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US, Europe & NATO risk all-out war by backing unhinged Kiev regime

By Finian Cunningham | RT | November 28, 2018

With the US, EU and NATO all bolstering claims of “Russian aggression” – in face of contrary evidence – the real danger is that the Kiev regime will be emboldened to carry out more reckless provocations leading to all-out war.

It seems indisputable that the three Ukrainian Navy vessels were dispatched last Sunday in order to instigate a security response from Russian maritime border forces. In contrast to normal procedures for passage clearance through the Kerch Strait, the Ukrainian warships refused to communicate with Russian controls and acted menacingly inside Russia’s Black Sea territorial limits.

At a United Nations Security Council emergency meeting on Monday, the US, Britain and France pointedly refused to take on board Russia’s legal argument for why it felt obliged to detain the Ukrainian boats and 24 crew. The Western powers automatically sided with the version of events claimed by President Petro Poroshenko – that the Ukrainian Navy was attacked unlawfully by Russia.

The US, EU and NATO denounced Russia’s “aggression” and demanded that the Ukrainian vessels and crew be repatriated immediately, even though under Russian law there is a case for prosecution.

It is the West’s refusal to acknowledge facts that is part of the problem. Russia is continually accused of “annexing” Crimea in 2014 instead of the Western powers recognizing that the Black Sea peninsula voted in a constitutionally held referendum to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Crimea was prompted to take that historic step because the US, EU and NATO had only the month before backed an illegal coup in Kiev against the elected Ukrainian government. That coup brought to power the present Kiev regime led by Poroshenko and a parliament dominated by neo-Nazi parties.

So, the problem here is a refusal by Western supporters of the dubious Kiev regime to accept the legal, historic reality that Crimea is part of Russia’s territory. Ships passing through the Kerch Strait between Russia’s mainland and Crimea are obliged to notify Russian maritime controls of passage. Russia has since reopened the strait to civilian cargo transport following the naval skirmish at the weekend.

When the Ukrainian Navy vessels violated legal procedures and entered Russian territorial limits, their action was aggressive, not Russia’s response.

Furthermore, there are already emerging signs that the Ukrainian naval transport was orchestrated for the purpose of inciting an incident.

Some of the detained crew members have admitted carrying out orders which they knew would be seen by Russia as provocative.

It has also been reported by US government-owned Radio Free Europe that the Ukrainian secret services (SBU) have confirmed that its officers were among the crew on the boats. The vessels were also armed. If the transfer was an innocent passage, why were secret services involved?

Recall that Ukrainian secret services have previously been caught staging sabotage operations in Crimea.

Another major background factor is the increasing NATO military buildup in eastern Ukraine and the Black Sea.

When Russian President Vladimir Putin officially opened the 19km bridge linking Russia’s mainland with Crimea in May earlier this year, there were calls in US and Ukrainian media for the structure to be sabotaged. Moscow has understandably stepped up security controls around the vital infrastructure, which cost $3.7 billion and is the longest bridge in Europe.

In recent months, the US and Britain have ordered increasing military deployment to the region under the guise of “training” and “assistance” to the Kiev regime forces.

Earlier this year, in July, the NATO alliance held naval drills, Sea Breeze, along with Ukrainian forces in the Black Sea. That’s in spite of the fact that Ukraine is not a member of NATO, although it is aspiring to join the 29-member US-led bloc at some time in the future.

It was the following month, in August, that Russia began stepping up its controls and searches of vessels through the Kerch Strait linking the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov. The latter leads to ports under the control of the Kiev regime such as Mariupol, which is adjacent to the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic. The DPR and Luhansk People’s Republic broke away following the coup in Kiev in 2014 and have been under military attack for the past four years despite the so-called Minsk peace treaties. These are more facts that the Western backers of the Kiev regime refuse to deal with.

More NATO buildup continued in September with the supply of two gunboats by the US to the Ukrainian Navy for deployment in the Sea of Azov. Pentagon-linked publication Defense One described that supply as part of efforts by Washington and Kiev to develop a “mosquito navy” in order to skirmish with Russian forces.

Only four days before the latest naval clash, Britain’s Defense Minister Gavin Williamson announced the Royal Navy was to send HMS ‘Echo’ to patrol with Ukrainian special forces to “defend freedom and democracy.” Williamson said: “As long as Ukraine faces Russian hostilities, the United Kingdom will be a steadfast partner.”

This is background to the simmering tensions in the Black Sea between Ukraine and Russia. The situation has arisen because of Western interference in Ukraine – primarily the coup in Kiev in February 2014. Yet, in all discussions about events since then, the Western powers are in denial of facts and their culpability. The recent militarization of the Black Sea by the NATO alliance is a stark provocation to Russia’s national security, but again the Western powers bury their collective heads in the sand.

Given the reckless indulgence by the US, Europe and NATO of the Kiev regime amid its ongoing violations against the populace in eastern Ukraine, its refusal to abide by the Minsk agreements, and its continual inflammatory and unhinged rhetoric against Russia, it should not be surprising if this same regime feels emboldened to provoke an armed confrontation with Moscow.

Arguably, the Kiev regime and its adulation of World War II Nazi collaborators never had any legitimacy in the first place. It continues to demonstrate its lack of legitimacy from the immense social problems in Ukraine of poverty, corruption, human rights violations, neo-Nazi paramilitaries running amok, and now martial law being imposed.

It remains to be seen if the recent naval provocation was carried out with the tacit approval of Washington and other NATO powers as a pretext for further militarization against Russia. The initial misplaced condemnations of Russia have subsided to more measured calls from US President Donald Trump and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian for “restraint” and “dialogue.”

That might suggest Kiev’s failing President Poroshenko and his security services acted alone to order the naval confrontation as a desperate throw of the dice to escalate NATO and EU support for his shaky regime against Russia.

Trump’s comments hoping that Kiev and Russia would “straighten things out” sound like Washington is not behind the provocation and has no desire for a wider conflict. Just as well, because such a development is a gateway to all-out war.

Nevertheless, such a catastrophe is always a serious risk when Western powers indulge this unhinged Kiev regime.

November 28, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“THE CHIMERA OF DONALD TRUMP, RUSSIAN MONEY LAUNDERER”

Sic Semper Tyrannis | November 23, 2018

Is Donald Trump guilty of money laundering? If you ask most Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans, they fervently believe that he has been moving money for Russian mobsters for more than twenty years and that an investigation of this will bring Trump’s Presidency to an end. Don’t count on it. Although there is clear evidence of Trump’s past relationship with Russian/American mobsters, knowing someone or collaborating on a business deal is not proof of money laundering. I have spent three decades investigating money laundering cases (I helped develop the civil money laundering case against Philip Morris—click here) and it is clear to me that those who are earnestly accusing Trump of such a crime do not understand what constitutes money laundering.

Apart from not understanding how to make a money laundering case, the anti-Trumpers have failed to grasp another key element to the narrative that Trump was a puppet to the Russians—one of his longtime Russian business associates, Felix Sater, was an FBI informant during the entire time that Robert Mueller was FBI Director. Since Sater was a fully signed up FBI informant or asset, he was in a unique and powerful position to implicate Trump. But none of the “evidence” uncovered or planted by Sater ever produced an indictment of Donald Trump. With the benefit of hindsight it appears that the FBI, relying on Sater, used Trump and his organization as bait to go after Russian mobsters.

The Democrat case for Trump’s money laundering is laid out in a complaint the Democratic National Committee filed in April 2018 against the Russians, Julian Assange and Trump:

Beginning in 2003, Trump engaged in multiple real estate deals with the Bayrock Group, a firm founded and run by Soviet emigres, who reportedly had close ties to the Russian government and Russian organized crime. In 2004, Trump negotiated with the Deputy Mayor of Moscow over a potential real estate development. In the mid-2000s, Trump partnered with wealthy Russian-Canadian businessmen to develop real estate in Toronto. And in 2006, Trump contracted with the Russian Standard Corporation, a Moscow-based entity that owns and operates the Miss Russia beauty pageant, to allow the winner of the pageant to compete in Trump’s Miss Universe pageant, an action that had not been taken since at least 2002. In 2008, Trump sold a Palm Beach, Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch for a $54 million profit. In 2013, Trump established a business relationship with Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov, a close ally of Putin, to bring the Miss Universe pageant to Russia and work on plans to develop a Trump-branded project in Moscow. . . .

As Trump, Jr. explained, the Trump Organization “s[aw] a lot of money pouring in from Russia,” and “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of our assets.” And Trump’s son Eric Trump has reportedly stated that substantial funding for Trump’s golf courses comes from Russian investors.

I do not know who was advising the DNC on this complaint, but it is clear that the drafter or drafters do not have a clue about money laundering. Money laundering is very easy to define:

The act of disguising the source or true nature of money obtained through illegal means.

The key element is the phrase, “illegal means.” If you are going to be charged as a participant or accessory in a money laundering case, you must be handling or receiving money that came from a criminal activity, such as trafficking in drugs, arms or people. So here’s the critical question with respect to Donald Trump and money laundering—what was the predicate crime?

In the world of real estate, the money laundering component is always in the financing.  That is, you want to trade the bad money for good bank money by using the property as the chattel to do it. But when this is done as part of a money laundering scheme, it almost always involves the financing of major building projects. Someone with dirty money is not going to waste time purchasing individual condos or homes as their primary means of cleaning the money. When the dirty money comes from activities like drug trafficking, the amount of cash generated is enormous. You need big money projects to launder large quantities of cash.

Given Donald Trump’s extensive and controversial real estate ventures over the last thirty years, which have involved several Russians, it is understandable why those opposed to Trump seize on these transactions as evidence of “money laundering.” Unfortunately, the journalists who have tried to make the case that Donald Trump was “laundering” money for the Russian mob, have failed to provide actual evidence of such activity. Instead, they have relied on innuendo and guilt by association.

Yes, it is true that Russians with ties to organized crime purchased condos in Trump Towers in New York City. But there is no evidence that the sales of these condos were an organized, structured transaction. Individual Russians, acting in person or through shell companies, purchasing a condo is not proof of criminal activity. The fact that those who have made such purchases have not been arrested or indicted undermines the claim that their mere presence in a Trump building is proof of criminal activity.

As Shakespeare wrote, “Ay, there’s the rub.”  Association with unsavory characters is not a criminal offense. While it is quite true that Trump associated with several Russians with links to organized crime it is also true that Trump has never been indicted or charged with such criminal activity. Is he really that good in hiding his trail?

One of the loudest voices claiming that Trump is in bed with the Russians is Craig Unger. Craig was known as a good reporter at one point in his life, but I think his work on Trump is both shoddy and incomplete. To be fair, Craig is not the only one claiming Trump is facilitating Russian money laundering. Other prominent journalists, including Richard Behar, Tom Burgis of the Financial Times and John Harwood of CNBC, also have echoed Unger’s thesis.

All four focus much of their reporting on a Russian born American “mobster”, Felix Sater, to implicate Trump as a Russian money laundering chump. The following snippet from an interview Unger did with Vox about his book, House of Trump, House of Putin is representative of how Sater is used as some sort of proof that Trump is part of a money laundering scheme:

Bayrock was a real estate development company located on the 24th floor of Trump Tower. The founder was a guy named Tevfik Arif and the managing director was Felix Sater, a man with numerous ties to Russian oligarchs and Russian intelligence. Bayrock proceeded to partner with Trump in 2005 and helped him develop a new business model, which he desperately needed.

Recall that Trump was $4 billion in debt after his Atlantic City casinos went bankrupt. He couldn’t get a bank loan from anywhere in the West, and Bayrock comes in and Trump partners with other people as well, but Bayrock essentially has a new model that says, “You don’t have to raise any money. You don’t have to do any of the real estate development. We just want to franchise your name, we’ll give you 18 to 25 percent royalties, and we’ll effectively do all the work. And if the Trump Organization gets involved in the management of these buildings, they’ll get extra fees for that.”

It was a fabulously lucrative deal for Trump, and the Bayrock associates — Sater in particular — were operating out of Trump Tower and constantly flying back and forth to Russia. And in the book, I detail several channels through which various people at Bayrock have close ties to the Kremlin, and I talk about Sater flying back and forth to Moscow even as late as 2016, hoping to build the Trump Tower there.

Tom Burgis, writing in the Financial Times, provides additional details on the relationship between Sater and Trump and implies something nefarious, perhaps even illegal, was afoot:

As work on Trump Soho got under way in 2007, the partnership between Mr Trump and Bayrock was gathering momentum. Another tower, in Fort Lauderdale, was rising. A 2008 Bayrock presentation includes a picture of Mr Trump grinning beside Mr Arif and names him as a referee. Bayrock had its office on the 24th floor of Trump Tower and calls the Trump Organization a “strategic partner”.

The same presentation says Bayrock was one of the backers of the redevelopment of the 101-year-old Hotel du Parc on the shores of Lake Geneva, owned by Swiss Development Group, a Geneva-based company. In May this year, Nicolas Bourg, a Belgian businessman who says he worked with Viktor Khrapunov’s son Ilyas on US real estate deals, claimed in a separate dispute that Swiss Development Group was “owned and controlled by Ilyas and his family and used to conceal the movement and investment of his family’s money”.

All of this sounds pretty bad on the surface until you examine what Sater actually did. Messrs. Unger and Burgis neglected to analyze the critical fact that Felix Sater was an FBI informant since 1998. If Trump was taking dirty money or engaged in criminal activity with Russians then he was doing it with Felix Sater, who was under the control of the FBI. Felix Sater was proposing deals and making contacts with Russian criminals overseas and this activity surely was known by the FBI. If there was any suspicion on the part of the FBI that Trump was taking bad money, they would have recorded such activity in detail and he would have been indicted. Instead of running around in an orange jump suit, Donald Trump ran for President.

Given Sater’s relationship with the FBI, one needs to look at Trump’s relationship with Russians, especially those facilitated by Sater, in a different light. Put simply, were Trump’s real estate deals being used as bait to attract targets of interest for the FBI. Was Trump a witting cooperator with the FBI or unwitting?

We do know that Sater was trying to put together real estate deals overseas while serving as a FBI informant and working from Trump Tower in New York City. This was reported in a March 2017 Los Angeles Times piece:

Working from a 24th-floor office in Manhattan’s Trump Tower, Felix Sater spent years trying to line up lucrative deals in the United States, Russia and elsewhere in Europe with Donald Trump’s real estate organization.

For much of that time, according to court records and U.S. officials, Sater also worked as a confidential informant for the FBI, and — he says — U.S. intelligence.

“I was building Trump Towers by day and hunting Bin Laden by night,” Sater, now 50, told the Los Angeles Times in a phone interview from New York.

As managing director of Bayrock Group LLC, a real estate development firm, the Russian-born businessman met Trump in 2003, court records show, when Trump was looking to expand his business and branding organization around the globe.

Why are the anti-Trump forces failing to grasp the import of Sater and his role as an FBI informant as undermining the claim that Trump was conspiring with the Russians? Sater’s role with the FBI has been widely reported:

There is no question that Sater led a double life during the years he worked with the Trump Organization.

In 1998, Sater pleaded guilty to a federal charge of racketeering for his role in a Mafia-linked $40-million stock fraud scheme. He quickly cut a deal, agreeing to become a secret FBI informant in hopes of getting a lenient sentence.

Court records were sealed to protect Sater’s identity, so his role in the fraud case stayed secret for a decade while he was at Bayrock. After a court hearing in 2009, he was fined $25,000 but was not sent to prison or ordered to pay restitution.

Along with press reports regarding Sater’s role with the FBI, we have Sater’s attorney, in a letter sent to Judge Leo Glasser of the Eastern District of NY on 1 September 2005, telling the court that:

. . . Mr. Sater has been involed in on-going cooperation activities with law enforcement agents, and has provided truthful and credible information on a wide variety of criminal activities, some of which has already led to criminal prosecution of others.

Even Obama’s Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, provided Sater cover :

At his sentencing hearing, several FBI officials vouched for Sater’s help. He got his biggest endorsement in January 2015 when Loretta Lynch was asked at her Senate confirmation hearing for U.S. attorney general why court records had been sealed in the fraud case.

If Trump was the target of the FBI, then fair observers must concede that the Bureau has failed during an 18 year period to obtain any incriminating information about Trump and his business practices. Had the FBI been successful, Trump surely would have already been indicted by now in the Southern District of New York and charged with criminal conduct.

Sater’s status as an FBI informant is not an honorary position. It is not a job that entitles the informant to regular social chats with an FBI agent. It is a job that puts the informant in the position of having to help the FBI make criminal cases, including entrapping folks willing to engage in illegal acts. The FBI website describes the informant role:

The courts have recognized that the government’s use of informants is lawful and often essential to the effectiveness of properly authorized law enforcement investigations. However, use of informants to assist in the investigation of criminal activity may involve an element of deception, intrusion into the privacy of individuals, or cooperation with persons whose reliability and motivation may be open to question. Although it is legally permissible for the FBI to use informants in its investigations, special care is taken to carefully evaluate and closely supervise their use so the rights of individuals under investigation are not infringed. The FBI can only use informants consistent with specific guidelines issued by the attorney general that control the use of informants.

And who was in charge of the FBI during all of the time that Sater was a signed up FBI snitch? You got it—Robert Mueller. Let us just stick with the facts—during Mueller’s term (2001 thru 2013) the FBI did not make or bring a case of money laundering against Donald Trump. Yet, during this period, Felix Sater, a fully signed up and operating FBI informant, was trying to cobble together real estate deals with Russians of questionable character. Trump and his organization were not implicated in any of this activity in a way that led the FBI to seek an indictment against them.

Many House Democrats are convinced that there is untapped evidence implicating Trump in a variety of money laundering schemes. But their belief, in my view, is based on a fundamental ignorance about money laundering and financial crimes in general. Tax avoidance, for example, is not money laundering. Highly publicized real estate deals are not the kind of cleaning operation that genuine money launderers embrace. Why? Those kind of deals come with scrutiny and the last thing that criminals with dirty money want is a high profile and public attention.

If you hate Trump and are betting that the Democrat investigative tsunami will bring Trump down, I have a word of advice—don’t bet your house. Donald Trump may be guilty of boorish behavior and brash comments, but the evidence of laundering money for the Russians is not there.

November 25, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment

Mixed US Midterms Results Offer Chance for Peace Agenda With Russia, China

Sputnik – 09.11.2018

WASHINGTON – The mixed results of the US midterm congressional elections resulting in a divided Congress give President Donald Trump the chance to revive the agenda for improving relations with Russia and pull out of foreign wars that he was elected on in 2016, analysts told Sputnik.

With several results not yet in, the Democrats looked likely to have a majority of around 13 to 15 seats in the House of Representatives while the Republicans extended their Senate majority from 51 out of 100 seats to 54 or 55.

Trump Faces Post-Election Foreign Policy Opportunity

Trump now had room for maneuver on his foreign policy agenda, but it remained to be seen whether he would take advantage of it, political commentator and professor John Walsh said.

“Let us see whether Trump can now return to his original agenda of ‘getting along’ with Russia and China: That is the big question,” Walsh said.

During his 2016 presidential election campaign, Trump challenged the foreign policy consensus of US hegemony, Walsh recalled.

“If you look at his agenda, he wishes to make the United States less the imperial nation and more a normal nation albeit the number one among them. Let us see how this goes,” Walsh said.

Even if Trump was blocked from achieving this goal, he had dramatically changed the issues and terms of debate on US foreign policy in national politics, Walsh pointed out.

“Whether he succeeds or not, Trump indicates a turn away from empire not out of humility, but out of the recognition of reality. Let us hope he can carry this as far as possible whether or not he succeeds completely… The farther he goes, the farther we are from war and even nuclear Holocaust,” Walsh said.

Whether Trump ultimately succeeds or fails, his success so far signals a recognition — whether profound or dim — that the US unipolar moment is over, Walsh emphasized. “Let us praise the passage of that ugly moment,” Walsh said.

The losses suffered by Trump’s Republican Party in the midterm elections were relatively minor and fell within the normal rhythms of US politics, Walsh observed.

“There was entirely too much drama about the midterms. An incumbent in his first term always suffers a loss in the House of Representatives. That is what we saw. And as predicted long ago, the Republicans held the Senate: Surprise,” Walsh said.

Trump was likely to face more plots to undermine him from the US security and political establishments, Walsh cautioned.

“Now let us see what the Deep State will do. They can impeach him in the House but not convict him in the Senate should they choose to go that route,” he said.

Trump Likely to Be Stalled on Domestic Front

On the domestic front, the best Trump could hope for was a deadlocked Congress, California State University Chico Professor Emeritus of Political Science Beau Grosscup said.

“[In] domestic dynamics, Trump will continue to be Trump but his ‘green light’ and enabling House committee system is no longer there,” Grosscup said. “Expect Trump to play the victim (aided by the House Republican Party) when Democrats even mention investigation or impeachment.”

On the legislative front, Republican efforts to cut social security in the name of debt that had been generated due to previous enormous concessions to Wall Street would be stalled, Grosscup predicted.

Trump would also carry reduced political influence or coattails to help candidates supporting him into the 2020 presidential elections, Grosscup said.

See also:

2018 US Midterms: Why Trump Says They Were a ‘Tremendous Success’

November 9, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

‘Free Speech’: Trump Campaign Defends WikiLeaks’ Release of Hacked DNC Emails

Sputnik – 11.10.2018

A lawsuit filed in September by two donors and an ex-employee from the Democratic Party alleged that President Donald Trump’s team had purportedly conspired with Russia to release emails ostensibly stolen from the servers of the Democratic National Committee.

In a motion to dismiss a new lawsuit, the Trump campaign, represented by lawyers from the firm Jones Day, turned to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to state that WikiLeaks couldn’t be held “liable” for publishing Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails because the whistleblowing website served as an “intermediary” for other parties’ information.

“A website that provides a forum where ‘third parties can post information’ is not liable for the third party’s posted information. Since WikiLeaks provided a forum for a third party (the unnamed “Russian actors”) to publish content developed by that third party (the hacked emails), it cannot be held liable for the publication,” the motion read.

Presenting the 32-page legal filing, the lawyers also maintained that any alleged agreement between the website and the Trump campaign to leak those emails couldn’t be considered a “conspiracy” due to the fact that WikiLeaks’ posting of the messages was not a crime, while a “conspiracy is an agreement to commit an unlawful act,” the lawyers claimed.

They further added that the campaign couldn’t be held legally responsible for the publication of the DNC emails on WikiLeaks.

The lawyers appealed to the First Amendment, which protects the right to “disclose information – even stolen information – so long as (1) the speaker did not participate in the theft and (2) the information deals with matters of public concern.”

“At a minimum, privacy cannot justify suppressing true speech during a political campaign. The First Amendment ‘has its fullest and most urgent application to speech uttered during a campaign for political office’. It leaves voters ‘free to obtain information from diverse sources in order to determine how to cast their votes,’” the filing read.

The motion was submitted in response to a civil lawsuit brought against the Trump campaign by one ex-employee from the Democratic Party and two donors, who alleged that the leaked emails had revealed “identifying information.”

While the Trump campaign’s lawyers leapt to the defense of the website in their brief, the current administration has previously blasted WikiLeaks for releasing classified documents, with then-CIA director Mike Pompeo – now the secretary of state – dismissing the platform as a “hostile non-state intelligence service” in 2017.

In July 2018, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the investigation into the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, announced indictments against 12 Russian nationals, claiming that they were posing as Guccifer 2.0, the entity that took credit for the hack of the DNC.

According to the indictment, they used a website run by an organization, “that had previously posted documents stolen from US persons, entities, and the US government,” in an apparent allusion to WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks, which was accused by Trump’s Democratic rival in the election, Hillary Clinton, of acting as a “fully owned subsidiary of Russian intelligence” after publishing emails leaked from the DNC servers during the campaign, has denied any efforts to meddle in the 2016 election in the United States, as well as conspiring with Russia.

Both Washington and Moscow have repeatedly dismissed claims of collusion to influence the outcome of the vote.

October 11, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Trump Administration Follows Corporate Media Playbook for War With Iran

By John C. O’Day | FAIR | October 4, 2018

Three years ago, as Americans debated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran—popularly known as “the Iran deal”—I highlighted a troubling media trend on FAIR.org (8/20/15): “For nearly all commentators, regardless of their position, war is the only alternative to that position.”

In the months since US President Donald Trump tore up the JCPOA agreement, his administration has been trying to make good on corporate media’s collective prediction. Last week, John Bolton (BBC, 9/26/18), Trump’s national security advisor and chief warmonger, told Iran’s leaders and the world that there would be “hell to pay” if they dare to “cross us.”

That Bolton’s bellicose statements do not send shockwaves of pure horror across a debt-strapped and war-weary United States is thanks in large part to incessant priming for war, facilitated by corporate media across the entire political spectrum, with a particular focus on Iran.

Back in 2015, while current “resistance” stalwarts like the Washington Post (4/2/15) and Politico (8/11/15) warned us that war with Iran was the most likely alternative to the JCPOA, conservative standard-bearers such as Fox News (7/14/15) and the Washington Times (8/10/15) foretold that war with Iran was the agreement’s most likely outcome. Three years hence, this dynamic has not changed.

