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What did Trump promise Putin? Bring his interpreter to Congress & find out, Democrats insist

RT | July 18, 2018

Did Donald Trump secretly surrender America to Vladimir Putin in Helsinki? Suspicious Democrats want to know the truth by bringing the State Department interpreter to testify before Congress.

The first direct Trump-Putin talks on Monday were savaged by the critics. The US president was branded a “traitor” and “Putin’s poodle,” with political opponents and some members of his own party accusing him of “siding with the enemy.”

Trump predictably took a lot of flak for the statements he made during the press conference after the talks ended. But what did he and Putin actually discuss at their two-hour meeting? Some Democrats are keen to find out, and suggest his interpreter should clear things up.

The idea was initially voiced by Congressman Joe Kennedy III. “Trump’s translator should come before Congress and testify as to what was said privately immediately,” he tweeted shortly after the president parted ways with Putin in Helsinki.

The call to subpoena the interpreter was picked up by Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who said the State Department official will “uncover” what Putin and Trump discussed privately and help determine what the US president “shared with or promised Putin on our behalf.”

Congressman Bill Pascrell penned a letter to the leadership of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, urging it to hold a public hearing with the US interpreter present at the Helsinki talks. This will reveal what was agreed “behind closed doors,” he wrote.

The State Department interpreter in question is Marina Gross who has been accompanying US delegations overseas since the days of the George W. Bush administration. If subpoenaed to appear before Congress, she would be required to testify under oath. It means Gross can be tried for perjury if she lies or otherwise willingly misleads the public.

The disclosure of private conversations by interpreters usually goes against codes of conduct adopted by professional organizations.

“In general, any information that’s confidential has to remain confidential even if you’re an interpreter. For example, attorney-client confidentiality extends to the interpreter,” American Translators Association spokeswoman Judy Jenner told The Hill. “But as a diplomatic interpreter, you are probably aware of how precarious things could possibly be.”

The notion that Trump might be having shady talks with Putin behind everybody’s back was floated by several prominent Democrats, such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the head of the CIA under Barack Obama, John Brennan. “Why did Trump meet 1 on 1 with Putin? What might he be hiding from Bolton, Pompeo, Kelly, & the American public?” Brennan tweeted as the Helsinki talks were commencing.

READ MORE:

Lost in translation: CNN claims Putin admitted to election-meddling. He did not.

July 18, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

The Helsinki Summit: Trying to Turn the Page on the New Cold War

By Max Forte | Zero Anthropology | July 17, 2018

Finally, on Monday, July 16, 2018, the Helsinki Summit bringing together Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump took place, despite shrill demands that it be stopped, canceled, or turned into a platform for more aggression. “President Trump should cancel his meeting with Vladimir Putin until Russia takes demonstrable and transparent steps to prove that they won’t interfere in future elections. Glad-handing with Vladimir Putin on the heels of these indictments would be an insult to our democracy,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. Yet there could never be any “proof” of someone not doing something in the future, and to implement the conditions for this specific case would require turning off all the electricity in Russia and seizing all computers everywhere on its territory. It is thus plainly an absurd, irrational, and unrealistic statement that is meant to satisfy partisan emotional needs. As a recipe for international relations, it would be a disaster of a policy. In a desperate effort to maintain the interests vested in the new Cold War, Democrats tried to elbow their way into the summit, to no avail. In the US today, “resistance” means continuing, even escalating, the fabricated Cold War against Russia—resistance has become the catchy buzzword for what Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex, updated to include billionaire tycoons funding “social movements” operating as part of “civil society”.

Thus days before the event, President Trump pointed critically at the shrill media and Democrats for firing up the new Cold War:

“Heading to Helsinki, Finland – looking forward to meeting with President Putin tomorrow. Unfortunately, no matter how well I do at the Summit, if I was given the great city of Moscow as retribution for all of the sins and evils committed by Russia… … over the years, I would return to criticism that it wasn’t good enough – that I should have gotten Saint Petersburg in addition! Much of our news media is indeed the enemy of the people and all the Dems… … know how to do is resist and obstruct! This is why there is such hatred and dissension in our country – but at some point, it will heal!” (Twitter 1, Twitter 2, Twitter 3).

What united all of the US media, from Fox News to CNN and right across to MSNBC, was the dominance of the America-the-innocent-victim narrative. Joining them was an established band of encrusted “neocons” such as Senator John McCain who asserted, in the usual evidence-free fashion of the kind that brought the US to Iraq, that Putin was guilty of “ongoing aggression towards the United States”. The “no blame” narrative (that permanently shields Americans from the consequences of their actions) was joined by the insistence that the secret police and espionage agencies should just be believed, without doubt, and that such agencies should have primacy over democratically elected representatives. Funny that this is what should issue from the same mouths that claim to warn us against “fascism”.

However, in an amazing press conference featuring Putin and Trump at the close of the summit, virtually everything the Democrats, their neocon associates, the media, and the military-intelligence establishment did not want to hear, is what they were instead forced to hear. Allegations of “collusion” between Trump and Russia faced thorough embarrassment as utter idiocy. Putin tossed back allegations of Russian interference in US elections, and essentially laughed at the bogus “assessment” that has been treated as if it were sacrosanct truth in the US media, such that Trump was expected to perform an auto da fé in front of the new Cold War media’s Grand Inquisition. There was no hint of Russia withdrawing from Syria (there at the Syrian government’s request)—though Trump reiterated the near total defeat of ISIS that had been achieved, which also eliminates the US’ rationale for its illegal intervention in Syria. Russia refused to accept that Crimea did not legally, peacefully, and democratically choose to join Russia, to which it belonged for the majority of its history. On these and other issues, it was as if a stake had been driven through the heart of the new Cold War. Of course, it was also just a beginning, and not an end. In an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, Putin said that the Helsinki Summit was simply “a good start” to ending a revived Cold War that significantly endangered the world. Trump also said that US-Russia relations had reached a disastrously low point, without precedent, and that had ended with the Helsinki Summit. This was an important diplomatic breakthrough, and a legitimate success. Then how was it turned into a moment of infamy in the US? Just how deep is the addiction to empire?

Misunderstanding the Previews

Any student of international relations will know that such summits leave as little room as possible to spontaneity and chance. Instead, they are preceded by officials meeting and corresponding behind the scenes, in planning the event weeks and months in advance. They collaborate in drafting an agenda, and preparing the process of formulating and articulating what could become points of agreement, to be ironed out when the leaders meet in person. That was true of the Helsinki Summit as it was true of the Singapore Summit, as it has been true of all other major summits in the last three centuries of international diplomacy. The notion that Donald Trump would somehow be “winging” this and that the meeting could produce a “surprise” is something entertained by either those who do not know better, or those who pretend to be ignorant. The fact of months of preparation was confirmed by Vladimir Putin himself, at the opening of his interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News on the evening of the summit, July 16. Unfortunately the media completely missed the significance of these statements.

As such, what Trump did in the lead up to the summit was to begin to widen the path for his point of departure. Speaking of trade relationships with “allies,” days before the Helsinki Summit Trump stated: “Sometimes our friends, when it comes to trade, are treating us worse than the enemies”. A day before the Helsinki Summit, Trump told a journalist that, “I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe”.

Trump’s European counterparts seemed to understand what was coming too: some officials confessed that, as the NATO gathering approached, they were “scared shitless” by Trump. Leon Panetta claimed that the Europeans were “scared to death” that Trump would seriously act on his “America First” strategy. Being “absolutely worried” seemed justified, as NATO members had no good arguments for maintaining NATO and for perpetuating what some astute analyses saw as an obsolete and abusive relationship. On his way to the NATO gathering in Belgium, President Trump said this about the alliance and how it benefited allies: “Frankly it helps them a lot more than it helps us”. The divisions dominating NATO, since Trump took office, were now apparent to anyone willing to pay some attention.

Predictably, The Economist voiced the outcry of liberal imperialist elites for the waning NATO alliance, astonishingly touting it as an anchor for democracy—this, despite all evidence to the contrary, particularly NATO’s disastrous intervention in Libya, and the corrupt and rigged elections which it supervised in Afghanistan. The argument one could not credibly make, is the one about NATO as a support system for democracy. Moreover, the manner in which NATO is upheld, against the wishes of citizens in its member states, who are tired of NATO’s incessant war agenda, and the way NATO leaders try to delegitimize democratically-elected leaders, blasts more holes into the democracy illusion advanced by NATO’s elitist apologists. Indeed, democracy is in decline even among NATO members themselves, albeit according to some questionable analyses. Either way, democracy is the last argument one should ever make in defense of NATO, and is easily one of the worst arguments. As for the notion that the military is the supreme guardian and supervisor of democracy, that is better left with the likes of General Augusto Pinochet and other legitimate “fascists”.

The really significant moment, misinterpreted and misunderstood in every article I have read, concerned Trump’s comments on Germany. Trump expressed acute condemnation of Germany, going as far as calling it a “captive” of Russia, in language evocative of Russiagate conspiracy theories. For those who would use Russiagate conspiracy theories against Trump, provoking a new Cold War, Trump seized on their contrived fears and turned them against the fear-mongers. Some argued, with considerable merit, that NATO itself has helped to cause a new Cold War. Trump’s harangue against Germany’s agreement to be connected via a gas pipeline to Russia, pointed to the German government’s hypocrisy—in demanding the US remain committed to the defense of Germany, presumably against Russia, while doing business with Russia. Implausibly, the German response was that the two matters were separate. Seizing on this contradiction, and using it for his own purposes, Trump himself said this: “I am meeting with President Putin next week and getting along—let me tell you, getting along with Russia and getting along with China and getting along with other countries is a good thing. It’s not a bad thing. It’s a good thing”. Indeed, Trump later altered his message, saying the pipeline deal would not be so bad, if NATO states improved their relations with Russia—which seems to have been his larger point, one that both undermined the new Cold War and NATO’s very own reason for being. As for why Trump is doing all of this, right now, so far the lone genius in the story who has correctly discerned the forces producing the pattern, is the eccentric and entertaining Max Keiser.

How Trump used the new Cold War and its Russiagate conspiracy theory rhetoric against its own purveyors, calling out their hypocrisy and then attaching a price to it, seems to have been missed in most analyses. It was a particularly deft move, similar to his holding neoliberals hostage to their own free trade rhetoric (while they practiced less-than-free trade). In this as in other instances, Trump proved to be more clever than many of his professional critics.

What cannot be said, with any justification, is that “nobody saw this coming”. Trump’s messaging has been consistent in recent weeks and months, taking aim at the European Union, at NATO, at Canada (now a “national security threat”), and even at the UK over Brexit as in his “explosive” interview with The Sun. Finally, Trump also denounced the “foolishness” that prevailed in the US around Russia (as displayed in the reactions in the next section):

“Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!”—Donald J. Trump: @realDonaldTrump

Taken together, all of these positions are united by their divergence from the status quo ante, the neoliberals’ dream of a New World Order, of a “transatlanticism” that married Europe and the US in an imperial alliance that sought to command, and thus exploit, the rest of the planet. In the US, it repaired the apparent belief among neoliberals of the right and left that the political system is one where the FBI/CIA rule at the top, and the President is second.

The Alarmists: Addicted to Imperialism

The US’ foreign policy establishment, and specifically the military-industrial-complex, had been alarmed at least since 2016 that Trump, in seeking to improve relations with Russia, would yank the rug out from underneath their lucrative anti-Russia scare-mongering. True to form, just three days before Trump would meet with Putin and in an obvious attempt to “pressure” Trump, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein issued an indictment alleging 12 Russian operatives had attempted to interfere with the US election of 2016. Not facing a realistic prospect that these 12 individuals would ever appear in a US court, the alleged evidence against them would never be tested—the easiest indictment to make, as Glenn Greenwald put it. Under the rules of due process, it also means such operatives were innocent, simply because they had yet to be proven guilty. One can also wonder, if one wants to pretend being naïve, whether the US would ever fork over its intelligence agents if they were indicted by a foreign state.

