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Neoliberal Propaganda:
Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few

Journalism Vacation from Truth is a direct threat to democracy. Without journalistic integrity, there is no democracy as the average voter cannot make an informed choice. Inverted totalitarism won some time ago.

The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People! ~ Donald Trump

Skepticism > Political Skeptic > Media-Military-Industrial Complex > Propaganda

News Neoliberal newspeak Recommended Links US and British media are servants of security apparatus Tucker Carlson rejection of neoliberalism Neoliberal war on reality Demonization of Putin
NeoMcCartyism Integrity Initiative Journalists for Hire How the CIA Buys the News by Dr. Udo Ulfkotte Luke Harding: a pathetic author of book that rehash Steele Dossier Edward Lucas as agent provocateur William Browder, economic rape of Russia and Magnitsky Act Litvinenko poisoning
Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers Manchester attack vs Charlie Hebdo Patterns of Propaganda Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment NYT degeneration into a deep state stooge Pussy Riot Provocation -- the hand of MI6?
Neoliberal war on reality Classic Hypocrisy of British Ruling Elite Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Steele dossier The importance of controlling the narrative MSM as attack dogs of color revolution Anti Trump Hysteria
Corruption of the language Doublespeak Whataboutism as a thought crime Media-Military-Industrial Complex Freedom of speech played by Western MSM as three card monte The Deep State Special Prosecutor Mueller and his fishing expedition
Discrediting the opponent as favorite tactic of neoliberals Purple revolution against Trump Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom' Co-opting of the Human Rights to embarrass governments who oppose neoliberalism Bullshit as MSM communication method Manipulation of the term "freedom of press"
MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Cold War II "Fuck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place Michael Wolff's "Fire and fury" revelations and slander of Trump administration Coordinated set of leaks as a color revolution tool Neo-fascism New American Militarism
Deception as an art form Diplomacy by deception Media as a weapon of mass deception Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair The attempt to secure global hegemony Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources Nation under attack meme
Lewis Powell Memo Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism What's the Matter with Kansas Groupthink Soft propaganda Swiftboating: Khan gambit against Trump at Democratic Convention
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass The Good Soldier Svejk Nineteen Eighty-Four Brave New World Propaganda Quotes Humor Etc

"The truth is that the newspaper is not a place for information to be given,
rather it is just hollow content, or more than that, a provoker of content.
If it prints lies about atrocities, real atrocities are the result."

Karl Kraus, 1914

WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

1984

We are the world, we are exceptional, we cannot fail. The elite will lie, and the people will pretend to believe them. Heck about 20 percent of the American public will believe almost anything if it is wrapped with the right prejudice and appeal to passion.

jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com, Feb 04, 2015

I think journalists today — elite journalists at least — absorb the biases of the ruling neoliberal oligarchy far more readily than they used to do. The media establishment is populated by yes-men. I do not understand how any skeptical person can, in good conscience, trust a western MSM description of foreign events. You need a second source to compare coverage. The mainstream media gives us no real news. Just the regurgitation of  talking points they were given. Seeing how they treat the concept of truth these days, one might think that 1984 dystopia was an understatement. 

Truth killing is a meta-issue ( nationalinterest.org

The problem is fundamental, and relates to a broad spectrum of policy issues both foreign and domestic, because truth — factual reality — is a necessary foundation to consider and evaluate and debate policy on any subject. 

Crushing the truth means not just our having to endure any one misdirected policy; it means losing the ability even to address policy intelligently. 

To the extent that falsehood is successfully instilled in the minds of enough people, the political system loses what would otherwise be its ability to provide a check on policy that is bad policy because it is inconsistent with factual reality.

I think it is good that people question their lying politicians and these lying, corrupt partisans pretending to be MSM pundits. If that means that MSM try to slander the people as “conspiracy theorists” you should take it with a grain of salt. I would rather be a conspiracy theorist than take anything CNN or FOX says as gospel. Or, God forbid, believe what US politicians say to justify thier action or inaction. Skepticism is good. These people don’t automatically deserve our trust. As Reagan said (translating Russian proverb) "Trust but verify".  

The angle under which this page views events and MSM can be called anti-neoliberal angle (please note that the term populism is the attempt to discredit any anti-neoliberal movement). Until recently such sites were a lone  voice. In 2019 this changed. See Tucker Carlson rejection of neoliberalism

If you take in television news as truthful information, that's all a critically thinking person needs to know about you. In reality 99% of political coverage is neoliberal propaganda, sometimes refined, sometimes crude.

Propaganda can be defined as a war on reality using fake news, disinformation, projection, witch-hunts (see neo_Mccarthhyism) and other methods. An attempt to create an artificial reality.

Propaganda can be defined as a war on reality using fake news, disinformation, projection, witch-hunts (see neo_Mccarthhyism)  and other methods. An attempt to create an artificial reality.  The key here is controlling the narrative.  For example, "fake news" hysteria is a perfect method of suppressing of dissent and questions about MSM ties to three-letter agencies: 

Journalists manipulate us in the interest of the Powerful. Do you also have the feeling, that you are often manipulated by the media and  lied to? Then you're like the majority of Germans. Previously it was considered as a "conspiracy theory". Now it revealed by an Insider, who tells us what is really happening under the hood.

The Journalist Udo Ulfkotte ashamed today that he spent 17 years in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. ...he reveals why opinion leaders produce tendentious reports and serve as the extended Arm of the NATO press office. ...the author also was admitted into the networks of American elite organizations, received in return for positive coverage in the US even a certificate of honorary citizenship.

In this book you will learn about industry lobby organisations. The author calls hundreds of names and looks behind the Scenes of those organizations, which exert bias into media, such as: Atlantic bridge, Trilateral Commission, the German Marshall Fund, American Council on Germany, American Academy, Aspen Institute, and the Institute for European politics. Also revealed are the intelligence backgrounds of those lobby groups, the methods and forms of propaganda and financing used, for example, by the US Embassy. Which funds  projects for the targeted influencing of public opinion in Germany 

...You realize how you are being manipulated - and you know from whom and why. At the end it becomes clear that diversity of opinion will now only be simulated. Because our "messages" are often pure brainwashing.

Gekaufte Journalisten - Medienwelt Enthüllungen Bücher - Kopp Verlag

Simplifying, the US MSM foreign events media coverage (and large part of domestic coverage related to the opposition to neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization, see Anti Trump Hysteria during elections and immediately after them ) has little to do with the reality and is mostly a barometer of the paranoia of the US neoliberal elite.  It is 100% propaganda, or as CBS like to call it "fake news".

How does Fake History and Fake News in the US MSM gradually superseded their reality-based version (which never was perfect, and often quite distorted)  is a very interesting question but it is too big for this page. I would only say that this process is closely connected with the process of the neoliberalization of the US society which started in full force in late 70th (see also late Sheldon Wolin  notion of  Inverted Totalitarism) . We can take election of Reagan as a starting point although the process started immediately after WWII. From this point "fake news" were enforced on the US society as the only acceptable narrative? Which, is essence, is a real war on reality.

It also could be that the process started earlier, immediately after  WWII with the creation of CIA. The question whether  representative democracy is compatible with the existence large all-powerful and largely uncontrollable intelligence  agencies is another interesting question to ask.  At some point any society with powerful intelligence  agencies can come to the situation when the tail wags the dog. In the USA this probably happened  around 1963, with the JFK assassination.  In a way the USSR via Truman enforced its model of governance on the USA ;-). Creation of intelligence agencies by Truman was actually the act of the creation of national security state. Which could be  viewed as an official end of the US democracy and quick (less then two decades) rise to power of deep state (with the victory demonstrated to the US people in 1963).    With it the huge apparatus of state propaganda (and by extension means of suppressing of dissent) intelligence  agencies, which gradually acquired political power including considerable (but not yet absolute, that will come much later, after 9/11) level of control of MSM  (see Church Committee - Wikipedia ). 

After 1963, the level outrage in the society was such that there were some meek attempts to check this power, especially the power of intelligence agencies over the MSM (Church Committee - Wikipedia  was probably the most well known) but they lead to nowhere.

Principles of War propaganda

 Principles are are well known since the WWI (Falsehood in War-Time):

1. We do not want war.
2. The opposite party alone is guilty of war.
3. The enemy is the face of the devil.
4. We defend a noble cause, not our own interest.
5. The enemy systematically commits cruelties; our mishaps are involuntary.
6. The enemy uses forbidden weapons.
7. We suffer small losses, those of the enemy are enormous.
8. Artists and intellectuals back our cause.
9. Our cause is sacred. "The ages-old 'God bless America' is playing once more."
10. All who doubt our propaganda, are traitors.

The blog empirestrikesblack cites Belgian investigative journalist Michel Collon who has outlined five principles driving war propaganda:

  1. Obscure one’s economic interests;
  2. Appear humanitarian in work and motivations;
  3. Obscure history;
  4. Demonize the enemy; and
  5. Monopolize the flow of information.

Neo McCarthyism

Neo McCarthyism campaign which was launched around mid 2016 by Democratic Party operatives as tactical tool to distract attention from DNC corruption and illegal removal of Bernie Sanders from the Democratic ticket after lection of Trump turned into important component of color revolution against Trump. And was fueled not only by MSM but also powerful factions of neoliberals and neocons in US intelligence agencies concerted about their future and the level of financing of "national security parasites".  They also have skeletons in the closet to hide (especially FBI and CIA) and did not prepare well to the Trump victory as this was a huge surprise for everybody including Trump himself.  See Steele dossier and Strzok-gate

Please note that the original McCarthyism campaign lasted more then a decade. And McCarthyism was not exactly or only about Communist infiltration into the US government. It has elements of a more general framework of suppressing any "dissidents" who question "official narrative" and simultaneously served as the framework of brainwashing of population creating a stereotype of enemy, in best Bolsheviks, or, if you wish Nazi Germany, style. In other words, like in famous Orwell novel 1984, under McCarthyism questioning of official narrative has  become a "though  crime" (much like it was in the USSR, especially under Stalinism period).   And repressions were real, although far less extensive and brutal, than in the USSR in 30th.  Thousands of people lost jobs and were blacklisted. Many ostracized, especially from artistic circles, committed suicides.

While Senator McCartney has a certain gist for blackmailing people and, being an alcoholic, he probably would be a suitable candidate for high position in NKVD, he was not a pioneer. He was just a talented follower. This type of modern witch hunt was first implemented on large scale by Bolsheviks in Russia after 1917.  Actually Bolsheviks originated many modern methods of brainwashing of the population.  Which later were enhanced and further developed in Nazi Germany and than imported to the USA after WWII.

That all brings us to the concept of "deep state" and its control of MSM.  The problem with the "deep state" approach to governance is that it replicates Bolshevism on a new, more polished,  level, with high officials of intelligence agencies, Wall Street and  military industrial complex as a new Politburo.  Which is not elected but still controls that nations. So much for remnants of democracy in the USA.  That does not mean that some deviations from the "Party line" are impossible: the election of Trump is one  such event. But loop at the power of the reaction of the "deep state" on this event. Not that Trump (who can be viewed as some kind of Republican "Change we can believe in" Obama" ) was intended to follow his election promises in any case.  The level of vetting of candidates is two party system probably is higher then many of us suspect.

As currently there is no alternative to neoliberalism, the current situation will continue to exist. Notwithstanding  the fact that neoliberal ideology was discredited after 2008 financial crisis, much like Bolshevism in 60th. Bolshevism as a theocratic ideology was essentially dead after WWII (although it managed to kick the can down the road for another 45 years). After 60the Soviet people despite constant brainwashing started to have wide-ranging doubts about the communist state and communist ideology. Listening to state-sponsored propaganda radio-stations from the West such as BBC and Voice of America became national pasture of Soviet citizens, especially educated one. Despite all the jamming.  Similar situation happened with the USA after 2008, when citizen suddenly start showing some level of interest RT broadcasts and views on internal situation in the USA ;-). And, of cause, all this needs to be  stopped. In the name of the "health of the state", democracy be dumned (religious term which literally means "condemned to eternal punishment")

In this particular sense, imitating the enemy by the USA elite after WWII, which was done to fight communist  threat (which was overblown) was a very dangerous course with far reaching consequences.  The new level of this process of "imitating  the enemy" now started with the USA -- the rise of alternative press (kind of Samizdat replica from Soviet past) and clumsy attempt of the deep state to suppress it claiming that they are propagator of "fake news" with the subtext that they are Russian agents  (the campaign which spectacularly backfired: which the help of President Trump tweets this term now became the standard nickname of the "official" US MSM).  That brings us directly to revising Stalin's "Show trials" and corresponding witch-hunt in the USSR.  Appointing  Muller to investigate Trump for "Russian connection" (so called "Russiagate") replays favorite theme of accusing enemies of Stalin of being British agents.  On a new level incorporating set of political technologies of overthrowing the legitimate government commonly known  as "color revolution" technologies. But in both cases it is all about eliminating political rivals.

In broader context the current practice of manipulating population is similar to "high demand cults" style practice  -- Bolshevism actually can be best viewed as a religious cult merged with the political movement, much like political Islam today ( Belief-coercion in high demand cults ):

They use all of the techniques as "low demand" faith groups use: requiring members to accept a system of beliefs, conforming to certain behavioral norms; expecting them to involve themselves in the life of the congregation, etc. However, mind-control groups add many additional methods, and take them all to a much higher level. Some are:

Members are not physically restrained from leaving the group. They are not held prisoner. They can walk away at any time. But there are strong pressures to remain. If they left, all social and emotional support would disappear; they will often be shunned. Some groups teach that God will abandon or punish them if they leave. They may be told that they will die in the imminent war of Armageddon if they leave the protection of the group.

The main methods here always was the generation and totalitarian control of "suitable" narrative (that's why Sheldon Wolin called neoliberal society "inverted totalitarism"):

"The primary aim of official propaganda is to generate an "official narrative" that can be mindlessly repeated by the ruling classes and those who support and identify with them. This official narrative does not have to make sense, or to stand up to any sort of serious scrutiny. Its factualness is not the point. The point is to draw a Maginot line, a defensive ideological boundary, between "the truth" as defined by the ruling classes and any other "truth" that contradicts their narrative. "

Gerald Celente coined the  "presstitutes", which is obviously politically incorrect, but still reasonably precise term: presstitutes sell themselves to neoliberal establishment for access and governments to prosper financially and to keep their jobs. In the USSR journalist were called "soldiers of the Party" so in the less humiliating way we can call them "soldiers of neoliberal establishment" ;-). 

Due to the size an introductory article was converted to a separate page Neoliberal Propaganda


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"It tends to be all accurate, but not in an over-all context."

Donald Rumsfeld

"Citizens must be alert to propaganda and
glittering generalities is a type of propaganda
which often uses words such as freedom and patriotism."

"Civics in Practice". Page 274

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[Mar 18, 2019] Doublethink and Newspeak Do We Have a Choice by Greg Guma

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... In Orwell's imagination, society was ruled in the future by Big Brother. It wasn't a computer, but rather the collective expression of the Party. But not like the Republicans; this Party was an autonomous bureaucracy and advanced surveillance state interested only in perpetuating itself as a hierarchy. In this dystopia, "the people" had become insignificant, without the power of "grasping that the world could be other than it is." ..."
"... Concepts like freedom were perverted by a ruthless Newspeakperpetuated by the Party through the media. A Goodthinker was someone who followed orders without thinking. Crimestop was the instinctual avoidance of any dangerous thought, and Doublethink was the constant distortion of reality to maintain the Party's image of infallibility. ..."
"... Writing in 1948, Orwell was projecting what could happen in just a few decades. By most measures, even 70 years later we're not quite there yet. But we do face the real danger that freedom and equality will be seriously distorted by a new form of Newspeak, a Trumpian version promoted by the administration and its allies through their media. We already have Trumpian Goodthinkers -- the sychophantic surrogates who follow his lead without thinking, along with Crimestop -- the instinctual avoidance of "disloyal" thought, and Doublethink -- the constant distortion of reality to maintain Trump's insatiable ego and image of infallibility. Orwellian ideas are simply resurfacing in a post-modern/reality TV form. ..."
"... As community life unravels and more institutions fall into disrepute, media have become among of the few remaining that can potentially facilitate some social cohesion. Yet instead they fuel conflict and crisis. It's not quite Crimestop, but does often appeal to some of the basest instincts and produce even more alienation and division. ..."
"... In 1980, Ralph Nader called the race for president at that time -- between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan -- a choice between mediocrity and menace. It was funny then, but now we can see what real menace looks like. Is Trump-ism what Orwell warned us about? Not quite, though there are similarities. Like Trump, you can't talk to Big Brother. And he rarely gives you the truth, only doublespeak. But Trump is no Big Brother. More like a Drunk Uncle with nukes. ..."
"... Security is tight and hard to avoid, on or offline. There are cameras everywhere, and every purchase and move most people make is tracked by the state. Still, there are four bombings in the first week of the Games. There is also another kind of human tragedy. Four runners collapse during preliminary rounds as a result of a toxic mix -- heat and pollution. ..."
"... Greg Guma is the Vermont-based author of Dons of Time, Uneasy Empire, Spirits of Desire, Big Lies, and The People's Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution. ..."
"... This article was originally published by Greg Guma: For Preservation & Change . ..."
Aug 21, 2017 | www.globalresearch.ca
Region: USA Theme: Media Disinformation , Police State & Civil Rights

More people are becoming alienated, cynical, resentful or resigned, while too much of mass and social media reinforces less-than-helpful narratives and tendencies. The frog's in the frying pan and the heat is rising.

On the big screens above us beautiful young people demonstrated their prowess. We were sitting in the communications center, waiting for print outs to tell us what they'd done before organizing the material for mass consumption. Outside, people were freezing in the snow as they waited for buses. Their only choice was to attend another event or attempt to get home.

The area was known as the Competition Zone, a corporate state created for the sole purpose of showcasing these gorgeous competitors. Freedom was a foreign idea here; no one was more free than the laminated identification card hanging around your neck allowed.

Visitors were more restricted than anyone. They saw only what they paid for, and had to wait in long lines for food, transport, or tickets to more events. They were often uncomfortable, yet they felt privileged to be admitted to the Zone. Citizens were categorized by their function within the Organizing Committee's bureaucracy. Those who merely served -- in jobs like cooking, driving and cleaning -- wore green and brown tags. They could travel between their homes and work, but were rarely permitted into events. Their contact with visitors was also limited. To visit them from outside the Zone, their friends and family had to be screened.

Most citizens knew little about how the Zone was actually run, about the "inner community" of diplomats, competitors and corporate officials they served. Yet each night they watched the exploits of this same elite on television.

The Zone, a closed and classified place where most bad news went unreported and a tiny elite called the shots through mass media and computers, was no futuristic fantasy. It was Lake Placid for several weeks in early 1980 -- a full four years before 1984.

In a once sleepy little community covered with artificial snow, the Olympics had brought a temporary society into being. Two thousand athletes and their entourage were its royalty, role models for the throngs of spectators, townspeople and journalists. This convergence resulted in an ad hoc police state, managed by public and private forces and a political elite that combined local business honchos with an international governing committee. They dominated a population all too willing to submit to arbitrary authority.

Even back then, Lake Placid's Olympic "village" felt like a preview of things to come. Not quite George Orwell's dark vision, but uncomfortably close.

In Orwell's imagination, society was ruled in the future by Big Brother. It wasn't a computer, but rather the collective expression of the Party. But not like the Republicans; this Party was an autonomous bureaucracy and advanced surveillance state interested only in perpetuating itself as a hierarchy. In this dystopia, "the people" had become insignificant, without the power of "grasping that the world could be other than it is."

Concepts like freedom were perverted by a ruthless Newspeakperpetuated by the Party through the media. A Goodthinker was someone who followed orders without thinking. Crimestop was the instinctual avoidance of any dangerous thought, and Doublethink was the constant distortion of reality to maintain the Party's image of infallibility.

Writing in 1948, Orwell was projecting what could happen in just a few decades. By most measures, even 70 years later we're not quite there yet. But we do face the real danger that freedom and equality will be seriously distorted by a new form of Newspeak, a Trumpian version promoted by the administration and its allies through their media. We already have Trumpian Goodthinkers -- the sychophantic surrogates who follow his lead without thinking, along with Crimestop -- the instinctual avoidance of "disloyal" thought, and Doublethink -- the constant distortion of reality to maintain Trump's insatiable ego and image of infallibility. Orwellian ideas are simply resurfacing in a post-modern/reality TV form.

Our fast food culture is also taking a long-term toll. More and more people are becoming alienated, cynical, resentful or resigned, while too much of mass and social media reinforces less-than-helpful narratives and tendencies. The frog's in the frying pan and the heat is rising.

Much of what penetrates and goes viral further fragments culture and thought, promoting a cynicism that reinforces both rage and inaction. Rather than true diversity, we have the mass illusion that a choice between polarized opinions, shaped and curated by editors and networks, is the essence of free speech and democracy. In reality, original ideas are so constrained and self-censored that what's left is usually as diverse as brands of peppermint toothpaste.

When the Bill of Rights was ratified, the notion that freedom of speech and the press should be protected meant that the personal right of self-expression should not be repressed by the government. James Madison, author of the First Amendment, warned that the greatest danger to liberty was that a majority would use its power to repress everyone else. Yet the evolution of mass media and the corporate domination of economic life have made these "choicest privileges" almost obsolete.

As community life unravels and more institutions fall into disrepute, media have become among of the few remaining that can potentially facilitate some social cohesion. Yet instead they fuel conflict and crisis. It's not quite Crimestop, but does often appeal to some of the basest instincts and produce even more alienation and division.

In general terms, what most mass media bring the public is a series of images and anecdotes that cumulatively define a way of life. Both news and entertainment contribute to the illusion that competing, consuming and accumulating are at the core of our aspirations. Each day we are repeatedly shown and told that culture and politics are corrupt, that war is imminent or escalating somewhere, that violence is random and pervasive, and yet also that the latest "experts" have the answers. Countless programs meanwhile celebrate youth, violence, frustrated sexuality, and the lives of celebrities.

Between the official program content are a series of intensely packaged sales pitches. These commercial messages wash over us, as if we are wandering in an endless virtual mall, searching in vain for fulfillment as society crumbles.

In 1980, Ralph Nader called the race for president at that time -- between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan -- a choice between mediocrity and menace. It was funny then, but now we can see what real menace looks like. Is Trump-ism what Orwell warned us about? Not quite, though there are similarities. Like Trump, you can't talk to Big Brother. And he rarely gives you the truth, only doublespeak. But Trump is no Big Brother. More like a Drunk Uncle with nukes.

So, is it too late for a rescue? Will menace win this time? Or can we still save the environment, reclaim self-government, restore communities and protect human rights? What does the future hold?

It could be summer in Los Angeles in 2024, the end of Donald Trump's second term. The freeways are slow-moving parking lots for the Olympics. Millions of people hike around in the heat, or use bikes and cycles to get to work. It's difficult with all the checkpoints, not to mention the extra-high security at the airports. Thousands of police, not to mention the military, are on the lookout for terrorists, smugglers, protesters, cultists, gangs, thieves, and anyone who doesn't have money to burn or a ticket to the Games.

Cash isn't much good, and gas has become so expensive that suburban highways are almost empty.

Security is tight and hard to avoid, on or offline. There are cameras everywhere, and every purchase and move most people make is tracked by the state. Still, there are four bombings in the first week of the Games. There is also another kind of human tragedy. Four runners collapse during preliminary rounds as a result of a toxic mix -- heat and pollution.

... ... ...

Greg Guma is the Vermont-based author of Dons of Time, Uneasy Empire, Spirits of Desire, Big Lies, and The People's Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution.

This article was originally published by Greg Guma: For Preservation & Change .

[Mar 18, 2019] Disney, Militarization and the National Security State After 9-11 by Henry A Giroux

Notable quotes:
"... In these shorts, Hitler is depicted as waging a mind-control campaign over the German people based on the manipulation of emotions such as anger, love, fear, sympathy, pride, and hate, while also occasionally employing force, regimentation, depravation, and false rewards. ..."
"... Demonizing the enemy, according to Disney historian Leonard Maltin, "relieves aggression." ..."
Aug 23, 2011 | Truthout

At the onset of World War II, Walt Disney was not alone in his belief that film should play a dominant role in the teaching process or, as he claimed, in "molding opinion."7 He was, however, at the forefront of a movement to recognize a "new aspect of the use of films in war": training industrial workers and soldiers.8 Some historians try to account for Disney's participation in generating military propaganda by claiming that the studios were "taken over by the military as part of the war effort"9 on December 8, 1941. But Richard Shale has meticulously documented Disney's much earlier attempts to court contracts with the aircraft industry, the U.S. Council of National Defense, and Canadian military supporters.10 Indeed, despite a "popular (and frequently quoted) misconception" that the relationship between Disney Studios and the U.S. military was "unexpected or unsolicited," Shale observes an explicit shift in Disney's focus from "entertainment values to teaching values" that occurred before Disney acquired his first U.S. military contracts in December 1941.11 For instance, in 1940 Disney approached the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation with the idea of generating a training film on flush riveting. And in the spring of 1941, with Canada already engaged in war, Disney convinced the commissioner of the National Film Board of Canada, John Grierson, that animated films were better positioned as teaching tools than documentary films because of their "capacity for simplifying the presentation of pedagogical problems."12 Grierson then bought the Canadian rights to Four Methods of Flush Riveting and commissioned Disney to produce an instructional film that taught soldiers how to use an antitank rifle and four short films that encouraged Canadians to purchase war savings certificates.

Then, in the fall of 1941, Walt Disney toured South America at the bequest of the U.S. Office of Inter-American affairs, which was attempting to establish good relations and "hemispheric unity as explicated in Roosevelt's Good Neighbor policy."13 With material collected on the trip, Disney proceeded to generate two feature films, Saludos Amigos (1943) and The Three Caballeros (1945), both intended to celebrate Latin American culture while accentuating its similarities with North American culture (and downplaying or ignoring issues like national politics and poverty).14 Born out of U.S. fear of a Nazi alliance with countries like Argentina, the films aimed to "enhance the Latin American image in the United States," while also "enhanc[ing] America's appreciation of Latin American Everymen."15 Yet, in making The Three Caballeros palatable to white Middle America and American imperialism less threatening to southerners, Disney more often than not caricatures Latin American culture as a voluptuous, exotic female who is fleeing the attentions of a libidinous, but comically ineffectual Donald Duck.16 There is little doubt that a relationship between Disney Studios and the U.S. government had been fully cemented by 1943, when 94 percent of the footage produced by Disney was under government contract.17

From 1941 to 1945, the Disney Studios produced dozens of short educational films, with their subjects ranging from aircraft and warship identification to dental hygiene to the household conservation of cooking oil for the making of military weapons. The studio also produced a number of anti-Nazi short films, including Der Fuehrer's Face (1943), Education for Death: The Making of the Nazi (1943), and Reason and Emotion (1943), two of which were nominated for Academy Awards. In these shorts, Hitler is depicted as waging a mind-control campaign over the German people based on the manipulation of emotions such as anger, love, fear, sympathy, pride, and hate, while also occasionally employing force, regimentation, depravation, and false rewards. Of course, the success of the films' efforts to expose Nazi propaganda overwhelmingly relies on the use of comic devices, caricatures, and stereotypes to make Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito seem irrational and absurd.

Demonizing the enemy, according to Disney historian Leonard Maltin, "relieves aggression."18 This claim, suggesting that the films function to disperse rather than focus emotional energy, clearly sidesteps the multiple ways in which the films, much like the propaganda they critique, attempt to shape their audience's emotional responses, such as when Donald Duck, clad in starred-and-striped pajamas, croons to the Statue of Liberty, "Oh, boy, am I glad to be a citizen of the United States of America!" Most significant about the techniques used by these Disney shorts is how they embody animation's capacity to draw clear, simple lines and present a selective representation of an otherwise complex reality. Through the use of comedy and comedic violence, in particular, Disney films are often released from the expectation that they might be attempting to do more than entertain.

Viewers wooed by animation's unique capacity to create novel images through exaggeration, distortion, and aesthetic style are easily absorbed into an imaginary world that quite deliberately focuses their eyes on a constructed reality to the exclusion of other possibilities. The value of the anti-Nazi short films for today's audiences lies in their obvious attempt to win the hearts and minds of American viewers through clever visual and ideological manipulation, while ironically issuing repeated warnings to viewers not to allow emotion to short-circuit their critical faculties. A historical perspective on the subject matter sets in relief how Disney's critique of propaganda using the medium of animation inevitably ventures into the realm of propaganda itself.

Also Read: Truthout's Book Review of "The Mouse That Roared"

And, Also See: "How Disney Magic and the Corporate Media Shape Youth Identity in the Digital Age"

During the war, a significant number of the studio's resources were devoted to making another feature-length propaganda film, Victory through Air Power (1943). The film, based in part on a book written by Major Alexander P. De Seversky, advocates the development of airplane and weapons technology as the means to win the war against the Axis powers. We are told the airplane will not only "revolutionize warfare" but is "the only weapon of war to develop such usefulness during peacetime." Dramatic music punctuates scenes that explore new models of airplanes with increased bombing potential. The United States as the "arsenal of democracy" is represented as a giant heart comprising factories that pump "war supplies" through "the arteries of our transport lines over distances that actually girdle the globe." This organic, humanizing image of "the great industrial heart of America" contrasts with the mechanical image of a spoked wheel used to represent the Nazi war industries, which are also vividly portrayed in dark reds and blacks suggestive of a hellish inferno. Japan is represented as a deadly, black octopus extending its "greedy tentacles" over its "stolen empire." We are told of the necessity for U.S. long-range bombers to strike at "the heart and vitals of the beast." With the lethal combination of the "superior" American "science of aviation" and "science of demolition," the "enemy lies hopelessly exposed to systematic destruction." At the same time, the film announces that "scientific bombing" will enable a "minimum investment in human lives," an oddly ambiguous use of language suggestive of two possible meanings in the context in which it appears: the assertion that aerial bombing of enemy territories requires a "minimum investment" of American soldiers and, what is both more sinister and perhaps in need of such coded language, the claim that bombing the enemy entails such "total destruction" that no human lives requiring "investment" will be left in its wake. Indeed, the film's climax consists of a montage of exploding bombs among Japanese cities and factories, which begin curiously unpopulated and end utterly annihilated. At the pinnacle of the climactic violence, the screen resolves into an image of a bald eagle descending upon and crushing the land-ridden octopus, which then dissolves into a dark cloud of smoke rising above Japan as "America the Beautiful" plays in the background.

Walt Disney believed that Victory through Air Power convinced President Franklin D. Roosevelt to support to long-range bombing.19 For a contemporary viewer who has the benefit of hindsight, the unquestioned propaganda offered by Victory through Air Power leaves one with the eerie feeling that the perspective being shaped by the film would not only fail to question the use of technology such as the atomic bomb but even wholeheartedly celebrate it as the quickest and most effective way to win the war. Indeed, it is precisely the film's unflinching support of the development of bigger and better bombing technology, from small hand-dropped bombs to ten-ton delayed-action bombs and armor-piercing bomb rockets, that might seem most disturbing given the devastating effects of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the postwar escalation of arms development during the Cold War and the ongoing expansion of the military-industrial complex in the United States.20 But Walt Disney did not just support the development of larger weapons; he was a firm supporter of what might be called the atomic age and made the classic 1956 propaganda film Our Friend the Atom, which was also produced as a book and appeared as an atomic submarine ride in the Tomorrowland section of Disney's Magic Kingdom. In this instance, as Mark Langer points out, Our Friend the Atom was designed to "counter opposition to the military use of atomic weaponry."21 The Magic Kingdom became an outpost for leading young people and adults to believe that an "Atomic reactor . . . is like a big furnace. An atomic chain reaction is likened to what happens when a stray ping-pong ball is thrown at a mass of mousetraps with ping-pong balls set on each one."22 Disney played a formidable role in convincing every school child that atomic energy was central not merely to winning the Cold War but also to preparing them for a future that would be dominated by the United States and its use of new energy sources, which incidentally could be instrumental in elevating the United States to the position of the world's preeminent military power. Mouse power easily and readily made the shift to celebrating atomic power and militarism while enlarging Disney's role as a major purveyor of propaganda.

The Disney films discussed above alert us to the fact that Disney animators honed their skills and gained widespread popular appeal in the 1940s by first producing propaganda films for the U.S. government. This often neglected reality underlying Disney's origins as a cultural entertainment icon should make us all the more careful to heed Janet Wasko's warning that Disney encodes preferred readings of both its animated films and its own brand image to such an extent that "one of the most amazing aspects of the Disney phenomenon is the consistently uniform understanding of the essence of 'Disney.'"23

Attuned to Disney's willingness to assume an overt pedagogical role during World War II, several critics of a more recent Disney film, Aladdin (1992), noted that the timing of the film's production and release coincided with U.S. military efforts in the Persian Gulf war. According to Christiane Staninger, Aladdin is "a propaganda movie for Western imperialism" that "shows the supposed unworkability of Middle Eastern traditions and the need for American intervention."24 Dianne Sachko Macleod takes this critique a step further, suggesting a link between Disney's "revival of British and French colonial stereotypes of Arab traders, fanatics, and beauties" and the "storehouse of racial and cultural images" used by the Pentagon to justify the war.25 Macleod notes that regardless of the filmmakers' intentions, the film had the general effect of "privileging the American myths of freedom and innocence at a time of nationalist fervor."26 Other connections between the film and the first Iraq war are not especially subtle: in addition to locating Aladdin in the fictional city of "Agrabah," it makes the villainous Grand Vizier Jafar look like a combination of Saddam Hussein and the Ayatollah Khomeini, while the two young heroes, Aladdin and Jasmine, not only look American-Disney animators made it publicly known that Aladdin was modeled after Tom Cruise27-but also, as Brenda Ayres suggests, display their heroism by "contesting (and changing) Arabian law and Islamic religious tradition."28 While it is impossible to discern the actual motives of the Disney animators, it is equally impossible to ignore the cultural context in which the American public viewed Aladdin. At the time of the film's release, the dominant media were aggressively promoting similar images of liberation from barbaric traditions in order to justify the United States' "right to intervene in Middle Eastern politics."29

Disney's Conservative Path

Despite the well-documented history of collaboration between the Walt Disney Company and U.S. military and state institutions, Disney has more recently claimed to have no interest in politics. How Disney's decision in May 2004 to block its Miramax division from distributing Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 might qualify as a nonpolitical gesture is uncertain. At the time, a senior executive stated that "it's not in the interest of any major corporation to be dragged into a highly charged partisan political battle."30 Not only were a number of Disney's top executives known to be campaign contributors to the George W. Bush administration,31 but then CEO Michael Eisner was reported to have said that any criticism of the Bush administration might "endanger tax breaks Disney receives for its theme park, hotels and other ventures in Florida, where Mr. Bush's brother, Jeb, is governor."32 Miramax arranged privately to buy Moore's film and distribute it independently, and in 2005, the founders of Miramax, Harvey and Bob Weinstein, did not renew their contracts with Disney.33

As suggested above, the company's alleged desire to remain outside politics contradicts the reality of Disney's historical pattern of intervening in political matters. It is hardly surprising, then, that in the wake of the unprecedented success of Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 documentary, Disney/ABC decided to produce its own account of the events leading up to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. A $40 million miniseries titled The Path to 9/11, originally touted as a docudrama "based on the 9/11 Commission Report" and later as the "official true story," constituted a blatant political move on the part of Disney/ABC.34 In addition, Scholastic, Inc., the educational distribution partner for Disney/ABC, sent one hundred thousand letters to high school teachers across the United States encouraging them to use The Path to 9/11 in the classroom curriculum and directing them to online study guides.35

The miniseries was billed by its self-labeled conservative writer Cyrus Nowrasteh as an "objective telling of the events of 9/11"36 but faced severe criticism for its partisan depiction of events and actors. The Path to 9/11, directed by evangelical Christian filmmaker David Cunningham,37 depicted members of the Bill Clinton administration as totally incompetent, having repeatedly ignored opportunities to capture Osama bin Laden and overlooked warnings of an incipient attack before September 11, 2001. When prescreened to a select number of film reviewers before it aired on television, the miniseries was received with skepticism and outrage, not merely from Democrats and Clinton supporters. Robert Cressey, a top counterterrorism official to both the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, argued that a scene depicting the Clinton administration's refusal to pursue bin Laden was "something straight out of Disney and fantasyland. It's factually wrong. And that's shameful."38 Nearly one hundred thousand readers of the online journal Think Progress sent protest letters to Robert Iger, president and CEO of the Walt Disney Company, stating that the film inaccurately "places primary responsibility for the attacks of 9/11 on the Clinton administration while whitewashing the failures of the Bush administration."39 According to Tom Shales, writing for the Washington Post, the miniseries qualified as an "assault on truth."40 Shales added, "Blunderingly, ABC executives cast doubt on their own film's veracity when they made advance copies available to such political conservatives as Rush Limbaugh but not to Democrats who reportedly requested the same treatment. . . . Democrats have a right to be suspicious of any product of the conservative-minded Walt Disney Co."41 A group of academic historians led by Arthur M. Schlesinger sent a letter to ABC calling for the network to "halt the show's broadcast and prevent misinforming Americans about their history."42

The film presents a number of clichéd stereotypes of "big government" and bureaucratic incompetence, depicting paper-pushing officials as woefully indecisive at crucial moments, primarily because they are too self-interested to put their necks on the line. Clinton, for example, is represented as not wanting to issue orders for military action against al-Qaeda because he's too worried about the effect such decisions might have on the polls, that is, when he is not caught up in dealing with the fallout from the Monica Lewinsky scandal. In one scene, General Ahmad Shah Massoud, leader of the Afghan Northern Alliance, which waits for U.S. approval to go after bin Laden, asks in a scornful tone, "Are there any men left in Washington?" Individuals working on the ground who buck procedure and orders from their superiors are, by contrast, willing to "take the heat." So, apparently, is George W. Bush, whose decisiveness in giving a strike-down order to the military after the 9/11 attacks really functions as the climax of the whole miniseries. One could imagine Bush political supporters cheering as this scene unfolded: finally, they could rest assured that there was a real man in Washington. Meanwhile, several FBI and U.S. customs agents recognize the nature of the "new kind of war" being waged against America, and their appeals to racial profiling and domestic spying appear justified in the film. For example, in a brief dialogue, one FBI agent states, "Americans have the right to be protected from domestic spying," and the central protagonist of the film, FBI counterterrorism agent John O'Neil (portrayed by Harvey Keitel), replies, "Do they have the right to be killed by terrorists?" Heroic individuals such as O'Neil are willing to bypass "red tape" and stand in stark contrast to (1) politicians who are too worried about public opinion not to bow to the pressures of "political correctness," (2) uncooperative CIA officials who jealously guard intelligence when they are not mindlessly adhering to obsolete federal legislation that protects individuals' rights, and (3) various utterly casual security officials and workers who would rather appease suspicious-looking members of the public than be confronted with a situation that might embroil them in conflict. And that is not all. The film contrasts the coolness of John O'Neil's astute judgments with the irrationality of emotionally overwrought women, such as the ambassador to Yemen, Barbara Bodine (Patricia Heaton), and the fanatic zeal of the terrorists. In fact, many of the characters who represent terrorists such as Mohamed Atta (Martin Brody) and Ramzi Yousef (Nabil Elouahabi) share the same intense stare, bristly mustache, and swarthy skin exhibited by Hitler in Disney's World War II propaganda films. While it might be possible for a viewer to overlook insipid dialogue, fallacious logic, melodrama, and weak narrative structure, it is virtually impossible to ignore the film's use of racist and sexist stereotypes to lend legitimacy to all the standard bogeys of extreme right-wing ideology. And, most importantly, there remains the film's utterly deceptive self-presentation as a historically accurate depiction of events. Even lead actor Harvey Keitel told a CNN interviewer prior to the airing of the miniseries,

I had questions about certain events-material I was given in The Path to 9/11 that I did raise questions about. . . . Not all the facts were correct. . . . You cannot cross the line from a conflation of events to a distortion of the event. No. Where we have distorted something, we made a mistake, and that should be corrected. It can be corrected, by the people getting involved in the story that they are going to see.43

In response to the controversy surrounding The Path to 9/11, Scholastic, Inc., announced that its online study guide did not meet the company's "high standards for dealing with controversial issues" and would be replaced with new materials that would focus more on media literacy and critical thinking.44 ABC also responded to protests by broadcasting disclaimers about the miniseries's "fictionalized" representation while airing a minimally reedited version on September 10 and 11, 2006. But ABC's rather inexplicable decision to air the broadcast without commercials-entailing a loss of $40 million45-fostered an illusion of the film's closer proximity to real life, if not also conveying the impression that it was a public service announcement. Most significantly, the broadcast that aired on the second night was framed by a strategic interruption-George W. Bush's Address to the Nation-prompting one journalist to note the "thematic synchronicity," as the president's speech called for ongoing support for the war on terror.46 It is difficult to deny the political synergy suggested by the combination of the rightwing The Path to 9/11 and Bush's speech-synergy being a profitdriven marketing strategy by no means unfamiliar to a megacorporation like Disney47-as Bush appealed to Americans to recognize the ongoing threat of terrorism and the necessity of preemptive action as the only way to safeguard "advancing freedom and democracy as the great alternatives to repression and radicalism."48 When placed in the context of the film, Bush's success could be measured in terms of how the post9/11 decisions made by his government succeeded where Clinton's administration apparently had failed. Furthermore, the timely juxtaposition allowed the film to gain a greater veneer of authenticity from the speech's presentation of topical and really existing political concerns, while the film in turn provided credible images and points of reference for listeners trying to engage the highly rhetorical, often self-referential use of language characteristic of Bush's speech. Additionally, the blurring of fact and fiction embodied by the film lent to the speech the mythic or symbolic power generated by extended narrative, and the grandeur of the presidential address added authority to the film.

As a context for Bush's speech, The Path to 9/11 made an effort to point out some of the problems in law enforcement and governance that preceded the terrorist attacks of 9/11, but the nature of the critique-although presented as objective and all encompassing-never rises above criticizing particular individuals for their character failings. The film was cleverer, however, in the way it indicated the supposed gaps in the system and advocated taking a hard line, but offered no concrete alternatives. In doing so, the film left it to Bush to emerge as the ultimate hero, opening up a space for a timely description of the measures instituted since 9/11:

We've created the Department of Homeland Security. We have torn down the wall that kept law enforcement and intelligence from sharing information. We've tightened security at our airports and seaports and borders, and we've created new programs to monitor enemy bank records and phone calls. Thanks to the hard work of our law enforcement and intelligence professionals, we have broken up terrorist cells in our midst and saved American lives.49

If The Path to 9/11 presented a single narrative perspective (the "path" taken) as the infallible "truth," then Bush's speech, with a similar kind of religious confidence, also took for granted that only one predetermined course could secure the nation from the terrorist threat. At no point did the film or Bush's speech suggest that the situation was complex enough to necessitate the consideration of several possible paths; indeed, both narratives closed off the possibility of questioning the effectiveness of the security measures endorsed and instituted. Difficult questions-such as the extent to which freedom should be limited in order to be secured or the kinds of sacrifices entailed by "national security"-were simply ignored in favor of the message that Americans must do whatever it takes to defeat the "enemy." It is hard to believe that the gross trivializations of the complex issues surrounding terrorism and the war in Iraq in The Path to 9/11 and Bush's address could almost escape public protest only five years after the horrifying events of September 11, 2001.

One notable exception to the general complaisance with which the public received The Path to 9/11 involved a group of students at Ithaca College who protested the college's acceptance of a private donation from Robert Iger on the grounds that The Path to 9/11, touted as a docudrama, was actually an egregious display of media bias. Students argued that "accepting Disney money would send the wrong message about the importance of objectivity to the school's journalism and communications students."50 Although a Disney spokesperson responded to the student protesters by calling them "people who can't distinguish between fact and fiction," Ithaca College president Peggy R. Williams lent credence to the students' concerns by reassuring them that Iger's donation "does not buy Disney any influence on campus. . . . Our curriculum decisions are our own."51 Although certainly admitting no wrongdoing, Disney has uncharacteristically and tellingly opted not to sell The Path to 9/11 on DVD-defying the expectations of both those who assumed the company would try to recover the costs of making the miniseries and vociferous right-wing groups who continue to support the film's representation of the events leading to 9/11.52

The National Security-Family: Meet The Incredibles

As films like Aladdin and The Path to 9/11 suggest, the Walt Disney Company has an impressive ability to revise more or less familiar stories, updating the issues to make them resonate in people's lives at the current moment. It is how Disney offers audiences not simply escape but also a mode of relating to the real conditions of their existence that makes Disney films such a long-lived and potent force in U.S. and global popular culture. As Louis Marin suggests regarding the powerful cultural role of Disney theme parks, Disney represents both "what is estranged and what is familiar: comfort, welfare, consumption, scientific and technological progress, superpower, and morality." Importantly, Marin adds, "These are values obtained by violence and exploitation; [in Disney culture] they are projected under the auspices of law and order."53 Marin's framework is especially useful for understanding a film such as The Incredibles as mediating the "imaginary relationship that the dominant groups of American society maintain with their real conditions of existence, with the real history of the United States, and with the space outside of its border."54 In a post-9/11 world, Academy Award winner The Incredibles brings home the need not only to reclaim "superpower" identity as a quintessential American quality but also to recognize that American soil is not immune to the threat of violent attacks. In response to the forces threatening America-internally, the weakening of superhero resolve in the face of excessive bureaucracy, public cynicism, and unthinking adherence to the law; externally, enemies whose infantile resentment at being "not super" results in a genocidal campaign against everything "super," even to the extent of terrorizing an innocent public-the PG-rated film sanctions violence as a means to establish a new brand of "law and order." Although hearkening back to the nuclear family as the source of America's security and strength, the film diverges from past narratives in its emphasis on a natural order in which authority and power belong in the hands of the few strong leaders left in America, while the rest of us must duly recognize our inevitable "mediocrity." This overall message is especially disturbing in light of the events following 9/11, when the United States witnessed a growing authoritarianism throughout the larger culture.55 Some consequences of the American response to the tragic terrorist attacks have been a general tolerance for the use of preemptive violence and coercion, control of the media, the rise of repressive state power, an expanding militarization, and a thriving surveillance and security industry that is now even welcomed in public schools. And these are only some of the known consequences: many of the effects of the Bush administration's policies are still coming to light. In 2009, President Barack Obama ordered the release of top-secret Bush administration memos that sanctioned the CIA's use of torture on terror suspects. A year previous, New York Times reporter David Barstow wrote an exposé of "independent" military analysts who appeared on television networks to inform the public with their expert and objective impressions of the war in Iraq (many were retired army generals and had direct ties to corporations that were courting government military contracts). It turned out the Pentagon was coaching the military analysts behind the scenes to put a favorable spin on the Bush administration's "wartime performance," with the apparent collusion of U.S. media networks, including ABC, which failed to check for, or simply ignored, evident conflicts of interest.56 In addition to calling into question the journalistic integrity of the media, the scandal made it seem as if the Bush administration's public relations machine was taking its cues from corporations such as Disney by not only launching a marketing campaign carefully tailored to uphold its public image but also secretly controlling access to information and limiting public discourse, all in order to sell a sense of security to the American people.

An emphasis on controlling public speech and public spaces-not to mention autocratic rule, secrecy, and the appeal to security-is nothing new to Disney, whose theme parks, according to Steven Watts, "blur the line between fantasy and reality by immersing visitors in a totally controlled environment."57 Disneyland is a useful space, apparently, to undertake surveillance, and Walt Disney offered the FBI "complete access" to Disneyland facilities in the 1950s for "use in connection with official matters and for recreational purposes."58 Indeed, the development of a cordial relationship between Walt Disney and FBI director J. Edgar Hoover is now better understood not only in relation to Walt Disney's fervent anticommunism but also in light of revelations that he may have served as "a secret informer for the Los Angeles office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation."59 Certainly, as Watts indicates, it is known that Disney was appointed a special FBI agent in part because of his desire to root out so-called communist agitators from the film industry.60 More recently, Eric Smoodin notes that the Disney corporation remains "interested in constructing surveillance as entertainment," as suggested by the marketing of products such as a Mickey Mouse doll with glow-in-the-dark eyes that illuminate sleeping children for the benefit of parental scrutiny.61

The Incredibles, with its complex appeal to several levels of audience, received overwhelming praise from film critics, who admired not only its retromodern aesthetic and detailed animation but also its "stinging wit."62 However, most reviewers who observed an "edge of intellectual indignation"63 focused on the first thirty minutes of the film in which the main character, Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson), is forced to conceal his superhero identity as a consequence of public disaffection and a string of lawsuits (he is sued after rescuing a suicidal man named Sansweet who claimed Mr. Incredible had "ruined [his] death"). With "average citizens" now proclaiming they want "average heroes," Mr. Incredible; his superhero wife, Elastigirl/Helen (Holly Hunter); and their children become the middle-of-the-road Parr family, trying to maintain a normal suburban lifestyle by suppressing their superpowers in what one reviewer suggests is a "suspicious society that's decidedly below-Parr."64 As suggested by a Boston Globe film review, Bob Parr's cubicle office job as a claims adjuster at Insuricare is designed to evoke identification with the "middle-age blues felt by audience members."65 But many reviewers, in choosing to highlight the film's critique of suburban conformity and corporate greed, misread or overlook the film's central message, which does not elicit identification on the part of a mere newspaper journalist or academician: in fact, normal people who wrongly identify with superheroes and devalue their worth are society's worst threat. The film's villain, Buddy aka Syndrome (Jason Lee), begins as Mr. Incredible's "number one fan" but then transgresses the boundary between admiration and emulation. Conflict arises when Buddy asserts that his rocket boot technology enables him "to be super" without being born with superpowers. When rejected by Mr. Incredible, who prefers to "work alone," Buddy turns the pathological injury into villainy with an ideological goal: to provide the technology "so that everyone can be superheroes. . . . And when everyone's super, no one will be." The connections between Buddy and the dominant media's portrayal of international terrorists are multiple: his fixation on demolishing a superpower, his development of hightech weaponry, his narcissistic rage, his ideological purpose, and, what resonates most clearly, his plan to gain power over a fearful public by launching a plane at Manhattan. At one point, Buddy even tells Mr. Incredible, "Now you respect me, because I'm a threat. . . . It turns out there's a lot of people, whole countries, who want respect. And they will pay through the nose to get it." Given the film's resounding judgment of Buddy/Syndrome-he is shredded by a jet turbine while attempting to kidnap the Parr baby-it is difficult to understand how the film's message could be interpreted, as one reviewer suggests, as empowering viewers to recognize the "secret identities we all keep tucked away in our hearts."66 Even if one were to extend an allegorical reading of The Incredibles to argue that all Americans are super, it would not be possible to elide the film's clear validation of a social hierarchy along primordial lines.

Throughout the film, the plight of the super family is closely linked to their superiority. The Incredibles' son Dash (Spencer Fox), frustrated by not being able to demonstrate his speed in school sports competi-tions, acts out in his fourth-grade class by playing pranks on his teacher. Dash wins his father's admiration, but the thought of a graduation ceremony for fourth-graders leads Mr. Incredible to burst out, "It's psychotic! They keep creating new ways to celebrate mediocrity, but if someone is genuinely exceptional . . . " Later in the film, Elastigirl reassures daughter Violet (Sarah Vowell), "Your identity is your most valuable possession. . . . Doubt is a luxury we can't afford anymore. You have more power than you realize. Don't think. Don't worry. If the time comes, you'll know what to do. It's in your blood." As A. O. Scott astutely recognizes in a New York Times review, the movie argues, "Some people have powers that others do not, and to deny them the right to exercise those powers, or the privileges that accompany them, is misguided, cruel and socially destructive."67 Being "super" in such a framework does not mean being smart or being virtuous; it simply means possessing innate power. The highly advanced modern society produces mediocrity because its ethics (a belief in social justice and equality) counter the effects of natural selection by nullifying Darwinian fitness as the condition for survival.

If the film indeed offers up "the philosophy of Ayn Rand"-who opposed collectivism, altruism, and the welfare state in favor of egoistic individualism-then it turns to violence as the means to achieve supremacy.68 At no point during The Incredibles' "eardrum-bashing, metal-crunching action sludge" and its self-referential mockery of "monologuing" does the film suggest that reasoning, discussion, or any other form of peaceful resolution might be pursued instead of violence. More in keeping, however, with Disney conventions than Rand's philosophy is the film's conflation of the pursuit of individualism with the protection of the nuclear family. One reviewer cleverly summarizes the film's main theme as "the family that slays together stays together."69 In this way, the white, nuclear, middle-class family becomes the ethical referent for a bombproof collectivity: only a muscular protection of one's own will ensure stability, identity, and agency, not to mention consumerism, heterosexuality, clearly defined gender roles, parenthood, and class chivalry. The result is that the film brings "individuals and their families to the centers of national life, offering the audience an image of itself and of the nation as a knowable community, a wider public world beyond the routines of a narrow existence."70 But the American nation drawn by the film is imaged as one that neither shies away from use of force nor requires any justification for its display of blatant chauvinism when confronted by others.

The Incredibles further contrasts the banality of suburban life with the glamour and excitement of "hero work." The elaborate security compounds of Syndrome's island and the home of fashion designer Edna Mode (Brad Bird) are suped up with the latest high-tech gadgetry, the exhilarating navigation of which bears a close resemblance to video game playing, particularly in the medium of computer-generated animation. And even if the filmmakers' intended to parody gated homes à la Hollywood Hills in their representation of Edna Mode's mansion, the cumulative message makes security and surveillance systems seem not only unthreatening but also quite normal-at least as familiar as, say, the presence of gates and cameras at Walt Disney World. In fact, Syndrome's island has a developed monorail system, which implies a double reference both to the James Bond movie Dr. No (1962) and to Disney World itself. Referentiality seems to come full circle as The Incredibles' island imitates Bond films that likely drew on the model of Disney theme parks in portraying the villain's lair. For instance, Bond's antagonist in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) "inhabits a politically autonomous island that features an amusement park funhouse,"71 an allusion that betrays cultural anxiety about a rigidly controlled theme park environment governed by an autocrat who deliberately toys with defenseless people's perceptions and plays upon their fears. The Bond films were tapping into a darker side of the Disney-designed spaces, also noted by M. Keith Booker, who writes, "The fictional utopias portrayed in the [Disney] parks have a definite dystopian side, as anyone who has ever been bothered by the efficiency with which the parks are able to control and manipulate the vast populations who visit them has noticed."72 Yet, the lush tropical island in The Incredibles works less to expose the dark side of a totally regulated world than to associate it with exotic thrills and gamelike suspense as the superheroes infiltrate Syndrome's compound-a brilliant advertisement for a family adventure at Walt Disney World, if there ever was one. More disturbing is the recognition that as dominant culture in the United States accepts the expansion of a security-military-surveillance-intelligence complex, negotiating such altered environments can be reduced to slapstick comedy (when, for instance, Elastigirl finds herself stretched between two security doors and must fight against a number of armed guards). Not rendered entirely harmless, the island environment also represents the ideal locale for the Incredible children to rise to the challenge of a real danger-their mother tells them that unlike "the bad guys" on "Saturday morning cartoons . . . these guys will kill you"-and to engage the enemy in a display of family loyalty and heroic exceptionalism.

Because "calls to action litter the film," critics such as David Hastings Dunn have suggested that The Incredibles is "an allegorical tale justifying U.S. foreign policy under George W. Bush."73 Indeed, the only imaginable way the "slightly fascist" Incredibles could be labeled a "family-friendly film,"74 as one critic claims, is if one assumes the "super" refrain throughout the film is an oblique reference to American superiority and supremacy, such that viewers are included as part of one big national family, a family that has recently demonstrated its mettle on the world stage by waging wars against Afghanistan and Iraq. Indeed, Mr. Incredible repeatedly argues for an ethic of intervention and pushes aside anyone who poses an obstacle to action. Those individuals who wish to prevent superheroes from acting are fundamentally weak: people who claim their right to noninterference, politicians who cravenly seek public approval, lawyers who succumb to financial pressures, teachers who suppress any challenges to their authority, and employers who expect blind obedience to corporate policy. Interventionism is legitimated when Bob/Mr. Incredible helps an elderly woman with her insurance claim, only to face his irate boss, who indicates that Bob's loyalties must be redirected to one specific purpose: "Help our people! Starting with our stockholders." While the diminutive Mr. Huph (Wallace Shawn) launches into a speech about the necessity for the "little cogs" in the company machine to "mesh together," Mr. Incredible is prevented from saving a man in the street who is being mugged. The film deserves credit for extending a clichéd critique of office work as crushing of individual creativity to a representation of greed and corruption plaguing private corporations charged with providing public services. Unfortunately, the only solution to the social ills of exploitation and dehumanization proffered by the film is to put one's faith in the individuals who have the power to subjugate a clear and unambiguous enemy, in other words, a militaristic version of the old adage "Father knows best." Before we join the throngs of enthusiastic reviewers who laud the film for its exposure of corporate abuses of power, it should be understood that the film is as much invested in showing how postindustrial capitalism-and liberal democracy even more so-elevates the weak manipulators above the authentic strongmen. Instead of presenting a viable solution to the ravages of neoliberal economics on social democracy, The Incredibles offers only one reactionary alternative devised in the realm of fantasy: superheroes will save us as long as we recognize our natural inferiority and give them our unqualified vote of confidence. The huge, hard-bodied Mr. Incredible is ready to rescue America from the city slicker, ladies' man softness of the postwar era. (Admittedly, this superhero for a "postfeminist" generation has an exceedingly competent female sidekick/wife, but one who tellingly possesses the complementary superhero power of extreme malleability).

When considered alongside the blockbuster success of The Incredibles and its overarching message in 2004, it probably should not surprise us that George W. Bush was reelected the same year-in part because his public relations team managed to convince voters that, in an insecure world rife with terrorist threats, they should depend on his uncompromising judgments of good and evil, his impervious cowboylike manner, and his "strong, stable personality." What makes The Incredibles appear to be superheroes is the same quality that apparently made George W. Bush seem presidential: the ability to act free from the paralyzing effects of thoughtful consideration. This orientation toward decisive action in the film becomes an end in itself since, as Jeremy Heilman points out, "There are no scenes in which characters learn to use their power responsibly (except for those that extol conformity), and no moments in which loss of life is felt."75

According to George Soros, the events of 9/11 renewed a "distorted view" of American supremacy that "postulates that because we are stronger than others, we must know better and we must have right on our side."76 If American patriotism reached a fever pitch in the aftermath of 9/11, then The Incredibles clearly tapped into a desire to assert U.S. preeminence on the world stage. Indeed, all the superheroes are American, and the only non-American with any power is a villainous French mime named Bomb Voyage. The overall message of the film, as Hastings Dunn points out, is a perennial neoconservative theme: "America's failure to spread its values can lead to 'blowback' from former clients and protégés."77 The only response offered by the film to a society supposedly weakened by a misguided egalitarianism and the post–Cold War softening of American resolve is to minimize in-stitutional and legal controls while letting unrestrained power achieve its deserved place of domination. For "supers" to dictate the common good once again, The Incredibles concludes, "it's up to the politicians." It is difficult to imagine a more resounding dismissal of democratic processes than this final assertion, suggesting less the need for political accountability and public participation than the need for emboldened leaders whose decisive action should be divorced from the values and constraints imposed by the mediocre masses.

Disney and the Rhetoric of Innocence

The bizarre way in which The Incredibles marries two dangerous social ideals-a Darwinist notion of survival of the fittest and a retrograde identity politics based on biological superiority-can verge on acceptability when it is packaged as a Disney animated film that carries the overarching association with childhood innocence. Audiences are meant to appreciate the fact that if in a fit of rage Mr. Incredible destroys a car, or another human being for that matter, then it is simply a natural expression of his innate "super" identity and not something that requires moral assessment. Or, worse yet, it is something that can only be considered as intrinsically good. By appealing to the view that "might is right," the film fails to open up the possibility that values and ethics are constituted by various social mechanisms and material relations of power. Instead, the tautological rationale suggests that being "right" is simply entailed by being "super," such that the imperative to conquer the enemy who threatens one's way of life remains not only above question but also without any negative consequences (after all, the enemy is not "super" like us). The presumption of innate American benevolence is implied by a reading of The Incredibles as a national allegory. At stake in this concept of America as a superpower is the belief that its leaders and the entire populace are incorruptible and therefore exemplify absolute goodness.78

As we have seen in previous chapters, this notion of a benign, incorruptible nature is nothing new to Disney, whose cultural productions rely on innocence as a rhetorical tool to legitimate dominant relations of power. The Incredibles slightly modifies the concept of childhood innocence by linking it to a citizenry in need of a blameless and absolute paternalistic authority to safeguard its interests. The appeal to innocence often enables animated Disney films to fly below a critical radar. The Incredibles probably does so, despite its authoritarian overtones, because of the historical and cultural context in which it was received. After the tragic events of 9/11, Americans sought an opportunity to envision themselves as proactive agents of history rather than its passive victims and as part of a community with strong leadership that could instill hope for security and redemption in a world that seemed hostile to such desires.

However, when politics is cloaked in the guise of innocence, more is at stake than a simple affirmation of desire. At stake is the way in which Disney films garner the cultural power to influence how people think not simply through their particular mode of representation but also through shaping the knowledge and subjectivities of their viewers in order to valorize some identities while disabling others. Film watching involves more than entertainment; it is an experience that reproduces the basic conditions of learning. To understand Disney films, we need to understand how Disney culture influences public understandings of history, national coherence, and popular values in ways that often conceal injustice, dissent, and the possibility of democratic renewal. While the retro style and clever allusiveness of The Incredibles appeal to what is aesthetically pleasing about America's past, there is no acknowledgment of an underlying totalitarian ethos driving, for instance, U.S. military and imperial expansion during the Cold War. Although weakling institutions and individuals hinder all things "super," Mr. Incredible, as an exemplary cultural icon, enables the reconstruction of American history purged of its seamy side, not least of all through an appeal to nostalgia, stylized consumption, and a reinvigorated patriotism. Moreover, The Incredibles' comic representation of 1950s suburban mediocrity does little to challenge the prevailing discourses of patriarchy, class, and sexism. In fact, the film pays tribute to the consumerism, patriarchy, and family values associated with 1950s sitcoms by suggesting that the failing of such a family orientation lies not in its oppressive control but in how settling into a mundane reality and accepting the onset of complacency sap its inherent magisterial vitality. Taking what it considers best from that era, the film revitalizes conservative ideology for a new generation of video-gaming kids, sexing up the suburban doldrums with designer superhero garb and high-tech stunts that substitute spectacle for critical engagement.

The Incredibles and The Path to 9/11 are films produced at a particular historical moment that share the theme of defending U.S. hegemony and values against the insidious forces of a weak-willed political correctness at home and envious terrorists determined to destroy the American way of life abroad. One interesting outcome of the comparison can be seen in the way the different film genres elicited much different responses from the public despite their thematic similarities. The Path to 9/11's claim to portray historical events objectively in the form of a documentary-style ABC miniseries drew some public resistance, whereas the animated Disney film whose very representation defies objectivity drew virtually none. But the messages of The Incredibles are no less persuasive for being more fantastic.

Clearly, The Incredibles' inscription of biological supremacy represents not only an assertion of dominant family values but an ideological justification for genderand race-based conceptions of U.S. global imperialism and national identity. The Path to 9/11 is less clever in concealing its affirmation of racist and sexist attitudes and its legitimation of violence, but The Incredibles is far more dangerous in that it has been viewed in a generally unfiltered manner by millions of children and adults worldwide. Recognizing the conservative influence of Disney films-a conservatism that manifests with unprecedented boldness in The Incredibles-should not entail avoiding them, suppressing them, or complacently accepting their cultural ascendancy. It should involve making explicit how and what we learn from the very political messages being taught by Disney films, rather than accepting them at face value or dismissing their existence altogether.

Consuming culture even as a form of entertainment is fundamentally a pedagogical experience, and the more educators, parents, students, and other cultural workers become active in their attempts to decode the complex representations being offered by Disney, the more rich and rewarding our experiences with popular culture will become. For this reason, a nuanced criticism of Disney films would not assume that they inherently disempower the audience but would instead view such cultural encounters as opportunities that can empower children and adults by creating the conditions that give people control over the production and types of knowledge and values arising from their experiences as cultural consumers. Being resisted here is the attitude that turns Disney's native utopianism into an excuse to adopt a stance that willfully overlooks the risks incurred by allowing a multinational corporation to escape any critical scrutiny as it reproduces dominant forms of identity, authorizes particular forms of history, and validates "hierarchies of value as universally valid, ecumenical, and effectively consensual."79 Nothing could be more dystopian in its consequences than the abdication of our responsibility to be critical and thoughtful of the ways the U.S. media represents America to itself and others. Disney should not be allowed to dictate, limit, and monopolize the only current and future possibilities imaginable for an increasingly global culture that must be able to imagine a better life-a life built upon the precepts of compassion and justice rather than American-centered images of power, nostalgia, insularity, and world domination.

[Mar 18, 2019] The Why are the media playing lapdog and not watchdog – again – on war in Iraq?

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... General Electric, the world's largest military contractor, still controls the message over at the so-called "liberal" MSNBC. MSNBC's other owner is Comcast, the right wing media conglomerate that controls the radio waves in every major American Market. Over at CNN, Mossad Asset Wolf Blitzer, who rose from being an obscure little correspondent for an Israeli Newspaper to being CNN's Chief "Pentagon Correspondent" and then was elevated to supreme anchorman nearly as quickly, ensures that the pro-Israeli Message is always in the forefront, even as the Israeli's commit one murderous act after another upon helpless Palestinian Women and Children. ..."
"... Every single "terrorism expert", General or former Government Official that is brought out to discuss the next great war is connected to a military contractor that stands to benefit from that war. Not surprisingly, the military option is the only option discussed and we are assured that, if only we do this or bomb that, then it will all be over and we can bring our kids home to a big victory parade. I'm 63 and it has never happened in my lifetime--with the exception of the phony parade that Bush Senior put on after his murderous little "First Gulf War". ..."
"... The Generals in the Pentagon always want war. It is how they make rank. All of those young kids that just graduated from our various academies know that war experience is the only thing that will get them the advancement that they seek in the career that they have chosen. They are champing at the bit for more war. ..."
"... the same PR campaign that started with Bush and Cheney continues-the exact same campaign. Obviously, they have to come back at the apple with variations, but any notion that the "media will get it someday" is willfully ignorant of the obvious fact that there is an agenda, and that agenda just won't stop until it's achieved-or revolution supplants the influence of these dark forces. ..."
"... The US media are indeed working overtime to get this war happening ..."
"... In media universe there is no alternative to endless war and an endless stream of hyped reasons for new killing. ..."
"... The media machine is a wholly owned subsidiary of the United States of Corporations. ..."
"... Oh, the greatest propaganda arm the US government has right now, bar none, is the American media. It's disgraceful. we no longer have journalists speaking truth to power in my country, we have people practicing stenography, straight from the State Department to your favorite media outlet. ..."
"... But all that research from MIT, from the UN, and others, has been buried by the American media, and every single story on Syria and Assad that is written still refers to "Assad gassing his own people". It's true, it's despicable, and it's just one example of how our media lies and distorts and misrepresents the news every day. ..."
Oct 10, 2014 | The Guardian
BradBenson, 10 October 2014 6:14pm
The American Public has gotten exactly what it deserved. They have been dumbed-down in our poor-by-intention school systems. The moronic nonsense that passes for news in this country gets more sensational with each passing day. Over on Fox, they are making the claim that ISIS fighters are bringing Ebola over the Mexican Border, which prompted a reply by the Mexican Embassy that won't be reported on Fox.

We continue to hear and it was even reported in this very fine article by Ms. Benjamin that the American People now support this new war. Really? I'm sorry, but I haven't seen that support anywhere but on the news and I just don't believe it any more.

There is also the little problem of infiltration into key media slots by paid CIA Assets (Scarborough and brainless Mika are two of these double dippers). Others are intermarried. Right-wing Neocon War Criminal Dan Senor is married to "respected" newsperson Campbell Brown who is now involved in privatizing our school system. Victoria Nuland, the slimey State Department Official who was overheard appointing the members of the future Ukrainian Government prior to the Maidan Coup is married to another Neo-Con--Larry Kagan. Even sweet little Andrea Mitchell is actually Mrs. Alan Greenspan.

General Electric, the world's largest military contractor, still controls the message over at the so-called "liberal" MSNBC. MSNBC's other owner is Comcast, the right wing media conglomerate that controls the radio waves in every major American Market. Over at CNN, Mossad Asset Wolf Blitzer, who rose from being an obscure little correspondent for an Israeli Newspaper to being CNN's Chief "Pentagon Correspondent" and then was elevated to supreme anchorman nearly as quickly, ensures that the pro-Israeli Message is always in the forefront, even as the Israeli's commit one murderous act after another upon helpless Palestinian Women and Children.

Every single "terrorism expert", General or former Government Official that is brought out to discuss the next great war is connected to a military contractor that stands to benefit from that war. Not surprisingly, the military option is the only option discussed and we are assured that, if only we do this or bomb that, then it will all be over and we can bring our kids home to a big victory parade. I'm 63 and it has never happened in my lifetime--with the exception of the phony parade that Bush Senior put on after his murderous little "First Gulf War".

Yesterday there was a coordinated action by all of the networks, which was clearly designed to support the idea that the generals want Obama to act and he just won't. The not-so-subtle message was that the generals were right and that the President's "inaction" was somehow out of line-since, after all, the generals have recommended more war. It was as if these people don't remember that the President, sleazy War Criminal that he is, is still the Commander in Chief.

The Generals in the Pentagon always want war. It is how they make rank. All of those young kids that just graduated from our various academies know that war experience is the only thing that will get them the advancement that they seek in the career that they have chosen. They are champing at the bit for more war.

Finally, this Sunday every NFL Game will begin with some Patriotic "Honor America" Display, which will include a missing man flyover, flags and fireworks, plenty of uniforms, wounded Vets and soon-to-be-wounded Vets. A giant American Flag will, once again, cover the fields and hundreds of stupid young kids will rush down to their "Military Career Center" right after the game. These are the ones that I pity most.

BaronVonAmericano , 10 October 2014 6:26pm
Let's be frank: powerful interests want war and subsequent puppet regimes in the half dozen nations that the neo-cons have been eyeing (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan). These interests surely include industries like banking, arms and oil-all of whom make a killing on any war, and would stand to do well with friendly governments who could finance more arms purchases and will never nationalize the oil.

So, the same PR campaign that started with Bush and Cheney continues-the exact same campaign. Obviously, they have to come back at the apple with variations, but any notion that the "media will get it someday" is willfully ignorant of the obvious fact that there is an agenda, and that agenda just won't stop until it's achieved-or revolution supplants the influence of these dark forces.

IanB52, 10 October 2014 6:57pm

The US media are indeed working overtime to get this war happening. When I'm down at the gym they always have CNN on (I can only imagine what FOX is like) which is a pretty much dyed in the wool yellow jingoist station at this point. With all the segments they dedicate to ISIS, a new war, the "imminent" terrorist threat, they seem to favor talking heads who support a full ground war and I have never, not once, heard anyone even speak about the mere possibility of peace. Not ever.

In media universe there is no alternative to endless war and an endless stream of hyped reasons for new killing.

I'd imagine that these media companies have a lot stock in and a cozy relationship with the defense contractors.

Damiano Iocovozzi, 10 October 2014 7:04pm

The media machine is a wholly owned subsidiary of the United States of Corporations. The media doesn't report on anything but relies on repeating manufactured crises, creating manufactured consent & discussing manufactured solutions. Follow the oil, the pipelines & the money. Both R's & D's are left & right cheeks of the same buttock. Thanks to Citizens United & even Hobby Lobby, a compliant Supreme Court, also owned by United States of Corporations, it's a done deal.

ID5868758 , 10 October 2014 10:20pm
Oh, the greatest propaganda arm the US government has right now, bar none, is the American media. It's disgraceful. we no longer have journalists speaking truth to power in my country, we have people practicing stenography, straight from the State Department to your favorite media outlet.

Let me give you one clear example. A year ago Barack Obama came very close to bombing Syria to kingdom come, the justification used was "Assad gassed his own people", referring to a sarin gas attack near Damascus. Well, it turns out that Assad did not initiate that attack, discovered by research from many sources including the prestigious MIT, it was a false flag attack planned by Turkey and carried out by some of Obama's own "moderate rebels".

But all that research from MIT, from the UN, and others, has been buried by the American media, and every single story on Syria and Assad that is written still refers to "Assad gassing his own people". It's true, it's despicable, and it's just one example of how our media lies and distorts and misrepresents the news every day.

[Mar 17, 2019] CIA Director Gina Haspel is Complicit with the Coup

Notable quotes:
"... Bill Preistap was the supervisor for Strzok and Lisa Page who also worked for John Carlin in the Department of Justice National Security Division under Sally Yates. Then Strozk and Page continued their CIA operation as they were appointed to Mueller's Special Council Investigation. ..."
"... Gina Haspel worked directly for the instigator of the Crossfire Hurricane operation – John Brennan. It would have been impossible for Haspel not to have known about the British spying from London since it was reported in UK newspaper on a weekly basis. She certainly was controlling Stefan Halper , Josef Mifsud , Stephan Roh , Alexander Downer, Andrew Wood, John McCain, Mark Warner, Adam Schiff and the other conspirators. ..."
"... Keep in mind Haspel was Michael Gaeta's handler. Gaeta handled the frame-up of George Papadopoulos. ..."
Mar 13, 2019 | patriots4truth.org

When we saw these tweets from George Papadopoulos, we thought we could help him out with some answers. If you can get them to George, please do.

Has congress figured out why Peter Strzok's former boss, Bill Priestap, was in London (of all places) the days before Alexander Downer was sent to spy on me and lie about our meeting? If not, time to get a move on it.

-- George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) March 12, 2019

Britain is in a political crisis. To push Brexit hard, declassifying the spy role of the David Cameron government on Trump and his team is paramount. Congress can not overlook the vital importance of London as the center of the coup attempt.

-- George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) March 12, 2019

What was I REALLY under surveillance for then? Explosive https://t.co/AVGlfwi5ld

-- George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) March 13, 2019

Our reply to George:

Bill Priestap was the Director of the FBI national security division and would have gone to the London CIA "office" for a meeting. There he would have met with Stefan Halper and Gina Haspel who was, at the time, head of the London CIA office and would have been in charge of the connections with Robert Hannigan (British GCHQ) and John Brennan who planned and executed the wiretapping of Trump Team at Trump Towers. Haspel's communications, when released, will reveal the full scope of the CIA led international attack on the 2016 presidential election.

Gina Haspel would have known about the coup. If she has not reported all of this to the President Trump, she is complicit in the coup attempt and is guilty of HIGH TREASON.

Keep in mind, Peter Strzok was a CIA Regional Director who John Brennan appointed as the head of Crossfire Hurricane, the CIA counter-intelligence operation to "take out" candidate Trump – later it became the Mueller Witch Hunt after 13 different iterations spanning:

  1. the CIA (John Brennan),
  2. FBI (James Comey, Andrew McCabe, James Baker, etc.),
  3. DoJ (Loretta Lynch, Sally Yates, Andrew Weisseman),
  4. State Department (Victoria Nuland, Jonathon Winer, Hilary Clinton, John Kerry),
  5. ODNS (James Clapper),
  6. NSA (Admiral Mike Rogers)
  7. and the White House senior staff (directly to Obama, Biden, Jarret, Rice, Powers, etc.).

Bill Preistap was the supervisor for Strzok and Lisa Page who also worked for John Carlin in the Department of Justice National Security Division under Sally Yates. Then Strozk and Page continued their CIA operation as they were appointed to Mueller's Special Council Investigation.

Gina Haspel worked directly for the instigator of the Crossfire Hurricane operation – John Brennan. It would have been impossible for Haspel not to have known about the British spying from London since it was reported in UK newspaper on a weekly basis. She certainly was controlling Stefan Halper , Josef Mifsud , Stephan Roh , Alexander Downer, Andrew Wood, John McCain, Mark Warner, Adam Schiff and the other conspirators.

All of these facts are well known and reported in open source documents. As the 53 testimonies of the House Intelligence Committee are released, we will see the house of cards all fall down and Gina Haspel will go with it.

Keep in mind Haspel was Michael Gaeta's handler. Gaeta handled the frame-up of George Papadopoulos.

[Mar 17, 2019] Mueller uses the same old false flag scams, just different packaging of his forensics-free findings

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It appears the FBI, CIA, and NSA have great difficulty in differentiating between Russians and Democrats posing as Russians. ..."
"... Maybe the VIPS should look into the murder of Seth Rich, the DNC staffer who had the security clearance required to access the DNC servers, and who was murdered in the same week as the emails were taken. In particular, they should ask why the police were told to stand down and close the murder case without further investigation. ..."
"... What a brilliant article, so logical, methodical & a forensic, scientific breakdown of the phony Russiagate project? And there's no doubt, this was a co-ordinated, determined Intelligence project to reverse the results of the 2016 Election by initiating a soft coup or Regime change op on a elected Leader, a very American Coup, something the American Intelligence Agencies specialise in, everywhere else, on a Global scale, too get Trump impeached & removed from the Whitehouse? ..."
"... Right. Since its purpose is to destroy Trump politically, the investigation should go on as long as Trump is in office. Alternatively, if at this point Trump has completely sold out, that would be another reason to stop the investigation. ..."
"... Nancy Pelosi's announcement two days ago that the Democrats will not seek impeachment for Trump suggests the emptiness of the Mueller investigation on the specific "collusion" issue. ..."
"... We know and Assange has confirmed Seth Rich, assassinated in D.C. for his deed, downloaded the emails and most likely passed them on to former British ambassador Craig Murray in a D.C. park for transport to Wikileaks. ..."
"... This so-called "Russiagate" narrative is an illustration of our "freedom of the press" failure in the US due to groupthink and self censorship. He who pays the piper is apt to call the tune. ..."
"... Barr, Sessions, every congressmen all the corporate MSM war profiteer mouth pieces. They all know that "Russia hacked the DNC" and "Russia meddled" is fabricated garbage. They don't care, because their chosen war beast corporate candidate couldn't beat Donald goofball Trump. So it has to be shown that the war beast only lost because of nefarious reasons. Because they're gonna run another war beast cut from the same cloth as Hillary in 2020. ..."
"... Mar 4, 2019 Tom Fitton: President Trump a 'Crime Victim' by Illegal Deep State DOJ & FBI Abuses: https://youtu.be/ixWMorWAC7c ..."
"... Trump is a willing player in this game. The anti-Russian Crusade was, quite simply, a stunningly reckless, short-sighted effort to overturn the 2016 election, removing Trump to install Hillary Clinton in office. ..."
"... Much ado about nothing. All the talk and chatter and media airplay about "Russian meddling" in the 2016 election only tells me that these liars think the American public is that stupid. ..."
"... Andrew Thomas I'm afraid that huge amounts of our History post 1947 is organized and propagandized disinformation. There is an incredible page that John Simpkin has organized over the years that specifically addresses individuals, click on a name and read about them. https://spartacus-educational.com/USAdisinformation.htm ..."
"... It's pretty astonishing that Mueller was more interested in Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi as credible sources about Wikileaks and the DNC release than Craig Murray! ..."
"... Yes, he has done his job. And his job was to bring his royal Orangeness to heel, and to make sure that detente and co-operation with Russia remained impossible. The forever war continues. Mission Accomplished. ..."
Mar 17, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

O Society , March 16, 2019 at 7:55 am

The Truth is Out There. I Want to Believe!

Same old scams, different packaging. That's New & Improved for you.

http://opensociet.org/2019/03/16/the-return-of-the-hidden-persuaders

Raymond Comeau , March 15, 2019 at 12:35 pm

I could not suffer through reading the whole article. This is mainly because I have watched the news daily about Mueller's Investigation and I sincerely believe that Mueller is Champion of the Democrats who are trying to depose President Donald Trump at any cost.

For what Mueller found any decent lawyer with a Degree and a few years of experience could have found what Mueller found for far far less money. Mueller only found common crimes AND NO COLLUSION BETWEEN PRESIDENT TRUMP AND PUTIN!

The Mueller Investigation should be given to an honest broker to review, and Mueller should be paid only what it would cost to produce the commonplace crimes Mueller, The Democrats, and CNN has tried to convince the people that indeed Trump COLLUDED with RUSSIA. Mueller is, a BIG NOTHING BURGER and THE DEMOCRATS AND CNN ARE MUELLER'S SINGING CANARYS! Mueller should be jailed.

Bogdan Miller , March 15, 2019 at 11:04 am

This article explains why the Mueller Report is already highly suspect. For another thing, we know that since before 2016, Democrats have been studying Russian Internet and hacking tactics, and posing as Russian Bots/Trolls on Facebook and other media outlets, all in an effort to harm President Trump.

It appears the FBI, CIA, and NSA have great difficulty in differentiating between Russians and Democrats posing as Russians.

B.J.M. Former Intelligence Analyst and Humint Collector

vinnieoh , March 15, 2019 at 8:17 am

Moving on: the US House yesterday voted UNANIMOUSLY (remember that word, so foreign these days to US governance?) to "urge" the new AG to release the complete Mueller report.

A non-binding resolution, but you would think that the Democrats can't see the diesel locomotive bearing down on their clown car, about to smash it to pieces. The new AG in turn says he will summarize the report and that is what we will see, not the entire report. And taxation without representation takes a new twist.

... ... ...

Raymond Comeau , March 15, 2019 at 12:38 pm

What else would you expect from two Political Parties who are really branches of the ONE Party which Represents DEEP STATE".

DWS , March 15, 2019 at 5:58 am

Maybe the VIPS should look into the murder of Seth Rich, the DNC staffer who had the security clearance required to access the DNC servers, and who was murdered in the same week as the emails were taken. In particular, they should ask why the police were told to stand down and close the murder case without further investigation.

Raymond Comeau , March 15, 2019 at 12:47 pm

EXACTLY! But, Deep State will not allow that. And, it would ruin the USA' plan to continue to invade more sovereign countries and steal their resources such as oil and Minerals. The people of the USA must be Ostriches or are so terrified that they accept anything their Criminal Governments tell them.

Eventually, the chickens will come home to roost and perhaps the USA voters will ROAST when the crimes of the USA sink the whole country. It is time for a few Brave Men and Women to find their backbones and throw out the warmongers and their leading Oligarchs!

KiwiAntz , March 14, 2019 at 6:44 pm

What a brilliant article, so logical, methodical & a forensic, scientific breakdown of the phony Russiagate project? And there's no doubt, this was a co-ordinated, determined Intelligence project to reverse the results of the 2016 Election by initiating a soft coup or Regime change op on a elected Leader, a very American Coup, something the American Intelligence Agencies specialise in, everywhere else, on a Global scale, too get Trump impeached & removed from the Whitehouse?

If you can't get him out via a Election, try & try again, like Maduro in Venezuela, to forcibly remove the targeted person by setting him up with fake, false accusations & fabricated evidence? How very predictable & how very American of Mueller & the Democratic Party. Absolute American Corruption, corrupts absolutely?

Brian Murphy , March 15, 2019 at 10:33 am

Right. Since its purpose is to destroy Trump politically, the investigation should go on as long as Trump is in office. Alternatively, if at this point Trump has completely sold out, that would be another reason to stop the investigation.

If the investigation wraps up and finds nothing, that means Trump has already completely sold out. If the investigation continues, it means someone important still thinks Trump retains some vestige of his balls.

DH Fabian , March 14, 2019 at 1:19 pm

By last June or July the Mueller investigation has resulted in roughly 150 indictments for perjury/financial crimes, and there was a handful of convictions to date. The report did not support the Clinton wing's anti-Russian allegations about the 2016 election, and was largely brushed aside by media. Mueller was then reportedly sent back in to "find something." presumably to support the anti-Russian claims.

mike k , March 14, 2019 at 12:57 pm

From the beginning of the Russia did it story, right after Trump's electoral victory, it was apparent that this was a fraud. The democratic party however has locked onto this preposterous story, and they will go to their graves denying this was a scam to deny their presidential defeat, and somehow reverse the result of Trump's election. My sincere hope is that this blatant lie will be an albatross around the party's neck, that will carry them down into oblivion. They have betrayed those of us who supported them for so many years. They are in many ways now worse than the republican scum they seek to replace.

DH Fabian , March 14, 2019 at 1:26 pm

Trump is almost certain to be re-elected in 2020, and we'll go through this all over again.

Tom , March 14, 2019 at 12:00 pm

The very fact that the FBI never had access to the servers and took the word of a private company that had a history of being anti-Russian is enough to throw the entire ruse out.

LJ , March 14, 2019 at 2:39 pm

Agreed!!!! and don't forget the FBI/Comey gave Hillary and her Campaign a head's up before they moved to seize the evidence. . So too, Comey said he stopped the Investigation , thereby rendering judgement of innocence, even though by his own words 'gross negligence' had a occurred (which is normally considered grounds for prosecution). In doing so he exceeded the FBI's investigative mandate. He rationalized that decision was appropriate because of the appearance of impropriety that resulted from Attorney General Lynch having a private meeting on a plane on a runway with Bill and Hillary . Where was the logic in that. Who called the meeting? All were Lawyers who had served as President, Senator, Attorney General and knew that the meeting was absolutely inappropriate. . Comey should be prosecuted if they want to prosecute anyone else because of this CRAP. PS Trump is an idiot. Uhinfortunately he is just a symptom of the disease at this point. Look at the cover of Rolling Stone magazine , carry a barf bag.

Jane Christ , March 14, 2019 at 6:51 pm

Exactly. This throws doubt on the ability of the FBI to work independently. They are working for those who want to cover -up the Hillary mess . She evidently has sufficient funds to pay them off. I am disgusted with the level of corruption.

hetro , March 14, 2019 at 10:50 am

Nancy Pelosi's announcement two days ago that the Democrats will not seek impeachment for Trump suggests the emptiness of the Mueller investigation on the specific "collusion" issue. If there were something hot and lingering and about to emerge, this decision is highly unlikely, especially with the reasoning she gave at "so as not to divide the American people." Dividing the people hasn't been of much concern throughout this bogus witch hunt on Trump, which has added to his incompetence in leavening a growing hysteria and confusion in this country. If there is something, anything at all, in the Mueller report to support the collusion theory, Pelosi would I'm sure gleefully trot it out to get a lesser candidate like Pence as opposition for 2020.

James Clooney , March 14, 2019 at 11:17 am

We know and Assange has confirmed Seth Rich, assassinated in D.C. for his deed, downloaded the emails and most likely passed them on to former British ambassador Craig Murray in a D.C. park for transport to Wikileaks.

We must also honor Shawn Lucas assassinated for serving DNC with a litigation notice exposing the DNC conspiracy against Sanders.

hetro , March 14, 2019 at 3:18 pm

Where has Assange confirmed this? Assange's long-standing position is NOT to reveal his sources. I believe he has continued to honor this position.

Skip Scott , March 15, 2019 at 7:15 am

It has merely been insinuated by the offering of a reward for info on Seth's murder. In one breath he says wikileaks will never divulge a source, and in the next he offers a $20k reward saying that sources take tremendous risk. Doesn't take much of a logical leap to connect A to B.

DH Fabian , March 14, 2019 at 1:30 pm

Are you aware that Democrats split apart their 0wn voting base in the 1990s, middle class vs. poor? The Obama years merely confirmed that this split is permanent. This is particularly relevant for Democrats, as their voting base had long consisted of the poor and middle class, for the common good. Ignoring this deep split hasn't made it go away.

hetro , March 14, 2019 at 3:24 pm

Even more important is how the Democrats have sold out to an Establishment view favoring neocon theory, since at least Bill Clinton. Pelosi's recent behavior with Ilhan Omar confirms this and the split you're talking about. My point is it is distinctly odd that Pelosi is discouraging impeachment on "dividing the Party" (already divided, of course, as you say), whereas the Russia-gate fantasy was so hot not that long ago. Again it points to a cynical opportunism and manipulation of the electorate. Both parties are a sad excuse to represent ordinary people's interests.

Skip Scott , March 15, 2019 at 7:21 am

She said "dividing the country", not the party. I think she may have concerns over Trump's heavily armed base. That said, the statement may have been a ruse. There are plenty of Republicans that would cross the line in favor of impeachment with the right "conclusions" by Mueller. Pelosi may be setting up for a "bombshell" conclusion by Mueller. One must never forget that we are watching theater, and that Trump was a "mistake" to be controlled or eliminated.

Cindy Haddix , March 14, 2019 at 8:04 am

Mueller should be ashamed that he has made President Trump his main concern!! If all this investigation would stop he could save America millions!!! He needs to quit this witch-hunt and worry about things that really need to be handled!!! If the democrats and Trump haters would stop pushing senseless lies hopefully this would stop ? It's so disgusting that his democrat friend was never really investigated ? stop the witch-hunt and move forward!!!!

torture this , March 14, 2019 at 7:29 am

According to this letter, mistakes might have been made on Rachel Maddow's show. I can't wait to read how she responds. I'd watch her show, myself except that it has the same effect on me as ipecac.

Zhu , March 14, 2019 at 3:37 am

People will cling to "Putin made Trump President!!!" much as many cling "Obama's a Kenyan Muslim! Not a real American!!!". Both nut theories are emotionally satisfying, no matter what the historical facts are. Many Americans just can't admit their mistakes and blaming a scapegoat is a way out.

O Society , March 14, 2019 at 2:03 am

Thank you VIPS for organizing this legit dissent consisting of experts in the field of intelligence and computer forensics.

This so-called "Russiagate" narrative is an illustration of our "freedom of the press" failure in the US due to groupthink and self censorship. He who pays the piper is apt to call the tune.

It is astounding how little skepticism and scientifically-informed reasoning goes on in our media. These folks show themselves to be native advertising rather than authentic journalists at every turn.

DH Fabian , March 14, 2019 at 1:33 pm

But it has been Democrats and the media that market to middle class Dems, who persist in trying to sell the Russian Tale. They excel at ignoring the evidence that utterly contradicts their claims.

O Society , March 15, 2019 at 3:50 pm

Oh, we're well beyond your "Blame the middle class Dems" stage.

The WINNING!!! team sports bullshit drowns the entire country now the latrine's sprung a leak. People pretend to live in bubbles made of blue or red quite like the Three Little Pigs, isn't it? Except instead of a house made of bricks saving the day for the littlepiggies, what we've got here is a purple puddle of piss.

Everyone's more than glad to project all our problems on "THEM" though, aren't we?

Meanwhile, the White House smells like a urinal not washed since the 1950s and simpletons still get their rocks off arguing about whether Mickey Mouse can beat up Ronald McDonald.

T'would be comic except what's so tragic is the desperate need Americans have to believe, oh just believe! in something. Never mind the sound of the jackhammer on your skull dear, there's an app for that or is it a pill?

I don't know, don't ask me, I'm busy watching TV. Have a cheeto.

https://opensociet.org/2018/12/18/the-disneyfication-of-america/

Sam F , March 13, 2019 at 6:45 pm

Very good analysis clearly stated, especially adding the FAT timestamps to the transmission speeds.

Minor corrections: "The emails were copied from the network" should be "from the much faster local network" because this is to Contradict the notion that they were copied over the internet network, which most readers will equate with "network." Also "reportedin" should be "reported in."

Michael , March 13, 2019 at 6:25 pm

It is likely that New Knowledge was actually "the Russians", possibly working in concert with Crowdstrike. Once an intelligence agency gets away with something like pretending to be Russian hackers and bots, they tend to re-use their model; it is too tempting to discard an effective model after a one-off accomplishment. New Knowledge was caught interfering/ determining the outcome in the Alabama Senate race on the side of Democrat Doug Jones, and claimed they were merely trying to mimic Russian methods to see if they worked (they did; not sure of their punishment?). Occam's razor would suggest that New Knowledge would be competent to mimic/ pretend to be "Russians" after the fact of wikileaks' publication of emails. New Knowledge has employees from the NSA and State department sympathetic to/ working with(?) Hillary, and were the "outside" agency hired to evaluate and report on the "Russian" hacking of the DNC emails/ servers.

DH Fabian , March 13, 2019 at 5:48 pm

Mueller released report last summer, which resulted in (the last I checked) roughly 150 indictments, a handful of convictions to date, all for perjury/financial (not political) crimes. This wasn't kept secret. It simply wasn't what Democrats wanted to hear, so although it was mentioned in some lib media (which overwhelmingly supported neoliberal Hillary Clinton), it was essentially swept under the carpet.

Billy , March 13, 2019 at 11:11 pm

Barr, Sessions, every congressmen all the corporate MSM war profiteer mouth pieces. They all know that "Russia hacked the DNC" and "Russia meddled" is fabricated garbage. They don't care, because their chosen war beast corporate candidate couldn't beat Donald goofball Trump. So it has to be shown that the war beast only lost because of nefarious reasons. Because they're gonna run another war beast cut from the same cloth as Hillary in 2020.

Realist , March 14, 2019 at 3:22 am

You betcha. Moreover, who but the Russians do these idiots have left to blame? Everybody else is now off limits due to political correctness. Sigh Those Catholics, Jews, "ethnics" and sundry "deviants" used to be such reliable scapegoats, to say nothing of the "undeveloped" world. As Clapper "authoritatively" says, only this vile lineage still carries the genes for the most extremes of human perfidy. Squirrels in your attic? It must be the damned Russkies! The bastards impudently tried to copy our democracy, economic system and free press and only besmirched those institutions, ruining all of Hillary's glorious plans for a worldwide benevolent dictatorship. All this might be humorous if it weren't so funny.

And those Chinese better not get to thinking they are somehow our equals just because all their trillions invested in U.S. Treasury bonds have paid for all our wars of choice and MIC boondoggles since before the turn of the century. Unless they start delivering Trump some "free stuff" the big man is gonna cut off their water. No more affordable manufactured goods for the American public! So there!

As to the article: impeccable research and analysis by the VIPS crew yet again. They've proven to me that, to a near certainty, the Easter Bunny is not likely to exist. Mueller won't read it. Clapper will still prance around a free man, as will Brennan. The Democrats won't care, that is until November of 2020. And Hillary will continue to skate, unhindered in larding up the Clinton Foundation to purposes one can only imagine.

Joe Tedesky , March 14, 2019 at 10:02 pm

Realist,

I have posted this article 'the Russia they Lost' before and from time to time but once again it seems appropriate to add this link to expound upon for what you've been saying. It's an article written by a Russian who in they're youth growing up in the USSR dreamed of living the American lifestyle if Russia were to ever ditch communism. But . Starting with Kosovo this Russian's youthful dream turned nightmarishly ugly and, as time went by with more and yet even more USA aggression this Russian author loss his admiration and desire for all things American to be proudly envied. This is a story where USA hard power destroyed any hope of American soft power for world unity. But hey that unity business was never part of the plan anyway.

https://slavyangrad.org/2014/09/24/the-russia-they-lost/

Realist , March 15, 2019 at 10:38 pm

right you are, joe. if america was smart rather than arrogant, it would have cooperated with china and russia to see the belt and road initiative succeed by perhaps building a bridge or tunnel from siberia to alaska, and by building its own fleet of icebreakers to open up its part of the northwest passage. but no, it only wants to sabotage what others propose. that's not being a leader, it's being a dick.

i'm gonna have to go on the disabled list here until the sudden neurological problem with my right hand clears up–it's like paralysed. too difficult to do this one-handed using hunt and peck. at least the problem was not in the old bean, according to the scans. carry on, sir.

Brian James , March 13, 2019 at 5:04 pm

Mar 4, 2019 Tom Fitton: President Trump a 'Crime Victim' by Illegal Deep State DOJ & FBI Abuses: https://youtu.be/ixWMorWAC7c

DH Fabian , March 13, 2019 at 5:55 pm

Trump is a willing player in this game. The anti-Russian Crusade was, quite simply, a stunningly reckless, short-sighted effort to overturn the 2016 election, removing Trump to install Hillary Clinton in office. Trump and the Republicans continue to win by default, as Democrats only drive more voters away.

Howard , March 13, 2019 at 4:36 pm

Thank you Ray McGovern and the Other 17 VIPS C0-Signers of your National Security Essay for Truth. Along with Craig Murray and Seymour Hirsch, former Sam Adams Award winners for "shining light into dark places", you are national resources for objectivity in critical survival information matters for our country. It is more than a pity that our mainstream media are so beholden to their corporate task masters that they cannot depart from the company line for fear of losing their livelihoods, and in the process we risk losing life on the planet because of unconstrained nuclear war on the part of the two main adversaries facing off in an atmosphere of fear and mistrust. Let me speak plainly. THEY SHOULD BE TALKING TO YOU AND NOT THE VESTED INTERESTS' MOUTHPIECES. Thank you for your continued leadership!

James Clooney , March 14, 2019 at 11:28 am

Roger Ailes founder of FOX news died, "falling down stairs" within a week of FOX news exposing to the world that the assassinated Seth Rich downloaded the DNC emails.

DH Fabian , March 13, 2019 at 6:03 pm

Google the Mueller investigation report from last June or July. When it was released, the public response was like a deflated balloon. It did not support the "Russian collusion" allegations -- the only thing Democrats still had left to sell. The report resulted in roughly 150 indictments for perjury/financial crimes (not political), and a handful of convictions to date -- none of which had anything to do with the election results.

Hank , March 13, 2019 at 6:19 pm

Much ado about nothing. All the talk and chatter and media airplay about "Russian meddling" in the 2016 election only tells me that these liars think the American public is that stupid. They are probably right, but the REAL reason that Hillary lost is because there ARE enough informed people now in this nation who are quite aware of the Clinton's sordid history where scandals seem to follow every where they go, but indictments and/or investigations don't. There IS an internet nowadays with lots of FACTUAL DOCUMENTED information. That's a lot more than I can say about the mainstream corporate-controlled media!

I know this won't ever happen, but an HONEST investigation into the Democratic Party and their actions during the 2016 election would make ANY collusion with ANY nation look like a mole hill next to a mountain! One of the problems with living in this nation is if you are truly informed and make an effort 24/7 to be that way by doing your own research, you more-than-likely can be considered an "island in a sea of ignorance".

Tom , March 14, 2019 at 12:13 pm

We know that the FBI never had access to the servers and a private company was allowed to handle the evidence. Wasnt it a crime scene? The evidence was tampered with And we will never know what was on the servers.

Mark McCarty , March 13, 2019 at 4:10 pm

As a complement to this excellent analysis, I would like to make 2 further points:

The Mueller indictment of Russian Intelligence for hacking the DNC and transferring their booty to Wikileaks is absurd on its face for this reason: Assange announced on June 12th the impending release of Hillary-related emails. Yet the indictment claims that Guccifer 2.0 did not succeed in transferring the DNC emails to Wikileaks until the time period of July 14-18th – after which they were released online on July 22nd. Are we to suppose that Assange, a publisher of impeccable integrity, publicly announced the publication of emails he had not yet seen, and which he was obtaining from a source of murky provenance? And are we further to suppose that Wikileaks could have processed 20K emails and 20K attachments to insure their genuineness in a period of only several days? As you will recall, Wikileaks subsequently took a number of weeks to process the Podesta emails they released in October.

And another peculiarity merits attention. Assange did not state on June 12th that he was releasing DNC emails – and yet Crowdstrike and the Guccifer 2.0 personna evidently knew that this was in store. A likely resolution of this conundrum is that US intelligence had been monitoring all communications to Wikileaks, and had informed the DNC that their hacked emails had been offered to Wikileaks. A further reasonable prospect is that US intelligence subsequently unmasked the leaker to the DNC; as Assange has strongly hinted, this likely was Seth Rich. This could explain Rich's subsequent murder, as Rich would have been in a position to unmask the Guccifer 2.0 hoax and the entire Russian hacking narrative.

https://medium.com/@markfmccarty/muellers-new-indictment-do-the-feds-take-us-for-idiots-5406ef955406

https://medium.com/@markfmccarty/how-did-crowdstrike-guccifer-2-0-know-that-wikileaks-was-planning-to-release-dnc-emails-42e6db334053

Sam F , March 13, 2019 at 7:06 pm

Curious that Assange has Not explicitly stated that the leaker was Seth Rich, if it was, as this would take pressure from himself and incriminate the DNC in the murder of Rich. Perhaps he doesn't know, and has the honor not to take the opportunity, or perhaps he knows that it was not Rich.

James Clooney , March 14, 2019 at 11:40 am

View the Dutch TV interview with Asssange and there is another interview available on youtube in which Assange DOES subtly confirmed it was Seth Rich.

Assange posted a $10,000 reward for Seth Rich's murders capture.

Abby , March 13, 2019 at 10:11 pm

Another mistaken issue with the "Russia hacked the DNC computers on Trump's command" is that he never asked Russia to do that. His words were, "Russia if you 'find' Hillary's missing emails let us know." He said that after she advised congress that she wouldn't be turning in all of the emails they asked for because she deleted 30,000 of them and said that they were personal.

But if Mueller or the FBI wants to look at all of them they can find them at the NYC FBI office because they are on Weiner's laptop. Why? Because Hillary's aid Huma Abedin, Weiner's wife sent them to it. Just another security risk that Hillary had because of her private email server. This is why Comey had to tell congress that more of them had been found 11 days before the election. If Comey hadn't done that then the FBI would have.

But did Comey or McCabe look at her emails there to see if any of them were classified? No they did not do that. And today we find out that Lisa Page told congress that it was Obama's decision not to charge Hillary for being grossly negligent on using her private email server. This has been known by congress for many months and now we know that the fix was always in for her to get off.

robert e williamson jr , March 13, 2019 at 3:26 pm

I want to thank you folks at VIPS. Like I have been saying for years now the relationship between CIA, NSA and DOJ is an incestuous one at best. A perverse corrupted bond to control the masses. A large group of religious fanatics who want things "ONE WAY". They are the facilitators for the rogue government known as the "DEEP STATE"!

Just ask billy barr.

More truth is a very good thing. I believe DOJ is supporting the intelligence community because of blackmail. They can't come clean because they all risk doing lots of time if a new judicial mechanism replaces them. We are in big trouble here.

Apparently the rule of law is not!

You folks that keep claiming we live in the post truth era! Get off me. Demand the truth and nothing else. Best be getting ready for the fight of your lives. The truth is you have to look yourself in the mirror every morning, deny that truth. The claim you are living in the post truth era is an admission your life is a lie. Now grab a hold of yourself pick a dogdamned side and stand for something,.

Thank You VIPS!

Joe Tedesky , March 13, 2019 at 2:58 pm

Hats off to the VIP's who have investigated this Russian hacking that wasn't a hacking for without them what would we news junkies have otherwise to lift open the hood of Mueller's never ending Russia-gate investigation. Although the one thing this Russia-gate nonsense has accomplished is it has destroyed with our freedom of speech when it comes to how we citizens gather our news. Much like everything else that has been done during these post 9/11 years of continual wars our civil rights have been marginalized down to zero or, a bit above if that's even still an argument to be made for the sake of numbers.

Watching the Manafort sentencing is quite interesting for the fact that Manafort didn't conclude in as much as he played fast and loose with his income. In fact maybe Manafort's case should have been prosecuted by the State Department or, how about the IRS? Also wouldn't it be worth investigating other Geopolitical Rain Makers like Manafort for similar crimes of financial wrongdoing? I mean is it possible Manafort is or was the only one of his type to do such dishonest things? In any case Manafort wasn't charged with concluding with any Russians in regard to the 2016 presidential election and, with that we all fall down.

I guess the best thing (not) that came out of this Russia-gate silliness is Rachel Maddow's tv ratings zoomed upwards. But I hate to tell you that the only ones buying what Ms Maddow is selling are the died in the wool Hillary supporters along with the chicken-hawks who rally to the MIC lobby for more war. It's all a game and yet there are many of us who just don't wish to play it but still we must because no one will listen to the sanity that gets ignored keep up the good work VIP's some of us are listening.

Andrew Thomas , March 13, 2019 at 12:42 pm

The article did not mention something called to my attention for the first time by one of the outstanding members of your commentariat just a couple of days ago- that Ambassador Murray stayed publicly, over two years ago, that he had been given the thumb drive by a go-between in D.C. and had somehow gotten it to Wikileaks. And, that he has NEVER BEEN INTERVIEWED by Mueller &Company. I was blown away by this, and found the original articles just by googling Murray. The excuse given is that Murray "lacks credibility ", or some such, because of his prior relationship with Assange and/or Wikileaks. This is so ludicrous I can't even get my head around it. And now, you have given me a new detail-the meeting with Pompeo, and the complete lack of follow-up thereafter. Here all this time I thought I was the most cynical SOB who existed, and now I feel as naive as when I was 13 and believed what Dean Rusk was saying like it was holy writ. I am in your debt.

Bob Van Noy , March 13, 2019 at 2:33 pm

Andrew Thomas I'm afraid that huge amounts of our History post 1947 is organized and propagandized disinformation. There is an incredible page that John Simpkin has organized over the years that specifically addresses individuals, click on a name and read about them. https://spartacus-educational.com/USAdisinformation.htm

Mark McCarty , March 13, 2019 at 4:18 pm

A small correction: the Daily Mail article regarding Murray claimed that Murray was given a thumbdrive which he subsequently carried back to Wikileaks. On his blog, Murray subsequently disputed this part of the story, indicating that, while he had met with a leaker or confederate of a leaker in Washington DC, the Podesta emails were already in possession of Wikileaks at the time. Murray refused to clarify the reason for his meeting with this source, but he is adamant in maintaining that the DNC and Podesta emails were leaked, not hacked.

And it is indeed ludicrous that Mueller, given the mandate to investigate the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC and Podesta, has never attempted to question either Assange or Murray. That in itself is enough for us to conclude that the Mueller investigation is a complete sham.

Ian Brown , March 13, 2019 at 4:43 pm

It's pretty astonishing that Mueller was more interested in Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi as credible sources about Wikileaks and the DNC release than Craig Murray!

LJ , March 13, 2019 at 12:29 pm

A guy comes in with a pedigree like that, """ former FBI head """ to examine and validate if possible an FBI sting manufactured off a phony FISA indictment based on the Steele Report, It immediately reminded me of the 9-11 Commission with Thomas Kean, former Board member of the National Endowment for Democracy, being appointed by GW Bush the Simple to head an investigation that he had previously said he did not want to authorize( and of course bi partisan yes man Lee Hamilton as #2, lest we forget) . Really this should be seen as another low point in our Democracy. Uncle Sam is the Limbo Man, How low can you go?

After Bill and Hillary and Monica and Paula Jones and Blue Dresses well, Golden Showers in a Moscow luxury hotel, I guess that make it just salacious enough.

Mueller looks just like what he is. He has that same phony self important air as Comey . In 2 years this will be forgotten.. I do not think this hurts Trumps chances at re-election as much as the Democrats are hurting themselves. This has already gone on way too long.

Drew Hunkins , March 13, 2019 at 11:59 am

Mueller has nothing and he well knows it. He was willingly roped into this whole pathetic charade and he's left grasping for anything remotely tied to Trump campaign officials and Russians.

Even the most tenuous connections and weak relationships are splashed across the mass media in breathless headlines. Meanwhile, NONE of the supposed skulduggery unearthed by Mueller has anything to do with the Kremlin "hacking" the election to favor Trump, which was the entire raison d'etre behind Rosenstein, Brennan, Podesta and Mueller's crusade on behalf of the deplorable DNC and Washington militarist-imperialists. It will be fascinating to witness how Mueller and his crew ultimately extricate themselves from this giant fraudulent edifice of deceit. Will they even be able to save the most rudimentary amount of face?

So sickening to see the manner in which many DNC sycophants obsequiously genuflect to their godlike Mueller. A damn prosecutor who was likely in bed with the Winter Hill Gang.

Jack , March 13, 2019 at 12:21 pm

You have failed. An investigation is just that, a finding of the facts. What would Mueller have to extricate himself from? If nothing is found, he has still done his job. You are a divisive idiot.

Skip Scott , March 13, 2019 at 1:13 pm

Yes, he has done his job. And his job was to bring his royal Orangeness to heel, and to make sure that detente and co-operation with Russia remained impossible. The forever war continues. Mission Accomplished.

Drew Hunkins , March 13, 2019 at 2:12 pm

@Jack,
Keep running cover for an out of control prosecutor, who, if he had any integrity, would have hit the bully pulpit mos ago declaring there's nothing of substance to one of the most potentially dangerous accusations in world history: the Kremlin hacking the election. Last I checked it puts two nuclear nation-states on the brink of potential war. And you call me divisive? Mueller's now a willing accomplice to this entire McCarthyite smear and disinformation campaign. It's all so pathetic that folks such as yourself try and mislead and feed half-truths to the people.

You're failing Jack, in more ways than you know.

Gregory Herr , March 13, 2019 at 9:13 pm

https://www.kcrw.com/culture/shows/scheer-intelligence/liberals-are-digging-their-own-grave-with-russiagate-2019-03-08

Drew, you might enjoy this discussion Robert Scheer has with Stephen Cohen and Katrina vanden Heuvel.

Realist , March 15, 2019 at 3:38 am

Moreover, as the Saker pointed out in his most recent column in the Unz Review, the entire Deep State conspiracy, in an ad hoc alliance with the embarrassed and embarrassing Democrats, have made an absolute sham of due process in their blatant witch hunt to bag the president. This reached an apex when his personal lawyer, Mr. Cohen, was trotted out before congress to violate Trump's confidentiality in every mortifying way he could even vaguely reconstruct. The man was expected to say anything to mitigate the anticipated tortures to come in the course of this modern day inquisition by our latter day Torquemada. To his credit though, even with his ass in a sling, he could simply not confabulate the smoking gun evidence for the alleged Russian collusion that this whole farce was built around.

Tom , March 14, 2019 at 12:30 pm

Mueller stood with Bush as he lied the world into war based on lies and illegally spied on America and tortured some folks.

George Collins , March 13, 2019 at 2:02 pm

QED: as to the nexus with the Winter Hill gang wasn't there litigation involving the Boston FBI, condonation of murder by the FBI and damages awarded to or on behalf of convicted parties that the FBI had reason to know were innocent? The malfeasance reportedly occurred during Mueller time. Further on the sanctified diligence of Mr. Mueller can be gleaned from the reports of Coleen Rowley, former FBI attorney stationed in Milwaukee??? when the DC FBI office was ignoring warnings sent about 9/11. See also Sibel Edmonds who knew to much and was court order muzzled about FBI mis/malfeasance in the aftermath of 9/11.

I'd say it's game, set, match VIPS and a pox on Clapper and the complicit intelligence folk complicit in the nuclear loaded Russia-gate fibs.

Kiers , March 13, 2019 at 11:47 am

How can we expect the DNC to "hand it " to Trumpf, when, behind the scenes, THEY ARE ONE PARTY. They are throwing faux-scary pillow bombs at each other because they are both complicit in a long chain of corruptions. Business as usual for the "principled" two party system! Democracy! Through the gauze of corporate media! You must be joking!

Skip Scott , March 13, 2019 at 11:28 am

"We believe that there are enough people of integrity in the Department of Justice to prevent the outright manufacture or distortion of "evidence," particularly if they become aware that experienced scientists have completed independent forensic study that yield very different conclusions."

I wish I shared this belief. However, as with Nancy Pelosi's recent statement regarding pursuing impeachment, I smell a rat. I believe with the help of what the late Robert Parry called "the Mighty Wurlitzer", Mueller is going to use coerced false testimony and fabricated forensics to drop a bombshell the size of 911. I think Nancy's statement was just a feint before throwing the knockout punch.

If reason ruled the day, we should have nothing to worry about. But considering all the perfidy that the so-called "Intelligence" Agencies and their MSM lackeys get away with daily, I think we are in for more theater; and I think VIPS will receive a cold shoulder outside of venues like CN.

I pray to God I'm wrong.

Sam F , March 13, 2019 at 7:32 pm

My extensive experience with DOJ and the federal judiciary establishes that at least 98% of them are dedicated career liars, engaged in organized crime to serve political gangs, and make only a fanatical pretense of patriotism or legality. They are loyal to money alone, deeply cynical and opposed to the US Constitution and laws, with no credibility at all beyond any real evidence.

Eric32 , March 14, 2019 at 4:24 pm

As near I can see, Federal Govt. careers at the higher levels depend on having dirt on other players, and helping, not hurting, the money/power schemes of the players above you.

The Clintons (through their foundation) apparently have a lot of corruption dirt on CIA, FBI etc. top players, some of whom somehow became multi-millionaires during their civil service careers.

Trump, who was only running for President as a name brand marketing ploy with little desire to actually win, apparently came into the Presidency with no dirt arsenal and little idea of where to go from there.

Bob Van Noy , March 13, 2019 at 11:09 am

I remember reading with dismay how Russians were propagandized by the Soviet Press Management only to find out later the depth of disbelief within the Russian population itself. We now know what that feels like. The good part of this disastrous scenario for America is that for careful readers, disinformation becomes revelatory. For instance, if one reads an editorial that refers to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, or continually refers to Russian interference in the last Presidential election, then one can immediately dismiss the article and question the motivation for the presentation. Of course the problem is how to establish truth in reporting

Jeff Harrison , March 13, 2019 at 10:41 am

Thank you, VIPs. Hopefully, you don't expect this to make a difference. The US has moved into a post truth, post reality existence best characterized by Karl Rove's declaration: "we're an empire now, when we act, we create our own reality." What Mr. Rove in his arrogance fails to appreciate is that it is his reality but not anyone else's. Thus Pompous can claim that Guaido is the democratic leader in Venezuela even though he's never been elected .

Gary Weglarz , March 13, 2019 at 10:21 am

Thank you. The next time one of my friends or family give me that glazed over stare and utters anymore of the "but, RUSSIA" nonsense I will refer them directly to this article. Your collective work and ethical stand on this matter is deeply appreciated by anyone who values the truth.

Russiagate stands with past government propaganda operations that were simply made up out of thin air: i.e. Kuwaiti incubator babies, WMD's, Gaddafi's viagra fueled rape camps, Assad can't sleep at night unless he's gassing his own people, to the latest, "Maduro can't sleep at night unless he's starving his own people."

The complete and utter amorality of the deep state remains on display for all to see with "Russiagate," which is as fact-free a propaganda campaign as any of those just mentioned.

Marc , March 13, 2019 at 10:13 am

I am a computer naif, so I am prepared to accept the VIPS analysis about FAT and transfer rates. However, the presentation here leaves me with several questions. First, do I understand correctly that the FAT rounding to even numbers is introduced by the thumb drive? And if so, does the FAT analysis show only that the DNC data passed through a thumb drive? That is, does the analysis distinguish whether the DNC data were directly transferred to a thumb drive, or whether the data were hacked and then transferred to a thumb drive, eg, to give a copy to Wikileaks? Second, although the transatlantic transfer rate is too slow to fit some time stamps, is it possible that the data were hacked onto a local computer that was under the control of some faraway agent?

Jeff Harrison , March 13, 2019 at 11:12 am

Not quite. FAT is the crappy storage system developed by Microsoft (and not used by UNIX). The metadata associated with any file gets rewritten when it gets moved. If that movement is to a storage device that uses FAT, the timestamp on the file will end in an even number. If it were moved to a unix server (and most of the major servers run Unix) it would be in the UFS (unix file system) and it would be the actual time from the system clock. Every storage device has a utility that tells it where to write the data and what to write. Since it's writing to a storage device using FAT, it'll round the numbers. To get to your real question, yes, you could hack and then transfer the data to a thumb drive but if you did that the dates wouldn't line up.

Skip Scott , March 14, 2019 at 8:05 am

Jeff-

Which dates wouldn't line up? Is there a history of metadata available, or just metadata for the most recent move?

David G , March 13, 2019 at 12:22 pm

Marc asks: "[D]oes the analysis distinguish whether the DNC data were directly transferred to a thumb drive, or whether the data were hacked and then transferred to a thumb drive, eg, to give a copy to Wikileaks?"

I asked that question in comments under a previous CN piece; other people have asked that question elsewhere.

To my knowledge, it hasn't been addressed directly by the VIPS, and I think they should do so. (If they already have, someone please enlighten me.)

Skip Scott , March 13, 2019 at 1:07 pm

I am no computer wiz, but Binney has repeatedly made the point that the NSA scoops up everything. If there had been a hack, they'd know it, and they wouldn't only have had "moderate" confidence in the Jan. assessment. I believe that although farfetched, an argument could be made that a Russian spy got into the DNC, loaded a thumb drive, and gave it to Craig Murray.

David G , March 13, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Respectfully, that's a separate point, which may or may not raise issues of its own.

But I think the question Marc posed stands.

Skip Scott , March 14, 2019 at 7:59 am

Hi David-

I don't see how it's separate. If the NSA scoops up everything, they'd have solid evidence of the hack, and wouldn't have only had "moderate" confidence, which Bill Binney says is equivalent to them saying "we don't have squat". They wouldn't even have needed Mueller at all, except to possibly build a "parallel case" due to classification issues. Also, the FBI not demanding direct access to the DNC server tells you something is fishy. They could easily have gotten a warrant to examine the server, but chose not to. They also purposely refuse to get testimony from Craig Murray and Julian Assange, which rings alarm bells on its own.

As for the technical aspect of Marc's question, I agree that I'd like to see Bill Binney directly answer it.

[Mar 17, 2019] VIPS- Mueller's Forensics-Free Findings

Highly recommended!
Mar 13, 2019 | Consortiumnews

The final Mueller report should be graded "incomplete," says VIPS, whose forensic work proves the speciousness of the story that DNC emails published by WikiLeaks came from Russian hacking.

MEMORANDUM FOR: The Attorney General

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Mueller's Forensics-Free Findings

Executive Summary

Media reports are predicting that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is about to give you the findings of his probe into any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump. If Mueller gives you his "completed" report anytime soon, it should be graded "incomplete."

Major deficiencies include depending on a DNC-hired cybersecurity company for forensics and failure to consult with those who have done original forensic work, including us and the independent forensic investigators with whom we have examined the data. We stand ready to help.

We veteran intelligence professionals (VIPS) have done enough detailed forensic work to prove the speciousness of the prevailing story that the DNC emails published by WikiLeaks came from Russian hacking. Given the paucity of evidence to support that story, we believe Mueller may choose to finesse this key issue and leave everyone hanging. That would help sustain the widespread belief that Trump owes his victory to President Vladimir Putin, and strengthen the hand of those who pay little heed to the unpredictable consequences of an increase in tensions with nuclear-armed Russia.

There is an overabundance of "assessments" but a lack of hard evidence to support that prevailing narrative. We believe that there are enough people of integrity in the Department of Justice to prevent the outright manufacture or distortion of "evidence," particularly if they become aware that experienced scientists have completed independent forensic study that yield very different conclusions. We know only too well -- and did our best to expose -- how our former colleagues in the intelligence community manufactured fraudulent "evidence" of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

We have scrutinized publicly available physical data -- the "trail" that every cyber operation leaves behind. And we have had support from highly experienced independent forensic investigators who, like us, have no axes to grind. We can prove that the conventional-wisdom story about Russian-hacking-DNC-emails-for-WikiLeaks is false. Drawing largely on the unique expertise of two VIPS scientists who worked for a combined total of 70 years at the National Security Agency and became Technical Directors there, we have regularly published our findings. But we have been deprived of a hearing in mainstream media -- an experience painfully reminiscent of what we had to endure when we exposed the corruption of intelligence before the attack on Iraq 16 years ago.

This time, with the principles of physics and forensic science to rely on, we are able to adduce solid evidence exposing mistakes and distortions in the dominant story. We offer you below -- as a kind of aide-memoire -- a discussion of some of the key factors related to what has become known as "Russia-gate." And we include our most recent findings drawn from forensic work on data associated with WikiLeaks' publication of the DNC emails.

We do not claim our conclusions are "irrefutable and undeniable," a la Colin Powell at the UN before the Iraq war. Our judgments, however, are based on the scientific method -- not "assessments." We decided to put this memorandum together in hopes of ensuring that you hear that directly from us.

If the Mueller team remains reluctant to review our work -- or even to interview willing witnesses with direct knowledge, like WikiLeaks' Julian Assange and former UK Ambassador Craig Murray, we fear that many of those yearning earnestly for the truth on Russia-gate will come to the corrosive conclusion that the Mueller investigation was a sham.

In sum, we are concerned that, at this point, an incomplete Mueller report will fall far short of the commitment made by then Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein "to ensure a full and thorough investigation," when he appointed Mueller in May 2017. Again, we are at your disposal.

Discussion

The centerpiece accusation of Kremlin "interference" in the 2016 presidential election was the charge that Russia hacked Democratic National Committee emails and gave them to WikiLeaks to embarrass Secretary Hillary Clinton and help Mr. Trump win. The weeks following the election witnessed multiple leak-based media allegations to that effect. These culminated on January 6, 2017 in an evidence-light, rump report misleadingly labeled "Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA)." Prepared by "handpicked analysts" from only three of the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies (CIA, FBI, and NSA), the assessment expressed "high confidence" in the Russia-hacking-to-WikiLeaks story, but lacked so much as a hint that the authors had sought access to independent forensics to support their "assessment."

The media immediately awarded the ICA the status of Holy Writ, choosing to overlook an assortment of banal, full-disclosure-type caveats included in the assessment itself -- such as:

" When Intelligence Community analysts use words such as 'we assess' or 'we judge,' they are conveying an analytic assessment or judgment. Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary High confidence in a judgment does not imply that the assessment is a fact or a certainty; such judgments might be wrong."

To their credit, however, the authors of the ICA did make a highly germane point in introductory remarks on "cyber incident attribution." They noted: "The nature of cyberspace makes attribution of cyber operations difficult but not impossible. Every kind of cyber operation -- malicious or not -- leaves a trail." [Emphasis added.]

Forensics

The imperative is to get on that "trail" -- and quickly, before red herrings can be swept across it. The best way to establish attribution is to apply the methodology and processes of forensic science. Intrusions into computers leave behind discernible physical data that can be examined scientifically by forensic experts. Risk to "sources and methods" is normally not a problem.

Direct access to the actual computers is the first requirement -- the more so when an intrusion is termed "an act of war" and blamed on a nuclear-armed foreign government (the words used by the late Sen. John McCain and other senior officials). In testimony to the House Intelligence Committee in March 2017, former FBI Director James Comey admitted that he did not insist on physical access to the DNC computers even though, as he conceded, "best practices" dictate direct access.

In June 2017, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr asked Comey whether he ever had "access to the actual hardware that was hacked." Comey answered, "In the case of the DNC we did not have access to the devices themselves. We got relevant forensic information from a private party, a high-class entity, that had done the work. " Sen. Burr followed up: "But no content? Isn't content an important part of the forensics from a counterintelligence standpoint?" Comey: "It is, although what was briefed to me by my folks is that they had gotten the information from the private party that they needed to understand the intrusion by the spring of 2016."

The "private party/high-class entity" to which Comey refers is CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity firm of checkered reputation and multiple conflicts of interest, including very close ties to a number of key anti-Russian organizations. Comey indicated that the DNC hired CrowdStrike in the spring of 2016.

Given the stakes involved in the Russia-gate investigation – including a possible impeachment battle and greatly increased tension between Russia and the U.S. -- it is difficult to understand why Comey did not move quickly to seize the computer hardware so the FBI could perform an independent examination of what quickly became the major predicate for investigating election interference by Russia. Fortunately, enough data remain on the forensic "trail" to arrive at evidence-anchored conclusions. The work we have done shows the prevailing narrative to be false. We have been suggesting this for over two years. Recent forensic work significantly strengthens that conclusion.

We Do Forensics

Recent forensic examination of the Wikileaks DNC files shows they were created on 23, 25 and 26 May 2016. (On June 12, Julian Assange announced he had them; WikiLeaks published them on July 22.) We recently discovered that the files reveal a FAT (File Allocation Table) system property. This shows that the data had been transferred to an external storage device, such as a thumb drive, before WikiLeaks posted them.

FAT is a simple file system named for its method of organization, the File Allocation Table. It is used for storage only and is not related to internet transfers like hacking. Were WikiLeaks to have received the DNC files via a hack, the last modified times on the files would be a random mixture of odd-and even-ending numbers.

Why is that important? The evidence lies in the "last modified" time stamps on the Wikileaks files. When a file is stored under the FAT file system the software rounds the time to the nearest even-numbered second. Every single one of the time stamps in the DNC files on WikiLeaks' site ends in an even number.

We have examined 500 DNC email files stored on the Wikileaks site. All 500 files end in an even number -- 2, 4, 6, 8 or 0. If those files had been hacked over the Internet, there would be an equal probability of the time stamp ending in an odd number. The random probability that FAT was not used is 1 chance in 2 to the 500th power. Thus, these data show that the DNC emails posted by WikiLeaks went through a storage device, like a thumb drive, and were physically moved before Wikileaks posted the emails on the World Wide Web.

This finding alone is enough to raise reasonable doubts, for example, about Mueller's indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking the DNC emails given to WikiLeaks. A defense attorney could easily use the forensics to argue that someone copied the DNC files to a storage device like a USB thumb drive and got them physically to WikiLeaks -- not electronically via a hack.

Role of NSA

For more than two years, we strongly suspected that the DNC emails were copied/leaked in that way, not hacked. And we said so. We remain intrigued by the apparent failure of NSA's dragnet, collect-it-all approach -- including "cast-iron" coverage of WikiLeaks -- to provide forensic evidence (as opposed to "assessments") as to how the DNC emails got to WikiLeaks and who sent them. Well before the telling evidence drawn from the use of FAT, other technical evidence led us to conclude that the DNC emails were not hacked over the network, but rather physically moved over, say, the Atlantic Ocean.

Is it possible that NSA has not yet been asked to produce the collected packets of DNC email data claimed to have been hacked by Russia? Surely, this should be done before Mueller competes his investigation. NSA has taps on all the transoceanic cables leaving the U.S. and would almost certainly have such packets if they exist. (The detailed slides released by Edward Snowden actually show the routes that trace the packets.)

The forensics we examined shed no direct light on who may have been behind the leak. The only thing we know for sure is that the person had to have direct access to the DNC computers or servers in order to copy the emails. The apparent lack of evidence from the most likely source, NSA, regarding a hack may help explain the FBI's curious preference for forensic data from CrowdStrike. No less puzzling is why Comey would choose to call CrowdStrike a "high-class entity."

Comey was one of the intelligence chiefs briefing President Obama on January 5, 2017 on the "Intelligence Community Assessment," which was then briefed to President-elect Trump and published the following day. That Obama found a key part of the ICA narrative less than persuasive became clear at his last press conference (January 18), when he told the media, "The conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to how 'the DNC emails that were leaked' got to WikiLeaks.

Is Guccifer 2.0 a Fraud?

There is further compelling technical evidence that undermines the claim that the DNC emails were downloaded over the internet as a result of a spearphishing attack. William Binney, one of VIPS' two former Technical Directors at NSA, along with other former intelligence community experts, examined files posted by Guccifer 2.0 and discovered that those files could not have been downloaded over the internet. It is a simple matter of mathematics and physics.

There was a flurry of activity after Julian Assange announced on June 12, 2016: "We have emails relating to Hillary Clinton which are pending publication." On June 14, DNC contractor CrowdStrike announced that malware was found on the DNC server and claimed there was evidence it was injected by Russians. On June 15, the Guccifer 2.0 persona emerged on the public stage, affirmed the DNC statement, claimed to be responsible for hacking the DNC, claimed to be a WikiLeaks source, and posted a document that forensics show was synthetically tainted with "Russian fingerprints."

Our suspicions about the Guccifer 2.0 persona grew when G-2 claimed responsibility for a "hack" of the DNC on July 5, 2016, which released DNC data that was rather bland compared to what WikiLeaks published 17 days later (showing how the DNC had tipped the primary scales against Sen. Bernie Sanders). As VIPS reported in a wrap-up Memorandum for the President on July 24, 2017 (titled "Intel Vets Challenge 'Russia Hack' Evidence)," forensic examination of the July 5, 2016 cyber intrusion into the DNC showed it NOT to be a hack by the Russians or by anyone else, but rather a copy onto an external storage device. It seemed a good guess that the July 5 intrusion was a contrivance to preemptively taint anything WikiLeaks might later publish from the DNC, by "showing" it came from a "Russian hack." WikiLeaks published the DNC emails on July 22, three days before the Democratic convention.

As we prepared our July 24 memo for the President, we chose to begin by taking Guccifer 2.0 at face value; i. e., that the documents he posted on July 5, 2016 were obtained via a hack over the Internet. Binney conducted a forensic examination of the metadata contained in the posted documents and compared that metadata with the known capacity of Internet connection speeds at the time in the U.S. This analysis showed a transfer rate as high as 49.1 megabytes per second, which is much faster than was possible from a remote online Internet connection. The 49.1 megabytes speed coincided, though, with the rate that copying onto a thumb drive could accommodate.

Binney, assisted by colleagues with relevant technical expertise, then extended the examination and ran various forensic tests from the U.S. to the Netherlands, Albania, Belgrade and the UK. The fastest Internet rate obtained -- from a data center in New Jersey to a data center in the UK -- was 12 megabytes per second, which is less than a fourth of the capacity typical of a copy onto a thumb drive.

The findings from the examination of the Guccifer 2.0 data and the WikiLeaks data does not indicate who copied the information to an external storage device (probably a thumb drive). But our examination does disprove that G.2 hacked into the DNC on July 5, 2016. Forensic evidence for the Guccifer 2.0 data adds to other evidence that the DNC emails were not taken by an internet spearphishing attack. The data breach was local. The emails were copied from the network.

Presidential Interest

After VIPS' July 24, 2017 Memorandum for the President, Binney, one of its principal authors, was invited to share his insights with Mike Pompeo, CIA Director at the time. When Binney arrived in Pompeo's office at CIA Headquarters on October 24, 2017 for an hour-long discussion, the director made no secret of the reason for the invitation: "You are here because the President told me that if I really wanted to know about Russian hacking I needed to talk with you."

Binney warned Pompeo -- to stares of incredulity -- that his people should stop lying about the Russian hacking. Binney then started to explain the VIPS findings that had caught President Trump's attention. Pompeo asked Binney if he would talk to the FBI and NSA. Binney agreed, but has not been contacted by those agencies. With that, Pompeo had done what the President asked. There was no follow-up.

Confronting James Clapper on Forensics

We, the hoi polloi, do not often get a chance to talk to people like Pompeo -- and still less to the former intelligence chiefs who are the leading purveyors of the prevailing Russia-gate narrative. An exception came on November 13, when former National Intelligence Director James Clapper came to the Carnegie Endowment in Washington to hawk his memoir. Answering a question during the Q&A about Russian "hacking" and NSA, Clapper said:

" Well, I have talked with NSA a lot And in my mind, I spent a lot of time in the SIGINT business, the forensic evidence was overwhelming about what the Russians had done. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind whatsoever." [Emphasis added]

Clapper added: " as a private citizen, understanding the magnitude of what the Russians did and the number of citizens in our country they reached and the different mechanisms that, by which they reached them, to me it stretches credulity to think they didn't have a profound impact on election on the outcome of the election."

(A transcript of the interesting Q&A can be found here and a commentary on Clapper's performance at Carnegie, as well as on his longstanding lack of credibility, is here .)

Normally soft-spoken Ron Wyden, Democratic senator from Oregon, lost his patience with Clapper last week when he learned that Clapper is still denying that he lied to the Senate Intelligence Committee about the extent of NSA surveillance of U.S. citizens. In an unusual outburst, Wyden said: "James Clapper needs to stop making excuses for lying to the American people about mass surveillance. To be clear: I sent him the question in advance. I asked him to correct the record afterward. He chose to let the lie stand."

The materials brought out by Edward Snowden in June 2013 showed Clapper to have lied under oath to the committee on March 12, 2013; he was, nevertheless, allowed to stay on as Director of National Intelligence for three and half more years. Clapper fancies himself an expert on Russia, telling Meet the Press on May 28, 2017 that Russia's history shows that Russians are "typically, almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever."

Clapper ought to be asked about the "forensics" he said were "overwhelming about what the Russians had done." And that, too, before Mueller completes his investigation.

For the steering group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity:

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) is made up of former intelligence officers, diplomats, military officers and congressional staffers. The organization, founded in 2002, was among the first critics of Washington's justifications for launching a war against Iraq. VIPS advocates a US foreign and national security policy based on genuine national interests rather than contrived threats promoted for largely political reasons. An archive of VIPS memoranda is available at Consortiumnews.com.

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Tags: Bill Binney Donald Trump Hillary Clinton James Clapper James Comey Mike Pompeo Robert Mueller Veteran Intelligence Professional for Sanity VIPS WikiLeaks


[Mar 17, 2019] America's Long History of Rejecting Dual Loyalty by Patrick J. Buchanan

Mar 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
"We can't be divided by race, religion, by tribe. We're defined by those enduring principles in the Constitution, even though we don't necessarily all know them."

So Joe Biden told the firefighters union this week.

But does Joe really believe that? Or does that not sound more like a plea, a wistful hope, rather than a deep conviction?

For Biden surely had in mind the debate that exploded last week in the House Democratic caucus on how to punish Somali-American and Muslim Congresswoman Ilhan Omar for raising the specter of dual loyalty.

Rebutting accusations of anti-Semitism, Omar had fired back: "I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK to push for allegiance to a foreign country."

Omar was talking about Israel.

Republicans raged that Nancy Pelosi's caucus must denounce Omar for anti-Semitism. Journalists described the raising of the "dual loyalty" charge as a unique and awful moment, perhaps a harbinger of things to come.

Yet allegations of dual loyalty against ethnic groups, even from statesmen, have a long history in American politics.

In 1915, President Theodore Roosevelt, at a convention of the Catholic Knights of Columbus, bellowed: "There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans, or Italian-Americans. There is no such thing as a hyphenated American who is a good American. The only man who is a good American is a man who is an American and nothing else."

The New York Times headline the next morning: "Roosevelt Bars the Hyphenated." It continued: "No Room in This Country for Dual Nationality, He Tells Knights of Columbus. Treason to Vote as Such."

What would Roosevelt think of the dual citizenship of many Americans today? If someone is a citizen of more than one country, how do we know where his primary allegiance lies?

Does not dual citizenship, de facto, imply dual loyalty?

Nor was the Rough Rider alone in his alarm. As America edged toward intervention in the European war, President Woodrow Wilson, too, tore into "the hyphenates":

The passions and intrigues of certain active groups and combinations of men amongst us who were born under foreign flags injected the poison of disloyalty into our most critical affairs.

I am the candidate of a party, but I am above all things else, an American citizen. I neither seek the favor nor fear the displeasure of that small alien element amongst us which puts loyalty to any foreign power before loyalty to the United States.

In another address, Wilson declared:

There is disloyalty active in the United States, and it must be absolutely crushed. It proceeds from a very small minority, but a very active and subtle minority. It works underground but it shows its ugly head where we can see it, and there are those at this moment who are trying to levy a species of political blackmail, saying: "Do what we wish in the interest of foreign sentiment or we will wreak our vengeance at the polls."

What did Ilhan Omar say to compare with that?

Roosevelt and Wilson had in mind some German and Irish citizens whose affections for the lands and peoples whence they came made them adversaries of Wilson's war, into which we would soon be dragged by a WASP elite with deep ties to Great Britain.

Our Founding Fathers, too, were ever alert to the dangers of dual loyalty. In his Farewell Address, President Washington warned against a "passionate attachment" to any foreign nation that might create the illusion of some "common interest where no common interest exists."

Did FDR fear dual loyalty? His internment of 110,000 Japanese, mostly U.S. citizens, for the duration of World War II suggests that he did.

Did not the prosecution of American communists under the Smith Act, begun by Truman and continued by Eisenhower, suggest that these first postwar presidents saw peril in a secret party that gave allegiance to a hostile foreign power?

Where Wilson, TR, and FDR distrusted ethnic and racial minorities, Truman went after the ideological enemies within -- the communists.

What defines us, said Joe Biden, are the "enduring principles in the Constitution, even though we don't necessarily all know them."

But if these principles, of which many Americans are not even aware, says Joe, are what define us and hold us together, then what is it that is tearing us apart?

Is it not our differences? Is it not our diversity?

Is it not the powerful and conflicting claims of a multiplicity of races, religions, tribes, ethnicities, and nationalities, as well as clashing ideologies, irreconcilable moral codes, a culture war, and conflicting visions of America's past -- the one side seeing it as horrible and hateful, the other as great and good?

"Diversity is our greatest strength!" we are ever admonished.

But where is the evidence for what appears to be not only an inherently implausible claim but a transparently foolish and false one?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

[Mar 17, 2019] Evidence matters, examples are rife. That's how Jeff Epstein got thirty to life.

Mar 13, 2019 | Consortiumnews

F. G. Sanford , March 13, 2019 at 6:27 pm

Sarcasm Alert:

Evidence matters, examples are rife. That's how Jeff Epstein got thirty to life.
Confident diplomats vouched for the prince, gruesome recordings just failed to convince.
Kashoggi was questioned, he just fell apart, the embassy staff swore they saw him depart.
OJ is rotting on death row today, his appeals were denied since he chopped up his wife.

That Warren Commission Report got it right, ballistics would prove bullets pause in mid flight.
The fragments weighed more than the bullets intact, and dozens of marksmen repeated the act.
It turned out the cocaine involved in that search was imported to Mena for cancer research,
The Liberty Incident was a mistake, and John McCain's daddy set everything right.

Jimmy Carter's success getting hostages freed would save Nicaraguans gravely in need.
Elliot Abrams and Oliver North had peace-keeping missions and carried them forth,
The coroner said he was shot from behind; they named Bobby's killer for his state of mind.
George Bush got elected by those hanging chads, an August 6th brief was advice he would heed!

An interviewee said Assange was a creep. She claimed he and Epstein were both in real deep.
They both hired Dershowitz hoping to skate, she claimed that the evidence framed the debate.
The DoJ argued that laws were unclear, In Hillary's case, there was nothing to fear.
The kid on the submarine still went to jail, and Russia-gate fans weren't fleeced in their sleep.

The world's greatest mastermind lived in a cave. His followers praised him and said he was brave.
The spooks were bewildered, his crimes wouldn't stop; he accomplished it all, with just a laptop.
Now Abrams and Barr are right back in the game. Some of the players look oddly the same.
Pompeo and Binney would candidly talk, Pompeo is loyal, he'll take that to the grave.

Juan Guaido is legitimate State would allege, Palladino got miffed when Matt Lee wouldn't pledge.
"But there's evidence tailored to prove he's the guy, he was self nominated, now why would we lie?"
Ghaddafi had weaponized Viagra pills, and Assad was just swimming in chemical spills,
The evidence proved Saddam's nuclear plan, there are details galore if you read Zerohedge.

The evidence matters, no doubt about that. DoJ will all read this, they're not pussycats:
Both parties are blameless their hands are all clean, corruption in DC has never been seen.
Ukrainians proved Russia shot down that plane, their motives were pure, they had nothing to gain.
Notice they're hoping that nobody talks, everyone walks with what's under their hats.

Cherry picked evidence wouldn't accrue: It's not what the evidence serves to construe.
All of those sanctions they've now got in place, despite UN warnings that it's a disgrace,
Have so far escaped all judicial review. Nadler, Pelosi and Schiff may turn blue,
They'd like to impeach, but so far, Trump does everything those neocons want him to do.

[Mar 17, 2019] The Dangerous Absurdity of America's Trade Wars by Jeffrey D. Sachs - Project Syndicate

Mar 17, 2019 | www.project-syndicate.org

Trump's own signature tax policy is therefore the main explanation of the modest rise in the international imbalance. Again, trade policy is largely irrelevant to the outcome.

Yet trade policy is certainly not irrelevant to the global economy. Far from it. As Trump chases a chimera, the world economy has become more unstable , and relations between the US and most of the rest of the world have palpably worsened. Trump himself is held in disdain in most places, and respect for US leadership has plummeted worldwide .

Of course, Trump's trade policies not only seek to improve America's external balance, but also represent a misguided attempt to contain China and even to weaken Europe. This objective reflects a neoconservative worldview in which national security reflects a zero-sum struggle among nation-states. The economic successes of America's competitors are deemed to be threats to American global primacy, and thus to American security.

These views reflect the strands of belligerence and paranoia that have long been a feature of American politics. They are an invitation to unending international conflict, and Trump and his enablers are giving them free rein. Seen in this context, Trump's misconceived trade wars are nearly as predictable as the macroeconomic imbalances they have so spectacularly failed to address.

[Mar 17, 2019] What Europe's Populist Right Is Getting Right by Mitchell A. Orenstein - Project Syndicate

Mar 15, 2019 | www.project-syndicate.org

Mitchell A. Orenstein Authoritarian nationalists such as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán win support not only by attacking immigrants, but also by delivering economic policies that benefit the poor and middle class. Western analysts and, more important, Western leaders need to learn this lesson before it's too late.

On March 20, the European People's Party, the conservative bloc in the European Parliament, will decide whether to expel Hungary's ruling party, Fidesz. The EPP has been slow to censure Fidesz and Hungary's autocratic prime minister, Viktor Orbán, for its assault on democracy and rule of law. Yet, Orbán's Western critics have been equally slow to understand the social and economic policies that underpin his popularity.

Consider the bold set of family policies that Orbán announced on February 10. So far, the verdict in the West on these policies, which are aimed at addressing the country's low fertility rate and further reducing immigration, has been thunderously negative and all but blind to their effectiveness in entrenching Orbán's support among Hungarian voters.

Western analysts fail to recognize that authoritarian nationalists such as Orbán win support not only by attacking immigrants, but also by delivering economic policies that benefit average people. Mainstream political parties in the West need to learn this economic lesson fast if they want to compete against their own populist challengers.

Orbán is keen to connect his nationalist message to generous and popular social policies, while encouraging Hungarian women and families to have more children. Hungary's current fertility rate of 1.45 children per female is below replacement rate. And its population has been shrinking since 1989, mirroring declines in other former communist countries that used to provide extensive social support to families.

The plan's centerpiece is a lifetime exemption from personal income tax for women who bear and raise four or more children (Orbán and his wife have five). This and other policies in the new package will have a real impact on all families in Hungary. Women under 40 who marry for the first time and have worked for at least three years will be eligible for a $36,000 "childbearing" loan at a discounted rate, which will be forgiven as they have children. Larger families can apply for an $9,000 government grant toward the purchase of a seven-seat automobile. Grandparents taking care of children will be eligible for leave from work and benefits. And the government will create 21,000 new subsidized childcare places.

Leading Western media, analysts, and politicians have been almost universally critical of the plan, thereby falling right into Orbán's trap. The Economist , a longtime advocate of the free-market economic policies that have impoverished many in Eastern Europe while producing great wealth for a few and higher living standards for a middle-class minority , predictably criticized Orbán's plan for being too expensive. The new measures are "unlikely to give birth to a baby boom" and could "swell an economy that is close to overheating, and inflate house prices."

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Journalist Adam Taylor echoed these sentiments in The Washington Post , arguing that Orbán's policies will "barely move the needle on birthrate and may represent a poor return on investment." We have heard this same Western critique for decades: helping people is too expensive and does not work, paying for houses will only make them pricier, and it's better to rely on markets than on public policies.

But Orbán's critics ignore the examples of Poland and Russia, which also have implemented natalist policies in recent years. Russia's fertility rate is up to 1.75 children per female, from a low of 1.17 in 1999, partly owing to a grant program for new parents. Poland, too, has achieved higher birth rates since 2015 after introducing the massive Family 500+ initiative , which enables parents to pay for school supplies, clothes, and vacations. Both schemes were criticized as being too expensive, but Poland's public deficit has fallen , not risen. Rather, these policies have stimulated economic growth while dramatically reducing child poverty and increasing school enrollment.

Although free-market attacks on bold new social programs are no surprise, some of the sharpest criticism of Orbán's policies has come from the left. Progressives strongly dislike the fact that many of his proposals target women in a way that seems to advance a conservative, pro-family agenda.

To The Guardian 's Afua Hirsch, for example , "the idea that assistance for those in poverty is conditional on obedient reproduction is verging on the dystopian." Similarly, Princeton professor Kim Lane Scheppele, interviewed on Public Radio International , warned that, "Women are going to bear the burden of Orbán's failed economic policies." And Swedish Social Affairs Minister Annika Strandhäll said that, "This kind of policy will harm the autonomy for which women have struggled for decades."

These analysts are right that Orbán's policies are designed to encourage women to marry, buy houses, bear more children, and stay in Hungary. But their criticism misses the mark in important ways. Overall, these proposals are not coercive. Nor do they seek to keep women barefoot and homebound. Instead, Orbán's plan is designed to help women manage their work-life balance. For that, it should be celebrated, not excoriated.

Consider the lifetime income-tax exemption for women with four or more children. The primary beneficiaries of this program will be women who work, because those with no income will gain no advantage. In two-parent families where both partners have similar or equal earning potential, it may make sense for the woman to work tax-free, or run the family business, while the man stays at home with the children.

Likewise, giving grandparents childrearing benefits helps women to enter the labor force. So does subsidized childcare. And although the new loan programs do encourage women to have children, they also may enable them to buy a home. In short, these policies provide state support for women's unpaid labor.

Like it or not, some of Europe's boldest new social-policy initiatives are coming from its most illiberal governments. The negative reactions of mainstream opinion leaders in the West show how unprepared they are to do battle with Orbán and others for voters' hearts and minds. The populist right is pressing the rhetoric and policies of social democracy into the service of authoritarian nationalism. If the West cannot see or understand the appeal of this, it will be unable to fight back.

[Mar 16, 2019] How Hegelian it would be if the thesis of the Bush and Clinton dynasties, followed by the antithesis of a Trump victory, were to produce an unanticipated synthesis in 2020

Notable quotes:
"... It was possible to say, before Warren G. Harding was elected, that he wasn't particularly well-qualified to be president. And he did turn out as president to have, as we say nowadays, some issues. But his administration was stocked with (mostly) well-qualified men who served with considerable distinction. ..."
"... But how Hegelian it would be if the thesis of the Bush and Clinton dynasties, followed by the antithesis of a Trump victory over first a Bush and then a Clinton in 2016, were to produce an unanticipated synthesis: a Trump administration marked by the reconstruction of republican normalcy in America. In its own way, that would be a genuine contribution to making America great again. ..."
"... Kristol is mad Trump lambasted the Iraq war. Was Putin against the Iraq war? I think the whole world was except for the "Coalition of the Willing." You'll never see the UK back another war like that. ..."
"... "Socialist feminist Liza Featherstone and others have denounced Clinton's uncritical praise of the "opportunity" and "freedom" of American capitalism vis-à-vis other developed nations. "With this bit of frankness," Featherstone explains, referring to the former Secretary of State's "Denmark" comments, "Clinton helpfully explained why no socialist-indeed, no non-millionaire-should support her. She is smart enough to know that women in the United States endure far more poverty, unemployment, and food insecurity than women in Denmark-yet she shamelessly made clear that she was happy to keep it that way." Indeed, Clinton's denunciation of the idea that the United States should look more like Denmark betrayed one of the glaring the fault lines within the Democratic Party, and between Clintonian liberalism and Sandersite leftism." ..."
"... Of course the progressive neoliberals in this forum regularly resort to ad hominem to any ideas or facts that don't line up with the agreed-upon party line. ..."
Jan 06, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs : January 05, 2017 at 07:40 AM , 2017 at 07:40 AM
(Harding redux?)

The Trump Administration
http://tws.io/2iFd3rC
via @WeeklyStandard
Nov 28, 2016 - William Kristol

Who now gives much thought to the presidency of Warren G. Harding? Who ever did? Not us.

But let us briefly turn our thoughts to our 29th president (while stipulating that we're certainly no experts on his life or times). Here's our summary notion: Warren G. Harding may have been a problematic president. But the Harding administration was in some ways an impressive one, which served the country reasonably well.

It was possible to say, before Warren G. Harding was elected, that he wasn't particularly well-qualified to be president. And he did turn out as president to have, as we say nowadays, some issues. But his administration was stocked with (mostly) well-qualified men who served with considerable distinction.

Andrew Mellon was a successful Treasury secretary whose tax reforms and deregulatory efforts spurred years of economic growth. Charles Dawes, the first director of the Bureau of the Budget, reduced government expenditures and, helped by Mellon's economic policies, brought the budget into balance. Charles Evans Hughes as secretary of state dealt responsibly with a very difficult world situation his administration had inherited-though in light of what followed in the next decade, one wishes in retrospect for bolder assertions of American leadership, though in those years just after World War I, they would have been contrary to the national mood.

In addition, President Harding's first two Supreme Court appointments -- William Howard Taft and George Sutherland -- were distinguished ones. And Harding personally did some admirable things: He made pronouncements, impressive in the context of that era, in favor of racial equality; he commuted the wartime prison sentence of the Socialist leader, Eugene V. Debs. In these ways, he contributed to an atmosphere of national healing and civility.

The brief Harding administration-and for that matter the eight years constituting his administration and that of his vice president and successor, Calvin Coolidge-may not have been times of surpassing national greatness. But there were real achievements, especially in the economic sphere; those years were not disastrous; they were not dark times.

President-elect Donald J. Trump probably doesn't intend to model his administration on that of President Warren G. Harding. But he could do worse than reflect on that administration's successes-and also on its failures, particularly the scandals that exploded into public view after Harding's sudden death. These were produced by cronies appointed by Harding to important positions, where they betrayed his trust and tarnished his historical reputation.

Donald Trump manifestly cares about his reputation. He surely knows that reputation ultimately depends on performance. If a Trump hotel and casino is successful, it's not because of the Trump brand-that may get people through the door the first time-but because it provides a worthwhile experience thanks to a good management team, fine restaurants, deft croupiers, and fun shows. If a Trump golf course succeeds, it's because it has been built and is run by people who know something about golf. The failed Trump efforts-from the university to the steaks-seem to have in common the assumption that the Trump name by itself would be enough to carry mediocre or worse enterprises across the finish line.

To succeed in business, the brand only gets you so far. Quality matters. To succeed in the presidency, getting elected only gets you so far. Governing matters.

It would be ironic if Trump's very personal electoral achievement were followed by a mode of governance that restored greater responsibility to the cabinet agencies formally entrusted with the duties of governance. It would be ironic if a Trump presidency also featured a return of authority to Congress, the states, and to other civic institutions. It would be ironic if Trump's victory led not to a kind of American Caesarism but to a strengthening of republican institutions and forms. It would be ironic if the election of Donald J. Trump heralded a return to a kind of constitutional normalcy.

If we are not mistaken, it was Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (though sadly unaware of the phenomena of either Warren G. Harding or Donald J. Trump) who made much of the Irony of History.

But how Hegelian it would be if the thesis of the Bush and Clinton dynasties, followed by the antithesis of a Trump victory over first a Bush and then a Clinton in 2016, were to produce an unanticipated synthesis: a Trump administration marked by the reconstruction of republican normalcy in America. In its own way, that would be a genuine contribution to making America great again.

(Harding-Coolidge-Hoover were a disastrous triumvirate that ascended to power after the Taft & Wilson administrations, as the GOP - then the embodiment of progressivism - split apart due to the efforts of Teddy Roosevelt.)

Peter K. -> Fred C. Dobbs... , -1

Kristol is mad Trump lambasted the Iraq war. Was Putin against the Iraq war? I think the whole world was except for the "Coalition of the Willing." You'll never see the UK back another war like that.

ilsm -> Peter K.... , January 05, 2017 at 03:35 PM
It is the neocon's taking a back seat! Kristol is co-founder of PNAC along with a Clinton mob long time foggy bottom associate's husband.. Trump is somewhat less thrilled with tilting with Russia for the American empire which is as moral as Nero's Rome.
ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , -1
Prescient: dumping Kristol's PNAC will strengthen the republic.
Peter K. -> Peter K.... , January 05, 2017 at 07:52 AM

"Socialist feminist Liza Featherstone and others have denounced Clinton's uncritical praise of the "opportunity" and "freedom" of American capitalism vis-à-vis other developed nations. "With this bit of frankness," Featherstone explains, referring to the former Secretary of State's "Denmark" comments, "Clinton helpfully explained why no socialist-indeed, no non-millionaire-should support her. She is smart enough to know that women in the United States endure far more poverty, unemployment, and food insecurity than women in Denmark-yet she shamelessly made clear that she was happy to keep it that way." Indeed, Clinton's denunciation of the idea that the United States should look more like Denmark betrayed one of the glaring the fault lines within the Democratic Party, and between Clintonian liberalism and Sandersite leftism."

Is it better to ignore this fault line and try to paper it over or is it better to debate the issues in a polite and congenial manner?

Of course the progressive neoliberals in this forum regularly resort to ad hominem to any ideas or facts that don't line up with the agreed-upon party line.

[Mar 16, 2019] Kept Secret For 17 Years Intel Memo Warned Bush's Iraq Invasion To Create Perfect Storm

Mar 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

A newly declassified US intelligence memo has been unearthed this week and featured in a bombshell Wall Street Journal report. It proves that the year prior to the Bush administration's 2003 invasion of Iraq the White House was expressly warned in great detail of all that could and would go wrong in the regime change war's aftermath, including the Sunni-Shia sectarian chaos and proxy war with Iran that would define Iraq and the whole region for years following. And crucially, it reveals that seven months before the US invasion of Iraq, American intelligence officials understood that Osama bin Laden was likely "alive and well and hiding in northwest Pakistan" -- important given that a key Bush admin claim to sell the war was that Saddam Hussein and bin Laden were "in league" against the United States.

The July 2002 memo was authored by William Burns, then serving as assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs, and though clearly dismissed by the Bush neocons making the case for war, proved prescient on many levels. "Following are some very quick and informal thoughts on how events before, during and after an effort to overthrow the regime in Baghdad could unravel if we're not careful, intersecting to create a 'perfect storm' for American interests," Burns wrote in the memo, classified 'Secret' and sent to Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Saddam Hussein waves to supporters in Baghdad, Wednesday, October 18, 1995. AP file photo

The classified memo's existence was first brought to the public's attention through Knight Ridder's reporting in July 2003, which sought to reveal at the time there were pockets of dissenting voices in the State Department and intelligence community pushing back against the absurd White House claim that the whole operation would be a "cakewalk" and US troops would be greeted as "liberators". And there's Vice President Dick Cheney's infamous declaration that the military effort would take "weeks rather than months."

Now, sixteen years after the start of the war the "perfect storm" intel briefing has been made public in fully redacted form and it affirms, as the WSJ reports , "Diplomats accurately forecast many setbacks: sectarian violence, attacks on U.S. troops, Iranian intervention and long road to structural change ." Out of this came the rise of ISIS and the continued unleashing of regime change and sectarian chaos on neighboring Syria.

The ten page memo outlines a litany of catastrophic doom and gloom scenarios resulting from the invasion which would destabilize not only Iraq, but unleash sectarian hell on the entire region .

Here are but a handful of the memo's many warnings which later proved right on target, as summarized by the military reporting website Task & Purpose :

"I don't mean to be pessimistic, because I really do believe that if we do it right this could be a tremendous boon to the future of the region, and to U.S. national security interests," the memo stated. "But we should have no illusion that it will be quick or easy."

And further contradicting Cheney's "weeks rather than months" claim, the memo accurately predicted that U.S. troops would have to stay for, "Five years – maybe four if we're lucky, ten if we're not."

Read the full newly declassified and unredacted intelligence memo here .

Some further interesting highlights from the July 2002 'Secret' report are below.

* * *

Osama bin Laden hiding in Pakistan (the Bush admin claimed Saddam and bin Laden were in cahoots)

"Osama bin Laden turns out to be alive and well and hiding in NW Pakistan. We press Paks, internal stresses grow in Pakistan."

Iran and Syria targeted next

"Following US warnings that it would take the war on terrorism to all groups with global capabilities, Iran and Syria hold summit meeting, decide US has targeted them."

Iran and Syria "strengthen positions in face of perceived US threat against them following action in Iraq."

Sectarian score settling and Shia uprising

"This means night becomes the time for revenge, all over Iraq. A horrible wave of bloodletting and private vengeance begins... US forces are helpless to stop the countrywide phenomenon. Police, intelligence, senior military, and Baath Party officials effectively go into hiding..."

"Shia religious and political leaders, unhappy with composition of provisional government and determined to secure greater share of power in post-Saddam Iraq... This leads to more violent confrontations, and deaths, and the riots become a political tool to demonstrate power and increase leverage against Sunnis and Kurds..."

Long US quagmire to put down sectarian powder keg

"Faced with inchoate and escalating disorder in the provinces, the US faces an agonizing decision: step up to a more direct security role, or devolve power to local leaders."

"The Shia in the south, quietly aided by Iran, stage major revolt, taking over local government offices and killing interim officials."

Weapons from Saddam's army will disappear (to be later used against US occupation)

"Law and Order, collecting weapons. We won't get them, most will go to ground."

"All for one, one for all, free for all - deals, short-term scrambles. It will be every clan for itself."

[Mar 16, 2019] Sanctioned Russian businessman Deripaska has filed a lawsuit against Outlaw US Empire charging the sanctions against him "violate the US Constitution.

Mar 16, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Mar 15, 2019 5:37:36 PM | link

Excellent! Sanctioned Russian businessman Deripaska has filed a lawsuit against Outlaw US Empire charging the sanctions against him "violate the US Constitution."

Gee, maybe someone reading MoA stumbled upon my incessant writing about that very fact. This will certainly be a court case to follow.

[Mar 16, 2019] The difference between terrorism and promotion of democracy on the tips of bayonets

Mar 16, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Don Wiscacho , Mar 15, 2019 11:52:01 AM | link

About the terrorist attacks on New Zealand:

The media has once again proven Glenn Greenwald's definition of "terrorism": violence done by the 'other' against 'us'; it is never violence 'we' do to the 'other'. Media still report this terror attack as "shooting" or "incident". Even RT, which never hesitates to breathlessly call attacks on Israeli occupation soldiers as "terrorism" (attacks on occupational forces being legal under international law), terms it "mosque shootings" "mosque attacks". If these had been churches where people were slaughtered, it would have been "terrorism" even before the perpetrator was identified. Absolutely sickening.

[Mar 16, 2019] The "sincerity" Netanyahu comments about New Zealand murders was akin to the grief displayed in the Former Confederate States of America when the news of Lincoln's murder arrived

Mar 16, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Zachary Smith , Mar 15, 2019 5:39:03 PM | 141 ">link

Netanyahu: Israel mourns the murder of innocent New Zealand worshipers

I'd predict the "sincerity" here was akin to the grief displayed in the Former Confederate States of America when the news of Lincoln's murder arrived.

During the last 'mowing of the grass' in Gaza, the death totals amounted to a "Christchurch" every day for the month of February.

[Mar 16, 2019] CIA Blames Its Proxy For Its Raid On North Korea's Embassy In Spain

Another CIA false flag?
Notable quotes:
"... At least two of the 10 assailants who broke into the embassy and interrogated diplomatic staff have been identified and have connections to the US intelligence agency ..."
"... Some of the assailants were Asian and spoke Korean language. They were probably from the South Korean National Intelligence Service (NIS), a subsidiary of the CIA know for its extremely hawkish politics. It often rigged elections in South Korea in support of hawkish conservatives candidates. ..."
"... A story was thought up and pushed to the favorite CIA outlet, the Washington Post . It wasn't the CIA which did it, writes the Post's national security reporter, it was a CIA controlled 'regime change' organization. ..."
"... The White Helmets, the MI-6 organization for 'regime change' in Syria, has the website domain "www.syriacivildefense.org". Cheollima's website domain is "www.cheollimacivildefense.org". The logos of the two organization are also somewhat similar. ..."
Mar 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

March 15, 2019 CIA Blames Its Proxy For Its Raid On North Korea's Embassy In Spain james , Mar 15, 2019 7:15:08 PM | link

The CIA is the main suspect in the military style raid on the North Korean embassy in Madrid. It now launched a somewhat hapless effort to deflect from it. The original Spanish report said :

At least two of the 10 assailants who broke into the embassy and interrogated diplomatic staff have been identified and have connections to the US intelligence agency. The CIA has denied any involvement but government sources say their response was "unconvincing."

That the CIA is the main suspect in the assault was reported on Wednesday in the Spanish mainstream paper El Pais . The paper made the extra effort to publish an abbreviated English language version . It was widely picked up by other international outlets . Some of the assailants were Asian and spoke Korean language. They were probably from the South Korean National Intelligence Service (NIS), a subsidiary of the CIA know for its extremely hawkish politics. It often rigged elections in South Korea in support of hawkish conservatives candidates.

Attacking a foreign embassy in a third country is far out of bounce of international law and diplomatic decency. After the El Pais report something had to be done to direct the attention away from the CIA and to find some other culprit.

A story was thought up and pushed to the favorite CIA outlet, the Washington Post . It wasn't the CIA which did it, writes the Post's national security reporter, it was a CIA controlled 'regime change' organization.

A shadowy group trying to overthrow Kim Jong Un raided a North Korean embassy in broad daylight

In broad daylight, masked assailants infiltrated North Korea's embassy in Madrid, restrained the staff with rope, stole computers and mobile phones, and fled the scene in two luxury vehicles.

The group behind the late February operation is known as Cheollima Civil Defense , a secretive dissident organization committed to overthrowing the Kim dynasty, people familiar with the planning and execution of the mission told The Washington Post.
...
People familiar with the incident say the group did not act in coordination with any governments. U.S. intelligence agencies would have been especially reluctant to do so given the sensitive timing and brazen nature of the mission. But the raid represents the most ambitious operation to date for an obscure organization that seeks to undermine the North Korean regime and encourage mass defections, they say.

The CIA agents, led by torture queen Gina Haspel, are snowflakes who would never break the law or cause some international outrage. It must have been some independent group:

"This group is the first known resistance movement against North Korea, which makes its activities very newsworthy," said Sung-Yoon Lee, a North Korea expert at Tufts University.

The identity of the assailants is a particularly sensitive topic given the delicate nature of Trump and Kim's relationship.
...
Any hint of U.S. involvement in an assault on a diplomatic compound could have derailed the talks , a prospect the CIA would likely be mindful of.

Derailing the talks was and is exactly what Trump's National Security Advisor John Bolton wanted to do. We know that because the Post reported it on February 20, two days before the raid on the embassy and seven days before the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi:

Last month, in a lengthy speech at Stanford University, [Trump's special envoy Stephen E.] Biegun set out his vision for North Korea to dismantle its plutonium and uranium enrichment facilities in exchange for "corresponding measures" by the United States.

Hawks such as Bolton have fiercely opposed this "step-by-step" process in favor of maintaining maximum pressure through economic sanctions that would, in theory , force a better deal by eroding North Korea's resolve.

Tasking the CIA to raid a North Korean embassy to spoil the talks is exactly a thing John Bolton would do. The Post's shameful attempt to make believe otherwise is laughable :

"Infiltrating a North Korean embassy days before the nuclear summit would throw that all into jeopardy," said Sue Mi Terry, a former Korea analyst at the CIA . "This is not something the CIA would undertake."

The agency declined to comment.

We can of course fully believe the 'former' CIA analyst's assertion that the CIA never do such a thing. Aside from Bolton's urge to sabotage the negotiations it would have had no motive. Except, of course, it would have many:

Experts say the computers and phones seized in the raid amount to a treasure trove of information that foreign intelligence agencies are likely to seek out from the group.

In 2017 Spain asked the North Korean ambassador Kim Hyok Chol to leave. He is now the leader of the negotiations with the United States. To know everything about him is important. He may even be susceptible to blackmail:

The assailants also possess a video recording they took during the raid, which they could release anytime, said one person who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive and illegal operation.

The Spanish language version of the El Pais report had a side box that might explain the possible content of a video (machine translated):

One of the darkest aspects of the assault on the North Korean Embassy in Madrid is the interrogation to which the head of the command, who called himself The Entrepreneur, subjected the charge of business, leading the diplomatic delegation since the ambassador was expelled. The head of the commando separated the diplomat from the rest of the hostages and locked himself alone with him. It is not known what he intended, but the current head of the Pyongyang delegation in Madrid probably knows a lot about Kim Hyok Chol, head of the North Korean delegation in the nuclear negotiations before the US, with whom he coincided when the latter was ambassador in Madrid, between 2014 and 2017.

Mentioning a video recording taken during the raid is supposed to sow 'fear and doubt' in the North Korean negotiator.

The new Washington Post /CIA story goes on to describe the 'regime change' organization that is supposed to divert from the direct CIA involvement in the raid:

The Cheollima group, which also goes by the name Free Joseon, came to prominence in 2017 after it successfully evacuated the nephew of Kim Jong Un from Macau when potential threats to his life surfaced. The nephew was the son of Kim Jong Nam, the North Korean leader's exiled half brother who was assassinated in a nerve-gas attack in a Malaysian airport in 2017.

...

For safety reasons, the leader of the group does not disclose his name, and his identity is known only to a small group of people.

Cheollima is the name of a mythical horse in Chinese and Korean folklore. The Joseon dynasty ruled Korea from 1392 to 1897. It went down when Japan tried to gain control of the country which it achieved a few years later.

Kim Jong Nam was killed on February 13, 2017. In a redacted video his son Kim Han-sol thanks the people who picked him up. (They might want to use him as a future replacement for Kim Jong-un.) The video was recorded on February 15 2017 ("my father was killed two days ago"). It was published on March 7 2017 on a Cheollima channel on Youtube created on March 4 2017. The Cheollima website domain the group uses was anonymously registered in March 2017. It was updated on November 29 2918 shortly after the South Korean NIS received new orders from its headquarter in Washington DC.

Cheollima/Free Joseon also seeks defectors from North Korea. On February 28 2019 (not "in March" as the Post claims), the very same day the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi failed , Cheollima published a manifest that clearly aims at 'regime change' in North Korea:

WE DECLARE ON THIS DAY the establishment of Free Joseon, a provisional government preparing the foundations for a future nation built upon respect for principles of human rights and humanitarianism, holding sacred a manifest dignity for every woman, man, and child.

We declare this entity the sole legitimate representative of the Korean people of the north.

The U.S. driven 'regime change' attempt in Venezuela also has a figure that claims to be the "sole legitimate representative" while having zero power in that country.

The English version of the manifest reads like it was written by someone who is a native English speaker or at least studied English literature:

Joseon must and shall be free. Arise! Arise, ye who refuse to be slaves!

We reject the chains of our historic unrequited grief, declare henceforth a new era in our history, and prepare the way for a New Joseon. We therefore proclaim the birth of our revolution and our intentions towards building a more just and equal society, as truest expressions of the shared affections of our people.

A report on the manifest launch in the British Sun remarks :

The Cheollima Civil Defense (CCD) organisation has declared itself as a shadow government which is working to overthrow the regime.
...
Not a lot is known about the CCD but some people believe it is linked to South Korea's spy agency.

The White Helmets, the MI-6 organization for 'regime change' in Syria, has the website domain "www.syriacivildefense.org". Cheollima's website domain is "www.cheollimacivildefense.org". The logos of the two organization are also somewhat similar.


Is there a corporate design/marketing company specialized in spy service cutouts for 'regime change'?

The 'former' CIA analyst in the Post piece 'predicts' that there will be more 'embassy raid' operations:

"In its messaging, the group said they have formed a provisional government to replace the regime in Pyongyang," said Terry, who is a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "They have now shown the seriousness of their intent and some capabilities to carry out operations. We will see in the coming months the extent of their capabilities."

While the CIA makes a hapless attempt to cover its traces in Madrid, North Korea continues to follow its game plan for the next round of negotiations. It prepares the public for a U.S. failure :

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will soon decide whether to continue diplomatic talks and maintain his moratorium on missile launches and nuclear tests, a senior North Korean official said Friday, adding that the U.S. threw away a golden opportunity at the recent summit between their leaders.
...
She said Pyongyang now has no intention of compromising or continuing talks unless the United States takes measures that are commensurate to the changes it has taken -- such as the 15-month moratorium on launches and tests -- and changes its "political calculation."

The North Korean statement blames Bolton and Secretary of State Pompeo for the failure of the negotiations while it empathizes a special relation between Kim and Trump.

The signaled satellite launch by North Korea will proceed. It will push the Trump administration back to the starting point of its efforts to 'denuclearize' North Korea.

The difference now is that North Korea has earned good will in China and Russia. It showed its willingness to negotiate and stuck to its commitments made in the Joint Declaration in Singapore while the U.S. obviously refused to fulfill its parts. China and Russia already gave North Korea some unofficial 'sanction relief'. They are unlike to again support the failed 'maximum pressure' approach the Trump administrations once set out with.

The hapless CIA nonsense will not change those facts.

Posted by b on March 15, 2019 at 06:50 PM | Permalink

Comments thanks for this b.. fascinating.. reality is stranger then fiction.. trust the wapo prints mostly fiction to run to the cias rescue..

yeah, i just can't imagine the cia doing anything bad... that would really be unlike them!! the logo designers are going to have to be more creative, but until such time as they are, we can count on such branding that appears to come out of the same graphic design outfit.. i wonder how the poodle spain proceeds from here??


Zachary Smith , Mar 15, 2019 7:24:22 PM | link

Tasking the CIA to raid a North Korean embassy to spoil the talks is exactly a thing John Bolton would do.
So it was probably Bolton after all. If he had no authority to issue orders within the CIA, things would have been lots fuzzier with that "proxy". Especially if somebody was waving around shopping bags full of large bills. The other day at the xymphora site the blogger wrote this:
More Bolton hyper-aggression on multiple fronts. Bolton out of control is the best example of the complete deterioration of Trump. Remember it was Sheldon who forced Trump to appoint him, and the equally incompetent Abrams. One of the problems with the Deep State animosity towards Trump is that the 'adults' who would normally move in to fix this have relatively little influence over Trump, who is now flailing away under the influence of shekels and the most obvious blackmail I've ever seen.
Influence! But only today did I read a comment which caused me to add 2 + 2 to get 4.

It has to be Mossad-Epstein nasty pedophilia videos.

Maybe Trump will fire Bolton and Abrams. That's not the outcome I expect if the apartheid Jewish state holds videos demonstrating behavior both sinful and criminal.

Sally Snyder , Mar 15, 2019 7:26:01 PM | link
Here is an article that looks at what one former U.S. president had to say about trusting his own intelligence network:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/02/americas-intelligence-community-can.html

Given the current world geopolitical situation and the American intelligence network's close involvement in the Russian meddling narrative, it's looking this former president's assessment was prescient.

Yonatan , Mar 15, 2019 7:28:04 PM | link
"Is there a corporate design/marketing company specialized in spy service cutouts for 'regime change'?" (presumably rhetorical)

https://alexandrabader.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/otporinterna.jpg

steve , Mar 15, 2019 7:31:50 PM | link
It was not me defence does not work in real life. In the master of reality distortion field it is accepted effective SOP. My SITRAP tells me that this operating system is due to crash.
John , Mar 15, 2019 7:35:53 PM | link
Some more context on "Cheollima," in Korean mythology the Cheollima arrives to sanctify the founder of a new dynasty, thus quite literally a reference to "regime change." Also, Joseon is both a reference to the last dynasty and a reference to the official name of North Korea, which prefers "Joseon" to South Korea's "Han." Both terms are frequently used in Juche ideology, meaning they've worked out a communications strategy for this outfit that fits with the ruling ideology of the Communist Party.
robjira , Mar 15, 2019 8:11:15 PM | link
"We will see in the coming months the extent of their capabilities."
Followed by...
"While the CIA makes a hapless attempt to cover its traces in Madrid..."
My god, are these fkrs even trying to be subtle anymore, or are they (as the Saker has asserted) just that stupid? They sure as sheise aren't doing very well at the "cover its traces" part...
I'd also like to add that despite all the cracks about "little rocket man," "fat boy," pie, and cakes, etc., Kim Jong Un is proving to be just about as sharp as Kim Il Sung (I hear Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong is also very bright).
Excellent report; many thanks once again, b.
DontBelieveEitherPropaganda , Mar 15, 2019 8:17:49 PM | link
@B: Thanks for connecting the dots. Thats the great strength of MoA IMHO, that you put all details together, revealing the whole picture. Those details, that even supposed first class journalists dont (want to) remember. Thus enabling a look on the deeper truths.

@John: Thanks for the background info!

Trump IS being blackmailed. Not by Russia, but by Sheldon Adelson and Co. With the neocons in the admin being the price DJT and we all now pay.
That this can not end well, no matter if with Trump or Clinton or whoever, should be clear by now. The USA and us their vassals are on a path on which there are no happy endings i fear. Only crash and burn, and the near hope to rebuild something liveable out of the ruins. Dystopia.

dltravers , Mar 15, 2019 8:20:57 PM | link
Do not forget the Democrats hand in this. They want Trump to fail. They held the Cohen hearings while Trump was negotiating with Kim in Vietnam. Clearly that was intended to show that Trump is weak and not in control. Joined together with the embassy raid it shows the NK leadership that any promises made are not likely to be kept by the next administration.

Trump needs to change tack by backing off slightly on his demands and getting the UN more involved bypassing his national security establishment.
I cannot recall there ever being a regime change organization directed at North Korea.

All of this is obvious, the war party is using its resources to push North Korea away from the table. In my opinion the South is way to smart to swallow that BS. The South does have its war hawks as well but it appears that the desire for reunification is quite strong.

Piotr Berman , Mar 15, 2019 8:30:00 PM | link
The Tick 201 The Little Wooden Boy, part 2, dialog around 5:50 of the You Tube video:

Wonder Woman: "So it is true! The Swiss mean to take over the City!"

Anonymous person with gray mustache, a leader of a masked group, all armed in huge and very special Swiss Army Knives: "No, no, no, no! Silly American woman, we are certainly Swiss, but our actions IN NO WAY represent the policies of the Swiss government. Actually, we are more like, err, criminals."

Wonder Woman: "Yea, this is what they all say."

David , Mar 15, 2019 8:42:15 PM | link
Another possibility not mentioned is the possibility of a false flag operation carried out by the NOKO's themselves (or some other entity).
Jackrabbit , Mar 15, 2019 8:46:07 PM | link
1) AFAIK Bolton can't order the CIA to do anything.

2) If Bolton has any 'pull' it's because he is a neocon and advances their agenda (but he can't order CIA to do anything).

3) Gina Haspel is Brennan's gal at CIA. Trump appointed her as well as others connected to his (supposed) enemies like:

- VP Pence, long-time friend of John McCain;

Bolton, who Trump had praised long before the election;

William Barr, who is close to Robert Mueller;

4) In foreign policy, Trump plays the good cop to the Deep State's bad cop.

5) We've seen apologists give numerous excuses for Trump:

- he's a foreign policy neophyte, getting played by the neocons!

- he's playing 11-dimensional chess!

- Bolton!

The same sort of excuses were made for Obama, USA's previous faux populist President.

When people tire of the excuses, maybe they will start to see how a) faux populism is a political model that serves the establishment and b) revisit the 2016 Presidential election and connect the memory-holed dots:

- the Deep State wanted a nationalist President to counter the challenge from Russia-China ( Kissinger alluded to MAGA in his WSJ Op-Ed in August 2014) ;

- Trump was the ONLY populist running on the Republican side (out of 19 candidates!) ;

- Trump was close to the Clintons for years (even their daughters are close) ;

- Felix Sater worked for Trump for over a decade while an informant for Robert Mueller's FBI (Sater's family had Russian mob connections) ;

- Virtually all of the dubious Russian oligarch ties attributed to Trump are Jewish and are likely (if not known to be) more connected to Israel than Russia;

- Sanders was a sheepdog (this 25-year friend of Hillary's was not a real candidate) ;

- Hillary deliberately alienated key voter groups (Sanders progressives, BLM blacks, 'delorable' whites) ;

- CIA/MI6 'meddled' in the election and arranged to trap Wikileaks and Flynn and agents of Russia/Turkey.


6) USA/Trump/neocons were never interested in Korean peace. The first Summit was a PR event to further the Trump psyop.

.
Welcome to the rabbit hole.

Jen , Mar 15, 2019 9:12:00 PM | link
Jackrabbit @ 12 beat me in saying that John Bolton has no authority over the CIA to tell them to do anything but he's head of the NSA and that organisation could have been tasked with organising the raid using mercenaries.
Jackrabbit , Mar 15, 2019 9:40:15 PM | link
Jen

John Bolton is National Security Advisor (NSA), and as the name implies, it is an ADVISORY position (with no formal command authority):

The National Security Advisor participates in meetings of the National Security Council (NSC) and ... is supported by NSC staff who produce research and briefings ...

The influence and role of the National Security Advisor varies from administration to administration and depends not only on the qualities of the person appointed to the position, but also on the style and management philosophy of the incumbent President....

National Security Agency (NSA) is headed by Gen. Paul M. Nakasone:

... (NSA) is a national-level intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense, under the authority of the Director of National Intelligence [DNI] . The NSA is responsible for global monitoring, collection, and processing of information and data for foreign and domestic intelligence and counterintelligence purposes ...
Jackrabbit , Mar 15, 2019 9:45:44 PM | link
Jen

I'm glad you reiterated the point (that Bolton has no such authority). It's an important one.

I rarely beat you at making important points, and even rarer do I make them as well as you do!

bevin , Mar 15, 2019 9:53:49 PM | link
No Bolton can't order the CIA to do anything. But he can indicate to the Korean Intelligence Service (Formerly known as the Korean CIA) that an attack on the Embassy would be a good thing to do.
There are rogue players here, one is the ultra right Korean deep state. Another is Japan. Both are committed to keeping US troops in Korea and to continuing to treat the North as an enemy.
Then there is the influence, in both Korea and Japan, of the Pentagon or elements within it equally committed to maintaining the status quo: permanent war with the North, permanent control over South Korea's forces, butting up to China's border, and the continued hostility between Japan and China.
One thing we do know is that the South Korean government will not have approved of this raid.
Sasha , Mar 15, 2019 9:59:37 PM | link
@Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 15, 2019 8:46:07 PM | 12

Agree in that Trump is not innocent at all, as clearly states Miles Copeland in an article linked by P. Armstrong in his last Russian SitRep ....

Ordinarily, when you get an order from headquarters you never obey it the first time because you're not sure they mean it. It might be some guy telling you to do something to get himself off the hook, being on record as having ordered it. So you always wait until the second time. But if there's a White House code word, you'd better take it seriously. The message from the White House said he was to assassinate Lumumba(...)

(...)my complaint has been that the CIA isn't overthrowing enough anti-American governments or assassinating enough anti-American leaders, but I guess I'm getting old. What's keeping the agency inactive is Congress and disinformed public opinion(...

Especially interesting the part dedicated to poisonoing, Skripal case comes to mind, taking into account the coordianted effort in expelling diplomats and the US expelling more than anybody, even than UK...

Trump approves all this outrage, it has his seal all the way...

Jackrabbit , Mar 15, 2019 10:20:47 PM | link
bevin:
But he can indicate to the Korean Intelligence Service ...
Any NSA that stepped out of bounds like that with out authorization would be sacked.

The point stands: Trump is not being undermined or blind-sided by Bolton, Trump approves of what Bolton does and has done.

In fact, Trump has admired Bolton for a long time. Two and a half years before appointing Bolton as NSA, Trump mentioned Bolton as someone that is his "go to" person for military/foreign affairs :

CHUCK TODD:

Who do you talk to for military advice right now? ... is there a go-to for you?

DONALD TRUMP:

Yeah, probably there are two or three. I mean, I like Bolton. I think he's, you know, a tough cookie, knows what he's talking about . Jacobs is a good guy--

CHUCK TODD:

Do you mean Ambassador John Bolton--

DONALD TRUMP:

Yes. I think he's terrific --

CHUCK TODD:

You mean Colonel Jack Jacobs?

DONALD TRUMP:

Colonel Jack Jacobs is a good guy. And I see him on occasion.

karlof1 , Mar 15, 2019 10:26:10 PM | link
With this quite obvious violation of International Law on top of the seemingly infinite previous violations, Pompeo and Bolton have tag teamed to tell the ICJ they'll sanction anyone that comes after any Outlaw US Empire individual, the threat itself likely being against the UN Charter and thus unlawful. I really don't have much further comment on this incident other than to reiterate that the United States of America should no longer be called that as it now proven beyond all doubt to be the Outlaw US Empire--internationally, the USA's Federal government's an Outlaw and must be treated as such. It's time to flip GW Bush's ultimatum on its head and tell every nation on the planet that if you're with the Outlaw US Empire then you're also an Outlaw, part of its Evil designs and abettor of its crimes. The UK & Zionistan have already proven themselves to be the top accomplices, with France and Canada their juniors. It's long past time to form an international posse, and no nation can claim ignorance.
mourning dove , Mar 15, 2019 10:38:43 PM | link
damn b, you just tear it up, thank you so much!!

[Mar 16, 2019] Pity The Nation War Spending Is Bankrupting America

Notable quotes:
"... As investigative journalist Uri Friedman puts it, for more than 15 years now, the United States has been fighting terrorism with a credit card , "essentially bankrolling the wars with debt, in the form of purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds by U.S.-based entities like pension funds and state and local governments, and by countries like China and Japan." ..."
"... For decades, the DoD's leaders and accountants have been perpetrating a gigantic, unconstitutional accounting fraud, deliberately cooking the books to mislead the Congress and drive the DoD's budgets ever higher, regardless of military necessity ..."
"... That price gouging has become an accepted form of corruption within the American military empire is a sad statement on how little control "we the people" have over our runaway government. ..."
Mar 16, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Pity The Nation: War Spending Is Bankrupting America

by Tyler Durden Fri, 03/15/2019 - 23:50 9 SHARES Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

"Pity the nation whose people are sheep

And whose shepherds mislead them

Pity the nation whose leaders are liars

Whose sages are silenced

And whose bigots haunt the airwaves

Pity the nation that raises not its voice

Except to praise conquerors

And acclaim the bully as hero

And aims to rule the world

By force and by torture

Pity the nation oh pity the people

who allow their rights to erode

and their freedoms to be washed away "

-- Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poet

War spending is bankrupting America.

Our nation is being preyed upon by a military industrial complex that is propped up by war profiteers, corrupt politicians and foreign governments.

America has so much to offer -- creativity, ingenuity, vast natural resources, a rich heritage, a beautifully diverse populace, a freedom foundation unrivaled anywhere in the world, and opportunities galore -- and yet our birthright is being sold out from under us so that power-hungry politicians, greedy military contractors, and bloodthirsty war hawks can make a hefty profit at our expense.

Don't be fooled into thinking that your hard-earned tax dollars are being used for national security and urgent military needs.

It's all a ruse.

You know what happens to tax dollars that are left over at the end of the government's fiscal year? Government agencies -- including the Department of Defense -- go on a "use it or lose it" spending spree so they can justify asking for money in the next fiscal year.

We're not talking chump change, either.

We're talking $97 billion worth of wasteful spending .

According to an investigative report by Open the Government, among the items purchased during the last month of the fiscal year when government agencies go all out to get rid of these "use it or lose it" funds: Wexford Leather club chair ($9,241), china tableware ($53,004), alcohol ($308,994), golf carts ($673,471), musical equipment including pianos, tubas, and trombones ($1.7 million), lobster tail and crab ($4.6 million) , iPhones and iPads ($7.7 million), and workout and recreation equipment ($9.8 million).

So much for draining the swamp .

Anyone who suggests that the military needs more money is either criminally clueless or equally corrupt, because the military isn't suffering from lack of funding -- it's suffering from lack of proper oversight.

Where President Trump fits into that scenario, you decide. Trump may turn out to be, as policy analyst Stan Collender warned, " the biggest deficit- and debt-increasing president of all time ."

Rest assured, however, that if Trump gets his way -- to the tune of a $4.7 trillion budget that digs the nation deeper in debt to foreign creditors, adds $750 billion for the military budget , and doubles the debt growth that Trump once promised to erase -- the war profiteers (and foreign banks who "own" our debt) will be raking in a fortune while America goes belly up.

This is basic math, and the numbers just don't add up.

As it now stands, the U.S. government is operating in the negative on every front: it's spending far more than what it makes (and takes from the American taxpayers) and it is borrowing heavily ( from foreign governments and Social Security ) to keep the government operating and keep funding its endless wars abroad .

Certainly, nothing about the way the government budgets its funds puts America's needs first.

The nation's educational system is pathetic (young people are learning nothing about their freedoms or their government). The infrastructure is antiquated and growing more outdated by the day. The health system is overpriced and inaccessible to those who need it most. The supposedly robust economy is belied by the daily reports of businesses shuttering storefronts and declaring bankruptcy. And our so-called representative government is a sham.

If this is a formula for making America great again, it's not working.

The White House wants taxpayers to accept that the only way to reduce the nation's ballooning deficit is by cutting "entitlement" programs such as Social Security and Medicare, yet the glaring economic truth is that at the end of the day, it's the military industrial complex -- and not the sick, the elderly or the poor -- that is pushing America towards bankruptcy.

We have become a debtor nation , and the government is sinking us deeper into debt with every passing day that it allows the military industrial complex to call the shots.

Simply put, the government cannot afford to maintain its over-extended military empire.

" Money is the new 800-pound gorilla ," remarked a senior administration official involved in Afghanistan. "It shifts the debate from 'Is the strategy working?' to 'Can we afford this?' And when you view it that way, the scope of the mission that we have now is far, far less defensible." Or as one commentator noted, " Foreclosing the future of our country should not be confused with defending it ."

To be clear, the U.S government's defense spending is about one thing and one thing only: establishing and maintaining a global military empire.

Although the U.S. constitutes only 5% of the world's population, America boasts almost 50% of the world's total military expenditure , spending more on the military than the next 19 biggest spending nations combined.

In fact, the Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety.

The American military-industrial complex has erected an empire unsurpassed in history in its breadth and scope, one dedicated to conducting perpetual warfare throughout the earth.

Since 2001, the U.S. government has spent more than $4.7 trillion waging its endless wars .

Having been co-opted by greedy defense contractors, corrupt politicians and incompetent government officials, America's expanding military empire is bleeding the country dry at a rate of more than $32 million per hour .

In fact, the U.S. government has spent more money every five seconds in Iraq than the average American earns in a year.

Then there's the cost of maintaining and staffing the 1000-plus U.S. military bases spread around the world and policing the globe with 1.3 million U.S. troops stationed in 177 countries (over 70% of the countries worldwide).

Future wars and military exercises waged around the globe are expected to push the total bill upwards of $12 trillion by 2053 .

The U.S. government is spending money it doesn't have on a military empire it can't afford.

As investigative journalist Uri Friedman puts it, for more than 15 years now, the United States has been fighting terrorism with a credit card , "essentially bankrolling the wars with debt, in the form of purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds by U.S.-based entities like pension funds and state and local governments, and by countries like China and Japan."

War is not cheap, but it becomes outrageously costly when you factor in government incompetence, fraud, and greedy contractors .

As The Nation reports :

For decades, the DoD's leaders and accountants have been perpetrating a gigantic, unconstitutional accounting fraud, deliberately cooking the books to mislead the Congress and drive the DoD's budgets ever higher, regardless of military necessity. DoD has literally been making up numbers in its annual financial reports to Congress -- representing trillions of dollars' worth of seemingly nonexistent transactions -- knowing that Congress would rely on those misleading reports when deciding how much money to give the DoD the following year.

For example, a leading accounting firm concluded that one of the Pentagon's largest agencies " can't account for hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of spending ."

Unfortunately, the outlook isn't much better for the spending that can be tracked.

A government audit found that defense contractor Boeing has been massively overcharging taxpayers for mundane parts, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in overspending. As the report noted, the American taxpayer paid :

$71 for a metal pin that should cost just 4 cents; $644.75 for a small gear smaller than a dime that sells for $12.51: more than a 5,100 percent increase in price. $1,678.61 for another tiny part, also smaller than a dime, that could have been bought within DoD for $7.71: a 21,000 percent increase. $71.01 for a straight, thin metal pin that DoD had on hand, unused by the tens of thousands, for 4 cents: an increase of over 177,000 percent.

That price gouging has become an accepted form of corruption within the American military empire is a sad statement on how little control "we the people" have over our runaway government.

Mind you, this isn't just corrupt behavior. It's deadly, downright immoral behavior.

The U.S. government is not making the world any safer. It's making the world more dangerous. It is estimated that the U.S. military drops a bomb somewhere in the world every 12 minutes . Since 9/11, the United States government has directly contributed to the deaths of around 500,000. Every one of those deaths was paid for with taxpayer funds.

The U.S. government is not making America any safer. It's exposing American citizens to alarming levels of blowback, a CIA term referring to the unintended consequences of the U.S. government's international activities. Chalmers Johnson, a former CIA consultant, repeatedly warned that America's use of its military to gain power over the global economy would result in devastating blowback .

Those who call the shots in the government -- those who push the military industrial complex's agenda -- those who make a killing by embroiling the U.S. in foreign wars -- have not heeded Johnson's warning.

The U.S. government is not making American citizens any safer . The repercussions of America's military empire have been deadly, not only for those innocent men, women and children killed by drone strikes abroad but also those here in the United States.

The 9/11 attacks were blowback . The Boston Marathon Bombing was blowback . The attempted Times Square bomber was blowback. The Fort Hood shooter, a major in the U.S. Army, was blowback .

The transformation of America into a battlefield is blowback.

All of this carnage is being carried out with the full support of the American people, or at least with the proxy that is our taxpayer dollars.

The government is destabilizing the economy, destroying the national infrastructure through neglect and a lack of resources, and turning taxpayer dollars into blood money with its endless wars, drone strikes and mounting death tolls.

As Martin Luther King Jr. recognized, under a military empire, war and its profiteering will always take precedence over the people's basic human needs.

Similarly, President Dwight Eisenhower warned us not to let the profit-driven war machine endanger our liberties or democratic processes.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. [ ] Is there no other way the world may live?"

We failed to heed Eisenhower's warning.

The illicit merger of the armaments industry and the government that Eisenhower warned against has come to represent perhaps the greatest threat to the nation today.

It's not sustainable, of course.

Eventually, inevitably, military empires fall and fail by spreading themselves too thin and spending themselves to death.

It happened in Rome. It's happening again.

The America empire is already breaking down.

We're already witnessing a breakdown of society on virtually every front, and the government is ready.

For years now, the government has worked with the military to prepare for widespread civil unrest brought about by "economic collapse, loss of functioning political and legal order , purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency, pervasive public health emergencies, and catastrophic natural and human disasters."

For years now, the government has been warning against the dangers of domestic terrorism , erecting surveillance systems to monitor its own citizens, creating classification systems to label any viewpoints that challenge the status quo as extremist, and training law enforcement agencies to equate anyone possessing anti-government views as a domestic terrorist.

We're approaching critical mass.

As long as "we the people" continue to allow the government to wage its costly, meaningless, endless wars abroad, the American homeland will continue to suffer: our roads will crumble, our bridges will fail, our schools will fall into disrepair, our drinking water will become undrinkable, our communities will destabilize, our economy will tank, crime will rise, and our freedoms will suffer.

So who will save us?

As I make clear in my book, Battlefield America: The War on the American People , we'd better start saving ourselves: one by one, neighbor to neighbor, through grassroots endeavors, by pushing back against the police state where it most counts -- in our communities first and foremost, and by holding fast to what binds us together and not allowing politics and other manufactured nonrealities to tear us apart.

Start today. Start now. Do your part.

Literally and figuratively, the buck starts and stops with "we the people."


I am Groot , 2 minutes ago link

We have socialism in all of the wrong places !

When we should be paying our seniors a generous amount of social security and pensions to people who earned them, we are paying illegals and their kids to come to America and act like parasites. Our children will be debt slaves because of Congress.

We are also paying trillions to the MIC and three letter agencies with absolutely no oversight. We pay hundreds of thousands of totally useless government employees including the military and over a 1000 bases on foreign soil.

Eisenhower warned against letting the MIC take control of the country.

Tiger Rocks Dale , 5 minutes ago link

It's fine. Tyler dudrden is my hero.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IK1Vt3NvmUs

rtb61 , 5 minutes ago link

What is weird, you spend that money on infrastructure, which would substantially improve the economy through gained efficiencies and you can afford to waste it but if you waste it, you can not spend it on infrastructure to be able to afford to burn it, blow it up, fire it or just plain dump it.

Well, it is pretty clear, from the screams of the insiders, the reform is coming and they know it. The louder the rants of screams of the establishment, the closer they are to losing.

Look at what they do, they kill people for profit, if they could silence us by killing us, they would, they can not, they have already lost, now it is just a matter of political grind and legal process, to root them out and then investigate and prosecute them, en mass.

They had total control for decades and most knew nothing, now control is broken and most people know.

Tiger Rocks Dale , 14 minutes ago link

The only reason I'm reckless is because I've been there and done that.

Tiger Rocks Dale , 12 minutes ago link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IK1Vt3NvmUs

marysimmons , 11 minutes ago link

Ditch the ABM and INF treaties. Extend NATO to Russia's borders. Regime change in Ukraine. Demonize Putin/Russia. Then claim umpteen billions more needed for national defense. Wonderful.

Davidduke2000 , 15 minutes ago link

this article would not have seen the light of day on facebook or youtube, but thanks to Tyler of zerohedge with his total respect for free speech, people can learn why their country is bankrupt.

PaulHolland , 16 minutes ago link

Its funny. Less than 40 years after the cold war and the Russian successor state is putting on the same trick to the USSA that doomed the USSR. Russia is lean and mean now and its forcing the US to spend just truly insane amounts on weapons.

desertboy , 5 minutes ago link

That's just dumb.

The forces destroying the US are the same that destroyed (and created) the USSR.

But, you keep watching your puppet show.

DEDA CVETKO , 19 minutes ago link

War spending has always - ALWAYS! - since at least the late 19th Century - been an instrument of wealth redistribution: from the poor to the rich.

The only question I have is: where did all that wealth go? It would be fun to collect the dots and find out who now owns AT LEAST $3 TRILLION stolen from the Pentagon since 2001.

PaulHolland , 14 minutes ago link

I don't get this stolen bit. Nothing is stolen from US tax payers. Its US debt holders that get screwed. The US is one big worldwide theft of finished goods , resources and capaital

DEDA CVETKO , 8 minutes ago link

indeed, but we are talking road robbery within a heist within a burglary here.

Here's why:

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/11/02/pentagon-cant-account-for-21-trillion-thats-not-typo.html

Davidduke2000 , 10 minutes ago link

nothing is lost or stolen, the defense department is totally careless with the people's money.

$20 billions of weapons were left in Iraq after the us left but the funny part they were left in far warehouses that only ISIS got hold of them.

If I was a conspiracy theorist , I would say they left these weapons on purpose for isis to wage war and invade Syria which they did, but all this stuff was in vain as all these weapons got destroyed by the Russians and the american people lost $20 billion.

DEDA CVETKO , 7 minutes ago link

Nothing is stolen, but $21 trillion is missing????

Nice try, dude, nice try.

desertboy , 3 minutes ago link

It didn't go anywhere - just redistributed around the globe.

ebworthen , 20 minutes ago link

"All hail Caesar!"

Welcome to the New Rome, ruled by the Military Industrial Complex (M.I.C.) and the Bansksters (Wall Street, FED, Treasury, Corporations, Insurers) and their bought corrupt CONgress members.

"Save for retirement!" to pay the bonuses of the rats above.

"Support the Troops!" to die for the corrupt rats above.

[Mar 16, 2019] The Myth of American Meritocracy by Barbara Boland

Mar 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The college bribery scandal reveals an ugly truth: our society is unjust, dominated by a small elite. Actress Lori Loughlin, who has been implicated in the Operation Varsity Blues scandal. Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock The most destructive and pervasive myth in America today is that we live in a meritocracy. Our elites, so the myth goes, earned their places at Yale and Harvard, on Wall Street and in Washington -- not because of the accident of their birth, but because they are better, stronger, and smarter than the rest of us. Therefore, they think, they've "earned" their places in the halls of power and "deserve" to lead.

The fervor with which so many believe this enables elites to lord over those worse off than they are. On we slumber, believing that we live in a country that values justice, instead of working towards a more equitable and authentically meritocratic society.

Take the Operation Varsity Blues scandal. On Tuesday, the FBI and federal prosecutors announced that 50 people had been charged in, as Sports Illustrated put it , "a nationwide college admissions scheme that used bribes to help potential students cheat on college entrance exams or to pose as potential athletic recruits to get admitted to high-profile universities." Thirty-three parents, nine collegiate coaches, two SAT/ACT exam administrators, an exam proctor, and a college athletics administrator were among those charged. The man who allegedly ran the scheme, William Rick Singer, pled guilty to four charges of racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., and obstruction of justice.

As part of the scam, parents would "donate" money to a fake charity run by Singer. The funds would then be laundered to either pay off an SAT or ACT administrator to take the exams or bribe an employee in college athletics to name the rich, non-athlete children as recruits. Virtually every scenario relied on multiple layers of corruption, all of which eventually allowed wealthy students to masquerade as "deserving" of the merit-based college slots they paid up to half a million dollars to "qualify" for.

Cheating. Bribery. Lying. The wealthy and privileged buying what was reserved for the deserving. It's all there on vivid display. Modern American society has become increasingly and banally corrupt , both in the ways in which "justice" is meted out and in who is allowed to access elite education and the power that comes with it.

The U.S. is now a country where corruption is rampant and money buys both access and outcomes. We pretend to be better than Russia and other oligarchies, but we too are dominated by a rich and powerful elite.

The average American citizen has very little power, as a 2014 study by Princeton University found. The research reviewed 1,779 public policy questions asked between 1981 and 2002 and the responses by different income levels and interest groups; then calculated the likelihood that certain policies would be adopted.

What they found came as no surprise: How to Fix College Admissions

A proposed policy change with low support among economically elite Americans (one-out-of-five in favor) is adopted only about 18 percent of the time, while a proposed change with high support (four-out-of-five in favor) is adopted about 45% of the time.

That's in stark contrast with policies favored by average Americans:

When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.

The conclusion of the study? We live in an oligarchy:

our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. [T]he preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.

The belief in the myth of merit hurts the smart kid with great grades who aced his SATs but was still rejected from Yale and Harvard. It hurts talented athletes who have worked their tails off for so many years. It hurts parents who have committed hundreds of school nights and weekends to their children. It hurts HR departments that believe degrees from Ivy League schools mean that graduates are qualified. It hurts all of us who buy into the great myth that America is a democratic meritocracy and that we can achieve whatever we want if only we're willing to expend blood, toil, sweat, and tears.

At least in an outright class system like the British Houses of Lords and Commons, there is not this farcical playacting of equal opportunity. The elites, with their privilege and titles, know the reason they are there and feel some sense of obligation to those less well off than they are. At the very least, they do not engage in the ritual pretense of "deserving" what they "earned" -- quite unlike those who descend on Washington, D.C. believing that they really are better than their compatriots in flyover country.

All societies engage in myth-making about themselves. But the myth of meritocracy may be our most pervasive and destructive belief -- and it mirrors the myth that anything like "justice" is served up in our courts.

Remember the Dupont heir who received no prison time after being convicted for raping his three-year-old daughter because the judge ruled that six-foot-four Robert Richards "wouldn't fare well in prison"? Or the more recent case of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who had connections to both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and faced a 53-page federal indictment for sex-trafficking over two dozens underage girls ? He received instead a sweetheart deal that concealed the extent of his crimes. Rather than the federal life imprisonment term he was facing, Epstein is currently on house arrest after receiving only 13 months in county jail. The lead prosecutor in that case had previously been reprimanded by a federal judge in another underage sex crimes case for concealing victim information, the Miami Herald reports .

While the rich are able to escape consequences for even the most horrific of crimes , the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Approximately 7 million people were under some form of correctional control by the end of 2011, including 2.2 million who were detained in federal, state, and local prisons and jails. One in every 10 black men in his thirties is in prison or jail, and one out of three black men born in 2001 can expect to go to prison in their lifetimes.

While black people make up only 13 percent of the population, they make up 42 percent of death row and 35 percent of those who are executed . There are big racial disparities in charging, sentencing, plea bargaining, and executions, Department of Justice reviews have concluded, and black and brown people are disproportionately found to be innocent after landing on death row. The poor and disadvantaged thereby become grist for a system that cares nothing for them.

Despite all this evidence, most Americans embrace a version of the Calvinist beliefs promulgated by their forebears, believing that the elect deserve their status. We remain confident that when our children apply to college or are questioned by police , they will receive just and fair outcomes. If our neighbors' and friends' kids do not, then we assure ourselves that it is they who are at fault, not the system.

The result has been a gaping chasm through our society. Lives are destroyed because, rather than working for real merit-based systems and justice, we worship at the altar of false promises offered by our institutions. Instead we should be rolling up our sleeves and seeing Operation Varsity Blues for what it is: a call to action.

Barbara Boland is the former weekend editor of the Washington Examiner . Her work has been featured on Fox News, the Drudge Report, HotAir.com, RealClearDefense, RealClearPolitics, and elsewhere. She's the author of Patton Uncovered , a book about General Patton in World War II. Follow her on Twitter @BBatDC .

MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR

The GOP's Laughable Call for a Balanced Budget Amendment Congress's "One Spending Bill to Rule Them All" is a Debt-Fueled Disgrace Hide 11 comments 11 Responses to The Myth of American Meritocracy

Collin March 15, 2019 at 1:46 pm

If conservatives are going to dance the graves of Aunt Beckie, the backlash is going to be big. Sure this is a 'scandal' but it seems these parents weren't rich enough to bribe their kids in college the right way, like Trumps and Kushner, and probably slightly duped into going along with this scheme. (It appears the government got the ring leader to call all defendants to get evidence they participated in a crime.)

Just wait until the mug shot of Aunt Beckie is on the internet and Olivia Jade does 60 minutes doing teary eyed interview of how much she loves her mother. And how many parents are stress that their kids will struggle in the global competitive economy.

Fran Macadam , , March 15, 2019 at 1:52 pm
I fully recall the days of getting government computing contracts. Once a certain threshold was reached, you discovered you had to hire a "lobbyist," and give him a significant amount of money to dole out to various gatekeepers in the bureaucracy for your contracts to be approved. That was the end of our government contracts, and the end was hastened by the reaction to trying to complain about it.
prodigalson , , March 15, 2019 at 1:56 pm
Great article, well done. More of this please TAC.
Kurt Gayle , , March 15, 2019 at 2:17 pm
Thank you, Barbara Boland, for "The Myth of American Meritocracy" and for linking ("Related Articles" box) to the 2012 "The Myth of American Meritocracy" by Ron Unz, then publisher of the American Conservative.

The 26,000-word Ron Unz research masterpiece was the opening salvo in the nation-wide discussion that ultimately led to the federal court case nearing resolution in Boston.

"The Myth of American Meritocracy -- How corrupt are Ivy League admissions?" by Ron Unz, The American Conservative, Nov 28, 2012:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-myth-of-american-meritocracy/

Kurt Gayle , , March 15, 2019 at 2:18 pm
Barbara Boland "While black people make up only 13 percent of the population, they make up 42 percent of death row and 35 percent of those who are executed."

Ms. Boland: According to the US Department of Justice, African Americans [13 per cent of the population] accounted for 52.5% of all homicide offenders from 1980 to 2008.

JeffK , , March 15, 2019 at 2:46 pm
I agree with prodigalson. This is the type of article that TAC should uphold as a 'gold standard'. One reason I read, and comment on, TAC is that it offers thought provoking, and sometimes contrarian, articles (although the constant harping on transgender BS gets annoying).

America has always been somewhat corrupt. But, to borrow a phrase, wealth corrupts, and uber wealth corrupts absolutely.

As Warren Buffet says "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning".

I have said it before, and I will say it again. During the next severe financial recession, if the rich are protected and coddled and everybody else is left to fend for themselves the ARs will come out of the closets when the sheriff comes to take the house or the pickup truck. My sense is that average Americans have had enough.

Imagine if the digital transfer of money was abolished. Imagine if everybody had to have their money in a local bank instead of on an account in one of the major banks. Imagine if Americans saw, day after day, armored vehicles showing up at local banks to offload sacks of currency that went to only a few individual accounts.

Instead, the elites get their financial statements showing an ever increasing pile of cash at their disposal. They see it, but nobody else does. But, if everybody physically saw the river of wealth flowing to the elites, I believe things would change. Fast. Right now this transfer of wealth is all digital, hidden from the view of 99.99% of Americans. And the elites, the banking industry, and the wealth management cabal prefer it that way.

Mike N in MA , , March 15, 2019 at 2:49 pm
You said it sister. Great article.

I am amazed by the media coverage of this scandal. Was anyone actually under the impression that college admissions were on the level before these Hollywood bozos were caught red handed?

BDavi52 , , March 15, 2019 at 2:49 pm
What total silliness!

No, the meritocracy is not dead; it's not even dying. It is, in fact, alive and well and the absolute best alternative to any other method used to separate wheat from chaff, cream from milk, diamonds from rust.

What else is there that is even half as good?

Are merit-based systems perfect? Heck, no. They've never been perfect; they will never be perfect. They are administered by people and people are flawed. Not just flawed in the way Singer, and Huffman are flawed (and those individuals are not simply flawed, they're corrupt) but flawed in the everyday kind of sense. Yes, we all have tendencies, biases, preferences that will -- inevitably -- leak into our selection process, no matter how objectively strict the process may be structured, no matter how rigorously fair we try to be.

So the fact that -- as with most things -- we can find a trace of corruption here that fact is meaningless. We can find evidence of human corruption, venality, greed, sloth, lust, envy (all of the 7 Deadly Sins) pretty much everywhere. But if we look at the 20M students enrolled in college, the vast majority are successfully & fairly admitted through merit-based filtering systems (which are more or less rigorous) which have been in place forever.

Ms. Boland tells us (with a straight face, no less) that "The U.S. is now a country where corruption is rampant and money buys both access and outcomes." But what does that even mean?

Certainly money can buy access and certainly money can buy outcomes. But that's what money does. She might as well assert that money can buy goods and services, and lions and tigers and bears -- oh my! Of course it can. Equally networks can 'buy' access and outcomes (if my best friend is working as the manager for Adele, I'm betting he could probably arrange my meeting Adele). Equally success & fame can buy access and outcomes. I'm betting Adele can probably arrange a meeting with Gwen Stefani .and both can arrange a meeting with Tom Brady. So what? Does the fact that money can be used to purchase goods & services mean money or the use of money is corrupt or morally degenerate? No, of course not. In truth, we all leverage what we have (whatever that may be) to get what we want. That's how life works. But the fact that we all do that does not mean we are all corrupt.

But yes, corruption does exist and can usually be found, in trace amounts -- as I said -- pretty much everywhere.

So is it rampant? Can I buy my way into the NBA or the NFL? If I go to Clark Hunt and give him $20M and tell him I want to play QB for the Chiefs, will he let me? Can I buy my way into the CEO's position at General Electric, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Sprint, Verizon, General Motors, Toyota or any of the Fortune 500? Heck, can I even buy my way into the Governor's mansion? To become the Mayor of Chicago? Or the Police Commissioner? No -- these things are not possible. But what I can buy is my presence on the media stage.

What happens after cannot be purchased.

So no, by any measure, corruption is not rampant. And though many things are, in fact, for sale -- not everything is. And no matter how much money I give anyone, I'm never gonna QB the Chiefs or play for the Lakers.

She tells us, "we are dominated by a rich and powerful elite." No, we're not. Most of us live our lives making the choices we want to make, given the means that each of us has, without any interference from any so-called "elite". The "elite" didn't tell me where to go to school, or where to get a job, or how to do my job, or when to have kids, or what loaf of bread to buy, or what brand of beer tastes best, or where to go on the family vacation. No one did. The elite obviously did not tell us who to vote for in the last presidential election.

Of course one of the problems with the "it's the fault of the elite" is the weight given institutions by people like Ms.Boland. "Oh, lordy, the Elite used their dominating power to get a brainless twit of a daughter into USC". Now if my kid were cheated out of a position at USC because the Twit got in, I'd be upset but beyond that who really cares if a Twit gets an undergraduate degree from USC or Yale .or Harvard .or wherever. Some of the brightest people I've known earned their degrees at Easter PolyTechnic U (some don't even have college degrees -- oh, the horror!); some of the stupidest have Ivy League credentials. So what?

Only if you care about the exclusivity of such a relatively meaningless thing as a degree from USC, does gaming the exclusivity matter.

She ends with the exhortation: "The result has been a gaping chasm through our society. Lives are destroyed because, rather than working for real merit-based systems and justice, we worship at the altar of false promises offered by our institutions. Instead we should be rolling up our sleeves and seeing Operation Varsity Blues for what it is: a call to action."

To do what, exactly?

Toss the baby and the bathwater? Substitute lottery selection for merit? Flip a coin? What?
Again the very best method is and always will be merit-based. That is the incentive which drives all of us: the hope that if we work hard enough and do well enough, that we will succeed. Anything else is just a lie.

Yes, we can root out this piece of corruption. Yes, we can build better and more rigorously fair systems. But in the end, merit is the only game in town. Far better to roll-up our sleeves and simply buckle down, Winsocki. There isn't anything better.

Sid Finster , , March 15, 2019 at 2:52 pm
Gee, and people wonder why the rubes think that the system is gamed, why the dogs no longer want to eat the dog food.
Jim Jatras , , March 15, 2019 at 3:22 pm
"While black people make up only 13 percent of the population, they make up 42 percent of death row and 35 percent of those who are executed. There are big racial disparities in charging, sentencing, plea bargaining, and executions, Department of Justice reviews have concluded, and black and brown people are disproportionately found to be innocent after landing on death row. The poor and disadvantaged thereby become grist for a system that cares nothing for them."

So to what degree are these "disparities" "disproportionate" in light of actual criminal behavior? To be "proportionate," would we expect criminal behavior to correlate exactly to racial, ethnic, sex, and age demographics of society as a whole?

Put another way, if you are a victim of a violent crime in America, what are the odds your assailant is, say, an elderly, Asian female? Approximately zero.

Conversely, what are the odds your assailant is a young, black male? Rather high, and if you yourself are a young, black male, approaching 100 percent.

Pam , , March 15, 2019 at 3:42 pm
Mostly thumbs up to this article. But why you gotta pick on Calvinism at the end? Anyway, your understanding of Calvinism is entirely upside down. Calvinists believe they are elect by divine grace, and salvation is something given by God through Jesus, which means you can't earn it and you most assuredly don't deserve it. Calvinism also teaches that all people are made in the image of God and worthy of respect, regardless of class or status. There's no "version" of Calvinism that teaches what you claim.

[Mar 15, 2019] Orlov's breakdown of Putin's State of the Nation Speech

Mar 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

JOHN CHUCKMAN @21--

John provides a very sparse recap of the Brexit Affair but neglects mention of why it was passed: The vote was seen and acted upon as a referendum on Tory policies that were and are destroying the UK's economy and social networks--Neoliberal "austerity" weaponizing Blair's Third Way PPPs--which is part of the Creative Destruction discussed in the link I provided @20. What's ongoing in UK is very much akin to the policy of Enclosure that makes war on the commonfolk to enrich the fat few. The difference between then and now is the political power held by commonfolk--power they could only dream of then.

Orlov's breakdown of Putin's State of the Nation Speech inadvertently tells us what/where the Great Divide is between the Socioeconomic goals of the East versus those of the West:

"The government has amassed vast amounts of capital which it will now spend on domestic programs designed to benefit the people, to help Russians live longer, healthier lives and have more children. 'More children -- lower taxes' was one of the catchier slogans No opposition to these proposals worth mentioning was voiced in any of the commentary that followed on news programs and talk shows; after all, who could possibly be against spending amassed capital on projects that help the population? " [My Emphasis]

The Neoliberal economic model run by the Outlaw US Empire, aped by EU and forced upon as many nations as possible to feed the fat pigs is the who/what answer. China is busily lifting its remaining millions out of poverty and that accomplishment's admired and beginning to be emulated by ASEAN through BRI, which is why it's being targeted by the Empire. Yes, it's Zero-sum versus Win-Win that lies at the bottom of Brexit and Corbynism.

">link
Orlov's breakdown of Putin's State of the Nation Speech

JOHN CHUCKMAN @21--

John provides a very sparse recap of the Brexit Affair but neglects mention of why it was passed: The vote was seen and acted upon as a referendum on Tory policies that were and are destroying the UK's economy and social networks--Neoliberal "austerity" weaponizing Blair's Third Way PPPs--which is part of the Creative Destruction discussed in the link I provided @20. What's ongoing in UK is very much akin to the policy of Enclosure that makes war on the commonfolk to enrich the fat few. The difference between then and now is the political power held by commonfolk--power they could only dream of then.

Orlov's breakdown of Putin's State of the Nation Speech inadvertently tells us what/where the Great Divide is between the Socioeconomic goals of the East versus those of the West:

"The government has amassed vast amounts of capital which it will now spend on domestic programs designed to benefit the people, to help Russians live longer, healthier lives and have more children. 'More children -- lower taxes' was one of the catchier slogans No opposition to these proposals worth mentioning was voiced in any of the commentary that followed on news programs and talk shows; after all, who could possibly be against spending amassed capital on projects that help the population? " [My Emphasis]

The Neoliberal economic model run by the Outlaw US Empire, aped by EU and forced upon as many nations as possible to feed the fat pigs is the who/what answer. China is busily lifting its remaining millions out of poverty and that accomplishment's admired and beginning to be emulated by ASEAN through BRI, which is why it's being targeted by the Empire. Yes, it's Zero-sum versus Win-Win that lies at the bottom of Brexit and Corbynism.

">link

[Mar 15, 2019] Trump Administration, Canada And EU Hit Russia With Fresh Sanctions

Hate of Russia national runs deep with the infected bowels of the State Department. Sounds like Neo-cons saber rattling and wanting to start WWIII over a bunch of Ukrainian Neo-Nazis installed thanks to Victoria Nuland.
So much for detente with Russia. Trump proved to be just a marionette of MIC...
Sentiments about Trump at Zerohedge noticeably deteriorates since 2016
Mar 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
The US State Department announced on Friday that it would be joining the European Union and Canada to impose new sanctions against Russia in response to the Kremlin's "continued aggression in Ukraine."

Sanctions will apply to six "individuals who orchestrated the unjustified November 25 attack on three Ukrainian naval vessels near the Kerch Strait."

Also sanctioned by the United States are eight companies, including six Russian defense firms, "including shipbuilding companies; two individuals involved in the NOvember sham "elections" in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine; and two Russian energy and construction companies operating in Crimea."

Read the State Department announcement below:

Washington – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated six Russian individuals and eight entities in response to Russia's continued and ongoing aggression in Ukraine. Today's action targets individuals and entities playing a role in Russia's unjustified attacks on Ukrainian naval vessels in the Kerch Strait, the purported annexation of Crimea, and backing of illegitimate separatist government elections in eastern Ukraine. These actions complement sanctions also taken today by the European Union and Canada, and underscore the strength and commitment of the transatlantic partnership to counter Russia's continued destabilizing behavior and malign activities.

"The United States and our transatlantic partners will not allow Russia's continued aggression against Ukraine to go unchecked. This joint initiative with our partners in the European Union and Canada reinforces our shared commitment to impose targeted and meaningful sanctions in response to the Kremlin's attempts to disregard international norms and undermine Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. "The international community is strongly aligned against Russia's naval attacks in the Kerch Straight, purported annexation of Crimea, and support for the illegitimate separatist-conducted elections in eastern Ukraine."

OVERVIEW

Five years after its invasion of Ukraine and its attempted annexation of Crimea, Russia continues to undermine Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity while failing to implement its obligations under the Minsk agreements. On November 25, 2018, Russian authorities opened fire on and rammed three Ukrainian ships off the coast of Crimea, seizing the ships and capturing 24 Ukrainian crew members, who remain illegally detained in Russia. Russia also continues its occupation of Crimea, and the Kremlin has also backed illegitimate elections held by Ukrainian separatists in the so-called Donetsk People's Republic on November 11, 2018.

As a result of today's designations, all property and interests in property of the designated individuals and entities are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from transacting with them. Moreover, any entities owned 50 percent or more by these designated persons are also blocked by operation of law.

Designations Related to Russia's Attack in the Kerch Strait

OFAC today sanctioned four Russian officials who were involved in the Kerch Strait attack. OFAC designated Gennadiy Medvedev, the Deputy Director of the Border Guard Service of Russia's Federal Security Service; Sergey Stankevich, the Head of the Border Directorate of Russia's Federal Security Service; and Andrey Shein, the Deputy Head of the Border Directorate and Head of the Coast Guard Unit of Russia's Federal Security Service. Medvedev and Stankevich directly controlled and organized the attack against the Ukrainian ships and their crew, while Shein participated in the operation against the seized Ukrainian ships and crew.

OFAC also designated Ruslan Romashkin, the Head of the Service Command Point of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation for the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol.

Medvedev, Stankevich, Shein, and Romashkin are being designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13661 for being officials of the Government of the Russian Federation.

DESIGNATIONS RELATED TO RUSSIA'S PURPORTED ANNEXATION OF CRIMEA

Today's action also targets six Russian defense firms with operations in Crimea, several of which misappropriated Ukrainian state assets to provide services to the Russian military. Four of these entities are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13662 for operating in the defense and related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy, and two entities are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13685 for operating in the Crimea region of Ukraine.

Yaroslavsky Shipbuilding Plant is a Russian state-owned shipbuilding plant that has built vessels for Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Russian Ministry of Defense. Yaroslavsky Shipbuilding Plant is also the project developer for a naval vessel that was completed at the Federal SUE Shipyard "Morye" in Crimea. Yaroslavsky Shipbuilding Plant is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13662 for operating in the defense or related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy.

Zelenodolsk Shipyard Plant, named after A.M. Gorky, is one of the largest ship manufacturers in Russia and has produced missile frigates and corvettes for the Russian Navy. The Zelenodolsk Shipyard Plant has collaborated with Crimea-based enterprise Skloplastic, which was unlawfully nationalized by the Russian government following its illegal invasion of Crimea in 2014. The Zelenodolsk Shipyard Plant is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13662 for operating in the defense and related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy.

AO Kontsern Okeanpribor (Okeanpribor) is a producer of hydroacoustic equipment and has supplied components to the Russian Navy. Okeanpribor has also collaborated on a naval project at the Federal SUE Shipyard "Morye" in Crimea. Federal SUE Shipyard "Morye" was designated by OFAC on September 1, 2016. Okeanpribor is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13662 for operating in the defense and related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy.

PAO Zvezda (Zvezda) is a supplier of diesel engines to the Russian Navy. Zvezda has also supplied components for Russian naval vessels that were being built at the Federal SUE Shipyard "Morye" in Crimea. Zvezda is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13662 for operating in the defense and related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy.

AO Zavod Fiolent (Fiolent) is a Crimea-based electronics manufacturer that has supplied parts for use in Russian military equipment. Fiolent was unlawfully seized by the Russian Federation following its annexation of Crimea in 2014. Fiolent is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13685 for operating in the Crimea region of Ukraine.

GUP RK KTB Sudokompozit (Sudokompozit) is a Crimea-based producer of defense components that are supplied for Russian military use. Sudokompozit was unlawfully seized by the Russian Federation following its annexation of Crimea in 2014. Sudokompozit is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13685 for operating in the Crimea region of Ukraine.

OFAC also designated the following two entities pursuant to E.O. 13685, due to their activities in Crimea.

LLC SK Consol-Stroi LTD is being designated for operating in the Crimea region of Ukraine. LLC SK Consol-Stroi LTD, a limited liability company registered in the city of Simferopol, Crimea, is one of Crimea's largest construction companies. LLC SK Consol-Stroi LTD is engaged in the construction of residential and commercial real estate in cities throughout the Crimea region including, among others, Feodosia, Kerch, Yalta, Simferopol, Sevastopol, and Yepatoria.

LLC Novye Proekty is being designated for operating in the Crimea region of Ukraine. In 2016, Russian authorities awarded the private company Novye Proekty an oil and gas exploration license for the Crimean Black Sea shelf. The Crimean shelf is believed to be rich in hydrocarbons and authorities in Ukraine have reported that Ukraine lost about 80 percent of its oil and gas deposits in the Black Sea due to Russia's purported annexation of Crimea. Novye Proekty's license permits geological studies, prospecting, and the extraction of raw hydrocarbon materials from the Black Sea's Glubokaya block. Prior to Russia's purported annexation of Crimea the Glubokaya block was estimated to hold reserves of 8.3 million tons of crude and 1.4 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

DESIGNATIONS RELATED TO ILLEGITIMATE SEPARATIST GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS IN UKRAINE

Today's action also targets two Ukrainian separatists who were involved in the organization of the November 2018 illegitimate elections in the so-called Donetsk People's Republic. These illegitimate elections clearly contradict Russia's commitments under the Minsk agreements, and were strongly opposed by the United States and EU.

Aleksey Alekseevich Naydenko is the Deputy Chair of the Central Election Commission of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic. Naydenko is being designated for being responsible for or complicit in, or having engaged in, directly or indirectly, actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Vladimir Yurievich Vysotsky is the Secretary of Central Election Commission of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic. Vysotsky is being designated for being responsible for or complicit in, or having engaged in, directly or indirectly, actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine.

View identifying information on the individuals designated today.


Insufferably Insouciant , 10 minutes ago link

Bizazze choice of wording in the official text:

" DESIGNATIONS RELATED TO RUSSIA'S PURPORTED ANNEXATION OF CRIMEA"

purported

/pərˈpôrdəd/

adjective

  1. appearing or stated to be true, though not necessarily so; alleged.

There is nothing "purported" about it, it was true and as legitimate as it could possibly be.

Then under "DESIGNATIONS RELATED TO ILLEGITIMATE SEPARATIST GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS IN UKRAINE" they claim that Russia violated its committments under Minsk 2, which the US never officially recognized. Minsk 2 intended increased sovereignty for the Oblasts under a new Ukraine Federal constitutional arrangement. That constitutional amendment has never been initiated by Kiev, with the blessing of Uncle Sam. It is the Ukraine puppet government who is in violation of Minsk 2.

If the US wrote this, assume the opposite to be true.

smacker , 47 minutes ago link

[Article]: " Sanctions will apply to six "individuals who orchestrated the unjustified November 25 attack on three Ukrainian naval vessels near the Kerch Strait." "

Translation: "The propaganda lunacy will continue". "We will keep telling the same old same old lies until people believe them".

My understanding of that incident is that the Ukrainian boats had some unexplained special forces people on board and they refused to pull over when ordered to. From Russia's view, there was a real risk of these people planning to plant explosives to blow up the Kerch bridge.

OpTwoMistic , 42 minutes ago link

Can you imagine Russia building missile batteries in Mexico or Cuba? That is what US has done in Ukraine.

nope-1004 , 33 minutes ago link

Now it appears that no matter which government is in power they go along with the aggressive agenda of the US.

Been like that since the '50's, just that you believed that the economy and world was good.

Voting matters ZERO. The lie you are made to believe is that there is a choice when voting, when in fact the ruling party is the financial engineers and bankers behind all governments.

Voting is a waste of time. The heart of the beast is the USD reserve and the Rothschild empire. Once we abolish that pig, all western governments implode under their own weight of cheap talk and empty "policy".

dirty dogs , 50 minutes ago link

Don't forget the paint company that Russia used on their assault boats to scratch those Ukie ships.

No Justice No Peace!

666D Chess , 1 hour ago link

The evidence that the orange swine is a Rothschild Trojan Horse is overwhelming at this point. Only a scumbag or an absolute imbecile would fail to see it. Fvck you orange roach.

2handband , 1 hour ago link

You might recall that I said as much right from the beginning of the campaign...

666D Chess , 1 hour ago link

I didn't read your comments at that time but I tip my hat to you. I realised that everything he said during the campaign was bullsh!t after he started appointing Goldman Sachs bankers to his cabinet...

marcel tjoeng , 1 hour ago link

The USA government is quite the set of loathsome filth,

[Mar 15, 2019] Something about Canada

Mar 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

oddjob , 47 minutes ago link

No matter what Party is in power, Ottawa always proves to be a source of disappointment for the average Canadian.

[Mar 15, 2019] If one can imaging that creating of such a level of animosity between Congress, Administration and the Department of Justice was the Russian goal then perhaps Trump, Schumer, Pelosi, Rosentain and Mueller, all can expect to get the Star of Hero of the Russian Federation

Mar 15, 2019 | nationalinterest.org

Mr Russian -> milo 2 days ago ,

Could you say that "checks and balances" of the US in current stage are "unbalanced"

Looks like executive branch has its own policies and legislative branch is trying very hard to nullify whatever executive branch can or could potentially do (and it will impact future presidents too).

And more importantly all this "meddling" (forgive me the pun) between the branches essentially cripples the US politics, foreign and internal.
If one can imaging THAT is the Russian goal then perhaps Mr. Trump could get the Star of Hero of the Russian Federation pretty soon

[Mar 15, 2019] Omidyar's Democracy Fund has also helped to finance the "News Integrity Initiative," a name that evokes the U.K.'s notorious Integrity Initiative.

Mar 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Blooming Barricade , Mar 14, 2019 5:36:22 PM | link

Pierre Omidyar opens up new Integrity Initiative

Omidyar's Democracy Fund has also helped to finance the "News Integrity Initiative," a name that evokes the U.K.'s notorious Integrity Initiative. The latter group claimed to be an independent charity battling foreign disinformation until it was exposed by hackers as a propaganda mill run by military officers and covertly funded by the British Foreign Office to cultivate public opinion in support of heightened conflict with Russia. Leaked communications revealed how the Integrity Initiative mobilized clusters of journalists, self-styled disinformation experts, academics and political figures throughout the West to advocate for a long-term war footing against the Russian menace.

For its part, the News Integrity Initiative is a murky $14 million operation intended to "combat media manipulation" through a network of "journalists, technologists, academic institutions, non-profits, and other organizations." The set-up is eerily evocative of the influence clusters developed by the British Integrity Initiative. Few specifics are provided, however, on what the group actually does.

A hint about the agenda of the News Integrity Initiative lies in a grant of $1 million it made to an outlet called Internews in 2017. The bulk of Internews' money -- some 80 percent of it -- comes from the U.S. government. It has also received backing from liberal financier George Soros and USAID, which provided the group with seed money for a Russian-language television network, helped drive the pro-NATO color revolution in the Republic of Georgia, and published footage of Russian casualties in Chechnya to erode Russian public support for the war.

In countries that are considered official and semi-official enemies of the United States, Internews has organized de facto boot camps for opposition journalists. "In the Middle East," says Internews founder David Hoffman, "training sessions often begin with discussion of whether Internews is really U.S. propaganda or the CIA." However Hoffman answers the question, it is abundantly clear that his outlet has advanced Washington's priorities abroad behind the guise of independent journalism.

In November 2017, the News Integrity Initiative hosted a workshop alongside Internews and the Omidyar-backed First Draft News in Kiev, Ukraine, according to the initiative's managing director, Molly de Aguiar. Kiev is today a nexus for intelligence-connected media crusaders and a launch pad for projects ostensibly aimed at countering Russia's "information warfare." But, what exactly the News Integrity Initiative was doing there was left unsaid.

While Omidyar ploughs his fortune into organizations that claim to be countering "disinformation," especially of the Russian variety, he has established a culture factory to publicize the supposed feats of the journalists often hyped up by the cartel of media transparency groups and fact-checking sites he funds.

http://failedevolution.blogspot.com/2019/03/how-one-of-americas-premier-data_5.html

[Mar 15, 2019] Will Democrats Go Full Hawk by Jack Hunter

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Warren could have easily gone either way, succumbing to the emotive demands of the Never Trump mob. She instead opted to stick to the traditional progressive position on undeclared war, even if it meant siding with the president. ..."
"... Bravo Congressman Khanna. And to those progs who share his sympathies with those of us who have consistently opposed US military adventurism. Howard Dean's comments that American troops should take a bullet in support of "women's rights" in Afghanistan (!) only underscores why he serves as comic relief and really should consider wearing tassels and bells. ..."
"... Trump – and Bernie – put their fingers on the electoral zeitgeist in 2016: the oligarchy is out of control, its servants in Washington have turned their backs on the middle class, and we need to stop getting into stupid, needless wars. ..."
"... "Principles", LOL? What principles? When have Democrats ever not campaigned on a "bring them home, no torture, etc" peace platform and then governed on a deep state neocon foreign policy, with entitlements to drone anyone on earth in Obama's case? At least horrible neocon Republicans are honest enough to say what they believe when they run. ..."
"... Hillary was full hawk. It was Trump who said he was less hawkish. Yeah, he hasn't lived up to that either. But Democrats can't go hawkish in response. They already were the hawks. ..."
Mar 14, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

When President Donald Trump announced in December that he wanted an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, there was more silence and opposition from the Left than approval. The 2016 election's highest-profile progressive, Senator Bernie Sanders, said virtually nothing at the time. The 2018 midterm election's Left celeb, former congressman Beto O'Rourke, kept mum too. The 2004 liberal hero, Howard Dean, came out against troop withdrawals, saying they would damage women's rights in Afghanistan.

The liberal news outlet on which Warren made her statement, MSNBC, which had already been sounding more like Fox News circa 2003, warned that withdrawal from Syria could hurt national security. The left-leaning news channel has even made common cause with Bill Kristol and other neoconservatives in its shared opposition to all things Trump.

Maddow herself has not only vocally opposed the president's decision, but has become arguably more popular than ever with liberal viewers by peddling wild-eyed anti-Trump conspiracy theories worthy of Alex Jones. Reacting to one of her cockamamie theories, progressive journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted , "She is Glenn Beck standing at the chalkboard. Liberals celebrate her (relatively) high ratings as proof that she's right, but Beck himself proved that nothing produces higher cable ratings than feeding deranged partisans unhinged conspiracy theories that flatter their beliefs."

The Trump derangement that has so enveloped the Left on everything, including foreign policy, is precisely what makes Democratic presidential candidate Warren's Syria withdrawal position so noteworthy. One can safely assume that Sanders, O'Rourke, Dean, MSNBC, Maddow, and many of their fellow progressive travelers' silence on or resistance to troop withdrawal is simply them gauging what their liberal audiences currently want or will accept.

Warren could have easily gone either way, succumbing to the emotive demands of the Never Trump mob. She instead opted to stick to the traditional progressive position on undeclared war, even if it meant siding with the president.

... ... ...

Jack Hunter is the former political editor of Rare.us and co-authored the 2011 book The Tea Party Goes to Washington with Senator Rand Paul.


WorkingClass March 13, 2019 at 10:36 pm

Only a crushing defeat and massive casualties on the battlefield will cause ANY change in foreign policy by either party.
PAX , says: March 13, 2019 at 10:45 pm
The antiwar movement is not a "liberal" movement. Hundreds of mainly your people addressed the San Francisco board of supervisors asking them to condemn an Israeli full-fledged attack on Gaza. When they were finished, without objection from one single supervisor, the issued was tabled and let sink permanently in the Bay, never to be heard of again. Had the situation been reversed and Israel under attack there most probably would have been a resolution in nanoseconds. Maybe even half the board volunteering to join the IDF? People believed Trump would act more objectively. That is why he got a lot of peace votes. What AIPAC wants there is a high probability our liberal politicians will oblige quickly and willingly. Who really represents America remains a mystery?
Donald , says: March 13, 2019 at 11:40 pm
"That abiding hatred will continue to play an outsized and often illogical role in determining what most Democrats believe about foreign policy."

True, but the prowar tendency with mainstream liberals ( think Clintonites) is older than that. The antiwar movement among mainstream liberals died the instant Obama entered the White House. And even before that Clinton and Kerry and others supported the Iraq War. I think this goes all the way back to Gulf War I, and possibly further. Democrats were still mostly antiwar to some degree after Vietnam and they also opposed Reagan's proxy wars in Central America and Angola. Some opposed the Gulf War, but it seemed a big success at the time and so it became centrist and smart to kick the Vietnam War syndrome and be prowar. Bill Clinton has his little war in Serbia, which was seen as a success and so being prowar became the centrist Dem position. Obama was careful to say he wasn't antiwar, just against dumb wars. Gore opposed going into Iraq, but on technocratic grounds.

And in popular culture, in the West Wing the liberal fantasy President was bombing an imaginary Mideast terrorist country. Showed he was a tough guy, but measured, unlike some of the even more warlike fictitious Republicans in that show. I remember Toby Ziegler, one of the main characters, ranting to his pro diplomacy wife that we needed to go in and civilize those crazy Muslims.

So it isn't just an illogical overreaction to Trump, though that is part of it.

polistra , says: March 14, 2019 at 2:18 am
Won't happen. Gabbard is solid and sincere but she's not Hillary so she won't be the candidate. Hillary is the candidate forever. If Hillary is too drunk to stand up, or too obviously dead, Kamala will serve as Hillary's regent.
ked_x , says: March 14, 2019 at 2:48 am
The problem isn't THAT Trump is pulling the troops out of Syria. The problem is HOW Trump is pulling the troops out of Syria. The Left isn't fighting about 'keeping troops indefinitely in Syria' vs pulling troops out of Syria'. Its a fight over 'pulling troops out in a way that makes it so that we don't have to go back in like Obama and Iraq' vs 'backing the reckless pull out Trump is going to do'.
Kasoy , says: March 14, 2019 at 3:42 am
Will Democrats go full hawk?

For Democrats, everything depends on what the polls say, which issues seem important to get elected. They will say anything, no matter how irrational & outrageously insane if the polls say Democrat voters like them. If American involvement in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan are less important according to the polls, Democratic 2020 hopefuls will not bother to focus on it.

For True Christian conservatives, everything depends on how issues line up to God's laws. Polls do not change what is morally right, & what is morally evil.

Connecticut Farmer , says: March 14, 2019 at 8:47 am
"I am glad Donald Trump is withdrawing troops from Syria. Congress never authorized the intervention."

Bravo Congressman Khanna. And to those progs who share his sympathies with those of us who have consistently opposed US military adventurism. Howard Dean's comments that American troops should take a bullet in support of "women's rights" in Afghanistan (!) only underscores why he serves as comic relief and really should consider wearing tassels and bells.

M. Orban , says: March 14, 2019 at 9:35 am
Having grown up under communism, I learned that it is dangerous but inevitable that propagandists eventually come to believe their own fabrications.
Argon , says: March 14, 2019 at 11:23 am
Kasoy: "For True Christian conservatives, everything depends on how issues line up to God's laws. Polls do not change what is morally right, & what is morally evil."

I think that needs the trademark symbol, i.e True Christians™

What do True Scotsmen do?

Dave , says: March 14, 2019 at 12:53 pm
Recent suggests that more Christian Identity Politics will not keep us out of unwise wars.
Dave , says: March 14, 2019 at 1:19 pm
The Second Coming of Jack Hunter. Given his well-documented views on race, it's no surprise he's all in on Trump. That surely outweighs Trump's massive spending and corruption that most true libertarians oppose.
EarlyBird , says: March 14, 2019 at 3:04 pm
Trump – and Bernie – put their fingers on the electoral zeitgeist in 2016: the oligarchy is out of control, its servants in Washington have turned their backs on the middle class, and we need to stop getting into stupid, needless wars.

Of course, the left would come out against puppies and sunshine if Trump came out for those things.

But if they are smart, they'd recognize that on war, or his lack of interest in starting new wars, even the broken Trump clock has been right twice a day.

Erin , says: March 14, 2019 at 3:11 pm
The flip side of this phenomenon is that so many Republican voters supported Trump's withdrawal from Syria. Had it been Obama withdrawing the troops, I suspect 80-90% of Republicans would have opposed the withdrawal.

This does show that Republicans are listening to Trump more than Lindsey Graham or Marco Rubio on foreign policy. But once Trump leaves office, I fear the party will swing back towards the neocons.

Andrew , says: March 14, 2019 at 5:14 pm
"Principles", LOL? What principles? When have Democrats ever not campaigned on a "bring them home, no torture, etc" peace platform and then governed on a deep state neocon foreign policy, with entitlements to drone anyone on earth in Obama's case? At least horrible neocon Republicans are honest enough to say what they believe when they run.

Dopey Trump campaigned on something different and has now surrounded himself with GOP hawks, probably because he's lazy and doesn't know any better.

Bernie, much like Ron Paul was, 180 degrees away, is the only one who might do different if he got into office, and the rate the left is going he may very well be the nominee.

Mark Thomason , says: March 15, 2019 at 11:23 am
Hillary was full hawk. It was Trump who said he was less hawkish. Yeah, he hasn't lived up to that either. But Democrats can't go hawkish in response. They already were the hawks.

The least bad comment on Democrats is that everyone in DC is a hawk, not just them.

[Mar 15, 2019] Ukraine is a good example. Now this country commits ritual suicide "completely voluntarily."

Mar 15, 2019 | nationalinterest.org

Nick Klaus Mr Russian 2 days ago ,

You are a little wrong when you call this system "colonial". Today it is neo-colonialism. When the United States subordinates the country, they do not bear any responsibility for the fate of this country, since the formally subordinate country remains independent and all its actions are performed "voluntarily."

Ukraine is a good example. Now this country commits ritual suicide "completely voluntarily."

milo Mr Russian 2 days ago ,

They've thought of that. That's why they tell us "The US has no colonies". Because you have to support them if you admit to owning them. That's why by 1960, every colonial nation on earth was giving its own colonies independence. They were costing more than they were worth.

What we do now is to groom some local fellow, like Guaido, to take over the government and run it the way we would like him to. We pay generously for this favor, in the form of loans and direct investments. The fortunate ones near the seat of power come out fabulously well. But neither we nor the country's rulers take on any responsibility for the welfare of their people.

One of the dictators we backed was the director of the Brazilian military, who seized power back in 1964... a fellow named Castelo Branco. And he was asked once at a press conference how the economy was doing.

He replied "The economy, it is doing marvelously! The people, on the other hand-- not so good."

Mr Russian milo 2 days ago ,

If you don't offer protection to your puppet eventually some other power might try the same trick and overthrow him. But if you do provide protection that area becomes a colony.
So what you describing can only work when there is only one major power on the planet. The US enjoyed it for some time but it can't have it anymore, that's reality.

milo Mr Russian 2 days ago ,

The system is predicted to work some time into the future, for the reason that it is based on subterfuge and military force. And we have a military as large as that of the entire rest of the planet put together. So to us it doesn't matter what you call it. They control the media, so they can just not report a word you say about them.

What will undo it will be a collapse of the dollar-based economy. And that will be kind of hard to achieve, as every rich person on earth keeps his wealth denominated in dollars. So there is little pressure to kill it. That's why we always used to call it The Almighty Dollar.

However there are limits. Our main weapon now being used to enforce behavior is financial sanctions. So it's pretty much assured that at some point in the near future the sanctioned nations (Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela...) will be getting together to set up an alternate financial system. Probably based on the yuan.

That's the thing about offensive weapons systems. As a Mexican wit put it "Let them build a twenty foot wall. We will build a 21 foot ladder."

[Mar 15, 2019] Will Democrats Go Full Hawk The American Conservative

Mar 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

In 2019, it is.

When President Donald Trump announced in December that he wanted an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, there was more silence and opposition from the Left than approval. The 2016 election's highest-profile progressive, Senator Bernie Sanders, said virtually nothing at the time. The 2018 midterm election's Left celeb, former congressman Beto O'Rourke, kept mum too. The 2004 liberal hero, Howard Dean, came out against troop withdrawals, saying they would damage women's rights in Afghanistan.

Advertisement

The liberal news outlet on which Warren made her statement, MSNBC, which had already been sounding more like Fox News circa 2003, warned that withdrawal from Syria could hurt national security. The left-leaning news channel has even made common cause with Bill Kristol and other neoconservatives in its shared opposition to all things Trump.

Maddow herself has not only vocally opposed the president's decision, but has become arguably more popular than ever with liberal viewers by peddling wild-eyed anti-Trump conspiracy theories worthy of Alex Jones. Reacting to one of her cockamamie theories, progressive journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted , "She is Glenn Beck standing at the chalkboard. Liberals celebrate her (relatively) high ratings as proof that she's right, but Beck himself proved that nothing produces higher cable ratings than feeding deranged partisans unhinged conspiracy theories that flatter their beliefs."

The Trump derangement that has so enveloped the Left on everything, including foreign policy, is precisely what makes Democratic presidential candidate Warren's Syria withdrawal position so noteworthy. One can safely assume that Sanders, O'Rourke, Dean, MSNBC, Maddow, and many of their fellow progressive travelers' silence on or resistance to troop withdrawal is simply them gauging what their liberal audiences currently want or will accept. Warren could have easily gone either way, succumbing to the emotive demands of the Never Trump mob. She instead opted to stick to the traditional progressive position on undeclared war, even if it meant siding with the president.

[Mar 15, 2019] DOJ ... Department of Obstruction of Justice.

Mar 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The Justice Department and Hillary Clinton's legal team "negotiated" an agreement that blocked the FBI from accessing emails on Clinton's homebrew server related to the Clinton Foundation, according to a transcript of recently released testimony from last summer by former FBI special agent Peter Strzok.

[Mar 15, 2019] The Battle for the Future of U.S. Foreign Policy Has Begun by Ted Galen Carpenter

that's a fake battle. The US foreign policy is controlled by MIC and Wall Street. Elected officials, as we see in cases of both Oabma and Trump administrations, "simply does not matter."
That arrangement (which now is associated with the term the Deep state") is a part of the rule of military-industrial complex and due to the existence of powerful three letter agencies created by Truman can't be changed. Essntially Truman secured the victory of military industrial complex for the next hundred years or more.
Mar 14, 2019 | nationalinterest.org

Congressional efforts are underway to seize control of foreign-policy decisions from the executive. Who will win?

There are signs of growing congressional inconsistency, if not incoherence, regarding the authority of the president in foreign affairs. The legislature seeks to interfere on issues that are the president's responsibility while still failing to fulfill its own constitutionally mandated responsibility regarding the war power.

An incident of misplaced assertiveness took place in January when the House of Representatives passed the NATO Support Act prohibiting the executive branch from using any funds to facilitate U.S. withdrawal from the Alliance in any way. The legislation appears to bar a drawdown of U.S. troop levels in Europe and any effort to terminate U.S. membership in NATO.

Enacting the legislation seemed weirdly premature. President Donald Trump has not even taken any substantive actions that might diminish U.S. participation in NATO affairs. He has merely criticized the allies for their lack of burden-sharing in the collective defense effort and (correctly) suggested that NATO itself might be "obsolete" given how much the European and global security environments have changed since the Alliance's birth at the dawn of the Cold War against the Soviet Union.

The constitutionality of such restrictions also is highly suspect. The Constitution makes the president the steward of foreign affairs. Presidents historically have enjoyed wide latitude regarding the interpretation, execution, and even termination of U.S. treaties. Chief executives have enjoyed even greater latitude regarding troop deployments, especially in noncombat situations, and the nature, extent, and duration of military commitments to implement treaties or other agreements. Congressional interference in the form of the NATO Support Act would be truly revolutionary -- and not in a good way. It is a transparent congressional attempt to usurp the president's rightful constitutional authority and seek to micromanage U.S. foreign policy.

The NATO issue is not the only case in which congressional efforts are underway to seize control of foreign-policy decisions from the executive. A faction in both houses is now pushing a measure that would prevent the White House from failing to honor U.S. obligations under the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty until it expires in February 2021. Unlike in the case of NATO, the president has taken tangible steps against the INF. After accusing Russia of violating its obligations under the treaty, Trump announced that the United States intended to withdraw from the INF . It should be stressed that the issue is not whether the president's policies on NATO or the INF are wise or misguided; the relevant issue is whether the Constitution invests the executive or Congress with the authority to make those decisions.

Greater congressional assertiveness on such issues is especially odd given how readily Congress has abandoned its own explicit constitutional authority to control the war power. Even as legislators moved to restrict Trump regarding NATO and the INF, there was no effective campaign to prevent him from implementing his decision to keep at least two hundred troops in Syria, despite the continuing lack of any congressional authorization for U.S. military involvement in that combat zone.

... ... ...

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in security studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at the National Interest , is the author of twelve books and more than 750 articles on foreign affairs.


Mr Russian milo 2 days ago ,

Could you say that "checks and balances" of the US in current stage are "unbalanced"
Looks like executive branch has its own policies and legislative branch is trying very hard to nullify whatever executive branch can or could potentially do (and it will impact future presidents too).
And more importantly all this "meddling" (forgive me the pun) between the branches essentially cripples the US politics, foreign and internal.
If one can imaging THAT is the Russian goal then perhaps Mr. Trump could get the Star of Hero of the Russian Federation pretty soon

milo Mr Russian 2 days ago ,

Our system of checks and balances has become totally unbalanced, destabilized like some Arab government we've decided don't like. Political scientists are all telling us that we're on the way to having a classic autocratic regime, where nothing matters except what El Supremo says matters.

And Congress is supine. They really don't care much about how the country is being run, they just care if they get re-elected. And the right half of them thinks they won't get re-elected if they oppose Trump. So there's no veto-proof majority.

It never used to be this way. But it has been said that "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time by the blood of patriots and tyrants." (Thomas Jefferson)

And we just don't have enough patriots to get the job done. I look to the young people to be changing that.

Mr Russian milo 2 days ago ,
Political scientists are all telling us that we're on the way to having a classic autocratic regime, where nothing matters except what El Supremo says matters.


I have elusive feeling that American policies have already been praying to "El Supremo" for some time, it just wasn't so openly obvious until now.
And the "El Supremo" name is "Wall Street". Globalisation have taken over American policies for some time.
It became obvious after "too big to fail" incidents of 2008.
Another example: FAANG has so much power now that it can literally kill smaller private companies with a mouse click. It can shape public opinion and no doubt it can soon be able to elect politicians.

milo Mr Russian 2 days ago ,

That's something different. Wall Street funds quite a large portion of the campaigns waged by both parties. So whichever party wins an election, they are anxious to never offend their sponsors. You might look up the proportions of presidential elections contributions made by the financial and insurance industries.

(This is also why we can never seem to get a good single-payer health system. It would get rid of private health insurance.)

I was talking about the once-creeping, now-galloping expansion of presidential powers. This was first evident during the presidency of George W Bush, when the theory of the Unitary Executive was put forth, by people like John Yoo and David Addington.

It establishes the theory that the Constitution allows a sitting president to disregard those laws he doesn't want to enforce and to take executive actions that do not depend on congressional approval. That is, he is above the law and accountable to no one.

https://www.acslaw.org/?pos...
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pa...

Mr Russian milo 2 days ago ,

Empire, even a powerful one cannot win prosperity with a war or wars. Eventually you'd need to provide some economy to the colonies. The less you provide the more they gonna hate you and resist you. The more you provide the less they gonna need you and eventually overthrow you.
Winning with wars is utopia, like communism.

Nick Klaus Mr Russian 2 days ago ,

You are a little wrong when you call this system "colonial". Today it is neo-colonialism. When the United States subordinates the country, they do not bear any responsibility for the fate of this country, since the formally subordinate country remains independent and all its actions are performed "voluntarily."

Ukraine is a good example. Now this country commits ritual suicide "completely voluntarily."

[Mar 14, 2019] Regulatory Capture: The Banks and the System That They Have Corrupted

Mar 14, 2019 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com


"But the impotence one feels today -- an impotence we should never consider permanent -- does not excuse one from remaining true to oneself, nor does it excuse capitulation to the enemy, what ever mask he may wear. Not the one facing us across the frontier or the battle lines, which is not so much our enemy as our brothers' enemy, but the one that calls itself our protector and makes us its slaves. The worst betrayal will always be to subordinate ourselves to this Apparatus, and to trample underfoot, in its service, all human values in ourselves and in others."

Simone Weil

"And in some ways, it creates this false illusion that there are people out there looking out for the interest of taxpayers, the checks and balances that are built into the system are operational, when in fact they're not. And what you're going to see and what we are seeing is it'll be a breakdown of those governmental institutions. And you'll see governments that continue to have policies that feed the interests of -- and I don't want to get clichéd, but the one percent or the .1 percent -- to the detriment of everyone else...

If TARP saved our financial system from driving off a cliff back in 2008, absent meaningful reform, we are still driving on the same winding mountain road, but this time in a faster car... I think it's inevitable. I mean, I don't think how you can look at all the incentives that were in place going up to 2008 and see that in many ways they've only gotten worse and come to any other conclusion."

Neil Barofsky

"Written by Carmen Segarra, the petite lawyer turned bank examiner turned whistleblower turned one-woman swat team, the 340-page tome takes the reader along on her gut-wrenching workdays for an entire seven months inside one of the most powerful and corrupted watchdogs of the powerful and corrupted players on Wall Street – the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The days were literally gut-wrenching. Segarra reports that after months of being alternately gas-lighted and bullied at the New York Fed to whip her into the ranks of the corrupted, she had to go to a gastroenterologist and learned her stomach lining was gone.

She soldiered through her painful stomach ailments and secretly tape-recorded 46 hours of conversations between New York Fed officials and Goldman Sachs. After being fired for refusing to soften her examination opinion on Goldman Sachs, Segarra released the tapes to ProPublica and the radio program This American Life and the story went viral from there...

In a nutshell, the whoring works like this. There are huge financial incentives to go along, get along, and keep your mouth shut about fraud. The financial incentives encompass both the salary, pension and benefits at the New York Fed as well as the high-paying job waiting for you at a Wall Street bank or Wall Street law firm if you show you are a team player .

If the Democratic leadership of the House Financial Services Committee is smart, it will reopen the Senate's aborted inquiry into the New York Fed's labyrinthine conflicts of interest in supervising Wall Street and make removing that supervisory role a core component of the Democrat's 2020 platform. Senator Bernie Sanders' platform can certainly be expected to continue the accurate battle cry that 'the business model of Wall Street is fraud.'"

Pam Martens, Wall Street on Parade

[Mar 14, 2019] Manafort's Ukrainians were actually pro-West? - Habakkuk

Highly recommended!
Mar 14, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Habakkuk

Unfortunately, I have been taken up with the doings of another Christopher – surnamed Donnelly – whose antics with the 'Institute for Statecraft' and 'Integrity Initiative' seem just as ludicrous as those of Steele, and equally destructive.

I hope to come back to the implications of what has been coming out on your side about the dossier attributed to Steele in more depth in the none-too-distant future, particular if in fact the depositions made by him and David Kramer are unsealed reasonably promptly, but some background remarks may be worth throwing into the discussion.

It cannot be repeated often enough that an enormous amount of damage has been done as a result of people forming their impressions of MI6 from David Cornwell, aka John Le Carré, rather than Graham Greene.

A critical point is that, while if 'humint' is pursued by competent people, it can be invaluable, if pursued by incompetents, like so many of those Greene had known in his time in the wartime MI6, and portrayed so marvellously in 'Our Man in Havana', it is common for an 'echo chamber' to be set up, where people are told what they want to hear.

Those providing the 'echo' may genuinely share the delusions involved – or they may cynically exploit these, as part of a deliberate strategy of making the incompetents instruments of their own agendas (as MI5 and the Naval Intelligence Division did with the Abwehr during the war. MI6, largely incompetent apart from the section Philby ran, was marginal.)

That precisely this kind of 'echo chamber' had been set up by the Berezovsky group with people like Steele was the thrust of a pointed remark made by Andrei Lugovoi in the press conference on 31 May 2007 where he responded to the Crown Prosecution Service request for his extradition.

[Mar 14, 2019] Top Mueller Prosecutor Weissmann Steps Down In Latest Sign Probe Ending

Mar 14, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Andrew Weissmann, perhaps the ' angriest ' Democrat on special counsel Robert Mueller's probe, is leaving the investigation and will return to the private sector, according to NPR , citing two sources.

Considered the "architect" of the case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort - who was sentenced to a combined 7.5 years in prison for financial crimes related to his private business dealings, Weissmann will now study and teach at New York University. He will also embark on several public service projects, such as how to prevent wrongful convictions by improving forensic science standards.

As NPR notes, " The departure is the strongest sign yet that Mueller and his team have all but concluded their work. "

Weissmann - who wasn't able to link Manafort to collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, has come under fire from conservatives for his extreme liberalism. He attended Hillary Clinton's election night party in 2016, and was one of several officials told by then-DOJ #4 Bruce Ohr prior to the DOJ obtaining a FISA surveillance warrant that the 'Steele Dossier' was opposition research connected to Clinton and might be biased . Weissmann was the head of the DOJ's fraud section at the time.

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon also issued a warning about Weissmann and other senior members of the special counsel team when they were named in 2017.

Other departures signaling the end of Mueller's probe

While Weissmann's departure is the largest indication to date that the Mueller probe is near its end, several other investigators have already left the special counsel's office - including the senior-most FBI agent working the case; David Archey. Archey will head up the FBI's Richmond, VA office.

Another prosecutor, Brandon Van Grack, is now leading a DOJ effort to enforce compliance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) - a law requiring that people disclose if they are representing foreign powers in the United States. Created in 1938, the law remained virtually unenforced until the DOJ was able to nab Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates, who failed to register as foreign agents while representing the government of Ukraine. Notably, lobbyist Tony Podesta - who worked alongside Manafort, had the uncanny foresight to retroactively file as a foreign agent months before Manafort was charged.


aelfheld , 1 minute ago link

"Throughout his career, Andrew has had unparalleled success in building case after case against the most sophisticated criminals in the world," said former colleague Leslie Caldwell. "He took on New York's most feared organized crime families, unraveled the incredibly ornate frauds at Enron, and has tracked international criminals, exposing their carefully concealed financial dealings in many dark corners of the world."

And has, because of his aggressively unethical & corrupt methods has ended up having most of those cases thrown out of court.

Weissmann should have been disbarred decades ago.

Bastiat , 11 minutes ago link

So who speaks his praises? Kathy Ruemmler, Obama fixer.

Moe Hamhead , 27 minutes ago link

Well that didn't take so long for Mueller. The last time he took a wrong turn he spent five years and many millions of dollars chasing the wrong man. ... in the anthrax case. No conviction there!

This was only three years, and who knows how many tens of millions!

Ban KKiller , 29 minutes ago link

Will Andrew investigate Mueller and Clinton uranium one? Nope, but you knew that.

VonSteever , 30 minutes ago link

Weissman should never have been hired in the first place because of his obvious bias and conflicts of interest. The fact that he was, just makes the partisan "witch hunt" label more accurate.

Moving and Grooving , 20 minutes ago link

He's described as a fearless and effective money-laundering prosecutor. Wasn't money laundering supposed to be the charge that would sink Trump? What happened? Couldn't find any proof? Couldn't coerce some low-level flunky to rat Trump out? Ooh, so sad. I'm taking my ball and going to lick my wounds privately for a little while, but I'll be back!

overmedicatedundersexed , 43 minutes ago link

" including the senior-most FBI agent working the case; David Archey. Archey will head up the FBI's Richmond, VA office."

soon the richmond office will be called the:" FBI HQ in exile .

Catullus , 44 minutes ago link

Weissman's prosecutions of several Enron executives were thrown out by a several judge for gross prosecutorial overreach. Including having several people plea out in crimes that didn't exist. This person should never be near government ever again.

https://m.chron.com/business/enron/article/Supreme-Court-overturns-Arthur-Andersen-s-Enron-1940557.php

Defendants in other Enron cases want this government defeat to spill over and help their cases too. Jeff Skilling 's lawyer, Dan Petrocelli , said all the remaining Enron cases boil down to improper criminalization of business judgements just like the Arthur Andersen case.

"This is a denunciation of the Enron Task Force by the highest court in the land,'' said Petrocelli. "The message is loud and clear -- you can't criminalize innocent conduct.''

DeepThoughts , 53 minutes ago link

Remember, Rep. Devin Nunes sent a letter to new AG William Barr that he has until March 15 "to report out on 'conflicted' Mueller hacks Weissmann and Ahmad". And voila', Weissman departs on March 14. I'm not getting my hopes up about Barr, because one data point doesn't make a trend, but I'm thinking about going long Barr and short Mueller.

DeepThoughts , 50 minutes ago link

Link to an article for those not familiar with topic:
https://thenationalsentinel.com/2019/03/04/nunes-ag-barr-has-until-march-15-to-report-out-on-conflicted-mueller-hacks-weissmann-and-ahmad/

Obamaroid Ointment , 55 minutes ago link

Special Agent Oberführer Müeller's FBI colluded with Whitey Bulger and his Irish Winter Hill Gang vs the Italian Patriarca Mafia family when he was stationed in Boston. Some of the Fibbies under his command even went to prison for being hit men on the side. To keep Whitey from singing in the slammer is why Müeller had him whacked.

[Mar 14, 2019] Who Attacked the North Korean Embassy in Spain

Mar 14, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The BBC reports on a very strange story from Spain about last month's attack on the North Korean embassy:

Spanish investigators are probing an alleged attack on the North Korean embassy in Madrid.

On 22 February, a group of 10 assailants reportedly broke into the building, tying up, beating and interrogating eight people inside.

The incident took place just days before a key summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

And now there are reports US intelligence services were involved.

The alleged involvement of men with ties to the CIA was first reported in the Spanish daily El Pais . According to El Pais ' sources, the men that attacked the embassy may have been looking for information on North Korean diplomat Kim Hyok-chol, who had served as North Korea's ambassador to Spain until he was expelled in 2017. Kim has also been one of the leading officials involved in the negotiations with the U.S. over the last year.

Whatever the reason for it, invading another state's embassy and assaulting the personnel there obviously constitute gross violations of the conventions governing protections for diplomatic facilities. Judging from these reports, the attack was extraordinarily brazen and risky. It is doubtful that any information obtained from the devices that the assailants stole could have been worth the risk of attacking an embassy and beating up embassy staffers, but someone must have thought it was. If anyone connected with the U.S. government was involved, both Spain and North Korea will be understandably outraged. The intelligence committees in Congress should look into this matter to determine what role, if any, the U.S. government had in this incident.

Sid Finster March 14, 2019 at 12:41 pm

Note that El Pais is the Spanish equivalent of "solidly MSM", not the National Enquirer or Antisemitic Conspiracy Theorist Weekly Roundup.

[Mar 14, 2019] Neoliberalism: the deep story that lies beneath Donald Trump triumph by George Monbiot

Nov 14, 2016 | www.theguardian.com
The book was The Constitution of Liberty by Frederick Hayek . Its publication, in 1960, marked the transition from an honest, if extreme, philosophy to an outright racket. The philosophy was called neoliberalism . It saw competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. The market would discover a natural hierarchy of winners and losers, creating a more efficient system than could ever be devised through planning or by design. Anything that impeded this process, such as significant tax, regulation, trade union activity or state provision, was counter-productive. Unrestricted entrepreneurs would create the wealth that would trickle down to everyone.

This, at any rate, is how it was originally conceived. But by the time Hayek came to write The Constitution of Liberty, the network of lobbyists and thinkers he had founded was being lavishly funded by multimillionaires who saw the doctrine as a means of defending themselves against democracy. Not every aspect of the neoliberal programme advanced their interests. Hayek, it seems, set out to close the gap.

He begins the book by advancing the narrowest possible conception of liberty: an absence of coercion. He rejects such notions as political freedom, universal rights, human equality and the distribution of wealth, all of which, by restricting the behaviour of the wealthy and powerful, intrude on the absolute freedom from coercion he demands.

Democracy, by contrast, "is not an ultimate or absolute value". In fact, liberty depends on preventing the majority from exercising choice over the direction that politics and society might take.

He justifies this position by creating a heroic narrative of extreme wealth. He conflates the economic elite, spending their money in new ways, with philosophical and scientific pioneers. Just as the political philosopher should be free to think the unthinkable, so the very rich should be free to do the undoable, without constraint by public interest or public opinion.

The ultra rich are "scouts", "experimenting with new styles of living", who blaze the trails that the rest of society will follow. The progress of society depends on the liberty of these "independents" to gain as much money as they want and spend it how they wish. All that is good and useful, therefore, arises from inequality. There should be no connection between merit and reward, no distinction made between earned and unearned income, and no limit to the rents they can charge.

Inherited wealth is more socially useful than earned wealth: "the idle rich", who don't have to work for their money, can devote themselves to influencing "fields of thought and opinion, of tastes and beliefs". Even when they seem to be spending money on nothing but "aimless display", they are in fact acting as society's vanguard.

role="main" itemtype="http://schema.org/NewsArticle" itemscope="" data-test-id="article-root"> Thatcherism and Reaganism were not ideologies in their own right: they were just two faces of neoliberalism. Their massive tax cuts for the rich, crushing of trade unions, reduction in public housing, deregulation, privatisation, outsourcing and competition in public services were all proposed by Hayek and his disciples. But the real triumph of this network was not its capture of the right, but its colonisation of parties that once stood for everything Hayek detested.

Bill Clinton and Tony Blair did not possess a narrative of their own. Rather than develop a new political story, they thought it was sufficient to triangulate . In other words, they extracted a few elements of what their parties had once believed, mixed them with elements of what their opponents believed, and developed from this unlikely combination a "third way".

It was inevitable that the blazing, insurrectionary confidence of neoliberalism would exert a stronger gravitational pull than the dying star of social democracy. Hayek's triumph could be witnessed everywhere from Blair's expansion of the private finance initiative to Clinton's repeal of the Glass-Steagal Act , which had regulated the financial sector. For all his grace and touch, Barack Obama, who didn't possess a narrative either (except "hope"), was slowly reeled in by those who owned the means of persuasion.

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As I warned in April, the result is first disempowerment then disenfranchisement. If the dominant ideology stops governments from changing social outcomes, they can no longer respond to the needs of the electorate. Politics becomes irrelevant to people's lives; debate is reduced to the jabber of a remote elite. The disenfranchised turn instead to a virulent anti-politics in which facts and arguments are replaced by slogans, symbols and sensation. The man who sank Hillary Clinton's bid for the presidency was not Donald Trump. It was her husband.

The paradoxical result is that the backlash against neoliberalism's crushing of political choice has elevated just the kind of man that Hayek worshipped. Trump, who has no coherent politics, is not a classic neoliberal. But he is the perfect representation of Hayek's "independent"; the beneficiary of inherited wealth, unconstrained by common morality, whose gross predilections strike a new path that others may follow. The neoliberal thinktankers are now swarming round this hollow man, this empty vessel waiting to be filled by those who know what they want. The likely result is the demolition of our remaining decencies, -> beginning with the agreement to limit global warming .

Those who tell the stories run the world. Politics has failed through a lack of competing narratives. The key task now is to tell a new story of what it is to be a human in the 21st century. It must be as appealing to some who have voted for Trump and Ukip as it is to the supporters of Clinton, Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn.

A few of us have been working on this, and can discern what may be the beginning of a story. It's too early to say much yet, but at its core is the recognition that – as modern psychology and neuroscience make abundantly clear – human beings, by comparison with any other animals, are both remarkably social and remarkably unselfish . The atomisation and self-interested behaviour neoliberalism promotes run counter to much of what comprises human nature.

Hayek told us who we are, and he was wrong. Our first step is to reclaim our humanity.

The stories you need to read, in one handy email Sign up to The Guardian Today and get the must-read stories delivered straight to your inbox each morning Read more

Hayek softened his opposition to monopolies and hardened his opposition to trade unions. He lambasted progressive taxation and attempts by the state to raise the general welfare of citizens. He insisted that there is "an overwhelming case against a free health service for all" and dismissed the conservation of natural resources. It should come as no surprise to those who follow such matters that he was awarded the Nobel prize for economics .

By the time Thatcher slammed his book on the table, a lively network of thinktanks, lobbyists and academics promoting Hayek's doctrines had been established on both sides of the Atlantic, abundantly financed by some of the world's richest people and businesses , including DuPont, General Electric, the Coors brewing company, Charles Koch, Richard Mellon Scaife, Lawrence Fertig, the William Volker Fund and the Earhart Foundation. Using psychology and linguistics to brilliant effect, the thinkers these people sponsored found the words and arguments required to turn Hayek's anthem to the elite into a plausible political programme.

[Mar 14, 2019] The Fog of Politics

Nov 19, 2016 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

"People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage. Intellectual myopia, often called stupidity, is no doubt a reason. But the privileged also feel that their privileges, however egregious they may seem to others, are a solemn, basic, God-given right. The sensitivity of the poor to injustice is a trivial thing compared with that of the rich."

John Kenneth Galbraith

The sugar high of the Trump election seems to be wearing a bit thin on Wall Street. I had said at the time that I thought they would just execute the trading plans they had in place in their supposition that Hillary was going to win. And this is what I think they did, and have been doing.

And so when the thrill is gone, and dull reality starts sinking in, I suspect we are going to be in for quite a correction.

However, I am tuning out the hysteria from the Wall Street Democrats, especially the pitiful whining emanating from organizations like MSNBC, CNN, and the NY Times, because they have discredited themselves as reliable, unbiased sources. They really have.

They may just be joining their right-leaning peers in this, but they still do not realize it, and think of themselves as exceptional, and morally superior. And the same can be said of many pundits, and insiders, and very serious people with important podiums in the academy and the press.

Hillary was to be their meal ticket. And their anguish at being denied a payday for their faithful service is remarkable.

We are being treated to rumours that Trump is going to appoint this or that despicable person to some key position. I am waiting for him to show his hand with some actual decisions and appointments.

This is not to say that I am optimistic, not in the least. I am not, and I most certainly did not vote for him (or her for that matter). But the silliness of the courtiers in the media is just too much, too much whining from those who had their candy of power and money by association expectations taken away.

I am therefore very interested in seeing who the DNC will choose as chairperson. Liz Warren came out today and endorsed Ellison, which I believe Bernie Sanders has done as well. He is no insider like Wasserman-Schulz, Brazile, or Dean.

The Democratic party is at a crossroads, in a split between taking policy positions along lines of 'class' or 'identity.'

By class is meant working class of the broader public versus the moneyed interests of financiers and tech monopolists. Identity implies the working with various minority groups who certainly may deserve redress for real suppression of their rights and other financial abuses, but in a 'splintering' manner that breaks them down into special interest groups rather than a broader movement of the disadvantaged.

Why has this been the establishment approach of the heart of the Democratic power circles?

I think the reason for this Democratic strategy has been purely practical. There was no way the Wall Street wing of the Democratic party could make policy along lines of the middle class and the poor, and keep a straight face, while gorging themselves in a frenzy of massive soft corruption and enormous donations from the wealthiest few who they were thereby expected to represent and to serve.

And so they lost politically, and badly.

The average American, of whatever identity, finally became sick of them, and rejected the balkanization of their interests into special identity groups that could be more easily managed and messaged, and controlled.

This was a huge difference that we saw in the Sanders campaign, almost to a fault. Not because he was wrong necessarily, but because it was so unaccustomed, and insufficiently articulated. Sanders had his heart in the right place, perhaps, but he lacked the charisma and outspokenness of an FDR. Not to mention that his own party powers were dead set against him, because they wanted to keep the status quo that had rewarded them so well in place.

It is not at all obvious that the Democrats can find themselves again. Perhaps Mr. Trump, while doing some things well, will take economic policy matters to an excess, and like the Democrats ignore the insecurity and discontent of the working class. And the people will find a voice, eventually, in either the Democratic party, or something entirely new.

This is not just an American phenomenon. This has happened with Labour and Brexit in the UK, and is happening in the rest of the developed nations in Europe. One thing that the ruling elite of the West have had in common is a devotion to corporate globalisation and inequality.

And that system is not going to 'cohere' as economist Robert Johnson had put it so well.

With all this change and volatility and insecurity, it appears that people will be reaching for some sort of safe haven for themselves and their resources. So far the Dollar index has benefited from this, not because of its virtues, but from the weakness and foundering of the others.

I am afraid that the confidence in the Dollar as a safe haven is misplaced, especially if things go as I expect that they will with the US economy under a Trump administration. But that is still largely in his hand,s to be decided and written. We have yet to see if he has the will and mind to oppose the vested interests of his own party and the corporate, moneyed interests.

That is an enormous, history-making task, requiring an almost historic moral compass. And so I am not optimistic.

Have a pleasant evening.

[Mar 14, 2019] There is reason to suspect that some former and very likely current employees of the FBI have been colluding with elements in other American and British intelligence agencies, in particular the CIA and MI6

Highly recommended!
They all supported neoconservative extremely ambitious foreign policy agenda directed on weakening Russian and establishing of world dominance. It also seems clear that influential journalists, such as Glenn Simpson was before founding Fusion GPS, along with his wife Mary Jacoby, have been strongly involved in this
Notable quotes:
"... There is reason to suspect that some former and very likely current employees of the FBI have been colluding with elements in other American and British intelligence agencies, in particular the CIA and MI6, in support of an extremely ambitious foreign policy agenda for a very long time. It also seems clear that influential journalists, such as Glenn Simpson was before founding Fusion GPS, along with his wife Mary Jacoby, have been strongly involved in this. ..."
"... Important support for these strategies was provided by the 'StratCom' network centred around the late Boris Berezovsky, which clearly collaborated closely with MI6. As was apparent from the witness list at Sir Robert Owen's Inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko, which produced a report based essentially on a recycling of claims made by the network's members, key players were on your side of the Atlantic – notably Alex Goldfarb, Yuri Shvets, and Yuri Felshtinsky. ..."
"... it seems to me the usa and uk have been tied at the hip for a very long time... when it comes to foreign affairs policy and wars - the one will always vouch for the other without hesitation... it tells me the relationship is really deep.. ..."
"... I and my friends consider it a given that most, if not all, anglo-zionist moves in the ME are to "provide a definitive solution to the – inherently intractable – security problems of a Jewish settler state in the area. " It is an open secret that the izzies are the reason why a few Russians, some Turks, lots of Kurds and countless Arabs are dying in the Syrian battlefields. Another open secret: the takfiris and kurds have been, and are, supported by the West. That the "masters of the universe™" have been conceiving and doubling down on such disastrous policies give lie to their much-vaunted "intelligence". ..."
"... It is the very FACT of Trump even getting elected at ALL which outrages and terrifies them so much. They are used to seeing themselves as successful manipulators and engineers of every major event. They were engineering the whole electoral battlespace to get Clinton elected. The mere fact of Trump's victory in the teeth of their Electoral Engineering for Clinton is an act of defiance which they will not tolerate. ..."
"... And if they fail to bring Trump down at all, they will stand revealed as being defeatable. And this is their big fear. That if people see they have defeated the Borg once on keeping Trump in the teeth of Borg's efforts, that people might try to defeat and smash down the Borg on another issue. And then another. And then another after that. ..."
"... Because it is not possible to do on fundamental level yet, especially with US foreign policy establishment and so called consensus being built almost entirely, in ideological and, most importantly, cadres senses, on the ultimate exceptionalist agenda in which Russia is the ultimate obstacle and enemy. Establishment in saturated with neocons and likes. They are the swamp. ..."
"... They act and believe that they are Olympians. You have to wait for them to age and die before any substantive change in Fortress West's posture; say 2040 ..."
"... In 1977 Zbigniew Brzezinski, as President Carter's National Security Adviser, forms the Nationalities Working Group (NWG) dedicated to the idea of weakening the Soviet Union by inflaming its ethnic tensions. ..."
"... State Department official Henry Precht will later recall that Brzezinski had the idea "that Islamic forces could be used against the Soviet Union. The theory was, there was an arc of crisis, and so an arc of Islam could be mobilized to contain the Soviets." [Scott, 2007, pp. 67] In November 1978, President Carter appointed George Ball head of a special White House Iran task force under Brzezinski. Ball recommends the US should drop support for the Shah of Iran and support the radical Islamist opposition of Ayatollah Khomeini. This idea is based on ideas from British Islamic expert Dr. Bernard Lewis, who advocates the balkanization of the entire Muslim Near East along tribal and religious lines. The chaos would spread in what he also calls an "arc of crisis" and ultimately destabilize the Muslim regions of the Soviet Union ..."
"... About relation Steele-MI6, well, you never leave your IS. Or to put it in another way, you are never out of the scope of your past IS ..."
"... No, three years at tops and could be much sooner if dimes starting dropping by exposed people that don't want to take the fall for their superiors whom they always detested. One possible thing to get the process started sooner is if the recent Russian Intelligence delegation to DC that Smoothie mentions on another thread gave the current administration, as a diplomatic courtesy of course, the audio recordings of Madame Sectary Nuland's infamous mental meltdown at Kaliningrad. No telling what beans were spilled in her moment of panic, but I am willing to bet key names were dropped. Either way the time is coming. ..."
"... Especially, once American policy-makers who saw and experienced war (Ike, George Marshall's generation) departed things started to roll down hill with Reagan bringing on board a whole collection of neocons. ..."
"... Unawareness is always dangerous, a complete blackout in relations between two nuclear powers is more than dangerous--it is completely reckless. Again, the way CW 1.0 is perceived in the current US "elites" it becomes extremely tempting to repeat it. Electing Hillary was another step in unleashing CW 2.0 by people who have no understanding of what they were doing. ..."
"... Obama started crushing US-Russian relations before any campaigns were launched and before Trump was even seriously considered a GOP nominee, let alone a real contender. New confrontation hinged on HRC being elected. In fact, she was one of the major driving forces behind a serious of geopolitical anti-Russian moves. Visceral Russo-phobia became a feature in HRC campaign long before any Steele's Dossier. This was a program. ..."
"... IMO, the bigger problem for American not shying away from wars, or being silent about them , is when your home, your mom and dad' home, the town you grew up in, are immune and away from the war. ..."
"... The security and safety of the two oceans, encourages or at least, in an all volunteer military makes it a secondary problem for regular people, to worry about. ..."
"... A particular interesting feature of those on the British side – in which we now know Christopher Steele must have played a leading role – were the bizarre gyrations those responsible were going through trying to explain away the extraordinary fact that when he had broken the story of his poisoning, Litvinenko had pointed the finger of suspicion at his Italian associate Mario Scaramella. ..."
"... Of course later reports in the Steele Dossier go hand in hand with a larger public relations campaign. Creating reality? Irony alert: as informer/source I would by then know what the other side wants to hear. ..."
Mar 10, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Steele, Shvets, Levinson, Litvinenko and the 'Billion Dollar Don.'

In the light of the suggestion in the Nunes memo that Steele was 'a longtime FBI source' it seems worth sketching out some background, which may also make it easier to see some possible reasons why he 'was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.'

There is reason to suspect that some former and very likely current employees of the FBI have been colluding with elements in other American and British intelligence agencies, in particular the CIA and MI6, in support of an extremely ambitious foreign policy agenda for a very long time. It also seems clear that influential journalists, such as Glenn Simpson was before founding Fusion GPS, along with his wife Mary Jacoby, have been strongly involved in this.

This agenda has involved hopes for 'régime change' in Russia, whether as the result of an oligarchic coup, a popular revolt, or some combination of both. Also central have been hopes for a further 'rollback' of Russia influence in the post-Soviet space, both in areas now independent, such as Ukraine, and also ones still part of the Russian Federation, notably Chechnya.

And, crucially, it involved exploiting the retreat of Russian power from the Middle East for 'régime change' projects which it was hoped would provide a definitive solution to the – inherently intractable – security problems of a Jewish settler state in the area.

Important support for these strategies was provided by the 'StratCom' network centred around the late Boris Berezovsky, which clearly collaborated closely with MI6. As was apparent from the witness list at Sir Robert Owen's Inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko, which produced a report based essentially on a recycling of claims made by the network's members, key players were on your side of the Atlantic – notably Alex Goldfarb, Yuri Shvets, and Yuri Felshtinsky.

The question of what links these had, or did not have, with elements in U.S. intelligence agencies is thus a critical one.

In making some sense of it, the fact that one key figure we know to have been involved in this network was missing at the Inquiry – the former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who disappeared on the Iranian island of Kish in March 2007 – is important.

Unfortunately, I only recently came across a book on Levinson published in 2016 by the 'New York Times' journalist Barry Meier, which is now hopefully winging its way across the Atlantic. From the accounts of the book I have seen, such as one by Jeff Stein in 'Newsweek', it seems likely that its author did not look at any of the evidence presented at Owen's Inquiry.

(See http://www.newsweek.com/2016/05/20/what-really-happened-robert-levinson-cia-iran-454803.html .)

Had he done so, Meier might have discovered that his subject had been, as it were, 'top supporting actor' in the first fumbling attempt by Christopher Steele et al to produce a plausible-sounding scenario as to the background to Litvinenko's death. A Radio 4 programme on 16 December 2006, presented by the veteran BBC presenter Tom Mangold, had been wholly devoted to an account by Shvets, backed up by Levinson. Both of these were, like Litvinenko, supposed to be impartial 'due diligence' operatives.

The notion that any of them might have connections with Western intelligence agencies was not considered. The – publicly available – evidence of the involvement of Shvets, whose surname means 'cobbler' or 'shoemaker' in Ukrainian, in the processing of the tapes of conversations involving the former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma supposedly recorded by Major Melnychenko, which had played a crucial role in the 2004-5 'Orange Revolution' was not mentioned.

Still less was it mentioned that claims that the – very dangerous – late Soviet Kolchuga system, which made it possible the kind of identification of incoming aircraft which radar had traditionally done, without sending out signals which made the destruction of the facilities doing it possible, had been sold by Kuchma to Iraq had proven spurious.

What Shvets had done had been to take – genuine – audio in which Kuchma had discussed a possible sale, and edit it to suggest a sale had been completed.

(See http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence .)

As a former television current affairs producer, I can talk to you of the marvels which London audio editors can produce, very happily. Unfortunately, the days when not all BBC and 'Guardian' journalists were corrupt stenographers for corrupt and incompetent spooks, as Mangold and his like have been for Steele and Levinson, are long gone.

All this has become particularly relevant now, given that Simpson has placed the notorious Jewish Ukrainian mobster Semyon Mogilevich and the 'Solntsevskaya Bratva' mafia group centre stage in his accounts not simply of Trump and Manafort, but also of William Browder. For most of the 'Nineties, Levinson had been a, if not the, lead FBI investigator on Mogilevich.

(On this, see the 1999 BBC 'Panorama' programme 'The Billion Dollar Don', also presented by Tom Mangold, which has extensive interviews both with Mogilevich and Levinson at

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/events/panorama/transcripts/transcript_06_12_99.txt )

In the months leading up to Levinson's disappearance, a key priority for the advocates of the strategy I have described was to prevent it being totally derailed by the patently catastrophic outcome of the Iraqi adventure.

Compounding the problem was the fact that this had created the 'Shia Crescent', which in turn exacerbated the potential 'existential threat' to Israel posed by the steadily increasing range, accuracy and numbers of missiles available to Hizbullah in hardened positions north of the Litani.

These, obviously, provided both a 'deterrent' for that organisation and Iran, and also a radical threat to the whole notion that somehow Israel could ever be a 'safe haven' for Jews, against the supposedly ineradicable disposition of the 'goyim' sooner or later to, as it were, revert to type. The dreadful thought that Israel might not be necessary had to be resisted at all costs.

What followed from the disaster unleashed by the – Anglo-American – 'own goal' in toppling Saddam was, ironically, a need on the part of key players to 'double down.' Above all, it was necessary for many of those involved to counter suggestions from the Russian side that going around smashing up 'régimes' that one might not like sometimes blew up in one's face.

Even more threatening were suggestions from the Russian side that it was foolish to think one could use jihadists without risking 'blowback', and that there might be an overwhelming common interest in combating Islamic extremism.

Another priority was to counter the pushback in the American 'intelligence community' and military, which was to produce the drastic downgrading of the threat posed by the Iranian nuclear programme in the November 2007 NIE and then the resignation of Admiral William Fallon as head of 'Centcom' the following March.

So in 2005 Shvets came to London. He and his audio editors had another 'bite at the cherry' of the Melnychenko tapes, so that material that did in fact establish that both the SBU and FSB had collaborated with Mogilevich could be employed to make it seem that Putin had a close personal relationship with the mobster.

All kinds of supposedly respectable American and British academics, like Professors Karen Dawisha and Robert Service, have fallen for this, hook, line and sinker. It gives a new meaning to the term 'useful idiot.'

(See http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence .)

In a letter sent in December that year by Litvinenko to the 'Mitrokhin Commission', for which his Italian associate Mario Scaramella was a consultant, this was used in an attempt to demonstrate that Mogilevich, while acting as an agent for the FSB and under Putin's personal 'krysha', had attempted to supply a 'mini atomic bomb' – aka 'suitcase nuke' – to Al Qaeda. Shortly after the letter was sent Scaramella departed on a trip to Washington, where he appears to have got access to Aldrich Ames.

(See http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence .)

At precisely this time, as Meier explains, Levinson was in the process of being recruited by a lady called Anne Jablonski who then worked as a CIA analyst. It appears that she was furious at the failure of the operational side at the Agency to produce evidence which would have established that Iran did indeed have an ongoing nuclear programme, and she may well have hoped would implicate Russia in supplying materials.

There are grounds to suspect that one of the things that Berezovsky and Shvets were doing was fabricating such 'evidence.' Whether Levinson was involved in such attempts, or genuinely looking for evidence he was convinced must be there, I cannot say. It appears that he fell for a rather elementary entrapment operation – which could well have been organised with the collaboration of Russian intelligence. (People do get fed up with being framed, particular if 'régime change' is the goal.)

It also seems likely that, quite possibly in a different but related entrapment operation, related to propaganda wars in which claims and counter claims about a polonium-beryllium 'initiator' as the crucial missing part which might make a 'suitcase nuke' functional, Litvinenko accidentally ingested fatal quantities of polonium. A good deal of evidence suggests that this may have been at Berezovsky's offices on the night before he was supposedly assassinated.

It was, obviously, important for Steele et al to ensure that nobody looked at the 'StratCom' wars about 'suitcase nukes.' Here, a figure who has played a key role in such wars in relation to Syria plays an interesting minor one in the story.

Some time following the destruction of the case for an immediate war by the November 2007 NIE, a chemical weapons specialist called Dan Kaszeta, who had worked in the White House for twelve years, moved to London.

In 2011, in addition to founding a consultancy called 'Strongpoint Security', he began a writing career with articles in 'CBRNe World.' Later, he would become the conduit through which the notorious 'hexamine hypothesis', supposedly clinching proof that the Syrian government was responsible for the sarin incidents at Khan Sheikhoun, Ghouta, Saraqeb, and Khan Al-Asal, was disseminated.

Having been forced by the threat of a case being opened against them under human rights law into resuming the inquest into Litvinenko's death, in August 2012 the British authorities appointed Sir Robert Owen to conduct it. (There are many honest judges in Britain, but obviously, if one sets out to find someone who will 'cover up' for the incompetence and corruption of people like Steele, as Lord Hutton did before him, you can find them.)

That same month, a piece appeared in 'CBRNe World' with the the strapline: 'Dan Kaszeta looks into the ultimate press story: Suitcase nukes', and the main title 'Carry on or checked bags?' Among the grounds he gives for playing down the scare:

'Some components rely on materials with shelf life. Tritium, for example, is used in many nuclear weapon designs and has a twelve year half-life. Polonium, used in neutron initiators in some earlier types of weapon designs, has a very short halflife. US documents state that every nuclear weapon has "limited life components" that require periodic replacement (do an internet search for nuclear limited life components and you can read for weeks).'

(For this and other articles by Kaszeta, as also his bio, see http://strongpointsecurity.co.uk ')

What Kaszeta has actually described are the reasons why polonium is a perfect 'StratCom' instrument. In terms of scientific plausibility, in fact there were no 'suitcase nukes', and in any case 'initiators' using polonium had been abandoned very early on, in favour of ones which lasted longer.

For 'StratCom' scenarios, as experience with the 'hexamine hypothesis' has proved, scientific plausibility can be irrelevant.

What polonium provides is a means of suggesting that Al Qaeda have in fact got hold of a nuclear device which they could easily smuggle into, say, Rome or New York, or indeed Moscow, but there is a crucial missing component which the FSB is trying to provide to them. By the same token, of course, that missing component could be depicted as one that Berezovsky and Litvinenko are conspiring to suppl to the Chechen insurgents.

In addition, the sole known source of global supply is the Avangard plant at Sarov in Russia, so the substance is naturally suited for 'StratCom' directed against that country, which its intelligence services would – rather naturally – try to make 'boomerang.'

According to Glenn Simpson, Christopher Steele is a 'boy scout.' This seems to me quite wrong – but, even if it were true, would you want to unleash a 'boy scout' into these kinds of intrigue?

As it is not clear why Kaszeta introduced his – accurate but irrelevant – point about polonium into an article which was concerned with scientific plausibility, one is left with an interesting question as to whether he cut his teeth on 'StratCom' attempting to ensure that nobody seriously interested in CBRN science followed an obvious lead.

In relation to the question of whether current FBI personnel had been involved in the kind of 'StratCom' exercises, I have been describing, a critical issue is the involvement of Shvets and Levinson in the Alexander Khonanykhine affair back in the 'Nineties, and the latter's use of claims about the Solntsevskaya to prevent the key figure's extradition. But that is a matter for another day.

A corollary of all this is that we cannot – yet at least – be absolutely confident that the account in the Nunes memo, according to which Steele was suspended and then dismissed as an FBI source for what the organisation is reported to define as 'the most serious of violations' – the unauthorised disclosure of a relationship with the organisation – is necessarily wholly accurate.

Who did and did not authorise which disclosures to the media, up to and including the extraordinary decision to have the full dossier, including claims about Aleksej Gubarev and the Alfa oligarchs, in flagrant disregard of the obvious risks of defamation suits, and who may be trying to pass the buck to others, remains I think less than totally clear.

Posted at 03:42 PM in As The Borg Turns , Habakkuk , Russia , Russiagate | Permalink


james , 03 February 2018 at 04:33 PM

thanks david... fascinating overview and conjecture..

it seems to me the usa and uk have been tied at the hip for a very long time... when it comes to foreign affairs policy and wars - the one will always vouch for the other without hesitation... it tells me the relationship is really deep..

JohnB , 03 February 2018 at 05:17 PM
David,

Thank you very. As ever you have illuminated a few more things for me. Kaszeta's involvement is interesting. He is someone I am in the middle of researching in relation to Higgins and Bellingcat.

turcopolier , 03 February 2018 at 06:02 PM
james

It is the closest of all international intelligence relationships. It started in WW2. Before that the Brits were though of as a potential enemy. pl

Babak Makkinejad -> turcopolier ... , 03 February 2018 at 06:10 PM
I think the English are using you, they are unsentimental empirical people that only do these that benefit the Number One.
The chief beneficiary of the Coup in Iran was England and not US.
catherine , 03 February 2018 at 06:22 PM
That Newsweek piece about Levinson is very superficial to me.

Re: Levinson

# Who suggested to who 'first' the Iran caper...Anne Jablonski to Levinson or Levinson to Jablonski? It was reported earlier by Meier that in December 2005, when Levinson was pitching Jablonski on projects he might take on when his CIA contract was approved he sent her a lengthy memo about Dawud's potential as an informant.

# Ira Silverman, the Iran hating NBC guy, pitched a Iraq caper to Levinson with Dawud Salahuddin, as his Iran contact and Levinson went to Jablonski with it.

# And what was with Boris Birshstein, a Russian organized crime figure who had fled to Israel and Oleg Deripaska, the "aluminum czar" of Russia whose organized crime contacts have kept him from entering the United States jumping in to help find Levinson? The FBI allowed Deripaska in for two visits in 2009 in exchange for his alleged help in locating Levinson but obviously nothing came of it.

I think there were more little agents/agendas in this than Levinson and Jablonski and US CIA.

Ishmael Zechariah , 03 February 2018 at 06:54 PM
DH,

As usual a wonderful analysis. I admire your insight, integrity and courage. I wish you could write more on why the Borg is so much against Trump, even though they have Kushner, Adelson and Co. running interference for them.

I and my friends consider it a given that most, if not all, anglo-zionist moves in the ME are to "provide a definitive solution to the – inherently intractable – security problems of a Jewish settler state in the area. " It is an open secret that the izzies are the reason why a few Russians, some Turks, lots of Kurds and countless Arabs are dying in the Syrian battlefields. Another open secret: the takfiris and kurds have been, and are, supported by the West. That the "masters of the universe™" have been conceiving and doubling down on such disastrous policies give lie to their much-vaunted "intelligence".

Be safe.

Ishmael Zechariah

Rd , 03 February 2018 at 07:31 PM
Babak Makkinejad said in reply to turcopolier...

The chief beneficiary of the Coup in Iran was England and not US.
..and US is the one who has been paying for it since 1979!!!

kooshy said in reply to Ishmael Zechariah... , 03 February 2018 at 08:21 PM
IZ
My guess is, that he is unpredictable, instantaneous and therefore can't be consistent and reliable, useful idiot needs to be predictable.
kooshy , 03 February 2018 at 08:43 PM
"There is reason to suspect that some former and very likely current employees of the FBI have been colluding with elements in other American and British intelligence agencies, in particular the CIA and MI6, in support of an extremely ambitious foreign policy agenda for a very long time. "

David as usual fascinating work connecting the dots. One question that comes to my mind is about the above point you are making. Is it your understanding or believe that these IC individuals on both side of Atlantic, are pursuing/forcing their (on behalf of the Borg) foreign policy agenda outside of their respected seating governments? If not, why is it that incoming administration cannot stop them? So far I can't see any strategic changes on US foreign policy toward ME or Russia, at tactical level yes but not fundamentally.

different clue , 03 February 2018 at 08:49 PM
Ishmael Zechariah,

( reply to comment 6),

I am not David Habakkuk, obviously. But I will venture a little opinion anyway. It is not enough that the Borgists get their policy preferences. If it were, then Kush