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US Presidential Elections of 2016:

Transitional period as a fight between Trump and the attempts of Deep State to enslave him (and remind him about JFK destiny)  

Neocons counterattacked using "Russian spy scandal and neo-McCarthyism witch hunt " as a ruse
 and  managed to enslave and emasculate Trump by promoting birds of a feather for key Trump administration positions

Version 5.2 (Nov 25, 2016)

See also

News Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Recommended Links Trump vs. Deep State The Deep State New American Militarism Anti-Russian hysteria Anti Trump Hysteria Trump post-election transformation into neocon
Trump's bustard neoliberalism and his betrayal of his voters Trump turns to neocon unilateralism in foreign policy DNC emails leak Two Party System as Polyarchy US Presidential Elections of 2016: Primaries US Presidential Elections: from primaries to election day Reversal of planned detente with Russia Trump after his Colin Powell moment Korea saber-rattling
Donald Trump Trump foreign policy platform Personnel is Policy Khan Sheikhoun gas attack Obama: a yet another Neocon Hillary role in Libya disaster Bernie Sanders: A turncoat socialist, who betrayed his voters Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Hillary health issues
Monday morning quarterbacking Understanding Hillary Clinton email scandal  "Fuck the EU": neocons show EU its real place  Hillary wet kiss with neocons Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Non-Interventionism Is Hillary Clinton a toxic manager? Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Trump economic platform
Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neoconservatism Demonization of Putin  American Exceptionalism New American Militarism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Perjury Investigation of Hillary Clinton
The Iron Law of Oligarchy Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Myth about intelligent voter Pluralism as a myth Libertarian Philosophy Nation under attack meme   Trump on immigration
Principal-agent problem Corporatist Corruption Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Ethno-linguistic Nationalism Corporatism National Security State Predator state Machiavellism Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few
Betrayal by Bernie Sanders of his supporters Superdelegates at Democratic National Convention Jeb "Wolfowitz Stooge" Bush US Presidential Elections of 2012  Mayberry Machiavellians Politically Incorrect Humor Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc

Note: due to the size introduction was moved to a separate page November 2016 as a referendum on neoliberal globalization

This election is about the backlash against neoliberalism that became the dominant ideology of the ruling elite in the USA since 1980th. At this point blue color workers became sick of Demorats (aka Neoliberal Democrats) who are betraying them after each elections ("Change we can believe in" in worlds of the king of "bait and switch" Obama) and expecting still they will vote for Democratic as they have nowhere to go (Clinton strategy). They want to show middle finger to Clinton and other neoliberal criminals who deprived them of work, of dignity, of health (heroine epidemic is hitting the USA really hard). It's a class war all over again. Note how neoliberal media tried to misrepresent it accusing Trump supporters of racism, bigotry, and all other sins to mask anti-neoliberal backlash of the US population, and the revolutionary situation in the county, when the elite lost the control of the population. Which really somewhat reminds me the last days of the USSR when communist propaganda stopped working and people start seeing the "Politburo" as "naked king" -- a bunch of corrupt priests of obscure religion, who do not believe in the ideology they promote for "shmucks", only with their own and their families well-being. that their sons and daughters attend Western universities and their wives are shopping in Paris.

It is not an exaggeration to see in 2016 Presidential election as a referendum on neoliberal globalization. But the political power still belongs to  Neoliberals, which dominates both the government and the economy (transnationals are the cornerstone of neoliberal world order). It's a big question if the American people will be able to change neoliberal dogma, the official civil religion of the USA without a violent revolution...

The great Trump political breakthrough was consolidating the white working class and white middle class vote. At last "clintonization" (sellout of the Party to Wall Street whichwas initialed by Bill Clinton, converting it into the party of "soft neoliberalism" which at times was undistinguishable from "hard neoliberalism" )  of Democratic Party backfired.  Demexit -- abandoning of Demorats by white working and middle class is now a reality.

Writing in Politico, Georgetown political scientist Joshua Mitchell has a long, important take on the deep meaning of Trump — and it’s probably not what you think:

If you listen closely to Trump, you’ll hear a direct repudiation of the system of globalization and identity politics that has defined the world order since the Cold War. There are, in fact, six specific ideas that he has either blurted out or thinly buried in his rhetoric: (1) borders matter; (2) immigration policy matters; (3) national interests, not so-called universal interests, matter; (4) entrepreneurship matters; (5) decentralization matters; (6) PC speech—without which identity politics is inconceivable—must be repudiated.

These six ideas together point to an end to the unstable experiment with supra- and sub-national sovereignty that many of our elites have guided us toward, siren-like, since 1989.

 That is what the Trump campaign, ghastly though it may at times be, leads us toward: A future where states matter. A future where people are citizens, working together toward (bourgeois) improvement of their lot. His ideas do not yet fully cohere. They are a bit too much like mental dust that has yet to come together. But they can come together. And Trump is the first American candidate to bring some coherence to them, however raucous his formulations have been.

This is a clear repudiation of neoliberalism (aka "casino capitalism" or  Trotskyism for the rich) -- the secular religion to both Republican and Democratic parties adhere (while the term is prohibited from mass media -- can you imagine the Communist Party of the USSR would prohibit its members under the threat of purge to utter the word "communism" or call themselves "communists").  And that means that Trump is a threat to Washington neoliberal elite, the threat to neoliberal  Washington_Consensus, which  since 1980 (or even earlier) rules the place. That's why they fight and demonization of Trump is conducted by neoliberal media with such a fierce determination. That's why such a tremendous efforts and money are spend on propelling sick and unprincipled establishment candidate -- Hillary Clinton. A warmonger neoconservative, who is a staunch neoliberal (like her husband Bill Clinton).

The US neoliberal elite ("creator class" or "Masters of the Universe" in neoliberal jargon) have successfully revolted against the political and economic constraints on their wealth and power put by "enlightened corporatism" of the New Deal, and for 36 years managed to redistribute wealth up to the level that has no historical presidents. As a result social stability is in danger and "the rest" (or Untermensch, or "takers"/"welfare queen" in neoliberal jargon) are rebelling in the only way left open to them: voting for anyone who claims to be an outsider. (Romney-Ryan 'makers vs. takers' rhetoric helped spawn Donald Trump Washington Examiner)

This idea of low-income "takers" lay beneath Mitt Romney's view that the 47 percent of adults in the U.S. who owed no federal income tax were therefore "dependent upon government" and "who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them…."

...

But "taker" is a slur also when aimed at recipients of government benefits. Millions of "takers" are people who work 40 hours, but at low wages, and thus receive the earned-income tax credit. Will you blame their low wages on them? Perhaps they got horrible education thanks to incompetent government, or were just never blessed with marketable skills.

Some percentage of the 47 percent are World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam Veterans, who after serving their country, put in decades of work, and now live off the Social Security they paid into, without earning enough to owe federal income tax.

The "takers" include widows receiving food stamps, the ill being kept alive by Medicaid, and people drawing on unemployment because their employer got up and moved to Mexico.

More importantly, many of those on welfare or disability hate that they are dependent. They want to be working.

Are there "welfare queens," lazy able-bodied moochers, and people scamming disability? Yes. But lumping in 47 percent of the country with these scoundrels is as illegitimate lumping all businessmen in with the failed bankers who depend on bailouts.

This wasn't just Ryan's mistake. Conservatives broadly have equated low income with dependency. The conservative belief that the market tends to reward skill and diligence often mutates into a belief that poverty reflects some sort of turpitude.

That view helped give birth to Donald Trump, who has tapped into the working class that Ryan and Romney had pushed away.

Globalization and free trade are fast becoming dirty words. That’s because they were  culprits for major  shocks — like the 2008 financial crisis. In the United States alone, median household income has been practically stagnant for about three decades, the labor market continues to be anemic, manufacturing jobs have been lost, and many have experienced a significant deterioration in living standards.

Much of the post-Brexit and primary election conventional wisdom seems to be stuck in a political narrative in which the Brexit vote and the rise of Trumpism in the United States are seen as symbols of the populist revolution. These symbols are combined with a nationalist tide has been sweeping not only the United Kingdom and the United States, but also many other parts of Europe, including Poland, Hungary, France, The Netherlands and Scandinavia, not to mention, Russia, Turkey, India and Israel.

According to this narrative, economic insecurity and cultural anxiety that reflect sociodemographic trends have given momentum to ethnonationalism and religious separatism in both the United States and the United Kingdom. The Rust Belt is pitted against New York City, and the Midlands against London.

All this means that the crisis of neoliberalism, which started in 2008 now obtained political dimension, when the institutions created by neoliberalism are under attacks from the disgruntled population. The power of neoliberal propaganda, the power of brainwashing and indoctrination of population via MSM, schools and universities to push forward neoliberal globalization started to evaporate. And the fight against neoliberal globalization is not easy and it is not accidentally Hillary Clinton became the Democratic nominee and neoliberal MSM unlashed unprecedented campaign of blackmail against Trump.  The fact is, Sheldon Wolin not accidentally calls neoliberalism "inverted totalitarianism" . It's a system where corporate power has seized all of political  levers of control. In fact, under neoliberalism, there is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or ExxonMobil or Raytheon. We also have lost our privacy. And under Obama, an assault against civil liberties has outstripped what George W. Bush carried out.

This is about the crisis of neoliberal ideology and especially Trotskyism part of it (neoliberalism can be viewed as Trotskyism for the rich). The following integral elements of this ideology no longer work well and are starting to cause the backlash:

  1. High level of inequality as the explicit, desirable goal (which raises the productivity). "Greed is good" or "Trickle down economics" -- redistribution of wealth up will create (via higher productivity) enough scrapes for the lower classes, lifting all boats.
  2. "Neoliberal rationality" when everything is a commodity that should be traded at specific market. Human beings also are viewed as market actors with every field of activity seen as a specialized market. Every entity (public or private, person, business, state) should be governed as a firm. "Neoliberalism construes even non-wealth generating spheres-such as learning, dating, or exercising-in market terms, submits them to market metrics, and governs them with market techniques and practices." People are just " human capital" who must constantly tend to their own present and future market value.
  3. Extreme financialization or converting the economy into "casino capitalism" (under neoliberalism everything is a marketable good, that is traded on explicit or implicit exchanges.)
  4. The idea of the global, USA dominated neoliberal empire and related "Permanent war for permanent peace" -- wars for enlarging global neoliberal empire via crushing non-compliant regimes either via color revolutions or via open military intervention.
  5. Downgrading ordinary people to the role of commodity and creating three classes of citizens (moochers, or Untermensch, "creative class" and top 0.1%), with the upper class (0.1% or "Masters of the Universe") being above the law like the top level of "nomenklatura" was in the USSR.
  6. "Downsizing" sovereignty of nations via international treaties like TPP, and making transnational corporations the key political players, "the deciders" as W aptly said. Who decide about the level of immigration flows, minimal wages, tariffs, and other matters that previously were prerogative of the state.

So after 36 (or more) years of dominance (which started with triumphal march of neoliberalism in early 90th) the ideology entered "zombie state". That does not make it less dangerous but its power over minds of the population started to evaporate. Far right ideologies now are filling the vacuum, as ith the discreditation of socialist ideology and decimation of "enlightened corporatism" of the New Deal in the USA there is no other viable alternatives.

The same happened in late 1960th with the Communist ideology. It took 20 years for the USSR to crash after that with the resulting splash of nationalism (which was the force that blow up the USSR) and far right ideologies.

It remains to be seen whether the neoliberal US elite will fare better then Soviet nomenklatura as challenges facing the USA are now far greater then challenges which the USSR faced at the time. Among them is oil depletion which might be the final nail into the coffin of neoliberalism and, specifically, the neoliberal globalization.

This has been a bipartisan effort, because they've both been captured by corporate power. We have undergone what John Ralston Saul correctly calls a corporate coup d'état in slow motion, and it's over.

Neoliberal poison destroys a society and lifts the politicians with nationalistic bend like Trump. First, neoliberalism dislocated the working class, de-industrialized the country. Then, in the name of austerity, it destroyed public institutions, education, public broadcasting. And then it poisoned the political system.

I would argue that in terms of megalomania and narcissism, Hillary Clinton is not far behind Trump. But the point is, we've got to break away from-which is exactly the narrative neoliberal MSM want us to focus on.

 We've got to break away from political personalities and understand and examine and critique the structures of power. And, in fact, the Democratic Party, especially beginning under Bill Clinton, has carried water for corporate entities as assiduously as the Republican Party.

We need to be aware of neoliberal brainwashing. I mean, this whole debate over the DNC WikiLeaks emails disclosure is insane. The key question here is not who leaked emails, but whether they are authentic or not. They are. As well as DNC dirty laundry exposed those long emails -- you should read them. They're really appalling, and exposes the way the Democratic primaries were rigged. Tricks used included the mechanism of the superdelegates (which unlawfully declared their allegiance very early creating pro-Clinton pressure of voters) , the stealing of the caucus in Nevada, and the huge amounts of corporate money and money of super PACs that flowed into the Clinton campaign. This faux feminism on which Hillary Clinton based her campaign is another propaganda trick. She si hostile to both women and children. Cold like any sociopath.  The fact is, Clinton has a track record of hurting US children: she and her husband destroyed welfare as we know it, and 70% of the original recipients were children.

If is important to understand that the rise of nationalism, the phenomenal success of Trump is just a form of backlash against neoliberalism. 

Continued...


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Post election events (the first half of 2017) US Presidential Elections of 2016 from primaries to election day US Presidential Elections of 2016: Primaries US Presidential Elections of 2016: 2015 part of the campaign US Presidential Elections of 2012

[Dec 13, 2017] The Precedent For Hillary A Special Prosecutor by Ben Domenech

Special prosecutor was appointed. But not the one that Ben Domenech expected. Still a very interesting detail is this article is that Comey seems to be very well informed about this mechanism and used it himself. So "special prosecutor gambit" was played by an experienced chess player with full support from intelligence agencies and within certain circle of high level officials within FBI and Justice department.
Notable quotes:
"... This was, of course, the Valerie Plame/CIA affair which ensnared top White House official Scooter Libby, who was later charged by the special prosecutor and convicted by a jury. And who was the individual at the DOJ who appointed the special prosecutor? James Comey, the current director of the FBI. ..."
Jun 09, 2016 | thefederalist.com

We deserve a justice system that actually delivers justice. The current system that is so obviously rigged in favor of certain politicians cannot. With the race for the Democratic nomination effectively concluded, Hillary Clinton now awaits the endorsement of President Obama , which they expect to come within the next few weeks. Obama is poised to play a big role in Clinton's campaign against Donald Trump, acting as an emissary to groups and audiences that have been more reluctant to support Clinton in the past. But this creates its own set of problems: namely, that the FBI under the auspices of Obama's administration is also actively investigating Clinton's email server and her mishandling of classified information.

It's hard to see any way that a conclusion reached under people like Loretta Lynch, serving at the pleasure of a president advocating vociferously for Clinton's election, would be seen as treating the candidate fairly. Even if Clinton is cleared, a dark cloud will hang over the process. And Clinton herself should not be comfortable with the prospect of a process Trump will certainly denounce as crooked, especially considering that many Americans would likely agree with him.

Rather than deal with the typical rhetorical battles over this issue that have played out on cable television over the past year, Republicans in Washington should cite historical precedent in this context. Back in 2003, when a top presidential appointee was suspected of mishandling classified information, that president's attorney general recused himself from the matter. A special prosecutor was appointed to investigate the allegations and determine if prosecution was warranted. That prosecutor investigated the case, brought charges, and obtained a conviction.

This was, of course, the Valerie Plame/CIA affair which ensnared top White House official Scooter Libby, who was later charged by the special prosecutor and convicted by a jury. And who was the individual at the DOJ who appointed the special prosecutor? James Comey, the current director of the FBI.

John Aschroft, the attorney general under George W. Bush, had the good sense to recuse himself from the matter and appoint Comey to make the decision about how the case ought to proceed. Ashcroft knew his own involvement would only taint whatever decision was finally made. So he removed entirely the possibility of political interference by recusing himself. As a Senator, Barack Obama hailed the verdict in that case and the process that led to it.

Republicans ought to demand that Loretta Lynch do the same thing Obama's current FBI director did when he worked at the Department of Justice in 2003: appoint a special prosecutor.

If Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong, if no laws were broken, no classified information was mishandled, and no American men and women were put at risk as a result of her actions, then she has nothing to fear from an independent investigation of her activities. Where she stands right now is the worst of all worlds: she could still be prosecuted by FBI/DOJ, but if she's not, everyone will assume that political interference saved her. She can never get out from under that cloud, no matter what happens.

An independent prosecutor, however, can put all of that to rest. If he or she finds evidence of any crimes, then the case will be prosecuted. And if the prosecutor decides not to charge, we'll know that it wasn't a political decision.

This is actually the best of all worlds for Hillary, because it actually gives her the opportunity to clear her name, if she's innocent. It also happens to be the best solution for the American public. We deserve a justice system that actually delivers justice. We deserve a law enforcement system that actually enforces the law. A special prosecutor can deliver it. The current system that is so obviously rigged in favor of certain politicians cannot. Ben Domenech is the publisher of The Federalist. Sign up for a free trial of his daily newsletter, The Transom.

[Dec 13, 2017] Brennan Officials should refuse Trump if he fires Mueller by Nikki Schwab

Highly recommended!
It's interesting that here Brennan might defend the prosecutor he was instrumental in appointing as a part of "color revolution" against Trump driven by intelligence agencies and controlled by them MSM. And we do not know how close he was with Strzok.
That's probably as close to sedition as one can get but such powerful players are above the law under neoliberalism.
Notable quotes:
"... Brennan was speaking last week at the Aspen Institute's Security Forum, alongside the former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CNN's Wolf Blitzer. 'I think it's the obligation of some executive branch officials to refuse to carry that out,' Brennan said. ..."
"... Brennan brought up an executive branch revolt when Blitzer asked him how he'd like to see Congress handle the situation. The ex-CIA chief suggested he'd want a response from them both – the executive branch and Capitol Hill. ..."
"... Brennan, along with Clapper, had full confidence in Mueller, who was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to take over the FBI's Russia probe, in the aftermath of FBI Director James Comey's firing. ..."
"... Comey testified that he believed he was fired because of said probe. 'Absolutely, it was an inspired choice,' said Brennan of the Mueller pick. Mueller had headed the FBI before Comey took his place. 'They don't come any better,' Brennan added. ..."
Jul 25, 2017 | dailymail.co.uk

CIA's former boss calls on government officials to refuse to obey Trump if he fires Mueller. The former head of the CIA, John Brennan, said last week that he thought executive branch officials should revolt if President Trump fired Special Counsel Robert Mueller

The former head of the CIA, John Brennan, suggested that executive branch officials should refuse to obey President Trump if he fires Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Brennan was speaking last week at the Aspen Institute's Security Forum, alongside the former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CNN's Wolf Blitzer. 'I think it's the obligation of some executive branch officials to refuse to carry that out,' Brennan said.

John Brennan said he also hoped that Republicans and Democrats would push back if President Trump tried to use his power that way

'I would just hope that this is not going to be a partisan issue,' he continued. 'That Republicans, Democrats are going to see that the future of this government is at stake and something needs to be done for the good of the future.'

Brennan brought up an executive branch revolt when Blitzer asked him how he'd like to see Congress handle the situation. The ex-CIA chief suggested he'd want a response from them both – the executive branch and Capitol Hill.

'If he's fired by Mr. Trump or attempted to be fired by Mr. Trump, I hope, I really hope that our members of Congress, elected representatives are going to stand up and say enough is enough and stop making apologies and excuses for things that are happening that really flout, I think, our system of laws and government.'

Brennan, along with Clapper, had full confidence in Mueller, who was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to take over the FBI's Russia probe, in the aftermath of FBI Director James Comey's firing.

Comey testified that he believed he was fired because of said probe. 'Absolutely, it was an inspired choice,' said Brennan of the Mueller pick. Mueller had headed the FBI before Comey took his place. 'They don't come any better,' Brennan added.

President Trump has repeatedly called the various investigations surrounding Russia's meddling in the 2016 election a 'witch hunt,' including the one helmed by Mueller.

While Trump can't fire the lawmakers looking into collusion claims in the House and in the Senate, the president does have the power to tell Rosenstein to boot Mueller.

Last week Trump told the New York Times that Mueller will have crossed a 'red line' by looking into his family's finances.

'I think that's a violation,' Trump said. 'Look, this is about Russia. So I think if he wants to go, my finances are extremely good, my company is an unbelievably successful company,' the president pivoted.

Trump also expressed doubt that he would actually fire Mueller.

'I can't, I can't answer that question because I don't think it's going to happen,' Trump said.

du Vallon , East Coast, United States, 4 months ago

Whos_watching, Anywhere;... "Brennan is nothing but a traitor"... Just hilarious coming from a Republican. What do you call it when Trump's son, his Top Advisor and Son in Law, and his actual Campaign Manager are meeting with an actual RUssian spy, a policy operative, and a Billionaire Moscov bag man after receiving an email that they had illegally obtained Hillary correspondence and wanted to help Trump get elected??? That is a sell out to our most dangerous enemies, with nuclear missiles pointed at our cities, for getting their help jacking an election for President of the United States of America... and you're calling someone ELSE as "traitor". That's rich. You Republicans have no business calling ANYONE that name.

Magdalen student , Oxford, United Kingdom, 4 months ago

This is a very evil man. He belongs in prison for the things he's done to America.

David Breitbart_ , London, United Kingdom, 4 months ago

Don't forget, the reason EYE-SIS exists? is because Obama, Hillary, and Brennan were playing "topple the gov't" all across the mid east and libya.

MiniMoto Squad Z125 , St Louis suburbs F the city, United States, 4 months ago

How about we disband the CIA for supporting terrorists in Syria. We the people have the power to burn Langley to the ground. Never forget that

MiniMoto Squad Z125 , St Louis suburbs F the city, United States, 4 months ago

Okay and how about a Iynch mob shows up to your house and beats your old ass to death you ex CIA POS

Casualobserver , Swansea, United Kingdom, 4 months ago

I think his peers will care and take note. You don't care obviously, but then you're not his peer lol.

Daily Texan , Houston, United States, 4 months ago

This guy is nothing but a treasonous mus!im clown.

Murf , Charlotte NC, 4 months ago

Really don't understand the 'arrows'.... Yesterday, all the latte' lovin' low-information Libs were on spewing their half-truths and outright lies.. Today, the Libs are outnumbered big time. Are they out collecting their government checks today or are they still in bed??

NoReally , BackBayNJ, United States, 4 months ago

This isn't treason. It isn't even sedition. He's speaking freely. He's not trying to overthrow Trump. He'd like to see another Saturday Night Massacre.

[Dec 13, 2017] Rod Rosenstein s Revenge -- and What Comes Next by Chris Smith

Looks like pressure from the "intelligence community" was the decisive factor in appointment of the special procecutor.
Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times, ..."
May 18, 2017 | www.vanityfair.com

In an impossible position, the deputy attorney general played the only card he had. But the game between the White House and the Justice Department and intelligence community will only get more complicated.

You remember Rod Rosenstein. Way back on May 9, Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, was thrust from bureaucratic obscurity when the White House cited his three-page memo as the basis for the firing of F.B.I. director James Comey.

Rosenstein, after a day or so, then receded from the headlines, thanks to the cyclonic chaos machine that is the Trump administration: Oval Office leaks to the Russians! Israeli spies! Angry tweets! But the bespectacled, seemingly mild-mannered lawyer just got very interesting again.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Rosenstein suddenly announced the appointment of a special prosecutor, former F.B.I. director Robert S. Mueller III, to take charge of the investigation into Russian attempts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

It was a stunning reversal for Rosenstein, who for weeks had been fending off congressional calls for just such a move. It was also -- if the details are true -- a stunning vote of no-confidence in President Donald Trump : Department of Justice sources say the White House was given only 30-minutes notice before the public announcement, and that Rosenstein had already signed the order at that point. It may also be a sign of Rosenstein's anger at being bullied by Trump last week -- when the White House, amid the uproar over Comey's firing, tried to pin the blame on Rosenstein.

There were also pragmatic procedural reasons. "President Trump basically forced a special counsel to be appointed the minute he made Rosenstein a witness to Comey's firing -- by saying that he'd accepted the recommendation of Rosenstein to fire Comey," says Duncan Levin, a former federal prosecutor. "Trump disqualified Rosenstein as an impartial prosecutor and made this appointment all but inevitable."

It's probably not coincidental that the latest twist came less than 24 hours before Rosenstein is scheduled to brief a meeting of all 100 U.S senators in a secure room of the subterranean Capitol Visitors Center. He will still be quizzed Thursday afternoon. The Democrats, led by New York's Chuck Schumer, will ask about the roles of President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the abrupt dismissal of Comey. Did Rosenstein tailor his case, which focused entirely on the F.B.I. director's handling of the 2016 probe into Hillary Clinton's e-mail habits, at the behest of the president and the A.G.?

Rosenstein will also be grilled about the underlying mess: Was the president trying to slow down or scuttle the Russia inquiry by firing the F.B.I. director? "We are very curious about that," a Senate source says.

The appointment of a special counsel makes it easier for Rosenstein to deflect those questions. The 52-year-old has spent 27 years as a government lawyer. Hired straight out of Harvard, in 1990, to work in President George H.W. Bush's Justice Department, Rosenstein stayed on into President Bill Clinton's term. In 2005, President George W. Bush nominated him to be U.S. attorney for Maryland, a job Rosenstein held for 12 years, making him the only U.S. attorney appointed under the previous regime to last through both of President Barack Obama's terms -- which means he's either highly competent or blandly unexceptional.

In January, Sessions, himself a former U.S. attorney, chose Rosenstein as his top deputy.

"A lot of people, like me, who were really troubled by the Sessions appointment as attorney general thought Rod would be the person who would stand up for D.O.J.'s independence in a pinch," says Matthew Miller, who was Attorney General Eric Holder's spokesman. "And that did not prove to be the case last week. Rod wrote that memo, and it was a farce. It was a cover story so Trump could fire Comey over the Russia investigation. That was the moment for Rod to stand up and say no, and not only did he not do that, he helped load the gun for Trump."

The truth could be more complex, of course: Rosenstein may have genuinely believed Comey should be fired, and he also may have been an unwitting tool for Trump and Sessions. Appointing a special counsel "is an admission by Rosenstein that he messed up badly last week," Miller says. "He still needs to explain himself to Congress."

Attorneys on both sides of the political aisle who know Rosenstein don't question his impartiality when it comes to evaluating facts and legal issues. They wonder, however, whether Rosenstein has been out of his political depth as deputy attorney general -- and whether he wrote the Comey memo without sufficient concern as to how it might be used. "The skills needed to be an effective U.S. attorney are significantly different from the ones needed as deputy attorney general," one D.O.J. veteran says. "Being a straight shooter is great, but you have a lot of other considerations in those top leadership positions."

Even with Mueller now overseeing the Russia investigation, Rosenstein's impact should be felt on two other crucial fronts.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has requested that Justice turn over any memos written by Comey about his conversations with Trump, including the now-famous notes, first reported in The New York Times, where Comey says the president asked him to drop the F.B.I. inquiry into Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser. Sessions -- in consultation with Rosenstein -- could refuse the Senate's request, forcing a subpoena and a possible constitutional confrontation.

Then there's the larger, murkier subject of leaks. After Trump apparently blabbed confidential, Israeli-developed intelligence about the fight against ISIS to the Russians, conservative media outlets have been loudly calling for whoever tipped reporters to the story be hunted down. As Maryland U.S. attorney, Rosenstein's highest-profile case was the prosecution of James "Hoss" Cartwright, a retired four-star Marine general and a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Cartwright was accused of disclosing information about covert anti-Iranian operations to reporters; he was charged with lying about his conversations to F.B.I. investigators. Rosenstein extracted a guilty plea from Cartwright and pushed for a two-year jail term.

Trump apparently told Comey he wanted reporters who'd received leaks locked up. And now the White House and Sessions are prioritizing the pursuit of leakers. "It's almost as if people think they have a right to violate the law, and this has got to end, and probably it will take some convictions to put an end to it," Sessions told Bill O'Reilly on Fox in March. Rosenstein, who is in charge of the Justice Department's day-to-day operations, may be the one tasked with implementing a crackdown.

But the Trump-inflicted turmoil inside U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies is also having ramifications in external, more corrosive ways. "What happened with the president and the Russians the other day makes counterterrorism work even more difficult," says Ali Soufan, a former F.B.I. agent who pursued the 9/11 attackers and now runs an international security firm. "Early on, the Israeli intelligence and military establishment warned the government about sharing intelligence with the White House for fear that Trump would share it with the Russians, and that the Russians will share it with the Iranians. And then we've proved them right. What I hear from people around the world, and from people who work for the U.S. overseas, is that the situation is chaotic. It's becoming increasingly difficult for people in nati

[Dec 13, 2017] All the signs in the Russia probe point to Jared Kushner. Who next?

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... More like he's denying the story peddled by the Democrats in some vain attempt at reducing his legitimacy over smashing Hillary in the elections. ..."
"... What is he going to prison for, again? Colluding with Israel? ..."
"... The most anger in the media against the POTUS seems to be directed against Russia gate. Time and energy is wasted on conjecture, most 'probables will not stand in a court of law. This media hysteria deflects from the destruction of the affordable healthcare act and the tax changes good for the rich against the many. I think the people are being played. ..."
"... In the 1990s and 2000s a large section of the American establishment was effectively bought off by people like Prince Bandar. These are the ones that are determined that the anti-Russian policy then instigated be continued, even at the cost of slandering the current President's son-in-law. The irony is that in the meantime an effective regime change has taken place in Saudi and Bandar's bandits are mostly locked up behind bars. ..."
"... True, and not just hypocrisy either. This has to be seen in the context of a war, cold for now, on Russia - with China, via Iran and NK, next in line. Dangerous times, as a militarily formidable empire in economic decline looks set to take us all out. For the few who think and resist the dominant narrative - and are thereby routinely called out as 'kremlin trolls' - it is dismaying how easily folk are manipulated. ..."
"... Your points are valid but, alas, factual truths are routinely trumped (!) by powerful mythology. Fact is, despite an appalling record since WW2, Washington and its pet institutions - IMF/World Bank/WTO - are still seen as good guys. How? Because (a) all western states have traded foreign policy independence for favoured status in Washington, (b) English as global lingua franca means American soft propaganda is lapped up across the world via its entertainment industry, and (c) all 'our' media are owned by billionaire corps or as with BBC/Graun, subject to government intimidation/market forces. ..."
"... Truth is, DRT is not some horrifically new entity. (Let's not forget how HRC's 'no fly zone' for Syria promised to take us into WW3, nor her demented "we came, we saw, he died - ha ha" response to Gaddafi's sodomisation by knife blade, and more importantly to Libya's descent into hell.) As John Pilger noted, "the obsession with Trump the man – not Trump as symptom and caricature of an enduring system – beckons great danger for all of us". ..."
"... If all Meuller has is Flynn and the Russians during the transition period, he's got nothing. ..."
"... It's alleged that Turkey wanted Flynn to extradite Gullen for his alleged involvement in Turkey's failed coup. Just this weekend, Turkey have issued an arrest warrant for a former CIA officer in relation to the failed coup. So, IF the CIA were behind the failed coup and Flynn knows this - well, a good way to silence him would be to charge him with some serious crimes and then offer to drop them in return for his silence. But, like your theory, it's just speculation. ..."
"... The secret deep state security forces haven't been this diminished since Carter cleared the stables in the 70's - they fought back and stopped his second term ... ..."
"... Seeing how the case against Trump and Flynn is based on 'probable' and not hard proof its 'probable that the anti Trump campaign is directed from within the murky enclaves of the US intelligence community. ..."
"... Hatred against Trump deflects the anger, see the system works the US is still a democracy. Well it isn't, its a sick oligarchy run by the mega rich who own the media, 90% is owned by 5 corporations. Americans are fed the lie that their vast military empire with its 800 overseas bases are to defend US interests. ..."
"... Wow this is like becoming McCarthy Era 2.0. I'm just waiting for the show trials of all these so-called colluders. ..."
"... the interest of (Russian Ambassador) Kislyak in determining the position of the new administration on sanctions is not unheard of in Washington, or necessarily untoward to raise with one of the incoming national security advisers. Ambassadors are supposed to seek changes in policies and often seek to influence officials in the early stages of administrations before policies are established. Flynn's suggestion that the Russians wait as the Trump administration unfolded its new policies is a fairly standard response of an incoming official ..."
"... "The problem is charging Flynn for lying. A technicality. But not charging Hillary for email server. Another technicality. That's all the public will see if no collusion proved, and will ruin credibility of the FBI and the Dems" ..."
"... It's not just collusion is it, what about the rampant, naked nepotism, last seen on this unashamed scale in ancient Rome? ..."
"... So he lobbied for Israel not Russia then? Whoops. How does the author even know where Mueller's probe is heading, and which way Flynn flipped? Flynn worked much longer for the Obama administration than for Trump's. ..."
"... You can easily impeach Trump for bombing Syria's military airfield, which is by UN definition war crime of war aggression, starting war without the Congress approval; and doing so by supporting false flag of AQ, is support of terrorists and so on ..."
"... Oh you can't do it, of course, it was so - so presidential to bomb another country and it is just old habit and no war declaration, if country is too weak to bomb you back. And you love this exiting crazy balance of global nuclear annihilation too much, so you prefer screaming Russia, Russia to keep it hot, for wonderful military contracts. ..."
"... If the US wanted to do itself a massive favour it should shine the spotlight on Robert Mueller, the man now in charge of investigating the President of these United States for "collusion" with Russia and possible "obstruction of justice" himself obstructed a congressional investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks. ..."
"... Dealing with western backed coups on its own doorstep and being the only country actually to be legally fighting in Syria - a war that directly threatens its security - does not amount to global belligerence. ..."
"... Clinton lied under oath ..."
"... The logan act is a dead law no one will be prosecuted for a act that has never been used... plus the president elect can talk to any foreign leader he or she wishes to use and even talk deals even if a current president for 2 months is still in office... ..."
"... Should all countries which try to influence elections be treated as enemies? Where do you set the threshold? If we go by the actual evidence, Russia seems to have bought some Facebook ads and was allegedly involved in exposing HRC's meddling with the Democratic primaries. Compare that to the influence that countries like Israel and the Gulf Arabs exert on American politics and elections. Are you seriously claiming that Russia's influence is bigger or more decisive? ..."
"... The goal of weakening the US is also highly debatable. Accepting for a moment that Russia tried to tip the balance in favor of Trump, would America be stronger if it were engaged more actively in Syria and Ukraine? Is there a specific example where Trump's administration weakened the American position to the advantage of Russia? And how is the sustained anti-Russian information warfare helping anyone but the Chinese? ..."
"... The clues that Kushner has been pulling the strings on Russia are everywhere... He then pushed Flynn hard to try to turn Russia around on an anti-Israel vote by the UN security council. ..."
"... And Russia didn't turn, so hardly a clue that Kushner was pulling strings with any effect. What this clue does suggest however, is that Israel pressured/colluded with the Trump Team to undermine the Obama administrations policy towards a UN resolution on illegal settlements. The elephant in the room is Israels influence on US politics. ..."
"... In relation to the "lying" charge - In December, Flynn (in his role as incoming National Security Advisor) was told to talk to the Russians by Kushner (in his role as incoming special advisor). In these conversations, Flynn told the Russians to be patient regarding sanctions as things may change when Trump becomes President. All of this is totally legal and is what EVERY new adminstration does. Flynn had his phoned tapped by the FBI so they knew he had talked to the Russian about sanctions - they also knew the conversation was totally legal - but when they asked him about it, he said he didn't discuss sanctions. So Flynn is being charged about lying about something that was totally legal for him to do. That's it. ..."
"... All those thinking this is the beginning of the end of Trump are going to be disappointed. Just look at the charges so far. Manafort has been charged with money laundering and not registering as a foreign agent - however, both of those charges pre-date him working for Trump. Flynn has been charged with lying to the FBI about speaking to the Russians - even though him speaking to the Russians in his role as National Security Advisor to the President-elect was not only totally legal, it was the norm. And this took place in December, after the election. ..."
"... So the 2 main players have been charged with things that have nothing to do with the Trump campaign, and lets not forget the point of the investigation is to find out if Trump's campaign colluded with the Russians to win the election. Manafort's charges related to before working for the Trump campaign whilst Flynn's came after Trump won the Presidency, neither of which have anything to do with the election. As much as I wish Trump wasn't President, don't get your hopes up that this is going anywhere ..."
"... Gross hypocrisy on the US governments side. They have, since WW2 interfered with other countries elections, invaded, and killed millions worldwide, and are still doing so. Where were the FBI investigations then? Non existent. US politicians and the military hierarchy are completely immune from any prosecutions when it comes down to overseas illegal interference. ..."
"... America like all governments are narcissistic, they will cheat, steal, kill, if it benefits them. It's called national interest, and it's number one on any leader's job list. Watch fog of war with Robert McNamara, fantastic and terrifying to see how it works. ..."
"... The US has also been meddling in other countries elections for years, and doubtless most Americans neither know or care about that! So it's perhaps it's best to simply term them a 'rival', most people should be able to agree on that ..."
"... Gallup have been polling Americans for the past couple of decades on this. The last time I read about it a couple of years ago 70% of Americans had unfavourable views of Russia, ranging from those who saw them as an enemy (a smaller amount) through to those who saw them as a threat. ..."
Dec 13, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

polpont , 4 Dec 2017 08:32

Mueller will have to thread very carefully because he is maneuvering on a very politically charged terrain. And one cannot refrain from comparing the current situation with the many free passes the democrats were handed over by the FBI, the Department of Justice and the media which make the US look like a banana republic.

The mind blowing fact that Clinton sat with the Attorney General on the tarmac of the Phoenix airport "to chit-chat" and not to discuss the investigation on Clinton's very wife that was being overseen by the same AG, leaves one flabbergasted.

And the fact that Comey essentially said that Clinton's behaviour, tantamount in his own words to extreme recklessness, did not warrant prosecution was just inconceivable.

Don't forget that Trump has nearly 50 M gun-toting followers on Tweeter and that he would not hesitate to appeal to them were he to feel threatened by what he could conceive as a judicial Coup d'Etat. The respect for the institutions in the USA has never been so low.

ID1456161 -> Canadiman , 4 Dec 2017 08:30

...a judge would decide if the evidence was sufficient to warrant a trial.

Actually, in the U.S. a grand jury would decide if the evidence was sufficient to warrant formal charges leading to a trial. There is also the possibility that Mueller has uncovered both Federal and NY State offenses, so charges could be brought against Kushner at either level. Mueller has been sharing information from his investigation with the NY Attorney General's Office. Trump could pardon a federal offense, but has no jurisdiction to pardon charges brought against Kushner by the State of NY.

Anna Bramwell -> etrang , 4 Dec 2017 08:28
I watched RT for 24 months before the US election. They favoured Bernie Saunders strongly before he lost to Hilary. Then they ran hustings for the smaller US parties, eg Greens, and the Libertarians , which could definitely be seen as an interference in the US election, but which as far as I know, was never mentioned in the US. They were anti Hilary but not pro Trump. And indeed, their strong anti capitalist bias would have made such support unlikely.
EduardStreltsovGhost -> JonShone , 4 Dec 2017 08:28
What's he lying about? More like he's denying the story peddled by the Democrats in some vain attempt at reducing his legitimacy over smashing Hillary in the elections.

Obama and Hillary met hundreds of foreign officials. Were they colluding as well?

pretzelattack -> Atticus_Finch , 4 Dec 2017 08:28
What is he going to prison for, again? Colluding with Israel?
oddballs -> Taf1980uk , 4 Dec 2017 08:26
The most anger in the media against the POTUS seems to be directed against Russia gate. Time and energy is wasted on conjecture, most 'probables will not stand in a court of law. This media hysteria deflects from the destruction of the affordable healthcare act and the tax changes good for the rich against the many. I think the people are being played.
Krautolivier , 4 Dec 2017 08:21
In the 1990s and 2000s a large section of the American establishment was effectively bought off by people like Prince Bandar. These are the ones that are determined that the anti-Russian policy then instigated be continued, even at the cost of slandering the current President's son-in-law. The irony is that in the meantime an effective regime change has taken place in Saudi and Bandar's bandits are mostly locked up behind bars.
It's all too funny.
zerohoursuni -> damientrollope , 4 Dec 2017 08:19
True, and not just hypocrisy either. This has to be seen in the context of a war, cold for now, on Russia - with China, via Iran and NK, next in line. Dangerous times, as a militarily formidable empire in economic decline looks set to take us all out. For the few who think and resist the dominant narrative - and are thereby routinely called out as 'kremlin trolls' - it is dismaying how easily folk are manipulated.

Your points are valid but, alas, factual truths are routinely trumped (!) by powerful mythology. Fact is, despite an appalling record since WW2, Washington and its pet institutions - IMF/World Bank/WTO - are still seen as good guys. How? Because (a) all western states have traded foreign policy independence for favoured status in Washington, (b) English as global lingua franca means American soft propaganda is lapped up across the world via its entertainment industry, and (c) all 'our' media are owned by billionaire corps or as with BBC/Graun, subject to government intimidation/market forces.

Truth is, DRT is not some horrifically new entity. (Let's not forget how HRC's 'no fly zone' for Syria promised to take us into WW3, nor her demented "we came, we saw, he died - ha ha" response to Gaddafi's sodomisation by knife blade, and more importantly to Libya's descent into hell.) As John Pilger noted, "the obsession with Trump the man – not Trump as symptom and caricature of an enduring system – beckons great danger for all of us".

cookcounty , 4 Dec 2017 08:15
I missed Jill Abramson's column about all the meetings the Obama administration held -- quite openly -- with foreign governments during the transition period between his election and his first inauguration.

But since she's been demonstrably and laughably wrong about predicting future political events in the USA (see her entire body of work during the 2016 election campaign), why should she start making sense now?

It's completely possible, of course, that some as-yet-to-be-revealed piece of evidence will prove collusion -- before the election and by candidate Trump -- with the Russians. But the Flynn testimony certainly isn't it. All the heavy breathing and hysteria is simply a sign of how the media, yet again, always gravitates toward the news it wishes were true, rather than what really is true. If all Meuller has is Flynn and the Russians during the transition period, he's got nothing.

themandibleclaw -> SteveMilesworthy , 4 Dec 2017 08:12
Flynn was charged with far more serious crimes which were all dropped and he was left with a charge that if he spends any time in prison, it will be about 6 months. Now, you could say for him to agree to that, he must have some juicy info - and he probably does - but what that juicy info is is just speculation. And if we are speculating, then maybe what he traded it for was nothing to do with Trump? After all, one of the charges against him was failing to register as a foreign agent on behalf of Turkey.

It's alleged that Turkey wanted Flynn to extradite Gullen for his alleged involvement in Turkey's failed coup. Just this weekend, Turkey have issued an arrest warrant for a former CIA officer in relation to the failed coup. So, IF the CIA were behind the failed coup and Flynn knows this - well, a good way to silence him would be to charge him with some serious crimes and then offer to drop them in return for his silence. But, like your theory, it's just speculation.

WallyWillage , 4 Dec 2017 08:05
Still no evidence of Russian collusion in Trump campaign BEFORE the election...... whatever happened after being president elect is not impeachable unless it would be after taking office.

The secret deep state security forces haven't been this diminished since Carter cleared the stables in the 70's - they fought back and stopped his second term ...

EduardStreltsovGhost -> CitizenOfTinyBlue , 4 Dec 2017 08:03

You can easily impeach Trump for bombing Syria's military airfield, which is by UN definition war crime of war aggression

if that were the case, Clinton, Bush and Obama would be sitting in jail right now.
oddballs -> Taf1980uk , 4 Dec 2017 07:58
Seeing how the case against Trump and Flynn is based on 'probable' and not hard proof its 'probable that the anti Trump campaign is directed from within the murky enclaves of the US intelligence community.

Trumps presidency could have the capability of galvanising a powerful resistance against the 2 party state for 'real change, like affordable healthcare and affordable education for ALL its people. But no its not happening, Trump is attacked on probables and undisclosed sources. A year has passed and nothing has been revealed.

Hatred against Trump deflects the anger, see the system works the US is still a democracy. Well it isn't, its a sick oligarchy run by the mega rich who own the media, 90% is owned by 5 corporations. Americans are fed the lie that their vast military empire with its 800 overseas bases are to defend US interests.

Well their not, their only function is, is to spend tax dollars that otherwise would be spent on education, health, infrastructure, things that would 'really' benefit America. Disagree, well go ahead and accuse me of being a conspiracy nut-job, in the meantime China is by peaceful means getting the mining rights in Africa, Australia, deals that matter.

The tax legislation for the few against the many is deflected by the anti-Trump hysteria based on conjecture and not proof.

EduardStreltsovGhost , 4 Dec 2017 07:52
Wow this is like becoming McCarthy Era 2.0. I'm just waiting for the show trials of all these so-called colluders.
RelaxAndChill -> Silgen , 4 Dec 2017 07:46
Crimea was and is Russian. Your mask is slipping, Vlad .

Your ignorance is showing. I have no connection to Russia what so ever. Crimea was legally ceded to Russia over 200 years ago, by the Ottomans to Catherine the Great. Russia has never relinquished control. What the criminal organization the USSR did under Ukrainian expat Khrushchev, is irrelevant. And as Putin said , any agreement about respecting Ukraine's territorial integrity was negated when the USA and the EU fomented and financed a rebellion and revolution.

StillAbstractImp , 4 Dec 2017 07:40
Decelerating Fascism - Is Kushner a Putin operative, too?
mikedow -> Karantino , 4 Dec 2017 07:35
Australia, Canada, and S. Africa supply the lion's share of gold bullion that London survives on. And the best uranium in the world. All sorts of other precious commodities as well. If you're not toeing the line on US foreign policies religiously, the Yanks will drop you.
themandibleclaw -> Toastface_Killah , 4 Dec 2017 07:34

You are selectively choosing to refer to this one instance, but even here Obama administration were still in charge - so not very legal, was it.

I am "selectively choosing to refer to this one instance" because that's all Flynn has been charged with. Oh, and it is totally legal for a member of the incoming administration to start talks with their foreign counterparts. Here's a quote from an op-ed piece in The Hill from a law professor at Washington University.

the interest of (Russian Ambassador) Kislyak in determining the position of the new administration on sanctions is not unheard of in Washington, or necessarily untoward to raise with one of the incoming national security advisers. Ambassadors are supposed to seek changes in policies and often seek to influence officials in the early stages of administrations before policies are established. Flynn's suggestion that the Russians wait as the Trump administration unfolded its new policies is a fairly standard response of an incoming official .

http://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/362813-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-of-the-flynn-indictment

backstop -> EdwardFatherby , 4 Dec 2017 07:31
"The problem is charging Flynn for lying. A technicality. But not charging Hillary for email server. Another technicality. That's all the public will see if no collusion proved, and will ruin credibility of the FBI and the Dems"

It's not just collusion is it, what about the rampant, naked nepotism, last seen on this unashamed scale in ancient Rome?

BustedBoom , 4 Dec 2017 07:31

He then pushed Flynn hard to try to turn Russia around on an anti-Israel vote by the UN security council.

So he lobbied for Israel not Russia then? Whoops. How does the author even know where Mueller's probe is heading, and which way Flynn flipped? Flynn worked much longer for the Obama administration than for Trump's.
CitizenOfTinyBlue , 4 Dec 2017 07:26
You can easily impeach Trump for bombing Syria's military airfield, which is by UN definition war crime of war aggression, starting war without the Congress approval; and doing so by supporting false flag of AQ, is support of terrorists and so on

Oh you can't do it, of course, it was so - so presidential to bomb another country and it is just old habit and no war declaration, if country is too weak to bomb you back. And you love this exiting crazy balance of global nuclear annihilation too much, so you prefer screaming Russia, Russia to keep it hot, for wonderful military contracts.

Oh, and I have to be supporter of Putin's oligarchy with dreams of great tsars of Russia, if I care about humans survival on this planet and have very bad opinion about suicidal fools playing this stupid games.

ConCaruthers , 4 Dec 2017 07:25
If the US wanted to do itself a massive favour it should shine the spotlight on Robert Mueller, the man now in charge of investigating the President of these United States for "collusion" with Russia and possible "obstruction of justice" himself obstructed a congressional investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
moonsphere -> Hydro , 4 Dec 2017 07:24
Dealing with western backed coups on its own doorstep and being the only country actually to be legally fighting in Syria - a war that directly threatens its security - does not amount to global belligerence.
etrang -> CraftyRabbi , 4 Dec 2017 07:14

Mueller could charge/indict Kushner or Trump Jr under New York state criminal statutes

But not for crimes relating to federal elections or conspiring with Russia.

John Edwin -> OlivesNightie , 4 Dec 2017 07:13
Clinton lied under oath
John Edwin -> SoAmerican , 4 Dec 2017 07:11
The logan act is a dead law no one will be prosecuted for a act that has never been used... plus the president elect can talk to any foreign leader he or she wishes to use and even talk deals even if a current president for 2 months is still in office...
emiliofloris -> Sowester , 4 Dec 2017 07:08

I am not sure any level of scandal will make much difference to Trump or his supporters. They simply see this as an elitist conspiracy and not amount of evidence of wrongdoing will have an impact.

So far the level of scandal is below that of Whitewater/Lewinsky, and that was a very low level indeed. What "evidence of wrongdoing" is there? Nothing, that's why they charged Flynn with lying to investigators. It's important to keep in mind that the he did nor lie about actual crimes. Perhaps that's going to change as the investigation proceeds, but so far this is nothing more than a partisan lawfare fishing expedition.

Billsykesdoggy -> reinhardpolley , 4 Dec 2017 06:55
<blockquoteSpecifically, it prohibits citizens from negotiating with other nations on behalf of the United States without authorization.>

So Trump authorized Obama's talks with Macron last week?

Don't think so.

braciole -> Karantino , 4 Dec 2017 06:55

Because they attempted to covertly influence a general election in order to weaken the US.

And your evidence for this is what exactly? As for countries trying to influence elections in other countries, I'm all for it particularly when one of the candidates is murderous, arrogant and stupid.

BTW, in Honduras after supporting a coup against the democratically-elected president because he sought a referendum on allowing presidents to serve two terms, you'd think the United States would interfere when his non-democratically-elected replacement used a "packed" supreme court to change the constitution to allow presidents to serve more than one term to at least stop him stealing an election as he is now doing/has done. But they didn't and that hasn't stopped the United States whining that Evo Morales is being undemocratic by trying to extend the number of terms he can serve.

emiliofloris -> Karantino , 4 Dec 2017 06:53

Because they attempted to covertly influence a general election in order to weaken the US.

Should all countries which try to influence elections be treated as enemies? Where do you set the threshold? If we go by the actual evidence, Russia seems to have bought some Facebook ads and was allegedly involved in exposing HRC's meddling with the Democratic primaries. Compare that to the influence that countries like Israel and the Gulf Arabs exert on American politics and elections. Are you seriously claiming that Russia's influence is bigger or more decisive?

The goal of weakening the US is also highly debatable. Accepting for a moment that Russia tried to tip the balance in favor of Trump, would America be stronger if it were engaged more actively in Syria and Ukraine? Is there a specific example where Trump's administration weakened the American position to the advantage of Russia? And how is the sustained anti-Russian information warfare helping anyone but the Chinese?

technotherapy , 4 Dec 2017 06:46
The clues that Kushner has been pulling the strings on Russia are everywhere... He then pushed Flynn hard to try to turn Russia around on an anti-Israel vote by the UN security council.

And Russia didn't turn, so hardly a clue that Kushner was pulling strings with any effect. What this clue does suggest however, is that Israel pressured/colluded with the Trump Team to undermine the Obama administrations policy towards a UN resolution on illegal settlements. The elephant in the room is Israels influence on US politics.

themandibleclaw -> Simon Denham , 4 Dec 2017 06:44

Can someone please actually tell us what Flynn/Jared/Trump is supposed to have done.

In relation to the "lying" charge - In December, Flynn (in his role as incoming National Security Advisor) was told to talk to the Russians by Kushner (in his role as incoming special advisor). In these conversations, Flynn told the Russians to be patient regarding sanctions as things may change when Trump becomes President. All of this is totally legal and is what EVERY new adminstration does. Flynn had his phoned tapped by the FBI so they knew he had talked to the Russian about sanctions - they also knew the conversation was totally legal - but when they asked him about it, he said he didn't discuss sanctions. So Flynn is being charged about lying about something that was totally legal for him to do. That's it.

moonsphere -> SoAmerican , 4 Dec 2017 06:44
These days "US influence" seems to consist of bombing Middle Eastern countries back to the bronze age for reasons that defy easy logic. Anything that reduces that kind of influence would be welcome.
reinhardpolley -> Simon Denham , 4 Dec 2017 06:33
The Logan Act (18 U.S.C.A. § 953 [1948]) is a single federal statute making it a crime for a citizen to confer with foreign governments against the interests of the United States. Specifically, it prohibits citizens from negotiating with other nations on behalf of the United States without authorization.
https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Logan+Act
themandibleclaw , 4 Dec 2017 06:22
All those thinking this is the beginning of the end of Trump are going to be disappointed. Just look at the charges so far. Manafort has been charged with money laundering and not registering as a foreign agent - however, both of those charges pre-date him working for Trump. Flynn has been charged with lying to the FBI about speaking to the Russians - even though him speaking to the Russians in his role as National Security Advisor to the President-elect was not only totally legal, it was the norm. And this took place in December, after the election.

So the 2 main players have been charged with things that have nothing to do with the Trump campaign, and lets not forget the point of the investigation is to find out if Trump's campaign colluded with the Russians to win the election. Manafort's charges related to before working for the Trump campaign whilst Flynn's came after Trump won the Presidency, neither of which have anything to do with the election. As much as I wish Trump wasn't President, don't get your hopes up that this is going anywhere.

damientrollope , 4 Dec 2017 06:15
Gross hypocrisy on the US governments side. They have, since WW2 interfered with other countries elections, invaded, and killed millions worldwide, and are still doing so. Where were the FBI investigations then? Non existent. US politicians and the military hierarchy are completely immune from any prosecutions when it comes down to overseas illegal interference.

But now this Russian debacle, and at last they've woken up, because another country had the temerity to turn the tables on them. And I think if this was Bush or Obama we would never have heard a thing about it. Everybody hates the Dotard, because he's an obese dick with an IQ to match.

Boojay , 4 Dec 2017 06:15
Nothing will happen to Trump, It's all bollocks. You've all watched too many Spielberg films, bad guys win, and they win most of the time.
Trump is the real face of America, America like all governments are narcissistic, they will cheat, steal, kill, if it benefits them. It's called national interest, and it's number one on any leader's job list. Watch fog of war with Robert McNamara, fantastic and terrifying to see how it works.
formerathlete -> vacantspace , 4 Dec 2017 06:15

when American presidents were rational, well balanced with progressive views we had.... decent American healthcare? Equality of opportunity? Gun laws that made it safe to walk the streets?

Say who, what an a where now????????? Since when has the US EVER had any of the three things that you mentioned???

If ever, then it was a loooooong time before the pilgrim fathers ever landed.

Hugh Mad -> JonShone , 4 Dec 2017 06:10

The US has also been meddling in other countries elections for years, and doubtless most Americans neither know or care about that! So it's perhaps it's best to simply term them a 'rival', most people should be able to agree on that.

That is the bottom line, yes. People view the world through west = good and Russia = bad, while both make economic and political decisions that serve the interests of their people respectively. Ultimately, I think people are scared that the West's monopoly on global influence is slipping, to as you said, a rival.

JonShone -> Hugh Mad , 4 Dec 2017 06:06
You are right that calling Russia the US enemy needs justification, but these threads often deteriorate into arguments of the yes it is/no it isn't variety.

Gallup have been polling Americans for the past couple of decades on this. The last time I read about it a couple of years ago 70% of Americans had unfavourable views of Russia, ranging from those who saw them as an enemy (a smaller amount) through to those who saw them as a threat.

It's certain that their ideals and goals run counter to those generally held in the US in many ways. But let's not forget that the US' ideals are often, if not generally, divergent from their interests and US foreign policy since 1945 has been responsible for countless deaths, perhaps more than Russia's.

The US has also been meddling in other countries elections for years, and doubtless most Americans neither know or care about that! So it's perhaps it's best to simply term them a 'rival', most people should be able to agree on that.

RelaxAndChill , 4 Dec 2017 05:59
All the signs in the Russia probe point to ..

How the liberals and the Democrats don't give a damm about the USA or the world's political scene, just some endless 'sore loser' witch hunt. So much could be achieved by the improving of relations with Russia. Crimea was and is Russian. Let Trump have a go as POTUS and then judge him. He wants to befriend Putin and if done it would help solve Syrian, Nth Korean and other global problems.

variation31 -> Sowester , 4 Dec 2017 05:50

They simply see this as an elitist conspiracy and not amount of evidence of wrongdoing will have an impact

Whereas if it's a Democrat in the spotlight, these same dipshits see it as an élitist cover-up and no lack of evidence of wrongdoing will have an impact. If anything, lack of evidence is evidence of cover-up which is therefore proof of evidence.

These cynical games they play with veracity and human honesty are a very pure form of evil.

[Dec 11, 2017] I am not saying Trump is a closet atheist, but he is no evangelical

The US official religion is neoliberalism not Christianity. Christianity is in sharp decline.
Notable quotes:
"... Where evangelicals emphasize asking God for forgiveness, Trump says, "I am not sure I have. I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture. I don't." ..."
"... Compare these remarks to the more earnest faith of President George W. Bush, who claimed divine consultation before invading Iraq, or the incessant God-talk of candidates like Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin and Ben Carson ..."
"... Since then, it's hard to see what benefit America's strong leaning toward theocracy has had. Comparing 17 first-world prosperous democracies on a number of societal health measures, social scientist Gregory S. Paul found that the most religious country of them all-the United States -- had by far the worse measures on a number of criteria, including the highest rates of homicides, suicides, incarceration, STDs, teen pregnancies, abortions, divorce, alcohol consumption, corruption, poverty and income inequality. Correlation is not causation, of course. ..."
"... "Seems to me Donald has been doing a lot more God talk since taking office, " I agree 1,000% – which just validates my view that Trump is all bullsh*ter. Elmer Gantry comes to mind ..."
"... And another point – it strikes me that those saying Trump is a liar misses the point – Trump is more like a parrot in that Trump will say (parrot) whatever he believes is necessary to get the cracker (though I didn't intend "cracker" to mean racists, but merely a reward, I note one can interpret that as one wishes .). ..."
"... PAUL JAY: Under the protection of God, America, we'll use the Mother of All Bombs and fight without restraint. That's the message Donald wanted to send, and perhaps that's the message this bomb was meant to deliver in Afghanistan. ..."
"... Pointing out hypocrisy misses the point because it's never been about religious doctrine as much as trying to belong to something and have purpose. Trump can miss every question about angels dancing on heads of pins, and it won't matter. Trump in his own way embraced the evangelicals. In effect, Hillary said she wanted the non-evangelical republicans who are so smart and moderate. ..."
"... In "The Merchant of Venice" (Act 1, Scene 3), Antonio says, "even the devil can cite scripture for his own use." This is all they need because it's not about scripture and never has been. ..."
"... You and Marx: "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people" ..."
Apr 19, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
fresno dan , April 17, 2017 at 7:28 am

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/04/donald-trump-religion-215033

This Sunday [Easter], tens of millions of American Christians will celebrate Easter, and thousands of children and their families will descend on the White House to take part in the annual Easter Egg Roll. As the festivities spill over the grounds of 1600 Penn., I wonder if anyone will stop to note the obvious irony: That President Donald J. Trump is very likely the least religious president to occupy the White House since Thomas Jefferson.

I'm not saying Trump is a closeted atheist, but he's no evangelical. As a self-proclaimed Protestant, or Presbyterian, or something he describes as "a wonderful religion," Trump nominally attends the nondenominational Marble Collegiate Church in New York City.

Where evangelicals emphasize asking God for forgiveness, Trump says, "I am not sure I have. I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture. I don't."

Compare these remarks to the more earnest faith of President George W. Bush, who claimed divine consultation before invading Iraq, or the incessant God-talk of candidates like Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin and Ben Carson.

Since then, it's hard to see what benefit America's strong leaning toward theocracy has had. Comparing 17 first-world prosperous democracies on a number of societal health measures, social scientist Gregory S. Paul found that the most religious country of them all-the United States -- had by far the worse measures on a number of criteria, including the highest rates of homicides, suicides, incarceration, STDs, teen pregnancies, abortions, divorce, alcohol consumption, corruption, poverty and income inequality. Correlation is not causation, of course. But if religion is suppose to be such a powerful force for societal health, then why is America-the most religious nation in the Western world-also the unhealthiest on all of these important social measures?***
===================================================

I almost posted this yesterday, but I thought that would be churlish. I read Trump's "religious" remarks and find them extremely off putting. Than I read the religious remarks of other repubs, and I find them EVEN MORE off putting .

***Teen pregnancy – so much for the solemn pledges of abstinence made by teenagers .*** ***
*** *** What is it with the US? How can anybody in hypersexualized America really believe American teens are gonna keep it in their pants?

fresno dan , April 17, 2017 at 8:41 am

Linda
April 17, 2017 at 7:59 am

"Seems to me Donald has been doing a lot more God talk since taking office, " I agree 1,000% – which just validates my view that Trump is all bullsh*ter. Elmer Gantry comes to mind.

And another point – it strikes me that those saying Trump is a liar misses the point – Trump is more like a parrot in that Trump will say (parrot) whatever he believes is necessary to get the cracker (though I didn't intend "cracker" to mean racists, but merely a reward, I note one can interpret that as one wishes .).

RWood , April 17, 2017 at 9:44 am

Playing to the sanctity of slaughter:

PAUL JAY: Under the protection of God, America, we'll use the Mother of All Bombs and fight without restraint. That's the message Donald wanted to send, and perhaps that's the message this bomb was meant to deliver in Afghanistan.

https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/deadly-propaganda-events/

NotTimothyGeithner , April 17, 2017 at 10:55 am

From my experience with Catholic school and church, I've long since determined "god talk" isn't as relevant as "us v. them" talk. Hillary's "deplorable" statement was just an affirmation of a view many "Christians" believe is held about them.

Pointing out hypocrisy misses the point because it's never been about religious doctrine as much as trying to belong to something and have purpose. Trump can miss every question about angels dancing on heads of pins, and it won't matter. Trump in his own way embraced the evangelicals. In effect, Hillary said she wanted the non-evangelical republicans who are so smart and moderate.

In "The Merchant of Venice" (Act 1, Scene 3), Antonio says, "even the devil can cite scripture for his own use." This is all they need because it's not about scripture and never has been.

grayslady , April 17, 2017 at 2:14 pm

Why were enslaved Africans in the American South so religious?

Actually, they weren't all that religious. The slave owners allowed them time off on Sunday for religious services. The slaves were savvy enough to make sure that "services" were an all-day affair. Even meals and socialization were woven into the Sunday religious celebrations. That practice is the genesis of many AME and AME-Z all day (or most of the day) Sunday services today. (I learned that bit of information in my Black Religion college course many years ago.)

witters , April 17, 2017 at 7:03 pm

You and Marx: "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people"

[Dec 11, 2017] Religion has de-legitimized itself with its hypocrisy

Should probably be "neoliberal religion has de-legitimized itself with its hypocrisy
Notable quotes:
"... Sorry, as a church-attending person, I object. Religion has de-legitimized itself with its hypocrisy. One example: Jerry Falwell, a "battler" against abortion actually supported it before his plutocratic masters told him it was a wedge issue. ..."
"... Michael Hudso says Jesus' first appearance in the Jerusalem temple was to announce just such a Jubilee Boy is that ever ignored! ..."
"... Your correlating the hypocritical actions of the leadership with the ideals of a religion. Corrupt leadership may delegitimize those individuals but does not delegitimize the ideals of the religion. Is the ideal of America totally dependent on the actions of its political leadership? Personally, I think there is far more to America than just the president and congress whether corrupt or not. ..."
"... What is or are the ideal(s) of "America?" Get rich quick, violence on all fronts, anti-intellectualism, imperial project across the planet? "Democracy?" If you trot that out as a "feature", you better explain what you mean, with some specificity. More to America? If youtube is any guide, try searching it for "syria combat" or "redneck" or "full auto," or all the really sick racist and extreme stuff - a pretty sorry place. But we all recite the Pledge so dutifully, don't we? and feel a thrill as the F-22s swoop over the football stadium? ..."
Apr 18, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Adam Eran, April 17, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Sorry, as a church-attending person, I object. Religion has de-legitimized itself with its hypocrisy. One example: Jerry Falwell, a "battler" against abortion actually supported it before his plutocratic masters told him it was a wedge issue.

Positions on the wedge issues (abortion, the gays) are actually difficult to prove with scripture–not that it has the kind of authority it did before 35,000 variations on old manuscripts were discovered in the 17th century. (Marcus Borg is the scholar to consult here).

Meanwhile, the big issues - e.g. covetousness, forbidden very explicitly in one of the 10 commandments - is an *industry* in the U.S.

I'll believe these evangelicals are guided by the bible when I see them picketing Madison Avenue for promoting covetousness, or when I see them lobbying for a debt jubilee.

Michael Hudso says Jesus' first appearance in the Jerusalem temple was to announce just such a Jubilee Boy is that ever ignored!

Jagger , April 17, 2017 at 2:32 pm

Your correlating the hypocritical actions of the leadership with the ideals of a religion. Corrupt leadership may delegitimize those individuals but does not delegitimize the ideals of the religion. Is the ideal of America totally dependent on the actions of its political leadership? Personally, I think there is far more to America than just the president and congress whether corrupt or not.

hunkerdown , April 17, 2017 at 5:00 pm

Ideals only serve in practice to create primordial debts, buttress power differentials, and enable selective malfeasance. I fail to see the social utility of any of those products and believe humanity would be better off repudiating them and their vectors. Disease is not a public good.

Jagger , April 17, 2017 at 7:57 pm

Well I am using this definition of ideal: "a person or thing conceived as embodying such a conception or conforming to such a standard, and taken as a model for imitation". I guess you are welcome to your definition.

JTMcPhee , April 17, 2017 at 5:10 pm

I think "America" is maybe a shibboleth of some sort, but there is not a dam' thing left of the stuff I was taught and brought to believe, as a young person, Boy Scout, attendee at the Presbyterian Westminster Fellowship, attentive student of Mrs. Thompson and Mr. Fleming in Civics, Social Studies and US History classes, and all that. I was well enough steeped in that stuff to let "patriotism" overcome better sense, strongly enough to enlist in the Army in 1966.

Maybe you think "The Birth of a Nation" captures the essence of our great country?

What is or are the ideal(s) of "America?" Get rich quick, violence on all fronts, anti-intellectualism, imperial project across the planet? "Democracy?" If you trot that out as a "feature", you better explain what you mean, with some specificity. More to America? If youtube is any guide, try searching it for "syria combat" or "redneck" or "full auto," or all the really sick racist and extreme stuff - a pretty sorry place. But we all recite the Pledge so dutifully, don't we? and feel a thrill as the F-22s swoop over the football stadium?

[Dec 11, 2017] Strzok-Gate And The Mueller Cover-Up by Alexander Mercouris

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... If there were secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence such as might give rise to genuine concern that the national security of the United States might be compromised – for example because they were intended to swing the US election from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump – then the FBI would have a legitimate reason to investigate those contacts even if no actual crimes were committed during them. ..."
"... The point is however is that eighteen months after the start of the Russiagate investigation no evidence either of criminal acts or of secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence which might have placed the national security of the United States in jeopardy has come to light. ..."
"... There is no evidence of a criminal conspiracy by anyone in the Trump campaign involving the Russians. or the hacking of John Podesta's and the DNC's computers in order to steal emails from those computers and to have them published by Wikileaks; ..."
"... There is also no evidence of any secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence during the election which might have placed the national security of the United States in jeopardy. ..."
"... If no evidence either of a criminal conspiracy or of inappropriate secret contacts by the Trump campaign and the Russians has been found after eighteen months of intense investigation by the biggest and mightiest national security and intelligence community on the planet, then any reasonable person would conclude that that must be because no such evidence exists. ..."
"... Some months I expressed doubts that Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would countenance fishing expeditions . It turns out I was wrong. On any objective assessment it is exactly such fishing expeditions that the Mueller investigation is now engaging in. ..."
"... Deutsche Bank is a German bank not a Russian bank. To insinuate that the Russians control Deutsche Bank – one of the world's leading international banks – because Deutsche Bank has had some previous financial dealings with various Russian banks and businesses is quite simply preposterous. I doubt that there is a single important bank in Germany or Austria of which that could not also be said. ..."
"... Which again begs the question why? Why are Mueller and the Justice Department resorting to these increasingly desperate actions in order to prove something which it ought to be obvious by now cannot be proved? ..."
"... My colleague Alex Christoforou has recently pointed out that the recent indictment of Michael Flynn seems to have been partly intended to shield Mueller from dismissal and to keep his Russiagate investigation alive. Some time ago I made exactly the same point about the indictments against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates and about the indictment against George Papadopoulos. ..."
"... Those indictments were issued directly after the Wall Street Journal published an editorial saying that Mueller should resign. ..."
"... It is the Wall Street Journal editorial which in fact provides the answer to Mueller's and Rosenstein's otherwise strange behaviour and to the way that Mueller has conducted the investigation up to now. The Wall Street Journal's editorial says that Mueller's past as the FBI's Director means that he is too close to the FBI to take an objective view of its actions. ..."
"... It is universally agreed that the FBI's then Director – Mueller's friend James Comey – broke protocols by the way he announced that Hillary Clinton had been cleared. ..."
"... By failing to bring charges against Hillary Clinton the FBI ensured that she would win the Democratic Party's nomination, and that she not Bernie Sanders would face off against Donald Trump in the election in the autumn. That is important because though the eventual – completely unexpected – election outcome was that Donald Trump won the election, which Hillary Clinton lost, every opinion poll which I have seen suggests that if the election had been between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump then Bernie Sanders would have won by a landslide. ..."
"... They played Sessions like a violin. Sessions recluses himself for a bullcrap Kisnyak speech, where he did not even meet him. Rosenstein then recommends Trump fire Comey -- who wanted to be fired so they would appoint a special prosecutor -- which Rosenstein does -- Mueller, to the acclamation of ALL of Con and the Senate-including Republicans. ..."
"... Trump was pissed because they removed his only defender from Mueller -- the head of the DOJ. He knew it was a setup, so went ballistic when he found out about Sessions recusing. ..."
"... Strzok was obviously at a VERY senior pay grade. It would be very surprising if HR had any jobs at Strzok's pay grade. ..."
"... once this special prosecutor is done, congress needs to rewrite the special prosecutor law to narrow their mandate to just the item allowed to be investigated - no fishing expeditions - enough of this stupidity - and maybe put a renewal clause in there so that it has to be renewed every 12 months... ..."
"... This is, and always has been a sideshow for the "true believers" in the Democrap party and all Hitlary supporters to accuse Trump of EXACTLY what Hitlary did ..."
Dec 10, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Alexander Mercouris via TheDuran.com,

Almost eighteen months after Obama's Justice Department and the FBI launched the Russiagate investigation, and seven months after Special Counsel Robert Mueller took the investigation over, the sum total of what it has achieved is as follows

(1) an indictment of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates which concerns entirely their prior financial dealings, and which makes no reference to the Russiagate collusion allegations;

(2) an indictment for lying to the FBI of George Papadopoulos, the junior volunteer staffer of the Trump campaign, who during the 2016 Presidential election had certain contacts with members of a Moscow based Russian NGO, which he sought to pass off – falsely and unsuccessfully – as more important than they really were, and which also does not touch on the Russiagate collusion allegations; and

(3) an indictment for lying to the FBI of Michael Flynn arising from his perfectly legitimate and entirely legal contacts with the Russian ambassador after the 2016 Presidential election, which also does not touch on the Russiagate collusion allegations, and which looks as if it was brought about by an act of entrapment .

Of actual evidence to substantiate the claims of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the election Mueller has so far come up with nothing.

Here I wish to say something briefly about the nature of "collusion".

There is no criminal offence of "collusion" known to US law, which has led some to make the point that Mueller is investigating a crime which does not exist.

There is some force to this point, but it is one which must be heavily qualified:

(1) Though there is no crime of "collusion" in US law, there most certainly is the crime of conspiracy to perform a criminal act.

Should it ever be established that members of the Trump campaign arranged with the Russians for the Russians to hack the DNC's and John Podesta's computers and to steal the emails from those computers so that they could be published by Wikileaks, then since hacking and theft are serious criminal acts a criminal conspiracy would be established, and it would be the entirely proper to do to bring criminal charges against those who were involved in it.

This is the central allegation which lies behind the whole Russiagate case, and is the crime which Mueller is supposed to be investigating.

(2) The FBI is not merely a police and law enforcement agency. It is also the US's counter-espionage agency.

If there were secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence such as might give rise to genuine concern that the national security of the United States might be compromised – for example because they were intended to swing the US election from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump – then the FBI would have a legitimate reason to investigate those contacts even if no actual crimes were committed during them.

Since impeachment is a purely political process and not a legal process, should it ever be established that there were such secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence which might have placed the national security of the United States in jeopardy, then I have no doubt that Congress would say that there were grounds for impeachment even if no criminal offences had been committed during them.

The point is however is that eighteen months after the start of the Russiagate investigation no evidence either of criminal acts or of secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence which might have placed the national security of the United States in jeopardy has come to light.

Specifically:

(1) There is no evidence of a criminal conspiracy by anyone in the Trump campaign involving the Russians. or the hacking of John Podesta's and the DNC's computers in order to steal emails from those computers and to have them published by Wikileaks; and

(2) There is also no evidence of any secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence during the election which might have placed the national security of the United States in jeopardy.

Such contacts as did take place between the Trump campaign and the Russians were limited and innocuous and had no effect on the outcome of the election. Specifically there is no evidence of any concerted action between the Trump campaign and the Russians to swing the election from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump.

As I have previously discussed, the meeting between Donald Trump Junior and the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya is not such evidence .

If no evidence either of a criminal conspiracy or of inappropriate secret contacts by the Trump campaign and the Russians has been found after eighteen months of intense investigation by the biggest and mightiest national security and intelligence community on the planet, then any reasonable person would conclude that that must be because no such evidence exists.

Why then is the investigation still continuing?

Some months I expressed doubts that Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would countenance fishing expeditions. It turns out I was wrong. On any objective assessment it is exactly such fishing expeditions that the Mueller investigation is now engaging in.

How else to explain the strange decision to subpoena Deutsche Bank for information about loans granted by Deutsche Bank to Donald Trump and his businesses?

Deutsche Bank is a German bank not a Russian bank. To insinuate that the Russians control Deutsche Bank – one of the world's leading international banks – because Deutsche Bank has had some previous financial dealings with various Russian banks and businesses is quite simply preposterous. I doubt that there is a single important bank in Germany or Austria of which that could not also be said.

Yet in the desperation to find some connection between Donald Trump and Russia it is to these absurdities that Mueller is reduced to.

Which again begs the question why? Why are Mueller and the Justice Department resorting to these increasingly desperate actions in order to prove something which it ought to be obvious by now cannot be proved?

My colleague Alex Christoforou has recently pointed out that the recent indictment of Michael Flynn seems to have been partly intended to shield Mueller from dismissal and to keep his Russiagate investigation alive. Some time ago I made exactly the same point about the indictments against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates and about the indictment against George Papadopoulos.

Those indictments were issued directly after the Wall Street Journal published an editorial saying that Mueller should resign.

The indictment against Manafort and Gates looks sloppy and rushed. Perhaps I am wrong but there has to be at least a suspicion that the indictments were issued in a hurry to still criticism of Mueller of the kind that was now appearing in the Wall Street Journal.

Presumably the reason the indictment against Flynn was delayed was because his lawyers had just signaled Flynn's interest in a plea bargain, and it took a few more weeks of negotiating to work that out.

It is the Wall Street Journal editorial which in fact provides the answer to Mueller's and Rosenstein's otherwise strange behaviour and to the way that Mueller has conducted the investigation up to now. The Wall Street Journal's editorial says that Mueller's past as the FBI's Director means that he is too close to the FBI to take an objective view of its actions.

In fact the Wall Street Journal was more right than it perhaps realised. It is now becoming increasingly clear that the FBI's actions are open to very serious criticism to say the least, and that Mueller is simply not the person who can be trusted to take an objective view of those actions.

Over the course of the 2016 election the FBI cleared Hillary Clinton over her illegal use of a private server to route classified emails whilst she was Secretary of State though it is universally agreed that she broke the law by doing so.

The FBI does not seem to have even considered investigating Hillary Clinton for possible obstruction of justice after it also became known that she had actually destroyed thousands of her emails which passed through her private server, though that was an obvious thing to do.

It is universally agreed that the FBI's then Director – Mueller's friend James Comey – broke protocols by the way he announced that Hillary Clinton had been cleared.

By failing to bring charges against Hillary Clinton the FBI ensured that she would win the Democratic Party's nomination, and that she not Bernie Sanders would face off against Donald Trump in the election in the autumn. That is important because though the eventual – completely unexpected – election outcome was that Donald Trump won the election, which Hillary Clinton lost, every opinion poll which I have seen suggests that if the election had been between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump then Bernie Sanders would have won by a landslide.

In other words it was because of the FBI's actions in the first half of 2016 that Bernie Sanders is not now the President of the United States.

In addition instead of independently investigating the DNC's claims that the Russians had hacked the DNC's and John Podesta's computers, the FBI simply accepted the opinion of an expert – Crowdstrike – paid for by the DNC, which it is now known was partly funded and was entirely controlled by the Hillary Clinton campaign, that hacks of those computers had actually taken place and that the Russians were the perpetrators.

As a result Hillary Clinton was able to say during the election that the reason emails which had passed through those computers and which showed her and her campaign in a bad light were being published by Wikileaks was because the Russians had stolen the emails by hacking the computers in order to help Donald Trump.

It is now known that the FBI also met with Christopher Steele, the compiler of the Trump Dossier, who is now known to have been in the pay of the DNC and Hillary Clinton's campaign. The first meeting apparently took place in early July 2016, shortly before the Russiagate investigation was launched.

Whilst there is some confusion about whether the FBI actually paid Steele for his information, it is now known that Steele was in contact with the FBI throughout the election and continued to be so after, and that the FBI gave credence to his work.

Recently it has also come to light that Steele was also directly in touch with Obama's Justice Department, a fact which was only disclosed recently.

The best account of this has been provided by Byron York writing for The Washington Examiner

The department's Bruce Ohr, a career official, served as associate deputy attorney general at the time of the campaign. That placed him just below the deputy attorney general, Sally Yates, who ran the day-to-day operations of the department. In 2016, Ohr's office was just steps away from Yates, who was later fired for defying President Trump's initial travel ban executive order and still later became a prominent anti-Trump voice upon leaving the Justice Department.

Unbeknownst to investigators until recently, Ohr knew Steele and had repeated contacts with Steele when Steele was working on the dossier. Ohr also met after the election with Glenn Simpson, head of Fusion GPS, the opposition research company that was paid by the Clinton campaign to compile the dossier.

Word that Ohr met with Steele and Simpson, first reported by Fox News' James Rosen and Jake Gibson, was news to some current officials in the Justice Department. Shortly after learning it, they demoted Ohr, taking away his associate deputy attorney general title and moving him full time to another position running the department's organized crime drug enforcement task forces.

It is also now known that over the course of the election the FBI – on the basis of information in the Trump Dossier – obtained at least one warrant from the FISA court which made it possible for it to undertake surveillance during and after the election of persons belonging to involved the campaign team of Hillary Clinton's opponent Donald Trump.

In response to subpoenas issued at the instigation of the Congressman Devin Nunes the FBI has recently admitted that the Trump Dossier cannot be verified .

However the FBI and the Justice Department have so far failed to provide in response to these subpoenas information about the precise role of the Trump Dossier in triggering the Russiagate investigation.

The FBI's and the Justice Department's failure to provide this information recently provoked an angry exchange between FBI Director Christopher Wray and Congressman Jim Jordan during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee.

During that hearing Jordan said to Wray the following

Let's remember a couple of things about the dossier. The Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign, which we now know were one and the same, paid the law firm who paid Fusion GPS who paid Christopher Steele who then paid Russians to put together a report that we call a dossier full of all kinds of fake news, National Enquirer garbage and it's been reported that this dossier was all dressed up by the FBI, taken to the FISA court and presented as a legitimate intelligence document -- that it became the basis for a warrant to spy on Americans.

In response Wray refused to say officially whether or not the Trump Dossier played any role in the FBI obtaining the FISA warrants.

This was so even though officials of the FBI – including former FBI Director James Comey – have slipped out in earlier Congressional testimony that it did.

This is also despite the fact that this information is not classified and ought already to have been provided by the Justice Department and the FBI in response to Congressman Nunes's subpoenas.

There is now talk of FBI Director Christopher Wray and of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein being held in contempt of Congress because of the failure of the Justice Department and the FBI to comply with Congressman Nunes's subpoenas.

During the exchanges between Wray and Jordan at the hearing in the House Judiciary Committee Jordan also had this to say

Here's what I think -- I think Peter Strozk (sic) Mr. Super Agent at the FBI, I think he's the guy who took the application to the FISA court and if that happened, if this happened , if you have the FBI working with a campaign, the Democrats' campaign, taking opposition research, dressing it all up and turning it into an intelligence document so they can take it to the FISA court so they can spy on the other campaign, if that happened, that is as wrong as it gets

Peter Strzok is the senior FBI official who is now known to have had a leading role in both the FBI's investigation of Hillary Clinton's misuse of her private server and in the Russiagate investigation.

Strzok is now also known to have been the person who changed the wording in Comey's statement clearing Hillary Clinton for her misuse of her private email server to say that Hillary Clinton had been "extremely careless'" as opposed to "grossly negligent".

Strzok – who was the FBI's deputy director for counter-intelligence – is now also known to have been the person who signed the document which launched the Russiagate investigation in July 2016.

Fox News has reported that Strzok was also the person who supervised the FBI's questioning of Michael Flynn. It is not clear whether this covers the FBI's interview with Flynn on 24th January 2017 during which Flynn lied to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador. However it is likely that it does.

If so then this is potentially important given that it was Flynn's lying to the FBI during this interview which made up the case against him and to which he has now pleaded guilty. It is potentially even more important given the strong indications that Flynn's interview with the FBI on 24th January 2017 was a set-up intended to entrap him by tricking him into lying to the FBI.

As the FBI's deputy director of counter-intelligence it is also highly likely that it was Strozk who was the official within the FBI who supervised the FBI's contacts with Christopher Steele, and who would have been the official within the FBI who was provided by Steele with the Trump Dossier and who would have made the first assessment of the Trump Dossier.

Recently it has been disclosed that Special Counsel Mueller sacked Strzok from the Russiagate investigation supposedly after it was discovered that Strzok had been sending anti-Trump and pro-Hillary Clinton messages to Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer with whom he was having an affair.

These messages were sent by Strzok to his lover during the election, but apparently only came to light in July this year, when Mueller supposedly sacked Strzok because of them.

It seems that since then Strzok has been working in the FBI's human resources department, an astonishing demotion for the FBI's former deputy director for counter-intelligence who was apparently previously considered the FBI's top expert on Russia.

Some people have questioned whether the sending of the messages could possibly be the true reason why Strzok was sacked. My colleague Alex Christoforou has reported on some of the bafflement that this extraordinary sacking and demotion has caused.

Business Insider reports the anguished comments of former FBI officials incredulous that Strzok could have been sacked for such a trivial reason. Here is what Business Insider reports one ex FBI official Mark Rossini as having said

It would be literally impossible for one human being to have the power to change or manipulate evidence or intelligence according to their own political preferences. FBI agents, like anyone else, are human beings. We are allowed to have our political beliefs. If anything, the overwhelming majority of agents are conservative Republicans.

This is obviously right. Though the ex-FBI officials questioned by Business Insider are clearly supporters of Strzok and critics of Donald Trump, the same point has been made from the other side of the political divide by Congressman Jim Jordan

If you get kicked off the Mueller team for being anti-Trump, there wouldn't be anybody left on the Mueller team. There has to be more

Adding to the mystery about Strzok's sacking is why the FBI took five months to confirm it.

Mueller apparently sacked Strzok from the Russiagate investigation in July and it was apparently then that Strzok was simultaneously sacked from his previous post of deputy director for counter-espionage and transferred to human resources. The FBI has however only disclosed his sacking now, five months later and only in response to demands for information from Congressional investigators.

There is in fact an obvious explanation for Strzok's sacking and the strange circumstances surrounding it, and I am sure that it is the one which Congressman Jordan had in mind during his angry exchanges with FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Recently the FBI has admitted to Congress that it has failed to verify the Trump Dossier.

I suspect that Congressman Jordan believes that the true reason why Strzok was sacked is that Strzok's credibility had become so tied to the Trump Dossier that when its credibility collapsed over the course of the summer when the FBI finally realised that it could not be verified his credibility collapsed with it.

If so then I am sure that Congressman Jordan is right.

We now know from a variety of sources but first and foremost from the testimony to Congress of Carter Page that the Trump Dossier provided the frame narrative for the Russiagate investigation until just a few months ago.

We also know that the Trump Dossier was included in an appendix to the January ODNI report about supposed Russian meddling in the 2016 election which was shown by the US intelligence chiefs to President elect Trump during their stormy meeting with him on 8th January 2017.

The fact that the Trump Dossier was included in an appendix to the January ODNI report shows that at the start of this year the top officials of the FBI and of the US intelligence community – Comey, Clapper, Brennan and the rest – believed in its truth.

The June 2017 article in the Washington Post (discussed by me here ) also all but confirms that it was the Trump Dossier that provided the information which the CIA sent to President Obama in August 2016 which supposedly 'proved' that the Russians were interfering in the election.

As the BBC has pointed out , it was also the Trump Dossier which Congressman Adam Schiff – the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Community, who appears to be very close to some of the FBI investigators involved in the Russiagate case – as well as the FBI's Russiagate investigators were using as the narrative frame when questioning witnesses about their supposed role in Russiagate.

These facts make it highly likely that it was indeed the Trump Dossier which provided the information which the FBI used to obtain all the surveillance warrants the FBI obtained from the FISA court during the 2016 election and afterwards.

Strzok's position as the FBI's deputy director for counter-intelligence makes it highly likely that he was the key official within the FBI who decided that the Trump Dossier should be given credence, whilst his known actions during the Hillary Clinton private server investigation and during the Russiagate investigation make it highly likely that it was he who was the official within the FBI who sought and obtained the FISA warrants.

Given Strzok's central role in the Russiagate investigation going back all the way to its start in July 2016, there also has to be a possibility that it was Strzok who was behind many of the leaks coming from the investigation which so destabilised the Trump administration at the start of the year.

This once again points to the true scandal of the 2016 election.

On the strength of a fake Dossier paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community carried out surveillance during the election of US citizens who were members of the campaign team of Hillary Clinton's opponent Donald Trump.

Given the hugely embarrassing implications of this for the FBI, it is completely understandable why Strzok, if he was the person who was ultimately responsible for this debacle – as he very likely was – and if he was responsible for some of the leaks – as he very likely also was – was sacked and exiled to human resources when it was finally concluded that the Trump Dossier upon which all the FBI's actions were based could not be verified.

It would also explain why the FBI sought to keep Strzok's sacking secret, so that it was only disclosed five months after it happened and then only in response to questions from Congressional investigators, with a cover story about inappropriate anti-Trump messages being spread about in order to explain it.

This surely is also the reason why in defiance both of evidence and logic the Russiagate investigation continues.

Given the debacle the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community are facing, it is completely understandable why they should want to keep the Russiagate investigation alive in order to draw attention away from their own activities.

Put in this way it is Robert Mueller's investigation which is the cover-up, and the surveillance which is the wrongdoing that the cover up is trying to excuse or conceal, which is what I said nine months ago in March .

Congressman Jordan has again recently called for a second Special Counsel to be appointed .

When the suggestion of appointing a second Special Counsel was first floated last month the suggestion was that the focus of the second Special Counsel's investigation would be the Uranium One affair.

That always struck me as misconceived not because there may not be things to investigate in the Uranium One case but because the focus of any new investigation should be what happened during the 2016 election, not what happened during the Uranium one case.

Congressman Jordan has now correctly identified the surveillance of US citizens by the US national security bureaucracy during the election as the primary focus of the proposed investigation to be conducted by the second Special Counsel.

In truth there should be no second Special Counsel. Since there is no Russiagate collusion to investigate the Russiagate investigation – ie. the investigation headed by Mueller – should be wound up.

There should be only one Special Counsel tasked with looking into what is the real scandal of the 2016 election: the surveillance of US citizens carried out during the election by the US national security bureaucracy on the basis of the Trump Dossier.

I remain intensely skeptical that this will happen. However the fact that some members of Congress such as Congressman Nunes (recently cleared of charges that he acted inappropriately by disclosing details of the surveillance back in March) and Congressman Jordan are starting to demand it is a hopeful sign.

BennyBoy -> MozartIII , Dec 10, 2017 1:29 PM

Top Clinton Aides Face No Charges After Making False Statements To FBI

Neither of the Clinton associates, Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, faced legal consequences for their misleading statements, which they made in interviews last year with former FBI section chief Peter Strzok.

http://dailycaller.com/2017/12/04/clinton-aides-went-unpunished-after-making-false-statements-to-anti-trump-fbi-supervisor/

zorba THE GREEK -> Cynicles II , Dec 10, 2017 12:53 PM

These are acts to overthrow the legitimate government of the USA and therefore constitute treason. Treason is still punishable by death. It is time for some public hangings. Trump should declare martial law. Put Patraeus and Flint in charge and drain the swamp like he promised...