Of course an onslaught of alarmist, anti-Russia and anti-Trump hyperbole vented from the US media once more, as if oblivious not only to popular distrust of the same media, but the incredible fatigue over everything constantly being likened to Pearl Harbor. Absurdly irrational contradictions continued—the Russians apparently stole DNC emails, and then spread “fake news”…except both of those statements cannot be true at the same time. Either the news was fake, or the emails were real and thus dissemination of their contents was real. Clearly Rosenstein, with the aid of the FBI’s Bob Mueller, was intent on destabilizing Trump’s government and specifically its authority to conduct foreign policy, employing a transparently cheap political stunt that casts Mueller in the worst possible light. (The move backfired somewhat: almost immediately it was announced that Rosenstein would face impeachment, while Trump pointed out that the alleged Russian interference occurred under Obama, which did nothing to stop it.) The indictment also came just one day after a scandalous performance by the FBI’s Peter Strzok in front of cameras in an open Congressional hearing, revealing the level of corruption, bigotry and bias permeating the highest levels of the FBI. Strzok successfully caricatured himself as the classic fascist secret policeman. Meanwhile, Rosenstein’s opportunistic and futile indictment not only failed to present any new information, it left out a great deal about how Republicans were also allegedly targeted.

If the Democrats and the media only suggested opposition to Donald Trump’s summit with Kim Jong-un a month before, they both came out openly against any meeting with Vladimir Putin. In the two days leading up to the event, there were shrill demands that the meeting be canceled outright. As such, the Democrats and their media were sealing their fate as the party of imperialism, the party of the Cold War, and the party of the past. Their denunciations of diplomacy served as a reminder of why they deserved to lose the 2016 elections.

Witness the reactions that came from Democrats:

“Every single day, I find myself asking: what do the Russians have on @realDonaldTrump personally, financially, & politically? The answer to that question is that only thing that explains his behavior & his refusal to stand up to Putin.”—Nancy Pelosi: @NancyPelosi

“In the entire history of our country, Americans have never seen a president of the United States support an American adversary the way @realDonaldTrump has supported President Putin.”—Senator Chuck Schumer: @SenSchumer

“Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???”—John Brennan, CIA Director under Obama: @JohnBrennan

“For the President to side with Putin over his own intelligence officials and blame the United States for Russia’s attack on our democracy is a complete disgrace.”—Senator Mark Warner, in just one message among a torrent of similar denunciations: @MarkWarner

“Once again, @realDonaldTrump takes to the international stage to embarrass America, undermine our institutions, weaken our alliances, & embrace a dictator. Russia interfered in our elections & attacked our democracy. Putin must be held accountable – not rewarded. Disgraceful.”—Elizabeth Warren: @SenWarren

“Today is a good day for Putin and the oligarchs in Russia. It is a bad day for people in the United States and all over the world who believe in democracy and who are trying to understand what world our idiot president lives in.”—Bernie Sanders: @SenSanders

Also, here are some reactions from liberal imperialist Republicans:

“Today’s press conference in #Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”—Senator John McCain: @SenJohnMcCain

“I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression. This is shameful.”—Senator Jeff Flake: @JeffFlake

“Missed opportunity by President Trump to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections. This answer by President Trump will be seen by Russia as a sign of weakness and create far more problems than it solves.”—Senator Lindsey Graham: @LindseyGrahamSC

“President Trump must clarify his statements in Helsinki on our intelligence system and Putin. It is the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected—-immediately.”—Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich: @newtgingrich

The Reactionary Resistance and its Struggle with Reality

Most of the Republicans quoted above are “never Trump” has beens, on their way out of electoral politics because they became so unpopular with constituents, or are no longer involved in elections. The never Trumpers are boiling at their collective failure, having been driven from the Republican Party and thus no longer in a position to dictate its agenda. Like other exiles the US has hosted, they are determined to carry out regime change from another shore.

As for the Democrats, and specifically Bernie Sanders, we have known for years that Sanders is the perfect example of a “progressive” who is an imperialist half-head. Bernie Sanders, whose greatest political acts of courage these days involve pushing for a higher wage for Walmart workers, was already on the record as a supporter of NATO and taking an aggressive stance toward Russia. Had the imperial left seen its dream of a Sanders presidency come true, we already know that it would have just been more of the same. On NATO Sanders himself stated in the Democratic debate in Wisconsin on February 11, 2016:

“Russia’s aggressive actions in the Crimea and Ukraine have brought about a situation where President Obama and NATO—correctly, I believe—are saying we’re going to beef up our troop level in that part of the world to tell Putin that his aggressiveness is not going to go unmatched. We have to work with NATO to protect Eastern Europe against any kind of Russian aggression”.

But what did these people seriously expect of Donald Trump? Did they imagine that President Trump would essentially invalidate his own electoral victory, stripping it of all legitimacy, by affirming that the “Russian collusion” stories were what they are patently not, i.e., serious, credible, evidence-based, truthful representations of reality? Apparently the “logic” at work among his critics is that if Trump fails to agree that his election was the result of a Russian conspiracy, then that means he is the agent of a Russian conspiracy.

Otherwise Trump’s “failures” at Helsinki appear to have been that, (a) he was critical of American spies and secret police, and, (b) that he was diplomatic toward Putin. By criticizing American agencies, Trump diminished the American claim to perpetual victimhood. The US is in the grips of a generalized fever, ruled by a panic that privileges “victims” and which constructs victims everywhere one looks. Trump thus challenged the prevailing fiction that America was without any blame—and here Trump was making a major break with his own narratives. His critics denounced the “moral equivalency” implicit in his remarks at the Helsinki press conference, which is a familiar complaint of American exceptionalists who have long been trained in the arts of hypocrisy and decontextualized self-representation.

Speaking of hypocrisy, Trump’s Democratic critics persisted in their failure to explain what their “reset” with Russia would have looked like, if the little that Trump did so offended them. What exactly did Obama mean in 2012 by his otherwise clever retort to the hawkish Mitt Romney, “the 1980s called and they want their foreign policy back”? Worse yet is the glaring contradiction between opposing an economic Cold War with China, played out on the field of trade, while proposing to escalate a Cold War with Russia. What sort of globalism is that? “Globalization has transformed American universities into a front line for espionage,” argues Daniel Golden, author of the recently published book, Spy Schools. However, The New York Times, having energetically fanned the flames of anti-Russian hysteria and xenophobic paranoia, it now accuses the Trump administration of doing just that, only with reference to China and Chinese researchers on US campuses who may soon face tighter restrictions in gaining access. What media elites obfuscate, of course, is that deglobalization is increasingly a fact. Whether the favourite target is Russia (for Democrats) or China (for Trump’s Republicans), either way the logic, means, and outcomes are the same: diminished international cooperation at the heart of the globalist ethos.

On the other hand, whether they admit it or not, the Democrats (and the EU) are fully on Russia’s side in defending the Iran nuclear agreement, which Russia upholds and which Trump abrogated. How do the Democrats explain this rather strange overlap in interests? Are they secretly colluding with the Kremlin to support Tehran? Would not the Uranium One deal exposed by the New York Times be further evidence of such collusion? When one lowers the threshold for rational thought, the way critics of Trump have done, then any old crazy talk should suddenly sound plausible.

Trump’s critics also expected him to shame and berate Putin, escalating tensions to the breaking point, in what would have been an unprecedented scene of personal aggression on the diplomatic stage. Yet recall how utterly charming and amiable Vice President Richard M. Nixon, an arch anti-communist, was when he publicly met with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev during the famous “kitchen debate”. Trump was hectored for merely shaking hands with Kim Jong-un, taken as a sure sign that he “loves dictators”. The question then becomes: with a domestic opposition so ostensibly debased and pathological, who wouldn’t love foreign dictators instead?

Demonizing Russia: Inventing Fictions to Boost Faith in a Defunct World Order

In an interview with Larry King, Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, outlined the issues of importance to Russia—these ranged from a strong critique of the West’s humanitarian imperialism, to its double-standards on the popular referendum in Crimea that saw its Russian majority choose to join Russia (there was no “invasion”), to the continued threat of NATO expansion. Lavrov specifically cited NATO as an “atavism of Cold War times” and criticized the “inertia of Cold War thinking” that dominates the West. As for the much touted “rules based international order,” Lavrov correctly pointed out that it was built on Western double-standards that allowed the US to flout international law with impunity and live by a separate set of norms. Separately, the Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitri Peskov, pointed out that it was not Russia that was responsible for initiating the deterioration in relations, and that the US seemed to particularly resent that Russia would not simply bend to its will like a dependent puppet state. In advance of the summit, Peskov made some very reasonable and basic observations on the need for peaceful cooperation, while each state should safeguard the interests of its own citizens. There was nothing here indicative of the fabled Russian “aggression” that seems to preoccupy the shrill, imperialist “resistance” in the US.

But then rational, critical, independent-minded thought is not allowed. We are instead plunged into a free fall to new depths of distortion, exaggeration, and outright invention.

Thus in the US media and political circles (the two being virtually indistinguishable), it has become a matter of fact that “Russia invaded Crimea”. Do they mean like the US invaded Iraq? Fine. Then it should be a very simple matter for the reader to find us photographs and videos of Russian columns pouring into Crimea, seizing buildings, and engaged in gunfire. Also, remind us of the body count resulting from Russia’s “invasion”. The actual reality is that Russia neither invaded nor annexed Crimea, not if words are to have any meaning at all. Acceptance of the notion that Russia invaded Crimea indicates that one is already prepared to accept any sort of fabrication as if it were fact. Nothing has apparently been learned from the great WMDs myth of 2003, except how to repeat it and amplify it. This involves a deeply perverse commitment, and there is no point railing against “alternative facts” when all you do is recite alternatives to facts.

And what exactly is “the solution” to Crimea? Is it about forcing the majority of Crimeans to subjugate themselves to rule by a government that has resolutely persecuted Russian communities within its borders? What sort of idea of justice is this exactly? Let us not forget how that government came into being in Ukraine, which was through a Western-backed coup and violence in the streets, and which has also witnessed the rise to power of actual neo-Nazis.

Then there is the assertion and easy acceptance of the fabrication that Russia aided “the Syrian regime” in its “chemical weapons” attacks on civilians. What chemical attacks? Has the reader noticed the almost total silence in the media about the facts actually found on the ground? After the US, France, and the UK used a “chemical attack” as a justification for attacking Syria, Western media largely ignored the facts that were revealed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, tasked by the UN to conduct an investigation. In a July report, the OPCW stated that it had found “no organophosphorous nerve agents or their degradation products were detected in the environmental samples or in the plasma samples taken from alleged casualties”. That it called the casualties “alleged,” meant it also found none. No nerve agents, no casualties. Again, let me ask: what chemical attacks? Like the Iraq WMD myth, once again Western governments and media perpetrated egregious lies against their own citizens, to justify acts of unlawful military aggression. How many more times do we need to repeat this before you finally learn the lesson? This is a very serious question, because what is being challenged here is your human capacity to learn, and to remember what you learned.

We are also told that Russians subverted US elections. If it had been true, how would you have been able to spot their subversion among all the other subversion? Here I am referring to the persistent subversion of American politics by giant corporations and oligarchic financiers, and of the pervasive influence of the military-industrial complex, to the point that US elections risked degenerating into mere demonstration elections staged by the corporate imperial state, not to mention an impressive array of foreign donors (recall the Clinton Foundation). Logically, the only way one can “subvert” something that is already corrupted, is by fixing it.

