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War is Racket

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New American Militarism Media-Military-Industrial Complex Anatol Leiven on American Messianism  American Exceptionalism Neoconservatism as a US version of Neoliberalism The Deep State  
All wars are bankers wars Casino Capitalism Corporatism Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization National Security State Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Big Uncle is Watching You
Looting pays dividends to empire Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Hypocrisy of British ruling elite Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime   Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult Globalization of Financial Flows
Fifth Column of Globalization Color revolutions Compradors NGOs as braintrust of color revolutions Diplomacy by deception Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism
EuroMaidan Victoria Nuland’s ‘Ukraine-gate’ The Far Right Forces in Ukraine as Trojan horse of neoliberalism Resurgence of ideology of neo-fascism Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law  The Grand Chessboard Machiavellism
Media domination strategy Media as a weapon of mass deception Developing Countries Hit Hardest by Brain Drain Republics are usually warlike and unscrupulous Politically Incorrect Political Humor American Imperialism Bookshelf Etc

The slightest acquaintance with history shows that powerful republics  are the most warlike and unscrupulous of nations.

Ambrose Bierce

"The wealth of another region excites their greed; and if it is weak, their lust for power as well. Nothing from the rising to the setting of the sun is enough for them. Among all others only they are compelled to attack the poor as well as the rich. Robbery, rape, and slaughter they falsely call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace."

Tacitus, Agricola

"When the rich wage war, it is the poor who die."

Jean-Paul Sartre, The Devil and the Good Lord

During the Vietnam War, one of the peace movement’s more sardonic slogans was: “War is good business. Invest your son" (Iraq War and Venture Capitalism by Norman Solomon )

ZNet

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During the Vietnam War, one of the peace movement’s more sardonic slogans was: “War is good business. Invest your son.”

In recent years, some eminent pundits and top government officials have become brazen about praising war as a good investment.

Thomas Friedman’s 1999 book “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” summed up a key function of the USA’s high-tech arsenal. “The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist,” he wrote. “McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the U.S. Air Force F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.”

On Sept. 12, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke this way as he defended the U.S. military occupation of Iraq: “Since the United States and its coalition partners have invested a great deal of political capital, as well as financial resources, as well as the lives of our young men and women -- and we have a large force there now -- we can’t be expected to suddenly just step aside.” He was voicing the terminology and logic of a major capitalist investor.

And so, it was fitting when the New York Times reported days ago that Powell will soon be (in the words of the headline) “Taking a Role in Venture Capitalism.” The article explained that Powell is becoming a partner in Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a renowned Silicon Valley venture firm: “Mr. Powell acknowledged in an interview Tuesday that he has had any number of tempting job offers since leaving the State Department in January, but that the chance to work as a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins seemed too enticing to turn down.”

Writ large, the balance-sheet outlook of venture capitalism is being widely applied to the current war in Iraq -- even while defenders of the war are apt to indignantly reject any claim that it’s driven by zeal for massive profits. But let’s take the corporate firms at their own words.

Last year, I went through the latest annual reports from some American firms with Pentagon contracts. Those reports acknowledged, as a matter of fact, the basic corporate reliance on the warfare state.

Orbit International Corp., a small business making high-tech products for use by the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marines, had increased its net sales by nearly $2.4 million during the previous two years, to about $17.1 million -- and the war future was bright. “Looking ahead,” CEO Dennis Sunshine reported, “Orbit’s Electronics and Power Unit Segments expect to continue to benefit from the expanding military/defense and homeland security marketplace.” In its yearly report to federal regulators, Orbit International acknowledged: “We are heavily dependent upon military spending as a source of revenues and income. Accordingly, any substantial future reductions in overall military spending by the U.S. government could have a material adverse effect on our sales and earnings.”

A much larger corporation, Engineered Support Systems, Inc., had quadrupled its net revenues between 1999 and 2003, when they reached $572.7 million. For the report covering 2003, the firm’s top officers signed a statement that declared: “As we have always said, rapid deployment of our armed forces drives our business.” The company’s president, Jerry Potthoff, assured investors: “Our nation’s military is deployed in over 130 countries, so our products and personnel are deployed, as well. As long as America remains the world’s policeman, our products and services will help them complete their missions.”

The gigantic Northrop Grumman firm, while noting that its revenues totaled $26.2 billion in 2003, boasted: “In terms of the portfolio, Northrop Grumman is situated in the ‘sweet spot’ of U.S. defense and national security spending.”

War. How sweet it can be.

This article is adapted from Norman Solomon’s new book “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” For information, go to:


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[Oct 19, 2017] McCain As Metaphor

Notable quotes:
"... The Senator from Arizona represents something relatively new on the American scene: the emerging class of colonial administrators, Pentagon contractors, and high-ranking military personnel, and their families, many of them stationed overseas. These people have a material interest in the expansion of our role as global cop, they number in the tens of thousands, and they are strategically placed in the social order, with enough social power to constitute an influential lobby. ..."
"... As the prototype of this mutant species of Homo Americanus , McCain is the perfect enemy of the new nationalism that handed the White House to Donald Trump and sundered the Brits from the EU. It's no surprise he's become the antipode of the Trumpian "America First" foreign policy doctrine – a doctrine that is almost never implemented, but that's another column. His latest philippic perfectly summarizes the spirit and content of the brazen imperialism that is his credo and the credo of his class, We get the whole grand tour of McCainism as a worldview, from the rather odd idea that "America is an idea" and not an actual place to the glories of the "international order." There is much shedding of blood "to make a better world" – a cause we are told has "made our own civilization more just, freer, more accomplished and prosperous than the America that existed when I watched my father go off to war on December 7, 1941." Now here is crackpot Keynesianism with a vengeance: the destruction of World War II was good for the economy! ..."
"... Having "liberated" the world from itself, the United States, as the champion of World Order, is in danger of turning away from its sacred duty to always be shedding lots and lots of blood on behalf of Others. And we know just who McCain is talking about: ..."
Oct 19, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

Some people are living symbols, sheer embodiments of a concept that fits their persona as snugly as their skin: e.g. the Dalai Lama personifies Contemplative Piety, Harvey Weinstein is the incarnation of Brazen Vulgarity, and John McCain's very person exudes the sweaty blustery spirit of Empire. His entire history – born in the Panama Canal zone, son of an admiral, third-generation centurion, the War Party's senatorial spokesman – made it nearly impossible for him to be other than what he is: the country's most outspoken warmonger and dedicated internationalist.

As George Orwell remarked, "After forty, everyone has the face they deserve," and in McCain's case this is doubly true. That Roman head, fit for a coin of high denomination, looks as if it might sprout a crown of laurel leaves at any moment: Grizzled brow, wrinkled with the tension of an inborn belligerence, eyes alight with a perpetual flame of self-righteous anger, McCain is Teddy Roosevelt impersonating Cato the Elder. In the extreme predictability of his warlike effusions, he's become a bit of a cartoon character. Who can forget his enthusiastic rendition of " Bomb bomb bomb Iran! " to the tune of "Barbara Ann"?

The Senator from Arizona represents something relatively new on the American scene: the emerging class of colonial administrators, Pentagon contractors, and high-ranking military personnel, and their families, many of them stationed overseas. These people have a material interest in the expansion of our role as global cop, they number in the tens of thousands, and they are strategically placed in the social order, with enough social power to constitute an influential lobby.

As the prototype of this mutant species of Homo Americanus , McCain is the perfect enemy of the new nationalism that handed the White House to Donald Trump and sundered the Brits from the EU. It's no surprise he's become the antipode of the Trumpian "America First" foreign policy doctrine – a doctrine that is almost never implemented, but that's another column. His latest philippic perfectly summarizes the spirit and content of the brazen imperialism that is his credo and the credo of his class, We get the whole grand tour of McCainism as a worldview, from the rather odd idea that "America is an idea" and not an actual place to the glories of the "international order." There is much shedding of blood "to make a better world" – a cause we are told has "made our own civilization more just, freer, more accomplished and prosperous than the America that existed when I watched my father go off to war on December 7, 1941." Now here is crackpot Keynesianism with a vengeance: the destruction of World War II was good for the economy!

Having "liberated" the world from itself, the United States, as the champion of World Order, is in danger of turning away from its sacred duty to always be shedding lots and lots of blood on behalf of Others. And we know just who McCain is talking about:

"To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain 'the last best hope of earth' for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history."

The idea that we led and organized the world for the entire postwar era erases the cold war from history, a neat trick given McCain's record. And as for our "ideals" and this "last best hope" business, none of that is worth a single American soldier – nor does it have anything to do with a soldier's proper job, which is protecting this country. Yet what is one to expect from someone who actually believes "we live in a land of ideals, not blood and soil." Blood never comes into it for McCain unless it's being shed in some ill-conceived totally unnecessary war. And as for soil – there is none. There's just "ideals," floating in a void.

While admitting that the Trumpian version of American nationalism is somewhat undercooked – and, perhaps, not all that digestible – one has to wonder: where does a supporter of the Iraq war, who assured us it would be a glorious victory, get off calling anybody or anything half-baked?

McCain doesn't even try making a coherent argument: instead, he simply lies by claiming that, having taken the road to Empire, "we have become incomparably powerful and wealthy as we did." It's utter nonsense, of course: empires are an expensive luxury. We spend more on the military than the top ten powers combined, and the national debt is at historic heights. We're effectively bankrupt thanks to out-of-control military spending and McCain's favored wars of choice.

The idea that we have a "moral obligation" to enforce McCain's beloved "international order" is rooted in the crazed post-millennial pietism that has motivated so much that is mischievous in American history. The old religious impulse that motivated Prohibition and the "anti-vice" campaigns of the nineteenth century has, today, been secularized and internationalized. The old fundamentalists sought to remake the country, their secular successors seek to remake the world . This accounts for the quasi-religious tone of McCain's remarks, this talk of "moral obligation" and "shame" if we fail to take up the burden of Empire, manfully and willfully, because "We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent. We wouldn't deserve to."

In other words: Americans have no right to live their lives in peace, and to leave others in the same condition: they must perpetually be sticking their noses in other peoples' business, sniffing out "injustice" and making sure the trains run on time. McCain hails the crusade to "help make another, better world" – yet the American people don't want another world, they want to live in this world in peace and security, rather than sacrificing themselves to some imaginary "duty" to uplift the world on Uncle Sam's shoulders. That's one reason why Trump is in the White House and McCain is on the outside looking in.

NOTES IN THE MARGIN

You can check out my Twitter feed by going here . But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.

I've written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement , with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey , a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon ( ISI Books , 2008).

You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here .

[Oct 17, 2017] Ukrainian foreign trade deficit in January-August has grown to over three billion dollars

Slightly edited Google translation from Ukrainian
Please note that grivna generally kept its value and fluctuated in the band of 26-27 grivna per dollar for the same period. The general impression from 2015 to 2017 is slight growth of economic activity, especially in home building. Standard of living did not change much for this period and remains low. Food prices were more or less stable, which communal services costs especially house/apartment heating skyrocketed and even for one bedroom apartment now at winter can well exceed average pension.
Some percentage of foreign trade deficit might well be due to additional costs of import of coal (with some coming from the USA now) and gas (which is bought not directly but from Eastern European countries which has extra volumes at low prices from Russia). The continuing war at Donbass although at very low level still also attracts a lot funds.
Notable quotes:
"... Ukrainian foreign trade deficit in January-August has grown to 3.279 billion dollars, which is 2.3 times higher than the deficit for the same period last year - 1.448 billion dollars. ..."
"... The export coverage ratio was 0.89, while in January-August 2016 it was 0.94. ..."
"... For the whole 2016, Ukraine enjoyed a small surplus of foreign trade balance amounted to 337.3 million dollars. ..."

Ukrainian foreign trade deficit in January-August has grown to 3.279 billion dollars, which is 2.3 times higher than the deficit for the same period last year - 1.448 billion dollars.

Those data were reported by the Ukrainian National State Statistics Service.

Exports of goods from Ukraine over the period in comparison with the same period in 2016 increased by 21,1% - to 27,512 billion dollars, import - by 27,4%, to 30,791 billion dollars.

The export coverage ratio was 0.89, while in January-August 2016 it was 0.94. Foreign trade operations were conducted with partners from 219 countries of the world. For the whole 2016, Ukraine enjoyed a small surplus of foreign trade balance amounted to 337.3 million dollars.

[Oct 17, 2017] Kiev Should Give Up on the Donbass by Alexander J. Motyl

The article was written before April, 2017 and as such has only historical interest.
foreignpolicy.com

It didn't take long for things in Ukraine to go south in the Trump era.

Before last fall's U.S. election, Ukraine had finally appeared to be stabilizing after several tumultuous years. The country was receiving generally good grades and assistance from the International Monetary Fund; it enjoyed the political, diplomatic, and financial -- if not quite military -- support of the West; and it was making headway on internal reforms in the legal, economic, social, educational, health, and energy sectors. Finally, its armed forces had successfully transformed themselves from the 6,000 combat-ready troops available in mid-2014 to a powerful, battle-hardened army that managed to fight Russia and its proxies to a standstill in the east.

... ... ...

Kiev couldn't turn down such an offer, because it has continually insisted that the Donbass must, and will, be brought back into the Ukrainian fold. But the consequences of this gift would be ugly. Kiev would likely face an all-out war with the abandoned separatists, one that it would probably win, but then have to follow with enormous investments to fix the devastated region and try to win the hearts and minds of its anti-Kiev population. Estimates of how much it would cost to undo the damage done by Russia start at $20 billion, according to economist Anders Aslund; Ukraine's entire budget amounts to about $26 billion.

No less debilitating for Ukraine would be the political consequences of reintegrating the occupied Donbass. Several million anti-Western voters would be brought into the fold, to vote against Ukraine's pro-Western reforms. The pro-Russian political forces that ruled and still rule the region would get a second life. And the oligarchs and thieves who mismanaged the Donbass for decades would return to power. The Donbass would then play the same retrograde role it has played in Ukrainian politics since independence in 1991. Political tensions would increase, East-West polarization would return, Kiev would be rendered politically and economically impotent, and Putin would have achieved what he wanted all along -- a thoroughly unstable Ukraine, minus the cost of funding a low-level conflict in an economically doomed enclave.

Of course, it's impossible to say just which of these scenarios -- ranging from all-out war to dumping the Donbass to some other intermediate move -- will happen. The point is that, with Trump's unpredictability, radicalism, and pro-Russian sympathies, all of them are now possible or far more possible than they were before Trump's election.

The point is that, with Trump's unpredictability, radicalism, and pro-Russian sympathies, all of them are now possible or far more possible than they were before Trump's election.

Since the status quo that has held for the past two years is unlikely to do so for long, Ukraine needs to develop a realistic strategy toward the occupied Donbass -- one attuned to the new geopolitical circumstances -- and prepare for all of Trump and Putin's possible faits accomplis.

The good news is that Ukraine is prepared for all-out war with Russia; it is also prepared for and could cope with aid cutoffs from Washington and the end of sanctions. The bad news is that Kiev is thoroughly unprepared for the one scenario that could destroy Ukraine at little cost to Putin: Russia's return of the Donbass.

Whatever Kiev decides to do, Ukrainians must first decide what they believe is more important: independence or territorial integrity. The Minsk accords enabled Ukraine to enjoy the first and aspire to the second. This state of affairs could not have lasted forever, but Trump and Putin have brought it to a premature end.

Before Trump, Ukrainians could avoid making too many tough decisions about their strategic priorities. After Trump, they cannot.

[Oct 17, 2017] The Deep Unfairness of America's All-Volunteer Force by Dennis Laich and Lawrence Wilkerson

Notable quotes:
"... Fiscally, the AVF is going to break the bank. The land forces in particular are still having difficulties fielding adequate numbers -- even with lowered standards, substituting women for men (from 1.6 percent of the AVF in 1973 to more than 16 percent today), recruitment and reenlistment bonuses totaling tens of millions of dollars, advertising campaigns costing billions, massive recruitment of non-citizens, use of psychotropic drugs to recycle unfit soldiers and Marines to combat zones, and overall pay and allowances that include free world-class health care and excellent retirement plans that are, for the first time in the military's history, comparable to or even exceeding civilian rates and offerings. ..."
"... A glaring case in point is the recent recruitment by the Army of 62,000 men and women, its target for fiscal year 2016. To arrive at that objective, the Army needed 9,000 recruiting staff (equivalent to three combat brigades) working full-time. If one does the math, that equates to each of these recruiters gaining one-point-something recruits every two months -- an utterly astounding statistic. Additionally, the Army had to resort to taking a small percentage of recruits in Mental Category IV -- the lowest category and one that, post-Vietnam, the Army made a silent promise never to resort to again. ..."
"... Moreover, the recruiting and retention process and rich pay and allowances are consuming one half of the Army's entire annual budget slice, precluding any sort of affordable increase in its end strength. This end strength constraint creates the need for more and more private contractors on the nation's battlefields in order to compensate. The employment of private contractors is politically seductive and strategically dangerous. To those enemies we fight they are the enemy and to most reasonable people they are mercenaries. Mercenaries are motivated by profit not patriotism -- despite their CEOs' protestations to the contrary -- and place America on the slippery slope towards compromising the right of sovereign nations to the monopoly of violence for state purposes. In short, Congress and the Pentagon make the Army bigger than the American people believe that it is and the American people allow themselves to be convinced; thus it is a shared delusion that comforts both parties. ..."
"... There is yet another dimension to the AVF that is truly an "unmentionable." As President Barack Obama said to one of us in the Roosevelt Room in November 2015 -- referring to Washington, D.C. -- "There is a bias in this town toward war." ..."
"... What the president meant was quite clear: powerful forces such as the military-industrial complex, a less-than-courageous Congress that has abandoned its constitutional duty with respect to the war power, extreme ideologies, and a nation with no skin in the game, work together to persuade all presidents to consider war as the first instrument of national power rather than the last. ..."
"... Is there anyone among us who would not believe that having an all-volunteer (or, more to the point, an all-recruited) military coming only from the 1 percent does not contribute to the facility with which presidents call upon that instrument? In a rational world, we would be declared insane to believe otherwise. ..."
"... Said more explicitly, if the sons and daughters of members of Congress, of the corporate leadership, of the billionaire class, of the Ivy Leagues, of the elite in general, were exposed to the possibility of combat, would we have less war? From a socio-economic class perspective, the AVF is inherently unfair. ..."
"... "From a socio-economic class perspective, the AVF is inherently unfair." ..."
"... "Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." ..."
"... Now, I, and maybe you, read the 13th amendment to the constitution as clearly banning conscription, but the courts don't think so. Their reasoning actually being, that since conscription was in place at the time of the 13th amendment's passage, the words written and printed couldn't possibly mean what they clearly mean as common English usage. ..."
"... I realize how unpopular this statement will be, but that 1 percent who are bleeding and dying are generally doing so in foreign wars that are not truly defending the 99 percent. They are doing it for the pro-war, pro-intervention subsets of various elite populations, popularly supported by misinformed people of the lower/middle classes. ..."
"... Perhaps the shortage of volunteer soldiers indicates war-weariness? ..."
"... In the late 60s -- early 70s we used to chide Pat Buchanan and his mates with "War is good business -- invest your sons". Of course, even then, he was investing other people's sons. His good mate Trump has already bragged about his "contribution" to the war effort, dodging STIs rather than bullets. ..."
"... The only ethical course of action when faced with an insufficient number of volunteers for a war is, of course, to cancel the war. ..."
"... Simple solution: Constitutional amendment stating, In order to vote in Federal Elections or to hold Federal office, appointed or elected, you must: ..."
"... a DD214 showing honorable discharge ..."
"... Nothing the US Army does "protects America". On the contrary it's a bigger threat than anything it can protect the US from. They fight for combinations of cash, training, education, travel, to carry on the family tradition , travel and adventure. The people who send them to fight do so for power and ego. Not "national interests" There are none only the interests of people who want power. ..."
"... What the old saying about war "Rich man's game with the poor man paying the price." ..."
"... Smedley Butler saw this happening in his time, too. The wars were smaller and less expensive, but they had the same root cause. Wherever our companies go and are thwarted by locals in any way, we find an excuse to deploy and make that area safe for commercial activity. Libya is a shambles now after Gaddafi's removal, but it's out of the news because organized, government-led resistance to oil companies benefiting from one-sided leases is impossible. This year, Libya hit a four-year high for oil production, in the middle of a six-cornered civil war. ..."
Oct 16, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

As far as we know, the phrase "all-recruited force" was coined by Karl Marlantes, author of Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War , a book that provides vivid insight into the U.S. Marines who fought in that conflict. Mr. Marlantes used the expression to describe what's happened to today's allegedly "volunteer" force, to say in effect that it is no such thing. Instead it is composed in large part of people recruited so powerfully and out of such receptive circumstances that it requires a new way of being described. We agree with Mr. Marlantes. So do others.

In The Economist back in 2015 , an article about the U.S. All-Volunteer Force (AVF) posed the question: "Who will fight the next war?" and went on to describe how the AVF is becoming more and more difficult to field as well as growing ever more distant from the people from whom it comes and for whom it fights. The piece painted a disturbing scene. That the scene was painted by a British magazine of such solid reputation in the field of economics is ironic in a sense but not inexplicable. After all, it is the fiscal aspect of the AVF that is most immediate and pressing. Recruiting and retaining the force has become far too costly and is ultimately unsustainable.

When the Gates Commission set up the rationale for the AVF in 1970, it did so at the behest of a president, Richard Nixon, who had come to see the conscript military as a political dagger aimed at his own heart. One could argue that the decision to abolish conscription was a foregone conclusion; the Commission simply provided a rationale for doing it and for volunteerism to replace it.

But whatever we might think of the Commission's work and Nixon's motivation, what has happened in the last 16 years -- interminable war -- was never on the Commission's radar screen. Like most crises, as Colin Powell used to lament when he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, this one was unexpected, not planned for, and begs denial as a first reaction.

That said, after 16 years of war it is plain to all but the most recalcitrant that the U.S. cannot afford the AVF -- ethically, morally, or fiscally.

Fiscally, the AVF is going to break the bank. The land forces in particular are still having difficulties fielding adequate numbers -- even with lowered standards, substituting women for men (from 1.6 percent of the AVF in 1973 to more than 16 percent today), recruitment and reenlistment bonuses totaling tens of millions of dollars, advertising campaigns costing billions, massive recruitment of non-citizens, use of psychotropic drugs to recycle unfit soldiers and Marines to combat zones, and overall pay and allowances that include free world-class health care and excellent retirement plans that are, for the first time in the military's history, comparable to or even exceeding civilian rates and offerings.

A glaring case in point is the recent recruitment by the Army of 62,000 men and women, its target for fiscal year 2016. To arrive at that objective, the Army needed 9,000 recruiting staff (equivalent to three combat brigades) working full-time. If one does the math, that equates to each of these recruiters gaining one-point-something recruits every two months -- an utterly astounding statistic. Additionally, the Army had to resort to taking a small percentage of recruits in Mental Category IV -- the lowest category and one that, post-Vietnam, the Army made a silent promise never to resort to again.

Moreover, the recruiting and retention process and rich pay and allowances are consuming one half of the Army's entire annual budget slice, precluding any sort of affordable increase in its end strength. This end strength constraint creates the need for more and more private contractors on the nation's battlefields in order to compensate. The employment of private contractors is politically seductive and strategically dangerous. To those enemies we fight they are the enemy and to most reasonable people they are mercenaries. Mercenaries are motivated by profit not patriotism -- despite their CEOs' protestations to the contrary -- and place America on the slippery slope towards compromising the right of sovereign nations to the monopoly of violence for state purposes. In short, Congress and the Pentagon make the Army bigger than the American people believe that it is and the American people allow themselves to be convinced; thus it is a shared delusion that comforts both parties.

A more serious challenge for the democracy that is America, however, is the ethical one. Today, more than 300 million Americans lay claim to rights, liberties, and security that not a single one of them is obligated to protect and defend. Apparently, only 1 percent of the population feels that obligation. That 1 percent is bleeding and dying for the other 99 percent.

Further, that 1 percent does not come primarily or even secondarily from the families of the Ivy Leagues, of Wall Street, of corporate leadership, from the Congress, or from affluent America; it comes from less well-to-do areas: West Virginia, Maine, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and elsewhere. For example, the Army now gets more soldiers from the state of Alabama, population 4.8 million, than it gets from New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles combined, aggregate metropolitan population more than 25 million. Similarly, 40 percent of the Army comes from seven states of the Old South. As one of us has documented in his book, Skin in the Game: Poor Kids and Patriots , this is an ethically poisonous situation. And as the article in The Economist concludes, it's dangerous as well.

The last 16 years have also generated, as wars tend to do, hundreds of thousands of veterans. The costs of taking care of these men and women are astronomical today and will only rise over the next decades, which is one reason our veterans are already being inadequately cared for. Without the political will to shift funds, there simply is not enough money to provide the necessary care. And given the awesome debt America now shoulders -- approaching 20 trillion dollars and certain to increase -- it is difficult to see this situation changing for the better.

In fact, when one calculates today's U.S. national security budget -- not simply the well-advertised Pentagon budget -- the total expenditure of taxpayer dollars approaches $1.2 trillion annually, or more than twice what most Americans believe they are paying for national security. This total figure includes the costs of nuclear weapons (Energy Department), homeland security (Homeland Security Department), veteran care (Veterans Administration), intelligence needs (CIA and Defense Department), international relations (State Department), and the military and its operations (the Pentagon and its slush fund, the Overseas Contingency Operations account). The Pentagon budget alone is larger than that of the next 14 nations in the world combined. Only recently (September 2016), the Pentagon leadership confessed that as much as 50 percent of its slush fund (OCO) is not used for war operations -- the fund's statutory purpose -- but for other expenses, including "military readiness." We suspect this includes recruiting and associated costs.

There is still another dimension of the AVF that goes basically unmentioned and unreported. The AVF has compelled the nation to transition its reserve component forces from what they have been since colonial times -- a strategic reserve -- into being an operational reserve. That's military-speak for our having used the reserve components to make up for deeply felt shortages in the active force. Nowhere is this more dramatically reflected than in the rate of deployment-to-overseas duty of the average reservist, now about once every 3.8 years.

Such an operational tempo causes extreme problems for both civilian employers and for National Guard and reserve units. What employer, for example, wants to hire a young man or woman who will be gone for a year every four years on average, when that employer can reach out and hire someone from the 99 percent who will likely not be absent? And how do the reserve units keep up recruiting numbers when faced with such a situation?

Moreover, when we look at the reserve component deployment statistics over a decade or so of what now seems like interminable war, we discover how badly skewed such deployments are. For example, as of 2011, North Dakota, Mississippi, and South Dakota had Guard/Reserve deployment rates of over 40 per 10,000, and Iowa had a rate of over 30 per 10,000. In contrast, the Guard/Reserve deployment burdens for New York, California, and Texas were all less than 15 per 10,000. Perhaps surprisingly, Massachusetts had a higher Guard/Reserve deployment burden per 10,000 than Texas did (these numbers cover the 9/30/01 -- 12/31/10 timeframe).

A deeper look at the county levels within each state demonstrates that the Guard/Reserve deployment burden really is an urban/suburban vs. rural divide. New York is a case study. Niagara County (Niagara Falls and Lockport) had a deployment rate of over 30 per 10,000, while Jefferson County (Watertown) and Clinton County (Plattsburgh) had rates over 25 per 10,000. In contrast, New York State overall had a Guard/Reserve deployment rate a bit higher than 10 per 10,000, with Kings County (Brooklyn) and New York County (Manhattan) having rates well below 10 per 10,000.

Most Americans are completely ignorant of the facts outlined above, or understand only partial truths about them. In fact, the majority view the military in general and the way we man the force in particular through a lens of fear, apathy, ignorance, and guilt. The media is unhelpful in this regard because in the main journalists and TV personalities are as unknowing as the people. Few in the military leadership have the courage to speak up about these realities, or are themselves so brainwashed that they are incapable of doing so. But if the country does not wake up soon and demand action, we will be looking at another crisis and asking the question posed by The Economist : "Who will fight the next war?"

Worse, we might be asking the question that Skin in the Game poses: "What if we had a war and nobody came?"

When we put that question to a U.S. senator recently, he replied that "If the enemy were 'on the shore,' Americans would respond."

"Would they?" we asked. "And tell us how you know that, please."

"They just would, I know they would," the senator replied.

There is yet another dimension to the AVF that is truly an "unmentionable." As President Barack Obama said to one of us in the Roosevelt Room in November 2015 -- referring to Washington, D.C. -- "There is a bias in this town toward war."

What the president meant was quite clear: powerful forces such as the military-industrial complex, a less-than-courageous Congress that has abandoned its constitutional duty with respect to the war power, extreme ideologies, and a nation with no skin in the game, work together to persuade all presidents to consider war as the first instrument of national power rather than the last.

Is there anyone among us who would not believe that having an all-volunteer (or, more to the point, an all-recruited) military coming only from the 1 percent does not contribute to the facility with which presidents call upon that instrument? In a rational world, we would be declared insane to believe otherwise.

Said more explicitly, if the sons and daughters of members of Congress, of the corporate leadership, of the billionaire class, of the Ivy Leagues, of the elite in general, were exposed to the possibility of combat, would we have less war? From a socio-economic class perspective, the AVF is inherently unfair.

Major General (Ret) Dennis Laich served 35 years in the U.S. Army Reserve. Col. (Ret.) Lawrence Wilkerson is visiting professor of government and public policy at the College of William and Mary. He was chief of staff to secretary of state Colin Powell from 2002-05, special assistant to Powell when Powell was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989-93), and deputy director and director of the USMC War College (1993-97).

KevinS , , October 15, 2017 at 11:16 pm

"From a socio-economic class perspective, the AVF is inherently unfair."

The same can be said of American society more generally, which is fast becoming a plutocracy.

b , , October 16, 2017 at 12:22 am
These topics are widely discussed within the military. Not in staff meetings mind you. But the civilians wouldn't realize it regardless. So what is to be done? Is there an organization we can join that will speak up and get lobbyists to have the concerns heard? This is our national defense and we all have an interest in knowing that we leave something better behind for the next generation. Otherwise all our efforts truly are in vain.
theMann , , October 16, 2017 at 2:48 am
"Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

Now, I, and maybe you, read the 13th amendment to the constitution as clearly banning conscription, but the courts don't think so. Their reasoning actually being, that since conscription was in place at the time of the 13th amendment's passage, the words written and printed couldn't possibly mean what they clearly mean as common English usage.

Well, leaving aside for the moment that every (so far at least) man who ever got drafted felt it was pretty effing involuntary, we can proceed to the greater question:

Why do we perpetually need a million men\women\hesheit qwerty's under arms? By all means, let us draft every 18 year old in the entire United States into our SJW Social Science\Daycare center joke of a military, it would at least be a far greater education than college. And having so infused our armed forces with so much fresh human material, we could spend EVEN MORE on Contracts, currently about 50% of the near trillion dollar war making budget.

Yea, that'll fix everything.

Zebesian , , October 16, 2017 at 4:25 am
I realize how unpopular this statement will be, but that 1 percent who are bleeding and dying are generally doing so in foreign wars that are not truly defending the 99 percent. They are doing it for the pro-war, pro-intervention subsets of various elite populations, popularly supported by misinformed people of the lower/middle classes.

Perhaps the shortage of volunteer soldiers indicates war-weariness? Less war would solve the problems of cost, volunteer shortages AND the burgeoning veteran population.

Chris Harris , , October 16, 2017 at 6:24 am
I served in six units during six years with the army military police. I can remember only one guy I knew whose father was a educated white collar professional (university professor).
mrscracker , , October 16, 2017 at 6:40 am
One of my children is about as far to the left as I am to the right politically,but we both agree that the draft should be brought back with a choice of military or community service. No exceptions made. Everyone serves at 18 for a year or two and can enlist longer if they choose to. Offers of college or vocational scholorships could apply.

We've had a couple or more generations of self centered, self absorbed young people who often become self destructive. They could benefit from the discipline, direction, and service to others.

Whine Merchant , , October 16, 2017 at 6:54 am
In the late 60s -- early 70s we used to chide Pat Buchanan and his mates with "War is good business -- invest your sons". Of course, even then, he was investing other people's sons. His good mate Trump has already bragged about his "contribution" to the war effort, dodging STIs rather than bullets.
William Murphy , , October 16, 2017 at 7:03 am
Wonderful article. The very serious concerns it raises were discussed some years ago by the philosopher Michael Sandel. He asked how can it be just for the wealthy to risk the lives of the children of the poor in an AVF when their own children are guaranteed far safer lifestyles.

From a British perspective, the same issues apply in an even more distorted form. In my two years working in Michigan (1998-2000), I met far more current and former servicemen than in the other 62 years of my life living in England. The British military is invisible to much of the middle and upper classes, except in emergencies, despite the fact that you are never far from a military base in such a small country.

At a recent dinner, I found myself, for the first time in my life, sitting at a table with three ex-British Army officers. I discussed the near-invisible profile of the Army. My very smart companion explained that for years Army personnel tried to avoid even wearing uniform in the street because of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The Troubles ended, but now, since the beheading of a soldier in London by an Islamist nutter, the Army has gone back to civvies for off duty wear.

And the class division is as scandalous as the American class divisions which this excellent article describes. As at least one scathing observer commented, would Tony Blair have been so ready to go to war in Iraq if any one of his four children been liable for military service? And, of course, Blair and his political contemporaries were the first generation not to be involved in a shooting war or to be liable for National Service (abolished around 1960). The only place they would see the horrible face of war was in a movie theatre.

Reinstate National Service in the UK and USA? It might be as politically popular as sending little children up chimneys or could some courageous politician air a desperately important issue which might find unexpected support in a dangerous world?

Rup. G , , October 16, 2017 at 7:41 am
The only ethical course of action when faced with an insufficient number of volunteers for a war is, of course, to cancel the war.
Mike Ford , , October 16, 2017 at 7:49 am
Simple solution: Constitutional amendment stating, In order to vote in Federal Elections or to hold Federal office, appointed or elected, you must:

A) Proof of citizenship

B) Current year 1040 showing net positive Income Tax paid and finally,

C) a DD214 showing honorable discharge

Problem solved

J Harlan , , October 16, 2017 at 9:10 am
"That 1 percent is bleeding and dying for the other 99 percent."

They are not. Nothing the US Army does "protects America". On the contrary it's a bigger threat than anything it can protect the US from. They fight for combinations of cash, training, education, travel, to carry on the family tradition , travel and adventure. The people who send them to fight do so for power and ego. Not "national interests" There are none only the interests of people who want power.

Fred Bowman , , October 16, 2017 at 9:21 am
What the old saying about war "Rich man's game with the poor man paying the price." Definely bring the Draft back if for no other reason to make those in Power think long and hard about what military misadventures they're committing America's young men and women to. Imho America would have been out of these Middle East wars of choice long ago if the draft was still in effect as the American public would be demanding hard answers to "Why are we still there?"
David Walters , , October 16, 2017 at 9:28 am
I served. I was young and stupid and got a draft lottery number that gave me a 50 / 50 chance of being drafted into the Army. I joined the Marines, instead. 1973 -- 1979, active and reserve included.

Went on with my life afterwards. I never wanted and never want my kids to serve. The USA is not the place I thought it was when I did. Heck, it wasn't the place I thought it was even then.

John , , October 16, 2017 at 10:15 am
Leave aside the ethical and moral implications, because America has told the world over and over again that they don't matter. We will support the second-worst regimes in the world in their struggles with the worst regimes, we will bomb weddings full of innocents if it gets us the one man we want, and we do not care how many of our fellow citizens enrolled in the military jobs programs are killed or maimed.

Smedley Butler saw this happening in his time, too. The wars were smaller and less expensive, but they had the same root cause. Wherever our companies go and are thwarted by locals in any way, we find an excuse to deploy and make that area safe for commercial activity. Libya is a shambles now after Gaddafi's removal, but it's out of the news because organized, government-led resistance to oil companies benefiting from one-sided leases is impossible. This year, Libya hit a four-year high for oil production, in the middle of a six-cornered civil war.

The only way any of this changes is if the public sees military activity as a threat to benefits on which it depends, or if the price of fielding regular units to deal with these problems becomes so large that companies will have to employ mercenaries to achieve their ends abroad.

Stephen J. , , October 16, 2017 at 10:44 am
I believe it is time "our leaders" show what they are made of. Therefore I ask:

Should We Have War Games for the World's Leaders?

Yesterday's enemies are today's friends and today's friends are tomorrow's enemies, such is the way of the world, and wars of the world. All these wars cause enormous bloodshed, destruction and suffering to those affected. Therefore, would it not be much simpler to have war games for all of the world's leaders and elites every few years? We have Olympic Games every four years where the world's athletes from different countries compete. And many of these countries are hostile to each other, yet they participate in the Olympics. So if enemies can participate for sport, why not for war games? All the leaders and elites of the world would have to lead by example, instead of leading from their political platforms, palaces and offshore tax havens, while the ordinary people have to do the dirty work in wars. The world's leaders and elites would all be in the front lines first. A venue could be arranged in a deserted area and the people of the world could watch via satellite TV their courageous leaders and other elites leading the charge in the war games .

[read much more at link below] http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2009/03/should-we-have-war-games-for-worlds.html

Anna , , October 16, 2017 at 11:01 am
Okay, probably true as far as it goes, but aren't you ignoring an important issue? Say the U.S. re-established conscription to catch those elite kids -- what kind of military would you have? I suspect not one that would be an effective military in any sense.

I'm reminded of a conversation with a friend from Germany, who believed in his country's policy of universal service (that is, sort of universal -- they can do other volunteer work instead), but he readily admitted that he and his fellow-conscripts -- i.e., mostly spoiled children of the middle class -- were not real soldiers. He said it was totally normal in the barracks to hear 18 and 19-year-olds weeping on the phone to mama about how homesick they were, and that standards were very low for physical fitness and ability.

According to him, the real career soldiers saw the young conscripts as a completely useless drag on the military, that merely had to be endured for political reasons rather than for any actual military or strategic purposes.

Potato , , October 16, 2017 at 11:02 am
the draft should be brought back with a choice of military or community service. No exceptions made. Everyone serves at 18 for a year or two and can enlist longer if they choose to. Offers of college or vocational scholorships could apply.

I don't often agree with mrscracker, but this one is right on. Male and female, gay and straight, no exceptions but for people on life support. (There could be essential work available for all but the most severely disabled.)

For one thing I think this would bring the practice of getting involved in useless wars to a screeching halt. If the children of Congresspersons were in danger of being issued rifles and told to wade into a rice paddy or a desert to be shot at, the people in charge would suddenly be much more conservative about going to war.

James Korman , , October 16, 2017 at 11:18 am
Elimination of the draft is a stain, every adult mail should be available to serve his nation. This has been true throughout history.

[Oct 17, 2017] Empire's Workshop Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism (American Empire Project) Greg Grandi

There is a danger for Ukraine to become "European El Salvador" or, worse, "European Iraq"
Notable quotes:
"... fter an opening chapter that makes the case for Latin America's role in the formation of the U.S. empire, the rest of this hook explores the importance of the region to the consolidation of what could be called a new, revolutionary imperialism. ..."
May 01, 2007 | www.amazon.com

A fter an opening chapter that makes the case for Latin America's role in the formation of the U.S. empire, the rest of this hook explores the importance of the region to the consolidation of what could be called a new, revolutionary imperialism.

Taken each on their own, the ideas, tactics, politics, and economics that have driven Bush's global policy are not original. An interventionist military posture, belief that America has a special role to play in world history, cynical realpolitik, vengeful nationalism, and free-market capitalism have all driven U.S.
diplomacy in one form or another for nearly two centuries. But whatis new is how potent these elements have become and how tightly they are bound to the ambitions of America's domestic ruling conservative coalition -- a coalition that despite its power and influence paints itself as persecuted, at odds not just with much of the world but with modern life itself. 6

The book goes on to explore the intellectual re-orientation or American diplomacy in the wake if Vietnam and the increasing willingness of militarists to champion human rights, nation building, and democratic reform. The third chapter considers how the rehabilitation of unconventional warfare doctrine in LI Salvador and Nicaragua by militarists in and around the Reagan White House laid the groundwork for today's offensive military posture. Here, the human costs of this resurgence of militarism will be addressed. In the many tributes that followed Reagan's death, pundits enjoyed repeating Margaret Thatcher's comment that Reagan won the Cold War "without firing a shot." The crescendo of carnage that overw helmed Central America in the 1980s not only gives the lie to such a legacy but highlights the inescapable violence of empire. The fourth chapter turns to the imperial home front, examining how r the Reagan administration first confronted and then began to solve the domestic crisis of authority generated by Vietnam and Watergate. It also argues that Reagan's Central American policy served as a crucible that forged the coalition that today stands behind George W. Bush. Chanter 5 is con cerned with the economics of empire, how the financial contraction of the 1970s provided an opportunity for the avatars of free-market orthodoxy -- the true core of the Bush Doctrine -- to join with other constituencies of the ascendant New Right, inaugurating first in Chile and then throughout Latin America a new, brutally competitive global economy.

The last chapter tallies the score of the new imperialism in Latin America. Celebrated by Bill Clinton, and now Bush, as a model of what the United States hopes to accomplish in the rest of the world, Latin America continues to be gripped by unrelenting poverty and periodic political instability, as the promise of living under a benevolent American imperialism has failed to materialize. As a result, new political movements and antagonists have emerged to contest the terms of
United States-promoted corporate globalization, calling for increased regional integration to offset the power of the United States and more social spending to alleviate Latin American inequality. With little to offer the region in terms of development except the increasingly hollow promises of free trade, Washington is responding to these and similar challenges by once again militarizing hemispheric relations, with all dissent now set in the crosshairs of the "global war on terror."

... ... ...

Over the last year, Washington has had some success in preventing leftists and nationalists from coming to power, in Peru, for instance, and in Mexico. But notwithstanding the outcome of specific votes, and despite the very real conflicts of interest among Latin American nations, the centrifugal forces pushing the region out of the U.S.'s orbit will continue.

What, then, will be Washington's long-term response to this independence movement? One could hope that the Democrats would seize the moment to assert their commitment to nonintervention and to work with economic nationalists to promote a fair and sustainable economic policy. Depending on the country, such a policy would include land reform, government regulation of foreign investment and currency speculation, more equitable contracts with multinationals, debt relief, increased spending on welfare, education, health care, and public works, and, in the U.S., a just immigration policy.

Don't count on it. Unlike after WWII, when a confident corporate class threw its backing behind New Deal political liberalism at home and at least some reform capitalism abroad, the financiers of today's Democratic Party are too deeply invested in war production and speculative capital and too intensely committed to keeping the third world open. They will not brook any sustained attempt to restructure the global economy in a more equitable direction. At the same time, the party's leadership -- unlike Republicans who are organically linked to their base -- is terrified of the antimilitarism of its rank-and-file. Thirty percent of the U.S. population opposed the war in Iraq even when it looked like a cakewalk, even as Dick Cheney and his cronies held a cocktail party to celebrate the PR-orchestrated toppling of Saddam's statue in Baghdad -- a significant minority that is much larger than anything the Goldwater insurgency and the Reagan Revolution started with.

But rather than building on this thirty percent, Democrats run away from it, with one after the other tripping over themselves to prove they are better equipped to fight the "war on terror'' than the Republicans. We may hope that the Democratic nominee in the 2008 election will challenge the ideology and the interests that
have capitalized on the problem of terrorism to launch a war for civilization. It's more likely we'll see him or her criticizing the way the "war" has been executed and demanding more of a say in how it is waged.

If there is change in American diplomacy, it will come from the citizens who mobilized to oppose the occupation of Iraq and who in 2006 gave back the Congress to the Democratic Party. But to truly break up the New Right, and not just temporarily slow it down, the reactive antimilitarism that so drives the neocons crazy will have to be converted into a forward-looking agenda, as cohesive and coherent as the one that led to the catastrophic war in Iraq. In this task, Latin America, long the workshop of U.S. elites, can provide a different kind of instruction.

