lots and lots of $USD heading home "FOR GOOD"!...

Which means "other arrangements" will be necessary in order to make certain that another "hostage" crisis ( https://southfront.org/u-s-opted-to-leave-inf-few-years-ago-spent-this-time-developing-forbidden-missiles/ ) "doesn't go to waste"!!!

Savvy , 1 hour ago link

Yup.

Shemp 4 Victory , 29 minutes ago link

Additionally, just last week the Russian Ministry of Defense invited foreign military attachés and journalists to inspect the new Iskander 9M729 cruise missile. This is the one that the US claims is in violation of the INF treaty. Representatives of the US and NATO were invited and expected to be there, but they never showed up.

Interestingly, the 9M729 has a heavier warhead, and thus shorter range, than the older 9M728, which the US has not claimed violates the INF treaty. See it for yourself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyH-I3rukPU (3 min. 12 sec. - English subtitles)

Savvy , 14 minutes ago link

This is the one that the US claims is in violation of the INF treaty. Representatives of the US and NATO were invited and expected to be there, but they never showed up .

About standard to ignore what doesn't fit the agenda.

Son of Captain Nemo , 1 hour ago link

Everything you wanted to know about scuttling an INF Treaty but were afraid to ask ( https://www.rt.com/business/450123-nord-stream-2-ready/ )

Cause when it gets completed without sabotage along the way... Those LNG delivery projects will see lots and lots of $USD heading home "FOR GOOD"!...

Which means "other arrangements" will be necessary in order to make certain that another "hostage" crisis ( https://southfront.org/u-s-opted-to-leave-inf-few-years-ago-spent-this-time-developing-forbidden-missiles/ ) "doesn't go to waste"!!!

Savvy , 1 hour ago link

Yup.

Shemp 4 Victory , 29 minutes ago link

Additionally, just last week the Russian Ministry of Defense invited foreign military attachés and journalists to inspect the new Iskander 9M729 cruise missile. This is the one that the US claims is in violation of the INF treaty. Representatives of the US and NATO were invited and expected to be there, but they never showed up.

Interestingly, the 9M729 has a heavier warhead, and thus shorter range, than the older 9M728, which the US has not claimed violates the INF treaty. See it for yourself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyH-I3rukPU (3 min. 12 sec. - English subtitles)

Savvy , 14 minutes ago link

This is the one that the US claims is in violation of the INF treaty. Representatives of the US and NATO were invited and expected to be there, but they never showed up .

About standard to ignore what doesn't fit the agenda.

yerfej , 1 hour ago link

Instead of useless diatribe explain why you're all bent today about the INF?

Gen. Ripper , 28 minutes ago link

The INF Treaty allowed the inferior Soviet weapons to remain par to the USA, like how we've been giving the chinks $1T a year.

Now no treaty allows the USA to naturally dominate CCCP and their chinky ching Chong CCP.

[Feb 02, 2019] The End Of Russia's Democratic Illusions About America

Feb 02, 2019 | theduran.com

The End Of Russia's "Democratic Illusions" About America

How Russiagate has impacted a vital struggle in Russia.

Published

6 days ago

on

January 27, 2019 By

Stephen Cohen 3,139 Views ,

[Feb 02, 2019] How Russia-gate Rationalized Censorship

Feb 02, 2019 | theduran.com

How Russia-gate Rationalized Censorship

Russia-gate mania spread beyond a strategy for neutralizing Donald Trump or removing him from office into an excuse for stifling U.S. dissent that challenges the New Cold War

Published

1 day ago

on

February 1, 2019 By

Joe Lauria 419 Views ,

[Jan 30, 2019] The US is needing a war to rally its people around the flag and to attempt to keep its hand on the Rudder of the world.

Is Trump a possible "War president?"
Jan 30, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Pestercorn , Jan 29, 2019 10:21:08 PM | link

It's not hard to see the parallels of how the US is treating China today compared with Japan in 1939. The US sanctioned Japan and stopped them from importing Iron and Oil and today China is being technologically sanctioned throughout the West with Huawei.

The US is bludgeoning every Govt throughout the world to get its own way both allied and contested. This attitude can only lead to War eventually. Venezuela today, Iran tomorrow which will continue to box in China and Russia.