Repeatedly we have been instructed that all of the US’ intelligence agencies concluded that there was significant Russian interference in the US elections of 2016. First, it would be useful to consult the resources on Russiagate compiled on Fabius Maximus. Second, it is important to remember that: “The intelligence community as a whole has not been tasked to make a judgment and some key members of that community did not participate in the report that is routinely cited as ‘proof’ of ‘Russian interference’,” as explained in careful detail by Jack Matlock, a veteran of government service with experience on national security matters at the highest levels. Next, remember that US media such as the New York Times have been forced to withdraw statements that all of the US intelligence agencies reached these so-called conclusions about Russian interference, not to mention all of the other “fake news” actually produced by CNN, The Washington Post and others on Russiagate. Third, recall that veterans of US intelligence agencies openly challenged claims that Russians hacked the emails of the DNC. Even this short list should, in the mind of any reasonable adult, provoke at least some misgivings.

Finally, in what became an all too obvious and predictable pattern, shortly before Donald Trump was to finally meet with Vladimir Putin—worrying the globalists and interventionist establishment—another chemical hoax emerged, this time involving a random couple being poisoned not far from the site of the Skirpal attack in the UK. The only thing that was apparent about this attack, according even to The Guardian which usually lusts after anti-Russia conspiracy theories, is that “someone is out to embarrass Vladmir Putin”:

“all we can see are the devious tools of the new international politics. We see the rush to judgment at the bidding of the news agenda. We see murders and terrorist incidents hijacked for political gain or military advantage. Ministers plunge into Cobra bunkers. Social media and false news are weaponised. So too are sporting events”.

That Vladimir Putin should publicly assert, as he did on July 16, that the Russian state has no compromising information about Donald Trump, should have put an end to that story. Why? Simply because if in the future the Russian government should purport to have any such information, it will have been contradicted and thus invalidated by Putin’s prior statement. There is no point in having compromising information, if you challenge its very existence at the outset. Case closed.

Yet, we are instructed that Russia is “untrustworthy”. What makes it so unworthy of trust? The real problem about Russia is twofold. One is that Russia has been cynically exploited by Americans which have used Russia as a cheap political football in their domestic conflicts. The second problem is that Russia is the kind of state that does not immediately bend its knee to Western demands. What Americans describe as “trustworthy” is exactly what describes a puppet, an instrument that bends to the American will. It is thus not terribly flattering to have an American call you a “trusted partner”.

What especially irks Americans in the foreign policy establishment is that Vladimir Putin is an obviously brilliant statesman, and that Russian diplomats have bested their Western counterparts for decades, both in their expertise and professionalism, and in their deep appreciation of international law, sovereignty, and self-determination. These are all qualities to be detested.

In the interview with Wallace, Putin provided a short list of Russian complaints, that rarely get aired by the US media: NATO’s relentless expansion eastward, even after the Cold War had ended, and in violation of promises to Russia in return for its agreement to allow the reunification of Germany. Added to this is the US’ unilateral withdrawal from the ABM Treaty. Then added to that was the US and European intervention in Yugoslavia, participating in its illegal breakup, and then backing a coup in Ukraine. While freaking out about some emails and Facebook ads, compare it to that list and see which side weighs more.

That Putin should end his interview with Wallace by pointing how US sanctions on Russia have backfired, producing only opportunity for the US’ competitors, is not a simple demonstration of his concern for Americans. It is a reminder to the viewer of just how stupid we have become.

A Bad Day? For Whom?

Probably the single most important achievement for Donald Trump arising from the Helsinki Summit, is that he forced fellow Americans to begin to debate what was previously treated as unquestionable, to debate that faith which has been masked as “facts” and which are used to create a sacred aura around the upholders of empire. Trump’s supporters will be divided between those who supported Trump while they thought they could use him, and his genuine supporters who elected him because of the principles he advanced in the 2016 campaign.

We can look forward to some interesting and embarrassing contradictions. Fox News has a privileged relationship with Donald Trump, but also an ambiguous and contradictory one that contains a lot of latent conflict (hopefully an intelligent study by a calm media analysis scholar will eventually bring this out better). Emblematic of this privilege, Fox News monopolized all of the key interviews arising from the summit: Chris Wallace was granted an exclusive interview with Vladimir Putin; at the same time that was happening, Sean Hannity was interviewing Donald Trump; thirdly, this was to to be followed up by Tucker Carlson’s interview with Trump, to be aired on July 17. Sean Hannity, who until now has been an unquestioning supporter of President Trump, never expressing even the mildest of reservations, is also a close friend of Newt Gingrich who appears frequently on Hannity’s show. Gingrich condemned Trump’s statements in Helsinki. Hannity was apparently unaware of this when he scorched all of Trump’s Republican critics. Hannity’s “Opening Monologue” for July 16, just hours after the summit ended, seemed to show someone who was unable or unwilling to digest what had just happened. Hannity was full of contradictions; he continued, like a broken record, to repeat content that is now many months old; and he praised Trump, but in the way that a neoconservative would, touting Trump’s “toughness” on Russia and belligerence toward Iran, North Korea, etc. Meanwhile, people commenting under Fox News’ reports on the summit are for the most part firmly in support of Trump’s stance at the summit, condemning the neocon elites ousted from the Republican Party. Fox, for its part, has largely tilted against Trump—they risk bringing the relationship with Trump back to what it was in late 2015, when Trump’s arch enemy in the media was not CNN, but Fox News. How some have forgotten already. Trump went as far as boycotting and then upstaging a Fox News Republican primary debate. Since Fox decided to repair relations with Trump, it has tried to use him as an instrument: knowing they have his ear, their commentary has consistently pushed the old neoliberal imperialist orthodoxy, trying to preserve the interests of the status quo ante, while reducing Trump’s ascendancy from a structural shift to a mere partisan switch. All of Fox’s contributors, virtually without a single exception, all presumed to advise Trump from a distance, to treat the meeting with Putin as something like a boxing match and to make sure to bloody Putin’s face. Fox failed. It is actually worth relishing how solidly and totally they have been ignored.

Trump is definitely not a politician, or he would not show this much courage. Seemingly aware of this himself, Trump’s opening comments at the joint press conference with Putin at the summit indicated as much, saying: “I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace, than to risk peace in pursuit of politics”. By politics he clearly meant partisan status and security.

What was especially significant about the Helsinki Summit was not so much anything either Vladimir Putin or Donald Trump said, as much as the hyperbole of knee-jerk reactions—excessive even by American standards—involving a growing, collective, high-pitched scream coming especially from displaced liberal imperialist elites who have still not come to grips with their loss of the US presidency. Witnessing the reactions to the press conference that closed the summit afforded a special, rich, and just pleasure to those of us who just a few years ago saw today’s screamers pompously preside over the razing of Iraq, the military colonization of Afghanistan, the destruction of Libya, and the dismantling of Syria, all while cheerfully preaching the virtues of a neoliberal world “order” that saw the biggest wealth transfer ever recorded in human history. What they did not steal abroad they robbed at home. It was about time that they had (another) bad day.

And it was indeed a very bad day—a bad day for the conspiracy theories pushed by the Democrats, their neoconservative bed partners, and the corporate media who are the instruments of power. It was also a bad day for the interests vested in the way things were before, who had poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the failed campaign of their would-be stewardess, Hillary Clinton. And, it was an especially bad day for orthodox, imperialist reactionaries who in the US gesture as progressives and garb themselves as “the resistance”. These are the same forces that would claim monopoly ownership over “respectability,” “reason,” and “decency,” assuming in turn that the rest of us suffer from a collective amnesia as deep as our generous credulity. If one could rewind and replay a day, then July 16, 2018, was the day worth recording.

To better understand what happened at Helsinki, it is useful to follow the trail of tears to its sources. What took a big blow were the interests of self-styled “transatlanticists,” the elites of a transnational capitalist class that has ardently preached the virtuous necessity of neoliberal empire. This is the class, with all its “responsibility to protect,” its “humanitarian intervention,” and its projects of regime change. We are speaking here of the stalwarts of failure, the abiding defenders of the New World Order which has collapsed in front of their eyes. Keeping this in mind, one sees the pattern that joins the seemingly disparate dots that have dared, in the face of their popular repudiation at the polls, to condemn Trump for moving toward what he promised.

How the imperial national security state will let this stand, is to be seen.

July 17, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hardcore Hitler on Hitler in Helsinki

CJ Hopkins | Consent Factory | July 10, 2018

Here it comes, the moment we’ve been waiting for, when Trump and Putin meet in Helsinki to officially launch the Destruction of Democracy, and very possibly the Apocalypse itself. That’s right, folks, once again, it appears we’re looking at the end of everything, because according to the corporate media, on July 16, 2018, Trump is probably going to disband NATO so that Putin can invade the Baltic states, then Germany, then the rest of Europe, and then presumably order an all-out thermonuclear strike on the United States, which will pretty much end civilization as we know it. Or perhaps the plan is to do away with NATO, withdraw all American troops from Poland, let Putin rape and pillage Western Europe, and then have North Korea nuke both coasts of the US mainland (and Canada, of course) so that a Putin-Nazified Middle Amerika will have carte blanche to exterminate the Mexicans and make women wear those “Handmaid” costumes, or some other ridiculously paranoid scenario, possibly involving Susan Sarandon as some kind of Putin-Nazi triple agent.

Tragically, the global neoliberal establishment is completely powerless to stop Trump and Putin from carrying out this evil scheme (whatever it turns out to be in the end), because even the US Intelligence Community has to obey the law, after all, and not do anything sneaky, or unethical, not even with the fate of democracy at stake. No, unlike the Russians, who go around blatantly poisoning people with novichok oatmeal more or less whenever they like, the global capitalist ruling classes’ hands are tied by their own integrity. All they can do is watch in horror as these two Hitlerian megalomaniacs destroy their entire global empire and establish a thousand-year Putin-Nazi Reich.

Thank God at least the corporate media are raising their collective voices in protest. In a recent piece in The Washington Post, Max Bergmann of the Center for American Progress warns that “this is a summit about appeasement, and we should be terrified that Trump is going to sell out America and its allies.” According to Bergmann, Trump might “accidentally” share state secrets with Putin, or promise to reduce support for our freedom-loving Ukrainian Nazis, or stop trying to overthrow the Syrian government so that Syria, with the help of Russia and Iran, can launch a sneak attack on Israel and drive “the Jews” into the sea. Worse still, Bergmann speculates, he might make “secret agreements” with Putin without telling the editors of The Washington Post, which … God help us all if that ever happened.

Not to be out-apocalypsed by The Post, Roger Cohen of The New York Times published a full-blown dystopian vision wherein Trump, Putin, Marine Le Pen, the AfD, and a variety of other globalist-hating Hitler-alikes form “the Alliance of Authoritarian and Reactionary States” (the “AARS”), disband the European Union and NATO, impose international martial law, and start ethnically cleansing the West of immigrants. Matteo Salvini and Horst Seehofer, decked out in full Putin-Nazi regalia, personally supervise the genocidal purges, which frightened Europeans come to support after Putin’s irresistible “fake news” bots brainwash them into believing that a little Russian girl named “Tatiana” has been abducted by Moroccan migrants off a beach along the Costa del Sol.

And as if that wasn’t horrifying enough to whip folks up into a mindless frenzy, The New York Times (which, let’s remember, is an extremely distinguished and respected newspaper, and not at all a cheap propaganda rag) produced this charming little animated film depicting Putin and Trump as … well, a couple of tongue-sucking, titty-pinching homos. I found this kind of weird at first, as I had thought such ugly anti-gay sentiment had disappeared from liberal society, but apparently it’s fine in Resistance circles to stigmatize your enemies as butt-humping queers in order to render them more repulsive in the eyes of your sophisticated, liberal audience. I did a little research, and it appears this “Hitler on Hitler” porno The Times produced is just the latest in a rather long line of Trump on Putin “homo” jokes, which are perfectly harmless when told by liberals, but when told by conservatives are homophobic hate crimes.

Look, I’m not a fan of poofter humor, or the corporate media, or the so-called “Resistance,” but neither am I a fan of Trump, nor am I, technically, an employee of Putin. What I am is a student of propaganda, media manipulation, and mass hysteria, and though I experienced the roll-out of the War on Terror, and assorted other propaganda campaigns (like Obama’s “Hope and Change” routine, Reagan’s “Morning in America” schtick, George H.W. Bush’s “New World Order,” and Bill Clinton’s “Third Way” happy horseshit), I have never witnessed anything like this. Most of those other propaganda campaigns at least bore some vague resemblance to reality. What we’re experiencing now is more akin to the kind of behavior that goes on in cults … where people are conditioned to surrender their reason (and, ultimately, to conform their perception) to whatever paranoid official narrative the leader of the cult has invented, and eventually to direct their fear and hatred, not only at the cult’s official enemy, but at anyone who questions the cult’s “reality.”

If you believe cults work because people are gullible, or stupid, you need to do some research. Cults work because their members are gradually conditioned to detach from “society” (i.e., the social body that conditioned them as children) and conform to the social body of the cult. This conditioning happens systematically, often over the course of years. Scientology cult members are not introduced to the “body thetans” story the day they walk in. Nor were the Manson girls ready to butcher a house full of people for Charlie at first … it took months of orgies, acid trips, and other de- and re-programming techniques to get them to buy into his paranoid prophecy of Imminent Racist Hippie Apocalypse.

Which is what I find so disturbing, presently. The ease with which the neoliberal ruling classes have programmed millions of Western consumers to believe a narrative no less ridiculous than Scientology’s “body thetans,” Manson’s “Helter Skelter” … or take your pick of any number of other cult narratives. The speed at which they switched from the War on Terror narrative to the Putin-Nazi narrative attests to the power of the corporate media and the neoliberal propaganda machine, generally. It really is an amazing achievement. In less than two years, they managed to condition a significant portion of the Western masses to forget about “the Islamic terrorists” that they had been conditioned to live in fear of, and to transfer their fear and hatred to Trump, and Putin, and anyone who appears to support them, or doesn’t sufficiently hate and fear them.

The ruling classes have achieved this feat by generating an ongoing series of episodes of mass hysteria. Most of them last a week or two, but their cumulative effect is powerful and enduring. Fake news, bots, travel bans, Confederate statues, neo-Nazi rallies, “novichok” attacks, kids in cages … anything the corporate media can use to channel more hatred toward Trump and Putin. None of these episodes are generated out of whole cloth. Obviously, the Russians are pursuing their interests, there is a white supremacist subculture in the United States, as there always has been, those kids were put in those cages, and so on … none of which began with Trump, or has anything exclusively to do with Putin, or triggered mass protests and widespread outrage until the neoliberal ruling classes and corporate media decided it should.

The upcoming summit is next on the list. It won’t be as juicy as the baby concentration camps, but it will do as far as reminding people that Trump is a secret Russian operative, or traitor (or quisling, as Paul Krugman would have it), conspiring with Putin to destroy democracy … that is, when they’re not fellating each other. Once the summit has come and gone, and democracy has miraculously survived, they will generate another round of Hitler hysteria, and Resistance cultists will spring into action like salivating Pavlov’s dogs, denouncing whatever unspeakable horror they had completely ignored for the previous eight years, jabbering about concentration camps, and ripping MAGA hats off teenagers. Purely for the sake of entertainment, I’m hoping it will be the secret Nazi code the Department of Homeland Security is embedding in its press materials, presumably to alert the Underground Network of Putin-Nazi Militias to stand by for imminent government takeover, the “securing of the future for white people and their children,” and the weeks of homosexual Odinist orgies that are sure to follow.

Seriously, though, the absolute genius of the ruling classes’ Putin-Nazi narrative (which rational people are underestimating) is that it is virtually impossible to criticize it without being labeled a Trump supporter, a Putin apologist, or a crypto-Nazi. Like Scientology’s Suppressive Persons (i.e., those who criticize Scientology), Putin-Nazi narrative deniers “seek to upset, continuously undermine, spread bad news about and denigrate” the cult. These are typically ex-cult members who no longer subscribe to official cult teachings, and are thus an existential ideological threat. Such persons are to be stigmatized and shunned, “so that others will know not to associate with them.” (Those quotes are from the Scientology website, but the same rules apply in every cult.)

Glenn Greenwald is probably the best example of a prominent Putin-Nazi narrative denier (and he is harassed for it on an daily basis), but an hour or two of research on Twitter will reveal the same dynamic at work against much less famous “pillow biting traitors.” Nor is it just fanatical cultists on Twitter. If you happened to google your humble narrator at any point during the last nine months, and were concerned that the people “People Also Search For” in my “Knowledge Panel” are mostly anti-Semites and “alt-right” types … well, I wrote about that in November of last year. (I have since repeatedly written to Google and advised them to occasionally alternate the anti-Semites they are associating me with, as using the exactly the same ones for months is lazy, and makes it rather difficult to blame their “search results” on some innocent algorithm.)

But what do I know? Maybe I’m just paranoid, and Google isn’t out to get me. Or maybe they know me better than myself, and I really am a crypto-Nazi, or some other kind of Suppressive Person, and democracy really is on the brink of disaster. After all, Glenn Greenwald just flew over to Moscow, and was selfied in the company of Edward Snowden, and Putin is poisoning random people in Amesbury for no apparent reason, and Susan Sarandon hacked the election, or dropped a Sarin bomb on Douma, or else Putin did, or maybe it was Xenu, or the Russians are about to take down the entire American fiberoptic network, and I almost forgot those four hundred white supremacist idiots who are planning to gather and bellow Nazi slogans at each other in Lafayette Square on August 12, and who are already receiving international coverage, because we can’t afford to ignore a few hundred racist morons in polo shirts … if we did, well, who knows what that might lead to? People might actually have a moment to pause and think about what’s going on, and why it’s going on, and who it serves, and try to put it all into some kind of perspective, before they react to the next Pavlovian stimulus the media waves in their faces. Ready? Good. Because here it comes …

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

July 10, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Rescue Our Children: They Are Trapped Too

By Sondoss Al Asaad | American Herald Tribune | July 9, 2018

The entire world is fearfully following the latest updates regarding the 12 boys and their coach who are trapped in a cave in Thailand. Definitely, we wish them urgent and safe rescue and to shortly return to their families. A case that has stimulated scores of international activist and volunteers to rush and evacuate the trapped football team. BBC, CNN, France 24, etc. have all been covering the case all over the past two weeks.

These mainstream media are much concerned about the case’s aftermath psychological impacts on those children. They are focusing on the impacts on both the children and their parents. Absolutely, it is quite important to care for others and to offer every possible means of help but without double standards or hypocrisy!!

During the prolonged imposed war on Syria and particularly back in April, the same series of Western Capitalist spoke-channels and Imperialist trumpets have shown the same concern over the Syrian children after the alleged “Chemical Attacks.” Ongoing tears were released and many condemned a fallacious incident, merely because it was a Western promoted propaganda.

For instance, Banna al-Abed; a Syrian “ISIS-wood” star has emerged since the onset of the Syrian war to play an outstanding role in such fake “Chemical Attacks” comedies. The whole world has shown an unusual sympathetic interest in Banna’s case. She and her mother have gotten unprecedented coverage as she has been predicted as the legitimate regiem’s “target” along with other children.

Unequivocally, children have the right to safety, protection, health, nutrition, education, etc., regardless their identity, gender, religion, race or ethnicity. How come the West turns blind eyes and deaf ears to the heinous violations of children’s rights in our ravaged, colonised and impoverished countries? The question too is whether these mainstream media regard the innocent Yemeni children as children or as in accordance to its double standards “Terrorists”?

The same question applies to the Palestinian children who are purposelessly murdered on daily basis. Have these channels and the #Metoo campaigners heard about the 17 years old Ahed al-Tamimi, who has been trapped in the Zionist prisons since November 2017, unfairly tried and sexually harassed?

In Bahrain as well many children are trapped in prisons, denied the right to education, to access parents, to religious rituals or to fair trials. They are severely beaten and detained along with criminals and thieves.

The Western media must deal with our children as equals to as its other “beloved” children. Many of our children are also trapped in the imposed imperialist caves and thus haunted by terrible memories, suffocating and enduring psychological problems. They constantly witness atrocities, bombardments, inhumane treatment. Consequently, they are psychologically torn, disparate and broken.

Let the devoted activists all over the world exert effective and efficient efforts to immediately and urgently rescue the Yemeni and Palestinian children who are trapped inside the aggressive wars’ caves. Let them urge their governments to stop selling weapons which are used to end our children’s lives. Let them awaken the arrogant West in order to save our hopeless children and to deal with them as equals.

July 9, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | 2 Comments

No Trump, No Clinton, No NATO

By Craig Murray | July 7, 2018

Marina Hyde’s vicious and spiteful attack on Susan Sarandon and the Green Party points to the real danger of anti-Trump protest next week being hijacked by the neo-con warmonger franchise. The idea that those of us who do not want arch warmonger Clinton in power are therefore supporters of Trump is intellectually risible and politically dishonest.

Yesterday the OPCW reported that, contrary to US and UK assertions in the UN security council, there was no nerve agent attack on jihadist-held Douma by the Syrian government, precisely as Robert Fisk was execrated by the entire media establishment for pointing out. The OPCW did find some traces of chlorine compounds, but chlorine is a very commonly used element and you have traces of it all over your house. The US wants your chicken chlorinated. The OPCW said it was “Not clear” if the chlorine was weaponised, and it is plain to me from a career in diplomacy that the almost incidental mention is a diplomatic sop to the UK, US and France, which are important members of the OPCW.

Trump’s reaction to yet more lying claims by the UK government funded White Helmets and Syrian Observatory, a reaction of missile strikes on alleged Syrian facilities producing the non-existent nerve agent, was foolish. May’s leap for British participation was unwise, and the usual queue of Blairites who stood up as always in Parliament to support any bombing action, stand yet again exposed as evil tools of the military industrial complex.

Hillary Clinton, true to form, wanted more aggressive military action than was undertaken by Trump. Hillary has been itching to destroy Syria as she destroyed Libya. Libya was very much Hillary’s war and – almost unreported by the mainstream media – NATO bombers carried out almost 14,000 bombing sorties on Libya and devastated entire cities.

Sirte, Libya, after NATO bombing

The destruction of Libya’s government and infrastructure directly caused the Mediterranean boat migrant crisis, which has poisoned the politics of much of the European Union.

Donald Trump has not started any major war. He has been more restrained in military action than any US President since Jimmy Carter. My own view is (and of course it is impossible to know for sure) that, had Hillary been in power, Syria would already have been totally destroyed, the Cold War with Russia would be at mankind threatening levels, and nuclear tension with North Korea would be escalating.

“He hasn’t destroyed mankind yet” is faint praise for anyone. Being less of an existential danger to mankind than Hillary Clinton is a level achieved by virtually the entire population of the planet. I am not supporting Trump. I am condemning Clinton. I too, like Susan Sarandon, would have voted for Jill Stein were I an American.

So do protest against Trump. But do so under the banner No Trump! No Clinton! No NATO! And if any Clintonite or Blairite gets up to address you, tell them very loudly where to get off. I remember the hijacking of the Make Poverty History campaign by Brown, Darling and Campbell on behalf of their banker friends. Don’t let that happen again.

Or here is an even better idea.

Escape the Trump visit completely. Rather than stand penned in and shouting slogans at a police van parked right in front of you, turn your back on all of that and come join me at the Doune the Rabbit Hole Festival from 13 to 15 July. As our regulars know, this blog has been intimately connected with running the Festival from the start. This year is much bigger, with the Levellers, Akala, Atari Teenage Riot, Peatbog Faeries, and literally scores of other bands, and a great array of other festival activities too, including for kids, who come free and get free drinks.

DTRH has no sponsorship, no advertising, no government money and no rip-offs – beer and cider from £3.50 a pint at the bars. It is very much an alternative lifestyle gathering, and I find spiritual renewal there in the glorious Stirlingshire countryside. (I know that sounds corny, but I do). Tickets are £90 for full weekend including camping, which I think makes it the cheapest festival on this level around. Or you can buy a cheaper day ticket and drop in just for the day. If tickets are too expensive or you fancy a different kind of fun, you can volunteer, including to come and work with me in the bar, though there are a whole range of other tasks to be done if you don’t fancy that. Volunteers get in free and get fed in return for one six hour shift a day.

I really do hope I will see some of you there – it looks set to be a glorious weekend. Forget stress, forget Trump and hang out with nice people!

July 7, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Atrocity Porn and Hitler Memes Target Trump for Regime Change

By James George JATRAS | Strategic Culture Foundation | 23.06.2018

American and global audiences have been bombarded with media images of wailing children in holding facilities, having been separated from adults (maybe their parents, maybe not) detained for illegal entry into the United States. The images have been accompanied by “gut-wrenching” audio of distraught toddlers screaming the Spanish equivalents of “Mommy!” and “Daddy!” – since, as any parent knows, small children never cry or call for their parents except in the most horrifying, life-threatening circumstances.

American and world media have provided helpful color commentary, condemning the caging of children as openly racist atrocities and state terrorism comparable to Nazi concentration camps and worse than FDR’s internment of Japanese and Japanese-Americans. Indeed, just having voted for Trump is now reason enough for Americans to be labeled as Nazis.

Finally, the presumptive Hitler himself, also known as President Donald Trump, citing the pleas of First Lady Melania and First Daughter Ivanka, signed an Executive Order to provide for adults and (their?) children to be detained together. However, the order is unlikely to hold up in court, with sanctuary-minded states aiming to obstruct border enforcement the way Trump’s earlier order on vetting arrivals from terrorism-prone countries has been crippled by the federal judiciary. His media and bipartisan political opposition will be happy only when all border violation detentions cease and America has gone full Merkel, starting with ending Trump’s declared zero tolerance for illegal crossings and restoration of Barack Obama’s catch-and-release policy.

Even then, Trump will be vilified for taking so long to do it. Whether or how Trump may yield further is not clear, but rather than slaking the hate campaign against him, his attempted effort at appeasement has put the smell of political blood in the water with the November 2018 Congressional midterm elections looming.

Some images of small children have become veritable icons of Trumpian brutality. One photo, reportedly of a two-year-old Honduran girl (who in fact had not been separated from her mother), graced the cover of Time magazine, confronting the black-hearted tyrant himself. Another, of a little boy in a cage, went viral before it was revealed that this kid had nothing to do with the border but rather was briefly inside a staged pen as part of a protest in Dallas.

The reality behind the pictures doesn’t matter, though. More important are the images themselves and their power, along with dishonest media spin, to produce an emotional response that short-circuits critical thinking. Never mind what the facts are! Children are suffering! Trump is guilty! We need to “do something”!

On point of comparison, let’s remember the  saturation media distribution given in 2016 to a picture of a little boyOmran Daqneesh, said to have been pulled from the rubble of Aleppo after what was dubiously reported as a Russian airstrike. Promptly dubbed “Aleppo Boy,” his pathetic dusty image immediately went viral in every prestige outlet in the United States and Europe. The underlying message: we – the “international community,” “the Free World,” the United States, you and I – must “do something” to stop Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his main backer and fellow Hitler clone Vladimir Putin.

(Not long before, another little boy, also in the area of Aleppo, was beheaded on video by the “moderate” US-supported jihad terror group Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki. The images of his grisly demise received far less media attention than those of official Aleppo Boy. This other youngster received no catchy moniker. No one called for anyone in power to “do something.” In fact, western support for the al-Zenki murderers – which the Obama administration refused to disavow even after the beheading and allegations of chlorine gas use by al-Zenki – can itself be seen as part of “doing something” about the evil, evil Assad. (Reportedly Trump’s viewing the beheading video led to a cutoff of CIA aid to some jihad groups.) Another small detail readily available in alternative media but almost invisible in the major outlets: Mahmoud Raslan, the photographer who took the picture of Aleppo Boy and disseminated it to world acclaim, also took a smiling selfie with the beaming al-Zenki beheaders of the other kid. But, hey, says Raslan, I barely know those guys. Now let’s move on . . . )

For those who have been paying attention for the past couple of decades, the Trump border crisis kids, like Aleppo Boy before them, are human props in what is known as “atrocity porn” designed to titillate the viewers through horror and incite them to hatred of the presumed perpetrators. Atrocity propaganda has long been a part of warfare – think World War I claims of Belgian babies impaled on German bayonets – but with modern digital technology and social media the impact is immediate and universal.

It’s irrelevant whether what is identified in images corresponds to reality. What matters is their ability to evoke mindless, maudlin emotionalism, like MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow choking up in tears over the border children or the similar weepy display in 2016 by CNN’s Kate Bolduan over Aleppo Boy.

Now being deployed in an American domestic context over whether or not the US should be allowed to control its borders, for decades atrocity porn has been essential for selling military action in wars of choice unconnected to the actual defense of the US: incubator babies (Kuwait/Iraq); the Racak massacre (Kosovo); the Markale marketplace bombings, Omarska “living skeletons,” and the Srebrenica massacre (Bosnia); rape as calculated instrument of war (Bosnia, Libya); and false flag poison gas attacks in Ghouta  and Douma (Syria). Never mind that the facts, to the extent they eventually become known, may later turn out to be very different from the categorical black-and-white accusations on the lips of western officials and given banner exposure within hours if not minutes of the event in question.

Atrocity porn dovetails closely with another key meme, that of Hitler-of-the-month. In painting Trump as der Führer on the border, we see coming home to America a ploy that has been an essential element to justify foreign regime change operation, each of which has been spelled out in terms of black-and-white, good-versus-evil Manichaean imperatives, with the side targeted for destruction or replacement having absolutely no redeeming qualities. This entails first of all absolute demonization of the evil leader in what is called reductio ad Hitlerum, a concept attributed to philosopher Leo Strauss in 1951. Russia’s Vladimir Putin has been characterized by name as another Hitler by Hillary Clinton and others. Among the prominent “Hitlers” since 1991 have been Saddam Hussein (Iraq), Slobodan Milosevic (Yugoslavia/Serbia), Radovan Karadzic (Republika Srpska), Moammar Qaddafi (Libya), and Bashar al-Assad (Syria), with less imposing Führer figures to be found in Mohamed Farrah Aidid (Somalia), Manuel Noriega (Panama), Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Iran), and Omar al-Bashir (Sudan).

With apologies to Voltaire, if Hitler had not existed it would be necessary for the US-UK Deep State to invent him . . .

Today the atrocity porn and Hitler memes that have been so useful in justifying regime change in other countries are being directed with increasing intensity against America’s own duly elected president. This is at a time when the original conspiracy to discredit and unseat him, the phony “Russian collusion” story, is in the process of unraveling and being turned back on its originators. Horror of horrors, Trump is now feeling free enough to move forward on a meeting with Putin.

Keep in mind that Putin is, according to Hillary Clinton, leader of the worldwide “authoritarian, white-supremacist, and xenophobic movement” who is “emboldening right-wing nationalists, separatists, racists, and even neo-Nazis.” So he and Hitler-Trump should get on famously! The prospect of any warming of ties between Washington and Moscow has elements of the US intelligence agencies, together with their British coconspirators in MI6 and GCHQin an absolute panic.

That’s why desperate measures are in order. As noted earlier, when confronted with a reincarnation of the most evil personage in history, even the most extreme actions cannot be ruled out. Demonizing the intended target neutralizes objections to his removal – by any means necessary.

After all, how can any decent person oppose getting rid of Hitler?

June 23, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | | 2 Comments

‘Forget sanctions, G7 & Assad – Trump-Putin summit should focus on America’s Ukraine interference’

RT | June 22, 2018

Ukraine, not Syria, is going to be in the spotlight at the potential meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin after the US supplied Kiev with Javelin missiles and imposed sanctions on Russia, former US diplomat told RT.

The NATO summit set for July is already being upstaged by rumors of a separate meeting between Trump and Putin – and news that National Security Advisor John Bolton will be heading to Moscow this month has only increased speculation. RT America’s Natasha Sweatte discussed this latest development with former US diplomat Jim Jatras.

RT: What are your thoughts on Bolton going to Russia? Do you think this is going to be a similar matter to how Mike Pompeo set things up for the president with Kim Jong-un?

Jim Jatras: I think in some ways, yes. I understand that ambassador (Jon) Huntsman, our ambassador in Moscow, was here not too long ago to begin some of the prep, Bolton is supposed to be in Moscow next week and then three Republican senators are supposed to be in Moscow the week after that. I think there’s some of the groundwork being prepared for this meeting.

RT: What do you think is the most important thing for them to discuss, if they do indeed meet. Do you think something like Syria?

JJ: Certainly, Syria. But to tell the truth, I think the mere fact of the meeting, like the meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un, is the most important thing. The fact that they meet. Let’s remember, there has been a full-blown campaign of hysteria on so-called “Russian collusion” from not only the US deep state, but their friends in the United Kingdom, in MI6 and GCHQ, trying to try to sink this thing. And I think coming off of the summit with Kim and also some of the economic news, some of his domestic successes, Trump now feels he has the ability to go ahead with something he said he wanted to do during the campaign and has been frustrated from doing so.

RT: Do you think a positive meeting between the two will have any impact on Mueller’s investigation or do you see it as an important thing for Trump to block all of that out, if he does indeed meet with Putin?

JJ: I think it is going to be in the eye of the beholder. Obviously, the Trump-haters who actually believe all the nonsense about Russian collusion, they’ll just see this: He is reporting to Moscow, he is reporting to headquarters. This proves everything we’ve been alleging.”

Of course, that’ll be total nonsense. I think just as a lot of people aimed potshots at him over North Korea, the fact that he comes back with something that looks like we’re making progress on a peaceful settlement, I think will resonate with a lot more people than the naysayers.

RT: Now to the G7 summit: do you think there is a seat at the table for Russia? Do you think maybe these talks with the US is the first step in that direction?

JJ: It could be. But to tell the truth, G7 isn’t all that important. And certainly not for the Russians. The Russians are looking more toward Eurasian integration with the, One Belt, One Road, initiative with the Chinese, with the Eurasian Economic Union. Sure, they’d like a seat at the table. But they’re not going to sit there and beg for it. And they’re not going to look at it as some kind of a cookie to be thrown to them.

RT: And what’s the ultimate outcome? Do you think just the meeting itself speaks volumes?

JJ: I think, the meeting itself speaks volumes. But I think, the question of sanctions, for example, is way in the background. You’ll never get that through Congress anytime soon. Although, I think we could look at some positive action in Europe in the very near future. I think that actually the thorniest question isn’t really Syria so much. Look, Assad has won, he is going to stay in power. The real issue is going to be what to do about Ukraine. During the campaign, Trump said that is a European issue. But, of course, you know, we’ve provided the Javelin missiles, we’ve added new sanctions to the Russians. We’ve got to find some way to get the US out of the driver’s seat on aggravating the situation in Ukraine.

RT: And maybe, if (Robert) Mueller’s investigation does wrap up sometime soon, maybe Congress’s outlook would change on sanctions?

JJ: No, I don’t think so. I think, unfortunately, there are just so many people who have planted their feet in concrete in an extreme, I would say, hysterical anti-Russian position, that just isn’t going to change. I think Trump basically has to move beyond them somehow and not really focus on the sanctions, which to tell the truth, do not have the same devastating impact on Russia that a lot of people here would like to think they have.

June 23, 2018 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Trump withdrawal from UN Human Rights Council is business as usual for US

By John Laughland | RT | June 20, 2018

Unlike other decisions taken by Donald Trump the announcement that the US is leaving the UN Human Rights Council has a lot of background in the policies adopted by previous administrations, many of which also despised the body.

Trump has gone a little further than his predecessors but his attitude is not fundamentally different from theirs.

Not only has the US had a long-running dispute with the UN in general, over its budget contribution and the body’s alleged hostility towards Israel, it has also sought to undermine the role of the Human Rights Council in particular, long before Trump was elected.  A former US representative to the UN founded the NGO UN Watch in 1993 to campaign against the UN’s perceived anti-Israeli bias.

In 2004, even before the Human Rights Council was created in 2006, the USA sponsored the creation of a “democracy caucus” within the UN whose goal was to increase the influence of the US and its allies in the organization, on the basis that countries deemed democratic should have greater rights.

The potential for abuse of this principle was both enormous and obvious. Yet it reflected the decision taken by the Clinton administration in 1999 to arrogate to the US and its allies, especially NATO, the right to adjudicate and enforce human rights around the world. As the British Prime Minister Tony Blair explained at the time, the 78-day NATO attack against Yugoslavia was designed to establish this as a new principle of international relations. In its new strategic concept promulgated at the height of the bombing of a small Balkan country by the most powerful military alliance in the history of the world, NATO announced that “the abuse of human rights” was a security threat to which it had the right to react.

This in turn was a continuation of the assumptions underlying the creation of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in November 1990, which provided a structure for covert operatives from Western states to manipulate elections across post-Communist Europe in the name of human rights and democracy promotion. The OSCE itself was initially created as the CSCE (Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe) at Helsinki in 1975 when the goal was also to undermine the USSR on the same pretext.

So, when Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, says that the US will continue to “lead” on human rights from outside the Human Rights Council, she is not saying much that is new. The novelty lies only in that the US feels that it can no longer control that body. In 2011, things were the other way around: the US encouraged a gross abuse of the Human Rights Council’s own procedures when it helped secure the expulsion of Libya from it on 25 February 2011, without the Universal Periodic Review, which the HRC had published for Libya the previous month, being even considered.

The expulsion occurred on the basis of allegations made by bogus NGOs (front organizations for the then Libyan opposition) which, not surprisingly, turned out later to have been utterly baseless. But the momentum was such that a Security Council resolution was obtained on 17 March 2011 and NATO launched its attack two days later.

A war launched ostensibly to protect civilians was then used to effect regime change (as the then-Foreign Minister of France confirmed at the time), and no attempt was made to protect civilians deemed loyal to Gaddafi. NATO’s allies justified their massacre at Sirte in September 2011 by saying that the town’s residents had “chosen to die”. The fact that these decisions were taken “multilaterally”, as Emmanuel Macron likes to say, is irrelevant when it comes to judging their fundamental injustice.

The allegation of US double standards on human rights is probably familiar to many readers. But what the continuity of US policy shows (a continuity only slightly masked by this latest institutional change of tack) is the inevitable damage caused when political conflict is translated into the language of rights. Such a translation only aggravates the all too human tendency to identify one’s own cause with the highest moral principles.

Because this danger is so obvious, the UN was created to evacuate such issues from international discourse. Its charter and practices until the 1980s were based on the principles of state sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of states, not on human rights. Resolutions by the General Assembly, in 1965 and in 1981 on the inadmissibility of intervention in the internal affairs of states, and in 1970 on friendly relations between states, when non-interference was reiterated, were all totally unambiguous. In 1981, for instance, the General Assembly recalled “the duty of a State to refrain from the exploitation and the distortion of human rights issues as a means of interference in the internal affairs of States”.

These resolutions were bolstered by rulings by the International Court of Justice, the supreme judicial body of the UN system, for instance in a famous 1986 case opposing the USA and Nicaragua where the former was supporting the Contra rebels. The ICJ ruled that “the Court cannot contemplate the creation of a new rule opening up a right of intervention by one State against another on the ground that the latter has opted for some particular ideology or political system” and that “in any event, while the United States might form its own appraisal of the situation as to respect for human rights in Nicaragua, the use of force could not be the appropriate method to monitor or ensure such respect.”

These principles came under sustained assault in the post-Cold War period and they are now considered to have been buried under the Western doctrines of humanitarian intervention and “the right to protect”. Their burial reflects a far deeper problem, which constitutes the biggest threat to the international order today: the almost psychotic inability of the US leadership to engage with other international actors on the basis of that complexity which is inherent in states having a different point of view, a different culture and a different value system.

Instead, the US remains in hock to what was originally known as the “Open Door” school of US diplomacy of William Appleman Williams (1921-1990), which holds that America will be safe in the world only when the world becomes like America and is dominated by it.

Stated forcefully by George W. Bush and by Donald Trump’s administration in the 2018 National Defense Strategy, this doctrine was also endorsed by Clinton and Obama.

Many years after Clinton’s Kosovo war, Obama’s Vice-President, Joe Biden, proudly told his Albanian taxi driver outside the US military base in Kosovo, where the soldiers were of different ethnic backgrounds: “There’s America. Until you figure out how to live together like we do, you will never, never, never make it.”

Between Trump and his nemesis Biden, therefore, there is no essential difference – and that is a major problem for the rest of us.

John Laughland is a historian and specialist in international affairs.

June 20, 2018 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Here’s Why Pro-Migrant Protesters Changed US Policy While Anti-War Protesters Didn’t End America’s Recent Wars

By Adam Garrie | EurasiaFuture | June 20, 2018

Donald Trump has just signed an executive order reversing the Clinton era policy of separating children from their illegal migrant parents at the southern border of the United States. While this policy has been in operation since the 1990s, it was only in the last month that it caught the attention of American media and the political class.

Ultimately, the issue is one for the leaders of the US to decide and under immense media and political pressure, the US President has taken the matter into his own hands and changed a policy based entirely on a public pressure campaign rather than his own apparent line of thinking which favours an increasingly tough border policy.

What this proves is that on issues effecting the well being of humans who happen not to be US citizens, public pressure campaigns can in fact get policies changed, especially in an election year. When one thinks that George W. Bush illegally invaded Iraq just over a year before facing re-election while Tony Blair did the same only two short years before facing the UK electorate, it beggars belief that anti-war campaigns have been so ineffective at reversing policies that slaughter millions, destroy entire regions and all the while unleashing the most barbaric forms of terrorism in places where there once was little or none.

Irrespective of one’s views of America’s border policy, even those who believe it to be inhumane must admit that it did not result in the deaths, terrorism and destruction of the US led wars on Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya and the hybrid war against Syria.

While millions of people marched against the Iraq war throughout the world in 2003, far more than have gone on demonstrations against the controversial child separation policy of the US border authorities, it nevertheless had no effect on US policy in the Middle East. In fact, the amount of wars and number of troops committed across the Middle East by the US and its partners only increased since 2003.

Why then did the anti-war marches fail while the pro-migrant movement accomplished its goal? The reason is simple. While masses of protesters can control the streets and non-corporate air waves, the corporate media in the United States that is willing to take a side on issues like migration is unwilling, unable or not wanting to go up against the pro-war factions of Washington. The same is true even for most so-called independent minded politicians in the US, almost all of whom lose their independent streak when it comes to war, with retired Congressman Dr. Ron Paul, his son Senator Rand Paul and Senator Bernie Sanders being exceptions in the wilderness.

While corporate media is losing viewership at a rapid pace among the wider public and the young in particular, among the policy making class, there is still a tendency to literally view the world through a bubble and refuse to look at non-corporate or non-western originated media for any other purpose than to mock, sneer and at times, attempt to censor.

It is because of this, that the kind of invisible connection between the narrative of mainstream media pundits and politicians can lead to meaningful policy change while this is not the case when it comes to anti-war issues that the mainstream media in the US tends to either ignore or berate (before ignoring).

In this sense, the political-media complex has worked to insure that the issues that are important to the boardrooms of CNN and MSNBC are those which are important to the politicians who can then pressure a reluctant President to change a policy he previously appeared to support.

It is only when politicians begin to take non-corporate western media sources at face value rather than look for conspiracies (aka Russian meddling) which do not exist, that the growing number of people opposed to war might be able to affect policy change. Until then, the anti-war voices of millions will be ignored, while the loud but comparatively quieter thousands of voices raised against America’s border policies will be heeded.

The solution for anti-war protesters is to not give up but to shame the part-time humanitarians who cried at the thought of strangers in a strange land being separated from their families, yet who say nothing when families living in their ancestral homes are separated from one another by the force of a bomb – never to be reunited. If you think that America’s long standing border policy was inhumane but do not feel similar things towards the families America’s military slaughters in their own home – then you do not have a heart after all… but you probably have a high definition television.

June 20, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

U.S. News Media Can’t Talk About Adelson Foreign Policy

By Eli Clifton | LobeLog | June 19, 2018

Over the past month, two mainstream news outlets have done in-depth reporting on the grip that Sheldon Adelson, President Donald Trump’s and the GOP’s biggest donor, holds over U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. LobeLog has closely followed this important story, so it’s heartening to see The Guardian and CBC highlighting the apparent capture of U.S. foreign-policy decision-making by a billionaire donor.

But there’s a noticeable gap in the coverage of this topic. U.S. news outlets, which routinely “follow the money” when it comes to domestic issues, are almost completely avoiding any reporting on the clear link between Adelson’s campaign contributions and the administration’s pursuit of policies that hew closely to positions espoused by the billionaire casino magnate.

Adelson’s influence over the Trump administration’s foreign policy is hard to overlook. The Las Vegas-based billionaire, and currently the fourteenth wealthiest American, is outspoken about his political views. He has suggested using nuclear weapons against Iran, declared the “purpose of the existence of Palestinians is to destroy Israel,” promoted John Bolton for a senior foreign-policy post, directly lobbied Trump about moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Newt Gingrich, himself a recipient of Adelson’s financial support during his failed 2012 presidential big, said that his benefactor’s “central value” is Israel.

Mainstream Media Coverage

Deep in Adam Entous’s excellent New Yorker feature in this week’s issue, he briefly grapples with Adelson’s influence on U.S. Mideast policy. Entous writes:

No Republican candidate can easily afford to ignore him. Adelson considered Obama an enemy of Israel, and, in the 2012 election, he and his wife, Miriam, contributed at least ninety-three million dollars to groups supporting the G.O.P. Officials in the U.S. and Israel said that they learned from American Jewish leaders that Adelson had vowed to spend “whatever it takes” to prevent Obama from securing a peace agreement while in office.

Entous then returns to the thesis of his article—that Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are manipulating Trump’s foreign policy team. But the brief acknowledgement that one donor has leveraged legal political spending to control the foreign policy positions of the Republican Party deserves more attention.

Indeed, there’s ample evidence that Trump, who received $35 million in outside election spending from Adelson and his wife, Miriam, listens to what his biggest campaign supporter has to say.

Before winning the GOP’s nomination, Trump quipped that Adelson was seeking to “mold [Marco Rubio] into the perfect little puppet,” but he quickly came around and echoed Adelson’s hawkish positions on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem after winning the Republican nomination and securing Adelson’s financial backing.

