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Bolton’s Memoir Undercuts Hype as Impeachment’s Would-Be Star Witness

By Aaron Maté | Real Clear Investigations | June 23, 2020

In late January, John Bolton became the latest – and unlikeliest – official to enjoy a moment of Resistance glory. A New York Times report about Bolton’s forthcoming memoir fueled round-the-clock expectations that the former national security adviser would substantiate the core allegation at the heart of President Trump’s then-ongoing Senate impeachment trial – that the president tried to coerce Ukraine into opening an investigation of Joe and Hunter Biden in a quid pro quo for military aid. Compelling his testimony was cast as a matter of national urgency. Bolton was never given the chance as Senate Republicans voted to block witnesses and acquit Trump on both impeachment counts.

In the publicity blitz for his new memoir, “The Room Where It Happened,” Bolton has tried to keep the initial narrative alive. Speaking to ABC News, he claimed that Trump, at a meeting in August 2019, said he “wanted a probe of Joe Biden in exchange for delivering the security assistance.” That conversation, Bolton added, “was the crispest indication of the linkage. … The specificity of the linkage, I think, was unmistakable.”

His memoir, however, fails to substantiate that allegation.

In fact, Bolton offers new evidence that undermines it.

What he told Martha Raddatz is not what he writes in his book. Instead of a sharp demand of a quid pro quo, Bolton writes, Trump “said he wasn’t in favor of sending [Ukraine] anything until all the Russia-investigation materials related to [Hillary] Clinton and Biden had been turned over.”

Bolton does not explain what he means by “materials” – and no interviewer has asked him to so far. RealClearInvestigations’ request to Bolton for comment, sent through a representative, was not immediately answered.

No Word on Burisma

Regardless, those were not at the heart of Trump’s impeachment. Trump was not impeached for trying to coerce Ukraine into handing over “Russia-investigation materials” to the U.S., but for allegedly trying to force Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to open a wholly separate investigation of the Bidens and Burisma, the gas company where Hunter was given a lucrative board seat while his father was running U.S. policy in Ukraine.

Yet Burisma is not even mentioned in Bolton’s book – and Hunter only in passing. This includes an acknowledgement that Bolton does not even remember if the younger Biden was actually discussed. At a May 8 meeting where Trump and his legal adviser Rudy Giuliani discuss the latter’s “desire to meet with President-Elect Zelensky,” Bolton cannot recall if the purpose is “to discuss [Ukraine’s] investigation of either Hillary Clinton’s efforts to influence the 2016 campaign or something having to do with Hunter Biden and the 2020 election, or maybe both.”

Son gets job on energy company board after father backs violent coup

Bolton says his recollections are not precise because the Ukraine-related theories floating around the Trump administration “always seemed intermingled and confused, one reason I did not pay them much heed. Even after they became public, I could barely separate the strands of the multiple conspiracy theories at work.”

Bolton’s words are also ambiguous. The fact that Trump allegedly “said he wasn’t in favor of sending [Ukraine] anything” is not an explicit linkage to military aid. And as for the “Russian-investigation materials,” Bolton does not specify what Trump was referring to. It seems likely Trump may have been referencing his reported theory that the Democratic National Committee server was somehow hacked with Ukrainian involvement.

Trump may also have been seeking information on the Ukrainians who openly admitted to interfering in the 2016 campaign with the aim of thwarting his candidacy, most notably by leaking allegations of illegal payments to Paul Manafort. It is highly plausible that these were Trump’s priorities. In his July 25 phone call with Zelensky, which sparked the whistleblower complaint behind Ukrainegate, Trump’s top issue – and the object of the “favor” he requested – was not the Bidens, but securing Zelensky’s assistance with the Justice Department’s ongoing review of how the Russia investigation began in 2016.

Whatever the case, for Bolton to write that Trump drew a link between these issues and the security aid – and not a link to a demand that Ukraine open an investigation of the Bidens and Burisma – contradicts the impeachment case that many expected him to validate.

Bolton, perhaps inadvertently, also lends credence to the Trump administration’s public defense of its freeze on security assistance to Ukraine, which Democrats cast as the linchpin of a politically motivated quid pro quo. In his July 25 call with Zelensky and subsequent public statements, Trump has said that he wanted NATO allies to spend more on Ukrainian military funding. Bolton recounts that on Aug. 30 – just days after an article in Politico made the aid freeze public, including to the Ukrainian government – Trump repeated his complaints about the U.S. burden, and proposed that NATO provide Ukraine with the security assistance instead of Washington:

Trump said, “I don’t give a shit about NATO. I am ready to say, ‘If you don’t pay, we won’t defend them.’ I want the three hundred million dollars [he meant two hundred fifty million dollars, one piece of the assistance earmarked for Ukraine] to be paid through NATO.” … He then said to Pence, “Call [NATO Secretary General Jens] Stoltenberg and have him have NATO pay. Say ‘The President is for you, but the money should come from NATO,’” which still didn’t make any sense.

If Trump is freezing the military aid for the sole purpose of coercing a Ukrainian investigation, it would be incongruous for him to propose an outcome that delivers the money without the investigation he is supposedly trying to compel.

As a part of their impeachment case, Democrats argued that Trump released the aid to Ukraine only after getting caught through publicity surrounding the whistleblower complaint. Yet Bolton writes that after Ukraine conducted a successful prisoner swap with Russia on Sept. 7, “Trump had seemingly indicated” that the swap “might be enough to get him to release the security assistance.” The money was released four days later, on Sept. 11.

Says He Wanted Nothing to do With Ukraine

Bolton confirms national security aide Fiona Hill’s testimony that he told her he did not want to be “part of whatever drug deal Sondland and [White House Chief of Staff Mick] Mulvaney are cooking up.” But he offers context that makes that line far less explosive than it was initially received. Bolton was not referring to leveraging any military aid, but to Sondland’s attempt to push for a hasty meeting between Trump and Zelensky at the White House, where the “Giuliani issues” could be discussed before Ukraine’s parliamentary elections in July.

Bolton says he nixed the idea of a meeting because Trump had recently told him that “he didn’t want to have anything to do with Ukrainians of any stripe,” due to Ukrainian meddling against him in the 2016 campaign. Sondland, in Bolton’s view, was “freelancing.” According to Bolton, Trump had also “resolved the visit issue just before leaving for the United Kingdom in June,” by saying he would meet with Zelensky “not until the fall, the right outcome in my view.”

It is easy to forget why Bolton was initially cast as a savior figure in January by those hoping to remove Trump by impeachment. When news of his memoir emerged, 10 days after the Senate trial began, Democrats had failed to prove their case. Not a single witness in the House impeachment hearings had provided direct evidence of a quid pro quo. The only witness who even spoke to Trump about the Ukraine aid was the then-European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland. He  reiterated multiple times that “nobody told me directly that the aid was tied to anything,” and that such a linkage was only his “presumption” and “personal, you know, guess.”

Sondland’s testimony was even more damaging to the impeachment case because, according to the impeachment narrative, he was the Trump official who purportedly relayed the alleged quid pro quo to the Ukrainian side. But Sondland revealed that he had only told Zelensky aide Andriy Yermak, in “a very, very brief pull-aside conversation,” that “I didn’t know exactly why” the aid has been frozen, but that a demand to open investigations “could be a reason.”

For his part, Yermak has said he does not even remember discussing the frozen aid with Sondland. That highlighted another problem with the Democrats’ quid pro quo allegation: Not a single Ukrainian official substantiates it. In addition to Yermak, President Zelensky and Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko also said that they saw no tie between the frozen military funding and pressure to open investigations. Even Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, a staunch impeachment advocate, corroborates them: When they met in early September, Murphy recalled, Zelensky “did not make any connection between the aid that had been cut off and the requests that he was getting from Giuliani.”

The Ukrainians’ claims make sense in light of the fact that they only learned of the aid freeze, along with the rest of the world, with the Politico article published August 28. That would have meant that the supposed quid pro quo demand was made to them only after the issue became a matter of public controversy. That scenario was always implausible on its face. And now Bolton’s memoir has failed to change the picture. Bolton seems to grasp this fact. “I think the House Democrats built a cliff, they threw themselves off of it,” he told Raddatz of ABC News. “And halfway down, they looked up and saw me, and said, ‘Hey, why don’t you come along?”

June 24, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Trump Must Fire Bolton – To Save the Peace of the World

By Martin SIEFF | Strategic Culture Foundation | 29.03.2019

Now that US President Donald Trump has finally been cleared of the ridiculous Russia Collusion charge, his top priority should be to reduce tensions with Moscow sensibly – and the place to start doing that is to fire John Bolton, his national security adviser at once.

The case for this is urgent and the preservation of world peace will depend upon whether Trump renews his courage and acts accordingly or lets himself once more be passively manipulated along the road to new endless wars and war crimes as the previous Republican President George W. Bush was by Bolton and his neocon friends.

All the signs are that, on the contrary, Bolton – along with his lifelong close friends Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Special Envoy to Restore Democracy in Venezuela Eliot Abrams have Trump still completely in their pockets. And that they remain determined to topple the legitimate democratically elected government of Venezuela, despite the grave warnings from Moscow to stop doing so.

On March 20, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov met Abrams In Rome and flatly warned him Moscow would not tolerate any direct US military intervention in Venezuela to topple President Nicolas Maduro and replace him with America’s farcical puppet fake President Juan Guaido. As Finian Cunningham wrote in the columns of Strategic Culture Foundation, “The encounter in Rome… was described as ‘frank’ and ‘serious’ – which is diplomatic code for a blazing exchange.”

Ryabkov said after the meeting, “We assume that Washington treats our priorities seriously, our approach and warnings.”

But did Abrams honestly and accurately give his boss, the President of the United States an accurate and honest report of Ryabkov’s very serious warning?

We should seriously suspect this never happened but that, on the contrary, Abrams, and his master Bolton “protected” the man they are supposed to loyally serve from this “inconvenient truth.”

This certainly seems to be the case: For on March 27, Trump told reporters after meeting with Guaido’s wife in Washington that Russia had to get out of Venezuela, When asked how he would make Russia leave, Trump said: “We’ll see. All options are open.”

Earlier, the same day, Vice President Mike Pence, who is no fool but who has prospered mightily from often pretending to act like one, called on Russia to abandon its support for Maduro and “stand with Juan Guaido.”

It is clear, therefore, that Trump – and Pence – have not taken Ryabkov’s warning, conveyed through Abrams – if in fact he conveyed it at all – seriously for a second.

It must again be stressed: Behind Abrams stands John Bolton: The two men worked together like Siamese twins in orchestrating the bloody suppression of the Mayan peoples of Central America under President Ronald Reagan. Then, they worked overtime together to help orchestrate the invasion of Iraq in 2003 under President George W. Bush. Now they are at it again and the legitimate government of Venezuela is in their sights.

Bolton was implacable in his determination to scrap the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between the United States and Russia and he continues to crush all possibilities for strategic arms control and cooperation in his fanatical and unrelenting grip. Trump has supported him enthusiastically on this at every step and shows no signs whatsoever of regret or second thought.

Bolton and Trump were obviously in full accord on recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights – a move that is certain to drive Syria and Iran closer to Moscow than ever and that can only motivate Damascus to pose new challenges for both Israel and the United States in retaliation as soon as possible.

All efforts to portray the US president as still eager to improve relations with Russia and avoid potentially catastrophic clashes with Moscow must therefore be rejected. As Sigmund Freud rightly said, often the obvious explanation is the correct one: Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. If Bolton looks, acts and sounds like a dangerous warmongering fanatic that is because he is a dangerous warmongering fanatic.

If Trump remains at all serious about the courageous declarations of wanting to improve ties with Russia that he made repeatedly during his 2016 presidential campaign, he should therefore celebrate his total exoneration on Russia collusion charges by Special Counsel Robert Mueller by firing Bolton immediately and seeking to start a serious constructive dialogue with Moscow. No such dialogue is remotely possible while Bolton stands at Trump’s right hand, endlessly deferential to him and whispering in his ear, determined to prevent it.

Bolton must go. The security and survival of the United States and indeed of the entire human race demand it.

March 29, 2019 Posted by | Russophobia | , , , | 4 Comments

Bolton’s Act of Sabotage

By David Macilwain | American Herald Tribune | March 8, 2019

Across the Western world, there has been discussion and argument and consternation over the apparent failure to make progress on disarmament at the recent talks in Hanoi. Examination of the reasons for that failure has been replaced by speculation about the DPRK’s next move and suspicions about its motives, without any similar skepticism or doubts about the US intent and strategy. But such speculation is entirely misguided, and only possible because of ignorance of one key detail in the discussions in Hanoi.

Thanks mostly to the efforts of Australia’s former ambassador to South Korea and Vietnam, Richard Broinowski, whose diplomatic contacts in Canberra relayed inside information about the discussions, the alarming truth on why the talks suddenly fell apart was revealed to the SBS TV network, and to its listeners in the evening news broadcast on March 1st.

While media around the world, apparently including those not allied to the US, broadcast the press briefing by Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo laying the blame on North Korea for demanding all the sanctions be lifted, only SBS listeners got to hear what really happened, and thenceforth to see things in an entirely different light. As Richard Broinowski explained several days later writing on John Menadue’s influential blog Pearls and Irritations :

… “a well-informed senior Asian diplomatic source in Canberra has added another reason for the Summit’s breakdown: that Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, persuaded Trump to add another demand, without notice, that led to North Korean refusal and a premature end to the summit even before negotiations had begun.”

“The Asian diplomat recalled that John Bolton had been scheduled to visit Canberra at the end of February. But the visit was cancelled when he suddenly went to Hanoi instead, whether at Trump’s directive or on his own initiative being unclear. The diplomat’s understanding is that Bolton suggested to Trump that as well as demanding a complete inventory of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and delivery systems, Trump should also request details of the country’s chemical and biological arsenal, a demand Kim found unexpected, and for which he was unprepared, and refused. Trump then broke off the meeting before substantive negotiations had even begun.”

We may all too easily forget the anticipation before these crucial talks between Trump and Kim Jong Un, where it at least looked possible that Trump might “do a deal” on a basis that the North Koreans could accept. The early signs were more than promising, with Kim Jong Un assuring that he would not have been there had he not sought progress on denuclearisation, and Trump prepared to take him at his word. While “substantive negotiations” had not begun, the North Koreans had already suggested they would make very significant concessions in return for the lifting of some sanctions and some other commitments by the US to reduce tensions – “security guarantees” in other words.

It’s worth noting in this context that Sergei Lavrov, speaking at a parallel meeting of the Valdai Club in Ho Chi Minh city had stated quite clearly that the US must make significant concessions, rather than demanding that the DPRK completely denuclearise before lifting sanctions. As always it’s worth reading Lavrov’s wide-ranging and straightforward remarks on the poor state of the world and the destabilizing and destructive role being played by the US.

The necessity for lifting some sanctions on the DPRK is further emphasized by the news that their food production this year is severely restricted by the worst climatic conditions for a decade, making food imports and relief urgent. Their demands for sanctions relief in Hanoi concerned this issue rather than anything connected with the nuclear program.

The truth of the story of Bolton’s demands, which look very much like a planned act of sabotage, is beyond doubt and endorsed in statements from South Korea’s former unification minister Chong Se-Hyun published in Korean newspapers and reported elsewhere. The Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian also covered the story on the following Monday, but this was a temporary blip on their normally unchallenging sympathy for the official US viewpoint. Australia’s other State broadcaster the ABC, however, made no mention of it, simply repeating Trump’s cover-up claim on the sanctions removal.

These media along with their Western partners in officially approved disinformation are now once again adding to the rumor mill on “North Korea’s ongoing nuclear threat” with suspect stories about the renewal of a missile launching site. Satellite photos taken only hours after the failure of the talks claim to show such activity.  The Australian Strategic Policy Institute, which has close links to government, has meanwhile warned that moves to scale down the annual war games proposed belatedly as a “goodwill gesture” by the US, are “dangerous and will embolden the North”.

Putting things into a wider perspective, former Australian ambassador to the UN and nuclear disarmament negotiator Richard Butler added his weight to the subject the following day with this footnote on Broinowski’s article:

“This report has now been confirmed by a report published in the March 4th edition of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which cites a statement by the DPRK Foreign Minister, Ri Yong-Ho, in Hanoi, that “John Bolton disrupted the talks by demanding that North Korea disclose its chemical and biological arsenal as well as its nuclear arsenals”. This would seem to answer the question I posed in my article on whether or not a spanner had been thrown into the works and if so, by whom? Not unusually, there seems to have been no report of this highly salient fact by western mainstream media.”

What matters here however is not simply to expose the misinformed and fraudulent claims made about the failure of the Hanoi talks. Bolton and his allies – whoever they are – evidently sought to sabotage the talks and the possibility of agreement and détente, against the intention of Donald Trump. The last thing they want is to lose the pretext for maintaining and expanding missile systems in the region aimed at threatening or “countering” China. An informative report from the East Asia Forum think-tank also makes this suggestion:

For many in the US security community the ‘no deal’ comes as a relief. There were concerns that Trump would be eager to rush into a deal, no matter what the costs of the concessions, to claim the diplomatic achievement for his administration. This seemed an over-urgent goal due to the impending report by FBI special prosecutor Robert Mueller on the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia and possible obstruction of justice, as well as the heat on Trump from his former fixer Michael Cohen’s damning testimony last week to Congress.

So far from returning to the US with an extra feather in his golden cap, Donald Trump came home to face the music, and not just from the Russia-gate witch-hunt. Even though he had called off the talks with Kim Jong Un, he had already engaged in friendly exchanges and pleasantries that some found offensive, inviting media to repeat the tired nonsense about his dealings with President Putin – that “Trump takes the advice of “dictators” over that of his own intelligence community”. (perhaps not an unwise move under the circumstances!)

The story of his brief meeting with Kim then immediately focussed on how Trump had “taken Kim’s word” over the case of Otto Warmbier, the detained American student allegedly killed by mistreatment in a North Korean hospital. The grotesque demand of the DPRK for $500 million compensation for his death from a US court illustrates the problem that many in the US seem to have in relating to those with a different viewpoint and different attitude. If similar suits were brought against the US government by relatives of the millions of North Koreans who have died over the last sixty-five years as a direct or indirect result of US aggression and sanctions, the US would be bankrupted.

It’s hard not to conclude that the man who was considered “too extreme” to join the regime of George W Bush because of his preference for armed attacks and even nuclear strikes over diplomacy has now launched a soft coup against his own President. Immediately following the Vietnam venture, Bolton was making threats of military action against Venezuela’s President Maduro which had a strange resonance. The demand that Venezuela’s democratically elected President be replaced by an unknown and unelected puppet selected and launched like a missile into Caracas by the US and its European allies is now being copied by the self-selected “Interim President of the United States”, John Bolton.

And a world under this new de facto President with his choice of puppet might just make us look back on the Golden Age of Trump if we are lucky enough to survive it.

March 8, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 3 Comments

International court judge resigns, citing ‘shocking’ interference from ‘above the law’ US

RT | January 30, 2019

A senior judge has resigned from the UN International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, after the United States threatened judges investigating alleged US war crimes in Afghanistan.

The judge, Christoph Flügge, has worked with the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) since 2008. More recently, he got involved with preliminary investigations into claims that US military service members and CIA operatives tortured prisoners in Afghanistan.

Flügge told German newspaper Zeit that he handed in his resignation after open threats from US officials, including a speech by hawkish national security adviser John Bolton last September, where Bolton “wished death” on the Court.

“If these judges ever interfere in the domestic concerns of the US or investigate an American citizen, he said the American government would do all it could to ensure that these judges would no longer be allowed to travel to the United States – and that they would perhaps even be criminally prosecuted,” Flügge told Zeit, in an interview translated by The Guardian.

“The American security adviser held his speech at a time when The Hague was planning preliminary investigations into American soldiers who had been accused of torturing people in Afghanistan,” Flügge explained. “The American threats against international judges clearly show the new political climate. It is shocking. I had never heard such a threat.”

Bolton’s speech was delivered in September to the conservative Federalist Society in Washington, DC. It came a year after the ICC began investigating claims that at least 61 detained persons in Afghanistan had been tortured by American troops and another 27 by the CIA at secret prisons in Afghanistan and abroad, according to prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

Bolton called the investigation “utterly unfounded” and “unjustifiable,” and promised to “protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court.”

The senior US official also vowed to defend Israeli citizens from the court. US “friend and ally” Israel was at the time accused of perpetrating war crimes against Palestinian civilians. He warned that the US would disregard arrest warrants, ban judges and prosecutors from entering the country, and even try them in American courts.

Flügge said his colleagues were “stunned” that “the US would roll out such heavy artillery,” but added “it is consistent with the new American line: ‘We are No 1 and we stand above the law’.”

American disregard for the ICC is not a new phenomenon. After much debate, President Bill Clinton signed the Rome Treaty that established the International Criminal Court, but the Congress never ratified it. Clinton’s successor George W. Bush symbolically ‘un-signed’ the treaty in 2002, when the war in Afghanistan was in full swing.

Later that year, the Congress passed the American Service Members’ Protection Act, which obliged the president to prevent any ICC prosecution of US armed forces “to the maximum extent possible,” and even authorized military force to free any US service members from ICC custody. Bolton, incidentally, was Bush’s under-secretary of state at the time.

The court has come under fire from more countries than just the US. Russia withdrew its signature from the Rome Treaty in 2016, after the court criticized the reunification of Crimea. China, India, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey are among the other nations that never signed the treaty.

January 30, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Why the United States Has Not Won a Real War Since 1945

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | December 16, 2018

If anyone is still wondering why the United States has not won a real war since 1945, I offer up the example of retired U.S. Army Colonel Wes Martin, who writes for Town Hall and reportedly also has appeared as an expert commentator on Fox. Town Hall is a purveyor of a certain type of “American conservatism.” It was founded by the Heritage Foundation on the principle that the United States is ordained by God as uber alles. Though it features many good writers and even genuine conservatives it occasionally goes off the rails. Its latest incarnation features an article entitled “Obama-loving country music star Tim McGraw partners with terror-sponsoring communists.”

Colonel Martin’s bio includes his service as the Senior Antiterrorism Officer for all Coalition Forces in Iraq and Commander of Camp Ashraf, which is where the military arm of the Mojahedin e Khalq (MEK) terrorist group was camped while Saddam Hussein was still in power. MEK, consisting of Iranian dissidents, was being used by Saddam to carry out low-intensity warfare against Iran. It was placed under American military protection after the fall of Baghdad in 2003.

Martin’s latest foray in Mullah-bashing is a December 10th article entitled “Iran’s Continuing Misinformation Campaign.” It is a defense of MEK, which he describes as a victim of Iranian propaganda. Martin frames his argument around a critique of a November 9th report entitled “Terrorists, cultists – or champions of Iranian democracy? The wild, wild story of the MEK” that appeared in The Guardian, but, in reality, most of his piece is about himself. The Guardian article, written by Arron Merat, provides an in-depth analysis of MEK, how it developed, and what it is doing today. It does, to be sure, come down on the side of MEK being both a cult and a terror organization, which is what Martin disputes.

Martin’s article, like all of his pieces appearing on Town Hall, is nearly unreadable. It includes gems like “The Iranian dissidents have a primary target of the ayatollahs misinformation campaign” and also “This was the first time in U.S. history, and perhaps world history, where one country was invaded and with it came the entrapment of a large military force dedicated to the removal of a third of the country’s leadership.” I’m sure Colonel Martin actually meant something in those two sentences but I am at a loss to figure out what it might be.

Martin reports that MEK first came on to his “radar” in 2003 after the invasion of Iraq by U.S. forces, which is part of his problem, which might be described as seeing what one wants to see. He conducted “an assessment on the MEK and determined they were not a threat.” But other evidence, which Martin should have considered, suggests that MEK was not just a group of Iranian dissidents. A study prepared by the Rand Corporation for the U.S. government conducted interviews at Camp Ashraf and concluded that there were present “many of the typical characteristics of a cult, such as authoritarian control, confiscation of assets, sexual control (including mandatory divorce and celibacy), emotional isolation, forced labor, sleep deprivation, physical abuse and limited exit options.”

MEK made the transition from terrorist group to “champions of Iranian democracy” by virtue of intensive lobbying of Iran haters. The Guardian article also describes how “A stupendously long list of American politicians from both parties were paid hefty fees to speak at events in favor of the MEK, including Giuliani, John McCain, Newt Gingrich and former Democratic party chairs Edward Rendell and Howard Dean – along with multiple former heads of the FBI and CIA. John Bolton, who has made multiple appearances at events supporting the MEK, is estimated to have received upwards of $180,000. According to financial disclosure forms, Bolton was paid $40,000 for a single appearance at the Free Iran rally in Paris in 2017.”

It apparently never occurred to Martin that the group had a whole lot of history before he appeared on the scene and it began buying American politicians. It may not have been an active threat in 2003, when confronted by overwhelming U.S. military force, but it sure was anti-American back in the 1970s, to include the assassination of at least six U.S. Air Force officers and civilian defense contractors. The ambush in which two air force officers were murdered by MEK was reenacted for each incoming class at the Central Intelligence Agency training center in the late 1970s to illustrate just how a terrorist attack on a moving vehicle might take place.

Colonel Martin is inevitably a harsh critic of President Barack Obama, mentioning in passing that “Unfortunately, the State Department policy under the Obama administration was intent on appeasing the Iran regime.” It is an assertion for which there is scant evidence apart from Obama’s clearly expressed reasonable desire to negotiate an end to any possible Iranian nuclear weapons program. In fact, Obama’s Secretary of State Hillary Clinton removed the group from the State Department terror list in 2012, and then arranged for its relocation to a safe site in Albania, where it still resides.

In another article on “evil” Iran, obviously an obsession with Martin, he states that “The fundamentalists in Tehran were almost overthrown during the vast national uprisings of 2009 (predating the Arab Spring). While former President Obama and former Secretary Clinton stayed silent, in favor of their nuclear deal with the regime…” Martin is dead wrong that the regime was almost overthrown. It was never threatened. And, of course, it would have been difficult for Obama to have remained silent in 2009 over the “nuclear deal” which was not signed until 2015.

Martin also has problems with the Guardian article’s assertion that MEK derives from an “Islamist-Marxist” ideology. He observes “In other words, the MEK is composed of God-fearing atheists. He needs to pick one or the other, because Islam and Marxism do not mix.” Actually Marxism, as a primarily social and economic framework, is not necessarily anti-religious, particularly when religion inspires the workers as part of the class struggle. Political Marxism and religious zealotry can coexist. The communist Tudeh Party of pre-revolutionary Iran was reportedly full of Islamists. And MEK does indeed have both Marxist and Islamic roots. It helped to overthrow the Shah in 1979 through cooperation with the religious parties but then turned against the clerics after they had succeeded in assuming control of the revolution.

Martin also completely ignores MEK’s anti-American, anti-capitalist and anti-colonialist roots. It began as a radicalized student group in Iran in the 1970s that attacked U.S. businesses and was viscerally opposed to the United States presence. The Guardian article describes how one of its songs went “Death to America by blood and bonfire on the lips of every Muslim is the cry of the Iranian people. May America be annihilated.”

Colonel Martin saves his best for last as he fulminates “Iran, the number one nation-state exporter of terrorism, is also the number one exporter of propaganda. Iran’s MOIS [Ministry of Intelligence and Security] will fight the truth with lies, deceit, and manipulation of facts. MOIS expends great effort to neutralize the MEK as the primarily threat to the Iranian regime.”

That Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism is often asserted by folks like Colonel Martin and John Bolton but rarely elaborated on, particularly given the fact that the United States operates worldwide with intelligence officers, special ops and drones that kill lots of people on a regular basis without any declarations of war. Who has Iran killed lately? And when it comes to propaganda, no one does it better or more aggressively that the U.S. and Israel, even if no one believes any of it anymore.

What it comes down to is that people like Colonel Wes Martin, unfortunately proliferating in the U.S. government, hate Iran for a whole lot of reasons that have nothing to do with national security. Israel and its lobby are certainly an element as is the need for enemies to feed the paranoia that drives and funds the military industrial complex. Martin reveals his ignorance when he objects to what he believes to be Iranian government efforts to “neutralize the MEK as the primarily (sic) threat to the Iranian regime.” That claim is complete nonsense. MEK worked with Saddam Hussein to kill Iranians, just as it earlier killed Americans. It is hated in Iran and has little support inside the country. It is a terrorist group, currently being used by the CIA and Israel’s Mossad to assassinate and otherwise kill still more Iranians. This is why luminaries like Mike Pompeo and John Bolton and Colonel Martin love it, not because it is poised to bring democracy to Iran.

December 16, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 3 Comments

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 (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 (, 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 (, 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? (, 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 (, 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” (, 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

US’ Iran Regime-Change Plan: Hit Economy, Orchestrate Protests, Engage MEK Cult to Chant “Democracy”

By Elliot Gabriel | Mint Press News | June 28, 2018

Iran’s latest wave of protests against the suffering state of the economy and the plunging value of the rial appeared to have come and gone by Wednesday, as crowds dissipated and businesses opened up shop following a two-day strike. While clashes between security forces and protesters during the protests were far from widespread, the very fact that the protests broke out hints at the extreme duress Iran is undergoing thanks to President Donald Trump’s renewed economic war on the country.

Judging by the enthusiastic response to the demonstrations in the U.S., Saudi, and Israeli press, anti-Iranian forces are clearly banking on the possibility that the sanctions that will soon be reimposed in the next several months could dislodge the Islamic Republic, clearing the way for a regime friendly to the West.

Thus we have witnessed anti-Iran publications like the Israeli Jerusalem Post frothing over with excitement over scenes of alleged Iranian citizens chanting “Death to Palestine,” “Let go of Syria – think about us,” and the much-beloved anti-Ayatollah Khamenei mainstay “Death to dictator.”

While videos from Iran depict what could very well be an organic groundswell of social protest against government policies, photos published in papers like the Post show a different story: middle-aged Persian men gripping English-language signs and the flags of the toppled Iranian monarchy, along placards bearing the portrait of an unlikely figure: the mustachioed, mysterious and long-disappeared charismatic cult leader who is considered an outlawed terrorist and traitor to the nation — Massoud Rajavi.

Rajavi was the leader of the group that lies at the center of the anti-Iran alliance’s “regime change” dreams: Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), or the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI). A fanatical militant group whose title translates literally to the “The People’s Holy Warriors,” this eccentric left-nationalist, pseudo-religious cult has been led by Massoud’s wife, Maryam Rajavi, since the 1980s.

Formed in 1965, the group’s tortured history has seen it transformed from a movement of communist-influenced, Islamist-tinged anti-imperialists who carried out attacks on U.S. military officers in Iran into an authoritarian de facto mercenary army serving anyone opposed to the Islamic Republic – be it Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Israel, or the United States.

The group wields major PR clout and outsized influence in Western capitals through countless front groups like the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI), through which it depicts itself as “a political coalition that represents all of Iran’s religious, ethnic, and political groups proportionately;”  stresses feminist, Islamist, free-speech and pro-free-market values; and is firmly “committed to a secular, democratic, non-nuclear republic” in Iran.

The RAND Corporation described the group as “skilled manipulators of public opinion,” but a cursory look at its publications shows a rather ham-fisted and self-celebratory pile of cultish jargon. Throughout the past week, publications like Iran Focus or Iran News Update – the latter of which bills itself as “Insider News & Analysis in Iran” – have pumped out articles boosting NCRI as “the only viable alternative to the Iranian regime” and claiming:

As protests in Iran continue to multiply and intensify, the regime’s claim to power is looking more and more tenuous. If the people were to overthrow their tyrannical government, the only democratic organization in the position to take over governance would be the NCRI … The regime’s reign of terror is at its close.”

The MEK was one of the first groups to be named a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Department, but its extreme opposition to the Islamic Republic of Iran and generous donations to politicians has led to its eventual delisting. The roster of politicians and influential figures tied to the MEK and its fronts spans much of the U.S. political spectrum, from the far right to the left-of-center.

Trump’s White House is a virtual all-star cast of MEK associates – explaining the administration’s frenzied push to scrap the nuclear deal and push to topple Tehran. Among the top supporters of MEK is White House National Security Advisor John Bolton, whose hatred of Iran’s government verges on the pathological.

A congressional foreign-policy aide who attended an Iranian New Year celebration hosted by an MEK front group told Foreign Policy magazine:

Bolton is positively predisposed to the MEK …  they will have some access to this White House, [to say] the least.”

From revolutionary anti-imperialists to bizarre mercenary cult

The MEK once enjoyed a decently-sized support base within Iran and even played a role in the 1979 Iranian Revolution that overthrew U.S.-loyal Shah Reza Pahlevi and opened up a new period of national independence for the nation. Following the revolution, the group’s political struggles with the faction led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and failure to secure widespread support led it to deploy its Shah-era “armed struggle,” or terrorist tactics, against officials and clergy loyal to Khomeini, claiming the lives of dozens of key figures in the newly-formed government.

The Mojahedin (jihadists), whom the Islamic Revolution’s leader regularly derided as monafeghin (hypocrites) – an allusion to those in the Quran who conspired against the Prophet while feigning loyalty – became the top enemies of the Islamic Republic.

Faced with the full brunt of the Islamic Republic’s retribution, the group fled to Iraq in the 1980s and became a virtual “Iranian Legion” for Saddam Hussein, who equipped the group with heavy armor, uniforms, and artillery so that it could fight alongside Iraqi forces during the Iran-Iraq war. Following the war, the self-styled “national liberation army” launched a series of cross-border raids against Iranian civilian and military targets, sacrificing nearly all of its remaining support among Iranians.

The drop in Iranian support led to a push to replenish MEK ranks by targeting family members, wealthy potential donors, and expatriate Iranians in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. True to their form as a cult, the group promised to connect prospective recruits with a lifeline of assistance as the trade-off for their enlisting in the group.

According to the RAND Corporation:

Many were enticed not with promises of an opportunity to fight the IRI, but rather through promises of paid employment as translators, assistance in processing asylum requests, free visits to family members, public-health volunteer opportunities, and even marriage. All ‘recruits’ were brought into Iraq illegally and then required to hand over their identity documents for ‘safekeeping,’ effectively trapping them at MeK compounds. These findings suggest that many MeK recruits since 1986 were not true volunteers and have been kept at MeK camps in Iraq under duress.”

Watch | Cult of the Chameleon 

Tens of thousands of the group’s members remained under the protection of the Iraqi dictator, even participating in the bloody massacres that followed the Shia Arab and Kurdish uprisings of 1991, until the fall of the Ba’athist regime in 2003 when the U.S.-led coalition bombed the Saddam loyalists’ camps.

Seeing continued use for the MEK for their own anti-Iran efforts, however, the U.S. placed 3,800 members of the group under protective custody at Camp Ashraf, the sprawling city-sized base built for them by Saddam. Those who escaped the group had to undergo cult deprogramming.

Watch | Introducing Camp Ashraf

According to RAND, the group – which claims to uphold women’s equality – ensured that lines were “painted down the middle of hallways separating them into men’s and women’s sides” at the camp, prior to their expulsion by Iraqi forces in 2013. Many were shipped by the U.S. to Albania, the only country willing to accept them.

Yet while a major portion of the group’s membership spent over three decades imprisoned in Ba’athist Iraqi camps near the border with Iran, a significant chunk of the group – such as leader Maryam Rajavi – nestled into the Iranian expatriate communities in Paris, Washington, and other capitals. The group spent decades relentlessly lobbying Western governments and lawmakers to support its attempts to bring “reform” to Iran, and has even furnished intelligence to U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies in hopes to provide a casus belli for hostile policies and even military actions versus Tehran.

The “Iranian Resistance” wags the dog in Washington

In the U.S. capital, the group was enormously successful in its efforts to recruit an auxiliary brigade of highly influential top politicians to its cause. Even the far-right Washington Times, owned at the time by charismatic cult leader Reverend Sun Myung-Moon, issued glossy “special report” inserts hailing the militaristic group as the bringers of “freedom” to Iran. The publication included words of praise from Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the late Saudi Prince Turki bin Faisal al-Saud, and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), among many, many, others.

A brief list of these MEK supporters in the Republican Party reads like a who’s-who of anti-Iran officials from the neoconservative administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump:

  • In 2000, future Bush administration attorney general and Republican then-Senator John Ashcroft intervened on behalf of MKO military commander Mahnaz Samadi, who has been detained by immigration authorities due to her failure to disclose past terrorist ties — hailing the former anti-Iran combatant as a “highly regarded human-rights activist” and a “powerful voice for democracy.”
  • Former Pennsylvania Governor and first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge praised the National Council of Resistance in Iran as “the single most visible, most credible, and most effective democratic movement with a clear and specific program to bring a democratic Iran to existence,” led by the “steady hand and inspiring leadership” of cult leader Maryam Rajavi.
  • Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami, Florida, who served as Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has been a major leader in legislation calling for regime-change measures against Cuba, Iran, Syria, and Venezuela, and even called for Fidel Castro’s assassination in 2006. In 2003, she came out in defense of MEK as a group that “loves the United States” and is an ally in the “war on terrorism.”
  • Tea Party leader, Bush confidante and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey promoted the MEK while working for lobbying firm DLA Piper. Armey also represented Saeid Ghaemi, an Iranian expatriate in the U.S. who paid almost $910,000 to the lobbying firm “for Armey’s services bringing issues relating to Iran to the attention of Congress, the State Department, the Department of Defense, the White House, the National Security Council and the Department of Treasury.”

Watch | Giuliani Leads MEK “Regime Change” Chant

And then we have the top luminaries from President Donald Trump’s circle, including:

  • Former New York City Mayor and top White House lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who co-signed a letter along with various bipartisan officials urging a newly-inaugurated Trump to “establish a dialogue” with NCRI, and was revealed to have been a paid advocate for the removal of MEK from the State Department terror group list. Giuliani has been an almost annual guest at MEK functions in Paris and a regular anti-Iranian voice on television.  In 2015, Giuliani stood before a crowd of MEK supporters in Paris and shouted:

The ayatollah must go! Gone! Out! No more! I will not support anyone for president of the United States who isn’t clear on that slogan behind me. What does it say? It says regime change!”

  • Trump adviser and GOP elder Newt Gingrich, who ripped on former President Obama for bowing to the king of Saudi Arabia, but was caught on camera bowing to Maryam Rajavi – whom the conservative ultra-patriot sees as an Iranian version of U.S. founding father George Washington.
  • Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, the elite Taiwanese-American wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has received honoraria in the amounts of $50,000 and $17,500 to speak for MEK front groups like the Iranian-American Cultural Association of Missouri and the NCRI. At the same Paris event attended by Giuliani, Chao sat as guest of honor alongside “president-elect” cult leader Rajavi before delivering a feminist-themed speech slamming Iran’s government.

And then, of course, there’s John Bolton, a ravening ultra-hawk with a nearly obsessive hatred of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Speaking to Foreign Policy magazine, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace senior fellow Karim Sadjadpour commented:

I suspect Bolton’s interactions with the MEK were above all motivated by financial interests … The MEK may be a backward cult with little to offer, but they are the enemy of his enemy. And they pay handsomely.”

The same can likely be said about the rest of the elected “representatives”-for-hire in Washington, whose belief in the MEK’s ability to lead a post-IRI Iranian state is no doubt on par with their trust in the late Rev. Moon’s claims to be the one and only messiah.

While the hard-hit Iranian economy is likely to continue reeling, driving more protesters into the streets, one shouldn’t mistake their social demands or financial pain for a desire to subject themselves to a totalitarian cult with hardly a fraction of the support enjoyed by the Shia clergy helming the Islamic Republic — no matter the extent to which Washington and the Saudis attempt to foist the Rajavi group on the Iranian nation.

Yet despite the group’s dearth of political legitimacy, the congressional aide who spoke to FP understands why they remain a mainstay in the U.S. Capitol:

They’re useful as provocation … They’re useful as a signal to the Iranian government that we’re coming to get you.”

Elliott Gabriel is a former staff writer for teleSUR English and a MintPress News contributor based in Quito, Ecuador.

June 28, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Video | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clashing Visions of Denuclearization Pose Risk to U.S.-North Korea Summit

By Gregory Elich | Zoom In Korea | May 17, 2018

The soaring hopes generated by the recent Inter-Korean Summit are now supplanted by uncertainty, due to North Korea’s suspension of a planned meeting with the South.

In the weeks following the summit’s Panmunjom Declaration, North Korea took actions to demonstrate its goodwill and desire for peaceful resolution of differences.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK – the formal name for North Korea) announced that it would dismantle its underground nuclear test site, culminating in explosions to collapse tunnels, the blocking of entries, and removal of above-ground facilities.

Substantial progress has already been made on disabling the site. The DPRK could have waited and made this a negotiable issue in talks with the United States. Instead, it offered the step to the United States ahead of the summit as a confidence-building measure. Before that, North Korea also committed to a suspension of nuclear and missile testing. As an additional gesture of good intentions, North Korea released all three American prisoners.

Initial signs from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s meetings with Chairman Kim Jong Un were quite encouraging, hinting at an uncharacteristic degree of flexibility on the part of the Trump administration. North Korean media reported that the talks indicated that Trump “has a new alternative” and a “proactive attitude,” and that Kim and Pompeo had reached a “satisfactory agreement on the issues.”

Meanwhile, as Pompeo and Kim were making apparent headway, the process began to unravel from a different direction. There were many in the Trump administration who were not keen on the idea of reciprocity. The dominant view was that rewards, such as they were, could only come after denuclearization.

National Security Advisor John Bolton was trotted out for a series of interviews to elucidate the U.S. position. Permanent, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization would have to take place before “the benefits start to flow.” The expectation is that the DPRK should abandon its nuclear deterrent without receiving anything more in return than the promise of future rewards. Nor does Bolton consider nuclear disarmament to be sufficient. Negotiations have not begun, and already the U.S. is piling on more demands. Talks, Bolton insisted, would also need to tackle the DPRK’s ballistic missile program and human rights concerns. Chemical and biological weapons will also be on the agenda, he said, despite the fact that their existence is purely speculative. Negotiations on denuclearization will be challenging enough. Overloading the talks with additional issues is likely to be a recipe for failure.

Even as North Korea strives to meet American demands, it can expect no relief from sanctions and threats. Bolton asserts that the U.S. needs to see North Korea implementing denuclearization, and the policy of maximum pressure will not relent until that happens.

What kind of benefits can North Korea expect in return for compliance with U.S. demands? “I wouldn’t look for economic aid from us,” Bolton bluntly stated. Presumably, once North Korea has satisfied all of the Trump administration’s demands, sanctions will start to be reduced or eliminated. That is not a reward. If someone is punishing another, and then promises to reduce the amount of punishment, it is safe to say that the victim will not regard that as a “reward.”

On the economic front, Mike Pompeo agrees with Bolton. No taxpayer funds will go towards assisting North Korea, he said. What the United States is willing to do is send rapacious corporate investors to North Korea to seek profit-making opportunities. Once denuclearization has been completed and sanctions lifted, Pompeo says that what Chairman Kim “will get from America is our finest – our entrepreneurs, our risk takers, our capital providers…They will get private capital that comes in.” A strong argument could be made that those are actually among America’s worst people, and not to be wished upon North Korea or any other nation.

Pompeo went on to talk about North Korea’s need for energy, agricultural equipment, and technology. The need is there. But why is that? For decades, the United States has subjected the DPRK to enormous economic damage through sanctions. The North Korean people are not incapable of improving their lot. They only need to be allowed to do so, unhindered and unpunished. What the DPRK needs and what it consistently calls for is normalization of relations.

Certainly, North Korea is not looking to privatize state-owned firms or to contract out work to U.S. firms that it is capable of doing itself, once it is released from the burden of sanctions.

It is clear that the Trump administration is not willing to give anything to North Korea. It costs nothing to lift sanctions or to cherish the hope that lucrative opportunities will blossom in North Korea for U.S. investors. Signing a piece of paper promising a security guarantee imposes no burden on the United States. The Trump administration, or any future administration for that matter, is free to ignore that guarantee and send the cruise missiles flying whenever it sees fit.

Nor does the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran inspire confidence in the reliability of the United States as a negotiating partner.

Bolton’s pronouncements, perhaps aided by behind-the-scenes maneuvering, appear to have led Pompeo to walk back on his earlier statements about progress being made and having reached a mutual understanding with Chairman Kim. He is now reporting that a great deal of work remains and the U.S. and North Korea are not “remotely close.”

“We have very much in mind the Libya model from 2003, 2004,” Bolton recently told Fox News. That model would have North Korea ship its nuclear weapons to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for destruction. The DPRK would be required to complete disarmament before receiving relief from sanctions.

So how did that model work for Libya? That nation began to denuclearize at the beginning of 2004, and throughout the process, it fully complied with U.S. demands for unilateral denuclearization. But the United States was slow when it came to compensation, and the Libyans often complained to American diplomats that they had not been rewarded for their compliance. It was not until 2006 that the U.S. restored diplomatic relations and removed Libya from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Although the U.S. was sluggish in providing relief to Libya, it was eager to issue more demands. John Bolton, who was Under-secretary of State in the George W. Bush administration at the time, told Libyan officials that they had to sever military cooperation with Iran in order to complete the denuclearization agreement. On at least one occasion, a U.S. official pressured Libya to cut off military trade with North Korea, Iran, and Syria.

American officials also demanded that Libya recognize the independence of Kosovo, a position that Libya had consistently opposed. That was followed by a U.S. diplomatic note to Libya, ordering it to vote against the Serbian government’s resolution at the United Nations, which requested a ruling by the International Court of Justice on the legality of Kosovo independence. Under the circumstances, Libya preferred to absent itself from the vote rather than join the United States and three other nations in opposing the measure.

The U.S. was more successful in winning Libya’s vote in favor of UN sanctions against Iran. Under U.S. pressure, Libya also launched a privatization program and opened opportunities for U.S. businesses.

North Korea can expect the same treatment if it follows this model. The United States will start to treat it as a vassal state, expecting it to take orders on myriad issues having nothing to do with denuclearization.

We know how the model ended, with the United States and its NATO partners bombing Libya, and the brutal murder of Muammar al-Qaddafi. The North Koreans know it, too.

In 2006, Great Britain and Libya signed a Joint Letter on Peace and Security. The document stated that the two nations “pledge in their international relations to refrain from the threat or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of one another.” It further obligated the parties to refrain from intervening in the internal affairs of one another. Five years later, Great Britain was aiding jihadists fighting to overthrow the government, and joining NATO in bombing Libya. That is the Libya model, too, in which a Western security “guarantee” is proven worthless.

The DPRK has a more credible action-for-action approach in mind for negotiations, in which there is a phased approach, and each side gains something as progress continues towards the final goal of denuclearization and normalization of relations.

In continuing to set a framework of mutual respect for talks, North Korea sharply reduced the scale of its annual armored vehicle exercises this month.

Washington is sending signals of a different nature, however. On May 11, the joint U.S.-South Korea Max Thunder air drills kicked off, deploying over 100 aircraft, including advanced Stealth F-22 Raptor fighter planes. This year’s exercise is the largest ever held, in an apparent bid to apply additional pressure on North Korea.

In response, North Korea announced that it was suspending its May 16 meeting with South Korean officials. KCNA, North Korea’s news agency, pointed out that the expanded drills constituted “an undisguised challenge to the Panmunjom Declaration,” in which both Koreas had pledged to cease all hostile acts. It added that the Panmunjom Declaration cannot be implemented by one party alone.

DPRK’s First Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Kim Kye Gwan followed that up by announcing that the improvement in relations with the United States risks being undone by American officials calling for unilateral disarmament and adherence to the Libya model. North Korea has already stated its intention to denuclearize in exchange for an end to the U.S. hostile policy, he continued. “But now, the U.S. is miscalculating the magnanimity and broad-minded initiatives of the DPRK as signs of weakness.”

North Korea has left the door open to the U.S. and South Korea. The May 16 meeting with South Korean officials was suspended, not cancelled. And the North Koreans are saying that they will closely watch the behavior of U.S. and South Korean officials. Portrayed in Western media as an act of inexplicable petulance, the suspension of the inter-Korean meeting is a wake-up call to the United States and South Korea. The capitulation model is not a viable approach. Reciprocity is essential.

The North Koreans are not going to relinquish their nuclear deterrent for nothing more than an empty security promise and the suggestion that sanctions may be lifted if they meet a host of additional demands.

During the Obama administration, North Korea’s nuclear weapons program was at a sufficiently immature stage of development that the United States felt it could demand that North Korea fully denuclearize as a precondition for talks.

After the DPRK completed its fast-track nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs, it now has something substantial to trade. It expects the United States to engage in the normal give-and-take of diplomatic negotiations. Former U.S. Department of State Special Representative for North Korea Joseph Yun notes, “The price has gone up. You have to address what they want. If you believe they should only address what we want I think that’s a very, very mistaken path.”

Gregory Elich is on the Board of Directors of the Jasenovac Research Institute and a Korea Policy Institute associate. He is a member of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea, a columnist for Voice of the People, and one of the co-authors of Killing Democracy: CIA and Pentagon Operations in the Post-Soviet Period, published in the Russian language. He is also a member of the Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and Militarism in Asia and the Pacific.

His website is

May 18, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Bolton and Johnson: the Malevolent Villain and the Vicious Buffoon on the Nuclear Stage

By Brian Cloughley | CounterPunch | April 6, 2018

There are currently several characters of clownish tendency on the stage of international affairs, with others waiting in the wings for an opportunity to prance forward and perform their antics. The most recent addition to the Western cast is the new National Security Adviser to President Trump, John Bolton, who isn’t so much a clown as a pantomime villain — a grimy scoundrel who skulks round the stage twirling his moustache, jeering at his censorious audience and plotting the downfall of whomever has displeased him.

On the other side of the Atlantic the sinister Bolton is complemented by a venomous buffoon, Boris Johnson, the foreign minister who enunciates British policy in the dignified fashion that we have come to expect from representatives of the United Kingdom.

In evidence to Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on March 21 Johnson “compared Russia’s hosting of the 2018 Football International tournament to Hitler’s notorious Berlin Olympics in 1936.” He then expanded his line of attack and declared “It is up to the Russians to guarantee the safety of England fans going to Russia. It is their duty under their FIFA contract to look after our fans. We are watching it very, very closely. At the moment we are not inclined actively to dissuade people from going because we want to hear from the Russians what steps they are going to take to look after our fans.”

The following day the British media reported that “Ninety England football fans have been arrested in Amsterdam for public order breaches as England prepared for tonight’s friendly match against the Netherlands . . . It came shortly after 25 fans were held overnight for drunken behavior as thousands descended on the Dutch capital . . . footage showed fans throwing pints of beer over tourists and jumping into the canal. In one clip supporters could be seen hurling beer over tourists in a boat and throwing a bike into the canal, while others chanted behind an England flag.”

Apparently these delicate, sensitive Englishmen need an assurance of safety, wherever they may go, and the British Foreign Secretary demanded that Russia inform the British government “what steps they are going to take to look after our fans.”

Mr Johnson’s fretful concern that elegant, sophisticated English football supporters will require protection is but one indicator of his distrust of Russia.  On March 6 he stated that “Russia is in many respects a malign and disruptive force,” which was an echo of Mr Bolton’s opinion of Russia — and many other countries.

On March 15 Bolton told Fox News that “Russia, China, Syria, Iran, North Korea . . . are regimes that make agreements and lie about them. A national security policy that is based on the faith that regimes like that will honor their commitments is doomed to failure.”

So now we know where Washington and London stand in regard to Russia. They are opposed to dialogue and indeed to any movement that might lead to rapprochement. They are ramping up confrontation daily, and although a war of words at the moment, it is obvious that both the US and the UK are preparing to escalate the conflict into something more dramatic. The pantomime villain and buffoon are uncompromising in their resolve to take their countries into a shooting war which would lead to planetary catastrophe.

Bolton announced that following the March 4 poisoning of the British spy, Sergei Skripal (a former Russian citizen who was a well-paid double agent and betrayed an unknown number of his countrymen to Britain’s intelligence service from 1995 to 2004), the response by Washington “needs to be such that we begin to create, in Vladimir Putin’s mind, deterrence theories that he will understand, if he undertakes this again the cost that Moscow will bear will be significantly greater. That’s how deterrence works.”

This is an intriguing change of stance for the elegant villain Bolton.  Consider, for example, the YouTube record of a 2013 interview in which he welcomed “a new era of Freedom for the Russian people” following President Putin’s election. He was proposing that Russia “grant a broader right to bear arms to its people, it would be creating a partnership with its citizens that would better allow for the protection of mothers, children, and families without in any way compromising the integrity of the Russian state. That is my wish and my advice to your great people.”

But then in July last year Bolton wrote in the UK Telegraph newspaper that “For Trump, it should be a highly salutary lesson about the character of Russia’s leadership to watch Putin lie to him. And it should be a fire-bell-in-the-night warning about the value Moscow places on honesty, whether regarding election interference, nuclear proliferation, arms control or the Middle East: negotiate with today’s Russia at your peril.”

His view of the world and especially of Russia has altered somewhat over the years, but his fellow performer Boris Johnson has the merit of being consistent, even if slightly jumbled.

One of Johnson’s tirades of anti-Russian innuendo and insult expanded into a vision of “global Britain” which is an intriguing concept. In a bizarre diatribe on March 28 he rejoiced that the country he represents on the world stage has “the most vibrant and dynamic cultural scene, with one venue – the British Museum – attracting more visitors than ten whole European countries that it would not be tactful to name tonight [presumably this was intended as humor]. And out of this great minestrone, this bouillabaisse, this ratatouille, this seething and syncretic cauldron of culture, we export not just goods – though we certainly do – but ideas and attitudes and even patterns of behavior.”

The cauldron of British culture is so effective that Mr Johnson was “delighted to say that in both the Czech Republic and in Iceland they mark Jan 7 with silly walks day in honor of Monty Python . . . and it is an astonishing fact that both of the two highest grossing movies in the world last year was either shot or produced in this country.”

This is national greatness? Silly walks, a couple of movies, and drunken football fans?

Johnson lives in a delirious world of fantasy, dalliance, and funny walks, but this does not make him any the less menacing, because his confrontational tirades are effective in swaying much of the population of a country that has lost direction and is stumbling on the world stage. He is both confrontational and callous — as illustrated by remarks last October about Libya, which was destroyed by a 9-month US-NATO bombing spree in 2011. His vision of its future was macabre to the point of obscenity, for “There’s a group of UK business people, wonderful guys who want to invest in Sirte, on the coast, near where Gaddafi was actually captured and executed as some of you may have seen, and they literally have a brilliant vision to turn Sirte into the next Dubai. The only thing they’ve got to do is clear the dead bodies away and then they’ll be there.”

He and Bolton are soul-mates in malevolence and belligerence. They hate President Putin and are preparing for ultimate confrontation with Russia, a scheme that is backed enthusiastically by many figures in their respective governments.

Acts on the world stage have become more dramatic, and these players, the villain and the buffoon, are helping make the globe a more dangerous place.

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

April 6, 2018 Posted by | Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

What’s Wrong with Trump’s New National Security Advisor

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 05.04.2018

Beyond the general concerns regarding the nomination of John Bolton as National Security Advisor, there is also the specific issue of his impending access to the most highly classified intelligence information that the United States possesses.

There are a number of reasons why Bolton should be denied a clearance, including his well-known record of abusing subordinates at State Department and colleagues at the United Nations. Bolton also has a close personal relationship with Israel and its government that may have included divulging classified information. The Israeli connection is particularly sensitive because Bolton is beholden to casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who has funded his activities since he left State Department in 2006. And Bolton knows how to return a favor, approving of Adelson’s suggestion to detonate a nuclear bomb in the Iranian desert, just to warn them what might be coming. Adelson, a major GOP donor, was displeased with Rex Tillerson and H.R. McMaster, and to have been instrumental in their removal. Both men supported the nuclear agreement with Iran and both are now gone. McMaster was also targeted as “anti-Israeli” for having opposed moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Bolton’s regard for Israel has included unauthorized disclosure of classified information when he was Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. He collaborated with the Israelis, often without the State Department being aware of what he was doing, to justify a US attack on Iran. The strategy to bring about a war included diplomatic pressure, crude propaganda, and the production of fabricated evidence by Mossad.

Bolton was technically under the supervision of Secretary of State Colin Powell, but he violated existing State Department regulations by taking a series of secret trips to Israel in 2003 and 2004. Thus, when Secretary of State Colin Powell was saying administration policy was not to attack Iran, Bolton was working with the Israelis to lay the groundwork for a new war. During a February 2003 visit, Bolton assured Israeli officials in private meetings that he had no doubt the United States would take down Saddam Hussein, before dealing with Iran and Syria.

During multiple trips to Israel, Bolton had unannounced meetings, including with the head of Mossad, Meir Dagan, without the usual reporting cable to the Secretary of State. Those meetings clearly dealt with a joint strategy on how to bring about political conditions for an eventual US strike against the Iranians.

John Bolton, while serving as US ambassador to the United Nations, also went behind his boss’s back to supply Israel with crucial information on American plans at the U.N. so as to redirect US policy. Dan Gillerman, who served as Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. in 2006 when Bolton was US ambassador has described how “in more than one case, Ambassador Bolton called me and alerted me to the fact that his mission—the United States mission to the U.N.—was about to vote against Israel and asked that I alert the prime minister, who at that time was Ehud Olmert. In more than one case the prime minister called the president, who was then George W. Bush, and got him to overrule the State Department.”

Bolton would regularly reach out to the Israelis to subvert positions being supported by the US government, as in August 2006 when the U.N. Security Council was considering Resolution 1701, with the purpose of ending a month-long war between Israel and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. Bolton warned the Israelis what Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was planning to support the initiative. Gillerman reports that “In that case John Bolton got in touch with me at about 8 o’clock in the evening, which was 3 in the morning in Israel, calling to say ‘You have to call your prime minister and tell him that Condi Rice sold you out to the French.’”

Given what John Bolton did when last in office, he should never again be allowed to have access to classified information since he would clearly abuse that privilege to satisfy his own agenda. That President Trump will undoubtedly grant Bolton access to all sensitive information is discouraging, particularly as the new Advisor, supremely sure of himself and possessing a proclivity to do what he considers expedient without regard for consequences, cannot be relied to do the right thing when it comes to national security. He should never be granted a clearance to use top level intelligence and should never be placed in a position of authority that would permit him to do mischief. Unfortunately, urging President Trump to reverse the Bolton decision because of the grave damage it will inevitably do to the United States is not likely to be received favorably by the White House.

April 5, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

What to Expect from the ‘Second Most Dangerous Man in Washington’

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 29.03.2018

It is fairly simple to understand what the appointment of John Bolton as the Trump Administration’s National Security Advisor is all about. First of all, as there is no congressional approval or confirmation process involved, the announcement made last week, which is being criticized from all sides, is not really subject to debate. Bolton is the new Advisor and will serve at the will of the president. One might note, however, that he is the third Advisor in fourteen months, so the position itself has in practice turned out to be a death sentence for those who have been bold enough to seek it.

Bolton is in place because his belligerent worldview coordinates very well with and validates that of the president, though it remains to be seen if that will translate into action. Trump’s harsh rhetoric has so far not produced a new war, though there are plenty of threats being flung about regarding Iran and North Korea, and there have been some unfortunate incidents in Syria and with Russia. But so far Donald Trump has, if anything, been more moderate than Hillary Clinton would likely have been.

John Bolton has been praised by some in the media in the false belief that he represents a “bad cop” in the administration who will free up Trump to act as the “good cop” in dealing with world problems. That is a fanciful analysis as the Administration is already well represented in “bad cops” in UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Another argument is that the White House sorely needs a shake-up of the National Security Council, which Bolton will head, because it is not aggressive enough in supporting US interests. It is a ridiculous argument as Bolton has never represented actual US interests. His guiding principle is that Washington should bomb everyone who is even remotely a threat and if someone is not a threat and merely an irritant, bomb them anyway.

Bolton’s appointment was based on good chemistry with Trump, who knows virtually nothing about what is going on in the world, but it also derives from demands made by the president’s major financial backer, Israeli-American casino multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson. Adelson has funded various ventures launched by Bolton and is his patron. For Adelson, US foreign policy is all about Israel, a reality that is reflected in those who are expressing their enthusiasm for the Bolton appointment: Israel’s government, the Israel Lobby in the United States, and the media that reflexively supports anything that is perceived as being beneficial for the Jewish state.

Bolton, described as “the most abrasive American diplomat of the twenty-first century,” is a frequent contributor to the media, so his views on what must be done are pretty well defined. It can be expected that he will continue to support any and all efforts to end the nuclear agreement with Iran and bring about regime change, to include support of the totalitarian terrorist-cult Mujahideen e Khalq (MEK), which has for many years been paying him to speak at their rallies. To reduce Iranian regional influence, he favors “reconstructing” Iraq and Syria.

John Bolton also believes that Russia’s alleged interference in American elections was an “act of war.” He thinks that negotiations with enemies are useless and recommends preemptive attacks by US forces to end the actual or potential weapons of mass destruction threat coming from North Korea and Iran. He further believes that the United Nations is a dangerous anachronism and that leadership of the entire world, when necessary, should be exercised by the United States based solely on American interests.

Not surprisingly, Bolton is hardcore pro-Israeli and has been associated with virulent Islamophobes like Pamela Geller. He wants to end the problem posed by potential Palestinian statehood, which he describes as a ploy to strangle Israel, by allowing Jordan to take control of some bits of the West Bank, Egypt to resume control of Gaza, and the Israelis to absorb what is left for its settlers.

Conservative columnist George Will describes Bolton as the “second most dangerous man in Washington,” the most dangerous being his boss. The New York Times in a lead editorial observes that “There are few people more likely than Mr. Bolton is to lead the country into war. His selection is a decision that is as alarming as any Mr. Trump has made… indulging his worst nationalistic instincts.”

I would add that Bolton is particularly dangerous because he is a well-educated ideologue who sounds credible. He is, unfortunately, exactly the type of advisor that an ignorant president would find convincing. Therein lies the danger.

March 29, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 1 Comment

Bolton the Doors, Mind That Johnson, the Neocons Are Coming

By Robert BRIDGE | Strategic Culture Foundation | 27.03.2018

The designation of John Bolton as US National Security Advisor, in addition to the State Department being taken over by the CIA, sends an unmistakable signal that the Trump administration is gearing up for some serious mischief in the Middle East.

In an ongoing administrative shakeup that has witnessed a number of controversial Trump appointees of late, including former CIA chief Mike Pompeo as the new Secretary of State, and Gina Haspel, who ran a CIA ‘black site’ prison in Thailand that used ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ (torture), as the new CIA chief, the most ominous is undoubtedly the decision to replace HR McMaster with John Bolton as the National Security Adviser.

At a time of high dudgeon in international affairs, Bolton is not the fire extinguisher the world so desperately needs, but rather an incendiary. Indeed, the former UN ambassador has had a direct hand in some of the most egregious US foreign policy moves in recent history, including appeals for regime change in Iraq, Libya, Iran and Syria. According to the warped worldview of Mr. Bolton, the best form of diplomacy is to be found at the sharp end of a missile strike, and to hell with the atomic fallout.

In a March 2015 opinion piece in the New York Times, with a headline that says it all (“To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran”), Bolton rebuked former US President Barack Obama for his “frantic efforts to reach agreement with Iran.” One need not read between the lines in what comes next to understand that Bolton is diametrically opposed to any sort of diplomacy with Tehran.

“The inescapable conclusion is that Iran will not negotiate away its nuclear program. Nor will sanctions block its building a broad and deep weapons infrastructure. The inconvenient truth is that only military action … can accomplish what is required,” Bolton wrote.

Then, speaking about “rendering inoperable” the Natanz and Fordow uranium-enrichment centers, he boasted that the US military “could do a thorough job of destruction, but Israel alone can do what’s necessary.”

Incidentally, that comment is frightfully similar to how Mike Pompeo, the new secretary of state, blithely spoke about an attack on Iran in 2014.

“In an unclassified setting, it is under 2,000 sorties to destroy the Iranian nuclear capacity,” Pompeo, then serving as House member, told a group of reporters. “This is not an insurmountable task for the coalition forces.”

Destroying Iran’s nuclear facilities, according to Dr. John Strangelove Bolton is just the first step of a program that would include “vigorous American support for Iran’s opposition, aimed at regime change in Tehran.”

Bolton also paid lip service to a conspiracy theory, based on a “leaked” UN document (which has yet to see the light of day, by the way), which promotes the idea that North Korea is sending chemical weapon material to Syria in a program that is being financed by Iran. Thus, in one fell swoop, three of the West’s newest candidates for regime change Syria, North Korea and Iran, are scooped up in a net stitched out of the yarn that Syria has an addiction to chemical weapons. If the charges sound preposterous, that’s because they are.

To believe for an atomic nanosecond that Syrian President Bashar Assad, who oversees a relatively respectable military complex, would have anything to do with chemical weapons at this crucial juncture in his political career – especially with the Russian military on his side – is patently absurd. Moreover, why does the West rush to blame Damascus for every chemical attack that happens in Syria (with the White Helmets conveniently on-site to film the aftermath) when it is the rag-tag rebels and terrorists who, bereft of any modern military arsenal, would be the ones most expected to resort to such barbaric, desperate tactics, and not least of all for the purpose of drawing the Western powers into the fray on their side? As some famous Greek once said, ‘To ask the question is to answer it.’

Meanwhile, even before the unholy triumvirate of Pompeo, Haspel and Bolton have been formally embedded into Team Trump, the world must endure the pitiful spectacle of US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, regularly screeching about obliterating anything that bears the slightest resemblance to a sovereign state.

She even had the supreme audacity to speak about Washington’s readiness to “bomb Damascus and even the presidential palace of Bashar Assad, regardless [of the] presence of the Russian representatives there.”

But these fiercely aggressive birds known as hawks are not just native to the febrile climate of Washington, D.C. This arrogant bird of prey can also be found as far east as the United Kingdom where it has perched in the House of Commons ever since Tony Blair made a hellacious pact with George W. Bush to join the jolly little fight known as the ‘war on terror.’

Just this month, Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent, was the target of a suspected assassination attempt in Salisbury, UK the military town where he moved following a spy-swap in 2010. After a brief investigation, UK British PM Theresa May swiftly blamed Russia for Skripal’s illness. Her argument was that since Mr. Skripal had been targeted by a nerve agent called ‘novichok,’ a chemical that had been produced in the Soviet Union, specifically in Uzbekistan, then it stood to reason that Russia was the culprit. Such an argument would be laughed out of any court of law.

Moreover, when Moscow requested samples of the agent from London, which, as a member of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) it was required to do, London balked. At the same time, no good motive can be found to explain why Russia would want to remove a has-been spy – with a traceable nerve agent, of all things – just a few weeks before presidential elections and the opening of the World Cup.

“He was handed in to Britain as a result of an exchange, said Dmitry Peskov, President Putin’s press-secretary, in an exclusive interview with RT. “So, why should Russia hand in a man that is of any importance or that is of any value? It’s unimaginable. If he’s handed in – so Russia quits with him. He’s of zero value or zero importance.”

Amid this outright mockery of the justice system, the buffoonery of Boris Johnson, the UK Foreign Secretary looked right at home. Instead of producing something the West no longer defers to in criminal cases known as ‘evidence,’ the best Johnson could do was conjure up warmed over clichés and compare Russia with Nazi Germany.

“I think the comparison with 1936 is certainly right. It is an emetic prospect to think of Putin glorifying in this sporting event,” he told the Foreign Affairs Committee.

After he was done with his Hitler rant, Johnson speculated as to why Russia would do such a thing.

“The timing (of the Salisbury attack) is probably more closely connected with the recent election in Russia,” he said. “And as many non-democratic figures do when facing an election or facing some critical political moment, it is often attractive to conjure up in the public imagination the notion of an enemy.”

With Putin’s popularity higher than any Western leader, Johnson’s explanation was wide of the mark.

One last word in closing with regards to the Skripal case that many observers seem to have overlooked. Around the time Mr. Skripal was targeted for assassination, purportedly by the Russians, back in the United States the House Intelligence Committee was announcing there had been no collusion between the Trump administration and Russia. Such an announcement was anticipated as early as February. Aside from this being an unacceptable embarrassment for the Democratic Party, not to mention the establishment, which some have taken to calling the ‘deep state,’ it also meant that Russia, as well as Donald Trump, would be cleared of the egregious charges. Clearly some kind of diversionary tactic would have been welcomed.

Was the attack on Sergei Skripal in fact an effort to deflect attention away from the faltering ‘RussiaGate’ case, as well as to keep the anti-Russia propaganda ball bouncing? As for a motivating factor, one need look no further than Russia’s gas contracts with European countries, a lucrative business that at least one global superpower would like more than anything to control. If there is one thing the Neocons like more than war it’s money. Follow the money.

March 27, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment