|Contents||Bulletin||Scripting in shell and Perl||Network troubleshooting||History||Humor|
|News||Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few||Recommended Links||Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism||Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA||Neoconservatism||Hillary Clinton email scandal|
|Demonization of Putin||Do the US intelligence agencies attempt to influence the US Presidential elections ?||Clinton cash scnadal and her links to financial industry||Color revolutions||"Fuck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place||Deception as an art form||Pathological Russophobia of the US elite|
|Media-Military-Industrial Complex||Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime||Conversion of Democratic Party into War Party and Hillary Clinton policy toward Russia||Edward Lucas as agent provocateur||US and British media are servants of security apparatus||Hillary as a pathological liar||Bill Clinton|
|Clinton Cash The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich||Crisis of Character A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They O||Hillary the Other Woman Dolly Kyle Amazon.com Books||The Clintons' War on Women Roger Stone, Robert Morrow Amazon.com Books||Bill Clinton New Gilded Age President Patrick J. Maney 9780700621941 Amazon.com Books||The Secret Life of Bill Clinton The Unreported Stories Ambrose Evans-Pritchard Amazon.com Books||Partners in Crime The Clintons' Scheme to Monetize the White House for Personal Profit Jerome Corsi Amazon|
|Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism||Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair||Female Sociopaths||American Exceptionalism||Lawrence Summers||Sandy Weill: the banker who bought Bill Clinton||Financial Sector Induced Systemic Instability of Economy|
|Diplomacy by deception||Corruption of Regulators||The Deep State||Machiavellism||Noble Lie||Hillary role in cover up of Bill Clinton sexapades||Nation under attack meme|
|Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism||Neocons Credibility Scam||Leo Strauss and the Neocons||Predator state||The Iron Law of Oligarchy||Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite|
These people have no shame. Vote Trump!
USMarines, Guardian Jun 25, 2016
Seems Putin controls Trump and Clinton! The man is amazing.
Only Jedi Knights can stop him.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that
Donald J. Trump said, referring to messages deemed personal by Hillary Clinton
and deleted from her private email server.
Clinton campaign is trying to hide their very serious domestic allegation tried to play "Russians are coming" trick... In reality the real issue with DNS leaks in the fact that Sanders campaign was sabotaged by crooks in DNC.
All those presstitutes who wipe up anti-Russian hysteria should ask themselves a simple question. Do they have any moral right to ask question about the legitimacy of foreign interference if this interference is the cornerstone of the US foreign policy. As in "color revolutions" and similar subversive actions against "not neoliberal enough" government of countries with natural resources or of some geopolitical value. Also it is not clear why Russia would prefer Trump to Hillary. Here is one post that addresses this issues (Economist's View What’s Behind a Rise in Ethnic Nationalism Maybe the Economy, Oct 14, 2016):
likbez -> pgl... , Friday, October 14, 2016 at 07:43 PMParadoxically Pravda in old times did have real insights into the US political system and for this reason was widely read by specialists. Especially materials published by the Institute of the USA and Canada -- a powerful Russian think tank somewhat similar to the Council on Foreign Relations.
As for your remark I think for many people in the USA Russophobia is just displaced Anti-Semitism.
JohnH remark is actually very apt and you should not "misunderestimate" the level of understanding of the US political system by Russians. They did learn a lot about machinations of the neoliberal foreign policy, especially about so called "color revolutions." Hillary&Obama has had a bloody nose when they tried to stage a "color revolution" in 2011-2012 in Russia (so called "white revolution). A typical US citizen probably never heard about it or heard only about "Pussy riot", Navalny and couple of other minor figures. At the end poor ambassador Michael McFaul was recalled. NED was expelled. Of course Russia is just a pale shadow of the USSR power-wise, so Obama later put her on sanctions using MH17 incident as a pretext with no chances of retaliation. They also successfully implemented regime change in Ukraine -- blooding Putin nose in return.
But I actually disagree with JohnH. First of all Putin does not need to interfere in a way like the USA did in 2011-2012. It would be a waist of resources as both candidates are probably equally bad for Russia (and it is the "deep state" which actually dictate the US foreign policy, not POTUS.)
The US political system is already the can of worms and the deterioration of neoliberal society this time created almost revolutionary situation in Marxists terms, when Repug elite was not able to control the nomination. Democratic establishment still did OK and managed to squash the rebellion, but here the level of degeneration demonstrated itself in the selection of the candidate.
Taking into account the level of dysfunction of the US political system, I am not so sure the Trump is preferable to Hillary for Russians. I would say he is more unpredictable and more dangerous. The main danger of Hillary is Syria war escalation, but the same is true for Trump who can turn into the second John McCain on a dime.
Also the difference between two should not be exaggerated. Both are puppets of the forces the brought them to the current level and in their POTUS role will need to be subservient to the "deep state". Or at least to take into account its existence and power. And that makes them more of prisoners of the position they want so much.
Trump probably to lesser extent then Hillary, but he also can't ignore the deep state. Both require the support of Republican Congress for major legislative initiatives. And it will very hostile to Hillary. Which is a major advantage for Russians, as this excludes the possibility of some very stupid moves.
Again, IMHO in no way any of them will control the US foreign policy. In this area the deep state is in charge since Allen Dulles and those who try to deviate too much might end as badly as JFK. I think Obama understood this very well and did not try to rock the boat. And there are people who will promptly explain this to Trump in a way that he understands.
In other words, neither of them will escape the limit on their power that "deep state" enforces. And that virtually guarantee the continuity of the foreign policy, with just slight tactical variations.
So why Russians should prefer one to another? You can elect a dog as POTUS and the foreign policy of the USA will be virtually the same as with Hillary or Trump.
In internal policy Trump looks more dangerous and more willing to experiment, while Hillary is definitely a "status quo" candidate. The last thing Russians needs is the US stock market crush. So from the point of internal economic policy Hillary is also preferable.
A lot of pundits stress the danger of war with Russia, and that might be true as women in high political position try to outdo men in hawkishness. But here Hillary jingoism probably will be tightly controlled by the "deep state". Hillary definitely tried to be "More Catholic then the Pope" in this area while being the Secretary of State. That did not end well for her and she might learn the lesson.
But if you think about the amount of "compromat" (Russian term ;-) on Hillary and Bill that Russians may well already collected, in "normal circumstances" she might be a preferable counterpart for Russians. As in "devil that we know". Both Lavrov and Putin met Hillary. Medvedev was burned by Hillary. Taking into account the level of greed Hillary displayed during her career, I would be worried what Russians have on her , as well as on Bill "transgressions" and RICO-style actions of Clinton Foundation.
And taking into account the level of disgust amount the government officials with Hillary (and this is not limited to Secret Service) , new leaks are quite possible, which might further complicate her position as POTUS.
In worst case, the first year (or two) leaks will continue. Especially if damaging DNC leaks were the work of some disgruntled person within the USA intelligence and not of some foreign hacker group. That might be a plus for Russians as such a constant distraction might limit her possibility to make some stupid move in Syria. Or not.
As you know personal emails boxes for all major Web mail providers are just one click away for NSA analysts. So "Snowden II" hypothesis might have the right to exist.
Also it is quite probably that impeachment process for Hillary will start soon after her election. In the House Republicans have enough votes to try it. That also might be a plus for s for both Russia and China. Trump is extremely jingoistic as for Iran, and that might be another area were Hillary is preferable to Russians and Chinese over Trump.
Also do not discount her health problems. She does have some serious neurological disease, which eventually might kill her. How fast she will deteriorate is not known but in a year or two the current symptoms might become more pronounced. If Bill have STD (and sometime he looks like a person with HIV; http://joeforamerica.com/2016/07/bill-clinton-aids/) that further complicates that picture (this is just a rumor, but he really looks bad).
I think that all those factors make her an equal, or even preferable candidate for such states as Russia and China.
This is the situation of "king is naked" -- the state that teaches other countries about democracy has completely corrupted election process, like a typical banana republic. That what Wikileak revelations proved.
The Democratic Party convention and the media are full of the assumption that Russia is the enemy of the United States. What is the basis for that assumption?
- Russian support for the Russian ethnic minority in eastern Ukraine? How does that threaten the United States?
- Russian annexation of the Crimea? Khrushchev arbitrarily transferred that part of Russia to Ukraine during his time as head of the USSR. Khrushchev was a Ukrainian. Russia never accepted the arbitrary transfer of a territory that had been theirs since the 18th Century. How does this annexation threaten the United States?
- Russia does not want to see Syria crushed by the jihadis and acts accordingly? How does that threaten the United States?
- Russia threatens the NATO states in eastern Europe? Tell me how they actually do that. Is it by stationing their forces on their side of the border with these countries? Have the Russians made threatening statements about the NATO states?
- Russia has made threatening and hostile statements directed at the United States? When and where was that?
- Russia does not accept the principle of state sovereignty? Really? The United States is on shaky ground citing that principle. Remember Iraq?
- Russian intelligence may have intercepted and collected the DNC's communications (hacked) as well as HC's stash of illegal e-mails? Possibly true but every country on earth that has the capability does the same kind of thing every single day. That would include the United States.
The Obama Administration is apparently committed to a pre-emptive assertion that Russia is a world class committed enemy of the United States. The Borgist media fully support that.
We should all sober up.
The Russian theme has become one of the most important in Hillary presidential campaign and
she unsurprisingly is engaged in full-scale anti-Russian hysteria.
Hillary joined ranks with neocons, military-industrial complex and plain-vanilla Russophobes (katehon.com, Jul 28. 2016):
Speaking at a press conference in Florida, Trump called on Russia to hand over the 30,000 emails "missing" from the Hillary Clinton's email server in the US. Their absence is a clear sign that Clinton destroyed evidence proving that she used her personal e-mail server to send sensitive information. Democrats immediately accused Trump of pandering to Russian hackers, although in reality the multi-billionaire rhetorically hinted that the data that Clinton hid from the American investigation is in the hands of foreign intelligence services. So, Clinton is a possible target for blackmail.
Trump's statement that he is ready to discuss the status of Crimea and the removal of anti-Russian sanctions caused even more noise. This view is not accepted either in the Democrat or in the Republican mainstream. Trump also said that Vladimir Putin does not respect Clinton and Obama, while Trump himself hopes to find a common language with him. Trump appreciates Putin's leadership and believes that the US must work together with Russia to deal with common threats, particularly against Islamic extremism.
Hide The establishment's tantrum
Both Democrats and Republicans are taking aim at Trump. The vice-presidential candidate, Mike Pence, made threats to Russia. The head of the Republican majority in Congress, Paul Ryan, became somewhat hysterical. He said that Putin is "a thug and should stay out of these elections."
It is Putin personally, and the Russian security services, who are accused of leaking correspondences of top employees of the National Committee of the Democratic Party. This unverified story united part of the Republicans and all of the Democrats, including the Clinton and Barack Obama themselves. Trump supporters note that the Russian threat is used to divert attention from the content of these letters. And these show the fraud carried out during the primaries which favored Hillary Clinton.
Hide The pro-American candidate
The "Russian scandal" demonstrates that on the one hand the thesis of the normalization of relations with Russia, despite the propaganda, is becoming popular in US society. It is unlikely that Donald Trump has made campaign statements that are not designed to gain the support of the public in this election. On the other hand - Trump - a hard realist, like Putin, is not pro-Russian, but a pro-American politician, and therefore the improvement of relations with Russia in his eyes corresponds to the US's national interests. Trump has never to date done anything that would not be to his advantage. Sometimes he even said he would order US fighter jets to engage with Russian ones, and declared he would have a hard stance in relations with Russia.
Another thing is that his understanding of US national interests is fundamentally different from the dominant American globalist elite consensus. For Trump, the US should not be the source of a global liberal remaking of the world, but a national power, which optimizes its position just as efficiently as any commercial project. And in terms of optimizing the position of the United States, he says there should be a normal American interaction with Putin and Russia in the field of combating terrorism and preventing the sliding of the two countries into a global war. He claims this is to be the priority instead of issues relating to the promotion of democracy and the so-called fight against "authoritarian regimes".
Bullsh**t that the US MSM are now propagating is essentially a variation of the old theme "The Russians are Coming". Here is nice satire on the topic (washingtonsblog.com):
MC: President Putin, did the Russian government hack the DNC email server and then publically release those emails through Wikileaks the day before the Democratic convention?
MC: Yes! Are you serious?
Putin: I’m quite serious.
MC: How can you justify this open meddling in United States politics?
MC: How can you justify this open meddling in United States politics?
Putin: Your question should be what took Russia so long. The US oligarchs and their minions surround us with military bases and nuclear missiles, damage our trade to Europe, and seek to destabilize our domestic politics. These emails are nothing in the big picture. But they’re sort of funny, don’t you agree?
MC: I’m not sure that funny is the right word. What do you mean by that?
Putin: You’ve got Hillary Clinton running as a strong and independent woman. Of course, nobody would know who she is had she not married Bill Clinton. She’s not independent. Quite the contrary. She had to marry a philandering redneck to get to where she is. When it comes to strength, I can say only this. How strong can you be if you have to cheat and create a rigged game to win the nomination?
MC: Anything else about your leak to cheer us up?
Putin: This situation is the epitome of ironic humor. After the emails were released, the focus was all on DNC Chair and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. That’s fine for now but what happens when people start asking why Wasserman-Schultz had the DNC screw Sanders and boost Hillary? Did she just wake up one day and decide this on her own?. Not likely. She was and remains Hillary’s agent. It will take people a while to arrive that answer. When enough people hear about Wasserman-Schultz’s key role in the Clinton campaign, everything will be clear. It’s adios Hillary. That inevitable conclusion, by the way, is the reason the DNC made such a big deal about Russia hacking the DNC. That was diversion one right out of the gate.
DNC and Clinton are going to push the Russian card very hard in anticipation of further stories and revelations of corruption, money laundering, etc. Technical analysis provided is some idiotic, entry level nonsense. And it should ne complete dulsh*t as those cases are very complex and can used smokescreen -- deflecting attention from a read source (for example Israel) to Russians (Israel has large Russian speaking population, that is well represented in security services of the country).
When the USA opened this can of worm with Stixnet (discovered around mid 2010) and Flame (discovered around 2012), they did not expect a blowback. Now it start coming: it is simply impossible to secure "normal" Microsoft-based IT system against any sophisticated adversary. Remember that we live in the period when developed by NSA and "friends" Flame and Stixnet worm are part of the recorded history. And technologies used in them are well studied by all major world three letter agencies. They became a part of their workbook. And the response to their devilishness they generated even more devilish methods of attack of any IT infrastructure based on Microsoft technologies, to say nothing about such low hanging fruit as completely corrupt DNC with semi-competent IT staff using pathetic Microsoft Exchange based email system: (naked capitalism):
However, in this short post I want to focus on a much narrower question: Can we ever know who hacked the DNC email? Because if we can't, then clearly we can't know the Russians did. And so I want to hoist this by alert reader JacobiteInTraining from comments :
Yup, as a former server admin it is patently absurd to attribute a hack to anyone in particular until a substantial amount of forensic work has been done. (read, poring over multiple internal log files…gathering yet more log files of yet more internal devices, poring over them, then – once the request hops out of your org – requesting logfiles from remote entities, poring over *those* log files, requesting further log files from yet more upstream entities, wash rinse repeat ad infinitum).
For example, at its simplest, I would expect a middling-competency hacker to find an open wifi hub across town to connect to, then VPN to server in, say, Tonga, then VPN from there to another box in Sweden, then connect to a PC previously compromised in Iowa, then VPN to yet another anonymous cloud server in Latvia, and (assuming the mountain dew is running low, gotta get cracking) then RDP to the target server and grab as many docs as possible. RAR those up and encrypt them, FTP them to a compromised media server in South Korea, email them from there to someones gmail account previously hacked, xfer them to a P2P file sharing app, and then finally access them later from a completely different set of servers.
In many cases where I did this sort of analysis I still ended up with a complete dead end: some sysadmins at remote companies or orgs would be sympathetic and give me actual related log files. Others would be sympathetic but would not give files, and instead do their own analysis to give me tips. Many never responded, and most IPs ended up at unknown (compromised) personal PCs, or devices where the owner could not be found anyway.
If the hacker was sloppy and left other types of circumstantial evidence you might get lucky – but that demographic mostly points back to script kiddies and/or criminal dweebs – i.e., rather then just surreptitiously exfiltrating the goods they instead left messages or altered things that seemed to indicate their own backgrounds or prejudices, or left a message that was more easily 'traced'. If, of course, you took that evidence at face value and it was not itself an attempt at obfuscation.
Short of a state actor such as an NSA who captures it ALL anyway, and/or can access any log files at any public or private network at its own whim – its completely silly to attribute a hack to anyone at this point.
So, I guess I am reduced to LOL OMG WTF its fer the LULZ!!!!!
Just to clarify on the "…If the hacker was sloppy and left other types of circumstantial evidence…" – this is basically what I have seen reported as 'evidence' pointing to Russia: the Cyrillic keyboard signature, the 'appeared to cease work on Russian holidays' stuff, and the association with 'known Russian hacking groups'.
That's great and all, but in past work I am sure my own 'research' could easily have gotten me 'associated' with known hacking groups. Presumably various 'sophisticated' methods and tools get you closer to possible suspects…but that kind of stuff is cycled and recycled throughout the community worldwide – as soon as anything like that is known and published, any reasonably competent hacker (or org of hackers) is learning how to do the same thing and incorporating such things into their own methods. (imitation being the sincerest form of flattery)
I guess I have a lot more respect for the kinds of people I expect to be getting a paycheck from foreign Intelligence agencies then to believe that they would leave such obvious clues behind 'accidentally'. But if we are going to be starting wars over this stuff w/Russia, or China, I guess I would hope the adults in the room don't go all apesh*t and start chanting COMMIES, THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING!, etc. before the ink is dry on the 'crime'.
The whole episode reminds me of the Sony hack , for which Obama also blamed a demonized foreign power. Interestingly - to beg the question here - the blaming was also based on a foreign character set in the data (though Hangul, not Korean). Look! A clue!
JacobiteInTraining's methodology also reminds me of NC's coverage of Grexit. Symbol manipulators - like those in the Democrat-leaning creative class - often believe that real economy systems are as easy to manipulate as symbol systems are. In Greece, for example, it really was a difficult technical challenge for Greece to reintroduce the drachma, especially given the time-frame, as contributor Clive remorselessly showed. Similarly, it's really not credible to hire a consultant and get a hacking report with a turnaround time of less than a week, even leaving aside the idea that the DNC just might have hired a consultant that would give them the result they wanted (because who among us, etc.) What JacobiteInTraining shows us is that computer forensics is laborious, takes time, and is very unlikely to yield results suitable for framing in the narratives proffered by the political class. Of course, that does confirm all my priors!
Update Addition by Yves:
Another reader, Hacker, observed (emphasis original):
There is a problem with those who argue that these are sophisticated Nation State attackers and then point to the most basic circumstantial evidence to support their case. I'd bet that, among others, the Israelis have hacked some Russian servers to launch attacks from and have some of their workers on a Russian holiday schedule. Those things have been written about in attack analysis so much over the last 15-20 years that they'd be stupid not to.
Now, I'm not saying the Israelis did it. I'm saying that the evidence provided so far by those arguing it is Russia is so flaky as to prove that the Russia accusers are blinded or corrupted by their own political agenda.
Update [Yves, courtesy Richard Smith] 7:45 AM. Another Medium piece by Jeffrey Carr, Can Facts Slow The DNC Breach Runaway Train? who has been fact-checking this story and comes away Not Happy. For instance:
Thomas Rid wrote:
One of the strongest pieces of evidence linking GRU to the DNC hack is the equivalent of identical fingerprints found in two burglarized buildings: a reused command-and-control address - 176.31.112[.]10 - that was hard coded in a piece of malware found both in the German parliament as well as on the DNC's servers. Russian military intelligence was identified by the German domestic security agency BfV as the actor responsible for the Bundestag breach. The infrastructure behind the fake MIS Department domain was also linked to the Berlin intrusion through at least one other element, a shared SSL certificate.
This paragraph sounds quite damning if you take it at face value, but if you invest a little time into checking the source material, its carefully constructed narrative falls apart.
Problem #1: The IP address 176.31.112[.]10 used in the Bundestag breach as a Command and Control server has never been connected to the Russian intelligence services. In fact, Claudio Guarnieri , a highly regarded security researcher, whose technical analysis was referenced by Rid, stated that "no evidence allows to tie the attacks to governments of any particular country."
Mind you, he has two additional problems with that claim alone. This piece is a must read if you want to dig further into this topic.
 More than a talking point but, really, less than a narrative. It's like we need a new word for these bite-sized, meme-ready, disposable, "throw 'em against the wall and see if they stick" stories; mini-narrative, or narrativelette, perhaps. "All the crunch of a real narrative, but none of the nutrition!"
 This post is not about today's Trump moral panic, where the political class is frothing and stamping about The Donald's humorous (or ballbusting, take your pick) statement that he "hoped" the Russians had hacked the 30,000 emails that Clinton supposedly deleted from the email server she privatized in her public capacity as Secretary of State before handing the whole flaming and steaming mess over to investigators. First, who cares? Those emails are all about yoga lessons and Chelsea's wedding. Right? Second, Clinton didn't secure the server for three months. What did she expect? Third, Trump's suggestion is just dumb; the NSA has to have that data, so just ask them? Finally, to be fair, Trump shouldn't have uttered the word "Russia." He should have said "Liechtenstein," or "Tonga," because it's hard to believe that there's a country too small to hack as fat a target as Clinton presented; Trump was being inflammatory. Points off. Bad show.
Pavel , July 28, 2016 at 4:01 ampretzelattack , July 28, 2016 at 4:15 am
For those interested, the excellent interviewer Scott Horton just spoke with Jeffrey Carr, an IT security expert about all this. It's about 30 mins:
Jeffrey Carr, a cyber intelligence expert and CEO of Taia Global, Inc., discusses his fact-checking of Josh Marshall's TalkingPointsMemo article that claims a close alliance between Trump and Putin; and why the individuals blaming Russia for the DNC email hack are more motivated by politics than solid evidence.
–The Scott Horton Show: 7/25/16 Jeffrey Carr
Carr makes the point that even supposed clues about Russian involvement ("the default language is Cyrillic!") are meaningless as all these could be spoofed by another party.
Separately it just shows again Team Clinton's (and DNC's) political deviousness and expertise how they –with the full support of the MSM of course –have managed to deflect the discussion to Trump and Russia from how the DNC subverted US democracy.dk , July 28, 2016 at 4:59 am
and again, we see the cavalier attitude about national security from the clinton camp, aggravating the already tense relationship with russia over this bullshit, all to avoid some political disadvantage. clinton doesn't care if russia gets the nuclear launch codes seemingly, but impact her chances to win the race and it's all guns firing.
"… all these could be spoofed by another party."
Well yeah, and I could be a bot, how do you know I'm not?
Absent any other evidence to work with, I can accept it as credible that a clumsy Russian or Baltic user posted viewed and saved docs instead of the originals; par for the course in public and private bureaucracies the world over. It would have been useful to see the original Properties metadata; instead we get crapped up copies. That only tells me the poster is something of a lightweight, and it at least somewhat suggests that these docs passed through multiple hands.
But that doesn't mean A) the original penetration occurred under state control (or even in Russia proper), much less B) that Putin Himself ordered the hack attempts, which is the searing retinal afterimage that the the media name-dropping and photo-illustrating conflation produces.
Unspoofed, the Cyrillic fingerprints still do not closely constrain conclusion to A, and even less to B.
Another name for the trick DNC used is "Catch a chief" -- a deflection of attention from their own criminal behaviour. But they should now be really afraid about what can come next from Wikileaks or elsewhere. I don't think Hillary was capable to understand how easy it is to find corruption, especially when there's a email trail. And this lack of understanding is a typical feature of a sociopath (http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/could-hillary-clinton-be-a-sociopath/ )
As Guardian reported (The Guardian) Clinton campaign tried old "dog eat my homework" trick blaming everything on Putin and trying to ignore the content of them and the dirty laundry they expose:
Hillary Clinton’s campaign has accused Russia of meddling in the 2016 presidential election, saying its hackers stole Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails and released them to foment disunity in the party and aid Donald Trump.
Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, said on Sunday that “experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke into the DNC, stole these emails, [and are] releasing these emails for the purpose of helping Donald Trump”.
“I don’t think it’s coincidental that these emails are being released on the eve of our convention here,” he told CNN’s State of the Union, alluding to the party’s four-day exercise in unification which is set to take place this week in Philadelphia.
“This isn’t my assertion,” Mook said. “This is what experts are telling us.”
In a statement, the Clinton campaign repeated the accusation: “This is further evidence the Russian government is trying to influence the outcome of the election.”
Classic scapegoating. As Guardian commenter noted "Why is the (potential) perpetrator of the leak more significant than the content of the leak??
As life exceeds satire, one can imagine that within a week Wikileaks will produce those "missing e-mails". And later Hillary's Wall Street speeches, following the next appeal from Trump.
In any case a major US establishment party explicitly levied it's resources against a candidate it didn't like behaviors like a Mafioso clan, and when caught red handed start to deflect attention via corrupt and subservant MSM, changing focus into Russia and Putin instead. Great journalism!" The Guardian
I find very I interesting that, somehow, the initial DNC leak story failed to make a headline position (a day late, at that) on the Guardian, but now that it's blown up on other channels, the DNC's ridiculous conspiracy theory/distraction attempt gets top billing here. Ridiculous.
Why is the (potential) perpetrator of the leak more significant than the content of the leak?? A major US establishment party explicitly levied it's resources against a candidate it didn't like, and somehow we're talking about Putin instead. Great journalism.
Chanze Jennings -> atopic
The Guardian has sunk to a new low and has entirely no shame. It's a sad day for journalism when Twitter has more integrity than most news outlets. And they wonder why newspapers are going the way of the Dodo. Remember when real journalists presented stories with little bias and tried hard to stick to the facts?
BTW there are some real experts on this and they have a different opinion. Check comments for the blog post:
ABC and CNN are essentially part of the DNC propaganda wing. They and most other MSM were trying to reshape this mess to reduce the amount of damage. Stephanopolis worked for Bill Clinton. And donated $75,000 to Hillary's campaign. And now he is trying to paint Trump as having ties to the Putin regime.
They try do not touch Hillary connections with Saudi, revive email scandal, touch Clinton cash skandal, etc. They really behave like they are part of Clinton campaign. And readers noticed that as is evident from comments (The 4 Most Damaging Emails From the DNC WikiLeaks Dump - ABC News):
Kintbury -> Mr. Fusion • 21 hours agoKnow Mei > deanbob
You are going to have to do a heck of a lot better than that. A Saudi Prince has admitted to funding a large portion of Hillary's campaign. That is a tie. All the money she took from those countries while benefiting them as Secretary of State is a tie."Spoken like someone who has never been a member of the Democratic Party and has no understanding of what we do," Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Oh, believe me, Debbie, the American people know what the Democratic Party and the Republican Party does. Both parties embellish, manipulate, grant high positions to big donors, plot, backstab and railroad the vote of the American electorate. However, business as usual did not work well for the Republican Party elitists this primary season. Donald Trump beat the Republican Party elitists at their game. Bernie Sanders attempted to do the same to the Democratic Party.Alti -> ADLives • 2 days ago
I think they are being short-sighted. Trump will in all likelihood win now and I don't see him sticking to the script. The media has completely betrayed the American public on this story. From Facebook and Twitter blocking and deleting stories re: same initially - to now with the non-articles we are getting from the big news agencies. Finding decent, honest news coverage shouldn't be so hard. see more
William Carr > Know Mei •
“Both parties embellish, manipulate, grant high positions to big donors, plot, backstab and railroad the vote of the American electorate”
In reality Wikileaks exposed the blatant corruption of the primary process for voters. The elephant was in the room, but the real situation with Democratic Party primary process is now suppressed.
Jul 19, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
karl1haushofer , July 19, 2017 at 1:42 amRegarding the newest row between Russia and US about US seizing Russian diplomatic compounds, why does Russia again only complain but doesn't really do anything?Moscow Exile , July 19, 2017 at 2:30 am
If the US seizes Russian property on American soil the correct countermeasure would be to seize American property on Russian soil.
The same goes for those diplomats that the Obama administration deported. Russia has still not extradited any US diplomats in return.
Usually countries answer to provocations like these with similar actions, but Russia chooses not to.I don't know.Lyttenburgh , July 19, 2017 at 3:33 am
If you do know, please tell us all, because I'm sure I'm not the only person here who is losing a lot of sleep over this pressing question.Wow, karl! So much activity in just one day! One has to imagine you, sitting tight in the badly lit poorly airconditioned bunker beneath Helsinki, reading one newspice about Russia after another, then, with you shaly hand, taking off the glasses from your red with rage sweaty face and exploding in:Jen , July 19, 2017 at 4:23 am
"DAS WAR EN BEFEHL! DER ANGRIFF STEINER WAR EIN BEFEHL!"Well, Karl, it would be a dull world if everyone behaved like robots engaging in tit-4-tat behaviours that by their very nature increase the chances of all-out war and annihilation. If Russia has a choice between two actions or a choice of several actions against US provocation, why should Moscow behave the way you (and the Americans) expect?Patient Observer , July 19, 2017 at 4:13 pmWith Matt's departure, there is apparently an opening for another resident troll.Hoffnungstirbtzuletzt , July 19, 2017 at 11:46 amProf. Stephen Cohen discusses this in this week's interview on the John Batchelor show. However, he says Putin is under a great deal of pressure from the Russian public to get this sorted out. True or not, I don't know. Listen for yourself: https://audioboom.com/posts/6120078-tales-of-the-new-cold-war-will-moscow-retaliate-for-washington-property-confiscations-stephen-f-cohen-nyu-princeton-part-2-of-2cartman , July 19, 2017 at 2:13 pmAs soon as Mike McFaul was appointed Spaso House was hosting one kreakl after another. Confiscating that property would make it a lot more difficult to do that. Taking the Anglo-American school might cause the United States to cut back the number of embassy employees. With relations as they are, I would say that it is bloated and unnecessary.marknesop , July 19, 2017 at 5:42 pmThey could build the American Ambassador a new residence which reflected the current state of the countries' relations; perhaps something like this . It should be on the outskirts of the city, far away from everything to minimize his meddling, and be in the center of about an acre of asphalt so that he could not leave without being spotted. Better still, just break off diplomatic relations and send him off to be the Russian Ambassador in Prague, like RFE/RL is.
The Russian government actually owns Pullman House, which serves as the residence of the Russian Ambassador to the United States, having paid $350,000.00 for it in 1913 . Spaso House, though, does not belong to the USA – the first US Ambassador to the Soviet Union, William C Bullit, 'selected' it as his official residence , and leased it for three years. I suppose the US government still pays something for using it, but the USA doesn't own it.
Jul 19, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
et Al , July 19, 2017 at 12:54 pmJohnHelmer.net: THE IMPROPER ASSOCIATION (MAYBE CRIME) OF VICTOR PINCHUK WITH HILLARY, BILL AND CHELSEA CLINTON, COVERED UP BY THE US MEDIA, US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, AND THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
Never in the field of American conflict with Russia has so much wool pulled over the eyes been owed to so few sheep. That was during the losing presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. Now, in the investigations of President Donald Trump and his family, it's a case of so many sheep producing so little wool.
The case of the $13 million paid to the Clinton family by the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk, in exchange for personal favours and escalation of the war against Russia, was reported in detail throughout 2014. Click to read the opener, and more.
Early this month there has been fresh investigation of Pinchuk's money links with the Clintons, owing to the start of Ukrainian government inquiries into the theft of billions of dollars of International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans to Ukraine – money then transferred to Ukrainian commercial banks including Pinchuk's Credit Dnepr bank, and then loaned to offshore entities controlled by Pinchuk but apparently not repaid. Theft of the IMF money was first reported here in connection with Igor Kolomoisky's operation of Privat Bank
More at the link. Goose & gander anyone?
Jul 18, 2017 | www.unz.com
For a year, the big question of Russiagate has boiled down to this: Did Donald Trump's campaign collude with the Russians in hacking the DNC? And until last week, the answer was "no." As ex-CIA director Mike Morell said in March, "On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians there is smoke, but there is no fire, at all. There's no little campfire, there's no little candle, there's no spark."
Well, last week, it appeared there had been a fire in Trump Tower. On June 9, 2016, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort met with Russians ! in anticipation of promised dirt on Hillary Clinton's campaign. While not a crime, this was a blunder. For Donald Jr. had long insisted there had been no collusion with the Russians. Caught in flagrante, he went full Pinocchio for four days.
And as the details of that June 9 meeting spilled out, Trump defenders were left with egg on their faces, while anti-Trump media were able to keep the spotlight laser-focused on where they want it ! Russiagate.
This reality underscores a truth of our time. In the 19th century, power meant control of the means of production; today, power lies in control of the means of communication.
Who controls the media spotlight controls what people talk about and think about. And mainstream media are determined to keep that spotlight on Trump-Russia, and as far away as possible from their agenda ! breaking the Trump presidency and bringing him down.
Almost daily, there are leaks from the investigative and security arms of the U.S. government designed to damage this president.
Just days into Trump's presidency, a rifle-shot intel community leak of a December meeting between Trump national security adviser Gen. Michael Flynn and Russia's ambassador forced the firing of Flynn.
An Oval Office meeting with the Russian foreign minister in which Trump disclosed that Israeli intelligence had ferreted out evidence that ISIS was developing computer bombs to explode on airliners was leaked. This alerted ISIS, damaged the president, and imperiled Israeli intelligence sources and methods.
Some of the leaks from national security and investigative agencies are felonies, not only violations of the leaker's solemn oath to protect secrets, but of federal law. Yet the press is happy to collude with these leakers and to pay them in the coin they seek. First, by publishing the secrets the leakers want revealed. Second, by protecting them from exposure to arrest and prosecution for the crimes they are committing.
The mutual agendas of the deep-state leakers and the mainstream media mesh perfectly. Consider the original Russiagate offense. Confidential emails of the DNC and John Podesta were hacked, i.e., stolen by Russian intelligence and given to WikiLeaks. And who was the third and indispensable party in this "Tinker to Evers to Chance" double-play combination?
The media itself. While deploring Russian hacking as an "act of war" against "our democracy," the media published the fruits of the hacking. It was the media that revealed what Podesta wrote and how the DNC tilted the tables against Bernie Sanders. If the media believed Russian hacking was a crime against our democracy, why did they publish the fruits of that crime? Is it not monumental hypocrisy to denounce Russia's hacking of the computers of Democratic political leaders and institutions, while splashing the contents of the theft all over Page 1?
Not only do our Beltway media traffic in stolen secrets and stolen goods, but the knowledge that they will publish secrets and protect those who leak them is an incentive for bureaucratic disloyalty and criminality.
Our mainstream media are like the fellow who avoids the risk of stealing cars, but wants to fence them once stolen and repainted.
Some journalists know exactly who is leaking against Trump, but they are as protective of their colleagues' "sources" as of their own. Thus, the public is left in the dark as to what the real agenda is here, and who is sabotaging a president in whom they placed so much hope.
And thus does democracy die in darkness.
Do the American people not have a "right to know" who are the leakers within the government who are daily spilling secrets to destroy their president? Are the identities of the saboteurs not a legitimate subject of investigation? Ought they not be exposed and rooted out?
Where is the special prosecutor to investigate the collusion between bureaucrats and members of the press who traffic in the stolen secrets of the republic?
Bottom line: Trump is facing a stacked deck.
People inside the executive branch are daily providing fresh meat to feed the scandal. Anti-Trump media are transfixed by it. It is the Watergate of their generation. They can smell the blood in the water. The Pulitzers are calling. And they love it, for they loathe Donald Trump both for who he is and what he stands for.
It is hard to see when this ends, or how it ends well for the country.
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever."
NoseytheDuke > , July 18, 2017 at 5:27 am GMTPriss Factor > , Website July 18, 2017 at 5:57 am GMT
Pat, you are again presenting yourself to be a disinformation asset and are truly undermining your credibility here. The DNC and Podesta emails were leaked not hacked. Please write this out in full a hundred times on the blackboard or whiteboard of your choice. Maybe then it will sink in.vinteuil > , July 18, 2017 at 8:43 am GMT
There is nothing there. Let the media cry Russia Russia Russia forever. Trump can do other things. People will lose interest in this. This is different from Watergate because there really was a burglary and a coverup. There's nothing remotely like this here.
1. If Russians really did it, they did it on their own. Trump team had nothing to do with it.
2. If Russians didn't do it, this is just the media wasting its resources and energy on nothing.
Let the media keep digging and digging and digging where they is no gold. Let them be distracted by Trump does something real. Because Buchanan lived through Watergate, I think he's over-thinking this. It's like dejavu to him. Sure, the media today are more deranged than ever. Media are also more cynical and in the control of globalists.
But they got nothing on Russia. They have the cry of Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia, but unless they can provide solid evidence, this is nothing.The Alarmist > , July 18, 2017 at 9:37 am GMT
Pat Buchanan does his best – but apparently he just can't bring himself to doubt the integrity of America's "intelligence" services – even after their epic failure &/or deception when it came to Iraq's non-existent WMD's.
"Confidential emails of the DNC and John Podesta were hacked, i.e., stolen by Russian intelligence and given to WikiLeaks."
What reason do we have to believe this, other than the worthless word of these perpetually lying creeps?Randal > , July 18, 2017 at 11:37 am GMT
It is hard to see when this ends, or how it ends well for the country.
No it's not. The Republic died a long time ago: The Empire is in that rough middle period where the Praetorians choose the leader who suits them most, but occasionally have an unsuitable one slip past them. This ends with the barbarians moving in to assume all the trappings of being a Roman but lead the empire to a final crushing defeat at the hands of worse barbarians.Gg Mo > , July 18, 2017 at 12:59 pm GMT
Buchanan still being too reasonable towards the enemies of US democracy (the Democrats and their neocon Republican allies trying to undermine and overthrow the elected US President), imo.
There's still no need, unless Buchanan knows something a lot more significant than what he covers here, to give any credence whatsoever to the "Russia influencing the US election" black propaganda campaign. It should still be laughed at, rather than given the slightest credibility, whilst, as Buchanan does indeed do repeatedly, turning the issue upon the true criminals – those in US government circles leaking US security information to try to influence US politics.
Did Donald Trump's campaign collude with the Russians in hacking the DNC?
Clearly not, as far as anybody knows based upon information in the public domain. There's no evidence Russia's government hacked anything anyway. A meeting by campaign representatives with Russians claiming to have dirt on Trump's rival is not evidence of collusion in hacking.
Confidential emails of the DNC and John Podesta were hacked, i.e., stolen by Russian intelligence and given to WikiLeaks.
Again, Buchanan seems to be needlessly conceding ground to known liars and deluded zealots.
If there was any attempt by Russia to "influence" the US election it was trivial, and should be put into context whenever it is mentioned. That context includes the longstanding and ongoing efforts by the US to interfere massively in other countries' (including Russia's) elections and governments, and the routine acceptance of foreign interference in US politics by Israel in particular.
If Trump and his backers really wanted to put a halt to this laughable nonsense about foreign influence, he should start a high profile investigation of the nefarious "influencing" of US politics by foreign "agents of influence" in general, specifically including Israel and staffed by men who are not sympathetic to that country.
That would quickly result in the shutting down of mainstream media complaints about foreign influence.Gg Mo > , July 18, 2017 at 1:05 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke Yup, His name was Seth Rich . (and let us never forget Michael Hastings and the Smith Mundt Modernization Act put in place for a Hillary win/steal.)Andrei Martyanov > , Website July 18, 2017 at 1:45 pm GMT
Yipes ! What is the matter with Buchanan? Is he taking weird prescription drugs for Alzheimers ?
He seems to be a bit of an apologist for KNOWN liars and he doesn't seem to understand that the MSM is absolutely the mouthpiece for these agencies, populated with agents like Cooper and Mika etc etc etc
It is hard to see when this ends, or how it ends well for the country.
It already didn't end well and it pains me to say this. What it may become only is worse. At this stage I don's see any "better" scenarios. The truth has been revealed.
Jul 18, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com'Boomerangski' Returns To Bite The Clintons Tyler Durden Jul 17, 2017 7:32 PM 0 SHARES Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,
The strenuous effort of "Resistance" passengers in the Limousine-of-State to shove Donald Trump out of the driver's seat continues into what would normally be the news-wasteland of midsummer. Last week it was the smoking popgun of Trump Junior's meeting with a Russian lawyer purported (by British music promoter Rob Goldstein) to be associated with the "Russian Crown Prosecutor" (no such office in a country without a monarch).
The news caused the usual commotion among the very media mouthpieces who publish anti-Trump allegations as a staple for their "Resistance" readerships. By the way, this blog might be described as anti-Trump, too, in the sense that I did not vote for him and regularly inveigh against his antics as President - but neither is Clusterfuck Nation a friend of the Hillary-haunted Dem-Prog "Resistance," in case there's any confusion about where we stand. If anything, we oppose the entirety of the current political regime in our nation's capital, the matrix of rackets that is driving the aforementioned Limousine-of-State off the cliff of economic collapse. Just sayin'.
"Resistance" law professors, such as Lawrence Tribe at Harvard, were quick to holler "treason" over Junior's meet-up with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin. Well, first of all, and not to put too fine a point on it, don't you have to be at war with another nation to regard any kind of consort as "treason?" Last time I checked, we were not at war with Russia - though it sure seems like persons and parties inside the Beltway would dearly like to make that happen. You can't call it espionage either, of course, because that would purport the giving of secret information, not the receiving of political gossip.
Remember, the "Resistance" is not going for impeachment, but rather Section 4 of the 25 th Amendment. That legal nicety makes for a very neat-and-clean surgical removal of a whack-job president, without all the cumbrous evidentiary baggage and pain-in-ass due process required by impeachment. All it requires is a consensus among a very small number of high officials, who then send a note to the leaders in both houses of congress stating that said whack-job president is a menace to the polity ! and out he goes, snippety-snip like a colorectal polyp, into the hazardous waste bag of history. And you're left with a nice clean asshole, namely Vice President Mike Pence.
Insofar as Pence appears to be a kind of booby-prize for the "Resistance," that fateful reach for the 25 th Amendment hasn't happened quite yet. It is hoped, I'm sure, that the incessant piling on of new allegations about "collusion" with the Russians will get the 25thers over the finish line and into the longed-for end zone dance.
More interestingly, though, the meme that has led people to believe that any contact between Russians and Americans is ipso facto nefarious vectors into the very beating heart of the "Resistance" itself: the Clintons.
How come the Clintons have not been asked to explain why ! as reported on The Hill blog ! Bill Clinton was paid half a million dollars to give speech in Russia (surely he offered them something of value in exchange, pending the sure thing Hillary inaugural) ...
or what about the $2.35 million "contribution" that the Clinton Foundation received after Secretary of State Hillary allowed the Russians to buy a controlling stake in the Uranium One company, which owns 20 percent of US uranium supplies, with mines and refineries in Wyoming, Utah, and other states, as well as assets in Kazakhstan, the world's largest uranium producer?
Incidentally, the Clinton Foundation did not "shut down," as erroneously reported early this year. It was only its Global Initiative program that got shuttered. The $2.35 million is probably still rattling around in the Clinton Foundation's bank account.
Don't you kind of wonder what they did with it? I hope Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller wants to know.
nmewn -> 38BWD22 , Jul 17, 2017 7:50 PMGardentoolnumber5 -> 38BWD22 , Jul 17, 2017 8:08 PM
Patience Mr.Bearing, patience.
Susan Rice has implicated herself (and by extension Obama) in a felony. Comey has lied under oath and stolen government property. Lowrenta has commited obstruction of justice and the world now knows that Natalia V was given "a special visa" by the State Department... in June of 2016! ...in order to even be present at a meeting with Jr set up by an associate of FusionGPS one Ron Goldstone in which, a "former Soviet counter-intelligence officer" was present who also was allowed (even though the Alinsky press won't report it) to roam freely around the Obama WH in a group tour...cuz... RUSSIAN SPIES! ...lol.StarGate -> Jim in MN , Jul 17, 2017 5:35 PM
"Something stinks..." Neoconsdrstrangelove73 -> FrozenGoodz , Jul 17, 2017 4:27 PM
OBAMA White House played HOST to RUSSIAN associate of Russian Atty Natalia the same day as the Trump Tower meeting June 9, 2016 - according to Obama's White House log. Natalia's translator, Samochornov was a contractor with Obama's State Dept. Per FBI insider Obama speaks Russian.
White House visitor log: http://white-house-logs.insidegov.com/l/73080195/Rinat-Akhmetshin#Detail...
Yeah,you missed 'The Russians are coming the Russians are coming'24/7 7 days a week for 8 months now and counting,with no proof yet of any wrongdoing whatsoever nor any explanation in concrete terms of exactly how those pesky Rooskies could possibly have 'meddled in our elections' let alone any proof of same. No,just morning 'til night 'the russians are coming the Russians are coming.The left has collectively lost its mind in a very public way.How any sentient being could any longer pay them any mind is a mystery to me
Jul 17, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
Lyttenburgh , July 17, 2017 at 6:35 am"Will the DNC lose in 2018, because they're beholden to inner-party special interests? Stay tuned. "moscowexile , July 17, 2017 at 7:15 am
If they keep up their obsession with Russia – YES!
Also – relevant article, which shows that this "rural/Red State American consensus", apparently, keeps up, despite the constant propaganda barrage from the mainstream biased media. Oh, and correct me if I'm wrong, but the Vox is dye in the wool liberal outlet with handshakable agenda.
I asked Trump voters in Michigan about the Russia investigation. They said it's fake news.
"It's been nearly a year since the FBI started an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Since then, the investigation has turned toward examining links between Russia and President Donald Trump's associates and members of his campaign, and even possible obstruction of justice by Trump.
The investigation has been the go-to news item and topic of many heated conversations since last July, at least in DC . But outside of the nation's capital, many voters aren't as concerned about possible Trump ties to Russia.
When I recently visited my hometown and one other small town in Michigan that went for Trump, I talked with residents about the investigation. Nearly every single person I spoke with said the same thing: The media just needs to leave Trump alone, and the Russia investigation is a distraction.
"I'm tired of hearing about the Russia thing. Let it go and move on. The media is the one that's propagating it. They just won't let it die," said Nancy Androsky, a longtime resident whose grandchildren go to school in the area.
Conversations with residents of Linden and Argentine, which are located between the cities of Detroit and Flint, confirmed what recent polls have shown ! that Republicans don't think the Russia investigation is a big deal. More than half of Republicans think the investigation is a political distraction, according to Vox's Alexia Fernández Campbell's analysis of a June CBS News poll. Only one in five consider it a critical security issue.
And while nine out of 10 Democratic voters said that an investigation into Russian involvement in the election is somewhat or very important, only 35 percent of Republicans agreed , according to a February poll by Quinnipiac University .
More important to the residents of Linden and Argentine Township than the Russia investigation are promises Trump made on the campaign trail: building a stronger military, restricting immigration by refugees and asylum seekers, and creating jobs for middle-class Americans.
And around 60 percent of people in the two towns voted for Trump in the last election, up from the approximately 50 percent of people who voted for Republican candidate Mitt Romney in 2012.
Despite the fact that he has yet to follow through on many of his campaign promises, including softening his position on China's currency manipulation, failing to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, and struggling to repeal and replace Obamacare, his supporters keep saying "give him a chance."
"I think Trump will be a lot better than our previous president. I think he's going to get things done," said Rich Marshbanks, the owner of a local barbershop. "I think he's basically a good man. His heart's in the right place."
It's not surprising that nearly every person I talked with said they supported Trump. With a combined population of approximately 6,500 people, the towns of Linden and Argentine are stereotypical small-town America. They're the kind of place where you'll run into at least one person you know at the only grocery store in town and the smell of cow manure from nearby dairy farms occasionally wafts in the air.
"This is such a close-knit community," said Sharon Stone, the editor of the Tri-County Times, a newspaper covering several towns in the area. "They love the small hometown feel, but all of the perks of having everything available to them. We have so many lakes in this area, and there's quite a bit of money in this area."
These towns are also almost entirely white ! 96 percent of Linden residents and 97 percent of Argentine residents identified as white on the 2010 census.
Stone described the area as "passionate," but since the last election, people have become disenchanted with politics. "It's almost like they're completely fed up with politics in general on both sides," said Stone. "It's not necessarily just the whole Russian thing that's going on. It's just politics in general."
And based on the conversations I had with people in the area who agreed to talk with me, that definitely seems to be true. People said they feel ignored by the Washington establishment, hate the "liberal media," and couldn't care less about the Russia investigation.
"It's a waste of time and energy for us out here in the hinterlands for us to worry about what's going on in the cesspool in Washington," said Norman Schmidt, Argentine's treasurer who has been on the board for more than 20 years. "And it's a swamp. It really is a swamp.""
The article ends with the opinions of the locals.If the Kremlin interfered in the US presidential elections, how come those wily Russkies failed to make the majority of voters at the ballot box nationwide vote for Trump yet at the same time managed to make the majority of voters in the Rust Belt and rural USA not vote for that mendacious shrew Clinton?
Russian "sleepers" in Pittsburgh, Muskogee etc?
I'm proud to be a Russkie fom Muskogee?
Jul 14, 2017 | nationalinterest.org
This week's primetime knife fights with Max Boot and Ralph Peters are emblematic of the battle for the soul of the American Right.
To be sure, Carlson rejects the term "neoconservatism," and implicitly, its corollary on the Democratic side, liberal internationalism. In 2016, "the reigning Republican foreign-policy view, you can call it neoconservatism, or interventionism, or whatever you want to call it" was rejected, he explained in a wide-ranging interview with the National Interest Friday.
"But I don't like the term 'neoconservatism,'" he says, "because I don't even know what it means. I think it describes the people rather than their ideas, which is what I'm interested in. And to be perfectly honest . . . I have a lot of friends who have been described as neocons, people I really love, sincerely. And they are offended by it. So I don't use it," Carlson said.
But Carlson's recent segments on foreign policy conducted with Lt. Col. Ralph Peters and the prominent neoconservative journalist and author Max Boot were acrimonious even by Carlsonian standards. In a discussion on Syria, Russia and Iran, a visibly upset Boot accused Carlson of being "immoral" and taking foreign-policy positions to curry favor with the White House, keep up his ratings , and by proxy, benefit financially. Boot says that Carlson "basically parrots whatever the pro-Trump line is that Fox viewers want to see. If Trump came out strongly against Putin tomorrow, I imagine Tucker would echo this as faithfully as the pro-Russia arguments he echoes today." But is this assessment fair?
Carlson's record suggests that he has been in the camp skeptical of U.S. foreign-policy intervention for some time now and, indeed, that it predates Donald Trump's rise to power. (Carlson has commented publicly that he was humiliated by his own public support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.) According to Carlson, "This is not about Trump. This is not about Trump. It's the one thing in American life that has nothing to do with Trump. My views on this are totally unrelated to my views on Donald Trump. This has been going since September 11, 2001. And it's a debate that we've never really had. And we need to have it." He adds, "I don't think the public has ever been for the ideas that undergird our policies."
Even if Carlson doesn't want to use the label neocon to describe some of those ideas, Boot is not so bashful. In 2005, Boot wrote an essay called "Neocons May Get the Last Laugh." Carlson "has become a Trump acolyte in pursuit of ratings," says Boot, also interviewed by the National Interest . "I bet if it were President Clinton accused of colluding with the Russians, Tucker would be outraged and calling for impeachment if not execution. But since it's Trump, then it's all a big joke to him," Boot says. Carlson vociferously dissents from such assessments: "This is what dumb people do. They can't assess the merits of an argument. . . . I'm not talking about Syria, and Russia, and Iran because of ratings. That's absurd. I can't imagine those were anywhere near the most highly-rated segments that night. That's not why I wanted to do it."
But Carlson insists, "I have been saying the same thing for fifteen years. Now I have a T.V. show that people watch, so my views are better known. But it shouldn't be a surprise. I supported Trump to the extent he articulated beliefs that I agree with. . . . And I don't support Trump to the extent that his actions deviate from those beliefs," Carlson said. Boot on Fox said that Carlson is "too smart" for this kind of argument. But Carlson has bucked the Trump line, notably on Trump's April 7 strikes in Syria. "When the Trump administration threw a bunch of cruise missiles into Syria for no obvious reason, on the basis of a pretext that I question . . . I questioned [the decision] immediately. On T.V. I was on the air when that happened. I think, maybe seven minutes into my show. . . . I thought this was reckless."
But the fight also seems to have a personal edge. Carlson says, "Max Boot is not impressive. . . . Max is a totally mediocre person." Carlson added that he felt guilty about not having, in his assessment, a superior guest to Boot on the show to defend hawkishness. "I wish I had had someone clear-thinking and smart on to represent their views. And there are a lot of them. I would love to have that debate," Carlson told me, periodically emphasizing that he is raring to go on this subject.
Boot objects to what he sees as a cavalier attitude on the part of Carlson and others toward allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and also toward the deaths of citizens of other countries. "You are laughing about the fact that Russia is interfering in our election process. That to me is immoral," Boot told Carlson on his show. "This is the level of dumbness and McCarthyism in Washington right now," says Carlson. "I think it has the virtue of making Max Boot feel like a good person. Like he's on God's team, or something like that. But how does that serve the interest of the country? It doesn't." Carlson says that Donald Trump, Jr.'s emails aren't nearly as important as who is going to lead Syria, which he says Boot and others have no plan for successfully occupying. Boot, by contrast, sees the U.S. administration as dangerously flirting with working with Russia, Iran and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. "For whatever reason, Trump is pro-Putin, no one knows why, and he's taken a good chunk of the GOP along with him," Boot says.
On Fox last Wednesday, Boot reminded Carlson that he originally supported the 2003 Iraq decision. "You supported the invasion of Iraq," Boot said, before repeating, "You supported the invasion of Iraq." Carlson conceded that, but it seems the invasion was a bona fide turning point. It's most important to parse whether Carlson has a long record of anti-interventionism, or if he's merely sniffing the throne of the president (who, dubiously, may have opposed the 2003 invasion). "I think it's a total nightmare and disaster, and I'm ashamed that I went against my own instincts in supporting it," Carlson told the New York Observer in early 2004. "It's something I'll never do again. Never. I got convinced by a friend of mine who's smarter than I am, and I shouldn't have done that. . . . I'm enraged by it, actually." Carlson told the National Interest that he's felt this way since seeing Iraq for himself in December 2003.
The evidence points heavily toward a sincere conversion on Carlson's part, or preexisting conviction that was briefly overcome by the beat of the war drums. Carlson did work for the Weekly Standard , perhaps the most prominent neoconservative magazine, in the 1990s and early 2000s. Carlson today speaks respectfully of William Kristol, its founding editor, but has concluded that he is all wet. On foreign policy, the people Carlson speaks most warmly about are genuine hard left-wingers: Glenn Greenwald, a vociferous critic of both economic neoliberalism and neoconservatism; the anti-establishment journalist Michael Tracey; Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of the Nation ; and her husband, Stephen Cohen, the Russia expert and critic of U.S. foreign policy.
"The only people in American public life who are raising these questions are on the traditional left: not lifestyle liberals, not the Williamsburg (Brooklyn) group, not liberals in D.C., not Nancy Pelosi." He calls the expertise of establishment sources on matters like Syria "more shallow than I even imagined." On his MSNBC show, which was canceled for poor ratings, he cavorted with noninterventionist stalwarts such as Ron Paul , the 2008 and 2012 antiwar GOP candidate, and Patrick J. Buchanan. "No one is smarter than Pat Buchanan," he said last year of the man whose ideas many say laid the groundwork for Trump's political success.
Carlson has risen to the pinnacle of cable news, succeeding Bill O'Reilly. It wasn't always clear an antiwar take would vault someone to such prominence. Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio or Mitt Romney could be president (Boot has advised the latter two). But here he is, and it's likely no coincidence that Carlson got a show after Trump's election, starting at the 7 p.m. slot, before swiftly moving to the 9 p.m. slot to replace Trump antagonist Megyn Kelly, and just as quickly replacing O'Reilly at the top slot, 8 p.m. Boot, on the other hand, declared in 2016 that the Republican Party was dead , before it went on to hold Congress and most state houses, and of course take the presidency. He's still at the Council on Foreign Relations and writes for the New York Times (this seems to clearly annoy Carlson: "It tells you everything about the low standards of the American foreign-policy establishment").
Boot wrote in 2003 in the Weekly Standard that the fall of Saddam Hussein's government "may turn out to be one of those hinge moments in history" comparable to "events like the storming of the Bastille or the fall of the Berlin Wall, after which everything is different." He continued, "If the occupation goes well (admittedly a big if ), it may mark the moment when the powerful antibiotic known as democracy was introduced into the diseased environment of the Middle East, and began to transform the region for the better."
Though he eschews labels, Carlson sounds like a foreign-policy realist on steroids: "You can debate what's in [the United States'] interest. That's a subjective category. But what you can't debate is that ought to be the basic question, the first, second and third question. Does it represent our interest? . . . I don't think that enters into the calculations of a lot of the people who make these decisions." Carlson's interests extend beyond foreign policy, and he says "there's a massive realignment going on ideologically that everybody is missing. It's dramatic. And everyone is missing it. . . . Nobody is paying attention to it, "
Carlson seems intent on pressing the issue. The previous night, in his debate with Peters, the retired lieutenant colonel said that Carlson sounded like Charles Lindbergh, who opposed U.S. intervention against Nazi Germany before 1941. "This particular strain of Republican foreign policy has almost no constituency. Nobody agrees with it. I mean there's not actually a large group of people outside of New York, Washington or L.A. who think any of this is a good idea," Carlson says. "All I am is an asker of obvious questions. And that's enough to reveal these people have no idea what they're talking about. None."
Curt Mills is a foreign-affairs reporter at the National Interest . Follow him on Twitter: @CurtMills .
Image : Flickr/Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.
Jul 16, 2017 | ucgsblog.wordpress.comucgsblog says: July 16, 2017 at 7:21 pm Sorry about being MIA, I'm probably going to be MIA until mid-August, but in the meantime, here's an interesting article:
"We know that we can be an America that works for everyone, because we believe that our diversity is our greatest strength. And we believe that when we put hope on the ballot we do well, and when we allow others to put fear in the eyes of people we don't do so hot," Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
"We need to be talking about impeachment constantly. If you're an elected Dem & you're not talking impeachment or 25th amendment then find a new party," Scott Dworkin, senior adviser to Democratic Coalition Against Trump, on Twitter.
"We're advising groups to pay attention to Russia, but the bottom line is they're trying to take your health care away. That should be the focus. Eye on the prize," Ezra Levin, co-founder of Indivisible.
"I focus a lot on good-paying jobs, student loan issues, health care and the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Those are the issues that are at the top of (voters') minds. I don't think (the Russia investigation) has to interfere with our conversation about every day matters in people's lives," Jason Crow, Democratic candidate in Colorado's 6th Congressional District.
"Voters are getting plenty about the Russia story, and they don't need candidates' help making that case. I think it's a fundamental mistake to make this election a referendum on impeachment. That means it's not an election on a health care bill that will raise premiums and take more than 22 million people off of their health care," Zac Petkanas, Democratic strategist, former aide to Hillary Clinton.
"We will both defend the integrity of our democracy (on the Russian investigation) and we will defend access to health care for tens of millions of people. The resistance is big enough and sophisticated enough to track both of those urgent and important issues," Anna Galland, executive director of Moveon.org Civic Action.
"All of that (on Russia) is going to come out, and if a politician was lacking in courage and never did anything about it, I think they will pay dearly for it, and they should. But if you're a governor candidate next year, you're a lot smarter saying, 'Here's what I'm going to do about jobs and education and wages' than weighing in every day on issues outside your control." David Pepper, Ohio Democratic Party chairman.
"We need to be able to explain what we're for just as emphatically as who we are against. Voters need to hear you talking about them more than they hear you talking about yourself, your opponent or the president." Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana.
The only two Democrats, out of that random sample, who are going "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia" I mean "Russia, Russia, Russia," are Dworkin and Galland from MoveOn. I think this blog knows quite a bit about MoveOn, so I don't need to mention it, and the only other person talking about it, is someone who is trying to make his name by impeaching Trump.
Looks like the DNC is slowly starting to realize what voters want, despite inner party special interest groups. Levin and Crow summarize mainstream Democrats, so I'll just requote them:
"We're advising groups to pay attention to Russia, but the bottom line is they're trying to take your health care away. That should be the focus. Eye on the prize I focus a lot on good-paying jobs, student loan issues, health care and the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Those are the issues that are at the top of (voters') minds. I don't think (the Russia investigation) has to interfere with our conversation about every day matters in people's lives"
Will the DNC lose in 2018, because they're beholden to inner-party special interests? Stay tuned. Say what you will about Trump, but he certainly made politics a lot more entertaining to watch. Not sure if that's good or bad, but I'm getting popcorn.
Jul 12, 2017 | fpif.org
The billionaires who backed Trump are making out a lot better than Putin.
Originally published in OtherWords Print
Der Spiegel's instantly infamous Donald Trump cover.
I've always been a little skeptical that there'd be a smoking gun about the Trump campaign's alleged collusion with Russia. The latest news about Donald Trump, Jr., however, is tantalizingly close.
The short version of the story, revealed by emails the New York Times obtained, is that the president's eldest son was offered "some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary" and "would be very useful to your father."
More to the point, the younger Trump was explicitly told this was "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump." Donald, Jr.'s reply? "I love it."
Trump Jr. didn't just host that meeting at Trump Tower. He also brought along campaign manager Paul Manafort and top Trump confidante (and son-in-law) Jared Kushner.
We still don't have evidence they coordinated with Russian efforts to release Clinton campaign emails, spread "fake news," or hack state voting systems. But at the very least, the top members of Trump's inner circle turned up to get intelligence they knew was part of a foreign effort to meddle in the election.
Some in Washington are convinced they've heard enough already, with Virginia senator (and failed VP candidate) Tim Kaine calling the meeting " treason ."
Perhaps. But it's worth asking: Who's done the real harm here? Some argue it's not the Russians after all.
"The effects of the crime are undetectable," the legendary social critic Noam Chomsky says of the alleged Russian meddling, "unlike the massive effects of interference by corporate power and private wealth."
That's worth dwelling on.
Many leading liberals suspect , now with a little more evidence, that Trump worked with Russia to win his election. But we've long known that huge corporations and wealthy individuals threw their weight behind the billionaire.
That gambit's paying off far more handsomely for them ! and more destructively for the rest of us ! than any scheme by Putin.
The evidence is hiding in plain sight.
The top priority in Congress right now is to move a health bill that would gut Medicaid and throw at least 22 million Americans off their insurance ! while loosening regulations on insurance companies and cutting taxes on the wealthiest by over $346 billion .
As few as 12 percent of Americans support that bill, but the allegiance of its supporters isn't to voters ! it's plainly to the wealthy donors who'd get those tax cuts.
Meanwhile, majorities of Americans in every single congressional district support efforts to curb local pollution, limit carbon emissions, and transition to wind and solar. And majorities in every single state back the Paris climate agreement.
Yet even as scientists warn large parts of the planet could soon become uninhabitable, the fossil fuel-backed Trump administration has put a climate denier in charge of the EPA, pulled the U.S. out of Paris, and signed legislation to let coal companies dump toxic ash in local waterways .
Meanwhile, as the administration escalates the unpopular Afghan war once again, Kushner invited billionaire military contractors ! including Blackwater founder Erik Prince ! to advise on policy there.
Elsewhere, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon and other architects of the housing crash are advising Trump on financial deregulation , while student debt profiteers set policy at the Department of Education.
Chomsky complains that this sort of collusion is often "not considered a crime but the normal workings of democracy." While Trump has taken it to new heights, it's certainly a bipartisan problem.
If Trump's people did work with Russia to undermine our vote, they should absolutely be held accountable. But the politicians leading the charge don't have a snowball's chance of redeeming our democracy unless they're willing to take on the corporate conspirators much closer to home. Peter Certo is the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies and the editor of Foreign Policy In Focus.
Jul 16, 2017 | www.counterpunch.orgRussiaGate
by Andrew Levineby
Photo by Carnaval.com Studios | CC BY 2.0
If Vladimir Putin is half as clever as his demonizers make him out to be, he must have figured out a long time ago that, to get inside Donald Trump's head, clinical psychologists with expertise treating male adolescents would be more useful than the Russian hackers, real or imaginary, that Western media obsess over.
Why even bother with hackers? The little that goes on between Trump's ears is all there in his tweets.
But, of course, if the idea is to develop capabilities for waging wars in the cyber sphere, good hackers are worth their weight in gold. If Putin isn't working on that, he is not doing his job.
These days, hackers are everywhere ! including Russia, Ukraine and other former Soviet republics. The United States has more than its fair share too, as do the UK and other Western countries. Some work for intelligence services, directly or indirectly; many, probably most, do not.
When governments do the hacking themselves, or sponsor others who do it for them, it is usually because they want to hone their countries' offensive and defensive cyber capabilities. In short, they are developing weapons and testing them.
Sometimes, though, they do more than that. The best known example occurred some ten years ago when the United States and Israel introduced the Stuxnet virus into Iran's Natanz nuclear facility, destroying roughly a fifth of that country's nuclear centrifuges by causing them to spin out of control.
Needless to say, governments are not the only players; far from it. Many, probably most, hackers are not connected, even indirectly, with state intelligence services. Some of them may be "terrorists," according to one or another understanding of that fraught and contested term. It is safe to assume that most of them are not. They hack for the fun of it or because they can.
There are legally binding, though sometimes ineffective, conventions that prohibit the use of a few especially heinous kinds of weapons ! poison gas is a well-known example. Cyber weapons are not similarly proscribed. Hackers can be, and sometimes are, subject to domestic prosecution, but, between state actors, anything goes.
In much the same vein, international law does not prohibit states from interfering in the political affairs, or elections, of other states. Insofar as sovereignty still matters in our globalized neoliberal world, meddling of that kind plainly violates the spirit of the law, but it is not legally proscribed.
For the stewards of the American empire, inconvenient international laws apply to others, not the United States. It is therefore unclear what, if anything would change if cyber weapons too were forbidden.
What is clear, however, is that, for at least the past seven decades, the United States has interfered in one way or another in nearly every election that American government officials wanted to influence – either to prevent outcomes they opposed or to secure results they favored.
No corner of the world has been immune, but since the demise of the Soviet Union made meddling in the political affairs of Russia and other former Soviet republics easier, Washington has been especially intent on throwing its weight around in that part of the world – always in ways that put Russian national interests in jeopardy.
The "digital revolution" has greatly exacerbated the problem, making meddling a lot easier than it used to be.
How proficient America's cyber warriors are at defending "the homeland," the post-9/11 term for the former "Land of the Free," is an open question. There is no doubt, however, that, at the very least, the United States leads the way in developing cyber surveillance capabilities.
It is no slouch either when it comes to hacking into well-protected industrial and government servers around the world – to spy or to meddle or, as with those centrifuges in Iran, to sabotage.
Russia can do those things too – perhaps just as well, more likely not, but certainly well enough.
It may therefore be time, now that the Cold War is back, to revive a version of the old Mutual Assured Destruction doctrine, updated for the digital age.
* * *
Thanks to digitalization and the many ways in which computers nowadays are able to communicate with each other, state and non-state actors can meddle – or worse – more effectively than in the past.
Inasmuch as quality emerges out of quantity, as dialecticians inspired by Hegel would say, meddling has therefore become qualitatively more problematic than it used to be.
Thus, with Cold War insanity coming back into vogue ! promoted by the entire political class, no longer just by Clinton retainers, and by the media flacks who serve them ! meddling is taking new forms.
Some things don't change, however. As long as it keeps spending more money on "defense" than the Russians do, the United States will retain the dominant position. Despite the best efforts of Cold Warriors to scare Americans into acquiescence, everyone now concedes that this was how it was with nuclear weapons and missiles and much else during the original Cold War. It is how it is today too, now that cyber weapons are added into the mix.
Nevertheless, as in the past, the War Party's spokespersons will insist that we are not spending nearly enough. Lying through their teeth, JFK and his people concocted a "missile gap" some six decades ago. No one should be surprised, with the 2018 midterm elections looming, when a "cyber weapons gap" opens up.
The death merchants and mad dog generals must be salivating at the prospect. Silicon Valley plus the military-industrial complex, Eisenhower's euphemism for death merchants and military brass, now dominate the real economy. Over them all, there is Wall Street; a far greater menace now than in Eisenhower's time. The too-big-to-fail-or-jail miscreants there must be salivating most of all.
It was public opinion that made the original Cold War possible, and so it is again. This is why the "liberal press" has been pulling out all the stops – vilifying Russia and demonizing its President.
But there are at least two reasons why they will have a harder time getting the result they want now than their counterparts had long ago.
For one, they don't have a President on board this time, except occasionally when all the stars are lined up right. Unlike his post-War predecessors, from Truman on, Trump has no geopolitical goals. Instead, he wants to make "deals" that he thinks will make him look good, but that will only make him richer.
Trump is no more anti-imperialist than Cecil Rhodes, and he doesn't have an internationalist bone in his body. But, during the campaign, he did find it expedient to strike a kind of pre-War isolationist pose.
Since that could in principle lead him sometimes to do the right thing ! albeit for bad, even noxious reasons – there were a few observers who were inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. Inasmuch as the alternative was a continuation of the liberal imperialism of the Obama era, who could blame them?
What they actually did, however, was give Trump way too much credit. The man has no ideological convictions to speak of. For all practical purposes, his mind is a blank slate, susceptible to being swayed by whomever he talked to last or by the last pundit he watched on TV.
However, where Russia is concerned, he did, and still does, seem to have sounder instincts than his rivals. For Trump, instincts are all; and his instincts are dangerously off on almost everything. But not on this.
No doubt, his business involvements have a lot to do with it. So, very likely, does the fact that he could care less what others think. It probably also helps that he has no ties to the foreign policy establishment or to the so-called deep state.
Whatever the reasons, Trump does seem less in thrall to the delusions that shape this latest outbreak of Russophobia in political and media circles than other politicians at the national level. Indeed, even at this late date, he actually does seem to want to diminish, not exacerbate, tensions between the world's two major nuclear powers.
Bravo to him for that.
The other reason why Cold Warriors today have their work cut out for them, in ways that their counterparts after the Second World War did not, is that the justifications they are obliged to offer for treating Russia as an enemy are preposterous on their face.
Half a century ago, the Soviet Union was, in Churchill's words, "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma." Churchill went on to suggest that much of the mystery would dissipate if observers would think more carefully about Russia's national interests. That insight was among the first casualties of the rush to (cold) war that Churchill himself did so much to promote.
And so, an Iron Curtain descended over the Soviet Union and its "satellites," just as he said it would ! making it possible for the "free world's" propagandists to spin all kinds of yarns about Communist "subversion" and ill intent.
Cyber curtains are harder to construct. What could previously be kept opaque is therefore now ineluctably clear to anyone who cares to look.
This is why all the brouhaha over Russian meddling in the 2016 election would hardly even merit discussion, but for the fact that the stakes are so high, and because so many gullible people take it seriously.
Never mind that nothing actually came from the alleged meddling, except further confirmation of what everybody already knew: that the DNC, the Democratic National Committee, was working hard to assure that the Sanders insurgency would be defeated, and that Hillary Clinton would be the party's nominee.
Leave aside too the glaring hypocrisy of the United States, of all countries, objecting to election meddling. Evidently, the consensus view among mainstream politicians and in mainstream media circles too is that, in the United States, "what's sauce for the goose" is emphatically not also "sauce for the gander."
Forget genuinely "fake news" reports as well; for example, the claim that the Russians hacked into electoral grids in Vermont and elsewhere. There is no solid evidence for them; and, as one would expect, they disappear down the memory hole just as soon as they serve their purpose.
Reports of Russian hacking that bear on infrastructure security, financial transactions, trade, industrial processes, and other vital economic and military concerns would, if true, be genuinely worrisome were the recently revived Cold War to heat up.
With so many of the leading lights of the American political and media establishments working so diligently to make that happen, this is a cause for concern. But not even the most determined warmongers have been able to come up with a plausible story about how Russian hacking affected the election that put Donald Trump in the White House.
War Party propaganda notwithstanding, the claim that the Russians interfered with the 2016 election is hardly gospel truth. Nevertheless, it merits investigation.
The story used to be that seventeen U.S. intelligence agencies agreed that reports of Russian meddling are correct. The official line now is that only four have weighed in decisively, the four actually in the know.
Meanwhile, Putin says the Russians did not meddle; and Julian Assange has said many times that the source of the DNC documents that Wikileaks published was not the Russian state.
It has become fashionable in mainstream circles to vilify Assange, but the fact remains that his integrity, and Wikileaks', is well established.
Though portrayed as the devil incarnate, Putin is a skilled and worldly statesman, intent on advancing Russia's interests, as he understands them. He is therefore a liar by vocation, just as all serious politicians are.
For profound historical reasons, slightly different, slightly less liberal and more authoritarian, norms obtain in Russia's political sphere than in most Western countries; and, needless to say, like everyone else everywhere, Putin and his constituents are creatures of their time and place.
On the whole, though, the demon of the hour seems no less governed by moral, customary or legal constraints than others in similar positions. Even in responding to events in Ukraine and Syria, he has been more scrupulously observant of international law than Barack Obama or Donald Trump.
His word may not be as good as gold, but it is a lot better than the CIA's. Indeed, when it comes to lying, the CIA is second to none. It has been known too to politicize intelligence when it suits its purposes or the purposes of the American government, insofar as the two diverge. The Bush-Cheney administration's "weapons of mass destruction" is only the best-known recent example.
I would therefore venture that of all the relevant parties weighing in, the American intelligence community is the least credible. But we are so bombarded with the party line on Russian meddling that it is hard not to succumb to the belief that there surely must be some there there. That (ultimately irrational) consideration apart, there is every reason to remain skeptical of everybody's assessments. For the time being and perhaps for some time to come, agnosticism is the only reasonable position to take.
The news that people close to Trump ! his son, his son-in-law, his campaign manager ! met with a lawyer whom they believed to be acting on behalf of the Russian government, and who probably was, changes nothing.
According to Donald Junior's emails, they did it to get dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Needless to say, "opposition research" is part of electoral politics nowadays; they all do it.
The problem in this case is the involvement of someone with ties to the Kremlin. Had the story been that Trump or someone close to him hired homegrown detectives to dig up dirt on Clinton, the news probably wouldn't even have gotten Rachel Maddow's hackles up.
Or had the famiglia arranged a meeting for the same purpose with persons connected to some other country – Israel is an obvious example, but not the only imaginable one – that would be fine too.
Apparently, it is the Russian connection that is toxic.
For the anti-Trump political class and their mainstream media friends, Junior's emails are the Holy Grail, the "smoking gun."
But all they show is that there was contact between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. Except on the dubious theory that the provision of information is an emolument of the kind that the Constitution proscribes, there was nothing even remotely criminal about that meeting in Trump Tower. There was not even anything unusual; campaigns look for dirt where they can find it, and they talk to foreign sources all the time.
Trump's flacks say that the purported smoking gun is actually no big deal.
It grieves me to say it, but they are right.
What those emails provide is evidence of the stupidity of the Trump family (no surprise there!) and close Trump associates (ditto). To make anything more of it is, to say the least, a stretch.
Narratives that center on Russian meddling in the 2016 election are one thing; well-researched investigations of connections between Trump, the Trump family, and the Trump campaign, on the one hand, and Russian oligarchs, mobsters, spies, and assorted sleaze balls, on the other, are something else altogether.
Inasmuch as birds of a feather generally do flock together, there probably are quite a few contacts of that sort to uncover.
Unfortunately, though, in the fog of neoconservative, Russophobic propaganda that has settled in over our shores, these issues have become confounded.
On the meddling in the last election question, the jury is still out on which liars to believe. Does it really matter, though?
It does to proponents and opponents of the War Party. The former are desperate for reasons to find Putin culpable of something, anything; the latter understand the importance of not letting them have their way.
It matters too to feckless Democrats (is there any other kind?) hoping to ride anti-Trump loathing back to power in 2018. It is all they have going for them.
But it hardly matters at all for the integrity of American democracy ! notwithstanding the self-righteous blather that currently surrounds the issue.
The danger to democracy – what little of it we have ! is not coming from hackers, Russian or otherwise, government sponsored or freelance. At this historical moment, it is coming mainly from the voter suppression efforts of Republican state officials and the Trump White House.
Republican donors are culpable too. They are the ones who bankroll the governors and state legislators who are leading the charge against (small-d) democracy.
How ironic that one of the things the Russians are supposed to have hacked into are state voting rolls. It is fatally unclear why they would care about that, just as it is brutally obvious why Republicans would. But this doesn't phase the War Party's propagandists one bit.
The story they are going with for now is that Putin wants Americans to lose faith in the democratic process. Why would he even care?
During the original Cold War, when the Soviet Union was supposedly intent on world domination, there were ways of answering that question. The answers were disingenuous, to say the least, but they could at least be made to seem plausible. Good luck with that now!
In any case, if Putin really did want to undermine faith in American democracy, he would be a little late to the gate; and he would be redundant. Who needs a foreign autocrat to do what Democrats and Republicans are already doing better?
Meanwhile, even with Junior's emails, Trump is still there; and unless Republicans turn on him, which, for now, seems unlikely – or unless, more unlikely still, he decides he has had enough ! there is where he will remain.
Meanwhile too, the Democratic Party, having made itself irrelevant, is still scapegoating Russians. What a dangerous, albeit bipartisan, spectacle – unreconstructed Clintonites working side by side with the likes of John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
All this does, though, is increase the likelihood that, in the process, the world will stumble into a war that, this time around, really will be a war to end all wars.
Is there a silver lining in any of this? If there is, it is well hidden. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Andrew Levine
ANDREW LEVINE is the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What's Wrong With the Opium of the People . He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).
Jul 16, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org
The U.S. borg is vehemently trying to set up Russia as an enemy of the "west". Their anti-Russian propaganda has become part of the campaign against U.S. President Trump who seeks détente with Russia. It requires intense efforts to denigrate the country, its citizens and its leaders. Here is an example of how such propaganda is fabricated.
Yascha Mounk is:a Lecturer on Political Theory at Harvard University's Government Department, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Transatlantic Academy of the German Marshall Fund, and a Nonresident Fellow at New America's Political Reform Program.
He is a self declared liberal internationalist who has been published and quoted by lots of international media.
Yesterday Mounk tweeted this :
The Mounk tweet is a series of lies:Need a reminder of the human cost of dictatorship? All these are journalists who criticized Putin--and died under mysterious circumstances
The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin is dully elected and not a dictator. The Russian Federation may not be a "liberal democracy", but it is a democracy. The picture is old. It shows all Russian journalists who died during their work since 1991. Most of them died as war- or crime-correspondents and were not involved in politics at all. The death of most of those journalists is not mysterious. Getting blown up by artillery during the wars in Chechnya, Yugoslavia or Ukraine is no mystery at all. Most of these journalists never criticize Putin. They were already dead before Putin had any significant political role.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) lists 82 killed Russian journalists since 1992, most of them died due to war or related to civil crimes or corruption. There are about 80 portraits of journalists in the picture Mounk tweeted.
Two recognizable portraits and names therein are of Vlad Listyev, a TV entertainment producer killed in 1995 over some controversy about lucrative advertisement on public TV. Another portrait is of Dmitry Kholodov, killed in 1994 while investigating mafia connections within the Russian military. At the time of their death Putin was a minor bureaucrat in Saint Petersburg. He did not gain power until he became acting president at the end of 1999.
According to the CPJ numbers more Russian journalists were killed during the eight years of Yeltsin's presidency (1992-2000) than in the 17 years of Putin's presidencies since. Mounk claims "All these are journalists who criticized Putin ..." when more than half of them were already dead before Putin became known and to power. It was during the time of the " Harvard boys " who robbed Russia blind that most of these journalist were killed. The Russian system, thanks to the Harvard driven "reforms" and criminal privatization under Yeltsin, is a rough terrain for investigating oligarchs and mafia businesses. But there is no evidence , none at all, that Putin was ever involved in the decease of any journalist.
The first original publishing of the Mounk picture may have been as early as 2009 . A piece on journalists remembrance in Russia from 2014 already includes the pic. The reverse image search shows that the picture has been has been used by several news-outlets since.
Every aspect of the Mounk tweet is a lie.
But Mounk's lies have by now been re-tweeted over 22,000 times. Many of those who see it will believe the claims he makes. They will trust a widely publish Harvard academic. But the tweet, as well as nearly all other claims about Russia one sees in "western" media, is pure propaganda. It is like the editorial in today's New York Times that claims "Russia's oil-dependent economy [is] in trouble" while all Russian economic numbers turned positive and all indicators point to accelerating growth . It is fake news.
The anti-Russian propaganda campaign is now part of the "liberal" campaign against U.S. president Trump. It is failing . Trump's support is steady if not increasing despite daily new revelation about his (non existent) "collusion with Russia" and the (non existing) "Russian interference" in the U.S. election.
The purveyors of the propaganda stories are in despair. Each and every new fire they try to stoke dies off within a day or two. The temptation then is to invent and push ever bigger lies about Trump, Russia and their non-existing connections.
The fake news Mounk spits out, and which disqualify him as an academic, is a sign of their accelerating panic.
Posted by b on July 16, 2017 at 11:06 AM | Permalinklysander | Jul 16, 2017 12:00:05 PM | 3Judging by the comments in "Professor" Mounk's Twitter feed, the vast majority are pretty much wise to the deception. Whether this holds for the retweets I don't know. But I'm pretty sure we are witnessing the decay of the establishment.Lemur | Jul 16, 2017 12:12:55 PM | 4Reminder these journalists and academics are so evil they actually want to repeal and replace the historic American nation with a variety of mystery meat immigration (invasion).Anon | Jul 16, 2017 12:13:05 PM | 5Here is the best discussion of the Trump Jr. nonsense available: https://necpluribusimpar.net/trumps-collusion-russia-add-nothing-nothing-get-still-nothing/Anonymous | Jul 16, 2017 12:20:43 PM | 6
Lemoine ( http://www.twitter.com/phl43) destroys the liberal media bullshit narrative piece by piece. I haven't found a more thorough discussion anywhere else online. It's well worth reading just for its clarity and strength of argumentation.There are journalists killed during the 1980's in that room, too. Here is a higher resolution version:Robert Snefjella | Jul 16, 2017 12:29:31 PM | 7
Apart from the two you mentioned, you can make out several other names right off the bat, like Soviet journalist Alexander Kaverznev who died in 1983 and Gennadiy Kurennoy who died together with colleague and fellow Gosteleradio SSSR journalist Viktor Nogin in an armed ambush in Yugoslavia, during the war in 1991. Also visible is Andrey Pralnikov, who died in 1997 after finally succumbing to radiation injuries he sustained in 1986 during his on-site coverage of the Chernobyl accident (he wrote a book about, too).
In short, the portraits in that room are just Soviet and Russian journalists that have died on the job, regardless of how these deaths occured, and it goes back to the 1980s at least. Quite obviously, of the actual violence-related deaths the vast majority are from the 1990's, since there's been a rather dramatic downwards trend since Putin assumed office.
On his blog (I don't know if it's still up) Fedia Kriukov did an in-depth assessment of the cases post-2000 (i.e. the ones actually "under Putin") and found that several had nothing to do with the journalists' professional activities, but were just the results of them dealing with the criminal underworld themselves, some were the results of violence not targeting them but targeting people they happened to be covering at the time (e.g. Scott in 2002 and Khasanov in 2004), some were just pure bad luck, and out of the very few that actually were clear targeted killings it always had to do with organized crime (Domnikov, Politovskaya, Klebnikov).
And this is where the aforementioned downwards trend comes in, because the only correlation between journalists being murdered and the Putin period is strongly negative, and the reason is that the chief cause of investigative journalists being murdered - rampant organized crime and corrupted local law enforcement and officials - has been tackled rather successfully since 2000.Illuminating how widely quoted and passed on is the rubbish of Yascha Mounk, and 'et al'. What does this say about the publications and outlets that give such dishonesty a megaphone? They must lose credibility.dan of steele | Jul 16, 2017 12:40:25 PM | 8
Paul Craig Roberts has written at various times words to the effect that just about all public and private institutions in the US are now corrupt. It's hard to find examples that refute that thesis.
I interpret PCR's words to at core mean that dishonesty, including evil omission, is now in the United States pervasive, normalized, institutionalized, 'mandatory' for those who want to remain 'gainfully employed' or accepted by those institutions.
That famous quote often identified with Orwell "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act" is the opposite side of that same coin.
This culture of bs is of course much broader than the US. We have the now famous confession by Udo Ulfkotte that much German media is corrupt, CIA controlled, bought and paid for. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1lWKyRI10w
Another obscure but telling example: we have in Canada a book by Dr. Chopra titled 'Corrupt to the Core', detailing the situation at Health Canada during Chopra's long employment there.
And the WHO has been a snake in the grass for example when it comes to radioactivity and human health, for two generations allowing the nuclear powers that in effect act as censoring and misleading gatekeepers for material on that subject emanating from the WHO.
Perhaps I am engaging in wishfukl thinking but it seems to me we are seeing more and more signs of the breakdown of that systematic and comprehensive dishonesty machine that has infiltrated so many institutions and required and rewarded dishonesty in so many people? And along with that breakdown, the declining power of even so-called 'distinguished' institutions to wield power on behalf of lies. The 'appeal to whatever authority' seems to be losing much of its previous punch.
The recent increase in disclosures and public awareness of institutionalized pedo-predation is an example. Trump's election in the face of an unprecedented media and elite hostility, and extreme by same support for Clinton, to me suggests there is more than just a leak in the disgusting dike sustaining dishonesty as default position.
And when it comes to Putin, his popularity not just in Russia has been sustained or even grown in the face of an extreme mass media demonization effort.
The process puts me in mind of that scene from the Wizard of Oz where the wicked Witch is melting away, truth/water as deadly nemesis.so this is what Harvard has to offer. and to think having a Harvard education used to mean something.Robert McMaster | Jul 16, 2017 12:53:28 PM | 9
two are the choices here, either malice or incompetence. I want to believe it is merely because he is incurious and is getting enough positive feedback from his echo chamber but fear he knows full well what he is doing.
What is the endgame? How will rotten relations with Russia improve the lives of US citizens? If not the general population, then who stands to gain?Hit these academic thugs where it hurts. Cut off their funding. The main reason they do this lying is because it pays. If the only reward was doing the right thing or speaking truth, then this Harvard Hack wouldn't be bothered. So, no tenure for you buddy. No nothing. Now go write your head off.somebody | Jul 16, 2017 12:58:15 PM | 10List of assassinated American politiciansPhilippe Lemoine | Jul 16, 2017 1:07:26 PM | 11
Nothing like good old cold war propaganda. Ah the memories ....
Has Putin stopped talking about "our American partners" yet?Thanks to the commenter above for sharing my post and for the nice words he had about it. People here may also be interested in the 3-part series of posts I wrote about the attack in Khan Sheikhoun. The first part is here and there are links to the other parts at the bottom of the post. I think it's the most thorough discussion of this attack, but I also discuss other similar incidents. I carefully document a shocking amount of bias and incompetence on the part of journalists. I also wrote a 4-part series of posts on this whole Russia/Trump nonsense back in February, which I think is still very relevant today. The first part is here .james | Jul 16, 2017 1:25:53 PM | 12thanks b... fascinating how a guy from harvard is oblivious to harvards historical role here in the phase of ripping off russia during and after the transition in 1991... great quote from you here - "It was during the time of the "Harvard boys" who robbed Russia blind that most of these journalist were killed. The Russian system, thanks to the Harvard driven "reforms" and criminal privatization under Yeltsin, is a rough terrain for investigating oligarchs and mafia businesses." why would this dipshit Yascha Mounk say all this? who pays him to lie? he is completely discredited here.. someone ought to send him a link to your article so he can see what an ignoramus or con man (it is one of the other) he really is..Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 16, 2017 1:29:51 PM | 13The Mythbusters motto was:Tim | Jul 16, 2017 1:30:22 PM | 14
"If a thing's worth doing, it's worth overdoing."
Considering that Mythbusters were in the business of exposing and/or confirming popular myths & memes, the "overdoing" aspect was typically confined to exploring the limits to which the counter argument might prove to be valid.
The derision which the program attracted from edu-phobic 'purists' was regularly discredited by fulsome praise from scientists who pointed out that Mythbusters' exploration of the counter-argument demonstrated text-book faithfulness to The Scientific Method.
I'd love to hear what Mounk tells himself in order to anesthetise his conscience when embracing The Un-scientific Method to spread infantile, un-researched crap in the name of Harvard, Science and Mounk?Yascha Mounk's book is titled, Stranger in my own country - a Jewish family in modern Germany.harrylaw | Jul 16, 2017 1:45:05 PM | 15Nice to see at least one US Journalist take on and destroy two prominent Neocons. Here Tucker Carlson takes on Lt Col Ralph Peters and Max Boot. http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2017/07/13/tucker-carlson-neocon-slayer/fast freddy | Jul 16, 2017 1:56:36 PM | 16The Corporate Media is owned by 6 corporations as a result of (liberal?) Bill Clinton admin enacting Republican (with Democrat Complicity) "Media Consolidation" aka monopolies.fast freddy | Jul 16, 2017 1:56:36 PM | 17
One Media owner is GE which also manufactures aircraft engines and weaponry and seeks government contracts for same.
Liberal? ideals regularly featured are "Austerity For the Commons" and Tax Cuts for the rich with "Trickle Down" as the prevailing economic model for the past 40 years. And warmongering.
The MSM has never openly opposed any US war and it has, in fact, provided justification for all US invasions.
Liberal - Conservative labeling is a tool to divide the commons.The Corporate Media is owned by 6 corporations as a result of (liberal?) Bill Clinton admin enacting Republican (with Democrat Complicity) "Media Consolidation" aka monopolies.stevelaudig | Jul 16, 2017 2:02:25 PM | 18
One Media owner is GE which also manufactures aircraft engines and weaponry and seeks government contracts for same.
Liberal? ideals regularly featured are "Austerity For the Commons" and Tax Cuts for the rich with "Trickle Down" as the prevailing economic model for the past 40 years. And warmongering.
The MSM has never openly opposed any US war and it has, in fact, provided justification for all US invasions.
Liberal - Conservative labeling is a tool to divide the commons.Meanwhile the list of those killed directly by the USG in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Afghanistan, Iraq, Panama, Grenada, Syria. Or indirectly by arming the murderers of the Yemeni, Ukraine and on and on and on, whose names we don't and may never know. "Their name is Legion". He's a bullshit academic who should participate in the wars he wants others to fight to prove 'his theory'.. He can put his own skin in the game.Sven Lystbak | Jul 16, 2017 2:23:35 PM | 19It is worth noting that 10 journalists and media persons have been killed in the Ukraine since the glorious revolution in 2014 against only 2 in Russia over the same period. This of cause is of zero interest to the western MSM.Oui | Jul 16, 2017 2:26:41 PM | 20The WSJ held an interview with Peter W. Smith and published an article by Shane Harris on June 29 titled "GOP Operative Sought Clinton Emails From Hackers, Implied a Connection to Flynn".Oui | Jul 16, 2017 2:27:13 PM | 21
○ Peter Smith Tapped Alt-Right to Access Dark Net
Charles C. Johnson said he also suggested that Smith get in touch with Andrew Auernheimer, a hacker who goes by the alias 'Weev' and has collaborated with Johnson in the past. Auernheimer--who was released from federal prison in 2014 after having a conviction for fraud and hacking offenses vacated [on appeal - May 2014] and subsequently moved to Ukraine .See Part 1 - GOP Operative Peter Smith's Death Ruled A SuicidePetri Krohn | Jul 16, 2017 2:38:07 PM | 22The conflict is not between Russia and the West. It is not even between the West and the East. It is between Modernity and Post-Modernity.mh505 | Jul 16, 2017 2:42:19 PM | 23
- Russia, secular Arab Socialist Syria, and Trump present Modernity.
- The War Party, Identity politics, transsexualism, ISIS, and The Resistance present Post-Modernity.@ 12telescope | Jul 16, 2017 2:45:54 PM | 24
Interesting article on the subject :How Harvard Lost Russia .
The best and brightest of America's premier university came to Moscow in the 1990s to teach Russians how to be capitalists. This is the inside story of how their efforts led to scandal and disgrace.
http://www.institutionalinvestor.com/Article/1020662/How-Harvard-lost-Russia.html?ArticleId=1020662&single=trueAmerican lies should be put in context. The USA is a dying country, that is all but unmanageable, in the midst of its second Civil War (fought mostly in the media now, but the erosion of country's national fabric is immense and keeps worsening). In such circumstances, finding external enemy in order to redirect the destructive energy outward is simply a matter of national survival. That's why we have the anti-Russia frenzy.ruralito | Jul 16, 2017 2:56:08 PM | 25
It'll fail because Russia is militarily unassailable, and because continuing with the campaign is not only not helping with the domestic politics, but is scrambling America's geopolitical calculations. It's a geopolitical dead-end.
All in all, what we are seeing in the US is a full-scale panic of the establishment, with the MSM arm simply putting it all out there, no matter how preposterous or inaccurate, in a desperate bid to salvage something that is fundamentally unsalvageable.
That's how great countries fracture and disappear. It' ugly, and will only get uglier.@6 good catch!james | Jul 16, 2017 3:17:58 PM | 26@16 fastfreddy.. yeah, that is worth repeating...james | Jul 16, 2017 3:24:31 PM | 27
@ 23 mh505... thanks.. that is a good link for getting a better understanding.. i wonder how Yascha Mounk perceives all this? surely he can't be ignorant of it.. is someone paying him for his propaganda? what a waste of money it is!!!Yascha Mounk can be contacted firstname.lastname@example.orgAnonymous | Jul 16, 2017 3:49:31 PM | 28Also another thing (I'm #6) again...mh505 | Jul 16, 2017 4:03:42 PM | 29
So, going back to the photo. There are 8 chairs/portraits in each row, and about 10 rows, so that's roughly 80 people affiliated with journalism that have died one way or another that might or might not be connected to their work, in 37 years (if we just assume it starts at 1980, seeing as there is a 1983 case in direct view...)
Considering that we clearly have journalists that have died while reporting from combat zones (see my earlier comment) as well as journalists that have died due to injuries received while reporting from dangerous "civilian" situations, it all comes across as pretty unremarkable.
Mind you, between 1980 and 1991, the USSR was a country of nearly 300 million people, and the Russian Federation has been hovering in the 140-150 ballpark since 1991.
Mind you, that the USSR was getting increasingly lawless towards the end, and pretty much all successor states were in a state of anarchy for at least a couple of years past the Soviet demise (some longer than others, Russia longer than most thanks to Yeltsin and the total carnage that the West supported)
Mind you that multiple armed conflicts occured during this time, both domestically (Chechnya 1 and 2 for instance, in which a number of journalists were injured or killed) and in the near-abroad (the Georgian/Abkhazian/Ossetian/Ajaran conflicts, the Azeri-Armenian conflicts, the numerous Central Asian conflicts, the the brief Moldovan warm, the Yugoslav wars etc)
...All things considered, 80 journalists dead over all this time is nothing compared to say Mexico. And Russia's also known to have way more journalists per capita than most countries, which further adds to how underwhelming these statistics really are. The final nail in the coffin is, of course, that all these scary statistics sank like a rock after Putin took office and Russia has never been as peaceful, free and civilized as it is right now. But we've been through that.
Somebody should compile all the relevant information on this and make a glossy report, to be honest. I mean, it's all out there, it's just that they get away with outright lying about it because people don't bother doing any research on their own and they know it.@ 26 jamesnonsense factory | Jul 16, 2017 4:16:30 PM | 30
You can be entirely certain that the guy does not believe his own drivel. But: he may lose his job otherwise, which some would consider attenuating circumstances.
To me, he is not the worst among those Harvard boys. A hypocrite of a much higher magnitude has to be Jeffrey Sachs, who was among the most diligent drivers behind the destruction of post-communist Russia; yet today acts as if he never was even there. A Saulus turned Paulus, except no atonement in any wayDid a Google News search on Yascha Mounk.
First, his publicity is based on some fairly bogus research on "millenials abandoning democracy". The WaPo ran a decent article discrediting it, worth noting since the guy seems to have a taste for spinning data for political reasons:
. . .scary-chart-about-the-future-of-democracy-is-pretty-misleading/
Second, he calls for a "Cold War mentality", putting him in with the likes of Clinton & McCain & Bush-Cheney, Gary Kasparov, etc. It's pretty boilerplate neocon/neolib thinking, here's a taste:
It's time to return to a Cold War mentality
By Yascha Mounk, Slate Mar 2017
Two years ago, when Garry Kasparov, the chess champion turned political dissident, began to warn that Vladimir Putin sought to undermine liberal democracy!not only in neighboring countries, but all over the West!he was widely written off as a crank. After Russia managed to hack the servers of the Democratic National Committee and spread fake news on an industrial scale, his warnings were finally recognized as all too prescient. But it is only over the past weeks, as journalists around the world have broken dozens of stories about Russian meddling in the democratic process, that the sheer scale of this effort has become apparent.
The last time there was such a massive PR push inside the USA on a foreign policy issue was during the 2002-2003 runup to the Iraq invasion, based on an equally bogus story as the Russia bogeyman one, i.e. Iraqi WMDs.
The fact is, a multipolar world without "American exceptionalism" will be a better deal for the average American citizen, if not for the Washington circle of trough-feeders. This is a basic truth that the neoliberal empire-builders just can't handle. Of course, the big academic institutions are on board with endless military-industrial budgets, NATO expansion, regime change. Just as academic institutions in the old Soviet Union always went along with Central Committee PR lines.
On the other hand, on domestic policy? If you look into details, Clinton and Trump are not so different here - basically it's corporate rule, Trump and Clinton have similar numbers of Goldman Sachs people on their teams. Equally disastrous policies on the fundamentals like infrastructure, energy, manufacturing, etc. We'd be better off just giving our tax dollars to China to have them rebuild our infrastructure, it's that pitiful.
Maybe Trump should just spend the next four years abroad, running around with world leaders having a good time, ignoring all the neoliberal establishment pleas for regime changes and NATO wars, completely ignoring the domestic situation? The corrupt federal government in Washington can fight itself to death, and the states can run domestic policy instead?
Jul 16, 2017 | www.unz.com
annamaria > , July 15, 2017 at 3:30 am GMT
@RobinG Well said. The legacy media and permanent ("deep") state are struggling to savage Trump with absurd accusations, but our cage-fighter is keeping them at bay with his smart-phone.
Meanwhile, journalist (and that's in the best sense) Lee Stranahan is building a solid case on the DNC's crimes, including collusion with a foreign government. Please share this -
The MUST SEE guide to DNC/Ukraine Collusion and Election Interference Agree.
Meanwhile, here is a sensational article re "great America:" "CIA Agent Confesses On Deathbed: 'We Blew Up WTC7 On 9/11″ http://yournewswire.com/cia-911-wtc7/
Jul 16, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
kirill , March 2, 2017 at 11:59 amhttp://russia-insider.com/en/straight-clinton-playbook-russia-blamed-murder-dnc-staffer/ri19084marknesop , March 2, 2017 at 7:08 pm
As I posted before, emails are not something that requires hacking beyond a noob script kiddie. Emails are simply not secure and can be easily intercepted by man-in-the-middle relay servers. There is simply no way to establish who runs such computers from the headers on the emails. It is up to the relay server to update the email header and it does not have to do it. BTW, the fake email relay can spoof an IP so that the other email relay servers can't even tell it is not in the pool of existing machines (and there is no global authority that maintains the integrity of this pool of machines anyway).
There is no way Seth Rich would have "discovered Russian email hacking". But for sure he did discover something that got him killed and the perps are 100% Americans.The climate today is just so receptive to 'Russia did it' that the temptation to blame Russia for everything that is not going as planned or as desired – or for which one might otherwise be blamed oneself – is apparently overwhelming.Patient Observer , March 3, 2017 at 3:21 pm
The comments nailed it right away – 'who styles himself as a former US Intelligence Officer' is taking made-up reporting to a new level of absurdity. Now reporters are even qualifying their anonymous sources so you're unsure if they actually are who they won't say they are.http://www.gocomics.com/frank-and-ernest
Jul 16, 2017 | www.lewrockwell.comWar on Russia Is Murdering Russians
By Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
July 14, 2017
Writes Bob Strodtbeck:
Several months ago you had a video of a group of young Russian women singing a Russian folk song acapella (Youtube, Russian Girls Sing Lube) which left a lasting impression on me. For the last several days I have been exploring Russian folk music for the sake of getting an idea of what these people are like. My observations are below with a link to a video by a Russian folk music group.
The point is people who have their noses twisted out of joint over the defeat of a horribly corrupt presidential candidate would choose to see people such as those I have seen in the Russian folk music videos vaporized. We have become a hideous country.
War with Russia is a call to murder Russian people. They don't deserve our hatred.
This text is from my facebook posting which also has a link to the folk music video.
I have been taking time recently to find some information on the Russian people since the American political system seems so dedicated to make war against Russia.
I have been captivated by their folk music and the love they put into it. Much of it has been acapella and beautiful. In all of those presentations I got the sense that each singer considered the song more important than their individual talent, and the sound of the group the tribute to the song.
In watching tho se videos I came to the impression that the Russian people are happy, proud and strong. This impression speaks highly of their character, as it was within the lifetime of most Americans that the Russian system collapsed and those people had the duty to rebuild their economy, culture, and faith from the rubble left by Soviet Communism. It seems to me they have done it.
The main point here is a war with Russia is a war on these courageous, warm, and resilient people. I challenge anybody who is upset with what happened in the election last November to watch any of these videos and ask yourself if you have ever been as happy as the people that are in them. I don't believe any of them care who is President of the United States or probably that Vladimir Putin is the leader of their country. After all, Putin said that Russia spans 11 time zones an most Russians live life without worrying about the government.
Those of you who are preoccupied with the narrative that Russia hacked the election, please stop discounting the millions of us who had not voted for decades that came out to prevent Mrs. Clinton from rising to such a position of power. Then stop to consider that what you want the American Government to do, create an enemy of Russia, is to create an enemy of the Russian people. You want to kill the people who I have seen in these videos for really no better reason than you don't like how an election turned out.
You think about that.
Dec 15, 2003 | www.informationclearinghouse.info
Originally published by Global Research (12/15/03)
We are the juncture of the most serious crisis in modern history.
The Bush Administration has embarked upon a military adventure which threatens the future of humanity.
The wars on Afghanistan and Iraq are part of a broader military agenda, which was launched at the end of the Cold War. The ongoing war agenda is a continuation of the 1991 Gulf War and the NATO led wars on Yugoslavia (1991-2001).
The post Cold War period has also been marked by numerous US covert intelligence operations within the former Soviet Union, which were instrumental in triggering civil wars in several of the former republics including Chechnya (within the Russian Federation), Georgia and Azerbaijan. In the latter, these covert operations were launched with a view to securing strategic control over oil and gas pipeline corridors.
US military and intelligence operations in the post Cold War era were led in close coordination with the "free market reforms" imposed under IMF guidance in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and the Balkans, which resulted in the destabilization of national economies and the impoverishment of millions of people.
The World Bank sponsored privatization programmes in these countries enabled Western capital to acquire ownership and gain control of a large share of the economy of the former Eastern block countries. This process is also at the basis of the strategic mergers and/or takeovers of the former Soviet oil and gas industry by powerful Western conglomerates, through financial manipulation and corrupt political practices.
In other words, what is at stake in the US led war is the recolonization of a vast region extending from the Balkans into Central Asia.
The deployment of America's war machine purports to enlarge America's economic sphere of influence. The U.S. has established a permanent military presence not only in Iraq and Afghanistan, it has military bases in several of the former Soviet republics on China's Western frontier. In turn, since 1999, there has been a military buildup in the South China Sea.
War and Globalization go hand in hand. Militarization supports the conquest of new economic frontiers and the worldwide imposition of "free market" system.
The Next Phase of the War
The Bush administration has already identified Syria as the next stage of "the road map to war". The bombing of presumed 'terrorist bases' in Syria by the Israeli Air Force in October was intended to provide a justification for subsequent pre-emptive military interventions. Ariel Sharon launched the attacks with the approval of Donald Rumsfeld. (See Gordon Thomas, Global Outlook, No. 6, Winter 2004)
This planned extension of the war into Syria has serious implications. It means that Israel becomes a major military actor in the US-led war, as well as an 'official' member of the Anglo-American coalition.
The Pentagon views 'territorial control' over Syria, which constitutes a land bridge between Israel and occupied Iraq, as 'strategic' from a military and economic standpoint. It also constitutes a means of controlling the Iraqi border and curbing the flow of volunteer fighters, who are traveling to Baghdad to join the Iraqi resistance movement.
This enlargement of the theater of war is consistent with Ariel Sharon's plan to build a 'Greater Israel' "on the ruins of Palestinian nationalism". While Israel seeks to extend its territorial domain towards the Euphrates River, with designated areas of Jewish settlement in the Syrian heartland, Palestinians are imprisoned in Gaza and the West Bank behind an 'Apartheid Wall'.
In the meantime, the US Congress has tightened the economic sanctions on Libya and Iran. As well, Washington is hinting at the need for a 'regime change' in Saudi Arabia. Political pressures are building up in Turkey.
So, the war could indeed spill over into a much broader region extending from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Indian sub-continent and China's Western frontier.
The "Pre-emptive" Use of Nuclear Weapons
Washington has adopted a first strike "pre-emptive" nuclear policy, which has now received congressional approval. Nuclear weapons are no longer a weapon of last resort as during the cold War era.
The US, Britain and Israel have a coordinated nuclear weapons policy. Israeli nuclear warheads are pointed at major cities in the Middle East. The governments of all three countries have stated quite openly, prior to the war on Iraq, that they are prepared to use nuclear weapons "if they are attacked" with so-called "weapons of mass destruction." Israel is the fifth nuclear power in the World. Its nuclear arsenal is more advanced than that of Britain.
Barely a few weeks following the entry of the US Marines into Baghdad, the US Senate Armed Services Committee gave the green light to the Pentagon to develop a new tactical nuclear bomb, to be used in conventional war theaters, "with a yield [of up to] six times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb".
Following the Senate decision, the Pentagon redefined the details of its nuclear agenda in a secret meeting with senior executives from the nuclear industry and the military industrial complex held at Central Command Headquarters at the Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. The meeting was held on August 6, the day the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, 58 years ago.
The new nuclear policy explicitly involves the large defense contractors in decision-making. It is tantamount to the "privatization" of nuclear war. Corporations not only reap multibillion dollar profits from the production of nuclear bombs, they also have a direct voice in setting the agenda regarding the use and deployment of nuclear weapons.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon has unleashed a major propaganda and public relations campaign with a view to upholding the use nuclear weapons for the "defense of the American Homeland."
Fully endorsed by the US Congress, the mini-nukes are considered to be "safe for civilians".
This new generation of nuclear weapons is slated to be used in the next phase of this war, in "conventional war theatres" (e.g. in the Middle East and Central Asia) alongside conventional weapons. In December 2003, the US Congress allocated $6.3 billion solely for 2004, to develop this new generation of "defensive" nuclear weapons.
The overall annual defense budget is of the order of 400 billion dollars, roughly of the same order of magnitude as the entire Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the Russian Federation.
While there is no firm evidence of the use of mini-nukes in the Iraqi and Afghan war theatres, tests conducted by Canada's Uranium Medical Research Center (UMRC), in Afghanistan confirm that recorded toxic radiation was not attributable to 'heavy metal' depleted uranium ammunition (DU), but to another unidentified form of uranium contamination:
"some form of uranium weapon had been used (...) The results were astounding: the donors presented concentrations of toxic and radioactive uranium isotopes between 100 and 400 times greater than in the Gulf War veterans tested in 1999." www.umrc.net
The Planning of War
The war on Iraq has been in the planning stages at least since the mid-1990s. A 1995 National Security document of the Clinton administration stated quite clearly that the objective of the war is oil. "to protect the United States' uninterrupted, secure U.S. access to oil.
In September 2000, a few months before the accession of George W. Bush to the White House, the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) published its blueprint for global domination under the title: "Rebuilding America's Defenses."
The PNAC is a neo-conservative think tank linked to the Defense-Intelligence establishment, the Republican Party and the powerful Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) which plays a behind-the-scenes role in the formulation of US foreign policy.
The PNAC's declared objective is quite simple - to:
"Fight and decisively win in multiple, simultaneous theater wars".
This statement indicates that the US plans to be involved simultaneously in several war theaters in different regions of the World.
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney had commissioned the PNAC blueprint prior to the presidential elections.
The PNAC outlines a roadmap of conquest. It calls for "the direct imposition of U.S. "forward bases" throughout Central Asia and the Middle East "with a view to ensuring economic domination of the world, while strangling any potential "rival" or any viable alternative to America's vision of a 'free market' economy" (See Chris Floyd, Bush's Crusade for empire, Global Outlook, No. 6, 2003)
The Role of "Massive Casualty Producing Events"
The PNAC blueprint also outlines a consistent framework of war propaganda. One year before 9/11, the PNAC called for "some catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor," which would serve to galvanize US public opinion in support of a war agenda. (See http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/NAC304A.html )
The PNAC architects seem to have anticipated with cynical accuracy, the use of the September 11 attacks as "a war pretext incident."
The PNAC's reference to a "catastrophic and catalyzing event" echoes a similar statement by David Rockefeller to the United Nations Business Council in 1994:
"We are on the verge of global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order."
Similarly, in the words Zbigniew Brzezinski in his book, The Grand Chessboard:.
" it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus [in America] on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstances of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat."
Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was National Security Adviser to President Jimmy Carter was one of the key architects of the Al Qaeda network, created by the CIA at the onslaught of the Soviet Afghan war (1979-1989).
The "catastrophic and catalyzing event" as stated by the PNAC is an integral part of US military-intelligence planning. General Franks, who led the military campaign into Iraq, pointed recently (October 2003) to the role of a "massive casualty-producing event" to muster support for the imposition of military rule in America. (See General Tommy Franks calls for Repeal of US Constitution, November 2003, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/EDW311A.html ).
Franks identifies the precise scenario whereby military rule will be established:
"a terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event [will occur] somewhere in the Western world - it may be in the United States of America - that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event." (Ibid)
This statement from an individual, who was actively involved in military and intelligence planning at the highest levels, suggests that the "militarisation of our country" is an ongoing operational assumption. It is part of the broader "Washington consensus". It identifies the Bush administration's "roadmap" of war and "Homeland Defense." Needless to say, it is also an integral part of the neoliberal agenda.
The "terrorist massive casualty-producing event" is presented by General Franks as a crucial political turning point. The resulting crisis and social turmoil are intended to facilitate a major shift in US political, social and institutional structures.
General Franks' statement reflects a consensus within the US Military as to how events ought to unfold. The "war on terrorism" is to provide a justification for repealing the Rule of Law, ultimately with a view to "preserving civil liberties."
Franks' interview suggests that an Al Qaeda sponsored terrorist attack will be used as a "trigger mechanism" for a military coup d'état in America. The PNAC's "Pearl Harbor type event" would be used as a justification for declaring a State of emergency, leading to the establishment of a military government.
In many regards, the militarisation of civilian State institutions in the US is already functional under the facade of a bogus democracy.
In the wake of the September attacks on the World Trade Center, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld created to the Office of Strategic Influence (OSI), or "Office of Disinformation" as it was labeled by its critics:
"The Department of Defense said they needed to do this, and they were going to actually plant stories that were false in foreign countries -- as an effort to influence public opinion across the world. (Interview with Steve Adubato, Fox News, 26 December 2002.)
And, all of a sudden, the OSI was formally disbanded following political pressures and "troublesome" media stories that "its purpose was to deliberately lie to advance American interests." (Air Force Magazine, January 2003, italics added) "Rumsfeld backed off and said this is embarrassing." (Adubato, op. cit. italics added) Yet despite this apparent about-turn, the Pentagon's Orwellian disinformation campaign remains functionally intact: "[T]he secretary of defense is not being particularly candid here. Disinformation in military propaganda is part of war."(Ibid)
Rumsfeld later confirmed in a press interview that while the OSI no longer exists in name, the "Office's intended functions are being carried out". (Quoted in Federation of American Scientists (FAS) Secrecy News, http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/2002/11/112702.html , Rumsfeld's press interview can be consulted at: http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2002/11/dod111802.html ).
A number of government agencies and intelligence units --with links to the Pentagon-remain actively involved in various components of the propaganda campaign. Realities are turned upside down. Acts of war are heralded as "humanitarian interventions" geared towards "regime change" and "the restoration of democracy". Military occupation and the killing of civilians are presented as "peace-keeping". The derogation of civil liberties --in the context of the so-called "anti-terrorist legislation"-- is portrayed as a means to providing "domestic security" and upholding civil liberties.
The Central Role of Al Qaeda in Bush's National Security Doctrine
Spelled out in the National Security Strategy (NSS), the preemptive "defensive war" doctrine and the "war on terrorism" against Al Qaeda constitute the two essential building blocks of the Pentagon's propaganda campaign.
The objective is to present "preemptive military action" --meaning war as an act of "self-defense" against two categories of enemies, "rogue States" and "Islamic terrorists":
"The war against terrorists of global reach is a global enterprise of uncertain duration. America will act against such emerging threats before they are fully formed.
Rogue states and terrorists do not seek to attack us using conventional means. They know such attacks would fail. Instead, they rely on acts of terror and, potentially, the use of weapons of mass destruction ( )
The targets of these attacks are our military forces and our civilian population, in direct violation of one of the principal norms of the law of warfare. As was demonstrated by the losses on September 11, 2001, mass civilian casualties is the specific objective of terrorists and these losses would be exponentially more severe if terrorists acquired and used weapons of mass destruction.
The United States has long maintained the option of preemptive actions to counter a sufficient threat to our national security. The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction- and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, ( ). To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively."12 (National Security Strategy, White House, 2002, http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.html )
To justify pre-emptive military actions, the National Security Doctrine requires the "fabrication" of a terrorist threat, --ie. "an outside enemy." It also needs to link these terrorist threats to "State sponsorship" by the so-called "rogue states."
But it also means that the various "massive casualty-producing events" allegedly by Al Qaeda (the fabricated enemy) are part of the National Security agenda.
In the months building up to the invasion of Iraq, covert 'dirty tricks' operations were launched to produce misleading intelligence pertaining to both Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and Al Qaeda, which was then fed into the news chain.
In the wake of the war, while the WMD threat has been toned down, Al Qaeda threats to 'the Homeland' continue to be repeated ad nauseam in official statements, commented on network TV and pasted on a daily basis across the news tabloids.
And underlying these manipulated realties, "Osama bin Laden" terrorist occurrences are being upheld as a justification for the next phase of this war. The latter hinges in a very direct way:
1) the effectiveness of the Pentagon-CIA propaganda campaign, which is fed into the news chain.
2) The actual occurrence of "massive casualty producing events" as outlined in the PNAC
What this means is that actual ("massive casualty producing") terrorist events are part and parcel of military planning.
Actual Terrorist Attacks
In other words, to be "effective" the fear and disinformation campaign cannot solely rely on unsubstantiated "warnings" of future attacks, it also requires "real" terrorist occurrences or "incidents", which provide credibility to the Washington's war plans. These terrorist events are used to justify the implementation of "emergency measures" as well as "retaliatory military actions". They are required, in the present context, to create the illusion of "an outside enemy" that is threatening the American Homeland.
The triggering of "war pretext incidents" is part of the Pentagon's assumptions. In fact it is an integral part of US military history.(See Richard Sanders, War Pretext Incidents, How to Start a War, Global Outlook, published in two parts, Issues 2 and 3, 2002-2003).
In 1962, the Joint Chiefs of Staff had envisaged a secret plan entitled "Operation Northwoods", to deliberately trigger civilian casualties to justify the invasion of Cuba:
"We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba," "We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington" "casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation." (See the declassified Top Secret 1962 document titled "Justification for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba"16 (See Operation Northwoods at http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/NOR111A.html ).
There is no evidence that the Pentagon or the CIA played a direct role in recent terrorist attacks, including those in Indonesia (2002), India (2001), Turkey (2003) and Saudi Arabia (2003).
According to the reports, the attacks were undertaken by organizations (or cells of these organizations), which operate quite independently, with a certain degree of autonomy. This independence is in the very nature of a covert intelligence operation. The "intelligence asset" is not in direct contact with its covert sponsors. It is not necessarily cognizant of the role it plays on behalf of its intelligence sponsors.
The fundamental question is who is behind them? Through what sources are they being financed? What is the underlying network of ties?
For instance, in the case of the 2002 Bali bomb attack, the alleged terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiah had links to Indonesia's military intelligence (BIN), which in turn has links to the CIA and Australian intelligence.
The December 2001 terrorist attacks on the Indian Parliament --which contributed to pushing India and Pakistan to the brink of war-- were allegedly conducted by two Pakistan-based rebel groups, Lashkar-e-Taiba ("Army of the Pure") and Jaish-e-Muhammad ("Army of Mohammed"), both of which according to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) are supported by Pakistan's ISI. (Council on Foreign Relations at http://www.terrorismanswers.com/groups/harakat2.html , Washington 2002).
What the CFR fails to acknowledge is the crucial relationship between the ISI and the CIA and the fact that the ISI continues to support Lashkar, Jaish and the militant Jammu and Kashmir Hizbul Mujahideen (JKHM), while also collaborating with the CIA. (For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, Fabricating an Enemy, March 2003, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO301B.html )
A 2002 classified outbrief drafted to guide the Pentagon "calls for the creation of a so-called 'Proactive, Pre-emptive Operations Group' (P2OG), to launch secret operations aimed at "stimulating reactions" among terrorists and states possessing weapons of mass destruction -- that is, for instance, prodding terrorist cells into action and exposing themselves to 'quick-response' attacks by U.S. forces." (William Arkin, The Secret War, The Los Angeles Times, 27 October 2002)
The P2OG initiative is nothing new. It essentially extends an existing apparatus of covert operations. Amply documented, the CIA has supported terrorist groups since the Cold War era. This "prodding of terrorist cells" under covert intelligence operations often requires the infiltration and training of the radical groups linked to Al Qaeda.
In this regard, covert support by the US military and intelligence apparatus has been channeled to various Islamic terrorist organizations through a complex network of intermediaries and intelligence proxies. In the course of the 1990s, agencies of the US government have collaborated with Al Qaeda in a number of covert operations, as confirmed by a 1997 report of the Republican Party Committee of the US Congress. (See US Congress, 16 January 1997, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/DCH109A.html ). In fact during the war in Bosnia US weapons inspectors were working with Al Qaeda operatives, bringing in large amounts of weapons for the Bosnian Muslim Army.
In other words, the Clinton Administration was "harboring terrorists". Moreover, official statements and intelligence reports confirm links between US military-intelligence units and Al Qaeda operatives, as occurred in Bosnia (mid 1990s), Kosovo (1998-99) and Macedonia (2001).(See See Michel Chossudovsky, War and Globalisation, The Truth behind September 11, Global Outlook, 2003, Chapter 3, http://globalresearch.ca/globaloutlook/truth911.html )
The Bush Administration and NATO had links to Al Qaeda in Macedonia. And this happened barely a few weeks before September 11, 2001, Senior U.S. military advisers from a private mercenary outfit on contract to the Pentagon, were fighting alongside Mujahideen in the terrorist attacks on the Macedonian Security forces. This is documented by the Macedonian press and statements made by the Macedonian authorities. (See Michel Chossudovsky, op cit). The U.S. government and the Islamic Militant Network were working hand in glove in supporting and financing the National Liberation Army (NLA), which was involved in the terrorist attacks in Macedonia.
In other words, the US military was collaborating directly with Al Qaeda barely a few weeks before 9/11.
Al Qaeda and Pakistan's Military Intelligence (ISI)
It is indeed revealing that in virtually all post 9/11 terrorist occurrences, the terrorist organization is reported (by the media and in official statements) as having "ties to Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda". This in itself is a crucial piece of information. Of course, the fact that Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA is neither mentioned in the press reports nor is it considered relevant to an understanding of these terrorist occurrences.
The ties of these terrorist organizations (particularly those in Asia) to Pakistan's military intelligence (ISI) is acknowledged in a few cases by official sources and press dispatches. Confirmed by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), some of these groups are said to have links to Pakistan's ISI, without identifying the nature of these links. Needless to say, this information is crucial in identifying the sponsors of these terrorist attacks. In other words, the ISI is said to support these terrorist organizations, while at same time maintaining close ties to the CIA.
While Colin Powell --without supporting evidence-pointed in his February 2003 UN address to "the sinister nexus between Iraq and the Al Qaeda terrorist network", official documents, press and intelligence reports confirm that successive US administrations have supported and abetted the Islamic militant network. This relationship is an established fact, corroborated by numerous studies, acknowledged by Washington's mainstream think tanks.
Both Colin Powell and his Deputy Richard Armitage, who in the months leading up to the war casually accused Baghdad and other foreign governments of "harboring" Al Qaeda, played a direct role, at different points in their careers, in supporting terrorist organizations.
Both men were implicated --operating behind the scenes-- in the Irangate Contra scandal during the Reagan Administration, which involved the illegal sale of weapons to Iran to finance the Nicaraguan Contra paramilitary army and the Afghan Mujahideen. (For further details, see Michel Chossudovsky, Expose the Links between Al Qaeda and the Bush Administration, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO303D.html )
Moreover, both Richard Armitage and Colin Powell played a role in the 9/11 cover-up. The investigations and research conducted in the last two years, including official documents, testimonies and intelligence reports, indicate that September 11 was an carefully planned intelligence operation, rather than a act conducted by a terrorist organization. (For further details, see Centre for Research on Globalization, 24 Key articles, September 2003)
The FBI confirmed in a report made public late September 2001 the role of Pakistan's Military Intelligence. According to the report, the alleged 9-11 ring leader, Mohammed Atta, had been financed from sources out of Pakistan. A subsequent intelligence report confirmed that the then head of the ISI General Mahmoud Ahmad had transferred money to Mohammed Atta. (See Michel Chossudovsky, War and Globalization, op.cit.)
Moreover, press reports and official statements confirm that the head of the ISI, was an official visit to the US from the 4th to 13th of September 2001. In other words, the head of Pakistan's ISI, who allegedly transferred money to the terrorists also had a close personal relationship with a number of senior Bush Administration officials, including Colin Powell, CIA Director George Tenet and Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage, whom he met in the course of his visit to Washington. (Ibid)
The Antiwar Movement
A cohesive antiwar movement cannot be based solely on the mobilization of antiwar sentiment. It must ultimately unseat the war criminals and question their right to rule.
A necessary condition for bringing down the rulers is to weaken and eventually dismantle their propaganda campaign.
The momentum of the large anti-war rallies in the US, the European Union and around the world, should lay the foundations of a permanent network composed of tens of thousands of local level anti-war committees in neighborhoods, work places, parishes, schools, universities, etc. It is ultimately through this network that the legitimacy of those who "rule in our name" will be challenged.
To shunt the Bush Administration's war plans and disable its propaganda machine, we must reach out to our fellow citizens across the land, in the US, Europe and around the world, to the millions of ordinary people who have been misled on the causes and consequences of this war.
This also implies fully uncovering the lies behind the "war on terrorism" and revealing the political complicity of the Bush administration in the events of 9/11.
September 11 is a hoax. It's the biggest lie in US history.
Needless to say, the use of "massive casualty producing events" as pretext to wage war is a criminal act. In the words of Andreas van Buelow, former German Minister of Technology and author of The CIA and September 11:
"If what I say is right, the whole US government should end up behind bars."
Yet it is not sufficient to remove George W. Bush or Tony Blair, who are mere puppets. We must also address the role of the global banks, corporations and financial institutions, which indelibly stand behind the military and political actors.
Increasingly, the military-intelligence establishment (rather than the State Department, the White House and the US Congress) is calling the shots on US foreign policy. Meanwhile, the Texas oil giants, the defense contractors, Wall Street and the powerful media giants, operating discreetly behind the scenes, are pulling the strings. If politicians become a source of major embarrassment, they can themselves be discredited by the media, discarded and a new team of political puppets can be brought to office.
Criminalization of the State
The "Criminalization of the State", is when war criminals legitimately occupy positions of authority, which enable them to decide "who are the criminals", when in fact they are criminals.
In the US, both Republicans and Democrats share the same war agenda and there are war criminals in both parties. Both parties are complicit in the 9/11 cover-up and the resultant quest for world domination. All the evidence points to what is best described as "the criminalisation of the State", which includes the Judiciary and the bipartisan corridors of the US Congress.
Under the war agenda, high ranking officials of the Bush administration, members of the military, the US Congress and the Judiciary have been granted the authority not only to commit criminal acts, but also to designate those in the antiwar movement who are opposed to these criminal acts as "enemies of the State."
More generally, the US military and security apparatus endorses and supports dominant economic and financial interests - i.e. the build-up, as well as the exercise, of military might enforces "free trade". The Pentagon is an arm of Wall Street; NATO coordinates its military operations with the World Bank and the IMF's policy interventions, and vice versa. Consistently, the security and defense bodies of the Western military alliance, together with the various civilian governmental and intergovernmental bureaucracies (e.g. IMF, World Bank, WTO) share a common understanding, ideological consensus and commitment to the New World Order.
To reverse the tide of war, military bases must be closed down, the war machine (namely the production of advanced weapons systems like WMDs) must be stopped and the burgeoning police state must be dismantled. More generally we must reverse the "free market" reforms, dismantle the institutions of global capitalism and disarm financial markets.
The struggle must be broad-based and democratic encompassing all sectors of society at all levels, in all countries, uniting in a major thrust: workers, farmers, independent producers, small businesses, professionals, artists, civil servants, members of the clergy, students and intellectuals.
The antiwar and anti-globalisation movements must be integrated into a single worldwide movement. People must be united across sectors, "single issue" groups must join hands in a common and collective understanding on how the New World Order destroys and impoverishes.
The globalization of this struggle is fundamental, requiring a degree of solidarity and internationalism unprecedented in world history. This global economic system feeds on social divisiveness between and within countries. Unity of purpose and worldwide coordination among diverse groups and social movements is crucial. A major thrust is required which brings together social movements in all major regions of the world in a common pursuit and commitment to the elimination of poverty and a lasting world peace.
Copyright Michel Chossudovsky 2003
Jul 14, 2017 | www.msn.comHouse Democrats announced a new strategy on Friday to force votes in an effort to highlight President Trump's possible ties to Russia.
Democrats plan to offer measures known as resolutions of inquiry that automatically trigger floor votes if they don't get action in committee within 14 legislative days.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and several other Democratic lawmakers scheduled a press conference in the Capitol to announce the plans on Friday morning.
The announcement included members of the House Financial Services, Ways and Means, Transportation and Infrastructure, Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security and Judiciary committees.
Democrats are seizing on the few tools at their disposal given their limited ability to direct congressional oversight while in the minority.
Republicans are likely to consider the resolutions in committee to avoid forcing the entire House to vote on them.
Still, the votes are meant to put a spotlight on Trump as well as House Republicans, who Democrats say aren't being aggressive enough with oversight of the administration.
For instance, one resolution unveiled as part of the strategy would request documents or records from Trump relating to his abrupt firing of James Comey as FBI director in May and Attorney General Jeff Sessions' involvement in the decision.
The resolution, offered by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), will go to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.
The Judiciary panel already rejected multiple previous resolutions of inquiry earlier this year that demanded documents from the Justice Department connecting the Trump campaign with the Russian government's 2016 election interference.
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) also offered a resolution of inquiry in the House Ways and Means Committee to request President Trump's tax returns from the last decade.
The party-line votes in committee to dismiss the resolutions prevented any House floor vote.
But Democrats are determined to force more votes - even if they don't go anywhere - to pressure Republicans after revelations this week involving President Trump's son.
Donald Trump Jr. released emails on Tuesday showing how he set up a meeting last year with a Russian lawyer claiming to have damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
A publicist with ties to a Trump family business partner who served as an intermediary said that it was "obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump."
Jul 14, 2017 | reason.comThe intelligence and military leakers and Trump's political enemies believe friendly relations with Vladimir Putin's government are dangerous. But since Russia can annihilate our country, the greater danger is not engaging with Putin.
The anti-Russia hyperventilation covers the political spectrum. Republican Sen. John McCain told an interviewer that Putin is a greater threat than ISIS, accusing Russia of trying to change election results in America, France and elsewhere. But Putin's regime is not decapitating or urging lone wolves to massacre Americans on US soil. And as for Russian manipulation, the pro-Russian candidate Marine LePen was crushed in the May presidential election in France.
Democrat Hillary Clinton accused the Trump campaign of conspiring with Russia to "weaponize" leaked information against her with the WikiLeaks' dump of John Podesta email messages. Clinton's collusion assertion is based on her questionable assumption that WikiLeaks is an agent of Russia. Since WikiLeaks operates out of an embassy in London, one might expect our British allies to have leaked Putin's instructions to Julian Assange by now.
McCain, Clinton and others are amplifying the US intelligence community's public indictment of Russia for election meddling during the closing days of the Obama administration. That report also claims that Russian agents hacked Podesta's email and released them through WikiLeaks, but does not provide hard evidence.
Intelligence community assertions should be treated with skepticism. After all, this community concluded in 2002 that Saddam Hussein had WMD's. Further, a senior member of the intelligence community, James Clapper, lied to Congress in 2013 when he denied that the NSA collects data on Americans.
Even assuming the allegations are true, they do not lead to the immediate conclusion that Russia is an enemy. Friendly countries spy on one another and try to influence each other's elections all the time. President Obama called on British voters to reject Brexit, and the NSA appears to have bugged German Prime Minister Angela Merkel's mobile phone.
Israel spies on the US and tries to influence our elections. Jonathan Pollard's espionage "has few parallels" according to the CIA , which concluded he had "put at risk important U.S. intelligence and foreign policy interests." In 2012, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to scuttle President Obama's re-election effort.
Most of the intelligence community memo focuses on the activities of RT, a Russian media group that operates a cable news channel, a web site and social media properties in the US. RT is accused of spreading propaganda and fake news that impacted our election. But such media are neither new nor unique to Russia.
Our Voice of America, the British Broadcasting Corporation, and other state media have been around for decades. Among the personalities on RT America are Larry King, Jesse Ventura, and former Air America hosts Thom Hartmann and Ed Schultz – none of whom appear to be stooges for Vladimir Putin. Further, as Simon van Zuylen-Wood noted in his excellent overview of RT , the network "is watched by so few people that Nielsen doesn't bother to publish its ratings."
To be sure, Putin has some very undemocratic inclinations. But the US has maintained and continues to maintain friendly relations with despotic nations. President Richard Nixon visited China in 1971, not long after Mao Zedong killed tens of millions of people with his Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution. Today, there is widespread support for friendly relations with Saudi Arabia – an undemocratic nation that stones women to death for adultery.
It is also true that Russia is a rival for influence on the world stage. This perhaps is why our generals, intelligence operatives, representatives, think tanks and the media so dislike Putin. While the foreign affairs intelligentsia views the world as a power-playing chessboard, this approach to geopolitics is contrary to the interests of ordinary Americans who don't benefit from international conflicts.
When President Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the oval office a few weeks ago, he shared intelligence about a plot by Syrian-based ISIS operatives to place laptop bombs on civilian airplanes. Russia's presence in Syria may have helped thwart this plot. And it had an incentive to do so: ISIS previously downed a Russian civilian airliner in the Sinai Desert.
As president, Donald Trump has the legal right to declassify the intelligence. But some unelected bureaucrat in the US national security establishment decided that Trump's actions were inappropriate and leaked the story to The Washington Post . It is possible the leak alerted ISIS that its plot had been compromised, encouraging the terrorists to protect their bomb-building efforts from further scrutiny. The potential victims of this leak are civilian passengers of US airlines – the presumed target of the ISIS plot.
Russia also provided intelligence that, had it been handled properly by the FBI, could have prevented the Tsarnaev brothers from bombing the Boston marathon.
Rather than cooperating, however, the national security establishment not only seeks conflict with Russia, it looks for enemies around the world. Hostilities provide lucrative contracts and a sense of mission to those advancing them – but imposes huge costs on the rest of us. US troops are now engaged in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Somalia.
Worldwide warfare has driven national security spending toward $1 trillion a year. With a national debt approaching $20 trillion, this is a financial cost our country can ill afford. And since 2001, the US has suffered almost 7,000 deaths and over 52,000 wounded in foreign hostilities.
Democrats 50 years ago were peace organizers, fired by Martin Luther King's condemnation of the Vietnam War. And Barack Obama won the presidency promising to withdraw from Iraq.
But in their desire to rid the White House of Donald Trump, Democrats have forsaken their anti-war heritage. Instead, they are teaming up with Republican hawks and the Deep State to drive a wedge between the US and Russia.
Libertarians are the logical champions of peace and prosperity, but some have expressed sympathy for coercive US government actions to counter Russian influence. These include targeted sanctions and funding for groups in Eastern Europe that supposedly promote liberal democracy.
Although portrayed as a penalty on foreign powers, sanctions prevent US individuals and companies and individuals from doing business with those countries. A new Senate bill, S.722 , prevents US companies from working on gas pipelines between Russia and Western Europe. The bill also appropriates $500 million of US taxpayer money to a "Countering Russian Influence Fund," to be spent in Eastern Europe. The legislative language lists six possible uses for this money which sound good, but are vague and open to broad interpretation.
Libertarians recognize the state usually abuses the powers we give it. We should never advocate for restrictions on trade or appropriation of tax money for so-called democracy promotion. Peace and non-interventionism are core tenets of libertarianism that too many self-identified libertarians seem to forget. We must avoid repeating the mistakes we made in the runup to the Iraq War.
Regardless of one's position on Trump, Congress has not declared war on Russia. Russia has not invaded us. Russia is not our enemy.
Jul 10, 2017 | www.unz.com
Over the past quarter century progressive writers, activists and academics have followed a trajectory from left to right – with each presidential campaign seeming to move them further to the right. Beginning in the 1990's progressives mobilized millions in opposition to wars, voicing demands for the transformation of the US's corporate for-profit medical system into a national 'Medicare For All' public program. They condemned the notorious Wall Street swindlers and denounced police state legislation and violence. But in the end, they always voted for Democratic Party Presidential candidates who pursued the exact opposite agenda.
Over time this political contrast between program and practice led to the transformation of the Progressives. And what we see today are US progressives embracing and promoting the politics of the far right.
To understand this transformation we will begin by identifying who and what the progressives are and describe their historical role. We will then proceed to identify their trajectory over the recent decades.
- We will outline the contours of recent Presidential campaigns where Progressives were deeply involved.
- We will focus on the dynamics of political regression: From resistance to submission, from retreat to surrender.
- We will conclude by discussing the end result: The Progressives' large-scale, long-term embrace of far-right ideology and practice.
Progressives by Name and Posture
Progressives purport to embrace 'progress', the growth of the economy, the enrichment of society and freedom from arbitrary government. Central to the Progressive agenda was the end of elite corruption and good governance, based on democratic procedures.
Progressives prided themselves as appealing to 'reason, diplomacy and conciliation', not brute force and wars. They upheld the sovereignty of other nations and eschewed militarism and armed intervention.
Progressives proposed a vision of their fellow citizens pursuing incremental evolution toward the 'good society', free from the foreign entanglements, which had entrapped the people in unjust wars.
Progressives in Historical Perspective
In the early part of the 20th century, progressives favored political equality while opposing extra-parliamentary social transformations. They supported gender equality and environmental preservation while failing to give prominence to the struggles of workers and African Americans.
They denounced militarism 'in general' but supported a series of 'wars to end all wars' . Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson embodied the dual policies of promoting peace at home and bloody imperial wars overseas. By the middle of the 20th century, different strands emerged under the progressive umbrella. Progressives split between traditional good government advocates and modernists who backed socio-economic reforms, civil liberties and rights.
Progressives supported legislation to regulate monopolies, encouraged collective bargaining and defended the Bill of Rights.
Progressives opposed wars and militarism in theory until their government went to war.
Lacking an effective third political party, progressives came to see themselves as the 'left wing' of the Democratic Party, allies of labor and civil rights movements and defenders of civil liberties.
Progressives joined civil rights leaders in marches, but mostly relied on legal and electoral means to advance African American rights.
Progressives played a pivotal role in fighting McCarthyism, though ultimately it was the Secretary of the Army and the military high command that brought Senator McCarthy to his knees.
Progressives provided legal defense when the social movements disrupted the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.
They popularized the legislative arguments that eventually outlawed segregation, but it was courageous Afro-American leaders heading mass movements that won the struggle for integration and civil rights.
In many ways the Progressives complemented the mass struggles, but their limits were defined by the constraints of their membership in the Democratic Party.
The alliance between Progressives and social movements peaked in the late sixties to mid-1970's when the Progressives followed the lead of dynamic and advancing social movements and community organizers especially in opposition to the wars in Indochina and the military draft.
The Retreat of the Progressives
By the late 1970's the Progressives had cut their anchor to the social movements, as the anti-war, civil rights and labor movements lost their impetus (and direction).
The numbers of progressives within the left wing of the Democratic Party increased through recruitment from earlier social movements. Paradoxically, while their 'numbers' were up, their caliber had declined, as they sought to 'fit in' with the pro-business, pro-war agenda of their President's party.
Without the pressure of the 'populist street' the 'Progressives-turned-Democrats' adapted to the corporate culture in the Party. The Progressives signed off on a fatal compromise: The corporate elite secured the electoral party while the Progressives were allowed to write enlightened manifestos about the candidates and their programs . . . which were quickly dismissed once the Democrats took office. Yet the ability to influence the 'electoral rhetoric' was seen by the Progressives as a sufficient justification for remaining inside the Democratic Party.
Moreover the Progressives argued that by strengthening their presence in the Democratic Party, (their self-proclaimed 'boring from within' strategy), they would capture the party membership, neutralize the pro-corporation, militarist elements that nominated the president and peacefully transform the party into a 'vehicle for progressive changes'.
Upon their successful 'deep penetration' the Progressives, now cut off from the increasingly disorganized mass social movements, coopted and bought out many prominent black, labor and civil liberty activists and leaders, while collaborating with what they dubbed the more malleable 'centrist' Democrats. These mythical creatures were really pro-corporate Democrats who condescended to occasionally converse with the Progressives while working for the Wall Street and Pentagon elite.
The Retreat of the Progressives: The Clinton Decade
Progressives adapted the 'crab strategy': Moving side-ways and then backwards but never forward.
Progressives mounted candidates in the Presidential primaries, which were predictably defeated by the corporate Party apparatus, and then submitted immediately to the outcome. The election of President 'Bill' Clinton launched a period of unrestrained financial plunder, major wars of aggression in Europe (Yugoslavia) and the Middle East (Iraq), a military intervention in Somalia and secured Israel's victory over any remnant of a secular Palestinian leadership as well as its destruction of Lebanon!
Like a huge collective 'Monica Lewinsky' robot, the Progressives in the Democratic Party bent over and swallowed Clinton's vicious 1999 savaging of the venerable Glass Steagall Act, thereby opening the floodgates for massive speculation on Wall Street through the previously regulated banking sector. When President Clinton gutted welfare programs, forcing single mothers to take minimum-wage jobs without provision for safe childcare, millions of poor white and minority women were forced to abandon their children to dangerous makeshift arrangements in order to retain any residual public support and access to minimal health care. Progressives looked the other way.
Progressives followed Clinton's deep throated thrust toward the far right, as he outsourced manufacturing jobs to Mexico (NAFTA) and re-appointed Federal Reserve's free market, Ayn Rand-fanatic, Alan Greenspan.
Progressives repeatedly kneeled before President Clinton marking their submission to the Democrats' 'hard right' policies.
The election of Republican President G. W. Bush (2001-2009) permitted Progressive's to temporarily trot out and burnish their anti-war, anti-Wall Street credentials. Out in the street, they protested Bush's savage invasion of Iraq (but not the destruction of Afghanistan). They protested the media reports of torture in Abu Ghraib under Bush, but not the massive bombing and starvation of millions of Iraqis that had occurred under Clinton. Progressives protested the expulsion of immigrants from Mexico and Central America, but were silent over the brutal uprooting of refugees resulting from US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the systematic destruction of their nations' infrastructure.
Progressives embraced Israel's bombing, jailing and torture of Palestinians by voting unanimously in favor of increasing the annual $3 billion dollar military handouts to the brutal Jewish State. They supported Israel's bombing and slaughter in Lebanon.
Progressives were in retreat, but retained a muffled voice and inconsequential vote in favor of peace, justice and civil liberties. They kept a certain distance from the worst of the police state decrees by the Republican Administration.
Progressives and Obama: From Retreat to Surrender
While Progressives maintained their tepid commitment to civil liberties, and their highly 'leveraged' hopes for peace in the Middle East, they jumped uncritically into the highly choreographed Democratic Party campaign for Barack Obama, 'Wall Street's First Black President'.
Progressives had given up their quest to 'realign' the Democratic Party 'from within': they turned from serious tourism to permanent residency. Progressives provided the foot soldiers for the election and re-election of the warmongering 'Peace Candidate' Obama. After the election, Progressives rushed to join the lower echelons of his Administration. Black and white politicos joined hands in their heroic struggle to erase the last vestiges of the Progressives' historical legacy.
Obama increased the number of Bush-era imperial wars to attacking seven weak nations under American's 'First Black' President's bombardment, while the Progressives ensured that the streets were quiet and empty.
When Obama provided trillions of dollars of public money to rescue Wall Street and the bankers, while sacrificing two million poor and middle class mortgage holders, the Progressives only criticized the bankers who received the bailout, but not Obama's Presidential decision to protect and reward the mega-swindlers.
Under the Obama regime social inequalities within the United States grew at an unprecedented rate. The Police State Patriot Act was massively extended to give President Obama the power to order the assassination of US citizens abroad without judicial process. The Progressives did not resign when Obama's 'kill orders' extended to the 'mistaken' murder of his target's children and other family member, as well as unidentified bystanders. The icon carriers still paraded their banner of the 'first black American President' when tens of thousands of black Libyans and immigrant workers were slaughtered in his regime-change war against President Gadhafi.
Obama surpassed the record of all previous Republican office holders in terms of the massive numbers of immigrant workers arrested and expelled – 2 million. Progressives applauded the Latino protestors while supporting the policies of their 'first black President'.
Progressive accepted that multiple wars, Wall Street bailouts and the extended police state were now the price they would pay to remain part of the "Democratic coalition' (sic).
The deeper the Progressives swilled at the Democratic Party trough, the more they embraced the Obama's free market agenda and the more they ignored the increasing impoverishment, exploitation and medical industry-led opioid addiction of American workers that was shortening their lives. Under Obama, the Progressives totally abandoned the historic American working class, accepting their degradation into what Madam Hillary Clinton curtly dismissed as the 'deplorables'.
With the Obama Presidency, the Progressive retreat turned into a rout, surrendering with one flaccid caveat: the Democratic Party 'Socialist' Bernie Sanders, who had voted 90% of the time with the Corporate Party, had revived a bastardized military-welfare state agenda.
Sander's Progressive demagogy shouted and rasped on the campaign trail, beguiling the young electorate. The 'Bernie' eventually 'sheep-dogged' his supporters into the pro-war Democratic Party corral. Sanders revived an illusion of the pre-1990 progressive agenda, promising resistance while demanding voter submission to Wall Street warlord Hillary Clinton. After Sanders' round up of the motley progressive herd, he staked them tightly to the far-right Wall Street war mongering Hillary Clinton. The Progressives not only embraced Madame Secretary Clinton's nuclear option and virulent anti-working class agenda, they embellished it by focusing on Republican billionaire Trump's demagogic, nationalist, working class rhetoric which was designed to agitate 'the deplorables'. They even turned on the working class voters, dismissing them as 'irredeemable' racists and illiterates or 'white trash' when they turned to support Trump in massive numbers in the 'fly-over' states of the central US.
Progressives, allied with the police state, the mass media and the war machine worked to defeat and impeach Trump. Progressives surrendered completely to the Democratic Party and started to advocate its far right agenda. Hysterical McCarthyism against anyone who questioned the Democrats' promotion of war with Russia, mass media lies and manipulation of street protest against Republican elected officials became the centerpieces of the Progressive agenda. The working class and farmers had disappeared from their bastardized 'identity-centered' ideology.
Guilt by association spread throughout Progressive politics. Progressives embraced J. Edgar Hoover's FBI tactics: "Have you ever met or talked to any Russian official or relative of any Russian banker, or any Russian or even read Gogol, now or in the past?" For progressives, 'Russia-gate' defined the real focus of contemporary political struggle in this huge, complex, nuclear-armed superpower.
Progressives joined the FBI/CIA's 'Russian Bear' conspiracy: "Russia intervened and decided the Presidential election" – no matter that millions of workers and rural Americans had voted against Hillary Clinton, Wall Street's candidate and no matter that no evidence of direct interference was ever presented. Progressives could not accept that 'their constituents', the masses, had rejected Madame Clinton and preferred 'the Donald'. They attacked a shifty-eyed caricature of the repeatedly elected Russian President Putin as a subterfuge for attacking the disobedient 'white trash' electorate of 'Deploralandia'.
Progressive demagogues embraced the coifed and manicured former 'Director Comey' of the FBI, and the Mr. Potato-headed Capo of the CIA and their forty thugs in making accusations without finger or footprints.
The Progressives' far right - turn earned them hours and space on the mass media as long as they breathlessly savaged and insulted President Trump and his family members. When they managed to provoke him into a blind rage . . . they added the newly invented charge of 'psychologically unfit to lead' – presenting cheap psychobabble as grounds for impeachment. Finally! American Progressives were on their way to achieving their first and only political transformation: a Presidential coup d'état on behalf of the Far Right!
Progressives loudly condemned Trump's overtures for peace with Russia, denouncing it as appeasement and betrayal!
In return, President Trump began to 'out-militarize' the Progressives by escalating US involvement in the Middle East and South China Sea. They swooned with joy when Trump ordered a missile strike against the Syrian government as Damascus engaged in a life and death struggle against mercenary terrorists. They dubbed the petulant release of Patriot missiles 'Presidential'.
Then Progressives turned increasingly Orwellian: Ignoring Obama's actual expulsion of over 2 million immigrant workers, they condemned Trump for promising to eventually expel 5 million more!
Progressives, under Obama, supported seven brutal illegal wars and pressed for more, but complained when Trump continued the same wars and proposed adding a few new ones. At the same time, progressives out-militarized Trump by accusing him of being 'weak' on Russia, Iran, North Korea and China. They chided him for his lack support for Israel's suppression of the Palestinians. They lauded Trump's embrace of the Saudi war against Yemen as a stepping-stone for an assault against Iran, even as millions of destitute Yemenis were exposed to cholera. The Progressives had finally embraced a biological weapon of mass destruction, when US-supplied missiles destroyed the water systems of Yemen!
Progressives turned full circle from supporting welfare to embracing Wall Street; from preaching peaceful co-existence to demanding a dozen wars; from recognizing the humanity and rights of undocumented immigrants to their expulsion under their 'First Black' President; from thoughtful mass media critics to servile media megaphones; from defenders of civil liberties to boosters for the police state; from staunch opponents of J. Edgar Hoover and his 'dirty tricks' to camp followers for the 'intelligence community' in its deep state campaign to overturn a national election.
Progressives moved from fighting and resisting the Right to submitting and retreating; from retreating to surrendering and finally embracing the far right.
Doing all that and more within the Democratic Party, Progressives retain and deepen their ties with the mass media, the security apparatus and the military machine, while occasionally digging up some Bernie Sanders-type demagogue to arouse an army of voters away from effective resistance to mindless collaboration.
(Republished from The James Petras Website by permission of author or representative)Recently from Author
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WorkingClass > , July 12, 2017 at 9:21 pm GMTexiled off mainstreet > , July 12, 2017 at 11:20 pm GMT
But in the end, they always voted for Democratic Party Presidential candidates who pursued the exact opposite agenda.
Thank you for putting your finger on the main problem right there in the first paragraph. There were exceptions of course. I supported Dennis Kucinich in the Democratic Primary that gave us the first black etc. But I never voted for Obama. Throughout the Cheney Admin I pleaded with progressives to bolt the party.
This piece accurately traces the path from Progressive to Maoist. It's a pity the Republican Party is also a piece of shit. I think it was Sara Palin who said "We have two parties. Pick one." This should be our collective epitaph.alan2102 > , July 13, 2017 at 2:04 am GMT
This is an excellent summary of the evolution of "progressives" into modern militarist fascists who tolerate identity politics diversity. There is little to add to Mr. Petras' commentary.Astuteobservor II > , July 13, 2017 at 5:17 am GMT
EXCELLENT.CCZ > , July 13, 2017 at 5:30 am GMT
at this point, are they still progressives though? they are the new far rightCarlton Meyer > , Website July 13, 2017 at 5:56 am GMT
"Progressives loudly condemned Trump's overtures for peace with Russia, denouncing it as appeasement and betrayal!"
Perhaps the spirit of Senator Joseph McCarthy is joyously gloating as progressives (and democrats) take their place as his heirs and successors and the 21st century incarnation of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.jilles dykstra > , July 13, 2017 at 6:27 am GMT
The great Jimmy Dore is a big thorn for the Democrats. From my blog:
Apr 29, 2017 – Obama is Scum!
Barak Obama is America's biggest con man who accomplished nothing "progressive" during eight years at the top, and didn't even try. (Obamacare is an insurance industry idea supported by most Republicans, which is why it recently survived.) Anyone who still likes Obama should read about his actions since he left office. Obama quickly signed a $65 million "book deal", which can only be a kickback since there is no way the publisher can sell enough books about his meaningless presidency to justify that sum. Obama doesn't get royalties based on sales, but gets the money up front for a book he has yet to write, and will have someone do that for him. (Book deals and speaking fees are legal forms of bribery in the USA.)
Then Obama embarked on 100 days of ultra expensive foreign vacations with taxpayers covering the Secret Service protection costs. He didn't appear at charity fundraisers, didn't campaign for Democrats, and didn't help build homes for the poor like Jimmy Carter. He returns from vacation this week and his first speech will be at a Wall Street firm that will pay him $400,000, then he travels to Europe for more paid speeches.
Obama gets over $200,000 a year in retirement, just got a $65 million deal, so doesn't need more money. Why would a multi-millionaire ex-president fly around the globe collecting huge speaking fees from world corporations just after his political party was devastated in elections because Americans think the Democratic party represents Wall Street? The great Jimmy Dore expressed his outrage at Obama and the corrupt Democratic party in this great video.Call me Deplorable > , July 13, 2017 at 12:06 pm GMT
Left in the good old days meant socialist, socialist meant that governments had the duty of redistributing income from rich to poor. Alas in Europe, after 'socialists' became pro EU and pro globalisation, they in fact became neoliberal. Both in France and the Netherlands 'socialist' parties virtually disappeared.
So what nowadays is left, does anyone know ?
Then the word 'progressive'. The word suggests improvement, but what is improvement, improvement for whom ? There are those who see the possibility for euthanasia as an improvement, there are thos who see euthanasia as a great sin.
Discussions about left and progressive are meaningless without properly defining the concepts.Seamus Padraig > , July 13, 2017 at 12:10 pm GMT
They chose power over principles. Nobel War Prize winner Obomber was a particularly egregious chameleon, hiding his sociopathy through two elections before unleashing his racist warmongering in full flower throughout his second term. But, hey, the brother now has five mansions, collects half a mill per speech to the Chosen People on Wall Street, and parties for months at a time at exclusive resorts for billionaires only.
Obviously, he's got the world by the tail and you don't. Hope he comes to the same end as Gaddaffi and Ceaușescu. Maybe the survivors of nuclear Armageddon can hold a double necktie party with Killary as the second honored guest that day.Seamus Padraig > , July 13, 2017 at 12:16 pm GMT
Discussions about left and progressive are meaningless without properly defining the concepts.
Properly defining the concepts would impede the system's ability to keep you confused.Stephen Paul Foster > , Website July 13, 2017 at 1:28 pm GMT
Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson embodied the dual policies of promoting peace at home and bloody imperial wars overseas.
You left out the other Roosevelt.
Like a huge collective 'Monica Lewinsky' robot, the Progressives in the Democratic Party bent over and swallowed Clinton's vicious 1999 savaging of the venerable Glass Steagall Act
Ignoring Obama's actual expulsion of over 2 million immigrant workers, they condemned Trump for promising to eventually expel 5 million more!
This is a huge myth. All that really happened is that the INS changed some of its internal terminology to make it sound as though they were deporting more people: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2014/04/21/lies-damned-lies-and-obamas-deportation-statistics/?utm_term=.7f964acd9b0dannamaria > , July 13, 2017 at 2:22 pm GMT
The Progressives now, failing electorally, are moving on to physical violence.
See: http://fosterspeak.blogspot.com/2017/07/trumps-would-be-assassins.htmlAnonymous IV > , July 13, 2017 at 2:49 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer Obama, a paragon of American scoundrelAgent76 > , July 13, 2017 at 3:28 pm GMT
@Seamus Padraig Agree on the bit about Obama as "deporter in chief." Even the LA Times had to admit this was misleading
so it's not just conservative conspiracy theory stuff as some might argue.
Still, the overall point of this essay isn't affected all that much. Open borders is still a "right wing" (in the sense this author uses the term) policy–pro-Wall Street, pro-Big Business. So Obama was still doing the bidding of the donor class in their quest for cheap labor.
I've seen pro-immigration types try to use the Obama-deportation thing to argue that we don't need more hardcore policies. After all, even the progressive Democrat Obama was on the ball when it came to policing our borders, right?! Who needed Trump?Alfa158 > , July 13, 2017 at 5:33 pm GMT
"Who controls the issuance of money controls the government!" Nathan Meyer Rothschild
June 13, 2016 Which Corporations Control The World?
A surprisingly small number of corporations control massive global market shares. How many of the brands below do you use?
"Control the oil, and you control nations. Control the food, and you control the people." Henry Kissengeryeah > , July 13, 2017 at 5:46 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer If Jimmy keeps up these attacks on Wall Street, the Banksters, and rent-seekers he is going to get run out of the Progressive movement for dog-whistling virulent Anti-Semitism. Look at how the media screams at Trump every time he mentions Wall Street and the banks.TheJester > , July 13, 2017 at 6:18 pm GMT
Mr. Petra has penned an excellent and very astute piece. Allow me a little satire on our progressive friends, entitled "The path to hell is paved with good intentions".
The early socialist/progressive travellers were well-intentioned but naïve in their understanding of human nature and fanatical about their agenda. To move the human herd forward, they had no compulsions about resorting to harsher and harsher prodding and whipping. They felt entitled to employ these means because, so they were convinced, man has to be pushed to move forward and they, the "progressives", were the best qualified to lead the herd. Scoundrels, psychopaths, moral defectives, and sundry other rascals then joined in the whipping game, some out of the sheer joy of wielding the whip, others to better line their pockets.
So the "progressive" journey degenerates into a forced march. The march becomes the progress, becoming both the means and the end at the same time. Look at the so-called "progressive" today and you will see the fanatic and the whip-wielder, steadfast about the correctness of his beliefs. Tell him/her/it that you are a man or a woman and he retorts "No, you are free to choose, you are genderless". What if you decline such freedom? "Well, then you are a bigot, we will thrash you out of your bigotry", replies the progressive. "May I, dear Sir/Madam/Whatever, keep my hard-earned money in my pocket for my and my family's use" you ask. "No, you first have to pay for our peace-making wars, then pay for the upkeep of refugees, besides which you owe a lot of back taxes that are necessary to run this wonderful Big Government of ours that is leading you towards greener and greener pastures", shouts back the progressive.
Fed up, disgusted, and a little scared, you desperately seek a way out of this progress. "No way", scream the march leaders. "We will be forever in your ears, sometimes whispering, sometimes screaming; we will take over your brain to improve your mind; we will saturate you with images on the box 24/7 and employ all sorts of imagery to make you progress. And if it all fails, we will simply pack you and others like you in a basket of deplorables and forget about you at election time."RobinG > , July 13, 2017 at 6:19 pm GMT
Knowing who is "progressive" and know who is "far-right" is like knowing who is "fascist" and who is not. For obvious historical reasons, the Russian like to throw the "fascist" slogan against anyone who is a non-Russian nationalist. However, I accept the eminent historian Carroll Quigley's definition of fascism as the incorporation of society and the state onto single entity on a permanent war footing. The state controls everything in a radically authoritarian social structure. As Quigley states, the Soviet Union was the most complete embodiment of fascism in WWII. In WWII Germany, on the other hand, industry retained its independence and in WWII Italy fascism was no more than an empty slogan.
Same for "progressives". Everyone wants to be "progressive", right? Who wants to be "anti-progressive"? However, at the end of the day, "progressive" through verbal slights of hand has been nothing more than a euphemism for "socialist" or, in the extreme, "communist" the verbal slight-of-hand because we don't tend to use the latter terms in American political discourse.
"Progressives" morphing into a new "far-right" in America is no more mysterious than the Soviet Union morphing from Leninism to Stalinism or, the Jewish (Trotskyite) globalists fleeing Stalinist nationalism and then morphing into, first, "Scoop" Jackson Democrats and then into Bushite Republicans.
As you might notice, the real issue is the authoritarian vs. the non-authoritarian state. In this context, an authoritarian government and social order (as in communism and neoconservatism) are practical pre-requisites necessity to force humanity to transition to their New World Order.
Again, the defining characteristic of fascism is the unitary state enforced via an authoritarian political and social structure. Ideological rigor is enforced via the police powers of the state along with judicial activism and political correctness. Ring a bell?
In the ongoing contest between Trump and the remnants of the American "progressive" movement, who are the populists and who the authoritarians? Who are the democrats and who are the fascists?
I would say that who lands where in this dichotomy is obvious.Ben Banned > , July 13, 2017 at 9:13 pm GMT
@Alfa158 Is Jimmy Dore really a "Progressive?" (and what does that mean, anyway?) Isn't Jimmy's show hosted by the Young Turks Network, which is unabashedly Libertarian?
Anyway, what's so great about "the Progressive movement?" Seems to me, they're just pathetic sheepdogs for the war-crazed Dems. Jimmy should be supporting the #UNRIG movement ("Beyond Trump & Sanders") for ALL Americans:
On 1 May 2017 Cynthia McKinney, Ellen Brown, and Robert Steele launched
We the People – Unity for Integrity.
The User's Guide to the 2nd American Revolution.
Death to the Deep State.
https://www.unrig.net/manifesto/peterAUS > , July 13, 2017 at 10:05 pm GMT
Petras, for some reason, low balls the number of people ejected from assets when the mafia came to seize real estate in the name of the ruling class and their expensive wars, morality, the Constitution or whatever shit they could make up to fuck huge numbers of people over. Undoubtedly just like 9/11, the whole thing was planned in advance. Political whores are clearly useless when the system is at such extremes.
Banks like Capital One specialize in getting a signature and "giving" a car loan to someone they know won't be able to pay, but is simply being used, shaken down and repossessed for corporate gain. " No one held a gun to their head! " Get ready, the police state will in fact put a gun to your head.
Depending on the time period in question, which might be the case here, more than 20 million people were put out of homes and/or bankrupted with more to come. Clearly a bipartisan effort featuring widespread criminal conduct across the country – an attack on the population to sustain militarism.Reg Cæsar > , July 14, 2017 at 1:19 am GMT
If I may add:
"and you also have to dearly pay for you being white male heterosexual for oppressing all colored, all the women and all the sexually different through the history".
"And if it all fails, we will simply pack you and others like you in a basket of deplorables and forget about you at election time. If we see that you still don't get with the program we will reeducate you. Should you resist that in any way we'll incarcerate you. And, no, normal legal procedure does not work with racists/bigots/haters/whatever we don't like".
@CCZ"Progressives loudly condemned Trump's overtures for peace with Russia, denouncing it as appeasement and betrayal!"Perhaps the spirit of Senator Joseph McCarthy is joyously gloating as progressives (and democrats) take their place as his heirs and successors and the 21st century incarnation of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.
take their place as his heirs and successors and the 21st century incarnation of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee
which itself was a progressive invention. There was no "right wing" anywhere in sight when it was estsblished in 1938.
Jul 13, 2017 | www.msn.com
Originally from: Trump-Russia investigators probe Jared Kushner-run digital operationWASHINGTON ! Investigators at the House and Senate Intelligence committees and the Justice Department are examining whether the Trump campaign's digital operation – overseen by Jared Kushner – helped guide Russia's sophisticated voter targeting and fake news attacks on Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Congressional and Justice Department investigators are focusing on whether Trump's campaign pointed Russian cyber operatives to certain voting jurisdictions in key states – areas where Trump's digital team and Republican operatives were spotting unexpected weakness in voter support for Hillary Clinton, according to several people familiar with the parallel inquiries.
Also under scrutiny is the question of whether Trump associates or campaign aides had any role in assisting the Russians in publicly releasing thousands of emails, hacked from the accounts of top Democrats, at turning points in the presidential race, mainly through the London-based transparency web site WikiLeaks .
Rep. Adam Schiff of California, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told McClatchy he wants to know whether Russia's "fake or damaging news stories" were "coordinated in any way in terms of targeting or in terms of timing or in terms of any other measure with the (Trump) campaign."
By Election Day, an automated Kremlin cyberattack of unprecedented scale and sophistication had delivered critical and phony news about the Democratic presidential nominee to the Twitter and Facebook accounts of millions of voters. Some investigators suspect the Russians targeted voters in swing states, even in key precincts.
Russia's operation used computer commands knowns as "bots" to collect and dramatically heighten the reach of negative or fabricated news about Clinton, including a story in the final days of the campaign accusing her of running a pedophile ring at a Washington pizzeria .
One source familiar with Justice's criminal probe said investigators doubt Russian operatives controlling the so-called robotic cyber commands that fetched and distributed fake news stories could have independently "known where to specifically target to which high-impact states and districts in those states."
All of the sources spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation, led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, is confidential.
Top Democrats on the committees investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election have signaled the same.
Schiff said he wants the House panel to determine whether Trump aides helped Russia time its cyberattacks or target certain voters and whether there was "any exchange of information, any financial support funneled to organizations that were doing this kind of work."
Trump son-in-law Kushner, now a senior adviser to the president and the only current White House aide known to be deemed a "person of interest" in the Justice Department investigation, appears to be under the microscope in several respects. His real estate finances and December meetings with Russia's ambassador and the head of a sanctioned, state-controlled bank are also being examined.
Kushner's "role as a possible cut-out or conduit for Moscow's influence operations in the elections," including his niche overseeing the digital operations, will be closely looked at, said the source knowledgeable about the Justice Department inquiry.
Kushner joined Donald Trump Jr. and Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort at a newly disclosed June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in New York.. The meeting, revealed by The New York Times, followed emails in which Trump Jr. was told the lawyer for the Russian government would provide him with incriminating information on Clinton and he replied "If it's what you say I love it."
That disclosure could only serve to heighten interest in whether there was digital collaboration.
Mike Carpenter, who in January left a senior Pentagon post where he worked on Russia matters, also has suspicions about collaboration between the campaign and Russia's cyber operatives.
"There appears to have been significant cooperation between Russia's online propaganda machine and individuals in the United States who were knowledgeable about where to target the disinformation," he said, without naming any American suspects.
Trump has repeatedly repudiated or equivocated about the finding of four key intelligence agencies – the FBI, CIA, National Security Agency and the Directorate of National Intelligence – that Russian cyber operatives meddled with the U.S. election.
Last Friday, during their first face-to-face meeting, Trump questioned Putin about Russia's role in the election meddling and Putin denied culpability, said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was present. Trump then said the two countries should find ways to move forward in their relationship, Tillerson said.
A Russian official who was at the meeting said the two sides agreed to form a working group to address cybersecurity, including interference in other countries' internal affairs. However, Trump backtracked Sunday night, saying in a tweet that he doesn't believe such an effort can happen.
As more has been learned about the breadth of the Russian cyber onslaught, congressional Democrats have shown growing resolve to demand that the Republican-controlled intelligence committees fully investigate ways in which Trump associates may have conspired with the Russians.
Among other things, congressional investigators are looking into whether Russian operatives, who successfully penetrated voting registration systems in Illinois, Arizona and possibly other states, shared any of that data with the Trump campaign, according to a report in Time.
"I get the fact that the Russian intel services could figure out how to manipulate and use the bots," Virginia Sen. Mark Warner told Pod Save America recently. "Whether they could know how to target states and levels of voters that the Democrats weren't even aware (of) really raises some questions How did they know to go to that level of detail in those kinds of jurisdictions?"
The Russians appear to have targeted women and African-Americans in two of the three decisive states, Wisconsin and Michigan, "where the Democrats were too brain dead to realize those states were even in play," Warner said.
Jul 13, 2017 | gravatar.commoscowexile says: July 12, 2017 at 12:53 pm
Barbie Doll Nauert commented upon by Lavrov:
'Don't lag behind real events': Lavrov hits back after State Dept says he 'gets out ahead'
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has advised the US State Department to keep up with events after spokesperson Heather Nauert said that Lavrov "likes to talk a lot and get out ahead".
The Russian Foreign Minister was quick to retort, however.
"Nobody should get out ahead of things, but I suppose lagging behind real events does not help in a diplomat's job either."
"I don't understand how this lady can know what I like and don't like. We haven't been introduced", Lavrov said", speaking with the press following his meeting with the Belgian counterpart, Didier Reynders, in Brussels on Wednesday.
I suppose Lavrov called her "a lady" because he's a gentleman, but for me she's just a woman who shoots the shit that she's told and paid to shoot ! with a big, fixed smile on her Barbie-Doll face.
Big false smile, American know-nothing spokesperson.
peter gill , 10 hours ago
Jul 12, 2017 | russia-insider.comTop Russian Analyst Explains How US Relations Got So Bad
A short history of US-Russia relations since 'Gorby-mania' Sergey Markov 15
Sergey Markov is a one of the most influential Russian political scientists and publicists on international relations.
He is omnipresent as a charismatic talking head on the top national TV shows, and his thinking reflects the opinions of Russia's political elites. He speaks English fluently, and writes in a lively, accessible style, unusual for academics.
This article, exclusive to RI, gives an interesting insight into how Russian elites see US behavior.
What would happen, if journalists from the early 2000s or even from the year 2007 (before Saakashvili's attack against South Ossetia) could by some magic gadget have access to the computer screens of their colleagues covering the recent G20 summit in Hamburg? These journalists would probably think they were transported into some kindergarten dystopia.
They would see everyone rejoicing about "the very fact" of a meeting of two middle-aged men with the most modern planes, ships and submarines at their disposal. A meeting that took place more than half of a year after they were supposed to meet as the presidents of the world's two most powerful countries. German chancellor Angela Merkel, arguably the third most powerful person in the world, says she is happy that the two men met and that they "stay in touch" (parents are usually happy about this kind of relationships between their children in a kindergarten).
The media frenzy around the meeting between these two middle-aged men looks absurd: what is there to admire and what is there to fear?
So, how did we allow the international relations to be reduced to the level when it became so difficult to organize a meeting between the presidents of Russia and the US – even on the background of the two very dangerous armed conflicts (in Syria and in Ukraine)? Why is a contact between two politicians in the epoch of modern transportation and communication – why is this contact such a problem now? Why does it take even more time and effort than the summits between Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill during the World War II, when the capitals of the Allies were divided by the Nazi-occupied Europe and the Western Pacific occupied by the Japanese militarist regime?
In this situation, a short wrap-up of the Russia-US relations from the 1980s to 2017 might do some good: at least, it partially explains today's absurdities.
The history of relationships between Russia and the US in the last 25 years is full of zigzags and its own ups and downs. From my point of view, it is possible to single out 11 stages in this relationship. Each of them left its own legacy, and those different legacies continue to make a difference in various ways until now. Let me first single out all of these stages:"Gorbomania" Consolidation of geopolitical pluralism. Russia First Russia doesn't matter War against terror. The epoch of "color revolutions" Perezagruzka 2 ("Reload of Relations") Onslaught on Putin (the Russian president is presented as an authoritarian leader of a regional power) Russia Isolated. Sanctions Russia is back as a world power "Russian hackers": pause of uncertainty
Act 1: Gorbomania (Gorby-mania)
The period of improvement in relations, which was based on hopes connected to Gorbachev, continued from 1987 until August 1991, the time of the de facto collapse of the Soviet Union. During this period, the US supported the new foreign policy course of Mikhail Gorbachev, which was generally aimed at openness, reconciliation with the West and general liberalization of the Soviet political regime. During this period the US did not conduct a policy aimed at the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the US' political course was instead promoting the unity of the USSR. This course was explained by the fear of the Soviet Union's collapse "in a Yugoslav way," with a possible nuclear war between former constituent republics.
One of the indicators of this cautious American approach to the unity of the Soviet Union was the famous "chicken Kiev speech" of the then president George W.H.Bush (the senior). He made that speech on August 1 of 1991 in the Supreme Soviet of what was then still the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic inside the Soviet Union. This body was already showing the signs of being the future parliament of independent Ukraine, making defiant moves against Moscow. However, in his speech president Bush told the audience that the US was not supporting Kiev's independence at the moment and that Ukrainians should rather orient themselves to the policies of the leader of the Soviet Union – Mikhail Gorbachev.
However, the period of Gorbomania (Gorby-mania) came to its natural end after the liquidation of the Soviet Union and the resignation of Mikhail Gorbachev from the position of the defunct country's president. The legacy of that period was the formation in the US of a stable and wrong stereotype of what "good Russia" should look like. This mythologized stereotype presented "good Russia" as the Russia of Mikhail Gorbachev, which would make all sorts of concessions to the West, willingly leaving to the West the territories, which historically had been under its influence. So, in future Americans would support only that kind of Russia's foreign policy, which would be a complete remake of Gorbachev's approach.
Act 2. Consolidation of Geopolitical Pluralism
The second period in the history of relations took the space between August 1991 and the beginning of the year 1992. It can be summed up by the famous formula of "consolidation of geopolitical pluralism." The essence of this formula consisted in the following. The USA did bot strive to see the Soviet Union collapse, but since this collapse took place anyway, there was no way Washington could permit any kind of rebirth of a union of post-Soviet republics under the stewardship of Russia. The reason: such a rebirth would mean a new life for Russian imperialism.
One could say that this period lasted shortly, but it would also be right to say that in a lot of ways this period continues to this day. There is still a widespread opinion in the US that Washington should provide all kinds of assistance to all the neighbors of Russia in a bid to stem the growth of Russian influence there. This opinion also puts the sign of equality between Russian influence and "Russian imperialism." The theory behind this opinion is that any kind of union among the former Soviet republics with Russian participation would mean the rebirth of the Russian empire. Any Russian empire, according to this view, would make Russia an enemy of democracy and, as a consequence, an enemy of the United States. So, this view justifies any kind of assistance to any kind of anti-Russian regimes in the post-Soviet space.
In its extreme manifestation, this view inspired a policy that spurred the US to support the violent coup in Ukraine in 2014. The US also supported the subsequent policy of state terrorism led by the new regime in Kiev, that was installed as a result of the coup. In its softer forms, this policy meant American support for de-Russification in all post-Soviet countries. This support was provided despite the obvious fact that this de-Russification often took violent forms.
Act 3. "Russia First".
The third period, which could tentatively be called "Russia First" approach, consisted in the policy led by the then president Bill Clinton, the policy aimed at helping create a stable and democratic Russia. The idea was that this Russia could be an ally of the West, a kind of "kingsize Poland." This kingsize Poland was supposed to be a part of the Western coalition, even though it would have a subordinate position inside this coalition. American support for denuclearization of Ukraine (the removal of former Soviet nuclear weapons from the territories of the former Soviet republics of Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan) – this American support was a part of "Russia First" policy.
In fact, Ukrainian political elites tried to retain the military nuclear capability on the territory of independent Ukraine. But Washington, represented by president Clinton and his key "ambassador-at-large" on Russia and post-Soviet space, Strobe Talbott, had a different plan. So, Washington pressured Kiev to transfer the nuclear weapons from the Ukrainian territory to Russia. This approach fitted the geopolitical interests of the United States, allowing to avert a possible conflict between Russia and Ukraine as nuclear powers. Such a conflict could have disastrous consequences for everyone. So, this policy fitted the Russian interests too.
The other distinct feature of the "Russia First" policy was the American pressure on the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and other international financial organizations. The aim was to persuade these structures to provide loans to Russia, even when the economic policy of the Russian government did not fit the requirements of the IMF and similar organizations to their client countries.
The other important element of "Russia First" policy was the presence of political and economic advisers from the United States and its allied countries in Russia. These people, being citizens of their countries, influenced the decisions of the Russian government, including some key decisions. Alas, the advice of these helpers, as well as the US assistance in general, did more harm than good, often leading to failures. The idea of making Russia a stable democratic country did not work. Russia crawled from one crisis to another. In 1993 Yeltsin made a violent coup d'etat, with tanks firing at the parliament's building, the constitution being changed and new policies rammed through without consent from the parliament. The presidential election of 1996, of which Yeltsin was declared the winner, had all the indications of being falsified (the bulletins cast were later destroyed by the government). If elections had been held in a fair way, the candidate of the Communist party of Russian Federation Gennady Zyuganov could have been the winner.
The crisis and the subsequent default in 1998 led the economy to a disaster. The same year IMF de facto refused to continue cooperation with Russia, stopped giving loans and predicted that the Russian economy would contract by 8 percent. This forecast revealed itself to be wrong. As soon as Russia stopped using the services of Western economic advisers, its economy started growing and added 9 percent in the course of two subsequent years.
The period of "Russia First" and its legacy are still very much alive in today's policy of the United States towards Russia. They Western elites stay convinced that at a certain moment they provided great assistance to Russia and its people, giving their valuable advice and providing billions of dollars in loans. In the Russian public opinion, however, the majority view of this period is negative. It is viewed as further proof of the West's negative influence on Russia and the anti-Russian character of its foreign policy. Russian public opinion puts on the Western advisers of the Yeltsin government part of the blame for the disaster that Russian economy had to go through in the 1990s. The majority view in Russia is that it was Yeltsin's government (and its foreign advisers) that led in the 1990s to Russia's deindustrialization, the collapse of social institutions, the decline of science and education, mass migration out of the country. At the time, the mortality rates in the country soared. The rapid deterioration of life's standards led to a lot of "premature" deaths: in 1991-1997 on the territory of the Russian Federation every year there were many more deaths registered annually than in 1990. The total number of "premature" deaths for social reasons is estimated at the level of 2 million.
In a huge chunk of Russia's public opinion the prevailing view is that this socio-economic degradation of the country was a part of a conscious effort by the West to deceive Russia and to inflict the biggest possible damage on it.
In this way, the 1990s stay the main source of the diverging mythologies still dominating the bilateral relations between Russia and the community of Western nations.
The West honestly thinks that in the 1990s it helped Russia and generally played a positive role in its development. The majority of the Russian public opinion for good reasons sticks to the view that the West in the 1990s preserved and pampered Yeltsin's corrupt regime, thus adding to the destruction of the country. An often cited argument in support of that view is the fact that the West supported Yeltsin's coup d'etat in 1993 and acquiesced to the falsification of the 1996 presidential election, which retained Yeltsin in power.
The diverging visions of the 1990s' legacy will determine the "conflict potential" of the relations between Russia and the US for many more years.
Act 4. "Russia Does Not Matter"
This period started in 1998 and continued until the year 2001. It was a reaction to the previous unsuccessful attempt to help Russia in a speedy forming of a democratic, stable and West-friendly socio-political system. The end product was a weak country with a corrupt government and a crumbling economy – a typical declining power.
This period was ushered in by an acute economic crisis of 1998, it included the beginning of the economy's regeneration in 1999-2001, Boris Yeltsin's resignation and his replacement by his younger successor Vladimir Putin.
Vladimir Putin, who was initially viewed in the US as just another opportunistic "apparatchik" brought to power by the corrupt ruling "family" in order to preserve that family's capitals and help it avoid the revenge of its enemies and Russia's people in general.
This period seats deep in Russian people's memory because it coincided with the peak of the Balkan wars with bombers from the US and other NATO countries bombing the then Yugoslav capital Belgrade and other cities of Serbia. The famous U-turn of the Washington-bound airplane of the then Russian prime minister Yevgeny Primakov also falls into this period. The prime minister was heading to the United States with a visit and, having learnt about the start of NATO's bombing of Serbia, Primakov decided to return back to Russia, making a U-turn over the Atlantic. Primakov decided to return without visiting Washington, even though the talks there had pivotal importance for the Russian economy.
It was then, during the bombing of Yugoslavia, that a serious change in the attitude of the public opinion to the West and especially to the United States took place. The cruel Western bombardment of Serb cities, led to the new perception of America as a hostile, aggressive and unjust country. The pro-American politicians in Russia started to be perceived as anti-Russian and generally unpatriotic.
Act 5. Russia and the US as Allies in the Fight Against International Terrorism (War On Terror)
The fifth period was ushered in by the terrorist act of 9/11 in the year 2001, when Russia and the US became allies in the fight against international terrorism. The preconditions for the alliance were created during the meeting between the Russian president Vladimir Putin and George Bush the junior in Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital, in June 2001. It was there that Bush said that he looked Putin in the eye and saw Putin's soul there. Putin's system of personal values cracked up to be remarkably akin to Bush – it was a combination of economic liberalism, social conservatism and religiosity.
Having learnt that Putin retained his Christians beliefs even inside the KGB, Bush made a conclusion that one could do business with Putin. This positive sentiment on Bush'a side got a powerful boost after the terrorist attack against the United States on 9/11 2001, when Putin became the first foreign leader who called Bush with an expression of support. Putin's support was not in words alone: on Putin's order, in 2001 all military activity of Russia was frozen for a few days, so that American armed forces could concentrate on fighting international terrorism, instead of wasting their resources on Russia.
In a few weeks the US became convinced that the brain center of the 9/11 attack was located in Afghanistan, so it was decided to crush the Taliban regime. It was then that Russia passed to the US a part of influence that Russia had over the Afghan-based Northern Alliance, a coalition of field commanders of mostly Tajik and Uzbek origin in the north of Afghanistan. As the US Airforce made its bombing strikes, all the "dirty work" of destroying the military might of Taliban on the Afghan ground was done by the Northern Alliance, with lots of help from the Russian special services and Russian army command. Most of the commanders of the Northern alliance had fought against the Soviet Union in the 1980s, but they later became allied with Russians in their fight against the Taliban.
The period of joint fight against terrorism was a great success, since the headquarters of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and the regime of Taliban (but not its ideology) were liquidated. Cooperation between the Russian and American special services allowed to prevent a number of jihadist terrorist acts.
However, that anti-terrorist cooperation was quickly weakened by the desire of the United States to develop on their success in Afghanistan by toppling Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. Russia condemned the preparation of that war. Bush perceived the Russian opposition to the war in Iraq as treason on Russia's side. His narrative was that Russia betrayed the anti-terrorist alliance. So, Bush thought himself in his right to terminate his obligations to Russia in the framework of the anti-terrorist alliance.
Even though the war in Iraq was recognized to have been a mistake in the United States, relations between Russia and the US (including the anti-terrorist track) never returned to the level of the period of the early days of the "War On Terror." The fact that the pretext for the war – the presumed possession by Saddam Hussein of the weapons of mass destruction – revealed itself to be a massive falsification, undermined Russia's trust in the US mainstream media and its periodic hysterias over various "mortal threats" requiring American military interventions.
In general, the period of the "war on terror" left in Russians a firm belief that partnership with the West in the anti-terrorist fight should continue. This belief was strengthened by the growth in the scope and sophistication of international terrorism. In the United States' elite too, there remained a substantial minority group which considered anti-terrorist cooperation with Russia feasible.
Act 6. Color Revolutions
Already in November 2003, the first "color revolution" won in Georgia using a rose as its symbol (the words "flower" and "color" have the same sounding in Russian). The new leader Mikheil Saakashvili, with active support from the United States, started conducting a very anti-Russian foreign policy. In 2004, another color revolution happened in Ukraine – the closest ethnic relative of Russia, in whose capital (Kiev) the proto-Russian ancient state Kievan Rus was born. The winner of the Ukrainian color revolution, Viktor Yushchenko, also took a very anti-Russian position. All of these revolution won with active support from the American government and so called "non-government" (Soros-financed NGOs) structures.
All of these revolutions had a powerful anti-Russian message and they were all supported by the US authorities, including the president of the United States. In the West, discussions about the desirability of a 'color revolution' in Russia started. Russia responded with a tough "no" to this "project for its future." Limitations on the work of American NGOs in Russia were imposed. Putin's speech of the year 2007 in Munich became the apotheosis of this Russian "no," with Putin denouncing not only the Western policy of "regime change," but also with Putin denouncing the unipolar world with the US and the EU as the undisputed pole.
The US continued their onslaught, however, and the next conflict happened in Georgia. The pro-US Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili started his military operation against what he called "pro-Russian separatists in South Ossetia," who had seceded from Georgia fearing genocide under the first Georgian ultranationalist president Zviad Gamsakhurdia back in 1991.
Saakashvili's artillery struck not only at South Ossetians, but also at the Russian peace-keeping contingent in South Ossetia. In retaliation, the Russian army intervened in South Ossetia, and soon the Georgian troops, who had already begun celebrating their conquest of the South Ossetian capital Tskhinval, were pushed back to their initial positions. The US did not have the guts to support their ally militarily and backed off. However, the red line of direct military combat between the Russian and American forces was dangerously close.
Act 7. The Politics of Reload (Perezagruzka 2)
This period, ushered in by Barack Obama's coming to power, is marked by a temporary hiatus in the information war between the two countries. Russia also joined the WTO, and it seemed that a normal dialogue was restarting. Even the arrest of 10 Russian reconnaissance operatives in the US did not lead to a cooling of relations between the two countries, but rather to a "spy exchange" and even to a certain warming of relations.
The policy of reload, started in 2009, promised great perspectives, but it was wrapped up in a rather brief period of time. Contradiction was programmed into the very structure of the "reload" strategy. The aim of the "reload" was to improve relations between the US and Russia in a bid to get Russian support for the American foreign policy initiatives. The problem consisted in the fact that not all of these foreign policy initiatives were acceptable for Russia or simply well thought through.
For example, in spring 2011 the US pushed through a resolution of the Security Council of the United Nations on Libya, with Russia abstaining in the hope of giving the US a chance to resolve the Libyan problem. The result was awful: the resolution was misinterpreted to pave the way for a Western military intervention in Libya on the side of Islamist insurgents against the country's ruler, Muhammar Qaddafi. After the Western bombings and the collapse of Qaddafi's regime, Libya was plunged into the abyss of a civil war which continues to this way. Russia's decision in 2011 not to veto the US-suggested resolution at the United Nations was a serious mistake, which Moscow is determined not to repeat in future.
The first indicator of the Reload's speedy end was the American support for the protests that enveloped Moscow as a result of the opposition's defeat at the parliamentary elections of 2011. The US made clear its desire NOT to see Vladimir Putin back in the president's seat after the brief tenure of Dmitry Medvedev as the president. An important threshold was the official visit by the then US vice-president Joe Biden at the time. During his visit, Biden gave Putin an unsolicited "advice" not to present his candidacy for another term.
The conflict aggravated in 2013, when Moscow had the guts not to extradite the fugitive American whistle-blower Edward Snowden, who found himself on the Russian territory after his escape from Hong Kong putting Russia before a hard choice. The fact that Russia became the only country in the world that didn't cave in to Washington's demand for Snowden's scalp, this fact enraged Washington and in the first place the American intelligence community. After the Snowden episode the period of Reload actually came to its end.
The really important result of the Reload period was Washington's conviction that attempts to improve relations with Moscow by what the American side saw as "concessions" (even though they were not real concessions) – that these attempts are futile.
Act 8. Frontal Attack Against Russia's Interests (Putin presented as an "authoritarian leader of a regional superpower")
Here comes the 8th stage of the Russia-US relations, which lasted between 2012 and 2013. It was the time of a frontal personal attack against the Russian president Vladimir Putin. The Russian interests were attacked too.
American sanctions tied to the Magnitsky case and attempts to make an information attack against Putin's beloved project, the Sochi Olympics, were seen by many as hostile acts, the context of the Snowden scandal did not add to easing tensions.
It was then, back in the summer of 2013, that the American intelligence community, enraged by the Snowden episode, got down seriously to the project of removing the Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. The opportunity presented itself when the controversy over the costs of Ukraine's joining the Association Agreement with the EU led to violent protests in Kiev. Western threats of personal sanctions paralyzed the will for resistance on the side of Yanukovych and Ukraine's government, oligarchs were pushed to change sides by the Western pressure. The legitimate government failed to restore order and prevent a violent "regime change", during which mass protests were "reformatted" as a violent rebellion.
The result of the 8th act was the establishment of a certain consensus in Washington. That consensus boiled down to the conviction that Russia is an enemy, and it should be treated as an enemy, with toughness sooner or later being rewarded by a victory. The outcome in Ukraine in the first days after the toppling of Yanukovych in the end of February 2014 was seen by the American elite as one such victory.
Act 9. Russia Isolated. Sanctions.
After the Ukrainian Maidan, a new low in Russia-US relations installed itself for duration. Russia reacted to the violent coup in Ukraine, with a rabidly anti-Russian regime established there, by taking back Crimea, with most of Crimeans more willing than ever to leave the newly nationalist Ukraine. The Russian leadership also supported the rebellion of the Donbass population, where the rebels were dying in an uneven fight against the Ukrainian army, with its airplanes, tanks and artillery. In response, the US started a powerful campaign against Russia. Sanctions against Russia were introduced, and the West started demanding that Russia stop its support for the movement in Donbass, which soon took the form of popular antifascist resistance.
A hybrid war, which the West accused Russia of leading, was in fact declared to Russia. Hundreds of Russian officials and business companies faced economic or visa sanctions. Ruble lost half of its value, which had a negative and a positive outcome: the negative was in a lower living standard and the positive in an increased competitive capacity of the Russian products.
Russia responded by the food embargo from Russia, so the Russian producers in fact gained from the whole story, with president Obama still uttering his phrase about the Russian economy being "in tatters."
The peak of Western sanctions against Russia during the period of "Russia Isolated" was the G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia. The pressure on Putin was so obvious, that he even had to leave the summit before all the other participants.
The result of the period was the formation of a big Euro-Atlantic anti-Russian coalition, with iron discipline inside it. The other outcome was the legacy of sanctions and other elements of a de-facto hybrid war, now seen as a legitimate method of resolving the "Russian problem."
That Western policy continued between March 2014 and autumn of 2015. Its legacy is still with us. After Donald Trump was unexpectedly elected the president in 2016, voices about the easing or even lifting the anti-Russian sanctions started to be heard in Europe and the US. But the legacy of 2014-2015 still dominates: the US requires Russia to change its policy in Ukraine (in fact, allowing the population of Donbass to be subjected to Nazi-like repressions). These requirements are unacceptable for Russia, but the West is determined not to lift sanction until its wishes (presented as "conditions of the Minsk agreement", even though Russia is not even mentioned there) are fulfilled.
Act 10. Russia is Back
The new 10th period in the history of relations between Russia and the US started to the accompaniment of the Russian fighter jets' engines, as the Russian aviation came to Syria to save president Assad from the foreign-supported insurgents. The most prominent among the insurgents were visibly unpalatable for years: they were jihadists from the so called Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. By the end of 2015 it became obvious that Russia changed the course of events in Syria, thus establishing itself as a leading world power, and not as a regional one (see the Act 8).
The result was not just the jihadists' failure to topple Assad, but a gradual reestablishment of the Syrian government's full control over the most developed regions of Syria, such as Damascus and Aleppo.
The result was the general view that "Russia is Back", by 2016 it became a generally accepted opinion. The narrative of the Western press changed dramatically: just months before it wrote about Russia as a declining power, which is isolated with its economy in Obamian "tatters," by the winter 2016/2017 the narrative changed to Russia being "an overwhelming threat." Now Russia is perceived as a mighty international force, which can force on the United States and the EU the unfavorable results of votes and elections (Brexit, Trump's election).
This view of Russia as a "reborn" power in international relations is often coupled with Putin's demonization. The view of the Russian president as an all-powerful demon, which can manipulate the results of elections and public opinion in the US, Germany and France, while easily pushing Britain into Brexit – this view will one day be viewed as a twenty first century conspiracy theory, on the par with myths about the all-controlling "elders of Zion" and similar absurdities.
The result of Act 10 is the view of Russia as a "comeback kid" on the global stage, but the actions of this resurgent power are viewed as hostile to the US.
Act 11 – the ongoing one. Russian Hackers: the Pause of Unpredictability
During his electoral campaign, Donald Trump promised to improve Russia-US relations and spoke in favor of ending the new cold war. However, despite his sensational victory at the elections, the new US president soon found himself in a situation when he simply did not have a chance to pursue his vision of foreign policy. The unprecedented pressure came from Trump's enemies and from the US establishment in general. Trump was accused of having been brought to power by Russian "super-hackers." He was constantly presented as an admirer of Putin and later as a person under Russian influence, simply because he owes his electoral victory to Russia and to Putin personally. The American president is on the brink of impeachment.
As a result, Trump was not allowed even to form his own new foreign policy team, he had to inherit that very part of Obama's foreign policy establishment, which Trump himself criticized during the elections.
Currently, the Russia-US relations are in a state of a hiatus, a pause with no immediate end in sight. The new president of the US simply cannot conduct the Russia policy, which he had in his mind and which he promised his voters. His actions are blocked, and it is not clear how long this situation will persist.
So, which legacy is staying with us after all these periods of recent history?
- Washington is convinced that a "good Russia" is a possibility. This is the kind of Russia that cedes ground to the US on every issue. "Good Russia" is also supposed to willingly lave the territory of its historic influence. It is expected to conduct the policy against its own national interest and to follow all recommendations from abroad, even if that goes against the right of its own citizens.
- The US sees its aim as helping the countries around Russia in order to stem the spread of Russian influence. Russian influence is seen as negative by definition. Washington sees itself as a friend of the Russian people, not Russian state. The period of the 1990s, seen in Russia as a disaster, is admired in the US. In the US there is a widespread view of Russia as a vulnerable "giant on the feet of clay" Russia still believes it can be an ally of the US in the fight against terrorism.
- The US has powerful instruments of undermining Russia, the technologies of "soft power" in the first place. Washington is not prepared to any concessions towards Russia, they are viewed as a way to a dead end. Washington still sees Putin as a supernatural demon, with the media recreating that delusion Sanctions form the backbone of the US policy towards Russia Russia is seen in the US as an enemy of the US – weak or strong.
- Foreign policy towards Russia is still a hostage of the inner politics in the US. The "Russiagate" is seen as a way towards Trump's impeachment.
In this situation the US elite still has ahead of it the task of forming a coherent policy towards Russia.
TellTheTruth-2 , 13 hours agoghartwell TellTheTruth-2 , an hour ago
Meet the New World Order .. Once it is understood Communism and Zionism are both trees split from the same trunk and the same root system, the picture becomes clearer. Both had the same goal: World Domination. Which one won? Putin, a Christian, stopped the ZioCON/Communists looting of Russia and, when he started to prosecute them, they fled to Israel. Today they've shifted their focus to the USA and, and in addition to looting the USA, they're bringing their Iron Curtain police state down on us. Until Trump, at the risk of being called an anti-Semite, gets the courage to do what Putin did and toss the ZioCON/Communists out of the US Government, the USA will continue its' downhill slide and, if they ever get the guns, millions of Christians will die, just like they did to the Christians in Russia.John C Carleton , 14 hours ago
Good quick overview.Ivan Grozny , 7 hours ago
Putin is a very influential person on the world stage at this point. But to call Trump and the German zionist collaborating cow, second and third most powerful people in the world? You do not understand they are hand puppets? And you are writing a political dissection piece?William Reston , 11 hours ago
This article is one of the most sensible and comprehensible pieces I have ever seen! Kudos to the author! Very good, very good indeed!Vince Dhimos , 13 hours ago
Congrats Russia-Insider, you now have two great analysts clearing up the mess and making things clear between the US and Russia - P. Goncharoff and S. Markov. I do appreciate their views and brains!Tobe Fair , 4 hours ago
Russophobia is racism.
Very interesting assessment, but it ignores that Wall-Street starting with Clinton then re-enforced by Bush & Obama now Owns US Presidency, and Financiers do not adhere to Democratic principles, rather they are Dictators who view the public as assets to exploit, with Obama sabotaging Trump's Presidency on his way out.
Considering US lack of any victory for the $Trillions squandered on Military Belligerence & Predation, 'Desperation' is more fitting than any Political strategy.
Vladimir Putin will eventually go down as 'The Shrewdest Gutsiest Moral Principled Politician of this era, with Chinese President Xi second, and US three stooges before Trump the most inept cowards or sell-outs in the history of that Nation.
How else could US Senate & Reps in-cahoots with Spy-services be so confident as to threaten it's newly "elected" President? Fact is, every Nation which survived US & clients' sanctions, embargoes & asset freezes (never to be returned) are Head & Shoulders above those who subjugated themselves out of fear or lack of fortitude. Enough victims who know how to fight, to outnumber gang-banging NATO and it's EU parasites. Exciting & Traumatic times ahead.
Jon Geissinger , 11 hours ago
The only thing effecting U.S. Russia relations is the Jewish lobby, both in the U.K. and the U.S. The good thing is that the world is now waking up to the word Zionist. The Jewish media up to now has had total control of world opinion. The writing is on the wall, there is other financial institutions the new world is turning to, and their options are limitless. Right now the Zionists think they can weather the storm; but if their wrong it will be the end of their monopoly. Add to that the growing backlash against Israel and the consequences of public opinion. Especially in the United States,Great Britain,Australia and of course Israel.
William Toffan Jon Geissinger , 7 hours ago
The American public is asleep at the wheel, not unlike a drunk at the wheel of a 50' tractor trailer having a blackout episode or better yet, at the controls of a 10 mile long train running at 100 mph. The road/track is littered with people who are also asleep, and the end of the road/rail line is a steep cliff leading to nowhere, into the abyss. We, the U.S., are within inches of that end of the 'line', and nobody is paying attention. You will not affect the American Public unless you take things like reality TV, Dancing with the Stars or Honey Boo Boo away, and jack the price of gas up to $10 a gallon.
It does not matter if you are a tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist, a blind evangelical christian, or a normal run of the mill Joe the Plumber. The end result is the same, and it has been repeated over and over throughout man's history. Empires will rise and fall; their speed of ascension or decent is a factor of the technology today, the timeline is highly compressed today because of things like the internet.
Generally speaking, all we can do is just sit back for the ride, and if so inclined, prepare for the massive conflagration that will be the result of the impending crash.
Russia's star is on the rise, the United States, and those attached to it, are on the descent. Natural process of history. Get over it. Screaming for your safe space is something that was seen in the fall of Rome as well! As is the murder of the infants and unborn; all text book, checklist fall of empire.
You can sit back and ignore it, take note and watch it unfold, move to a safer location (southern hemisphere!), do as you please; the average man and woman are without any other control other than their exact location on the planet.
What the esteemed writer points out is the points of the checklist, nothing more. There was no cause and effect, it was a matter of natural process.
God is doing a thing and there is nothing you or I can do about it. Probably not even relocation!
So get over it!
Constantine William Toffan , 5 hours ago
There's nothing normal or inevitable about it, and God has nothing to do with it. We can control our fate through free will. Putin did it in Russia, so why can't the USA? True, Russians are less enamored with bread and circuses than the poorly educated average American, but just read the posts from average Americans on the internet, The times they are a changin! Social change is always brought about by a minority of people with conviction for their goals. The masses will inevitably follow. That is the real lesson of history.
Jon Geissinger William Toffan , 7 hours ago
Hope you're right. But while I also believe the US citizenry, should it rise up, could make a huge difference, not just within its homeland, but on an international scale.
The melancholic truth, however, is that the US Americans are among the most docile and subservient people collectively when it comes to politics. So while you're right about the exercise of free will (which is an important aspect of the Christian religion BTW), it seems highly unlikely that they will be galvanized for a well-directed political action.
Kjell Hasthi , 14 hours ago
History. It repeats itself. We are in another repeat of that loop. The American Public has nothing to do with it other than being unwitting victims.
THE ONLY way the American public will sit up and take notice is an actual, physical kick in the mouth; history. Beyond that, they will continue to take the BS that is dished out and say "thank you can I have another". Yes, there is a SMALL percentage of the public that is taking notice, but not enough to stop the slide, and certainly not enough to return to the Constitution and Declaration; the first American revolution was supported and enacted by 14% of the population.
The posts that you read are 1% of 1% of 1% of 1% of the population. That is .0000001% of 325 million people.
There is no recovery without a collapse.
- Russia's decision in 2011 not to veto the US-suggested resolution at the United Nations was a serious mistake, which Moscow is determined not to repeat in future.
What matters is if Russia was in arming mode at that time. My gut feeling is Putin already had concluded there will be a WWIII, and was preparing for that. The number of nuke shelters finished by Jan 2015 is astonishing. The buildup of Putin Jugend happened before or at the time?
By 2014 NATO had been turned into a expeditionary Corps ready to fight shoeless Africans. They are adapting themselves too late, like Britain 1940
Jul 11, 2017 | russiareviewed.wordpress.comMonday evening, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center Dr. Dmitri Trenin gave a lecture at my university's school of public policy.
I won't try to give my own analysis of his remarks, but I will report them here for your reading and discussing pleasure.Present state of U.S.-Russian relationship
According to Dr. Trenin, the present state of relations can only be described as 'confrontation' (defined here as a state of relations in which collision is possible). We no longer have a crisis in U.S.-Russian relations; since July of 2014 the two countries have settled into a new paradigm.
Trenin takes issue with those who call this the "New Cold War." He says the current confrontation differs from the old days in three distinct ways:
- It is asymmetrical. The Cold War was fought between two superpowers/relatively equal military blocs. The "New Cold War" pits the U.S., which has a vastly greater hand than its opponent, against Russia, which does not want to lose.
- It isn't static. During the Cold War, the Berlin wall and the division of Europe were immobile and effectively shielded each bloc from the influence of the other. In the 21st century, confrontation has spread to the information space ('propaganda'), the global economic space (sanctions), and cyberspace (hacking).
- It is waged without mutually accepted rules and norms.
It goes without saying that we need to do whatever it takes to minimize the danger of kinetic collison. Trenin opines that since the U.S. election, U.S.-Russian confrontation has been "put on hold", but the idea that Trump would usher in a new reset or detente should be taken with a large grain of salt. According to Trenin, the Russian government was all but bracing for a Hillary Clinton victory.
Trenin's recommendations for how to control confrontation:
Future of U.S.-Russian relations
- reopening channels of communication between the U.S. and Russia
- meetings between U.S. and Russian defense chiefs to reduce incidents between U.S. and Russian armed forces
- Confidence-building measures (and here my notes become sloppy; it had something to do with scaling back aggressive training exercises on Russian border in anticipation of an invasion of the Baltics)
- End the media/demonization barrage on both sides – the longer it lasts, the more difficult it will be to deescalate tensions
The future relationship between the U.S. and Russia lies somewhere between managed adversity and mismanaged adversity. There isn't a constituency in either country willing to work wholly to improve the relationship. However, cooperation between the U.S. and Russia is still possible in certain areas:
- Nuclear arms proliferation – the question is whether this will remain part of the relationship or become a nonregulated strategic environment
- combating terrorism – but Trenin thinks a Russian-U.S. coalition to fight ISIS is unlikely. The Pentagon wouldn't accept Russia as a partner. (He also mentioned that Russia wants the coalition primarily because it would give Russia status and respect. That seems simplified at best.)
- trilateral discussion between U.S., Russia, and China on strategic issues. China's assumed nuclear potential is less than that of U.S./Russia, but it remains a major military power. It is in the interests of both the U.S. and Russia to strengthen stability in East Asia.
- political transition in Syria
- Afghanistan – mutual interest in preventing the country from becoming an ISIS romping-ground.
- Libya – against extremists; for political settlement
- North Pole
- Russian Far East; Siberia
Trenin asserts that Russia has neither the will nor capacity to act as a superpower, and also that whatever future cooperation between the U.S. and Russia will have to occur within the existing framework of confrontation and adversity.
Thus concluded the lecture.
Questions from the audience
Yes, yours truly stayed for the Q&A, which tends to be the most disastrous part of any Russia-related lecture. In actuality, this particular Q&A wasn't bad!Opinon on the recent anticorruption protests in Russia
Trenin says there are several sides to the issue (although he only explains one).
How will Russia and China maintain their political "friendship"?
- people in Russia are becoming less tolerant of corruption. In the recent past, corruption among officials was not seen as something completely abhorrent. Because "for the first time in their long history, the Russian people were left alone by their government."
- The corruption material on Medvedev came from a very authoritative source: the FSB (did it? That also begs the question of why they'd pass it off to Navalny of all people – J.T.)
- Revelations could be a manifestation of elite competition – different economic visions for Russia within the administration
- Mass demonstrations have occurred across Russia for the first time in almost five years.
- Russian elections are about confronting people in power, not changing them. So even though elections won't be held until 2018, it's safe to say the election year has already begun.
- Potentially, this could become dangerous, as with anything in volatile Russia.
Population decline and demographic changes in Russia
- The Sino-Russian partnership is best characterized as "good neighborly relations".
- There isn't much suspicion of China in Russia, despite glaring imbalances within each country.
- Russia is stong militarily, but lacks China's economic and demographic heft. China is an economic superpower and one of the most populous countries of the world, but lacks Russia's military might.
- No two countries can be each other's direct equals. The key is to construct a relationship which won't lead to unilateral concessions.
- Russia's problem is that it cannot accept any other country's leadership over its own. In Trenin's opinion, refusal to join a larger organization coupled with inability to defeat it can be costly.
- The relationship is complicated. Trenin doubts Russia will accept Chinese leadership. Unlike the U.S., China wisely knows how to treat Russia with a modicum of care.
Russian economic development policy
- One of the most important issues facing Russia today, in Trenin's opinion.
- Due to improvements in life expectancy and birthrate, projections have become somewhat less dangerous for Russia.
- Still, Trenin believes the real issue at hand isn't numbers, but the declining body of the workforce.
- Ways of dealing with it: 1) Increase productivity. Currently the productivity of the average Russian worker is 25% of that of an American worker. 2) Improve healthcare. 3) "open up to others". (A few million guest workers have come to Russia from FSU countries.)
Basically, there isn't one. Trenin says the Russian government has merely coasted on high oil prices, and when oil prices fell, the economy went into recession. He distills Putin into two things:
- keeping Russia in one piece, and
- restoring Russia's status in the world as a great power
Neither one dealing with economic policy. Trenin pins hope for real economic development on the post-Putin era.
There's a postscript to this little exercise in dictation that can't be resisted, and you can make of it what you will:In the entirety of this two-hour lecture (including student questions), Trump was mentioned by name exactly one time.
I suppose I should be thankful.
Jul 10, 2017 | www.msn.com
For Trump, Bannon's distinctive vocabulary was another point of his appeal. Bannon gloried in the slights and scorn directed at Trump supporters, proudly insisting that elitist Clintonites looked down on them as "hobbits," "Grundoons," and ! co-opting Clinton's own ill-advised term ! "deplorables." Anyone who thought otherwise was a "mook" or a "schmendrick." And Clinton herself was the subject of a steady stream of derision, carefully pitched to Trump's own biases and insecurities and delivered with the passion of a cornerman firing up a boxer for one last grueling round in the ring. Clinton, Bannon would insist, was "a résumé," "a total phony," "terrible on the stage," "a grinder, but not smart," "a joke who hides behind a complacent media," "an apple-polisher who couldn't pass the D.C. bar exam," "thinks it's her turn" but "has never accomplished anything in her life" ! and, for good measure, was "a f---ing bull dyke."
Although Trump didn't dwell on policy details, Bannon pitched in there, too. When Trump came under fire because his campaign hadn't produced a single policy paper, Bannon arranged for Nunberg and Ann Coulter, the conservative pundit, to quickly write a white paper on Trump's immigration policies. When the campaign released it, Coulter, without disclosing her role, tweeted that it was "the greatest political document since the Magna Carta."
Bannon and Breitbart also operated as shock troops for Trump's on-and-off war with Fox News. Trump's fixation with the cable network was a powerful force throughout the campaign. Although he had appeared regularly on Fox for years and had staunch backers at the network, Sean Hannity chief among them, Fox wasn't always friendly. And Trump was stung by a humiliation he'd suffered from Rupert Murdoch. He often told intimates how, as he was preparing to launch his campaign, his daughter Ivanka had arranged a lunch with Murdoch to share the news. Soon after the three of them were seated and the waiter brought their soup, Ivanka spoke up: "My father has something to tell you."
"What's that?" Murdoch said.
"He's going to run for president."
"He's not running for president," Murdoch replied without looking up from his soup.
"No, he is!" she insisted.
Murdoch changed the subject.
Trump nursed the slight for months. "He didn't even look up from his soup!" he'd complain. Nowhere was Trump's clash with the network more pronounced than in the aftermath of the first GOP debate ! sponsored by Fox News and co-moderated by Megyn Kelly ! on August 6 in Cleveland. Trump was particularly worried about Kelly, whose show he had backed out of three days earlier, complaining to a friend that she was out to get him. (Bannon had a special loathing for Kelly, just as some Fox hosts did for him. "Bannon is human garbage," one of them told me.)
When the lights went up in Cleveland, Kelly went right after Trump, confronting him with his history of sexist statements. "You've called women you don't like 'fat pigs,' 'dogs,' 'slobs,' and 'disgusting animals,' " she said. "Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?"
Within minutes of the debate's end, even as Trump was still nursing his grievances on live television, reporters started to realize that the revelations of his past behavior, so bluntly excavated by Kelly, had caused an intense reaction among Republican voters ! not against Trump but against Fox News. Bannon and the Breitbart editors had the same reaction and immediately turned on Kelly with a fusillade of negative articles slamming her as a backstabbing, self-promoting betrayer of the cause. Breitbart soon became the locus of pro-Trump, anti-Fox conservative anger. Between Thursday night, when the debate took place, and Sunday evening, Breitbart published 25 stories mentioning Kelly, and the site's editor-in-chief, Alex Marlow , went on CNN to accuse Fox News of "trying to take out Donald Trump" and staging "a gotcha debate."
The intensity of Republican anger stunned Fox News executives. The debate had drawn a record 24 million viewers. Now many of them were apoplectic at the network's top talent. In a panic, Ailes called Bannon and begged him to call off the attacks. "Steve, this isn't fair, and it's killing us," Ailes said. "You have to stop it." "F--- that, that was outrageous what she did!" Bannon retorted. "She pulled every trick out of the leftist playbook."
The call ended without resolution. Bannon and Ailes would not speak again for almost a year. Even after Ailes and Trump patched up their relationship, Bannon refused to relent. In fact, Breitbart's attacks on Kelly grew uglier. "Flashback: Megyn Kelly Discusses Her Husband's Penis and Her Breasts on Howard Stern," read a Breitbart headline a week after the debate. Ailes eventually dispatched his personal lawyer, Peter Johnson Jr., to the Breitbart embassy in D.C. to deliver a message to Bannon to end the war on Kelly. When he arrived, Johnson got straight to the point: If Bannon didn't stop immediately, he would never again appear on Fox News. Bannon was incensed at the threat.
"She's pure evil," he told Johnson. "And she will turn on [Ailes] one day. We're going full-bore. We're not going to stop. I'm gonna unchain the dogs." The conversation was brief and unpleasant, and it ended with a cinematic flourish. "I want you to go back to New York and quote me to Roger," Bannon said. " 'Go f--- yourself.' "© Provided by Daily Intelligencer
Bannon remained a loyal outsider for most of the campaign. Then in August 2016, as Trump looked to be spiraling toward a blowout loss, Rebekah Mercer, whose family put millions of dollars into both Breitbart and Trump's presidential run, helped arrange for Bannon to take over. One weakness of Trump's campaign was that it was guided almost entirely by the candidate's impulses. Bannon kept Trump focused on a clear target at which to direct his ample talent for invective: "Crooked Hillary." And he brought an encyclopedic knowledge of damaging material with which to attack her, gleaned from having masterminded Peter Schweizer's best-selling 2015 book, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich (another Mercer-backed effort). The book gave Trump an overarching theme in which to fit his attacks, one that the media, thanks partly to Schweizer's and Bannon's efforts, was already predisposed to accept: that Clinton was corrupt. And because Bannon's convulsive extremism was now setting the tone, no one would hold him back. "It's not going to be a traditional campaign," he said shortly after his hiring.
It wasn't. The great test arrived on October 7, when David Fahrenthold, a reporter at the Washington Post, was leaked outtake footage from a 2005 Trump appearance on the NBC show Access Hollywood. "When you're a star, they let you do it," Trump told host Billy Bush. "You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy."
It looked like Trump had finally said something that even he couldn't rebound from, and Republican officials quickly began abandoning the campaign. "I am not going to defend Donald Trump ! not now, not in the future," Paul Ryan told his House colleagues in a private call. As New York reported , Reince Priebus urged Trump to quit or "go down with a worse election loss than Barry Goldwater's." Bannon stood firm, although even he feared Trump might be finished. Still, he told an associate, it wouldn't be a total loss. "Our backup strategy," he said of Clinton, "is to f--- her up so bad that she can't govern. If she gets 43 percent of the vote, she can't claim a mandate." Psyching himself up, he added, "My goal is that by November 8, when you hear her name, you're gonna throw up."
Trump, who never apologized for any offense, took the unprecedented step of expressing remorse about the comments on the Access Hollywood tape in a hastily produced web video. "I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize," he said to the camera. But at Bannon's urging, his apology quickly morphed into an attack on the Clintons that made it clear he would not be dropping out. "I've said some foolish things," he said, but "Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed, and intimidated his victims. We will discuss this more in the coming days. See you at the debate on Sunday." With Bannon by his side, Trump would navigate the greatest crisis of his campaign by putting his foot on the gas. When I reached Bannon to ask about the strategy for the upcoming debate, he didn't miss a beat: "Attack, attack, attack, attack."
Bannon had long believed that Bill Clinton's sexual history and Hillary's alleged complicity in covering it up was something that "has to be concentrated and brought up," as he'd once put it. His original thought was that relitigating the scandals would demoralize a younger generation of feminist women unfamiliar with the tawdry details. But with the Access Hollywood tape, Bannon saw that injecting Clinton's accusers into the race would force the media to devote attention to more than just Trump's damaging tape. The trick was to do it in a way that couldn't be ignored. Watching Bill Cosby's public evisceration by his accusers the year before, Bannon had noticed that their on-camera testimony was especially powerful because most of the victims had been assaulted decades earlier and were now elderly women and thus inherently sympathetic. Bannon thought a similar dynamic would apply to the Clinton accusers.
On Sunday afternoon, 90 minutes before the start of the debate at Washington University in St. Louis, word spread in the press corps that Trump was about to hold an event. As reporters squeezed into a conference room, Trump was seated at the center of a makeshift dais flanked by four women well known to veteran political reporters: Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick, Kathy Shelton, and Paula Jones. Willey, Broaddrick, and Jones had all accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault or harassment; in 1975, a judge had appointed Hillary Clinton, then a young lawyer, to defend a man accused of raping Shelton, who was then 12 years old.
After brief remarks from Trump, the women took turns defending him and assailing the Clintons. The shock of what was unfolding prompted frenzied live coverage on cable news. As cameras panned the room, they captured Bannon standing in the back, grinning wickedly. The brazenness of Bannon's gambit, and the visual of Trump seated among Clinton's accusers, ensured that the primary imagery on TV would cease to be the Access Hollywood footage.
A plan to seat the women at the front of the debate audience to rattle Clinton and assure them a steady presence in the camera shot had to be scuttled. In the end, it didn't matter. Bannon had always believed that Trump was his own greatest weapon. As 67 million people tuned in to the debate, Trump waited for the inevitable Access Hollywood question and sprung his counterattack. "If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse," he said. "Mine are words, and his was action. His was ! what he's done to women, there's never been anybody in the history of politics in this nation that's been so abusive to women Hillary Clinton attacked those same women and attacked them viciously. Four of them are here tonight."
Outside the campaign, the Clinton-accuser gambit was seen as a transparently cynical ploy to change the subject. But Trump's brain trust was seeing numbers that said attacking Clinton was succeeding. A smattering of public polls indicated the same thing: More respondents improved their opinion of Trump than of Clinton after watching the debate.
Then, within days of the debate, multiple women came forward to accuse Trump of having groped or kissed them without their consent . The wave of new accusers put the campaign on a war footing. The distinction they needed to draw, Bannon told staffers, was between Trump's "locker room" behavior and what he alleged was Bill Clinton's sexually violent behavior. "This has nothing to do with consensual sexual affairs and infidelities," Bannon said in a strategy meeting that week. "We're going to turn him into Bill Cosby. He's a violent sexual predator who physically abuses women who he assaults. And she takes the lead on the intimidation of the victims."
Trump seemed to relish the prospect of ramping up his attacks on Hillary. And then, with just over a week to go until Election Day, he got an unexpected boost when FBI director James Comey announced he was reopening the investigation into Clinton's private email server. Trump's internal polls, which showed him already ascending before the Comey letter, now had him turning sharply upward in every battleground state. Out on the stump, he ratcheted up his criticism of Clinton. In speeches and ads, he channeled Bannon's conspiratorial worldview, accusing Clinton of plotting "the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special-interest friends." When Trump won the election, the lesson the 45th president took away from the campaign seemed to be that if he fought hard enough, he could survive anything.
Just six months into his presidency, Trump's faith in that proposition is being tested. His brief tenure has been shot through with turmoil, his legislative agenda is teetering on the cusp of collapse, and Robert Mueller's special-counsel investigation is an ever-present source of frustration. The Associated Press revealed that Trump's anger has reached a point where he is yelling at television sets in the White House, upset by the tenor of his coverage.
For Bannon, though, things are looking up. Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord was a sign that nationalism still holds sway, as was his July speech in Poland warning of the decline of the West. The Supreme Court's decision in late June to allow the administration's travel ban to take partial effect was another victory for Bannon, its principal architect. The House just passed two immigration bills, and, White House officials say privately, Congress will soon act on four more. Bannon's feud with Kushner has quieted down. And so far, while at least ten White House officials and former aides, including Kushner, have retained lawyers in the special counsel's probe, distancing themselves from Trump, Bannon is not among them.
Instead, he's back in the bunker alongside a boss who is often angry, always under fire, and, on the matter of Russia, increasingly isolated from all but a handful of advisers and family members. Early on, Bannon's war room displayed characteristic aggression, with Kasowitz holding a press conference to slam Comey in response to the former FBI director's June 8 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. "[It] is overwhelmingly clear that there have been and continue to be those in government who are actively attempting to undermine this administration with selective and illegal leaks of classified information and privileged communications," Kasowitz said. "Mr. Comey has now admitted that he is one of these leakers."
Many of Trump's current and former aides cheered this lunge for the jugular. "Kasowitz is a junkyard dog, exactly the guy Trump needs in his corner right now," says Barry Bennett, a former campaign adviser. In TV appearances, war-room attorney Jay Sekulow ! Trump's Lanny Davis ! suggested that Mueller is biased, a charge Trump amplified on Twitter by calling the investigation a "witch hunt" and telling Fox News that he finds Mueller's long-standing relationship with Comey "bothersome."
But those personal attacks diminished in late June, after John Dowd, a prominent Washington attorney and veteran of the Justice Department, joined Trump's defense. References to a "war room" have also been dropped for the more tempered "president's outside legal team." And on June 28, Trump's lawyers decided to postpone filing a Justice Department complaint against Comey for having helped leak memos about his conversations with Trump to reporters ! a move Bloomberg News attributed to a new attitude of "professional courtesy" toward Mueller. "It could become an adversarial relationship, but at present the legal team decided it was best to hold off and not file those complaints," says Mark Corallo, the spokesman for the legal team. Which is not to say that Bannon's bare-knuckled instincts have vanished, but rather that he's come to understand that going after Mueller personally isn't the best move ! at least right now.
Davis himself says this was a necessary course correction. "There is huge danger in attacking Mueller directly," says Davis. "[White House counsel] Don McGahn, Bannon, and the political side of the White House ought to be listening." For now, they seem to be. And at least for the time being, Trump, too, has shifted his target from Mueller and Comey to Mika Brzezinski and CNN.
One critical element of the Lanny Davis model, says Davis, is having a president who has a firm enough grasp of the legal and political stakes that he's willing to focus on his day job and let his lawyers do the talking for him. But even some of Trump's defenders admit that not only is the president unlikely to show such deference, he is never more than a bad news cycle away from firing Mueller.
"Bannon's a smart guy ! he knows the difference between success and political suicide," says Davis. "But could he even stop him?" When it came to Comey, the answer was no. As Mueller expands his team of investigators, the question now is how long Trump's advisers will be able to dissuade him from going after the special counsel. "One thing that's always dangerous is telling Donald Trump that he can't do something," says Roger Stone. "Because then he wants to do it."
If Trump were to fire Mueller , numerous Republicans say privately that they would break with the president. "It would be a repeat of the 'Saturday Night Massacre' when Nixon fired Archibald Cox," the Watergate special prosecutor, says Davis.
There's no question, though, who would lead the attack on Trump's critics if such a scenario were to unfold. "At the end of the day," says Sam Nunberg, "the question is, are we going to stand with Trump when he fires Mueller? Steve will do it."
Adapted from Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency , by Joshua Green (July 18; Penguin Press). Copyright © 2017 by Joshua Green.
*This article appears in the July 10, 2017, issue of New York Magazine.
Jul 10, 2017 | dailycaller.comWhen Hillary Clinton claimed "17 intelligence agencies" agree on Russian meddling in the third presidential debate, a host of media outlets including The New York Times rated the claim as 100 percent true. Nine months later, those same outlets say the stat is obviously false, and there's been a "simple" explanation as to why all along.
A closer look at how the claim survived and thrived over those nine months reveals a startling lack of skepticism in the press when it comes to the Russia narrative. The truth is the great majority of the 17 agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community had nothing to do with the investigation and made no judgments about the matter.
"The reason the views of only those four intelligence agencies, not all 17, were included in the assessment is simple: They were the ones tracking and analyzing the Russian campaign," The New York Times now reports . "The rest were doing other work."
Strange admission for the paper, since its star political reporter recently reiterated the false claim as she was in the middle of writing an article characterizing President Trump as stubbornly foolish.
"The latest presidential tweets were proof to dismayed members of Mr. Trump's party that he still refuses to acknowledge a basic fact agreed upon by 17 American intelligence agencies that he now oversees: Russia orchestrated the attacks, and did it to help him get elected," Maggie Haberman wrote. Her story was later corrected to reflect the ! basic fact ! that only three agencies working under the Director of National Intelligence contributed to the intelligence community's conclusion.
A few days later, the Associated Press echoed that correction in a "clarification" bulletin acknowledging there's no truth to the claim the wire service had repeatedly blasted out for publication to news outlets all over the world.
The bizarrely timed corrections put the media in a bit of a truth pickle, especially after Trump drew attention to the corrections at a high-profile press conference in Poland. "They had to apologize, and they had to correct," he noted.
The New York Times, CNN and others quickly spun up articles and tweets aimed at steering the conversation away from this uncomfortable truth about their proliferation of an outright false claim, and back to the more comfortable "isn't Trump an idiot?" narrative.
"17 intel agencies or four? Either way, Russia conclusion still valid," Politifact wrote in a Thursday headline . "Trump still doesn't seem to believe his intelligence agencies," CNN blared .
The New York Times took it a step further , dismissing the truth of the claim as a "technicality" and then accusing Trump of spreading a "misleading" narrative by correcting the record. Their headline on a story about Trump calling them out for pushing a bogus claim: "Trump Misleads on Russian Meddling: Why 17 Intelligence Agencies Don't Need to Agree."
Journalists eagerly tweeted out these headlines .
But that uncomfortable truth remains. The "17 intelligence agencies" embellishment is frighteningly easy to catch. A cursory glance of the DNI website would show the truth. More importantly, the sheer length of time the falsehood stood in public record at the highest echelons of media betrays an astounding lack of scrutiny on other points in the Russia narrative, which are often sourced to political operatives and anonymous "officials."
Let's look at how this happened, and what it says about the media's overall credibility in the Russia collusion narrative, from the top.
The claim can be traced straight back to candidate Clinton in the third presidential debate, remarking on Russian meddling a few weeks after the DNI released a statement on the investigation. The press didn't demonstrate any interest in the number of agencies that signed off on the Oct. 7 statement, until Clinton unleashed the "17" number in the debate (other than a CNN report incorrectly claiming there are 19 intelligence agencies).
She was clearly trying to add some umpf to the DNI assessment and pour cold water on Trump's skepticism about Russia's attempt to influence the election. She even repeated the number twice, firmly planting it in the record.
"I think that this is such an unprecedented situation," Clinton said. "We've never had a foreign government trying to interfere in our election. We have 17, 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyber attacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin. And they are designed to influence our election. I find that deeply disturbing."
Trump took the bait.
"She has no idea whether it is Russia, China or anybody else," he replied, setting off a back and forth that would be reiterated over and over in the press as evidence he was in denial about Russian meddling. "I am quoting 17, 17 ! do you doubt?" Clinton said, and Trump responded definitively: "Our country has no idea. Yeah, I doubt it. I doubt it."
With that, Hillary's claim was up and off.
Journalists highlighted the talking point on Twitter as they covered the debate. And the fact checks came rolling in. The New York Times , Politico , ABC News , Politifact and PBS all rated the claim as totally true the night of the debate. Before the night ended The New York Times was using Clinton's number with authority in its reporting, saying in a debate wrap up that Trump had "refused" to acknowledge "the unanimous conclusion of America's 17 intelligence agencies."
The following day the number popped up in reports from Politico and Defense One, quickly divorced from its context as a debate talking point and transformed into an indisputable fact attached to Trump-Russia stories.
"The Office of the Director of National Intelligence collects and coordinates for the President the information and analysis from the 17 agencies that make up U.S. national intelligence collection," a line in the Defense One report on "Trump's Denial" stated.
Politico hadn't previously used the 17 figure in reporting on Russian meddling, but now framed it as common knowledge that Clinton had to "explain" to Trump: "As Clinton tried to explain that the Russian role is the finding of 17 military and civilian intelligence agencies, Trump cut her off: 'I doubt it.'"
The fact checks continued to roll in. USA Today wrote a particularly aggressive check on the claim headlined "Yes, 17 intelligence agencies really did say Russia was behind hacking." The article confidently asserted, "Clinton is correct."
All of these "fact checks" and reports were wrong, of course, as has since been made ultra clear. As The New York Times now concedes, the truth about her claim was obviously false from the start. Any reporter capable of operating Google could have looked up a list of the intelligence agencies in question, and ruled out almost half in just minutes.
The Department of Energy, Treasury and Drug Enforcement agencies can be dismissed out of hand. The military service intelligence organizations can't legally operate on U.S. soil. Add the Coast Guard and we're tentatively at eight remaining intel agencies under DNI. The Defense Intelligence Agency is also unlikely. Geospatial intelligence? Definitely not. National recon office? Not unless a political influence campaign has something to do with a missile launch or natural disaster.
That leaves us with State Department intelligence, Department of Homeland Security, FBI, CIA and NSA. Five tops, narrowed down at the speed of common sense and Google.
Sure, the October DNI report was presented as the conclusion of the intelligence community, which does consist of 16 separate agencies headed up by the DNI. At first glance, her claim might seem perfectly reasonable to someone unfamiliar with the makeup of the intelligence community. But it's journalistic malpractice to do a fact-check level review of her claim that each agency separately reviewed and judged the campaign, without so much as hinting at the obvious likelihood that most of them weren't involved.
Nevertheless, the claim persisted.
"All 17 U.S. Intelligence agencies believe the Russians are behind that leak," ABC host George Stephanopoulos told Trump in an October interview . "Why don't you believe it?"
"[Trump] has consistently denied any link between the hackers and the Kremlin, despite 17 intelligence agencies' claims to the contrary," the Daily Beast reported that same day .
NBC News dropped Hillary's number nugget in a December report on the Obama White House asking the intelligence community for a dossier on the hacking assessment. The resulting report would be shared with the public, White House counterterrorism advisor Lisa Monaco said at the time.
"Monaco used careful language, calling it a 'full review of what happened during the 2016 election process,'" NBC reported. "But since the U.S. government has already said that all 17 intelligence agencies agree Russia was behind the hacks, Monaco's meaning was clear."
Reuters, too, touted the number in a December report that characterizes the DNI as a "17-agency strong" operation.
The declassified DNI report that followed in January provided new details on the assessment that dumped ice-cold water on the "17 intelligence agencies agree" claim. The conclusion was drawn only from the NSA, CIA and FBI, the report said. (The New York Times conceded this in a break down of the report, although the claim would later make its way back into the paper's pages.)
A few months later former national intelligence director James Clapper reiterated the truth in a high-profile congressional hearing about Russian interference, opting to correct the record without any partisan prompting.
"As you know, the I.C. was a coordinated product from three agencies; CIA, NSA, and the FBI ! not all 17 components of the intelligence community," he said in his opening remarks. "Those three under the aegis of my former office."
And when Democrat Sen. Al Franken reiterated the false claim later in the hearing, Clapper once again made a point of correcting the record.
"The intelligence communities have concluded ! all 17 of them ! that Russia interfered with this election," Franken said. "And we all know how that's right."
Clapper interjected: "Senator, as I pointed out in my statement, Senator Franken, it was, there were only three agencies directly involved in this assessment, plus my office."
"But all 17 signed on to that?" Franken pressed.
"Well, we didn't go through that, that process," Clapper replied, again shooting down the claim as utterly false. "This was a special situation because of the time limits we decided to restrict it to those three."
So not only was the assessment only made by three of the 16 agencies working under the DNI, but also Clapper indicated here that none of the other agencies even signed off on the report before it was released. Yes, none of them dissented. But why would they, since they didn't have independent evidence to suggest otherwise?
At this point in the life of Hillary's debate talking point, there's just no credible way to rate the claim as true. The DNI report made the truth explicit, and Clapper had now reiterated that truth in a very public setting.
Yet just a few weeks later Clinton unabashedly reiterated the "17 agencies agree" claim in an interview with the tech outlet recode, and as if on cue the media once more began spreading it around.
"Read the declassified report by the intelligence community that came out in early January," Clinton said. "17 agencies, all in agreement – which I know from my experience as a senator and secretary of state is hard to get – they concluded with 'high confidence' that the Russians ran an extensive information war against my campaign to influence voters in the election."
A little while later the bogus claim showed up in an AP report , after The Daily Caller News Foundation fact checked Clinton's claim in the interview and found it false. And then twice more in June before the "clarification" memo was published. Stephanopolous was back at it as well in a June 11 interview with Republican Sen. Mike Lee. And then that Haberman report in The New York Times on the 25th echoing the claim, which was rather strangely corrected four days later.
After all this, CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta actually accused Trump on Thursday of pushing "fake news" by saying the conclusion only came from "three or four" agencies. "Where does that number come from?" Acosta asked.
And all the time , the tweets from journos eager to harp on the Trump-Russia narrative kept coming .
The timing of the AP and NYT corrections are a bit of a mystery, but for whatever reason the press is now collectively saying Trump is correct in his push back on the "17 agencies" claim. And that's got the narrative a bit tangled. After initially doubling down on the "true" rating of Clinton's debate claim, Politifact is now bizarrely also rating the claim mostly false in a separate fact check.
So we're left with that uncomfortable truth. The establishment press uncritically "vetted" and embraced a Clinton campaign talking point designed to make Trump look foolish, divorced it of its political context and reiterated it word-of-God style for more than six months ! all the time either ignoring or missing entirely easily obtainable information proving it false ! and then suddenly reversed course on the claim weeks after it was unambiguously and authoritatively debunked.
We live in a world where r/the_donald ! a Reddit thread teeming with Trump supporters ! proved more shrewd than The New York Times and the Associated Press when vetting an important claim about the Russia investigation.
The truth about this "17 intel agencies" claim matters, not so much because of what it says about the intelligence community's conclusion on Russian meddling, but because of what it says about the establishment media's conclusion on Russian meddling.
Haberman and her ilk seem intent on casting Trump as a loner bordering on a nervous breakdown, maniacally watching the news at all hours, hollering at staff and generally acting like a buffoon. And there's the almost daily implication that Trump personally coordinated a hacking campaign with Russia, an implication grounded in no hard evidence despite a lengthy investigation.
The fact is many of these narratives bear all the same hallmarks as the "17 intelligence agencies" mess.
Sources often appear to be politically motivated, like Clinton. They show up in bizarre numbers, like "dozens" or "more than 30." Anecdotes seem almost questionable at face value. An astonishing number of hastily reported or vaguely sourced "scoops" turn out to be totally wrong when the subject of the story corrects the record.
In a report casting the White House as fraught and bordering on collapse, Haberman wrote that Trump likes to stew over cable news in a bathrobe. The White House refuted the anecdote in no uncertain terms the following day.
Based on the word of one anonymous source, The Washington Post reported that Russia had hacked the U.S. electrical grid. That was quickly proven false when the electric company, which the reporter had not bothered to contact before publishing, said in a statement the grid definitely was not hacked , and the "Russian hacker" may have been no hacker at all, but an employee who mistakenly visited an infected site on a work computer.
CNN reported that Former FBI Director James Comey would refute Trump's claim the director told him three separate times he was not personally under investigation. Comey did no such thing. In fact he corroborated Trump's account .
Just weeks after retracting a story on a wealthy Trump associate and Russia, CNN insisted for days Trump would not ask Putin about Russian meddling during their first meeting. Of course, the report depended on an anonymous source. Of course, it was wrong . One of the first things Trump did when he sat down with Putin was "press" him on the subject multiple times, according to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was in the room.
We could go on, but the point remains. The media is bent on supporting already foregone conclusions about Trump and Russian meddling, no matter what they have to scoop up or parrot or claim (or ignore) to do so. Sure, it's a "basic fact" Russia meddled in the election. But for the media, it's also just a "basic fact" that Trump likely colluded with Russia, and that he should be impeached, and that his White House is on the verge of literally disappearing into a sinkhole.
The facts they use to support these conclusions might as well be irrelevant.
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Jul 09, 2017 | www.informationclearinghouse.info
It was pleasing to see Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin greet each other cordially at the G20 summit. After their breakthrough first meeting, one hopes the two leaders have a personal foundation for future cooperation.At a later press conference in Hamburg, where the G20 summit was held, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he believed there was a chance for restoring the badly frayed US-Russia relations. He praised Trump for being thoughtful and rational. "The TV Trump is quite different from the real life one," quipped Putin.
Meanwhile, the White House issued a statement hailing the two-hour discussion ( four times longer than originally scheduled ) between the two leaders as a good start to working together on major world problems.
"No problems were solved. Nobody expected any problems to be solved in that meeting. But it was a beginning of a dialogue on some tough problem sets that we'll begin now to work on together," said HR McMaster, Trump's top national security adviser.
Trump deserves credit for the way he conducted himself. He met Putin on equal terms and with respect. "It's an honor to meet you," said the American president as he extended a handshake.
The much-anticipated encounter comes nearly seven months after Trump was inaugurated in the White House. Over that period, large sections of the US media have run an unrelenting campaign accusing Trump of being a Russian stooge and alleging that Putin ordered an interference operation in last year's US election to benefit Trump.Apart from innuendo and anonymous US intelligence claims, recycled endlessly by dutiful news organizations, there is no evidence of either Trump-Russia collusion or Putin-sanctioned cyber hacking . Trump has dismissed the claims as "fake news", while Moscow has consistently rejected the allegations as baseless Russophobia.
... ... ...
Under immense pressure, Trump has at times appeared to buckle to the US political establishment with regard to projecting hostility towards Russia, as seen in the prosecution of the covert war in Syria and renewed sanctions on Moscow.
The day before he met Putin in Germany, Trump was in Poland where he delivered a barnstorming speech in Warsaw in which he accused Russia of "destabilizing countries", among other topics. The American president also inferred that Russia was undermining "Western civilization". It was provocative speech bordering on hackneyed Russophobia. It did not bode well for his imminent meeting with Putin. A clash seemed to be coming, just as the US media had been cajoling.
... ... ...
Immediately following the constructive meeting between the leaders, the US media started cranking up the Russophobia again. The US media are vents for Deep State hostility towards Trump and his agenda for normalizing relations with Moscow.
The New York Times reported another breathless story about Trump's election campaign having contact with "Kremlin-connected" people. CNN ran opinion pieces on how the president had fallen into a trap laid by Putin.
It is hard to stomach this outlandish confabulation that passes for journalism. And it is astounding that a friendly meeting between leaders of nuclear powers should not be received as a good development.
But it shows that Trump his up against very powerful deep forces within the US establishment who do not want a normalization with Russia. The US Deep State depends on confrontation, war and endless militarism for its existence. It also wants a world populated by vassals over which US corporations have suzerainty. An independent Russia or China or any other foreign power cannot be tolerated because that upends American ambitions for unipolar hegemony.
... ... ...
President John F Kennedy was assassinated in broad daylight by the US Deep State because he dared to seek a normalization and peaceful coexistence with Moscow. The Deep State does not want normalization or peace with Russia or anyone else for that matter because there are too many lucrative vested interests in maintaining the war machine that is American capitalism.
... ... ...
What needs to change is the US power structure through a democratic revolt. Until that happens, any president in the White House is simply a hostage to the dark forces of the Deep State.
lisacarso · 9 hours ago
Yes they are indeed. Too bad Trump is a total self–seeking asshole who will do nothing to better the lives of his citizens and is merely pursuing policies of corporate cronyism for his buddies. Deep State and Trump are just as bad as each other. We seem to be doomed.
Schlüter · 6 hours ago
I pretty much doubt that Trump has the stature of really Standing up against the US Deep State. Kaennedy paid with his life!
„Deep State USA: Dulles, Dallas and Devilish Games": https://wipokuli.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/deep-st...
follyofwar · 5 hours ago
If President Trump is committed to pursue a more healthy relationship with Russia, a great first step would be to fire that ignorant, hysterical anti-Russia know-nothing Nikki Haley as UN Ambassador. If he does not do so, then his words of co-operation with Putin cannot be taken seriously.
chris · 5 hours ago
Trump as victim? You have to be kidding.
He IS the president,he actually could get out on the White House lawn and blow the whistle,or at least 'tweet' sneakily. World leader? At least post 'Don't do stupid shit.' Obama had the temerity to refer to the Kennedy option'.This guy doesn't seem to lose any sleep over the many thousands of deaths worldwide,including Americans, giving their lives because Trump saw the job as a business opportunity.
And his dumb subjects run around blaming 'the Jews' [sounds like 1930's Germany doesn't it?]
Jul 10, 2017 | sputniknews.comDimitri Ledkovsky · Works at It's not what you do. It's who you are. 23 hrs
It's likely that Trump is mind controlled since his seemingly core opinions and attitudes can reverse 180 degrees in mere hours. Thus worrying about his getting violently demised is probably unfounded. He will consistently perform for his Zionist handlers and dance for his Deep State controllers.
Steven Hudson · Creative Director at Neoideograms.wordpress.com
I don't know about that. His expressing contrary opinions could be interpreted as his having some independence--a hopeful thing. It could also be that he is just being "smart" -- saying what needs to be said ad hoc to appease -- with the intention of eventually, when the time is right, carrying out his strategic vision. We'll see.
Robert Smiley · West Vancouver, British Columbia 23 hrs
A case can be made that the so called deep state is committing treason on a daily basis. Unfortunately its constituent parts are stronger than the President and his allies.
Robert SinclairARG Asia
what about the 59 missiles its all kiss and make up? What a load of bollocks. They both love israel. if you look carefully you can see the stringsI did know "Deep State" was powerful, but I had no idea they could do whatever they wanted and interfere in nearly every of President Trump staff members with the exemption of the former Goldman Sachs appointees. Is the US really a democracy?
Here in Asia we see the US bullying and revolver diplomacy has insulted many countries, not only the Philippines. If the US want to have a future in Asia they have to be more respectful, stop interfering in domestic issues, and stop all these regimes change attempts.
Jul 10, 2017 | sputniknews.com
The first meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Hamburg evoked a wave of criticism from Western media, as a number of notable news outlets blasted the US President for his conduct during negotiations.
Advisers Avoid Saying If Trump Agreed With Putin Russia Did Not Meddle in US Election
At least several prominent newspapers took a dim view of President Trump's handling of this meeting, claiming that the Russian leader apparently managed to outplay and outsmart his US counterpart.
For example, Die Welt stated that it was clear to all professional observers that the meeting resulted in Trump's capitulation.
In an apparent effort to underscore Trump's relative inexperience in foreign affairs, the newspaper claims that the "political pro" Putin knocked out the newbie US President "by the book."
The article's author also emphasized the fact that Putin paused for a moment before shaking Trump's already extended hand.
The Guardian adds that while US politicians apparently felt relieved that Trump managed to avoid "a major gaffe" during the meeting, it was "hardly cause for celebration."
"It's an indication of how rapidly our standards are falling when we're reasonably pleased that President Trump has not made an obvious error," Thomas Countryman, former US acting undersecretary for arms control and international security, remarked.
Jul 10, 2017 | www.informationclearinghouse.info
July 09, 2017
It was pleasing to see Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin greet each other cordially at the G20 summit. After their breakthrough first meeting, one hopes the two leaders have a personal foundation for future cooperation.At a later press conference in Hamburg, where the G20 summit was held, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he believed there was a chance for restoring the badly frayed US-Russia relations. He praised Trump for being thoughtful and rational. "The TV Trump is quite different from the real life one," quipped Putin.
Meanwhile, the White House issued a statement hailing the two-hour discussion ( four times longer than originally scheduled ) between the two leaders as a good start to working together on major world problems.
"No problems were solved. Nobody expected any problems to be solved in that meeting. But it was a beginning of a dialogue on some tough problem sets that we'll begin now to work on together," said HR McMaster, Trump's top national security adviser.
Trump deserves credit for the way he conducted himself. He met Putin on equal terms and with respect. "It's an honor to meet you," said the American president as he extended a handshake.
The much-anticipated encounter comes nearly seven months after Trump was inaugurated in the White House. Over that period, large sections of the US media have run an unrelenting campaign accusing Trump of being a Russian stooge and alleging that Putin ordered an interference operation in last year's US election to benefit Trump.Apart from innuendo and anonymous US intelligence claims, recycled endlessly by dutiful news organizations, there is no evidence of either Trump-Russia collusion or Putin-sanctioned cyber hacking . Trump has dismissed the claims as "fake news", while Moscow has consistently rejected the allegations as baseless Russophobia.
Jul 03, 2017 | www.globalresearch.ca
The United States has perfected the art of regime change operations. The US is the largest empire in world history with more than 1,000 military bases and troops operating throughout the world. In addition to military force, the US uses the soft power of regime change, often through 'Color Revolutions.' The US has been building its empire since the Civil War era , but it has been in the post-World War II period that it has perfected regime change operations.
Have the people of the United States been the victims of regime change operations at home? Have the wealthiest and the security state created a government that serves them, rather than the people? To answer these questions, we begin by examining how regime change works and then look at whether those ingredients are being used domestically.
Color Revolutions and Regime Change Operations
Almost from the start, the CIA's role has been more than intelligence gathering. It has been a key player in putting in place governments friendly to the United States and conducting other operations, e.g. the CIA is currently involved in drone strikes.
One of the first regime change operations of the CIA was Operation Ajax conducted in Iran, and led by Kermit Roosevelt , the grandson of Teddy Roosevelt, who was president when the US solidified its global empire ambitions. The CIA was founded in 1947 and the regime change coup in Iran was 1953. Greg Maybury writes in "Another Splendid Little Coup ": "Placing to one side an early dress rehearsal in Syria in 1949 , the Iran coup was the first post-War exercise in regime change upon the part of Anglo-American alliance " Just this month the US government released documents showing the CIA and State Department's planning and implementation of the coup against the democratically-elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh . This release supplements one from 2013 that did not reveal the full role of the US in the coup.
The Iran coup was crude compared to more modern efforts but had the ingredients that have become common – civil society protests against the government, media reports supporting the protests, agents within the government supporting the coup and replacement of the government with a US-friendly regime. The Iran coup may have been the most costly mistake in US foreign policy because it undermined a secular democratic government in Iran that could have been the example for the region. Instead the US installed the brutal Shah of Iran, whose rule ended in the 1979 revolution, in which, as Maybury reports, the US was also implicated because it felt the Shah had overstayed his welcome.
The Iran coup was perceived as a great CIA success, so it was copied in other Middle Eastern countries as well as countries in Latin America, Africa, and the Caribbean. Regime change is still a major tool of US foreign policy. There is a long-term ongoing coup campaign in Venezuela, with its most recent episode last week in which a helicopter attack on the Supreme Court was tied to the US DEA and CIA . The US has allied with oligarchs, supported violent protests and provided funds for the opposition, which has also worked to undermine the Venezuelan economy ! a tactic the US has used in other coups, e.g. the coup of Allende in Chile .
The coup in Ukraine , which the media falsely calls a 'democratic revolution,' was, as the head of the 'private CIA' firm Stratfor says, " the most blatant coup in history ." The CIA and State Department played the lead roles.
Victoria Nuland , an assistant secretary of state under Clinton, bragged that the US spent $5 billion to build civil society opposition against a government that leaned toward Russia. The government funded civil society opposition through US AID, which is the open vehicle for what the CIA used to do covertly, along with the National Endowment for Democracy . This funding was used to build oppositional civil society groups and create destabilization. They focused on the issue of corruption , which exists in every government, and built it up to a centerpiece for regime change. The US allied with extremist right-wing groups in Ukraine.
The US picked the new leaders of Ukraine. This included Petro Poroshenko , whom U.S. officials refer to as "Our Ukraine (OU) insider Petro Poroshenko" in a classified diplomatic cable from 2006 . The selected Prime Minister was Arseniy Yatsenyuk . Before the coup, Victoria Nuland told the US Ambassador to Ukraine that 'Yats' should be the prime minister . And, the Finance Minister was Natalia Jaresko , a long-time State Department official who moved to Ukraine after the US-inspired coup, the Orange Revolution, to become a conduit for US funding of civil society through her hedge fund. She was a US citizen whom Poroshenko made a Ukrainian on the day she was appointed Finance Minister. To top it off, fmr. Vice President Joe Biden 's son, Hunter Biden , and fmr. Secretary of State John Kerry 's longtime financial ally, Devon Archer , were put on the board of the largest private gas corporation in the Ukraine. Yet, the US media refuses to call this complete take over of the country by the United States a coup and instead describes Russia as the aggressor.
The US has perfected regime change operations from the 1950s up through today. The standard method of operation is finding an issue to cause dissent, building opposition in a well funded civil society 'movement', manipulating the media, putting in place US friendly leaders and blaming US opposition for the coup to hide US involvement. This approach is consistent no matter which party is in power in the US.
The Kleptocratic Oligarch Coup In The United States
Let's apply the lessons from around the world to the United States. There is no question the US is an oligarchy. We say no question because recent political studies have proven it in multiple ways .
One difference in the US is that money plays an outsized influence in US elections . The wealthy can buy the government they want through campaign donations and by anonymous spending but the tools of color revolutions are still needed to legitimize the government. Legitimacy is getting harder to buy. Many realize we live in a mirage democracy . The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs reported in 2016 the extent of the loss of legitimacy of US government:
"Nine in 10 Americans lack confidence in the country's political system, and among a normally polarized electorate, there are few partisan differences in the public's lack of faith in the political parties, the nominating process, and the branches of government."
Jimmy Carter has pointed to the "unlimited bribery" of government as turning the US into an oligarchy . The government needs to use the tools of regime change at home in order to create an veneer of legitimate government.
The Donald Trump presidency, which we regularly criticize , brings a lot of these tools to the forefront because Trump beat the system and defeated the elites of both parties. As a result, Democratic Party propaganda is being used to undermine Trump not only based on his policies but also through manufactured crises such as RussiaGate. The corporate media consistently hammers home RussiaGate , despite the lack of evidence to support it. Unlike the Watergate or Iran-Contra scandals, there is no evidence that Trump colluded with Russia to get elected. And, the security state – the FBI and the agencies that conduct regime change operations around the world – is working to undermine Trump in a still unfolding domestic coup .
Civil society also has a strong role. John Stauber writes that :
"The professional Progressive Movement that we see reflected in the pages of The Nation magazine, in the online marketing and campaigning of MoveOn and in the speeches of Van Jones , is primarily a political public relations creation of America's richest corporate elite, the so-called 1%, who happen to bleed Blue because they have some degree of social and environmental consciousness, and don't bleed Red. But they are just as committed as the right to the overall corporate status quo, the maintenance of the American Empire, and the monopoly of the rich over the political process that serves their economic interests."
Civil society groups created or aligned with the Democratic Party are defining the new form of false-resistance as electing Democrats. The Democrats, as they have done throughout history as the oldest political party, know how to control movements and lead them into ineffectiveness to support the Democratic Party agenda. We described, in " Obamacare: The Biggest Insurance Scam in History ," how this was done skillfully during the health reform process in 2009. This new resistance is just another tool to empower the elites, not resistance to the oligarchic-kleptocrats that control both parties. In fact, a major problem in progressive advocacy is the funding ties between large non-profits and corporate interests. The corruption of money is seen in organizations that advocate for corporate-friendly policies in education , health care , energy and climate , labor , and other issues.
Color Revolution Tools Used In The US
Now the tools the US uses for regime change around the world are being used at home to funnel activist energy and efforts into the Democratic party and electoral activities. In order to resist this new "resistance" we need to be aware of it and how it operates. We need to see through propaganda, such as RussiaGate, and attempts to manipulate the masses through scripted events that are portrayed as organic, such as the recent "sit in" by Rep. John Lewis and Sen. Cory Booker on the Capitol steps, or through highly emotional cultural content that portrays the plutocratic parties as parties of the people. We have to remember that the root issue is plutocracy and the US has two plutocratic parties, often referred to as "The Duopoly."
... ... ...The original source of this article is PopularResistance.Org Copyright © Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers , PopularResistance.Org , 2017
Dec 10, 2015 | www.unz.com
In the light of the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, there has been much talk about the clouding of US-Russian relations. Some voices in the Internet's alternative media sections have conjured the possibility that these conflicts might lead to a new major war, while social networks like Twitter saw the usage of the hashtags #WorldWarIII and #WorldWar3 explode after Turkey shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 jet in the vicinity of the Syrian border. Headlines in mainstream media outlets like Foreign Policy and the Guardian also proclaimed, "Welcome to Cold War III" and asked "are we going back to the bad old days?".
This article suggests that although the ideological division of the Cold War ended de facto with the collapse of the Soviet Union, American geopolitical schemes to contain Russian power abroad have never really been abandoned. Throughout the 1990s and until today, US policymakers have been determined to wage overt or covert proxy wars with the aim of curbing its former adversary's political, economic, and military influence. Chechnya, Ukraine, and Syria are the key spots where the logic of this second Cold War is played out.
A short glance over the state of the world today and its representation in the media suffices to identify a growing number of actual and potential centers of conflicts: Civil war is raging in parts of Ukraine, military tensions are growing in the South Chinese Sea, and the Middle East is more of a mess than ever. Nonetheless, some have suggested that the actual number of armed conflicts has actually reached a historical low. But this assertion is solely based on statistical preference. It is true that interstate (conflicts between two or more states) wars are on the decline. Instead, wars today are much more likely to take the form of intrastate conflicts between governments and insurgents, rather than national armies fighting over territory. As demonstrated to an outstanding degree in Syria, these conflicts are more and more internationalized and involve a bulk of non-state actors and countries who try to reach their goals through proxies rather than direct involvement, which would require "boots on the ground."
But let's start at the end. The end of the Cold War, that is. The situation during the years of systemic antagonism between the Eastern and Western Blocs has sometimes been captured in the image of three separate "worlds": the capitalist First World, the socialist Second World, and a Third World. The latter term was not used as a marker for impoverishment and instability as it is commonly understood today, but as a postcolonial alternative "third way" for those newly independent states that struggled to avoid their renewed absorption by the two towering ideological empires. One strategy through which developing countries attempted to duck the neocolonial policies of the Cold War Blocs was by founding the informal Non-Alignment Movement (NAM) in 1961, initiated by India, Indonesia, Egypt, Ghana, and Yugoslavia. Counting 120 members as of now!in fact a large part of the global South!the movement's anti-imperialist and anti-colonial stance has lost much of its bargaining power after the end of the Cold War.
Still, the final document of the movement's 1998 summit in Durban, South Africa suggests that the end of the long-standing bipolar power configuration has by no means led to the betterment of those countries' situation. Unipolar American dominance and the collapse of the Soviet Union instigated what was understood to be "a worrisome and damaging uni-polarity in political and military terms that is conducive to further inequality and injustice and, therefore, to a more complex and disquieting world situation." This analysis turned out to be correct in many respects, particularly concerning the period of the 1990s.
While the Clinton years of domestic prosperity saw the US economy achieve the rarity of a budget surplus, the citizens of its erstwhile antagonist were (probably with the exception of Boris Yeltsin ) experiencing the more sobering effects of Russia's political and economic paradigm shift. Democratic Russia struggled to consolidate its deeply shaken economy in an environment ripe with organized crime, crippling corruption, and under the doubtful patronage of oligarchs like Boris Berezovsky who controlled the influential television channel ORT and whom Ron Unz in " Our American Pravda " described as "the puppet master behind President Boris Yeltsin during the late 1990s."
The actual situation in the former Soviet heartland during the 1990s was utterly different from what American elites and media often depicted as a "golden age" of newfound democracy and a ballooning private sector. From the perspective of many US elites, the country's plundering by oligarchs, ruthless criminal gangs, kleptocratic politicians, and corrupt military officers was welcomed as a convenient, self-fulfilling mechanism to permanently destabilize its mortally wounded adversary. But Russia never completed all the stages of collapse , not least because Yeltsin's successor Vladimir Putin eventually took legal action to put such "businessmen" like Roman Abramovich and Berezovsky out of business. The latter was forced to seek refuge in London, from where he threatened to use his £850m private fortune to plot " a new Russian revolution " and violently remove his former protégé from the Kremlin.
The chaotic and aimless term of the alcoholic Yeltsin is often regarded as a chiefly positive time in which the East and the West closed ranks, although politicians and neoconservative think tanks in reality conducted the political and economic sellout of Russia during these years. The presidency of Vladimir Putin, while anything but perfect and with its own set of domestic issues, still managed to halt the nation's downward spiral in many areas. Nevertheless, it is persistently depicted by Western elites and their "Pravda" as dubious, "authoritarian," and semi-democratic at best.
Thus, in spite of Francis Fukuyama's triumphalist proclamation of the "End of History" after the fall of the Berlin wall that supposedly heralded the universal rein of liberal democracy, the legacy of the Cold War is anything but behind us. Ostensibly, the current geopolitical situation with its fragmented, oblique, and often contradictory constellations and fault lines is utterly different from the much more straightforward Cold War dualism. Of the Marxist ideology only insular traces remain today, watered down and institutionalized in China, exploited in a system of nationalistic iconography in Cuba, and arranged around an absurdly twisted personality cult in North Korea. As of 2015, Russia is an utterly capitalistic nation, highly integrated in the globalized economy and particularly interdependent with the members of the European economic zone. Its military clout and budget ( $52 billion ) are dwarfed by US military spending of $598.5 billion in 2015. Even more importantly, after 1991 Russia had to close down or abandon many of its important bases, ports and other military installations as a result of the NATO's eastward expansion.
Nevertheless, the sheer size of its territory and its command of a substantial nuclear weapon arsenal cement Russia's role as a primary threat to American national interests. This is illustrated by the fact that for three and a half decades the US has covertly supported radical Islamic movements with the goal to permanently destabilize the Russian state by entrapping it in a succession of messy and virtually unwinnable conflicts. Pursued openly during the Soviet-Afghan War of the 1980s, this scheme continued to be employed throughout the 1990s during both Chechen Wars, as well as in Russia's so-called "near abroad" spheres of influence: Dagestan, Ingushetia, South Ossetia, and other former Soviet vassal republics in the Caucasus, which have constantly suffered from extremists who exploit the lack of governmental pervasion in their remote mountain regions. These regions are home to over 25 million ethnic Russians and important components of the country's economy. After the Soviet-Afghan War and the CIA's buildup of Osama bin-Laden's "resistance fighters," American policymakers recognized the destabilizing potential inherent in the volatile political and sectarian configurations in the Islamic countries that encircle the post-Soviet Russian borderlands.
Hence, despite many political ceremonies, pledges of cooperation, and the opening of Moscow's first McDonalds in 1990, this policy was never fully abandoned. As a matter of fact, peaceful political coexistence and economic convergence never were the primary goals. Democratic Russia with its allies, military potential, and possible Eurasian trade agreements that threaten to isolate or hamper US hegemony was and still is considered a menace to American ambitions of unipolar, universal dominance.
Since the First Chechen War in 1994, Russia's prolonged struggle against Islamic terrorism has for the most part been disregarded by Western media. Particularly after 9/11, the "war on terror" acted like a black hole that sucked up the bulk of the Western media's attention. When the acts of terrorism on Russian soil became too horrifying to ignore!the 2002 Moscow theater hostage crisis and the 2004 Beslan school siege in particular!the massive death tolls were blamed on the drastic responses of Russian security forces who were not adequately prepared and overwhelmed by the vicious and meticulously planned attacks. In Beslan, the death of hundreds of innocents (186 children were murdered on their first day at school) was indirectly condoned and sardonically depicted as the consequences of the "separatist movement [and its] increasingly desperate attempts to break Russia's stranglehold on its home turf." Truly, to describe those who shoot children in front of their parents and vice versa as "separatists" and glorify them as "rebels" who act in self defense against an "authoritarian" regime demands a very special kind of callous apathy.
In a 2013 article that examined the Chechen descent of the suspects behind the Boston Marathon bombing, retired FBI agent and 2002 Time Person of the Year Coleen Rowley exposed "how the Chechen 'terrorists' proved useful to the U.S. in keeping pressure on the Russians." She explicitly refers to a 2004 Guardian piece by John Laughland, in which the author connects the anti-Russian sentiments in the BBC and CNN coverage of the Beslan massacre to the influence of one particular organization, the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC), whose list of members reads like "a rollcall of the most prominent neoconservatives who so enthusastically (sic) support the 'war on terror,'" among them Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, James Woolsey, and Frank Gaffney. Laughland describes the ACPC as an organization that
heavily promotes the idea that the Chechen rebellion shows the undemocratic nature of Putin's Russia, and cultivates support for the Chechen cause by emphasising the seriousness of human rights violations in the tiny Caucasian republic. It compares the Chechen crisis to those other fashionable "Muslim" causes, Bosnia and Kosovo – implying that only international intervention in the Caucasus can stabilise the situation there.
There are three key elements in the organization's lobbying strategy to denigrate Russia and promote an intervention in Chechnya that serve to unmask a larger pattern behind the US foreign policy after 9/11. First, the labeling of a particular leader or government as "authoritarian" or in some other way "undemocratic" (Vladimir Putin, in this case). Second, the concept of an oppressed yet positively connoted population that strives for freedom and democracy (Chechen terrorists with ties to a-Qaeda , in this case). Finally, the stressing of "human rights violations" that warrant an intervention or economic embargo.
If all of these conditions are satisfied, the violation of the borders of a sovereign state is seen as justified (UN mandate not needed), enabling the US to emerge as a knight in shining armor and champion of human rights, bolting to the rescue of the world's downtrodden, while covertly achieving an utterly different goal: To further the logic of a second Cold War through proxy warfare and weaken Russian by diminishing its foothold in its surrounding "near abroad" regions, which in many respects represent vital interests, both economically and strategically.
Swap out names and dates and it becomes evident that the same tripartite strategy was used to justify every recent intervention of the US and other NATO members, in Iraq (2003), Libya (2011), and Syria (since 2011). Interventions that were legitimized under the banner of humanitarian relief through the removal of "authoritarian" tyrants and supposed dictators and which have resulted in the deaths of an estimated 500,000 people, in Iraq alone . When the ASPC's made its appeal regarding Chechnya in 2004, mind you, only one year had passed since the Abu Ghraib torture photos were leaked and two years since the first inmates arrived in the extralegal detention center at Guantanamo Bay.
Regarding the sweltering conflict in Ukraine's Donbass region, the key dynamics are similar. President Viktor Yanukovych, accused by the Euromaidan movement!fueled by aggressive US and EU media propaganda and enticed with promises of lucrative NATO and EU memberships!of "abusing power" and "violation of human rights," was forced to resign and replaced with a ultranationalist, anti-Russian and pro-Western government. Again, this campaign had nothing to do with actual humanitarian relief or concerns about the country's democratic integrity. Instead, the hopes of a whole generation for a better future under Western influence were exploited by US policymakers who hoped to stifle Russia's geostrategic elbowroom by ousting the naval bases of its Black Sea Fleet from the Crimea.
These bases, mostly located in the city of Sevastopol, have been the home port of the Russian navy for over 230 years, and are vital because they provide the only direct access to the Black Sea and (through the Bosporus strait in Turkey) to the Mediterranean. Any expansion of NATO towards these bases had to be regarded as a direct threat, leaving the Russian government practically no choice but to protect them with all means necessary. However, in the stories emanating from Western mainstream media, these bases were showcased as an occupation of sovereign Ukrainian territory and used as proof of Russia's aggressive, "authoritarian," and imperial aspirations. In reality, Ukraine and Russia signed a Partition Contract in 1997, in which the Ukraine agreed to lease major parts of its facilities to the Russian Black Sea Fleet until 2017, for an annual payment of $98 million.
Along the lines of the currently revitalized genre of alternate history, let's briefly indulge in the notion that we were still living in the ideologically divided world of the Cold War, in which the Warsaw Pact still existed. For a second, imagine if Mexico or Guatemala or Canada expressed their desire to join said pact and invited its troops to conduct military exercises at their shared border with the US. Even without the existence of an American naval base in that country, how do you think the US would react to such a scenario? Would it stand by idly and let itself be surrounded by its adversaries? For an even more striking parallel, take the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. The American military actually has a naval base there!Guantanamo Bay, home to the infamous detention camp. Many historians see the deployment of Soviet missiles and troops on the island as the closest that humanity ever came to entering World War III and mutually assured destruction (MAD). With its support for "regime change" in Ukraine and extension of the NATO to the Russian borders, the US today is engaged in the same old Cold War superpower games that the Soviets played in Cuba 53 years ago. In fact, we should think of Ukraine as being situated in Mother Russia's "backyard."
Thousands of miles away from the coasts of North America, the Middle East is the region that Uncle Sam seems to regard as his very own backyard. Many consider George W. Bush's "War on Terror" after 9/11 and the subsequent interventions in Iraq and (to a lesser degree) Afghanistan as those catastrophic policy decisions that resulted in the sociopolitical destabilization of large parts of this region, resulting in the death, injury, and displacement of millions. In Iraq, Libya, and Syria, the spurious US rhetorical agenda of removing "tyrants" and endowing the local demographics with the liberating gift of democracy has in fact produced vast ungoverned spaces where militant groups like the al-Qaeda offshoot Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh ) were able to carve out their "caliphates" and claim other territorial prices. For a long time, the rapid expansion of the Islamic State and its death-loving, apocalyptic ideology was resisted only by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the paramilitary National Defense Forces (NDF), and Kurdish Popular Protection Units (YPG). The SAA alone has lost as much as 200,000 soldiers in its struggle against various terrorist factions since March 2011.
US politicians and media have expressed their hopes that the Russian intervention to assist the Syrian government in its resistance against these Western, Saudi, and Turkey-backed groups will result in a military and economic debacle, comparable to the Soviet-Afghan war, which lasted well over nine years. It was during the course of this brutal and protracted conflict that US policymakers realized that there was really no need to shed American blood in order to deal the death blow to the Soviet Union. They drew their lessons from the CIA's countless ventures in South American "nation building," where a government's legitimacy and an opposition's status as either terrorists or freedom fighters depended on their usefulness for American national interests, often accoutered in pithy terms like the "war on drugs."
Since the days of Pablo Escobar, however, US foreign policy has shifted its main focus towards the Middle East, where the long-term goal has been to weaken the enemies of Israel and strengthen the enemies of Iran. Other goals are to guarantee American access to oil and other natural resources, to establish military bases and consolidate the network of troops abroad, and to secure arms deals for the one-percenters who preside over what president Eisenhower cautioned his nation about in his farewell address: the "military-industrial complex." As a consequence of the failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Obama administration has shifted its strategy towards aerial and drone only warfare combined with the support and (illusion of) control over local militant factions.
Among the many groups fighting in Syria, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), also known as "moderate rebels," is the US faction of choice. Much like the bin Laden's Mujahideen fighters in 1980s Afghanistan, they are armed with the help of the CIA . In spite of their apparent moderation, however, a wealth of evidence suggests that this group is directly responsible for a multitude of massacres , mass executions , the ethnic cleansing of non-Sunni citizens, and eating the hearts of their fallen enemies .
The FSA has also been a suspect in the 2013 Ghouta chemical attacks, which some have claimed the US used as a false flag operation to engender international support for the violent removal of the Syrian government. The subsequent UN investigation however failed to establish any conclusive evidence concerning the perpetrator of the war crime and concluded that the sarin gas used in the attacks had most certainly been removed from government arsenals. Based on this information, US, UK, and French leaders and media outlets insisted that the Syrian government had to be the culprit, and immediately pressed the international community to support an intervention with the goal of eradicating Syria's alleged arsenal of nerve gas and other potential WMDs. This all begins to sound very familiar. Of course, they also requested the bolstering of the "moderate opposition." Interestingly, though, the official UN report , "careful not to blame either side," let on that investigators were actually being accompanied by rebel leaders at all times. Moreover, they repeatedly encountered "individuals [ ] carrying other suspected munitions indicating that such potential evidence is being moved and possibly manipulated." On page 13, the report goes on to state that
[a] leader of the local opposition forces [ ] was identified and requested to take 'custody' of the Mission [ ] to ensure the security and movement of the Mission, to facilitate the access to the most critical cases/witnesses to be interviewed and sampled by the Mission [ ].
Recently, Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain have protested that their "moderate rebels" were being targeted unjustly by Russian airstrikes in Syria, complaining that "from their [i.e., the Kremlin's] perspective, they're all terrorists." Sometimes, one is inclined to advise them, it can be wise and healthy to assume an outsider's perspective and check if your reality still coincides with the facts that so many know are true about the FSA. These facts can be broken down to a very short yet concise formula: If it looks like a terrorist, if it talks like a terrorist, if it behaves like a terrorist!it probably is a terrorist.
Instead, the CIA is still supplying the "activists" with outdated-yet-deadly weapons from Army surplus inventories, including hundreds of BGM-71 TOW (" T ube-launched, O ptically tracked, W ire-guided") anti-tank missile systems, which the terrorists use against hard and soft targets alike. The same weapon platform can be seen in action in a recent FSA video that shows the destruction of a Russian helicopter that was sent to extract the Russian pilots at the crash site of their downed Su-24 plane on November 24, 2015. On the same day, another US-supplied TOW missile was used in an ambush targeting a car occupied by RT news journalists Roman Kosarev, Sargon Hadaya, and TASS reporter Alexander Yelistratov in Syria's Latakia province.
The FSA and other groups, branded as "moderates" who fight against the "authoritarian" forces of tyranny (just like a certain " Saudi businessman " back in the day), function as US proxies in Syria, just like al-Qaeda did in the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan War. They are dangerously unstable pawns in a global strategy to secure American and Israeli interests in the Middle East, irrespective of the millionfold suffering and uprooting of entire societies caused by their crimes, the majority of which is directed towards other Muslims.
Commenting on the Russian military intervention at the invitation of the Syrian government, Mr. Obama said that he had no interest in turning this civil war into a proxy war between Russia and the United States, emphasizing that "this is not some superpower chessboard contest." But this is exactly what US foreign policy, both Republican and Democrat, has done, starting with the end of the Soviet Union and lasting until this very moment. The only difference now being that the Libya-proven rhetorical strategy of (illegal and mandate-less) intervention via "no-fly zones," "humanitarianism," and "regime change" did not have the desired effect in Syria because Iran, Lebanon, and Russia did not abandon their ally. Their combined effort succeeded in fending off an unprecedented onslaught of extremists that infiltrated the country, often across the Southern Turkish border, armed with the money of American taxpayers and Wahhabi sheiks.
The Syrian conflict can no longer be described as a civil war. It may have started as one during the ill-fated "Arab Spring" of 2011, when armed "protesters" (i.e., FSA terrorists) murdered several policemen and set government buildings on fire in Daraa, provoking a violent backlash from government forces. The ensuing nationwide chaos was spun by the Western mainstream media troika , namely those media outlets that serve as propaganda tools for the US political and financial elites and who fabricated the myth of the tyrant who massacred peaceful protestors!to be readily sucked up by their indoctrinated clientele.
As a result of the "moderate's" recent setbacks, the official American position, insofar as its mixed messages can be deciphered, has boiled down to a butt-hurt attitude and passive aggressive lecturing about how to distinguish between varying degrees of moderation among mass-murdering lunatics. Outmaneuvered and publicly exposed, all that is left for Mr. Obama seems to be to pick up the pieces and save some face by accepting Mr. Putin's offer to join a united front against terrorism in Syria. But such a step seems unthinkable in this ongoing Cold War between Russia and the US. Instead, the most powerful man on earth talks about climate change as the most pressing problem of our times. When it comes to ISIS, he has said he wanted to "contain" them. Meanwhile, tensions are rising as Turkish president Erdogan, on an power trip after his surprising landslide victory in November's general elections, apparently collaborated with ISIS and risked provoking an NATO Article 5 response by downing a Russian Su-24. On the other side of the equation, Russia's decision to intervene on behalf of the Syrian government reveals a twofold strategy: On the one hand, trough its direct action it positions the Putin government as being opposed to the fatal logics of proxy warfare. On the other hand, it simultaneously exposes the catastrophic flaws of Mr. Obama's strategies in Syria and the Middle East.
All these developments do not necessarily mean that we are heading for World War III!although logic dictates that it will happen at some point in the future. In reality, though, a full-on nuclear confrontation would require a massive unraveling of the still sufficiently functional channels of political cooperation and interstate diplomacy. International security and economic communities as well as overlapping alliances like the United Nations, NATO, OSCE, and BRIC all indicate a high level of international integration.
Nonetheless, the geopolitical decisions of the last years herald the start of a new period in political history that indeed corresponds to a Cold War constellation. Particularly US foreign policy is currently undergoing the revival of a more offensive realism, visible in recent demonstrations of power in NATO's Eastern border states, pushing of the TPP agreement in the Pacific economic area, and aggressive patrolling of the South Chinese Sea. In fact, the avoidance of superpower confrontation at all costs seems to increasingly take a back seat these high-risk maneuvers.
In the late 1940s the first Cold War began as a war of the words when the powers who had together defeated Nazi Germany started to level criticism at their respective global policies. With the help of their media and propaganda sources, their different stances and perspectives solidified and eventually developed into monolithic ideologies. These in turn spawned the geopolitical doctrines that warranted the replacement of any open (i.e., nuclear) confrontation with confined proxy wars as in Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan. A similar erosion of mutual trust, respect, and solidarity is taking place now as the outsourced US-Russian conflicts in Ukraine and Syria remain unsolved. Again, the second Cold War arises as a war of the words while negative sentiments are allowed to petrify and the glacial rhetorics of mistrust and veiled threats gradually begin to replace talk about common interests and cooperation. The influential and policy-shaping Foreign Affairs magazine already struck the right chords of the passive-aggressive Cold War parlance by titling , "Putin's Game of Chicken: And How the West Can Win."
At the end of the day, this exact attitude could be one of the reasons why the US might come out on the losing side of this conflict. Because they have not yet realized this is not a "game of chicken" anymore. In fact, this is no longer the same easy game of manipulation that the US played during the 1990s by throwing cheap shots at a collapsing state. The deployment of its air force in Syria is not least a signal to the American establishment that Russia in 2015 no longer stands at the sidelines and watches begrudgingly as the US and its allies commence their disastrous policies in the Middle East.
When Mr. Obama asserted that "this is not some superpower chessboard contest," he therefore either told a lie or he demonstrated his government's utter cluelessness with regard to the actual situation and consequences of their actions in Ukraine, Syria, the South Chinese Sea, and other hotspots of the second Cold War. Both possibilities do not bode well for the future.
Steffen A. Wöll is currently enrolled in the American Studies Master's program at Leipzig University. His research interests include foreign policy, the Middle East, popular culture, as well as radical millennialist and environmentalist movements in the US. RSS