The US is needing a war to rally its people around the flag and to attempt to keep its hand on the Rudder of the world.

China will be forced to sink an American ship or shoot down an American Jet to save face re Taiwan and their Islands in the China Sea.
The West is begging for war and the parallels now and before WW11 is scary.

[Jan 30, 2019] Is This What The US Really Wants From Russia Zero Hedge

Apr 06, 2000 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Andrew Korybko via Oriental Review,

The US' recent multidimensional asymmetric offensive against all manner of Russian interests isn't the random symptom of psychotic Russophobia that it's being presented as, but is part of a comprehensive strategy for pressuring Moscow to abandon its close cooperation with China & Iran in exchange for a "New Détente", a scenario that shouldn't be ruled out if Trump gets his way during the upcoming meeting with President Putin.

Many people are struggling to find any rhyme or reason behind the US' anti-Russian moves over the past couple of years, especially the ones that Trump was supposedly forced into by the "deep state" out of the mistaken belief that it would relieve the fake news-driven Russiagate pressure on his administration, but the answer to it all is a lot simpler than it appears. The fact of the matter is that everything that's happening is intentional and part of a comprehensive strategy for getting Russia to abandon its close cooperation with China & Iran in response to the US' multidimensional asymmetric offensive against its interests, although it's proven itself to be a failed plan that requires urgent reform. Whether it's the West's "Russian propaganda" witch hunt or the Skripal chemical weapons false flag scandal , every single anti-Russian move that's been undertaken in the last few years is designed to advance this objective.

Taking Apart The Multipolar Triangle Iran:

There was credible speculation right after Trump's 2016 victory that his administration would try to split the Russian-Chinese-Iranian multipolar triangle in Eurasia, and that's exactly what the President and his team are trying to do, albeit in a different fashion than what people might have expected. Trump rightly calculated that Obama's unprecedented outreach to Iran through the 2015 nuclear deal was being taken advantage of by Tehran and that the Islamic Republic never had any serious intentions in agreeing to the tacit quid-pro-quo being offered at the time to replace Saudi Arabia as America's preferred regional partner. Accordingly, he decided to pivot away from his predecessor's policy and use nothing but "muscular means" to coerce Iran into submitting to the US' military might, which is a work in progress and one that will certainly be made all the more difficult by Tehran's mastery of asymmetrical responses.

China:

As for China, Trump also learned from the mistake of his predecessor who at one time offered the People's Republic a global partnership through the so-called " G-2 " or " Chimerica " concept but was rebuffed by a Beijing that's both too proud to share world leadership with America and also reluctant into being tricked to take on responsibilities that it didn't agree to or anticipate at the time.

It wasn't coincidental that the G-2's failure was soon thereafter followed up by China's announcement of its One Belt One Road (OBOR) global vision of New Silk Road connectivity in order to economically reform the structural basis for the "Washington Conesus" and consequently facilitate the emerging Multipolar World Order .

Trump's Kraken -like answer to this challenge was to continue with Obama's Hybrid War policy in targeting the most vulnerable "Global South" transit states for China's transnational infrastructure megaprojects simultaneously with the commencement of a trade war against the People's Republic.

Russia:

Iran's full-blown ideological resistance to striking a "deal with the devil" and China's unflinching commitment to challenging the US' unipolar dominance of the world mean that there's no realistic chance that either of them will budge from their previous refusals to abandon the other in exchange for an alleviation of American pressure on their countries, thereby pointing Trump in Russia's direction because he considers it to be the "weakest link" in this multipolar arrangement.

After all, Russia has always insisted with total sincerity that it wants nothing more than an equal relationship with what it still continues to call its "Western partners", which logically entails them respecting the country's so-called "sphere of influence" in the former Soviet space. Previous US administrations smacked away Russia's olive branch every time it was offered, but Trump seemed to actually be interested in cutting a deal with Moscow before the "deep state" intervened to stop him.

The "Deep State's" Folly

Ironically, that move might go down in history as the last possible chance that the US had to realistically bring Russia back into the "Washington Consensus" by peaceful means, as Moscow signaled that it was prepared to enter into a so-called "New Détente" with Washington that would have obviously involved mutual "concessions/compromises". That "lost opportunity" might never be regained because Russia's resolve has since hardened after feeling betrayed by Trump and subject to his administration's humiliating punishments for not submitting to America without any preconditions ("mutual concessions/compromises"), which is what the "deep state" wanted after making the massive error of judgement in convincing themselves through "groupthink" that President Putin would follow in Yeltsin's footsteps and surrender if the powerful "oligarchic" class put enough pressure on him to do so in exchange for lifting the sanctions. That ship has sailed and what's happening now is a combination of scorn and strategy.

The US will never forgive President Putin for refusing to bow down to the Obama-era liberal-globalist "deep state" that sabotaged Trump's outreach plan, which is why it's getting so nasty in carrying out witch hunts against Russian media and expelling the country's diplomats on unproven pretexts. For the "deep state", this is "personal", though while Trump seems to understand the "effectiveness" of "playing dirty" as a form of psychological warfare against the Russian leadership, he's never publicly swayed from his campaign pledge to cut a deal with Russia if it was possible (i.e. the "deep state" lets him or he goes around their backs). It's with this backdrop in mind that Trump invited President Putin to the White House for a forthcoming meeting that will presumably be about "ironing out their differences" and advancing the presumably mutual goal of a so-called "New Détente", albeit not on the one-sided unconditional terms that the "deep state" is obsessed with.

Describing The "New Détente"

Trump realized that Russia is digging in its heels by deepening its partnerships with China and Iran in response to the "deep state's" multidimensional asymmetric aggression and that this policy has been nothing but counterproductive to America's predominant New Cold War interest in "containing" China. Furthermore, the President seems to have convinced the "patriotic" and "pragmatic" elements of the "deep state" that this is the case and that it's impossible for America to make any tangible progress in stopping the Silk Road if it has to multitask between "containing" China, Iran, and Russia in vastly different theaters and with completely different methods. It's much better, the billionaire businessman likely reckoned, to walk back some of his administration's unnecessarily aggressive moves in Europe and perhaps elsewhere as part of his country's "mutual concessions/compromises" with Russia for a "New Détente" than to continue with this completely failed policy of pressure.

What the US wants from Russia in exchange is simple, and it's that it expects Moscow to scale back its strategic partnerships with Tehran & Beijing and to not interfere with Washington's "containment" campaigns against both of them. Russia is already passively allowing the US and its allies to "contain" Iran in Syria out of self-interested prudence in preventing World War III , but it has yet to pull back from its Silk Road relationship with China. It's unclear exactly how the US envisions Russia doing this in a "plausibly deniable" way that mirrors the Iranian approach and avoids provoking a hostile reaction from China, but whatever it is that Washington has in mind, it hopes that Moscow will agree to it so that President Putin can forget about international drama and completely focus on fulfilling the comprehensive domestic reform agend a that he plans to carry out during his fourth and final term.

It's impossible to speculate on whether Russia is even interested in such a scenario at this point in time given all that's transpired between it and the West in the past year alone, but playing "devil's advocate" for a moment, there might be another enticing reason aside from the domestic one why Moscow might decide to "play ball". The increasing polarization of the world economic system into globalization-spreading China and protectionist-espousing America is broadly returning International Relations to its Old Cold War-era bipolarity in advance of its eventual transition to multipolarity, and it's here where Russia could play a pivotal role in leading a new Non-Aligned Movement ( Neo-NAM ) that helps other countries " balance " their relations with both superpowers. The US might begrudgingly be forced under the current circumstances and the objective limits of its power to accept the relative curtailment of its influence over some countries by Russia so long as Moscow fulfills a similar role vis-à-vis them and China.

The Great Unknown

It's a risky gamble because a Russian-led Neo-NAM could just as easily tilt the strategic balance of global influence in the New Cold War towards China as it could towards America, but Washington is wagering that Moscow might conclude that its self-interest could best be protected by maintaining "harmony" between the two superpowers in Eurasia, thus enabling the US to focus more on destabilizing the Silk Road through Hybrid Wars in Africa and the parts of the supercontinent not covered by this "balancing bloc". Russia's low-cost but high-impact "balancing" investments could yield enormous dividends for its influence, while any prospective de-escalation in Europe due to the "New Détente" would free up the country's resources to focus more on carrying out President Putin's ambitious domestic reform agenda and delivering on the campaign promises that he made his countrymen in order to sustainably guarantee his legacy .

Concluding Thoughts

To reiterate what was just written, there is no way to know for certain whether the US' latest gambit in trying to reach a "New Détente" with Russia will succeed or not, but it needs to be recognized that the multidimensional asymmetric aggressions that it's waged against its rival's interests will eventually take their financial toll and that President Putin might find it increasingly challenging to execute his comprehensive reform agenda on the home front unless he cuts some kind of deal. This doesn't imply that Russia is at risk of "selling out" to the US, but just that President Putin is accountable first and foremost to his people and then only secondly to his country's international partners.

If the Kremlin concludes that Russia's interests would best be advanced through engaging in a series of "mutual concessions/compromises" with the US as part of a "New Détente", then it won't hesitate to make that move; likewise, if the savvy Russian leader recognizes that he's being "taken for a ride" by Trump and that his "counterpart" is offering him a lopsided deal that's doomed to make his country America's "junior partner" in Eurasia, then he won't think twice about walking away with no "deal". Ultimately, everything depends on whatever deal Trump puts on the table and whether he can convince President Putin that his newfound truce with the neoconservatives translates into being able to get the "deep state" to abide by the terms of any prospective agreement.

If Russia is swayed by the carrot-and-stick combination of the Trump Administration's possibly sincere commitment to a "New Détente" in exchange for an alleviation of multisided and sometimes humiliating pressure against it, then the geopolitical implications would be profound since Moscow would be ascending into the perfect position for "balancing" Eurasian affairs . It wouldn't just have China's tacit support for this initiative but America's too because each superpower would appreciate Moscow becoming a "balancing" force vis-à-vis the other and freeing them up to focus on their rival in other areas of concern, mostly in Africa. As such, Russia could count on being courted by both of them and finally fulfilling its grand strategic goal to "balance" Eurasia, though provided that this speculative deal goes through in the first place and is actually respected by the US afterwards.

[Jan 29, 2019] Overall, the country is controlled by Putin, military intelligence (siloviki). Neoliberals still have strong influence over economy/finance/education/culture, but are increasingly contested by industrialist economists as well as historians who are fighting neoliberal myths about Russian/Soviet history

Notable quotes:
"... Yet another group of billionaires are the heads of large state companies, also loyal to Putin. Putin-era billionaires build roads, bridges, stadiums in Russia, invest in Russian defense, aerospace, car industries, while Yeltsin-era billionaires move profits out of the country and buy English Premier League clubs. ..."
"... ....The oligarchs have been destroyed in the early 00s ..."
"... I'm inclined to agree. And this is why there is so much anger against Putin, in particular, in the 'west': the Russian oligarchs wield enormous power through the media which is at the service of anyone with money. Bill Browder being a prime example. ..."
"... The oligarchs were the tools that the City of London and Wall St employed to plunder Russia's socialised wealth and resources. ..."
"... I don't understand the people here who write that VVPutin is in thrall to the Zionists, the Oligarchs, or that he's lining his own pocket etc etc. IMHO his strategy has always been clear and direct, since the beginning. He values first of all stability - time for Russia to rebuild herself. Secondly, he performs a clever balancing act between the competing centres of power in Russia. ..."
"... His mistake, however, when he became president, was to believe quite sincerely that the West - and particularly Washington (the important one) - shared a desire for peaceful partnership with Russia. Doubts emerged in 2011 - he realised that he was being played - and the doubts became certainties in 2014, since when some fairly radical reorganisations has been taking place. Russia is - again, IMHO - now ready to take its real place in the international order. ..."
Dec 27, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

S , Dec 26, 2018 7:47:01 PM | link

Putin is not "controlled by oligarchs". The oligarchs have been destroyed in the early 00s: Gusinsky (the media oligarch), Berezovsky (the political broker oligarch), Khodorkovsky (the oil oligarch). These people were real oligarchs, i.e. they were using their wealth to control political processes through black media propaganda, having their own MPs/Ministers/Governors, etc.

After the destruction of Gusinsky and Berezovsky, the oligarchs were invited to a meeting with Putin and told to drop any meddling in politics (including media) and focus on purely economic activities. They were also told to assume more social responsibility. In return, they were given a guarantee that the results of the privatization won't be rolled back.

Khodorkovsky was the only one who rebelled against the deal and hence was also destroyed. As a result of this deal, the oligarchs stopped being oligarchs, now they're simply billionaires.

They are allowed some influence over the economic policies of the government, but no influence over ideology, budget, military, foreign affairs, etc. In other words, the word "oligarch" as applied to Yeltsin-era billionaires is another lie about modern Russia.

Putin-era billionaires (Timchenko, Rothenberg brothers, Kovalchuk) were created by Putin to provide counter-balance to Yeltsin-era billionaires; their whole legitimacy is based on loyalty to Putin, who is himself dedicated to strengthening Russia.

Yet another group of billionaires are the heads of large state companies, also loyal to Putin. Putin-era billionaires build roads, bridges, stadiums in Russia, invest in Russian defense, aerospace, car industries, while Yeltsin-era billionaires move profits out of the country and buy English Premier League clubs.

It is only recently that some of the Yeltsin-era billionaires have "seen the light" (as a result of the sanctions) and started to bring some of their capital back to Russia.

Overall, the country is controlled by Putin, military & intelligence (siloviki). Neoliberals still have strong influence over economy/finance/education/culture, but are increasingly contested by industrialist economists as well as historians who are fighting neoliberal myths about Russian/Soviet history.

S , Dec 26, 2018 10:28:24 PM | link
@Pft #89

Israel does not control Russia.

The Chief Rabbi of Russia is of the Chabad sect simply because most of Russian orthodox Jewish communities are of the Chabad sect. He is actually from Milan; he moved to New Jersey in his teenage years, then to Brooklyn, New York, then to Moscow.

The "Putin's Rabbi" is a stupid moniker invented by Western "journalists"; he is neither Putin's creation, nor Putin's puppet.

It is true that Putin has good relationship with the Chief Rabbi, just as he has good relationships with the Patriarch, the Old Believer Patriarch, the Chief Mufti, the Chief Lama, and lesser religious figures.

Sometimes he meets all of them together (google some photos, it's quite a sight), sometimes he has one-on-one meetings. The strongest relationship is with the Patriarch. There is also an "alternative Chief Rabbi of Russia" who represents orthodox Jewish communities that refuse to be governed by a Chabad rabbi.

Russian billionaires with Israeli passports are all Yeltsin-era billionaires (ex-oligarchs) and are not "Putin's supporters". In fact, Friedman and his gang who own Russia's largest private bank, Alfa-bank, were caught several times trying to sponsor pro-US opposition.

Most recently, they tried to do it through a high-ranked Alfa-bank employee, Vladimir Ashurkov, who was funneling money to Alexey Navalny.

After the Presidential Administration called them out on that, they immediately fired and disavowed Ashurkov, who is now living in London and is a member of Integrity Initiative's UK cluster.

Alfa-bank is also the only Russian bank that does not have any problems with its Ukrainian branch. These people are not Putin's supporters, they are Putin's enemies. Putin tolerates them because he keeps his end of the bargain (see my post #85).

S , Dec 27, 2018 8:27:42 AM | link
@Pft #111

1. I still insist we use the word "billionaire" to refer to Russian ultra-rich. Some of them may turn into oligarchs in the future, but currently they are not oligarchs, as they are not making decisions regarding the strategy of the country. The strategy is chosen by Putin based on data provided by the intelligence services, the military, and the government/the central bank.

I'll give you one example. The billionaires were not consulted on the return of Crimea. When they learned about the decision from the news, almost all of them were against it. Timchenko, one of "Putin's billionaires", straight up refused to build the Crimean bridge. (In the end, after much deliberation, Rothenberg brothers agreed to take up the job.) If Russian billionaires really did control Putin, Crimea would not have returned to Russia.

Compare this to Ukraine, where the oligarchs do exist. Most of them decided it would be better for Ukraine to join the EU. Economic calculations showed the opposite, but it did not matter. The oligarchs owned all TV channels, radio stations, news websites, as well as politicians, and they pushed pro-Maidan propaganda 24/7. You know the result.

2. Putin did not "boot out one faction of oligarchs", he booted out all of them. First, he demanded that all large media companies are transferred to state ownership (hence the war on Gusinsky and Berezovsky who initially refused to do that). Then, a few years later, he demanded that the billionaires abstain from any political activity, including sponsorship of political parties (hence the war on Khodorkovsky who not only refused to do that, but planned to sell Yukos to Americans and use the money to buy all MPs and become President himself). You say "money buys influence". Well, it's not easy to do that when all large media companies are owned by the state and you can't sponsor political parties (unless asked to do so by the Presidential Administration).

Putin was not "supported by a competing faction who benefit from less competition". The "competing faction" did not exist when he came to power. Timchenko, Kovalchuk, and others were nobodies in the 90s. Putin made them billionaires through various schemes. They did not create Putin; Putin created them.

3. Russia does have large income/wealth inequality and it's toxic to society. There seems to be a threshold in income above which rich people start losing empathy for ordinary people. The economic inequality isn't just an ethical problem, but also an economic one: ordinary people simply do not have enough money to buy goods and services. Personally, I believe it's the biggest impediment to Russia's economic growth. Of course, it's connected to corruption/nepotism.

4. I did not say "most Russian Jews are Chabad", I said most Russian orthodox Jewish communities ("parishes") are Chabad. At least according to the figures I saw. Please note that 28 years have passed since 1990. Also note that Chabad is extremely active in engaging non-religious Jews. So it's plausible that they have grown their numbers to become the biggest orthodox Jewish sect in Russia.

vk , Dec 27, 2018 8:38:35 AM | link
@ Posted by: S | Dec 27, 2018 8:27:42 AM | 123

That's why nostalgia for the USSR has grown to the highest levels in 20 years, even among the young:

Back to USSR: Record number of Russians regret collapse of Soviet Union

According to this article, what triggered this upswing was the pension reforms Putin and co. did during the FIFA World Cup (june-july 2018).

William Bowles , Dec 27, 2018 8:57:39 AM | link
vk | Dec 27, 2018 8:38:35 AM | 125

I read somewhere that 70% of the population regret the collapse of the USSR and given the chaos that followed, it's not surprising. But the Russian Communist Party seems as clueless as all the other communist parties, none can offer a viable alternative to the present madness.

bevin , Dec 27, 2018 10:21:32 AM | link
" ....The oligarchs have been destroyed in the early 00s: Gusinsky (the media oligarch), Berezovsky (the political broker oligarch), Khodorkovsky (the oil oligarch). These people were real oligarchs, i.e. they were using their wealth to control political processes through black media propaganda, having their own MPs/Ministers/Governors, etc..." @85

I'm inclined to agree. And this is why there is so much anger against Putin, in particular, in the 'west': the Russian oligarchs wield enormous power through the media which is at the service of anyone with money. Bill Browder being a prime example.

The oligarchs were the tools that the City of London and Wall St employed to plunder Russia's socialised wealth and resources.

The hate campaign against Putin, who is in many ways a very conservative economist pursuing the sort of neo-liberal policies that capitalist financiers approve of, is inexplicable unless we understand that the end game is a return to the looting that took place under the Empire's anointed, Boris Yeltsin.

Circe , Dec 27, 2018 12:47:12 PM | link
In my post @112 I'm addressing @35 not 34.

For the others who don't believe Putin is compromised especially 's' who makes some strong points.

Okay, so let's say Putin is not compromised by the Oligarchy and he created the Russian oligarchy instead of the other way around, i.e. that they are the kingmakers. The oligarchy he created that are in his debt because they get to keep their wealth and corporate power will never be completely loyal to someone, Putin, who keeps them in check, under his thumb and expects them to finance big projects when the state needs funds.

They are like hostages who will always lie in wait of the opportunity to escape control dethrone him and seize power. They may be stockholmed for now, but they're always lying in wait.

Therefore Putin who understands this, is compromised by the fact that he must give on the Zionist issue which reprsents the biggest threat to his power because Zionists wield power globally, and could present those oligarchs with just that opportunity.