Politico reported that the most threatening line in Trump’s October UN speech—that he would cancel Washington’s participation in the JCPOA if Congress and U.S. allies did not bend to his efforts to renegotiate it—came directly from John Bolton, now Trump’s national security advisor, and with the full weight of Trump’s biggest donor. The hawkish language was not in the original text prepared by Trump’s staff. Politico reported:

The line was added to Trump’s speech after Bolton, despite Kelly’s recent edict [restricting Bolton’s access to Trump], reached the president by phone on Thursday afternoon from Las Vegas, where Bolton was visiting with Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson. Bolton urged Trump to include a line in his remarks noting that he reserved the right to scrap the agreement entirely, according to two sources familiar with the conversation.

That was the only mention of Adelson’s influence in the article.

The day after Trump’s violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) last month, Adelson visited Trump in the White House. The week before, Adelson cut a $30 million check to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC exclusively dedicated to securing a GOP majority in the House of Representatives. That contribution made Adelson, again, the biggest contributor to the Republican Party in an election cycle.

Politico broke the story of the $30 million contribution but didn’t mention Adelson’s possible foreign policy motivations. In the mainstream news media, only McClatchy’s Peter Stone, reporting on May 14, dedicated an entire article to the obvious influence that the president’s biggest donor appears to hold over U.S. foreign policy. He wrote:

These are heady days for casino billionaire and megadonor Sheldon Adelson.

A passionate and hawkish advocate for Israel with close ties to its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Adelson was in Jerusalem today for a celebration of the U.S. embassy’s relocation to that city, a longstanding priority for the mogul. Similarly, Adelson had pushed hard for President Donald Trump to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, which happened last week.

Stone went on to report on Adelson’s White House meeting the day after the JCPOA announcement.

And The New York Times only briefly touched on this issue in a February 23 article on the moving of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and Adelson’s controversial offer to pay for the new facility:

For years, Mr. Adelson, a Las Vegas casino mogul, has pushed the United States government to move its embassy to Jerusalem, the disputed capital that both Israelis and Palestinians claim as their own. With an estimated net worth of $40 billion, Mr. Adelson donated heavily to Mr. Trump’s campaign and gave $5 million to the committee organizing the president’s inauguration festivities, the largest such contribution ever.

Progressive Media Coverage

Progressive and left-leaning media have been equally silent about the special interest control over U.S. foreign policy decision-making.

Two days after Trump violated the JCPOA, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes devoted more than eight minutes to the $30 million contribution in which his panelists decried the outsized role of money in politics. Two minutes into the segment, they speculated about how much Adelson’s heirs might benefit from estate-tax reductions in the Republican tax bill, suggesting that Adelson’s contribution might be an investment in influencing tax policy in ways that would personally benefit him and his family.

At the end of the segment, with only two minutes remaining, Hayes said:

There’s also a foreign policy component here. The rich donors might have different foreign policy priorities. Sheldon Adelson has very intense foreign policy priorities as relate to Israel. You can imagine people having intense foreign policy priorities as to Brexit or NATO or Ukraine… You get a US foreign policy where you have to wonder what is guiding it.

None of Hayes’s panelists engaged with that explanation and Hayes did not return to it.

Vox’s Matt Yglesias also speculated about Adelson’s desire to reduce the estate tax and concluded:

Throw in the benefits of the other tax cut provisions and Adelson’s interest in maintaining a business-friendly National Labor Relations Board and the investment is very small and sensible. The same goes for even richer people like the Koch brothers, who are planning to spend even larger sums in the midterms.

There’s no actual evidence that Adelson feels particularly strongly about the estate tax. He hasn’t given public remarks about the estate tax, and he hasn’t contributed large sums of money to think tanks with an anti-estate tax agenda. In other words, Hayes and Yglesias are guessing about Adelson’s motives without acknowledging what Adelson publicly talks about as motivating his political and civic engagement.

ThinkProgress, a site for which I used to work, offers another insight into the progressive media landscape’s refusal to acknowledge Adelson’s capture of Washington’s Mideast policy. Adelson’s name hasn’t appeared in a TP headline for over two years. Housed at the Democratic-Party-aligned Center for American Progress, TP doesn’t shy away from writing about certain other right-wing donors. But it hasn’t put the Republican Party’s biggest donor’s name in a headline since five months before the 2016 presidential election.

By comparison, “Koch” has appeared in 20 ThinkProgress headlines in the same two-year span.

Foreign Media Coverage

It’s not as if mainstream, let alone left-wing, journalists and pundits don’t understand what’s happening. Half of the CBC’s May 20 segment is taken up by Wendy Mesley’s interview with Ken Vogel, a money-in-politics reporter for The New York Times.

Mesley: Why is Adelson so driven on these causes, these mostly Israeli causes?

Vogel: Yeah, he is a cause donor. It’s been really his animating political issue behind his donations for some time. People I’ve talked to trace it to his marriage to his wife Miriam Adelson in the early 1990s. Her parents fled the Holocaust, ended up in Israel where she was raised and so far that reason and others he’s really become a leading donor and a leading figure in this hawkish pro-Israel conservative sort of circle that is so influential in American politics.

Later, Vogel added:

I think what [Adelson] does is act as an enforcer. People are scared, to some extent, to cross him because they fear that if they anger him and fall out of favor with him that his funding, not only funding from him will dry up, funding from this larger circle of Jewish-American donors who give a lot of money in Republican politics.

Vogel’s description of Adelson’s influence was succinct and clearly backed up by Adelson’s own statements, his choice of causes and candidates to support, and the policy positions embraced by candidates who owe their political careers to Adelson’s largesse.

But this explanation was delivered to a Canadian television network instead of The New York Times.

Phil Weiss of the Mondoweiss blog writes that acknowledging Adelson’s motives and influence “smacks of assertions of outsize Jewish influence that were a hallmark of murderous, anti-Semitic campaigns in Europe.” Indeed, Weiss is accurate that discussing Adelson’s influence can often feed anti-Semitic tropes with no basis in facts.

If he’s correct, journalists are actively censoring themselves from discussing how an individual donor, whose views are shared by only a small minority of Jewish Americans, is advocating for foreign policy positions that isolate the U.S. from allies, such as those that supported the agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program, in favor of a hawkish U.S. agenda in the Middle East.

At the bare minimum, news outlets are expected to report on the facts. In this case, the facts are that U.S. foreign policy is starting to look an awful lot like what Sheldon Adelson has encouraged over the past several years.

Perhaps it’s all a coincidence and Adelson is really engaged in a stealth campaign to reduce the estate tax and pass his $40-billion-plus fortune on to his children.

It makes more sense, however, to take the GOP’s biggest donor at his word. Foreign news outlets have done just that. But the U.S. media appears incapable of wrestling with the new role money is playing in steering Washington’s policy abroad.

June 20, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment

Which Door Has Opened? Kim Jong-un, Donald Trump, and the Singapore Summit

By Maximilian C. Forte | Zero Anthropology | June 17, 2018

Both leaders arrived in Singapore, with significant excitement greeting them. Trump, arriving from a bitter G7 meeting, after which he attacked Justin Trudeau personally, flew into Singapore on Sunday, June 10, as did Kim Jong-un, who took serious precautions in his travel arrangements. By this point Trump had already significantly lowered expectations, saying that it would just be a meeting where the two leaders got to start a dialogue: “at least we’ll have met each other, we’ll have seen each other; hopefully, we’ll have liked each other. We’ll start that process….But I think it will take a little bit of time”. The lowered expectations might have been well advised. The usual appeal to authority that is the now customary wail of panic-striken, discredited elites, was evidenced by the scorn heaped on the work of Dennis Rodman, for not being a “professional”—when his work was fundamental to laying the groundwork for the peace talks. Others, with a longer and more considered view of history, pointed out that, “The history of U.S. foreign policy is littered with unsuccessful presidential summits, even when they have been preceded by months of careful preparation and infused by a coherent strategy and clear objectives set by a well-informed and experienced president”.

An Historic Encounter

Just the fact of meeting and talking was significant enough: already there was evidence that the campaign of “maximum pressure” was over and not likely to come back. Sanctions on North Korea were already being loosened, tested, and plans made for a future after the talks. In the meantime, clearly in a deep, quiet panic over the summit, Fox News saturated its coverage with talking heads offering Trump advice from a distance, hoping to pressure him—including advising flatly undiplomatic and plainly rude tactics such as not shaking Kim Jong-un’s hand, or preventing photographs of the two leaders together.

The Summit, televised live around the planet, wrapped up in the the afternoon on Tuesday, June 12 (Singapore time), with the final event being an extended press conference by Donald Trump, and the release of the text of the agreement jointly signed by Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump. Also released was the video, “A Story of Opportunity,” prepared by the US side and shown in person to Kim Jong-un, which offered the progressivist American vision of the future.

(See Trump’s 12 tweets on the summit here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.)

Reactions to the Summit

Initial lists of outcomes did not seem to be particularly compelling in terms of the Summit offering either side any real change. Yet North Korean state media reported that the Summit had been a great success. Trump went quickly from lauding the move toward eventual denuclearization, into a full blown cheer for what he said had now been achieved: “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea” and “The World has taken a big step back from potential Nuclear catastrophe!”. Trump seemed ready to conclude a process that, at best, would take years and many more significant concessions. Trump also vowed to stop US war games on the Korean peninsula, admitting that they are “very provocative” (a small concession to reality). Not among the naysayers was the UN Secretary General, who immediately issued a statement of support on behalf of the UN. Regional experts called the Summit a “beginning,” and thus noted an absence of details on denuclearization. But there was also confusion, thanks to vice-president Mike Pence, about whether the US was stopping war games, or not.

Early reactions, including one from a former CIA expert, was that “denuclearization,” the way the US envisaged, is not what the Summit agreement affirmed. Others held that at the very least the Summit was a real turning point, that averted war and began a peace process; also set to rest was the trope that Kim and Trump are “madmen”.

One interesting assessment was that the summit had been a significant success for North Korea:

“The joint declaration specifies no timeline for denuclearization nor it does have steps to verify disarmament. It also refers to denuclearization on the entire Korean Peninsula—Pyongyang’s preferred phrasing—and does not include the words ‘verifiable’ and ‘irreversible’ despite months of U.S. statements. Trump also agreed to something North Korea has sought for years: the suspension of joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises”.

In some key respects, Trump’s concessions matched what had long been the position of Russia and China (both of which were keen to formally rejoin negotiations on Korea): that the US freeze war games in return for North Korea suspending testing nuclear weapons. The double-freeze approach finally won. In addition, one outcome of the Summit was that China was now pressing for sanctions to be eased, almost immediately, with Trump acknowledging—without criticism on his part—that China had already eroded sanctions enforcement over the last few months. Kim and Trump also promised to personally visit each other’s capitals in the near future.

Another assessment saw the Summit as a victory for all of Korea, and the signed document as simply an aspirational declaration and not an agreement on denuclearization as such:

“The North Korean side played its cards exceptionally well. It built its capabilities under enormous pressure and used it to elevate the country to a real player on the international stage. The ‘maximum pressure’ sanction campaign against it is now defused. China, Russia and South Korea will again trade with North Korea. In pressing for an early summit Trump defused a conflict that otherwise might have ruined his presidency. The losers, for now, are the hawks in Japan, South Korea and Washington who tried their best to prevent this to happen. The winners are the people of Korea, Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump. Special prizes go to President Moon Jae-in of South Korea and to Dennis Rodman who did their best to make this happen”.

Others offered well-informed analysis by individuals who were intimately involved in negotiations with North Korea and who argue that North Korea is not intending to “get away” with keeping its nuclear weapons, but that the North instead has real reasons for wanting to denuclearize. The argument here is that North Korea developed nuclear weapons to entice the US to the negotiating table, in order to end the Korean War, remove all sanctions, offer diplomatic recognition, and ending the US military threat to North Korea. In addition, a rapprochement with the US would allow North Korea to diversify its foreign relations, not remaining exclusively dependent on China, when North Korea has traditionally preferred independence. Another view is that the Summit simply resulted in a momentary stabilization. Yet, as Pepe Escobar noted, “by reaffirming the Panmunjom Declaration, the US President has committed to bringing its military back from South Korea and thus a complete denuclearization of the South as well as the North”. The accusation by liberal media was that, somehow, Trump managed to get nothing at all from the summit with Kim Jong-un—though even within this line of attack, there were some thoughtful pieces that at least addressed the facts of the summit in detail, with some showing how one could still take a Democratic, anti-Trump line and yet concede the significant value of the Summit.

US Domestic Politics and Trump’s Foreign Policy

In terms of domestic politics, it became evident that for any country to deal with the US—whether friend or foe—it would enter into a dangerously unreliable relationship: the pattern has now been set where one party’s international agreements are automatically decried, and then rescinded, by the opposing party. While many Republicans praised Trump on North Korea, they viscerally rejected Obama’s similar advances with Cuba and Iran. Likewise, while all for peace with Iran and good relations with Cuba, Democrats reacted as belligerently imperialist war hawks on North Korea, with liberals validating neconservatives and war-mongers. For both parties then, imperialism remains a tool to be used in domestic competition, and it is thus continually reproduced and validated.

Within just 12 hours of the close of the Summit, mainstream media in the US began to move the event off the front pages of their sites (most notably Reuters, where one had to dig to find any report on the event). This fact alone suggested that the anti-Trump opposition itself saw the event as a success, or there would be little to begrudge Trump. However, the opposition was much more serious than that. While only four months earlier much of the media celebrated the role played by Kim Jong-un’s sister at the Winter Olympics in South Korea, and how she diplomatically bested Mike Pence—now the media gave vent to denunciations of North Korea’s “brutality” and “human rights atrocities”. This was an opportunistic use of “human rights,” instrumentalizing allegations of human suffering to score political points at home. This was also domestically-driven virtue signalling at the expense of North Korea—when historically the number one killer of North Koreans has been the US itself, having destroyed every city in the North during the Korean War, while killing at least one out of every nine persons. Current sanctions have also exacted a toll on ordinary North Koreans—so much for the “human rights” lobby. The position was also bizarre for excluding the danger of nuclear war from the scope of “human rights”. If “human rights” do not include the right not to suffer a catastrophic nuclear apocalypse, then surely the concept is of little weight and even less merit, and should probably not be a significant concern. Opposition to Trump was also expressed in terms of resentment of parity shown to North Korea at the Summit, as if anything short of the public humiliation of North Korea on the world stage was somehow a sign of American “weakness,” of “unilateral concessions,” and of course, of Trump’s personal failure. Anything that might show North Korea in a more dignified light than the usual barbarian, torture state, was depicted as mere propaganda.

Similar reasoning could be found in articles such as one in The New Yorker, which reacted with alarm at rumours of Trump wanting a summit with Vladmir Putin. First, why the resort to rumours? Trump has always been very public and very explicit about his desire to meet Putin for a full one-on-one dialogue. There is no mystery about it, and any attempt to make it sound mysterious is an attempt to make it appear sinister. Second, the underlying tone of the article is that Trump is “unbound,” manifesting the continued disregard for the legitimate election of Donald Trump to office, such that he should not be allowed to command—like a president would do. Third, The New Yorker’s Susan B. Glasser is clearly projecting her faction’s anti-Russian hysteria onto Europe—forgetting that it was the US which pressured Europe into anti-Russian sanctions that hurt European economies, and which few European nations want to continue.

One charitable way to look at this situation would follow these lines: “Washington is a liberal town and the media rush to defend the status quo when it’s threatened by an interloper. When outsiders intervene, their influence declines”. Another approach would be a critique of how accusations that Trump is in “bonding sessions” with “brutal dictators,” are the liberal-left’s way of extending, translating, and reinforcing its inherent racism, by maximizing such racist attitudes on the world stage while pretending to challenge racism in discrete social pockets at home.

Rubbing Their Faces In It

On the other hand, Trump really succeeded in taking neoconservatives, professionals in the corporate-funded and government-backed human rights industry, the liberal imperialist media, and vigorously rubbing their faces with his foreign policy. Though many in the corporate media had—just in February—produced articles laced with praise for Kim Yo-jong (the sister of North Korea’s Kim Jong-un) because she had diplomatically upended Mike Pence—now that Trump’s relations with North Korea turned in a positive direction, the media reversed polarity and switched to denunciations of the “brutality” of the North Korean “dictator,” in terms as shrill as they were opportunistic. To add more context to this, Trump declared that it was not North Korea that was the enemy of the US, instead: “Our Country’s biggest enemy is the Fake News”. Remember that within the media some wanted Trump to avoid even shaking hands with Kim Jong-un, at the Summit itself of all places and times—when he did, some called it “disconcerting”. In their faces, Trump rubbed the following admiration for Kim Jong-un: “he is the strong head….He speaks, and his people sit up at attention”. Trump praised Kim Jong-un in no uncertain terms: “He’s smart, loves his people, he loves his country” and that, “really, he’s got a great personality”. On his own relationship with Kim Jong-un, Trump affirmed: “I think we have a very good relationship. We understand each other” and “I think he trusts me and I trust him”. From the start of the Summit, Trump said he and Kim, “got along very well”. In response to charges that Kim Jong-un is a “human rights violator,” Trump’s responses included: “Look, he’s doing what he’s seen done….He’s a tough guy,” adding in another interview, “he has to be a rough guy or he has to be a rough person,” and in another, “he’s a strong guy”. Kim Jong-un, charged by an interviewer with doing some “really bad things,” got this response from Trump: “Yeah, but so have a lot of other people have done some really bad things”. On Kim’s stance regarding his fellow citizens, Trump stated: “I think you have somebody that has a great feeling for them”. Trump added: “He’s a funny guy, he’s very smart, he’s a great negotiator. He loves his people, not that I’m surprised by that, but he loves his people”. In return, the North Korean people love Kim: “His country does love him—his people, you see…the fervor, they have a great fervor”. About saluting a North Korean general at the summit, Trump stated simply: “I met a general. He saluted me. I saluted him back. I guess they’re using that as another sound bite. I think I’m being respectful to the general”. To top it all off, Trump added to his statement about ceasing war games with South Korea, saying he would like to also withdraw all US troops from South Korea: “I would love to get the military out as soon as we can because it costs a lot of money and a lot of money for us. I would like to get them home. I would like to”. Then Trump cheerfully assessed the outcome of his own efforts: “I did a great job this weekend”.

June 18, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

US Media, Democrats, Bolton Form Unholy Alliance to Fight Trump-Kim Nuclear Deal

Sputnik -June 18, 2018

WASHINGTON – Donald Trump’s own National Security Adviser John Bolton, the Democratic Party and the US mainstream media were all trying to derail the US president’s new agreement with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, analysts told Sputnik.

On June 12, Trump and Kim met on the Singaporean island of Sentosa and signed a document showing their commitment to establish new bilateral relations and build a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula. Trump also agreed to halt US-South Korea military exercises near the Korean peninsula, while Kim reiterated his country’s commitment to denuclearization.

The Democratic Party in the United States and the media establishment that supported them were cooperating closely to try and discredit Trump’s peace initiative in Korea, University of Illinois Professor of International Law Francis Boyle said.

“As the ancient Chinese proverb says, a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step, a very positive and encouraging step,” Boyle said. “Regretfully, it [the Singapore agreement] has pretty much been trashed by the Democrats and the mainstream US media who are in cahoots with them.”

The Democrats’ hostility to the new dialogue with Pyongyang flowed directly from their strategy in trying to discredit Trump over the past two years, Boyle pointed out.

“The Democratic strategy has been to bash Trump from the right. That goes back two years now to the conventions that nominated Trump and Hillary Clinton as their parties’ candidates,” he said.

The spectacle of the US media ganging up against the president when he was trying to resolve a potentially dangerous conflict was a depressing one, Boyle commented.

“All these newspapers condemning President Trump, it’s just unimaginably sad,” he said.

The media and the Democrats were misrepresenting Trump’s talks with Kim by falsely alleging that the US president had caved in by agreeing to talk to him when in fact Trump was just fulfilling the obligations placed upon him by the United Nations Charter which the US has signed, Boyle explained.

“Trump did not give Kim Jong-un an unnecessary concession. All he did was fulfill the commitment required of him or any US leader to hold such negotiations that is in the United Nations Charter,” he said.

Under Article 23 of the UN Charter there is a requirement for President Trump to have negotiations with North Korea which he did, Boyle recalled.

“Article 33 clearly requires ‘negotiations’ to maintain international peace and security,” he added.

Far from failing to make any progress, Trump had succeeded in getting Kim’s assent to giving the new negotiating process a promising beginning, Boyle observed.

“Trump did get a commitment on complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula so that’s a good start. It incorporates the Panmunjom Declaration between Chairman Kim and President Moon. It’s a good start. I’m moderately encouraged,” he said.

Trump Rejected Bolton’s Parallel Between Libya, North Korea Talks

Boyle warned that the talks faced another major threat because National Security Adviser John Bolton was likely to try and undermine them.

“Bolton is a hard-line neoconservative (neocon) who publicly bragged about having sabotaged the process [of negotiations] with North Korea. He tried to sabotage these negotiations by going public and saying we are going to go the Libya route,” he said.

Last month, Bolton commented that the US denuclearization talks with North Korea would follow the pattern of previous talks to eliminate weapons of mass destruction in Libya. However, several years after Libya agreed to scrap such programs, its ruler Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in a West-backed rebellion and murdered.

Trump contradicted Bolton and said that model of negotiations with Libya would not apply to North Korea.

Boyle said Bolton was highly intelligent and knew what he was doing when he made such remarks or and when he had encouraged Vice President Mike Pence to make similar ones.

“Bolton is a smart guy. He is a very cunning operator in the bureaucracy. I’m afraid Bolton will try to sabotage the negotiations. He has brought his own hardline people on to the National Security Council. I’m afraid that he will do what he can behind the scenes to sabotage this thing,” he said.

Boyle said he believed Trump needed to fire Bolton and select a new national security adviser who was committed to trying to make the negotiations with North Korea succeed.

“If Trump were smart I think he would fire Bolton and bring in a realpolitik-er,” he said.

Even if the talks with North Korea went well, they would take many months and several years, Boyle cautioned.

“This is going to be a long process. The administration people have conceded to the New York Times that it will take at least two years… However, following the summit, there is momentum,” Boyle concluded.

Military Establishment Tries to Hold on to US Bases in Asia-Pacific

Retired US Army Colonel and historian Doug Macgregor agreed that the Washington establishment opposed Trump’s efforts to achieve a lasting peace agreement with North Korea.

“The swamp [the establishment] will now fight the inevitable withdrawal of US ground troops from Korea because it will lead to the removal of the Marines from Okinawa as well,” Macgregor said.

Trump had made the mistake of surrounding himself with super-hawk figures like Bolton when he needed other kinds of officials who would support his peace plans, Macgregor cautioned.

“President Trump’s current defense [national security] team won’t help him! To achieve his aims the President will need to make new appointments,” he said.

However, the US public felt no commitment to running risks of full-scale war on the Korean peninsula and would support an agreement that could end the US military presence there, Macgregor advised.

“The mood and attitude of the political class in Washington is reminiscent of London’s attitude toward leaving India after World War II,” Macgregor said.

Like the British people then, the American people support the departure, Macgregor added.

June 18, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment