Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

‘I Was Set Up’: Papadopoulos Tells Sputnik He Was Target of US, UK Intelligence

Sputnik – 24.04.2019

George Papadopoulos, former foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and the first person to plead guilty in the Russiagate investigation, told Sputnik Tuesday that he was targeted by UK and US intelligence to serve as a “patsy” who would ease their targeting of the Trump campaign.

“I was set up to become some sort of patsy in this conspiracy, which I believe was designed for two reasons: one was to initially cover up that I was being spied on for other reasons,” Papadopoulos told Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear Tuesday, “and two, to then use me and frame me to eventually undermine the Trump presidency and use me as some sort of conspiracy person that connects all the dots that never existed in the first place.”

In October 2017, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI in what was the first guilty plea of those charged in the Russia probe. In the two years since, he has become a household name. A former volunteer foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, he came to the attention of the FBI regarding his contacts in 2016 related to US-Russian relations. In the end, he took a plea to the throwaway charge of making a false statement. He now has a book out called “Deep State Target: How I Got Caught in the Crosshairs of the Plot to Bring Down President Trump.”

​Papadopoulos explained that in the summer of 2015, he went to Europe for work after his initial approach to the Trump campaign was rebuffed and Ben Carson’s campaign fell apart. When he was preparing to leave after Trump did eventually approach him with an offer of work, he was invited by Arvinder Sambei, a co-director of the London Center of International Law Practice, to a conference on the Link Campus University in Rome, where he could meet well-connected people that would help him in future political work with the Trump campaign.

It was in March 2016 at the Link Campus, a CIA spy school that trained Italian intelligence services, that he met a Maltese academic named Joseph Mifsud, who offered to introduce Papadopoulos to Eurasian politicos, including in Russia, and to be a liaison between the Trump campaign and Russia.

It was this meeting, which Papadopoulos says he misreported the date of to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, that got him charged.

However, Papadopoulos said the Trump campaign was in general ambivalent and noncommittal about the idea of a foreign policy trip to Russia, which the adviser suggested in order to present image of worldliness and diplomatic credentials to US public, not to coordinate with Russia.

Papadopoulos said he never told the Trump campaign about Mifsud’s sudden revelations one night that the Russians ostensibly had “thousands” of Hillary Clinton’s emails, because he “never found this person credible.”

He noted that “in Europe there was open speculation that Hillary Clinton’s personal server had been hacked, so when Joseph Mifsud told me this information I thought he was validating a rumor, but then I was confused as to how he could have had inside information when this person couldn’t even introduce me to the Russian ambassador in London after I asked him to at least five times.” The former adviser said he “gossiped about it with the Greek foreign minister,” Nikos Kotzias, but never told Alexander Downer, then the Australian high commissioner to the UK, at a meeting at which Papadopoulos supposedly drunkenly blabbed about Russia having Clinton’s emails.

However, Papadopoulos told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou that Downer requested the meeting with him and that he believed the diplomat was recording him, so he remained “very cognizant of my surroundings at that meeting” — suspicions he said were later vindicated by conversations with FBI agents.

Papadopoulos told Sputnik he thought he was set up by US intelligence as a “patsy.”

“I believe I had been under surveillance immediately upon joining the campaign. And then there was this understanding that I was trying to organize this meeting with Western intelligence asset Joseph Mifsud, and he drops this information in my lap, and they hoped that I would repeat it to the campaign, but I never did.”

The former adviser said he was emailed out of the blue by Stefan Halper seeking a report on Greek and Cypriot politics at Cambridge University, where Halper heads the Department of Politics and International Studies. However, when they met in Britain, Papadopoulos says the scholar berated his opinions and asked very open-ended and leading questions about him and the Trump campaign’s goals, which Papadopoulos forcefully rejected.

The adviser told Sputnik that when Halper asked those questions, he pulled out his phone “similarly to how Alexander Downer had done, so I suspected right away that he was spying or he was recording my conversation.” Indeed, Halper was outed by US media as an FBI informant in May 2018 and, as the Intercept reported at the time, had also worked as a CIA operative to illegally spy on President Jimmy Carter’s administration during the 1980 presidential election.

“The Reagan campaign — using CIA officials managed by Halper, reportedly under the direction of former CIA Director and then-vice-presidential candidate George H.W. Bush — got caught running a spying operation from inside the Carter administration,” the Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald wrote. “The plot involved CIA operatives passing classified information about Carter’s foreign policy to Reagan campaign officials in order to ensure the Reagan campaign knew of any foreign policy decisions that Carter was considering.”

Papadopoulos said Halper was a spy, used to try and frame him as well as to “spy on me for my ties to the Israeli and Cypriot energy business, which I’ve been told I had a FISA warrant issued on me for, and that’s why he paid me $3,000 and lured me to London, where the CIA has jurisdiction, not the FBI, and where MI6 has jurisdiction… obviously Stefan Halper has very close links to MI6,” he said. Papadopoulos noted that Downer and Mifsud also have “suspicious links” to both each other and to MI6, the British intelligence agency.

Papadopoulos said he didn’t speak out after being implicated because he had a gag order, but also the FBI threatened his girlfriend Simona, “because she knew too much about Joseph Mifsud and his connections to Italy,” and she was serving as his voice during that period.

“Without her I would’ve had no credibility,” he told Sputnik, “and I think that’s actually why the Mueller team arrested me in the savagelike manner that they did, the reason they had me under a gag order and why they had me under a sealed indictment the way that they did, because they never wanted any of this story ever coming out. But unfortunately for them, it is coming out, and my testimony has been used by the Republicans to help launch new investigations into the investigators.”

None of this, he noted, could have ever taken place without the initiative of the Obama administration and the cooperation of foreign governments.

April 24, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Unaccountable Media Faced with Dilemma in Next Phase of Deep State-gate

By Ray McGovern | Consortium News | April 10, 2019

Readers of The Washington Post on Monday were treated to more of the same from editorial page chief Fred Hiatt. Hiatt, who won his spurs by promoting misleading “intelligence” about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and suffered no consequences, is at it again.

This time he is trying to adjust to the fading prospect of a Deus ex Mueller to lessen Hiatt’s disgrace for being among the most shameless in promoting the Trump-Russia collusion narrative.

He is not giving up. When you are confident you will not lose your job so long as you adhere to the agenda of the growing Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank complex (MICIMATT if you will), you need not worry about being a vanguard for the corporate media. It is almost as though Hiatt is a tenured professor in an endowed chair honoring Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter who perhaps did most to bring us Iraqi WMD.

In his Monday column Hiatt warned: “Trump was elected with the assistance of Russian spies and trolls, which he openly sought and celebrated. But he did not (or so we are told) secretly conspire with them.” In effect, Hiatt is saying, soto voce: “Fie on former (now-de-canonized) Saint Robert of Mueller; we at the Post and our colleagues at The New York Times, CNN et al. know better, just because we’ve been saying so for more than two years.”

Times executive editor Dean Baquet said, about the backlash to the Times‘ “collusion” coverage: “I have no regrets. It’s not our job to determine whether or not there was illegality.” CNN President Jeff Zucker said: “We are not investigators. We are journalists.” (One wonders what investigative journalist Bob Parry, who uncovered much of Iran-Contra and founded this site, would have thought of that last one.)

Going in Circles

Hiatt’s circular reasoning is all too familiar. It is the kind a former director of national intelligence excels at when he’s not lying, sometimes under oath. For instance, James Clapper was hawking his memoir at the Carnegie Endowment last year when he was confronted by unexpectedly direct questions from the audience.

Asked about the misleadingly labeled, rump “Intelligence Community Assessment” (ICA) of Jan. 6, 2017, which he orchestrated, and which blamed Russia for interfering in the 2016 election, Clapper gave an ipse dixit response: The ICA simply had to be correct because that’s what he had told President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump.

In fact, that “Intelligence Community Assessment” stands out as the most irresponsible, evidence-free and at the same time consequential crock of intelligence analysis since the National Intelligence Estimate of Oct. 2001 claimed there was WMD in Iraq. Recall that that one was shaped by out-and-out fraudulent intelligence to “justify” an attack on Iraq six months later.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, described the main thrust of the committee’s five-year bipartisan report, stating, “In making the case for war, the [Bush] Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent.”

Hiatt was one of the media’s major offenders, feeding on what the Cheney/Bush folks told him. When no “weapons of mass destruction” were found in Iraq, Hiatt conceded during an interview with The Columbia Journalism Review that, “If you look at the editorials we write running up [to the war], we state as flat fact that he [Saddam Hussein] has weapons of mass destruction … If that’s not true, it would have been better not to say it.” [CJR, March/April 2004] As Parry wryly observed at the time in a piece calling for Hiatt’s dismissal, “Yes, that is a common principle of journalism, that if something isn’t real, we’re not supposed to confidently declare that it is.”