To experience the full menu of US media’s single-mindedness about Iran, one need only buy a subscription to the New York Times. After Trump withdrew from the JCPOA, the Times’ editorial board (5/8/18) wrote that his move would “lay conditions for a possible wider war in the Middle East.” Susan Rice (New York Times, 5/8/18), President Barack Obama’s national security advisor, agreed: “We could face the choice of going to war or acquiescing to a nuclear-armed Iran,” she warned. Cartoonist Patrick Chappatte (New York Times, 5/10/18) was characteristically more direct, penning an image of Trump alongside Bolton, holding a fictitious new agreement featuring the singular, ultimate word: “WAR.”

On the other hand, calling Trump’s turn against JCPOA a “courageous decision,” Times columnist Bret Stephens (5/8/18) explained that the move was meant to force the Iranian government to make a choice: Either accede to US demands or “pursue their nuclear ambitions at the cost of economic ruin and possible war.” (Hardly courageous, when we all know there is no chance that Trump or Stephens would enlist should war materialize.)

Trump’s latest antics at the United Nations have spurred a wave of similar reaction across corporate media. Describing his threat to “totally destroy North Korea” at the UN General Assembly last year as “pointed and sharp,” Fox News anchor Eric Shawn (9/23/18) asked Bill Richardson, an Obama ally and President Bill Clinton’s ambassador to the UN, whether Trump would take the same approach toward Iran. “That aggressive policy we have with Iran is going to continue,” Richardson reassured the audience, “and I don’t think Iran is helping themselves.” In other words, if the United States starts a war with Iran, it’s totally Iran’s fault.

Politico (9/23/18), meanwhile, reported that Trump “is risking a potential war with Iran unless he engages the Islamist-led country using diplomacy.” In other words, if the United States starts a war with Iran, it’s totally Trump’s fault. Rice (New York Times, 9/26/18) reiterated her view that Trump’s rhetoric “presages the prospect of war in the Persian Gulf.” Whoever would be the responsible party is up for debate, but that war is in our future is apparently all but certain.

Politico’s article cited a statement signed by such esteemed US experts on war-making as Madeleine Albright, who presided over Clinton’s inhuman sanctions against Iraq in the ’90s, and Ryan Crocker, former ambassador for presidents George W. Bush and Obama to some of America’s favorite killing fields: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria.  James Clapper, Obama’s National Intelligence Director, who also signed the letter, played an important role in trumping up WMD evidence against Saddam Hussein before the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. When it comes to US aggression, they’re the experts.

Vanity Fair (9/26/18) interviewed John Glaser of the Cato Institute, who called Trump’s strategy “pathetic,” and also warned that it forebodes war. In an effort to “one-up Obama,” Glaser explained, Trump’s plan is “to apply extreme economic pressure and explicit threats of war in order to get Iran to capitulate.” Sound familiar? As Glaser implies, this was exactly Obama’s strategy, only then it wasn’t seen as “pathetic,” but rather reasonable, and the sole means for preventing the war that every US pundit and politician saw around the corner (The Hill, 8/9/15).

When everyone decides that war is the only other possibility, it starts to look like an inevitability. But even when they aren’t overtly stoking war fever against Iran, corporate media prime the militaristic pump in more subtle yet equally disturbing ways.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu speaks for the Iranian people on CNN (9/29/18)

First among these is the near-complete erasure of Iranian voices from US airwaves (FAIR.org, 7/24/15). Rather than ask Iranians directly, national outlets like CNN (9/29/18) prefer to invite the prime minister of Israel, serial Iran alarmist and regional pariah Benjamin Netanyahu, to speak for them. During a jovial discussion this weekend over whether regime change and/or economic collapse is Iran’s most likely fate, Netanyahu explained to the audience that, either way, “The ones who will be happiest if that happens are the people of Iran.” No people of Iran were on hand to confirm or deny this assessment.

Bloomberg (9/30/18) similarly wanted to know, “What’s not to like about Trump’s Iran oil sanctions?” Julian Lee gleefully reported that “they are crippling exports from the Islamic Republic, at minimal cost to the US.” One might think the toll sanctions take on innocent Iranians would be something not to like, but Bloomberg merely worried that, notwithstanding the windfall for US refineries, “oil at $100 a barrel would be bad news for drivers everywhere—including those in the US.” [$500,000,000 increase in gas costs, daily, just for Americans]

Another prized tactic is to whitewash Saudi Arabia, Iran’s chief geopolitical rival, whose genocidal destruction of Yemen is made possible by the United States, about which corporate media remain overwhelmingly silent (FAIR.org, 7/23/18). Iran’s involvement in Yemen, which both Trump and the New York Times (9/12/18) describe as “malign behavior,” is a principal justification for US support of Saudi Arabia, including the US-supplied bombs that recently ended the brief lives of over 40 Yemeni schoolchildren. Lockheed Martin’s stock is up 34 percent from Trump’s inauguration day.

Corporate media go beyond a simple coverup of Saudi crimes to evangelize their leadership as the liberal antidote to Iran’s “theocracy.” Who can forget Thomas Friedman’s revolting puff piece for the Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman? Extensively quoting Salman (New York Times, 11/23/17), who refers to Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as “the new Hitler of the Middle East,” Friedman nevertheless remains pessimistic about whether “MBS and his team” can see their stand against Iran through, as “dysfunction and rivalries within the Sunni Arab world generally have prevented forming a unified front.” Oh well, every team needs cheerleaders, and Friedman isn’t just a fair-weather fan.

While Friedman (New York Times, 5/15/18) believes that Trump has drawn “some needed attention to Iran’s bad behavior,” for him pivotal questions remain unanswered, such as “who is going to take over in Tehran if the current Islamic regime collapses?” One immediate fix he proposed was to censure Iran’s metaphorical “occupation” of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. Isn’t this ironic coming from an unapologetic propagandist for Washington’s decades-long, non-metaphorical occupation of the two countries to the east and west of Iran? (FAIR.org, 12/9/15)

In a surprising break from corporate media convention, USA Today (9/26/18) published a column on US/Iran relations written by an actual Iranian. Reflecting on the CIA-orchestrated coup against Iran’s elected government in 1953, Azadeh Shahshahani, who was born four days after the 1979 revolution there, wrote:

I often wonder what would have happened if that coup had not worked, if [Prime Minister] Mosaddeq had been allowed to govern, if democracy had been allowed to flourish.

“It is time for the US government to stop intervening in Iran and let the Iranian people determine their own destiny,” she beseeched readers.

Shahshahani’s call is supported by some who have rejected corporate media’s war propaganda and have gone to extreme lengths to have their perspectives heard. Anti-war activist and Code Pink  founder Medea Benjamin was recently forcibly removed after she upstaged Brian Hook, leader of Trump’s Iran Action Group, on live TV, calling his press conference “the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen” (Real News, 9/21/18). Benjamin implored the audience: “Let’s talk about Saudi Arabia. Is that who our allies are?”

“How dare you bring up the issue of Yemen,” admonished Benjamin as she was dragged from the room. “It’s the Saudi bombing that is killing most people in Yemen. So let’s get real. No more war! Peace with Iran!” Code Pink is currently petitioning the New York Times and Washington Post to stop propagandizing war.

Sadly, no matter whom you ask in corporate media, be they spokespeople for “Trump’s America” or “the resistance,” peace remains an elusive choice in the US political imagination. And while the public was focused last week on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s perjurious testimony, the Senate finalized a $674 billion “defense” budget. Every single Democrat in the chamber voted in favor of the bill, explicitly naming Iran as persona non grata in the United States’ world-leading arms supply network, which has seen a 25 percent increase in exports since Obama took office in 2009.

The US government’s imperial ambitions are perhaps its only truly bipartisan project—what the New York Times euphemistically refers to as “globalism.” Nowhere was this on fuller display than at the funeral for Republican Sen. John McCain (FAIR.org, 9/11/18), where politicians of all stripes were tripping over themselves to produce the best accolades for a man who infamously sang “bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran” to the tune of a Beach Boys song.

McCain’s bloodlust was nothing new. Nearly a hundred years ago, after the West’s imperial competition culminated in the most destructive war the world had ever seen, the brilliant American sociologist and anti-colonial author WEB Du Bois wrote, “This is not Europe gone mad; this is not aberration nor insanity; this is Europe.”

Iranian leaders have repeatedly said they do not want war with the US (AP, 9/27/18), but US corporate media, despite frequently characterizing Trump as a “mad king” (FAIR.org, 6/13/18), continue to play an instrumental role in rationalizing a future war with Iran. Should such an intentional catastrophe come to pass, we can hardly say that this would be America gone mad; war is not aberration, it is always presented as the next sane choice. This is America.

October 4, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Trump and Corbyn

And the Russian Warning Over Syria

By Israel Shamir • Unz Review • August 26, 2018

As a new military confrontation over Syria is impending, thought out by Israel, prepared by the British and executed by the US, the West’s future depends greatly upon two mavericks, the US President Donald Trump and the UK Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn. These two men are as different as you can make. One is for capitalism, another one is a socialist, but both are considered soft on Russia, at least they do not foam at the mouth hearing Putin’s name. Both are enemies of Wall Street and the City, both stand against the Deep State, against NATO, both are enemies of globalism and of world government. One is a friend of Israel, another is a friend of Palestine, but both are charged with racism and anti-Semitism.

It is a quaint peculiarity of our time, that anti-Semitism is considered the great and unforgivable sin, trading places with Christ Denial. Negative attitude to Christ-denying Jews had been de rigueur at its time, and the Church, or its Tribunal, the Inquisition, had tried the charged. Nowadays, the heavily Jewish MSM is the accuser, the judge and jury, considering anti-Jewish attitude as a worst sort of racism. The two leaders aren’t guilty as charged, but the MSM court dispenses no acquittals.

Racism is indeed an ugly trend (though greed is worse), and hatred of Jews qua Jews is not nice, either. (You wouldn’t expect a different answer from the son of Jewish parents, would you?) Jews are entertaining, clever, cunning, sentimental and adventurous folk, able to do things. They can be good, that’s why the Church wants to bring them to Christ. If they were inherently bad, why bother with their souls? Are Jews greedy? Everyone would sell his grandma for a fistful of dollars, but only a Jew would actually deliver, say Jews. Jews tend to preach and claim high moral ground, but that is a tradition of the Nation of Priests. However, universalism and non-racism is not their strong point, and it is amazing that they appointed themselves the judges on racism.

Nazis were against Jews, ergo, Jews are the pukka anti-Nazis, this is the logic behind the appointment. It is easier to deal with ethnic or racial categories than with ideas. However, an easier way can lead to wrong results, as we shall prove by turning… no, not to bad Netanyahu or Sharon, but to the best of Jews.

Would you call “a leftist and a liberal” a man who wants to create a reservation for Blacks, a separate state for Blacks, to give them the voting rights in this separate state? A man whose motto was “you are there; we are here”? Hardly. Depending on his colour, you’d probably describe him a white racist, or a member of the Nation of Islam. But for Jews, there are different standards.

The recently demised Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery had been eulogised royally. Many Israelis came to part with him before his body was cremated and the ashes spread on Tel Aviv seashore. Mass media from all over the world, statesmen, politicians, activists dedicated many words to his memory. A brave man, a noble spirit, a fighter for peace, all that was said, and all that was true. But this the most progressive, the most left-liberal man in the whole of Israel was the godfather of the Separation Wall; he coined the slogan “you are there; we are here”. He did not want to live with Arabs in one state. He pushed for creation of ghetto for non-Jews.

He was fine to visit Arabs, to play chess with Arafat as he did during the siege; to defend them if they were mistreated by Jewish lowlifes. But to live with them as equal? No, no way. Avnery’s attitude was that of an old-time Boer Nationalist, a Bantustan creator. He would find himself at home with founders of Rhodesia.

There was a practical and pragmatic reason: Avnery and his ilk had robbed Palestinians of their lands and their livelihood in 1948, expelled them from their homes, corralled them into reservations, and split the booty. They became rich. They did not want to allow refugees back and give up the stolen loot, oh no.

Avnery believed peace was possible, for the Arabs should be grateful if they were left in peace in their Bantustans. He was for peace with Hamas, for he was sure they also will gratefully accept keeping what’s they’ve got.

This is the Israeli Left: people who had got enough of Arab goods, and do not need more.

Avnery’s adversaries weren’t Arabs; they were Jews who arrived in Palestine at a latter stage. They didn’t share in the Big Robbery of 1948; they wanted to get something for themselves.

This is the Israeli Right: people who want to squeeze more out of Palestinians, even if it means armed conflict will go on.

The common ground of Israeli Left and Israeli Right is their unwillingness to give Palestinians freedom and restore the stolen goods. The difference is that the Left, wealthy Jews, wanted to leave Palestinians in peace in their Bantustans. The Right, poorer Jews, want to keep squeezing Palestinians.

The late Mr Avnery greatly disliked the poorer Jews that migrated to Palestine after 1948. He denied they were mistreated by his pals. The talk about Oriental (or Sephardi) Jews being exploited and abused upon arrival annoyed him immensely.

He was, however, a very nice man. Regretfully I must admit that wealthy men looking for peace (even while keeping their booty) are more pleasant than poor guys keen on robbing somebody else.

Uri Avnery was one of the best of his kind. But he was not a liberal, nor a non-racist, neither a leftist by a long shot. As Ron Unz made a point in his widely read piece on Jews and Nazis, he was a living example of a Jew informed by Nazi Germany. He was brought up there; and upon arrival to Palestine, he joined a fascist terrorist group that courted Nazi Germany. He wrote in fascist newspapers, he actively participated in ethnic cleansing, and he freely admitted that.

His attitude to Arabs was similar of Adolf Eichmann to Jews in 1930s, mutatis mutandis. As Unz correctly stated, Eichmann was a big fan of Jews and a top liaison with Zionists at that time. He wanted Jews to prosper, just not in Germany. Avnery wanted Arabs to prosper, but on the other side of the border.

If he was the best, you can imagine the average of Israeli Left (Israeli Right is even worse). The previous leader of Israeli Labour, Mr Isaac Hertzog, became the head of the Jewish Agency and declared that his main task is to fight “the plague of mixed marriages”, that is marriages between Jews and non-Jews. The present leader of Israeli Labour, Avi Gabbay, told a meeting of party activists that “the Arabs have to be afraid of us”. He added: “They fire one missile – you fire 20. That’s all they understand in the Middle East”. He also vowed to never enter into a coalition with the non-Jewish party (the Joint List, a Knesset group representing Palestinian citizens).

Such views are totally unacceptable for any mainstream party in the US or the UK. Probably they are too radical for KKK, too.

Now sit tight and prepare yourself for a shock. This Israeli Labour Party, which would be considered a Nazi party elsewhere, decided to cut ties with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party for British Labour is “anti-Semitic”, they said. It is a shame that Corbyn hasn’t been the one to take this step first. If you maintain ties with any Israeli party, you should have no problem to fraternise with Hollywood Nazis, let alone the Ku Klux Klan. And Jeremy Corbyn quite correctly compared Zionists with Nazis. Now he is being skinned alive by British Jews.

They ran the same front page in their three newspapers saying that Corbyn is an existential threat to British Jews, because he does not agree with their definition of anti-Semitism. He is not anti-Jewish, but he doesn’t worship the Jew. And he is not a Jew. A young British Jewish Labour voter regretted that Ed Miliband, the Jewish former Labour leader, is not in power, for “there wouldn’t be Brexit, there wouldn’t be Jeremy Corbyn, and we’d just have a lovely Jewish prime minister.” Isn’t it a racist sentiment? But Jews are pukka anti-racists…

Corbyn had been trying his best to accommodate the Jews. He expelled his staunch supporters whenever the Jews demand their heads. He is going to a compromise after a compromise, he denounced the Jews who stayed with him despite community pressure. All in vain, because the Jews care little about definitions, but they are worried about Corbyn’s hostility to banksters, by his excessive (in their eyes) sympathy to British workers and by his unwillingness to fight wars for Israel. They can’t say that openly, that is why they keep pushing anti-Semitism button hoping to unseat Corbyn and return Blair-2.

My respected friend Jonathan Cook, the great British journalist based in Nazareth, summed it up well:

“Besieged for four years, Corbyn has been abandoned. Few respected politicians want to risk being cast out into the wilderness, like Ken Livingstone, as an anti-Semite. Corbyn himself has conceded too much ground on anti-semitism. He has tried to placate rather than defy the smearers.”

Cook points out that by conceding ground, Corbyn betrayed Palestinians and betrayed anti-Zionist Jews who were expelled by droves from Labour. Even Tony Greenstein, a Jewish nationalist though anti-Zionist, had been expelled; the same Tony Greenstein who attacked me and Gilad Atzmon for our anti-Semitism (I responded to him here). He was also sent home packing. The late Hajo Meyer, a Holocaust survivor and defender of Palestinian rights, a personal friend of Corbyn, had been denounced. Palestinians were betrayed, and we should care about them more than about Jewish fine feelings.

But why should we give a damn about Corbyn and/or Palestinians if we aren’t British voters? I’ll tell you.

In the British establishment, pro-Jewish forces decided to side with the Washington War Party to push us close to war. The recent visit of the British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt (the man on the shortlist of Israel’s agents within the British establishment) to Washington where Hunt delivered a speech calling for full-out war on Russia, “has been read as an intervention on the side of the anti-Russian faction in the split and divided US administration”, said the Guardian.

The speech is just an opening, missiles will follow soon. Today, I was informed by my contacts, the Russians have delivered a demarche to the State Department, warning the Americans to desist from their plans to attack Syria. Russian intelligence learned that eight tanks containing chlorine have been delivered to Halluz village of Idlib province where the group of specially trained militants has already been deployed in order to simulate the rescue of the victims of chemical attack. The militants were trained by the British private military company Olive (which had merged with the American Constellis Group.

The operation, the Russians say, had been planned by the British intelligence services to justify an impending airstrike directed against Syrian military and civil infrastructure. For this strike, USS The Sullivans guided missile destroyer with 56 cruise missiles onboard arrived to the Persian Gulf, and the US Air Force bomber B-1B with 24 cruise Air-to-Surface Missiles had been flown to the Al-Udeid air base in Qatar.

The idea is Israeli, the operational plans are British, weapons and vessels are American, and a possibility for confrontation grows stronger each day. The success of Corbyn would put a stop to these plans of war. But will he have a chance?

Ron Unz wrote that the British establishment together with Organised Jewry were able to push unwilling America into the world wars twice, and perhaps they will be able to repeat this feat a third time. It seems that the Question of Palestine, one of the reasons for America’s entry into the world wars, is likely to unleash another war.

Who is the master and who is the slave of the two, Organised Jewry or English establishment? This is the-chicken-and-the-egg dilemma, and there are conflicting answers.

* Indiana University Professor of Geography, Mohameden Ould-Mey provided strong arguments that the English were the Master. I presented his case here.

* The opposing view is that of the late Times correspondent Douglas Reed, presented in his Controversy of Zion, a cryptic book. Proponents of both views had been banned beyond marginalizing. You are just not allowed to ponder it.

I do not intend to rule who is right; however, the moot area where the twain intersect is definitely a trouble spot. Conservative Friends of Israel and Labour Friends of Israel are the groups within this intersection. Their desire for war against Russia sends us a powerful signal of danger.

On the opposing side, there are two intersecting groups: (1) friends of Palestine, and (2) opponents of Jews.

The racial and tribal anti-Semites are of little value, for they are not particularly bright and are easily misled and manipulated. They do not like Jewish noses, but who cares?

But people rejecting globalism, rule of the banks, neoliberalism, impoverishment of native workers, uprooting, Christ-denial, mass migration and population replacement, the “invite and invade” mode – are the core of the resistance. They are called “anti-Semites”, even if they never mention Jews, even if they are Jewish.

Some people who strongly reject this paradigm prefer to dismiss a thought of Palestine. Bannon and his ilk, the British Nationalists never fail to express their admiration of Israel. It shows they are immoral and dishonest. As long as you choose between Banksters’ rule and Zionists’ yoke, you will get both.

Palestine is the heart of the matter. Palestine is why the Jews want the attack on Syria.

Palestine is the tool allowing us to unmask the racist nature of our adversary and defeat him. This is the way to compassion and the way to Christ. If the only escape from the anti-Semitism label leads through betrayal of Christ and Palestine, I’d rather bear this label with pride.

Trump and Corbyn are coming to the point from different sides. They are fighting a strong and well-entrenched adversary. Both are tired, both are full of imperfections, but they offer us a chance to save our beautiful world from destruction. It would be silly if they fail for antisemitism scare.

P.S. The first ever trial of a Holocaust Denier in Russia is taking place now in Perm, the Doctor Zhivago city. Roman Yushkov, a Perm University Professor, had been sacked; his social accounts erased, his YouTube presentations removed; there is practically no publicity at all. He re-posted an article expressing doubt of the amount of Jewish dead, and a local resident of Habad Chassid House reported him to authorities. There is no law forbidding H denial in Russia, but there is a law forbidding to cause inter-ethnic wrangle. The verdict is expected on September 4. You can write to Prof Yushkov <roman@prpc.ru>

Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net

August 27, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russophobia digest part 6: Evidence is optional as alleged anti-vaxx Russian bots go phishing

RT | August 24, 2018

Alleged Russian bots have been at the forefront of another week of Russophobia, with a new but familiar pattern emerging. Scare stories and accusations are made, before a later admission that no actual evidence is available.

RT takes a look at the last seven days or so of Russophobia.

Democrats’ security chief missed the memo

One of the real values of Russophobia is that it means thought and proof are rarely, if ever, needed anymore. Why find out what really happened when there is a decent conclusion to jump to?

For example, this week Bob Lord, the Democratic National Committee’s chief security officer, claimed that the organization’s US voter database had been hacked. Only, he later had to admit it was actually a ‘phishing test.’

Yep, nobody told the security chief about the security test, and he didn’t bother asking either, because it’s much easier to simply insinuate that Russians did it. To be fair to Lord, he didn’t appear to overtly use the ‘R’ word, but almost every media report on the non-incident seasoned its coverage liberally with accusations against Russia.

Microsoft’s marketing dept jumps on Russophobia bandwagon

Staying in the murky world of unsubstantiated cyber-claims, Microsoft said it has also thwarted phishing attacks on political targets by a group “widely associated” with Russia (Fancy Bear, in case you’re interested). It backed up its claims in the now-time-honored fashion of admitting there is “no evidence” that the dodgy domains detected were used in any successful attacks — and there’s no evidence “to indicate the identity of the ultimate targets.”

So, why is Microsoft getting involved? Because it’s got a brand new product maybe? Bill Gates’ boys have come up with anti-hacking software ‘AccountGuard’ as part of its ‘Defending Democracy Program.’

It provides “state-of-the-art cybersecurity protection at no extra cost to all candidates and campaign offices at the federal, state and local level, as well as think tanks and political organizations we now believe are under attack.”

And they claim the Russians are dangerous!?

Pro-pox bots

Those busy little alleged Russian bots are also driving the online anti-vaccine debate in the US, apparently, according to research in the US. No surprise there really, Russian bots real or imagined are accused of driving every online debate these days.

David Broniatowski from the George Washington School of Engineering and Applied Science said: “… many anti-vaccine tweets come from accounts whose provenance is unclear. These might be bots, human users or ‘cyborgs’ – hacked accounts that are sometimes taken over by bots. Although it’s impossible to know exactly how many tweets were generated by bots and trolls …”

“Impossible to know,” “provenance unclear.” So again, no real evidence, so it must be the Russians, mustn’t it?

Someone better check whether Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey are Russian bots too, because they’re not too keen on vaccinations either. Apparently neither is Donald Trump, but you can hardly accuse him of… Oh.

Manafort: Conviction without collusion

Russophobes were jumping for joy at the conviction of Trump’s former election chief Paul Manafort this week. He was sent down for tax fraud, and bank fraud, and hiding bank accounts. What he definitely wasn’t sent down for was colluding with Russia, which is really a little strange considering the man responsible for sending him to court was Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who was only appointed to investigate exactly that. As we’ve seen, though, evidence is optional when Russians are the target.

In the wise words of America’s commander-in-chief: “This has nothing to do with Russian collusion. This started as Russian collusion. This has absolutely nothing to do [with it].” Say what you want about Donald Trump…

Read more:

Proof that Manafort & Cohen are criminals adds no weight to Mueller’s Russia collusion probe

Russian hackers not found… again: DNC retracts claim voter database targeted by cyber-attack

‘No evidence’, but Russian Fancy Bears are doing it again (p.s. here’s our new product) – Microsoft

August 24, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

Be Careful What You Ask For: Wasting Time with Manafort, Cohen, and Russiagate

By Jim Kavanagh | The Polemicist | August 23, 2018

So, Paul Manafort, described by the New York Times as “a longtime lobbyist and political consultant who worked for multiple Republican candidates and presidents,” was convicted of bank fraud, tax fraud and failure to report a foreign bank account. And Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, pled guilty to tax evasion, bank fraud (making false statements to obtain loans), and breaking campaign finance laws by paying off two women who claimed to have had sexual affairs with Trump. Because Cohen says those payoffs were made at Trump’s direction, that is the one charge that directly implicates Trump.

On the basis of the these results, the NYT editorial board insists: “Only a complete fantasist … could continue to claim that this investigation of foreign subversion of an American election, which has already yielded dozens of other indictments and several guilty pleas, is a ‘hoax’ or ‘scam’ or ‘rigged witch hunt.’” Democrats concur, saying the results “put the lie to Mr. Trump’s argument that Mr. Mueller was engaged in a political investigation.”

But these crimes are tax fraud, money laundering, and credit app padding that have nothing to do with Donald Trump, and campaign-finance violations related to what a critic of Trump aptly describes as “a classic B-team type of bumbling screw-up of covering up mistresses.” I question the level of word play, if not fantasizing, necessary to claim that these crimes validate “this investigation of foreign subversion.” None of them has anything to do with that. The perils of this, that, these, and those.

Do these results disprove that the Mueller probe is “a political investigation”? I think they imply quite the opposite, and quite obviously so.

Why? Because these convictions would not have occurred if Hillary Clinton had been elected president. There would be no convictions because there would have been no investigation.

If Hillary had been elected, all the crimes of Manafort and Cohen—certainly those that took place over many years before the election, but even, I think, those having to do with campaign contributions and mistress cover-ups—would never have been investigated, because all would have been considered right with the political world.

The Manafort and Cohen crimes would have been ignored as the standard tactics of the elite financial grifting—as well as of parasitism on, and payoffs by, political campaigns—that they are. Indeed, there would have been no emergency, save-our-democracy-from-Russian-collaboration, Special Counsel investigation, from which these irrelevant charges were spun off, at all.

The kinds of antics Manafort and Cohen have been prosecuted for went unnoticed when Donald Trump was a donor to the Democratic and Republican parties, and if he had stayed in his Tower doling out campaign contributions, they still would be. It’s only because he foolishly won the Presidency against the wishes of the dominant sectors of the ruling class that those antics became the target of prosecutorial investigation. Lesson to Donald: Be careful what you wish for.

If Trump weren’t such an idiot, he probably would have realized that this is what happens when you run for president without prior authorization from the ruling classes, and win. #ManafortTrial #MichaelCohen #Trump pic.twitter.com/tyrpuLHRNT

— Consent Factory (@consent_factory) August 21, 2018

What the NYT calls “a culture of graft as well as corruption” that “suffused” the Trump campaign is part and parcel of a culture of politico-capitalist corruption that suffuses American electoral politics in general. Manafort, who has indeed been “a longtime lobbyist and political consultant,” is only one in a long, bipartisan line that “enrich [themselves] by working for some of the world’s most notorious thugs and autocrats.”

Have you heard of the Podestas? The Clinton Foundation? Besides, the economic purpose of American electoral politics is to funnel millions to consultants and the media. Campaign finance law violations? We’ll see how the lawsuit over $84 million worth of funds allegedly transferred illegally from state party contributions to the Clinton campaign works out. Does the media report, does anybody know or care, about it? Will anybody ever go to prison over it?

The Republicans and Democrats would just as soon leave this entire culture of graft and corruption undisturbed by the prosecutorial apparatus of the state. That kind of thing can get out of hand. Only because the election of Donald Trump was a mistake from the establishment point of view has that apparatus been sicced on him. The frantic search, anywhere and everywhere, for some legal charges that can stick to Trump is driven by a burning desire to get something on Donald Trump that will fatally wound him politically, and serve as “objective” grounds for impeachment or resignation.

So, it’s my contention that, without the political opposition to Donald Trump as president, none of this legal prosecution would be taking place. The convictions of Manafort and Cohen don’t put a lie to the idea that the Mueller investigation is political; they are an effect of the fact that it is.

At any rate, there can be no doubt that the Manafort and Cohen convictions have upped the political ante for everybody. Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal (second wealthiest Senator; net worth ~ $80 million) has now invoked the dreaded word, from which it’s hard to retreat: “We’re in a Watergate moment.”

Yup, the anti-Trump establishment, led by the Democrats, has now succeeded, via a legal ground game, in moving the ball into the political red zone where impeachment talk is unavoidable. But going forward from here, the plays and paths available are very dangerous to the establishment and the Democrats themselves, and the whole game is getting to the point where it can—indeed, almost inevitably will—seriously disrupt the system they want to protect.

First of all, the Democrats will now face increasing demands for impeachment from the impassioned members of their base whom they have riled up to see Trump as the epitome of the Putin-Nazi evil that threatens “our democracy.” If the Democrats insist these convictions are not just matters of financial hijinx, irrelevant to Mueller’s “Russia collusion” investigation, and irrelevant in fact to anything of political substance; if they assert that the payoffs to Stormy and Karen (the only acts directly involving Trump) disqualify Trump for the presidency, then they will have no excuse but to call for Trump’s impeachment, and act to make it happen. Their base will demand that Democratic candidates run on that promise, and if the Democrats re-take the House, that they begin impeachment proceedings immediately.

So, if, after all the “only a complete fantasist” talk, the Democrats don’t act to impeach Trump, they will further alienate their base, and drive more liberals and progressives to withhold their votes, if not abandon the party altogether. And evil Putin-Nazi Trump will be strengthened.

If they try to impeach and fail (which is likely), well, then, as happened to the Republicans with Clinton, they will just look stupid, and will be punished for having wasted the nation’s political time and energy foolishly. And Trump will be strengthened.

If they were to impeach, convict, and remove Trump (even by forcing a resignation), a large swath of the population would conclude, correctly, that a ginned-up litigation had been used to overturn the result of the 2016 election, that the Democrats had gotten away with what the Republicans couldn’t in 1998-9. That swath of the population would likely withdraw completely from electoral politics, leaving all their problems and resentments intact—hidden for a while, but sure to erupt in some other ways. It would deeply undermine any notion that the political system holds the confidence of the people, and intensify division, disruption, and the sense of incipient civil war in the country more than any number of Russian Facebook posts.

Furthermore, if the Democrats were successful in removing Trump, their own base would be confronted with the terrible beauty of the Pence presidency to which they had given birth. After such a fight, Pence, who is a much more serious, organized, and ideologically-coherent religious proto-fascist than Trump, will benefit from the inevitable propensity of Democrats to calm things down and protect the stability of the system. Progressive Democrats will find, again, that the two-party system has produced no good result. In other words, the result of a successful impeachment effort might very well be more disaffection from “our democracy” by Democrats.

In short, through a process of litigation and prosecution, the Democrats are getting what they asked for: The field of political discourse and action will now increasingly center on the possibility of removing or impeaching the president. Given their construction of the Manafort-Cohen verdicts, they must move forward on that, or they will be perceived as weak and back-pedaling, and Trump will be strengthened. But if they do move forward, that will initiate a political battle that will tear the country apart and end up either with their defeat or the victory of Mike Pence.

Of course, the Democratic leadership knows all this. Which is why they have always said they do not want to push for impeachment or removal, and probably will not. They also know—and they know that Trump’s supporters know—that a campaign-law violation has no more political substance than Bill Clinton’s perjury. They know that they are not likely to win that fight in the Senate. They know the can of worms they are opening with charges that could be levied against most rich politicians. And, most importantly, they know the fight they will have to wage will be intensely divisive and will deeply undermine confidence in the political system, however it ends up.

The Democrats much prefer to have Trump in office to kick around politically. The most likely scenario is that they will make a cloakroom agreement with Republicans not to go too far, while they continue to whip up Trump-Putin “Russiagate” fever among their constituency. They will continue to stoke anticipation of a smoking “collusion” gun from Mueller, which will probably never come. The Democrats are not really after impeaching Trump; they are after stringing along their progressive voters.

In the meantime, the delightful Trump-effect—his constant embarrassment of American political self-righteousness and discomfiting of both political parties—will continue apace.

By the way, for those who think that Manafort’s conviction portends a smoking gun, based on his work for “pro-Kremlin Viktor Yanukovych,” as the NYT and other liberals persistently call him, I would suggest looking at this Twitter thread by Aaron Maté. It’s a brilliant shredding of Rachel Maddow’s (and, to a lesser extent, Chris Hayes’s) version of the deceptive implication—presented as an indisputable fact—that Manafort’s work for Yanukovych is proof that he (and by extension, Trump) was working for Putin. As Maté shows, that is actually indisputably false. Manafort was working hard to turn Yanukovych away from Russia to the EU and the West, and the evidence of that is abundant and easily available. It was given in the trial, though you’d never know that from reading the NYT or listening to MSNBC. As a former Ukraine Foreign Ministry spokesman said: “If it weren’t for Paul, Ukraine would have gone under Russia much earlier. He was the one dragging Yanukovich to the West.” And the Democrats know this.

And if you think Cohen is harboring secret knowledge of Trump-Russia collusion that he’s going to turn over to Mueller, take look at Maté’s thread on that.

We are now entering a new period of intense political maneuvering that’s the latest turning point in the bizarre and flimsy “Russiagate” narrative. I’ve been asked to comment on that a number of times over the past two years, and each time I or one of my fellow commentators would say, “Why are we still talking about this?” It was originally conjured up as a Clinton campaign attack on Trump, but, to my and many others’ surprise and chagrin, it somehow morphed into the central theme of political opposition to Trump’s presidency.

Donald Trump is a horrid political specimen. I witnessed his flourishing into apex narcissism and corruption over decades in New York City, as chronicled by the dogged reporter, Wayne Barrett, and I would be surprised if there weren’t financial crimes in his closet that any competent prosecutor could ferret out. Anyone who knows his history knows that this is the kind of dirt the Mueller investigation was most likely to find on Donald Trump; anyone who’s honest knows that this is the kind of dirt it was meant to find. Russiagate was a pretext to dig around everywhere in his closet. Trump was clueless about the trap he was setting for himself, and has been relentlessly foolish in dealing with it. It is a witch hunt, and he’s riding around on his broom, skywriting self-incriminating tweets.

There are a thousand reasons to criticize Donald Trump—his racism, his stupidity, his infantile narcissism, his full embrace of Zionist colonialism with its demand to attack Iran, his enactment of Republican social and economic policies that are destroying working-class lives, etc. That he is a Kremlin agent is not one of them. His election was a symptom of deep pathologies of American political culture that we must address, including the failure of the “liberal” party and of the two-party system itself. That Donald Trump is a Russian agent is not one of them. There are a number of very good justifications for seeking his impeachment, starting with the clear constitutional crime of launching a military attack on another country without congressional authorization. That he is a Kremlin agent is not one of them.

Unfortunately, the Democratic Party and its allied media do not want to center the fight on these substantive political issues. Instead, they are centering on this barrage of Russiagate litigation—none of which yet proves, or even charges, Russian “collusion”—which they are using as a substitute for politics. And, in place of opposition, they’re substituting uncritical loyalty to the heroes of the military-intelligence complex and “our democracy” that only a complete fantasist could stomach. I mean, when you get to the point that you’re suspecting John Bolton’s “ties to Russia”….

Now, with the Manafort and Cohen convictions, the Russiagate discourse is moving to a new stage, and it’s unlikely that we will ever stop talking about it, as long as Trump is president. Nothing good can come of it.

Our country is in, and on the verge of, multiple crises that threaten to destroy it. That Donald Trump is a Russian agent is not one of them. Political time is precious.

What a waste.

August 23, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Trump’s Art of the Deal and Iran sanctions

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | August 4, 2018

An amicable formula seems to be emerging between the Trump administration on the one hand and China and India on the other hand as regards the impending US sanctions on Iran’s oil exports. Below-the-radar consultations are going on between Washington and Beijing and New Delhi.

The Trump administration initially threatened collateral damage to countries such as China and India unless they fell in line with the US diktat to stop all oil imports from Iran to zero by November 4. Oil is at the core of Trump’s containment strategy against Iran, since oil exports are a major source for income for Tehran and the American game plan is all about hurting the Iranian economy until its leadership capitulates and begs him for a meeting.

It’s a hackneyed notion to bully Tehran to make it bend. It never worked in these 40 years – not even under Barack Obama who enjoyed vast political capital in the international community. But the good thing about Trump is that behind the fire and fury, he’s a realist. (By the way, Iranians know it, too, as this utterly fascinating tongue-in-cheek commentary yesterday implies.)

So, after some rounds of diplomacy in world capitals (to test the waters, basically) – Beijing, New Delhi, Ankara, in particular, which are big-time buyers of Iranian oil – Washington began signaling that sanctions can also provide for ‘waivers’ – that is, Trump administration will selectively exercise the great privilege of deciding not to punish countries that may still want to buy Iranian oil after the November 4 cutoff date.

Quite obviously, from the feedback received from American diplomats, Washington senses great reluctance to pay heed to the US demarche. In particular, China and India (which account for over half of Iranian oil exports) are heavily dependent on Iranian oil – and, for good reason too. At least in the case of India, Iran offers oil at a discounted price on deferred payment basis with substantial reduction in freight and insurance costs.

Now, the US cannot possibly sanction the oil industry in China or India because Big Oil is also hoping to do business with them. (For shale oil, Asian market is the preferred destination.) Some analysts predict that Russia, which like America is also an energy superpower, will be a net gainer. Russia can cash in on the needs of China and India for oil; Russia can buy Iranian oil and sell it through swap deals and so on (and make some money in the bargain); or, Russia may even move into the Iranian oil industry in a big way and make investments there. At any rate, it is foolhardy for the US to imagine that it can control the world energy market in terms of price elasticity of supply.

In view of the above factors, the Trump administration is finessing an understanding with China and India whereby the US sanctions policy against Iran does not become an acrimonious issue. The interests to be reconciled are: a) China and India have legitimate interests in sourcing Iranian oil and it is unrealistic and counterproductive to coerce them; and, b) the US too has an abiding interest not to sanction the oil companies of China and India, which are prospective buyers of US oil.

The Bloomberg report, here, says that China has point blank refused to cut Iranian oil imports but may agree to keep imports at the existing level as of November 4. Interestingly, the report cites US officials heaving a sigh of relief: “That would ease concerns that China would work to undermine U.S. efforts to isolate the Islamic Republic by purchasing excess oil.” Plainly put, Washington is relieved that Beijing will not take advantage of the US sanctions against Iran.

On the other hand, the Reuters report on India, here, assesses that Indian imports of Iranian crude oil are dramatically increasing in recent months. A 30% increase is reported in July with crude imports from Iran touching record level of 768,000 barrels per day. (This is a whopping 85% jump over the corresponding  period in July 2017, which was 415,000 bpd)!

Of course, if the US can allow China to keep its import of Iranian oil at the existing level as of November 4, it cannot deny a similar formula to India. And, therefore, doesn’t it make eminent sense that India keeps ramping up its oil imports from Iran to the maximum level possible by November 4?

Evidently, this is Trump’s Art of the Deal at work. By the way, for Iran too, this would provide some ‘sanctions relief’. Which in turn may even ‘incentivize’ Tehran to talk to Trump. If there is anything like a workable “win-win” in politics, this is it, this is it.

August 4, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russian military ‘ready to work with US’ after Trump & Putin talk Syria, nuclear arms in Helsinki

RT | July 17, 2018

The Russian military is ready to work with the US colleagues on all the areas discussed by the two presidents during the Helsinki summit, namely cooperation in Syria and mutual reduction of the strategic nuclear arsenals.

“Russian Defense Ministry is ready to implement the agreements on the international security, reached by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump during the Helsinki summit yesterday,” Ministry’s spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov told reporters on Tuesday.

On Monday, Russian and the US leaders agreed to revitalize the military cooperation in several fields. During the press conference in the aftermath of the summit, Trump stated that Russian and US militaries proved to actually get along better than the politicians of the two countries over the past few years, naming deconfliction communication in Syria as an example.

Putin and Trump agreed to work together on returning the people displaced by the Syrian conflict, since several million of refugees are still living in Turkey and Lebanon. These people might take off and head for Europe, the US and other destinations, Putin warned.

“One should not wait until they start moving towards these destinations, the conditions for their return must be created,” Putin stated.

The two agreed also to step up negotiations on the prolonging of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), aimed at mutual reduction and limitation of the strategic nuclear arsenals. The existing third iteration of the START agreement expires in 2021. Putin said Moscow was ready to prolong the deal, while some “details” must be ironed out first.

Konashenkov said the military was ready “to intensify contacts with its American colleagues through the General Staff and other available channels of communication” on all of the aforementioned issues, as well as other outstanding problems of the international security.

‘Step to new multipolar world’?

The Putin-Trump meeting marked an important step toward the emerging multipolar world, where the main actors get together and negotiate, standing by their “national interests,” geopolitical expert Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann told RT.

Such a new approach would likely be more fruitful than the “ancient” US unilateral drive for the forced Westernization and multiculturalism, while the summit itself exemplified “the acceptance from the US of the new multipolar world.”

“I think this is a new process. Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump have shown to the world they want to be in charge,” Thomann said. “They want to start negotiations on the real political basis, and I think this is a good start, because the utopian ideas on the international relations always fail. And they admit they are rivals, they want to identify common grounds for cooperation and try to overcome their differences.”

The Russian-US desire to cooperate on fixing the Syrian conflict will prove to be beneficial not only to the war-torn country itself, but to the whole Middle East region and, ultimately, Europe, Thomann believes.

July 17, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , , | 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

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