Across the continent, political movements have emerged from decades of unrelenting state terror underwritten by imperial patronage to creatively and effectively oppose first corporate-driven neoliberalism and then a renewed U.S. militarism. Through exemplary courage, perseverance, and organizational skill, Latin American activists have provided a beacon of hope on an otherwise bleak global landscape. They have multiple agendas and objectives, yet they share a common set of values: human dignity, local autonomy, a vision of individual freedom rooted in collective solidarity, and a notion of democracy defined not simply by proceduralism or individual rights but by economic equity. It is they who are the world's true "democracy promoters" and who are fighting the real war on terror, and offering lessons to us all.

New York
December 2006

PABG, Somewhere in the world, on August 1, 2011

Unbelievable book

Have you ever wonder why the rest of America despises or doesn't trust the USA? Yes I wrote America so the people living in the USA will finally comprehend that America is a continent not a country, people please check your map!!! Well let me tell you why, is because the USA always interfere or sticks her big nose in the business of her American neighbors, just to name a few examples/ Guatemala 1954 and Chile 1973, and also a big part of the real problem is that the USA is not governed by the President, he or she is just a pawn or an employee of the big corporations, and the person in the Oval Office will do anything in his or her power to keep the big CEO's happy.

You want proof of this? Think about these recent events, 9\11, the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, the tax payer's money given to big corporations to cover the losses caused by their satanic greed and Guantanamo. Also I'm tired of hearing that illegal immigration has ruined the USA, let me tell you that if you keep your nose to your own business and leave the rest of America alone, you won't have a big immigration problem and just to keep in mind that the USA was built by immigrant hands. Please the USA has enough problems, public education, public health, a failed economic system and social disintegration just to mention a few, for the United States' Government to start thinking about building a global empire.

FYI I'm not a leftist or a USA hater, I like the USA and its people very much but I don't have affection for the neoconservatives and the capitalist pigs that think in big profits before their fellow human beings. Enough said, peace, live long and prosper. I'M PROUD OF BEING A REAL AMERICAN!!!!!

[Oct 17, 2017] Latin-Americanization of the xUSSR space is what essentially State Department tried to accomplish. They were successful in Ukraine. by Robert Parry

While the USA pursued their geopolitical goals in supporting the coup d'état against corrupt Yanukovich government by less corrupt western-Ukrainian nationalists (and a difficult clan on oligarch, as Yanukovich was a puppet of Donetsk oligarch clan) , this is actually disaster capitalism in action... There is very little Ukrainians can do now to improve their standard of living which dropped at least two times since 2014. Civil war remains a drain on economy and selling assets to western companies does not improve the standard fo living iether. For 20K grivna (less then $740 a month) you can hire top level specialist in Ukraine (regular salary is less then $150 a month). Economy is still supported by the housing boom, but we know how such things might end.
The neocons are now as important factor in America's foreign policy today as they were during the darkest days of the Bush administration. And like on old time the Ukrainian coup has all traces of globalist bankers allied with local compradors operating under fig leaf of Western-Ukrainian nationalism (which were simply puppets in a much bigger financial and geopolitical game). It is the same aggressive push by the United States to topple governments and politicians in Latin America to advance the USA geopolitical or economic interests.
See also Empire's Workshop Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism " Latin America once again became a school where the United States studied how to execute imperial violence through proxies. After World War II, in the name of containing Communism, the United States, mostly through the actions of local allies, executed or encouraged coups in, among other places, Guatemala, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina and patronized a brutal mercenary war in Nicaragua. Latin America became a laboratory tor counter-insurgency, as military officials and covert operators applied insights learned in the region to Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. By the end of the Cold War, Latin American security forces trained, funded, equipped, and incited by Washington had executed a reign of bloody terror - hundreds of thousands killed, an equal number tortured, millions driven into exile - from which the region has yet to fully recover."
Parry provides an interesting perspective on neoconservative intellectuals who now are driving the expansion of the US-led neoliberal empire into xUSSR space. In this sense Ukrainian nationalists serve as a proxies of an American imperialism which is driven by a combination of neoliberalism, Neoconservatism and the euphoria from the victory Cold War, of which Ukraine civil war is the tragic endgame.
Parry does not addresses the controversial role of Russia, which actually helped to start the Donbass civil war as initially Putin promised that the Ukraine territories who will vote "yes" in referendums to join Russia will be accepted to Russia but soon changed his mind. And later supplied arms to the insurgents.
Notable quotes:
"... Thus, you have the current hysteria over Russia's supposed "aggression" in Ukraine when the crisis was actually provoked by the West, including by U.S. neocons who helped create today's humanitarian crisis in eastern Ukraine that they now cynically blame on Russian President Vladimir Putin. ..."
"... Many of the old intelligence operatives, including Casey and Raymond, are now dead, but other influential Washington figures who were deeply involved by these strategies remain, such as neocon stalwart Robert Kagan, whose first major job in Washington was as chief of Reagan's State Department Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America. ..."
"... During the Reagan years, Kagan worked closely on propaganda schemes with Elliott Abrams, then the Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America. After getting convicted and then pardoned in the Iran-Contra scandal, Abrams reemerged on President George W. Bush's National Security Council handling Middle East issues, including the Iraq War, and later "global democracy strategy." Abrams is now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. ..."
"... These and other neocons were among the most diligent students learning the art of "perception management" from the likes of Raymond and Casey, but those propaganda skills have spread much more widely as "public diplomacy" and "information warfare" have now become an integral part of every U.S. foreign policy initiative. ..."
"... The National Endowment for Democracy, which was formed in 1983 at the urging of CIA Director Casey and under the supervision of Walter Raymond's NSC operation, is still run by the same neocon, Carl Gershman, and has an even bigger budget, now exceeding $100 million a year. ..."
"... Gershman and his NED played important behind-the-scenes roles in instigating the Ukraine crisis by financing activists, journalists and other operatives who supported the coup against elected President Yanukovych. The NED-backed Freedom House also beat the propaganda drums. [See Consortiumnews.com's " A Shadow Foreign Policy. "] ..."
"... Two other Reagan-era veterans, Elliott Abrams and Robert Kagan, have both provided important intellectual support for continuing U.S. interventionism around the world. Earlier this year, Kagan's article for The New Republic, entitled " Superpowers Don't Get to Retire ," touched such a raw nerve with President Obama that he hosted Kagan at a White House lunch and crafted the presidential commencement speech at West Point to deflect some of Kagan's criticism of Obama's hesitancy to use military force. ..."
"... According to the Times article, the husband-and-wife team share both a common world view and professional ambitions, Nuland editing Kagan's articles and Kagan "not permitted to use any official information he overhears or picks up around the house" a suggestion that Kagan's thinking at least may be informed by foreign policy secrets passed on by his wife. ..."
Dec 28, 2014 | consortiumnews.com

Thus, you have the current hysteria over Russia's supposed "aggression" in Ukraine when the crisis was actually provoked by the West, including by U.S. neocons who helped create today's humanitarian crisis in eastern Ukraine that they now cynically blame on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Yet, many of these same U.S. foreign policy operatives outraged over Russia's limited intervention to protect ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine are demanding that President Obama launch an air war against the Syrian military as a "humanitarian" intervention there.

In other words, if the Russians act to shield ethnic Russians on their border who are being bombarded by a coup regime in Kiev that was installed with U.S. support, the Russians are the villains blamed for the thousands of civilian deaths, even though the vast majority of the casualties have been inflicted by the Kiev regime from indiscriminate bombing and from dispatching neo-Nazi militias to do the street fighting.

In Ukraine, the exigent circumstances don't matter, including the violent overthrow of the constitutionally elected president last February. It's all about white hats for the current Kiev regime and black hats for the ethnic Russians and especially for Putin.

... ... ...

For this project, Ronald Reagan's CIA Director William J. Casey sent his top propaganda specialist Walter Raymond Jr. to the National Security Council staff to manage the inter-agency task forces that would brainstorm and coordinate this "public diplomacy" strategy.

Many of the old intelligence operatives, including Casey and Raymond, are now dead, but other influential Washington figures who were deeply involved by these strategies remain, such as neocon stalwart Robert Kagan, whose first major job in Washington was as chief of Reagan's State Department Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America.

Now a fellow at the Brookings Institution and a columnist at the Washington Post, Kagan remains an expert in presenting foreign policy initiatives within the "good guy/bad guy" frames that he learned in the 1980s. He is also the husband of Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who oversaw the overthrow of Ukraine's elected President Viktor Yanukovych last February amid a very effective U.S. propaganda strategy.

During the Reagan years, Kagan worked closely on propaganda schemes with Elliott Abrams, then the Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America. After getting convicted and then pardoned in the Iran-Contra scandal, Abrams reemerged on President George W. Bush's National Security Council handling Middle East issues, including the Iraq War, and later "global democracy strategy." Abrams is now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

These and other neocons were among the most diligent students learning the art of "perception management" from the likes of Raymond and Casey, but those propaganda skills have spread much more widely as "public diplomacy" and "information warfare" have now become an integral part of every U.S. foreign policy initiative.

... ... ...

Though Reagan's creation of a domestic propaganda bureaucracy began more than three decades ago and Bush's vanquishing of the Vietnam Syndrome was more than two decades ago the legacy of those actions continue to reverberate today in how the perceptions of the American people are now routinely managed. That was true during last decade's Iraq War and this decade's conflicts in Libya, Syria and Ukraine as well as the economic sanctions against Iran and Russia.

Indeed, while the older generation that pioneered these domestic propaganda techniques has passed from the scene, many of their protégés are still around along with some of the same organizations. The National Endowment for Democracy, which was formed in 1983 at the urging of CIA Director Casey and under the supervision of Walter Raymond's NSC operation, is still run by the same neocon, Carl Gershman, and has an even bigger budget, now exceeding $100 million a year.

Gershman and his NED played important behind-the-scenes roles in instigating the Ukraine crisis by financing activists, journalists and other operatives who supported the coup against elected President Yanukovych. The NED-backed Freedom House also beat the propaganda drums. [See Consortiumnews.com's " A Shadow Foreign Policy. "]

Two other Reagan-era veterans, Elliott Abrams and Robert Kagan, have both provided important intellectual support for continuing U.S. interventionism around the world. Earlier this year, Kagan's article for The New Republic, entitled " Superpowers Don't Get to Retire ," touched such a raw nerve with President Obama that he hosted Kagan at a White House lunch and crafted the presidential commencement speech at West Point to deflect some of Kagan's criticism of Obama's hesitancy to use military force.

A New York Times article about Kagan's influence over Obama reported that Kagan's wife, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, apparently had a hand in crafting the attack on her ostensible boss, President Obama.

According to the Times article, the husband-and-wife team share both a common world view and professional ambitions, Nuland editing Kagan's articles and Kagan "not permitted to use any official information he overhears or picks up around the house" a suggestion that Kagan's thinking at least may be informed by foreign policy secrets passed on by his wife.

Though Nuland wouldn't comment specifically on Kagan's attack on President Obama, she indicated that she holds similar views. "But suffice to say," Nuland said, "that nothing goes out of the house that I don't think is worthy of his talents. Let's put it that way."

[Oct 16, 2017] President Trump Beats War Drums For Iran by Ron Paul

Notable quotes:
"... Nearly every assertion in the president's speech was embarrassingly incorrect. Iran is not allied with al-Qaeda, as the president stated. The money President Obama sent to Iran was their own money. Much of it was a down-payment made to the US for fighter planes that were never delivered when Iran changed from being friend to foe in 1979. The president also falsely claims that Iran targets the United States with terrorism. He claims that Iran has "fueled sectarian violence in Iraq," when it was Iranian militias who prevented Baghdad from being overtaken by ISIS in 2014. There are too many other false statements in the president's speech to mention. ..."
"... Unfortunately the American people are being neoconned into another war. Just as with the disastrous 2003 US attack on Iraq, the media builds up the fear and does the bidding of the warmongers without checking facts or applying the necessary skepticism to neocon claims. ..."
Oct 16, 2017 | www.unz.com

President Trump has been notoriously inconsistent in his foreign policy. He campaigned on and won the presidency with promises to repair relations with Russia, pull out of no-win wars like Afghanistan, and end the failed US policy of nation-building overseas. Once in office he pursued policies exactly the opposite of what he campaigned on. Unfortunately Iran is one of the few areas where the president has been very consistent. And consistently wrong.

In the president's speech last week he expressed his view that Iran was not "living up to the spirit" of the 2015 nuclear agreement and that he would turn to Congress to apply new sanctions to Iran and to, he hopes, take the US out of the deal entirely.

Nearly every assertion in the president's speech was embarrassingly incorrect. Iran is not allied with al-Qaeda, as the president stated. The money President Obama sent to Iran was their own money. Much of it was a down-payment made to the US for fighter planes that were never delivered when Iran changed from being friend to foe in 1979. The president also falsely claims that Iran targets the United States with terrorism. He claims that Iran has "fueled sectarian violence in Iraq," when it was Iranian militias who prevented Baghdad from being overtaken by ISIS in 2014. There are too many other false statements in the president's speech to mention.

How could he be so wrong on so many basic facts about Iran? Here's a clue: the media reports that his number one advisor on Iran is his Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley. Ambassador Haley is a "diplomat" who believes war is the best, first option rather than the last, worst option. She has no prior foreign policy experience, but her closest mentor is John Bolton – the neocon who lied us into the Iraq war. How do these people live with themselves when they look around at the death and destruction their policies have caused?

Unfortunately the American people are being neoconned into another war. Just as with the disastrous 2003 US attack on Iraq, the media builds up the fear and does the bidding of the warmongers without checking facts or applying the necessary skepticism to neocon claims.

Like most Americans, I do not endorse Iran's style of government. I prefer religion and the state to be separate and even though our liberties have been under attack by our government, I prefer our much freer system in the US. But I wonder how many Americans know that Iran has not attacked or "regime-changed" another country in its modern history. Iran's actions in Syria are at the invitation of the legitimate Syrian government. And why won't President Trump tell us the truth about Iranian troops in Syria – that they are fighting ISIS and al-Qaeda, both of which are Sunni extremist groups that are Iran's (and our) mortal enemies?

How many Americans know that Iran is one of the few countries in the region that actually holds elections that are contested by candidates with very different philosophies? Do any Americans wonder why the Saudis are considered one of our greatest allies in the Middle East even though they hold no elections and have one of the world's worst human rights records?

Let's be clear here: President Trump did not just announce that he was "de-certifying" Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal. He announced that Iran was from now on going to be in the bullseye of the US military. Will Americans allow themselves to be lied into another Middle East war?

Jim Christian , October 16, 2017 at 4:31 pm GMT

"Will Americans allow themselves to be lied into another Middle East war?"

The die was cast the minute they ended the draft and mandatory service. What the hell does anyone in this country care about the next war? Maybe some realize it's a theft, a looting, but as long as it isn't THEIR blood being spilt, nothing goes nuclear, they don't care. Few outside our little venue here even understand, they think it's still Rah! Rah! And then, I suppose if I were in Congress, I might demand votes on these deals. Civilian control of the military, funding the wars, etc. Of course, if I pushed the point, they'd put a bullet in my HEAD . Just because. And headline me, my Mistress and my wife on the front page of the Post. Because NSA just KNOWS shit. Probably set me up with my Mistress to begin with so they'd have something on me, heh. This is the dilemma the Hill has on a personal level. We don't vote on wars, we gave em a blank check after 9/11 and that's that. Keeping it all going? That's all private. None-ya.

No one can talk about it, they just do it.

[Oct 16, 2017] Instead of blaming herself for selling herself to Wall Street and converting into yet another warmonger Hillary is still acusing the Kremlin. What a pathetic loser

It is so convenient to blame Russians ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... "We know Russian agents used Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and even Pinterest to place targeted attack ads and negative stories intended not to hurt just me but to fan the flames of division in our society. Russians posed as Americans pretending to be LGBT and gun rights activists, even Muslims, saying things they knew would cause distress." ..."
"... She said some of the basics of the Russian interference in the 2016 election had been known, but "we were in the dark about the weaponisation of social media". She cited new research from Columbia University showing that attack ads on Facebook paid for in roubles were seen by 10 million people in crucial swing states and had been shared up to 340m times. ..."
"... Clinton said the matter of whether Trump's campaign cooperated with Russian interference was a subject for congressional investigation. But she called for anyone found guilty of such cooperation with Moscow to be subject to civil and criminal law. "The Russians are still playing on anything and everything they can to turn Americans against each other," she said. ..."
"... "In addition to hacking our elections, they are hacking our discourse and our unity. We are in the middle of a global struggle between liberal democracy and a rising tide of illiberalism and authoritarianism. This is a kind of new cold war and it is just getting starting." ..."
Oct 16, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Originally from: Cyber cold war is just getting started, claims Hillary Clinton

This power hungry woman are just plain vanilla incompetent: "The Russian campaign was leading to nationalism in Europe, democratic backsliding in Hungary and Poland, and a loss of faith in democracy, she said."

Democrats had urged her to be silent after her defeat to Trump but she was not going to go away, said Clinton. She vowed to play her part in an attempt to win back Democratic seats in the forthcoming midterm elections. She admitted she "just collapsed with real grief and disappointment" after her election defeat.

Clinton, who is touring the country to promote What Happened – her memoir reflecting on the election defeat, told the BBC's Andrew Marr: "Looking at the Brexit vote now, it was a precursor to some extent of what happened to us in the United States."

She decried the amount of fabricated information voters were given: "You know, the big lie is a very potent tool and we've somewhat kept it at bay in western democracies, partly because of the freedom of the press. There has to be some basic level of fact and evidence in all parts of our society."

She urged Britain to be cautious about striking a trade deal with Trump, saying he did not believe in free trade.

In other comments during the Cheltenham literary festival, she accused the Kremlin of waging an information war throughout the 2016 US election process. The tactics "were a clear and present danger to western democracy and it is right out of the Putin playbook", she said.

"We know Russian agents used Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and even Pinterest to place targeted attack ads and negative stories intended not to hurt just me but to fan the flames of division in our society. Russians posed as Americans pretending to be LGBT and gun rights activists, even Muslims, saying things they knew would cause distress."

She said some of the basics of the Russian interference in the 2016 election had been known, but "we were in the dark about the weaponisation of social media". She cited new research from Columbia University showing that attack ads on Facebook paid for in roubles were seen by 10 million people in crucial swing states and had been shared up to 340m times.

Clinton said the matter of whether Trump's campaign cooperated with Russian interference was a subject for congressional investigation. But she called for anyone found guilty of such cooperation with Moscow to be subject to civil and criminal law. "The Russians are still playing on anything and everything they can to turn Americans against each other," she said.

"In addition to hacking our elections, they are hacking our discourse and our unity. We are in the middle of a global struggle between liberal democracy and a rising tide of illiberalism and authoritarianism. This is a kind of new cold war and it is just getting starting."

The Russian campaign was leading to nationalism in Europe, democratic backsliding in Hungary and Poland, and a loss of faith in democracy, she said.

[Oct 16, 2017] Assange: It is not just her constant lying. It is not just that she throws off menacing glares and seethes thwarted entitlement. Something much darker rides along with it. A cold creepiness rarely seen

Lady Makbeth of the USA?
Oct 16, 2017 | www.theguardian.com
In an interview with the ABC's Four Corners program, to air on Monday night, Clinton alleges that Assange cooperated with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin , to disrupt the US election and damage her campaign for president.

"WikiLeaks is unfortunately now practically a fully owned subsidiary of Russian intelligence," Clinton told the ABC's Sarah Ferguson .

Describing Putin as a "dictator", Clinton said the damaging email leaks that crippled her 2016 candidacy were part of a coordinated operation against her, directed by the Russian government.

Our intelligence community and other observers of Russia and Putin have said he held a grudge against me because as secretary of state, I stood up against some of his actions, his authoritarianism," Clinton told the ABC.

"But it's much bigger than that. He wants to destabilise democracy, he wants to undermine America, he wants to go after the Atlantic alliance, and we consider Australia an extension of that."

WikiLeaks received thousands of hacked emails from accounts connected to the Democratic campaign allegedly stolen by Russian operatives. The emails were released during a four-month period in the lead-up to the US election.

Emails from the Clinton campaign chairman, John Podesta, were leaked on the same day – 7 October 2016 – the director of national intelligence and the secretary of homeland security released a statement concluding the Russian government had been attempting to interfere in the election.

It was also the day the Washington Post published the 2005 Access Hollywood recording of Donald Trump's lewd comments about sexually harassing women .

Clinton told the ABC she believed the email leak was coordinated to disrupt the influence of the Access Hollywood tape.

"WikiLeaks, which in the world in which we find ourselves promised hidden information, promised some kind of secret that might be of influence, was a very clever, diabolical response to the Hollywood Access tape," she said. "And I've no doubt in my mind that there was some communication if not coordination to drop those the first time in response to the Hollywood Access tape."

Clinton is promoting her election memoir, What Happened, in which she details her thoughts on her unsuccessful campaign for president .

In September she told David Remnick from the New Yorker that she believed the Australian founder of WikiLeaks may be "on the payroll of the Kremlin" .

"I think he is part nihilist, part anarchist, part exhibitionist, part opportunist, who is either actually on the payroll of the Kremlin or in some way supporting their propaganda objectives, because of his resentment toward the United States, toward Europe," she said.

"He's like a lot of the voices that we're hearing now, which are expressing appreciation for the macho authoritarianism of a Putin. And they claim to be acting in furtherance of transparency, except they never go after the Kremlin or people on that side of the political ledger."

Assange has denied the emails came from the Russian government or any other "state parties".

In response to Clinton's comments, Assange said on Twitter there was "something wrong with Hillary Clinton".

"It is not just her constant lying," he wrote. "It is not just that she throws off menacing glares and seethes thwarted entitlement.

"Something much darker rides along with it. A cold creepiness rarely seen."

Julian Assange 🔹 (@JulianAssange)

There's something wrong with Hillary Clinton. It is not just her constant lying. It is not just that she throws off menacing glares and seethes thwarted entitlement. Watch closely. Something much darker rides along with it. A cold creepiness rarely seen. https://t.co/JNw2dkXgdu

October 15, 2017

[Oct 15, 2017] Russiagate And The Decline Of Journalism – Ron Paul interviews Robert Parry

Oct 15, 2017 | www.antiwar.com

Nathan abu Nevada , October 12, 2017 11:00 PM

500 People shot in Las Vegas and 500 People missing in California fires at the same time all seems pretty bland compared to Stephanie Leigh Ruhle American combat journalist, and her highly captivating conspiracy theories that those Russian Thugs could possibly have had some how colluded with that Man Trump to defeat the First Woman US President in history Hillary.

This is not the death of the media, just the US media. RT is fantastic and does not make me yell violent obscenities at the TV like the CFR programming.

Watosh Nathan abu Nevada , October 14, 2017 8:45 AM

I watch RTon the internet every day and used to watch it on TV before Time warner dropped it, and I found it very reliable and objective. I recall when one of the top journalists there abby Martin severely criticized and denounced the Russian government for accepting Crimea back into Russia, yet she was not fired even though she often criticized that action.

Many programs had American journalists. And news involving Russia, while generally non-critical, usually was confined to presenting the Russian view on something, which is a legitimate thing to do if you are informing people.

I never heard anyone on RT who spread rumors or made unfounded accusations like I hear on MSNBC every day. and no one on RT denied that they were founded by the Russian government, they did not hide this from their listeners. Americans I believe are the most propagandized people on the earth because they believe the news they get is factually reported by an independent "free" press.

My fellow Americans while they brag about their independence nevertheless are easily stampeded into becoming a lynch mob.

Dennis Boylon Watosh , October 14, 2017 9:16 AM

Modern propaganda was invented in the US by Edward Bernays. It was copied by the Nazi's Joseph Goebbels who had every book Bernays ever wrote in his library.

liveload , October 13, 2017 7:07 PM

It just occurred to me that the perfect Halloween decoration this year would be a Russian flag. That is, unless someone comes out with a Zombie Putin, or Dracula Putin...

[Oct 15, 2017] The Carter Doctrine at 30 by Andrew J. Bacevich

Notable quotes:
"... each of Carter's successors has reinterpreted his eponymous doctrine, broadening its scope and using it to justify ever larger ambitions. The ultimate effect has been to militarize U.S. policy across various quarters of the Islamic world. ..."
"... The Carter Doctrine was intended to secure U.S. interests in a region of ostensibly great strategic importance. Those who have applied the Carter Doctrine have assumed that the presence of U.S. forces and the periodic application of American hard power serve to enhance regional stability. Yet the record of the past 30 years suggests just the opposite: The U. S. military presence and activities have served only to promote greater instability. Our exertions, undertaken at great cost to ourselves and others, are making things not better, but worse. ..."
Oct 15, 2017 | www.worldaffairsjournal.org

April 1, 2010 For most Americans, the 30th anniversary of the Carter Doctrine – promulgated by President Jimmy Carter during his January 1980 State of the Union Address – came and went without notice.

The oversight ranks as an unfortunate one. To an extent that few have fully appreciated, the Carter Doctrine has had a transformative impact on U.S. national security policy. Both massive and lasting, its impact has also been almost entirely pernicious. Put simply, the sequence of events that has landed the United States in the middle of an open-ended war to determine the fate of the Greater Middle East begins here.

The Carter Doctrine stands in relation to the ongoing Long War as the Truman Doctrine stood in relation to the Cold War.

In 1947, President Truman announced that it was "the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures." Truman's immediate purpose was to persuade Congress to approve his request for security assistance to Greece and Turkey. Yet under Truman's successors, his doctrine morphed into something more than he probably envisioned or intended. Under the guise of resisting Communist mischief-making, the Truman Doctrine provided a rationale for U. S. intervention, covert and overt, around the world.

Carter's immediate aim in January 1980 was also limited. When he declared that "an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States," to be "repelled by any means necessary," his primary purpose was to warn the Kremlin against entertaining any thoughts about asserting Soviet dominion over the world's energy heartland. Yet each of Carter's successors has reinterpreted his eponymous doctrine, broadening its scope and using it to justify ever larger ambitions. The ultimate effect has been to militarize U.S. policy across various quarters of the Islamic world.

Prior to January 1980, the Pentagon and the rest of the national security establishment had viewed the Middle East as a backwater. In terms of U. S. strategic priorities, that region of the world lagged well behind Europe and East Asia and probably behind Latin America, as well.

Jimmy Carter's announcement that the Persian Gulf constituted a vital U.S. national security interest changed all that. In short order, the aims implied by the Carter Doctrine expanded. Within a decade, the United States was not content to prevent outside powers from controlling the Gulf. It sought to claim for itself a dominant position in the region. Within two decades, the arena in which the United States sought that dominant role had expanded, eventually encompassing the entire Greater Middle East.

Directly or indirectly, the Carter Doctrine provided the rationale or justification for the following episodes involving the use of force by the United States:

  1. Afghanistan War I (1979-1989), the U.S.-led effort to punish the Soviet Union for occupying that country.
  2. The Beirut Bombing (1983), the name by which Americans choose to remember Ronald Reagan's intervention in Lebanon.
  3. The war against Khaddafi (1981-1988), a series of inconclusive skirmishes with the Libyan dictator, culminating in the destruction of Pan Am Flight 103.
  4. The Tanker War (1984-1988), waged by U. S. naval forces against Iran to maintain the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz.
  5. Iraq War I (1990-1991), the first U. S. armed confrontation with Saddam Hussein, commonly but erroneously thought to have ended with the liberation of Kuwait.
  6. The Somalia Intervention (1992-1993), abruptly terminated by the notorious Mogadishu firefight.
  7. Afghanistan War II (2001-2003), launched in the wake of 9/11, but left in abeyance by the Bush administration's decision to shift the weight of U.S. military efforts elsewhere.
  8. Iraq War II (2003), the resumption of large-scale hostilities against Saddam Hussein, leading to his overthrow, but inducing chaos.
  9. Iraq War III (2004-2010?), a war to pacify Iraq in the face of resistance by indigenous insurgents and Islamic radicals raised up by Iraq War II.
  10. Afghanistan War III (2009 --), the conflict that Bush's successor rediscovered, renewed, and expanded; given the deepening U.S. military involvement in Pakistan, this war might alternatively be called the AfPak War.

The Carter Doctrine was intended to secure U.S. interests in a region of ostensibly great strategic importance. Those who have applied the Carter Doctrine have assumed that the presence of U.S. forces and the periodic application of American hard power serve to enhance regional stability. Yet the record of the past 30 years suggests just the opposite: The U. S. military presence and activities have served only to promote greater instability. Our exertions, undertaken at great cost to ourselves and others, are making things not better, but worse.

[Oct 15, 2017] Fake News and the New McCarthyism by John Buell

Dec 22, 2016 | www.commondreams.org

One of the most potent worries about the coming Trump presidency is concern about free speech. Trump's willingness to tolerate or even encourage violence against nonviolent critics of his agenda and personnel choices is alarming. The Washington Post recently carried a chilling cautionary tale about the fate of a young woman who challenged Trump's record on women's issues. Parallels with banana republic dictators tacitly encouraging or at least tolerating paramilitary forces seem not far- fetched. Though it is easy for the Washington Post to call attention to and criticize Trump's incitement to violence, the Post now practices its own more subtle efforts to police speech.

Behind the façade of a concern about fake news, the Post featured an article by Craig Timberg that cited -- without challenge -- an anonymous website, PropOrNot, listing numerous other sites purported to be purveyors of fake news. As Max Blumenthal reported for AlterNet , "the anonymous website argued that all of the named sites should be investigated by the federal government and potentially prosecuted under the Espionage Act as Russian spies. They were accused for wittingly or unwittingly spreading Russian propaganda."

This story especially caught my attention because one of the fingered websites -- Naked Capitalism -- has long been one of my favorite sources. In addition to meticulous coverage of finance, the site provides in depth analysis of both mainstream economics and contemporary and historic alternatives. All those upon whom economics 101 is being inflicted should consult entries by Philip Mirowski and Philip Pilkingotn. You will never think the same about simple supply and demand. Designating this site as a purveyor of fake -- even Russian supplied-- news while providing no evidence for the claim is surely libelous. Charges of Russian interference in our election -- thus far without any specific evidence beyond agency assertions -- should be investigated but ought not to become an occasion to harass domestic critics of US policy.

In any case, as numerous contributors to some of these libeled sites point out, the Post 's action is the digital equivalent of a McCarthyite blacklist. The Washington Post, which has "apologized" only by saying that it takes no responsibility for the factual accuracy of the claims made in Timberg's piece, is owned by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, who also does contractual work for the CIA.

At the same time as this was happening, Congressional Democrats were getting involved in the blame Russia game. Norman Solomon reports:

A week ago, when the House approved by a 390-30 margin and sent to the Senate the Intelligence Authorization Act for fiscal 2017, Schiff praised "important provisions aimed at countering Russia's destabilizing efforts -- including those targeting our elections." One of those "important provisions," Section 501 , sets up in the executive branch "an interagency committee to counter active measures by the Russian Federation to exert covert influence.

While lacking public accountability, the committee is mandated to ferret out such ambiguous phenomena as Russian "media manipulation" and "disinformation." Along the way, the committee could target an array of activists, political opponents or irksome journalists. In any event, its power to fulfill "such other duties as the president may designate" would be ready-made for abuse.

What seems to be a common thread among many of the blacklisted groups is antagonism toward those critics of neoliberalism or of Obama/Clinton foreign policy who are seen as derailing the Clinton campaign. Solomon rightly makes a Cold War analogy, citing Democratic President Truman's issuing a loyalty act in order to toss a bone to the emerging Cold Warriors only to have it blow up into the full fledged fury of McCarthyism. I would, however, add another historical angle. As such International Relations scholars as David Campbell and James DerDerian have argued, the rhetoric of foreign affairs serves to discipline and support domestic identity as much as to fend off actual military threat. The Cold War was born as much of domestic anxiety as of Soviet military threat. The end of World War II saw contentious efforts by unions and liberals to establish a full employment politics coupled with a wave of strikes almost unprecedented in our history. Even key national security documents at the height of the Cold War indicated more worry about the political appeal of communism than its military might. That a cadre of Democratic centrists would strive to establish a top-secret surveillance committee targeting Russian links to dissident movements is an effort to escape blame for a failed campaign. Seen in broader perspective, however, it is also an effort to validate a badly wounded neoliberal agenda by tying left opponents of that agenda to a reviled foreign power.

Fake news is a real problem as is the violence it can incite. At the very least such violence should be identified and its perpetrators punished. Libel laws should be enforced with regard to innocents targeted by such mega giants as Bezos and his journalistic toy. The problems of fake news are not going to be resolved by establishing a private corporate cop or censor for the internet nor by establishing one more secretive watchdog. The Washington Post and the CIA are both propagators of fake news. This is one more argument for both net neutrality and a more robust anti-trust enforcement. The best answer to fake news is a more diverse media. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License John Buell lives in Southwest Harbor, Maine and writes on labor and environmental issues. His most recent book, published by Palgrave in August 2011, is "Politics, Religion, and Culture in an Anxious Age" . He may be reached at jbuell@acadia.net .

[Oct 15, 2017] New McCarthyism Targets Trump by John V. Walsh

I thought the same way as John in January 2017. We both were definitely wrong. As were many people who voted for Trump in a hope to block ascendance of neocon warmonger Hillary Clinton to power. Now it is unclear whether Hillary Clinton would be so disastrous in foreign policy as Trump or slightly less so.
The period when Trump was at least formally ant-war is firmly in the past now and probably ended with inauguration. In April Trump folded to neocons and destroyed his anti-war credentials with Tomahawk salvo in Syria. Instead of fighting "the Washington swap" as he promised to his voters, he became a part of the swamp. In August Trump himself emerged as a bona-fide warmonger stoking the tension with North Korea. And in October he decertified Iran deal.
Notable quotes:
"... The implications of this move are, arguably, breathtaking. Trump treated Putin as his ally, not as a hated adversary. And he treated Obama and the bipartisan foreign policy elite of Washington as his adversaries, not his allies -- a move that makes perfect sense if Trump's desire is to rein in the War Party's New Cold War and to strive for a New Détente with Russia. ..."
"... If the main enemy is those who are stoking the New Cold War and risking worse, then Trump has placed himself squarely against these war hawks. And stop to consider for a moment who these folks are. Besides President Obama and Hillary Clinton, they represent a full-blown armchair army: neocons, liberal interventionists, the mainstream media, various Soros-funded "non-governmental organizations," virtually all the important think tanks, the leadership of both major parties, and the CIA and the other U.S. intelligence agencies. This array of Official Washington's power elite has been working 24/7 at demonizing Putin and stoking tensions with nuclear-armed Russia. Trump took on all of them on with his tweet! ..."
"... As Trump looks for new allies in pursuit of a New Détente and a relaxation of U.S.-Russian tensions, Putin is foremost among them. Thus, in the struggle for peace, Trump has drawn new lines, and they cross national borders. Not since Ronald Reagan embraced Mikhail Gorbachev or Richard Nixon went to China have we seen a development like this. In this new battle to reduce tensions between nuclear powers, Trump has shown considerable courage, taking on a wide range of attackers. ..."
Jan 04, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

... ... ...

When President Obama expelled Russian diplomats over the hysterical and unproven accusation of Russia "hacking the election," Russian President Vladimir Putin refused to be drawn into a petty squabble, saying he would delay any response until Donald Trump assumed office. Instead Putin invited American diplomats and their families in Moscow to join the official holiday celebrations in the Kremlin.

Then came the shock that shook Official Washington: President-elect Trump, in the form of a tweet heard round the world, wrote: "Great move on delay (by V. Putin) -- I always knew he was very smart!"

And just to be sure that everyone saw it, Trump "pinned" the tweet which means it is the first thing seen by viewers of his account. This was a first use of "pinning" for Trump. And to be doubly sure, he posted it on Instagram as well. This was no spontaneous midnight outburst but a very deliberate action taken on Friday noon, Dec. 30, the day after Obama had issued his retaliation order.

The implications of this move are, arguably, breathtaking. Trump treated Putin as his ally, not as a hated adversary. And he treated Obama and the bipartisan foreign policy elite of Washington as his adversaries, not his allies -- a move that makes perfect sense if Trump's desire is to rein in the War Party's New Cold War and to strive for a New Détente with Russia.

If the main enemy is those who are stoking the New Cold War and risking worse, then Trump has placed himself squarely against these war hawks. And stop to consider for a moment who these folks are. Besides President Obama and Hillary Clinton, they represent a full-blown armchair army: neocons, liberal interventionists, the mainstream media, various Soros-funded "non-governmental organizations," virtually all the important think tanks, the leadership of both major parties, and the CIA and the other U.S. intelligence agencies. This array of Official Washington's power elite has been working 24/7 at demonizing Putin and stoking tensions with nuclear-armed Russia. Trump took on all of them on with his tweet!

Putin as Ally Against the War Party

As Trump looks for new allies in pursuit of a New Détente and a relaxation of U.S.-Russian tensions, Putin is foremost among them. Thus, in the struggle for peace, Trump has drawn new lines, and they cross national borders. Not since Ronald Reagan embraced Mikhail Gorbachev or Richard Nixon went to China have we seen a development like this. In this new battle to reduce tensions between nuclear powers, Trump has shown considerable courage, taking on a wide range of attackers.

Later that afternoon, Maya Kosoff writing for Vanity Fair put out an article entitled "Twitter Melts Down over 'Treason' After Trump Praises Putin." The first batch of such tweets came from "journalists and other foreign policy experts," the next from Evan McMullin, the former CIA officer who tried to draw off Republican votes from Trump in the general election, who tweeted: "To be clear, @realDonaldTrump is siding with America's greatest adversary even as it attacks our democracy. Never grow desensitized to this."

Finally came the predictable rash of tweets calling Trump's words "treasonous" or "seditious." In response, Team Trump refused to issue a "clarification," saying instead that Trump's words spoke for themselves.

As stunning as Trump's tweet was in many ways, it was in other ways entirely predictable. Despite the mainstream media's scorn and Hillary Clinton's mocking him as Putin's "puppet," Trump has held firm to his promise that he will seek peace with Russia and look for areas of cooperation such as fighting terrorism.

So, even when Trump's Russia comments appeared to cost him politically, he stuck with them, suggesting that he believes that this détente is important. The rule of thumb is that if a politician says something that will win votes, you do not know whether it is conviction or opportunism. But if a politician says something that should lose her or him votes, then you can bet it is heartfelt.

Trump was bashed over his resistance to the New Cold War both during the Republican primaries when many GOP leaders were extremely hawkish on Russia and during the general election when the Clinton campaign sought to paint him as some sort of Manchurian Candidate. Even his vice presidential candidate Mike Pence staked out a more hawkish position than Trump.

Trump stood by his more dovish attitude though it presented few electoral advantages and many negatives. By that test, he appears to be sincere. So, his latest opening to Putin was entirely predictable.

A Choice of Peace or War

What is troubling, however, is that some Americans who favor peace hate Trump so much that they recoil from speaking out in his defense over his "treasonous" tweet though they may privately agree with it. Some progressives are uncomfortable with the mainstream's descent into crude McCarthyism but don't want to say anything favorable about Trump.

After all, a vote for President is either thumbs up or thumbs down -- nothing in between -- though voters may like or dislike some policy prescriptions of one candidate and other positions of another candidate. And progressives could list many reasons to not vote for Trump.

But a presidential administration is multi-issued -- not all or none. One can disagree with a president on some issues and agree on others. For instance, many progressives are outraged over Trump's harsh immigration policies but agree with him on scrapping the TPP trade deal.

In other words, there is no reason why those who claim to be for peace should not back Trump on his more peaceful approach toward Putin and Russia, even if they disdain his tough talk about fighting terrorism. That is the reality of politics.

What I've discovered is that many progressives -- as well as many on the Right -- who oppose endless war and disdain empire will tell you in whispers that they do support Trump's attempt at Détente 2.0, though they doubt he will succeed. In the meantime, they are keeping their heads down and staying quiet.

But clearly Trump's success depends on how much support he gets -- as weighed against how much grief he gets. By lacking the courage to defend Trump's "treasonous tweet," those who want to rein in the warmongers may be missing a rare opportunity. If those who agree with Trump on this issue stay silent, it may be a lost opportunity as well.

John V. Walsh, an anti-war activist, can be reached at John.Endwar@gmail.com

[Oct 15, 2017] A New McCarthyism in Hollywood by Stephen Galloway

Notable quotes:
"... Seventy years ago this week -- on March 21, 1947, to be exact -- President Truman issued an executive order that caught some of his most die-hard supporters by surprise. ..."
"... The order, wrote Robert Justin Goldstein in Prologue ..."
"... their summons sent waves of fear coursing through the industry, enough to paralyze even liberal supporters such as Humphrey Bogart, and certainly more conservative ones such as Gary Cooper. ..."
"... By the end of the hearings, 10 of the witnesses had been cited for contempt of court, and soon some of the top movie executives issued what became known as the Waldorf Statement, a two-page press release vowing that "We will forthwith discharge or suspend without compensation those in our employ, and we will not re-employ any of the ten until such time as he is acquitted or has purged himself of contempt and declares under oath that he is not a Communist." ..."
"... The Hollywood Ten would serve time in prison and emerge to find themselves banished from the studios, forced to scrimp and scrape and use "fronts" just to survive. More than a decade would pass before they were able to work freely again. ..."
"... I've often wondered whether McCarthyism could ever find a foothold in Hollywood or America again. I didn't think so, until now. That possibility was always present in the minds of the blacklisted, some of whom I came to know when I arrived in Los Angeles in the 1980s, among them Martin Ritt, the director of such pictures as Hud, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold and Norma Rae. ..."
"... Marty was blacklisted for several years and later made a movie about the experience, 1976's comedy-drama The Front ..."
"... Edge of the City ..."
"... Tom, Dick and Harry ..."
"... More than careers were hurt: friendships were sundered, relationships broken, families destroyed, lives ruined. Even those who weren't victims of the blacklist lived in constant fear that they might become victims, too. ..."
"... Because fear is the most contagious of diseases. It spreads with a will of its own, infecting innocent and guilty alike, poisoning the oppressor as well as the oppressed. Those who instill fear are often afraid. And the more they inflict fear on others, the more likely they are to feel it themselves. ..."
Mar 20, 2017 | www.hollywoodreporter.com
It's been 70 years since President Truman ordered his loyalty tests. Now Hollywood has a loyalty test of its own.

Seventy years ago this week -- on March 21, 1947, to be exact -- President Truman issued an executive order that caught some of his most die-hard supporters by surprise.

The order, wrote Robert Justin Goldstein in Prologue magazine, "required that all federal civil service employees be screened for 'loyalty.' [It] specified that one criterion would be a finding of 'membership in, affiliation with or sympathetic association' with any organization determined by the attorney general to be 'totalitarian, Fascist, Communist or subversive' or advocating or approving the forceful denial of constitutional rights to other persons or seeking 'to alter the form of Government of the United States by unconstitutional means.'"

Two and a half years before Sen. Joseph McCarthy raised his ugly head and alleged massive Communist infiltration of the government, the "red scare" was underway. It would have a devastating impact on Hollywood.

Months after Truman's order, several dozen members of the film industry were summoned to appear as witnesses before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Nineteen of them, known as the "Unfriendly Nineteen" -- a term coined by the then-red-baiting Hollywood Reporter -- were left-wingers, hostile to the committee. Billy Wilder mordantly quipped that "only two of them have talent. The rest are just unfriendly." But their summons sent waves of fear coursing through the industry, enough to paralyze even liberal supporters such as Humphrey Bogart, and certainly more conservative ones such as Gary Cooper.

By the end of the hearings, 10 of the witnesses had been cited for contempt of court, and soon some of the top movie executives issued what became known as the Waldorf Statement, a two-page press release vowing that "We will forthwith discharge or suspend without compensation those in our employ, and we will not re-employ any of the ten until such time as he is acquitted or has purged himself of contempt and declares under oath that he is not a Communist."

The Hollywood Ten would serve time in prison and emerge to find themselves banished from the studios, forced to scrimp and scrape and use "fronts" just to survive. More than a decade would pass before they were able to work freely again.

***

I've often wondered whether McCarthyism could ever find a foothold in Hollywood or America again. I didn't think so, until now. That possibility was always present in the minds of the blacklisted, some of whom I came to know when I arrived in Los Angeles in the 1980s, among them Martin Ritt, the director of such pictures as Hud, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold and Norma Rae.

Marty was blacklisted for several years and later made a movie about the experience, 1976's comedy-drama The Front , starring Woody Allen and Zero Mostel. He was a man of enormous integrity, who was blackballed without explanation, though he insisted he had never been a member of the Communist Party. Overnight, his work dried up and he was forced to return to his roots in the theater -- along with the racetrack, where he made his real money. He could have named names to get himself off the hook, but he didn't, in contrast to his close friend Elia Kazan, whose betrayal stung him to the quick.

Ritt was relatively lucky; he was allowed back into the Hollywood fold sooner than most, when he got to direct the low-budget feature Edge of the City (1957), the first of the 20-plus films he would make over the following three decades. Others were less fortunate. Paul Jarrico, a writer whom I also was privileged to meet and who'd been Oscar-nominated in his mid-20s for Tom, Dick and Harry (1941), fled to Paris, his career never to bounce back to the heights it had reached before.

More than careers were hurt: friendships were sundered, relationships broken, families destroyed, lives ruined. Even those who weren't victims of the blacklist lived in constant fear that they might become victims, too.

Because fear is the most contagious of diseases. It spreads with a will of its own, infecting innocent and guilty alike, poisoning the oppressor as well as the oppressed. Those who instill fear are often afraid. And the more they inflict fear on others, the more likely they are to feel it themselves.

[Oct 15, 2017] The New McCarthyism by Michael Rivero

Notable quotes:
"... in actuality the US Government was concerned that Hollywood was no longer as blindly supportive of government policy as it had been only a few years earlier at the height of WW2. In particular, J. Edgar Hoover had long held the opinion that the entertainment industry should be the propaganda arm for the government in peace time as well as war. ..."
"... However, as WW2 had ended, the defense establishment had lobbied for the creation of a "Cold" war against the Soviet Union, a war not actually to be fought, but constantly to be prepared for at huge cost to the taxpayers. This cost was the visible manifestation of the "Military Industrial Complex" President Eisenhower referred to in his farewell address, and many in Hollywood openly wondered just why so much more money had to be thrown into the war machine during a time of peace, and more to the point, just why we were supposed to be so afraid of the communists. ..."
"... In later years, FBI informants became permanent fixtures at movie studios, and spied for the FBI. ..."
"... While Senator Joseph McCarthy grabbed headlines with his shouts of "Communist", Hoover set about his self-appointed task of purging Hollywood of any he viewed as "disloyal" to the United States, which meant anyone unwilling to make the movies they were told to make, when and how they were told to make them. ..."
"... Stars such as Larry Parks were destroyed because they refused to "name names" of other actors who were party members. Actor Philip Loeb committed suicide. Edward G. Robinson, never a communist, was put on a "grey list," and spent the rest of his life making B movies (except for his final role opposite Charlton Heston in "Soylent Green"). Sam Jaffe, formerly a well-known actor and Oscar winner in 1950 was registered on the black list because he refused to cooperate with the committee. He spent the next 6 years working as a math teacher and living at his sister's until he was able to return to films in 1957. ..."
"... Of course, what was really involved was money. War is good for business. Business had been great during WW2 and the newly created "Cold War" was just a way to keep business good. The Military Industrial Complex NEEDED Hollywood to demonize the Soviets. Otherwise, too many people were going to ask why we were being told to be so afraid of them, and few in the government had a really convincing answer for that question. So, in order to perpetuate the Cold War, those in Hollywood who might sympathize with the designated villains had to be removed; their ruined lives a small price to pay for unending access to the taxpayers' wallets. ..."
"... But the Soviet Union has gone out of business. The word "communist" doesn't carry the same psychological impact it used to, so the war hawk smear squad has come up with a new one, "Anti-Semite." Like "Communist", "Anti-Semite" is used to ruin the lives of people who have not actually done anything wrong other than to challenge the war profiteers. It is a new word for an old trick, and I am amazed that they are still playing the same old game, but I guess the FBI can always find some dumb-assed idiot to fall for it and do their dirty work of wrecking a career for them. ..."
"... Charles Lindbergh the famous aviator commented in a speech in Des Moines in 1941... ..."
"... Our theaters soon became filled with plays portraying the glory of war. Newsreels lost all semblance of objectivity. Newspapers and magazines began to lose advertising if they carried anti-war articles. A smear campaign was instituted against individuals who opposed intervention. The terms "fifth columnist," "traitor," "Nazi," "anti-Semitic" were thrown ceaselessly at any one who dared to suggest that it was not to the best interests of the United States to enter the war. Men lost their jobs if they were frankly anti-war. Many others dared no longer speak. ..."
"... If there is a difference today it is that the American people are better educated. No longer dependent on the state schools, or controlled media, the public understands the tactics used to silence those who speak out. As a result, those who speak out are more and more not only accorded the sympathetic ear that their message deserves, but the effects of the smearing are far less ruinous than in times past. ..."
"... While people like Charlie Sheen, Willie Nelson, Sean Penn, and Marion Cotillard (and to step out of entertainment, former President Jimmy Carter) will be remembered and honored for their courage, history will lump the smear artists together with Stalin's "Useful idiots", little more than no-talent opportunists for whom ratting out someone was the fastest path to advancement. ..."
Oct 15, 2017 | www.whatreallyhappened.com

Back in the year 1947, the House Select Committee began an investigation into the Motion Picture Industry. Ostensibly the goal was to ferret out communists working in the film industry. But in actuality the US Government was concerned that Hollywood was no longer as blindly supportive of government policy as it had been only a few years earlier at the height of WW2. In particular, J. Edgar Hoover had long held the opinion that the entertainment industry should be the propaganda arm for the government in peace time as well as war.

However, as WW2 had ended, the defense establishment had lobbied for the creation of a "Cold" war against the Soviet Union, a war not actually to be fought, but constantly to be prepared for at huge cost to the taxpayers. This cost was the visible manifestation of the "Military Industrial Complex" President Eisenhower referred to in his farewell address, and many in Hollywood openly wondered just why so much more money had to be thrown into the war machine during a time of peace, and more to the point, just why we were supposed to be so afraid of the communists.

Hoover's desire to remake Hollywood into a gigantic propaganda machine had started at the end of WW1 when Hoover tried to persuade Charlie Chaplin to cease making films that portrayed authority figures as oafish buffoons. Chaplin refused, laughed at Hoover. Years later, as head of the FBI, Hoover was instrumental in having Charlie Chaplin's citizenship revoked in retaliation.

Hoover's mania with Hollywood was a seldom reported but constant factor in show business. The 1959 film, "The FBI Story" starring Air Force General Jimmy Stewart was reportedly directed by Mervyn LeRoy, but in actuality J. Edgar Hoover was personally supervising the film (and briefly appears in it, shown only from the back) to make certain the "correct" image of the FBI was shown.

In later years, FBI informants became permanent fixtures at movie studios, and spied for the FBI. When Disney Studios made "That Darned Cat", a pre-production copy of the screenplay "somehow" made its way to the FBI, which promptly sent Disney a memo expressing concern at how the FBI was to be portrayed.

[That Darned Cat]Click for full sized page. [That Darned Cat]Click for full sized page.

Likewise, when Paramount Pictures produced, "Skidoo", starring Jackie Gleason, it featured a single scene in which Gleason's character is seen fleeing a building marked, "FBI" carrying a file cabinet on his back. That one single scene prompted the following four page memo.

[Skidoo page 1]Click for full sized page. [Skidoo page 2]Click for full sized page.
[Skidoo page 3]Click for full sized page. [Skidoo page 4]Click for full sized page.

Along with "nudging" the film studios to portray certain things certain ways, the FBI did not hesitate to wreck the careers of those people it felt posed a dangerous threat to the government's public image. During the height of the FBI's COINTELPRO program, the FBI destroyed the career of actress Jean Seberg

Jean Seberg was considered a threat to the US Government because of her public support for civil rights at a time when the Civil Rights movement was starting to point out the racial bias in the draft system that placed a disproportionate percentage of black kids on the front lines of Vietnam. Seberg was also a supporter of the Black Panthers in their pre-militant days when their agenda was breakfasts for the ghetto kids, local control of school curriculum, and ending the draft.

Jean Seberg, a well known actress in the 60s, became pregnant and the FBI sent out letters to the gossip columnists identifying the baby's father as a Black Panther, in order to cheapen Seberg's image. Keep in mind that the 60s was an era in which sexual relations between blacks and whites was still considered taboo by most Americans.

The scans below are of the official FBI letter from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. asking permission for the scam.

[Seberg Letter Page 1]letter requesting permission for the smearing of Jean Seberg.

[Seberg Letter Page 2]page two of request for permission to smear of Jean Seberg

The text of the letter:

"Bureau permission is requested to publicize the pregnancy of Jean Seberg, well-known movie actress by (name deleted) Black Panther (BPP) (deleted) by advising Hollywood "Gossip-Columnists" in the Los Angeles area of the situation. It is felt that the possible publication of Seberg's plight could cause her embarrassment and serve to cheapen her image with the general public.

" 'It is proposed that the following letter from a fictitious person be sent to local columnists:

"I was just thinking about you and remembered I still owe you a favor. So ---- I was in Paris last week and ran into Jean Seberg, who was heavy with baby. I thought she and Romaine [sic] had gotten together again, but she confided the child belonged to (deleted) of the Black Panthers, one (deleted). The dear girl is getting around!

" 'Anyway, I thought you might get a scoop on the others. Be good and I'll see you soon.

'Love,
" 'Sol.,

"Usual precautions would be taken by the Los Angeles Division to preclude identification of the Bureau as the source of the letter if approval is granted."

Permission to use the fake letter was granted, but with the suggestion that the smear be delayed until Jean Seberg's pregnancy was in a very obvious condition.

[Seberg Letter Page 1] letter granting permission for the smearing of Jean Seberg.

The story was then run by Los Angeles Times propagandist Joyce Haber.

[Seberg Letter Page 2]Click for full size picture of the Haber Article that launched the smear.

The story was picked up by Newsweek and the international press. The shock of the story was so severe that Jean Seberg suffered a miscarriage. The funeral for the child was held with an open casket, so that the lie stood revealed in its most tragic form. Jean Seberg, her baby dead and her career shattered by this outright lie, attempted suicide several times, finally succeeding in a French Hotel.

[Seberg Letter Page 1] memo that accompanied copy of the Haber story sent to FBI files.

(The name which was redacted from the memo during the FOIA process is thought by many to have been Raymond Hewit, a Black Panther leader. His "outright lie" was far more direct. The FBI typed up a letter on official FBI stationary identifying Hewit as an informant and planted it where other Black Panthers would find it in the hopes that Hewit would then be killed.)

Following Seberg's death, the Los Angeles Times, the key instrument of her torment, issued a statement by the FBI.

"The days when the FBI used derogatory information to combat advocates of unpopular causes have long since passed. We are out of that business forever."

The Senate committee that looked into COINTELPRO disagreed, however.

"Cointelpro activities may continue today under the rubric of 'investigation.'

Finally, no single celebrity filled the government with more fear than did ex-Beatle John Lennon. Lennon's popularity, and hence his ability to influence popular opinion, coupled with his strong anti-war stance, made him a real threat in the event the United States decided it had to go to war. For this reason, Lennon was one of the most watched celebrities, and according to Lennon's youngest son, the victim of a government assassination plot.

[Lennon 1]Click for full sized page. [Lennon 2]Click for full sized page.
[Lennon 3]Click for full sized page. [Lennon 4]Click for full sized page.
[Lennon 5]Click for full sized page. [Lennon 6]Click for full sized page.
[Lennon 7]Click for full sized page. [Lennon 8]Click for full sized page.
[Lennon 9]Click for full sized page. [Lennon 10]Click for full sized page.

Having documented the FBI's willingness to destroy anyone they feel represents a threat to the government, let us return to the days of the House Select Committee on UnAmerican Activities.

While Senator Joseph McCarthy grabbed headlines with his shouts of "Communist", Hoover set about his self-appointed task of purging Hollywood of any he viewed as "disloyal" to the United States, which meant anyone unwilling to make the movies they were told to make, when and how they were told to make them. Senator McCarthy's screed of "Communist" provided Hoover with a bludgeon he could and did use with impunity on Hollywood's creative talents. Careers were ruined. Some 400 people, mostly innocent of any actual wrongdoing, were destroyed. Some, like Jean Seberg would later do, committed suicide. Ten men (the famous Hollywood Ten), Alvah Bessie, Herbert Biberman, Lester Cole, Ring Lardner jr., John Howard Lawson, Albert Maltz, Samuel Ornitz, Adrian Scott, Dalton Trumbo, and eminent director Edward Dmytryk were jailed for contempt of Congress.

Others punished for refusing to cooperate included Larry Adler, Stella Adler, Leonard Bernstein, Marc Blitzstein, Joseph Bromberg, Charlie Chaplin, Aaron Copland, Hanns Eisler, Carl Foreman, John Garfield, Howard Da Silva, Dashiell Hammett, E. Y. Harburg, Lillian Hellman, Burl Ives, Arthur Miller, Dorothy Parker, Philip Loeb, Joseph Losey, Anne Revere, Pete Seeger, Gale Sondergaard, Louis Untermeyer, Josh White, Clifford Odets, Michael Wilson, Paul Jarrico, Jeff Corey, John Randolph, Canada Lee, Orson Welles, Paul Green, Sidney Kingsley, Paul Robeson, Richard Wright and Abraham Polonsky. Lee Grant was registered on the black list because she refused to give evidence against her husband Arnold Manoff.

Stars such as Larry Parks were destroyed because they refused to "name names" of other actors who were party members. Actor Philip Loeb committed suicide. Edward G. Robinson, never a communist, was put on a "grey list," and spent the rest of his life making B movies (except for his final role opposite Charlton Heston in "Soylent Green"). Sam Jaffe, formerly a well-known actor and Oscar winner in 1950 was registered on the black list because he refused to cooperate with the committee. He spent the next 6 years working as a math teacher and living at his sister's until he was able to return to films in 1957.

Of course, what was really involved was money. War is good for business. Business had been great during WW2 and the newly created "Cold War" was just a way to keep business good. The Military Industrial Complex NEEDED Hollywood to demonize the Soviets. Otherwise, too many people were going to ask why we were being told to be so afraid of them, and few in the government had a really convincing answer for that question. So, in order to perpetuate the Cold War, those in Hollywood who might sympathize with the designated villains had to be removed; their ruined lives a small price to pay for unending access to the taxpayers' wallets.

But that was then and this is now.

Once again vast sums of money are being spent on a war, this time a hot one and getting hotter. Once again parties with a vested interest are out to smear and destroy anyone who dares ask if the wars are worth the sacrifice of our young people (not to mention the money), indeed if there really is any point at all to the wars aside from justifying the flow of money to defense contractors.

But the Soviet Union has gone out of business. The word "communist" doesn't carry the same psychological impact it used to, so the war hawk smear squad has come up with a new one, "Anti-Semite." Like "Communist", "Anti-Semite" is used to ruin the lives of people who have not actually done anything wrong other than to challenge the war profiteers. It is a new word for an old trick, and I am amazed that they are still playing the same old game, but I guess the FBI can always find some dumb-assed idiot to fall for it and do their dirty work of wrecking a career for them.

Of course, it really isn't that new a word. Oddly enough, Charles Lindbergh the famous aviator commented in a speech in Des Moines in 1941...

Our theaters soon became filled with plays portraying the glory of war. Newsreels lost all semblance of objectivity. Newspapers and magazines began to lose advertising if they carried anti-war articles. A smear campaign was instituted against individuals who opposed intervention. The terms "fifth columnist," "traitor," "Nazi," "anti-Semitic" were thrown ceaselessly at any one who dared to suggest that it was not to the best interests of the United States to enter the war. Men lost their jobs if they were frankly anti-war. Many others dared no longer speak.

Today we are seeing once again the heavy hand of the war profiteers trying to reshape the film industry into a tool to propagandize the public into a high war-fever such that they will gladly trade their own blood for gold to line the pockets of the defense establishment. And those individuals who have the courage to speak out are attacked, and once again they are smeared to silence them. In the 1940s it was "Communist", today it is "Anti-Semite", but aside from the particular label used, the methods, goals, and morality are little changed from the days of Joseph McCarthy.

If there is a difference today it is that the American people are better educated. No longer dependent on the state schools, or controlled media, the public understands the tactics used to silence those who speak out. As a result, those who speak out are more and more not only accorded the sympathetic ear that their message deserves, but the effects of the smearing are far less ruinous than in times past.

Thus, when we see people like Willie Nelson, Sean Penn, and Marion Cotillard speak out and survive, or when people like Tom Shadyac (or myself) voluntarily walk away from Hollywood because speaking the truth matters more to them, it sends a message that it is now permissible, indeed imperative to speak out. This is not to say that there are not risks. Rosie O'Donnell lost her spot on "The View", but the majority of Americans understand exactly why, and understand that Rosie sacrificed a great deal trying to get the truth out. Rosie is and will be remembered as a hero for truth long after her co-hosts on "The View" are properly forgotten.

In contrast, of course, we look back at those who aided the "Commie" witch-hunts of the 1940s with deserved contempt. No doubt many aided Hoover purely to rid themselves of competition, and then tried to lull themselves to sleep with the idea that in some way they had actually done something good for the nation by wrecking their neighbors' careers. I have no doubt strong liquor played a role in this grossest of self-deception. But if the informants and smear artists of the 1940s are remembered in a poor light, that should serve as a reminder to the informants and smear artists of today. It does not matter what you do with the rest of your life, aiding the new version of McCarthyism is how history will remember you. While people like Charlie Sheen, Willie Nelson, Sean Penn, and Marion Cotillard (and to step out of entertainment, former President Jimmy Carter) will be remembered and honored for their courage, history will lump the smear artists together with Stalin's "Useful idiots", little more than no-talent opportunists for whom ratting out someone was the fastest path to advancement.

They say that history repeats itself, and indeed that is the major thing wrong with history. We are seeing history repeat itself again. We have been down this path before, in the 1940s. Whether the word is "Communist" or "Anti-Semite", Hollywood is making the same mistake all over again. And Hollywood will have to live with that image in the coming decades.

[Oct 14, 2017] The Deep State's Bogus 'Iranian Threat' by David Stockman

Notable quotes:
"... The real answer, however, is both simple and consequential. To wit, the entire prosperity and modus operandi of the Imperial City is based on a panoply of "threats" that are vastly exaggerated or even purely invented; they retain their currency by virtue of endless repetition in the groupthink that passes for analysis. We'd actually put it in the category of cocktail party chatter. ..."
"... The truth is, the US defense budget is hideously oversized for a reason so obvious that it constitutes the ultimate elephant in the room. No matter how you slice it, there just are no real big industrialized, high tech countries in the world which can threaten the American homeland or even have the slightest intention of doing so. ..."
"... That gets us to the bogus Iranian threat. It originated in the early 1990s when the neocon's in the George HW Bush Administration realized that with the cold war's end, the Warfare State was in grave danger of massive demobilization like the US had done after every war until 1945. ..."
"... So among many other invented two-bit threats, the Iranian regime was demonized in order to keep the Imperial City in thrall to its purported national security threat and in support of the vast global armada of military forces, bases and occupations needed to contain it (including the Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf and US bases throughout the region). ..."
"... Likewise, what the Imperial City claims to be state sponsored terror is actually nothing more than Iran's foreign policy – something that every sovereign state on the planet is permitted to have. ..."
"... Thus, as the leader of the minority Shiite schism of the Islamic world, Iran has made political and confessional alliances with various Shiite regimes in the region. These include the one that Washington actually installed in Baghdad; the Alawite/Shiite regime in Syria; the largest political party and representative of 40 percent of the population in Lebanon (Hezbollah); and the Houthi/Shiite of Yemen, who historically occupied the northern parts of the country and are now under savage attack by American weapons supplied to Saudi Arabia. ..."
"... In the case of both Syria and Iraq, their respective governments invited Iranian help, which is also their prerogative as sovereign nations. Ironically, it was the Shiite Crescent alliance of Iran/Assad/Hezbollah that bears much of the credit for defeating ISIS on the ground in Mosul, Aleppo, Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor and elsewhere in the now largely defunct Islamic State. ..."
Oct 14, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

... ... ...

He was right. Russia today is a shadow of what Ronald Reagan called the Evil Empire. Its GDP of $1.3 trillion is smaller than that of the New York metro area ($1.6 trillion) and only 7 percent of total US GDP.

Moreover, unlike the militarized Soviet economy which devoted upwards of 40 percent of output to defense, the current Russian defense budget of $60 billion is just 4.5 percent of its vastly shrunken GDP.

So how in the world did the national security apparatus convince the Donald that we need the $700 billion defense program for FY 2018 – 12X bigger than Russia's – that he just signed into law?

What we mean, of course, is how do you explain that – beyond the fact that the Donald knows virtually nothing about national security policy and history; and, to boot, is surrounded by generals who have spent a lifetime scouring the earth for enemies and threats to repel and reasons for more weapons and bigger forces.

The real answer, however, is both simple and consequential. To wit, the entire prosperity and modus operandi of the Imperial City is based on a panoply of "threats" that are vastly exaggerated or even purely invented; they retain their currency by virtue of endless repetition in the groupthink that passes for analysis. We'd actually put it in the category of cocktail party chatter.

... ... ...

The truth is, the US defense budget is hideously oversized for a reason so obvious that it constitutes the ultimate elephant in the room. No matter how you slice it, there just are no real big industrialized, high tech countries in the world which can threaten the American homeland or even have the slightest intention of doing so.

Indeed, to continue with our historical benchmarks, the American homeland has not been so immune to foreign military threat since WW II. Yet during all those years of true peril, it never spent close too the Donald's $700 billion boondoggle.

For instance, during the height of LBJs Vietnam folly (1968) defense spending in today's dollars was about $400 billion. And even at the top of Reagan's utterly unnecessary military building up (by the 1980s the Soviet Union was collapsing under the weight of its own socialist dystopia), total US defense spending was just $550 billion.

That gets us to the bogus Iranian threat. It originated in the early 1990s when the neocon's in the George HW Bush Administration realized that with the cold war's end, the Warfare State was in grave danger of massive demobilization like the US had done after every war until 1945.

So among many other invented two-bit threats, the Iranian regime was demonized in order to keep the Imperial City in thrall to its purported national security threat and in support of the vast global armada of military forces, bases and occupations needed to contain it (including the Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf and US bases throughout the region).

The truth, however, is that according to the 2008 NIE ( National Intelligence Estimates) of the nation's 17 intelligence agency, the Iranian's never had a serious nuclear weapons program, and the small research effort that they did have was disbanded by orders of the Ayatollah Khamenei in 2003.

Likewise, what the Imperial City claims to be state sponsored terror is actually nothing more than Iran's foreign policy – something that every sovereign state on the planet is permitted to have.

Thus, as the leader of the minority Shiite schism of the Islamic world, Iran has made political and confessional alliances with various Shiite regimes in the region. These include the one that Washington actually installed in Baghdad; the Alawite/Shiite regime in Syria; the largest political party and representative of 40 percent of the population in Lebanon (Hezbollah); and the Houthi/Shiite of Yemen, who historically occupied the northern parts of the country and are now under savage attack by American weapons supplied to Saudi Arabia.

In the case of both Syria and Iraq, their respective governments invited Iranian help, which is also their prerogative as sovereign nations. Ironically, it was the Shiite Crescent alliance of Iran/Assad/Hezbollah that bears much of the credit for defeating ISIS on the ground in Mosul, Aleppo, Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor and elsewhere in the now largely defunct Islamic State.

In tomorrow's installment we will address the details of the Iran nuke agreement and why the Donald is making a horrible mistake in proposing to decertify it. But there should be no doubt about the consequence: It will reinforce the neocon dominance of the Republican party and insure that the nation's $1 trillion Warfare State remains fully entrenched.

Needless to say, that will also insure that the America's gathering fiscal crisis will turn into an outright Fiscal Calamity in the years just ahead.

David Stockman has agreed to send every Antiwar.com reader a free copy of his newest book, Trumped! when you take his special Contra Corner offer. Click here now for the details.

David Stockman was a two-term Congressman from Michigan. He was also the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a 20-year career on Wall Street. He's the author of three books, The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed , The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America and TRUMPED! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin And How to Bring It Back . He also is founder of David Stockman's Contra Corner and David Stockman's Bubble Finance Trader .

Read more by David Stockman

[Oct 14, 2017] The people who came up with the Russian hacking story were not stupid. The logical weakness of the claim was never relevant. Unlike Dubya in Iraq, they got what they wanted. Mission accomplished by Mike Whitney

Anybody who subscript of NYT, or WaPo after this fiasco is simply paying money for state propaganda.
Notable quotes:
"... Committee Chairman Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) admitted as much in a press conference last Wednesday when he said: "We feel very confident that the ICA's accuracy is going to be supported by our committee. " ..."
"... Burr's statement is an example of "confirmation bias" which is the tendency to interpret information in a way that confirms one's own preexisting beliefs. In this case, Burr and his co-chair, Senator Mark Warner have already accepted the findings of a hastily slapped-together Intelligence report that was the work of "hand-picked" analysts who were likely chosen to produce conclusions that jibed with a particular political agenda. ..."
"... This is the basic claim of Russia meddling that has yet to be proved. As you can see, the charge is mixed with liberal doses of mind-reading mumbo-jumbo that reveal the authors' lack of objectivity. There's a considerable amount of speculation about Putin's motives and preferences which are based on pure conjecture. It's a bit shocking that professional analysts -- who are charged with providing our leaders with rock-solid intelligence related to matters of national security -- would indulge in this type of opinionated blather and psycho-babble. ..."
"... The ICA reads more like the text from a morning talk show than an Intelligence report. And what is it about this report that Burr finds so persuasive? It's beyond me. The report's greatest strength seems to be that no one has ever read it. If they had, they'd realize that it's nonsense. ..."
"... How can the committee conduct "100 interviews, comprising 250 hours of testimony and resulting in 4,000 pages of transcripts" without producing a shred of evidence that Russia meddled in the elections? How is that possible? The Committee's job is to prove its case not to merely pour over the minutia related to the investigation. No one really cares how many people testified or how much paperwork was involved. What people want is proof that Russia interfered with the elections or that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. That's the whole point of this exercise. And, on the collusion matter, at least we have something new to report. In a rare moment of candor, Burr blurted out this gem: "There are concerns that we continue to pursue. Collusion? The committee continues to look into all evidence to see if there was any hint of collusion. Now, I'm not going to even discuss any initial findings because we haven't any." ..."
"... Let's cut to the chase: The committee is not getting to the bottom of the Russia hacking matter, because they don't want to get to the bottom of it. It's that simple. ..."
"... Brennan not only helped select the hand-picked analysts who authored the ICA, he also clearly has an animus towards Russia due to his frustrated attempt to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al Assad which was thwarted by Putin. In other words, Brennan has a motive to mislead the Committee. He's biased. He has an ax to grind. In contrast, Assange has firsthand knowledge of what actually transpired with the DNC emails because he was the recipient of those emails. Has Assange been contacted by the Committee or asked to testify via Skype? ..."
"... It should be obvious by now that the real intention of the briefing was not to provide the public with more information, facts or evidence of Russian hacking, but to use the prestigious setting as a platform for disseminating more disinformation aimed at vilifying an emerging rival (Russia) that has blocked Washington's aggression in Ukraine and Syria, and threatens to unite the most populous and prosperous region in the world (Eurasia) into one massive free trade zone spanning from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Reasonable people must now consider the possibility that the Russia hacking narrative is an Information Operation (IO) devoid of any real substance which is designed to poison the publics perception of Russia. It is a domestic propaganda campaign that fits perfectly with the "Full Spectrum Dominance" theory of weaponizing media in a way that best achieves one's geopolitical objectives. The American people are again being manipulated so that powerful elites can lead the country to war. ..."
"... If the Senate can 'assess,' so can I! I assess that Hollywood hottie Jenifer Lawrence is secretly in love with me! Although I can't prove this, all of my assessments point to this as being fact. ..."
"... This report is as bogus as the "9/11 Commission Report". Both commissions members were hand-picked by those guys that have a vested interest in the right outcome. ..."
"... In the end, Robert Mueller, an Obama/Clinton/Comey/Brennan stooge, will produce some "evidence" about so-called Russian meddling as far-fetched this may be. And the fawning media will go for it. The American public will get the report, which it deserves. ..."
"... But what is missing is that this "Russian Hacking" story was not nonsense, it worked. After Trump was elected, the establishment panicked and went into full attack mode. The headlines were screaming, thought went out the window, it looked like Trump was going to be hounded out of office by force majeure. Then Trump buckled, and shot those missiles at the Syrian air base, and we are back on track throwing away trillions of dollars on endless pointless winless foreign wars in places of zero strategic interest to us. ..."
"... Having served its purpose, the Russian 'hacking' stories are tapering off, being continued more out of momentum and habit than true focused intent. Oh sure, the corporate press still publicly despises Trump, but the intensity is gone. They are just going through the motions, it is no longer important, just political theater. ..."
"... The people who came up with the Russian hacking story were not stupid. The logical weakness of the claim was never relevant. Unlike Dubya in Iraq, they got what they wanted. Mission accomplished. ..."
"... The inaptly named Intelligence Community just never busts out. However much it has gotten flat out wrong and however much it has flat out missed over the years, however much its blunders and mistakes have cost us and our victims in treasure and blood, it just never busts out. There is always an excuse. The closest the Borg ever came to any gesture towards accountability was the Church committee post Watergate, ancient history, lessons purposefully buried and lost to the legions of bureaucrats blundering their way through the last 40 years. ..."
"... Good article on something everyone who is well researched and truth seeking already knows; the Russian Collusion story is a hatchet job by incompetent political hacks. The only power they USED to have is an obsessive never give up faith in the power of lying. ..."
"... So what ? Truth is no longer an issue in USA politics: Christopher Lasch, 'The Culture of Narcissism, American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations', 1979, 1980, London ..."
"... Even today there was another AP hit piece about those 201 Russian Twitter handles, and zero perspective about the kind of math that renders 201 out of 24 billion a speck of dust. You really have to depend on a dumbed down population to get them to buy this stuff. ..."
"... If all we hear are endless allusions to what are just opinions, meetings, plans, criticism, etc what is being investigated? This is literally suggesting that some in Washington and US media are not mature enough, smart enough, or sane enough to be taken seriously. How are they planning to recover the basic level of rationality after this fiasco? ..."
Oct 14, 2017 | www.unz.com

Originally from: The Senate Intelligence Committee Finds No Evidence of Russian Hacking or Collusion

The Senate Intelligence Committee has made it clear that it is not conducting an open and independent investigation of alleged Russian hacking, but making a determined effort to support a theory that was presented in the January 6, 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment. Committee Chairman Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) admitted as much in a press conference last Wednesday when he said: "We feel very confident that the ICA's accuracy is going to be supported by our committee. "

Burr's statement is an example of "confirmation bias" which is the tendency to interpret information in a way that confirms one's own preexisting beliefs. In this case, Burr and his co-chair, Senator Mark Warner have already accepted the findings of a hastily slapped-together Intelligence report that was the work of "hand-picked" analysts who were likely chosen to produce conclusions that jibed with a particular political agenda. In other words, the intelligence was fixed to fit the policy. Burr of course has tried to conceal his prejudice by pointing to the number of witnesses the Committee has interviewed and the volume of work that's been produced. This is from an article at The Nation:

Since January 23, the committee and its staff have conducted more than 100 interviews, comprising 250 hours of testimony and resulting in 4,000 pages of transcripts, and reviewed more than 100,000 documents relevant to Russiagate. The staff, said Warner, has collectively spent a total of 57 hours per day, seven days a week, since the committee opened its inquiry, going through documents and transcripts, interviewing witnesses, and analyzing both classified and unclassified material.

It all sounds very impressive, but if the goal is merely to lend credibility to unverified assumptions, then what's the point? Let's take a look at a few excerpts from the report and see whether Burr and Warner are justified in "feeling confident" in the ICA's accuracy. From the Intelligence Community Assessment:

We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.

This is the basic claim of Russia meddling that has yet to be proved. As you can see, the charge is mixed with liberal doses of mind-reading mumbo-jumbo that reveal the authors' lack of objectivity. There's a considerable amount of speculation about Putin's motives and preferences which are based on pure conjecture. It's a bit shocking that professional analysts -- who are charged with providing our leaders with rock-solid intelligence related to matters of national security -- would indulge in this type of opinionated blather and psycho-babble. It's also shocking that Burr and Warner think this gibberish should be taken seriously.

Here's more from the ICA:

Putin most likely wanted to discredit Secretary Clinton because he has publicly blamed her since 2011 for inciting mass protests against his regime in late 2011 and early 2012, and because he holds a grudge for comments he almost certainly saw as disparaging him.

More mind-reading, more groundless speculation, more guessing what Putin thinks or doesn't think. The ICA reads more like the text from a morning talk show than an Intelligence report. And what is it about this report that Burr finds so persuasive? It's beyond me. The report's greatest strength seems to be that no one has ever read it. If they had, they'd realize that it's nonsense. Also, it would have been better if the ICA's authors had avoided the amateur psychoanalysis and stuck to the point, Russia hacking. Dabbling in the former seriously impacts the report's credibility.

To their credit, however, Burr and Warner have questioned all of the analysts who contributed to the report. Check out this excerpt from The Nation:

"We have interviewed everybody who had a hand or a voice in the creation of the ICA," said Burr. "We've spent nine times the amount of time that the IC [intelligence community] spent putting the ICA together. We have reviewed all the supporting evidence that went into it and, in addition to that, the things that went on the cutting-room floor that they may not have found appropriate for the ICA, but we may have found relevant to our investigation." Burr added that the committee's review included "highly classified intelligence reporting," and they've interviewed every official in the Obama administration who had anything to do with putting it together. ("Democrats and Republicans in Congress Agree: Russia Did It", The Nation)

That's great, but where' the beef? How can the committee conduct "100 interviews, comprising 250 hours of testimony and resulting in 4,000 pages of transcripts" without producing a shred of evidence that Russia meddled in the elections? How is that possible? The Committee's job is to prove its case not to merely pour over the minutia related to the investigation. No one really cares how many people testified or how much paperwork was involved. What people want is proof that Russia interfered with the elections or that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. That's the whole point of this exercise. And, on the collusion matter, at least we have something new to report. In a rare moment of candor, Burr blurted out this gem: "There are concerns that we continue to pursue. Collusion? The committee continues to look into all evidence to see if there was any hint of collusion. Now, I'm not going to even discuss any initial findings because we haven't any."

Think about that. After "100 interviews, 250 hours of testimony, and 4000 transcript pages" there's not the slightest hint of collusion. It's mindboggling. Why isn't this front page news? Why haven't the New York Times or Washington Post run this in their headlines, after all, they've hyped every other part of this story?

Could it be that Burr's admission doesn't mesh with the media's "Russia did it" narrative so they decided to scrub the story altogether?

But it's not just collusion we're talking about here, there's also the broader issue of Russia meddling. And what was striking about the press conference is that –after all the interviews, all the testimony, and all the stacks of transcripts– the Committee has come up with nothing; no eyewitness testimony supporting the original claims, no smoking gun, no proof of domestic espionage, no evidence of Russian complicity, nothing. One big goose egg.

So here's a question for critical minded readers:

If the Senate Intelligence Committee has not found any proof that Russia hacked the 2016 elections, then why do senators' Burr and Warner still believe the ICA is reliable? It doesn't really make sense, does it? Don't they require evidence to draw their conclusions? And doesn't the burden of truth fall on the prosecution (or the investigators in this case)? Isn't a man innocent until proven guilty or doesn't that rule apply to Russia?

Let's cut to the chase: The committee is not getting to the bottom of the Russia hacking matter, because they don't want to get to the bottom of it. It's that simple. That's why they have excluded any witnesses that may upset their preconceived theory of what happened. Why, for example, would the committee chose to interview former CIA Director John Brennan rather than WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange? Brennan not only helped select the hand-picked analysts who authored the ICA, he also clearly has an animus towards Russia due to his frustrated attempt to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al Assad which was thwarted by Putin. In other words, Brennan has a motive to mislead the Committee. He's biased. He has an ax to grind. In contrast, Assange has firsthand knowledge of what actually transpired with the DNC emails because he was the recipient of those emails. Has Assange been contacted by the Committee or asked to testify via Skype?

Don't bet on it.

What about former UK ambassador Craig Murray, a WikiLeaks colleague, who has repeatedly admitted that he knows the source of the DNC emails. Murray hasn't been asked to testify nor has he even been contacted by the FBI on the matter. Apparently, the FBI has no interest in a credible witness who can disprove the politically-motivated theory expounded in the ICA.

Then there's 30-year CIA analyst Ray McGovern and his group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). McGovern has done extensive research on the topic and has produced solid evidence that the DNC emails were "leaked" by an insider, not "hacked" by a foreign government. McGovern's work squares with Assange and Murray's claim that Russia did not hack the 2016 elections. Has McGovern been invited to testify?

How about Skip Folden, retired IBM Program Manager and Information Technology expert, whose excellent report titled "Non-Existent Foundation for Russian Hacking Charge" also disproves the hacking theory, as does The Nation's Patrick Lawrence whose riveting article at The Nation titled "A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year's DNC Hack" which thoroughly obliterates the central claims of the ICA.

Finally, there's California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher who met with Assange in August at the Ecuadorian embassy in London and who was assured that Assange would provide hard evidence (in the form of "a computer drive or other data-storage device") that the Russians were not involved in the DNC email scandal.

Wouldn't you think that senate investigators would want to talk to a trusted colleague and credible witness like Rohrabacher who said he could produce solid proof that the scandal, that has dominated the headlines and roiled Washington for the better part of a year, was bogus?

Apparently not. Apparently Burr and his colleagues would rather avoid any witness or evidence that conflicts with their increasingly-threadbare thesis.

So what conclusions can we draw from the Committee's behavior? Are Burr and Warner really conducting an open and independent investigation of alleged Russia hacking or is this just a witch hunt?

It should be obvious by now that the real intention of the briefing was not to provide the public with more information, facts or evidence of Russian hacking, but to use the prestigious setting as a platform for disseminating more disinformation aimed at vilifying an emerging rival (Russia) that has blocked Washington's aggression in Ukraine and Syria, and threatens to unite the most populous and prosperous region in the world (Eurasia) into one massive free trade zone spanning from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Reasonable people must now consider the possibility that the Russia hacking narrative is an Information Operation (IO) devoid of any real substance which is designed to poison the publics perception of Russia. It is a domestic propaganda campaign that fits perfectly with the "Full Spectrum Dominance" theory of weaponizing media in a way that best achieves one's geopolitical objectives. The American people are again being manipulated so that powerful elites can lead the country to war.

Beckow > , October 13, 2017 at 11:00 pm GMT

Where is this going? At some point in the next few years there will be a 'damning' report that will regurgitate what has already been endlessly publicised: VIP's meet each other (the horror!), somehow DNC emails got published, Facebook sold ads to 'Russia-linked' users, and Pokemon Go, whatever. That will be described in sinister terms and RT will be thrown in. How dare RT not to have the same views as CNN?

But what then? Let's even say that Trump is removed – he is at this point so emasculated that keeping him in the White House is the most stabilising thing the establishment could do. Is Congress going to declare a war on Russia? Or more sanctions? Are they going to ban RT? Break diplomatic relations? None of that makes sense because any of those moves would be more costly than beneficial, some dramatically so. Therefore nothing will happen.

All that will remain is permanent bitterness towards Russia, and vice-versa. And much reduced ability to do what the West has done for 75 years: heavy interference and media campaigns inside foreign countries to influence elections. If 'meddling' is so bad, the biggest meddlers – by far – will be less able to meddle. So how is this hysteria helping?

Sanity in public life is a precious thing. Once abandoned, all kinds of strange things start happening. Yeah, Pokemon GO – Putin was personally naming the characters to 'sow division'. It sounds like something Stalin would accuse his 'cosmopolitan' enemies of doing. This is really embarrassing.

utu > , October 14, 2017 at 4:35 am GMT

Incorrect parsing of reality. It was not about getting Trump but it was about making Trump administration to severe relations with Russia. It began with having Gen. Flynn fired. This mission was accomplished. We have now worse relations with Russia than at the end of Obama administration.

Greg Bacon > , Website October 14, 2017 at 9:59 am GMT

If the Senate can 'assess,' so can I! I assess that Hollywood hottie Jenifer Lawrence is secretly in love with me! Although I can't prove this, all of my assessments point to this as being fact.

jacques sheete > , October 14, 2017 at 11:45 am GMT

@Johnny Rico

I have been convinced of the ridiculousness of the Russian-hacking/collusion narrative/scandal since it was created in 2016.

I, too, smelled a rat and figured that it was all BS right from the get go. So much so that I haven't followed it a bit. In fact it's so ridiculous on its face, that I have not and probably will not, waste time reading the article even though MW is a good guy, an unimpeachable source, a true journalist, and a fine writer.

Bless you, Mr Whitney, for having the energy to document what is no doubt a pack of lies from the usual suspects.

I stumbled on this yesterday, and it suggests, to no one's surprise, that it's always deja vu all over again. You'd think our "high IQ" masters would show a little originality once in a while, and that we, "Low IQ" as we are, would finally learn that it's all BS from the get-go.

Note the date.:

THESE books all belong to that literature of Katzenjammer which now flourishes so amazingly in the United States t hey all embody attempts to find out what is the matter with the Republic. I wish I could add that one or another of them solves the problem, or at least contributes something to its illumination , but that would be going somewhat beyond the facts.

-H.L. Mencken, Autopsy (4 Reviews), , September 1927 , pp. 123-125 – PDF

http://www.unz.org/Pub/AmMercury-1927sep-00123

jacques sheete > , October 14, 2017 at 12:21 pm GMT

@Thorfinnsson

This makes me suspect that Mike Whitney is a censorious coward on the model of Razib Khan (thankfully expelled from unz.com) or even worse Paul Craig Roberts (who prohibits comments entirely).

While I agree with you about the latter two, and have written them off accordingly, along with Mercer, who I suspect "edits" (really, "purges" ) her comments too, I highly doubt that MW falls into the same categories as those mentioned. At least MW doesn't use the word, "insouciant" 3 or 4 times in every article!

If I am wrong and this article is simply strangely unpopular please let me know and I will apologize.

The article isn't so much unpopular as the subject is wearying. It's the same crud all over again,obviously false, and I suspect virtually everyone knows it. It's utterly boring and I give MW a lot of credit for having the persistence to even face the mindless mess, let alone think and write about it. He really is to be admired for that.

I've always thought it was a distraction as usual from other much more more important things but utu has a better take on it.

it was about making Trump administration to severe relations with Russia. It began with having Gen. Flynn fired. This mission was accomplished. We have now worse relations with Russia than at the end of Obama administration. [ed note:And Flynn is gone too.]

I think that's a "Bingo!" and I also think you better formulate an apology and plan on getting on yer knees to deliver it!

PS: I'm curious as to why you think this is of much interest at all. (Aside from utu's take.)

Michael Kenny > , October 14, 2017 at 1:24 pm GMT

We don't know who this author really is but, once again, what's interesting is that so many people are still so scared of an investigation which is supposedly producing "no evidence" (leaving aside Trump Junior's evidence, of course). If all this was a load of nonsense, why make such a fuss about it? If there's nothing to this, an "effort to support a theory", however "determined" will come up with nothing. The frantic attempts to kill off Russiagate suggest that those who are making such attempts know, or believe, that there actually is something to it which has not yet come to light. Probably something pretty dirty by the sound of it. What if some part of the US intelligence services took part in the manipulation of the election, either in collusion with the Russians or posing as Russians, and Putin can prove it? That would certainly explain the plethora of retired intelligence agents who are so assiduously defending a foreign government. If Putin really is innocent, the common sense way to prove it is to let Russiagate take its natural course.

Captain Nemo > , October 14, 2017 at 1:30 pm GMT

Reasonable people must now consider the possibility that the Russia hacking narrative is an Information Operation (IO) devoid of any real substance which is designed to poison the publics perception of Russia.

Really? Only "now"?! I thought it was pretty much clear from the beginning.

Ludwig Watzal > , Website October 14, 2017 at 1:59 pm GMT

This report is as bogus as the "9/11 Commission Report". Both commissions members were hand-picked by those guys that have a vested interest in the right outcome.

In the end, Robert Mueller, an Obama/Clinton/Comey/Brennan stooge, will produce some "evidence" about so-called Russian meddling as far-fetched this may be. And the fawning media will go for it. The American public will get the report, which it deserves.

TG > , October 14, 2017 at 2:33 pm GMT

Indeed, well said. But what is missing is that this "Russian Hacking" story was not nonsense, it worked. After Trump was elected, the establishment panicked and went into full attack mode. The headlines were screaming, thought went out the window, it looked like Trump was going to be hounded out of office by force majeure. Then Trump buckled, and shot those missiles at the Syrian air base, and we are back on track throwing away trillions of dollars on endless pointless winless foreign wars in places of zero strategic interest to us.

Having served its purpose, the Russian 'hacking' stories are tapering off, being continued more out of momentum and habit than true focused intent. Oh sure, the corporate press still publicly despises Trump, but the intensity is gone. They are just going through the motions, it is no longer important, just political theater.

The people who came up with the Russian hacking story were not stupid. The logical weakness of the claim was never relevant. Unlike Dubya in Iraq, they got what they wanted. Mission accomplished.

Flavius > , October 14, 2017 at 2:37 pm GMT

Mike – good article. The inaptly named Intelligence Community just never busts out. However much it has gotten flat out wrong and however much it has flat out missed over the years, however much its blunders and mistakes have cost us and our victims in treasure and blood, it just never busts out. There is always an excuse. The closest the Borg ever came to any gesture towards accountability was the Church committee post Watergate, ancient history, lessons purposefully buried and lost to the legions of bureaucrats blundering their way through the last 40 years.

If it can be gotten wrong, the Borg will get it wrong; it will be gotten wrong at the worst possible time; it will move on to get it wrong again. These are three things that you can absolutely count on.

Joe Hide > , October 14, 2017 at 2:47 pm GMT

Good article on something everyone who is well researched and truth seeking already knows; the Russian Collusion story is a hatchet job by incompetent political hacks. The only power they USED to have is an obsessive never give up faith in the power of lying.

jilles dykstra > , October 14, 2017 at 3:15 pm GMT

So what ? Truth is no longer an issue in USA politics: Christopher Lasch, 'The Culture of Narcissism, American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations', 1979, 1980, London

Pericles > , October 14, 2017 at 6:42 pm GMT

@Mike Whitney Russia collusion does lack credibility, but you're still doing us a great service by following the twists and turns of this beheaded snake. The details are worth reading about, even if there isn't much to argue about regarding the conclusion. So thanks for that.

Biff > , October 14, 2017 at 7:36 pm GMT

Even today there was another AP hit piece about those 201 Russian Twitter handles, and zero perspective about the kind of math that renders 201 out of 24 billion a speck of dust. You really have to depend on a dumbed down population to get them to buy this stuff.

Beckow > , October 14, 2017 at 7:49 pm GMT

@Michael Kenny

"If Putin really is innocent, the common sense way to prove it is to let Russiagate take its natural course."

Innocent of what? What is it exactly that Russia supposedly did? Let me list a few things that are still perfectly legal in our world (that would include US, I hope):

None of the above is either unusual or illegal. It might not look good to some people, but it is what international life has consisted for at least 200 years. If you call that 'meddling', you just might be too naive for the world as it is.

What is the 'natural course' for the investigation? If all we hear are endless allusions to what are just opinions, meetings, plans, criticism, etc what is being investigated? This is literally suggesting that some in Washington and US media are not mature enough, smart enough, or sane enough to be taken seriously. How are they planning to recover the basic level of rationality after this fiasco?

Putin named Pokemon GO characters after BLM victims to stir up racial hatreds in US. How does one answer that? Where would you even start dealing with people who are capable of this level of nonsense?

[Oct 13, 2017] Sympathy for the Corporatocracy by C. J. Hopkins

Highly recommended!
Biting satire...
Notable quotes:
"... The Tonight Show ..."
"... Now, despite what the Russian propagandists will tell you, this recent outbreak of fascistic behavior has nothing whatsoever to do with these people's frustration with neoliberalism or the supranational Corporatocracy that has been expanding its global empire with total impunity for twenty-five years. And it definitely has nothing at all to do with supranational political unions, or the supersession of national sovereignty by corporate-concocted "free trade" agreements, or the relentless privatization of everything, or the fear that a lot of people have that their cultures are being gradually erased and replaced with a globalized, corporate-friendly, multicultural, market-based culture, which is merely a simulation of culture, and which contains no actual cultural values (because exchange value is its only operative value), but which sells the empty signifiers of their eviscerated cultural values back to them so they can wear their "identities" like designer brands as they hunch together in silence at Starbucks posting pictures of themselves on Facebook. ..."
"... No, this discontent with the political establishment, corporate elites, and the mainstream media has nothing to do with any of that. It's not like global Capitalism, following the collapse of the U.S.S.R. (its last external ideological adversary), has been restructuring the entire planet in accordance with its geopolitical interests, or doing away with national sovereignty, and other nationalistic concepts that no longer serve a useful purpose in a world where a single ideological system (one backed by the most fearsome military in history) reigns completely unopposed. If that were the case, well, it might behoove us to question whether this outbreak of Nazism, racism, and other forms of "hate," was somehow connected to that historical development and maybe even try to articulate some sort of leftist analysis of that. ..."
"... a world where a single ideology rules the planet unopposed from without ..."
"... Brexit is about Britons who want their country back, a movement indeed getting stronger and stronger in EU member states, but ignored by the ruling 'elites'. ..."
"... A lot of these so called "revolutions" are fomented by the elite only to be subverted and perverted by them in the end. They've had a lot of practice co-opting revolutions and independence movements. ..."
"... "Independence" is now so fashionable (as was Communism among the "elite" back in the '30s), that they are even teaching and fostering independence to kids in kindergarten here in the US. That strikes me as most amusing. Imagine "learning" independence in state run brainwashing factories. ..."
Oct 13, 2017 | www.unz.com

Well all right, let's review what happened, or at least the official version of what happened. Not Hillary Clinton's version of what happened, which Jeffrey St. Clair so incisively skewered , but the Corporatocracy's version of what happened, which overlaps with but is even more ridiculous than Clinton's ridiculous version. To do that, we need to harken back to the peaceful Summer of 2016, (a/k/a the "Summer of Fear" ), when the United States of America was still a shiny city upon a hill whose beacon light guided freedom-loving people, the Nazis were still just a bunch of ass clowns meeting in each other's mother's garages, and Russia was, well Russia was Russia.

Back then, as I'm sure you'll recall, Western democracy, was still primarily being menaced by the lone wolf terrorists, for absolutely no conceivable reason, apart from the terrorists' fanatical desire to brutally murder all non-believers. The global Russo-Nazi Axis had not yet reared its ugly head. President Obama, who, during his tenure, had single-handedly restored America to the peaceful, prosperous, progressive paradise it had been before George W. Bush screwed it up, was on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon slow jamming home the TPP . The Wall Street banks had risen from the ashes of the 2008 financial crisis, and were buying back all the foreclosed homes of the people they had fleeced with subprime mortgages. American workers were enjoying the freedom and flexibility of the new gig economy. Electioneering in the United States was underway, but it was early days. It was already clear that Donald Trump was literally the Second Coming of Hitler , but no one was terribly worried about him yet. The Republican Party was in a shambles. Neither Trump nor any of the other contenders had any chance of winning in November. Nor did Sanders, who had been defeated, fair and square, in the Democratic primaries, mostly because of his racist statements and crazy, quasi-Communist ideas. Basically, everything was hunky dory. Yes, it was going to be terribly sad to have to bid farewell to Obama, who had bailed out all those bankrupt Americans the Wall Street banks had taken to the cleaners, ended all of Bush and Cheney's wars, closed down Guantanamo, and just generally served as a multicultural messiah figure to affluent consumers throughout the free world, but Hope-and-Change was going to continue. The talking heads were all in agreement Hillary Clinton was going to be President, and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

Little did we know at the time that an epidemic of Russo-Nazism had been festering just beneath the surface of freedom-loving Western societies like some neo-fascist sebaceous cyst. Apparently, millions of theretofore more or less normal citizens throughout the West had been infected with a virulent strain of Russo-Nazi-engineered virus, because they simultaneously began exhibiting the hallmark symptoms of what we now know as White Supremacist Behavioral Disorder, or Fascist Oppositional Disorder (the folks who update the DSM are still arguing over the official name). It started with the Brexit referendum, spread to America with the election of Trump, and there have been a rash of outbreaks in Europe, like the one we're currently experiencing in Germany . These fascistic symptoms have mostly manifest as people refusing to vote as instructed, and expressing oppressive views on the Internet, but there have also been more serious crimes, including several assaults and murders perpetrated by white supremacists (which, of course, never happened when Obama was President, because the Nazis hadn't been "emboldened" yet).

Now, despite what the Russian propagandists will tell you, this recent outbreak of fascistic behavior has nothing whatsoever to do with these people's frustration with neoliberalism or the supranational Corporatocracy that has been expanding its global empire with total impunity for twenty-five years. And it definitely has nothing at all to do with supranational political unions, or the supersession of national sovereignty by corporate-concocted "free trade" agreements, or the relentless privatization of everything, or the fear that a lot of people have that their cultures are being gradually erased and replaced with a globalized, corporate-friendly, multicultural, market-based culture, which is merely a simulation of culture, and which contains no actual cultural values (because exchange value is its only operative value), but which sells the empty signifiers of their eviscerated cultural values back to them so they can wear their "identities" like designer brands as they hunch together in silence at Starbucks posting pictures of themselves on Facebook.

No, this discontent with the political establishment, corporate elites, and the mainstream media has nothing to do with any of that. It's not like global Capitalism, following the collapse of the U.S.S.R. (its last external ideological adversary), has been restructuring the entire planet in accordance with its geopolitical interests, or doing away with national sovereignty, and other nationalistic concepts that no longer serve a useful purpose in a world where a single ideological system (one backed by the most fearsome military in history) reigns completely unopposed. If that were the case, well, it might behoove us to question whether this outbreak of Nazism, racism, and other forms of "hate," was somehow connected to that historical development and maybe even try to articulate some sort of leftist analysis of that.

This hypothetical leftist analysis might want to focus on how Capitalism is fundamentally opposed to Despotism, and is essentially a value-decoding machine which renders everything and everyone it touches essentially valueless interchangeable commodities whose worth is determined by market forces, rather than by societies and cultures, or religions, or other despotic systems (wherein values are established and enforced arbitrarily, by the despot, the church, or the ruling party, or by a group of people who share an affinity and decide they want to live a certain way). This is where it would get sort of tricky, because it (i.e., this hypothetical analysis) would have to delve into the history of Capitalism, and how it evolved out of medieval Despotism, and how it has been decoding despotic values for something like five hundred years. This historical delving (which would probably be too long for people to read on their phones) would demonstrate how Capitalism has been an essentially progressive force in terms of getting us out of Despotism (which, for most folks, wasn't very much fun) by fomenting bourgeois revolutions and imposing some semblance of democracy on societies. It would follow Capitalism's inexorable advance all the way up to the Twentieth Century, in which its final external ideological adversary, fake Communism, suddenly imploded, delivering us to the world we now live in a world where a single ideology rules the planet unopposed from without , and where any opposition to that global ideology can only be internal, or insurgent, in nature (e.g, terrorism, extremism, and so on). Being a hypothetical leftist analysis, it would, at this point, need to stress that, despite the fact that Capitalism helped deliver us from Despotism, and improved the state of society generally (compared to most societies that preceded it), we nonetheless would like to transcend it, or evolve out of it toward some type of society where people, and everything else, including the biosphere we live in, are not interchangeable, valueless commodities exchanged by members of a global corporatocracy who have no essential values, or beliefs, or principles, other than the worship of money. After having covered all that, we might want to offer more a nuanced view of the current neo-nationalist reaction to the Corporatocracy's ongoing efforts to restructure and privatize the rest of the planet. Not that we would support this reaction, or in any way refrain from calling neo-nationalism what it is (i.e., reactionary, despotic, and doomed), but this nuanced view we'd hypothetically offer, by analyzing the larger sociopolitical and historical forces at play, might help us to see the way forward more clearly, and who knows, maybe eventually propose some kind of credible leftist alternative to the "global neoliberalism vs. neo-nationalism" double bind we appear to be hopelessly stuck in at the moment.

Luckily, we don't have to do that (i.e., articulate such a leftist analysis of any such larger historical forces). Because there is no corporatocracy not really. That's just a fake word the Russians made up and are spreading around on the Internet to distract us while the Nazis take over. No, the logical explanation for Trump, Brexit, and anything else that threatens the expansion of global Capitalism, and the freedom, democracy, and prosperity it offers, is that millions of people across the world, all at once, for no apparent reason, woke up one day full-blown fascists and started looking around for repulsive demagogues to swear fanatical allegiance to. Yes, that makes a lot more sense than all that complicated stuff about history and hegemonic ideological systems, which is probably just Russian propaganda anyway, in which case there is absolutely no reason to read any boring year-old pieces, like this one in The European Financial Review , or this report by Corporate Watch , from way back in the year 2000, about the rise of global corporate power.

So, apologies for wasting your time with all that pseudo-Marxian gobbledygook. Let's just pretend this never happened, and get back to more important matters, like statistically proving that Donald Trump got elected President because of racism, misogyny, transphobia, xenophobia, or some other type of behavioral disorder, and pulling down Confederate statues, or kneeling during the National Anthem, or whatever happens to be trending this week. Oh, yeah, and debating punching Nazis, or people wearing MAGA hats. We definitely need to sort all that out before we can move ahead with helping the Corporatocracy remove Trump from office, or at least ensure he remains surrounded by their loyal generals, CEOs, and Goldman Sachs guys until the next election. Whatever we do, let's not get distracted by that stuff I just distracted you with. I know, it's tempting, but, given what's at stake, we need to maintain our laser focus on issues related to identity politics, or else well, you know, the Nazis win.

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23 , is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. He can reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org .

jilles dykstra, October 13, 2017 at 3:15 pm GMT

Yesterday evening on RT a USA lady, as usual forgot the name, spoke about the USA. In a matter of fact tone she said things like 'they (Deep State) have got him (Trump) in the box'.

They, Deep State again, are now wondering if they will continue to try to control the world, or if they should stop the attempt, and retreat into the USA.
Also as matter of fact she said 'the CIA has always been the instrument of Deep State, from Kenndy to Nine Eleven'.

Another statement was 'no president ever was in control'.

How USA citizens continue to believe they live in a democracy, I cannot understand.

Yesterday the intentions of the new Dutch government were made public, alas most Dutch also dot not see that the Netherlands since 2005 no longer is a democracy, just a province of Brussels.

You can fool all people .

Che Guava, October 13, 2017 at 4:22 pm GMT

@jilles dykstra

Jilles,

I am thinking you take the article too literally.

jacques sheete, October 13, 2017 at 4:30 pm GMT

Brexit is about Britons who want their country back, a movement indeed getting stronger and stronger in EU member states, but ignored by the ruling 'elites'.

No doubt many do want their country back, but what concerns me is that all of a sudden we have the concept of "independence" plastered all over the place. Such concepts don't get promoted unless the ruling elites see ways to turn those sentiments to their favor.

A lot of these so called "revolutions" are fomented by the elite only to be subverted and perverted by them in the end. They've had a lot of practice co-opting revolutions and independence movements. (And everything else.)

"Independence" is now so fashionable (as was Communism among the "elite" back in the '30s), that they are even teaching and fostering independence to kids in kindergarten here in the US. That strikes me as most amusing. Imagine "learning" independence in state run brainwashing factories.

Does anyone else smell a rat or two?

Anon-og , October 13, 2017 at 5:16 pm GMT

"Now, despite what the Russian propagandists will tell you, this recent outbreak of fascistic behavior has nothing whatsoever to do with these people's frustration with neoliberalism or the supranational Corporatocracy that has been expanding its global empire with total impunity for twenty-five years. And it definitely has nothing at all to do with supranational political unions, or the supersession of national sovereignty by corporate-concocted "free trade" agreements, or the relentless privatization of everything, or the fear that a lot of people have that their cultures are being gradually erased and replaced with a globalized, corporate-friendly, multicultural, market-based culture, which is merely a simulation of culture, and which contains no actual cultural values (because exchange value is its only operative value), but which sells the empty signifiers of their eviscerated cultural values back to them so they can wear their "identities" like designer brands as they hunch together in silence at Starbucks posting pictures of themselves on Facebook."

Very impressed with this article, never really paid attention to CJ's articles but that is now changing!

[Oct 13, 2017] Lunatic Russia-Hating in Washington Is 70 Years Old by John Helmer

Why he calls its lunatic. It's pretty rations. Russia now represent an obstacle for global neoliberal empire and being the weakest link in Russia-China alliance it is only logical to attack it first
Notable quotes:
"... Russia-hating was an American upper-class phenomenon, cultivated in the offices, cocktail parties, clubs, and mansions of the deep state, as it emerged out of World War II. It needed a new enemy to thrive; it fastened on Russia (aka the Soviet Union) as the enemy. ..."
"... McCarthyism was an American lower-class phenomenon. It focused on the loyalty or disloyalty of the upper-class deep-staters. That wasn't the same thing as Russia-hating; Wall Street bankers, Boston lawyers, homosexuals, Jews, communists, were all the enemy. As the Senator from Wisconsin characterized it himself in 1952, "McCarthyism is Americanism with its sleeves rolled." He implied – without a middle-class tie; certainly not an upper-class bow-tie. ..."
"... In covering the period from 1946 to 1975, Herken's research does repeat much of the history of the Cold War which has been told elsewhere. It starts on February 22, 1946, the date of the "Long Telegram", No. 511 -- Kennan's despatch from the US Embassy in Moscow to the State Department, setting out his strategy of so-called containment and much more besides. Read it in the declassified original . Most of the war-fighting and other war crimes which the telegram set in motion under Kennan's 1948 rubrics, "organized political warfare" and "preventive direct action", are reported in Herken's book; so too are Kennan's frequent funks, failures of conviction, reversals of judgment, and pleas for help. ..."
"... "Interestingly enough, the term "Russophobia" was first used by Fyodor Tyutchev (1803 -- 1873), famous Russian poet, diplomat and politician in reference to growing Western hostilities against Russia on the "eve" of the Crimean War (1854-56) between the Russian Empire and an alliance of France, Britain, the Ottoman Empire, and Sardinia. ..."
"... Historians elaborate that the so-called "Russophobia campaign" actually started as early as the 1820s -- instigated by Britain -- following Russia's glorious victory over Napoleonic France in 1812-13. ..."
"... "British hostility towards Russia had recurred periodically ever since the late eighteenth century. In had become increasingly apparent, albeit in a gradual and evolutionary fashion, in the years after Waterloo Fear of Russia's aims in Europe and Asia surfaced as early as 1817," American historian Edward M. Spiers wrote in his book "Radical General: Sir George de Lacy Evans, 1787-1870." ..."
Oct 12, 2017 | russia-insider.com
Joseph Alsop (lead image, centre) and George Kennan (right) started the kind of Russia-hating in Washington which, today, President Vladimir Putin, like the businessmen around him, think of as a novelty that cannot last for long.

Alsop was a fake news fabricator, and such a narcissist as to give the bow-ties he wore a bad name. Kennan was a psychopath who alternated bouts of aggression to prove himself with bouts of depression over his cowardice. For them, Russia was a suitable target. The Washington Post was the newspaper which gave their lunacy public asylum. This, according to a fresh history by a university professor from California, started in 1947, long before the arrival in Washington of the anti-communist phobia known after the name of Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Russia-hating was an American upper-class phenomenon, cultivated in the offices, cocktail parties, clubs, and mansions of the deep state, as it emerged out of World War II. It needed a new enemy to thrive; it fastened on Russia (aka the Soviet Union) as the enemy.

McCarthyism was an American lower-class phenomenon. It focused on the loyalty or disloyalty of the upper-class deep-staters. That wasn't the same thing as Russia-hating; Wall Street bankers, Boston lawyers, homosexuals, Jews, communists, were all the enemy. As the Senator from Wisconsin characterized it himself in 1952, "McCarthyism is Americanism with its sleeves rolled." He implied – without a middle-class tie; certainly not an upper-class bow-tie.

Russia was not an enemy which united the two American lunacies, for they hated each other much more than they hated the Russians. The Soviet Politburo understood this better then than the Kremlin does now.

Gregg Herken's The Georgetown Set , is so named because it records the activities of Alsop, Kennan and several other State Department, Central Intelligence Agency and White House officials who lived as neighbours in the Georgetown district of the capital city, together with Katharine (Kay) and Philip Graham, proprietor managers of the Washington Post. The district – once a chartered city of Maryland and river port, which was absorbed into the federal District of Columbia in 1871 -- was expensive, relatively speaking then; more so now. The richest of the set, including Alsop, had town houses in Georgetown, and rural retreats in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.

They were a set because because, as Herken said succinctly to an interviewer , "they got together every Sunday for supper and, basically, they ran the country from those meetings." As the book elaborates, they thought they were running the world. With a longer time lapse in which to view the evidence, they were also losing it.

Newspapers exposed in the book for collaborating in all the deceits, failures and war crimes of the history have reacted by calling Herken's effort a "provincial corner". The New Yorker opined that the Russia-hating and Russia war-making which Herken retells are dead and gone. "The guests at the Sunday soirées no doubt felt that they were in the cockpit of history. But the United States is a democracy, not a Wasp Ascendancy There was once an atmosphere of willingness that made a system of bribes and information exchanges seem, to the people involved, simply a way of working together for a common cause in a climate of public opinion that, unfortunately, required secrecy. No one got rich from the arrangement. People just lost track of what was inside their bubble and what was outside, as people tend to do. Vietnam was the reality check. 'I've Seen the Best of It' was the title Alsop gave to his memoirs. Things hadn't been the same since, he felt. He was right about that, and we should be thankful." In the New York media business these days it's possible to publish a selfie of pulling your own leg.

The Washington Post has deflected the indictment against itself by describing Herken's work as "a very strange book (A) a rehash of the history of the Cold War as experienced in certain Washington circles and (B) an almost obsessive recapitulation of the life and journalism of Joseph Alsop." Alsop is dismissed as unworthy of a history at all because he was "utterly repellent: arrogant, patronizing, imperious, uninterested in anyone except himself."

That's the truth about Alsop. The truth about the Washington Post is buried in this line by the Post's books editor about the hand that fed him: "it must be very hard for people who did not live through the '50s and '60s to understand how obsessed the American people were with the threat from Moscow." That line appeared in print on November 7, 2014. It was already history, that's to say, a misjudgment. How monumentally mistaken is obvious now.

In covering the period from 1946 to 1975, Herken's research does repeat much of the history of the Cold War which has been told elsewhere. It starts on February 22, 1946, the date of the "Long Telegram", No. 511 -- Kennan's despatch from the US Embassy in Moscow to the State Department, setting out his strategy of so-called containment and much more besides. Read it in the declassified original . Most of the war-fighting and other war crimes which the telegram set in motion under Kennan's 1948 rubrics, "organized political warfare" and "preventive direct action", are reported in Herken's book; so too are Kennan's frequent funks, failures of conviction, reversals of judgment, and pleas for help.

The book ends on December 30, 1974, the date of Alsop's last column. Alsop concluded with the line: "I have never known the American people to be really badly wrong, if only they were correctly and fully informed."

Herken shows how self-deluded and professionally delusional that was -- not because of Alsop's character but because of his sources. Herken documents that they ran upwards from foot-soldiers (also lubricious sailors) to presidents and cabinet secretaries. Herken doesn't think the same of Kennan, who gets to walk off stage, aged 101, sounding more sceptical of overthrowing Saddam Hussein than he ever was in his prime and in power to direct schemes of what we call state terrorism today.


Left to right: Kennan died in 2005, aged 101; Alsop died in 1989 aged 78; Frank Wisner died in 1965 aged 56. The deeper Herken gets into the private papers, the more he refers to his subjects by their diminutives and nicknames – Joe, Oppie, Beetle, Dickie, the Crocodile, Wig, Jack, Wiz, Soozle, Vangie, et al.

What is fresh about the sources is that Herken has had access to the private notes, letters and diaries of the Alsop family; the Kennan diaries and letters; and the private papers of Frank Wisner, the first director of covert operations against Russia. Wisner went mad and killed himself, as did Graham. There's no doubt about the suicide outcome of their madness.

In the case of the mad ex-Defence Secretary James Forrestal his fatal jump from the window of the Navy hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, in May 1949 might have been a homicidal push. Herken concludes that Forrestal's death was "the first senior-ranking American casualty of the Cold War." Herken thinks of their madness as anomalies. The history shows they were normalities.

Missing from this history is any reference to official documents, now declassified; press reporting of the time; or interviews with veterans of the same events but on other sides – Russian and Soviet; British; German; French; Polish; Vietnamese; Chinese. This isn't so much a fatal flaw in Herken's (right) book as the reason why his history is repeating itself today. Call this a variation on Karl's Marx's apothegm that history starts as tragedy and repeats itself as farce. Herken's blindness to this is as revealing as the Washington Post's madness, not yet as suicidal as its former proprietor's, today.

So mesmerized is Herken by the moneyed backgrounds of his subjects and sources, and by the amount of black cash from the US Government they spent on operations, he forgets to report what they did to fill their own pockets. The claim by the New Yorker that "no one got rich from the arrangement" – Alsop's fake news fabrications – is false, but Herken touches only in passing on how they made (or kept) their money. Alsop's column, for example, was sold to 200 newspapers, and at one time claimed a readership of 25 million. His family inheritance is recorded, but not its annual revenue value. Alsop's payola included silk shirts from Alfred Kohlberg, a textile importer from China who backed Chiang Kai-shek against Mao Tse-tung, as did Alsop. Alsop's patrons included Convair (General Dynamics), the company building the US Air Force Atlas missile for procurement of which Alsop reported fictions about Soviet missile strength.

In the US power which Alsop, Kennan and Wisner believed without hesitation, Herken is not less a believer. "Anything could be achieved", Herken quotes a New York Times reporter quoting Wisner. When the US force multiple changed, however, and US allies or agents were outgunned, outspent, outnumbered, or outwitted, they were unable to acknowledge miscalculation, attributing defeat instead to the superior force or guile of their adversaries, especially the Russians.

This is madness, and there is good reason for recognizing the symptoms again. In 1958, when Herken says Wisner's paranoid manias were becoming obvious to his friends and colleagues, "Frank put forward a theory that the careless comment which had gotten George Kennan kicked out of the Soviet Union was evidence the Soviets had succeeded in an area where the CIA's own scientists had failed: mind control. Some agency hands alleged that Wisner attributed his own increasingly bizarre behaviour to the Kremlin's sly manipulation."

A cell from the comic "Is This Tomorrow? America Under Communism"(1947). Test your mind, read more: https://archive.org/details/IsThisTomorrowAmericaUnderCommunismCatecheticalGuild

From Washington in 1958, fast forward to Washington in 2017; for mind control and sly manipulation, read Russian hacking and cyber warfare. From Wisner's and Kennan's balloon drops of leaflets and broadcasts by Radio Free Europe, fast forward to Russia Today Television and Russian infiltrations of Twitter, Google, the Democratic National Committee, and the Trump organization.

It stands to reason (ahem!) that if you think what the US Government and its journalists were doing then was mad, you are might conclude that what they is doing now is just as mad – and not very different. When the incumbent president and his Secretary of State publicly call for IQ tests on each other, all reason has failed. "The nation," as Alsop had written, "had simply taken leave of all sense of proportion." That was in March 1954.

If you fast forward to now, there's one difference. Today the lunatic Russia warfighters don't retire. They also don't fade away. Today's sleek successors to mad Wisner and mad Graham sleep easily in their beds a-nights. For what they've done and do, they wouldn't dream of taking shotguns to their heads.

Herken retells the story of the campaign Alsop waged against McCarthyism at the State Department, against McCarthy himself, and the vulnerability Alsop himself presented until the Boston lawyer Joseph Welch put an end to McCarthy on June 9, 1954 : "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Welch famously said. "Have you left no sense of decency?" The recurring history reveals why, even if there are plenty of people to say the same thing today to the Washington Post, New York Times, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the madness will continue repeating itself.

Source: Dances With Bears

Tommy Jensen , October 12, 2017 8:47 AM

..and what happened exactly 70 years ago? You said it, not me.....you said Israel!

Slick Tommy Jensen , October 12, 2017 6:52 PM

Wisner has a son named Frank, who is a pro-Kosovo Albanian/anti-Serb/anti-Russian fiend. Kennan later became a responsibly more calming voice on Russia. Concerning the Capitol Hill establishment -

https://www.strategic-cultu...

Be hard pressed to find a better article on the subject.

Carlo - , October 12, 2017 11:18 AM

Nonetheless, I remember that Kennan was a strong opponent against NATO expansion in the 90's, after the collapse of the USSR. I think there were good reasons to make an alliance against the spread of communism, but after this ended in Europe, of course, NATO should have dissolved just like the Warsaw Pact.

Kjell Hasthi Edward Mercer , October 13, 2017 2:35 PM

Wages are low in Estonia compared to Sweden. So the Swedish corporations will move some factories to Estonia to make more money. That is the "powerhouse". The Estonians will not see much to the money. But they get what is wages in Estonia of course.

Koroviev,Behemoth&Woland LLP , October 13, 2017 8:39 AM

Why did the Warburg Brothers and Jacob Schiff finance the Bolsheviks when the rest of America was instructed to hate the Russians?

Just another one of those unexplained oddities of history.

Gonzogal , October 12, 2017 4:25 PM

It is MUCH older than 70 years!

"The Cold War, I would remind readers, started in November 1917 when the Bolsheviks took power in Russia Undiscouraged and terrified of a socialist revolution in Russia, the so-called Entente [Great Britain and France] tossed fat rolls of banknotes to anyone who said he would fight the Soviets. The Entente sent its own forces to the four distant corners of Russia to do the job themselves. This was the 'Allied' intervention which continued until the beginning of 1921 in the west and until 1922 in Eastern Siberia," ~ Professor Michael Jabara Carley of the University of Montreal

"Interestingly enough, the term "Russophobia" was first used by Fyodor Tyutchev (1803 -- 1873), famous Russian poet, diplomat and politician in reference to growing Western hostilities against Russia on the "eve" of the Crimean War (1854-56) between the Russian Empire and an alliance of France, Britain, the Ottoman Empire, and Sardinia.

Historians elaborate that the so-called "Russophobia campaign" actually started as early as the 1820s -- instigated by Britain -- following Russia's glorious victory over Napoleonic France in 1812-13.

"British hostility towards Russia had recurred periodically ever since the late eighteenth century. In had become increasingly apparent, albeit in a gradual and evolutionary fashion, in the years after Waterloo Fear of Russia's aims in Europe and Asia surfaced as early as 1817," American historian Edward M. Spiers wrote in his book "Radical General: Sir George de Lacy Evans, 1787-1870."

"Britons were especially concerned about their dominance in Central Asia and the "Russian threat" to their hegemonic ambitions in the region. According British diplomat Sir Martin Ewans, in the 1820s-30s London deemed that it would be "unwise" to allow the Russian Empire to extend its influence over Caucasus, Persia and Afghanistan. "That Russophobia existed is undeniable," Sir Ewans remarked in his book "Conflict in Afghanistan: Studies in Asymmetric Warfare."

"Remarkably, in the 1860s, Russian ethnologist, philosopher and historian Nikolai Danilevsky slammed the Western propaganda machine for spreading distorted information and blatant lies about the "Russian threat" and imaginary "expansionist ambitions" of the Russian Empire in his book "Russia and Europe." https://sputniknews.com/pol...

Tommy Jensen Gonzogal , October 13, 2017 5:05 AM

Its incredible one country can sit half the planet away "not allowing" another country "to spread its influence" to its neighbours. When this is the case, this country´s culture is pervercy and sick.

[Oct 12, 2017] Wheres the Beef The Senate Intel Committee and Russia by Mike Whitney

Neocons already poisoned the well of US-Russian cooperation. They already unleashes witch hunt in best McCarthyism traditions. What else do they want ? Why they continue to waive this dead chicken?
Notable quotes:
"... people want is proof that Russia interfered with the elections or that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. That's the whole point of this exercise. And, on the collusion matter, at least we have something new to report. In a rare moment of candor, Burr blurted out this gem: ..."
"... Think about that. After "100 interviews, 250 hours of testimony, and 4000 transcript pages" there's not the slightest hint of collusion. It's mindboggling. Why isn't this front page news? Why haven't the New York Times or Washington Post run this in their headlines, after all, they've hyped every other part of this story? ..."
"... Let's cut to the chase: The committee is not getting to the bottom of the Russia hacking matter, because they don't want to get to the bottom of it. It's that simple. ..."
"... That's why they have excluded any witnesses that may upset their preconceived theory of what happened. Why, for example, would the committee chose to interview former CIA Director John Brennan rather than WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange? Brennan not only helped select the hand-picked analysts who authored the ICA, he also clearly has an animus towards Russia due to his frustrated attempt to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al Assad which was thwarted by Putin. In other words, Brennan has a motive to mislead the Committee. He's biased. He has an ax to grind. In contrast, Assange has firsthand knowledge of what actually transpired with the DNC emails because he was the recipient of those emails. Has Assange been contacted by the Committee or asked to testify via Skype? ..."
"... It should be obvious by now that the real intention of the briefing was not to provide the public with more information, facts or evidence of Russian hacking, but to use the prestigious setting as a platform for disseminating more disinformation aimed at vilifying an emerging rival (Russia) that has blocked Washington's aggression in Ukraine and Syria, and threatens to unite the most populous and prosperous region in the world (Eurasia) into one massive free trade zone spanning from Lisbon to Vladivostok. ..."
"... Reasonable people must now consider the possibility that the Russia hacking narrative is an Information Operation (IO) devoid of any real substance which is designed to poison the publics perception of Russia. It is a domestic propaganda campaign that fits perfectly with the "Full Spectrum Dominance" theory of weaponizing media in a way that best achieves one's geopolitical objectives. The American people are again being manipulated so that powerful elites can lead the country to war. ..."
Oct 12, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org
The Senate Intelligence Committee has made it clear that it is not conducting an open and independent investigation of alleged Russian hacking, but making a determined effort to support a theory that was presented in the January 6, 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment. Committee Chairman Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) admitted as much in a press conference last Wednesday when he said:

We feel very confident that the ICA's accuracy is going to be supported by our committee.

Burr's statement is an example of "confirmation bias" which is the tendency to interpret information in a way that confirms one's own preexisting beliefs. In this case, Burr and his co-chair, Senator Mark Warner have already accepted the findings of a hastily slapped-together Intelligence report that was the work of "hand-picked" analysts who were likely chosen to produce conclusions that jibed with a particular political agenda. In other words, the intelligence was fixed to fit the policy. Burr of course has tried to conceal his prejudice by pointing to the number of witnesses the Committee has interviewed and the volume of work that's been produced. This is from an article at The Nation:

Since January 23, the committee and its staff have conducted more than 100 interviews, comprising 250 hours of testimony and resulting in 4,000 pages of transcripts, and reviewed more than 100,000 documents relevant to Russiagate. The staff, said Warner, has collectively spent a total of 57 hours per day, seven days a week, since the committee opened its inquiry, going through documents and transcripts, interviewing witnesses, and analyzing both classified and unclassified material.

It all sounds very impressive, but if the goal is merely to lend credibility to unverified assumptions, then what's the point?

Let's take a look at a few excerpts from the report and see whether Burr and Warner are justified in "feeling confident" in the ICA's accuracy.

From the Intelligence Community Assessment:

We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.

This is the basic claim of Russia meddling that has yet to be proved. As you can see, the charge is mixed with liberal doses of mind-reading mumbo-jumbo that reveal the authors' lack of objectivity. There's a considerable amount of speculation about Putin's motives and preferences which are based on pure conjecture. It's a bit shocking that professional analysts– who are charged with providing our leaders with rock-solid intelligence related to matters of national security– would indulge in this type of opinionated blather and psycho-babble. It's also shocking that Burr and Warner think this gibberish should be taken seriously.

Here's more from the ICA:

Putin most likely wanted to discredit Secretary Clinton because he has publicly blamed her since 2011 for inciting mass protests against his regime in late 2011 and early 2012, and because he holds a grudge for comments he almost certainly saw as disparaging him.

More mind-reading, more groundless speculation, more guessing what Putin thinks or doesn't think. The ICA reads more like the text from a morning talk show than an Intelligence report. And what is it about this report that Burr finds so persuasive? It's beyond me. The report's greatest strength seems to be that no one has ever read it. If they had, they'd realize that it's nonsense. Also, it would have been better if the ICA's authors had avoided the amateur psychoanalysis and stuck to the point, Russia hacking. Dabbling in the former seriously impacts the report's credibility.

To their credit, however, Burr and Warner have questioned all of the analysts who contributed to the report. Check out this excerpt from The Nation:

"We have interviewed everybody who had a hand or a voice in the creation of the ICA," said Burr. "We've spent nine times the amount of time that the IC [intelligence community] spent putting the ICA together. We have reviewed all the supporting evidence that went into it and, in addition to that, the things that went on the cutting-room floor that they may not have found appropriate for the ICA, but we may have found relevant to our investigation." Burr added that the committee's review included "highly classified intelligence reporting," and they've interviewed every official in the Obama administration who had anything to do with putting it together. ("Democrats and Republicans in Congress Agree: Russia Did It", The Nation)

That's great, but where' the beef? How can the committee conduct "100 interviews, comprising 250 hours of testimony and resulting in 4,000 pages of transcripts" without producing a shred of evidence that Russia meddled in the elections? How is that possible? The Committee's job is to prove its case not to merely pour over the minutia related to the investigation. No one really cares how many people testified or how much paperwork was involved. What people want is proof that Russia interfered with the elections or that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. That's the whole point of this exercise. And, on the collusion matter, at least we have something new to report. In a rare moment of candor, Burr blurted out this gem:

"There are concerns that we continue to pursue. Collusion? The committee continues to look into all evidence to see if there was any hint of collusion. Now, I'm not going to even discuss any initial findings because we haven't any."

Think about that. After "100 interviews, 250 hours of testimony, and 4000 transcript pages" there's not the slightest hint of collusion. It's mindboggling. Why isn't this front page news? Why haven't the New York Times or Washington Post run this in their headlines, after all, they've hyped every other part of this story?

Could it be that Burr's admission doesn't mesh with the media's "Russia did it" narrative so they decided to scrub the story altogether?

But it's not just collusion we're talking about here, there's also the broader issue of Russia meddling. And what was striking about the press conference is that –after all the interviews, all the testimony, and all the stacks of transcripts– the Committee has come up with nothing; no eyewitness testimony supporting the original claims, no smoking gun, no proof of domestic espionage, no evidence of Russian complicity, nothing. One big goose egg.

So here's a question for critical minded readers:

If the Senate Intelligence Committee has not found any proof that Russia hacked the 2016 elections, then why do senators' Burr and Warner still believe the ICA is reliable? It doesn't really make sense, does it? Don't they require evidence to draw their conclusions? And doesn't the burden of truth fall on the prosecution (or the investigators in this case)? Isn't a man innocent until proven guilty or doesn't that rule apply to Russia?

Let's cut to the chase: The committee is not getting to the bottom of the Russia hacking matter, because they don't want to get to the bottom of it. It's that simple.

That's why they have excluded any witnesses that may upset their preconceived theory of what happened. Why, for example, would the committee chose to interview former CIA Director John Brennan rather than WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange? Brennan not only helped select the hand-picked analysts who authored the ICA, he also clearly has an animus towards Russia due to his frustrated attempt to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al Assad which was thwarted by Putin. In other words, Brennan has a motive to mislead the Committee. He's biased. He has an ax to grind. In contrast, Assange has firsthand knowledge of what actually transpired with the DNC emails because he was the recipient of those emails. Has Assange been contacted by the Committee or asked to testify via Skype?

Don't bet on it.

What about former UK ambassador Craig Murray, a WikiLeaks colleague, who has repeatedly admitted that he knows the source of the DNC emails. Murray hasn't been asked to testify nor has he even been contacted by the FBI on the matter. Apparently, the FBI has no interest in a credible witness who can disprove the politically-motivated theory expounded in the ICA.

Then there's 30-year CIA analyst Ray McGovern and his group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). McGovern has done extensive research on the topic and has produced solid evidence that the DNC emails were "leaked" by an insider, not "hacked" by a foreign government. McGovern's work squares with Assange and Murray's claim that Russia did not hack the 2016 elections. Has McGovern been invited to testify?

How about Skip Folden, retired IBM Program Manager and Information Technology expert, whose excellent report titled "Non-Existent Foundation for Russian Hacking Charge" also disproves the hacking theory, as does The Nation's Patrick Lawrence whose riveting article at The Nation titled "A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year's DNC Hack" which thoroughly obliterates the central claims of the ICA.

Finally, there's California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher who met with Assange in August at the Ecuadorian embassy in London and who was assured that Assange would provide hard evidence (in the form of "a computer drive or other data-storage device") that the Russians were not involved in the DNC email scandal.

Wouldn't you think that senate investigators would want to talk to a trusted colleague and credible witness like Rohrabacher who said he could produce solid proof that the scandal, that has dominated the headlines and roiled Washington for the better part of a year, was bogus?

Apparently not. Apparently Burr and his colleagues would rather avoid any witness or evidence that conflicts with their increasingly-threadbare thesis.

So what conclusions can we draw from the Committee's behavior? Are Burr and Warner really conducting an open and independent investigation of alleged Russia hacking or is this just a witch hunt?

It should be obvious by now that the real intention of the briefing was not to provide the public with more information, facts or evidence of Russian hacking, but to use the prestigious setting as a platform for disseminating more disinformation aimed at vilifying an emerging rival (Russia) that has blocked Washington's aggression in Ukraine and Syria, and threatens to unite the most populous and prosperous region in the world (Eurasia) into one massive free trade zone spanning from Lisbon to Vladivostok.

Reasonable people must now consider the possibility that the Russia hacking narrative is an Information Operation (IO) devoid of any real substance which is designed to poison the publics perception of Russia. It is a domestic propaganda campaign that fits perfectly with the "Full Spectrum Dominance" theory of weaponizing media in a way that best achieves one's geopolitical objectives. The American people are again being manipulated so that powerful elites can lead the country to war.

[Oct 11, 2017] The Myths of Interventionists by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... There are dangers and threats in the world, but all of the threats from state actors are manageable and deterrable without spending more on the military, and these threats are much less severe than anything the U.S. faced between the 1940s and the end of the Cold War. The U.S. can and should get by safely with a much lower level of military spending, and our government should also adopt a strategy of restraint that keeps us out of unnecessary wars. ..."
"... The Iraq war is just the most obvious example of how the U.S. forcibly intervenes in other parts of the world over the objections of allies, in flagrant disregard for international law, and with no thought for the destabilizing effects that military action will have on the surrounding region. ..."
"... It would be much more accurate to say that the U.S. intervenes often in the affairs of weaker countries because it can, because our leaders leaders want to, and because there is usually no other power willing or able to stop it from happening. Exorbitant military spending far beyond what is needed to provide for our defense makes it possible to take military action on a regular basis, and the constant inflation of foreign threats makes a large part of the public believe that our government's frequent use of force overseas has something to do with self-defense. This frenetic meddling in the affairs of other nations hasn't made and won't make America any safer, it makes far more enemies than it eliminates, and it imposes significant fiscal and human costs on our country and the countries where our government interferes. ..."
"... At least Churchill had a focus. Neocons claim that any country that doesn't yield to our every desire is an existential threat. One article says, 'Iran', another 'China', yet another 'Russia' or 'N. Korea'. ..."
Oct 11, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Dakota Wood makes the usual alarmist case for throwing more money at the military. This passage stood out for how wrong it is:

Churchill repeatedly warned his countrymen of the dangers of complacency, misguided priorities, and weakness of will, of the foolishness to see the world and major competitors as being anything other than what they truly are. While praising the virtues and spirit of moderation that defined the English-speaking peoples of his day, he also urged them to recognize the necessity of having the courage to take timely action when dangers threatened and clearly visible trends in an eroding ability to provide for their common defense were leading toward disaster.

A similar state of affairs afflicts the United States today. To the extent America intervenes in the affairs of others, it is because the United States has been attacked first, an ally is in dire need of assistance, or an enemy threatens broader regional stability [bold mine-DL].

Over ten years ago, Rick Santorum talked incessantly about "the gathering storm" in a very conscious echo of Churchill, and subsequent events have proven his alarmism to have been just as unfounded and ridiculous as it seemed to be at the time. Hawks are often eager to invoke the 1930s to try to scare their audience into accepting more aggressive policies and more military spending than our security actually requires. Some of this may come from believing their own propaganda about the threats that they exaggerate, and some of it may just be a reflex, but as analysis of the contemporary scene it is always wrong. There are dangers and threats in the world, but all of the threats from state actors are manageable and deterrable without spending more on the military, and these threats are much less severe than anything the U.S. faced between the 1940s and the end of the Cold War. The U.S. can and should get by safely with a much lower level of military spending, and our government should also adopt a strategy of restraint that keeps us out of unnecessary wars.

Churchill-quoting alarmists aren't just bad at assessing the scale and nature of foreign threats, but they are usually also oblivious to the shoddy justifications for intervening and the damage that our interventionist policies do. The section quoted above reflects an almost touchingly naive belief that U.S. interventions are always justified and never cause more harm than they prevent. Very few U.S. interventions over the last thirty years fit the description Wood gives. The only time that the U.S. has intervened militarily abroad in response to an attack during this period was in Afghanistan as part of the immediate response to the 9/11 attacks. Every other intervention has been a choice to attack another country or to take sides in an ongoing conflict, and these interventions have usually had nothing to do with coming to the defense of an ally or preventing regional instability. Our interference in the affairs of others is often illegal under both domestic and/or international law (e.g., Kosovo, Libya, Iraq), it is very rarely related to U.S. or allied security, and it tends to cause a great deal of harm to the country and the surrounding region that are supposedly being "helped" by our government's actions.

The Iraq war is just the most obvious example of how the U.S. forcibly intervenes in other parts of the world over the objections of allies, in flagrant disregard for international law, and with no thought for the destabilizing effects that military action will have on the surrounding region. The U.S. didn't invade Panama in 1989 to help an ally or because we were attacked, but simply to topple the government there. Intervention in Haiti in 1994 didn't come in response to an attack or to assist an ally, but because Washington wanted to restore a deposed leader. Bombing Yugoslavia in 1999 was an attack on a country that posed no threat to us or our allies. The Libyan war was a war for regime change and a war of choice. A few allies did urge the U.S. to intervene in Libya, but not because they were in "dire need of assistance." The only thing that Britain and France needed in 2011 was the means to launch an attack on another country whose government posed no threat to them. Meddling in Syria since at least 2012 had nothing to do with defending the U.S. and our allies. Wood's description certainly doesn't apply to our support for the shameful Saudi-led war on Yemen, as the U.S. chose to take part in an attack on another country so that our despotic clients could be "reassured."

It would be much more accurate to say that the U.S. intervenes often in the affairs of weaker countries because it can, because our leaders leaders want to, and because there is usually no other power willing or able to stop it from happening. Exorbitant military spending far beyond what is needed to provide for our defense makes it possible to take military action on a regular basis, and the constant inflation of foreign threats makes a large part of the public believe that our government's frequent use of force overseas has something to do with self-defense. This frenetic meddling in the affairs of other nations hasn't made and won't make America any safer, it makes far more enemies than it eliminates, and it imposes significant fiscal and human costs on our country and the countries where our government interferes.

Posted in foreign policy , politics .

Tagged Syria , Rick Santorum , Yemen , Iraq war , Panama , Libyan war , Saudi Arabia , Haiti , Winston Churchill , Dakota Wood .

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Christian Chuba , says: October 11, 2017 at 4:22 pm

'The gathering storm' I read that and I was dying to know which storm he was referring too.

At least Churchill had a focus. Neocons claim that any country that doesn't yield to our every desire is an existential threat. One article says, 'Iran', another 'China', yet another 'Russia' or 'N. Korea'.

It's surprising how low on the list N. Korea typically ranks as the hawks try to turn attention quickly back to Iran. 'Iran is funding and developing their nuclear program, Iran is going to buy their nuclear weapons'. At least in the case of N. Korea we do have a country that obviously does possess WMD and is developing ICBM's and is likely to sell them in the future (even to our best friends the Saudis).

[Oct 11, 2017] The Perils of Arming Ukraine by Daniel Larison

Oct 11, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Rajan Menon and Will Ruger elaborate on why arming Ukraine would be an extremely foolish thing for the U.S. to do:

The proposition that Putin won't be provoked by a U.S. decision to send lethal arms to Ukraine amounts to a hunch. It's not supported by evidence, and Putin's past behavior contradicts it. This is not a minor point: if he does ramp up the war and the Ukrainian army is forced into retreat, the United States will face three bad choices.

First, Washington could pour even more arms into Ukraine in hopes of concentrating Putin's mind; but he can easily provide additional firepower to the Donbas insurgents. Second, it could deepen its military involvement by sending American military advisers, or even troops, to the frontline to bolster the Ukrainian army; but then Russia could call America's bluff. Third, the United States could decide not to respond to Russia's escalation given the geographical disadvantage and the limited strategic interests at stake. That would amount to backing down, abandoning Ukraine, and shredding the oft-repeated argument that American and European security hinges on the outcome of the Donbas war.

As hawks often do, advocates of arming Ukraine minimize the potential risks of their proposal while exaggerating the benefits that it will produce. On the one hand, they insist that they are "merely" calling for the U.S. to help Ukraine defend itself (they are actually calling for enabling Ukraine's government to go on the offensive), but at the same time they believe that in doing so they will "raise the costs" for Russia to such an extent that it will significantly alter Russian behavior in and towards Ukraine. If the policy is as likely to change Moscow's behavior as they say, it can't be as low-risk as they claim, but if it doesn't pose a serious risk it is probably going to have no positive effects at all. In the worst case, arming Ukraine sets them up for a disastrous defeat that the U.S. will have helped to enable.

The other flaw in the pro-arming case is that advocates of sending weapons to the Ukrainian government simply dismiss the negative consequences that are very likely to follow. They assume that the Russian government has a low tolerance for casualties, but they conveniently forget that it was Russian casualties in Tskhinvali that served as part of the rallying cry for the invasion of Georgia in the August 2008 war. The same people that called for pulling Ukraine out of Moscow's orbit in 2014 didn't anticipate the Russian response to Yanukovych's overthrow, but they still think that Moscow will be more inclined to back down now when faced with new provocations. Western hawkish analysts and pundits have consistently underestimated how far Moscow will go in this conflict, so why should their assurances be trusted now? We should have learned over the last decade that Moscow is much more likely to respond forcefully to provocative Western actions than most of us have assumed, and that means that the U.S. should approach this conflict with greater caution instead of increased recklessness.

Menon and Ruger make another important point that tends to get lost in the debate on this question:

The case for arming Ukraine also tends to be made in a vacuum, never mind that what the United States does in Ukraine could determine what Russia does elsewhere. Moscow could respond by putting more pressure on the Baltics, acting as a spoiler in North Korea or Iran, or even arming the Taliban (that would be an ironic turn: in the 1980s, the United States bled the Soviets by arming the Afghan mujahideen). If these outcomes seem impossible, consider the United States' awful record in foreseeing the effects of its military moves [bold mine-DL].

The explicit purpose of sending arms to Ukraine is to give their government the means to kill more Russians and Russian proxies. This may be dressed up in euphemisms by advocates (e.g., "raising costs," "making them pay a price"), but that is what they expressly hope to achieve with this policy. If our positions were reversed, our government would not respond to the deaths of our soldiers and proxies by yielding to the preferences of the government that provided the weapons that killed them. On the contrary, our government would intensify its support for whatever policy that government was trying to thwart. It would be foolish to assume that the Russian government would respond differently. We should assume that they would respond both directly in Ukraine by increasing their support for separatists and indirectly by aiding our enemies in other wars. This last part was the point that analyst Michael Kofman made in a report from August:

Russia's response to scattering Javelins among Ukrainian ground forces should factor into the decision, Kofman said.

"The Russians have a very clear policy of reciprocity, as we saw in the recent diplomatic purge. They see this as a premise of the U.S. wanting to kill Russians," Kofman said.

"The answer to this won't come in Ukraine."

[Oct 11, 2017] Russia witch hunt is a tactic used by the ruling elite, and in particular the Democratic Party, to avoid facing a very unpleasant reality: that their unpopularity is the outcome of their policies of deindustrialization and the assault against working class

Highly recommended!
Chris Hedges, who is doubtless a courageous journalist and an intelligent commentator, suggests that if we are to discuss the anti-Russia campaign realistically, as baseless in fact, and as contrived for an effect and to further/protect some particular interests, we can hardly avoid the question: Who or what interest is served by the anti-Russia campaign?
An interesting observation "The Democratic Party doesn't actually function as a political party. It's about perpetual mass mobilization and a hyperventilating public relations arm, all paid for by corporate donors. The base of the party has no real say in the leadership or the policies of the party, as Bernie Sanders and his followers found out."
The other relevant observation is that there is no American left. It was destroyed as a political movement. The USA is a right wing country.
Notable quotes:
"... This obsession with Russia is a tactic used by the ruling elite, and in particular the Democratic Party, to avoid facing a very unpleasant reality: that their unpopularity is the outcome of their policies of deindustrialization and the assault against working men and women and poor people of color. ..."
"... It is the result of the slashing of basic government services, including, of course, welfare, that Clinton gutted; deregulation, a decaying infrastructure, including public schools, and the de facto tax boycott by corporations. It is the result of the transformation of the country into an oligarchy. The nativist revolt on the right, and the aborted insurgency within the Democratic Party, makes sense when you see what they have done to the country. ..."
"... The Democratic Party, in particular, is driving this whole Russia witch-hunt. It cannot face its complicity in the destruction of our civil liberties -- and remember, Barack Obama's assault on civil liberties was worse than those carried out by George W. Bush -- and the destruction of our economy and our democratic institutions. ..."
"... Politicians like the Clintons, Pelosi and Schumer are creations of Wall Street. That is why they are so virulent about pushing back against the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party. ..."
"... The Democratic Party doesn't actually function as a political party. It's about perpetual mass mobilization and a hyperventilating public relations arm, all paid for by corporate donors. The base of the party has no real say in the leadership or the policies of the party, as Bernie Sanders and his followers found out. They are props in the sterile political theater. ..."
"... These party elites, consumed by greed, myopia and a deep cynicism, have a death grip on the political process. They're not going to let it go, even if it all implodes. ..."
"... The whole exercise was farcical. The White House would leak some bogus story to Judy Miller or Michael Gordon, and then go on the talk shows to say, 'as the Times reported .' It gave these lies the veneer of independence and reputable journalism. This was a massive institutional failing, and one the paper has never faced. ..."
"... The media's anti-Russia narrative has been embraced by large portions of what presents itself as the "left." ..."
"... Well, don't get me started on the American left. First of all, there is no American left -- not a left that has any kind of seriousness, that understands political or revolutionary theories, that's steeped in economic study, that understands how systems of power work, especially corporate and imperial power. The left is caught up in the same kind of cults of personality that plague the rest of society. It focuses on Trump, as if Trump is the central problem. Trump is a product, a symptom of a failed system and dysfunctional democracy, not the disease. ..."
"... For good measure, they purged the liberal class -- look at what they did to Henry Wallace -- so that Cold War "liberals" equated capitalism with democracy, and imperialism with freedom and liberty. I lived in Switzerland and France. There are still residues of a militant left in Europe, which gives Europeans something to build upon. But here we almost have to begin from scratch. ..."
"... The corporate elites we have to overthrow already hold power. And unless we build a broad, popular resistance movement, which takes a lot of patient organizing among working men and women, we are going to be steadily ground down. ..."
"... The corporate state has made it very hard to make a living if you hold fast to this radical critique. You will never get tenure. You probably won't get academic appointments. You won't win prizes. You won't get grants. ..."
"... The elite schools, and I have taught as a visiting professor at a few of them, such as Princeton and Columbia, replicate the structure and goals of corporations. If you want to even get through a doctoral committee, much less a tenure committee, you must play it really, really safe. You must not challenge the corporate-friendly stance that permeates the institution and is imposed through corporate donations and the dictates of wealthy alumni. Half of the members of most of these trustee boards should be in prison! ..."
"... Speculation in the 17th century in Britain was a crime. Speculators were hanged. And today they run the economy and the country. They have used the capturing of wealth to destroy the intellectual, cultural and artistic life in the country and snuff out our democracy. There is a word for these people: traitors. ..."
Oct 11, 2017 | www.unz.com

Originally from: The elites "have no credibility left" by Chris Hedges

But the whole idea that the Russians swung the election to Trump is absurd. It's really premised on the unproven claim that Russia gave the Podesta emails to WikiLeaks, and the release of these emails turned tens, or hundreds of thousands, of Clinton supporters towards Trump. This doesn't make any sense. Either that, or, according to the director of national intelligence, RT America, where I have a show, got everyone to vote for the Green Party.

This obsession with Russia is a tactic used by the ruling elite, and in particular the Democratic Party, to avoid facing a very unpleasant reality: that their unpopularity is the outcome of their policies of deindustrialization and the assault against working men and women and poor people of color. It is the result of disastrous trade agreements like NAFTA that abolished good-paying union jobs and shipped them to places like Mexico, where workers without benefits are paid $3.00 an hour. It is the result of the explosion of a system of mass incarceration, begun by Bill Clinton with the 1994 omnibus crime bill, and the tripling and quadrupling of prison sentences. It is the result of the slashing of basic government services, including, of course, welfare, that Clinton gutted; deregulation, a decaying infrastructure, including public schools, and the de facto tax boycott by corporations. It is the result of the transformation of the country into an oligarchy. The nativist revolt on the right, and the aborted insurgency within the Democratic Party, makes sense when you see what they have done to the country.

Police forces have been turned into quasi-military entities that terrorize marginal communities, where people have been stripped of all of their rights and can be shot with impunity; in fact over three are killed a day. The state shoots and locks up poor people of color as a form of social control. They are quite willing to employ the same form of social control on any other segment of the population that becomes restive.

The Democratic Party, in particular, is driving this whole Russia witch-hunt. It cannot face its complicity in the destruction of our civil liberties -- and remember, Barack Obama's assault on civil liberties was worse than those carried out by George W. Bush -- and the destruction of our economy and our democratic institutions.

Politicians like the Clintons, Pelosi and Schumer are creations of Wall Street. That is why they are so virulent about pushing back against the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party. Without Wall Street money, they would not hold political power. The Democratic Party doesn't actually function as a political party. It's about perpetual mass mobilization and a hyperventilating public relations arm, all paid for by corporate donors. The base of the party has no real say in the leadership or the policies of the party, as Bernie Sanders and his followers found out. They are props in the sterile political theater.

These party elites, consumed by greed, myopia and a deep cynicism, have a death grip on the political process. They're not going to let it go, even if it all implodes.

... ... ...

DN: Let's come back to this question of the Russian hacking news story. You raised the ability to generate a story, which has absolutely no factual foundation, nothing but assertions by various intelligence agencies, presented as an assessment that is beyond question. What is your evaluation of this?

CH: The commercial broadcast networks, and that includes CNN and MSNBC, are not in the business of journalism. They hardly do any. Their celebrity correspondents are courtiers to the elite. They speculate about and amplify court gossip, which is all the accusations about Russia, and they repeat what they are told to repeat. They sacrifice journalism and truth for ratings and profit. These cable news shows are one of many revenue streams in a corporate structure. They compete against other revenue streams. The head of CNN, Jeff Zucker, who helped create the fictional persona of Donald Trump on "Celebrity Apprentice," has turned politics on CNN into a 24-hour reality show. All nuance, ambiguity, meaning and depth, along with verifiable fact, are sacrificed for salacious entertainment. Lying, racism, bigotry and conspiracy theories are given platforms and considered newsworthy, often espoused by people whose sole quality is that they are unhinged. It is news as burlesque.

I was on the investigative team at the New York Times during the lead-up to the Iraq War. I was based in Paris and covered Al Qaeda in Europe and the Middle East. Lewis Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney, Richard Perle and maybe somebody in an intelligence agency, would confirm whatever story the administration was attempting to pitch. Journalistic rules at the Times say you can't go with a one-source story. But if you have three or four supposedly independent sources confirming the same narrative, then you can go with it, which is how they did it. The paper did not break any rules taught at Columbia journalism school, but everything they wrote was a lie.

The whole exercise was farcical. The White House would leak some bogus story to Judy Miller or Michael Gordon, and then go on the talk shows to say, 'as the Times reported .' It gave these lies the veneer of independence and reputable journalism. This was a massive institutional failing, and one the paper has never faced.

DN: The CIA pitches the story, and then the Times gets the verification from those who pitch it to them.

CH: It's not always pitched. And not much of this came from the CIA. The CIA wasn't buying the "weapons of mass destruction" hysteria.

DN: It goes the other way too?

CH: Sure. Because if you're trying to have access to a senior official, you'll constantly be putting in requests, and those officials will decide when they want to see you. And when they want to see you, it's usually because they have something to sell you.

DN: The media's anti-Russia narrative has been embraced by large portions of what presents itself as the "left."

CH: Well, don't get me started on the American left. First of all, there is no American left -- not a left that has any kind of seriousness, that understands political or revolutionary theories, that's steeped in economic study, that understands how systems of power work, especially corporate and imperial power. The left is caught up in the same kind of cults of personality that plague the rest of society. It focuses on Trump, as if Trump is the central problem. Trump is a product, a symptom of a failed system and dysfunctional democracy, not the disease.

If you attempt to debate most of those on the supposedly left, they reduce discussion to this cartoonish vision of politics.

The serious left in this country was decimated. It started with the suppression of radical movements under Woodrow Wilson, then the "Red Scares" in the 1920s, when they virtually destroyed our labor movement and our radical press, and then all of the purges in the 1950s. For good measure, they purged the liberal class -- look at what they did to Henry Wallace -- so that Cold War "liberals" equated capitalism with democracy, and imperialism with freedom and liberty. I lived in Switzerland and France. There are still residues of a militant left in Europe, which gives Europeans something to build upon. But here we almost have to begin from scratch.

I've battled continuously with Antifa and the Black Bloc. I think they're kind of poster children for what I would consider phenomenal political immaturity. Resistance is not a form of personal catharsis. We are not fighting the rise of fascism in the 1930s. The corporate elites we have to overthrow already hold power. And unless we build a broad, popular resistance movement, which takes a lot of patient organizing among working men and women, we are going to be steadily ground down.

So Trump's not the problem. But just that sentence alone is going to kill most discussions with people who consider themselves part of the left.

The corporate state has made it very hard to make a living if you hold fast to this radical critique. You will never get tenure. You probably won't get academic appointments. You won't win prizes. You won't get grants. The New York Times , if they review your book, will turn it over to a dutiful mandarin like George Packer to trash it -- as he did with my last book. The elite schools, and I have taught as a visiting professor at a few of them, such as Princeton and Columbia, replicate the structure and goals of corporations. If you want to even get through a doctoral committee, much less a tenure committee, you must play it really, really safe. You must not challenge the corporate-friendly stance that permeates the institution and is imposed through corporate donations and the dictates of wealthy alumni. Half of the members of most of these trustee boards should be in prison!

Speculation in the 17th century in Britain was a crime. Speculators were hanged. And today they run the economy and the country. They have used the capturing of wealth to destroy the intellectual, cultural and artistic life in the country and snuff out our democracy. There is a word for these people: traitors.

[Oct 11, 2017] The Sordid Double Life of Washingtons Most Powerful Ambassador

Something about real foreign influence in Washington corridors of power ... Bankrolling think tanks is pretty slick idea.
Notable quotes:
"... Close with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and other top national security officials, Otaiba has bankrolled nearly every major think tank in Washington. ..."
"... The diplomat has worked tirelessly for nearly two decades to push Washington's defense and foreign policy establishment to adopt MBZ's hawkish ideas on Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other contentious policy areas. Otaiba has been a leading voice in Washington for the war in Yemen, where the UAE operates torture warehouses and funds death squads. The conflict has left more than 10,000 dead and countless more starving and stricken with a cholera epidemic of historic proportions. ..."
Oct 11, 2017 | theintercept.com

Otaiba has become one of the most powerful and well-connected men in Washington, reportedly in touch with Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and adviser, on a weekly basis. His spending on galas, hospital wings, dinner parties, and birthday bashes has become legendary. Close with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and other top national security officials, Otaiba has bankrolled nearly every major think tank in Washington.

The Emirati envoy's cachet stems in part from his close relationship with Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who is widely considered to be the effective ruler of the UAE. The crown prince of Abu Dhabi, he is known in the region and in Washington by his initials MBZ. Since 2000, Otaiba has reported directly to MBZ as his head of international affairs, and then as the ambassador in Washington. "Before I was introduced to him, the way he was described to me was the guy MBZ trusts most on foreign issues and one of the smartest people in the UAE," said Kristofer Harrison, a former Bush administration official who worked closely with Otaiba.

The diplomat has worked tirelessly for nearly two decades to push Washington's defense and foreign policy establishment to adopt MBZ's hawkish ideas on Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other contentious policy areas. Otaiba has been a leading voice in Washington for the war in Yemen, where the UAE operates torture warehouses and funds death squads. The conflict has left more than 10,000 dead and countless more starving and stricken with a cholera epidemic of historic proportions.

A fixture among Washington society, Otaiba spent much of the last decade carefully constructing the image of an enlightened Persian Gulf diplomat -- forward-thinking on women's rights, secularism, and embracing the modern world. On International Women's Day this year, he published an open letter to his young daughter to drive the point home.

Otaiba's homeland, meanwhile, does not often live up to such values. The UAE has some of the most draconian sex crime laws of any place in the world. Just last week, a man and a woman were arrested for having a conversation in a car while being unrelated and unmarried. This week, two defendants were spared prison time for the crime of " indecent attire ," but fined and deported nonetheless.

[Oct 11, 2017] An Al Jazeera Reporter Went Undercover with the Pro-Israel Lobby In Washington

Oct 11, 2017 | theintercept.com

Swisher wouldn't confirm or deny the identity of the American operative, but he said that with the American political class focused on foreign intervention in the affairs of the United States, now is an appropriate time to run the follow-up investigation. "I hear the U.S. is having problems with foreign interference these days, so I see no reason why the U.S. establishment won't take our findings in America as seriously as the British did, unless of course Israel is somehow off limits from that debate," he said.

[Oct 11, 2017] A documentary focused on Israeli influence in the US, the existence of which has previously been suspected but had yet to be made public.

Notable quotes:
"... Is not all this noise about Rooskies has one and only one goal – to divert attention from the "gorilla" and her "struggle for survival" in the Middle East and in the US Congress? https://theintercept.com/2017/10/09/an-al-jazeera-reporter-went-undercover-with-the-pro-israel-lobby-in-washington/ ..."
Oct 11, 2017 | www.unz.com

Anon , Disclaimer October 11, 2017 at 4:33 pm GMT

@Johnny F. Ive

They need Russia to be an enemy to justify their actions and the Europeans want to use the US to threaten Russia. Its a shame this can't be generalized against all foreign agents of influence. The US Mainstream Media is basically an arm of the Hasbara. Their guest from think tanks are foreign agents of influence. Its not fun watching a bunch of foreigners and their domestic owned Americans run the US Empire into the ground.

Is not all this noise about Rooskies has one and only one goal – to divert attention from the "gorilla" and her "struggle for survival" in the Middle East and in the US Congress? https://theintercept.com/2017/10/09/an-al-jazeera-reporter-went-undercover-with-the-pro-israel-lobby-in-washington/

" a documentary focused on Israeli influence in the U.S., the existence of which has previously been suspected but had yet to be made public. The four-part series, "The Lobby," dug into the Israeli embassy in London, as well as several other pro-Israel lobby groups, and their campaign to "take down" British Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan.

The investigation led to the resignation of a top Israeli official in London, as well as a high-profile complaint that Al Jazeera had broken broadcasting regulations in the United Kingdom. One of the complaints charged the investigation with anti-Semitism, but the government board ruled that imputing such a motive to a film critical of Israel would be akin to calling a series on gang violence racist.

Ofcom received complaints about the series from pro-Israel British activists and a former Israel embassy employee. It dismissed all charges, which included anti-Semitism, bias, unfair editing, and the infringement of privacy. It ruled that as per the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's guidance: "It did not consider that such a critical analysis of the actions of a foreign state constituted anti-Semitism, particularly as the overall focus of the programme was to examine whether the State of Israel was acting in a manner that would be expected of other democratic nations."

[Oct 10, 2017] How to Turn Battleground Ukraine Into a Success Story

Notable quotes:
"... The US on the other hand is very keen on keeping control over its newest vassal, since, to quote Brzezinski's grand chess board, "without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire" . ..."
Oct 10, 2017 | nationalinterest.org

Pifer's narrative suggests that Putin's proposal concerning peace in Donbass is not serious so long as it does not comply with the deployment scheme suggested by the West. This statement is also quite erroneous. Putin's proposal is serious. The president of Russia does want peace . But his rules imply the conservation of non-bloc status of Ukraine.

Additionally, the rules mandate that Ukraine cease its attempts to discredit Russia-Europe energy cooperation vis-à-vis Nord Stream II, bring the "Crimean question" to a close, remove sanctions, and, presumably, pay special attention and respect to the rights of the Russian-speaking community in Ukraine.

PERICLES--- , October 9, 2017 10:36 PM

No offense is intended to the authors of this article, but it wasn't hard to tell they were Russian even just judging on the contents of the proposal. The entire point of any sort of DMZ in Ukraine is to make static potentially temporary Russian gains in a fluid battleground. This hypothetical DMZ would essentially be a third-party Maginot Line for Russia. Russia has stolen a comfy little buffer zone and would like to see that maintained. That's why the US would undoubtedly veto this.

Alternatively, the US could call Putin's bluff and use armored units and heavy bombers to retake Donbas for the Ukrainians, but pointedly stop short of Crimea. Russia maintains un-plausible deniability in the Donbas, so Putin would be able to save a least a little face. Crimea is claimed as full Russian territory, Putin would be politically unable to stop war from occurring if it was retaken by Ukrainian forces. After this a full withdrawal of US forces would be advisable so as not to trigger Russian fears of encirclement. Ukraine could be a neutral- but sovereign- nation. It could do more as a positive example to potential Russian dissidents than it ever could as a NATO member. A full-blown conflict with NATO would mean Putin's fall from power, and so it is very much in his interests to avoid it. We are operating from a position of strength, let's take advantage of it.

Andrey Kuleshov -> PERICLES--- , October 9, 2017 10:58 PM

"Alternatively, the US could call Putin's bluff and use armored units and heavy bombers to retake Donbas for the Ukrainians"..."

Wet dreams

0x7be -> PERICLES--- , October 10, 2017 4:03 PM

Somewhy US doesn't want to operate from "position of strength". May be because there is no position of strength...

Midnight -> PERICLES--- , October 10, 2017 10:21 AM

Lesson of geopolitics from redneck?

PERICLES--- -> Midnight , October 10, 2017 3:51 PM

I'm a Northerner.

Sascha Gruss -> Midnight , October 10, 2017 3:21 PM

The west will act tough and send more Ukrainians to die.

Midnight -> Sascha Gruss , October 10, 2017 3:33 PM

In Russia there is such a sad joke - the Americans will fight with Russia until the last Ukrainian ((

Sascha Gruss -> Midnight , October 10, 2017 4:39 PM

It should be the US will fight Russia until the last european dies.

Fake News Russian Troll , October 10, 2017 5:44 AM

Ukraine and the West have no interest in ending the war. This is why Minsk 2 failed, this is why the peace keeper proposal is bound to fail. Putins proposal is the separation of the opposing forces.

Again: Ukraine has no interest in it. It didn't adhere to it after Minsk, instead using it to occupy territory vacated by Donbass militias adhering to the peace agreement. The Western proposal is a complete occupation of the Donbass.

The peace troops would not be impartial, instead they want them to be posed by the West. It basically is the demand to hand everything over. A demand with no correlation to the political or military situation on the ground.

And handing over the control of the borders would not merely stop the weapons flow into Ukraine (something the Donbass never depended on, since some of the worlds largest weapons storages in the world were located right there and they've got them in abundance), but would surely be abused to stop any crossings and any trade across this border whatsoever.

Ukraine is blocking almost all trade between the Donbass and the rest of the country. They don't want them to trade with anyone else. They simply want to starve them out.

And finally: The worst thing that could happen to the regime in Kiev and its Western backers would be peace. Peace would force them to give up on blaming every fault on everyone else. Peace would make the Ukrainians wonder what has happened to their country since their coup. Peace would make them wonder what has happened to their economy since. Peace would make them wonder what had happened to the tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers who simply "disappeared" since the government tried to keep the already colossal losses down and the cost of paying annuities to their relatives.

Russia has no interest in this war. It knows that the economic future of Ukraine depends on Russia, and therefore has ample means to influence its neighbour.

The US on the other hand is very keen on keeping control over its newest vassal, since, to quote Brzezinski's grand chess board, "without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire" .

TotalBS -> Fake News Russian Troll , October 10, 2017 12:39 PM

Amen.

bakbaklazhan , October 10, 2017 4:26 PM

"To vanquish strategically, one often needs to take a tactical step back. "

in this phrase the authors are coming clear with regards to their goal of genociding russian speaking population of the eastern Ukraine and sucking "the Ukraine" into NATO...

[Oct 10, 2017] Izreal gets 77 percent of oil from Kurdistan. No wonder Israel is making ties to Kurdistan and bucking the central government of Iraq

Notable quotes:
"... The Kurdish leadership is being very short-sighted – no one is going to back them if they get attacked by those three parties. Is the US going to tango with a NATO member? But it could just be that their army gets trounced in the field after putting up a solid resistance and they are able to use that to get reassurances from those various states that Kurds will have a better seat at their respective national assemblies. I certainly don't know the future, but it just seems like the current trajectory is bad. ..."
Oct 10, 2017 | www.unz.com

Talha, October 10, 2017 at 5:08 pm GMT

@RobinG Hi Talha,

Here's an articulate source. Until the web gets outright censored, beyond the select eliminating and demonetizing that's happening now. See also Ryan Dawson's interview of Phil at comment #28. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybIee-u7qnY

War for Oil? (((Whose oil?))) Wow – thanks RobinG! I actually had no clue about that angle!!!

This article backs that up – 77% – that is massive!

http://www.jpost.com/Business-and-Innovation/Israel-importing-77-percent-of-its-oil-from-Iraqi-Kurdistan-report-says-413056

No wonder Israel is making ties to Kurdistan and bucking the central government of Iraq. If the central govt was to assert control, those numbers would change fairly quickly.

And – damn – Kushner's in on this stuff (it's amazing what that guy is up to in a completely unofficial capacity): http://al-monitor.com/pulse/afp/2017/04/us-politics-iraq-kushner-diplomacy.html

The Kurdish leadership is setting themselves up for disaster.

Peace.

Talha, October 10, 2017 at 5:54 pm GMT

@iffen

What's going to happen when "the Iranians" attack the Kurds?

Not sure if that'll happen – there's still time to prevent that from taking place. But if it does, it'll likely come from three sides; Turks, Persians and Arabs – since a new Kurdish territory is going to affect the territorial integrity of each one of those existing states.

Uncle Sam to the rescue?

The guy who spilled the milk comes back to spill some more – no thanks. Certainly Israel isn't going to lift a finger – maybe they'll give the Kurdish leadership exile status in Haifa or something for being good pets.

The Kurdish leadership is being very short-sighted – no one is going to back them if they get attacked by those three parties. Is the US going to tango with a NATO member? But it could just be that their army gets trounced in the field after putting up a solid resistance and they are able to use that to get reassurances from those various states that Kurds will have a better seat at their respective national assemblies. I certainly don't know the future, but it just seems like the current trajectory is bad.

Peace.

iffen, October 10, 2017 at 6:21 pm GMT

@Talha

What's going to happen when "the Iranians" attack the Kurds?

Where there is war, a cause can be found.

Talha, October 10, 2017 at 6:41 pm GMT

@RobinG Hey RobinG,

I've had some good exchanges with iffen – though rarely on the subject of Israel. We agree to disagree. But others might gain benefit in a serious reply that brings together some things they haven't thought about.

I think what the Kurdish leadership is doing is deplorable and will not lead to anything good – but unfortunately it seems much of their desire for a Kurdistan is being backed by a lot of their population. That being said; I do not want any more Muslim blood (or anybody else's) being shed by other Muslims in that region.

This fratricide has to end: "The believers are but a single brotherhood: So make peace and reconciliation between your brethren; and fear God, that you may receive Mercy." (49:10)

Peace.

[Oct 10, 2017] Sputnik and RT are too small, especially Sputnik. They are forced to be on the defensive all the time and have no ability to created successful memes or "fake news" that would put the western MSM on the defensive

Notable quotes:
"... According to SimilarWeb, it only gets a total of 2.5 million monthly visitors from the US. That's almost an Unz.com like level of visitorship even though Ron's budget and attention of social media/advertising crap is many orders of magnitude lower than Sputniks. Russian taxpayers don't deserve this. ..."
"... What was made clear by Mr. Lincoln and his Civil War was that the WASP Elites, the Yankee rich and powerful, saw the 1st Amendment as meaning all speech they supported would be actively promoted by Government while all speech they opposed would be shut down. ..."
"... It is also hypocritical in that countries like Israel that interfere regularly in American politics are exempt from FARA registration because no one dares to take such a step, while Russia is fair game. ..."
"... Without Russia the US Army would have no real reason to exist, ..."
"... the US Army is a large political force with many bases, half a million people, and a huge budget. ..."
"... The big corps are using their bought government to eliminate competition to their concentrated domestic media oligarchy. They can buy up all the domestic outlets, those outside have to be banned. It is ludicrous to blame foreigners for all your ills, when the vast majority of your country is itself made up of foreigners and their descendants, except for the tiny remainder of American Indians. Which identifies properly another way to identify the enemy destroying your nation: look in the mirror first. ..."
"... I think the big issue is that money runs the show. Big media, which is where many people still get their information is just rotten at the core. How to fix it? I don't know – maybe the internet (which is still relatively young) will be the new frontier for bring truth to the masses. ..."
"... "Russiagate" has been a farce from the very beginning, an attempt by that fat-ass witch to divert attention from the 30K emails–which is where the REAL scandal lies!! And where do we stand on that issue anyway? I won't hold my breath waiting. ..."
"... Propaganda? Our political class is going to protect us from Propaganda? Our bureaucracies, the Pentagon, the CIA, the FBI, are going to protect us from Propaganda? If it doesn't jibe with what our media organs of record are putting out, they're going to stamp it Propaganda? Don't make me laugh! The Propaganda is that those clowns wouldn't call a pig a duck for a dime's worth of advantage. ..."
"... This action on the part of the Sessions DOJ is hypocritical in light of the fact that we routinely undermine governments and institutions in Ukraine and Russia via our NGO's and in any nation whose foreign policy is deemed an impediment to the goals Israel and their American vassal state. ..."
"... Every banned political speech has always been banned because it was deemed 'subversive' or 'divisive'. Or the new 20th century term 'propaganda'. This has been the case for thousands of years, the censors always say that. No censor ever just banned free expression or said that it has to be banned because it is true. The banning is also often done by admin harassment, 'foreign agent' label, cutting access, etc.. ..."
"... So the latest hysteria about banning RT/Sputnik is squarely in the mainstream of censorship. It meets all the usual criteria: foreign influence, trying to stir up discord, undermining the system (that would be 'democracy' in US). And the methods are also the usual one: registration, harassment, restriction on distribution, etc ..."
Oct 10, 2017 | www.unz.com

Anatoly Karlin , Website October 10, 2017 at 1:00 pm GMT

To be quite frank I hope that the US declares RT/Sputnik foreign agents (or bans them outright).

1. They are more interested in Putin hagiography and idiotic conspiracy theories than intelligent propaganda anyway.

2. They are ineffective, especially Sputnik. According to SimilarWeb, it only gets a total of 2.5 million monthly visitors from the US. That's almost an Unz.com like level of visitorship even though Ron's budget and attention of social media/advertising crap is many orders of magnitude lower than Sputniks. Russian taxpayers don't deserve this.

3. Gives Russia a great excuse to kick out dishonest Western journalists (about 75% of them).

Andrei Martyanov , Website October 10, 2017 at 1:08 pm GMT

@Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften

The Europeans don't want to have American military bases there.

Not true. Some Europeans may not want that, but many others are perfectly content with the state of the affairs. As per Eastern Europe–majority of them want US military bases.

Jake , October 10, 2017 at 1:10 pm GMT

What was made clear by Mr. Lincoln and his Civil War was that the WASP Elites, the Yankee rich and powerful, saw the 1st Amendment as meaning all speech they supported would be actively promoted by Government while all speech they opposed would be shut down.

That was in keeping with the culture's source: Anglo-Saxon Puritanism. Puritans spouted Free Speech all day and all of the night, and if you dared speak against Cromwell or the Revolution, you paid dearly.

Hypocrisy about free speech is deep in the WASP DNA.

Angles and Saxons were Germanic tribes. WASP culture is Germanic. Germanics have always seen Slavs as inferior peoples they should war against perpetually, to steal their best land and make serfs of the survivors. This obsession with screwing with Russia is simply the contemporary manifestation of that part of the problem of unrestrained Germanic culture.

iffen , October 10, 2017 at 1:17 pm GMT

we are allowed to air views that are essentially banned on the mainstream media to include critique of maladroit policies in places like Syria and Afghanistan and biting critiques of the war on terror.

It is also hypocritical in that countries like Israel that interfere regularly in American politics are exempt from FARA registration because no one dares to take such a step, while Russia is fair game.

Almost! Almost made it!

Jake , October 10, 2017 at 1:20 pm GMT

@Anonymous

I don't trust Russia any more than you do. I have even less, much less, trust, for the UK, Germany, France, the EU, as well as America's Democrats and Neocons.

JoaoAlfaiate , October 10, 2017 at 1:22 pm GMT

Russia: White and Christian, sounds like an ideal ally for the United States.

John Fitzgerald , October 10, 2017 at 1:40 pm GMT

If the Feds are going to make RT register as a foreign agent due to foreign funding, where does it stop? On the same basis, all nationally owned news outlets must be forced to register, e.g., BBC, Al Jezeera, etc. And what about nominally non-government owned news entities that a home government renders financial assistance, eg, the London Times, if it needed government loans to survive? Would it be a British foreign agent?

And what about the New York Times, which in its perilous financial state appears to be substantially supported by loans from a Mexican National, Carlos Slim who in turn must be assumed to work hand-in-hand with the Mexican government, since most of his wealth comes from Mexican government-granted franchises.

Should the New York Times be registered as a Mexican foreign agent (its news coverage and editorials regarding immigration certainly would be evidence it is acting in that capacity)?

Wade , October 10, 2017 at 2:04 pm GMT

OT If anyone wants to catch a nice laid back interview with Phil Geraldi they can do so here:

A lengthy discussion about his sacking at TAC and AIPAC is had with Ryan Dawson. Both put in nice plugs for unz.com. I was really happy to see Phil being interviewed by Ryan. I hope they do this again sometime.

I came to Unz for Steve Sailer but Geraldi is slowly becoming my favorite author here. Thanks for sticking with things Phil. You're doing great work.

Sam Shama , October 10, 2017 at 2:05 pm GMT

@Priss Factor Priss, your comments are really funny. "Clown Streicher is a 'gypsy nazi'" Is Anglin a violent fruitboy like Streicher?

SolontoCroesus , October 10, 2017 at 2:12 pm GMT

@Jake

That was in keeping with the culture's source: Anglo-Saxon Puritanism. Puritans spouted Free Speech all dan and all of the night, and if you dared speak against Cromwell or the Revolution, you paid dearly.

Hypocrisy about free speech is deep in the WASP DNA.

Angles and Saxons were Germanic tribes. WASP culture is Germanic. Germanics have always seen Slavs as inferior peoples they should war against perpetually, to steal their best land and make serfs of the survivors. This obsession with screwing with Russia is simply the contemporary manifestation of that part of the problem of unrestrained Germanic culture.

What of King Arthur? How did Britain go from Arthur to Cromwell? What role Henry VIII, and Dutch banking/ Bank of England?

How did Russia go from Tolstoy to Trotsky? What role Jacob Schiff and atheist Bolshevism/Communism?

How did Germany go from Wagner to Merkel( after a brief Hitler Interruptus )? What role Rothschild, Marx/Zinoviev and Zionism?

FDR and Churchill were determined to keep organizationally strong Germany and resource-rich Russia -- Christian Russia -- from uniting; Cromwell's England and Morgenthau's USA wanted to control German skill and Russian resources; their heirs want the same today.

Arthur's Britain and Wagner's Germany are natural allies of Tolstoy's Russia (and also of Virgil's Italy and Ferdowsi's Persia, btw).

Toss over this White nonsense, it tells no story, moves no souls.

... ... ...

RobinG , October 10, 2017 at 2:21 pm GMT

"Sputnik ..has been under investigation due to the accusations made by a fired broadcaster named Andrew Feinberg."

The amazing thing is that Feinberg ever had the job. In this painful interview, he readily admits to little knowledge and less interest in the particulars of Ukrainian/Crimean/Russian history, politics and recent events. Despite this inadequacy, he's managed to use his dismissal for self-promotion.

Talking to ex-Sputnik employee Andrew Feinberg about "Russian propaganda"

anon , Disclaimer October 10, 2017 at 2:36 pm GMT

And on the flip side maybe all the Jewish/Israeli news organizations will register too, maybe even AIPAC. Foreign is foreign and fighting wars for foreign interests is no virtue.

It's no wonder we are able to make so many new frands and they just moving into the west everywhere. Spending taxpayer money in foreign countries is helping the US taxpayer. I guess moving a quarter of the population that said foreign country can't take care of and dumping them on the US taxpayer and their children is our gift. Then give them jobs here too.

This lovely idea was signed initially during the Clinton admin with the UN, and put into place during the Bush admin. Dems just hate corps except when they are their own. (Hegelian Dialectic at play everywhere) 20 Rillion in Debt. Millennium Challenge Corporation

MCC forms partnerships with some of the world's poorest countries, but only those committed to: good governance, economic freedom, and investments in their citizens."

https://www.mcc.gov/about

Anon , Disclaimer October 10, 2017 at 2:41 pm GMT

@Wade Interesting interview. Kind of disappointed not to see any evidence of Christianity in Giraldi's home, or at least not in that camera shot. Maybe his naïveté in approaching the issue, which brought on the artillary barrage, is due to his being oblivious to the larger spiritual, civilizational, battle going on. Forest/trees.

"Accumulating knowledge is a form of avarice and lends itself to another version of the Midas story man is so avid for knowledge that everything that he touches turns to facts; his faith becomes theology; his love becomes lechery; his wisdom becomes science; pursuing meaning, he ignores truth." -Malcolm Muggeridge

Don Bacon , October 10, 2017 at 2:46 pm GMT

@Johnny F. Ive

Without Russia the US Army would have no real reason to exist, Canada and Mexico being benign, because we all know that the US taxpayers are on the hook to defend Europe against the nasty powerful Russians which (mainly) defeated Germany in the last big one, and the US Army is a large political force with many bases, half a million people, and a huge budget.

Talha , October 10, 2017 at 2:47 pm GMT

@Andrei Martyanov

As per Eastern Europe–majority of them want US military bases.

"Let's you and him fight!" Peace.

Fran Macadam , October 10, 2017 at 3:17 pm GMT

The big corps are using their bought government to eliminate competition to their concentrated domestic media oligarchy. They can buy up all the domestic outlets, those outside have to be banned. It is ludicrous to blame foreigners for all your ills, when the vast majority of your country is itself made up of foreigners and their descendants, except for the tiny remainder of American Indians. Which identifies properly another way to identify the enemy destroying your nation: look in the mirror first.

RobinG , October 10, 2017 at 3:25 pm GMT

@Wade Thank you for posting. Not only is this a great interview with Phil, it's (for me) a much appreciated introduction to Ryan Dawson.

Fran Macadam , Website October 10, 2017 at 3:28 pm GMT

@Anatoly Karlin What you hope for is not in the interest of those of us who believe in free and unfettered discourse, which principle is one of the core reasons to believe in ideals that are supposed to define America.

It's fine to question foreign funded media, but it's against everything we are supposed to stand for to ban them.

As the famous jurist wrote, the answer to bad speech is more speech.

Let's debate what's said by foreigners, and their advocates, whether Russian, British, Israeli or any other. Our own government is not famous for truthfulness to the public, either. Let our own government answer them, if they question it, and let us determine where the truth lies, instead of being lied to.

John Jeremiah Smith , October 10, 2017 at 3:42 pm GMT

I watch programs on RT fairly frequently, and moreso with the arrival of the current crop of sitcoms, mindlessly insane 'dramas', firemen and cops shows, etc. Lotsa good stuff on RT. If you read the credits, you will find that most of the specials and magazines are not Russian productions. It's a good place to learn that much of the rest of world journalism bears no resemblance to the propaganda machines of the US networks.

US TV and radio production is a vast web of fabrications designed for social control, to manipulate public opinion, and to reinforce the will of the wealthy and powerful. The US government is corrupt throughout; the purpose of US media is to turn the public eye away from that corruption.

The Alarmist , October 10, 2017 at 3:49 pm GMT

@Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften A decade or so ago, when we still had a number of US bases in Germany, my German colleagues and neighbors used to ask why most of the GIs never left the base and only used Dollars for most of their commerce, again mostly on base, though a few merchants took Dollars on a rather good exchange basis that a local could arbitrage if he was paying attention. I experienced some of that a few decades ago myself when on TDY in Europe. The US might want bases there, but a non-trivial number of the troops can't be bothered to wander outside the gates very often, and may as well be in Nebraska or South Dakota for all their interest in being there.

As for the Europeans, a lot of the local merchants did want the bases there, and a lot of the locals welcomed the Amis. There were also places where the Amis represented a big payoff for the smallest things; you would be surprised how productive egg-layers Portuguese chickens were after you ran over one and found yourself compensating the farmer for all the eggs it would have laid in its life.

Anon , Disclaimer October 10, 2017 at 3:55 pm GMT

I'm not sure why it is but we always seem to be on the Muslims side, everywhere to the detriment of our own societies.

"Russia may be tightening its grip on Crimea, with little resistance to date, but they have yet to face the Crimean Tatar factor.

There are 266,000 Crimean Tatars in Crimea, over 13% of the local population. They are Sunni Muslim, traditionally pro-Ukrainian, and much better organized than the local Ukrainians, who make up 23% of the population."

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/05/tartar-ukraine-sunni-muslims-threat-russian-rule-crimea

"For more than a year, Chechens, Muslims from southwestern Russia, have been fighting on both sides of Ukraine's struggle against Russian occupation.

The undeniably frank reason one anti-Russia militiaman recently gave The New York Times? "We always fight the Russians."

The Chechens have had a long and tense relationship with Russia's central government, alternatively fighting for independence and courting special favor from the rulers in Moscow. When Russia annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea in March 2014, it once again gave Chechens a reason to push back against Russian overreach"

http://dailycaller.com/2015/07/22/russian-muslims-traveling-to-fight-against-russias-ukraine-invasion/

We have plenty of Muslims in Congress to represent their people. I'm sure our alphabet agencies have plenty too. According to Wikipedia almost no one likes Russia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Russian_sentiment

"Widespread ethnic cleansing accompanied the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992–95), as large numbers of Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) and Bosnian Croats were forced to flee their homes and were expelled by Bosnian Serbs;[1] and some Bosnian Croats also carried out similar campaign against Bosniaks and Serbs. Also, Bosnian Muslims conducted similar acts against Croats, especially in Central Bosnia.[2]"

https://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=UTF-8&fr=crmas&p=ethnic+cleansing+in+bosnia

Fought for these in Afghanistan. Ex president made a home at the UN.
"The Afghan Northern Alliance, officially known as the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan (Persian: جبهه متحد اسلامی ملی برای نجات افغانستان‎‎ Jabha-yi Muttahid-i Islāmi-yi Millī barāyi Nijāt-i Afghānistān), was a military front that came to formation in late 1996 after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Taliban) took over Kabul. The United Front was assembled by key leaders of the Islamic State of Afghanistan, particularly president Burhanuddin Rabbani and former Defense Minister Ahmad Shah Massoud. Initially it included mostly Tajiks but by 2000, leaders of other ethnic groups had joined the Northern Alliance. This included Abdul Rashid Dostum, Mohammad Mohaqiq, Abdul Qadir, Asif Mohseni and others."

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

"The Afghan-Bosnian Mujahideen Network in Europe By Evan F. Kohlman" http://www.aina.org/reports/tabmnie.pdf Wow it just goes on.

Talha , October 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm GMT

@Fran Macadam

Hey Fran,

I like what you're bringing to the table here. I think the big issue is that money runs the show. Big media, which is where many people still get their information is just rotten at the core. How to fix it? I don't know – maybe the internet (which is still relatively young) will be the new frontier for bring truth to the masses.

But that is also a big IF – since there is so much on the internet which is just trash and lacks any sort of serious vetting. Peace.

Paranam Kid , October 10, 2017 at 4:03 pm GMT

@animalogic

The huge lumbering predator, as it's strength slowly, slowly fades lashes out at the flies & mozzies that encircle it .

That is a nice succinct way of describing the failing Empire

anonymous , Disclaimer October 10, 2017 at 4:16 pm GMT

"Russiagate" has been a farce from the very beginning, an attempt by that fat-ass witch to divert attention from the 30K emails–which is where the REAL scandal lies!! And where do we stand on that issue anyway? I won't hold my breath waiting.

iffen , October 10, 2017 at 4:23 pm GMT

@Talha will be the new frontier for bring truth to the masses

Whose truth?

Plus, there is a difference between discourse and propaganda.

The 88s here are not confounded so much by not being allowed free discourse as they are whinging about the fact that their propaganda and motivated opinion pieces are not carried 24/7 by every available outlet.

RobinG , October 10, 2017 at 4:37 pm GMT

@Talha Hi Talha,

Here's an articulate source. Until the web gets outright censored, beyond the select eliminating and demonetizing that's happening now. See also Ryan Dawson's interview of Phil at comment #28.

War for Oil? (((Whose oil?)))

RobinG , October 10, 2017 at 4:42 pm GMT

@iffen Thanks for volunteering to give us a review. I just watched a minute. (((Don't know how I missed this.)))

Decades of Deception

Reality Checker , October 10, 2017 at 4:51 pm GMT

@Anonymous I don't trust Russia one bit . . .

And why is that? Because your government and their MSM sycophants have brainwashed you to think that way? It's time people like you that have this inherent distrust of Russia get a grip and start using some critical thinking skills. I know that's really hard but give it a try, o.k.?

Talha , October 10, 2017 at 5:01 pm GMT

@iffen will be the new frontier for bring truth to the masses

Whose truth? Plus, there is a difference between discourse and propaganda. The 88s here are not confounded so much by not being allowed free discourse as they are whinging about the fact that their propaganda and motivated opinion pieces are not carried 24/7 by every available outlet.

Whose truth?

I'll just be happy to get facts at this point. Most can't be bothered to get that part straight. The MSM dropped the baton big time. Now people all over the internet are picking it up – the problem I see is information glut. How does one sift through the incredible amount of information.

Peace.

Sloopyjoe , October 10, 2017 at 5:58 pm GMT

Sputnik and RT are targeted in order to keep the "Boogey Man" alive by the following parties:

1) Globalist Banksters – They desperately need continued wars to distract the global peasants from the banker-caused multi-hundred trillion $ coming derivatives time-bomb and to keep their drug wash flow going. Also, its getting more and more difficult to keep under wraps the Dual-Financing of the "Official" Govts and "Deep State (SSP)" Govts. "Gotta keep those Kabbalistic Blood Sacrifices going or our Invisible Sky Daddy will be mad at us and won't let us on the Space Ship".

2) Big Pharma Slime (Vaccines/Viruses), GMO Sickos, Trans-Humanist Psychos, and Fascist Neo-Cons – "Just trying to get that Agenda21 Borg World going". 500 million micro-chipped global population is the goal.

3) The MIC – "We need more wars so we can keep force feeding our over-priced pieces of crap to our satellite colonies" and multi-trillion $ financial redirect to the SSP.

4) Israel – Russia and Iran (Persia) are the perennial enemies of the Talmudic Terrorists for kicking the Fake Jewish Khazarians/AshkeNAZIs out of their Western Asian homelands around 1250 AD. The psychotic and retarded (613 Talmudic Commandments, REALLY?) Clan Circumcision has a thing for blood feuds. Did you lose another Dolphin-Class Submarine?

5) The dying USSA Empire of Tampons and associated prostitute Politicos – Former colonies are fleeing East faster than Barry from his wife Michael er, I meant Michelle. Petro-Dollar going poof. USSA economy heading for the big flush regardless of the jiggered Plunge Protection Team numbers. "Must keep distracting our willfully-gullible peasant masses with more False Flags and Wars else they wise up and HANG US ALL".

And lastly

6) Hillawi Bin-Gazi Dykehar – Former candidate with continued delusional desires for Puppet Pres. of the USSA and current Jihadi commandante of Al-Shiksa. Al-Shiksa was last seen campaigning at Costco. This terrorist group is populated by fat ill-tempered donut-bumping Psycho Wenches and Cucked Eunuchs. Their battle cry is rumored to be "We love chocolate cake!!!" or "Damn those Weiner Tapes!!!". Sorry, my Shiksanese is not up to speed.

Did I miss anybody? Thanks for viewing.

polskijoe , October 10, 2017 at 6:15 pm GMT

RT talks about mass immigration problems, shows more inside of Israel including their nasty policies, questions neocons and liberals. For an English speaking forum that is rare. The comment section.. sometimes its okay, sometimes bad.

You will find conservative/traditional posters majority. Go to BBC, CNN, etc its liberal/"progressive" dominated. In the West Neocons and Liberals dominate the media. RT obviously has an agenda, probably divide. Sometimes comments get deleted.

nsa , October 10, 2017 at 6:22 pm GMT

A "reporter" named Feinberg turns out to be a traitorous rat actually working for the DOJ (Dept of Joostice). Who woulda thunk?

Flavius , October 10, 2017 at 7:01 pm GMT

Propaganda? Our political class is going to protect us from Propaganda? Our bureaucracies, the Pentagon, the CIA, the FBI, are going to protect us from Propaganda? If it doesn't jibe with what our media organs of record are putting out, they're going to stamp it Propaganda? Don't make me laugh! The Propaganda is that those clowns wouldn't call a pig a duck for a dime's worth of advantage.

"The Russians tried to influence our election" taken at face value and removed from the context of 65 years of American Foreign Policy is probably the most pernicious little bit of self serving swamp propaganda that I've ever seen. It appears to be the factoid that the Uniparty and its legions have chosen upon which to make their last stand and to hell with the American people.

utu , October 10, 2017 at 7:15 pm GMT

@Anatoly Karlin

To be quite frank I hope that the US declares RT/Sputnik foreign agents (or bans them outright). – I hope you wrote this thoughtlessly because you were exasperated or upset or something. You should perhaps take it back. There is no question that Russia is better off with RT and Sputnik than w/o them. Any child understands it.

Vidi , October 10, 2017 at 9:02 pm GMT

This assault on the First Amendment shows that the driving force behind the neocons is not American. A real American would tend to value the Constitution more.

KenH , October 10, 2017 at 9:09 pm GMT

As Priss Factor mentioned, RT and Sputnik do tend to be left of center on many issues, but they do appear to be sincere and independent leftists in contrast to the American prog establishment which has become just a dog and pony show controlled and directed by Jewish billionaires like Soros. RT especially is no friend of white nationalism although they have given figures on the racialist right air time on occasion.

I do find they are more objective in foreign policy matters whereas the U.S. media , including, FOX, all sing from the same song sheet on foreign policy matters and only differ slightly in degree. But they rarely seem to criticize Israel.

This action on the part of the Sessions DOJ is hypocritical in light of the fact that we routinely undermine governments and institutions in Ukraine and Russia via our NGO's and in any nation whose foreign policy is deemed an impediment to the goals Israel and their American vassal state.

Beckow , October 10, 2017 at 9:32 pm GMT

Every banned political speech has always been banned because it was deemed 'subversive' or 'divisive'. Or the new 20th century term 'propaganda'. This has been the case for thousands of years, the censors always say that. No censor ever just banned free expression or said that it has to be banned because it is true. The banning is also often done by admin harassment, 'foreign agent' label, cutting access, etc..

So the latest hysteria about banning RT/Sputnik is squarely in the mainstream of censorship. It meets all the usual criteria: foreign influence, trying to stir up discord, undermining the system (that would be 'democracy' in US). And the methods are also the usual one: registration, harassment, restriction on distribution, etc

It is a minor issue and mainly matters symbolically. But it is going to give US democracy and freedom of speech reputation a black eye. How does recover once speech is banned because it is causing 'division in the society'? The problem is that the ruling class simply doesn't understand what classical liberal values are – they talk a lot, they 'lawyer' a lot, but have no understanding of what a free society looks like.

Priss Factor , Website October 10, 2017 at 10:17 pm GMT

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5854-qAqkM

Vinteuil , October 10, 2017 at 11:12 pm GMT

@Anatoly Karlin Never even knew Sputnik existed. RT I knew about – but it's got about the same profile as Al Jazeera in the USA: i.e., next to none.

Avery , October 10, 2017 at 11:45 pm GMT

@Anatoly Karlin

{3. Gives Russia a great excuse to kick out dishonest Western journalists (about 75% of them).}

Interesting perspective.

Seamus Padraig , October 10, 2017 at 11:55 pm GMT

At least the Russians have a sense of humor about the whole thing. Here's their new ad campaign for RT UK: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1438856412889207&set=a.117074591734069.21731.100002945854869&type=3&theater

[Oct 10, 2017] Sputnik and RT Under Investigation

FARA was a powerful tool against attempts to stage a color revolution in the particular county. But it can't save decaying neolineraim. which by now probably exceeed useful shelf life. The only thing that is keeping it afoot is there is no political force capable to provide viable alternative. That's it. Bastard neoliberalism of Trump is essentially the acceptance of the defeat.
The charge "Intended to discredit the United States government and its institutions" is too broad change and if applied indiscriminately no other entity other then government controlled press can operate in the country.
As a short term measure it definitely will be effective (although it increase popularity of RT.uk or RT.ca) as this essentially shut down both in the USA. RT can operate much like Guardian . But in a longer term, blacklisting RT (Sputnik is not that important) is a sign of weakness, not strength.
But eventually the boomerang might return and not necessary for entities like "Voice of America" (which after the collapse of the USA became a zombie for the xUSSR audiences). While influence of Voice of America on foreign audience now is minuscule and this is mostly money wasted due to decline of neoliberal ideology (and with it prestige and influence of the USA) , they can now be shut down with impunity, by any foreign government inclined to do so.
So in a way, the US actions engager crown jewels of its propaganda machine. also any such action is a sign of weakness not strength by definition. It just signify that the tratment of neoliberalism in RT can't be fought by directly.
And not only Voice of America but also similar, potentially more effective propaganda entities. In effect that is the acceptable of the fact that neoliberal MSM are losing grip on the population and require coercive measures against competitors.
Notable quotes:
"... The apparent line of inquiry that the Bureau is pursuing is that both are agencies of the Russian government and that both have been spreading disinformation ..."
"... This alleged action would make them, in the DOJ view, a propaganda arm of a foreign government rather than a news service. It also makes them subject to Department of the Treasury oversight under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938. ..."
"... Feinberg, the former Sputnik White House correspondent, reportedly took with him a thumb drive containing some thousands of internal business files when he left his office. ..."
"... News organizations are normally considered to be exempt from the requirements of FARA. ..."
"... The DOJ is in effect saying that RT and Sputnik are nothing more than propaganda organs and do not qualify as journalism. I would have to disagree if one goes by the standards of contemporary journalism in the United States. ..."
"... they have been as often as not leading propaganda organs for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, pushing a particular agenda and denigrating Donald Trump. They differ little from the admittedly biased television news reporting provided by Fox News and MSNBC. ..."
"... Regarding Sputnik, Feinberg claimed inter alia ..."
"... Voice of America ..."
Oct 10, 2017 | www.unz.com

Somehow everything keeps coming back around to Russia. In one of its recent initiatives, the Justice Department (DOJ) appears to be attacking the First Amendment as part of the apparent bipartisan program to make Vladimir Putin the fall guy for everything that goes wrong in Washington. In the past month, the DOJ has revealed that the FBI is investigating Russian owned news outlets Sputnik News and RT International and has sent letters to the latter demanding that one of its business affiliates register as a foreign agent by October 17 th . The apparent line of inquiry that the Bureau is pursuing is that both are agencies of the Russian government and that both have been spreading disinformation that is intended to discredit the United States government and its institutions.

This alleged action would make them, in the DOJ view, a propaganda arm of a foreign government rather than a news service. It also makes them subject to Department of the Treasury oversight under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938.

Sputnik , which is owned by a Russian government media group headed by Putin consigliere Dimitri Kiselyov, has been under investigation due to the accusations made by a fired broadcaster named Andrew Feinberg. Feinberg, the former Sputnik White House correspondent, reportedly took with him a thumb drive containing some thousands of internal business files when he left his office. He has been interviewed by the FBI, has turned over his documents, and has claimed that much of the direction over what the network covered came from Moscow.

RT America , more television oriented than Sputnik, operates through two business entities : RTTV America and RTTV Studios. The Department of Justice has refused to identify which of the businesses has been targeted by a letter calling for registration under FARA, but it is believed to be RTTV America, which provides both operational support of the broadcasting as well as the production facilities. Both companies are actually owned by Russian-American businessman Alex Yazlovsky, though the funding for them presumably comes from the Russian government.

I have noticed very little pushback in the U.S. mainstream and alternative media regarding the Department of Justice moves, presumably because there is a broad consensus that the Russians have been interfering in our "democracy" and have had it coming. If that assumption on my part is correct, the silence over the issue reflects a certain naïvete while also constituting a near perfect example of a pervasive tunnel vision that obscures the significant collateral damage that might be forthcoming.

News organizations are normally considered to be exempt from the requirements of FARA. The Department of Justice action against the two Russian major media outlets is unprecedented insofar as I could determine. Even Qatar owned al-Jazeera, which was so vilified during the early stages of the Afghan War that it had its Kabul offices bombed by the U.S., did not have to register under FARA, was permitted to operate freely, and was even allowed to buy a television channel license for its American operations.

The DOJ is in effect saying that RT and Sputnik are nothing more than propaganda organs and do not qualify as journalism. I would have to disagree if one goes by the standards of contemporary journalism in the United States. America's self-described "newspapers of record" the New York Times and the Washington Post pretend that they have a lock on stories that are "true." The Post has adopted the slogan "Democracy Dies in Darkness" while the Times proclaims "The truth is more important now than ever," but anyone who has read either paper regularly for the past year knows perfectly well that they have been as often as not leading propaganda organs for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, pushing a particular agenda and denigrating Donald Trump. They differ little from the admittedly biased television news reporting provided by Fox News and MSNBC.

What exactly did the Russians do? According to last January's report signed off on by the FBI, CIA and NSA, which may have motivated the DOJ to take action, RT and Sputnik "consistently cast President-elect Trump as the target of unfair coverage from traditional U.S. media outlets that they claimed were subservient to a corrupt political establishment." Well, they certainly got that one right and did better in their reporting of what was going on among the American public than either the Washington Post or New York Times .

Regarding Sputnik, Feinberg claimed inter alia that he was "pushed" to ask questions at White House press briefings suggesting that Syria's Bashar al-Assad was not responsible for some of the chemical attacks that had taken place. One wonders at Feinberg's reluctance as Sputnik and RT were not the only ones expressing skepticism over the claims of Syrian involvement, which have been widely debunked. And why is expressing a credible alternative view on an event in Syria even regarded as propaganda damaging to the American public?

There is a difficult to distinguish line between FARA restricted "trying to influence opinion" using what is regarded a fake news and propaganda and legitimate journalism reporting stories where the "facts" have been challenged. Even real journalists choose to cover stories selectively, inevitably producing a certain narrative for the viewer, listener or reader. All news services do that to a greater or lesser extent.

I have considerable personal experience of RT in particular and, to a lesser extent, with Sputnik. I also know many others who have been interviewed by one or both. No one who has done so has ever been coached or urged to follow a particular line or support a specific position insofar as I know. Nor do I know anyone who has actually been paid to appear. Most of us who are interviewed are appreciative of the fact that we are allowed to air views that are essentially banned on the mainstream media to include critique of maladroit policies in places like Syria and Afghanistan and biting critiques of the war on terror.

Sputnik, in my opinion, does, however, lean heavily towards stories that are critical of the United States and its policies, while RT has a global reach and is much more balanced in what it covers. For sure, it too criticizes U.S. policies and is protective of the Russian government, but it does not substantially differ from other national news services that I have had done interviews for. I find as much uniquely generated negative reporting about the U.S. (usually linked to violence or guns) on BBC World News, France24 and Deutsche Welle as I do on RT International . To describe it as part of an "influence campaign" driven by a "state-run propaganda machine" has a kernel of truth but it is nevertheless a bit of a stretch since one could make the same claims about any government financed news service, including Voice of America . Governments only get into broadcasting to promote their points of view, not to inform the public.

There is a serious problem in the threats to use FARA as it could advance the ongoing erosion of freedom of the press in the United States by establishing the precedent that a foreign news services that is critical of the U.S. will no longer be tolerated. It is also hypocritical in that countries like Israel that interfere regularly in American politics are exempt from FARA registration because no one dares to take such a step, while Russia is fair game.

Going after news outlets also invites retaliation against U.S. media operating in Russia and, eventually, elsewhere. Currently Western media reports from Russia pretty much without being censored or pressured to avoid certain stories. I would note a recent series that appeared on CBS featuring the repulsive Stephen Colbert spending a week in Russia which mercilessly lampooned both the country and its government. No one arrested him or made him stop filming. No one claimed that he was trying to undermine the Russian government or discredit the country's institutions, even though that is precisely what he was doing.

And then there is the issue of the "threat" posed by news media outlets like RT and Sputnik. Even combined the two services have limited access to the U.S. market, with a 2014 study suggesting that they have only 2.8 million actual weekly viewers . RT did not make the cut and is not included on the list of 100 most popular television channels in the U.S. and it has far less market penetration than other foreign news services like the BBC. It can be found on only a limited number of cable networks in a few, mostly urban areas. It does better in Europe, but its profile in the U.S. market is miniscule. As even bad news is good news in terms of selling a product, it probably did receive higher ratings when the intelligence agency report slamming it came out on it in January. Everyone probably wanted to learn what RT was all about.

So it seems to me that the United States' moves against RT and Sputnik are little more than lashing out at a problem that is not really a problem in a bid to again promote the Russian "threat" to explain the ongoing dysfunction that prevails in America's democratic process. One keeps reading or hearing how the American government has "indisputable" proof of Moscow's intentions to subvert democracy in the U.S. as well as in Europe but the actual evidence is still elusive. Will Russiagate end with a bang or a whimper? No one seems to know.

Priss Factor > , Website October 10, 2017 at 4:52 am GMT

The irony is RT news is pretty much dominated by Progs and Leftists. It's not Russian Nationalist or Conservative. But it features the kinds of Progs who do question and challenge Globalist Oligarchs of the West.

Johnny F. Ive > , October 10, 2017 at 5:43 am GMT

They need Russia to be an enemy to justify their actions and the Europeans want to use the US to threaten Russia. Its a shame this can't be generalized against all foreign agents of influence. The US Mainstream Media is basically an arm of the Hasbara. Their guest from think tanks are foreign agents of influence. Its not fun watching a bunch of foreigners and their domestic owned Americans run the US Empire into the ground.

Backwoods Bob > , October 10, 2017 at 5:59 am GMT

As psychopaths lose their grip over the target, they change from cool, calm, lie-to-your face con men to pathetic, shrieking cartoons of themselves.

The shredders were working overtime, bleach bit, hammers, cell phones wiped, people bumped off, closing up all of the criminal gangster operations of the government before Trump got in.

They can't get rid of him, not suing for re-counts, not getting him declared incompetent, not stage-managed riots of Soros stooges, not a fake dossier with Russian whores peeing on the Donald's bed, not screeching about Russia

Eventually, if our Republic is worth a shit at all, these crimes will finally be acknowledged and the hysteria over Russia will subside.

Ronald Thomas West > , Website October 10, 2017 at 6:26 am GMT

What the Russians appear to have clearly recognized is how to take advantage of the corrupt nature of the western 'mainstream' press, an institution which has been co-opted by western intelligence agencies for a very long time.

The Russian method? It could not be more simple; report the actual facts in the geopolitical contest and when this is inconvenient, practice lies by omission

Depending on the geopolitical reality of the day, for instance whether the paranoid ego-maniac Sultan Erdogan of Turkey is behaving well or not, the stories by western dissident journalists that will withstand a close scrutiny are run in Russian or Russia friendly media outlets. The result? Odds are 100:1 you'll get more reliable information from Russian state TV or Russian sponsored websites than from ABC, CBS, CNN or NBC

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2016/12/03/propaganda-spy-vs-spy/

My take from 10 or so months ago. I don't really think much has changed except for the 'Russia hacked the election' story is clearly more false than ever; with narcissism queen Julian Assange holding the story hostage:

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2017/09/16/incompetent-espionage-wikileaks-iii/

Verymuchalive > , October 10, 2017 at 6:46 am GMT

Russia has been remarkably restrained in its counteractions. But retaliate fully it will. China is getting its retaliation in first, with plans for an oil futures market, trading in yuan, in Shanghai already near completion. The days of the Petro-dollar seem numbered. Will American hegemony collapse with a bang or a whimper? No one seems to know.
Either way, ten years from now, " Russiagate ", a fake scandal, will be almost completely forgotten, rather like major real scandals earlier this century like Enron. The latter seems to have been pushed right down the memory hole.

exiled off mainstreet > , October 10, 2017 at 7:51 am GMT

This is further evidence that the yankee regime walks and talks like a fascist duck. Its deep state and its media acolytes, Carlos Slim's New York Times, CIA contractor Bezos' Washington Post, PBS, the corporate parasite broadcast system, CNN, the Clinton News Network, NBC, home of professional lesbian deepstate lackey Rachel Maddow, CBS and ABC (along with government owned satellite state medias like BBC, CBC and Australia's ABC are quintessential propaganda outlets. While the Russian outlets are naturally pro-Russian, they are less openly propagandistic than the US-controlled propaganda press, which is on the side of barbarism in its attitudes toward the middle east and NATO issues.

LondonBob > , October 10, 2017 at 8:10 am GMT

I actually find the quality of guests on RT to be far superior to what the British news channels offer, embarrassingly so really as these guests seem easy enough to find whilst the likes of the BBC believe the ill informed opinions of journalists is only of interest. RT UK is also a lot more politically balanced with most of the media seemingly having ditched the old ethos that they should at least make some vague attempt at balance. RT's coverage of the migrant crisis was in stark contrast to the British media's cheer leading. In addition in the past few years Palestine has completely disappeared from British screens however RT still covers the occupation as well as matters such as the USS Liberty.

Anyway this does seem like part and parcel of the attempt to increasingly suppress the press and free speech in the West, whether that is driven by lefty ideologues, zionists, an unthinking security apparatus or a military with no purpose.

[Oct 10, 2017] DECAMERON NEO-CON RESET

Oct 10, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Last week saw the Senate Intelligence Committee going after Russia's influence in the "free market places of ideas": Twitter, Facebook, etc. Senators fulminated over Twitter's failure to appreciate the magnitude of the danger of Russia's interference in free elections. Cartoonists lampooned Russia with caricatures of the famous Russian military parades showing the Facebook and Twitter logos as displays in the parade along with tanks and missiles.

Suddenly the Senate was all atwitter over, well, Twitter. Who's feeding this sudden awareness?

The recently created Alliance for Securing Democracy, housed (at least for now) at the German Marshall Fund--USA is one of the core anti-Putin, anti-Russia operations that merits keeping an eye on, especially as it impacts Congressional hearings, resolutions, and media. It's an alliance of hard core neo-cons who were in the thick of promoting the 2003 Iraq war and the "axis of evil" attacks on Iran-Iraq-North Korea during Bush 43 administration, with the hillary-cons.

They're determined to turn up the heat against Moscow, not just in the United States, but to spread the Cold War mania to Europe through its GMF network.

For now, the Alliance's money seems to be limited, but it is a clear move to migrate the "Never Trump" Republicans into alliance with the Democratic Party, even further polluting and destroying that party on the foreign policy front.

With a network of some 2 dozen operatives in the USA and Europe (including former Assistant Secretary of Defense under Obama, Derek Chollet) the Alliance for Securing Democray blog is churning out steady stream of articles about Russian interference in elections (including big focus on the latest German elections) and demanding that Congress take action to further investigate/stop Russian interference in said elections. They claim to be monitoring 600 Russian twitter accounts that they think are threatening democracy.

A significant part of the apparatus comes from the group, Foreign Policy Initiative which went belly up in August, 2017, when it ceased operations. According to The Nation, FPI's demise was largely due to the dropping off of funds in 2017 after the Trump election. The FPI was led by William Kristol and Robert Kagan. These "never Trump'ers" were apparently an albatross after the 2016 elections for some Republican and conservative deep pockets who always want to keep a path open to the White House, no matter who they preferred.

Now Kristol has a new home on the Advisory Board of the Alliance for Securing Democracy along with Michael Chertoff, and the anti-Putin ex-Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul. Also on the Board is Jake Sullivan, a top Hillary operative at the State Dept. Chertoff recently landed a Wall Street Journal article on September 6 th , headlined, Congress Can Help Prevent Election Hacking. I expect there will be a lot of Congressional action on this front if the "Alliance for Securing Democracy" has its way.

Securing democracy? The crowd that brought us Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011?

Investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald did an impressive first expose of this outfit in July of this year, identifying the alliance between the war party neo-cons and the Democratic Party, but there's a lot more to watch in its continuing operations to promote its Cold War agenda, especially in Congress.

james , 08 October 2017 at 07:13 PM

these neo con bloodsuckers are becoming irrelevant.. sure, they continue to suck on the blood of a number of countries, but it is going to come to an end. if fact, it looks like the end is in motion at present.. they want their war where-ever, and the corporations are all in tow on this.. meanwhile ordinary people can see it for what it is..

i saw an article in fox news from kagan.. what was interesting were the comments in response to his drivel... it gave me hope that people who are crazy enough to even read something on fox news, can see bullshit when they see it and are willing to call it as such.. people aren't beholden to the western msm as much as some would like to think..

tpcelt , 08 October 2017 at 09:40 PM
How can ordinary people, like me, be informed and make sound decisions? Common sense with a strong bu****t meter helps. But there's so much going on and cross currents.
1664RM , 08 October 2017 at 10:03 PM
Are sure you have the title correct? 'Reset'

- Personally I don't think there has ever been a 'reset'.

It's the same as it ever was - they are still there operating in plain sight & pulling the strings & levers of power in both the US Senate & Congress, of course the influence of the AIPAC 'bloc' cannot be overlooked.

HRC was their candidate, as was BHO, as was Bush the younger, as was WJC et al.

PNAC is alive & well, the plan is still to destroy any nation which can independently produce/supply hydrocarbons outside of the control of the US/Saudi hydrocarbon cartel, or act as a third party transit corridor to China or Europe.

These nations typically fall foul of 'coloured revolutions', or ethinc minorities within them - normally Sunni Muslims suddenly become the victims of 'ethnic cleansing' by State Govt forces, no proof of this (pictures, moving images etc is ever provided by the MSM). The issue is presented to the world as an 'uman rights issue. Often local Sunni extremists (sometime in neighbouring states) then wage 'Jihad' & thus the state in question is totally destroyed & 'Balkanised in the process.

Coupled with this is the ongoing operation to isolate Russian geopolitical & economic influence over Festung Europa whilst drawing an ever more 'Balkanized 'Europa' into more reliance on US influenced sources of hydrocarbons.

Simultaneous to this is the encirclement of Russia on 3 sides with THAAD style weapons & conventional military forces to create a preemptive Nuclear/Conventional Strike Scenario a reality.

In the Asia Pacific region its also a similar plan directed against China.

All of this is directly linked to maintaining the economic hegemony of the US 'Empire' into the 21st Century.

Its not that simple to work out or follow.

Just my vacant ramblings this fine Monday morning 'downunder' feel free to rip it apart as you wish.

Linda , 08 October 2017 at 11:08 PM
And now Possibly Iran in 2017
1664RM -> Linda... , 09 October 2017 at 10:16 AM
Myanmar - shaping up to become a new hydrocarbon overland transit route from the Gulf for China (avoiding the Malacca Straights maritime chokepoint) in exchange for an invitation into the OBOR Project - Well it was until -

All of a sudden the Royhingas have been murdered en masse & driven into exile into neighbouring Bangladesh (incidentally has anybody actually seen ANY pictorial moving footage evidence of ANY of this?)

Bangladesh ... where the 'jihad' to avenge the Royhinga pogrom will be launched into Myanmar ... has just 'accepted' an offer from the Kingdom of Saudi to construct hundreds of new Mosques & Madrassas ... the perfect breeding ground to hatch a new generation of Jihadis in SE Asia. Bangladesh will be in a perfect geographic position to threaten neighbouring Indian provinces too. India has the largest Muslim population outside of the Muslim world. There several million Bangladeshi migrant workers inside The Gulf states working for a pittance ... who knows what some of them are up too.

Catlonia ... is/was setting itself up as a major LNG entry point into the EU from North Africa ... primarily Algeria, since the predicted US 'Shale Boom' has not actually materialised in sufficient volume to 'wean' the EU away from Russian Gas supplies.

Syria & now the likely formation of this quasi Kurdish state straddling the Shia Crescent ... it really IS all about the Gas ... how can the Syrian state access its hydrocarbons & move them abroad to the foreign market if somebody else has been encouraged to create a quasi state right on top of them?

The Phillipines ... the southern half of the Island chain is predominantly Muslim & since Duterte began making friendly overtures to regional players i.e. China they now have a full blown 'insurgency' in the south despite plenty of US Military hardware in the very local region (or is id direcly BECAUSE of the proximity of US Military forces?).

The Ukraine ... I could go on ....

Pacifica Advocate -> 1664RM ... , 09 October 2017 at 12:36 PM
>>>The Ukraine ... I could go on ....

Nah. You couldn't've, because you were running on empty why you started your screed.

>>>The Phillipines ... the southern half of the Island chain is predominantly Muslim & since Duterte began making friendly overtures to regional players i.e. China they now have a full blown 'insurgency' in the south ...

A) Mindanao is the locus of the insurgency, and it has been that way ever since Spain annexed it into its "The Philippines" administrative region.

B) The Muslim population of Mindanao is hardly the "southern half" of the Philippines; at best, they are the "Southern sixteenth."

C) The Muslim portion of the "Southern Half of the Island Chain" makes up a total of about 6% of the total population of the Philippines. How you jump from there to "the southern half of the Island chain is predominantly Muslim" is beyond me. That's simply factually false.

D) Duterte's overtures towards China have been overwhelmingly supported by the local population, a vast number of whom have relatives who are overseas laborers working in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Canton/Guangdong, etc. In fact, the local Muslims in Mindanao were trained by the US, and those currently financed by the Saudis (and, in the 70s, trained by the U.S.) are staunchly opposed to Duterte's campaign to open up the Philippines to Chinese investment.

Long-story-short: you're wrong on pretty much everything I am in a position to criticize you on, and I suspect the rest of your screed can be similarly debunked.

Serge -> Pacifica Advocate... , 09 October 2017 at 11:15 PM

Pacifica Advocate,

Yep, the usual economic determinism mumbo jumbo from this guy, an epidemic in amateur and professional poli sci circles conducting analysis on US geopolitical actions since 2003. Cast aside the wide scope of history into the dustbin and focus on the US as some omnipotent robot machine that runs on plundered oil. If the Colonel is reading this, what got me hooked on SST was a comment of his back in 2014 in which he shot down that economic determinism crap as it related to Iraq

Tim B. , 08 October 2017 at 11:24 PM
This is a great read from the left wing Nation magazine. https://www.thenation.com/article/russiagate-is-more-fiction-than-fact/
The Porkchop Express , 09 October 2017 at 01:00 AM
It is just beyond belief that the majority of these clowns continue to be treated as if they have a shred of credibility left or that their ideas carry ANY weight when it comes to their outrageously incompetent foreign policy decisions/actions. That their ideological ideas have any value at all, particularly when there has been no admission of a mistake or a reorientation of their ideas, is just astounding. To be wrong so repeatedly and so publicly should have engendered a least some, however small, sense of shame or humility.

On the other hand, it says something about our polity, too, that we continue to tolerate this bullshit.

semiconscious -> The Porkchop Express... , 09 October 2017 at 09:20 AM
'On the other hand, it says something about our polity, too, that we continue to tolerate this bullshit.'

absolutely. that these clowns, along with the various members of the pundit class (friedman, krugman) who, after being repeatedly wrong about any number of things, continue to be provided their bully pulpits tells you all you really need to know...

Yeah, Right , 09 October 2017 at 06:50 AM
Every time I read about William Kristol's latest career move I am reminded of those old Hammer Horror movies with Christopher Lee.

The dude comes to a grisly end in every movie, yet there he is in the next one, back from the grave and - inevitably - none the wiser for the experience.

Ol' Dracula never once stops to think: Ya' know what, these always end badly. Maybe I should sit this one out?

Neither does Kristol, apparently.

LeaNder , 09 October 2017 at 08:57 AM
Good article by Glenn, he is one of the best.
Matthew , 09 October 2017 at 09:42 AM
I just finished Simon Montefiore's two books on Stalin (Young Stalin and The Court of the Red Czar).

With every passing day, the Neo-Cons and their fellow travelers are introducing the Soviet method into American politics: Denunciations, Conspiracies, and the Never-Ending Search for Wreckers.

LeaNder , 09 October 2017 at 11:37 AM
Jacob Heilbrunn, via, I know, I know, the NYT. But, Heilbrunn, JULY 5, 2014

WASHINGTON -- AFTER nearly a decade in the political wilderness, the neoconservative movement is back, using the turmoil in Iraq and Ukraine to claim that it is President Obama, not the movement's interventionist foreign policy that dominated early George W. Bush-era Washington, that bears responsibility for the current round of global crises.

Does anyone remember the curious renaissance of the neocons? Quite a time before the election officially started or heated up?

Iraq, looked at in hindsight with the appropriate and needed distance in time, may not have been that wrong after all? At least once there was someone else to blame? The appropriate public period of repentance seemed to be over. New servants available, that might escape the probling public eye?

Now the Americans may not have chosen the right "cherry blossom king" (Tyler) in their opinion, or backed the right horse in the race. But does that matter? Strictly, hadn't the winner delivered the new meme variant quite dutifully?

One has to keep open to twists of fate, seize the day, I would assume Trump knows that too. Let's see. ...

******

Yes, now I remember a tale in Boccaccio's The Decameron, Sixth Day, Tenth Tale, Friar Cipolla and a Feather of the Angel Gabriel. Which might fit. One of my favorites really.

http://sites.fas.harvard.edu/~chaucer/special/authors/boccaccio/boc-6-10.html

SmoothieX12 , 09 October 2017 at 04:29 PM
I just finished Simon Montefiore's two books on Stalin (Young Stalin and The Court of the Red Czar).

Judging by the "level" of Western historic narrative (granted with some notable exceptions) on Russian/Soviet history of the 20th Century, I would be very cautious when reading anything from Great Britain, especially from people with Montefiore's background. Not to mention people who praise him--from WSJ, NYT etc. Western awareness of actual, real Russian history is extremely low.

Joseph Moroco , 09 October 2017 at 05:43 PM
This is the first I've heard of the German Marshall Fund other than on The Ministry of Information, I mean NPR, they are occasionally mentioned as providing money for some of the propaganda uh, programming. I thought it was a fund to thank us for lending Les Boches a helping hand after we were done bombing them to smithereens.

Here is a link to Der Spiegel that is a tribute to the founder, but is also a history of the GMF. http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/founder-of-german-marshall-fund-guido-goldman-retires-a-834696.html

It appears to be Neocon safe space. Can there be too many.

Virginia Slim , 09 October 2017 at 05:43 PM
Forgive me, but "Alliance for Securing Democracy" sounds like a Münzenberg-era front organization.

[Oct 10, 2017] Facebook must 'follow the money' to uncover extent of Russian meddling by Diana Pilipenko

Oct 10, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Robzview2 -> BaronVonAmericano , 9 Oct 2017 21:51

100% with you my rational thinking brother. I have another post here somewhere, Facebook excecs had to be asked 3 times before they "found" these alleged Russian election changing ads- just writing that makes me laugh- and stated that approximately 56% of these ads only ran after the election. I mean we no those evil Russians are ultra cunning and highly sophisticated but even so that takes some doing.
Principleagentprob -> Cato1836 , 9 Oct 2017 19:50
And the NSA, GCHQ, CIA does not have trolls apparently despite their massive budgets? Bear in mind lefty news outlets are favourite covers for western security services. An example of this is Kim Philby who while ostensibly working for MI6 was posted to the middle east working for the Sunday edition. You know before the collapse of the Soviet Union. Indeed the wall to wall anti-Russian propaganda and the extremely close relationship between the Clinton campaign and the US media indicates the trolls are running mainstream media in the US and the UK.
It's the sense of entitlement that gets me, candidates throw as much questionable campaign contributions at an election (such as Singer) and believe the electorate has a duty to vote for them, and if the dont then the it must of been because of the opposition corruption and the stupidity of the lower orders rather than incompetence or policy failure such as representing wall St. rather than main St. on their part.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/28/kim-philby-david-astor-observer

Robzview2 -> Cato1836 , 9 Oct 2017 18:49
I'll do that English course when I have time, at the moment - and for the foreseeable- future I'm flat out ridiculing the Russia-gate nonsense and the fools who are eager to champion any old nonsense, no matter how ludicrous and continue to do so even when it is comprehensively demolished.
anonym101 , 9 Oct 2017 18:48
There is tonnes of more proof that refugee numbers in Europe and the illegal bombing of Libya and arming of 'rebels' in Syria are connected, yet everyone avoids that question.
There is also video proof that McCain and Nuland had incited the violent overthrow of the elected government in Ukraine a few years ago. Before accusing me of being a Russian troll, I am Hungarian.
multilis , 9 Oct 2017 18:45
Hilary Clinton election spending $581m. Donald Trump election spending $340 million according to https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/09/trump-and-clintons-final-campaign-spending-revealed

Facebook spending by "russia" $100,000, unclear that was russian government.

Presidential salary of Bill Clinton $400,000/year. Clinton's at start had little net worth according to them, now they have estimated net worth of $110 million+, much of it comes from speeches, including to groups in places like Saudi Arabia.

Clinton foundation charity received donations from foreign governments and individuals, including millions from some in saudi arabia. Not possible to see exact amounts.

US spending in ukraine over 20 years according to politfacts.com: About $2.4 billion went to programs promoting peace and security, which could include military assistance, border security, human trafficking issues, international narcotics abatement and law enforcement interdiction, Thompson said. More money went to categories with the objectives of "governing justly and democratically" ($800 million), "investing in people" ($400 million), economic growth ($1.1 billion), and humanitarian assistance ($300 million).... of course not all money by CIA may be disclosed here.

I suspect Russia, US, and many other countries do spend on influencing other countries, small potatoes though compared to how much Hillary and Trump spent, and those hundreds of millions of dollars given to Hillary and Trump were probably partially to influence/bribe them for later government decisions.

Principleagentprob , 9 Oct 2017 18:41
Are you not embarrassed writing this?
McCarthy is dead, the 50s are over, the Soviet Union no longer exists, The Billion Dollar Brain and Dr Strangelove was not advice on how to run a successful US foreign policy, nobody believes this nonsense anymore.

Quite honestly it is articles like this make me wish the Guardian would hurry up and go bankrupt, although I hope your more reputable Journalists (such as Larry Elliot) continue their journalism in another form. You are dragging a paper with a proud history from Manchester radicalism into the mud and besmirching real journalists trying to carry out real journalism.

To quote another 'article' in the Guardian (I use the word loosely) that does not have comments "Russian operatives spent thousands of dollars on Google ads, source claims". Really $1000s of Dollars, there are pet food ad campaigns that spend more than this.
Is the Guardian world news just run out of somebody else's office?

Yes, lets follow the money, using facts who made campaign contributions to the Democratic and Republican party.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/2016-election/campaign-finance /

Hilary Clinton campaign $1.4Bn
Trump $957.6 M

And who contributed a little more than $1000s to the democratic campaign?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/superpac-donors-2016 /

https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/elections/top-presidential-donors-campaign-money.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/wall-street-is-putting-money-behind-these-presidential-candidates_us_55b143e7e4b08f57d5d414ad

Yes, there is a conspiracy all right, it's the old one of the plutocrats conspiring against the poor. To ensure their man or woman would represent wall street not the electorate such as by ensuring Sanders was blocked by the super delegates. Then trying to ensure the more finance friendly candidate became president, such as by google working closely with the Clinton campaign. And no this is not misogyny as Bill Clinton was Americas worst domestic president in history. 3 strikes and you're out, workfare mass incarceration of black people, deregulation of finance. George W gets the crown as worst US president in foreign affairs due to Iraq.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/31/the-podesta-emails-show-who-runs-america-and-how-they-do-it

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/04/08/hillary-clinton-hires-google-executive-to-be-chief-technology-officer /

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/hillary-clinton-was-paid-millions-by-tech-industry-for-speeches/2015/05/18/f149d598-fd86-11e4-805c-c3f407e5a9e9_story.html

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/08/zuckerberg-hires-clintons-chief-strategist

Yes, lets follow the money.

And the Russians according to evidence free speculation spent $1000s and were successful? You are aware that $1.4bn is larger than $1000s? The US are obviously not very good at advertising or capatalism or democracy, and if you want a cost-effective ad campaign go to Russia, as nobody in history has run such a cost effective ad campaign where 1000s can be more effective than Bns.

Quite frankly I am insulted this article is being presented in what used to be a reputable newspaper.

Robzview2 , 9 Oct 2017 18:31
For a good laugh go to Consotiumnews. com, read the article headed The mystery of the Russiagate puppies. There is a lot there but essentially Clinton's desperate losers would have us believe that a page set up for puppy lovers was Trojan horse to start slipping in anti Clinton stuff. Those evil evil Rooskies, is there no end to their perfidy! puppies! is nothing sacred?! A line that got a laugh for me is:' if some fact, like the puppies page doesn't seem to fit the sinister conspiracy theory you simply pound it into place until it does
technotherapy , 9 Oct 2017 18:25
If we can only fully understand something by following the money Diana, why does your organisation, the Center for American Progress Action Fund - which Politico says 'openly runs political advocacy campaigns, and plays a central role in the Democratic Party's infrastructure' - refuse to disclose who its donors are?
Robzview2 -> Sutir Comed , 9 Oct 2017 18:17
There's a mountain of pig flop, most of the alleged "evidence" has collapsed under relatively mild scrutiny. Remember the "hacked" voting machines and electric utility computer system? not only not the evil Russians, just didn't happen at all and there are other tissue thin bits of "evidence". No convincing any of Clinton's sore loser bleaters of course but I assume you are aware that 25% of the alleged Russian ads were not viewed by anyone and that many were not run til AFTER the election. Is there no end to those devilish Rooskies that they can impact an election result AFTERWARDS!
GriseldaLamington -> Sutir Comed , 9 Oct 2017 17:51
It wasn't the entire US intelligence community - it was hand picked representatives from four agencies. By the way, how are you going with all those weapons of mass destruction that the entire US intelligence community was so sure of?
GriseldaLamington , 9 Oct 2017 16:45
Let me get this straight. The USA, which holds the modern record for interfering in other people's elections, for engineering coups, for doing dodgy deals with cocaine and heroin merchants to fund death squads, which BOASTED (on the front cover of Time no less) of fixing the 1996 election in Russia, has now got it's tits in a tangle because some maybe, might be, could possibly be if you hold them edge on against a red light, Russians bought some Facebook ads. Seriously?

Those whom the gods would destroy they first make mad

Robert Furst , 9 Oct 2017 16:36
In previous elections China has been linked to helping Democrats I don't see anyone complaining, perhaps because the Democrats won. The USA, under a Democratic Preisdent spent nearly $100 million dollars on an attempt to affect the election of an ally Israel in a vain attempt to get rid of Netanyahu as Prime Minister. Welcome to politics.
freeandfair -> Landish , 9 Oct 2017 16:20
> So, it's not Facebook's problem that they are aiding and abetting treason?

So, if the let's say an entity connected to the US government pays for an article/ advert that could be linked to some protests or a controversial issue in a foreign country, then the entity who sold the media space is guilty of treason?
Be careful what you wish for.

The reason you don't even see how wrong you points to the fact that the US is a semi-totalitarian state already.

jackrousseau , 9 Oct 2017 16:14
So wait, I'm trying to follow the logic of continuing to beat the Russia drum after it's so clearly jumped the shark. Let me see if I understand...

What you're now telling me is that Clinton and her cadre of policy wonks and election experts had the entire media behind them (including the owners of Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and spent $1,200,000,000 to win the election.

Nevertheless, they still lost against *Donald Trump*. ...Because...because the Russians "hacked the election" with $150,000 and a few online trolls. Is this what it's come to? Say it ain't so.

Also, why isn't the actual content of these election-changing ads being disclosed? What did they say? What propaganda did "The Russians" use that was so effective on the American public?

So far I've only seen that the Russians supported BLM and created various "blacktivist", feminist, and LGBTI accounts promoting the same brand of identity politics peddled by The Guardian for clicks. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/sep/30/blacktivist-facebook-account-russia-us-election

I mean, did "The Russians" promote any ideas that were actually *more* offensive than what the Guardian publishes on a daily basis? I'd like to see the Russian identity politics ads to compare...

BaronVonAmericano -> Durangotang , 9 Oct 2017 16:08
The only trolls are the ones claiming that unproven allegations of Russians buying a handful of ads on facebook are somehow more important than the fact that both our political parties are owned and operated by private corporate interests.
freeandfair , 9 Oct 2017 16:05
> Only through this method can we fully understand the Russian corporate hydra behind the ad buys

Lol. I am here with my popcorn to be entertained. Bring it on.

American politicians spend billions on their campaigns , but, sure, facebook has to investigate those few allegedly Russian linked ads. They are just a drop in a sea of political propagandizing and manipulation that goes on daily.

Also, how does this align with the freedom of speech? The way I look at it - as long as information is truthful, it doesn't matter what source it is coming from, friendly or unfriendly. Going after the source just because you don't like what being said seems to be the old method of killing the messenger.

And who is the author of this article? "Diana Pilipenko is a principal investigator for the Moscow Project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund."

It figures. Someone who works for whatever "Center for American Progress Action Fund" is. She is basically a lobbyist.

furryandrew -> Gunsarecivilrights , 9 Oct 2017 15:55
Whats truly laughable is this whole "was Russia involved" witch-hunt particularly in light of all the US involvement in swinging Latin American elections etc for DECADES! We are basically encouraging the people who live in glass houses to throw as many stones as possible and get away with it!

Much as I don't like Trump that whole "was Russia involved in the Hillary-wikileaks" was also purely a diversionary tactic. Don't talk about the content talk about who might have provided it. Personally I don't care whether it was North Korea who dug it up, what should have been THE story was the appalling corrupt stuff that was in those shocking leaks, and it surely would have been front-page news for months had the target been Sanders or Trump and not Wall Streets chosen favourite! IMHO we the public are being taken for mugs!

WalterCronkiteBot , 9 Oct 2017 15:03
During the Cold War you had "Team B" looking for non-existent nefarious Russian schemes. It was staffed by the now infamous Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz.

At least they looked into matters of import such as nuclear missiles and submarines, this is more like "Team Z".

Ironically the people devoting the most effort to investigating Russiagate are Wolofowitz/Rumsfeld's brothers in arms from the Iraq days, like Bill Kristol.

TheWindsOfWinter93 -> EAlbee , 9 Oct 2017 14:32
The FSB chief and Putin must be having a right laugh. Western journos who are still sore over HRC losing the American Presidential Election are making for the best unpaid shills to extol Russian intelligence and political power.
TheWindsOfWinter93 , 9 Oct 2017 14:30
It seems to me that pundits like the one that wrote this risible article are doing far more to promote KGB and Russian propaganda around the world and in the West than the Russians themselves, through their screaming of "BIG BAD RUSSIAN BEAR!!!!!" from every soap box they can find.

Putin should invite them to the Kremlin and decorate them for service to the Motherland. Even CIA couldn't dream of such mythologising by the mass media.

kasprowy , 9 Oct 2017 14:12
"Some have argued that $150,000 is an insignificant fraction of the total spent on political ads in 2016 ..."

0.00153% to be exact. Same proportion of total voters who voted for anybody would be 2000 people. Or 0.115 cents per voter. Yeah, this is a big news story.

I cannot resist another analogy. A Super Bowl commercial (and we all know what big fans of the NFL the Left is) goes for $5 million per 30 seconds. The amount mentioned in this article would buy a 900 millisecond ad (that's 0.9 seconds for those who missed it). Need some good subliminal flash advertising to get your money's worth.

Pete green , 9 Oct 2017 13:53
Let me know when the investigation reveals that the $150,000 spent on Facebook ads by the Russians starts to be significant compared to the $9.8 billion spent on the campaign adverts.

Clinton vastly outspent Trump and still lost because she was a deplorable candidate.

http://adage.com/article/media/2016-political-broadcast-tv-spend-20-cable-52/307346 /

Romka Stomka -> Supermind , 9 Oct 2017 13:48
The ads could have been easily paid by pro-Ukrainians living in Russia,to try and put Russia in the spotlight.
LiviaDrusilla , 9 Oct 2017 13:30

Some have argued that $150,000 is an insignificant fraction of the total spent on political ads

And they would be correct. Out of the $7 billion or so spent on the American elections, it's a piddling amount. However, you are clinging to it for dear life because, almost a year on, you can't accept that Clinton was a horrible candidate, so much so that even someone as obscene as Trump could beat her (and yes I know she got more votes thank you very much).

You're really coming across as desperate now. Not a good look.

Supermind , 9 Oct 2017 13:29
Most of these ads look more like click bait than any kind active measures campaign. As usual, there is no evidence that the ads are in anyway connected to the Russian government. Even if they were, $150,000 worth of ads are insignificant in an election where over $1billion was spent on digital advertising. American elites should spend more time pondering how their policy failures contributed to Trump's election and less chasing the chimera of Russian interference.
JJ139 , 9 Oct 2017 13:22
This whole Russian meddling is getting more and more absurd. Clinton spent billions on advertising and lost. Some supposed Russian investors spent thousands on puppy photo sites as part of a cunning plan to suck Americans in. Russia is behind black lives matter, Russia is behind taking the knee at american football matches, Russia is behind the Catalan referendum, Russia is behind Brexit, Russia is probably behind the Dove advert. And anyone who finds the whole farrago of mudslinging at Russia is obviously a Putinbot from a troll farm somewhere in St Petersburg. The lunatics have very definitely taken over the asylum in America.
Laplace_Transforms , 9 Oct 2017 13:12
Roy Greenslade wrote an excellent column today on fake news. The hysteria regarding Russian involvement in US politics could well be a prime example of which Roy writes. The Nation, in an article titled Russiagate Is More Fiction Than Fact details exactly how this tale of innuendo, supposition but very little evidence has been pushed. The Nation examines in detail the Facebook accusations, and records:

Then there is Facebook's disclosure that fake accounts "likely operated out of Russia" paid $100,000 for 3,000 ads starting in June 2015. The New York Times editorial board described it as "further evidence of what amounted to unprecedented foreign invasion of American democracy." A $100,000 Facebook ad buy seems unlikely to have had much impact in a $6.8 billion election. According to Facebook, "the vast majority of ads didn't specifically reference the US presidential election, voting or a particular candidate" but rather focused "on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum -- touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights." Facebook also says the majority of ads, 56 percent, were seen "after the election." The ads have not been released publicly. But by all indications, if they were used to try to elect Trump, their sponsors took a very curious route.

The ads are commonly described as "Russian disinformation," but in the most extensive reporting on the story to date, The Washington Post adds multiple qualifiers in noting that the ads "appear to have come from accounts associated with the Internet Research Agency," itself a Kremlin-linked firm (emphasis added).

The Post also reveals that an initial Facebook review of the suspected Russian accounts found that they "had clear financial motives, which suggested that they weren't working for a foreign government." Furthermore, "the security team did not find clear evidence of Russian disinformation or ad purchases by Russian-linked accounts." But Russiagate logic requires a unique response to absent evidence: "The sophistication of the Russian tactics caught Facebook off-guard."

Would it be too much to ask for actual evidence of Russian interference, rather than this leap to conviction?

[Oct 09, 2017] SHOCKING!!! Google discovers ads placed on its site from Russia, proving America's democracy was hacked by

Oct 09, 2017 | theduran.com

It was only a matter of time before Google and its subsidiaries (most notably
YouTube) would jump on the "Russia hacked the election" narrative concocted by

Hillary Clinton and John Podesta.

Executive Chairman of Alphabet, Inc., (Google's parent company), Eric Schmidt
was after all advising the Hillary Clinton campaign.

What took Schmidt and Google execs so long to join in on the never ending
litigation of the US presidential election, that Hillary lost almost one year ago?

Via The Daily Caller...

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google's parent company
Alphabet, wanted to be "head outside advisor" to the Hillary
Clinton campaign, according to Clinton campaign chairman
John Podesta in an email released by WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks has continued to reveal Schmidt's cozy relationship with
the Clinton campaign. In a previously leaked email,
a memo showed that Schmidt was working directly with the Clinton
campaign on setting up various backend features to their website.

[Oct 09, 2017] A Visit to Russia Can Relations Be Improved

The official US doctrine is and has been containment of Russia. that excludes any friendship. The best that can be done is to avoid WWIII. And due to Putin patience that might be possible. After Putin is gone, who knows. If nationalist come to power, the neocon might really feel the depth of Russian anger at the US imperial policies.
Bunch of neocons travel to Moscow to test waters for rapprochement. After then pissed Russia and launched neo-McCarthyism campaign for the last two years... such a great diplomats.
Those neocons completely poisoned the well and now want to drink clean water. No way.
Notable quotes:
"... President Vladimir Putin's recent hint that the Kremlin could cut another 155 people from the number permitted to work at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. ..."
"... because Mr. Putin does not seem to feel real pressure from U.S. sanctions, he is unlikely to be disposed to offer major concessions to the United States simply to reach agreement, especially in the runup to Russia's 2018 presidential elections ..."
"... Keep pretending that Russia has hacked your elections. There is zero interest from the US side in improving relations and we know this quite well here. There is no question that the fat defense and intelligence budgets and all the extra power that the spooks now got is a direct outcome of destroyed Russia-US relations. The democrats sour grapes and election rigging cover up with Russiagate is also undeniable. Keep living the lie ..."
"... It is sad that the media, the Democratic party, and the "deep state" are all working together to try to keep the phony Trump-Russia collusion story alive - but it has almost run its course and less and less people believe it. ..."
"... The US doctrine is and has been containment of Russia. That is a very foolish and self defeating way in the 21st century. The West would have been better off when the bankers did not have such controls and the American congress grew real courage and paid down the national debt. ..."
"... I don't know to what degree the author of this article and those he went with have real influence on either side, but we, the American public, have yet to be presented with any real proof that Russia (and specifically its government, directly) actually did anything significant with regard to the election. To the degree that we've been shown any evidence, it appears completely inconsequential, extremely minor dabbling at most. The latest is that "Russia" (nebulously defined) spent $100,000 on Facebook ads... Meanwhile the Clinton campaign spent $1 BILLION. This is a joke. ..."
"... The situation in Ukraine is a million times more of a significant obstacle to improved relations. ..."
"... Russia and US have all the reasons to be adversaries. Because US seeks global domination but will never be able to achieve it as long as Russia exists as subject of global politics. US invests huge resources into making harm to Russia in every possible way. And it been this way at least since Truman administration. ..."
"... NATO cannot save a non-existent failed state. There are at least three different and geographically separate Ukraines. Catholic Galicia has nothing to do with the rest of the country. And the East wants to separate. It is another case of former Yugoslavia. ..."
"... trump was given a choice by the deep state of you either work with us or else... so he has become a puppet of the swamp ..."
"... Swamp Puppet! That's catchy! ..."
www.theamericanconservative.com
Russian officials were largely dismissive of U.S. and European economic sanctions, which some indirectly credit with significantly strengthening Russia's agricultural sector -- to such an extent that they claimed Russian products may fiercely compete in Europe if and when the European Union eases it sanctions and Russia lifts its protectionist counter-sanctions. Indeed, the U.S. Department of State itself asserted in 2016 that a loss of "at most 1 percent of GDP can be potentially explained by sanctions" as opposed to declining global energy prices. The combination of "at most" and "potentially" in this sentence suggests that there is little empirical evidence that sanctions have caused real damage to Russia's economy. Moreover, since U.S. sanctions could account for only a small part of this -- because Europe's economic relationship with Russia is far larger than America's -- there is no reason to think that new U.S. sanctions, which have yet to be fully implemented, will make a material difference at the macroeconomic level. (The State Department did find that sanctioned companies appeared to lose significant revenue and assets.) Still, some officials did privately admit that the sanctions undermine Russia's investment climate, especially among foreign investors.

At the same time, however, some officials reacted quite strongly to the Trump administration's decision to close Russia's consulate in San Francisco, the latest move in an escalating diplomatic spat that began with the Obama administration's expulsion of thirty-five Russian diplomats and seizure of two diplomatic properties in December, following a widely publicized intelligence community report on Russia's election interference.

Even in this area, however, our interlocutors seemed to prefer curtailing the dispute over extending it -- notwithstanding President Vladimir Putin's recent hint that the Kremlin could cut another 155 people from the number permitted to work at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

Yet containing this battle between the State Department and Russian Foreign Ministry bureaucracies may well be the easiest step in working toward a functional U.S.-Russia relationship. Far more important and more challenging will be addressing Russia's election interference, which has poisoned the relationship to an extent that Russian officials -- who describe the matter strictly as a U.S. partisan slugfest brought on by sour-grapes Democrats -- did not seem to appreciate....

... Russia's diplomatic, economic, military and security officials will each seek to pursue their own objectives, sometimes contradicting one another. Also, because Mr. Putin does not seem to feel real pressure from U.S. sanctions, he is unlikely to be disposed to offer major concessions to the United States simply to reach agreement, especially in the runup to Russia's 2018 presidential elections .

Thus "getting to yes" on these or other issues will take persistence and creativity.

Paul J. Saunders, associate publisher of the National Interest, is executive director of the Center for the National Interest.

pavel , October 7, 2017 3:36 AM

Keep pretending that Russia has hacked your elections. There is zero interest from the US side in improving relations and we know this quite well here. There is no question that the fat defense and intelligence budgets and all the extra power that the spooks now got is a direct outcome of destroyed Russia-US relations. The democrats sour grapes and election rigging cover up with Russiagate is also undeniable. Keep living the lie

dannyboy116 -> pavel , October 7, 2017 9:52 AM

I agree with you that Russia probably did not hack the US elections. Julian Assange, head of WikiLeaks, has made it quite clear that he received the Clinton campaign emails from elsewhere. (and he has a 100% history of being truthful with regard to what he releases) But I would say to Russia to not give up on better relations with America. It is true that the "deep state" and the Military Industrial Complex make a lot of money from "bad relations" with Russia, but I think Trump understands that improving relations will be good for both sides and potentially save a lot of money for America's citizens. Give it some time.....

sergey_hv -> dannyboy116 , October 7, 2017 2:34 PM

It's not the time he needs, but an adequate congress and fewer idiots of Russophobes who rule the US foreign policy, twisting Trump's hands.

pavel -> dannyboy116 , October 7, 2017 3:49 PM

Wow, good to hear a sober voice! I have felt some backlash personally in the commercial world, and it really feels nasty (basically just like racism), especially since I feel like 1/2 American, having lived in the US for 11 years. So this has gone very deep even in private sector.

Not too sure about good prospects coming up soon. I'm following both the foreign and domestic policies of the current government in Washington and its a bit scary - Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, NK, China, Iran - all are becoming enemies, sanctions reintroduced, and all the ultra-right wing stuff home like getting rid of health insurance, removing all regulations, now 20% poverty rate in CA, I don't recognize the country I used to live a couple decades ago!

dannyboy116 -> pavel , October 9, 2017 7:38 PM

It is sad that the media, the Democratic party, and the "deep state" are all working together to try to keep the phony Trump-Russia collusion story alive - but it has almost run its course and less and less people believe it. It is now looking like it was the Obama Admin's justice department that actually paid for the phony "Trump Dossier" that was used as an excuse to wiretap the Trump campaign. Once that story blows up (Senator Grassley has subpoenaed the background docs) I think you will see a rapid improvement in relations.

KlingOn2K -> pavel , October 8, 2017 9:46 PM

pavel , Russia made its choices. The onus is not on the US to pacify Russia with any standard of proof that it may find convincing. Its up to the US authorities to interpret the Russian actions as being either confrontational or friendly. Russia has no say over it.

cvxxx -> KlingOn2K , October 9, 2017 3:38 PM

The US doctrine is and has been containment of Russia. That is a very foolish and self defeating way in the 21st century. The West would have been better off when the bankers did not have such controls and the American congress grew real courage and paid down the national debt.

bscook111 , October 7, 2017 10:57 AM

It is testimony to the gross malfeasance of American media and pols (both sides but especially Ds like both idiotic Clintons) that America has no working relationship with Russia. The good news, once again in time Trump will be proved right.

JoeS54 , October 7, 2017 10:09 PM

I don't know to what degree the author of this article and those he went with have real influence on either side, but we, the American public, have yet to be presented with any real proof that Russia (and specifically its government, directly) actually did anything significant with regard to the election. To the degree that we've been shown any evidence, it appears completely inconsequential, extremely minor dabbling at most. The latest is that "Russia" (nebulously defined) spent $100,000 on Facebook ads... Meanwhile the Clinton campaign spent $1 BILLION. This is a joke.

But apparently this group went over there and acted as if the American people are outraged. No, dishonest Democrat hacks and never-Trump Republicans inside the Beltway are obsessed with it, because they hate the outcome of the election and want to discredit Trump. But they've been fishing for a year and a half and can't find anything, despite furiously leaking every innuendo they can, that turns out to be a false smear against Trump and completely falls apart on inspection.

The situation in Ukraine is a million times more of a significant obstacle to improved relations.

... ... ...

Stalinist -> JoeS54 , October 7, 2017 10:31 PM

"If Russia can't be trusted to respect the borders of its neighbors, we can't have good relations."

Says who? Citizen of a country which invaded 100+ countries since 1890, including Russia twice? Learn how to respect borders and sovereignity or others yourself. Otherwise it is not going to end well for you.

JoeS54 -> Stalinist , October 7, 2017 10:41 PM

Given your namesake, I'm not sure what point you think you're making. My point is that now, today, the US and Russia have no reason to be adversaries. The past is the past. This is just practical reality. We have allies in Europe who are worried about Russian expansionism. Again, because of your namesake. If Russia makes moves to its west, relations cannot improve.

Stalinist -> JoeS54 , October 7, 2017 10:52 PM

"My point is that now, today, the US and Russia have no reason to be adversaries."

Russia and US have all the reasons to be adversaries. Because US seeks global domination but will never be able to achieve it as long as Russia exists as subject of global politics. US invests huge resources into making harm to Russia in every possible way. And it been this way at least since Truman administration.

'This is just practical reality."

Exactly. And reality is that US stirs up troubles all over the world, including sphere of vital interests of Russia like Ukraine.

"We have allies in Europe who are worried about Russian expansionism."

Russian expansionism? Oh please, there never was any at all. Its been EXACTLY Europe which hundreds of times tried to expand into Russia. The only way Russia expanded over centuries was by defeating and absorbing those who tried to conquer Russia first. If western degenerate elites will not learn this important lesson, of cource Russia will defeat and absorb the west. It will be civilizational self defense.
You better leave Russia alone, and stop meddling in its business.

" If Russia makes moves to its west, relations cannot improve."

Russia does not need any improvement in relations with the west. At all. Over centuries we learned that force is only language you barbarians do understand. You can not be reasoned with. That is why we will always keep you at the gunpoint. And out gun will always be bigger than yours.

JoeS54 -> Stalinist , October 7, 2017 10:59 PM

If you are, presumably, Russian, it doesn't sound as if your government shares your mindset. Which is good. I can tell you that the American people do not "seek global domination". And European nations basically have no military to speak of, so the idea that they would expand into Russia is ridiculous. You are very much stuck far in the past. In the modern world, with the threat of Islamic terrorism and the rising economic power of China, the US and Russia, as allies, would be an insurmountable bulwark. To the extent there would be "global domination", it would be mutual.

Stalinist -> JoeS54 , October 7, 2017 11:20 PM

"government shares your mindset."

As imperfect as our goverment is, it still orders of magnitude more intelligent and competent than yours. Especialy when it comes to geopolitics. Russia always plays chess, while your nations can`t handle checkers nowadays.

"American people do not "seek global domination""

Every people has government which it deserves. So do not try to shift blame to your government as if you are not responsible for it. You gave them mandate.

"European nations basically have no military to speak of"

Nice excuse to expand NATO east it was, wasn`t it? So much for this "Russian expansionism" B-S.

"so the idea that they would expand into Russia is ridiculous"

Sorry, but we are not buying that. NATO heavily expanded east breaking all past promises. NATO now tries to sиck in even Ukraine. So please, we are not going to just sit idle and watch how your goverments loom another 1812 or 1941.

" You are very much stuck far in the past"

Because we have memory. Do not take us for idlots who was born yesterday.

" In the modern world, with the threat of Islamic terrorism "

Which your goverment created and keeps massively supporting. Oh yes we know that better than you can imagine.

"rising economic power of China"

Nothing wrong with rising economic power of China.

", the US and Russia, as allies,"

US and Russia are not allies.

"To the extent the would be "global domination", it would be mutual."

Russia seeks no global domination. It just wants to be left completely alone on its backyard and mainland which has size of a planet.

JoeS54 -> Stalinist , October 7, 2017 11:24 PM

You have plenty of knowledge of history, but no wisdom. I did not say the US is blameless in the continued conflicts. What I said is that both governments have shown short sightedness, and are stuck in the past - and you provide an extreme example of someone stuck in the past.

You have also said numerous things that are not true, but it's not worth the time to argue. You should go out for a walk, breathe some fresh air and relax.

Stalinist -> JoeS54 , October 7, 2017 11:28 PM

"both governments have shown short sightedness"

Yes. Our government used to be naive enough to trust west and expect it to live up their promises. And yours by poking the Bear in every possible way. When you poking sleeping Bear with a short sight and shorter stick, do not complain whole situation exploding into your face.

"and are stuck in the past "

No. Only your government stuck in its past, past dreams about "the end of history" and unrestrained global domination. Russia exactly learned from the past and moved on, that is why your elites are panicking trying to hold on to their sweet illusions.

JoeS54 -> Stalinist , October 7, 2017 11:34 PM

If you had more wisdom and less hostility, you would see that what I'm saying is more favorable to you than you think. The ideal outcome, ultimately, would be for Russia to join NATO. Putin has voiced that idea himself, as have past US presidents. But the continual back and forth of spats been the US, Europe and Russia prevents it. I'm talking about a bigger, more positive vision of the future, and you can only see small bitterness about the past.

Sane people want peace and prosperity. You do not seem to be one of them.

Stalinist -> JoeS54 , October 7, 2017 11:40 PM

"The ideal outcome, ultimately, world be for Russia to join NATO."

The ideal outcome, ultimately, would be for NATO to join Russia. Perfectly without Russia making it the hard way.

"Putin has voiced that idea himself, as have past US presidents. "

Look up what does sarcasm means.

"more positive vision of the future"

Russia has only two allies, its army and fleet. - Tsar Alexander III.

Today its also RuASF and SRF. We do not need any more allies than that. You choose if you want to be or enemy. It was not Russia who started all this mess.

JoeS54 -> Stalinist , October 7, 2017 11:43 PM

I've seen Putin talk about this, on video. He was not being sarcastic. You are an extreme example of the mindset I'm criticizing, on both sides. The people of both of our countries are not served by it, at all. It's a useless waste of energy and resources.

Stalinist -> JoeS54 , October 7, 2017 11:47 PM

" He was not being sarcastic."

For any native Russian speaker who has even slightest idea on what happening during historic period he was talking about his sarcasm was clear and transparent. The very idea of "Russia joining NATO" is an insult.

" The people of both of our countries are not served by it, at all."

We had no choice but to arm ourselves. You however always had. Russia and the USSR used to lend you a hand with an olive branch many times. You choosen to spit on it.

JoeS54 Stalinist , October 7, 2017 11:49 PM

What is the ultimate outcome of your mindset? Nuclear war, wiping out both countries? You can't see any better solution?

Your namesake was a mass murderer, of his own people. I'm not sure why I'm arguing with you. If you actually cared about the Russian people, you would not use that name.

Stalinist -> JoeS54 , October 7, 2017 11:55 PM

" Nuclear war, wiping out both countries? "

We will not fire it first, but if it will ever come to this, Russia has all means it needs to win it.

"You can't see any better solution?"

Yes, accept the idea that we are simply not interested in playing your ball. And we are against you playing your ball on our lawn too. So figuratively speaking, we need you to get lost from our horizon and never come back without an invitation. Your "civilization" reminds me of jehovah`s whitness preachers annoying everybody with their nonsense. With the difference that you tend to kill those who not agree to listen to your gospel.

"Your namesake was a mass murderer, of his own people."

See? Jehova's whitness mode on again. Sorry but he was not any kind of mass murderer, he is ultimate hero for us Russians, and we do not need you to lecture us on our own history. We can figure it out ourselves.

JoeS54 -> KlingOn2K , October 9, 2017 12:35 AM

" Russia is attempting to subvert the process that stands at the very heart of the US democratic system"

Still waiting for any real evidence, much less actual proof. As the calendar flips by.

What we've been told so far is that Hillary's $1B campaign was apparently helpless against a few internet memes, which we're told were sponsored by the Russian government, without any proof.

WTF -> JoeS54 , October 9, 2017 12:51 AM

Proof? Its too inconvenient. Get on with the times. We don't need proof in the 21st century.

MAGA Big League , October 7, 2017 11:43 AM

Russia is not going to unilaterally apologize for perceived influence in the US election. Quite the contrary. Their tiny amount of influence will simply continue with tiny Facebook purchases and commenters as well as RT coverage etc. becoming a permanent fixture of US politics (if it wasn't before, which it likely was, but as long as Democrats were winning no one in the media cared).

It shouldn't be hard for a US politician to win an election going up against this small degree of influence which is probably less influential than that of other foreign countries in America (Israel, Saudi and China come to mind). Hillary Clinton, however, was just that awful of a candidate that she needed the whole system rigged for her just to get close. If even one world power center was against her she couldn't win. One wasn't and she didn't.

Meanwhile Donald Trump's foreign policy is dangerous without Russian rapprochement. We are antagonizing other rivals that in the past we have had to keep isolated from cooperating with Russia (Iran, China).

This is what the Russians are waiting for Washington to realize. No current American policy goal in the world can be achieved cheaply (less than an Iraq War level of engagement and cost) without a working relationship with Russia. Our strategy becomes a binary trade off- do we sacrifice our interests everywhere but Europe (Russia) or do we sacrifice them in Europe for everywhere else?

My sense is that the Trump policy is a natural consequence of the Asian continent becoming equal to Europe in economic might by 2020 (it already nearly is). We can no longer treat the rest of the globe as ancillary to our objectives in Europe (although that is certainly our habit now).

Whoever follows Trump will fall into this same strategic trap. Hemming in Russia is now quite painful for Washington to accomplish. Ham fisted half measures don't work and bringing to bear the full measure of our influence entails great sacrifice in areas equally or more important.

Primavera Allie Youpe , October 9, 2017 3:41 AM

None of the recent terror attacks in Europe and US have been traced to Iran. Please stop beating the war drum against this country, chances are you will lose again.

siberiankitten Allie Youpe , October 9, 2017 7:09 PM

Iran is a #1 perceived threat to Israel, and a sponsor to Hezbollah. Beyond Hezbollah support there is nothing that qualifies Iran as a sponsor of terrorism

VadimKharichkov Allie Youpe , October 9, 2017 4:11 AM

Allie, is your worldview formed solely by mainstream media? Have you tried independent media? You sure you get the other side's story? You know, you can't really claim you comprehend the situation without hearing both sides?

Edward Easterling Allie Youpe , October 8, 2017 2:26 PM

How is the Syrian government a "genocidal regime"?

Edward Easterling Allie Youpe , October 8, 2017 9:24 PM

I can't recall which one it was, but one of the chemical attacks has been proven to be carried out by rebels. Also, a chemical attack has been proven to be a hoax. Like I said, I can't recall all the details. If you are interested you are free to look them up.

Primavera Edward Easterling , October 9, 2017 3:42 AM

Ghouta attack I think

siberiankitten Primavera , October 9, 2017 7:11 PM

Read what Seymour Hersh and Theodore Postol had to say about this attack

Sascha Gruss , October 9, 2017 4:15 PM

Russia will never support the imperial ambitions of the USA. The current situation is a result of a long chain of anti-Russian decisions by the US. The USA tries to assault the Russian economy, its harming the people, destroying families and futures. No Russian citizen should forget that.

enoch arden -> timmay timmy , October 8, 2017 9:43 AM

NATO cannot save a non-existent failed state. There are at least three different and geographically separate Ukraines. Catholic Galicia has nothing to do with the rest of the country. And the East wants to separate. It is another case of former Yugoslavia.

Stalinist -> timmay timmy , October 7, 2017 11:17 PM

"We have American and NATO boots on the Ground. "

I have bad news for ya http://freetexthost.com/m6b ... NATO can not stop Russia from doing whatever it wants.

" Our NATO training base we are setting up in Ukraine will ensure the Russians do not encroach. "

Adolf Hitler told something like that around 1944 when the Red Army was steam rolling his goons and his Ostwall. You are even more deluded than him if you believe that few twirpy little bases where your deуenerate men will get drunk and do local рrostitutes can scare RussiaLOL

"Any drain on the Russian economy such as supporting the Crimea is less money for the military."

Russian economy is booming since 2014. Russian reserves are growing. And Russian average living standards are higher than US has it. But whatever makes you sleep at nights, keep dwelling in russophrenic fantasies induced by your elites.

CB -> Stalinist , October 8, 2017 7:06 PM

You are deluded if you think living standards in Russia are higher than the USA. It's not even close. I guess you are spoon fed a steady diet of propaganda. The USA is by far the most professional military in the world, and this military constantly foils Russian plans at expansion.

Stalinist -> CB , October 8, 2017 7:17 PM

"You are deluded if you think living standards in Russia are higher than the USA. "

No, i just well informed. http://freetexthost.com/nyy...

"The USA is by far the most professional military in the world"

US has most expensive military in the world. And most inept. US never won any major war at all and can not even deal with cave dwellers in Afganistan for 16 long years.

"and this military constantly foils Russian plans at expansion."

Russia has no plans for expansion. And if it ever will get one, nobody on this planet can stop Russia from successfuly completing it.

CB -> Stalinist , October 9, 2017 9:19 AM

Misinformed. Not a verifiable source. The USA has won plenty of wars, including the war to topple the taliban in Afghanistan. Saying otherwise is nothing more than a talking point of Russian propaganda. I've seen you say in other posts Russia will eventually reclaim Kiev Rus, so which one is it? Try not contradicting yourself when debating educated people. You will lose credibility. Russia literally just expanded to take the Crimea. They tried to expand into Afghanistan, so you'd think you would have more respect for the USA effort there. Hightailed it out of there after those goat herders whooped that @ss huh?

WTF -> CB , October 9, 2017 12:08 PM

You won over the all powerful state of Grenada. Give you that.

Whooped the Taliban? After 16 years you're still stuck there and Trump adding more troops to America's longest war to date. How long more to beat the goat herders, in your honest opinion?

CB -> WTF , October 9, 2017 6:21 PM

Stuck there? We could leave anytime we wanted. If the taliban took control of the country again we could topple them again. Reconstructing a tribal society is not the same as fighting a war. The war was over before it started. Unfortunately some people from our side are benefiting from the status quo, and so allow it to persist. It is a drain on the country, but not to the point that I'd call it losing a war. Not even close. Would you rather be in some skyscraper in NYC or some cave in Baluchistan?

JoeS54 timmay timmy , October 7, 2017 11:08 PM

This guy is a nut. His name is proof enough. You shouldn't assume he speaks for Russia.

bakbaklazhan , October 7, 2017 9:30 AM

"President Donald Trump will succeed in overcoming political opposition"

trump was given a choice by the deep state of you either work with us or else... so he has become a puppet of the swamp

ScratInTheHat bakbaklazhan , October 7, 2017 9:51 AM

Swamp Puppet! That's catchy!

enoch arden -> PERICLES--- , October 7, 2017 4:18 PM

The development and production of new weapon systems is the most efficient way to advance the technology and, in this way, the economic productivity. All the technological breakthroughs which provided the current prosperity were financed by the governments with absolutely non-commercial purpose. Therefore, the fact that Russia finally started developing new weapon systems is quite promising for its future economic progress.

PERICLES--- enoch arden , October 7, 2017 4:47 PM

They are spending about 5% of GDP on their military, not counting intelligence agencies and secret police and the money going towards the "rebels" in Ukraine. For a nation with the domestic issues of Russia, it's quite a lot. Russia's oligarchs aren't spending that money because it's a good use of the budget, they're doing it because they need the military to distract the Russian public abroad and crush opposition at home. It's a sign of weakness, not strength.

enoch arden -> PERICLES--- , October 7, 2017 5:15 PM

You don't seem to disagree with my point. Developing new weapon system is much more useful for the economic development than production of consumer goods.

PERICLES--- enoch arden , October 7, 2017 6:07 PM

Who's buying? Russia's list of allies is small, many of their new weapon systems are quite pricey, and that's all technology the US had years ago. And when it comes to low quality, high quantity guns they are now competing with China.

enoch arden -> PERICLES--- , October 7, 2017 7:14 PM

I don't think you understand what you are talking about. Technological development is a strategic project, it is ridiculous to discuss it commercially. Private business would have never paid for the development of jet engines, laser, computer, nuclear reactor and internet. They are parasites using the technology developed on the taxpayers money for commercial purpose.

Concerning the customers: the US are still buying the Russian rockets. The Saudis and Turkey have recently bought anti-aircraft defence systems. Avoid discussing what is beyond you competence scope.

PERICLES--- enoch arden , October 7, 2017 8:06 PM

My, my, someone is feeling tense. Technological development is certainly helpful. It's less helpful, however, if your competitors are there a few years before you. No enterprise exists in a vacuum. If the primary strategic objective in Russia's development of technology is in order to sell it, they will have to arrive there ahead of the US and others. Given Russia's current situation, that seems... unlikely.

VadimKharichkov PERICLES--- , October 9, 2017 4:19 AM

Hmm... I once read a Stratfor's report on the subject I actually know - it was about business development in Islamic republics of Russia, and at the time I was one of the analysts in Investment Promotion Agency of Bashkortostan.

The report was strait idiotic - a crazy mince of facts and fiction. I'm pretty sure now these dudes are in business of making propaganda and have nothing to do with the truth but to turn it into half-truths.

bakbaklazhan -> KlingOn2K , October 7, 2017 9:30 AM

"Hacking the US elections was way below the belt and will not be readily forgotten."

ahahaha. any solid proof of that?

dannyboy116 -> bakbaklazhan , October 7, 2017 9:55 AM

There is no proof because it didn't happen. The US media was heavily invested in trying to get Hillary elected (they were even sending her debate questions in advance) - and needed a scapegoat (the terrible Russians) for her loss. I think the truth will eventually come out.

pavel -> dannyboy116 , October 7, 2017 3:58 PM

The truth has come out - besides having zero evidence of Russian government involvement, there was no internet transfer of data from the DNC servers, its was a local leak. As you probably know, DNC didn't allow FBI access to the servers, and instead hired a private firm to conclude that it was Russian hacking (the zero-evidence conclusions of this private firm were later used in intelligence agencie's reports). But nobody is listening to this, because Russiagate is just so beneficial to so many actors.

Drinas -> KlingOn2K , October 7, 2017 3:48 AM

"Hacking the election". Could you define what that means and present a single shred of evidence of it? Or we simply follow the Goebelsian "A lie you keep repeating becomes the truth.."

SurfaceUnits -> Drinas , October 7, 2017 12:01 PM

In the mid 70s, Vladimir Putin and the Russians began the systematic depopulation of Detroit so that 40 years later Donald J Trump would win Michigan. It's true, ask a Dimocrat.

KlingOn2K -> Drinas , October 8, 2017 2:36 AM

Maybe you might want to take a gander at this: https://www.nytimes.com/201...
But I guess when you're in total denial, any amount of "proof" will be insufficient. All I'd say to the Russians is, keep it going.

Drinas -> KlingOn2K , October 8, 2017 3:48 AM

bahaha That's the proof?! That's the best you can come up with? You fail to see that it is people like you because of your toxic hatred and dogmatism that jump on any crazy theory to support your hacking claims. The most probable underlying reason-excluding racist russophobia? You just can't fathom why Trump won. That's the side-effect of reading the coastal elites narratives instead of focusing on what has been happening on "fly-over country" for a couple of decades. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

CB -> Drinas , October 8, 2017 7:23 PM

Are you serious? You ask for proof, it is provided, and then you just go on pretending it wasn't? You do realize that with all the resources and technology at the disposal of our government, the notion of tracking the origins of certain content on the web is not at all far fetched. And why would any American patriot not be alarmed at the fact that the Russian government, the offspring of the USSR, our rival from the Cold War period, was involved in a concerted effort to target voters with information that was proven to be false. This is information warfare, and you would respond by rewarding the culprit. I hope you don't have kids. Maybe you Greeks ought to learn how to run your country before commenting on international affairs.

Drinas -> CB , October 9, 2017 3:56 AM

"You ask for proof, it is provided" Ahh..No, it wasn't. The only thing provided was a report by US intelligence services-the last entity one could call a neutral party to this-that basically said, "Trust us, we tell you the truth".

Again, until a shred of evidence is provided, the whole "russiagate" is BS of the first order. A fact that even mainstream commentators in the US reluctantly begin to accept. e.g.- "Russiagate Is More Fiction Than Fact" https://www.thenation.com/a...

As for Greece, thank you for your advice considering us running our country. If you adhered to the same principle of not being involved in the affairs of our nation-you helped install a junta in Greece in 1967, you still interfere in our politics-we would refrain from criticising your foreign policy that has a bad habit of sticking its dirty fingers everywhere.

CB -> Drinas , October 9, 2017 9:26 AM

I see you buy into the conspiracy theories. In terms of global development, peace and prosperity, Russia is not on the same page as the USA. One simply has more credibility than the other. This is for historical reasons which you needlessly discard. Either way, it is not just an intelligence report. Try browsing the web a bit. Finding Russian misinformation is not difficult at all. Facebook, a private entity with no dog in this fight, has verified Russian interference.

I'm sorry about the junta. A part of history I'm not familiar enough with. My understanding was this was part of the fight against communism. The ends don't justify the means, but our interests must be protected. Sometimes that means others go under the boot. We are able to do that because our house is in order, and we are the most powerful country there ever was. You may hate the fact, but it's the simple truth. No other nation has the same ability to project power. Intelligent minds wouldn't disagree.

Drinas -> CB , October 9, 2017 4:07 PM

Lol..You simply cherish raw power-just like the naz.s did for that matter. Of course the US is powerful, the most powerful country in terms of power projection. But being powerful does not make one right. Your founding fathers remembered that but you have long forgotten it, corrupted by power.
You actually believe your own megalomanic and delusional propaganda about being morally "exceptional" with a mandate to do as you like. You are as exceptional as the other empires before you were and headed to the same direction-decline and fall.

We Greeks have been around for a few millennia. We had our fair share of fights and helped destroy some empires as well-the Persians, the Ottomans. We also had the distinction of having our own empire twice-a feat very very few people can claim.

Today on your struggle with Russia no matter what the power balance might look (and it keeps shifting on Russia's favor), Russia is morally right. But even excluding morality and Russia and what not, and looking at the raw facts the fate of your Empire seems sealed.

A favorite metric of your money-obsessed society is GDP. In 1945 the US GDP was equal to almost 50% of the World GDP. In 1990 it was about 25%. Today it is close to 16% and in relation to the World GDP it keeps falling. Your military is in need of modernization but more importantly it simply cannot bare the costs of maintaining a global presence, much less engage in numerous conflicts.

But I think you already know those facts, that is why you shield your argument behind the "we are the most powerful blah, blah, blah".

As I said, all this is not knew, even the creation of scapegoats-Russia, N.Korea, Iran ,China etc are typical of every failing Empire, we 've seen this before.

I have a nice Greek term for you, it is a fundamental pillar of our way of viewing the world. It's called Hubris and the US is so full of it it can't see past its own nose.

CB -> Drinas , October 9, 2017 7:54 PM

I don't cherish power, just understand and respect it. And the USA is full of it, and admittedly full of hubris too. I wouldn't be quite so certain that the empire is over, but agreed overstretched. Adjustments are being made, though only time will tell if it is too little too late. Your reading of history is accurate, but history doesn't predict the future. It simply provides proper context for discussion. Your entire comment seems more ideological than logical. Where did I claim exceptionalism? I apologized about the junta, said it wasn't justified, but acknowledged the underlying dynamics. Your response was to compare me to the nazis? Wow. I will say this. You think Russia is "right". Good for you. I think it's quite a bit more complicated. I certainly think the socioeconomic and political systems in be USA are far superior to that of Russia, not inherently, but because of the institutions that have been created. Russia has chosen to emphasize nationalism versus the USA where individualism is still the prevailing ideological force. Nationalism was what the nazis promoted. Luckily I don't share your assessment about the global balance of power. The USA, land of the free and home of the brave, will continue to promote its interests abroad for quite some time to come.

Drinas -> KlingOn2K , October 8, 2017 4:34 PM

I don't know about "us Russians" because no matter how unfathomable it might seem to you, not everyone even mildly supportive of Russia is a Russian. I am Greek and I consider Russia a friendly state, with ties going back 1000 years, a state which is wrongfully demonized by the Western elites. You claim that everyone speaking vs Putin is targeted somehow. Obivously you have never been to Russia or spoke to Russians or have the vaguest clue of public discourse in Russia both online and on the street.

Oh, and in case you missed it, I asked for a single proof of "Russia hacking the election". Or anyone "hacking the election" for that matter. I did not ask any proof about Russia's internal politics or whether it conforms to your hypocritical and selective notions of democracy, ones that you care not apply to a host of tyranical nations you openly support.

Drinas -> KlingOn2K , October 7, 2017 9:34 AM

Oh, what a brilliant idea you got there..The one accused being responsible for providing evidence of his innocence while the accuser having no need to present evidence to support his case. Just relying on-"but it's Russia! It's evil and all that s..t!"

And neither Putin nor any Russian official ever made such an admission. Hillary lost because she was a terrible candidate whose own actions fueled a populist backlash against her and the Washington consensus policies she espoused.

kelly bako -> KlingOn2K , October 7, 2017 9:38 AM

So, you presume that russia is guilty because you don't have any proof of its innocence or culpability when it comes to assert if there were any interference in America's elections?

Andrew -> KlingOn2K , October 7, 2017 10:20 AM

When was it caught, doing what?

Mrm Penumathy -> KlingOn2K , October 7, 2017 1:02 PM

KingOn2K your assertion and the greatest press in the universe repeating continuously that Russians did it without providing any shred of evidence after more than one and half year of investigations (Sorry I forgot, they the press do mention that our $100 Billion + intelligence agencies say so the same guys who got us in the mess in Iraq good luck believing these guys). In the meanwhile we have an opioid epidemic and crumbling infrastructure.

KlingOn2K -> Mrm Penumathy , October 8, 2017 11:12 PM

Mrm Penumathy maybe, just maybe, it might dawn on Russia that the US is not in any way hinged to Russia. The status quo would do just fine. Apart from denials and raising a non-sequitur like Iraq the arguments for a reset don't look convincing. It is always amusing to see arguments on relative economic strengths coming from Russians when 68% of their exports come from oil !!

SurfaceUnits -> KlingOn2K , October 7, 2017 12:24 PM

The reason Hillarity was stumbling and falling during the campaign is because Vladimir Putin and the Russians spiked her GERITOL(R)(TM). It's true, ask a Dimocrat.

Midnight -> KlingOn2K , October 7, 2017 4:59 AM

In order to become a successful economy as the US needs to have 20 trillion foreign debt? The Russian economy is not so dependent on oil as it is told on CNN ..

Russia is not bad at earning rocket engines for the USA (rd180) and delivering American astronauts to the ISS ;) Economy of Russia - GDP rank 12th (nominal) / 6th (PPP) (2017) https://en.wikipedia.org/wi...

[Oct 09, 2017] US Missile Defense Not as Effective As We Think by Scott Ritter

Highly recommended!
The main problem with systems like THAAD is that it costly. Maintaining the global neoliberal empire is also costly. this financial overextension and deterioration of domestic economy and the standard of living tend to put limits on the imperial power. And such overextension is much more dangerous that lack of some cutting edge military capabilities. The USA managed to force some kind of military alliance of Russia and China in a sense that attack on one means the attack on both. China also warned the USA against unilateral military strike on North Korea.
As Ivan Eland noted in May 15, 2016, Obama "is opening missile defenses in Europe, quadrupling U.S. military spending there, and deploying more military forces near Russia-all of which will have the effect of continuing to provoke that already insecure country. Also, Obama has failed to withdraw U.S. ground forces from Afghanistan, inserted them into Iraq and Syria to battle the terror group ISIS, and continued his accelerated air wars over Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya." The U.S. Military Needs to Defend the Country, Not Undermine American Security HuffPost
Which means the end of the USA military supremacy as now the USA needs to take into account the possibility of join counterstrike of both China and Russia. . End of cheap oil also means end of multiple expeditionary wars that the USA managed to fight simultaneously (mostly against rag-tag gueella forces like in Afghanistan) as the costs would escalate very quickly.
Notable quotes:
"... the fact remains that, at the time of the Gulf War, the Patriot was a largely untested system which failed to perform as needed. Had Iraq had better missiles, or if they had been tipped with chemical, biological, or nuclear warheads, this failure could have been catastrophic. ..."
"... Like the Patriot missile of 1991, the THAAD has only been tested under carefully scripted peacetime conditions, with launch crews having the advantage of long flight times (easy to track) and medium speed closure rates (easy to kill) involving single missile launches. ..."
"... The THAAD has not been tested under realistic wartime conditions, involving large salvos of missiles possessing high-closure rates of speed. In war, it is the unexpected that trips you up. ..."
"... the North Koreans have demonstrated a high-loft launch profile, which would have the missile closing in on its target at a far steeper angle, and at much higher speeds, than the conventional ballistic trajectories the THAAD has trained against. ..."
"... The need to justify the acquisition of military hardware always interferes with the rigor of testing. Test results are published and must show success or the Military has egg on its wasteful face. Therefore, it is always a mistake to believe what is said about our weapons systems, however many improvements may have been made. ..."
"... There is another issue that those who depend on missile defenses are overlooking. North Korea could easily pre-position multiple nuclear weapons on non-descript boats, that then sail into the major ports of their foes during or after a war and destroy them. Such weapon delivery systems are very hard to detect and stop. So those who advocate attacking North Korea and feel we can stop their weapons with missiles are fooling themselves. This is one of the reasons that non-combat options to stop North Korea are still the best choice. ..."
Oct 09, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Sometime after midnight on the night of January 21, 1991, I was awoken by the sound of an air raid siren. At the time, I was sleeping in an apartment in Eskhan Village, an abandoned suburban housing area outside Riyadh that served as a barracks facility for thousands of American service members deployed to Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Desert Storm. Following protocol, I quickly donned my chemical protective ensemble, inclusive of gas mask; not following protocol, I headed up to the flat roof of the two-story building to see what was happening.

As it turned out, we were under attack. Iraq had launched four of its extended-range SCUD missile derivatives toward Riyadh. The flight paths of two of these missiles were visible to the naked eye, where residual fuel burned from the nozzle of the rocket. As part of a team of SCUD missile analysts assigned to the intelligence section of Central Command headquarters, I was fascinated by this first-hand opportunity to see the SCUD in action. The irony of being on the receiving end of the very missiles I was working to destroy barely registered before I was stunned by the sound of Patriot anti-missile batteries, staged in close proximity to the housing area, firing multiple salvos of interceptors at the incoming SCUDs. Each of the interceptors homed in on their target, their S-shaped trajectories reflecting the in-flight corrections provided by the Patriot's target acquisition radar as it tracked the flight path of the SCUDs. With dramatic effect, the Patriot interceptors exploded along the flight path of the SCUDs, which continued on their ballistic arc before impacting somewhere on the horizon with a bright yellow-green explosion.

This wasn't the first launch of SCUD missiles by Iraq against Saudi Arabia during the war. In the days prior, there had been several missile attacks targeting the sprawling military complex at Dhahran, all of which authorities claimed had been successfully intercepted by Patriot missiles. I had counted more than a dozen Patriot interceptor launches in the vicinity of Eskhan Village on the night of January 21, 1991; more than 35 interceptors in total had been fired in the Riyadh area that night. Reports that crossed my desk the next morning indicated that all four SCUDs targeting Riyadh had been successfully intercepted and destroyed by the Patriots, a finding which puzzled me -- the Patriot intercepts I had witnessed against the two SCUDs I was able to visually track seemed to be exploding behind the SCUDs, and none appeared to stop the SCUDs from detonating on the ground. Later, as part of a team of missile specialists assembled to evaluate the SCUD missile debris from the January 21 attack, I could find no evidence of any shrapnel having impacted the body of the SCUD missile.

After the war, while serving with the United Nations Special Commission charged with disarming Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (inclusive of its SCUD missiles), I read an article in International Security by MIT Professor Theodore Postol titled "Lessons of the Gulf War Patriot Experience." Postol questioned the Patriot's 96 percent success rate claimed by the Army during the Gulf War. Later, while working with Israeli intelligence on the Iraqi SCUD problem, I was able to speak with members of the Israeli Defense Force who were able to confirm Professor Postol's findings: The Patriot missile defense system successfully intercepted less that 10 percent of the SCUDs fired at Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab States during the Gulf War, and only 2 percent of those fired at Israel.

The failure of the Patriot missile defense system to perform during the Gulf War has been largely ignored. The reasons for this are many and varied. There was an extensive and intensive effort undertaken by the Raytheon Company (the manufacturer of the Patriot missile), the Army, and the Department of Defense to challenge Postol's findings, thereby muddying the waters. The fact that Iraq's SCUDs were inaccurate and did not carry WMD likewise skewed public opinion -- a dud warhead landing somewhere in the desert or ocean did not generate the kind of excitement of a chemical warhead landing in a densely populated area. In the quarter of a century that has passed since the Gulf War, the performance of the Patriot has improved, as has missile defense in general. (Witness the success of Israel's "Iron Dome" system.) But the fact remains that, at the time of the Gulf War, the Patriot was a largely untested system which failed to perform as needed. Had Iraq had better missiles, or if they had been tipped with chemical, biological, or nuclear warheads, this failure could have been catastrophic.

My experience with the Patriot missile during the Gulf War has colored my assessment of the deployment of America's new front-line missile defense weapon, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) to South Korea. The THAAD is intended to defend against the threat posed by North Korean short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. Like the Patriot missile of 1991, the THAAD has only been tested under carefully scripted peacetime conditions, with launch crews having the advantage of long flight times (easy to track) and medium speed closure rates (easy to kill) involving single missile launches.

The THAAD has not been tested under realistic wartime conditions, involving large salvos of missiles possessing high-closure rates of speed. In war, it is the unexpected that trips you up. During Desert Storm, the structural failure of Iraq's extended-range SCUDs caused the warhead to separate from the main body of the missile, creating multiple targets the Patriot radar was unable to discriminate against. This, combined with the higher-than-anticipated closure speeds of the longer-range missiles, contributed to the poor performance of the Patriot system.

North Korea has demonstrated the ability to conduct simultaneous launches of up to four ballistic missiles. Given their proximity to South Korea, these weapons would be tracked for a far shorter time with closure speeds greater than the missile targets the THAAD has been tested against to date. Moreover, the North Koreans have demonstrated a high-loft launch profile, which would have the missile closing in on its target at a far steeper angle, and at much higher speeds, than the conventional ballistic trajectories the THAAD has trained against. The THAAD interceptors are tied to the high-tech AN/TPY-2 target acquisition radar, which can cover a 120-degree frontage. North Korea's newly proven submarine-launched ballistic missile capability provides Pyongyang with a capability to maneuver behind the surveillance arc of the THAAD's radar. Such an attack presumes that neither the South Korean or U.S. naval forces would detect and destroy a North Korean submarine attempting such an attack, or that the U.S. Navy's Aegis missile defense system would fail to intercept a launched missile. The point here isn't the likelihood of North Korean success, but the reality that the THAAD is not omnipotent.

Perhaps the greatest threat facing the THAAD, or any defensive system currently deployed in the vicinity of South Korea, is that North Korea could employ a ballistic missile tipped with a nuclear warhead for the purpose of generating a massive electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that would knock out the THAAD's radar and electronics -- along with most, if not all, of South Korea's and America's electrical systems stationed in the region. The likelihood of such a scenario seems slim, given the consequences North Korea would endure in the aftermath of any use of nuclear weapons. However, the fact remains that the one attack the THAAD is specifically deployed to prevent -- that of a nuclear-tipped North Korean missile -- is the one attack that could be its undoing.

Missile defense has always been more theoretical than practical. The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) systems of the Cold War were never used, and eventually mothballed. The Patriot failed miserably during the Gulf War, only to succeed a decade later during the 2003 invasion of Iraq by using a much-improved interceptor against a far less capable foe. The much-vaunted Israeli "Iron Dome" missile defense system performed well against the homemade rockets of Hamas, but has yet to be tested against the much more capable arsenal possessed by Hezbollah -- or, for that matter, Iran. The THAAD system is a 30-year-old technology untested in combat, under-tested in peacetime, and is our only line of defense against a North Korean ballistic missile threat that has taken the world by surprise in terms of its scope, breadth, and capability.

During the Gulf War, the Patriot's poor performance did not have any strategic consequences -- 28 Americans tragically lost their lives when a SCUD hit their barracks, and a few Israelis died of heart attacks. The absence of a tangible result wasn't from a lack of effort on the part of Iraq -- Israeli's Dimona nuclear reactor was targeted multiple times, and had any missile caused significant Israeli casualties, Israel would have entered the conflict, placing the delicate coalition President George W. Bush had built at risk, and perhaps changing the outcome of the war. There is little reason to believe that North Korea's missiles lack accuracy, that their targeting will lack purpose, or their warheads will be benign. Whether or not THAAD is up to the task of protecting the South Korean peninsula (or, for that matter, Guam, Japan, and Alaska) from any North Korean ballistic missile attack is still yet to be seen. However, if history is any indication, the likelihood is that the THAAD will significantly underperform -- a possible outcome American military and civilian planners should take into consideration when plotting their next moves against Pyongyang.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of Deal of the Century: How Iran Blocked the West's Road to War (Clarity Press, 2017).

David , says: September 11, 2017 at 12:05 pm

Finally, Scott you are one of the few who speaks the shocking truth about US missile defense base on proportional navigation. BUT there is a solution you need to find out about – HIT Technology http://bit.ly/HIT-MissileDefense
Dennis J. Tuchler , says: September 11, 2017 at 5:09 pm
The need to justify the acquisition of military hardware always interferes with the rigor of testing. Test results are published and must show success or the Military has egg on its wasteful face. Therefore, it is always a mistake to believe what is said about our weapons systems, however many improvements may have been made.
James Drouin , says: September 11, 2017 at 6:57 pm
The author's failure to correctly detail the cause of the Patriot's failure, which has been indisputably diagnosed and corrected, brings into serious question any hypothesis he has on THAAD.

In brief, Patriot failed because of a drift in the timing between radar pulses, and the longer the system was online, the greater the drift, thus the greater the miss.

Further, the Israelis, operators of the Patriot system, had in fact, notified the US Army and the Patriot Project office of the flaw, and US military bureaucracy being what it is, the rest is history admit to screwing the pooch, or claim success where none existed.

Bottom line, WITHOUT the timing error, which could be fixed by simply re-booting the system every eight hours, Patriot functions perfectly as a missile killer.

SteveK9 , says: September 11, 2017 at 7:50 pm
Michael, IF N. Korea got rocket engines, the evidence presented in the NY Times suggests it was out-of-work Ukrainians, and N. Korea's oil comes from China.

You have Putin on the brain.

DrivingBy , says: September 12, 2017 at 12:14 am
"Therefore, it is always a mistake to believe what is said about our weapons systems"

The few strategic munitions tests that we know truly worked were those such as Ivy Mike. The people who built that were serious about their work, and there were remarkably few fizzles considering it was then new technology. Unfortunately, there were also a few side effects.

Were the Pentagon staffed by people motivated to defend the USA, we could probably invent a layered missile interceptor system that works pretty well.

Stephen Hubbard , says: September 13, 2017 at 5:53 pm
There is another issue that those who depend on missile defenses are overlooking. North Korea could easily pre-position multiple nuclear weapons on non-descript boats, that then sail into the major ports of their foes during or after a war and destroy them. Such weapon delivery systems are very hard to detect and stop. So those who advocate attacking North Korea and feel we can stop their weapons with missiles are fooling themselves. This is one of the reasons that non-combat options to stop North Korea are still the best choice.

[Oct 09, 2017] Dennis Kucinich We Must Challenge the Two-Party Duopoly Committed to War by Adam Dick

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... In the interview, Kucinich discusses his work to expose the misinformation used to argue for US government interventions overseas before and during the Iraq War and, later, concerning the US effort to assist in the overthrow of the Syria government. ..."
"... Kucinich, in the interview, places the Iraq War, with its costs including trillions in US government spending and the death of over a million Iraqis, in the context of "this American imperium, this idea that somehow we have the right to establish ourselves anywhere we want" including with "over 800 bases in 132 countries" and to go around the world "looking for dragons to slay while we ignore our own problems here at home." ..."
"... This is a racket. This is a way for people who make arms to cash in or have government contracts to cash in. ..."
"... Rescuing America from a future "cataclysmic war," Kucinich argues, requires that Americans both "realize that our position in the world was never, ever meant to be a cop on the beat, a global cop," and "challenge this two-party duopoly that's committed to war." ..."
Oct 09, 2017 | ronpaulinstitute.org

In a new interview with host Jesse Ventura at RT, former United States presidential candidate and House of Representatives Member Dennis Kucinich stressed the importance of the American people challenging the "two-party duopoly that's committed to war."

In the interview, Kucinich discusses his work to expose the misinformation used to argue for US government interventions overseas before and during the Iraq War and, later, concerning the US effort to assist in the overthrow of the Syria government.

Regarding the Iraq War, Kucinich, who is an Advisory Board member for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, explains that his research showed that "Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, nothing to do with al-Qaeda's role in 9/11, didn't have any connection to the anthrax attack, didn't have the intention or the capability of attacking the United States, and didn't have the weapons of mass destruction that were being claimed." This information, Kucinich relates, he provided to US Congress members in an October 2, 2002 report showing "there was no cause for war."

Despite Kucinich and other individuals' efforts to stop the march toward war, Congress passed an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) against Iraq later in October, and the invasion of Iraq commenced in March of 2003.

Kucinich, in the interview, places the Iraq War, with its costs including trillions in US government spending and the death of over a million Iraqis, in the context of "this American imperium, this idea that somehow we have the right to establish ourselves anywhere we want" including with "over 800 bases in 132 countries" and to go around the world "looking for dragons to slay while we ignore our own problems here at home."

Why are we "wasting the blood of our nation, the treasure of our nation, our young people" on these overseas activities that are "causing catastrophes among families in other countries?" Kucinich asks. He answers as follows:

This is a racket. This is a way for people who make arms to cash in or have government contracts to cash in.
Continuing with his explanation for the support for the Iraq War and other US military intervention abroad, Kucinich says:
The problem today we have in Washington is that both political parties have converged with the military-industrial complex, fulfilling President Eisenhower's nightmare and setting America on a path toward destruction.

Rescuing America from a future "cataclysmic war," Kucinich argues, requires that Americans both "realize that our position in the world was never, ever meant to be a cop on the beat, a global cop," and "challenge this two-party duopoly that's committed to war."

Watch Kucinich's complete interview here:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/3n5w1xYmV8A


Copyright © 2017 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
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[Oct 09, 2017] After Nine Months, Only Stale Crumbs in Russia Inquiry by Scott Ritter

Highly recommended!
US Congress allowed to drag itself into this propaganda swamp by politized Intelligence community, which became a major political player, that can dictate Congress what to do and what not to do. Now it is not that easy to get out of this "intelligence swamp"
Notable quotes:
"... The 2017 ICA on Russia was conceived in an atmosphere of despair and denial, birthed by Democrats and Republicans alike who were stunned by Trump's surprise electoral victory in November 2016. To say that this issue was a political event would be a gross understatement; the 2017 Russian ICA will go down in history as one of the most politicized intelligence documents ever, regardless of the degree of accuracy eventually afforded its contents. The very fact that the document is given the sobriquet "Intelligence Community" is itself a political act, designed to impart a degree of scrutiny and community consensus that simply did not exist when it came to the production of that document, or the classified reports that it was derived from. ..."
"... This was a report prepared by handpicked analysts ..."
"... iven the firestorm of political intrigue and controversy initiated by the publication of this document, the notion of a "general consensus" regarding the level of trust imparted to it by the Senate Select Intelligence Committee does not engender confidence. ..."
"... It was this document that spawned the issue of "collusion." While Sens. Burr and Warner can state that "collusion" is still an open issue, the fact of the matter is that, in this regard, Trump and his campaign advisors have already been found guilty in the court of public opinion, especially among those members of the public and the media who were vehemently opposed to his candidacy and ultimate victory. ..."
"... One need only review the comments of the various Democratic members of the Senate Select Committee, their counterparts serving on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as the various experts and pundits in the media, to underscore the degree to which prejudice has "worked its evil" when it comes to the issue of collusion and the Trump campaign in this regard. ..."
"... purchase of advertisements on various social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, by the Russians or their proxies. With regard to these advertisements, Senator Burr painted a dire picture. "It seems," he declared, "that the overall theme of the Russian involvement in the US elections was to create chaos at every level." ..."
"... No one wants to be told that they have been victims of a con; this is especially true when dealing with the sacred trust imparted to the American citizenry by the Constitution of the United States regarding the free and fair election of those who will represent us in higher office. American politics, for better or worse, is about the personal connection a given candidate has with the voter, a gut feeling that this person shares common values and beliefs. ..."
"... the percentage of Americans that participate in national elections is low. Those that do tend to be people who care enough about one or more issues to actually get out and vote. To categorize these dedicated citizens as brain-dead dupes who are susceptible to social media-based click advertisements is an insult to American democracy. ..."
"... There is a world of difference between Russian intelligence services allegedly hacking politically sensitive emails and selectively releasing them for the sole purpose of undermining a given Presidential candidate's electoral prospects, and mimicking social media-based advertisements addressing issues that are already at play in an election. The Russians didn't invent the ongoing debate in the United States over gun control (i.e., the "Second Amendment" issue), race relations (the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri) or immigration ("The Wall"). ..."
"... These were, and remain, core issues that are at the heart of the American domestic political discourse, regardless of where one stands. You either know the issues, or you don't; it is an insult to the American voter to suggest that they are so malleable that $100,000 of targeted social media-based advertisements can swing their vote, even if 10 million of them viewed it. ..."
Oct 09, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The 'briefing' is just another exercise in preferred narrative boosting.

The co-chairmen of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence held a press briefing Thursday on the status of their ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the American electoral process. Content-wise, the press briefing and the question and answer session were an exercise in information futility -- they provided little substance and nothing new. The investigation was still ongoing, the senators explained, and there was still work to be done.

Nine months into the Committee's work, the best Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), could offer was that there was "general consensus" among committee members and their staff that they trust the findings of the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) of January 2017, which gave high confidence to the charge that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election. The issue of possible collusion between Russia and members of the campaign of Donald Trump, however, "is still open."

Frankly speaking, this isn't good enough.

The 2017 ICA on Russia was conceived in an atmosphere of despair and denial, birthed by Democrats and Republicans alike who were stunned by Trump's surprise electoral victory in November 2016. To say that this issue was a political event would be a gross understatement; the 2017 Russian ICA will go down in history as one of the most politicized intelligence documents ever, regardless of the degree of accuracy eventually afforded its contents. The very fact that the document is given the sobriquet "Intelligence Community" is itself a political act, designed to impart a degree of scrutiny and community consensus that simply did not exist when it came to the production of that document, or the classified reports that it was derived from.

This was a report prepared by handpicked analysts from three of the Intelligence Community's sixteen agencies (the CIA, NSA, and FBI) who operated outside of the National Intelligence Council (the venue for the production of Intelligence Community products such as the Russian ICA), and void of the direction and supervision of a dedicated National Intelligence Officer. Overcoming this deficient family tree represents a high hurdle, even before the issue of the credibility of the sources and methods used to underpin the ICA's findings are discussed. Given the firestorm of political intrigue and controversy initiated by the publication of this document, the notion of a "general consensus" regarding the level of trust imparted to it by the Senate Select Intelligence Committee does not engender confidence.

It was this document that spawned the issue of "collusion." While Sens. Burr and Warner can state that "collusion" is still an open issue, the fact of the matter is that, in this regard, Trump and his campaign advisors have already been found guilty in the court of public opinion, especially among those members of the public and the media who were vehemently opposed to his candidacy and ultimate victory. Insofar as the committee's investigation serves as a legitimate search for truth, it does so as a post-conviction appeal. However, as the distinguished Supreme Court Justice Joseph McKenna noted in his opinion in Berger v. United States (1921):

The remedy by appeal is inadequate. It comes after the trial, and, if prejudice exist, it has worked its evil and a judgment of it in a reviewing tribunal is precarious. It goes there fortified by presumptions, and nothing can be more elusive of estimate or decision than a disposition of a mind in which there is a personal ingredient.

One need only review the comments of the various Democratic members of the Senate Select Committee, their counterparts serving on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as the various experts and pundits in the media, to underscore the degree to which prejudice has "worked its evil" when it comes to the issue of collusion and the Trump campaign in this regard.

The two senators proceeded to touch on a new angle recently introduced into their investigation, that of the purchase of advertisements on various social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, by the Russians or their proxies. With regard to these advertisements, Senator Burr painted a dire picture. "It seems," he declared, "that the overall theme of the Russian involvement in the US elections was to create chaos at every level."

No one wants to be told that they have been victims of a con; this is especially true when dealing with the sacred trust imparted to the American citizenry by the Constitution of the United States regarding the free and fair election of those who will represent us in higher office. American politics, for better or worse, is about the personal connection a given candidate has with the voter, a gut feeling that this person shares common values and beliefs.

Nevertheless, the percentage of Americans that participate in national elections is low. Those that do tend to be people who care enough about one or more issues to actually get out and vote. To categorize these dedicated citizens as brain-dead dupes who are susceptible to social media-based click advertisements is an insult to American democracy.

There is a world of difference between Russian intelligence services allegedly hacking politically sensitive emails and selectively releasing them for the sole purpose of undermining a given Presidential candidate's electoral prospects, and mimicking social media-based advertisements addressing issues that are already at play in an election. The Russians didn't invent the ongoing debate in the United States over gun control (i.e., the "Second Amendment" issue), race relations (the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri) or immigration ("The Wall").

These were, and remain, core issues that are at the heart of the American domestic political discourse, regardless of where one stands. You either know the issues, or you don't; it is an insult to the American voter to suggest that they are so malleable that $100,000 of targeted social media-based advertisements can swing their vote, even if 10 million of them viewed it.

The take away from the press briefing given by Senator's Burr and Warner was two-fold: One, the Russians meddled, and two, we don't know if Trump colluded with the Russians. The fact that America is nine months into this investigation with little more to show now than what could have been said at the start is, in and of itself, an American political tragedy. The Trump administration has been hobbled by the inertia of this and other investigations derived from the question of Russian meddling. That this process may yet vindicate President Trump isn't justification for the process itself; in such a case the delay will have hurt more than the truth. As William Penn, the founder of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, so eloquently noted:

Delays have been more injurious than direct Injustice. They too often starve those they dare not deny. The very Winner is made a Loser, because he pays twice for his own; like those who purchase Estates Mortgaged before to the full value.

Our law says that to delay Justice is Injustice. Not to have a Right, and not to come of it, differs little. Refuse or Dispatch is the Duty of a Good Officer.

Senators Burr and Warner, together with their fellow members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and their respective staffs, would do well to heed those words.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of "Deal of the Century: How Iran Blocked the West's Road to War" (Clarity Press, 2017).

[Oct 09, 2017] Autopilot Wars by Andrew J. Bacevich

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... While serving as defense secretary in the 1960s, Robert McNamara once mused that the "greatest contribution" of the Vietnam War might have been to make it possible for the United States "to go to war without the necessity of arousing the public ire." With regard to the conflict once widely referred to as McNamara's War, his claim proved grotesquely premature. Yet a half-century later, his wish has become reality. ..."
"... Why do Americans today show so little interest in the wars waged in their name and at least nominally on their behalf? Why, as our wars drag on and on, doesn't the disparity between effort expended and benefits accrued arouse more than passing curiosity or mild expressions of dismay? Why, in short, don't we give a [ expletive deleted ..."
"... The true costs of Washington's wars go untabulated. ..."
"... On matters related to war, American citizens have opted out. ..."
"... Terrorism gets hyped and hyped and hyped some more. ..."
"... Blather crowds out substance. ..."
"... Besides, we're too busy. ..."
"... Anyway, the next president will save us. ..."
"... Our culturally progressive military has largely immunized itself from criticism. ..."
"... Well, yes, the US has recently killed 100.000′s of Arab civilians because they were Terrorists (?) or to Bring them Democracy (?) or whatever, or something – or who cares anyway. There's more coverage of the transgender toilet access question. ..."
Oct 08, 2017 | www.unz.com

Autopilot Wars Sixteen Years, But Who's Counting?

Consider, if you will, these two indisputable facts. First, the United States is today more or less permanently engaged in hostilities in not one faraway place, but at least seven . Second, the vast majority of the American people could not care less.

Nor can it be said that we don't care because we don't know. True, government authorities withhold certain aspects of ongoing military operations or release only details that they find convenient. Yet information describing what U.S. forces are doing (and where) is readily available, even if buried in recent months by barrages of presidential tweets. Here, for anyone interested, are press releases issued by United States Central Command for just one recent week:

Ever since the United States launched its war on terror, oceans of military press releases have poured forth. And those are just for starters. To provide updates on the U.S. military's various ongoing campaigns, generals, admirals, and high-ranking defense officials regularly testify before congressional committees or brief members of the press. From the field, journalists offer updates that fill in at least some of the details -- on civilian casualties, for example -- that government authorities prefer not to disclose. Contributors to newspaper op-ed pages and "experts" booked by network and cable TV news shows, including passels of retired military officers, provide analysis. Trailing behind come books and documentaries that put things in a broader perspective.

But here's the truth of it. None of it matters.

Like traffic jams or robocalls, war has fallen into the category of things that Americans may not welcome, but have learned to live with. In twenty-first-century America, war is not that big a deal.

While serving as defense secretary in the 1960s, Robert McNamara once mused that the "greatest contribution" of the Vietnam War might have been to make it possible for the United States "to go to war without the necessity of arousing the public ire." With regard to the conflict once widely referred to as McNamara's War, his claim proved grotesquely premature. Yet a half-century later, his wish has become reality.

Why do Americans today show so little interest in the wars waged in their name and at least nominally on their behalf? Why, as our wars drag on and on, doesn't the disparity between effort expended and benefits accrued arouse more than passing curiosity or mild expressions of dismay? Why, in short, don't we give a [ expletive deleted ]?

Perhaps just posing such a question propels us instantly into the realm of the unanswerable, like trying to figure out why people idolize Justin Bieber, shoot birds, or watch golf on television.

Without any expectation of actually piercing our collective ennui, let me take a stab at explaining why we don't give a @#$%&! Here are eight distinctive but mutually reinforcing explanations, offered in a sequence that begins with the blindingly obvious and ends with the more speculative.

Americans don't attend all that much to ongoing American wars because:

1. U.S. casualty rates are low . By using proxies and contractors, and relying heavily on airpower, America's war managers have been able to keep a tight lid on the number of U.S. troops being killed and wounded. In all of 2017, for example, a grand total of 11 American soldiers have been lost in Afghanistan -- about equal to the number of shooting deaths in Chicago over the course of a typical week. True, in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries where the U.S. is engaged in hostilities, whether directly or indirectly, plenty of people who are not Americans are being killed and maimed. (The estimated number of Iraqi civilians killed this year alone exceeds 12,000 .) But those casualties have next to no political salience as far as the United States is concerned. As long as they don't impede U.S. military operations, they literally don't count (and generally aren't counted).

2. The true costs of Washington's wars go untabulated. In a famous speech , dating from early in his presidency, Dwight D. Eisenhower said that "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." Dollars spent on weaponry, Ike insisted, translated directly into schools, hospitals, homes, highways, and power plants that would go unbuilt. "This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense," he continued. "[I]t is humanity hanging from a cross of iron." More than six decades later, Americans have long since accommodated themselves to that cross of iron. Many actually see it as a boon, a source of corporate profits, jobs, and, of course, campaign contributions. As such, they avert their eyes from the opportunity costs of our never-ending wars. The dollars expended pursuant to our post-9/11 conflicts will ultimately number in the multi-trillions . Imagine the benefits of investing such sums in upgrading the nation's aging infrastructure . Yet don't count on Congressional leaders, other politicians, or just about anyone else to pursue that connection.

On matters related to war, American citizens have opted out. Others have made the point so frequently that it's the equivalent of hearing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" at Christmastime. Even so, it bears repeating: the American people have defined their obligation to "support the troops" in the narrowest imaginable terms , ensuring above all that such support requires absolutely no sacrifice on their part. Members of Congress abet this civic apathy, while also taking steps to insulate themselves from responsibility. In effect, citizens and their elected representatives in Washington agree: supporting the troops means deferring to the commander in chief, without inquiring about whether what he has the troops doing makes the slightest sense. Yes, we set down our beers long enough to applaud those in uniform and boo those who decline to participate in mandatory rituals of patriotism. What we don't do is demand anything remotely approximating actual accountability.

4. Terrorism gets hyped and hyped and hyped some more. While international terrorism isn't a trivial problem (and wasn't for decades before 9/11), it comes nowhere close to posing an existential threat to the United States. Indeed, other threats, notably the impact of climate change, constitute a far greater danger to the wellbeing of Americans. Worried about the safety of your children or grandchildren? The opioid epidemic constitutes an infinitely greater danger than "Islamic radicalism." Yet having been sold a bill of goods about a "war on terror" that is essential for "keeping America safe," mere citizens are easily persuaded that scattering U.S. troops throughout the Islamic world while dropping bombs on designated evildoers is helping win the former while guaranteeing the latter. To question that proposition becomes tantamount to suggesting that God might not have given Moses two stone tablets after all.

5. Blather crowds out substance. When it comes to foreign policy, American public discourse is -- not to put too fine a point on it -- vacuous, insipid, and mindlessly repetitive. William Safire of the New York Times once characterized American political rhetoric as BOMFOG, with those running for high office relentlessly touting the Brotherhood of Man and the Fatherhood of God. Ask a politician, Republican or Democrat, to expound on this country's role in the world, and then brace yourself for some variant of WOSFAD, as the speaker insists that it is incumbent upon the World's Only Superpower to spread Freedom and Democracy. Terms like leadership and indispensable are introduced, along with warnings about the dangers of isolationism and appeasement, embellished with ominous references to Munich . Such grandiose posturing makes it unnecessary to probe too deeply into the actual origins and purposes of American wars, past or present, or assess the likelihood of ongoing wars ending in some approximation of actual success. Cheerleading displaces serious thought.

6. Besides, we're too busy. Think of this as a corollary to point five. Even if the present-day American political scene included figures like Senators Robert La Follette or J. William Fulbright , who long ago warned against the dangers of militarizing U.S. policy, Americans may not retain a capacity to attend to such critiques. Responding to the demands of the Information Age is not, it turns out, conducive to deep reflection. We live in an era (so we are told) when frantic multitasking has become a sort of duty and when being overscheduled is almost obligatory. Our attention span shrinks and with it our time horizon. The matters we attend to are those that happened just hours or minutes ago. Yet like the great solar eclipse of 2017 -- hugely significant and instantly forgotten -- those matters will, within another few minutes or hours, be superseded by some other development that briefly captures our attention. As a result, a dwindling number of Americans -- those not compulsively checking Facebook pages and Twitter accounts -- have the time or inclination to ponder questions like: When will the Afghanistan War end? Why has it lasted almost 16 years? Why doesn't the finest fighting force in history actually win? Can't package an answer in 140 characters or a 30-second made-for-TV sound bite? Well, then, slowpoke, don't expect anyone to attend to what you have to say.

7. Anyway, the next president will save us. At regular intervals, Americans indulge in the fantasy that, if we just install the right person in the White House, all will be well. Ambitious politicians are quick to exploit this expectation. Presidential candidates struggle to differentiate themselves from their competitors, but all of them promise in one way or another to wipe the slate clean and Make America Great Again. Ignoring the historical record of promises broken or unfulfilled, and presidents who turn out not to be deities but flawed human beings, Americans -- members of the media above all -- pretend to take all this seriously. Campaigns become longer, more expensive, more circus-like, and ever less substantial. One might think that the election of Donald Trump would prompt a downward revision in the exalted expectations of presidents putting things right. Instead, especially in the anti-Trump camp, getting rid of Trump himself (Collusion! Corruption! Obstruction! Impeachment!) has become the overriding imperative, with little attention given to restoring the balance intended by the framers of the Constitution. The irony of Trump perpetuating wars that he once roundly criticized and then handing the conduct of those wars to generals devoid of ideas for ending them almost entirely escapes notice.

8. Our culturally progressive military has largely immunized itself from criticism. As recently as the 1990s, the U.S. military establishment aligned itself with the retrograde side of the culture wars. Who can forget the gays-in-the-military controversy that rocked Bill Clinton's administration during his first weeks in office, as senior military leaders publicly denounced their commander-in-chief? Those days are long gone. Culturally, the armed forces have moved left. Today, the services go out of their way to project an image of tolerance and a commitment to equality on all matters related to race, gender, and sexuality. So when President Trump announced his opposition to transgendered persons serving in the armed forces, tweeting that the military "cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail," senior officers politely but firmly disagreed and pushed back . Given the ascendency of cultural issues near the top of the U.S. political agenda, the military's embrace of diversity helps to insulate it from criticism and from being called to account for a less than sterling performance in waging wars. Put simply, critics who in an earlier day might have blasted military leaders for their inability to bring wars to a successful conclusion hold their fire. Having women graduate from Ranger School or command Marines in combat more than compensates for not winning.

A collective indifference to war has become an emblem of contemporary America. But don't expect your neighbors down the street or the editors of the New York Times to lose any sleep over that fact. Even to notice it would require them -- and us -- to care.

Andrew J. Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular , is the author, most recently, of America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History .

Dan Hayes > , October 9, 2017 at 2:30 am GMT

You have enumerated ten general reasons why Americans "don't attend" to ongoing wars.

Let me add a further specific one: the draft or lack of same. If there were a draft in place either the powers-that-be would not even dare to contemplate any of our present martial misadventures, or failing that the outraged citizenry would burn down the Congress!

BTW I had never thought about reason #8: the military's embrace of diversity helps to insulate it from criticism. This explains General Casey's inane statement that diversity shouldn't be a casualty of the Fort Hood massacre by a "diverse" officer!

Carlton Meyer > , Website October 9, 2017 at 5:17 am GMT

One reason Trump won is that he promised to pull back the empire, while suggesting the Pentagon already has plenty of money. After the election, he demanded a 10% increase, and threatens North Korea to justify it! This increase alone is bigger than the entire annual military budget of Russia! The public is informed that this is because of cuts during the Obama years, but there were no cuts, only limits to increases.

How did the Democrats react? Most voted for a bigger military budget than the mindless increase proposed by Trump! That news was not reported by our corporate media, as Jimmy Dore explained:

Miro23 > , October 9, 2017 at 6:52 am GMT

A collective indifference to war has become an emblem of contemporary America.

Well, yes, the US has recently killed 100.000′s of Arab civilians because they were Terrorists (?) or to Bring them Democracy (?) or whatever, or something – or who cares anyway. There's more coverage of the transgender toilet access question.

So who are Mr & Mrs Indifferent, the emblems of contemporary America? https://www.yahoo.com/news/29-couples-boudoir-photos-almost-172445904.html ?.tsrc=fauxdal – Thanks to Priss

Backwoods Bob > , October 9, 2017 at 7:37 am GMT

Structurally, you have arms production, military bases, hospitals, and related service industries across nearly all the congressional districts in the country.

So it is an enormous set of vested interests with both voting power and corporate money for campaign treasuries.

Quoting Ike was good, and he mentions the opportunity cost in schools, roads, etc. – but also the organizing political and economic power of the military industrial complex.

The government schools are with some exceptions worthless. No subject, let alone war, is taken on seriously.

The legacy media has been co-opted by the MIC/Financial interests. The state is spying on everyone and everyone knows so. Free speech, free association, free assembly, right to bear arms, confront your accuser, trial by jury, habeas corpus – all gone now.

So the sheep behave. They walk by the dead whistling, and look straight ahead.

Robert Magill > , October 9, 2017 at 9:27 am GMT

While serving as defense secretary in the 1960s, Robert McNamara once mused that the "greatest contribution" of the Vietnam War might have been to make it possible for the United States "to go to war without the necessity of arousing the public ire." With regard to the conflict once widely referred to as McNamara's War, his claim proved grotesquely premature. Yet a half-century later, his wish has become reality.

He was dead wrong about this in the 60′s as it soon became obvious to everyone else. But we learned how "to go to war without the necessity of arousing the public ire." Cut out the military draft and embed the press into the ranks so they dare not report the actions they witness.

http://robertmagill.wordpress.com

[Oct 09, 2017] SHOCKING!!! Google discovers ads placed on its site from Russia, proving America s democracy was hacked

Oct 09, 2017 | theduran.com

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