Zionist Russians with dual citizenship will never be as loyal to Russia and Putin as sovereignists are, as Zionists have one loyalty above all others, and in turn Putin can never be completely loyal to sovereignists and their anti-Western vision of strength for Russia because he knows that the authority he exerts over the Oligarchy he created is dependent on how he deals with Zionism abroad. In a sense, by trying to please both sides he thinks he can have his cake and eat it too, but by caving or even placating the demands of Zionists he Putin is walking a fine line and I think he'll get to a point where he has to throw one side under the bus.

Sovereignists tolerate Putin for as long as he keeps Zionist power in check, and in turn Zionists don't mount a campaign to dethrone Putin for as long as he doesn't check their power outside Russia, and Russia will never achieve the power and greatness it needs to check the Empire's domination and stop its expansion by caving to Zionist power. Putin is in a catch-22, he is compromised, no matter how you look at it.

Maybe he's trying to buy time, but if he allows the Empire to take down Iran by any means and contain China then he will make Russia a vassal of the Empire, because even Russia cannot compete alone against the Empire without alliances strategically in opposition to the Empire's domination. This time is a crossroads for Putin and he's going to have to make a choice soon and stop straddling both sides or he'll lose the gains Russia has achieved.

I don't trust Putin when he pals around with the Empire's proxy, the Saudis, or placates the lunatic Zionist state.

arby , Dec 27, 2018 12:49:09 PM | link
Little video of Putin dealing with some oligarchs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjrlTMvirVo
Montreal , Dec 27, 2018 2:01:23 PM | link
I don't understand the people here who write that VVPutin is in thrall to the Zionists, the Oligarchs, or that he's lining his own pocket etc etc. IMHO his strategy has always been clear and direct, since the beginning. He values first of all stability - time for Russia to rebuild herself. Secondly, he performs a clever balancing act between the competing centres of power in Russia.

His mistake, however, when he became president, was to believe quite sincerely that the West - and particularly Washington (the important one) - shared a desire for peaceful partnership with Russia. Doubts emerged in 2011 - he realised that he was being played - and the doubts became certainties in 2014, since when some fairly radical reorganisations has been taking place. Russia is - again, IMHO - now ready to take its real place in the international order.

I take great pleasure in reading and listening to his - and Sergei Lavrov's - words, at the same time regretting the low standard of our own representatives.

Many thanks to b and all of you who continue always to inform me and sometimes enchant me.

[Jan 29, 2019] FBI, CIA [supposedly] Told WaPo They Doubted Key Allegation In Steele Dossier but Wapo still run their own anti-Trump campaign popularizing Steele dossier.

Hand of Brennan? Hand of MI6?
From comments: "Miller also admits that the dossier's broad claims are more closely aligned with reality, but that the document breaks down once you focus on individual claims. " What?!?
Notable quotes:
"... FBI and CIA sources told a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter that they didn't believe a key claim contained in the "Steele Dossier ..."
"... The Post 's Greg Miller told an audience at an October event that the FBI and CIA did not believe that former longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen visited Prague during the 2016 election to pay off Russia-linked hackers who stole emails from key Democrats, reports the Daily Caller 's Chuck Ross. ..."
"... Miller also admits that the dossier's broad claims are more closely aligned with reality, but that the document breaks down once you focus on individual claims. ..."
"... Steele, using Kremlin sources, claimed in his dossier that Cohen and three associates went to Prague in August 2016 to meet with Kremlin officials for the purpose of discussing "deniable cash payments" made in secret so as to cover up "Moscow's secret liaison with the TRUMP team." ..."
Dec 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

FBI and CIA sources told a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter that they didn't believe a key claim contained in the "Steele Dossier," the document the Obama FBI relied on to obtain a surveillance warrant on a member of the Trump campaign.

The Post 's Greg Miller told an audience at an October event that the FBI and CIA did not believe that former longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen visited Prague during the 2016 election to pay off Russia-linked hackers who stole emails from key Democrats, reports the Daily Caller 's Chuck Ross.

"We've talked to sources at the FBI and the CIA and elsewhere -- they don't believe that ever happened," said Miller during the October event which aired Saturday on C-SPAN.

We literally spent weeks and months trying to run down... there's an assertion in there that Michael Cohen went to Prague to settle payments that were needed at the end of the campaign. We sent reporters to every hotel in Prague, to all over the place trying to - just to try to figure out if he was ever there, and came away empty . -Greg Miller

Ross notes that WaPo somehow failed to report this information, nor did Miller include this tidbit of narrative-killing information in his recent book, "The Apprentice: Trump, Russia, and the Subversion of American Democracy."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/7GvXI61p21k

Miller also admits that the dossier's broad claims are more closely aligned with reality, but that the document breaks down once you focus on individual claims.

Steele, using Kremlin sources, claimed in his dossier that Cohen and three associates went to Prague in August 2016 to meet with Kremlin officials for the purpose of discussing "deniable cash payments" made in secret so as to cover up "Moscow's secret liaison with the TRUMP team."

Cohen's alleged Prague visit captured attention largely because the former Trump fixer has vehemently denied it, and also because it would seem to be one of the easier claims in Steele's 35-page report to validate or invalidate.

Debate over the salacious document was reignited when McClatchy reported April 15 that special counsel Robert Mueller had evidence Cohen visited Prague. No other news outlets have verified the reporting, and Cohen denied it at the time.

Cohen last denied the dossier's allegations in late June, a period of time when he was gearing up to cooperate with prosecutors against President Donald Trump . Cohen served as a cooperating witness for prosecutors in both New York and the special counsel's office. - Daily Caller

Cohen's attorney and longtime Clinton pal Lanny Davis vehemently denied on August 22, one day after Cohen pleaded guilty in his New York case - that Cohen had never been to Prague, telling Bloomberg " Thirteen references to Mr. Cohen are false in the dossier, but he has never been to Prague in his life ."

youshallnotkill , 19 minutes ago link

Trump never ceases to crack me up. While his (terrible) current lawyer, declares on TV that there was collusion but it just didn't last long, Trump calls his former lawyer/fixer at "Rat".

This is just too funny, I mean this is the President of the United States calling his former personal lawyer a "Rat" which of course is a common mob term for a witness testifying against you.

monkeyshine

Of course it never happened, just like Manafort didn't make 3 trips to London to meet Julian Assange. These fictions were just used as a pretext for diving into the backgrounds of Trump's political supporters and find crimes to charge them with.

The Cohen raid was particularly egregious, a likely violation of attorney-client privilege. Not suprisingly the American Bar Association is silent.

brewing_it

So here is a WaPo reporter saying they sent reporters to every hotel in Prague to find out if Cohen had been there, they spent weeks and weeks researching, interviewing, and nothing. What they are not saying is that they also spent shitloads of Bezo's money exploring all the other fake dossier claims.

And nothing.....all you hillarytards have been completely scammed by, your pulses sent aflutter with clickbait and page views and thats it. So sorry you losers.

Demologos

Yeah, like rubles are worth anything outside of Russia. Gold on the other hand ...

But seriously, you two should get a room. If you can't see the conspiracy in the Strzok/Page texts, the setup of Papadapoulous by the Brits, the phony FISA warrant using the FBI informant, the setup of General Flynn, and the seedy cast of characters in the DOJ breaking laws right and left, you should be checked for brain wave activity. You probably think the Russians paid for all of the above too. Go suck a bag of Russian dicks.

[Jan 29, 2019] The disinformation campaign behind the allegations of Russian disinformation by Andre Damon

Images removed
Notable quotes:
"... Throughout the day, the New York Times, the Washington Post and Google News all led with breathless stories about Russian efforts to "sway American opinion and divide the country" (in the words of the Times). The propaganda barrage was based on a set of reports submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee by organizations with close ties to the US state and intelligence apparatus. ..."
"... Like countless other stories about alleged Russian "disinformation," Monday's media blast followed a script. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... The first of two reports submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee, "The Tactics & Tropes of the Internet Research Agency," was published by an organization known as New Knowledge, which purports to be a cybersecurity company, but whose primary public presence consists in advocacy for internet censorship. ..."
"... Ryan Fox, the co-founder of New Knowledge and a co-author of the report, worked for the National Security Agency (NSA) for 15 years. New Knowledge's website notes that "prior to his civilian roles as a