The Morning After

Clapper: After WMD failure, promoted by Obama.  (White House Photo/ Pete Souza)

The media set the prevailing tone the day after the ICA was published. The banner headline atop page one of the Times read: “Putin Led Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Says.” That put in motion more than two years of Dick Cheney-like chicanery in the media.

Buried inside the Times that same day was a cautionary paragraph written by staff reporter Scott Shane who noted, “What is missing from the public report is what many Americans most eagerly anticipated: hard evidence to back up the [three] agencies’ claims that the Russian government engineered the election attack. That is a significant omission.” Indeed it was; and remains so.

(Sadly, Shane was then given his marching orders and fell in line with many other formerly reputable journalists in what has been the most miserable performance by the mainstream media since they helped pave the way for war on Iraq.)

Clapper and Hiatt are kindred souls when it comes to the “profound effect” of Russian election interference. In his column, Hiatt asserted as flat fact that: “Trump was elected with the assistance of Russian spies and trolls …” At the Carnegie event in November, Clapper opined:

“As a private citizen, understanding the magnitude of what the Russians did and the number of citizens in our country they reached and the different mechanisms that, by which they reached them, to me it stretches credulity to think they didn’t have a profound impact on election on the outcome of the election.”

Hiatt: Captain of Cheerleaders

Hiatt emulated peppy, preppy cheerleader George W. Bush in leading Americans to believe that war on Iraq was necessary. Appointed Washington Post editorial page editor in 2000, he still runs the page — having not been held accountable for gross misfeasance, if not malfeasance, on Iraq. Shades of Clapper, whom President Obama allowed to stay on as director of national intelligence for three and a half years after Clapper lied under oath to the Senate Intelligence Committee about NSA surveillance of U.S. persons.

That Obama appointed Clapper to lead the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election speaks volumes. Clapper claims to have expertise on Russia and has made no effort to disguise his views on “the Russians.” Two years ago, he told Chuck Todd on Meet the Press:

“… in context with everything else we knew the Russians were doing to interfere with the election, and just the historical practices of the Russians, who are typically, almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique … we were concerned.”

It beggars belief that Obama could have been unaware of Clapper’s bizarre views on “the Russians.” Clearly, Obama was bowing yet again to pressure from powerful Deep State actors arguing that Clapper was the ideal man for the job.

And there is now documentary evidence that, from the Deep State point of view, indeed he was. In the text exchanges between discredited FBI sleuth Peter Strzok and his girlfriend, Lisa Page, a lawyer working for the FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, it seems clear that Obama wanted to be kept apprised of the FBI’s behind-the-scenes machinations. In a Sept. 2, 2016 text to Strzok, Page writes that she was preparing talking points because the president “wants to know everything we’re doing.”

A Sweaty Pate?

Clapper is aware now that he is going to have to sweat it out. He may believe he can ignore White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, who has said that he and other former intelligence officials should be investigated after special counsel Mueller did not establish collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Strzok: Will he be on Nunes’s list? (Wikipedia)

But recent statements by members of the House and Senate intelligence committees cannot be dismissed so easily. In his media appearances, the supremely confident, hero-of-many-liberals Clapper has been replaced by a squirming (but-Obama-made-me-do-it) massager of facts. He may find it harder this time to avoid being held accountable.

Devin Nunes (R-CA), the House Intelligence Committee ranking member, has gone on the offensive, writing Friday that committee Republicans “will soon be submitting criminal referrals on numerous individuals involved … in the abuse of intelligence for political purposes. These people must be held to account to prevent similar abuses from occurring in the future.”

On Sunday, Nunes told Fox News he’s preparing to send eight criminal referrals to the Department of Justice this week concerning alleged misconduct during the Trump-Russia investigation. This will include leaks of “highly classified material” and conspiracies to lie to Congress and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. It’s no-holds-barred for Nunes, who has begun to talk publicly about prison for those whom DOJ might indict and bring to trial.

Nunes’s full-speed-ahead offensive is being widely ignored in “mainstream” media (with the exception of Fox), giving the media the quality of “The Dog That Did Not Bark in the Night.” The media has put its ducks in a row, such as they are, to try to rip Attorney General William Barr apart this coming week when he releases the redacted text of the Mueller report that so disappointed the Democratic Party/media coalition.

But how will they cover criminal referrals of the “heroes” who have leaked so much to them, providing grist for their Russia-gate mill? They will likely find a way, eventually, but the media silence about Nunes is depriving oxygen to the story.

On Sunday, Nunes said,

“They [the Democrats] have lied multiple times to the American people. All you have to do is look at their phony memos. They have had the full support of the media, 90 percent of the media in this country. They all have egg on their face. And so the fact of the matter remains, is there going to be — is justice going to be served or is justice going to be denied? And that’s why we’re sending over these criminal referrals.”

Nunes is, of course, trying to project an image of confidence, but he knows he is fighting uphill. There is no more formidable foe than the MICIMATT, with the media playing the crucial role in these circumstances. How will the American people be able to see egg on anyone’s face if the “mainstream media” find ways to wipe it off and turn the tables on Nunes, as they have successfully done in the past?

Though the Democrats now control the House, they have lost some key inside-the-Deep-State allies.

By all appearances, House Democrats still seem to be banking on help from the usual suspects still on duty in the FBI, CIA, and the Justice Department. Lacking that they seem ready to go down with the Schiff—Rep. Adam Schiff of California, perhaps the most virulent Russia-gater that there’s been.

Clapper is no longer in a position to help from the inside, and there’s no knowing how his sleepy replacement, Dan Coates, will react, if and when he wakes up long enough to learn chapter and verse about the machinations and dramatic personae of 2016.

Of course, there is a new sheriff in town running the Department of Justice. Attorney General William Barr, for better or ill, is a far cry from Jeff Sessions, who let himself be diddled into recusing himself. He’s not Rod Rosenstein either, whose involvement in this affair may have already earned him a prominent place on Nunes’s list of referrals.

What Did Obama Know, and When Did He Know It?

On top of this, Sen. Rand Paul (R, KY) has called for an investigation into the origins of Mueller’s probe, including on the dicey question of how witting President Obama was of the Deep State chicanery during the last months of his administration. Page did tell Strzok in that Sept. 2, 2016 text that the president “wants to know everything we’re doing.”

Sen. Paul has also tweeted information from “a high-level source” that it was former CIA Director John Brennan who “insisted that the unverified and fake Steele dossier be included in the Intelligence Report… Brennan should be asked to testify under oath in Congress ASAP.”

Vying for Media Attention

If, as expected, Nunes discloses the names of those being criminally referred to DOJ, and Barr releases a redacted text of the Mueller report, the “mainstream” media will have a fresh challenge on their hands. The odds would seem to favor the media covering the Democrats’ predictable criticism of Barr — and perhaps even of Mueller, now that he has been defrocked.

The Post’s Hiatt should be counted on, as always, to play a leading role.

At the same time, there are signs the America people are tired of this. It would be difficult though for the media to avoid reporting on criminal referrals of very senior law enforcement and intelligence officials. Given the media’s obvious preference for siding with the intelligence agencies and reporting on Russia-gate rather than Deep-State-gate, it would be even harder for the media to explain why these officials would be in trouble.

Things appear to be unraveling but, as always, much will depend on whether the media opts to remain the “dog that didn’t bark,” and succeeds again in hoodwinking too many people.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was a CIA analyst for 27 years and prepared the President’s Daily Brief for Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Reagan. He is on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

April 10, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Russiagate ‘patient zero’ Papadopoulos expects Mueller probe fiasco to expose deep state conspiracy

RT | April 2, 2019

With the Mueller investigation over and the Russiagate DOA, George Papadopoulos, former Trump campaign energy adviser, told RT he hopes the truth about the alleged deep state conspiracy will soon come out.

Lamenting the “disinformation” encircling the Trump campaign and Russia over the past three years, Papadopoulos explains that the only reasons the Trump team ever wanted to work with Russia were to stabilize Syria and Ukraine – and “to assure that Russia and China do not align in this devastating geopolitical alliance which will probably have many unpredictable consequences for the US in Europe and in Asia.”

But they never even got a chance to make any Russian connections, Papadopoulos says, adding that he was contacted by Israeli, Australian, and American intelligence – all of whom were interested in his “high-level connections in the Middle East” – but no Russians.

“It goes to the core of how corrupt the Mueller investigation really was, into supposed Russian interference when no one on the Trump campaign and the transition team was even dealing with Russians,” Papadopoulos said. “I’ve never met a Russian… official in my entire life, and somehow I find myself in the middle of a fake Russian conspiracy!”

The Mueller investigation zeroed in on Papadopoulos’ contact with Joseph Mifsud and Alexander Downer, both of whom the media portrayed as “Russian intermediaries” but whom Papadopoulos believes were working with the FBI, “dropping information in my lap that I did not want regarding Hillary Clinton’s emails in the hands of the Russians.” Papadopoulos even went so far as to report Downer to the FBI “because I thought he was spying on me.”

“The truth is going to be out there” when Trump declassifies the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) documents, Papadopoulos predicts. “It’s probably going to show the Obama administration, with the aid of both the Australian government and the UK government, were coordinating and laying various traps for the Trump campaign to essentially undermine us and that’s what they did for the last two years.”

Papadopoulos, who calls himself “Patient Zero of the Russian conspiracy,” was the first Trump affiliate to be indicted under the Mueller investigation and served 14 days in prison for making false statements to the FBI.

April 4, 2019 Posted by | Russophobia, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | Leave a comment

Russian collusion was no more than “conspiracy porn” created by Clinton and Obama

By Mitchell Feierstein | The Duran | April 1, 2019

After 675 days, 25 million dollars, 2,800 subpoenas, over 500 witnesses, and more than 500 search warrants, all of which took up the time of 20 prosecutors and nearly 50 FBI agents, Special Counsel Robert Mueller submitted the results of his “witch hunt” to the Attorney General of the United States of America, Robert Barr.

Barr, in turn, submitted a four-page overview highlighting the following conclusions: There are no further indictments of anyone and there was no collusion with Russia by any American. Barr and Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, whom Mueller reported to, determined that there was no obstruction by President Trump.

But, for the past three years, elite Democratic Party partisans, along with their media partners, force-fed thousands of “Bombshell” headlines to millions of Americans, without ever providing a lick of evidence. The absence of evidence supporting their outrageous lies coupled with the results of Mueller’s investigation and Barr’s conclusions establishes collusion – not between Russia and the Trump family to influence the 2016 presidential election, but amongst the Democrats and mass media to delegitimize the Trump presidency.

The Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said, “We saw cold, hard evidence of the Trump campaign, and indeed the Trump family, eagerly intending to collude with Russia.” Pelosi has never presented any evidence to support this claim or any of the many other suspect claims the speaker has made.

The Chairman of House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff said, “I have evidence of collusion with Russia and kompromat. It’s all in plain sight.” Schiff regularly repeated this claim to the public yet never provided any evidence. He appeared on CNN, MSNBC, NBC, and ABC over 150 times and was never called out for repeating these lies over and over again.

Congressman Eric Swalwell on MSNBC said, “Donald Trump is a Russian agent; we have evidence Trump and his family colluded with Russia.” Swalwell has parroted this and many other claims since 2016. Evidence provided: none.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters stated, “Trump and his buddies are scumbags who are all Putin’s puppets; we will Impeach 45.” Waters has been shrieking “Impeach 45” since election day in 2016. Water’s reason: she hates Trump and the entire Grand Old Party “GOP.”

Many other Democratic members of Washington DC’s swamp echoed similar propaganda that mobilized the Trump “resistance.” Their hit list of frequent salacious claims included “Trump in handcuffs;” “The entire Trump family, frog-marched, and jailed forever;” “Treason, much worse than Watergate, we have evidence;” “Trump has been a Russian asset since 1987;” “Trump is a racist, sexist, misogynist, Islamophobic, homophobic, transphobic, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, white-national, white-supremacist;” and let’s not forget “He’s the next Hitler.” This “hit list” has become the Democratic party mantra since Donald trump announced his candidacy in 2015.

Ex-Central Intelligence Agency “CIA” director John Brennan, who just so happens to be on MSNBC’s payroll, also weighed in on Trump. “Trump’s behavior is treasonous. He committed high crimes and misdemeanors. There is evidence that proves many people in Trump’s orbit are guilty of serious crimes and indictments are coming, and soon. Trump committed Treason” The penalty for committing “treason” in America, death. Brennan never provided any evidence. Brennan’s lies have destroyed the CIA’s reputation and credibility.

Viewers of CNN, MSNBC, NBC, and ABC were inundated with purposeful misrepresentations that continuously promised faithful audiences that Mueller and his team had “mountains” of evidence of Trump’s collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice. Day after day, these media outlets repeated how Mueller would deliver an indictment of President Trump, who had committed “treason and high crimes and misdemeanors” that would lead to his impeachment and jail time. The corrupt media represented that Trump’s family members, who were also guilty of similar crimes, would be sent to prison. All the above were outrageous lies.

In fact, the only convictions that arose through the Mueller investigation were low-level process crimes which had NOTHING to do with Trump. $25 million wasted, bravo! These salacious accusations proved to be part of an elaborate scheme to delegitimize the sitting president and his administration in order to remove him from office. However, the Democrats and mass media could not have done it without FBI Director James Comey’s exploitation of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

We know the whole coup d’état was facilitated by FBI Director James Comey’s October 20, 2016 submission of a 66-page application to the FISA court.

Comey and Sally Quillian Yates, the Deputy Attorney General of the United States, signed this application. Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, the presiding judge of the secret FISA court, granted an order that led to our intelligence agencies spying on the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump. The FBI ran a counter-intelligence investigation named “Crossfire Hurricane” on Trump’s campaign.

Comey’s FISA application was largely based on information contained in the Steele dossier, a dossier written by a disgraced MI6 agent named Christopher Steele. The dossier made wild, unsubstantiated claims and was financed by the campaign of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee via Clinton’s law firm Perkins Coie through a company named Fusion GPS.

In a meeting with President Trump in early January 2017, James Comey told President Trump about the existence of the Steele dossier and told him not to worry about it. Comey stated that the dossier’s contents were salacious, unverified, and untrue. Apparently, James Comey knew, yet never disclosed to Judge Collyer, that the Steele dossier was garbage prepared by political partisans that did not want Trump to be
elected and financed by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Three days after Comey’s meeting with Trump the entire Steele dossier was “leaked” to numerous media sources and published in it’s entirety on Buzzfeed with no mention that none of the claims in the Steele dossier had been verified.

Comey signed and submitted two more FISA applications, one in Jan 2017, and another in April 2017 which relied upon the Steele dossier. FISA Judge Michael W. Mosman signed the January renewal, and Judge Anne C. Conway signed the April renewal.

Apparently, Comey never disclosed, to any of the FISA judges, that the Steele dossier was: paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign, and the DNC, or that the Department of Justice’s Bruce Ohr had warned on the credibility of the unverified Steele Dossier, or that Bruce Ohr’s wife worked for Fusion GPS and helped back door the Steele dossier into the FBI, or that the dossier was filled with baseless allegations, lies, and
propaganda. It appears that four secret court, FISA, judges were lied to in order to kick- off the biggest scandal in history.

FBI’s Deputy Director Andrew McCabe recently stated during Congressional testimony that “without the Steele dossier, the FISA warrants would have never been granted.” Recent reports suggest that it was ex-CIA director John Brennan who insisted that the Steele dossier be included in the intelligence report used to request the FISA warrants. Senator Rand Paul has issued a call that Brennan be called to testify under oath in Congress.

The entire Mueller investigation would have never been possible without this fake dossier being used to illegally obtain FISA warrants by the omission of material facts within the original FISA application and the three subsequent renewal applications.

Why is Judge Collyer not looking into these and other material misrepresentations used in the FISA application to obtain search warrants to spy on Americans and on a presidential campaign by its opposition and enabled by a weaponized Obama Department of Justice? The silence of secret FISA court Judges Mosman, Conway, and Dearie is frightening. America’s secret courts should be abolished.

April 1, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why There’ll Be No US-Russia Reset Post-Mueller

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 28.03.2019

President Donald Trump and his White House team may have been cleared of collusion with the Kremlin in the 2016 presidential election. That startling conclusion by Special Counsel Robert Mueller after nearly two years of investigation, might be viewed by some as giving Trump freedom to now get on with normalizing relations with Moscow. Don’t bet on it.

Mueller’s report, and US attorney general William Barr’s appraisal of it, only partially vindicate Trump’s long-held claims that the whole so-called “Russiagate” story is a “hoax”.

Yes, Mueller and Barr conclude that neither Trump nor his campaign team “conspired” with Russia to win the presidential race. But Democrat opponents are now dredging up the possibility that Trump “unwittingly” facilitated Kremlin cyber operations to damage his 2016 rival for the White House, Hillary Clinton.

In his summary of Mueller’s report, Barr unquestioningly accepts as fact the otherwise contentious claim that Russia interfered in the US election. Democrats and the anti-Trump US news media have not been deterred from pursuing their fantasy that the Kremlin allegedly meddled in US democracy. Trump has been cleared, but Russia has certainly not. It very much continues to have the smear of interference slapped all over its image.

At the heart of this narrative – bolstered by Mueller and Barr – is the false claim that Russian cyber agents hacked into the Democrat party computer system during 2016 and released emails compromising Clinton to the whistleblower website Wikileaks. That whole claim has been reliably debunked by former NSA technical expert William Binney and other former US intelligence officials who have shown indisputably that the information was not hacked from outside, but rather was released by an insider in the Democrat party, presumably based on indignation over the party’s corruption concerning the stitch-up against Clinton’s rival nomination for the presidential ticket, Bernie Sanders.

That is real scandal crying out to be investigated, as well as the Obama administration’s decision to unleash FBI illegal wiretapping and dirty tricks against Trump as being a “Russian stooge”. The Russian collusion charade was always a distraction from the really big serious crimes carried out by the Obama White House, the FBI and the Democrat party.

In any case, the notion that Russia interfered in the US elections – even without Trump’s collusion – has become an article of faith among the American political and media establishment.

That lie will continue to poison US-Russia relations and be used to justify more economic sanctions being imposed against Moscow. Trump may be cleared of being a “Kremlin stooge”. But he will find no political freedom to pursue a normalization in bilateral relations because of the predictable mantra about Russia interfering in American democracy.

But there is a deeper reason why there will be no reset in US-Russia relations. And it has nothing to do with whether Trump is in the White House. The problem is a strategic one, meaning it relates to underlying geopolitical confrontation between America’s desired global hegemony and Russia’s rightful aspiration to be an independent foreign power not beholden to Washington’s dictate.

Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin has presented a somewhat shocking quandary for the US ruling class. It found that Russia was no longer in the servile business of rolling over to pander to Washington’s tyranny in international relations. Under Putin, Russia shook off the vassal status that it had unfortunately acquired under the feckless presidency of Boris Yeltsin (1991-99).

Putin’s landmark speech in Munich in 2007 was certainly a watershed moment in geopolitical relations whereby the Russian leader condemned US rampaging across the Middle East with criminal wars.

Then there was the failed attempt in 2008 by the US and NATO to over-run Georgia, failed because of a decisive military intervention by Russia in support of neighboring South Ossetia.

The return of the Cold War in US-Russia relations under former President GW Bush was due to the realization in Washington that Putin and Russia were no longer subordinates that could be pushed around for the gratification of American imperialism.

The Americans then tried another tack. Public relations and inveigling.

When Barack Obama took over the White House in 2009, there was the famous “reset policy” initiated by Washington towards Moscow. In March 2009, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greeted Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Geneva with a jokey “reset button”, purportedly to demonstrate a willingness in Washington for a new beginning in bilateral relations.

Ominously, Clinton’s State Department mislabelled the button with the Russian word for “overload” not “reset”. Her inane cackling to ingratiate herself with the skeptical Lavrov was also a giveaway of a phony reset.

Look how hollow such ostensible claims for “reset” by Washington have since manifested.

Admittedly, there was a significant gain in Obama’s negotiation of substantial nuclear arms reductions with the New START treaty in 2010.

However, it didn’t take long until Washington was back to its usual business of subversions and covert wars for regime change against foreign states that didn’t kowtow to its dictates. We saw this with ample evidence in the overthrow of Libya’s government in 2011, the attempted ouster in Syria beginning the same year, and the even more daring American intervention in Ukraine in early 2014 when it installed a rabidly anti-Russian regime through an illegal coup d’état.

We are also presently seeing this criminal American imperialism being conducted brazenly towards Venezuela, where Washington wants to overthrow a socialist president in order to get its corporate hands on the South American country’s vast oil wealth.

All the while, Russia has become ever more resolute its defiance of Washington’s global gangsterism. Moscow’s military defense of Syria from US-led regime change was certainly a pivotal moment in defining the limits of Moscow’s tolerance, as was Russia’s defense of Crimea.

For these reasons, Washington in its chagrin has moved to abandon the other major arms control treaty, the INF, which could allow it to install short and medium-range nuclear missiles in Europe, thus aggravating threats and tensions with Russia. The future of the much-vaunted New START treaty is also in doubt because of American vacillation. So much for Obama’s “reset”.

These are the structural, strategic factors in why Washington is set on a course of hostility towards Moscow. It has got very little to do with President Trump being in the White House or whether he has been cleared of “collusion” with Moscow.

The fundamental issue for Washington is that Russia is not a vassal for American imperialism. That’s why there will be no reset. There will only be reset when American imperialism is replaced by a law-abiding, genuinely democratic US government. Until then, expect more US hostility, confrontation and even war towards Russia.

March 28, 2019 Posted by | Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Washington told Ukraine to end probe into George Soros-funded group during 2016 US election – report

RT | March 27, 2019

An NGO co-funded by George Soros was spared prosecution in 2016 after the US urged Ukraine to drop a corruption probe targeting the group, the Hill reported, pointing to potential shenanigans during the US presidential election.

Bankrolled by the Obama administration and Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros, the Anti-Corruption Action Centre (AntAC) was under investigation as part of a larger probe by Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office into the misallocation of $4.4 million in US funds to fight corruption in the eastern European country.

As the 2016 presidential race heated up back in the United States, the US Embassy in Kiev gave Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko “a list of people whom we should not prosecute” as part of the probe, the Hill reported. Ultimately, no action was taken against AntAC.

Lutsenko told the paper that he believes the embassy wanted the probe nixed because it could have exposed the Democrats to a potential scandal during the 2016 election.

A State Department official who spoke with the Hill said that while the request to nix the probe was unusual, Washington feared that AntAC was being targeted as retribution for the group’s advocacy for anti-corruption reforms in Ukraine.

AntAC wasn’t just the benefactor of well-connected patrons – at the time it was also collaborating with FBI agents to uncover then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s business dealings in Ukraine. Manafort later became a high-profile target of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into alleged Russian collusion, and was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison for tax fraud and other financial crimes.

Lutsenko divulged in an interview with the Hill last week that he has opened an investigation into whether Ukrainian officials leaked financial records during the 2016 US presidential campaign in an effort to sway the election in favor of Hillary Clinton.

While AntAC may have failed to help the FBI find the Russia collusion smoking gun, the group’s activities constitute yet another link between the anti-climactic Russiagate probe and Soros, a Democrat mega-donor who bet big on Hillary Clinton taking the White House in 2016.

In 2017, the billionaire philanthropist siphoned money into a new group, the Democracy Integrity Project, which later partnered with Fusion GPS to create the now-infamous Steele dossier.

Spokespersons for AntAC and the Soros umbrella group Open Society Foundations declined to comment on the Hill’s scoop.

Ironically, the prosecutor general who had preceded Lutsenko, Viktor Shokin, resigned under pressure from Washington – which accused Shokin of corruption.

Virtuous US officials continue to make similar demands of Ukraine’s justice system. Earlier this month, Washington urged the Ukrainian government to fire its special anti-corruption prosecutor, again over accusations of administrative abuse.

March 27, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Russophobia | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Apologies to President Trump

By Sharyl Attkisson – The Hill – 03/25/19

With the conclusions of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe now known to a significant degree, it seems apologies are in order.

However, judging by the recent past, apologies are not likely forthcoming from the responsible parties.

In this context, it matters not whether one is a supporter or a critic of President Trump.

Whatever his supposed flaws, the rampant accusations and speculation that shrouded Trump’s presidency, even before it began, ultimately have proven unfounded. Just as Trump said all along.

Yet, each time Trump said so, some of us in the media lampooned him. We treated any words he spoke in his own defense as if they were automatically to be disbelieved because he had uttered them. Some even declared his words to be “lies,” although they had no evidence to back up their claims.

We in the media allowed unproven charges and false accusations to dominate the news landscape for more than two years, in a way that was wildly unbalanced and disproportionate to the evidence.

We did a poor job of tracking down leaks of false information. We failed to reasonably weigh the motives of anonymous sources and those claiming to have secret, special evidence of Trump’s “treason.”

As such, we reported a tremendous amount of false information, always to Trump’s detriment.

And when we corrected our mistakes, we often doubled down more than we apologized. We may have been technically wrong on that tiny point, we would acknowledge. But, in the same breath, we would insist that Trump was so obviously guilty of being Russian President Vladimir Putin’s puppet that the technical details hardly mattered.

So, a round of apologies seem in order.

Apologies to Trump on behalf of those in the U.S. intelligence community, including the Department of Justice and the FBI, which allowed the weaponization of sensitive, intrusive intelligence tools against innocent citizens such as Carter Page, an adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign.

Apologies also to Page himself, to Jerome Corsi, Donald Trump Jr., and other citizens whose rights were violated or who were unfairly caught up in surveillance or the heated pursuit of charges based on little more than false, unproven opposition research paid for by Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Apologies for the stress on their jobs and to their families, the damage to their reputations, the money they had to spend to hire legal representation and defend themselves from charges for crimes they did not commit.

Apologies on behalf of those in the intelligence community who leaked true information out of context to make Trump look guilty, and who sometimes leaked false information to try to implicate or frame him.

Apologies from those in the chain of command at the FBI and the Department of Justice who were supposed to make sure all information presented to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) is verified but did not do so.

Apologies from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court judges who are supposed to serve as one of the few checks and balances to prevent the FBI from wiretapping innocent Americans. Whether because of blind trust in the FBI or out of ignorance or even malfeasance, they failed at this important job.

Apologies to the American people who did not receive the full attention of their government while political points were being scored; who were not told about some important world events because they were crowded out of the news by the persistent insistence that Trump was working for Russia.

Apologies all the way around.

And now, with those apologies handled — are more than apologies due?

Should we try to learn more about those supposed Russian sources who provided false “intel” contained in the “dossier” against Trump, Page and others? Should we learn how these sources came to the attention of ex-British spy Christopher Steele, who built the dossier and claimed that some of the sources were close to Putin?

When and where did Steele meet with these high-level Russian sources who provided the apparently false information?

Are these the people who actually took proven, concrete steps to interfere in the 2016 election and sabotage Trump’s presidency, beginning in its earliest days?

Just who conspired to put the “dossier” into the hands of the FBI? Who, within our intel community, dropped the ball on verifying the information and, instead, leaked it to the press and presented it to the FISC as if legitimate?

“Sorry” hardly seems to be enough.

Will anyone be held accountable?

Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) is an Emmy Award-winning investigative journalist, author of The New York Times best-sellers “The Smear” and “Stonewalled,” and host of Sinclair’s Sunday TV program, “Full Measure.”

March 27, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Kill Them Over There, Not Here, Please.

By Jeremy Salt | American Herald Tribune | March 20, 2019

All of us must stand against hatred in all of its forms. – Barrack Obama

Israel mourns the wanton murder of innocent worshippers – Benjamin Netanyahu

White supremacist terrorism must be condemned by leaders everywhere – Hillary Clinton

People of all faiths must condemn these attacks and call out those who encourage Islamophobia. – Madeleine Albright

These are excerpts from some of the messages of condolence sent to New Zealand by ‘world leaders’ after the Christchurch massacre. There is no point in giving more names because all politicians and public figures would say the same, as they should, given the monstrosity of the crime.

Obama, Netanyahu, Clinton, and Albright have been chosen because they have been responsible for acts of murder infinitely greater than the slaughter of 50 Muslims in New Zealand.

The victims of their crimes and the crimes of their political predecessors in the past three decades run into the millions. Brenton Tarrant terrorized Muslims in two mosques in one country. They have terrorized Muslim populations in a number of countries. He has violated New Zealand law. They have violated international law. He will be punished but they never are.

Obama, Netanyahu, Clinton, and Albright have never uttered a word of remorse for the crimes they have committed. Not once has the head of any western government expressed regret for the millions of people killed in Muslim countries over the past three decades, not with Brenton Tarrant’s semi-automatic firearms, but bombs, missiles, and tank fire or, in the case of Syria, with the armed gangs set loose like attack dogs.

When asked whether she thought the ‘price’ paid for the first Gulf War (1991) and the decade of sanctions that followed, which took the lives of 500,000 children, was worth it, Madeleine Albright replied: ‘We think the price is worth it.’

For these governments and politicians, the price is always worth it as long as someone else pays. Even now there is nothing but estimates of how many Iraqis were killed or died as a result of the two wars launched against their country but the figure hovers around three million since 1991.

On top of this are the millions of wounded, many disabled for life, and the children born with deformities because of the use of uranium-depleted weapons.

Senior UN officials described the war and decade of sanctions against Iraq as genocide. No horror was expressed in the media for the enormous crimes that had been committed almost wholly against Muslims, men, women, and children as innocent as Brenton Tarrant’s victims.  Except on the margins, no demands were ever made for those responsible to face justice.

Every Tuesday Obama sat in his office and signed the death warrant for Yemenis or Somalis targeted in drone missile strikes that were totally illegal under international law. Thousands have been killed in these attacks, many if not most of them civilians, men, women and a lot of children. They are all Muslims. Did any of the politicians sending condolences to New Zealand and condemning terrorism ever bend their heads in shame at the killings in Yemen or Somalia and demand moral accountability and legal responsibility?

Has even one of them condemned Benjamin Netanyahu for the crimes committed against Muslims in Palestine, for the massacres of the innocent by sniper fire, missile strike, and artillery fire? Is the killing of Muslim children somehow different in New Zealand and Palestine?

After the destruction of Libya, Hillary Clinton laughed when told Muammar al Qadhafi had been killed, most brutally. This was her war, Obama’s war, a war of deceit that was carried on for seven months, destroying the most developed country in Africa and killing thousands. They were all Muslims. What else did Libya represent but Clinton’s ‘white supremacist terror,’ the same terror that has been delivered across the Muslim world by western governments for the past 200 years.

In Syria an estimated half a million people have been killed in a war orchestrated by western governments and their regional ‘allies.’ Their weapons of choice, the terrorist groups they have armed and financed, have assassinated, massacred and slaughtered in every way possible, thinkable and unthinkable.

Nearly all of their victims have been Muslims. In the face of this slaughter their paymasters, procurers, and enablers have remained morally mute, save for trying to blame the Syrian government for the war they initiated.

Over decades these enormous crimes have forced millions of people out of their wrecked countries. They have fled in all directions. Many have drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach the presumed safety of Europe. Boats headed in the direction of Australia, only to be turned back at sea or for the desperate people they were carrying to be locked up in ‘detention centers’ if they managed to slip through. Many sank and many men, women, and children drowned.

Australia was a willing participant in the wars that destroyed their homes yet refused them entry, abusing them as ‘queue jumpers.’ They were locked up behind razor wire in the middle of the desert so the Australian people could not see them and feel sorry for them. All were Muslims and many were children, treated as cruelly as the adults.

No matter how many millions of innocent people are killed in the Middle East, the designation of terrorist is reserved for Brenton Tarrant or the Islamic State, not for the western governments and the gangs they and their regional allies have employed in Syria to do their dirty work.

The same media that has covered up the monstrous crimes committed against Muslims in the Middle East can now talk of nothing else but the danger of white supremacists, not the far greater danger that Muslims around the world have always faced from western governments.

Brenton Tarrant, the Islamic state, Israel, the US and its ‘allies’ and the armed groups they are sponsoring in Syria are all joined at the hip. Terror is terror whether state or individual. Brenton Tarrant now has to face the consequences of what he has done. The politicians who have destroyed Middle Eastern countries don’t.

There is a law for Brenton Tarrant. There is no law for the politicians. Tarrant will be jailed for life for the murder of 50 Muslims. Politicians responsible for the deaths of millions of Muslims never seen the inside of a jail.  We have a system of international law but only in theory. In practice, when the massive crimes of the powerful are involved, it does not work. It is broken.

Claud Cockburn (father of Patrick) called the 1930s the ‘devil’s decade.’ The devils were human, of course: nationalist socialists and fascists destroying Spain, Italian fascists poison- gassing Ethiopians and Japanese fascists slaughtering Chinese. Now, since the 1990s, we have had nearly three devil’s decades.

Today’s western liberal democracies – as they are called – are doing exactly what the fascists did in the 1930s. Instead of Spain, we have Syria. Instead of Guernica, we have hadFallujah. Country after country has been destroyed by these liberal democrats in their grey suits and pastel ties. Do they really need to wear black or brown uniforms for people to recognize them for the killers that they are?

In their pursuit of power, they have no more respect for international law than the fascists and national socialists did in the 1930s. They have no respect for human life over there.

Yet when it comes to the killing of Muslims over here, they, and their outliers in the media are shocked, appalled and outraged at this senseless act of terror. Brenton Tarrant is a sick, depraved and twisted individual but so is Benjamin Netanyahu and so are the politicians responsible for the deaths of millions of Muslims in distant countries. Over there, not here, and that is what counts.

March 21, 2019 Posted by | Islamophobia, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Iraq War Lies: My Letter to Rob Reiner on “Shock and Awe”

By Sam Husseini | March 21, 2019

Here’s a letter that was sent to Rob Reiner in April 2016. At the time, he was directing the film “Shock and Awe” which would be released the following year. 

Dear Rob Reiner —

I’ve of course enjoyed your work over the years.

I recently tweeted “Finally saw ‘The Big Short’. Good. Sure they’ll produce a film about folks who were right about Iraq wmds any decade now.”

Immediately, a couple of McClatchy reporters I know responded, tweeting that you are working on “Shock and Awe.”

At the Institute for Public Accuracy, we got a lot of critical information out scrutinizing claims regarding alleged Iraq WMDs from 2002-03 and I thought you’d be interested in learning of it.

A sample: in October, 2002, John R. MacArthur, author of Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the 1991 Gulf War, noted on one of our news releases: “Recently, Bush cited an IAEA report that Iraq was ‘six months away from developing a weapon. I don’t know what more evidence we need.’ The IAEA responded that not only was there no new report, ‘there’s never been a report’ asserting that Iraq was six months away from constructing a nuclear weapon.” That’s just the tip of the iceberg of what was knowable at the time. See other such news releases we put out from before the invasion: “White House Claims: A Pattern of Deceit” and “Bush’s War Case: Fiction vs. Facts at Accuracy.org/bush” and “U.S. Credibility Problems” and “Tough Questions for Bush on Iraq Tonight.”

Something of a mythology developed after the invasion that “now we know” that Bush lied. That itself was false. It was knowable before the invasion that the Bush administration was putting forward falsehoods.

Like “The Big Short,” different people were reaching the same conclusion — the Iraq war case was based on lies — from different angles before the war. Knight-Ridder was doing their work and we were doing ours. They had internal anonymous sources, we dealt with things in the public record, but made the effort to seriously scrutinize the claims.

We also got delegations to Iraq lead by our executive director, Norman Solomon: One with the actor Sean Penn, another with former UN Assistant Secretary General Denis Halliday, yet another with former Sen. James Abourezk and Rep. Nick Rahall (Iraq allowed the inspectors — which had been withdrawn during the Clinton administration — back in Iraq just after that delegation urged them to do so.)

One trip we’d planned, that would have done the most to address the WMD issue, was with former WMD inspector Scott Ritter. However, just before the trip, news leaked that he was accused of interacting online with sexual content with under aged girls. So that trip never happened.

Many critical aspects of the Iraq war lies have never seriously been dealt with. For example, lots of people who voted against authorizing war still claimed that Iraq had WMDs, effectively helping the case for war while voting against it. One was Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. I questioned her about that after the invasion. Virtually the entire upper echelon of Obama’s foreign policy team backed the Iraq invasion, the 23 senators who voted against it were effectively iced out. Here’s a news release we did in 2013 on Kerry claiming he was opposed to the Iraq war.

Some who went the last mile to expose the war lies were never meaningfully acknowledged. Katharine Gun, who worked with British intelligence, leaked a memo from the NSA ordering a surge of spying at the UN to help obtain a second UN resolution authorizing the invasion — presumably by attempting to get info to blackmail or bully other Security Council members. U.S. officials had said there would be a second UN resolution, but this leak helped block that. After the war, we organized an effort to prevent the British government from prosecuting Gun under their official secrets act. I wrote a piece looking back on this case in 2014.

Another aspect that’s still poorly understood is the role of torture in producing the case for war. It’s a liberal mantra that “torture doesn’t work” but that’s not really true. It does work — to produce false but useful (dis)information. For example, Ibn Shaykh al-Libi was tortured by the Mubarak regime into falsely “confessing” that Iraq was tied to Al-Qaeda and was helping it to obtain chemical and biological weapons. That claim ended up in Colin Powell’s UN speech before the Iraq invasion. Powell’s chief of staff Larry Wilkerson has since written about this fairly forthrightly. I questioned Powell about this in 2009, but he was still refusing to admit meaningful wrongdoing. See a piece of mine: “‘Both Sides’ Are Wrong: Torture Did Work — to Produce Lies for War.”

There’s obviously a lot more I could go into — I’d been tracking Iraq fairly closely through out the 1990s, including Clinton administration deceits around its strikes and the perpetual sanctions policy Bill Clinton tragically adopted from the first Bush administration as he came into office.

Here’s a Washington Post op-ed I wrote in 1999: “Twisted Policy on Iraq.” Unfortunately, such media were incredibly closed after 9/11 — here’s video of Bill O’Reilly cutting my microphone two days after 9/11.

Certainly, I don’t doubt that one could do a 20-hour documentary and not get at all the deceit around the Iraq invasion. There was a staggering amount of fabrication from the Bush administration and so many foibles from the antiwar movement and other quarters. But I’d be very happy to help in making your effort as meaningful and compelling as possible.

Best regards,
Sam Husseini

March 21, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Telling Only Part of the Story of Jihad

By Daniel LAZARE | Consortium News | February 21, 2019

A recent CNN report about U.S. military materiel finding its way into Al Qaeda hands in Yemen might have been a valuable addition to Americans’ knowledge of terrorism.

Entitled “Sold to an ally, lost to an enemy,” the 10-minute segment, broadcast on Feb. 4, featured rising CNN star Nima Elbagir cruising past sand-colored “Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected” armored vehicles, or MRAPs, lining a Yemeni highway.

“It’s absolutely incredible,” she says. “And this is not under the control of [Saudi-led] coalition forces. This is in the command of militias, which is expressly forbidden by the arms sales agreements with the U.S.”

“That’s just the tip of the iceberg,” she adds. “CNN was told by coalition sources that a deadlier U.S. weapons system, the TOW missile, was airdropped in 2015 by Saudi Arabia to Yemeni fighters, an air drop that was proudly proclaimed across Saudi backed media channels.” The TOWs were dropped into Al Qaeda-controlled territory, according to CNN. But when Elbagir tries to find out more, the local coalition-backed government chases her and her crew out of town.

U.S.-made TOWs in the hands of Al Qaeda? Elbagir is an effective on-screen presence. But this is an old story, which the cable network has long soft-pedaled.

In the early days of the Syrian War, Western media was reluctant to acknowledge that the forces arrayed against the Assad regime included Al Qaeda. In those days, the opposition was widely portrayed as a belated ripple effect of the Arab Spring pro-democracy uprisings elsewhere in the region.

However, in April-May 2015, right around the time that the Saudis were air-dropping TOWs into Yemen, they were also supplying the same optically-guided, high-tech missiles to pro-Al Qaeda forces in Syria’s northern Idlib province. Rebel leaders were exultant as they drove back Syrian government troops. TOWs “flipped the balance,” one said, while another declared: “I would put the advances down to one word – TOW.”

CNN reported that story very differently. From rebel-held territory, CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh described the missiles as a “possible game-changer … that may finally be wearing down the less popular side of the Shia-Sunni divide.” He conceded it wasn’t all good news: “A major downside for Washington at least, is that the often-victorious rebels, the Nusra Front, are Al Qaeda. But while the winners for now are America’s enemies, the fast-changing ground in Syria may cause to happen what the Obama administration has long sought and preached, and that’s changing the calculus of the Assad regime.”

Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and The New York Times all reacted the same way, furrowing their brows at the news that Al Qaeda was gaining, but expressing measured relief that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was at last on the ropes.

But now that Elbagir is sounding the alarm about TOWs in Yemen, CNN would do well to acknowledge that it has been distinctly more blasé in the past about TOWs in the hands of al Qaeda.

The network appears unwilling to go where Washington’s pro-war foreign-policy establishment doesn’t want it to go. Elbagir shouldn’t be shocked to learn that U.S. allies are consorting with Yemeni terrorists.

U.S. History with Holy Warriors

What CNN producers and correspondents either don’t know or fail to mention is that Washington has a long history of supporting jihad. As Ian Johnson notes in “A Mosque in Munich” (2010), the policy was mentioned by President Dwight Eisenhower, who was eager, according to White House memos, “to stress the ‘holy war’ aspect” in his talks with Muslim leaders about the Cold War Communist menace.” [See “How U.S. Allies Aid Al Qaeda in Syria,” Consortium News, Aug. 4, 2015.]

Britain had been involved with Islamists at least as far back as 1925 when it helped establish the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and both the U.S. and Britain worked with Islamists in the 1953 coup in Iran, according to Robert Dreyfus in “Devil’s Game” (2006).

By the 1980s a growing Islamist revolt against a left-leaning, pro-Soviet government in Afghanistan brought U.S. support. In mid-1979, President Jimmy Carter and his national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, armed the Afghan mujahideen — not at first to drive the Soviets out, but to lure them in. Brzezinski intended to deal Moscow a Vietnam-sized blow, as he put it in a 1998 interview.

Meanwhile, a few months after the U.S. armed the mujahideen, the Saudis were deeply shaken when Islamist extremists seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca and called for the overthrow of the royal family. While Saudi Arabia has been keen to repress jihadism at home, it has been a major supporter of Sunni extremists in the region, particularly to battle the Shi‘ite regime that came to power in Tehran, also in 1979.

Since then, the U.S. has made use of jihad, either directly or indirectly, with the Gulf oil monarchies or Pakistan’s notoriously pro-Islamist Inter-Services Intelligence agency. U.S. backing for the Afghan mujahideen helped turn Osama bin Laden into a hero for some young Saudis and other Sunnis, while the training camp he established in the Afghan countryside drew jihadists from across the region.

U.S. backing for Alija Izetbegovic’s Islamist government in Bosnia-Herzegovina brought al-Qaeda to the Balkans, while U.S.-Saudi support for Islamist militants in the Second Chechen War of 1999-2000 enabled it to establish a base of operations there.

Downplaying Al Qaeda

Just six years after 9/11, according to investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, the U.S. downplayed the fight against Al Qaeda to rein in Iran  – a policy, Hersh wrote, that had the effect of “bolstering … Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”

Under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, policy toward Al-Qaeda turned even more curious. In March 2011, she devoted nearly two weeks to persuading Qatar, the UAE and Jordan to join the air war against Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, only to stand by and watch as Qatar then poured hundreds of millions of dollars of aid into the hands of Islamist militias that were spreading anarchy from one end of the country to the other.  The Obama administration thought of remonstrating with Qatar, but didn’t in the end.

Much the same happened in Syria where, by early 2012, Clinton was organizing a “Friends of Syria” group that soon began channeling military aid to Islamist forces waging war against Christians, Alawites, secularists and others backing Assad. By August 2012, the Defense Intelligence Agency reported that “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the [anti-Assad] insurgency”; that the West, Turkey, and the Gulf states supported it regardless; that the rebels’ goal was to establish “a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria,” and that “this is exactly what the supporting powers want in order to isolate the Syrian regime….”

Biden Speaks Out

Two years after that, Vice President Joe Biden declared at Harvard’s Kennedy School:

“Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria… The Saudis, the Emiratis, etc. what were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of military weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad, except the people who were being supplied were al Nusra and al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.” (Quote starts at 53:25.)

The fact that Obama ordered the vice president to apologize to the Saudis, the UAE and Turkey for his comments provided back-handed confirmation that they were true. When TOWs turned up in the hands of pro-Qaeda rebels in Syria the following spring, all a senior administration official would say was: “It’s not something we would refrain from raising with our partners.”

It was obvious that Al Qaeda would be a prime beneficiary of Saudi intervention in Yemen from the start. Tying down the Houthis — “Al Qaeda’s most determined foe,” according to the Times — gave it space to blossom and grow. Where the State Department said it had up to 4,000 members as of 2015, a UN report put its membership at between 6,000 and 7,000 three years later, an increase of 50 to 75 percent or more.

In early 2017, the International Crisis Group found that Al Qaeda was “thriving in an environment of state collapse, growing sectarianism, shifting alliances, security vacuums and a burgeoning war economy.”

In Yemen, Al Qaeda “has regularly fought alongside Saudi-led coalition forces in … Aden and other parts of the south, including Taiz, indirectly obtaining weapons from them,” the ICG added. “… In northern Yemen … the [Saudi-led] coalition has engaged in tacit alliances with AQAP fighters, or at least turned a blind eye to them, as long as they have assisted in attacking the common enemy.”

In May 2016, a PBS documentary showed Al Qaeda members fighting side by side with UAE forces near Taiz. (See “The Secret Behind the Yemen War,” Consortium News, May 7, 2016.)

Last August, an Associated Press investigative team found that the Saudi-led coalition had cut secret deals with Al Qaeda fighters, “paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment, and wads of looted cash.” Saudi-backed militias “actively recruit Al Qaeda militants,” the AP team added, “… because they’re considered exceptional fighters” and also supply them with armored trucks.

If it’s not news that U.S. allies are providing pro-Al Qaeda forces with U.S.-made equipment, why is CNN pretending that it is? One reason is that it feels free to criticize the war and all that goes with it now that the growing human catastrophe in Yemen is turning into a major embarrassment for the U.S. Another is that criticizing the U.S. for failing to rein in its allies earns it points with viewers by making it seem tough and independent, even though the opposite is the case.

Then there’s Trump, with whom CNN has been at war since the moment he was elected. Trump’s Dec. 19 decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria thus presented the network with a double win because it allowed it to rail against the pullout as “bizarre” and a “win for Moscow” while complaining at the same time about administration policy in Yemen. Trump is at fault, it seems, when he pulls out and when he stays in.

In either instance, CNN gets to ride the high horse as it blasts away at the chief executive that corporate outlets most love to hate. Maybe Elbagir should have given her exposé a different title: “Why arming homicidal maniacs is bad news in one country but OK in another.”

February 22, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mass Protests in Haiti, Like France’s Yellow Vests, Threaten Modern Oligarchic Structure

By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | February 12, 2019

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI – Throughout recent Latin American history, it is hard to find a country that has been as thoroughly manipulated and plundered by the United States as Haiti has. After over a century of U.S. intervention — from the 19-year-long U.S. military occupation that began in 1915 to the 2010 election rigged by the Hillary Clinton-run State Department — Haiti has become the ultimate neoliberal experiment that has forced its people to live in conditions so horrible that rivers of sewage often run through the city streets.

Even Haiti’s own president, Jovenel Moise — who has presided over the most recent phase of U.S.-backed plunder — recently called the entire country a “latrine.”

Yet — much as in 1791, when Haiti was the site of the first successful slave revolt in the Americas — today the people of Haiti seem to have finally had enough of being slaves in all but name and are taking to the streets en masse in an effort to end the rule of the Haitian Bald-Headed Party (PHTK), the U.S.-backed political party with close ties to the Clintons.

For six days, thousands of Haitians have marched through the country’s capital of Port-au-Prince and other major cities, calling for Moise’s ouster for corruption and gross economic mismanagement in recent years, much of which can be traced directly back to the 2010 earthquake and the subsequent U.S.-UN “relief” effort that let to rigged elections, caused a deadly cholera outbreak and sought to turn the entire country into one massive sweatshop for American clothing companies.

More specifically, Moise has ignited popular ire after being implicated in the embezzlement of a $4 billion loan given to the Haitian government to develop the country via Venezuela’s PetroCaribe program and for his failure to combat the double-digit inflation that has further impoverished the Caribbean nation.

President Moise has thus far responded to the protests much like the president of Haiti’s former colonial ruler, France, where President Emmanuel Macron has sought to disperse the Yellow Vest popular protest movement with police violence. Similarly, Moise has ordered police to shoot tear gas and live ammunition into crowds of unarmed protesters, killing at least four people, including a 14-year-old boy who was not even a part of the protests, and injuring scores more.

Despite the violent response from the Moise-led government, protesters have continued to come out in force, even stoning Moise’s personal home on Saturday. That same day, Moise declared that he would “clean the streets” of every protester by Monday.

Yet the mass protests continued through Monday, when police were seen standing down in Carrefour (a suburb of Port-au-Prince), no longer willing to fire on protesters. In a video of the incident shared on social media, one female protester yells that “the police are afraid.” Late Monday afternoon, local reports asserted that PHTK ruling elite were evacuated via helicopter from the wealthy enclave of Petionville to the Toussaint L’Ouverture International Airport, apparently planning to flee the country — at least temporarily. Other reports stated that at least one police officer had been shot during Monday demonstrations that turned violent and saw several businesses looted.

Local media on Tuesday reported high turnout for protests in several cities.

The international response to the protests in Haiti has been limited, with the UN warning Haitian protesters on Sunday that “in a democracy change must come through the ballot box, and not through violence.” This unintentionally ironic statement ignores the documented meddling of the United States in massaging vote totals and other manipulative tactics in the last two presidential elections. This, combined with the fact that the U.S. has kidnapped and overthrown Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a left-leaning populist politician, each time he won an election — first in 1991 and then in 2004 — has greatly reduced Haitians’ faith in their “democracy.”

The U.S. knows something about election meddling

Since he came to power in February 2017, Moise’s policies have resulted in several mass protests — including last July, when protesters forced Moise’s government to abandon a planned hike in fuel prices; and last November, when protesters demanded Moise’s ouster for the embezzlement of PetroCaribe funds. With so many protests in such a short span of time, the anger among the Haitian population at this unpopular president is pungent and will likely prove difficult to placate this time.

A large part of Moise’s unpopularity is likely related to the fact that he was never popularly elected to begin with. The 2016 election that Moise allegedly won was disorganized and had turn-out so dismal that Moise, the “winner,” received only around 600,000 votes out of a national population of over 11 million. Prominent Haitian politicians called the election an “electoral coup.”

In addition, that election was overseen by Ken Merten, former Obama administration ambassador to Haiti and then Obama’s Haiti Special Coordinator, and was wracked by accusations of vote-buying and -stealing and other fraudulent activities. Merten’s involvement is particularly nefarious given that he oversaw the previous Haiti election (2010) where the U.S. State Department had altered the vote count.

If that were not enough, in addition to the election fraud, Moise was widely believed to have been ineligible for office soon after having been “elected,” after it was revealed that he had laundered money through his personal bank account and was tied to a drug-trafficking operation.

Ultimately, Moise’s unpopular rule is the continuation of that of his predecessor, Michel Martelly, who chose Moise — then a political neophyte — as his successor. Martelly’s rise to power was similar to Moise’s but even more fraudulent. In the 2010 election that saw Martelly “win,” the Hillary Clinton-run State Department changed the vote totals in order to place Martelly in a runoff election for which he hadn’t in fact qualified. When the previous Haitian government resisted, Clinton herself traveled to Haiti and threatened to withdraw all U.S. aid from Haiti if Martelly did not replace the second runoff candidate, Jude Celestin.

After coming to power, it took little time for observers to realize why the U.S., particularly the Clinton-led State Department, had chosen Martelly. Not only was Martelly an avid supporter of neoliberal policies that impoverished his people, he also supported the outright theft of Haitian land by wealthy foreign corporations to create so-called “Free Trade Zones,” and brokered a deal with the Clintons to release Americans who had been arrested for child trafficking.

Furthermore, Martelly also helped squander much of the foreign aid that did make it into Haiti, cementing his reputation as notoriously corrupt, although most of that aid never even made it to Haiti and instead remained in the hands of corrupt foreign contractors.

In addition, Martelly was also a supporter of the Duvalier family — which ruled Haiti with an iron fist during the dictatorships of “Papa Doc” Duvalier and his son “Baby Doc” Duvalier. Indeed, when “Baby Doc” Duvalier returned from exile in France to attend a Haitian government ceremony, Martelly — along with Bill Clinton, who was also in attendance – rose to greet him.

Martelly’s government included several officials who were connected to the Duvalier dictatorship, including his prime minister, Garry Conille, whose father held a cabinet position in the Duvalier dictatorship. In addition, Conille served with Bill Clinton on the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission and had previously worked as a development manager for the United Nations before receiving his prominent position in the government installed by both the U.S. and the UN.

Thus, Haiti under Martelly and Moise has been little different in practice from the Duvalier era. Indeed, as Amy Wilentz noted in a 2014 article in The Nation, “[The Duvalier] political toolbox — authoritarianism, trumped up elections, distrust of free speech, corruption of the forces of order, and no justice — are the methods by which Haiti’s ruler [Martelly] still controls the country.” With Moise serving as the new face of PHTK and Martelly’s chosen successor, this neo-Duvalier era in Haiti that has largely been orchestrated by the U.S. is now in danger of falling apart.

Haiti puts the neo-colonial oligarchy on edge

If the movement to oust the U.S.-backed and illegally installed rulers of Haiti is successful, it could easily send shockwaves through the power structures of the United States and its client states, much as the Haitian revolution did to the colonial powers two centuries ago. Indeed, the Haitian revolution instilled fear in European colonial masters throughout the Americas and the world and inspired countless slave revolts in the United States alone. Today, it still serves as a reminder that the most repressed class of a society can rise up to declare their equality and independence — and win. Perhaps that is why the current oligarchical system has invested so much in robbing Haitians of their economic and political power.

Though today is unlike the late 18th century in the sense that those at the bottom of the rung are no longer called “slaves” and those at the top are no longer called “masters” and “kings,” the record inequality that now exists throughout the world, the U.S. included, has recreated in today’s power structures an ethos eerily similar to that of the feudal-colonial systems of centuries past.

As both Haiti and France have become the new epicenters of popular unrest against predatory elites, much as they were two centuries ago, it is time to see both of these current movements as part of the same struggle for basic human dignity in an era of neocolonialism, imperialism and global oligarchy.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and has contributed to several other independent, alternative outlets. Her work has appeared on sites such as Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire among others. She also makes guest appearances to discuss politics on radio and television. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

February 12, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Why are Democrats Driving Regime Change in Venezuela?

By William Walter Kay | Ron Paul Institute | February 6, 2019

Many see President Trump conspiring with oilmen to capture Venezuelan petroleum reserves. Trump’s earlier blunt talk about seizing oilfields buttresses this thesis. As well, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and Chevron appreciate better than anyone the astronomic value of Venezuela’s heavy oil. There are, however, flaws in the petro-conquistador thesis. Foremost, it does not explain why oil-resistant Democrats and Europeans play lead roles in this regime change travesty.

On December 18, 2014 a Democrat-led Senate passed the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act. This legislation, sponsored by Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, imposed sanctions on Venezuela while promising support for Venezuelan “civil society.” The Act also sought to meet “the information needs of the Venezuelan people” through publications and broadcasts; and through “distribution of circumvention technology.” Obama signed immediately.

On March 9, 2015 Obama declared:

… a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States presented by the situation in Venezuela.

His accompanying Executive Order 13692 extended sanctions while undertaking to: “support greater political expression in Venezuela.”

At this time the US deep state conducted an orchestra of American and European agencies and foundations disbursing $50 million a year to Venezuelan “civil society” (opposition politicians, student activists and journalists). Key agencies were USAID and National Endowment for Democracy. Participating foundations included: (Jimmy) Carter Centre; (Soros’s) Open Society; (Democratic Party-affiliated) National Democratic Institute for International Affairs; plus several Spanish and German concerns.

On January 16, 2017, four days before Trump’s inauguration, Obama renewed his declaration designating Venezuela a national security threat. Venezuela’s Foreign Minister called the move “new aggression by Barack Obama” extending Obama’s “legacy of hate and serious violation of international law.”

On January 4, 2019 a Democrat-led House of Representatives swore in.

On January 10 House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair, Eliot Engel (Democrat-NY) said he would waste no time holding “Mr. Maduro” accountable. Simultaneously, former DNC Chair and Hillary Clinton fixer, Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz unveiled her Venezuelan-Russian Threat Mitigation Act. She was flanked by former Clinton cabinet member and Clinton Foundation boss, Democratic Congresswoman Donna Shalala who announced her Venezuelan Arms Restriction Act to prevent weapons sales, including non-lethal police gear, to Venezuela. Next up was Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, sponsor of the Venezuelan Humanitarian Assistance Act aimed at allowing US operatives to bypass Venezuelan authorities and distribute “aid” directly to Venezuelans.

On January 24, less than 24 hours after Juan Guaido declared himself Venezuelan President, Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff (House Intelligence Committee Chair) blamed Maduro’s “dictatorial” rule for devastating Venezuela’s economy, then recognised Guaido as Venezuela’s “rightful leader.” Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (Democrat-IL) piped in calling Venezuela’s 2018 election a sham before endorsing Guaido’s presidency.

Of 280 Democratic Senators and Representatives 3 dissented. This troika did not include Bernie Sanders. On January 24 Bernie boarded the war-train with a battle-whoop beginning:

The Maduro government in Venezuela has been waging a violent crackdown on Venezuelan civil society, violated the constitution by dissolving the National Assembly and was re-elected last year in an election that many observers said was fraudulent. Further the economy is a disaster and millions are migrating.

Bernie goes on to warn of the perils of regime change while leaving wide open the door to punitive sanctions. His statement is silent on America’s economic war on Venezuela. His support for “civil society” is willfully naïve about such groups’ involvement in political meddling up to and including regime change. (Bernie supported starvation sanctions against Iraq, and the bombing of Serbia. He calls Hugo Chavez a “dead communist dictator.”)

Regarding Venezuela the Democrats march in lockstep with: the Liberal Party of Canada under PM Trudeau; Merkel’s ruling coalition in Germany; French President Macron; and the governments of Sweden, Denmark, Austria and Spain.

These governments are committed to phasing petroleum out of their economies. All champion the Paris Climate Accord. None can be quickly dismissed as Exxon’s goons. None take orders from Trump. Thus, the petro-conquistador thesis appears ill-equipped to explain their behaviour.

No doubt Washington DC hosts cabals of oilmen and politicos coveting unfettered access to the Orinoco Belt. Here, however, it seems fantastical that President Maduro might be removed by anything short of civil war; or that the Orinoco Belt might be exploitable amidst the Vietnam-style conflagration surely to ensue. Then, arises the enigmatic spectacle of a dozen “liberal-leftist-environmentalist” Western parties and governments frantically tilting at the same windmill. Pourquoi?

February 6, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , , | 3 Comments