Oldwood -> zorba THE GREEK , Dec 10, 2017 2:57 PM

Absolutely. This is not political, about justice or corruption or election coercion, this is about keeping the fires lit under Trump, no matter how lame or lying, in the hopes that something, anything, will arise that could be used to unseat Trump. Something that by itself would be controversial but ultimately a nothing-burger, but piled upon the months and years of lies used to build a false consensus of corruption, criminality and impropriety of Trump. Their goal has always been to undermine Trump by convincing the world that Trump is evil and unfit using nothing but lies, that without Trump's endless twitter counters would have buried him by now. While they know that can't convince a significant majority that these lies are true, what they can do is convince the majority that everyone else thinks it true, thereby in theory enabling them to unseat Trump with minimal resistance, assuming many will simply stand down in the face of a PERCEIVED overwhelming majority.

This is about constructing a false premise that they can use minimal FACTS to confirm. They are trying and testing every day this notion with continuing probes and jabs in hopes that something....anything, sticks.

Hikikomori -> zorba THE GREEK , Dec 10, 2017 3:26 PM

Just part of the War on Men. Trump is a man. He lost to It's Her Turn. Therefore he must be taken down.

robertsgt40 -> Cynicles II , Dec 10, 2017 1:03 PM

Solve the Seth Rich murder and we'll know who "hacked" the DNC emails. Paging John Podesta.

Lumberjack -> NoDebt , Dec 10, 2017 12:44 PM

More Clinton ties on Mueller team: One deputy attended Clinton party, another rep'd top aide

https://www.google.com/amp/www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/12/08/more-clin...

turbojarhead -> NoDebt , Dec 10, 2017 2:12 PM

I have a question, if someone could answer.

Mueller is a lot of things, but he is a politician, and skilled at that, as he has survived years in Washington.

So why choose KNOWN partisans for your investigation? He may not have known about Strzok, but he surely knew about Weitsmann's ties to HRC, about Rhee being Rhodes personal attorney,..so why put them on, knowing that the investigations credibility would be damaged? No way most of this would not come out, just due to the constant leaks from the FBI/DOJ.

What is the real goal, other than taking Trump down and covering up FBI/DOJ/Obama Admin malfeasance? These goons are all highly experienced swamp dwellers, so I think there is something that is being missed here..

MissCellany , Dec 10, 2017 1:03 PM

" The fact that the Trump Dossier was included in an appendix to the January ODNI report shows that at the start of this year the top officials of the FBI and of the US intelligence community – Comey, Clapper, Brennan and the rest – believed in its truth. "

Oh, bull crap. None of them believed a word of it, and at least some of them were in on the dossier's creation.

They just wanted to put over their impeach/resist/remove scam on us deplorables so they could hang on to power and maintain secrecy over all their years of criminal activity.

lester1 , Dec 10, 2017 1:33 PM

Obama weaponized the NSA and FBI to try and take out Trump.

Obama figured Hillary would win and everything would be swept under the rug.

Hopefully Trump fires Mueller over the Christmas weekend!

Reaper , Dec 10, 2017 1:34 PM

The FBI is a fraud on the sheeple. Indoctrinated sheeple believe FBI testimony. The M.O. of the FBI is entrapment of victims and entrapped witnesses against victims using their Form 302 interrogations. The FBI uses forensic evidence from which gullible juries trust the FBI financed reports. Power corrupts. The power to be believed because of indoctrination corrupts absolutely.

https://boingboing.net/2013/05/07/dont-ever-speak-to-the-fbi-w.html

https://www.nationofchange.org/2015/04/21/doj-admits-fbi-forensic-examin...

Trump as Chief Executive can end the FBI policy of interviews without recordings being used to entrap victims and witnesses.

thebigunit , Dec 10, 2017 1:34 PM

EXCELLENT ANALYSIS! A+++

Strzok-Gate And The Mueller Cover-Up

It makes perfect sense.

Stopdreaming -> loveyajimbo , Dec 10, 2017 1:54 PM

They have the goods on Sessions...he was blackmailed. No other logical explanation for his lack of fortitude.

thebigunit -> loveyajimbo , Dec 10, 2017 2:03 PM

Keep your powder dry. Hold your fire until you see the whites of their eyes.

All this crap comes down to ONE THING: Sessions ... why he refuses to fire a mega-conflicted and corrupt POS Mueller...

Investigative reporter Sarah Carter hinted (last Friday?) that something big would be happening "probably within the next forty-eight hours". She related this specifically to a comment that Sessions had been virtually invisible.

I will make a prediction:

THE COMING WEEK WILL BE A TUMULTUOUS WEEK FOR THOSE OBSESSED BY THE "RUSSIA COLLUSION CONSPIRACY" .

First, Sessions will announce significant findings and actions which will directly attack the Trump-Russia-Collusion narrative.

And then, the Democrats/Media/Hillary Campaign will launch a hystierical, viscious, demented political counter attack in a final onslaught to take down Trump.

Expect to see Soros mobs in the streets.

Either Mueller goes, or Trump goes.

turbojarhead -> loveyajimbo , Dec 10, 2017 2:37 PM

They played Sessions like a violin. Sessions recluses himself for a bullcrap Kisnyak speech, where he did not even meet him. Rosenstein then recommends Trump fire Comey -- who wanted to be fired so they would appoint a special prosecutor -- which Rosenstein does -- Mueller, to the acclamation of ALL of Con and the Senate-including Republicans.

When Trump tries to get out of the trap by leaking he is thinking about firing Sessions, Lispin Lindsey goes on television to say that will not be allowed too happen. If he fires Sessions, Congress would not approve ANY of Trump's picks for DOJ-leaving Rosenstein in charge anyway.

Trump was pissed because they removed his only defender from Mueller -- the head of the DOJ. He knew it was a setup, so went ballistic when he found out about Sessions recusing.

thebigunit , Dec 10, 2017 1:40 PM

There is good reason for optimism: Trumpus Maximus is on the case.

I remain intensely skeptical that this will happen. However the fact that some members of Congress such as Congressman Nunes (recently cleared of charges that he acted inappropriately by disclosing details of the surveillance back in March) and Congressman Jordan are starting to demand it is a hopeful sign.

The design has been exposed. It is now fairly clear WHAT the conspirators did.

We now enter the neutralization and mop-up phase.

And, very likely, people who know things will be EAGER to talk:

FBI agents, like anyone else, are human beings. We are allowed to have our political beliefs. If anything, the overwhelming majority of agents are conservative Republicans.

ClowardPiven2016 , Dec 10, 2017 1:51 PM

Strozk demoted to HR...but his take home pay is probably the same

thebigunit -> ClowardPiven2016 , Dec 10, 2017 2:02 PM

EXACTLY!

Strozk demoted to HR...but his take home pay is probably the same

Strzok was obviously at a VERY senior pay grade. It would be very surprising if HR had any jobs at Strzok's pay grade.

Mzhen , Dec 10, 2017 1:57 PM

Bloomberg fed a fake leak that Mueller had subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank. Democrats (Schiff) on the House Intelligence Committee fed fake information about Don Jr. that was leaked to CNN. Leading to an embarrassing retraction. ABC's Brian Ross fed a fake leak about the Flynn indictment. Leading to an embarrassing retraction.

Maybe the operation that Sessions set up some time ago to catch leakers is bearing fruit after all. And Mueller should realize that the ice is breaking up all around him.

Angelo Misterioso , Dec 10, 2017 1:57 PM

once this special prosecutor is done, congress needs to rewrite the special prosecutor law to narrow their mandate to just the item allowed to be investigated - no fishing expeditions - enough of this stupidity - and maybe put a renewal clause in there so that it has to be renewed every 12 months...

Nunyadambizness , Dec 10, 2017 2:34 PM

This is, and always has been a sideshow for the "true believers" in the Democrap party and all Hitlary supporters to accuse Trump of EXACTLY what Hitlary did, in the classic method of diversion. Sideshow magicians have been doing it for millenia--"Look over there" while the real work is done elsewhere. The true believers don't want to believe that Hitlary and the Democrap party are complicit in the selling of Uranium One to the Ruskies for $145 million. No, no, that was something completely different and Hitlary is not guilty of selling out the interests of the US for money. Nope, Trump colluded with the Russians to win the election. Yep, that's it.

Mueller is now the official head of a shit show that's coming apart at the seams. He was too stupid to even bring on ANY non-Hitlary supporting leftists which could have given him a smidgen of equibility, instead he stacked the deck with sycophant libtard leftists who by their very nature take away ANY concept of impartiality, and any jury on the planet would see through the connivance like glass. My guess is he's far too stupid to stop, and I happily await the carnage of his actions as they decimate the Democrap party.

Show's on, who's bringing the chips?

[Dec 10, 2017] #blamePutin continues to be the media s dominant hashtag

Notable quotes:
"... The decline of the falsely self-described "quality" media outlet The Guardian/Observer into a deranged fake news site pushing anti-Russian hate propaganda continues apace. ..."
"... Later in the same article Magnitsky is described as having been Browder's "tax lawyer" a standard trope of the Western propaganda narrative about the case. Magnitsky was actually an accountant . ..."
"... By "doing something about it" they mean they're going to tell one hostile lie about Russia after another. ..."
"... I think huge swathes of the media, in the eyes of many people, have never really recovered from the ghastly debacle that was their dreadful coverage of the reasons for the illegal attack on Iraq. The journalists want us to forget and move on, but many, many, people still remember. ..."
"... At a time when the ruling elite, across virtually the entire western world, is losing it; it being, political legitimacy and the breakdown of any semblance of a social contract between the ruled and the rulers the Guardian lurches even further to the political right . Amazing, though not really surprising. The Guardian's role appears to be to 'coral' radical and leftist ideas and opinions and 'groom' the educated middle class into accepting their own subjugation. ..."
"... The Guardian is a bit like the Tory government, lost and without any real ideas or ideals. The slow strangulation of the CIF symbolizes the crisis of confidence at the Guardian. A strong and confident ruling class welcomes criticism and is ready to brush it all off with a smile and a shrug. When they start running scared and pretending there is no dissent or opposition, well, this is a sign of decadence and profound weakness. They are losing the battle of ideas and the battle of solutions to our problems. All that really stands between them and a social revolution is a thin veneer of 'authority' and status, and that's really not enough anymore. ..."
"... John Pilger has described the "respectable" liberal press (Guardian, NYT etc) as the most effective component of the propaganda system, precisely BECAUSE it is respectable and trusted. As to why the Guardian is so insistent in demonizing Russia, I would propose that is integrates them further with a Brexit-ridden Tory government. Its Blairite columnists prefer May over Corbyn any day. ..."
"... So Russians cannot do business in America but Americans must be protected to do business in Russia? If you look at Ukraine and how US corporations are benefitting from the US-funded coup, you ask what the US did in Russia in the 1990s and the effect it had on US business and ordinary Russian people. Were the two consistent with a common US template of economic imperialism? ..."
"... In particular, you ask what Bill Browder was doing, his links to US spying organisations etc etc. You ask if he supported the rape of Russian State assets, turned a blind eye to the millions of Russians dying in the 1990s courtesy of catastrophic economic conditions. If he was killing people to stay alive, he would not have been the only one. More important is whether him making $100m+ in Russia needed conditions where tens of millions of Russians were starving .and whether he saw that as acceptable collateral damage ..he made a proactive choice, after all, to go live in Moscow. It is not like he was born there and had no chance to leave. ..."
"... I do not know the truth about Bill Browder, but one thing I do know: very powerful Americans are capable of organizing mass genocide to become rich, so there is no possible basis for painting all American businessmen as philanthropists and all Russians as murdering savages ..."
"... Browder is a spook. ..."
"... This "tactic" – a bold or outrageous claim made in the headline or in the first few sentences of a piece that is proven false in the very same article – is becoming depressingly common in the legacy media. ..."
"... In other words, the so-called respectable media knowingly prints outright lies for propaganda and clickbait purposes ..."
"... I dropped a line to a friend yesterday saying "only in a parallel universe would a businessman/shady dealer/tax evader such as Browder be described as an "anti-corruption campaigner."" Those not familiar with the history of Browder's grandfather, after whom a whole new "deviation" in leftist thinking was named, should look it up. ..."
"... The US are the masters of molesting other nations. It's not even a secret what they've been up to. Look at their budgets or the size of the intelligence buildings. Most journalists know full well of their programs, including those on social media, which they even reported on a few years back. The Guardian run stories by the CIA created and US state funded RFE/RL & then tell us with a straight face that RT is state propaganda which is destroying our democracy. ..."
"... The madness spreads: today The Canary has/had an article 'proving' that the 'Russians' were responsible for Brexit, Trump, etc etc. Then there is the neo-liberal 'President' of the EU charging that the extreme right wing and Russophobic warmongers in the Polish government are in fact, like the President of the USA, in Putin's pocket.. ..."
"... The Canary is publishing mainstream russophobia? ..."
off-guardian.org

Vladimir Putin finally confesses his entire responsibility for everything bad that has ever happened since the beginning of time

The decline of the falsely self-described "quality" media outlet The Guardian/Observer into a deranged fake news site pushing anti-Russian hate propaganda continues apace. Take a look at this gem :

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has accused prominent British businessman Bill Browder of being a "serial killer" – the latest extraordinary attempt by the Kremlin to frame one of its most high-profile public enemies.

But Putin has not been reported anywhere else as making any recent statement about Browder whatever, and the Observer article makes no further mention of Putin's supposed utterance or the circumstances in which it was supposedly made.

As the rest of the article makes clear, the suspicions against Browder were actually voiced by Russian police investigators and not by Putin at all.

The Observer fabricated a direct quote from the Russian president for their propaganda purposes without any regard to basic journalistic standards. They wanted to blame Putin personally for the suspicions of some Russian investigators, so they just invented an imaginary statement from him so they could conveniently do so.

What is really going on here is the classic trope of demonisation propaganda in which the demonised leader is conflated with all officials of their government and with the targeted country itself, so as to simplify and personalise the narrative of the subsequent Two Minutes Hate to be unleashed against them.

When, as in this case, the required substitution of the demonised leader for their country can't be wrung out of the facts even through the most vigorous twisting, a disreputable fake news site like The Guardian/Observer is free to simply make up new, alternative facts that better fit their disinformative agenda. Because facts aren't at all sacred when the official propaganda line demands lies.

In the same article, the documents from Russian investigators naming Browder as a suspect in certain crimes are first "seen as" a frame-up (by the sympathetic chorus of completely anonymous observers yellow journalism can always call on when an unsupported claim needs a spurious bolstering) and then outright labelled as such (see quote above) as if this alleged frame-up is a proven fact. Which it isn't.

No evidence is required down there in the Guardian/Observer journalistic gutter before unsupported claims against Russian officials can be treated as unquestionable pseudo-facts, just as opponents of Putin can commit no crime for the outlet's hate-befuddled hacks.

The above falsifications were brought to the attention of the Observer's so-called Readers Editor – the official at the Guardian/Observer responsible for "independently" defending the outlet's misdeeds against outraged readers – who did nothing. By now the article has rolled off the site's front page, rendering any possible future correction nugatory in any case.

Later in the same article Magnitsky is described as having been Browder's "tax lawyer" a standard trope of the Western propaganda narrative about the case. Magnitsky was actually an accountant .

A trifecta of fakery in one article! That makes crystal clear what the Guardian meant in this article , published at precisely the same moment as the disinformation cited above, when it said:

"We know what you are doing," Theresa May said of Russia. It's not enough to know. We need to do something about it.

By "doing something about it" they mean they're going to tell one hostile lie about Russia after another.


michaelk says November 26, 2017

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/nov/26/big-issue-who-will-step-in-after-bullies-have-silenced-dissenters

From the 'liberal' Guardian/Observer wing of the rightwing bourgeois press, spot the differences with the article in the Mail on Sunday by Nick Robinson?

michaelk says November 26, 2017
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-5117723/Nick-Robinson-Putin-using-fake-news-weaken-West.html

This thing seems to have been cobbled together by a guy called Nick Robinson. The same BBC Nick Robinson that hosts the Today Programme? I dunno, one feels really rather depressed at how low our media has sunk.

michaelk says November 23, 2017
I think huge swathes of the media, in the eyes of many people, have never really recovered from the ghastly debacle that was their dreadful coverage of the reasons for the illegal attack on Iraq. The journalists want us to forget and move on, but many, many, people still remember.

Nothing happened afterwards. There was no tribunal to examine the media's role in that massive international crime against humanity and things actually got worse post Iraq, which the attack on Libya and Syria illustrates.

rtj1211 says November 29, 2017
Exactly: in my opinion there should be life sentences banning scribblers who printed lies and bloodthirsty kill, kill, kill articles from ever working again in the media. Better still, make them go fight right now in Yemen. Amazing how quickly truth will spread if journalists know they have a good chance of dying if they print lies and falsehoods ..
michaelk says November 23, 2017
At a time when the ruling elite, across virtually the entire western world, is losing it; it being, political legitimacy and the breakdown of any semblance of a social contract between the ruled and the rulers the Guardian lurches even further to the political right . Amazing, though not really surprising. The Guardian's role appears to be to 'coral' radical and leftist ideas and opinions and 'groom' the educated middle class into accepting their own subjugation.

The Guardian's writers get so much, so wrong, so often it's staggering and nobody gets the boot, except for the people who allude to the incompetence at the heart of the Guardian. They fail dismally on Trump, Brexit and Corbyn and yet carry on as if everything is fine and dandy. Nothing to complain about here, mover along now.

I suppose it's because they are actually media aristocrats living in a world of privilege, and they, as members of the ruling elite, look after one another regardless of how poorly they actually perform. This is typical of an elite that's on the ropes and doomed. They choose to retreat from grubby reality into a parallel world where their own dogmas aren't challenged and they begin to believe their propaganda is real and not an artificial contruct. This is incredibly dangerous for a ruling elite because society becomes brittle and weaker by the day as the ruling dogmas become hollow and ritualized, but without traction in reality and real purpose.

The Guardian is a bit like the Tory government, lost and without any real ideas or ideals. The slow strangulation of the CIF symbolizes the crisis of confidence at the Guardian. A strong and confident ruling class welcomes criticism and is ready to brush it all off with a smile and a shrug. When they start running scared and pretending there is no dissent or opposition, well, this is a sign of decadence and profound weakness. They are losing the battle of ideas and the battle of solutions to our problems. All that really stands between them and a social revolution is a thin veneer of 'authority' and status, and that's really not enough anymore.

All our problems are pathetically and conviniently blamed on the Russians and their Demon King and his vast army of evil Trolls. It's like a political version of the Lord of the Rings.

WeatherEye says November 21, 2017
Don't expect the Guardian to cover the biggest military build-up (NATO) on Russia's borders since Hitler's 1941 invasion.

John Pilger has described the "respectable" liberal press (Guardian, NYT etc) as the most effective component of the propaganda system, precisely BECAUSE it is respectable and trusted. As to why the Guardian is so insistent in demonizing Russia, I would propose that is integrates them further with a Brexit-ridden Tory government. Its Blairite columnists prefer May over Corbyn any day.

rtj1211 says November 29, 2017
The Guardian is now owned by Neocon Americans, that is why it is demonising Russia.

Simple as that.

WeatherEye says November 29, 2017
Evidence?
Harry Stotle says November 21, 2017
The Guardian is trying to rescue citizens from 'dreadful dangers that we cannot see, or do not underdstand' – in other words they play a central role in 'the power of nightmares'

https://www.youtube.com/embed/LlA8KutU2to?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

rtj1211 says November 21, 2017
So Russians cannot do business in America but Americans must be protected to do business in Russia? If you look at Ukraine and how US corporations are benefitting from the US-funded coup, you ask what the US did in Russia in the 1990s and the effect it had on US business and ordinary Russian people. Were the two consistent with a common US template of economic imperialism?

In particular, you ask what Bill Browder was doing, his links to US spying organisations etc etc. You ask if he supported the rape of Russian State assets, turned a blind eye to the millions of Russians dying in the 1990s courtesy of catastrophic economic conditions. If he was killing people to stay alive, he would not have been the only one. More important is whether him making $100m+ in Russia needed conditions where tens of millions of Russians were starving .and whether he saw that as acceptable collateral damage ..he made a proactive choice, after all, to go live in Moscow. It is not like he was born there and had no chance to leave.

I do not know the truth about Bill Browder, but one thing I do know: very powerful Americans are capable of organizing mass genocide to become rich, so there is no possible basis for painting all American businessmen as philanthropists and all Russians as murdering savages ..

michaelk says November 21, 2017
It's perfectly possible, in fact the norm historically, for people to believe passionately in the existence of invisible threats to their well-being, which, when examined calmly from another era, resemble a form of mass-hysteria or collective madness. For example; the religious faith/dogma that Satan, demons and witches were all around us. An invisible, parallel, world, by the side of our own that really existed and we were 'at war with.' Satan was our adversary, the great trickster and disseminator of 'fake news' opposed to the 'good news' provided by the Gospels.

What's remarkable, disturbing and frightening is how closely our media resemble a religious cult or the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages. The journalists have taken on a role that's close to that of a priesthood. They function as a 'filtering' layer between us and the world around us. They are, supposedly, uniquely qualified to understand the difference between truth and lies, or what's right and wrong, real news and propaganda. The Guardian actually likes this role. They our the guardians of the truth in a chaotic world.

This reminds one of the role of the clergy. Their role was to stand between ordinary people and the 'complexities' of the Bible and seperate the Truths it containedf from wild and 'fake' interpretations, which could easily become dangerous and undermine the social order and fundamental power relationships.

The big challenge to the role of the Church happened when the printing press allowed the ordinary people to access the information themselves and worst still when the texts were translated into the common language and not just Latin. Suddenly people could access the texts, read and begin to interpret and understand for themselves. It's hard to imagine that pepeople were actually burned alive in England for smuggling the Bible in english translation a few centuries ago. That's how dangerous the State regarded such a 'crime.'

One can compare the translation of the Bible and the challenge to the authority of the Church and the clergy as 'guardians of the truth' to what's happeing today with the rise of the Internet and something like Wikileaks, where texts and infromation are made available uncensored and raw and the role of the traditional 'media church' and the journalist priesthood is challenged.

We're seeing a kind of media counter-reformation. That's why the Guardian turned on Assange so disgracefully and what Wikileaks represented.

WeatherEye says November 21, 2017
A brilliant historical comparison. They're now on the legal offensive in censoring the internet of course, because in truth the filter system is wholly vulnerable. Alternative media has been operating freely, yet the majority have continued to rely on MSM as if it's their only source of (dis)information, utilising our vast internet age to the pettiness of social media and prank videos. Marx was right: capitalist society alienates people from their own humanity. We're now aliens, deprived of our original being and floating in a vacuum of Darwinist competition and barbarism. And we wonder why climate change is happening?
pimatters says November 27, 2017
Yes, as the guy below says this is a great simile. Wikileaks is like the first English translations of the bible! Fantastic!
pimatters says November 27, 2017
above – not below
tutisicecream says November 21, 2017
Apparently we are "living in disorientating times" according to Viner, she goes on to say that "championing the public interest is at the heart of the Guardian's mission".

Really? How is it possible for her to say that when many of the controversial articles which appear in the Guardian are not open for comment any more. They have adopted now a view that THEIR "opinion" should not be challenged, how is that in the public interest?

In the Observer on Sunday a piece also appeared smearing RT entitled:
"MPs defend fees of up to £1,000 an hour to appear on 'Kremlin propaganda' channel"
However they allowed comments which make interesting reading. Many commenter's saw through their ruse and although the most vociferous critics of the Graun have been banished, but even the mild mannered ones which remain appear not the buy into the idea that RT is any different than other media outlets. With many expressing support for the news and op-ed outlet for giving voice to those who the MSM ignore – including former Guardian writers from time to time.

Why Viner's words are so poisonous is that the Graun under her stewardship has become a agitprop outlet offering no balance. In the below linked cringe worthy article there is no mention of RT being under attack in the US and having to register itself and staff as foreign agents. NO DEFENCE OF ATTACKS ON FREEDOM OF THE PRESS by the US state is mentioned.

Surely this issue is at the heart of championing public interest?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/18/mps-kremlin-propaganda-channel-rt#comments

The fact that it's not shows clearly the fake Guardian/Observer claim and their real agenda.

WE ARE DEFINITELY LIVING IN DISORIENTATION TIMES and the Guardian/Observer are leading the charge.

tutisicecream says November 21, 2017
Correction: DISORIENTATING TIMES
Peter says November 21, 2017
For the political/media/business elites (I suppose you could call them 'the Establishment') in the US and UK, the main problem with RT seems to be that a lot of people are watching it. I wonder how long it will be before access is cut.

RT is launching a French-language channel next month. We are already being warned by the French MSM about how RT makes up fake news to further Putin's evil propaganda aims (unlike said MSM, we are told).

Basically, elites just don't trust the people (this is certainly a constant in French political life).

Jim says November 21, 2017
It's not just that they don't allow comments on many of their articles, but even on the articles where CiF is enabled, they ban any accounts that disagree with their narrative. The end result is that Guardianistas get the false impression everyone shares their view and that they are in the majority.
The Guardian moderators are like Scientology leaders who banish any outsiders for fear of influencing their cult members.
BigB says November 20, 2017
Everyone knows that Russia-gate is a feat of mass hypnosis, mesmerized from DNC financed lies. The Trump collusion myth is baseless and becoming dangerously hysterical: but conversely, the Clinton collusion scandal is not so easy to allay. Whilst it may turn out to be the greatest story never told: it looks substantive enough to me. HRC colluded with Russian oligarchy to the tune of $145m of "donations" into her slush fund. In return, Rosatom gained control of Uranium One.

A curious adjunct to this corruption: HRC opposed the Magnitsky Act in 2012. Given her subsequent rabid Russophobia: you'd have thought that if the Russians (as it has been spun) arrested a brave whistleblowing tax lawyer and murdered him in prison – she would have been quite vocal in her condemnation. No, she wanted to make Russia great again. It's amazing how $145m can focus ones attention away from ones natural instinct.

[Browder and Magnitsky were as corrupt as each other: the story that the Russians took over Browder's hedge fund and implicated them both in a $230m tax fraud and corruption scandal is as fantastical as the "Golden Shower" dossier. However, it seems to me Magnitsky's death was preventable (he died from complications of pancreatitis, for which it seems he was initially refused treatment ) ]

So if we turn the clock back to 2010-2013, it sure looks to me as though we have a Russian collusion scandal: only it's not one the Guardian will ever want to tell. Will it come out when the FBI 's "secret" informant (William D Cambell) testifies to Congress sometime this week? Not in the Guardian, because their precious Hillary Clinton is the real scandal here.

jag37777 says November 20, 2017
Browder is a spook.
susannapanevin says November 20, 2017
Reblogged this on Susanna Panevin .
Eric Blair says November 20, 2017
This "tactic" – a bold or outrageous claim made in the headline or in the first few sentences of a piece that is proven false in the very same article – is becoming depressingly common in the legacy media.

In other words, the so-called respectable media knowingly prints outright lies for propaganda and clickbait purposes.

labrebisgalloise says November 20, 2017
I dropped a line to a friend yesterday saying "only in a parallel universe would a businessman/shady dealer/tax evader such as Browder be described as an "anti-corruption campaigner."" Those not familiar with the history of Browder's grandfather, after whom a whole new "deviation" in leftist thinking was named, should look it up.
Eric Blair says November 20, 2017
Hey, MbS is also an "anti-corruption" campaigner! If the media says so it must be true!
Sav says November 20, 2017
Some months ago you saw tweets saying Russophobia had hit ridiculous levels. They hadn't seen anything yet. It's scary how easily people can be brainwashed.

The US are the masters of molesting other nations. It's not even a secret what they've been up to. Look at their budgets or the size of the intelligence buildings. Most journalists know full well of their programs, including those on social media, which they even reported on a few years back. The Guardian run stories by the CIA created and US state funded RFE/RL & then tell us with a straight face that RT is state propaganda which is destroying our democracy.

A Petherbridge says November 20, 2017
Well said – interesting to know what the Guardian is paid to run these stories funded by this arm of US state propaganda.
bevin says November 20, 2017
The madness spreads: today The Canary has/had an article 'proving' that the 'Russians' were responsible for Brexit, Trump, etc etc. Then there is the neo-liberal 'President' of the EU charging that the extreme right wing and Russophobic warmongers in the Polish government are in fact, like the President of the USA, in Putin's pocket..

This outbreak is reaching the dimensions of the sort of mass hysteria that gave us St Vitus' dance. Oh and the 'sonic' terrorism practised against US diplomats in Havana, in which crickets working for the evil one (who he?) appear to have been responsible for a breach in diplomatic relations. It couldn't have happened to a nicer empire.

Admin says November 21, 2017
The Canary is publishing mainstream russophobia?

[Dec 10, 2017] Neoliberals from "Democratic Club" under Obama did thier best to put Hillary into Office. All the activities like RussiaPhobia, rigging of the Democratic National Committee, etc. were all part of the plot. Just remember that Obama was highly skilled in the totally corrupted politics of Chicago and The State of Illinois. He did a good job at the same thing in Washington D.C., brought in with the help of the CIA (who he used to work for in Chicago)

Being totally controlled by intelligence agencies is probably the wildest nightmare now... And the lie about Russian collusion has sired truths beyond such a nightmare.
Oct 24, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Thought Processor -> Pollygotacracker , Oct 24, 2017 1:59 PM

Any JFK files still classified have been totally scrubbed by this point. Anything damaging was likely destroyed long ago. Anything left is there for a purpose.

As such they they likely contain more disinformation than information at this point and it'll be hard to tell the difference between the two.

Herdee , Oct 24, 2017 1:24 PM

They all had their little so-called "Democratic Club" under Obama where they all thought that'd prepare the way for more of their corrupt agenda by putting Hillary into Office. They know now that all the activities like RussiaPhobia, rigging of the Democratic National Committee, etc. were all part of the plot. Just remember that Obama was highly skilled in the totally corrupted politics of Chicago and The State of Illinois that he helped to bancrupt. He did a good job at the same thing in Washington D.C., brought in with the help of the CIA (who he used to work for in Chicago) and run the deficit to levels every politician agreed to where deficits don't matter, we can print as much as we want mentality. This is why you see China, Russia and many other countries now looking at the warmongering corruption in Washington D.C. and saying that federal politicians if you give them enough time will implode the U.S. from within if you give them enough rope. Now you see the current CIA Director meeting with James Rickards because he understands that economic implosion will hit their agenda.

FoggyWorld -> Dickweed Wang , Oct 24, 2017 2:22 PM

Boy are you right. A Republican run Congress and Senate in 2015 when the book, _Clinton Cash_ made the best seller list. Apparently none of them read it and just now are getting around to looking what has to be one of the largest criminal rackets ever run within that City.

TheLastTrump , Oct 24, 2017 2:18 PM

https://amgreatness.com/2017/10/23/investigating-the-investigators/

"as the Trump investigators -- in Congress, in the Justice Department, and the legions in the media -- begin to grow strangely silent about the entire collusion charge" "America is in a radical state of flux, or rather in a great accounting and recalibration, ranging from government to popular culture. Hollywood lived a lie and now is not what it was just three weeks ago. The NFL was based on known but ignored hypocrisies and is no longer the league it was in September. The media has put rank partisanship before truth and lost ideologically and morally. And the lie about Russian collusion has sired truths beyond our wildest nightmares. "

Victor Davis Hanson is an American military historian, columnist, former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare.

[Dec 10, 2017] Closing In on the Corruption in the FBI www.independentsentinel.com

Notable quotes:
"... Pete Strzok is the agent who caught Flynn lying. Set up? ..."
Dec 10, 2017 | www.independentsentinel.com

December 4, 2017

Former FBI Director James Comey, who has lied, leaked and who wrote the Hillary report weeks before any key players, including Hillary, were interviewed, wants us to know the FBI is "honest", "strong", and "independent". The man who leaked and connived to get a special prosecutor wants to convince us of that.

Jim Comey is the one who had no problem with Andrew McCabe's conflicts of interest. He is the one who disgraced his own agency. He is the one who obstructed justice by declaring Hillary Clinton innocent which he is not permitted to do in his role. The former director is the one who lamented not being a "stronger" man.

Comey is sanctimonious, arrogant, supercilious, and narcissistic and he's not an agent, he's a lawyer.

... ... ...

Does anyone doubt that Mueller, who has hired Hillary donors and activist Democrats to investigate Trump, knew about Strzok's leanings? A top spy and he didn't know?

They are simply trying to silence us with their usual diversions. Don't fall for it. We don't have to be blindly obedient to these people.

Pete Strzok is the agent who caught Flynn lying. Set up?

[Dec 10, 2017] This Is Not the First Time the FBI Has Interfered With a Presidential Election The Nation

Notable quotes:
"... Take Action Now ..."
Dec 10, 2017 | www.thenation.com

javascript:void(0)

This Is Not the First Time the FBI Has Interfered With a Presidential Election | The Nation This Is Not the First Time the FBI Has Interfered With a Presidential Election Throughout his career, J. Edgar Hoover used the bureau to meddle in presidential politics and secure his own power. By Jeff Kisseloff October 31, 2016

iven the FBI's history of insinuating itself into presidential campaigns, this latest October surprise shouldn't have been any surprise at all.

As early as 1919, Woodrow Wilson's attorney general, the progressive A. Mitchell Palmer, deployed bureau agents in an eponymous operation to round up and deport alleged radical immigrants. The Palmer Raids were ostensibly a response to a series of bombings, but it became apparent that Palmer had had something more in mind when he threw his hat into the ring for the 1920 Democratic presidential nomination and ran on a proto-Trumpian agenda of "undiluted Americanism." Palmer didn't get past the first ballot, however, and ultimately the raids' most lasting impact was Palmer's decision to have his young assistant administer the arrests. The official, whose own youthful ambition earned him the nickname "Speed," was 24-year-old J. Edgar Hoover.

Following the Teapot Dome scandal, the seemingly incorruptible Hoover was appointed to head the bureau. If money didn't tempt Hoover, power did. While he managed to survive the Coolidge and Hoover administrations, Roosevelt nearly brought Hoover's career to a premature halt. After his election, FDR announced that Montana Senator Thomas J. Walsh, a fierce opponent of the Palmer raids, would be his attorney general. Walsh told friends that Hoover would be replaced. But that month, Walsh married a Cuban woman in Havana. After flying back to Florida, the couple boarded a train to Washington. While passing through North Carolina, Walsh's wife found him on the floor, dead, the apparent victim of too much honeymooning.

Homer Cummings, who replaced Walsh, retained Hoover. The director quickly realized the way to keep his job was to make himself indispensable to FDR. Wiretapping was a relatively new investigative tool, and as it turned out Roosevelt was eager to use it against his political opponents on the left and right. Up for reelection in 1936, he had Hoover eavesdrop on the leftist members of the Newspaper Guild and other suspected members of the Communist Party, despite the party's attempt to establish a "popular front."

Then, as FDR began to gear up for a third term, Hoover went after Father Charles E. Coughlin, the ultraconservative radio priest who was a major thorn in Roosevelt's side. In January 1940, 17 members of Coughlin's pro-Hitler Christian Front were arrested by the FBI, charged with plotting to kill several congressmen. Whether the charges were accurate or not, the arrests finished Coughlin as an influential political figure.

That same year, the bureau sought to quash the opposition of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade veterans with raids on its offices. But it was in 1948 that Hoover unleashed the FBI for the first time to further his own career. Like everyone who was not a member of the Truman family, Hoover assumed that Thomas Dewey would be the next president. Hoover's former assistant William Sullivan recalled that Hoover believed if he used the bureau's resources on behalf of the Dewey campaign, he would be named attorney General as a stepping stone to the Supreme Court and eventually to becoming Chief Justice.

"Many agents -- I was one," recalled Sullivan, "worked for days culling FBI files for any fact that could be of use to Dewey." After Dewey secured the nomination, Hoover fed him backgrounders on crime issues and information about Truman's connections to Kansas City boss Tom Pendergast. The FBI also pressured HUAC chairman J. Parnell Thomas to jump-start its hearings after a grand jury brought no indictments from testimony by Elizabeth Bentley and Whittaker Chambers. As Drew Pearson wrote, "Those watching [Assistant Director] Lou Nichols note that he goes in and out of the office of [Thomas] like an animated shuttlecock."

At the same time, the bureau was intensely involved in disrupting Henry Wallace's third-party campaign. Wallace had been a target of the FBI when he was still vice president, but in 1948, the bureau stepped up its activities by surveilling and intimidating Wallace staffers and supporters and feeding negative information about Wallace to the press and the Truman campaign, which cooperated with the bureau's efforts. Truman's victory marked an end to Hoover's ambitions. The 1952 election and the subsequent races found the director again in survival mode by making himself useful to his favored candidates.

While most people remember the 1952 campaign for Richard Nixon's "Checkers" speech, the FBI's efforts to slander Adlai Stevenson (perhaps for personal, as well as political reasons) as a closeted homosexual gets less attention. According to Hoover's biographer, Curt Gentry, the director was the source of rumors that Stevenson had once been arrested on morals charges. The same rumors were spread in 1956, but only Walter Winchell took the bait, notoriously declaring that a vote for Stevenson was a vote for Christine Jorgensen.

In 1960, it was John F. Kennedy's turn. Concerned about JFK's possible plans, Hoover let Kennedy's aides know that the bureau had recordings of JFK's wartime trysts with Inga Arvad, a Danish woman suspected of having Nazi ties. Hoover was told he would be retained.

Lyndon Johnson enjoyed Hoover's gossip (he once famously said that it was "better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in"), but the two were on opposing sides in the 1968 race. As a last-ditch effort to help the troubled Hubert Humphrey campaign, Johnson announced the resumption of peace talks with North Vietnam. He soon learned, however, that South Vietnam's president Nguyen Van Thieu was sabotaging the effort, convinced he could get a better deal if Nixon won. Madame Anna Chennault, a GOP leader and a close friend of South Vietnam's ambassador Bui Diem, was the person whispering in Thieu's ear. Gentry writes that when information turned up that she was communicating to Nixon through Spiro Agnew, Johnson thought he had clinched the election for Humphrey, but Agnew's phone records just happened to turn up missing. The investigation was closed and Nixon went on to a narrow victory.

In 1972, George McGovern became the last candidate to challenge Hoover's supremacy when he announced that if elected he would replace the clearly aging director. Sullivan recalled that agents were again ordered again to collect malicious gossip for leaking to the press. Ironically, many of Nixon's Watergate-era excesses, such as the Huston Plan, were too much even for Hoover. He died anyway that May, six weeks before the break-in. Since his death and until this year, the FBI has mostly stayed on the outside of presidential elections, as the work of disruption and dirty tricks has been usurped by party operatives who can operate with less restraint than even Hoover could.

In 1948, Henry Wallace grasped the larger issues stemming from the FBI's actions, declaring, "We Americans have far more to fear from those actions which are intended to suppress political freedom than from the teaching of ideas with which we are in disagreement."

If Hoover were alive today he'd be 121 years old and undoubtedly still running the FBI. Considering Comey's actions, perhaps a séance would be in order to see if he still is.

[Dec 10, 2017] Russia-gate s Reach into Journalism by Dennis J Bernstein

Highly recommended!
When national security establishment is trying to undermine sitting President this is iether color revolution or coup d'état. In the USa it looks more like color revolution.
"Now you have this interesting dynamic where the national security establishment is effectively undermining a duly elected president of the United States. I recognize that Trump is vulnerable, but these types of investigations often become highly politicized."
Notable quotes:
"... The Credico subpoena, after he declined a request for a "voluntary" interview, underscores how the investigation is moving into areas of "guilt by association" and further isolating whistleblowers who defy the powers-that-be through unauthorized release of information to the public, a point made by National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake in an interview. ..."
"... Drake knows well what it means to blow the whistle on government misconduct and get prosecuted for it. A former senior NSA executive, Drake complained about a multi-billion-dollar fraud, waste, and widespread violation of the rights of civilians through secret mass surveillance programs. As a result, the Obama administration indicted Drake in 2010, "as the first whistleblower since Daniel Ellsberg charged with espionage," according to the Institute for Public Accuracy. ..."
"... In 2011, the government's case against him, which carried a potential 35 years in prison, collapsed. Drake went free in a plea deal and was awarded the 2011 Ridenhour Truth Telling Prize. ..."
"... In this hyper-inflated, politicized environment, it is extremely difficult to wade through the massive amount of disinformation on all sides. Hacking is something all modern nation-states engage in, including the United States, including Russia. The challenge here is trying to figure out who the players are, whose ox is being gored, and who is doing the goring. ..."
"... From all accounts, Trump was duly elected. Now you have the Mueller investigation and the House investigation. Where is this all leading? The US intelligence agency hasn't done itself any favors. The ICA provides no proof either, in terms of allegations that the Russians "hacked" the election. We do have the evidence disclosed by Reality Winner that maybe there was some interference. But the hyper-politicization is making it extraordinarily difficult. ..."
"... Well, if you consider the content of those emails .Certainly, the Clinton folks got rid of Bernie Sanders. ..."
"... The national security establishment was far more comfortable having Clinton as president. Someone central to my own case, General Michael Hayden, just a couple days ago went apoplectic because of a tweet from Trump taking on the mainstream media. Hayden got over 100,000 likes on his response. Well, Hayden was central to what we did in deep secrecy at the highest levels of government after 9/11, engaging in widespread surveillance and then justifying it as "raw executive authority." ..."
"... Now you have this interesting dynamic where the national security establishment is effectively undermining a duly elected president of the United States. I recognize that Trump is vulnerable, but these types of investigations often become highly politicized. I worry that what is really happening is being sacrificed on the altar of entertainment and the stage of political theater. ..."
"... What is happening to Randy is symptomatic of a larger trend. If you dare speak truth to power, you are going to pay the price. Is Randy that much of a threat, just because he is questioning authority? Are we afraid of the press? Are we afraid of having the uncomfortable conversations, of dealing with the inconvenient truths about ourselves? ..."
"... Yeah, it is definitely a way of describing the concept of fascism without using the word. The present Yankee regime seems to be quite far along that road, and the full-on types seem to be engaged in a coup to eliminate those they fear may not be as much in the fascist deep-state bag. ..."
"... How disgusting to have to live today in the society so accurately described by Orwell in 1984. It was a nice book to read, but not to live in! ..."
"... Truth is he enemy of coercive power. Lies and secrecy are essential in leading the sheeple to their slaughter. ..."
"... Perhaps the one good thing about Trumps election is that its shows democracy is still just about alive and breathing in the US, because as is pointed out in this article, Trump was never expected to win and those who lost are still in a state of shock and disbelief. ..."
"... One things for sure: the Neocons, the deep state, and all the rest of the skunks that infest Washington will make absolutely sure that future elections will go the way as planned, so perhaps we should celebrate Trump, because he may well be the last manifestation of the democracy in the US. ..."
"... In the end, what will bring this monstrously lumbering "Russia-gate" dog and pony show crashing down is that stupid, fake Fusion GPS dossier that was commissioned, paid for, and disseminated by Team Hillary and the DNC. Then, as with the sinking of the Titanic, all of the flotsam and jetsam floating within its radius of destruction will go down with it. What will left to pluck from the lifeboats afterwards is anyone's guess. All thanks to Hillary. ..."
Dec 10, 2017 | www.facebook.com

The investigation to somehow blame Russia for Donald Trump's election has now merged with another establishment goal of isolating and intimidating whistleblowers and other dissidents, as Dennis J Bernstein describes.

The Russia-gate investigation has reached into the ranks of journalism with the House Intelligence Committee's subpoena of Randy Credico, who produced a series about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for Pacifica Radio and apparently is suspected of having passed on early word about leaked Democratic emails to Donald Trump's supporter Roger Stone.

The Credico subpoena, after he declined a request for a "voluntary" interview, underscores how the investigation is moving into areas of "guilt by association" and further isolating whistleblowers who defy the powers-that-be through unauthorized release of information to the public, a point made by National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake in an interview.

Drake knows well what it means to blow the whistle on government misconduct and get prosecuted for it. A former senior NSA executive, Drake complained about a multi-billion-dollar fraud, waste, and widespread violation of the rights of civilians through secret mass surveillance programs. As a result, the Obama administration indicted Drake in 2010, "as the first whistleblower since Daniel Ellsberg charged with espionage," according to the Institute for Public Accuracy.

In 2011, the government's case against him, which carried a potential 35 years in prison, collapsed. Drake went free in a plea deal and was awarded the 2011 Ridenhour Truth Telling Prize.

I interviewed Drake about the significance of Credico's subpoena, which Credico believes resulted from his journalism about the persecution of Julian Assange for releasing information that powerful people would prefer kept hidden from the public. (I had a small role in Credico's 14-part radio series, Julian Assange: Countdown to Freedom . It was broadcast first as part of his Live on the Fly Series, over WBAI and later on KPFA and across the country on community radio.)

Credico got his start as a satirist and became a political candidate for mayor of New York City and later governor of New York, making mainstream politicians deal with issues they would rather not deal with.

I spoke to Thomas Drake by telephone on Nov. 30, 2017.

Dennis Bernstein: How do you look at Russiagate, based on what you know about what has already transpired in terms of the movement of information? How do you see Credico's role in this?

Thomas Drake: Information is the coin of the realm. It is the currency of power. Anyone who questions authority or is perceived as mocking authority -- as hanging out with "State enemies" -- had better be careful. But this latest development is quite troubling, I must say. This is the normalization of everything that has been going on since 9/11. Randy is a sort of 21st century Diogenes who is confronting authority and pointing out corruption. This subpoena sends a chilling message. It's a double whammy for Randy because, in the eyes of the US government, he is a media figure hanging out with the wrong media figure [Julian Assange].

Dennis Bernstein: Could you say a little bit about what your work was and what you tried to do with your expose?

Thomas Drake: My experience was quite telling, in terms of how far the government will go to try to destroy someone's life. The attempt by the government to silence me was extraordinary. They threw everything they had at me, all because I spoke the truth. I spoke up about abuse of power, I spoke up about the mass surveillance regime. My crime was that I made the choice to go to the media. And the government was not just coming after me, they were sending a really chilling message to the media: If you print this, you are also under the gun.

Dennis Bernstein: We have heard the charges again and again, that this was a Russian hack. What was the source? Let's trace it back as best we can.

Thomas Drake: In this hyper-inflated, politicized environment, it is extremely difficult to wade through the massive amount of disinformation on all sides. Hacking is something all modern nation-states engage in, including the United States, including Russia. The challenge here is trying to figure out who the players are, whose ox is being gored, and who is doing the goring.

From all accounts, Trump was duly elected. Now you have the Mueller investigation and the House investigation. Where is this all leading? The US intelligence agency hasn't done itself any favors. The ICA provides no proof either, in terms of allegations that the Russians "hacked" the election. We do have the evidence disclosed by Reality Winner that maybe there was some interference. But the hyper-politicization is making it extraordinarily difficult.

The advantage that intelligence has is that they can hide behind what they are doing. They don't actually have to tell the truth, they can shade it, they can influence it and shape it. This is where information can be politicized and used as a weapon. Randy has found himself caught up in these investigations by virtue of being a media figure and hanging out with "the wrong people."

Dennis Bernstein: It looks like the Russiagaters in Congress are trying to corner Randy. All his life he has spoken truth to power. But what do you think the role of the press should be?

Thomas Drake: The press amplifies just about everything they focus on, especially with today's 24-hour, in-your-face social media. Even the mainstream media is publishing directly to their webpages. You have to get behind the cacophony of all that noise and ask, "Why?" What are the intentions here?

I believe there are still enough independent journalists who are looking further and deeper. But clearly there are those who are hell-bent on making life as difficult as possible for the current president and those who are going to defend him to the hilt. I was not surprised at all that Trump won. A significant percentage of the American electorate were looking for something different.

Dennis Bernstein : Well, if you consider the content of those emails .Certainly, the Clinton folks got rid of Bernie Sanders.

Thomas Drake: That would have been an interesting race, to have Bernie vs. Trump. Sanders was appealing, especially to young audiences. He was raising legitimate issues.

Dennis Bernstein: In Clinton, they had a known quantity who supported the national security state.

Thomas Drake: The national security establishment was far more comfortable having Clinton as president. Someone central to my own case, General Michael Hayden, just a couple days ago went apoplectic because of a tweet from Trump taking on the mainstream media. Hayden got over 100,000 likes on his response. Well, Hayden was central to what we did in deep secrecy at the highest levels of government after 9/11, engaging in widespread surveillance and then justifying it as "raw executive authority."

Now you have this interesting dynamic where the national security establishment is effectively undermining a duly elected president of the United States. I recognize that Trump is vulnerable, but these types of investigations often become highly politicized. I worry that what is really happening is being sacrificed on the altar of entertainment and the stage of political theater.

What is happening to Randy is symptomatic of a larger trend. If you dare speak truth to power, you are going to pay the price. Is Randy that much of a threat, just because he is questioning authority? Are we afraid of the press? Are we afraid of having the uncomfortable conversations, of dealing with the inconvenient truths about ourselves?

Dennis J Bernstein is a host of "Flashpoints" on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom . You can access the audio archives at www.flashpoints.net .

orwell

"Raw Executive Authority" means Totalitarianism/Fascism.

exiled off mainstreet , December 7, 2017 at 4:23 pm

Yeah, it is definitely a way of describing the concept of fascism without using the word. The present Yankee regime seems to be quite far along that road, and the full-on types seem to be engaged in a coup to eliminate those they fear may not be as much in the fascist deep-state bag.

Jerry Alatalo , December 7, 2017 at 3:34 pm

It is highly encouraging to know that a great many good and decent men and women Americans are 100% supportive of Mr, Randy Credico as he prepares for his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. Remember all those standing right there beside you, speak what rightly needs to be spoken, and make history Mr. Credico!

jaycee , December 7, 2017 at 3:56 pm

The intensification of panic/hysteria was obviously triggered by the shock election of Trump. Where this is all heading is on display in Australia, as the government is writing legislation to "criminalise covert and deceptive activities of foreign actors that fall short of espionage but are intended to interfere with our democratic systems and processes or support the intelligence activities of a foreign government." The legislation will apparently be accompanied by new requirements of public registration of those deemed "foreign agents". (see http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/12/07/auch-d07.html ).

This will be an attack on free speech, free thought, and political freedoms, justified by an orchestrated hysteria which ridiculously assumes a "pure" political realm (i.e. the "homeland") under assault by impure foreign agents and their dirty ideas. Yes, that is a fascist construct and the liberal establishment will see it through, not the alt-right blowhards.

mike k , December 7, 2017 at 5:49 pm

How disgusting to have to live today in the society so accurately described by Orwell in 1984. It was a nice book to read, but not to live in!

john wilson , December 8, 2017 at 5:48 am

Actually Mike, the book was a prophesy but you aren't seen nothing yet. You me and the rest of the posters here may well find ourselves going for a visit to room 101 yet.

fudmier , December 7, 2017 at 4:42 pm

Those who govern (527 of them) at the pleasure of the constitution are about to breach the contract that entitles them to govern. Limiting the scope of information allowed to those who are the governed, silencing the voices of those with concerns and serious doubts, policing every word uttered by those who are the governed, as well as abusing the constitutional privilege of force and judicial authority, to deny peaceful protests of the innocents is approaching the final straw.

The governors and their corporate sponsors have imposed on those the governors govern much concern. Exactly the condition that existed prior to July 4, 1776, which elicited the following:

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the Political bands which connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the laws of nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

I submit the actions and intentions of those who govern that are revealed and discussed in this article https://consortiumnews.com/2017/12/07/russia-gates-reach-into-journalism/ should be among the list of impels that support the next declaration.

Al Pinto , December 7, 2017 at 5:23 pm

Those who govern (527 of them and the puppet master oligarch behind them) will make certain that there's no support for the next declaration. There's no respect to the opinions of the mankind, what matters is keeping the current status quo in place and further advance it by silencing the independent media.

Maybe when the next "Mother of all bubbles" come, there's an opportunity for the mankind to be heard, but it's doubtful. What has taken place during the last bubble is that the rich has gotten richer and the poor, well, you know the routine.

https://usawatchdog.com/mother-of-all-bubbles-too-big-to-pop-peter-schiff/

mike k , December 7, 2017 at 5:53 pm

Truth is he enemy of coercive power. Lies and secrecy are essential in leading the sheeple to their slaughter.

john wilson , December 8, 2017 at 5:44 am

Perhaps the one good thing about Trumps election is that its shows democracy is still just about alive and breathing in the US, because as is pointed out in this article, Trump was never expected to win and those who lost are still in a state of shock and disbelief.

Trump's election has also shown us in vivid technicolour, just what is really going on in the deep state. Absolutely none of this stuff would have come out had Clinton won and anything there was would have been covered up as though under the concrete foundation of a tower block. However, Trump still has four years left and as a British prime minister once said, "a week is a long time in politics". Well four more years of Trump is a hell of a lot longer so who knows what might happen in that time.

One things for sure: the Neocons, the deep state, and all the rest of the skunks that infest Washington will make absolutely sure that future elections will go the way as planned, so perhaps we should celebrate Trump, because he may well be the last manifestation of the democracy in the US.

Christene Bartels , December 8, 2017 at 9:57 am

In the end, what will bring this monstrously lumbering "Russia-gate" dog and pony show crashing down is that stupid, fake Fusion GPS dossier that was commissioned, paid for, and disseminated by Team Hillary and the DNC. Then, as with the sinking of the Titanic, all of the flotsam and jetsam floating within its radius of destruction will go down with it. What will left to pluck from the lifeboats afterwards is anyone's guess. All thanks to Hillary.

Apparently, Santa isn't the only one making a list and checking it twice this year. He's going to have to share the limelight with Karma.

[Dec 10, 2017] blamePutin continues to be the media's dominant hashtag. Vladimir Putin finally confesses his entire responsibility for everything bad that has ever happened since the beginning of time

Highly recommended!
Dec 10, 2017 | off-guardian.org

by VT

The decline of the falsely self-described "quality" media outlet The Guardian/Observer into a deranged fake news site pushing anti-Russian hate propaganda continues apace. Take a look at this gem :

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has accused prominent British businessman Bill Browder of being a "serial killer" – the latest extraordinary attempt by the Kremlin to frame one of its most high-profile public enemies.

But Putin has not been reported anywhere else as making any recent statement about Browder whatever, and the Observer article makes no further mention of Putin's supposed utterance or the circumstances in which it was supposedly made.

As the rest of the article makes clear, the suspicions against Browder were actually voiced by Russian police investigators and not by Putin at all.

The Observer fabricated a direct quote from the Russian president for their propaganda purposes without any regard to basic journalistic standards. They wanted to blame Putin personally for the suspicions of some Russian investigators, so they just invented an imaginary statement from him so they could conveniently do so.

What is really going on here is the classic trope of demonisation propaganda in which the demonised leader is conflated with all officials of their government and with the targeted country itself, so as to simplify and personalise the narrative of the subsequent Two Minutes Hate to be unleashed against them.

When, as in this case, the required substitution of the demonised leader for their country can't be wrung out of the facts even through the most vigorous twisting, a disreputable fake news site like The Guardian/Observer is free to simply make up new, alternative facts that better fit their disinformative agenda. Because facts aren't at all sacred when the official propaganda line demands lies.

In the same article, the documents from Russian investigators naming Browder as a suspect in certain crimes are first "seen as" a frame-up (by the sympathetic chorus of completely anonymous observers yellow journalism can always call on when an unsupported claim needs a spurious bolstering) and then outright labelled as such (see quote above) as if this alleged frame-up is a proven fact. Which it isn't.

No evidence is required down there in the Guardian/Observer journalistic gutter before unsupported claims against Russian officials can be treated as unquestionable pseudo-facts, just as opponents of Putin can commit no crime for the outlet's hate-befuddled hacks.

The above falsifications were brought to the attention of the Observer's so-called Readers Editor – the official at the Guardian/Observer responsible for "independently" defending the outlet's misdeeds against outraged readers – who did nothing. By now the article has rolled off the site's front page, rendering any possible future correction nugatory in any case.

Later in the same article Magnitsky is described as having been Browder's "tax lawyer" a standard trope of the Western propaganda narrative about the case. Magnitsky was actually an accountant .

A trifecta of fakery in one article! That makes crystal clear what the Guardian meant in this article , published at precisely the same moment as the disinformation cited above, when it said:

"We know what you are doing," Theresa May said of Russia. It's not enough to know. We need to do something about it.

By "doing something about it" they mean they're going to tell one hostile lie about Russia after another.


michaelk says November 26, 2017

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/nov/26/big-issue-who-will-step-in-after-bullies-have-silenced-dissenters

From the 'liberal' Guardian/Observer wing of the rightwing bourgeois press, spot the differences with the article in the Mail on Sunday by Nick Robinson?

michaelk says November 26, 2017
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-5117723/Nick-Robinson-Putin-using-fake-news-weaken-West.html

This thing seems to have been cobbled together by a guy called Nick Robinson. The same BBC Nick Robinson that hosts the Today Programme? I dunno, one feels really rather depressed at how low our media has sunk.

michaelk says November 23, 2017
I think huge swathes of the media, in the eyes of many people, have never really recovered from the ghastly debacle that was their dreadful coverage of the reasons for the illegal attack on Iraq.

The journalists want us to forget and move on, but many, many, people still remember. Nothing happened afterwards. There was no tribunal to examine the media's role in that massive international crime against humanity and things actually got worse post Iraq, which the attack on Libya and Syria illustrates.

rtj1211 says November 29, 2017
Exactly: in my opinion there should be life sentences banning scribblers who printed lies and bloodthirsty kill, kill, kill articles from ever working again in the media.

Better still, make them go fight right now in Yemen. Amazing how quickly truth will spread if journalists know they have a good chance of dying if they print lies and falsehoods ..

michaelk says November 23, 2017
At a time when the ruling elite, across virtually the entire western world, is losing it; it being, political legitimacy and the breakdown of any semblance of a social contract between the ruled and the rulers the Guardian lurches even further to the political right . amazing, though not really surprising. The Guardian's role appears to be to 'coral' radical and leftist ideas and opinions and 'groom' the educated middle class into accepting their own subjugation.

The Guardian's writers get so much, so wrong, so often it's staggering and nobody gets the boot, except for the people who allude to the incompetence at the heart of the Guardian. They fail dismally on Trump, Brexit and Corbyn and yet carry on as if everything is fine and dandy. Nothing to complain about here, mover along now.

I suppose it's because they are actually media aristocrats living in a world of privilege, and they, as members of the ruling elite, look after one another regardless of how poorly they actually perform. This is typical of an elite that's on the ropes and doomed. They choose to retreat from grubby reality into a parallel world where their own dogmas aren't challenged and they begin to believe their propaganda is real and not an artificial contruct. This is incredibly dangerous for a ruling elite because society becomes brittle and weaker by the day as the ruling dogmas become hollow and ritualized, but without traction in reality and real purpose.

The Guardian is a bit like the Tory government, lost and without any real ideas or ideals. The slow strangulation of the CIF symbolizes the crisis of confidence at the Guardian. A strong and confident ruling class welcomes criticism and is ready to brush it all off with a smile and a shrug. When they start running scared and pretending there is no dissent or opposition, well, this is a sign of decadence and profound weakness. They are losing the battle of ideas and the battle of solutions to our problems. All that really stands between them and a social revolution is a thin veneer of 'authority' and status, and that's really not enough anymore.

All our problems are pathetically and conviniently blamed on the Russians and their Demon King and his vast army of evil Trolls. It's like a political version of the Lord of the Rings.

WeatherEye says November 21, 2017
Don't expect the Guardian to cover the biggest military build-up (NATO) on Russia's borders since Hitler's 1941 invasion.

John Pilger has described the "respectable" liberal press (Guardian, NYT etc) as the most effective component of the propaganda system, precisely BECAUSE it is respectable and trusted. As to why the Guardian is so insistent in demonising Russia, I would propose that is integrates them further with a Brexit-ridden Tory government. Its Blairite columnists prefer May over Corbyn any day.

rtj1211 says November 29, 2017
The Guardian is now owned by Neocon Americans, that is why it is demonising Russia. Simple as that.
WeatherEye says November 29, 2017
Evidence?
Harry Stotle says November 21, 2017
The Guardian is trying to rescue citizens from 'dreadful dangers that we cannot see, or do not understand' – in other words they play a central role in 'the power of nightmares' https://www.youtube.com/embed/LlA8KutU2to
rtj1211 says November 21, 2017
So Russians cannot do business in America but Americans must be protected to do business in Russia?

If you look at Ukraine and how US corporations are benefitting from the US-funded coup, you ask what the US did in Russia in the 1990s and the effect it had on US business and ordinary Russian people. Were the two consistent with a common US template of economic imperialism?

In particular, you ask what Bill Browder was doing, his links to US spying organisations etc etc. You ask if he supported the rape of Russian State assets, turned a blind eye to the millions of Russians dying in the 1990s courtesy of catastrophic economic conditions. If he was killing people to stay alive, he would not have been the only one. More important is whether him making $100m+ in Russia needed conditions where tens of millions of Russians were starving .and whether he saw that as acceptable collateral damage ..he made a proactive choice, after all, to go live in Moscow. It is not like he was born there and had no chance to leave ..

I do not know the trurh about Bill Browder, but one thing I do know: very powerful Americans are capable of organising mass genocide to become rich, so there is no possible basis for painting all American businessmen as philanthropists and all Russians as murdering savages ..

michaelk says November 21, 2017
It's perfectly possible, in fact the norm historically, for people to believe passionately in the existence of invisible threats to their well-being, which, when examined calmly from another era, resemble a form of mass-hysteria or collective madness. For example; the religious faith/dogma that Satan, demons and witches were all around us. An invisible, parallel, world, by the side of our own that really existed and we were 'at war with.' Satan was our adversary, the great trickster and disseminator of 'fake news' opposed to the 'good news' provided by the Gospels.

What's remarkable, disturbing and frightening is how closely our media resemble a religious cult or the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages. The journalists have taken on a role that's close to that of a priesthood. They function as a 'filtering' layer between us and the world around us. They are, supposedly, uniquely qualified to understand the difference between truth and lies, or what's right and wrong, real news and propaganda. The Guardian actually likes this role. They our the guardians of the truth in a chaotic world.

This reminds one of the role of the clergy. Their role was to stand between ordinary people and the 'complexities' of the Bible and separate the Truths it contained from wild and 'fake' interpretations, which could easily become dangerous and undermine the social order and fundamental power relationships.

The big challenge to the role of the Church happened when the printing press allowed the ordinary people to access the information themselves and worst still when the texts were translated into the common language and not just Latin. Suddenly people could access the texts, read and begin to interpret and understand for themselves. It's hard to imagine that people were actually burned alive in England for smuggling the Bible in English translation a few centuries ago. That's how dangerous the State regarded such a 'crime.'

One can compare the translation of the Bible and the challenge to the authority of the Church and the clergy as 'guardians of the truth' to what's happeing today with the rise of the Internet and something like Wikileaks, where texts and infromation are made available uncensored and raw and the role of the traditional 'media church' and the journalist priesthood is challenged.

We're seeing a kind of media counter-reformation. That's why the Guardian turned on Assange so disgracefully and what Wikileaks represented.

WeatherEye says November 21, 2017
A brilliant historical comparison. They're now on the legal offensive in censoring the internet of course, because in truth the filter system is wholly vulnerable. Alternative media has been operating freely, yet the majority have continued to rely on MSM as if it's their only source of (dis)information, utilizing our vast internet age to the pettiness of social media and prank videos. Marx was right: capitalist society alienates people from their own humanity. We're now aliens, deprived of our original being and floating in a vacuum of Darwinist competition and barbarism. And we wonder why climate change is happening?
tutisicecream says November 21, 2017
Apparently we are "living in disorientating times" according to Viner, she goes on to say that "championing the public interest is at the heart of the Guardian's mission".

Really? How is it possible for her to say that when many of the controversial articles which appear in the Guardian are not open for comment any more. They have adopted now a view that THEIR "opinion" should not be challenged, how is that in the public interest?

In the Observer on Sunday a piece also appeared smearing RT entitled: "MPs defend fees of up to £1,000 an hour to appear on 'Kremlin propaganda' channel." However they allowed comments which make interesting reading. Many commenter's saw through their ruse and although the most vociferous critics of the Graun have been banished, but even the mild mannered ones which remain appear not the buy into the idea that RT is any different than other media outlets. With many expressing support for the news and op-ed outlet for giving voice to those who the MSM ignore – including former Guardian writers from time to time.

Why Viner's words are so poisonous is that the Graun under her stewardship has become a agitprop outlet offering no balance. In the below linked cringe worthy article there is no mention of RT being under attack in the US and having to register itself and staff as foreign agents. NO DEFENCE OF ATTACKS ON FREEDOM OF THE PRESS by the US state is mentioned.

Surely this issue is at the heart of championing public interest?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/18/mps-kremlin-propaganda-channel-rt#comments

The fact that it's not shows clearly the fake Guardian/Observer claim and their real agenda.

WE ARE DEFINITELY LIVING IN DISORIENTATION TIMES and the Guardian/Observer are leading the charge.

tutisicecream says November 21, 2017
Correction: DISORIENTATING TIMES
Peter says November 21, 2017
For the political/media/business elites (I suppose you could call them 'the Establishment') in the US and UK, the main problem with RT seems to be that a lot of people are watching it. I wonder how long it will be before access is cut. RT is launching a French-language channel next month. We are already being warned by the French MSM about how RT makes up fake news to further Putin's evil propaganda aims (unlike said MSM, we are told). Basically, elites just don't trust the people (this is certainly a constant in French political life).
Jim says November 21, 2017
It's not just that they don't allow comments on many of their articles, but even on the articles where CiF is enabled, they ban any accounts that disagree with their narrative. The end result is that Guardianistas get the false impression everyone shares their view and that they are in the majority. The Guardian moderators are like Scientology leaders who banish any outsiders for fear of influencing their cult members.
BigB says November 20, 2017
Everyone knows that Russia-gate is a feat of mass hypnosis, mesmerized from DNC financed lies. The Trump collusion myth is baseless and becoming dangerously hysterical: but conversely, the Clinton collusion scandal is not so easy to allay. Whilst it may turn out to be the greatest story never told: it looks substantive enough to me. HRC colluded with Russian oligarchy to the tune of $145m of "donations" into her slush fund. In return, Rosatom gained control of Uranium One.

A curious adjunct to this corruption: HRC opposed the Magnitsky Act in 2012. Given her subsequent rabid Russophobia: you'd have thought that if the Russians (as it has been spun) arrested a brave whistleblowing tax lawyer and murdered him in prison – she would have been quite vocal in her condemnation. No, she wanted to make Russia great again. It's amazing how $145m can focus ones attention away from ones natural instinct.

[Browder and Magnitsky were as corrupt as each other: the story that the Russians took over Browder's hedge fund and implicated them both in a $230m tax fraud and corruption scandal is as fantastical as the "Golden Shower" dossier. However, it seems to me Magnitsky's death was preventable (he died from complications of pancreatitis, for which it seems he was initially refused treatment ) ]

So if we turn the clock back to 2010-2013, it sure looks to me as though we have a Russian collusion scandal: only it's not one the Guardian will ever want to tell. Will it come out when the FBI 's "secret" informant (William D Cambell) testifies to Congress sometime this week? Not in the Guardian, because their precious Hillary Clinton is the real scandal here.

jag37777 says November 20, 2017
Browder is a spook.
susannapanevin says November 20, 2017
Reblogged this on Susanna Panevin .
Eric Blair says November 20, 2017
This "tactic" – a bold or outrageous claim made in the headline or in the first few sentences of a piece that is proven false in the very same article – is becoming depressingly common in the legacy media.

In other words, the so-called respectable media knowingly prints outright lies for propaganda and clickbait purposes.

labrebisgalloise says November 20, 2017
I dropped a line to a friend yesterday saying "only in a parallel universe would a businessman/shady dealer/tax evader such as Browder be described as an "anti-corruption campaigner."" Those not familiar with the history of Browder's grandfather, after whom a whole new "deviation" in leftist thinking was named, should look it up.
Eric Blair says November 20, 2017
Hey, MbS is also an "anti-corruption" campaigner! If the media says so it must be true!
Sav says November 20, 2017
Some months ago you saw tweets saying Russophobia had hit ridiculous levels. They hadn't seen anything yet. It's scary how easily people can be brainwashed.

The US are the masters of molesting other nations. It's not even a secret what they've been up to. Look at their budgets or the size of the intelligence buildings. Most journalists know full well of their programs, including those on social media, which they even reported on a few years back. The Guardian run stories by the CIA created and US state funded RFE/RL & then tell us with a straight face that RT is state propaganda which is destroying our democracy.

A Petherbridge says November 20, 2017
Well said – interesting to know what the Guardian is paid to run these stories funded by this arm of US state propaganda.
bevin says November 20, 2017
The madness spreads: today The Canary has/had an article 'proving' that the 'Russians' were responsible for Brexit, Trump, etc etc.

Then there is the neo-liberal 'President' of the EU charging that the extreme right wing and Russophobic warmongers in the Polish government are in fact, like the President of the USA, in Putin's pocket..

This outbreak is reaching the dimensions of the sort of mass hysteria that gave us St Vitus' dance. Oh and the 'sonic' terrorism practised against US diplomats in Havana, in which crickets working for the evil one (who he?) appear to have been responsible for a breach in diplomatic relations. It couldn't have happened to a nicer empire.

Admin says November 21, 2017
The Canary is publishing mainstream russophobia?

[Dec 10, 2017] When Washington Cheered the Jihadists Consortiumnews

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... William Roebuck, the American embassy's chargé d'affaires in Damascus, thus urged Washington in 2006 to coordinate with Egypt and Saudi Arabia to encourage Sunni Syrian fears of Shi'ite Iranian proselytizing even though such concerns are "often exaggerated." It was akin to playing up fears of Jewish dominance in the 1930s in coordination with Nazi Germany. ..."
"... A year later, former NATO commander Wesley Clark learned of a classified Defense Department memo stating that U.S. policy was now to "attack and destroy the governments in seven countries in five years," first Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. (Quote starts at 2:07 .) ..."
"... So the answer was not to oppose the Islamists, but to use them. Even though "the Islamist surge will not be a picnic for the Syrian people," Gambill said, "it has two important silver linings for US interests." One is that the jihadis "are simply more effective fighters than their secular counterparts" thanks to their skill with "suicide bombings and roadside bombs." ..."
"... The other is that a Sunni Islamist victory in Syria will result in "a full-blown strategic defeat" for Iran, thereby putting Washington at least part way toward fulfilling the seven-country demolition job discussed by Wesley Clark. ..."
"... The U.S. would settle with the jihadis only after the jihadis had settled with Assad. The good would ultimately outweigh the bad. This kind of self-centered moral calculus would not have mattered had Gambill only spoken for himself. But he didn't. Rather, he was expressing the viewpoint of Official Washington in general, which is why the ultra-respectable FP ran his piece in the first place. ..."
"... The parallels with the DIA are striking. "The west, gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition," the intelligence report declared, even though "the Salafist[s], the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [i.e. Al Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency." ..."
"... ancien régime, ..."
"... With the Saudis footing the bill, the U.S. would exercise untrammeled sway. ..."
"... Has a forecast that ever gone more spectacularly wrong? Syria's Baathist government is hardly blameless in this affair. But thanks largely to the U.S.-backed sectarian offensive, 400,000 Syrians or more have died since Gambill's article appeared, with another 6.1 million displaced and an estimated 4.8 million fleeing abroad. ..."
"... So instead of advancing U.S. policy goals, Gambill helped do the opposite. The Middle East is more explosive than ever while U.S. influence has fallen to sub-basement levels. Iranian influence now extends from the Arabian Sea to the Mediterranean, while the country that now seems to be wobbling out of control is Saudi Arabia where Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is lurching from one self-induced crisis to another. The country that Gambill counted on to shore up the status quo turns out to be undermining it. ..."
"... It's not easy to screw things up so badly, but somehow Washington's bloated foreign-policy establishment has done it. Since helping to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, Gambill has moved on to a post at the rightwing Middle East Forum where Daniel Pipes, the group's founder and chief, now inveighs against the same Sunni ethnic cleansing that his employee defended or at least apologized for. ..."
"... The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy ..."
"... I do not believe than anyone in the civil or military command ever believed that arming the jihadists would bring any sort of stability or peace to the region. I do not believe that peace was ever an interest of the US until it has once again gained hegemonic control of central Asia. This is a fight to retain US global domination – causalities do not matter. The US and its partners or co-rulers of the Empire the Saud family and the Zionist oligarchy will slaughter with impunity until someone stops them or their own corruption defeats them. ..."
"... The Empire can not exist without relentless ongoing slaughter it has been at it every day now for 73 years. It worked for them all that time but that time has run out. China has already set the date for when its currency will become fully freely exchanged, less than 5 years. ..."
"... Even the most stupid person on earth couldn't think that the US was using murdering, butchering head choppers in a bid to bring peace and stability to the middle East. The Neocons and the other criminals that infest Washington don't want peace at any price because its bad for business. ..."
"... It's the same GROTESQUE caricature of these wars that the mainstream media always presents: that the U.S. is on the side of good, and fights for good, even though every war INVARIABLY ends up in a bloodbath, with no one caring how many civilians have died, what state the country is left in, that civilian infrastructure and civilians were targeted, let alone whether war could have been prevented. For example, in 1991, shortly after the first Gulf War, Iraqis rose up against their regime, but George H. Bush allowed Saddam to fly his military helicopters (permission was needed due to the no-fly zones), and quell the rebellion in blood – tens of thousands were butchered! Bush said that when he told Iraqis to rebel, he meant the military generals, NOT the Iraqi people themselves. In other words, the U.S. wanted Saddam gone, but the same regime in place. The U.S. never cared about the people! ..."
"... The military-industrial-complex sicced Mueller on Trump because they despise his overtures towards rapprochement with the Kremlin. The military-industrial-complex MUST have a villain to justify the gigantic defense [sic] spending which permeates the entire U.S. politico-economic system. Putin and Russia were always the preferred demon because they easily fit the bill in the minds of an easily brainwashed American public. Of course saber rattling towards Moscow puts the world on the brink of nuclear war, but no matter, the careerism and fat contracts are all that matter to the MIC. Trump's rhetoric about making peace with the Kremlin has always mortified the MIC. ..."
"... This is a rare instance of our elites battling it out behind the scenes, both groups being reprehensible power hungry greed heads and sociopaths, it's hard to tell how this will end. ..."
"... Lets be clear: The military-industrial-complex wants plenty of low intensity conflict to fuel ever more fabulous weapons sales, not a really hot war where all those pretty expensive toys are falling out of the sky in droves. ..."
"... On 24 October 2017, the Intercept released an NSA document unearthed from leaked intelligence files provided by Edward Snowden which reveals that terrorist militants in Syria were under the direct command of foreign governments from the early years of the war which has now claimed half a million lives. ..."
"... The US intelligence memo is evidence of internal US government confirmation of the direct role that both the Saudi and US governments played in fueling attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, as well as military targets in pursuit of "regime change" in Syria. ..."
"... Israel's support for terrorist forces in Syria is well established. The Israelis and Saudis coordinate their activities. ..."
"... An August 2012 DIA report (written when the U.S. was monitoring weapons flows from Libya to Syria), said that the opposition in Syria was driven by al Qaeda and other extremist groups: "the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria." The "deterioration of the situation" was predicted to have "dire consequences" for Iraq, which included the "grave danger" of a terrorist "Islamic state". Some of the "dire consequences" are blacked out but the DIA warned one such consequence would be the "renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi Arena." ..."
"... The heavily redacted DIA memo specifically mentions "the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran)." ..."
"... To clarify just who these "supporting powers" were, mentioned in the document who sought the creation of a "Salafist principality," the DIA memo explained: "The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime." ..."
"... The DIA memo clearly indicates when it was decided to transform US, Saudi, and Turkish-backed Al Qaeda affiliates into ISIS: the "Salafist" (Islamic) "principality" (State). NATO member state Turkey has been directly supporting terrorism in Syria, and specifically, supporting ISIS. In 2014, Germany's international broadcaster Deutsche Welle's reported "'IS' supply channels through Turkey." DW exposed fleets of hundreds of trucks a day, passing unchallenged through Turkey's border crossings with Syria, clearly bound for the defacto ISIS capital of Raqqa. Starting in September 2015, Russian airpower in Syria successfully interdicted ISIS supply lines. ..."
"... The usual suspects in Western media launched a relentless propaganda campaign against Russian support for Syria. The Atlantic Council's Bellingcat disinformation operation started working overtime. ..."
"... The propaganda effort culminated in the 4 April 2017 Khan Shaykhun false flag chemical incident in Idlib. Bellingcat's Eliot Higgins and Dan Kaszeta have been paraded by "First Draft" coalition media "partners" in a vigorous effort to somehow implicate the Russians. ..."
"... In a January 2016 interview on Al Jazeera, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn admitted that he "paid very close attention" to the August 2012 DIA report predicting the rise of a "declared or undeclared Salafist Principality" in Syria. Flynn even asserts that the White House's sponsoring of terrorists (that would emerge as Al Nusra and ISIS) against the Syrian regime was "a willful decision." ..."
"... Flynn was interviewed by British journalist Mehdi Hasan for Al Jazeera's Head to Head program. Flynn made it clear that the policies that led to the "the rise of the Islamic State, the rise of terrorism" were not merely the result of ignorance or looking the other way, but the result of conscious decision making ..."
"... General Flynn explained to Hersh that 'If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic.' Hersh's investigative report exposed a kind of intelligence schism between the Pentagon and CIA concerning the covert program in Syria. ..."
"... The article raises a very serious charge. Up till now it appeared that supplying weapons to Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria was just another example of Pentagon incompetence but the suggestion here is that it was a concerted policy and it's hard to believe that there was no one in the Pentagon that was privy to that policy who wouldn't raise an objection. ..."
"... That it conformed with Israeli, Saudi and CIA designs is not surprising, but that there was no dissension within the Pentagon is appalling (or that Obama didn't raise objections). Clark's comment should put him on the hot seat for a congressional investigation but, of course, there is no one in congress to run with it. The policy is so manifestly evil that it seems to dwarf even the reckless ignorance of preceding "interventions". ..."
"... The DIA report released by Gen. Flynn in 2012 predicted the Islamic State with alarm. That is why Flynn was fired as Director of DIA. He objected to the insane policy of supporting the CIA/Saudi madness and saw it as not only counter-productive but disastrous. His comments to AlJazeera in 2016 reinforced this position. Gen Flynn's faction of the American military has been consistent in its opposition to CIA support of terrorist forces. ..."
"... I see Gen. Flynn as a whistleblower. The 2012 report he circulated saw the rise of the Salafist Islamic state with alarm ..."
"... Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, confirmed that his agency had sent a constant stream of classified warnings to the civilian leadership about the dire consequences of toppling Assad. ..."
"... Thank you. Gen Flynn also urged coordination with Russia against ISIS, so it doesn't take much to see why he was targeted. ..."
"... The use of Islamist proxy warriors to help achieve American geo-political ends goes back to at least 1979, including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Libya, and Syria. One of the better books on 9/11 is Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed's "The War On Truth: 9/11, Disinformation, and the Anatomy of Terrorism". The first section of that book – "The Geopolitics of Terrorism" – covers, across 150 well-sourced pages, the history and background of this involvement. It is highly recommended for anyone who wishes to be better informed on this topic. ..."
"... Jaycee, actually you have to go back much further than that to WW2. Hitler used the marginalized Turkic people in Russia and turned them into effective fighters to create internal factions within the Soviet Union. After Hitler lost and the Cold War began, the US, who had no understanding of the Soviets at the time radicalized and empowered Islamist including the Muslim Brotherhood to weaponize Islam against the Soviet Union. ..."
"... All these western imperial geostrategic planners are certifiably insane and have no business anywhere near the levers of government policy. They are the number one enemy of humanity. If we don't find a way to remove them from power, they may actually succeed in destroying life on Earth. ..."
"... There is a volume of evidence that the war criminals in our midst were arming and training "jihadists." See link below. http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2016/10/the-evidence-of-planning-of-wars.html ..."
"... Incompetence and stupidity are their only defense because if anyone acknowledged that trillions of dollars have been made by the usual suspects committing these crimes, the industrialists of war would face a justice symbolized by Nuremberg. ..."
"... The American groupthink rarely allows propaganda and disinformation disturb: endless wars and endless lies and criminality, have not disturbed this mindset. It is clever to manipulate people to think in a way opposite of truth so consistently. All the atrocities by the US have been surrounded by media propaganda and mastery of groupthink techniques go down well. Mention something unusual or real news and you might get heavily criticized for daring to think outside the box and doubt what are (supposedly) "religious truths". Tell a lie long enough and it becomes the truth. ..."
"... The CIA was a key force behind the creation of both al Qaeda and ISIS. Most major incidents of "Islamic Terrorism" have some kind of CIA backing behind them. See this large collection of links for compiled evidence: http://www.pearltrees.com/joshstern/government-supporting/id18814292 ..."
"... This journalist and other journalists writing on some of my favorite Russian propaganda news websites, have reported the US empire routinely makes "deals with the devil", the enemy of my enemy is my friend, if doing so furthers their goal of perpetual war and global hegemony. Yet, inexplicably, these journalists buy the US empire's 911 story without question, in the face of many unanswered questions ..."
"... Bin Laden (CIA staffer) and a handful of his men, all from close allied countries to the US, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, delivered the 2nd Pearl Harbor on 911. What a timely coincidence! We accept the US Empire provides weapons and military support to the same enemy, and worse, who attacked us on 911, but one is labeled a "conspiracy nut" if they believe that same US Empire would orchestrate 911 to justify their long planned global war. One thing about being a "conspiracy nut", if you live long enough, often you will see your beliefs vindicated ..."
"... So many questions, and so much left unanswered, but don't worry America may run out of money for domestic vital needs but the U.S. always has the money to go fight another war. It's a culture thing, and if you ain't into it then you just don't pay no attention to it. In fact if your life is better off from all of these U.S. led invasions, then your probably not posting any comments here, either. ..."
"... From the October 1973 Yom Kippur War onward, the United States had no foreign policy in the Middle East other than Israel's. Daniel Lazare should read "A clean break: a new strategy for the Realm". ..."
"... For the majority of amoral opportunists of the US, money=power=virtue and they will attack all who disagree. ..."
"... I am stunned that anyone could be so foolish as to think that the US military machine, US imperialism, does things "naively", bumbling like a helpless giant into wars that destroy entire nations with no end in sight. One need not be a "conspiracy theorist" to understand that the Pentagon does not control the world with an ever-expanding war budget equal to the next 10 countries combined, that it does this just because it is stuck on the wrong path. No! US imperialism develops these "big guns" to use them, to overpower, take over and dominate the world for the sake of profits and protection of the right to exploit for private profit. ..."
"... Daniel Pipes, from what I've read of him, is among those who counsel the U.S. government to use its military power to support the losing side in any civil wars fought within Israel's enemy states, so that the wars will continue, sparing Israel the threat of unified enemy states. What normal human beings consider a humanitarian disaster, repeated in Iraq, Syria and Libya, would be reckoned a success according to this way of thinking. The thinking would appear to lead to similar treatment of Iran, with even more catastrophic consequences. ..."
"... I think this pattern of using Salafists for regime change started already in Afghanistan, with Brzezinski plotting with Saudi-Arabia and Pakistan to pay and train Osama bin Laden to attack the pro Russia regime and trying to get the USSR involved in it, also trying to blame the USSR for its agression, like they did in Syri"r? ..."
"... Yes, the Brzezinski/Reagan support of fanatic insurgencies began in AfPak and was revived for the zionists. Russia happened to be on the side more or less tending to progress in both cases, so it had to be opposed. The warmongers are always the US MIC/intel, allied with the anti-American zionist fascists for Mideast wars. ..."
"... Sheldon Adelson, Soros, Saban all wanted carving up of Arabic states into small sectarian pieces (No Nasseric pan-Arabic states, a threat to Israël). And protracted wars of total destruction. Easy. ..."
"... Of course, they were told (by whom?) that the jihadists were 'democratic rebels' and 'freedom fighters' who just wanted to 'bring democracy' to Syria, and get rid of the 'tyrant Assad.' 5 years later, so much of the nonsense about "local councils" and "white helmets" has been exposed for what it was. Yet many 'free thinking' people bought the propaganda. Just like they do on Russiagate. Who needs an "alt-right" when America's "left" is a total disgrace? ..."
Dec 10, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

When a Department of Defense intelligence report about the Syrian rebel movement became public in May 2015, lots of people didn't know what to make of it. After all, what the report said was unthinkable – not only that Al Qaeda had dominated the so-called democratic revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for years, but that the West continued to support the jihadis regardless, even to the point of backing their goal of creating a Sunni Salafist principality in the eastern deserts.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative in August 2014.

The United States lining up behind Sunni terrorism – how could this be? How could a nice liberal like Barack Obama team up with the same people who had brought down the World Trade Center?

It was impossible, which perhaps explains why the report remained a non-story long after it was released courtesy of a Judicial Watch freedom-of-information lawsuit . The New York Times didn't mention it until six months later while the Washington Post waited more than a year before dismissing it as "loopy" and "relatively unimportant." With ISIS rampaging across much of Syria and Iraq, no one wanted to admit that U.S. attitudes were ever anything other than hostile.

But three years earlier, when the Defense Intelligence Agency was compiling the report, attitudes were different. Jihadis were heroes rather than terrorists, and all the experts agreed that they were a low-risk, high-yield way of removing Assad from office.

After spending five days with a Syrian rebel unit, for instance, New York Times reporter C.J. Chivers wrote that the group "mixes paramilitary discipline, civilian policing, Islamic law, and the harsh demands of necessity with battlefield coldness and outright cunning."

Paul Salem, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, assured the Washington Post that "al Qaeda is a fringe element" among the rebels, while, not to be outdone, the gossip site Buzzfeed published a pin-up of a "ridiculously photogenic" jihadi toting an RPG.

"Hey girl," said the subhead. "Nothing sexier than fighting the oppression of tyranny."

And then there was Foreign Policy, the magazine founded by neocon guru Samuel P. Huntington, which was most enthusiastic of all. Gary Gambill's " Two Cheers for Syrian Islamists ," which ran on the FP web site just a couple of weeks after the DIA report was completed, didn't distort the facts or make stuff up in any obvious way. Nonetheless, it is a classic of U.S. propaganda. Its subhead glibly observed: "So the rebels aren't secular Jeffersonians. As far as America is concerned, it doesn't much matter."

Assessing the Damage

Five years later, it's worth a second look to see how Washington uses self-serving logic to reduce an entire nation to rubble.

First a bit of background. After displacing France and Britain as the region's prime imperial overlord during the 1956 Suez Crisis and then breaking with Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser a few years later, the United States committed itself to the goal of defeating Arab nationalism and Soviet Communism, two sides of the same coin as far as Washington was concerned. Over the next half-century, this would mean steering Egypt to the right with assistance from the Saudis, isolating Libyan strong man Muammar Gaddafi, and doing what it could to undermine the Syrian Baathist regime as well.

William Roebuck, the American embassy's chargé d'affaires in Damascus, thus urged Washington in 2006 to coordinate with Egypt and Saudi Arabia to encourage Sunni Syrian fears of Shi'ite Iranian proselytizing even though such concerns are "often exaggerated." It was akin to playing up fears of Jewish dominance in the 1930s in coordination with Nazi Germany.

A year later, former NATO commander Wesley Clark learned of a classified Defense Department memo stating that U.S. policy was now to "attack and destroy the governments in seven countries in five years," first Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. (Quote starts at 2:07 .)

Since the United States didn't like what such governments were doing, the solution was to install more pliable ones in their place. Hence Washington's joy when the Arab Spring struck Syria in March 2011 and it appeared that protesters would soon topple the Baathists on their own.

Even when lofty democratic rhetoric gave way to ominous sectarian chants of "Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the coffin," U.S. enthusiasm remained strong. With Sunnis accounting for perhaps 60 percent of the population, strategists figured that there was no way Assad could hold out against religious outrage welling up from below.

Enter Gambill and the FP. The big news, his article began, is that secularists are no longer in command of the burgeoning Syrian rebel movement and that Sunni Islamists are taking the lead instead. As unfortunate as this might seem, he argued that such a development was both unavoidable and far from entirely negative.

"Islamist political ascendancy is inevitable in a majority Sunni Muslim country brutalized for more than four decades by a secular minoritarian dictatorship," he wrote in reference to the Baathists. "Moreover, enormous financial resources are pouring in from the Arab-Islamic world to promote explicitly Islamist resistance to Assad's Alawite-dominated, Iranian-backed regime."

So the answer was not to oppose the Islamists, but to use them. Even though "the Islamist surge will not be a picnic for the Syrian people," Gambill said, "it has two important silver linings for US interests." One is that the jihadis "are simply more effective fighters than their secular counterparts" thanks to their skill with "suicide bombings and roadside bombs."

The other is that a Sunni Islamist victory in Syria will result in "a full-blown strategic defeat" for Iran, thereby putting Washington at least part way toward fulfilling the seven-country demolition job discussed by Wesley Clark.

"So long as Syrian jihadis are committed to fighting Iran and its Arab proxies," the article concluded, "we should quietly root for them – while keeping our distance from a conflict that is going to get very ugly before the smoke clears. There will be plenty of time to tame the beast after Iran's regional hegemonic ambitions have gone down in flames."

Deals with the Devil

The U.S. would settle with the jihadis only after the jihadis had settled with Assad. The good would ultimately outweigh the bad. This kind of self-centered moral calculus would not have mattered had Gambill only spoken for himself. But he didn't. Rather, he was expressing the viewpoint of Official Washington in general, which is why the ultra-respectable FP ran his piece in the first place.The Islamists were something America could employ to their advantage and then throw away like a squeezed lemon. A few Syrians would suffer, but America would win, and that's all that counts.

The parallels with the DIA are striking. "The west, gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition," the intelligence report declared, even though "the Salafist[s], the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [i.e. Al Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency."

Where Gambill predicted that "Assad and his minions will likely retreat to northwestern Syria," the DIA speculated that the jihadis might establish "a declared or undeclared Salafist principality" at the other end of the country near cities like Hasaka and Der Zor (also known as Deir ez-Zor).

Where the FP said that the ultimate aim was to roll back Iranian influence and undermine Shi'ite rule, the DIA said that a Salafist principality "is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran)."

Bottle up the Shi'ites in northwestern Syria, in other words, while encouraging Sunni extremists to establish a base in the east so as to put pressure on Shi'ite-influenced Iraq and Shi'ite-ruled Iran.

As Gambill put it: "Whatever misfortunes Sunni Islamists may visit upon the Syrian people, any government they form will be strategically preferable to the Assad regime, for three reasons: A new government in Damascus will find continuing the alliance with Tehran unthinkable, it won't have to distract Syrians from its minority status with foreign policy adventurism like the ancien régime, and it will be flush with petrodollars from Arab Gulf states (relatively) friendly to Washington."

With the Saudis footing the bill, the U.S. would exercise untrammeled sway.

Disastrous Thinking

Has a forecast that ever gone more spectacularly wrong? Syria's Baathist government is hardly blameless in this affair. But thanks largely to the U.S.-backed sectarian offensive, 400,000 Syrians or more have died since Gambill's article appeared, with another 6.1 million displaced and an estimated 4.8 million fleeing abroad.

U.S.-backed Syrian "moderate" rebels smile as they prepare to behead a 12-year-old boy (left), whose severed head is held aloft triumphantly in a later part of the video. [Screenshot from the YouTube video] War-time destruction totals around $250 billion , according to U.N. estimates, a staggering sum for a country of 18.8 million people where per-capita income prior to the outbreak of violence was under $3,000. From Syria, the specter of sectarian violence has spread across Asia and Africa and into Europe and North America as well. Political leaders throughout the advanced industrial world are still struggling to contain the populist fury that the Middle East refugee crisis, the result of U.S.-instituted regime change, helped set off.

So instead of advancing U.S. policy goals, Gambill helped do the opposite. The Middle East is more explosive than ever while U.S. influence has fallen to sub-basement levels. Iranian influence now extends from the Arabian Sea to the Mediterranean, while the country that now seems to be wobbling out of control is Saudi Arabia where Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is lurching from one self-induced crisis to another. The country that Gambill counted on to shore up the status quo turns out to be undermining it.

It's not easy to screw things up so badly, but somehow Washington's bloated foreign-policy establishment has done it. Since helping to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, Gambill has moved on to a post at the rightwing Middle East Forum where Daniel Pipes, the group's founder and chief, now inveighs against the same Sunni ethnic cleansing that his employee defended or at least apologized for.

The forum is particularly well known for its Campus Watch program, which targets academic critics of Israel, Islamists, and – despite Gambill's kind words about "suicide bombings and roadside bombs" – anyone it considers the least bit apologetic about Islamic terrorism.

Double your standard, double the fun. Terrorism, it seems, is only terrorism when others do it to the U.S., not when the U.S. does it to others.

Daniel Lazare is the author of several books including The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace).

Babyl-on , December 8, 2017 at 5:26 pm

I do not believe than anyone in the civil or military command ever believed that arming the jihadists would bring any sort of stability or peace to the region. I do not believe that peace was ever an interest of the US until it has once again gained hegemonic control of central Asia. This is a fight to retain US global domination – causalities do not matter. The US and its partners or co-rulers of the Empire the Saud family and the Zionist oligarchy will slaughter with impunity until someone stops them or their own corruption defeats them.

The Empire can not exist without relentless ongoing slaughter it has been at it every day now for 73 years. It worked for them all that time but that time has run out. China has already set the date for when its currency will become fully freely exchanged, less than 5 years. When that happens the world will return to the gold standard + Bitcoin possibly and US dollar hegemony will end. After that the trillion dollar a year military and the 20 trillion debt take on a different meaning. Before that slaughter non-stop will continue.

john wilson , December 9, 2017 at 6:31 am

Really, Baby-lon, your first short paragraph sums this piece by Lazare perfectly and makes the rest of his blog seem rather pointless. Even the most stupid person on earth couldn't think that the US was using murdering, butchering head choppers in a bid to bring peace and stability to the middle East. The Neocons and the other criminals that infest Washington don't want peace at any price because its bad for business.

Jerald Davidson , December 9, 2017 at 11:53 am

Babyl-on and John Wilson: you have nailed it. The last thing the US (gov't.) wants is peace. War is big business; casualties are of no concern (3 million Koreans died in the Korean War; 3 million Vietnamese in that war; 100's of thousands in Iraq [including Clinton's sanctions] and Afghanistan). The US has used jihadi proxies since the mujahedeen in 1980's Afghanistan and Contras in Nicaragua. To the US (gov't.), a Salafist dictatorship (such as Saudi Arabia) is highly preferable to a secular, nationalist ruler (such as Egypt's Nasser, Libya's Gaddafi, Syria's Assad).
So the cover story of the jjihadi's has changed – first they are freedom fighters, then terrorists. What does not change is that in either case they are pawns of the US (gov't.) goal of hegemony.
(Incidentally, Drew Hunkins must be responding to a different article.)

BannanaBoat , December 9, 2017 at 4:31 pm

Exactly Baby right on, Either USA strategists are extremely ignorant or they are attempting to create chaos, probably both. Perhaps not continuously but surely frequently the USA has promoted war prior to the last 73 years. Native Genocide , Mexican Wars, Spanish War, WWI ( USA banker repayment war)

Richard , December 9, 2017 at 5:24 pm

Exactly Babylon! Looks like consortiumnews is turning into another propaganda rag. Assad was allied with Russia and Iran – that's why the U.S. wanted him removed. Israel said that they would preferred ISIS in power over Assad. The U.S. would have happily wiped out 90% of the population using its terrorist proxies if it thought it could have got what it wanted.

Sam F , December 10, 2017 at 8:50 am

CN tends to make moderate statements so as to communicate with those most in need of them. One must start with the understandings of the audience and show them that the evidence leads further.

Richard , December 10, 2017 at 10:27 am

Sam F, no, it's a DELIBERATE lie in support of U.S. foreign policy. The guy wrote: "the NAIVE belief that jihadist proxies could be used to TRANSFORM THE REGION FOR THE BETTER." It could have been written as: "the stated justification by the president that he wanted to transform the region for the better, even though there are often ulterior motives."

It's the same GROTESQUE caricature of these wars that the mainstream media always presents: that the U.S. is on the side of good, and fights for good, even though every war INVARIABLY ends up in a bloodbath, with no one caring how many civilians have died, what state the country is left in, that civilian infrastructure and civilians were targeted, let alone whether war could have been prevented. For example, in 1991, shortly after the first Gulf War, Iraqis rose up against their regime, but George H. Bush allowed Saddam to fly his military helicopters (permission was needed due to the no-fly zones), and quell the rebellion in blood – tens of thousands were butchered! Bush said that when he told Iraqis to rebel, he meant the military generals, NOT the Iraqi people themselves. In other words, the U.S. wanted Saddam gone, but the same regime in place. The U.S. never cared about the people!

Either Robert Parry or the author wrote that introduction. I suspect Mr Parry – he always portrays the president as having a heart of gold, but, always, sadly, misinformed; being a professional journalist, he knows full well that people often only read the start and end of an article.

Drew Hunkins , December 8, 2017 at 5:31 pm

What we have occurring right now in the United States is a rare divergence of interests within our ruling class. The elites are currently made up of Zionist-militarists. What we're now witnessing is a rare conflict between the two factions. This particular internecine battle has reared its head in the past, the Dubai armaments deal comes to mind off the top of my head.

Trump started the Jerusalem imbroglio because he's concerned about Mueller's witch hunt.

The military-industrial-complex sicced Mueller on Trump because they despise his overtures towards rapprochement with the Kremlin. The military-industrial-complex MUST have a villain to justify the gigantic defense [sic] spending which permeates the entire U.S. politico-economic system. Putin and Russia were always the preferred demon because they easily fit the bill in the minds of an easily brainwashed American public. Of course saber rattling towards Moscow puts the world on the brink of nuclear war, but no matter, the careerism and fat contracts are all that matter to the MIC. Trump's rhetoric about making peace with the Kremlin has always mortified the MIC.

Since Trump's concerned about 1.) Mueller's witch hunt (he definitely should be deeply concerned, this is an out of control prosecutor on mission creep), and 2.) the almost total negative coverage the press has given him over the last two years, he's made a deal with the Zionist Power Configuration; Trump, effectively saying to them: "I'll give you Jerusalem, you use your immense influence in the American mass media to tamp down the relentlessly hostile coverage toward me, and perhaps smear Mueller's witch hunt a bit ".

This is a rare instance of our elites battling it out behind the scenes, both groups being reprehensible power hungry greed heads and sociopaths, it's hard to tell how this will end.

How this all eventually plays out is anyone's guess indeed. Let's just make sure it doesn't end with mushroom clouds over Tehran, Saint Petersburg, Paris, Chicago, London, NYC, Washington and Berlin.

Abe , December 8, 2017 at 7:57 pm

Trump's purported deviation from foreign policy orthodoxy regarding both Russia and Israel was a propaganda scam engineered by the pro-Israel Lobby from the very beginning. As Russia-gate fiction is progressively deconstructed, the Israel-gate reality becomes ever more despicably obvious.

The shamelessly Israel-pandering Trump received the "Liberty Award" for his contributions to US-Israel relations at a 3 February 2015 gala hosted by The Algemeiner Journal, a New York-based newspaper, covering American and international Jewish and Israel-related news.

"We love Israel. We will fight for Israel 100 percent, 1000 percent." VIDEO minutes 2:15-8:06 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiwBwBw7R-U

After the event, Trump did not renew his television contract for The Apprentice, which raised speculation about a Trump bid for the presidency. Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015.

Trump's purported break with GOP orthodoxy, questioning of Israel's commitment to peace, calls for even treatment in Israeli-Palestinian deal-making, and refusal to call for Jerusalem to be Israel's undivided capital, were all stage-managed for the campaign.

Cheap theatrics notwithstanding, the Netanyahu regime in Israel has "1000 percent" support from the Trump regime.

Drew Hunkins , December 8, 2017 at 8:10 pm

If Trump were totally and completely subservient to Netanyahu he would have bombed Damascus to remove Assad and would have bombed Tehran to obliterate Iran. Of course thus far he has done neither. Don't get me wrong, Trump is essentially part and parcel of the Zionist cabal, but I don't quite think he's 1,000% under their thumb (not yet?).

I don't think the Zionist Power Configuration concocted Trump's policy of relative peace with the Kremlin. Yes, the ZPC is extremely powerful in America, but Trump's position of detente with Moscow seemed to be genuine. He caught way too much heat from the mass media for it to be a stunt, it's almost torpedoed his presidency, and may eventually do just that. It was actually one of the very few things Trump got right; peace with Russia, cordial relations with the Kremlin are a no-brainer. A no-brainer to everyone but the military-industrial-complex.

Abe , December 8, 2017 at 10:59 pm

Russian. Missiles. Lets be clear: The military-industrial-complex wants plenty of low intensity conflict to fuel ever more fabulous weapons sales, not a really hot war where all those pretty expensive toys are falling out of the sky in droves.

Whether it was "bird strike" or something more technological that recently grounded the "mighty" Israeli F-35I, it's clear that America isn't eager to have those "Inherent Resolve" jets, so busily not bombing ISIS, painted with Russian SAM radar.

Russia made it clear that Trump's Tomahawk Tweet in April 2017 was not only under totally false pretenses. It had posed a threat to Russian troops and Moscow took extra measures to protect them.

Russian deployment of the advanced S-400 system on the Syrian coast in Latakia also impacts Israel's regional air superiority. The S-400 can track and shoot down targets some 400 kilometers (250 miles) away. That range encompasses half of Israel's airspace, including Ben Gurion International Airport. In addition to surface-to-air missiles installations, Russian aircraft in Syria are equipped with air-to-air missiles. Those weapons are part of an calculus of Israeli aggression in the region.

Of course, there's much more to say about this subject.

WC , December 9, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Here's a good one from Hedges (for what little good it will do). https://www.truthdig.com/articles/zero-hour-palestine/

john wilson , December 9, 2017 at 6:34 am

Surely, Drew, even the brain washed sheep otherwise known as the American public can't seriously believe that their government armed head choppers in a bid to bring peace to the region, can they?

Drew Hunkins , December 9, 2017 at 1:34 pm

Yup Mr. Wilson. It's too much cognitive dissonance for them to process. After all, we're the exceptional nation, the beacon on the hill, the country that ONLY intervenes abroad when there is a 'right to protect!' or it's a 'humanitarian intervention.' As Ken Burns would say: Washington only acts "with good intentions. They're just sometimes misplaced." That's all. The biggest global empire the world has ever seen is completely out of the picture.

mike k , December 8, 2017 at 5:34 pm

When evil people with evil intentions set out to do something in the world, the result is evil. Like Libya, or Iraq, or Syria. Why do I call these people who killed millions for their own selfish greed for power evil? If you have to ask that, then you just don't understand what evil is – and you have a lot of company, because many people believe that evil does not even exist! Such sheeple become the perfect victims of the evil ones, who are destroying our world.

john wilson , December 9, 2017 at 6:36 am

Correction, Mike. The public do believe that evil exists but they sincerely think that Putin and Russia are the evil ones'

mike k , December 9, 2017 at 5:41 pm

One of the ways to avoid recognizing evil is to ascribe it to inappropriate, incorrect sources usually as a result of believing misleading propaganda. Another common maneuver is to deny evil's presence in oneself, and believe it is always "out there". Or one can feel that "evil" is an outmoded religious concept that is only used to hit at those one does not like.

Mild - ly Facetious , December 8, 2017 at 6:22 pm

Oh Jerusalem: Requiem for the two-state solution (Gas masks required)

https://electronicintifada.net/content/oh-jerusalem-requiem-two-state-solution/22521

Abe , December 8, 2017 at 6:24 pm

On 24 October 2017, the Intercept released an NSA document unearthed from leaked intelligence files provided by Edward Snowden which reveals that terrorist militants in Syria were under the direct command of foreign governments from the early years of the war which has now claimed half a million lives.

https://theintercept.com/2017/10/24/syria-rebels-nsa-saudi-prince-assad/

Marked "Top Secret" the NSA memo focuses on events that unfolded outside Damascus in March of 2013.

The US intelligence memo is evidence of internal US government confirmation of the direct role that both the Saudi and US governments played in fueling attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, as well as military targets in pursuit of "regime change" in Syria.

Israel's support for terrorist forces in Syria is well established. The Israelis and Saudis coordinate their activities.

Abe , December 8, 2017 at 6:27 pm

An August 2012 DIA report (written when the U.S. was monitoring weapons flows from Libya to Syria), said that the opposition in Syria was driven by al Qaeda and other extremist groups: "the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria." The "deterioration of the situation" was predicted to have "dire consequences" for Iraq, which included the "grave danger" of a terrorist "Islamic state". Some of the "dire consequences" are blacked out but the DIA warned one such consequence would be the "renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi Arena."

The heavily redacted DIA memo specifically mentions "the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran)."

http://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Pg.-291-Pgs.-287-293-JW-v-DOD-and-State-14-812-DOD-Release-2015-04-10-final-version11.pdf

To clarify just who these "supporting powers" were, mentioned in the document who sought the creation of a "Salafist principality," the DIA memo explained: "The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime."

The DIA memo clearly indicates when it was decided to transform US, Saudi, and Turkish-backed Al Qaeda affiliates into ISIS: the "Salafist" (Islamic) "principality" (State). NATO member state Turkey has been directly supporting terrorism in Syria, and specifically, supporting ISIS. In 2014, Germany's international broadcaster Deutsche Welle's reported "'IS' supply channels through Turkey." DW exposed fleets of hundreds of trucks a day, passing unchallenged through Turkey's border crossings with Syria, clearly bound for the defacto ISIS capital of Raqqa. Starting in September 2015, Russian airpower in Syria successfully interdicted ISIS supply lines.

The usual suspects in Western media launched a relentless propaganda campaign against Russian support for Syria. The Atlantic Council's Bellingcat disinformation operation started working overtime.

The propaganda effort culminated in the 4 April 2017 Khan Shaykhun false flag chemical incident in Idlib. Bellingcat's Eliot Higgins and Dan Kaszeta have been paraded by "First Draft" coalition media "partners" in a vigorous effort to somehow implicate the Russians.

Abe , December 9, 2017 at 12:26 pm

In a January 2016 interview on Al Jazeera, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn admitted that he "paid very close attention" to the August 2012 DIA report predicting the rise of a "declared or undeclared Salafist Principality" in Syria. Flynn even asserts that the White House's sponsoring of terrorists (that would emerge as Al Nusra and ISIS) against the Syrian regime was "a willful decision."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6Y274U7QIs

Flynn was interviewed by British journalist Mehdi Hasan for Al Jazeera's Head to Head program. Flynn made it clear that the policies that led to the "the rise of the Islamic State, the rise of terrorism" were not merely the result of ignorance or looking the other way, but the result of conscious decision making:

Hasan: "You are basically saying that even in government at the time you knew these groups were around, you saw this analysis, and you were arguing against it, but who wasn't listening?"

Flynn: "I think the administration."

Hasan: "So the administration turned a blind eye to your analysis?"

Flynn: "I don't know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision."

Hasan: "A willful decision to support an insurgency that had Salafists, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood?"

Flynn: "It was a willful decision to do what they're doing."

Holding up a paper copy of the 2012 DIA report declassified through FOIA, Hasan read aloud key passages such as, "there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria, and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime."

Rather than downplay the importance of the document and these startling passages, as did the State Department soon after its release, Flynn did the opposite: he confirmed that while acting DIA chief he "paid very close attention" to this report in particular and later added that "the intelligence was very clear."

Lt. Gen. Flynn, speaking safely from retirement, is the highest ranking intelligence official to go on record saying the United States and other state sponsors of rebels in Syria knowingly gave political backing and shipped weapons to Al-Qaeda in order to put pressure on the Syrian regime:

Hasan: "In 2012 the U.S. was helping coordinate arms transfers to those same groups [Salafists, Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda in Iraq], why did you not stop that if you're worried about the rise of quote-unquote Islamic extremists?"

Flynn: "I hate to say it's not my job but that my job was to was to to ensure that the accuracy of our intelligence that was being presented was as good as it could be."

Flynn unambiguously confirmed that the 2012 DIA document served as source material in his own discussions over Syria policy with the White House. Flynn served as Director of Intelligence for Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) during a time when its prime global mission was dismantling Al-Qaeda.

Flynn's admission that the White House was in fact arming and bolstering Al-Qaeda linked groups in Syria is especially shocking given his stature. The Pentagon's former highest ranking intelligence officer in charge of the hunt for Osama bin Laden confessed that the United States directly aided the Al Qaeda terrorist legions of Ayman al-Zawahiri beginning in at least 2012 in Syria.

Abe , December 9, 2017 at 12:44 pm

Mehdi Hasan goes Head to Head with Michael Flynn, former head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency

Full Transcript: http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/headtohead/2016/01/transcript-michael-flynn-160104174144334.html

Abe , December 9, 2017 at 2:11 pm

"Flynn would later tell the New York Times that this 2012 intelligence report in particular was seen at the White House where it was 'disregarded' because it 'didn't meet the narrative' on the war in Syria. He would further confirm to investigative journalist Seymour Hersh that Defense Department (DoD) officials and DIA intelligence in particular, were loudly warning the administration that jihadists were leading the opposition in Syria -- warnings which were met with 'enormous pushback.' Instead of walking back his Al Jazeera comments, General Flynn explained to Hersh that 'If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic.' Hersh's investigative report exposed a kind of intelligence schism between the Pentagon and CIA concerning the covert program in Syria.

"In a personal exchange on his blog Sic Semper Tyrannis, legendary DoD intelligence officer and former presidential briefer Pat Lang explained [ ] that the DIA memo was used as a 'warning shot across the [administration's] bow.' Lang has elsewhere stated that DIA Director Flynn had 'tried to persuade people in the Obama Administration not to provide assistance to the Nusra group.' It must be remembered that in 2012 what would eventually emerge as distinct 'ISIS' and 'Nusra' (AQ in Syria) groups was at that time a singular entity desiring a unified 'Islamic State.' The nascent ISIS organization (referenced in the memo as 'ISI' or Islamic State in Iraq) was still one among many insurgent groups fighting to topple Assad.

"In fact, only one year after the DIA memo was produced (dated August 12, 2012) a coalition of rebels fighting under the US-backed Revolutionary Military Council of Aleppo were busy celebrating their most strategic victory to date, which served to open an opposition corridor in Northern Syria. The seizure of the Syrian government's Menagh Airbase in August 2013 was only accomplished with the military prowess of fighters identifying themselves in front of cameras and to reporters on the ground as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.

"Public embarrassment came for Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford who reluctantly confirmed that in fact, yes, the US-funded and supplied FSA commander on the ground had personally led ISIS and Nusra fighters in the attack (Ford himself was previously filmed alongside the commander). This after the New York Times publicized unambiguous video proof of the fact. Even the future high commander of Islamic State's military operations, Omar al-Shishani, himself played a leading role in the US sponsored FSA operation."

Obama and the DIA 'Islamic State' Memo: What Trump Gets Right
By Brad Hoff
https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2016/07/01/obama-and-the-dia-islamic-state-memo-what-trump-gets-right/

Abe , December 9, 2017 at 3:08 pm

"one first needs to understand what has happened in Syria and other Middle Eastern countries in recent years. The original plan of the US and Saudi Arabia (behind whom stood an invisible Israel) was the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad and his replacement with Islamic fundamentalists or takfiris (Daesh, al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra).

"The plan involved the following steps:

"It was an ambitious plan, and the Israelis were completely convinced that the United States would provide all the necessary resources to see it through. But the Syrian government has survived thanks to military intervention by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. Daesh is almost defeated and Iran and Hezbollah are so firmly entrenched in Syria that it has driven the Israelis into a state of fear bordering on panic. Lebanon remains stable, and even the recent attempt by the Saudis to abduct Prime Minister Saad Hariri failed.

"As a result, Saudi Arabia and Israel have developed a new plan: force the US to attack Iran. To this end, the 'axis of good"' (USA-Israel-Saudi Arabia) was created, although this is nothing new. Saudi Arabia and the other Arab States in the Persian Gulf have in the past spoken in favor of intervention in Syria. It is well known that the Saudis invaded Bahrain, are occupying it de facto, and are now at war in Yemen.

"The Israelis will participate in any plan that will finally split the Sunnis and Shiites, turning the region into rubble. It was not by chance that, having failed in Lebanon, they are now trying to do the same in Yemen after the murder of Ali Abdullah Saleh.

"For the Saudis and Israelis, the problem lies in the fact that they have rather weak armed forces; expensive and high-tech, but when it comes to full-scale hostilities, especially against a really strong opponent such as the Iranians or Hezbollah, the 'Israel/Wahhabis' have no chance and they know it, even if they do not admit it. So, one simply needs to think up some kind of plan to force the Shiites to pay a high price.

"So they developed a new plan. Firstly, the goal is now not the defeat of Hezbollah or Iran. For all their rhetoric, the Israelis know that neither they nor especially the Saudis are able to seriously threaten Iran or even Hezbollah. Their plan is much more basic: initiate a serious conflict and then force the US to intervene. Only today, the armed forces of the United States have no way of winning a war with Iran, and this may be a problem. The US military knows this and they are doing everything to tell the neo-cons 'sorry, we just can't.' This is the only reason why a US attack on Iran has not already taken place. From the Israeli point of view this is totally unacceptable and the solution is simple: just force the US to participate in a war they do not really need. As for the Iranians, the Israeli goal of provoking an attack on Iran by the US is not to defeat Iran, but just to bring about destruction – a lot of destruction [ ]

"You would need to be crazy to attack Iran. The problem, however, is that the Saudis and the Israelis are close to this state. And they have proved it many times. So it just remains to hope that Israel and the KSA are 'crazy', but 'not that crazy'."

The Likelihood of War with Iran By Petr Lvov https://journal-neo.org/2017/12/09/the-likelihood-of-war-with-iran/

BobH, December 8, 2017 at 7:13 pm

The article raises a very serious charge. Up till now it appeared that supplying weapons to Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria was just another example of Pentagon incompetence but the suggestion here is that it was a concerted policy and it's hard to believe that there was no one in the Pentagon that was privy to that policy who wouldn't raise an objection.

That it conformed with Israeli, Saudi and CIA designs is not surprising, but that there was no dissension within the Pentagon is appalling (or that Obama didn't raise objections). Clark's comment should put him on the hot seat for a congressional investigation but, of course, there is no one in congress to run with it. The policy is so manifestly evil that it seems to dwarf even the reckless ignorance of preceding "interventions".

Linda Wood , December 8, 2017 at 10:24 pm

There WAS dissension within the Pentagon, not only about being in a coalition with the Gulf States and Turkey in support of terrorist forces, but about allowing ISIS to invade Ramadi, which CENTCOM exposed by making public that US forces watched it happen and did nothing. In addition, CENTCOM and SOCOM publicly opposed switching sides in Yemen.

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/4/17/us-generals-think-saudi-strikes-in-yemen-a-bad-idea.html

A senior commander at Central Command (CENTCOM), speaking on condition of anonymity, scoffed at that argument. "The reason the Saudis didn't inform us of their plans," he said, "is because they knew we would have told them exactly what we think -- that it was a bad idea.

Military sources said that a number of regional special forces officers and officers at U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) argued strenuously against supporting the Saudi-led intervention because the target of the intervention, the Shia Houthi movement -- which has taken over much of Yemen and which Riyadh accuses of being a proxy for Tehran -- has been an effective counter to Al-Qaeda.

The DIA report released by Gen. Flynn in 2012 predicted the Islamic State with alarm. That is why Flynn was fired as Director of DIA. He objected to the insane policy of supporting the CIA/Saudi madness and saw it as not only counter-productive but disastrous. His comments to AlJazeera in 2016 reinforced this position. Gen Flynn's faction of the American military has been consistent in its opposition to CIA support of terrorist forces.

BobH , December 8, 2017 at 10:55 pm

Thanks, I never read anything about it in the MSM (perhaps Aljazeera was an exception?). However, this doesn't explain Gen. Flynn's tight relationship with Turkey's Erdogan who clearly backed the Al Qaeda affiliated rebels to the point of shooting down a Russian jet over Syria.

Sam F , December 10, 2017 at 8:57 am

The fighter shoot-down incident was before Erdogan's reversals in Syria policy.

Linda Wood , December 8, 2017 at 10:28 pm

I see Gen. Flynn as a whistleblower. The 2012 report he circulated saw the rise of the Salafist Islamic state with alarm.

http://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Pg.-291-Pgs.-287-293-JW-v-DOD-and-State-14-812-DOD-Release-2015-04-10-final-version11.pdf

B. THE SALAFIST, THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD, AND AQI ARE THE MAJOR FORCES DRIVING THE INSURGENCY IN SYRIA.

C. THE WEST, GULF COUNTRIES, AND TURKEY SUPPORT THE OPPOSITION; WHILE RUSSIA, CHINA, AND IRAN SUPPORT THE REGIME.

C. IF THE SITUATION UNRAVELS THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME, WHICH IS CONSIDERED THE STRATEGIC DEPTH OF THE SHIA EXPANSION (IRAQ AND IRAN).

D. THE DETERIORATION OF THE SITUATION HAS DIRE CONSEQUENCES ON THE IRAQI SITUATION AND ARE AS FOLLOWS:

–1. THIS CREATES THE IDEAL ATMOSPHERE FOR AQI TO RETURN TO ITS OLD POCKETS IN MOSUL AND RAMADI, AND WILL PROVIDE A RENEWED MOMENTUM UNDER THE PRESUMPTION OF UNIFYING THE JIHAD AMONG SUNNI IRAQ AND SYRIA ISI COULD ALSO DECLARE AN ISLAMIC STATE THROUGH ITS UNION WITH OTHER TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS IN IRAQ AND SYRIA, WHICH WILL CREATE GRAVE DANGER IN REGARDS TO UNIFYING IRAQ AND THE PROTECTION OF ITS TERRITORY

https://geopolitics.co/2015/12/22/dempseys-pentagon-aided-assad-with-military-intelligence-hersh/
London Review of Books Vol. 38 No. 1 · 7 January 2016
Military to Military: US intelligence sharing in the Syrian war
Seymour M. Hersh

Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, confirmed that his agency had sent a constant stream of classified warnings to the civilian leadership about the dire consequences of toppling Assad. The jihadists, he said, were in control of the opposition. Turkey wasn't doing enough to stop the smuggling of foreign fighters and weapons across the border. 'If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic,' Flynn told me. 'We understood Isis's long-term strategy and its campaign plans, and we also discussed the fact that Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria.' The DIA's reporting, he said, 'got enormous pushback' from the Obama administration. 'I felt that they did not want to hear the truth.'

j. D. D. , December 9, 2017 at 8:33 am

Thank you. Gen Flynn also urged coordination with Russia against ISIS, so it doesn't take much to see why he was targeted. Ironically, the MSM is now going bananas over his support for nuclear power in the region, which he had tied to desalination of sea water, toward alleviating that crucial source of conflict in the area.

Abbybwood , December 9, 2017 at 11:24 pm

I believe Wesley Clark told Amy Goodman that he was handed the classified memo regarding the U.S. overthrowing seven countries in five years starting with Iraq and ending with Iran, in 2001, not 2006. He said it was right after 9/11 when he visited the Pentagon and Joint Chief of Staff's office and was handed the memo.

jaycee , December 8, 2017 at 7:19 pm

The use of Islamist proxy warriors to help achieve American geo-political ends goes back to at least 1979, including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Libya, and Syria. One of the better books on 9/11 is Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed's "The War On Truth: 9/11, Disinformation, and the Anatomy of Terrorism". The first section of that book – "The Geopolitics of Terrorism" – covers, across 150 well-sourced pages, the history and background of this involvement. It is highly recommended for anyone who wishes to be better informed on this topic.

One disturbing common feature across the years have been US sponsored airlifts of Islamist fighters facing defeat, as seen in Afghanistan in late 2001 and just recently in eastern Syria. In 2001, some of those fighters were relocated to North Africa, specifically Mali – the roots of the Islamist insurgency which has destabilized that country over the past few years. Where exactly the ISIS rebels assisted some weeks ago were relocated is yet unknown.

turk151 , December 9, 2017 at 10:03 pm

Jaycee, actually you have to go back much further than that to WW2. Hitler used the marginalized Turkic people in Russia and turned them into effective fighters to create internal factions within the Soviet Union. After Hitler lost and the Cold War began, the US, who had no understanding of the Soviets at the time radicalized and empowered Islamist including the Muslim Brotherhood to weaponize Islam against the Soviet Union.

Hence the birth of the Mujaheddin and Bin Laden, the rest is history.

j. D. D. , December 8, 2017 at 7:57 pm

The article does not support the sub-headline. There is no evidence provided, nor is there any evidence to be found, that Washington's policy in the region was motivated by anything other than geopolitical objectives.

David G , December 9, 2017 at 7:25 am

I think that phrasing may point to the hand of editor Robert Parry. The incredible value of CN notwithstanding, Parry in his own pieces (erroneously in my eyes) maintains a belief that Obama somehow meant well. Hence the imputation of some "naïve" but ultimately benevolent motive on the part of the U.S. genocidaires, as the whole Syria catastrophe got going on Obama's watch.

Anon , December 9, 2017 at 9:14 am

The imputation of naivete works to avoid accusation of a specific strategy without sufficient evidence.

Skip Scott , December 9, 2017 at 9:45 am

Although I am no fan of Obama, and most especially the continuation of the warmongering for his 8 years, he did balk at the "Red line" when he found out he was being set up, and it wasn't Assad who used chemical weapons. I don't think he "meant well" so much as he knew the exact length of his leash. His bragging about going against "The Washington playbook" was of course laughable; just as his whole hopey/changey thing was laughable with Citigroup picking his cabinet.

Stephen , December 9, 2017 at 2:49 pm

Off topic but you can listen to some of Obama's banking handiwork here: https://sputniknews.com/radio_loud_and_clear/201712091059844562-looming-government-shutdown-will-democrats-fight-trumps-pro-rich-plan/ It starts at about minute 28:14. It explains the whole reaction by Obama and Holder to the banking fiasco in my mind. Sorry but I had to get it from the evil Rooski radio program.

Lois Gagnon , December 8, 2017 at 8:41 pm

All these western imperial geostrategic planners are certifiably insane and have no business anywhere near the levers of government policy. They are the number one enemy of humanity. If we don't find a way to remove them from power, they may actually succeed in destroying life on Earth.

Stephen J. , December 8, 2017 at 8:42 pm

There is a volume of evidence that the war criminals in our midst were arming and training "jihadists." See link below. http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2016/10/the-evidence-of-planning-of-wars.html

MarkU , December 8, 2017 at 10:00 pm

"Official Washington helped unleash hell on Syria and across the Mideast behind the naïve belief that jihadist proxies could be used to transform the region for the better, explains Daniel Lazare." What a load of old rubbish, naïve belief indeed. it is difficult to believe that anyone could write this stuff with a straight face.

Linda Wood , December 8, 2017 at 10:37 pm

Incompetence and stupidity are their only defense because if anyone acknowledged that trillions of dollars have been made by the usual suspects committing these crimes, the industrialists of war would face a justice symbolized by Nuremberg.

Zachary Smith , December 8, 2017 at 11:37 pm

That Gary Gambill character "outed" himself as a Zionist on September 4 of this year. He appears to have mastered the propaganda associated with the breed. At the link see if you can find any mention of the murders, thefts, ethnic cleansing, or apartheid of his adopted nation. Blaming the victim may be this fellow's specialty. Sample:

The well-intentioned flocked in droves to the belief that Israeli- Palestinian peace was achievable provided Israel made the requisite concessions, and that this would liberate the Arab-Islamic world from a host of other problems allegedly arising from it: bloated military budgets, intolerance of dissent, Islamic extremism, you name it.

Why tackle each of these problems head on when they can be alleviated all at once when Israel is brought to heel? Twenty years later, the Middle East is suffering the consequences of this conspiracy of silence.

Zachary Smith , December 8, 2017 at 11:37 pm

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/The-accidental-Zionist-504221

Gerry , December 9, 2017 at 4:51 am

The American groupthink rarely allows propaganda and disinformation disturb: endless wars and endless lies and criminality, have not disturbed this mindset. It is clever to manipulate people to think in a way opposite of truth so consistently. All the atrocities by the US have been surrounded by media propaganda and mastery of groupthink techniques go down well. Mention something unusual or real news and you might get heavily criticized for daring to think outside the box and doubt what are (supposedly) "religious truths". Tell a lie long enough and it becomes the truth.

It takes courage to go against the flow of course and one can only hope that the Americans are what they think they are: courageous and strong enough to hear their cherished truths smashed, allow the scales before their eyes to fall and practise free speech and free thought.

Theo , December 9, 2017 at 6:35 am

Thanks for this article and many others on this site.In Europe and in Germany you hardly hear,read or see any of these facts and their connections.It seems to be only of marginal interest.

Josh Stern , December 9, 2017 at 6:49 am

The CIA was a key force behind the creation of both al Qaeda and ISIS. Most major incidents of "Islamic Terrorism" have some kind of CIA backing behind them. See this large collection of links for compiled evidence: http://www.pearltrees.com/joshstern/government-supporting/id18814292

triekc , December 9, 2017 at 8:27 am

This journalist and other journalists writing on some of my favorite Russian propaganda news websites, have reported the US empire routinely makes "deals with the devil", the enemy of my enemy is my friend, if doing so furthers their goal of perpetual war and global hegemony. Yet, inexplicably, these journalists buy the US empire's 911 story without question, in the face of many unanswered questions.

Beginning in the 1990's, neocons who would become W's cabinet, wrote detailed plans of military regime change in Middle East, but stating they needed a "strong external shock to the United States -- a latter-day 'Pearl Harbor", to get US sheeple to support increased militarism and global war. Few months after W took office, and had appointed those war mongering neocons to positions of power, Bin Laden (CIA staffer) and a handful of his men, all from close allied countries to the US, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, delivered the 2nd Pearl Harbor on 911. What a timely coincidence! We accept the US Empire provides weapons and military support to the same enemy, and worse, who attacked us on 911, but one is labeled a "conspiracy nut" if they believe that same US Empire would orchestrate 911 to justify their long planned global war. One thing about being a "conspiracy nut", if you live long enough, often you will see your beliefs vindicated

Joe Tedesky , December 9, 2017 at 11:27 am

You commented on what I was thinking, and that was, 'remember when al Queda was our enemy on 911'? So now that bin Laden is dead, and his al Queda now fights on our side, shouldn't the war be over? And, just for the record who did attack us on 911?

So many questions, and so much left unanswered, but don't worry America may run out of money for domestic vital needs but the U.S. always has the money to go fight another war. It's a culture thing, and if you ain't into it then you just don't pay no attention to it. In fact if your life is better off from all of these U.S. led invasions, then your probably not posting any comments here, either.

Knowing the Pentagon mentality they probably have an 'al Queda combat medal' to pin on the terrorists chest. Sarcasm I know, but seriously is anything not within the realm of believable when it comes to this MIC establishment?

Christene Bartels , December 9, 2017 at 8:53 am

Great article and spot on as far as the author takes it. But the world is hurtling towards Armageddon so I'd like to back things up about one hundred years and get down to brass tacks.

The fact of the matter is, the M.E. has never been at total peace but it has been nothing but one colossal FUBAR since the Ottoman Empire was defeated after WWI and the Allied Forces got their grubby, greedy mitts on its M.E. territories and all of that luscious black gold. First up was the British Empire and France and then it really went nuclear (literally) in 1946 when Truman and the U.S. joined in the fun and decided to figure out how we could carve out that ancient prime piece of real estate and resurrect Israel. By 1948 ..violà ..there she was.

So now here we sit as the hundred year delusion that we knew what the hell we were doing comes crashing down around us. Seriously, whoever the people have been who thought that a country with the historical perspective of a toddler was going to be able to successfully manage and manipulate a region filled with people who are still tribal in perspective and are still holding grudges and settling scores from five thousand years ago were complete and total arrogant morons. Every single one of them. Up to the present moment.

Which gets me down to those brass tacks I alluded to at the beginning of my comment. Delusional crusades lead by arrogant morons always, always, always end up as ash heaps. So, I would suggest we all prepare for that rapidly approaching conclusion accordingly. For me, that means hitting my knees.

Gregory Herr , December 9, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Middle Eastern people are no more "tribal" or prone to holding grudges than any other people. Middle Eastern people have exhibited and practiced peaceful and tolerant living arrangements within several different contexts over the centuries. Iraq had a fairly thriving middle class and the Syrians are a cultured and educated people.

Gregory Herr , December 9, 2017 at 10:07 pm

Syrian society is constructed very much within the construct of close family ties and a sense of a Syrian homeland. It is solely the business of the Syrian people to decide whether the socialist Ba'ath government functions according to their own sense of realities and standards. Some of those realities may include aspects of a necessitated national security state (necessitated by CIA and Israeli subterfuge) that prompts shills to immediately characterize the Assad government as "an authoritarian regime" and of course that's all you need to know. Part of what pisses the West off about the Syrians is that they are so competent, and that includes their intelligence and security services. One of the other parts is the socialist example of government functioning in interests of the general population, not selling out to vultures.

It bothers me that Mr. Lazare wrote: "Syria's Baathist government is hardly blameless in this affair." Really? Well the Syrian government can hardly be blamed for the vile strategy of using terrorist mercenaries to take or destroy a people's homeland–killing horrific numbers of fathers, mothers, and children on the way to establish some kind of Wild West control over Damascus that can then be manipulated for the typical elite deviances. What was purposely planned and visited upon the Syrian people has had human consequences that were known and disregarded by the planners. It has been and continues to be a grave crime against our common humanity that should be raised to the roof of objection! People like Gambill should be excoriated for their crass appraisal of human costs .and for their contrived and twisted rationalizations and deceits. President Assad recently gave an interview to teleSUR that is worth a listen. He talks about human costs with understanding for what he is talking about. Gambill doesn't give a damn.

BASLE , December 9, 2017 at 10:46 am

From the October 1973 Yom Kippur War onward, the United States had no foreign policy in the Middle East other than Israel's. Daniel Lazare should read "A clean break: a new strategy for the Realm".

Sam F , December 10, 2017 at 9:08 am

Yes, Israel is the cut-out or fence for US politicians stealing campaign money from the federal budget. US policy is that of the bribery sources and nothing else. And it believes that to be professional competence. For the majority of amoral opportunists of the US, money=power=virtue and they will attack all who disagree.

Herman , December 9, 2017 at 10:47 am

"Official Washington helped unleash hell on Syria and across the Mideast behind the naïve belief that jihadist proxies could be used to transform the region for the better, explains Daniel Lazare."

Lazare makes the case very well about our amoral foreign policy but I think he errs in saying our aim was to "transform the region for the better." Recent history, going back to Afghanistan shows a very different goal, to defeat our enemies and the enemies of our allies with little concern for the aftermath. Just observing what has happened to the people where we supported extremists is evidence enough.

Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward men. We hope the conscience of our nation is bothered by our behavior but we know that is not true, and we sleep very well, thank you.

Marilyn Vogt-Downey , December 9, 2017 at 11:18 am

I am stunned that anyone could be so foolish as to think that the US military machine, US imperialism, does things "naively", bumbling like a helpless giant into wars that destroy entire nations with no end in sight. One need not be a "conspiracy theorist" to understand that the Pentagon does not control the world with an ever-expanding war budget equal to the next 10 countries combined, that it does this just because it is stuck on the wrong path. No! US imperialism develops these "big guns" to use them, to overpower, take over and dominate the world for the sake of profits and protection of the right to exploit for private profit.

There is ample evidence–see the Brookings Institute study among many others–that the Gulf monarchies–flunkies of US imperialism–who "host" dozens of US military bases in the region, some of them central to US war strategy–initiated and nourished and armed and financed the "jihadi armies" in Syria AND Libya AND elsewhere; they did not do this on their own. The US government–the executive committee of the US ruling class–does not naively support the Gulf monarchies because it doesn't know any better! Washington (following British imperialism) organized, established and backed these flunky regimes. They are autocratic, antediluvian regimes, allowing virtually civil rights, with no local proletariat to speak of, no popular base. They are no more than sheriffs for imperialism in that region of the world, along with the Zionist state of Israel, helping imperialism do the really dirty work.

I research this and gathered the evidence to support what I just asserted in a long study printed back in Dec. 2015 in Truthout. Here is the link: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/34151-what-is-the-war-on-terror-and-how-to-fight-it

Look at the evidence. Stop the totally foolish assessment that the US government spends all this money on a war machine just to "naively" blunder into wars that level entire nations–and is not taking on destruction of the entire continent of Africa to eliminate any obstacles to its domination.

No! That is foolish and destructive. Unless we look in the face what is going on–the US government since its "secret" intervention in Afghanistan in the 1970s and 1980s, has recruited, trained, armed, funded and relied on jihadi armies to unseat regimes and destabilize and destroy populations and regimes the US government wants to overthrow, and destroy, any that could potentially develop into an alternative model of nationalist, bourgeois industrial development on any level.

Wake up!!! The evidence is there. There is no reason to bumble and bungle along as if we are in the dark.

Randal Marlin , December 9, 2017 at 11:26 am

Daniel Pipes, from what I've read of him, is among those who counsel the U.S. government to use its military power to support the losing side in any civil wars fought within Israel's enemy states, so that the wars will continue, sparing Israel the threat of unified enemy states. What normal human beings consider a humanitarian disaster, repeated in Iraq, Syria and Libya, would be reckoned a success according to this way of thinking.
The thinking would appear to lead to similar treatment of Iran, with even more catastrophic consequences.

Behind all this is the thinking that the survival of Israel outweighs anything else in any global ethical calculus. Those who don't accept this moral premise but who believe in supporting the survival of Israel have their work cut out for them. This work would be made easier if the U.S. population saw clearly what was going on, instead of being preoccupied with salacious sexual misconduct stories or other distractions.

Zachary Smith , December 9, 2017 at 2:43 pm

A Russian interceptor has been scrambled to stop a rogue US fighter jet from actively interfering with an anti-terrorist operation, the Russian Defense Ministry said. It also accused the US of provoking close encounters with the Russian jets in Syria.

A US F-22 fighter was preventing two Russian Su-25 strike aircraft from bombing an Islamic State (IS, former ISIS) base to the west of the Euphrates November 23, according to the ministry. The ministry's spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov described the episode as yet another example of US aircraft attempts to prevent Russian forces from carrying out strikes against Islamic State.

"The F-22 launched decoy flares and used airbrakes while constantly maneuvering [near the Russian strike jets], imitating an air fight," Konashenkov said. He added that the US jet ceased its dangerous maneuvers only after a Russian Su-35S fighter jet joined the two strike planes.

If this story is true, then it illustrates a number of things. First, the US is still providing ISIS air cover. Second, either the F-22 pilot or his commander is dumber than dirt. The F-22 may be a fine airplane, but getting into a contest with an equally fine non-stealth airplane at eyeball distances means throwing away every advantage of the super-expensive stealth.

Zachary Smith , December 9, 2017 at 2:43 pm

https://www.rt.com/news/412590-russia-us-syria-air-force/

Pablo Diablo , December 9, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Gotta keep the War Machine well fed and insure Corporate control of markets and taking of resources.

Abe , December 9, 2017 at 2:54 pm

In October 1973, a nuclear armed rogue state almost triggered a global thermonuclear war.

Yom Kippur: Israel's 1973 nuclear alert
By Richard Sale
https://www.upi.com/Yom-Kippur-Israels-1973-nuclear-alert/64941032228992/

Israel obtained operational nuclear weapons capability by 1967, with the mass production of nuclear warheads occurring immediately after the Six-Day War. In addition to the Israeli nuclear arsenal, Israel has offensive chemical and biological warfare stockpiles.

Israel, the Middle East's sole nuclear power, is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In 2015, the US-based Institute for Science and International Security estimated that Israel had 115 nuclear warheads. Outside estimates of Israel's nuclear arsenal range up to 400 nuclear weapons.

Israeli nuclear weapons delivery mechanisms include Jericho 3 missiles, with a range of 4,800 km to 6,500 km (though a 2004 source estimated its range at up to 11,500 km), as well as regional coverage from road mobile Jericho 2 IRBMs.

Additionally, Israel is believed to have an offshore nuclear capability using submarine-launched nuclear-capable cruise missiles, which can be launched from the Israeli Navy's Dolphin-class submarines.

The Israeli Air Force has F-15I and F-16I Sufa fighter aircraft are capable of delivering tactical and strategic nuclear weapons at long distances using conformal fuel tanks and supported by their aerial refueling fleet of modified Boeing 707's.

In 1986, Mordechai Vanunu, a former technician at Dimona, fled to the United Kingdom and revealed to the media some evidence of Israel's nuclear program and explained the purposes of each building, also revealing a top-secret underground facility directly below the installation.

The Mossad, Israel's secret service, sent a female agent who lured Vanunu to Italy, where he was kidnapped by Mossad agents and smuggled to Israel aboard a freighter. An Israeli court then tried him in secret on charges of treason and espionage, and sentenced him to eighteen years imprisonment.

At the time of Vanunu's kidnapping, The Times reported that Israel had material for approximately 20 hydrogen bombs and 200 fission bombs by 1986. In the spring of 2004, Vanunu was released from prison, and placed under several strict restrictions, such as the denial of a passport, freedom of movement limitations and restrictions on communications with the press. Since his release, he has been rearrested and charged multiple times for violations of the terms of his release.

Safety concerns about this 40-year-old reactor have been reported. In 2004, as a preventive measure, Israeli authorities distributed potassium iodide anti-radiation tablets to thousands of residents living nearby. Local residents have raised concerns regarding serious threats to health from living near the reactor.

According to a lawsuit filed in Be'er Sheva Labor Tribunal, workers at the center were subjected to human experimentation in 1998. According to Julius Malick, the worker who submitted the lawsuit, they were given drinks containing uranium without medical supervision and without obtaining written consent or warning them about risks of side effects.

In April 2016 the U.S. National Security Archive declassified dozens of documents from 1960 to 1970, which detail what American intelligence viewed as Israel's attempts to obfuscate the purpose and details of its nuclear program. The Americans involved in discussions with Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and other Israelis believed the country was providing "untruthful cover" about intentions to build nuclear weapons.

mike k , December 9, 2017 at 6:38 pm

The machinations of those seeking to gain advantages for themselves by hurting others, are truly appalling. If we fail to name evil for what it is, then we fail as human beings.Those who look the other way as their country engages in an organized reign of terror, are complicit in that enormous crime.

Den Lille Abe , December 9, 2017 at 8:54 pm

The path the US has chosen since the end of WWII has been over dead bodies. In the name of "security", bringing "Freedom" and "Democracy" and complete unconstrained greed it has trampled countless nations into piles of rubble. To say it is despised or loathed is an overwhelming understatement. It is almost universally hated in the third world. Rightly. Bringing this monstrosity to a halt is a difficult task, and probably cannot be done militarily without a nuclear war, economically could in the end have the same outcome, then how?

Easy! Ruin its population. This process has started, long ago. The decline in the US of health, general wealth, nutrition, production, education, equality, ethics and morals is already showing as cracks in the fabrics of the US.

A population of incarcerated, obese, low iQ zealot junkies, armed to teeth with guns, in a country with a crumbling infrastructure, full of environmental disasters is 21 st century for most Americans. In all the areas I mentioned the US is going backwards compared to most other countries. So the monster will come down.

turk151 , December 9, 2017 at 10:20 pm

I think you are being a little hard on the incarcerated, obese, low iQ zealot junkies, armed to teeth with guns

I am not sure who is more loathsome the evangelicals who were supporting the Bush / Cheney cabal murderous wars until the bitter end or the liberal intelligentsia careerist cheerleaders for Obama and Hilary's Wars in Iraq and Syria, who also dont give a damn about another Arab country being destroyed and sold into slavery as long as Hillary gets elected. At least with the former group, you can chalk it up to a lack of education.

Linda Wood , December 10, 2017 at 1:52 am

This is possibly the most intelligent and hopeful discussion I have read since 9/11. It says that at least some Americans do see that we have a fascist cell in our government. That is the first step in finding a way to unplug it. Best wishes to all of you who have written here. We will find a way to put war out of business.

Barbara van der Wal-Kylstra , December 10, 2017 at 2:46 am

I think this pattern of using Salafists for regime change started already in Afghanistan, with Brzezinski plotting with Saudi-Arabia and Pakistan to pay and train Osama bin Laden to attack the pro Russia regime and trying to get the USSR involved in it, also trying to blame the USSR for its agression, like they did in Syri"r?

Sam F , December 10, 2017 at 9:18 am

Yes, the Brzezinski/Reagan support of fanatic insurgencies began in AfPak and was revived for the zionists. Russia happened to be on the side more or less tending to progress in both cases, so it had to be opposed. The warmongers are always the US MIC/intel, allied with the anti-American zionist fascists for Mideast wars.

Luutzen , December 10, 2017 at 9:15 am

Sheldon Adelson, Soros, Saban all wanted carving up of Arabic states into small sectarian pieces (No Nasseric pan-Arabic states, a threat to Israël). And protracted wars of total destruction. Easy.

mike k , December 10, 2017 at 11:05 am

The US Military is part of the largest terrorist organization on Earth. For the super rich and powerful rulers of that US Mafia, the ignorant religious fanatics and other tools of Empire are just pawns in their game of world domination and universal slavery for all but themselves. These monsters of evil delight in profiting from the destruction of others; but their insatiable greed for more power will never be satisfied, and will become the cause of the annihilation of every living thing – including themselves. But like other sold out human addicts, at this point they don't really care, and will blindly pursue their nightmare quest to the very end – and perhaps they secretly hope that that final end of everything will at last quench their burning appetite for blood and gold.

Joe Tedesky , December 10, 2017 at 11:12 am

I'm leaving a link to a very long David Swanson article, where Mr Swanson goes into quite a lot of detail to how the U.S. wages war.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2017/12/76-years-pearl-harbor-lies.html

Brendan , December 10, 2017 at 12:09 pm

What's interesting of course is how not just Washington, but much of the 'left' also cheered on the jihadists.

Of course, they were told (by whom?) that the jihadists were 'democratic rebels' and 'freedom fighters' who just wanted to 'bring democracy' to Syria, and get rid of the 'tyrant Assad.' 5 years later, so much of the nonsense about "local councils" and "white helmets" has been exposed for what it was. Yet many 'free thinking' people bought the propaganda. Just like they do on Russiagate. Who needs an "alt-right" when America's "left" is a total disgrace?

[Dec 09, 2017] DNC's Unity Commission Further Dividing the Party

Currently in the USA only nationalist politicians display some level of courage and authenticity. That's why they attract people.
The problem with superdelegates in Democratic Party is just the tip of the iceberg of the "Clinton transformation" of the party. The Part is now neoliberal party that have nothing to do with the democracy. At best it would qualify as a moderate Republican wing.
Notable quotes:
"... This endless compromise won't work. The odds of the Dems intentionally trading their Big Money Corporate Supporters like Monsanto for the Working Class is somewhere between slim and none, at least in my lifetime. ..."
"... If the superdelegates were limited to currently serving Democratic members of Congress, currently serving Democratic state governors, and current or former Democratic Presidents and Vice-Presidents, it would be a huge improvement. ..."
"... No lobbyists, no big city mayors, and no state party bosses (unless they are also in one of the other permitted categories). ..."
"... I suppose it doesn't help that I watched the Truman & Wallace episodes of Oliver Stone's "Untold History of the United States" last night. But even before that I've been haunted by the image of shadow on the steps of Sumitomo Bank in Hiroshima, Japan. Recalling that image, the DNC's betrayals of the American people, and the short-sighted and self-serving actions of those who rule us -- detailed in trivialities by Norman Solomon -- combined these give fuller meaning to the comment Bernie Sanders made about those who rule us and their greatest concern about their place on the Titanic. ..."
"... Team D cares not a whit for its voters, but it cares very much for the concerns of big donors. ..."
"... under the new rules, those superdelegates would have to tie their votes on the convention's first ballot to the outcome of primaries and caucuses. In 2016, all superdelegates were allowed to support either candidate. ..."
"... In other words, will the practice of Clinton or the Clintonites locking the superdelegate vote up early just be merely reshaped by this process, with a new sheen of faux democracy, rather than inhibited? ..."
"... This is why the comment above by Quanka is astute: You have to tell the Democrats (and Republicans) that you won't owe your vote to them. And that you are going to burn down the party if it doesn't serve the commonwealth. ..."
"... See my post below when it comes out of moderation; Our country does have a progressive/populist tradition, but everything possible is done to erase it from contemporary memory. Now buried to memory is the history of the Non-Partisan League of North Dakota, the Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota, and even the Reform Republicanism of the early 1900's (Wisconsin's Robert M. La Follette for instance). ..."
"... I hate to tell you, but the New York City subway actually costs $2.75. Another testament to the neoliberal con game, as practiced by the Metropolitan Transit Authority. ..."
"... What is ironic about this issue of superdelegates is that the so called "Democratic" party has them and the party of the elite, the Republicans, do not (well, they do, but at a much smaller % and they are required to vote for whoever won their respective state primary). What is also ironic is that the reason the Dems came up with this system was to prevent blowouts in the election. Carter and McGovern had gotten trounced. The feeling was that "wiser" heads, i.e. experienced politicians could steer the party toward a more electable candidate. And how did that work out for them? First time superdelegates voted in 1984, Mondale lost 49 out of 50 states to Reagan. ..."
"... The Democrat Party is run by a bunch of careerist hacks. This is why the GOP is actually more "democratic" (and got hijacked by Trump): because it's not run by careerist hacks who are more concerned about protecting their rice bowls than they are about being responsive to the electorate. These hacks got paid a billion dollars to run the losing 2016 campaign -- they "won" the election by their self-serving metric, and now get to pay themselves to "resist" the administration that they caused to be elected through their self-serving careerism. ..."
"... And now with current 'RussiaGate' nonsense and the rest of it, and all the wars, including the genocidal destruction of Libya, and some other things, I can never again vote for a Democrat, and I won't vote for a Republican either. I voted for a Socialist once but those votes were not counted because he could not satisfy the requirements to get on the ballot -- petitions and registering in over 200 districts in the state. No one decent gets through the machine. ..."
"... The DNC's Unity Commission's behavior confirms that the real goal of the leadership of the DNC is exactly the opposite of the name of the commission. So what is their real goal? To prevent the emergence of a progressive majority. In fact, this has been their goal for decades; and in fairness, they have been very successful in realizing it to the detriment of the majority of We the People. ..."
"... While I was at the post office, I had a conversation with a longtime friend who is now in the Arizona House of Representatives. She just got elected last year. Even though she is officially a Democratic Party member, she ran as a progressive and that's how she rolls in the House. Get this, she spent this morning addressing a conservative youth group and they loved it. Compared to what they usually hear from politicians, they found her speech refreshing. It was all about balanced policy, and if she posts a video, I will share it. Perhaps the DNC will pay attention. ..."
"... I approve of bringing up this suppressed history of our country's leftist, progressive, socialist, even communist strands, not to mention the multi racial and class political alliance, social organizations, and very frequently personal connections including marriages. Don't forget that the power structure used propaganda, legislation, the law, and armed mobs that often especially, but not only, in the South with rope necklaces, lead poisoning, or if you were "lucky" multi-decade prison terms, or just merely having your home/church/business burnt. This has never really stopped. Like when Jim Crow continues by other means, so did the anti-organization. Chicago, Detroit, the South,etc. Sadly, the black misleadership also help, albeit without the violence, after MLK and others, were no longer a problem. ..."
"... So centuries of poor whites, blacks, native Americans, religious leaders, even some business leaders and some upper class people, struggling together, usually dealing with violence and murder have been dropped into the memory hole. ..."
"... Some days I just want to start screaming and not stop. ..."
Dec 09, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

JCC , December 9, 2017 at 8:59 am

Having just read the Autopsy report at https://democraticautopsy.org/wp-content/uploads/Autopsy-The-Democratic-Party-In-Crisis.pdf I couldn't agree more.

The Report is fair, but supporting things like reduction of Super Delegates from the mid-700s to mid-200s is wrong! Complaining about lack of democracy within the Party means getting rid of them altogether! That's just one small example.

This endless compromise won't work. The odds of the Dems intentionally trading their Big Money Corporate Supporters like Monsanto for the Working Class is somewhere between slim and none, at least in my lifetime.

John k , December 9, 2017 at 10:34 am

Reducing to 200 supers is a good start. Bernie woulda likely won on that basis.

Vatch , December 9, 2017 at 1:02 pm

It is a good start. If the superdelegates were limited to currently serving Democratic members of Congress, currently serving Democratic state governors, and current or former Democratic Presidents and Vice-Presidents, it would be a huge improvement.

No lobbyists, no big city mayors, and no state party bosses (unless they are also in one of the other permitted categories).

Jeremy Grimm , December 9, 2017 at 12:25 pm

I can't point to any particulars -- but I felt something disingenuous about Norman Solomon -- something 'off'. An even meaner thought came to mind as I listened to his complaints and details of the DNC machinations -- Norman Solomon would be perfect to work for unity in the Green Party. He could make theater of herding the Green cats and accomplish nothing in particular.

I suppose it doesn't help that I watched the Truman & Wallace episodes of Oliver Stone's "Untold History of the United States" last night. But even before that I've been haunted by the image of shadow on the steps of Sumitomo Bank in Hiroshima, Japan. Recalling that image, the DNC's betrayals of the American people, and the short-sighted and self-serving actions of those who rule us -- detailed in trivialities by Norman Solomon -- combined these give fuller meaning to the comment Bernie Sanders made about those who rule us and their greatest concern about their place on the Titanic.

But this time the DNC has no dying Roosevelt to tack a Truman onto.

Amfortas the Hippie , December 9, 2017 at 2:20 pm

Aye! and you can't burn a thing down by continuing to send it money, or lend it undying support, or by continuing to vote for their horrible lesser evil moderate republican candidates.

I quit the damned party as loudly as i could in november 2016 emails to all and sundry, chewing them all new ones, as it were.

i never heard a word back, of course and the AI that runs the damned thing keeps sending me emails begging for cash; and surveys,lol which i send back to them with my chicken scratch all in the margins with my outrage and my considered opinions. i assume all that goes unread, as well. perhaps if i incorporated and obtained a po box in the caymans or pulau or somewhere

Ted Whittemore , December 9, 2017 at 8:38 am

Short-term (2018)–Norman Solomon is right. Only the Democratic party is in a position to defeat the rightists. In the longer term, Howie Hawkins's recent argument for a new, genuinely working-class party is more convincing to me. It's a lot more work, though.

John Wright , December 9, 2017 at 10:06 am

What may push the Democrats to eventual reform is poor fundraising. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/08/21/the-dncs-abysmal-fundraising/ But one wonders if Dems will amp up their willingness to do the bidding of the donor class in a last ditch effort to increase their personal wealth.

The DNC may be becoming irrelevant, but individual Democratic politicians can monetize their current positions as they stock their personal lifeboats before the Bernie Sanders mentioned Titanic goes down..

Sid_finster , December 9, 2017 at 1:57 pm

Team D cares not a whit for its voters, but it cares very much for the concerns of big donors.

WobblyTelomeres , December 9, 2017 at 5:13 pm

Substitute R for D and your statement remains true.

oh , December 9, 2017 at 10:18 am

Instead of thinking short term and trying stay in the Dim party real left wing people need to take the long term view and start a new party which will be the only way forward.

lb , December 9, 2017 at 10:20 am

I peeked at the News Hour coverage from PBS to check the official line:

In the draft proposal, a special national party commission calls for keeping some 400 members of the Democratic National Committee as automatic delegates to the convention.

But under the new rules, those superdelegates would have to tie their votes on the convention's first ballot to the outcome of primaries and caucuses. In 2016, all superdelegates were allowed to support either candidate.

And yet

Cohen and other Democrats stressed, however, that commission members have been busy circulating amendments ahead of the commission's weekend gathering in metro Washington.

So, which superdelegates will remain and with what actual constraints, and how far does this move the system away from the status quo? In light of Solomon's interview, I do wonder about actuarial sleigh-of-hand here. Is there a way of affecting a likely purge of 2020 Sanders/"grass-roots" aligned superdelegates now? Is there a way of suggesting that the superdelegates must vote as the states' primaries/caucuses (thus defanging them) but then not actually imposing any real penalty of these "party elders" and such? (Will 2020 be about "unfaithful superdelegates voting their conscience against the party rules for the greater good"?)

In other words, will the practice of Clinton or the Clintonites locking the superdelegate vote up early just be merely reshaped by this process, with a new sheen of faux democracy, rather than inhibited?

DJG , December 9, 2017 at 10:24 am

The report itself is worth reading. I downloaded it a while back when Lambert and Yves first posted it.

Solomon gets Moore wrong. Moore is not a neo-fascist or fascist. Moore represents some very deep-seated religious ideas that are prevalent in the South and in the border states. When Naked Capitalism and other sources report a bishop of an African-American church making rather ambiguous comments about the rock with the Ten Commandments, we see an ancient religious attitude emerging:

http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2017/12/roy_moore_speaks_at_a_black_ch.html

Yet as many Southerners point out, the South has a progressive / populist tradition. And where are the Democrats? To me, this is part of the thorough corruption of the party and its deterioration into a fan club. Too many Democrats are looking for fascists and Rooskies. People are fleeing the party, and various Democrats living the "Don't know much about history" aspect of U.S. culture are desperately trying to pin the fascist label on people. And what is the solution being offered? Fly in Jon Ossoff? He didn't live in the congressional district where he ran anyway, going counter to another deeply held U.S. tradition, that you live in your district.

This isn't about "smart" or not smart thinking. This is about people being so thoroughly corrupt in their thinking that they can only frame questions corruptly and give corrupt answers. Maybe I'm being hard on Solomon, but looking for Benito Mussolini in Alabama is wrong history, wrong metaphor, wrong diagnosis, wrong meme.

Next up? The question and and answer of "gentle" "entitlement" "reform." Corrupt from its very inception.

This is why the comment above by Quanka is astute: You have to tell the Democrats (and Republicans) that you won't owe your vote to them. And that you are going to burn down the party if it doesn't serve the commonwealth.

Watt4Bob , December 9, 2017 at 11:39 am

/\x2

See my post below when it comes out of moderation; Our country does have a progressive/populist tradition, but everything possible is done to erase it from contemporary memory. Now buried to memory is the history of the Non-Partisan League of North Dakota, the Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota, and even the Reform Republicanism of the early 1900's (Wisconsin's Robert M. La Follette for instance).

DJG , December 9, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Watt4Bob: You refer here and below to the states along the inland sea, in a sense, the rather eccentric Great Lakes States. I'd add:

–Chicago agitators and the Haymarket "Riot" (which the police caused)
–The United Auto Workers (Flint strike among others).
–Unions and Youngstown.
–Jane Addams and her own ideas about building community and building peace.
–The Milwaukee Socialists and the mayoralty there.
–The whole rambunctious structure (if it's a structure) of neighborhood associations in Chicago, where many of those involved in the Harold Washington campaign got their start.
–Henry Gerber, the Society for Human Rights, and the first agitation for acceptance of gay people, 1924, Chicago. Who even knew that midwesterners thought about politico-sexual themes?

Yes, there is very talented group of people here who simply have to cut down on the distractions and get back to work.

Big River Bandido , December 9, 2017 at 8:49 pm

Socialism was actually a powerful movement -- with elected officials -- all throughout the Upper Midwest during the so-called Progressive Era and the 1920s. Part of this was a result of German settlements; any Midwestern town with a significant population of Germans (especially from Hamburg) had a strong socialist impulse. Often this was manifest in the elected officials, but even where the Socialists didn't win elections, they were able to influence policy.

I have little patience for the so-called "Democrats" who, as you said above "don't know much about history".

Rosario , December 9, 2017 at 5:27 pm

Thank you for bringing those points up. I'd say that buzzwords like fascist and Nazi are bull horned (as opposed to Republican dog whistles) only as a means to distract from actual policy issues (vis-a-vis Bernie), but I wonder if it is the case that even the most cynical Clintonites believe their own BS at this point. These narratives have taken on a life of their own.

I don't think Norman Solomon has bad intentions. If anything he is appealing to pragmatism and reason too strongly in a political environment that is unreasonable. Bernie does a much better job at blowing the emotional horn just enough to fit the political zeitgeist while maintaining an engine of actual policy issues to move his political machine. Historically, this has always been a successful strategy for socialists, Americans love fire-brands.

As far as Norman's claims of fascism I just don't see how tossing around those terms adds any strategic value to the political struggle against the right. It just comes across as preaching to the choir. We (the left) all know Moore is an ass, calling him fascist doesn't make that any more evident. The trick is trying to understand why he is still viable politically to a significant number of people despite being an ass. This was the mistake made with Trump. To loosely paraphrase Adolph Reed, calling something fascist or Nazi and $2.25 will get me a ride on the subway but it does nothing to develop action to counter right wing agendas. The normalization of the right (Republicans) does not occur because they have "better ideas" (their current tax bill shows they aren't even trying to appeal to 99% of society) it is because the current left option in the USA (Democrats) are offering no ideas , or certain members are not allowed to express ideas because of corporate power and corporate-supported political power. Assuming I am directing this at the DNC, then who is actually supporting the so-called fascists?

As goes fascism in the United States, I don't really think anyone has a good definition. Some see it as a politics that are largely aesthetic as opposed to based on discourse or debate. Some see it as a marriage of corporate power with state power with police and military supremacy. By those two measures I think the USA is already deeply fascist. Though it seems by the current measures, the only thing that make someone unequivocally fascist (or Nazi) is their being a bigot. This simplistic view of fascism is an insult to history, and all the people that either died fighting fascism or were sacrificed at its political altar.

Big River Bandido , December 9, 2017 at 8:51 pm

I hate to tell you, but the New York City subway actually costs $2.75. Another testament to the neoliberal con game, as practiced by the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Jack , December 9, 2017 at 10:56 am

What is ironic about this issue of superdelegates is that the so called "Democratic" party has them and the party of the elite, the Republicans, do not (well, they do, but at a much smaller % and they are required to vote for whoever won their respective state primary). What is also ironic is that the reason the Dems came up with this system was to prevent blowouts in the election. Carter and McGovern had gotten trounced. The feeling was that "wiser" heads, i.e. experienced politicians could steer the party toward a more electable candidate. And how did that work out for them? First time superdelegates voted in 1984, Mondale lost 49 out of 50 states to Reagan.

Watt4Bob , December 9, 2017 at 11:19 am

I think a little history would be useful at this point to help us understand that we've been this way before.

As concerns the Minnesota Farmer-Labor party which later merged with the Minnesota Democratic Party to form the DFL, which has lately devolved, IMO, Wellstone and Franken not withstanding, to much more closely resemble the party of Clintonism than the party of the young Hubert Humphrey.

Quotes are from Wikipedia ;

The Minnesota Farmer–Labor Party emerged from the Nonpartisan League in North Dakota and the Union Labor Party in Duluth, Minnesota, on a platform of farmer and labor union protection, government ownership of certain industries, and social security laws.[2] One of the primary obstacles of the party, besides constant vilification on the pages of local and state newspapers, was the difficulty of uniting the party's divergent base and maintaining political union between rural farmers and urban laborers who often had little in common other than the populist perception that they were an oppressed class of hardworking producers exploited by a small elite.

That 'divergent base' thing ring a bell anyone?

"The farmer approached problems as a proprietor or petty capitalist. Relief to him meant a mitigation of conditions that interfered with successful farming. It involved such things as tax reduction, easier access to credit, and a floor under farm prices. His individualist psychology did not create scruples against government aid, but he welcomed it only as long as it improved agricultural conditions. When official paternalism took the form of public works or the dole, he openly opposed it because assistance on such terms forced him to abandon his chosen profession, to submerge his individuality in the labor crew, and to suffer the humiliation of the bread line. Besides, a public works program required increased revenue, and since the state relied heavily on the property tax, the cost of the program seemed likely to fall primarily on him.

At the opposite end of the seesaw sat the city worker, who sought relief from the hunger, exposure, and disease that followed the wake of unemployment. Dependent on an impersonal industrial machine, he had sloughed off the frontier tradition of individualism for the more serviceable doctrine of cooperation through trade unionism. Unlike the depressed farmer, the unemployed worker often had no property or economic stake to protect. He was largely immune to taxation and had nothing to lose by backing proposals to dilute property rights or redistribute the wealth. Driven by the primitive instinct to survive, the worker demanded financial relief measures from the state."

The upper-midwest was fly-over land long before the Wright brothers, and it makes perfect sense that the the Minnesota Farmer-Labor, and its predecessor, the Non-Partisan League of North Dakota should sprout here, where the effects of elite neglect/abuse and the related Great Depression had left We the People feeling mis/unrepresented by the two national parties.

Of course it's good to remember that Hubert Humphrey, and the Minnesota Democratic party did not embrace the populist revolt until it had been successful on its own, in electing multiple Minnesota Governors, Senators, and Representatives in the 1920-30's, but embrace it they did, and from 1944 until the 1970's, the DFL stood for something a bit more than the local franchise of the National Party.

I strongly encourage you to follow the links in the quotes above, you'll find the history of, among other things, the Bank of North Dakota, still the only state-owned bank in the country, founded in 1919 to allow ND farmers to break the strangle-hold that banks in Minneapolis and Chicago held over the farmers of the northern plains, and demand of working people for free, universal health-care.

So far, the Democratic party, sadly, including the DFL, seems dedicated to putting down the populist revolt by its neglected base, but with some hard work maybe this time around we can figure out how to shorten the time between being resisted and being embraced.

The enemies are perennial, so are the solutions, but populism did have a season of successes in the first half of the 20th century, and there is no reason to think it couldn't happen again.

Remember too, the Non Partisan League of Alberta Canada, and was one of the principal champions of universal healthcare that Canadians now enjoy.

Jerry , December 9, 2017 at 11:19 am

I think incumbent Governors and Congress members have earned the right to be a super delegate by virtue of having won their own election. Their re-election will be affected by the top of the ticket.

If Repubs had been blessed with super delegates, would Trump have still won?

Vatch , December 9, 2017 at 1:06 pm

Yes! I missed your comment when I posted a reply to another comment at 1:02 pm.

flora , December 9, 2017 at 1:19 pm

July 2016, after the primaries were over, the WaPo, that bastion of Dem estab groupthink, suggested the GOP adopt super delegates to avoid another surprise primary outcome. And we see how well not having super delegates turned out for the GOP.

"There are probably a few missteps I am forgetting. Priebus's spinelessness may well result in an irretrievably divided party, not to mention a humiliating loss in a critical, entirely winnable election. Priebus's successor had better learn some lessons from 2016. He or she might also consider using super delegates. It turns out party grownups are needed. This cycle they've been AWOL."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2016/07/08/ten-mistakes-reince-priebus-made/?utm_term=.0c7187bd122d

Fast forward to today. Yeah, not having super delegates really cost the GOP in the general election. not.

Sluggeaux , December 9, 2017 at 12:38 pm

The Democrat Party is run by a bunch of careerist hacks. This is why the GOP is actually more "democratic" (and got hijacked by Trump): because it's not run by careerist hacks who are more concerned about protecting their rice bowls than they are about being responsive to the electorate. These hacks got paid a billion dollars to run the losing 2016 campaign -- they "won" the election by their self-serving metric, and now get to pay themselves to "resist" the administration that they caused to be elected through their self-serving careerism.

They're not going to let go of the self-licking ice cream cone that the Democrat Party has become until their comprehensive election losses make it obvious to the Wall Street Wing that they're wasting their money. That day may be coming soon; however, the current coup d'etat in Washington may render a party of $27 donors irrelevant

Amfortas the Hippie , December 9, 2017 at 4:28 pm

This: "until their comprehensive election losses make it obvious to the Wall Street Wing that they're wasting their money. "^^^

A similar sentiment was included in all of the flurry of angry emails i sent hither and yon when I quit the demparty right after the election. ie: the current course of pleasing the donors is unsustainable if they continue to chase off their own base. what are the donors paying for?

one would presume a voice in gooberment .meaning won seats,lol.
without voters, why would any self respecting conglomerate continue to shell out dough to the demparty?
of course, all the hippie-punching and other abuse of their base makes perfect sense if the demparty is, in truth, a ringer party for the oligarchs a pressure relief valve, like on the side of a water heater
if, in other words, they pretend to be the "opposition" and "for the people"(tm) so all us'n's don't go rabid and Wobbly.
This seems a more and more likely explanation every week.

Blue Pilgrim , December 9, 2017 at 2:37 pm

Perhaps old age and failing memory is to blame, but I can't remember not hearing the nonsense arguments of 'vote for the lesser of two evils and reform from within', and the fear mongering about the right or Republicans winning. (Republicans used to have sort-of 'liberal' members, like Lowell Weicker, who would make current Democrats look like fascists -- well, a lot of them are really ). It never worked and everything just gets worse.

And now with current 'RussiaGate' nonsense and the rest of it, and all the wars, including the genocidal destruction of Libya, and some other things, I can never again vote for a Democrat, and I won't vote for a Republican either. I voted for a Socialist once but those votes were not counted because he could not satisfy the requirements to get on the ballot -- petitions and registering in over 200 districts in the state. No one decent gets through the machine.

I've given up on both parties, and their phony elections -- there are no solutions there. What is needed is to see through the games and destroy the machine. Not easy but there is no other way. Solomon is part of the machine, and the so-called 'progressives' are not progressive. We are at the point where the only possible solutions are radical -- striking at the root. The collapse of the empire and capitalism (corporatism -- just a larval stage of fascism) is coming one way or another because it is not sustainable -- and that which cannot be sustained will not be. It's like how slavery and feudalism reached a point where they could no longer survive as dominant systems, nor returned to as such (similar to how the gold standard, or non-tech agricultural society can not be universally restored). The writing finger moves on.

We can either see how the global wind of history and culture is blowing and intelligently move ahead with it, or we can destroy ourselves. The action must be on the streets, in the workplace, from the masses, in collective consciousness, and world wide. Democrat shills like Solomon and clowns like Trump should be ignored as symptomatic noise.

Interview of Richard Wolff by Jimmy Dore has some hints:
https://subtletv.com/baajhiq/Jimmy_Dore_Show_goes_full_socialist_with_Prof_Richard_Wolff

Chauncey Gardiner , December 9, 2017 at 2:59 pm

The DNC's Unity Commission's behavior confirms that the real goal of the leadership of the DNC is exactly the opposite of the name of the commission. So what is their real goal? To prevent the emergence of a progressive majority. In fact, this has been their goal for decades; and in fairness, they have been very successful in realizing it to the detriment of the majority of We the People.

Thank you for shining the light on this latest episode of their actions for their financial benefactors.

Arizona Slim , December 9, 2017 at 3:36 pm

Just got back from running errands. While I was at the post office, I had a conversation with a longtime friend who is now in the Arizona House of Representatives. She just got elected last year. Even though she is officially a Democratic Party member, she ran as a progressive and that's how she rolls in the House. Get this, she spent this morning addressing a conservative youth group and they loved it. Compared to what they usually hear from politicians, they found her speech refreshing. It was all about balanced policy, and if she posts a video, I will share it. Perhaps the DNC will pay attention.

JBird , December 9, 2017 at 5:51 pm

it's really not possible for the leaders at the national level of the Democratic Party to have a close working relationship with the base when it's afraid of the base.

And strangely, this is a big reason for why after three plus decades, I am no longer an active member of the party. If you treat the majority of American nation as dangerous, deplorable, or at best just dumb, please don't be shocked when people start either start ignoring you, or just try to get rid of.

I approve of bringing up this suppressed history of our country's leftist, progressive, socialist, even communist strands, not to mention the multi racial and class political alliance, social organizations, and very frequently personal connections including marriages. Don't forget that the power structure used propaganda, legislation, the law, and armed mobs that often especially, but not only, in the South with rope necklaces, lead poisoning, or if you were "lucky" multi-decade prison terms, or just merely having your home/church/business burnt. This has never really stopped. Like when Jim Crow continues by other means, so did the anti-organization. Chicago, Detroit, the South,etc. Sadly, the black misleadership also help, albeit without the violence, after MLK and others, were no longer a problem.

So centuries of poor whites, blacks, native Americans, religious leaders, even some business leaders and some upper class people, struggling together, usually dealing with violence and murder have been dropped into the memory hole.

Some days I just want to start screaming and not stop.

[Dec 09, 2017] Hyping the Russian Threat to Undermine Free Speech by Max Blumenthal

Highly recommended!
This is a simply a brilliant article. Probably the best written on the subject so far. Kudos to Max Blumenthal
Thinks tanks are really ideological tanks -- formidable weapon in propaganda wars that crush everything on its way. And taken together far right think tanks financed by defense sector or intelligence agencies are really a shadow far right political party with its own neocon agenda. Actually subverting the will of American people (who elected Trump) for more peaceful relations (aka detente) with Russia in favor of interest of weapon manufactures and the army of "national security parasites".
At a time when the ruling elite, across virtually the entire western world, is… losing it; it being, political legitimacy and the breakdown of any semblance of a social contract between the ruled and the rulers those think tanks decides to create a fake narrative and blame Russians. Is not this a classic variant of projection ?
The slow strangulation of the US MSM means the crisis of confidence. A strong and confident ruling class welcomes criticism and is ready to brush it all off with a smile and a shrug. When they start running scared and pretending there is no dissent or opposition, well, this is a sign of of degradation of the ruling elite. They are losing the battle of ideas and the battle of solutions to social problems. All that really stands between them and a social revolution is a thin veneer of 'authority' and status, as well as intelligence agencies spying on everybody.
Now all those well paid ( and sometimes even talented) war propagandist intend to substitute the real crisis of neoliberalism in the USA demonstrated during the recent Presidential Elections for the artificial problem of Russian meddling. And they are succeeding in this unfair and evil substitution. The also manage to "poison the well" -- relation between two nations were now at the level probably lower then during Cold War (when many Russians were sympathetic to the USA). I think 70% of Democratic voters now are convinced the Russia was meddling in the USA election and about 30% of Republican voters also think so. For the creators of 'artificial reality" such numbers signify big success. A very big success to be exact.
Notable quotes:
"... In perhaps the most chilling moment of the hearings, and the most overlooked, Clint Watts, a former U.S. Army officer who had branded himself an expert on Russian meddling, appeared before a nearly empty Senate chamber. Watts conjured up a stark landscape of American carnage, with shadowy Russian operatives stage managing the chaos ..."
"... The spectacle perfectly illustrated the madness of Russiagate, with liberal lawmakers springboarding off the fear of Russian meddling to demand that Americans be forbidden from consuming the wrong kinds of media ..."
"... A former U.S. Army officer who spent years in obscurity at a defense industry funded think tank called the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), Watts has become a go-to source for cable news producers and print journalists on the subject of Russian bots, always available with a comment that reinforces the sense that America is under sustained cyborg attack. This September, his employers at FPRI hailed him as "the leading expert on developments related to Russian-backed efforts to not only influence the 2016 presidential election, but also to inflame racial and cultural divisions within the U.S. and across Europe." ..."
"... Watts boasts an impressive-looking bio that is replete with fancy sounding fellowships at national security-oriented outfits, including George Washington University's Center Cyber and Homeland Security. His bio also indicates that he served on an FBI Joint Terror Task Force. ..."
"... Though Watts is best known for his punditry on Russian interference, it's fair to say he is as much an expert on Russian affairs as Harvey Weinstein is a trusted voice on feminism. Indeed, Watts appears to speak no Russian, has no record of reporting or scholarship from inside Russia, and has produced little to no work of any discernible academic value on Russian affairs. ..."
"... Whether or not he has the substance to support his claims of expertise, Watts has proven a talented salesman, catering to popular fears about Russian interference while he plies credulous lawmakers with ease. ..."
"... In the widely publicized testimony, Watts explained to the panel of senators that he first noticed the pernicious presence of Russian social media bots after he co-authored an article in 2014 in Foreign Affairs titled, " The Good and The Bad of Ahrar al Sham ." The article urged the US to arm a group of Syrian Salafi insurgents known for its human rights abuses , sectarianism and off-and-on alliances with Al Qaeda. Watts and his co-authors insisted that Ahrar al-Sham was the best proxy force for wreaking havoc on the Syrian government weakening its allies in Iran and Russia. Right below the headline, Watts and his co-authors celebrated Ahrar al-Sham as "an Al Qaeda linked group worth befriending." ..."
"... Watts rehashed the same argument at FPRI a year later, urging the U.S. government to harness jihadist terror as a weapon against Russia. "The U.S. at a minimum, through covert or semi-covert platforms, should take advantage and amplify these free alternative [jihadist] narratives to provide Russia some payback for recent years' aggression," he wrote. In another paper, Watts asked , "Why shouldn't the U.S. redirect some of the jihadi hatred towards those with the dirtiest hands in the Syrian conflict: Russia and Iran?" Watts did not specify whether the theater of covert warfare should be limited to the Syrian battlefield, or if he sought to encourage jihadists to carry out terrorist acts inside Russia and Iran. ..."
"... Next, Watts introduced his signature theme, claiming that Russia manipulated civil rights protests to exploit divisions in American society. Declaring that "pro-Russian" outlets were spreading "chaos in Black Lives Matter protests" by deploying active measures, Watts did not bother to say what those measures were. ..."
"... Watts then moved to the main course of his testimony, focusing on how Trump employed Russian "active measures" to attack his opponents. Watts told the Senate panel that the Russian-backed news outlets RT and Sputnik had produced a false report on the U.S. airbase in Incirlik, Turkey being "overrun by terrorists." He presented the Russian stories as the anchor for a massive influence operation that featured swarms of Russian bots across social media. And he claimed that then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort invoked the incident to deflect from negative media coverage, suggesting that Trump was coordinating strategy with the Kremlin. In reality, it was Watts who was spreading the fake news. ..."
"... Watts has pushed his bogus narrative of RT and Sputnik's Incirlik coverage in numerous outlets, including Politico . Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen echoed Watts' false account on the Senate floor while arguing for legislation to force RT out of the U.S. market on political grounds. And Jim Rutenberg, the New York Times' media correspondent, reproduced Watts' distorted account in a major feature on RT and Sputnik's "new theory of war." Almost no one, not one major media organization or public figure, has bothered to fact check these false claims, and few have questioned the agenda behind them. ..."
"... The episode began during a Trump rally at the height of the 2016 presidential campaign, when Trump read out an email purportedly from longtime Hillary Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal (the father of this writer), hoping to embarrass Clinton over Benghazi. The text of the email turned out to be part of a column written by the pro-Clinton Newsweek columnist Kurt Eichenwald, not an email by Blumenthal. ..."
"... The source of Trump's falsehood appeared to have been a report by Bill Moran, then a reporter for Sputnik, the news service funded by the Russian government. Having confused Eichenwald's writing for a Blumenthal email, Moran scrubbed his erroneous article within 20 minutes. Somehow, Moran's retracted article had found its way onto the Trump campaign's radar, a not atypical event for a campaign that had relied on material from far-out sites like Infowars to undercut its opponents. ..."
"... In his column at Newsweek, Eichenwald framed Moran's honest mistake as the leading edge of a secret Russian influence operation. With help from pro-Clinton elements, Eichenwald's column went viral, earning him slots on CNN and MSNBC, where he howled about the nefarious Russian-Trump-Wikileaks plot he believed he had just exposed. (Glenn Greenwald was perhaps the only reporter with a national platform to highlight Eichenwald's falsifications .) Moran was fired as a result of the fallout, and would have to spend the next several months fighting to correct the record. ..."
"... When Moran appealed to Eichenwald for a public clarification, Eichenwald staunchly refused. Instead, he offered Moran a job at the New Republic in exchange for his silence and warned him, "If you go public, you'll regret it." (Eichenwald had no role at the New Republic or any clear ability to influence the magazine's hiring decisions.) Moran refused to cooperate, prompting Eichenwald to publish a follow-up piece painting himself as the victim of a Russian "active measures" campaign, and to cast Moran once again as a foreign agent. ..."
"... Representing himself in court, Moran elicited a settlement from Newsweek that forced the magazine to scrub all of Eichenwald's articles about him -- a tacit admission that they were false from top to bottom. This meant that the most consequential claim Watts made before the Senate was also a whopping lie. ..."
"... The day after Watts' deception-laden appearance, he was nevertheless transformed from an obscure national security into a cable news star, with invites from Morning Joe, Rachel Maddow, Meet the Press, and the liberal comedian Samantha Bee, among many others. His testimony received coverage from the gamut of major news outlets, and even earned him a fawning profile from CNN. From out of the blue, Watts had become the star witness of Russiagate, and one of corporate media's favorite pundits. ..."
"... Dr. Strangelove ..."
"... It was not until this summer, however, that the influence operation Watts helped establish reached critical capacity. He had approached one of Washington's most respected think tanks, the German Marshall Fund, and secured support for an initiative called the Alliance for Securing Democracy. The new initiative became responsible for a daily blacklist of subversive, "pro-Russian" media outlets, targeting them with the backing of a who's who of national security honchos, from Bill Kristol to former CIA director and ex-Hillary Clinton surrogate Michael Morrell, along with favorable promotion from some of the country's most respected news organizations. ..."
Nov 13, 2017 | www.truthdig.com

Nearly a year after the presidential election, the scandal over accusations of Russian political interference in the 2016 election has gone beyond Donald Trump and reached into the nebulous world of online media. On November 1, Congress held hearings on "Extremist Content and Russian Disinformation Online." The proceedings saw executives from Facebook, Twitter and Youtube subjected to tongue-lashings from lawmakers like Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, who howled about Russian online trolls "spread[ing] stories about abuse of black Americans by law enforcement."

In perhaps the most chilling moment of the hearings, and the most overlooked, Clint Watts, a former U.S. Army officer who had branded himself an expert on Russian meddling, appeared before a nearly empty Senate chamber. Watts conjured up a stark landscape of American carnage, with shadowy Russian operatives stage managing the chaos.

"Civil wars don't start with gunshots, they start with words," he proclaimed. "America's war with itself has already begun. We all must act now on the social media battlefield to quell information rebellions that can quickly lead to violent confrontations and easily transform us into the Divided States of America."

Next, Watts suggested a government-imposed campaign of media censorship: "Stopping the false information artillery barrage landing on social media users comes only when those outlets distributing bogus stories are silenced: silence the guns and the barrage will end."

The censorious overtone of Watts' testimony was unmistakable. He demanded that government news inquisitors drive dissident media off the internet and warned that Americans would spear one another with bayonets if they failed to act. And not one member of Congress rose to object. In fact, many echoed his call for media suppression in the House and Senate hearings, with Democrats like Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Jackie Speier agreeing the most vehemently. The spectacle perfectly illustrated the madness of Russiagate, with liberal lawmakers springboarding off the fear of Russian meddling to demand that Americans be forbidden from consuming the wrong kinds of media -- including content that amplified the message of progressive causes like Black Lives Matter.

Details of exactly what transpired vis a vis Russia and the U.S. in social media in 2016 are still emerging. This year, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence published a declassified version of the intelligence community's report on "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections," written by CIA, FBI and NSA, with its central conclusion that Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow's longstanding desire to undermine the U.S.-led liberal democratic order."

To be sure, there is ample evidence that Russian-linked trolls have attempted to exploit wedge issues on social media platforms. But the impact of these schemes on real-world events appears to have been exaggerated. According to Facebook's data , 56 percent of Russian-linked ads appeared after the 2016 presidential election, and another 25 percent "were never shown to anyone." The ads were said to have "reached" over 100 million people, but that assumes that Facebook users did not scroll through or otherwise ignore them, as they do with most ads. Content emanating from "Russia-linked" sources on YouTube, meanwhile, managed to rack up hit totals in the hundreds , not exactly a viral smash.

Facebook posts traced to the infamous Internet Research Agency troll factory in Russia amounted to only 0.0004 percent of total content that appeared on the social network. (Some of these posts targeted "animal lovers with memes of adorable puppies," while another hawked an LGBT-themed " Buff Bernie coloring book for Berniacs.") According to its " deliberately broad" review , Twitter found that only 0.74 percent of its election-related tweets were "Russian-linked." Google, for its part, documented a grand total of $4,700 of "Russian-linked ad spending" during the 2016 election cycle. While some have argued that the Russian-linked ads were micro-targeted, and could have shifted key electoral voting blocs, these ads appeared in a media climate awash in a multi-billion dollar deluge of political ad spending from both established parties and dark money super PACs.

However, a blitz of feverish corporate media coverage and tension-filled congressional hearings has convinced a whopping 82 percent of Democrats that "Russian-backed" social media content played a central role in swinging the 2016 election. Russian meddling has even earned comparisons by lawmakers to Pearl Harbor, to "acts of war," and by Hillary Clinton to the attacks of 9/11 . And in an inadvertent way, these overblown comparisons were apt.

As during the aftermath of 9/11, the fallout from Russiagate has spawned a multimillion-dollar industry of pundits and self-styled experts eager to exploit the frenetic atmosphere for publicity and profits. Many of these figures have emerged out of the swamp that flowed from the war on terror and are gravitating toward the growing Russia fearmongering industrial complex in search of new opportunities. Few of these characters have become as prominent as Clint Watts.

So who is Watts, and how did he emerge seemingly from nowhere to become the star congressional witness on Russian meddling?

Dubious Expertise, Impressive Salesmanship

A former U.S. Army officer who spent years in obscurity at a defense industry funded think tank called the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), Watts has become a go-to source for cable news producers and print journalists on the subject of Russian bots, always available with a comment that reinforces the sense that America is under sustained cyborg attack. This September, his employers at FPRI hailed him as "the leading expert on developments related to Russian-backed efforts to not only influence the 2016 presidential election, but also to inflame racial and cultural divisions within the U.S. and across Europe."

Watts boasts an impressive-looking bio that is replete with fancy sounding fellowships at national security-oriented outfits, including George Washington University's Center Cyber and Homeland Security. His bio also indicates that he served on an FBI Joint Terror Task Force.

Though Watts is best known for his punditry on Russian interference, it's fair to say he is as much an expert on Russian affairs as Harvey Weinstein is a trusted voice on feminism. Indeed, Watts appears to speak no Russian, has no record of reporting or scholarship from inside Russia, and has produced little to no work of any discernible academic value on Russian affairs.

Whether or not he has the substance to support his claims of expertise, Watts has proven a talented salesman, catering to popular fears about Russian interference while he plies credulous lawmakers with ease.

Before Congress, a String of Deceptions

Back on March 30, as the narrative of Russian meddling gathered momentum, Watts made his first appearance before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee.

Seated at the front of a hearing room packed with reporters, Watts introduced Congress to concepts of Russian meddling that were novel at the time, but which have become part of Beltway newspeak. His testimony turned out to be a signal moment in Russiagate, helping transition the narrative of the scandal from Russia-Trump collusion to the wider issue of online influence.

In the widely publicized testimony, Watts explained to the panel of senators that he first noticed the pernicious presence of Russian social media bots after he co-authored an article in 2014 in Foreign Affairs titled, " The Good and The Bad of Ahrar al Sham ." The article urged the US to arm a group of Syrian Salafi insurgents known for its human rights abuses , sectarianism and off-and-on alliances with Al Qaeda. Watts and his co-authors insisted that Ahrar al-Sham was the best proxy force for wreaking havoc on the Syrian government weakening its allies in Iran and Russia. Right below the headline, Watts and his co-authors celebrated Ahrar al-Sham as "an Al Qaeda linked group worth befriending."

Watts rehashed the same argument at FPRI a year later, urging the U.S. government to harness jihadist terror as a weapon against Russia. "The U.S. at a minimum, through covert or semi-covert platforms, should take advantage and amplify these free alternative [jihadist] narratives to provide Russia some payback for recent years' aggression," he wrote. In another paper, Watts asked , "Why shouldn't the U.S. redirect some of the jihadi hatred towards those with the dirtiest hands in the Syrian conflict: Russia and Iran?" Watts did not specify whether the theater of covert warfare should be limited to the Syrian battlefield, or if he sought to encourage jihadists to carry out terrorist acts inside Russia and Iran.

The premise of these op-eds should have raised serious concerns about Watts and his colleagues, and even questions about their sanity. They had marketed themselves as national security experts, yet they were lobbying the US to "befriend" the allies of Al Qaeda, the group that brought down the Twin Towers. (Ahrar al-Sham was founded by Abu Khalid al-Suri, a Madrid bombing suspect who was named by Spanish investigators as Osama bin-Laden's courier.) Anyone cynical enough to put such ideas into public circulation should have expected a backlash. But when the inevitable wave of criticism came, Watts dismissed it all as a Russian bot attack.

Addressing the Senate panel, Watts said that those who took to social media to mock and criticize his Foreign Affairs article were, in fact, Russian bots. He provided no evidence to support the claim, and a look at his single tweet promoting the article shows that he was criticized only once (by @Navsteva, a Twitter user known for defending the Syrian government against regime change proponents, not an automated bot). Nevertheless, Watts painted the incident as proof that Russia had revived a Cold War information warfare strategy of "Active Measures," which was supposedly aimed at "crumbl[ing] democracies from the inside out [by] creating political divisions."

Next, Watts introduced his signature theme, claiming that Russia manipulated civil rights protests to exploit divisions in American society. Declaring that "pro-Russian" outlets were spreading "chaos in Black Lives Matter protests" by deploying active measures, Watts did not bother to say what those measures were. In fact, the only piece of proof he offered (in a Daily Beast transcript of his testimony) was a single link to an RT article that factually documented a squabble between Black Lives Matter protesters and white supremacists -- an incident that had been widely covered by other outlets, from the Houston Chronicle to the Washington Post . Watts did not explain how this one report by RT sowed any chaos, or whether it had any effect at all on actual events.

Watts then moved to the main course of his testimony, focusing on how Trump employed Russian "active measures" to attack his opponents. Watts told the Senate panel that the Russian-backed news outlets RT and Sputnik had produced a false report on the U.S. airbase in Incirlik, Turkey being "overrun by terrorists." He presented the Russian stories as the anchor for a massive influence operation that featured swarms of Russian bots across social media. And he claimed that then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort invoked the incident to deflect from negative media coverage, suggesting that Trump was coordinating strategy with the Kremlin. In reality, it was Watts who was spreading the fake news.

In the articles cited by Watts during his testimony, neither RT nor Sputnik made any reference to "terrorists" taking over Incirlik Airbase. Rather, these outlets compiled tweets by Turkish activists and sourced their coverage to a report by Hurriyet, one of Turkey's largest mainstream papers. In fact, the incident was reported by virtually every major Turkish news organization ( here , here , here and here ). What's more, the events appeared to have taken place approximately as RT and Sputnik reported it, with protesters readying to protect the airbase from a coup while Turkish police sealed the base's entrances and exits. A look at RT's coverage shows the network even downplayed the severity of the event, citing a tweet by a U.S.-based national security analysis group stating, "We are not finding any evidence of a coup or takeover." This stands entirely at odds with Watts' claim that RT exaggerated the incident to spark chaos.

Watts has pushed his bogus narrative of RT and Sputnik's Incirlik coverage in numerous outlets, including Politico . Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen echoed Watts' false account on the Senate floor while arguing for legislation to force RT out of the U.S. market on political grounds. And Jim Rutenberg, the New York Times' media correspondent, reproduced Watts' distorted account in a major feature on RT and Sputnik's "new theory of war." Almost no one, not one major media organization or public figure, has bothered to fact check these false claims, and few have questioned the agenda behind them.

Questions emailed to Watts via his employers at FPRI received no reply.

Another Watts Deception, This Time Discredited in Court

During his Senate testimony, Watts introduced a second, and even more distorted claim of Trump employing Russian "active measures" to attack his political foes. The details of the story are complex and difficult for a passive audience to absorb, which is probably why Watts has been able to get away with pushing it for so long.

Watts' testimony was the culmination of a mainstream media deception that forced an aspiring reporter out of his job, drove him to contemplate suicide, and ultimately prompted him to take matters into his own hands by suing his antagonists.

The episode began during a Trump rally at the height of the 2016 presidential campaign, when Trump read out an email purportedly from longtime Hillary Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal (the father of this writer), hoping to embarrass Clinton over Benghazi. The text of the email turned out to be part of a column written by the pro-Clinton Newsweek columnist Kurt Eichenwald, not an email by Blumenthal.

The source of Trump's falsehood appeared to have been a report by Bill Moran, then a reporter for Sputnik, the news service funded by the Russian government. Having confused Eichenwald's writing for a Blumenthal email, Moran scrubbed his erroneous article within 20 minutes. Somehow, Moran's retracted article had found its way onto the Trump campaign's radar, a not atypical event for a campaign that had relied on material from far-out sites like Infowars to undercut its opponents.

In his column at Newsweek, Eichenwald framed Moran's honest mistake as the leading edge of a secret Russian influence operation. With help from pro-Clinton elements, Eichenwald's column went viral, earning him slots on CNN and MSNBC, where he howled about the nefarious Russian-Trump-Wikileaks plot he believed he had just exposed. (Glenn Greenwald was perhaps the only reporter with a national platform to highlight Eichenwald's falsifications .) Moran was fired as a result of the fallout, and would have to spend the next several months fighting to correct the record.

When Moran appealed to Eichenwald for a public clarification, Eichenwald staunchly refused. Instead, he offered Moran a job at the New Republic in exchange for his silence and warned him, "If you go public, you'll regret it." (Eichenwald had no role at the New Republic or any clear ability to influence the magazine's hiring decisions.) Moran refused to cooperate, prompting Eichenwald to publish a follow-up piece painting himself as the victim of a Russian "active measures" campaign, and to cast Moran once again as a foreign agent.

When Watts revived Eichenwald's bogus version of events in his Senate testimony, Moran began to spiral into the depths of depression. He even entertained thoughts of suicide. But he ultimately decided to fight, filing a lawsuit against Newsweek's parent company for defamation and libel.

Representing himself in court, Moran elicited a settlement from Newsweek that forced the magazine to scrub all of Eichenwald's articles about him -- a tacit admission that they were false from top to bottom. This meant that the most consequential claim Watts made before the Senate was also a whopping lie.

The day after Watts' deception-laden appearance, he was nevertheless transformed from an obscure national security into a cable news star, with invites from Morning Joe, Rachel Maddow, Meet the Press, and the liberal comedian Samantha Bee, among many others. His testimony received coverage from the gamut of major news outlets, and even earned him a fawning profile from CNN. From out of the blue, Watts had become the star witness of Russiagate, and one of corporate media's favorite pundits.

FPRI, a Pro-War Think Tank Founded by White Supremacist Eugenicists

Before he emerged in the spotlight of Russiagate, Watts languished at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, earning little name recognition outside the insular world of national security pundits. Based in Philadelphia, the FPRI has been described by journalist Mark Ames as "one of the looniest (and spookiest) extreme-right think tanks since the early Cold War days, promoting 'winnable' nuclear war, maximum confrontation with Russia, and attacking anti-colonialism as dangerously unworkable."

Daniel Pipes, the arch-Islamophobe pundit and former FPRI fellow, offered a similar characterization of the think tank, albeit from an alternately opposed angle. "Put most baldly, we have always advocated an activist U.S. foreign policy," Pipes said in a 1991 address to FPRI. He added that the think tank's staff "is not shy about the use of force; were we members of Congress in January 1991, all of us would not only have voted with President Bush and Operation Desert Storm, we would have led the charge."

FPRI was co-founded by Robert Strausz-Hupé, a far-right Austrian emigre, with help from conservative corporations and covert funding from the CIA. From the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, Strausz-Hupé gathered a "Philadelphia School" of Cold War hardliners to develop a strategy for protracted war against the Soviet Union. His brain trust included FPRI co-founder Stefan Possony, an Austrian fascist who was a board member of the World Anti-Communist League, the international fascist organization described by journalists Scott Anderson and Jon Lee Anderson as a network of "those responsible for death squads, apartheid, torture, and the extermination of European Jewry." True to his fascist roots, Possony co-authored a racialist tract, " The Geography of Intellect ," that argued that blacks were biologically inferior and that the people of the global South were "genetically unpromising." Strausz-Hupé seized on Possony's racialist theories to inveigh against anti-colonial movements led by "populations incapable of rational thought."

While clamoring for a preemptive nuclear strike on the Soviet Union -- and acknowledging that their preferred strategy would cause mass casualties in American cities -- Strausz-Hupé and his band of hawks developed a monomaniacal obsession with Russian propaganda. By the time of the Cuban missile crisis, they were stricken with paranoia, arguing on the pages of the New York Times that filmmaker Stanley Kubrick was a Soviet useful idiot whose film, Dr. Strangelove , advanced "the principal Communist objectives to drive a wedge between the American people and their military leaders."

Ultimately, Strausz-Hupé's fanaticism cost him an ambassadorship, as Sen. William Fulbright scuttled his appointment to serve in Morocco on the grounds that his "hard line, no compromise" approach to communism could shatter the delicate balance of diplomacy. Today, he is remembered fondly on FPRI's website as "an intellectual and intellectual impresario, administrator, statesman, and visionary." His militaristic legacy continues thanks to the prolific presence -- and bellicose politics -- of Watts.

The Paranoid Style

This year, FPRI dedicated its annual gala to honoring Watts' success in mainstreaming the narrative of Russian online meddling. Since I first transcribed a Soundcloud recording of Watts' keynote address, the file has been mysteriously scrubbed from the internet. It is unclear what prompted the removal, however, it is easy to understand why Watts would not want his comments examined by a critical listener. His speech offered a window into a paranoid mindset with a tendency for overblown, unverifiable claims about Russian influence.

While much of the speech was a rehash of Watts' Senate testimony, he spent an unusual amount of time describing the threat he believed Russian intelligence agents posed to his own security. "If you speak up too much, you'll get knocked down," Watts said, claiming that think tank fellows who had been too vocal about Russian meddling had seen their laptops "burned up by malware."

"If someone rises up in prominence, they will suddenly be -- whoof! -- swiped down out of nowhere by some crazy disclosure from their email," Watts added, referring to unspecified Russian retaliatory measures. As usual, he didn't produce concrete evidence or offer any examples.

"Anybody remember the reporters that were outed after the election? Or maybe they tossed up a question to the Clinton campaign and they were gone the next day?" he asked his audience. "That's how it goes."

It was unclear which reporters Watts was referring to, or what incident he could have possibly been alluding to. He offered no details, only innuendo about the state of siege Kremlin actors had supposedly imposed on him and his freedom-fighting colleagues. He even predicted he'd be "hacked and cyber attacked when this recording comes out."

According to Watts, Russian "active measures" had singlehandedly augmented Republican opinion in support of the Kremlin. "It is the greatest success in influence operations in the history of the world," Watts confidently proclaimed. He contrasted Russia's success with his own failures as an American agent of influence working for the U.S. military, a saga in his career that remains largely unexamined.

Domestic Agent of Influence

"I worked in influence operations in counter-terrorism for 15 years," Watts boasted to his audience at FPRI. "We didn't break one or two percent [increase in the approval rating of US foreign policy] in fifteen years and we spent billions a year in tax dollars doing it. I was paid off of those programs. We had almost no success throughout the Middle East."

By Watts' own admission, he had been part of a secret propaganda campaign aimed at manipulating the opinions of Middle Easterners in favor of the hostile American military operating in their midst. And he failed massively, wasting "billions a year in tax dollars."

Given his penchant for deception, this may have been yet another tall tale aimed at burnishing his image as an internet era James Bond. But if the story was even partially true, Watts had inadvertently exposed a severe scandal that, in a fairer world, might have triggered congressional hearings.

Whatever took place, it appears that Watts and his Cold Warrior colleagues are now waging another expensive influence operation, this time directed against the American public. By deploying deceptions, half-truths and hyperbole with the full consent of Congress and in collaboration with the mainstream press, they have managed to convince a majority of Americans that Russia is "trying to knock us down and take us over," as Watts remarked at the FPRI's gala.

In just a matter of months, public consent for an unprecedented array of hostile measures against Russia, from sanctions and consular raids to arbitrary crackdowns on Russian-backed news organizations, has been assiduously manufactured.

It was not until this summer, however, that the influence operation Watts helped establish reached critical capacity. He had approached one of Washington's most respected think tanks, the German Marshall Fund, and secured support for an initiative called the Alliance for Securing Democracy. The new initiative became responsible for a daily blacklist of subversive, "pro-Russian" media outlets, targeting them with the backing of a who's who of national security honchos, from Bill Kristol to former CIA director and ex-Hillary Clinton surrogate Michael Morrell, along with favorable promotion from some of the country's most respected news organizations.

In the next installment of this investigation, we will see how a collection of cranks, counter-terror retreads and online vigilantes overseen by the German Marshall Fund have waged a search-and-destroy mission against dissident media under the guise of combating Russian "active measures," and how the mainstream press has enabled their censorious agenda.

Read part two here .

Max Blumenthal is a senior editor of the Grayzone Project at AlterNet, and the award-winning author of " Goliath ," " Republican Gomorrah ," and " The 51 Day War ." He is the co-host of the podcast, Moderate Rebels . Follow him on Twitter at @MaxBlumenthal .

Related Articles

[Dec 08, 2017] What is your take on this fellow Peter P. Strzok II. There is not much information out there on a person who seems to be pretty influential in DC / FBI / Foreign Intel circles.

Notable quotes:
"... What is your take on this fellow Peter P. Strzok II? His back history is purportedly Georgetown, Army Intelligence (his father PP Strzok I is Army Corp of Engineers), and was until recently deputy director of counterintelligence at FBI with focus on Russia and China. ..."
"... He is the fellow who altered Comey's draft to read "extremely careless" instead of "grossly negligent", he interviewed HRC, Mills, Abedin (and gave the latter two immunity); he pushed for the continued payment of Steele in the amount of $50,000 for further Dossier research in the face of some resistance (cf James Rosen); ..."
"... he also interviewed Flynn, and for most of the first half of 2017 and for all of 2016 appears to have been the most important and influential agent working on the HRC-Trump-Russia nexus. James Rosen suggests he has CIA connections as well. ..."
"... He certainly would have had CIA connections if he was involved in CI activities targeting Russian and China. ..."
Dec 08, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

WJ , 05 December 2017 at 08:16 PM

Sir,

What is your take on this fellow Peter P. Strzok II? His back history is purportedly Georgetown, Army Intelligence (his father PP Strzok I is Army Corp of Engineers), and was until recently deputy director of counterintelligence at FBI with focus on Russia and China.

He is the fellow who altered Comey's draft to read "extremely careless" instead of "grossly negligent", he interviewed HRC, Mills, Abedin (and gave the latter two immunity); he pushed for the continued payment of Steele in the amount of $50,000 for further Dossier research in the face of some resistance (cf James Rosen);

he also interviewed Flynn, and for most of the first half of 2017 and for all of 2016 appears to have been the most important and influential agent working on the HRC-Trump-Russia nexus. James Rosen suggests he has CIA connections as well.

The dude has also no internet presence. There is not much information out there on a person who seems to be pretty influential in DC / FBI / Foreign Intel circles.

He screwed up, and a lawyer, sent texts, and now is gone. Does he strike you as fishy at all, or is this kind of stuff pretty common for people in his field and position.

turcopolier , 05 December 2017 at 09:36 PM
WJ

I know nothing of him other than what is in the press but his partisan interference in investigations appears to be a blot on the honor of the FBI but then I am old fashioned. pl

fanto said in reply to WJ... , 05 December 2017 at 10:51 PM
WJ,
I first learned about this man from a comment of David Habakkuk (in an earlier post) and was curious to learn more about him. As you point out, ´internet is not your friend´ in his case. Your comment gives so far the most information about his doings. Thank you. According to David Habakkuk that surname is polish, but it possibly be other slavic origin as well ( possibly Jidish ?)
The Twisted Genius -> WJ... , 05 December 2017 at 11:27 PM
WJ,

Given Strzok's career, I wouldn't expect to find much, if anything, about him on the internet. If he spent his career working "in the shadows," he rightly would have stayed off the internet. He certainly would have had CIA connections if he was involved in CI activities targeting Russian and China. Anyone actively working in a classified environment would be grossly negligent to allow himself to be plastered all over the internet. Why do you think I still use a light cover of TTG just to post here years after retiring? It's just force of habit.

I was glad to hear that Mueller banished him to HR as soon as his anti-Trump emails were discovered. If he stayed, he would have cast an ugly shadow over the Mueller investigation. It's much like the partisan shadow extending over much of the NY FBI office. Their pro-Trump/anti-Clinton stance was notorious. I also think the FBI should review the entire Clinton email server file in light of this.

rjj said in reply to The Twisted Genius ... , 06 December 2017 at 12:20 PM
Don't know how bureaucracies work in DC. Remembering how placement in HR was a goal for activists. HR is obscure and unglamorous - how is it banishment for someone with an agenda who works in the shadows?

[Dec 08, 2017] Did the FBI, CIA and NSA "conspired" to destroy Donald Trump?

Notable quotes:
"... You are correct that there is no public source yet confirming the FBI paid Steele. However, the FBI's refusal to turn over relevant documents regarding their relationship with Steele tells me there was money paid. What is indisputable is that th information in the dossier was used as a predicate to seek permission from a FISA court to go after Trump and his team. That is outrageous. ..."
"... This is increasingly my take as well -- the FBI, CIA and NSA do seem to have "conspired" to destroy Donald Trump. I finger Brennan, Clapper, Susan Rice, Benjamin Rhodes, and maybe Samantha Power as being involved in the flood of illegal leaks earlier in the year that did so much to pave the way for Mueller's appointment. ..."
Dec 08, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Publius Tacitus -> sbjonez... , 06 December 2017 at 10:35 AM

You are correct that there is no public source yet confirming the FBI paid Steele. However, the FBI's refusal to turn over relevant documents regarding their relationship with Steele tells me there was money paid. What is indisputable is that th information in the dossier was used as a predicate to seek permission from a FISA court to go after Trump and his team. That is outrageous.

Sylvia 1 , 06 December 2017 at 12:48 PM

This is increasingly my take as well -- the FBI, CIA and NSA do seem to have "conspired" to destroy Donald Trump. I finger Brennan, Clapper, Susan Rice, Benjamin Rhodes, and maybe Samantha Power as being involved in the flood of illegal leaks earlier in the year that did so much to pave the way for Mueller's appointment.

What I fail to understand is why Democrats are sitting back and cheering as these agencies work together to destroy a duly elected President of the USA. Does anyone really believe that if these agencies get away with it this time they will stop with Trump?
All these agencies are out of control and are completely unaccountable.

blue peacock , 07 December 2017 at 12:18 AM
Publius Tacitus
The real story is that the FBI, the NSA and the CIA effectively conspired to try to destroy the Presidency of Donald Trump.

How can this conspiracy be investigated? Who could do it? Clearly not anyone from the DoJ, FBI, CIA and NSA as they are fully compromised.

[Dec 03, 2017] Islamic Mindset Akin to Bolshevism by Srdja Trifkovic

Highly recommended!
Actually it was the West, especially the USA which created political Islam to fight Soviets. They essentially created Osama bin Laden as a political figure. The USA is also the main protector of Saudi Arabia were Wahhabism is the official religion. Then they tried to partition Russia by supporting Chechen islamists and financed the jihadist groups in Russia (especially in Dagestan).
Obama administration flirted with Muslim Brotherhood and unleashed the wars in Lybia and Siria were islamists were trying to take down the legitimate governments.
So Political Islam despite its anti-Western message used as a tool as a patsy for the destabilization of "unfriendly", the dogs that could be unleashed when weapons and money started to flow.
Now it looks like boomerang returns home.
Notable quotes:
"... I'd say that in modern times the main culprit was Zbigniew Brzezynski, who freely admitted in an interview with the French weekly magazine Le Nouvel Observateur in 1998 that he had this, as he called it, "brilliant idea" to let the Islamist genie out of the bottle to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan following the Soviet occupation in 1979. At that time he was President Carter's National Security Advisor. The transmission belt, from the CIA and various other U.S. agencies to the jihadists in Afghanistan, went via Pakistan. The ISI, the all-powerful military Inter-Service Intelligence-an institution which is pro-jihadist to boot-was used by the U.S. to arm elements which later morphed into al-Qaeda. The breeding ground for the modern, one might say postmodern form of jihadism, was Afghanistan-and it was made possible by U.S. policy inputs which helped its development. ..."
"... Instead of utter anarchy, I think we are more likely to see the ever more stringent control of the social media. The German government has already imposed on Google and Twitter which is based on the German draconian "hate speech" legislation, rather than on the universally accepted standards. On the whole we see everywhere in Europe that when you have a political party or a person trying to call a spade by its name, to call for a moratorium on immigration or for a fundamental change in the way of thinking, they will be demonized. ..."
"... The answer is fairly simple, but it would require a fundamental transformation of the mindset of the political decision-makers. It is to start treating Islamic activism not as "religious" but as an eminently political activity -- subversive political activity, in the same way as communist subversion was treated during the Cold War. ..."
"... To start with, every single potential U.S. citizen from the Islamic world needs to be interviewed in great detail about his or her beliefs and commitments. It is simply impossible for a believing Muslim to swear the oath of allegiance to the United States. None of them, if they are true believers, can regard the U.S. Constitution as superior to the Sharia-which is the law of God, while the U.S. Constitution is a man-made document. ..."
"... If there is to be a civil war in Europe, it would be pursued between the elite class which wants to continue pursuing multiculturalism and unlimited immigration --for example Germany, where over a million migrants from the Middle East, North Africa etc. were admitted in 2015 alone-and the majority of the population who have not been consulted, and who feel that their home country is being irretrievably lost. ..."
Feb 01, 2016 | chroniclesmagazine.org
View all posts from this blog

On January 23 Freedom and Prosperity Radio , Virginia's only syndicated political talk radio show, broadcast an interview with Srdja Trifkovic on the subject of Islam and the ongoing Muslim invasion of Europe. Here is the full transcript of the interview. ( Audio )

FPR: Your book The Sword of the Prophet was published back in 2002, yet here we are-15 years later-still scratching our heads over this problem. Defeating Jihad you wrote ten years ago, and yet we are still fumbling around in the dark. It seems like we don't have the ability to say what is right and what is wrong. We've lost the ability we had had during the Cold War to say out way is better than their way . . .

ST: I'm afraid the problem is deeper than that. It is in the unwillingness of the ruling elite in the Western world to come to grips with the nature of Islam-as-such. There is this constant tendency by the politicians, the media and the academia to treat jihadism as some sort of aberration which is alien to "true" Islam. We had an example of that in 2014, when President Obama went so far as to say that ISIS was "un-Islamic"! It is rather curious that the President of the United States assumes the authority of a theologian who can pass definite judgments on whether a certain phenomenon is "Islamic" or not. Likewise we have this constant repetition of the mantra of the "religion of peace and tolerance," which is simply not supported by 14 centuries of historical experience. What I've tried to emphasize in both those books you've mentioned, and in my various other writings and public appearances, is that the problem of Islam resides in the core texts, in the Kuran and the Hadith , the "Traditions" of the prophet of Islam, Muhammed. This is the source from which the historical practice has been derived ever since. The problem is not in the jihadists misinterpreting Islam, but rather in interpreting it all too well. This mythical "moderate Islam," for which everybody seems to be looking these days, is an exception and not the rule.

In answer to your question, I'd say that "scratching one's head" is-by now-only the phenomenon of those who refuse to face reality. Reasonable people who are capable of judging phenomena on their merits and on the basis of ample empirical evidence, are no longer in doubt. They see that the problem is not in the alleged misinterpretation of the Islamic teaching, but rather in its rigorous application and literal understanding. I'm afraid things will not get better, because with each and every new jihadist attack, such as the Charlie Hebdo slaughter in Paris a year ago, or again in Paris last November, or the New Year's Eve violence in Germany, we are witnessing-time and over again-the same problem. The Islamic mindset, the Islamic understanding of the world, the Muslim Weltanschauung , world outlook, is fundamentally incompatible with the Western value system and the Western way of life.

FPR: . . . It seems obvious, regarding Islam, that its "freedom of religion" is impacting other people, and it's dictated to do so-it must go out and fight the infidels. And that's where we have the disconnect. Maybe there is some traction to the statement, as you put it, that fundamentalism reflects a far more thorough following of Islam, and that it is simply incompatible with the Constitution?

ST: It is inevitable, because if you are an orthodox, practicing, mainstream Muslim, then you necessarily believe in the need to impose Sharia as the law of the land. Sharia is much more than a legal code. It is also a political program, it is a code of social behavior, it is the blueprint for the totality of human experience. That's why it is impossible to make Sharia compatible with the liberal principle of "live and let live": it is inherently aggressive to non-Islam. In the Islamic paradigm, the world is divided in the Manichean manner, black-and-white, into "the World of Faith," Dar al-Islam , literally "the world of submission," and "the World of War, Dar al-Harb .

It is the divine duty of each and every Muslim to seek the expansion of Dar al-Islam at the expense of Dar al-Harb until the one true faith is triumphant throughout the world. In this sense the Islamic mindset is very similar to Bolshevism. The Bolsheviks also believed that "the first country of Socialism" should expand its reach and control until the whole world has undergone the proletarian revolution and has become one in the march to the Utopia of communism. There is constant inner tension in the Islamic world, in the sense that for as long as non-Islam exists, it is inherently perceived as "the other," as an abomination. In that sense, Muslims perceive any concession made by the West-for instance in allowing mass immigration into Western Europe-not as a gesture of good will and multicultural tolerance, but as a sign of weakness that needs to be exploited and used as a means to an end.

FPR: The Roman Catholic Church has its Catechism which decides the issues of doctrine. Until there's an Islamic "catechism" which can say "no, this is no longer the right interpretation, this is not what it means any more"-and I don't think this would be a short-term thing, because you'd still have the splinter groups dissenting against the "traitors"-but is this the only way to go to the center of theological jurisprudence in the Islamic world?

ST: The problem is twofold. First of all, there is no "interpretation" of the Kuran . Classical Islamic sources are adamant that the Kuran needs to be taken at face value, literally. If it says in Sura 9, verse 5, "fight the infidels wherever you find them, and let them go if they convert," or if it says time and over again that the choice for a non-Muslim is to accept Islam, or to live as a second-class citizen-the dhimmi -under Islamic supremacy, or else to be killed it is very hard to imagine what sort of authority in the Islamic world would be capable of saying "now we are going to relativize and soften the message."

The second part of the problem is that there is no single authority in Islam. It is not organized in a hierarchical way like the Roman Catholic Church, where if the Pope speaks ex cathedra his pronouncements are obligatory for all Catholics everywhere. Islam is a diffused religion, with various centers of learning and various ullema who may or may not agree on certain peripheral details. Yet any any one of them who'd dare say "look, now we rally need to reinterpret the fundamental sources, the Kuran and the Hadith, so as to make it compatible with the pluralist society"-they'd immediately be condemned as heretics. We've seen attempts at reform in the past. In the end the orthodox interpretation always prevails, because it is-sadly-the right interpretation of the core texts. With neither the hierarchy capable of imposing a new form of teaching on the faithful, nor the existence of alternative core texts which would provide grounds for such reinterpretation, it is very hard to see how it could be done.

FPR: How do we go forward? . . . How does the end-game play out?

ST: I'd say that in modern times the main culprit was Zbigniew Brzezynski, who freely admitted in an interview with the French weekly magazine Le Nouvel Observateur in 1998 that he had this, as he called it, "brilliant idea" to let the Islamist genie out of the bottle to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan following the Soviet occupation in 1979. At that time he was President Carter's National Security Advisor. The transmission belt, from the CIA and various other U.S. agencies to the jihadists in Afghanistan, went via Pakistan. The ISI, the all-powerful military Inter-Service Intelligence-an institution which is pro-jihadist to boot-was used by the U.S. to arm elements which later morphed into al-Qaeda. The breeding ground for the modern, one might say postmodern form of jihadism, was Afghanistan-and it was made possible by U.S. policy inputs which helped its development.

But if we look at the past 14 centuries, time and over again we see the same phenomenon. The first time they tried to conquer Europe was across the Straits of Gibraltar and across the Iberian Peninsula, today's Spain. Then they crossed the Pyrinees and were only stopped at Poitiers by Charles Martel in 732AD. Then they were gradually being pushed back, and the Reconquista -- the reconquest of Spain-lasted 800 years, until 1492, when Cordoba finally fell to the Christian forces. Then came the second, Ottoman onslaught, in the XIVth century, which went across the Dardanelles into the Balkan Peninsula. The Turks were only finally stopped at the gates of Vienna in 1683. Pushing Turkey out of Europe went all the way to 1912, to the First Balkan War.

So we may say that we are now witnessing the third Islamic conquest of Europe. This time it is not using armed janissaries, it is using so-called refugees. In fact most of them are healthy young men, and the whole process is obviously a strategic exercise -- a joint venture between Ankara and Riyadh, who are logistically and financially helping this mass transfer of people from the Turkish and Middle Eastern refugee camps to the heart of Europe. The effect may be the same, but this time it is far more dangerous because, on the European side-unlike in 732, or 1683-there is no political will and there is no moral strength to resist. This is happening because the migrants, the invaders, see Europe as the candy store with a busted lock and they are taking advantage of that fact.

FPR: When you see the horrors of rapes and sexual assaults that took place across Germany, and now we see the Germans' response . . . vigilantes on their streets . . . this is something that we either control politically and with leadership, or else it falls apart into anarchy, Prof. Trifkovic?

ST: Instead of anarchy I think we will have a form of postmodern totalitarianism. The elite class, the government of Germany etc, and the media, will demonize those who try to resist. In fact we already have the spectacle of the minister of the interior of one of the German states saying that "hate speech" on the social networks and websites was far worse than the "incidents" in Cologne. And the Mayor of Cologne-an ultra-feminist who is also a pro-immigration enthusiast-said that in order to prevent such events in the future women should observe a "code of conduct" and keep distance "at an arm's length" from men. It's a classic example of blaming the victim. The victims of Islamic violence should change their behavior in order to adapt themselves to the code of conduct and values of the invaders. This is truly unprecedented.

Instead of utter anarchy, I think we are more likely to see the ever more stringent control of the social media. The German government has already imposed on Google and Twitter which is based on the German draconian "hate speech" legislation, rather than on the universally accepted standards. On the whole we see everywhere in Europe that when you have a political party or a person trying to call a spade by its name, to call for a moratorium on immigration or for a fundamental change in the way of thinking, they will be demonized. The same applies to Marine Le Pen in France and to her party, the Front National , or to Geert Wilders in Holland, or to Strache in Austria. Whoever tries to articulate a coherent plan of action that includes a ban or limits on Islamic immigration is immediately demonized as a right-wing fanatic or a fascist. Instead of facing the reality of the situation, that you have a multi-million Islamic diaspora in Europe which is not assimilating, which refuses even to accept a code of conduct of the host population, the reaction is always the same: blame the victim, and demonize those who try to articulate some form of resistance.

FPR: Dr. Trifkovic, how does a country such as ours, the United States, fix this problem . . .

ST: The answer is fairly simple, but it would require a fundamental transformation of the mindset of the political decision-makers. It is to start treating Islamic activism not as "religious" but as an eminently political activity -- subversive political activity, in the same way as communist subversion was treated during the Cold War. In both cases we have a committed, highly motivated group of people who want to effect a fundamental transformation of the United States in a way that is contrary to the U.S. Constitution, to the American way of life, and to the American values. It is time to stop the Islamists from hiding behind the "freedom of religion" mantra. What they are seeking is not some "freedom of religion" but the freedom to organize in order to pursue political subversion. They do not accept the U.S. Constitution.

To start with, every single potential U.S. citizen from the Islamic world needs to be interviewed in great detail about his or her beliefs and commitments. It is simply impossible for a believing Muslim to swear the oath of allegiance to the United States. None of them, if they are true believers, can regard the U.S. Constitution as superior to the Sharia-which is the law of God, while the U.S. Constitution is a man-made document. I happen to know the oath because I am myself a naturalized U.S. citizen. They can do it "in good faith" from their point of view by practicing taqqiya . This is the Arab word for the art of dissimulation, when the Muslim lies to the infidel in order to protect the faith. For them to lie to investigators or to immigration officials about their beliefs and their objectives does not create any conflict of conscience. The prophet of Islam himself has mandated the use of taqqiya if it serves the objective of spreading the faith.

FPR: Can a civil war come out of this? Is it conceivable?

ST: If there is to be a civil war in Europe, it would be pursued between the elite class which wants to continue pursuing multiculturalism and unlimited immigration --for example Germany, where over a million migrants from the Middle East, North Africa etc. were admitted in 2015 alone-and the majority of the population who have not been consulted, and who feel that their home country is being irretrievably lost. I do not believe that there will be many people fighting on the side of the multiculturalists' suicide, but nevertheless we still have very effective forces of coercion and control on the government side which can be deployed to prevent the articulation of any long-term, coherent plan of resistance.

FPR: Where can people continue to read you writings, Dr. Trifkovic?

ST: On Chroniclesmagazine.org where I publish weekly online commentaries, and also in the print edition of Chronicles where I have my regular column.

[Dec 03, 2017] The GOP tax bill is of the lobbies, by the PACs and for the money.

Dec 03, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Jim Haygood , December 2, 2017 at 8:29 am

Renegade ( ex-? ) Republican David Stockman NAILS IT TO THE WALL:

To be sure, some element of political calculus always lies behind legislation. For instance, the Dems didn't pass the Wagner Act in 1935, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 or the Affordable Care Act of 2010 as exercises in pure civic virtue -- these measures targeted huge constituencies with tens of millions of votes at stake.

Still, threadbare theories and untoward effects are just that; they can't be redeemed by the risible claim that this legislative Rube Goldberg contraption being jammed through sight unseen ( in ACA redux fashion ) is for the benefit of the rank and file Republican voters, and most especially not for the dispossessed independents and Dems of Flyover America who voted for Trump out of protest against the failing status quo.

To the contrary. The GOP tax bill is of the lobbies, by the PACs and for the money. Period.

There is no higher purpose or even nugget of conservative economic principle to it. The battle cry of "pro-growth tax cuts" is just a warmed over 35-year-old mantra from the Reagan era that does not remotely reflect the actual content of the bill or disguise what it really is: namely, a cowardly infliction of more than $2 trillion of debt on future American taxpayers in order to fund tax relief today for the GOP's K Street and Wall Street paymasters.

On a net basis, in fact, fully 97% of the $1.412 trillion revenue loss in the Senate Committee bill over the next decade is attributable to the $1.369 trillion cost of cutting the corporate rate from 35% to 20% (and repeal of the related AMT). All the rest of the massive bill is just a monumental zero-sum pot stirring operation.

https://tinyurl.com/yal6ls89

Stockman, who knows federal budgeting better than most of us know the contents of our own homes, goes on to shred the tax bill item by item, leaving a smoking, scorched-earth moonscape in his deadly rhetorical wake. And he's not done yet.

But Lordy, how he scourges the last hurrah of the know-nothing R party, just before it gets pounded senseless at the polls next year. Bubble III is the last hope of the retrograde Republican Congressional rabble. But it's a 50/50 proposition at best that our beloved bubble lasts through next November. :-(

tegnost , December 2, 2017 at 8:56 am

thanks Jim, yes, this looks like it will knock the legs out of the "main st" economy, but over at versailles on the potomac they'll be listening to/playing the fiddle and watching the country burn while guzzling 300 dollar scotch and and admiring their campfire.

ambrit , December 2, 2017 at 9:19 am

Right next to "Versailles on the Potomac" is the site of the former Bonus Army camp, Anacostia Flats. The burning of the Bonus Army camp at Anacostia Flats could be seen, as a red glow, from the White House. Historians charitable to Herbert Hoover suggest that Gen. Douglass MacArthur 'conned' Hoover into letting the Army 'disperse' the Bonus Army. The resulting spectacle can be said to be one of the prime reasons why the American public rejected Hoover when he ran for re-election against Franklin Roosevelt.
I don't know if Hoover played the fiddle, but MacArthur was known to be able to play politicians like one.
The lesson here, if there is one, is that the present occupant of the White House had better be very circumspect about taking advice from Generals.

nonclassical , December 2, 2017 at 2:14 pm

"anacostia flats" bonus army raided by Wall Street General MacArthur which is reason in previous iteration of Wall Street power grab by "American Liberty League", ("The Plot To Seize the White House"-Jules Archer) Marine General Smedley Butler felt forced play whistle-blower, providing FDR leverage he needed to prosecute banksters.


Big River Bandido December 2, 2017 at 3:26 pm

The gist of the commenter's statement was true - Democrats are totally complicit in the end result of Republican economic and foreign policy. Until now, Republicans could only deliver on their promises when Democrats helped them out. The Democrats' enabling strategy eventually alienated their own core supporters. With this tax cut, the Republicans have shown, for the first time, the ability to enact and sign their own legislation.

The Democrats basically accommodated the Republicans long enough to ensure their own irrelevance. They will not rise again until their "mixed stances" and those who encourage them are purged.

[Dec 03, 2017] Another Democratic party betrayal of their former voters. but what you can expect from the party of Bill Clinton?

Highly recommended!
Dec 03, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

SpringTexan , December 2, 2017 at 12:08 pm

And I feel like the Democrats get so distracted. They have been talking about sexual harassment and stuff instead of the TAX BILL. It is so damn easy to get them to take their eyes off the ball! and get played again and again. . . and TRAGIC given the consequences . . .

Big River Bandido , December 2, 2017 at 3:10 pm

It's the perfect "distraction". Allows them to engage in virtue-signaling and "fighting for average Americans". It's all phony, they always "lose" in the end getting exactly what they wanted in the first place, while not actually having to cast a vote for it.

Kabuki theater in every respect.

jrs , December 2, 2017 at 3:18 pm

It's all related, less safety net and more inequality means more desperation to take a job, *ANY* job, means more women putting up with sexual harassment (and workplace bullying and horrible and illegal workplace conditions etc.) as the price of a paycheck.

Allegorio , December 2, 2017 at 11:07 pm

Horrible Toomey's re-election was a parallel to the Clinton/Trump fiasco. The Democrats put up a corporate shill, Katie McGinty that no-one trusted.

"Former lobbyist Katie McGinty has spent three decades in politics getting rich off the companies she regulated and subsidized. Now this master of the revolving-door wants Pennsylvania voters to give her another perch in government: U.S. Senator." Washington Examiner.

She was a Clintonite through and through, that everyone, much like $Hillary, could see through.

Expat , December 2, 2017 at 8:01 am

To paraphrase the Beatles, you say you want a revolution but you don't really mean it. You want more of the same because it makes you feel good to keep voting for your Senator or your Congressman. The others are corrupt and evil, but your guys are good. If only the others were like your guys. News flash: they are all your guys.

America is doomed. And so much the better. Despite all America has done for the world, it has also been a brutal despot. America created consumerism, super-sizing and the Kardashians. These are all unforgivable sins. America is probably the most persistently violent country in the world both domestically and internationally. No other country has invaded or occupied so much of the world, unless you count the known world in which case Macedonia wins.

This tax plan is what Americans want because they are pretty ignorant and stupid. They are incapable of understanding basic math so they can't work out the details. They believe that any tax cut is inherently good and all government is bad so that is also all that matters. They honestly think they or their kids will one day be rich so they don't want to hurt rich people. They also believe that millionaires got their money honestly and through hard work because that is what they learned from their parents.

Just send a blank check to Goldman Sachs. Keep a bit to buy a gun which you can use to either shoot up a McDonalds or blow your own brains out.

And some people still ask me why I left and don't want to come back. LOL

tony , December 2, 2017 at 9:30 am

Macedonia of today is not the same are that conquered the world. They stole the name from Greeks.

That being said, the US is ripe for a change. Every policy the current rulers enact seems to make things better. However, I suspect a revolution would kill majority of the population since it would disrupt the all important supply chains, so it does not seem viable.

However, a military takeover could be viable. If they are willing to wipe out the most predatory portions of the ruling class, they could fix the healthcare system, install a high-employment policy and take out the banks and even the military contractors. Which could make them very popular.

False Solace , December 2, 2017 at 5:18 pm

> a military takeover could be viable

Yeah, right. Have you seen our generals? They're just more of the same leeches we have everywhere else in the 0.01%. Have you seen any of the other military dictatorships around the world, like actually existing ones? They're all brilliantly corrupt and total failures when it comes to running any sort of economy. Not to mention the total loss of civil rights. Americans have this idiotic love of their military thanks to decades of effective propaganda and think the rule of pampered generals would somehow be better than the right to vote. Bleh.

Allegorio , December 2, 2017 at 11:20 pm

This is a military dictatorship. The fourth and sixth amendments have been de facto repealed. Trump cared about one thing and one thing only, namely to repeal the estate tax. He is the ultimate con man and this was his biggest con. It is truly amazing how he accomplished this. He has saved his family a billion $$$. He will now turn over governing to the generals and Goldman Sachs. He may even retire. Truly amazing. One has to admire the sheer perversity of it all. When will the American electorate get tired of being conned? The fact is they have nothing but admiration for Trump. We live in a criminal culture, winner take all. America loves its winners.

John Wright , December 2, 2017 at 10:45 am

There is an old 2003 David Brooks column in which he mentions that

"The Democrats couldn't even persuade people to oppose the repeal of the estate tax, which is explicitly for the mega-upper class. Al Gore, who ran a populist campaign, couldn't even win the votes of white males who didn't go to college, whose incomes have stagnated over the past decades and who were the explicit targets of his campaign. Why don't more Americans want to distribute more wealth down to people like themselves?"

Then Brooks goes on to explain

"The most telling polling result from the 2000 election was from a Time magazine survey that asked people if they are in the top 1 percent of earners. Nineteen percent of Americans say they are in the richest 1 percent and a further 20 percent expect to be someday. So right away you have 39 percent of Americans who thought that when Mr. Gore savaged a plan that favored the top 1 percent, he was taking a direct shot at them."

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/12/opinion/the-triumph-of-hope-over-self-interest.html

The Republicans have conditioned people to believe government services (except for defense/military) are run poorly and need to be "run like a business" for a profit.

The problem is that not all government services CAN be profitable (homeless care, mental health care for the poor, EPA enforcement, OSHA enforcement). And when attempts are made to privatize some government operations such as incarceration, the result is that the private company tries to maximize profits by pushing for laws to incarcerate ever more people.

The history of the USA as viewed by outsiders, maybe 50 years hence, will be that of a resource consuming nation that spent a vast fortune on military hardware and military adventures when it had little to fear due to geography, a nation that touted an independent press that was anything but, a nation that created a large media/entertainment industry which helped to keep citizens in line, a nation that fostered an overly large (by 2 or 3 times per Paul Whooley) parasitical financial industry that did not perform its prime capital allocation task competently as it veered from bubble to bubble and a nation that managed to spend great sums on medical care without covering all citizens.

But the USA does have a lot of guns and a lot of frustrated people.

Maybe Kevlar vests will be the fashion of the future?

Steve , December 2, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Thanks for the great link on how sadly uninformed average Americans are! I've been looking for it for a while and great comment!

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , December 2, 2017 at 4:08 pm

The provision to do away with the estate tax, if not immediately, in the current versions (House and Senate) is great news for the 1%, and bad for the rest of us.

And if more people are not against that (thanks for quoting the NYTImes article), it's the failure of the rest of the media for not focusing more on it, but wasting time and energy on fashion, sports, entertainment, etc.

Vatch , December 2, 2017 at 7:24 pm

he provision to do away with the estate tax . . . is great news for the 1%

I think it's even a little more extreme than that. The data is a few years old, but it is only the top 0.6% who are affected by estate taxes in the United States. See the data at these web sites:

https://www.irs.gov/statistics/soi-tax-stats-historical-table-17

https://www.irs.gov/statistics/soi-tax-stats-estate-tax-statistics-year-of-death-table-1

Sydney Conner , December 2, 2017 at 5:06 pm

Thanks for the succinct, accurate eloquent description of our nightmare reality.

DHG , December 2, 2017 at 8:13 pm

https://www.rawstory.com/2016/11/the-dark-rigidity-of-fundamentalist-rural-america-a-view-from-the-inside/

JTMcPhee , December 2, 2017 at 10:34 pm

The military adventures were largely in support of what Smedley Butler so accurately called the Great "Racket" of Monroe Doctrine colonialism and rapacious extractive "capitalism" aka "looting."

For those who haven't encountered Maj. Gen. Butler's take on his 33 years of serving the Oligokleptocracy, here's a link: https://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html

A smart and honest fellow, who even declined as a "war hero" to serve as the oligarchs' figurehead in an earlier and clumsier plot to get rid of the trappings and regulation of "democracy:" The Business Plot, https://jtoddring.wordpress.com/2008/01/19/smedley-butler-and-the-business-plot/

It took longer and costed the rich a bit more to buy up all the bits of government, but the way they've done will likely be more compendious and lasting. Barring some "intervening event(s)".

Jonathan Holland Becnel , December 2, 2017 at 11:51 am

Doomed?

Project Much?

While Republicans show their true colors, im out there seeing a resurgence of civil society. And im starting to reach Hard core Tea Party types. Jobs, Manufacturing, Actual Policy.

IOW The Revolution Is Nigh.

2018 will be a Fn watershed.

[Dec 01, 2017] JFK The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy by L. Fletcher Prouty, Oliver Stone, Jesse Ventura

Highly recommended!
The most important part of power elite in neoliberal society might not be financial oligarchy, but intelligence agencies elite. If you look at the role of Brennan in "Purple color revolution" against Trump that became clear that heads of the agencies are powerful political players with resources at hand, that are not available to other politicians.
Notable quotes:
"... Men in positions of great power have been forced to realize that their aspirations and responsibilities have exceeded the horizons of their own experience, knowledge, and capability. Yet, because they are in chargeof this high-technology society, they are compelled to do something. This overpowering necessity to do something -- although our leaders do not know precisely what to do or how to do it -- creates in the power elite an overbearing fear of the people. It is the fear not of you and me as individuals but of the smoldering threat of vast populations and of potential uprisings of the masses. ..."
"... This power elite is not easy to define; but the fact that it exists makes itself known from time to time. Concerning the power elite, R. Buckminster Fuller wrote of the "vastly ambitious individuals who [have] become so effectively powerful because of their ability to remain invisible while operating behind the national scenery." Fuller noted also, "Always their victories [are] in the name of some powerful sovereign-ruled country. The real power structures [are] always the invisible ones behind the visible sovereign powers." ..."
"... This report, as presented in the novel, avers that war is necessary to sustain society, the nation, and national sovereignty, a view that has existed for millennia. Through the ages, totally uncontrolled warfare -- the only kind of "real" war -- got bigger and "better" as time and technology churned on, finally culminating in World War II with the introduction of atomic bombs. ..."
"... This is why, even before the end of World War II, the newly structured bipolar confrontation between the world of Communism and the West resulted in the employment of enormous intelligence agencies that had the power, invisibly, to wage underground warfare, economic and well as military, anywhere -- including methods of warfare never before imagined. These conflicts had to be tactically designed to remain short of the utilization of the H-bomb by either side. There can never be victories in such wars, but tremendous loss of life could occur, and there is the much-desired consumption and attrition of trillions of dollars', and rubles', worth of war equipment. ..."
"... Since WWII, there has been an epidemic of murders at the highest level in many countries. Without question the most dynamic of these assassinations was the murder of President John F. Kennedy, but JFK was just one of many in a long list that includes bankers, corporate leaders, newsmen, rising political spokesmen, and religious leaders. ..."
"... The ever-present threat of assassination seriously limits the number of men who would normally attempt to strive for positions of leadership, if for no other reason than that they could be singled out for murder at any time. This is not a new tactic, but it is one that has become increasingly utilized in pressure spots around the world. ..."
"... Under totalitarian or highly centralized nondemocratic regimes, the intelligence organization is a political, secret service with police powers. It is designed primarily to provide personal security to those who control the authority of the state against all political opponents, foreign and domestic. These leaders are forced to depend upon these secret elite forces to remain alive and in power. Such an organization operates in deep secrecy and has the responsibility for carrying out espionage, counterespionage, and pseudoterrorism. This methodology is as true of Israel, Chile, or Jordan as it has been of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... The second category of intelligence organization is one whose agents are limited to the gathering and reporting of intelligence and who have no police functions or the power to arrest at home or abroad. This type of organization is what the CIA was created to be; however, it does not exist. ..."
"... Over the decades since the CIA was created, it has acquired more sinister functions. All intelligence agencies, in time, tend to develop along similar lines. The CIA today is a far cry hum the agency that was created in 1947 by the National Security Act. As President Harry S. Truman confided to close friends, the greatest mistake of his administration took place when he signed that National Security Act of 1947 into law. It was that act which, among other things it did, created the Central Intelligence Agency.3 ..."
Oct 08, 2017 | www.amazon.com

True existence of these multimegaton hydrogen bombs has so drastically changed the Grand Strategy of world powers that, today and for the future, that strategy is being carried out by the invisible forces of the CIA, what remains of the KGB, and their lesser counterparts around the world.

Men in positions of great power have been forced to realize that their aspirations and responsibilities have exceeded the horizons of their own experience, knowledge, and capability. Yet, because they are in chargeof this high-technology society, they are compelled to do something. This overpowering necessity to do something -- although our leaders do not know precisely what to do or how to do it -- creates in the power elite an overbearing fear of the people. It is the fear not of you and me as individuals but of the smoldering threat of vast populations and of potential uprisings of the masses.

This power elite is not easy to define; but the fact that it exists makes itself known from time to time. Concerning the power elite, R. Buckminster Fuller wrote of the "vastly ambitious individuals who [have] become so effectively powerful because of their ability to remain invisible while operating behind the national scenery." Fuller noted also, "Always their victories [are] in the name of some powerful sovereign-ruled country. The real power structures [are] always the invisible ones behind the visible sovereign powers."

The power elite is not a group from one nation or even of one alliance of nations. It operates throughout the world and no doubt has done so for many, many centuries.

... ... ...

From this point ot view, warfare, and the preparation tor war, is an absolute necessity for the welfare of the state and for control of population masses, as has been so ably documented in that remarkable novel by Leonard Lewin Report From Iron Mountain on the Possibility and Desirability of Peace and attributed by Lewin to "the Special Study Group in 1966," an organization whose existence was so highly classified that there is no record, to this day, of who the men in the group were or with what sectors of the government or private life they were connected.

This report, as presented in the novel, avers that war is necessary to sustain society, the nation, and national sovereignty, a view that has existed for millennia. Through the ages, totally uncontrolled warfare -- the only kind of "real" war -- got bigger and "better" as time and technology churned on, finally culminating in World War II with the introduction of atomic bombs.

Not long after that great war, the world leaders were faced suddenly with the reality of a great dilemma. At the root of this dilemma was the new fission-fusion-fission H-bomb. Is it some uncontrollable Manichean device, or is it truly a weapon of war?

... ... ...

Such knowledge is sufficient. The dilemma is now fact. There can no longer be a classic or traditional war, at least not the all-out, go-for-broke-type warfare there has been down through the ages, a war that leads to a meaningful victory for one side and abject defeat for the other.

Witness what has been called warfare in Korea, and Vietnam, and the later, more limited experiment with new weaponry called the Gulf War in Iraq.

... ... ...

This is why, even before the end of World War II, the newly structured bipolar confrontation between the world of Communism and the West resulted in the employment of enormous intelligence agencies that had the power, invisibly, to wage underground warfare, economic and well as military, anywhere -- including methods of warfare never before imagined. These conflicts had to be tactically designed to remain short of the utilization of the H-bomb by either side. There can never be victories in such wars, but tremendous loss of life could occur, and there is the much-desired consumption and attrition of trillions of dollars', and rubles', worth of war equipment.

One objective of this book is to discuss these new forces. It will present an insider's view of the CIA story and provide comparisons with the intelligence organizations -- those invisible forces -- of other countries. To be more realistic with the priorities of these agencies themselves, more will be said about operational matters than about actual intelligence gathering as a profession.

This subject cannot be explored fully without a discussion of assassination. Since WWII, there has been an epidemic of murders at the highest level in many countries. Without question the most dynamic of these assassinations was the murder of President John F. Kennedy, but JFK was just one of many in a long list that includes bankers, corporate leaders, newsmen, rising political spokesmen, and religious leaders.

The ever-present threat of assassination seriously limits the number of men who would normally attempt to strive for positions of leadership, if for no other reason than that they could be singled out for murder at any time. This is not a new tactic, but it is one that has become increasingly utilized in pressure spots around the world.

It is essential to note that there are two principal categories of intelligence organizations and that their functions are determined generally by the characteristics of the type of government they serve -- not by the citizens of the government, but by its leaders.

Under totalitarian or highly centralized nondemocratic regimes, the intelligence organization is a political, secret service with police powers. It is designed primarily to provide personal security to those who control the authority of the state against all political opponents, foreign and domestic. These leaders are forced to depend upon these secret elite forces to remain alive and in power. Such an organization operates in deep secrecy and has the responsibility for carrying out espionage, counterespionage, and pseudoterrorism. This methodology is as true of Israel, Chile, or Jordan as it has been of the Soviet Union.

The second category of intelligence organization is one whose agents are limited to the gathering and reporting of intelligence and who have no police functions or the power to arrest at home or abroad. This type of organization is what the CIA was created to be; however, it does not exist.

Over the decades since the CIA was created, it has acquired more sinister functions. All intelligence agencies, in time, tend to develop along similar lines. The CIA today is a far cry hum the agency that was created in 1947 by the National Security Act. As President Harry S. Truman confided to close friends, the greatest mistake of his administration took place when he signed that National Security Act of 1947 into law. It was that act which, among other things it did, created the Central Intelligence Agency.3

[Nov 29, 2017] Brennan and Clapper Elder Statesmen or Serial Fabricators by Mike Whitney

Brennan is probably one of the key figures in color revolution against Trump that was launched after the elections...
Looks like both Brennan and Clapper suffer from the acute case of Anti-Russian paranoia along with Full Spectrum Dominance hallucinations.
Notable quotes:
"... In other words, after an arduous 12 month-long investigation involving both Houses of Congress, a Special Counsel, and a small army of high-paid Washington attorneys, the only straw Brennan has found to hold on to, is a few innocuous advertisements posted on Facebook and Twitter that had no noticeable impact on the election at all. That's a very weak foundation upon which to build a case for foreign espionage or presidential collusion. It's hard not to conclude that the public has been seriously misled by the leaders of this campaign. ..."
"... The Intel bosses continue to believe that they can overcome the lack of evidence by repeating the same claims over and over again. The problem with this theory is that Brennan's claims don't match the findings of his own "Gold Standard" report, the so called Intelligence Community Assessment or ICA which was published on January 6, 2017 and which supposedly provides rock solid evidence of Russian meddling. The greatly over-hyped ICA proves nothing of the kind, in fact, the report features a sweeping disclaimer that cautions readers against drawing any rash conclusions from the analysts observations ..."
"... So, while Brennan continues to insist that the Kremlin was involved in the elections, his own analysts suggest that any such judgments should be taken with a very large grain of salt. Nothing is certain, information is "incomplete or fragmentary", and the entire report is based on what-amounts-to 'educated guesswork.' Is Brennan confused about the report's findings or is he deliberately trying to mislead the American people about its conclusions? ..."
"... There appears to be a significant discrepancy between Brennan's unshakable belief in Russian intervention and the findings of his own "hand picked" analysts who said with emphatic clarity: "Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact." ..."
"... Clapper played a key role in the bogus Iraq-WMD intelligence when he was head of the National Geo-spatial Agency and hid the fact that there was zero evidence in satellite imagery of any weapons of mass destruction before the Iraq invasion. When no WMDs were found, Clapper told the media that he thought they were shipped off to Syria. ..."
"... In 2013, Clapper perjured himself before Congress by denying NSA's unconstitutional blanket surveillance of Americans. After evidence emerged revealing the falsity of Clapper's testimony, he wrote a letter to Congress admitting, "My response was clearly erroneous – for which I apologize." . ..."
"... Clapper also has demonstrated an ugly bias about Russians. On May 28, as a former DNI, Clapper explained Russian "interference" in the U.S. election to NBC's Chuck Todd on May 28 with a tutorial on what everyone should know about "the historical practices of the Russians." Clapper said, "the Russians, typically, are almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique." ("Mocking Trump Doesn't Prove Russia's Guilt", Ray McGovern, Consortium News) ..."
"... So, Clapper concealed information that could have slowed or prevented the rush to war in Iraq. That's a significant failing on his part that suggests either poor judgment or moral weakness. Which is it? ..."
"... Brennan, as a Bush-era CIA official, had expressly endorsed Bush's programs of torture (other than waterboarding) and rendition and also was a vocal advocate of immunizing lawbreaking telecoms for their role in the illegal Bush NSA eavesdropping program ..."
"... So, Brennan supported kidnapping (rendition), torture (enhanced interrogation techniques) and targeted assassinations (drone attacks). And this is the man we are supposed to trust about Russia? Keep in mind, the jihadist militants that have been tearing apart Syria for the last six years were armed and trained by the CIA. Brennan's CIA. ..."
"... As we noted earlier, Brennan and Clapper are central figures in the Russia-gate story, but their records show we can't trust what they have to say. They are like the eyewitness in a murder trial whose testimony is 'thrown out' because he is exposed as a compulsive liar. The same rule applies to Clapper and Brennan, that is, when the main proponents of the Russia hacking story are shown to be untrustworthy, we must discount what they have to say. ..."
"... From the presented evidence: Serial Fabricators! I have much more confidence in the veracity of used car salesmen than that of Messrs. Brennan and Clapper. ..."
"... Becoming friends with Russia, the only potential enemy available, would destroy the MIC. A real possibility the Washington establishment will never allow to happen. ..."
"... What is that having to do with the content of Mr. Whitney's good article? Mr. Whitney, to me you are of the quarter or less of Counterpunch writers who are to making sense most of the time. . . . and am always liking your writing style. Trump could have been or be a great pres. of your nation, but between dropping advisors for no good reason, becoming frightened and drawing away from his desire for rapprochement with the Russian Federation, worst of all, from this distant perspective, to appointing his daughter and son-in-law as senior advisors. Both are overpriveleged morons. ..."
"... Clapper is a befuddled old fool and can be safely ignored. Brennan is something far more sinister. ..."
"... Pompeo should have reversed every single thing he did the minute he took office, starting with firing every CIA employee brought into the Agency by Brennan (this can be done – CIA employees have no Civil Service protection). That Brennan is still at large after his outrageous involvement in the phony Russia dossier is an indictment of Jeff Sessions, Trump, the DOJ and the FBI. He could be indicted on a host of Federal charges if somebody had the guts to do it. ..."
"... Professional liars. But, there was some question/doubt about this? ..."
"... As to the US spending $5 billion of US taxpayers money to 'destabilize Ukraine', we can prove that. Or at least we can take the word of a US official that this was true. Hillary's Assistant Secretary of State said this publicly at the National Press Club on Dec 13, 2013 . a few months before the violent coup that overthrew the democratically elected government of Ukraine. ..."
Nov 27, 2017 | www.unz.com

Mike Whitney November 17, 2017

On Sunday, Former CIA Director John Brennan and Former National Intelligence Director (NID) James Clapper appeared on CNN's morning talk show, State of the Union, to discuss Donald Trump's brief meeting with Vladimir Putin in Vietnam. The two ex-Intel chiefs were sharply critical of Trump and wondered why the president did not "not acknowledge and embrace" the idea that Russia meddled in the 2016 elections. According to Brennan, Russia not only "poses a national security problem" for the US, but also "Putin is committed to undermining our system, our democracy, and our whole process."

Naturally, CNN anchor, Jake Tapper, never challenged Brennan or Clapper on any of the many claims they made regarding Russia nor did he interrupt either man while they made, what appeared to be, carefully scripted remarks about Trump, Putin and the ongoing investigation.

There were no surprise announcements during the interview and neither Brennan or Clapper added anything new to the list of allegations that have been repeated ad nauseam in the media for the last year. The only time Tapper veered off course at all was when he asked Brennan whether he thought "any laws were broken by the Trump campaign? Here's what Brennan said:

I'm just a former intelligence officer. I never had the responsibility for determining whether or not criminal actions were taken. But, since leaving office on the 20th of January, I think more and more of this iceberg is emerging above the surface of the water, some of the things that I knew about, but some of the things I didn't know about, in terms of some of the social media efforts that Russia employed. So, I think what Bob Mueller, who, again, is another quintessential public servant, is doing is trying to get to the bottom of this. And I think we're going to find out how large this iceberg really is.

In other words, after an arduous 12 month-long investigation involving both Houses of Congress, a Special Counsel, and a small army of high-paid Washington attorneys, the only straw Brennan has found to hold on to, is a few innocuous advertisements posted on Facebook and Twitter that had no noticeable impact on the election at all. That's a very weak foundation upon which to build a case for foreign espionage or presidential collusion. It's hard not to conclude that the public has been seriously misled by the leaders of this campaign.

The Intel bosses continue to believe that they can overcome the lack of evidence by repeating the same claims over and over again. The problem with this theory is that Brennan's claims don't match the findings of his own "Gold Standard" report, the so called Intelligence Community Assessment or ICA which was published on January 6, 2017 and which supposedly provides rock solid evidence of Russian meddling. The greatly over-hyped ICA proves nothing of the kind, in fact, the report features a sweeping disclaimer that cautions readers against drawing any rash conclusions from the analysts observations. Here's the money-quote from the report:

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, as well as logic, argumentation, and precedents.

So, while Brennan continues to insist that the Kremlin was involved in the elections, his own analysts suggest that any such judgments should be taken with a very large grain of salt. Nothing is certain, information is "incomplete or fragmentary", and the entire report is based on what-amounts-to 'educated guesswork.' Is Brennan confused about the report's findings or is he deliberately trying to mislead the American people about its conclusions?

Here's Brennan again on Sunday:

I think Mr. Trump knows that the intelligence agencies, specifically CIA, NSA and FBI, the ones that really have responsibility for counterintelligence and looking at what Russia does, it's very clear that the Russians interfered in the election. And it's still puzzling as to why Mr. Trump does not acknowledge that and embrace it, and also push back hard against Mr. Putin. The Russian threat to our democracy and our democratic foundations is real.

There appears to be a significant discrepancy between Brennan's unshakable belief in Russian intervention and the findings of his own "hand picked" analysts who said with emphatic clarity: "Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact."

Why is it so hard for Brennan to wrap his mind around that simple, unambiguous statement? The reason Brennan's intelligence analysts admit that they have no proof, is because they have no proof. That might sound obvious, but we have to assume that it isn't given that both Houses of Congress and a Special Counsel are still bogged down in an investigation that has yet to provide even a solid lead let alone any compelling evidence.

We also have to assume that most people do not understand that there is not sufficient evidence to justify the massive investigations that are currently underway. (What probable cause?) Adds placed in Facebook do not constitute hard evidence of foreign espionage or election rigging. They indicate the desperation of the people who are leading the investigation. The fact that serious people are even talking about social media just underscores the fact that the search for proof has produced nothing.

These investigations are taking place because powerful elites want to vilify an emerging geopolitical rival (Russia) and prevent Trump from normalizing relations with Moscow, not because there is any evidence of criminal wrongdoing. As the Intel analysts themselves acknowledge, there is no proof of criminal wrongdoing or any other wrongdoing for that matter. What there is, is a political agenda to discredit Trump and demonize Russia. That's the fuel that is driving the present campaign.

Russia-gate is not about 'meddling', it's about politics. And Brennan and Clapper are critical players in the current drama. They're supposed to be the elder statesmen who selflessly defend the country from foreign threats. But are they or is this just role-playing that doesn't square with what we already know about the two men? Here's thumbnail sketch of Clapper written by former-CIA officer Ray McGovern that will help to clarify the point:

Clapper played a key role in the bogus Iraq-WMD intelligence when he was head of the National Geo-spatial Agency and hid the fact that there was zero evidence in satellite imagery of any weapons of mass destruction before the Iraq invasion. When no WMDs were found, Clapper told the media that he thought they were shipped off to Syria.

In 2013, Clapper perjured himself before Congress by denying NSA's unconstitutional blanket surveillance of Americans. After evidence emerged revealing the falsity of Clapper's testimony, he wrote a letter to Congress admitting, "My response was clearly erroneous – for which I apologize." .

Clapper also has demonstrated an ugly bias about Russians. On May 28, as a former DNI, Clapper explained Russian "interference" in the U.S. election to NBC's Chuck Todd on May 28 with a tutorial on what everyone should know about "the historical practices of the Russians." Clapper said, "the Russians, typically, are almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique." ("Mocking Trump Doesn't Prove Russia's Guilt", Ray McGovern, Consortium News)

So, Clapper concealed information that could have slowed or prevented the rush to war in Iraq. That's a significant failing on his part that suggests either poor judgment or moral weakness. Which is it?

He also lied about spying on the American people. Why? Why would he do that? And why should we trust someone who not only spied on us but also paved the way to war in Iraq?

And the rap-sheet on Brennan is even worse than Clapper's. Check out this blurb from Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian:

"Brennan, as a Bush-era CIA official, had expressly endorsed Bush's programs of torture (other than waterboarding) and rendition and also was a vocal advocate of immunizing lawbreaking telecoms for their role in the illegal Bush NSA eavesdropping program

Obama then appointed him as his top counter-terrorism adviser . In that position, Brennan last year got caught outright lying when he claimed Obama's drone program caused no civilian deaths in Pakistan over the prior year .

Brennan has also been in charge of many of Obama's most controversial and radical policies, including "signature strikes" in Yemen – targeting people without even knowing who they are – and generally seizing the power to determine who will be marked for execution without any due process, oversight or transparency .." ("John Brennan's extremism and dishonesty rewarded with CIA Director nomination", Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian)

So, Brennan supported kidnapping (rendition), torture (enhanced interrogation techniques) and targeted assassinations (drone attacks). And this is the man we are supposed to trust about Russia? Keep in mind, the jihadist militants that have been tearing apart Syria for the last six years were armed and trained by the CIA. Brennan's CIA.

These radical militias have been defeated largely due to Russian military intervention. Do you think that this defeat at the hands of Putin may have shaped Brennan's attitude towards Russia?

Of course, it has. Brennan never makes any attempt to conceal his hatred for Putin or Russia.

As we noted earlier, Brennan and Clapper are central figures in the Russia-gate story, but their records show we can't trust what they have to say. They are like the eyewitness in a murder trial whose testimony is 'thrown out' because he is exposed as a compulsive liar. The same rule applies to Clapper and Brennan, that is, when the main proponents of the Russia hacking story are shown to be untrustworthy, we must discount what they have to say.

Which is why the Russia-gate narrative is beginning to unravel.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition . He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com .

Curmudgeon , November 23, 2017 at 6:46 pm GMT

What!!!! Someone from the management of an intelligence agency lying? I'm shocked!
Dan Hayes , November 25, 2017 at 7:51 am GMT
From the presented evidence: Serial Fabricators! I have much more confidence in the veracity of used car salesmen than that of Messrs. Brennan and Clapper.
m___ , November 25, 2017 at 8:22 am GMT
Fake news, and stale news. By when an algorithm of Goolag to "clean" the internet of current house-hold garbage?
Carroll Price , November 25, 2017 at 1:24 pm GMT
Becoming friends with Russia, the only potential enemy available, would destroy the MIC. A real possibility the Washington establishment will never allow to happen.
Che Guava , November 25, 2017 at 1:58 pm GMT
@WorkingClass

What is that having to do with the content of Mr. Whitney's good article? Mr. Whitney, to me you are of the quarter or less of Counterpunch writers who are to making sense most of the time. . . . and am always liking your writing style. Trump could have been or be a great pres. of your nation, but between dropping advisors for no good reason, becoming frightened and drawing away from his desire for rapprochement with the Russian Federation, worst of all, from this distant perspective, to appointing his daughter and son-in-law as senior advisors. Both are overpriveleged morons.

Chris Bridges , November 25, 2017 at 2:54 pm GMT
Clapper is a befuddled old fool and can be safely ignored. Brennan is something far more sinister. He is an extreme leftist and there should be an investigation into how this wacko was allowed to join the CIA – he openly admits voting for CPUSA chief Gus Hall in 1976. Brennan is, besides, a resentful CIA failure.

He was denied entry to the elite Directorate of Operations (or couldn't cut the mustard and was banished from it) and spent his career stewing away in anger as a despised analyst at CIA headquarters.

Brennan spent his time at CIA attempting to undermine the organization.

Pompeo should have reversed every single thing he did the minute he took office, starting with firing every CIA employee brought into the Agency by Brennan (this can be done – CIA employees have no Civil Service protection). That Brennan is still at large after his outrageous involvement in the phony Russia dossier is an indictment of Jeff Sessions, Trump, the DOJ and the FBI. He could be indicted on a host of Federal charges if somebody had the guts to do it.

Michael Kenny , November 25, 2017 at 2:56 pm GMT
The umpteenth version of a now standard article.

We all know that the Russiagate narrative isn't starting to unravel and this and other (wholly untrustworthy) internet authors' claims are not proved by simply repeating them over and over again (to borrow a phrase!). In fact, Russiagate is expanding. It has gone from mere Russian interference in the election to dubious financial transactions between wealthy Americans, including Trump, and, to put it very politely, "dubious" Russians. It has also expanded to Europe.

What is emerging, therefore, is a collusion between wealthy Americans, no doubt with major investments in Russia, US internet sites, probably financed by the aforementioned wealthy Americans, dubious Russian financiers, Putin, Marine Le Pen, Nigel Farage and no doubt others to manipulate, perhaps rig, elections and referenda in the US and Europe. It's not about politics. It's about money and conflicts of interest.

We also get the now standard argument that Trump is just dying to "normalize" relations with Russia but is being held back by some dastardly group or other. As we all know, of course, "normalizing relations with Moscow" in Orwellian translates into English as "capitulating to Putin in Ukraine". Putin's frantic attempts to get Trump to let him win in Syria is why this old line is suddenly back on the table.

Finally, the idea of the Russian Federation as an emerging geopolitical rival is amusing. That country has existed as a sovereign state only for about 25 years and is merely the largest piece of wreckage from the collapse of the Soviet Union. In a world that is slowly being dominated by China, Russia is a very minor player.

Beefcake the Mighty , November 25, 2017 at 3:07 pm GMT
Professional liars. But, there was some question/doubt about this?
DESERT FOX , November 25, 2017 at 3:15 pm GMT
Brennan and Clapper are agent provocateurs for the Zionists who control the U.S. government and the 17 gestapo agencies which in fact are controlled by dual citizen Zionists ie ISRAEL.

Brennan and Clapper are under Zionist control and thus are traitors to the constitution of America and should be tried and sent to prison for life.

jacques sheete , November 25, 2017 at 5:25 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

It's not about politics. It's about money and conflicts of interest.

And since when are the three not related?

It's too bad that good people, like MW, need to waste their time and energy investigating and publishing what's obviously state sponsored utter rubbish designed to support some of the money bag crowd in one way or another.

Why does it even need to be stated that most of what's supposed to be a big deal to us prols, peasants and piss ants is nothing but propaganda, and of a particularly transparent and low grade variety,even?

Clyde , November 25, 2017 at 5:30 pm GMT
@Chris Bridges

Clapper is a befuddled old fool and can be safely ignored. Brennan is something far more sinister.

Clapper told some whoppers while he was head of all our intelligence agencies under Obama. But you are correct that Brennan is far more toxic. He was this way under Obama and post-Obama. He has been one of the biggest Trump saboteurs. And most effective. One ugly customer!

Colleen Pater , November 25, 2017 at 5:31 pm GMT
@Curmudgeon

Why should we care if the russians spent billions on trying to exert their influence on us, we do it we have an alphabet soup of projects to do exactly that and god knows what else to every nation on earth.In fact we do it to our own people these social websites and "news" sites universities media etc are nothing but one huge propaganda machine intended to render democracy nothing more than a distraction so elites can go about doing what they want.

jilles dykstra , November 25, 2017 at 6:20 pm GMT
Long ago, when car radio's still had antennae long enough to receive long wave transmissions, I often listened to BBCW radio, 848 Mhz.
I still remember the statement 'you can always tell when a politician lies, he then moves his lips'.
jilles dykstra , November 25, 2017 at 6:34 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

Capitulating to Putin in Ukraine. The assertion is that the CIA spent five billion dollar in Ukraine in order to overthrow the legitimate democratic government. Of course nobody can prove the assertion. What is crystal clear is that the members of EU parliament Verhofstadt, Van Baalen and Timmermans held speeches in Kiev urging the people to overthrow the government.
Their speeches could be seen live on tv, or were rebroadcast.

Timmermans held the crocodile tears speech at the UN about the MH17 victims. How, why, and through whom over 300 people were killed in Ukraine airspace we do not know until now. All there is is vague insinuations towards Russia, the country for which the disaster was a disaster, EU sanctions all of a sudden were possible.

That the political annexation by the west failed is best seen in E Ukraine, where the wealth is, in gas and oil. A son, and a son in law, of Biden, and Kerry were promised well paid jobs as CEO's of companies who were to exploit the E Ukrainian wealth, they are still waiting for the jobs.

Roger n Me , November 25, 2017 at 7:24 pm GMT
I remember when they actually prosecuted for someone for lying to Congress. Unfortunately, it was a former baseball player named Roger Clemons over the vitally important question of whether or not he had taken steroids. Obviously a vital question that every sports tabloid wants to know.
Cyrano , November 25, 2017 at 7:27 pm GMT
I just hope that the Russians realize that with enormous power comes enormous responsibility. I hope that they'll choose the next US president wisely.

There is real danger there is -- now that we know that the Russians can elect pretty much anyone in the US – that come the next elections, some charismatic, possibly independent candidate, might seduce the Russians with promises of improved ties, and after they elect him, he might turn to be a real wacko job who might end up not only worsening the ties between the superpowers, but he might end up destroying the world. Be cautious, Russians.

I.F. Stoned , November 25, 2017 at 7:36 pm GMT
If we want to talk about meddling in the election ..

Lets compare CNN giving hours and hours of free and very favorable air time to the Hillary campaign?

versus

A news website paying for a handful of thousand dollar adds on Twitter?

I remember studies that showed that during the crooked, corrupt and rigged Democratic Primaries, that there was a large disparity in favorable stories about Hillary versus the number that were favorable for Bernie. And CNN happily seemed to give lots of airtime to any Hillary surrogate who wanted to red bait and smear Bernie as a socialist.

We saw the same sort of disparity in the amount of favorable coverage of Trump vs Hillary. Likewise, any Hillary surrogate who wanted to spread the official campaign message that Trump was a racist, was a fascist, and said some rude things about women was always welcome on the CNN airwaves.

And, just recently, we had the web page editor for the NYT state publicly that they deliberately tilted their web page stories to convince voters to vote against Trump.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg if we want to talk about how the American corporate (aka mainstream) media tried very hard to tilt the whole election towards putting the Crooked Clintons back into the White House.

But, OMG, the story in the same corrupt media is that awful and evil RT spend a whole thousand dollars on an ad trying to promote their website.

Vikki , November 25, 2017 at 7:44 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

As to the US spending $5 billion of US taxpayers money to 'destabilize Ukraine', we can prove that. Or at least we can take the word of a US official that this was true. Hillary's Assistant Secretary of State said this publicly at the National Press Club on Dec 13, 2013 . a few months before the violent coup that overthrew the democratically elected government of Ukraine.

Bottom , November 25, 2017 at 7:55 pm GMT
@Colleen Pater

Hillary is the one who spend BILLIONS trying to become President. The only thing that so far has been traced to Russia is a few hundred thousand in Twitter Ads that otherwise served the legitimate purpose of trying to promote the web news sites. And most of those ads didn't concern political stories, but instead stories about cute puppies to draw clicks.

Adrian E. , November 25, 2017 at 8:57 pm GMT
The interesting development is that, after no proof for the "Russian hacking" allegations could be found, they turned to simple ads (for amounts that are extremely small compared to what the campaigns spent) and social media postings. This was accompanied by loosening the criteria, they did not even pretend any more that they had indications that these social media activities were connected to the Russian state, they just had to be "Russia-linked". In the case of Twitter, this includes anyone who has ever logged in from Russia, uses Cyrillic signs in the account metadata (that could also be connected with a number of other countries), logged in from a Russian IP address, paid something with a Russian credit card etc., and only one condition had to be fulfilled for an account to be counted as "Russia-linked".

Of course, with such a large country, there are certainly some social media activities that are "linked" with it. There can be many reasons – people who travel, migrants in both directions, or simply Russians with an interest in US politics. From what is known, the ads and postings were so diverse – some right-wing and pro-Trump, some leftwing or critical of Trump, and many not directly linked to the elections – and distributed over a large time with many after the elections that it does not seem too unlikely as a result of social media activities of random people who have some connection with Russia.

Of course, we may speculate in each case, why someone posted something or bought an ad. But before speculating, it would be necessary to have data about ads and social media postings linked to other countries. For example, it could be determined with the same criteria which ads and postings were Brazile-linked, Germany-linked, and Philippines-linked. Probably, there, a similar random collection would emerge. Only if there is something special about the Russia-linked ads and postings, it would even make sense to speculate about the reasons.

We don't know whether these "Russia-linked" ads and social media positings were just random activities by people related to Russia (e.g. about 2% of the US population have Russian as their native language, some may not have many contacts with Russia any more and don't travel there regularly, but others do) or whether a part of them was the result of an organized campaign, but in any case, from what was written in the media, the volume of these social media activities does not seem to be very large (but in order to judge that, social media activities linked to other countries with the same criteria would be needed).

What I find hilarious is how people sometimes try to insert a collusion angle even if it is not about hacking, but about social media ads and postings. This becomes completely absurd. Then, the idea is that Russians contacted the Trump campaign in order to find out which ads they should buy and what they should post on social media. Why should they do so? If the Trump campaign had ideas about what to post and what kind of ads to buy, why didn't they just do it themselves or via an American company? What would be the point of the Trump campaign spending $564 million on the campaign, but then do a small part of the campaign via Russians who then spent a few thousand dollars for buying ads and posting messages the Trump campaign had advised them to via "collusion"? After all, if they had done it themselves or via an American intermediary, there would be nothing nefarious or suspicious about this, this idea that for a very small part of their campaign, they colluded with Russians and told them what to post and which ads to buy almost sounds as if they deliberately wanted to behave in a strange way that could then fit a preconceived collusion narrative. And even if they had outsourced some small part of their campaign to a Russian company for some odd reasons, would that make it nefarious?

I think the Russiagate theorists should at least make sure that their theories don't violate basic principles of common sense. If they want to use the hacking story, the involvement of Russian secret services might theoretically make sense – it might not be so easy for the Trump campaign to hack servers themselves (though phishing is hardly something so sophisticated that only secret services can do it, we're not talking about something like Stuxnet), and something illegal would be involved. That is a theory that could in principle make sense, the only problem is, that no evidence for this is available (and the Russians are certainly not the only ones who might have had an interest in these mails, another plausible theory is that it was an insider who disliked how the Clinton campaign took over the DNC early on and created better conditions for Clinton than for Sanders, and it could have been any hacker who, for some reason disliked Hillary Clinton, the DNC, and Podesta). If the Russiagate theorists switch over to simple social media activity because there is no evidence for Russian secret services being responsible for giving e-mails to Wikileaks, they also have to sacrifice the whole "collusion" part of the story. It might be that some Russians used social media in an organized way, but to invent a story that the Trump campaign "colluded" with Russians for a small part of their social media election campaign hardly makes sense.

The only condition under which it might somehow make sense would be if someone thought Russians are intellectually vastly superior to Americans and know much better what potential voters care about, and their capabilities are even vastly above Cambridge Analytics. Then, it might somehow make sense for the Trump campaign to hand over a part of the social media activities to Russians, and this might somehow be seen as an unfair advantage – but again, if, with that assumption, the Russians are intellectually so vastly superior that can have a significant influence with very small amounts of money and works while the Trump and Clinton campaigns spend billions, why would they have to "collude" with the Trump campaign, people who would be intellectually so much below them according to that assumption? Maybe real genius for targeting potential voters only emerges when Americans and Russians with complementary abilities collaborate? In any case, it is already very difficult just to construct a version of that theory that does not violate basic principles of common sense.

Fred D , November 26, 2017 at 12:24 am GMT
Mind controlled Moron
WHAT , November 26, 2017 at 2:19 am GMT
@Michael Kenny

"Let him win in Syria"?

Dude, it`s like the first legit amusing line from you. Now bring another!

robt , November 26, 2017 at 3:11 am GMT
@Cyrano

Sarcasm is probably the only way to deal with it. I find myself all the time asking people if they are serious or joking. Sadly, many claim they are serious.
Currently it seems that peaceful and productive relations with a foreign power are Bad Things.
Mr Putin did amusingly say one time to a ditzy US 'journalist':
"Have you all lost your minds over there?"

Cyrano , November 26, 2017 at 3:54 am GMT
@robt

I really truly believe that the only way to force the stupids who came up with that ridiculous story about "Russia influencing the elections" – to drop it – is to make incessantly fun of them until they finally realize how really truly stupid they are.

exiled off mainstreet , November 26, 2017 at 5:03 am GMT
@DESERT FOX

The facts support this viewpoint, including the dual citizen element of it. By the way, I oppose the death penalty except if it is applied to major serial war criminals. I recognize that all legal systems are too corrupt to be given the power of life and death, and that this is particularly true of the US system, which sets the benchmark for corruption. The corruption of the US political system, meanwhile, is revealed by the fact that this absurd Russiagate story is still being peddled and is accepted as received wisdom despite the manifold evidence proving its absurd falsity. What the article shows is that Clapper and Brennan are serial war criminals and that their latest gambit threatens our very existence. We would be better off if the utopia of a legal system incorruptible enough to allow for the death penalty did exist in the US rather than the corrupt system allowing somebody like Mueller to act extra-legally on this absurd basis was continuing in operation. By the way, the Canadian satellite media is still publishing stories trying to resuscitate the Steele dossier paid by the DNC and the yankee government as factual. The whole thing would be comical if it were not deadly serious. Those still backing the story publicly are either dangerously deluded or criminal themselves.

Sarah Toga , November 26, 2017 at 5:10 am GMT
Does Brennan have that dark calloused spot on his forehead yet from use of his "prayer rug" ?
DESERT FOX , November 26, 2017 at 3:16 pm GMT
@exiled off mainstreet

The U.S. gov is a criminal organization ran by criminal for criminals and sexual perverts and pedophiles , if interested, read these two books , THE FRANKLIN COVERUP by the late John DeCamp and THE TRANCE FORMATIO of AMERICA by Cathy Obrien and see their interviews on YouTube, the books can be had on amazon.com.

The books reveal a shocking look at the top ones in the demonrat and republicon parties, and I do mean shocking.

Anon , Disclaimer November 26, 2017 at 6:40 pm GMT
@Carroll Price

The US, Russian Federation, and the Nuland-Kagan revolution in Kiev in 2014:

https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-hidden-truth-about-ukraine-italian-documentary-bombshell-evidence-kiev-euromaidan-snipers-kill-demonstrators/5619684

"The interviews with three snipers of Georgian nationality, conducted by the Italian journalist Gian Micalessin and aired as a breathtaking documentary on Milan-based Canale 5 (Matrix program) last week, still have not paved its way to the international mainstream media.

The documentary features Alexander Revazishvili, Koba Nergadze and Zalogi Kvaratskhelia, Georgian military officers They claim that on Jan 15, 2014 they landed in Kiev equipped with fake documents Having received 1000 USD each one and being promised to be paid 5000 USD after the "job is done", they were tasked to prepare sniper positions inside the buildings of Hotel Ukraine and Conservatory, dominant over the Maidan Square. Along with other snipers (some of them were Lithuanians) they were put under command of an American military operative Brian Christopher Boyenger. The coordinating team also included Mamulashvili and infamous Segrey Pashinsky, who was detained by protesters on Feb 18, 2017 with a sniper rifle in the boot of his car The weapons came on stage on February 18 and were distributed to the various Georgian and Lithuanian groups. "There were three or four weapons in each bag, there were Makarov guns, AKM guns, rifles, and a lot of cartridges." – witnesses Nergadze.

The following day, Mamulashvili and Pashinsky explained to snipers that they should shoot at the square and sow chaos.
"I listened to the screams," recalls Revazishvili. "There were many dead and injured downstairs. My first and only thought was to leave in a hurry before they caught up with me. Otherwise, they would tear me apart."

Four years later, Revazishvili and his two companions report they have not yet received the promised 5000 USD bills as a payment and have decided to tell the truth about those who "used and abandoned" them."

Well that was a clear picture of a sausage-making during the US-sponsored regime change in Ukraine. The neo-Nazi in the US-supported "government" in Kiev came about naturally.

Anon , Disclaimer November 26, 2017 at 6:43 pm GMT
@Carroll Price

An addition to the previous post.
The Maidan revolution and its neo-Nazi consequence makes an amazing monument to the Kagans' clan:

"Thousands of Ukrainian ultra-nationalists marched in Kiev, Thursday, celebrating the 106th birthday of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) leader Stepan Bandera [famous Nazis collaborator]. Among the main organisers were representatives of Right Sector and Svoboda." https://www.liveleak.com/view?i=6a7_1420142767#gDHooVSL6b0yQ1SG.99

"Members of the Ukrainian neo-Nazi Azov volunteer battalion and their ultranationalist civilian sympathizers have conducted a torchlit procession in the center of the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, held under the slogan "coming after you!" http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_72571.shtml

"A leader of Ukrainian Jewry condemned the hosting in Lviv of a festival celebrating a Nazi collaborator on the anniversary of a major pogrom against the city's Jews." http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Ukraine-city-to-hold-festival-in-honor-of-Nazi-collaborator-498159

The wide-spread desecration of Jewish cemetries by Ukrainian thugs (a post-Maidan phenomenon) has spilled to Poland: "Yet another case