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From ‘disgusting’ to ‘treason’: Mainstream US media horrified by Trump-Putin summit

RT | July 16, 2018

The sight of US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin not attacking each other at the press conference following their summit in Helsinki sent mainstream US media into a spiral of rage.

“You have been watching one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader that I have ever seen,” CNN anchor Anderson Cooper declared at the end of the joint press conference.

“Trump declines to side with US intelligence over Putin” blared a CNN chyron a little while later, as anchor Wolf Blitzer somberly declared the “Russians must be high-fiving each other” following the summit.

CNN has been openly confrontational with Trump since before his inauguration and the president has called them “fake news” on more than one occasion – most recently during his visit to the UK.

The network’s White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny was appalled that, instead of confronting Putin publicly, Trump brought up the Democratic National Committee servers – which the FBI never inspected – as well as servers of House Democrats managed by Imran Awan, a Pakistani national who was recently convicted of wire fraud.

The mere fact that the summit happened in the first place was a “political victory for the Kremlin,” added senior international correspondent Matthew Chance. “Russians must be toasting Trump with champagne right now, I imagine.”

Russia’s “invasion” of Crimea, the shooting down of the MH17 passenger jet, the “novichok” poisoning in Salisbury – all the favorite talking points the US politicians and media have used to attack Russia since 2014, without offering any proof – “none of it matters now,” Chance lamented.

MSNBC let the former CIA director, now contributor, John Brennan set the tone of the debate, with a tweet declaring Trump’s behavior at the press conference “nothing short of treasonous.”

AP correspondent Jonathan Lemire, who had asked Trump to denounce Putin at the press conference, told MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle that the president bringing up the DNC servers instead was “an attack on [Special Counsel] Robert Mueller.”

Putin admitted he’d wanted Trump to win the presidency and Trump castigated the FBI instead of Russia, New York Times correspondent Peter Baker chimed in.

Republicans have traditionally been more suspicious and skeptical of Russia than Democrats but, in light of the summit, they now either have to oppose the president of their party or accept that “President Putin is really running the show,” Baker argued.

Trump and Putin “essentially parroted each other’s talking points,” said former CIA officer Ned Price, who dubbed as “delusional” those Republicans who thought Trump would raise the issue of elections-meddling, even though “we know in minute detail” the names and methods of the conspirators that “attacked our democracy in 2016.”

Evelyn Farkas, the former State Department official in charge of Russia during the Obama administration, declared it “despicable” that Trump was siding “against democracy,” reminding viewers she’s descended from Hungarian immigrants who fled a Soviet crackdown in 1956.

“We have to defend Langley, we have to defend the US,” Farkas added.

Earlier, MSNBC had interviewed Michael McFaul, the former US ambassador to Russia.

Even Fox News, accused by Democrats of being a propaganda network for Trump, had several anchors blasting the president.

Neil Cavuto of Fox Business thought it was “disgusting” that Trump did not use the press conference to publicly accuse Putin of interfering in the 2016 election.

“I’m sorry, it’s the only way I feel. It’s not a right or left thing to me, it’s just wrong,” Cavuto said. “A US president on foreign soil talking to our biggest enemy, or adversary, or competitor … is essentially letting the guy get away with this. That sets us back a lot.”

Brett Baier, who hosts Special Report, wondered how exactly the summit might improve US interests and brought up the Republican lawmakers who were putting out statements against the summit, such as Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) and Jeff Flake (R-Arizona).

Fox anchors were also puzzled by Putin’s offer to interrogate suspects in the presence of Mueller’s investigators, as long as the US would allow Russian prosecutors to question Americans suspected by Russia of crimes, as outlined in a treaty going back to 1999.

“What we did hear was this kind of moral equivalence when it comes to meddling,” Baier said, adding Trump standing in a foreign country next to a leader who “clearly attacked the US” and saying such things is going to “ruffle a lot of feathers.”

As to what the summit may have produced in terms of nuclear disarmament, peace in the Korean Peninsula, resolving the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, or ratcheting down tensions in Europe… no one in the US media seemed interested in asking.

July 16, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

AIPAC threat to free speech

By Ron Forthofer | Dissident Voice | July 26, 2017

There is a Senate bill, along with a companion bill in the House, working its way through Congress with strong bipartisan support, that poses a significant danger to free speech. One would think this bill would be a big deal but, surprisingly, the bill has not received much coverage in the mainstream media.

Fortunately the American Civil Liberties Union is alert to efforts undermining free speech. Thus, in a July 20th article on the ACLU website about S. 720/H.R. 1697, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, Bryan Hauss, Staff Attorney, wrote:

The bill would amend existing law to prohibit people in the United States from supporting boycotts targeting Israel — making it a felony to choose not to engage in commerce with companies doing business in Israel and its settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Violations would be punishable by a civil penalty that could reach $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.

Hauss continues:

The bill is aimed at advocates of boycotts targeting Israel, most notably the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement — a global campaign that seeks to apply economic and political pressure on Israel to comply with international law. Specifically, the bill sponsors intend the act as a response to the U.N. Human Rights Council’s 2016 resolution calling on companies to respect human rights, including in occupied Palestinian territories. No matter what you think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one thing is clear: The First Amendment protects the right to engage in political boycotts.

Amazingly, supporters of this bill seem to have a problem with calling on companies to respect human rights! Who would draft such a problematic bill that stifles free speech and nonviolent political action?

The Intercept website carried a July 19th article by Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Grim that said:

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that the bill “was drafted with the assistance of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.” Indeed, AIPAC, in its 2017 lobbying agenda, identified passage of this bill as one of its top lobbying priorities for the year.

This AIPAC-influenced bill is consistent with AIPAC’s long-term pattern of advocating for the interests of a foreign nation, Israel. AIPAC is one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington, D.C. and many members of Congress seem to automatically toe its line. Thus it is not surprising that 46 senators and 245 representatives have already signed on to the bill originally introduced on March 23rd.

Greenwald and Grim added that cosponsors include liberal Senators Ron Wyden, Richard Blumenthal, Maria Cantwell as well as conservative Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Ben Sasse. In the House, cosponsors include conservatives such as Jason Chaffetz, Liz Cheney, and Peter King as well as liberals Ted Lieu, Adam Schiff, and Eric Swalwell. Greenwald and Grim noted that these latter three members, who have built a wide public following by posturing as opponents of authoritarianism, are cosponsoring one of the most oppressive and authoritarian bills that has pended before Congress in quite some time.

Many of the cosponsors claim they were unaware of the penalties that could be applied in the bill whereas a few others state that they have a different reading of the bill, particularly related to the criminal penalties.

In addition to using AIPAC and other groups to lobby Congress, Israel previously directly inserted itself into our legislative process. For example, in 2015 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blatantly campaigned to derail the nuclear agreement with Iran. Also of concern, many U.S. and Israeli political experts thought Netanyahu clearly tried to sway the outcome in the 2012 U.S. Presidential election in favor of the Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

We must protect our free speech by opposing this highly questionable bill designed to benefit a foreign nation. In Colorado this means questioning Senator Bennet and Representatives Lamborn, Coffman and Buck, about their support for this appalling bill. We can also thank the other members of the Colorado delegation for not cosponsoring this terrible affront to free speech and the Constitution.

Ron Forthofer is a retired professor of biostatistics from the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston and was a Green Party candidate for Congress and also for governor of Colorado.

July 27, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Beneficiaries of Conflict With Russia

By Brian Cloughley | CounterPunch |March 31, 2017

On  January 30 NBC News reported that “On a snowy Polish plain dominated by Russian forces for decades, American tanks and troops sent a message to Moscow and demonstrated the firepower of the NATO alliance. Amid concerns that President Donald Trump’s commitment to NATO is wavering, the tanks fired salvos that declared the 28-nation alliance a vital deterrent in a dangerous new world.”

One intriguing aspect of this slanted account are the phrases “dominated by Russian forces for decades” and “vital deterrent” which are used by NBC to imply that Russia yearns, for some unspecified reason, to invade Poland. As is common in the Western media there is no justification or evidence to substantiate the suggestion that Russia is hell-bent on domination, and the fact that US troops are far from home, operating along the Russian border, is regarded as normal behaviour on the part of the world’s “indispensable nation.”

Then Reuters recorded that “Beginning in February, US military units will spread out across Poland, the Baltic states, Bulgaria, Romania and Germany for training, exercises and maintenance. The Army is also sending its 10th Combat Aviation Brigade with about 50 Black Hawk and 10 CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 1,800 personnel, as well as a separate aviation battalion with 400 troops and 24 Apache helicopters.”

As the US-NATO military alliance continues its deployments along Russia’s borders, including the US-UK supported Joint Viking 2017 exercise in Norway that began on March 1 and the deployment of  more US troops in Poland “from the start of April, as the alliance sets up a new force in response to Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea,” the campaign by the US and British governments against alleged “Russian Aggression” continues to increase in volume and intensity, aided by an ever-compliant media.

During his visit to Washington on March 6-7 Ukraine’s foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin met with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Senator Marco Rubio of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and received assurances of US support in “confronting Russian aggression” while in Britain it was announced that its foreign minister, Boris Johnson, the “mop-haired buffoon” was about to visit Russia in order to tell it to “keep its nose” out of western affairs. Mr Johnson declared that Russia “was up to all sorts of no good” and “engaged in cyber-warfare.”

The splendid irony of the Johnson allegation about cyber warfare is that it came just before the revelation that Britain’s intelligence agencies were deeply involved with those of the United States in cyber-chicanery on a massive scale. WikiLeaks once again showed the depths of deceit and humbug to which the West’s great democracies submerge themselves, and revealed that leaked files “describe CIA plans and descriptions of malware and other tools that could be used to hack into some of the world’s most popular technology platforms. The documents showed that the developers aimed to be able to inject these tools into targeted computers without the owners’ awareness . . . the documents show broad exchanges of tools and information between the CIA, the National Security Agency and other US federal intelligence agencies, as well as intelligence services of close allies Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.”

ABC News then announced, without a shred of proof, that “Julian Assange, the man behind WikiLeaks, appears to have a strong relationship with Russia” but could not disguise the report by CNN that the documents disclosed that “to hide its operations, the CIA routinely adopted techniques that enabled its hackers to appear as if they were Russian.”

There has been no comment on the WikiLeaks revelations by such as US Senator Amy Klobuchar who declared in January that “Russia used cyberattacks and propaganda to try and undermine our democracy. We are not alone. Russia has a pattern of waging cyberattacks and military invasions against democracies across the world.”  She was echoed by Senator Ben Sasse who declared that increased US sanctions would “upend Putin’s calculus and defend America from Russian cyberattacks and political meddling.”

Of course it would be impossible for the Senators to revise their rabid hatred of Russia and overcome their dismal pride to acknowledge that on March 1 the US National Reconnaissance Office launched a spy satellite carried by an Atlas V rocket that was powered by a Russian RD-180 engine. In an astonishing example of petty-minded obfuscation, the 1,500-word official report on the launching mentioned RD-180 three times — but failed to state its country of manufacture. The mainstream media followed suit.

There was to be another Atlas V launch in March, carrying supplies to the International Space Station, but it was delayed by “a hydraulic issue that was uncovered on ground support equipment required for launch.” Had it been deferred because of malfunction of the Russian engine that powers it, there would have been gloating headlines.

Reaction by the US government to the WikiLeaks disclosures has been to denounce them because they supposedly “not only jeopardise US personnel and operations, but also equip our adversaries with tools and information to do us harm.”  Predictably, Senator Sasse tweeted that “Julian Assange should spend the rest of his life wearing an orange jumpsuit. He’s an enemy of the American people and an ally to Vladimir Putin.”

There should be no surprise about the activities of US and British intelligence agencies, because they already have a proven record of spying on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Chancellor Merkel of Germany, French Presidents Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, to name but a few world leaders subjected to the indignity of greasy little eavesdroppers sniggering at their private conversations.

In June 2013 it was revealed that the United States of America had been spying on European Union computer networks in the EU offices in Washington and New York. According to Germany’s Der Spiegel a document of September 2010 “explicitly named the Union’s representation at the UN as a ‘location target’.” Der Spiegel discovered  that “the NSA had also conducted an electronic eavesdropping operation in a building in Brussels where the EU Council of Ministers and the European Council were located.”  Together with their British colleagues, the techno-dweebs of Government Communications Headquarters, the US agencies have been having a ball — but have been unable to prove that Russia “used cyberattacks and propaganda to try and undermine our democracy.”

The faithful CIA mouthpiece, the New York Times, stated in December that “American spy and law enforcement agencies were united in the belief, in the weeks before the presidential election, that the Russian government had deployed computer hackers to sow chaos during the campaign.” Not only this, but “CIA officials presented lawmakers with a stunning new judgment that upended the debate: Russia, they said, had intervened with the primary aim of helping make Donald J Trump president.”

But there is no evidence whatever that there was election-time hacking by Russia, and now there is proof that “to hide its operations, the CIA routinely adopted techniques that enabled its hackers to appear as if they were Russian.”

Although none of the assertions that Russia has been conducting a cyber war against America can be substantiated, Washington’s anti-Russia propaganda campaign will continue for the foreseeable future, while President Trump’s initial intentions to enter into dialogue with his counterpart in Moscow wither away to nothing. Even if he does resurrect the sensible policy he seemed to endorse, his acolytes in Washington will do their best to maintain confrontation by spreading more allegations of Russian “aggression” and “cyberattacks.” The anti-Russia campaign is gathering force, and it is not difficult to put a finger on why such a counter-productive crusade appeals to so many in the West.

The US arms and intelligence industries are the main beneficiaries of confrontation with Russia, closely followed by the hierarchy of the defunct US-NATO military alliance who have been desperately seeking justification for its existence for many years. For so long as the military-industrial complex holds sway in Washington, there will continue to be sabre-rattling and mindless military posturing.

But the International Space Station will continue to be resupplied by rockets powered by Russian engines.

Brian Cloughley writes about foreign policy and military affairs. He lives in Voutenay sur Cure, France.

March 31, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meet the Neocons’ Newest American Hero: Ben Sasse

By Wayne MADSEN | Strategic Culture Foundation | 21.03.2017

With Senator John McCain in his last term in the U.S. Congress and Senator Lindsey Graham in potential political trouble in South Carolina in 2020, the neo-conservatives have their high hopes set on freshman Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska. Sasse is the new face among cheerleaders in the U.S. Senate advocating further sanctions on Russia, a full investigation of alleged links between the Donald Trump presidential campaign and Russia, and full-throttle support for NATO and numerous free trade agreements.

Recently, Sasse has been a leading Senate critic of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over the release of some 8000 classified documents detailing the Central Intelligence Agency’s ability to conduct computer hacking and cyber-warfare. Sasse sent out a statement calling for Assange, who has been living under political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the past five years, to be imprisoned in the United States.

Sasse’s statement wrote the following about the so-called CIA «Vault 7» leaks: «It is important to comment on the particulars of these leaks but this is dead certain; Julian Assange should spend the rest of his life wearing an orange jumpsuit. He’s an enemy of the American people and an ally to Vladimir Putin. Mr. Assange has dedicated his life’s work to endangering innocent lives, abetting despots, and stoking a crisis of confidence in the West». Sasse always fails to mention that it his religious dream and that of his extremist cult for a Christian theocratic despot to take over power in the United States.

Sasse claimed his personal and government computer devices were targeted by hackers after his criticism of Assange and WikiLeaks. In a few tweets, Sasse texted that he was experiencing multiple «password reset» attempts, adding that his followers should ignore any «crazy-tweets’ from his account.

Strangely, Sasse ran for the Senate as a «Tea Party» outsider. He is anything but an outsider but a typical neo-con who was «sheep-dipped» in various mid-level jobs in the George W. Bush administration and, before that, in the U.S. House of Representatives. Sasse had powerful assistance from the «deep state» in achieving his U.S. Senate seat. Sasse came from four percent name recognition before the Nebraska Republican primary to defeat three other candidates, including former Navy pilot Shane Osborn, the pilot of the U.S. Navy reconnaissance plane forced to land in Hainan island, China in 2001.

Sasse is a consummate insider who represents the dark political side of the Republican Party, namely the Christian Dominionists, also known as «Reconstructionists». This powerful cult favors the establishment of a Christian theocracy in the United States. Sasse, whose campaign cash mostly poured in from out of state, outspent Osborn by a wide margin. As a Dominionist, Sasse has like-minded allies in the Trump administration, particularly Vice President Mike Pence.

The Dominionists are largely wealthy Republicans who have been extremely active in Nebraska politics. Dominionists like Sasse and Pence are adherents of the extremist tenets of the father of Christian Reconstructionism, the late P. J. Rushdoonie.

Although Sasse does not have a law degree, he has other «credentials». Sasse received his M.A. and PhD in Philosophy from Yale, his M.A. from St. John’s College in Annapolis, and B.A. in History from Harvard. These non-legal degrees were considered sufficient for Sasse to work under U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft in the Bush administration as chief of staff in the Office of Legal Policy. There, Sasse worked with the CIA to draft the infamous torture memos.

The «torture memos», which gave legal justification to President George W. Bush to carry out «enhanced interrogations» of prisoners and detainees, tainted both the Bush and Barack Obama administrations. From the Department of Justice, Sasse was somehow able to parlay his religious academic credentials to serve as an adviser to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff in 2005 and as assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services under Secretary Michael Leavitt from 2006 to 2007.

Sasse also served as chief of staff to Nebraska Republican Representative Jeff Fortenberry, who has a post-graduate degree in theology. While Sasse was earning additional Washington «insider» points working for Fortenberry, another rising GOP staffer, Ryan Loskarn, was honing his political skills under Republican Representatives Wally Herger of California and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. In early 2014, Loskarn, the chief of staff for Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, allegedly committed suicide after he was arrested in December 2014 for possession and distribution of child pornography.

It is inconceivable that Sasse, whose degrees were more in keeping with those of an aspiring theologian, would have been involved with career attorneys in the Justice Department. However, Sasse had already punched the right career «tickets.» From 1994 to 1995, Sasse worked for the Boston Consulting Group, Mitt Romney’s and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s old firm. From 1996 to 1998, Sasse was a tutor and proctor for the pederasty-plagued U.S. House of Representatives page program. It was Sasse’s responsibility to protect the underage teen House pages from, among other threats, predatory members of Congress. Sasse failed miserably.

One of the members of the House Page Board while Sasse served as a tutor and proctor was Republican Representative Jim Kolbe of Arizona. In 1996, while Sasse was a proctor and tutor for the pages, Kolbe, a member of the oversight House Page Board, took two 17-year old male pages on a three-day Independence Day camping trip to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Kolbe revealed that he was aware of then-Republican Representative Mark Foley’s inappropriate e-mails to underage male pages as early as 2000. However, Foley’s indiscretions with the pages reportedly began as early as 1998, while Sasse was still a proctor/tutor. Foley, a Florida Republican, later resigned after it was publicly revealed that he had made sexual advances toward male pages, including attempts to coax them from their dormitory on Capitol Hill. One of the members of the House leadership who helped cover up for Foley as long as he possibly could, was the Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. It was later revealed that Hastert paid hush money to underage males he was accused of having sex with while he was a high school wrestling coach in Illinois. Hastert is now serving a prison term for hiding his hush money transactions.

Kolbe eventually stepped down as chairman of the House Page Board after questions were raised about his camping trip with the pages. Sasse, as a proctor and tutor for the pages, had the responsibility of stopping Kolbe from taking the pages out of state for possible illegal purposes. Sasse’s closeness to the «House Page Sex Scandal» begs the fabled Washington scandal question: «What did Sasse know and when did he know it?» If Sasse was unaware of the activities of Kolbe and Foley with House pages between 1996 and 1998, why did he not know? As a proctor and tutor, it was Sasse’s job to know. If Sasse was aware of the activities of Kolbe and Foley and chose not to report them to the House leadership, that makes Sasse an accessory to criminal behavior.

Neo-con Republicans like Sasse are now fond of conjuring up «conspiracy theories» around deaths they link to some nefarious foreign plot to control Donald Trump and his administration. However, Sasse’s time in the House coincided with a dead body, a very important one. The chair of the House Page Board in 1998, Sasse’s final year as proctor/tutor, was Republican Representative Tillie Fowler of Florida. Fowler died suddenly from a brain hemorrhage on March 2, 2005, shortly after allegations about Foley’s sexual abuse of pages first hit the front pages.

Sasse is well-funded by the Club for Growth, an extremist capitalist group that favors shrinking government and eliminating regulation of the private sector, including parochial schools and child protective services, just the places where child sexual abuse is usually found to be rampant.

Sasse’s doctoral dissertation at Yale took on American atheist leader Madalyn Murray O’Hare. The dissertation was titled: «The Anti-Madalyn Majority: Secular Left, Religious Right, and the Rise of Reagan’s America.» Sasse’s dissertation postulated that a conservative Protestant alliance could take over political power in the United States. That rhetoric, coupled with Sasse’s belief in the «just war», is strikingly similar to the Dominionist beliefs of P. J. Rushdoonie and his adherents. Sasse’s fellow Dominionist, Pence, is now a mere heartbeat away from the U.S. presidency.

March 21, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment