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Henningsen: ‘US Can Help Refugee Crisis By Lifting Sanctions and Getting Out of Syria’

21st Century Wire | July 18, 2018

One potentially positive outcome from Monday’s Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki, Finland was a clear signal that both leaders have talked about cooperating in Syria, rather than treating each other as geopolitical adversaries at the expense of Syria’s own welfare.

While this has been received with fury by the US mainstream corporate media, pro-war Democrats and Neocon Republicans – it has been seen by the rest of the world as a much-needed diplomatic overture which could help to stabilize the situation, rather than exacerbate existing problems across the country and the Middle East in general. Russia’s Defense Ministry announced it is already prepared to ‘boost cooperation’ with the U.S. military in Syria, saying in a statement Tuesday that it’s ready for “practical implementation” of any memorandums of understanding reached between Trump and Putin, including the extension of the START arms control treaty.

21WIRE editor Patrick Henningsen spoke to RT International yesterday about what the US and its EU counterparts need to do to mitigate Europe’s Migrant Crisis as well as Syria and the Middle East’s refugee crisis – namely, lifting punitive joint US-EU economic sanctions on Syria, and also seeing the US end its illegal occupation with its Kurdish SDF proxy militias in northeastern Syria: Watch:

July 19, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Illegal Occupation, Video | , , , | Leave a comment

US arrest of Russian attempt to undermine Trump-Putin summit

Press TV – July 18, 2018

Russia’s Foreign Ministry says the arrest this week of a Russian national in the United States was a deliberate attempt to undermine a summit between President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump in Helsinki, Finland.

Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Wednesday the detention of Maria Butina, which took place on Sunday, a day before the summit, had no grounds and was meant to affect the positive outcome of the summit.

Putin and Trump met in a freighted atmosphere amid criticism that Trump was approaching Russia at the expense of Washington’s allies in Europe. Trump is also accused of trying to cover up his alleged links to the Russians in the run-up to his presidency two years ago.

US authorities said Monday that they had charged Butina, 29, with conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian government through establishing relationships and infiltrating organizations that have influence in US politics.

“Butina worked at the direction of a high-level official in the Russian government who was previously a member of the legislature of the Russian Federation and later became a top official at the Russian Central Bank,” said the US Department of Justice in a press release, adding, “This Russian official was sanctioned by the US Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control in April 2018.”

Zakharova dismissed the charges and said the arrest happened “with the obvious task of minimizing the positive effect” of the summit between Putin and Trump.

Both leaders have described their meeting as positive, saying it would help Moscow and Washington improve their strained relations.

The US and Russia have clashed on several issues over the past years, including Russia’s alleged interference in Ukraine, which Moscow denies, its military presence in Syria and allegations that the Kremlin meddled in the 2016 presidential election, which led to Trump’s victory.

July 19, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

While His Opponents Cry Treason Trump Sues for Peace

By Tom LUONGO | Strategic Culture Foundation | 18.07.2018

For the second time in as many months President Trump went against the grain of US foreign policy.

I will not mince words. I was hoping for more from the Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki; something concrete. Even a small agreement about a quid pro quo in Syria would have been welcome.

But, given the level of histrionics on display in the US media and on the left I guess I should have tempered my expectations. Cries of Trump being guilty of ‘treason’ and ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ are rampant.

And they aren’t going to stop.

Crying treason for opening up diplomatic contact with a foreign leader whom we are not at war with is beyond hyperbole. It is the height of insanity. And I don’t use that term lightly.

Trump’s opponents both from members of the Deep State and media as well as those citizens supporting ‘The Resistance’ are so unhinged they have become indistinguishable from Colonel Jack T. Ripper from Dr. Strangelove.

I swear I saw a tweet from Obama Administration CIA Director John Brennan discussing bodily fluids, but I may have misread it.

They have nurtured their own angst and denial at having lost an election they have erected a bogeyman in Vladimir Putin as the only way in which the disgusting Trump could possibly have won.

And the Deep State of permanent government has cultivated this psychological poison perfectly. Now there are truly millions of otherwise normal people frothing at the mouth about everything Trump does is proof that he is the puppet of Putin, his evil master.

This has placed them firmly in the camp of wanting perpetual, undeclared war with everyone Trump wants peace with.

All because they don’t have the emotional maturity to accept reality.

And Trump, never one to miss an opportunity to twist the knife, in a moment of near sublime statesmanship during the post-summit press conference declared, “I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics. I will not make decisions on foreign policy in a futile effort to appease partisan critics, the media, or Democrats who want to resist and obstruct.”

That statement won his candidates the mid-term elections and likely won him re-election in 2020. It’s a statement that he can campaign on and give not only his base a boost but convince even more of the political center to reject the insanity of the left and side with him.

After all, he just put something above politics and that something is the very thing that got him elected in the first place, peace.

And that is eternally to his credit.

It is also in stark contrast to his ill-conceived bombing of the Al-Shairat airbase while hosting Chinese Premier Xi Jinping in April of 2017. This was an act of pure political optics, designed to appease his virulent critics.

But, as he learned from that act and many others since then, nothing will appease these people than his removal from the office. The Resistance needs it to vindicate their descent into madness. The Deep State needs it to ensure the gravy train keeps flowing.

There are too many cozy relationships at risk, too many think tank jobs on the block, and too many weapons contracts at stake and too many more taxpayer-funded junkets to attend for Trump and Putin to remake the post-WWII political order.

Putin, for his part, was obviously firm in his dealings with Trump. There were many rumors of offers being made which were rejected. As myself and many others have pointed out, Trump didn’t have much to offer Putin in concrete terms on many of the outstanding issues of the day.

I believe the only thing they can agree on is that Syria is nearly settled in Assad’s favor and all that needs to be done now is convince the Israelis and Iran to behave themselves. In all of the furor over Trump’s meeting with Putin this tweet from uber-hawk and MIC-mouthpiece, Senator Lindsay Graham is the most telling.

“It is beyond absurd to believe that Russia will ‘police Iran’ or drive them out of Syria. Iran is Assad’s biggest ally – even more so than Russia. Russia policing Iran makes about as much sense as trusting Russia to police the removal/destruction of chemical weapons in Syria.” — Lindsay Graham, July 16th

No one that I know of other than myself and a very small handful of equally obscure political commentators have broached the subject of Russia policing Syria after the US picks up and leaves as any Grand Bargain for Middle East Peace.

Remember, Graham was just in Syria trying to drum up further support for Kurdish independence in a clear attempt to undermine what he just told everyone Trump’s plan was.

So, to me, this signals strongly that peace in Syria is what Trump and Putin discussed at length in their meeting and why the Deep State has so thoroughly gone off the deep end. Graham just told everyone what the plan is, folks.

And the plan is peace in the Middle East.

Trump and Putin both referenced working with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to craft a post-Civil War plan of action in Syria. Putin mentioned restoring Syria to the 1974 border of the Golan Heights while Trump made it clear he no longer wants our people there.

Moreover, Trump sent an envoy from the US to sit down and talk peace with the Taliban in Afghanistan, putting paid Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s assertion that the US is ready to talk. Lindsay must be shaking in his thigh-highs over the prospect of this as well.

Remember, the US only negotiates when it knows it is losing. Empires dictate terms, they don’t sue for peace.

And that is exactly what Trump is beginning to do with Russia on a number of fronts across Central Asia. And for this he is being vilified by his opponents for being a traitor. A traitor to what?

Chaos.

July 18, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

US Media is Losing Its Mind Over Trump-Putin Press Conference

By Joe Lauria | Consortium News | July 16, 2018

The reaction of the U.S. establishment media and several political leaders to President Donald Trump’s press conference after his summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday has been stunning.

Writing in The Atlantic, James Fallows said:

“There are exactly two possible explanations for the shameful performance the world witnessed on Monday, from a serving American president.

Either Donald Trump is flat-out an agent of Russian interests—maybe witting, maybe unwitting, from fear of blackmail, in hope of future deals, out of manly respect for Vladimir Putin, out of gratitude for Russia’s help during the election, out of pathetic inability to see beyond his 306 electoral votes. Whatever the exact mixture of motives might be, it doesn’t really matter.

Or he is so profoundly ignorant, insecure, and narcissistic that he did not  realize that, at every step, he was advancing the line that Putin hoped he would advance, and the line that the American intelligence, defense, and law-enforcement agencies most dreaded.

Conscious tool. Useful idiot. Those are the choices, though both are possibly true, so that the main question is the proportions … never before have I seen an American president consistently, repeatedly, publicly, and shockingly advance the interests of another country over those of his own government and people.”

As soon as the press conference ended CNN cut to its panel with these words from TV personality Anderson Cooper: “You have been watching perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader, surely, that I’ve ever seen.”

David Gergen, who for years has gotten away with portraying himself on TV as an impartial political sage, then told CNN viewers:

“I’ve never heard an American President talk that way but I think it is especially true that when he’s with someone like Putin, who is a thug, a world-class thug, that he sides with him again and again against his own country’s interests of his own institutions that he runs, that he’s in charge of the federal government, he’s in charge of these intelligence agencies, and he basically dismisses them and retreats into this, we’ve heard it before, but on the international stage to talk about Hillary Clinton’s computer server …”

“It’s embarrassing,” interjected Cooper.

“It’s embarrassing,” agreed Gergen.

White House correspondent Jim Acosta, ostensibly an objective reporter, then gave his opinion: “I think that sums it up nicely. This is the president of the United States essentially taking the word of the Russian president… over his own intelligence community. It was astonishing, just astonishing to be in the room with the U.S. president and the Russian president on this critical question of election interference, and to retreat back to these talking points about DNC servers and Hillary Clinton’s emails when he had a chance right there in front of the world to tell Vladimir Putin to stay the HELL out of American democracy, and he didn’t do it.”

In other words Trump should just shut up and not question a questionable indictment, which Acosta, like nearly all the media, treat as a conviction.

The Media’s Handlers

The media’s handlers were even worse than their assets. Former CIA director John Brennan tweeted: “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors,.’ It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???”

Here’s where the Republican Patriots are, Brennan: “That’s how a press conference sounds when an Asset stands next to his Handler,” former RNC Chairman Michael Steele tweeted.

Representative Liz Cheney, the daughter of the former vice president, said on Twitter: “As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I am deeply troubled by President Trump’s defense of Putin against the intelligence agencies of the U.S. & his suggestion of moral equivalence between the U.S. and Russia. Russia poses a grave threat to our national security.”

All these were reactions to Trump expressing skepticism about the U.S. indictment on Friday of 12 Russian intelligence agents for allegedly interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election while he was standing next to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the press conference following their summit meeting in Helsinki.

“I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be” Russia, Trump said. “I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

The indictments, which are only unproven accusations, formally accused 12 members of the GRU, Russian military intelligence, of stealing Democratic Party emails in a hacking operation and giving the materials to WikiLeaks to publish in order to damage the candidacy of Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton. The indictments were announced on Friday, three days before the summit, with the clear intention of getting Trump to cancel it. He ignored cries from the media and Congress to do so.

Over the weekend Michael Smerconish on CNN actually said the indictments proved that Russia had committed a “terrorist attack” against the United States. This is in line with many pundits who are comparing this indictment, that will most likely never produce any evidence, to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor. The danger inherent in that thinking is clear.

Putin said the allegations are “utter nonsense, just like [Trump] recently mentioned.” He added: “The final conclusion in this kind of dispute can only be delivered by a trial, by the court. Not by the executive, by the law enforcement.” He could have added not by the media.

Trump reasonably questioned why the FBI never examined the computer servers of the Democratic National Committee to see whether there was a hack and who may have done it. Instead a private company, CrowdStrike, hired by the Democratic Party studied the server and within a day blamed Russia on very dubious grounds.

“Why haven’t they taken the server?” Trump asked. “Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the Democratic National Committee? I’ve been wondering that. I’ve been asking that for months and months and I’ve been tweeting it out and calling it out on social media. Where is the server? I want to know, where is the server and what is the server saying?”

But being a poor communicator, Trump then mentioned Clinton’s missing emails, allowing the media to conflate the two different servers, and be easily dismissed as Gergen did.

At the press conference, Putin offered to allow American investigators from the team of special counsel Robert Mueller, who put the indictment together, to travel to Russia and take part in interviews with the 12 accused Russian agents. He also offered to set up a joint cyber-security group to examine the evidence and asked that in return Russia be allowed to question persons of interest to Moscow in the United States.

“Let’s discuss the specific issues and not use the Russia and U.S. relationship as a loose change for this internal political struggle,” Putin said.

On CNN, Christiane Amanpour called Putin’s clear offer “obfuscation.”

Even if Trump agreed to this reasonable proposal it seems highly unlikely that his Justice Department will go along with it. Examination of whatever evidence they have to back up the indictment is not what the DOJ is after. As I wrote about the indictments in detail on Friday:

“The extremely remote possibility of convictions were not what Mueller was apparently after, but rather the public perception of Russia’s guilt resulting from fevered media coverage of what are after all only accusations, presented as though it is established fact. Once that impression is settled into the public consciousness, Mueller’s mission would appear to be accomplished.”

Still No ‘Collusion’

The indictments did not include any members of Trump’s campaign team for “colluding” with the alleged Russian hacking effort, which has been a core allegation throughout the two years of the so-called Russia-gate scandal. Those allegations are routinely reported in U.S. media as established fact, though there is still no evidence of collusion.

Trump emphasised that point in the press conference. “There was no collusion at all,” he said forcefully. “Everybody knows it.”

On this point corporate media has been more deluded than normal as they clutch for straws to prove the collusion theory. As one example of many across the media with the same theme, a New York Times story on Friday, headlined, “Trump Invited the Russians to Hack Clinton. Were They Listening?,” said Russia may have absurdly responded to Trump’s call at 10:30 a.m. on July 27, 2016 to hack Clinton’s private email server because it was “on or about” that day that Russia allegedly first made an attempt to hack Clinton’s personal emails, according to the indictment, which makes no connection between the two events.

If Russia is indeed guilty of remotely hacking the emails it would have had no evident need of assistance from anyone on the Trump team, let alone a public call from Trump on national TV to commence the operation.

More importantly, as Twitter handle “Representative Press” pointed out: “Trump’s July 27, 2016 call to find the missing 30,000 emails could not be a ‘call to hack Clinton’s server’ because at that point it was no longer online. Long before Trump’s statement, Clinton had already turned over her email server to the U.S. Department of Justice.” Either the indictment was talking about different servers or it is being intentionally misleading when it says “on or about July 27, 2016, the Conspirators attempted after hours to spearphish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a third party provider and used by Clinton’s personal office.”

This crucial fact alone, that Clinton had turned over the server in 2015 so that no hack was possible, makes it impossible that Trump’s TV call could be seen as collusion. Only a desperate person would see it otherwise.

But there is a simple explanation why establishment journalists are in unison in their dominant Russian narrative: it is career suicide to question it.

As Samuel Johnson said as far back as 1745: “The greatest part of mankind have no other reason for their opinions than that they are in fashion …since vanity and credulity cooperate in its favour.”

Importance of US-Russia Relations

Trump said the unproven allegation of collusion “has had a negative impact upon the relationship of the two largest nuclear powers in the world. We have 90 percent of nuclear power between the two countries. It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous what’s going on with the probe.”

The American president said the U.S. has been “foolish” not to attempt dialogue with Russia before, to cooperate on a range of issues.

“As president, I cannot make decisions on foreign policy in a futile effort to appease partisan critics or the media or Democrats who want to do nothing but resist and obstruct,” Trump said. “Constructive dialogue between the United States and Russia forwards the opportunity to open new pathways toward peace and stability in our world. I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics.”

This main reason for summits between Russian and American leaders was also ignored: to use diplomacy to reduce dangerous tensions. “I really think the world wants to see us get along,” Trump said. “We are the two great nuclear powers. We have 90 percent of the nuclear. And that’s not a good thing, it’s a bad thing.”

Preventing good relations between the two countries appears to be the heart of the matter for U.S. intelligence and their media assets. So Trump was vilified for even trying.

Ignoring the Rest of the Story

Obsessed as they are with the “interference” story, the media virtually ignored the other crucial issues that came up at the summit, such as the Middle East.

Trump sort of thanked Russia for its efforts to defeat ISIS. “When you look at all of the progress that’s been made in certain sections with the eradication of ISIS, about 98 percent, 99 percent there, and other things that have taken place that we have done and that, frankly, Russia has helped us with in certain respects,” he said.

Trump here is falsely taking credit, as he has before, for defeating ISIS with only some “help” from Russia. In Iraq the U.S. led the way against ISIS coordinating the Iraqi and Kurdish security forces. But in the separate war against ISIS in Syria, Russia, the Syrian Arab Army, Kurdish forces, Iranian troops and Hizbullah militias were almost entirely responsible for ISIS’ defeat.

Also on Syria, Trump appeared to endorse what is being reported as a deal between Russia and Israel in which Israel would accept Bashar al-Assad remaining as Syrian president, while Russia would work on Iran to get it to remove its forces away from the northern Golan Heights, which Israel illegally considers its border with Syria.

After a meeting in Moscow last week with Putin, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he accepted Assad remaining in power.

“President Putin also is helping Israel,” Trump said at the press conference. “We both spoke with Bibi Netanyahu. They would like to do certain things with respect to Syria, having to do with the safety of Israel. In that respect, we absolutely would like to work in order to help Israel. Israel will be working with us. So both countries would work jointly.”

Trump also said that the U.S. and Russian militaries were coordinating in Syria, but he did not go as far as saying that they had agreed to fight together there, which has been a longstanding proposal of Putin’s dating back to September 2015, just before Moscow intervened militarily in the country.

“Our militaries have gotten along probably better than our political leaders for years,” Trump said. “Our militaries do get along very well. They do coordinate in Syria and other places.”

Trump said Russia and the U.S. should cooperate in humanitarian assistance in Syria.

“If we can do something to help the people of Syria get back into some form of shelter and on a humanitarian basis… that’s what the word was, a humanitarian basis,” he said. “I think both of us would be very interested in doing that.”

Putin said he had agreed on Sunday with French President Emmanuel Macron on a joint effort with Europe to deliver humanitarian aid. “On our behalf, we will provide military cargo aircraft to deliver humanitarian cargo. Today, I brought up this issue with President Trump. I think there’s plenty of things to look into,” Putin said.


Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston GlobeSunday Times of London and numerous other newspapers. He can be reached at joelauria@consortiumnews.com and followed on Twitter @unjoe .

July 17, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Helsinki: What did Trump want from Putin, really?

By Denis Rancourt | Dissident Voice | July 16, 2018

I just did a live Sputnik International radio interview about the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki. This is the essence of my answers.

Trump is the USA and the USA mainly wants two things from Russia.

First, it wants Russia’s credibility. In the words of Trump: “I really think the world wants to see us get along.”

USA world credibility has crashed after Iraq-Afghanistan-Libya. The USA is known to abandon its allies and to work for gain even at the price of making long-term enemies.

The USA is habituated to being the most powerful and the most powerful can afford to make enemies. But the world is changing. The new multipolarity is accompanied by greater risks if the USA insists on maintaining the same degree of dominance.

In the words of Trump “We have a world to run”. This means the USA can gain much from collaboration with Russia. But, as usual, this does not mean that Russia can draw benefit from any such collaboration, only avoid some otherwise imposed punishment (sanctions, blockades, military pressures).

Second, the USA desperately “needs” to prevent democratization of effective weapons that can defend against its military intimidation and destruction campaigns.

The USA needs to prevent the emerging nations that it traditionally exploits by military force and intimidation from acquiring air-defence systems, ballistic missiles capable of retaliation, and weapons that can target large ships such as aircraft carriers. Aircraft carriers are the main hardware of USA military projection.

North Korea, Iran and Russia itself represent possible vectors of the said democratization of military technology. An example is seen in Yemen, where ground-to-air defence missiles are transformed into ground-to-ground retaliatory missiles. If Yemen had secured better such technologies, it would be defending itself more effectively.

The same is true for Gaza. Increased military technology would allow proper defence and a balance that could produce negotiation rather than bulldozer displacement policies and genocidal destruction campaigns.

The USA and Israel are terrified at such prospects. Israel’s approach would be all-out USA-backed war against Iran. The USA approach is to threaten war but extract collaboration from Russia to control and prevent military advancement of the nations the USA wants to control, which resist its bribes and threats.

In all of this, the USA (the elite faction supporting Trump) has come to understand that it must revitalize the domestic USA and its middle-class, that a strong empire cannot have an empty core. Trump will do anything to achieve this, including ruffle allies and break long-standing agreements.

The USA wants a strong NATO that it controls. It wants more commitment from NATO members. That was Trump’s main message. It needs NATO to legitimize any “needed” military destruction campaigns in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. And it is prepared to use these strong NATO-club ties to extract relative advantages to re-build its domestic economy.

NATO is about: securing Europe against trade and co-development with Russia, legitimizing criminal wars of aggression in the service of the empire, and projecting power into Africa, the Middle East and Asia, for the benefit of the NATO-club members but mostly the USA. It also forces Russia to spend enormous resources on defence.

This is what Trump is doing with NATO, which has nothing to do with pleasing Putin.

Election interference, whether true or not, is just an ancillary USA domestic matter. Everyone knows it’s bullshit. Putin did not write the Clinton emails. Democracies claim to want “transparency”.

Crimea is also a non-issue. Crimea folks overwhelmingly wanted incorporation into Russia, following the Ukrainian meltdown and military violence. Everybody knows that. Compare Russia’s actions in Crimea to the NATO mass-crime that is Libya. There is no comparison.

Finally, whether our goodiness brains allow us to see it or not, from a geopolitical perspective, Trump is the “progressive” here that wants domestic development rather than solely all-out hawkish globalism irrespective of domestic hollowness. He also wants to negotiate with Russia to limit Iran rather than risk long-term world and USA consequences from a large-scale regional war, which the Clintonite crazies say they want.

Two related prior articles are:1 and2

  1. Denis Rancourt. “Cause of USA Meltdown and Collapse of Civil Rights”, Dissident Voice, September 7, 2017.
  2. Denis Rancourt. “Social Animals have Two Modes of Being”, Dissident Voice, July 2, 2018.

July 17, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

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

By Max Forte | Zero Anthropology | July 17, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Misunderstanding the Previews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Alarmists: Addicted to Imperialism

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

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

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

Witness the reactions that came from Democrats:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also, here are some reactions from liberal imperialist Republicans:

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

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

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

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

The Reactionary Resistance and its Struggle with Reality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Bad Day? For Whom?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

American Pravda: Oddities of the Jewish Religion

By Ron Unz • Unz Review • July 16, 2018

About a decade ago, I happened to be talking with an eminent academic scholar who had become known for his sharp criticism of Israeli policies in the Middle East and America’s strong support for them. I mentioned that I myself had come to very similar conclusions some time before, and he asked when that had happened. I told him it had been in 1982, and I think he found my answer quite surprising. I got the sense that date was decades earlier than would have been given by almost anyone else he knew.

Sometimes it is quite difficult to pinpoint when one’s world view on a contentious topic undergoes sharp transformation, but at other times it is quite easy. My own perceptions of the Middle East conflict drastically shifted during Fall 1982, and they have subsequently changed only to a far smaller extent. As some might remember, that period marked the first Israeli invasion of Lebanon, and culminated in the notorious Sabra-Shatila Massacre during which hundreds or even thousands of Palestinians were slaughtered in their refugee camps. But although those events were certainly major factors in my ideological realignment, the crucial trigger was actually a certain letter to the editor published around that same time.

A few years earlier, I had discovered The London Economist, as it was then called, and it had quickly become my favorite publication, which I religiously devoured cover-to-cover every week. And as I read the various articles about the Middle East conflict in that publication, or others such as the New York Times, the journalists occasionally included quotes from some particularly fanatic and irrational Israeli Communist named Israel Shahak, whose views seemed totally at odds with those of everyone else, and who was consequently treated as a fringe figure. Opinions that seem totally divorced from reality tend to stick in one’s mind, and it took only one or two appearances from that apparently die-hard and delusional Stalinist for me to guess that he would always take an entirely contrary position on every given issue.

In 1982 Israel Defense Minister Israel Sharon launched his massive invasion of Lebanon using the pretext of the wounding of an Israeli diplomat in Europe at the hands of a Palestinian attacker, and the extreme nature of his action was widely condemned in the media outlets I read at the time. His motive was obviously to root out the PLO’s political and military infrastructure, which had taken hold in many of Lebanon’s large Palestinian refugee camps. But back in those days invasions of Middle Eastern countries on dubious prospects were much less common than they have subsequently become, after our recent American wars killed or displaced so many millions, and most observers were horrified by the utterly disproportionate nature of his attack and the severe destruction he was inflicted upon Israel’s neighbor, which he seemed eager to reduce to puppet status. From what I recall from that time, he made several entirely false assurances to top Reagan officials about his invasion plans, such that they afterward called him the worst sort of liar, and he ended up besieging the Lebanese capital of Beirut even though he had originally promised to limit his assault to a mere border incursion.

The Israeli siege of the PLO-controlled areas of Beirut lasted some time, and negotiations eventually resulted in the departure of the Palestinian fighters to some other Arab country. Shortly afterward, the Israelis declared that they were moving into West Beirut in order to better assure the safety of the Palestinian women and children left behind and protect them from any retribution at the hands of their Christian Falangist enemies. And around that same time, I noticed a long letter in The Economist by Shahak which seemed to me the final proof of his insanity. He claimed that it was obvious that Sharon had marched to Beirut with the intent of organizing a massacre of the Palestinians, and that this would shortly take place. When the slaughter indeed occurred not long afterward, apparently with heavy Israeli involvement and complicity, I concluded that if a crazy Communist fanatic like Shahak had been right, while apparently every mainstream journalist had been so completely wrong, my understanding of the world and the Middle East required total recalibration. Or at least that’s how I’ve always remembered those events from a distance of over thirty-five years.

During the years that followed, I still periodically saw Shahak’s statements quoted in my mainstream publications, which sometimes suggested that he was a Communist and sometimes not. Naturally enough, his ideological extremism made him a prominent opponent of the 1991 Oslo Peace Agreement between Israel and the occupied Palestinians, which was supported by every sensible person, though since Oslo ended up being entirely a failure, I couldn’t hold it too strongly against him. I stopped paying much attention to foreign policy issues during the 1990s, but I still read my New York Times every morning and would occasionally see his quotes, inevitably contrarian and irredentist.

Then the 9/11 attacks returned foreign policy and the Middle East to the absolute center of our national agenda, and I eventually read somewhere or other that Shahak had died at age 68 only a few months earlier, though I hadn’t noticed any obituary. Over the years, I’d seen some vague mention that during the previous decade he’d published a couple of stridently anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist books, just as might be expected from a hard-line Communist fanatic, and during the early 2000s I started seeing more and more references to these works, ironically coming from fringe sources of the anti-Semitic Far Right, thereby once again proving that extremists flock together. Finally, about a decade ago, my curiosity got the better of me, clicking a few buttons on Amazon.com, I ordered copies of his books, all of which were quite short.

My first surprise was that Shahak’s writings included introductions or glowing blurbs by some of America’s most prominent public intellectuals, including Christopher Hitchens, Gore Vidal, Noam Chomsky, and Edward Said. Praise also came from quite respectable publications such as The London Review of Books, Middle East International, and Catholic New Times while Allan Brownfeld of The American Council for Judaism had published a very long and laudatory obituary. And I discovered that Shahak’s background was very different than I had always imagined. He had spent many years as an award-winning Chemistry professor at Hebrew University, and was actually anything but a Communist. Whereas for decades, Israel’s ruling political parties had been Socialist or Marxist, his personal doubts about Socialism had left him politically in the wilderness, while his relationship with Israel’s tiny Communist Party was solely because they were the only group willing to stand up for the basic human rights issues that were his own central focus. My casual assumptions about his views and background had been entirely in error.

Once I actually began reading his books, and considering his claims, my shock increased fifty-fold. Throughout my entire life, there have been very, very few times I have ever been so totally astonished as I was after I digested Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years, whose text runs barely a hundred pages. In fact, despite his solid background in the academic sciences and the glowing testaments provided by prominent figures, I found it quite difficult to accept the reality of what I was reading. As a consequence, I paid a considerable sum to a young graduate student I knew, tasking him to verify the claims in Shahak’s books, and as far as he could tell, all of the hundreds of references he checked seemed to be accurate or at least found in other sources.

Even with all of that due diligence, I must emphasize that I cannot directly vouch for Shahak’s claims about Judaism. My own knowledge of that religion is absolutely negligible, mostly being limited to my childhood, when my grandmother occasionally managed to drag me down to services at the local synagogue, where I was seated among a mass of elderly men praying and chanting in some strange language while wearing various ritualistic cloths and religious talismans, an experience that I always found much less enjoyable than my usual Saturday morning cartoons.

Although Shahak’s books are quite short, they contain such a density of astonishing material, it would take many, many thousands of words to begin to summarize them. Essentially almost everything I had known—or thought I had known—about the religion of Judaism, at least in its zealously Orthodox traditional form, was utterly wrong.

For example, traditionally religious Jews pay little attention to most of the Old Testament, and even very learned rabbis or students who have devoted many years to intensive study may remain largely ignorant of its contents. Instead, the center of their religious world view is the Talmud, an enormously large, complex, and somewhat contradictory mass of secondary writings and commentary built up over many centuries, which is why their religious doctrine is sometimes called “Talmudic Judaism.” Among large portions of the faithful, the Talmud is supplemented by the Kabala, another large collection of accumulated writings, mostly focused on mysticism and all sorts of magic. Since these commentaries and interpretations represent the core of the religion, much of what everyone takes for granted in the Bible is considered in a very different manner.

Given the nature of the Talmudic basis of traditional Judaism and my total previous ignorance of the subject, any attempt on my part of summarize some of the more surprising aspects of Shahak’s description may be partially garbled, and is certainly worthy of correction by someone better versed in that dogma. And given that so many parts of the Talmud are highly contradictory and infused with complex mysticism, it would be impossible for someone like me to attempt to disentangle the seeming inconsistencies that I am merely repeating. I should note that although Shahak’s description of the beliefs and practices of Talmudic Judaism evoked a fire-storm of denunciations, few of those harsh critics seem to have denied his very specific claims, including the most astonishing ones, which would seem to strengthen his credibility.

On the most basic level, the religion of most traditional Jews is actually not at all monotheistic, but instead contains a wide variety of different male and female gods, having quite complex relations to each other, with these entities and their properties varying enormously among the numerous different Jewish sub-sects, depending upon which portions of the Talmud and the Kabala they place uppermost. For example, the traditional Jewish religious cry “The Lord Is One” has always been interpreted by most people to be a monotheistic affirmation, and indeed, many Jews take exactly this same view. But large numbers of other Jews believe this declaration instead refers to achievement of sexual union between the primary male and female divine entities. And most bizarrely, Jews having such radically different views see absolutely no difficulty in praying side by side, and merely interpreting their identical chants in very different fashion.

Furthermore, religious Jews apparently pray to Satan almost as readily as they pray to God, and depending upon the various rabbinical schools, the particular rituals and sacrifices they practice may be aimed at enlisting the support of the one or the one. Once again, so long as the rituals are properly followed, the Satan-worshippers and the God-worshippers get along perfectly well and consider each other equally pious Jews, merely of a slightly different tradition. One point that Shahak repeatedly emphasizes is that in traditional Judaism the nature of the ritual itself is absolutely uppermost, while the interpretation of the ritual is rather secondary. So perhaps a Jew who washes his hands three times clockwise might be horrified by another who follows a counter-clockwise direction, but whether the hand-washing were meant to honor God or to honor Satan would be hardly be a matter of much consequence.

Strangely enough, many of the traditional rituals are explicitly intended to fool or trick God or His angels or sometimes Satan, much like the mortal heroes of some Greek legend might seek to trick Zeus or Aphrodite. For example, certain prayers must be uttered in Aramaic rather than Hebrew on the grounds that holy angels apparently don’t understand the former language, and their confusion allows those verses to slip by unimpeded and take effect without divine interference.

Furthermore, since the Talmud represents a massive accretion of published commentary built up over more than a millennium, even the most explicit mandates have sometimes been transformed into their opposites. As an example, Maimonides, one of the highest rabbinical authorities, absolutely prohibited rabbis from being paid for their religious teaching, declaring that any rabbi who received a salary was an evil robber condemned to everlasting torment; yet later rabbis eventually “reinterpreted” this statement to mean something entirely different, and today almost all rabbis collect salaries.

Another fascinating aspect is that up until very recent times, the lives of religious Jews were often dominated by all sorts of highly superstitious practices, including magical charms, portions, spells, incantations, hexes, curses, and sacred talismans, with rabbis often having an important secondary role as sorcerers, and this even remains entirely true today among the enormously influential rabbis of Israel and the New York City area. Shahak’s writings had not endeared him to many of these individuals, and for years they constantly attacked him with all sorts of spells and fearful curses aimed at achieving his death or illness. Many of these traditional Jewish practices seem not entirely dissimilar to those we typically associate with African witch-doctors or Voodoo priests, and indeed, the famous legend of the Golem of Prague described the successful use of rabbinical magic to animate a giant creature built of clay.

If these ritualistic issues constituted the central features of traditional religious Judaism, we might regard it as a rather colorful and eccentric survival of ancient times. But unfortunately, there is also a far darker side, primarily involving the relationship between Jews and non-Jews, with the highly derogatory term goyim frequently used to describe the latter. To put it bluntly, Jews have divine souls and goyim do not, being merely beasts in the shape of men. Indeed, the primary reason for the existence of non-Jews is to serve as the slaves of Jews, with some very high-ranking rabbis occasionally stating this well-known fact. In 2014, Israel’s top Sephardic rabbi used his weekly sermon to declare that the only reason for the existence of non-Jews is to serve Jews and do work for them. The enslavement or extermination of all non-Jews seems an ultimate implied goal of the religion.

Jewish lives have infinite value, and non-Jewish ones none at all, which has obvious policy implications. For example, in a published article a prominent Israeli rabbi explained that if a Jew needed a liver, it would be perfectly fine, and indeed obligatory, to kill an innocent Gentile and take his. Perhaps we should not be too surprised that today Israel is widely regarded as one of the world centers of organ-trafficking.

As a further illustration of the seething hatred traditional Judaism radiates towards all those of a different background, saving the life of a non-Jew is generally considered improper or even prohibited, and taking any such action on the Sabbath would be an absolute violation of religious edict. Such dogmas are certainly ironic given the widespread presence of Jews in the medical profession during recent centuries, but they came to the fore in Israel when a religiously-minded military doctor took them to heart and his position was supported by the country’s highest religious authorities.

And while religious Judaism has a decidedly negative view towards all non-Jews, Christianity in particular is regarded as a total abomination, which must be wiped from the face of the earth.

Whereas pious Muslims consider Jesus the holy prophet of God and Muhammed’s immediate predecessor, according to the Jewish Talmud, Jesus is perhaps the vilest being who ever lived, condemned to spend eternity in the bottommost pit of Hell, immersed in a boiling vat of excrement. Religious Jews regard the Muslim Quran as just another book, though a totally mistaken one, but the Christian Bible represents purest evil, and if circumstances permit, burning Bibles is a very praiseworthy act. Pious Jews are also enjoined to always spit three times at any cross or church they encounter, and direct a curse at all Christian cemeteries. Indeed, many deeply religious Jews utter a prayer each and every day for the immediate extermination of all Christians.

Over the years prominent Israeli rabbis have sometimes publicly debated whether Jewish power has now become sufficiently great that all the Christian churches of Jerusalem, Bethleham, and other nearby areas can finally be destroyed, and the entire Holy Land completely cleansed of all traces of its Christian contamination. Some have taken this position, but most have urged prudence, arguing that Jews needed to gain some additional strength before they should take such a risky step. These days, many tens of millions of zealous Christians and especially Christian Zionists are enthusiastic advocates for Jews, Judaism, and Israel, and I strongly suspect that at least some of that enthusiasm is based upon ignorance.

For the last two thousand years, Jews have almost invariably existed as small, relatively weak minorities living in the lands of others, whether Christian or Muslim, so a religious doctrine so unswervingly hostile to outsiders has naturally presented considerable obstacles for peaceful co-existence. The solution to this dilemma has been based on the divine mandate to preserve Jewish life and well-being above all else, superseding almost all other religious considerations. Thus, if any of the behaviors discussed above are considered likely to stir up resentment from powerful Gentile groups and put Jews at risk, they must be avoided.

For example, the prohibition against Jewish physicians treating the illnesses of non-Jews is waived in the case of powerful non-Jews, especially national leaders, whose favor might provide benefits to the Jewish community. And even ordinary non-Jews may be aided unless some persuasive excuse can be found to explain such lack of assistance since otherwise the vengeful hostility of their friends and relatives might cause difficulties for other Jews. Similarly, it is permissible to exchange gifts with non-Jews but only if such behavior can be justified in strictly utilitarian terms, with any simple expression of friendship towards a non-Jew being a violation of holy principles.

If the Gentile population became aware of these Jewish religious beliefs and the behaviors they promote, major problems for Jews might develop, so an elaborate methodology of subterfuge, concealment, and dissimulation has come into being over the many centuries to minimize this possibility, especially including the mistranslation of sacred texts or the complete exclusion of crucial sections. Meanwhile, the traditional penalty for any Jew who “informs” to the authorities on any matter regarding the Jewish community has always been death, often preceded by hideous torture.

Much of this dishonesty obviously continues down to recent times since it seems very unlikely that Jewish rabbis, except perhaps for those of the most avant garde disposition, would remain totally unaware of the fundamental tenets of the religion that they claim to lead, and Shahak is scathing toward their apparent self-serving hypocrisy, especially those who publicly express strongly liberal views. For example, according to mainstream Talmudic doctrine, black Africans are traditionally placed somewhere between people and monkeys in their intrinsic nature, and surely all rabbis, even liberal ones, would be aware of this religious doctrine. But Shahak notes that the numerous American rabbis who so eagerly worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. and other black Civil Rights leaders during the 1950s and 1960s strictly concealed their religious beliefs while denouncing American society for its cruel racism, presumably seeking to achieve a political quid pro quo beneficial to Jewish interests from America’s substantial black population.

Shahak also emphasizes the utterly totalitarian nature of traditional Jewish society, in which rabbis held the power of life and death over their congregants, and often sought to punish ideological deviation or heresy using those means. They were often outraged that this became difficult as states grew stronger and increasingly prohibited such private executions. Liberalizing rabbis were sometimes murdered and Baruch Spinoza, the famous Jewish philosopher of the Age of Reason, only survived because the Dutch authorities refused to allow his fellow Jews to kill him.

Given the complexity and exceptionally controversial nature of this subject matter, I would urge readers who find this topic of interest to spend three or four hours reading Shahak’s very short book, and then decide for themselves whether his claims seem plausible and whether I may have inadvertently misunderstood them. Aside from the copies on Amazon, the work may also be found at Archive.org and also a very convenient HTML copy is freely available on the Internet.

My encounter a decade ago with Shahak’s candid description of the true doctrines of traditional Judaism was certainly one of the most world-altering revelations of my entire life. But as I gradually digested the full implications, all sorts of puzzles and discontented facts suddenly became much more clear. There were also some remarkable ironies, and not long afterward I joked to a (Jewish) friend of mine that I’d suddenly discovered that Naziism could best be described as “Judaism for Wimps” or perhaps Judaism as practiced by Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

There may actually be a deeper historical truth behind that irony. I think I’ve read here and there that some scholars believe that Hitler may have modeled certain aspects of his racially-focused National Socialist doctrine upon the Jewish example, which really makes perfect sense. After all, he saw that despite their small numbers Jews had gained enormous power in the Soviet Union, Weimar Germany, and numerous other countries throughout Europe, partly due to their extremely strong ethnic cohesion, and he probably reasoned that his own Germanic people, being far greater in numbers and historical achievements could do even better if they adopted similar practices.

It’s also interesting to note that quite a number of the leading racialist pioneers of 19th century Europe came from a particular ethnic background. For example, my history books had always disapprovingly mentioned Germany’s Max Nordau and Italy’s Cesare Lombroso as two of the founding figures of European racism and eugenics theories, but it was only very recently that I also discovered that Nordau had also been the joint founder with Theodor Herzl of the world Zionist movement, while his major racialist treatise Degeneration, was dedicated to Lombroso, his Jewish mentor.

Even as late as the 1930s and afterward, international Zionist groups closely cooperated with the Third Reich on international economic projects, and during the world war itself one of the smaller rightwing factions, led by future Israeli Prime Minister Yizhak Shamir, actually offered a military alliance to the Axis Powers, denouncing the decadent Western democracies and hoping to cooperate against their mutual British enemies. The Transfer Agreement by Edwin Black, 51 Documents by Lenni Brunner, and other writings have documented all these facts in detail, though for obvious reasons they have generally been ignored or mischaracterized by most of our media outlets.

Obviously the Talmud is hardly regular reading among ordinary Jews these days, and I would suspect that except for the strongly Orthodox and perhaps most rabbis, barely a sliver are aware of its highly controversial teachings. But it is important to keep in mind that until just a few generations ago, almost all European Jews were deeply Orthodox, and even today I would guess that the overwhelming majority of Jewish adults had Orthodox grand-parents. Highly distinctive cultural patterns and social attitudes can easily seep into a considerably wider population, especially one that remains ignorant of the origin of those sentiments, a condition enhancing their unrecognized influence. A religion based upon the principal of “Love Thy Neighbor” may or may not be workable in practice, but a religion based upon “Hate Thy Neighbor” may be expected to have long-term cultural ripple effects that extend far beyond the direct community of the deeply pious. If nearly all Jews for a thousand or two thousand years were taught to feel a seething hatred toward all non-Jews and also developed an enormous infrastructure of cultural dishonesty to mask that attitude, it is difficult to believe that such an unfortunate history has had absolutely no consequences for our present-day world, or that of the relatively recent past.

Furthermore, Jewish hostility toward non-Jews may have often served the interests of others, and helped determine the economic role they played, especially in European countries, with this factor having been obscured by widespread ignorance of the underlying religious tenets. As most of us know from our history books, political rulers with little sympathy for their subjects sometimes restrict military power to a relatively small group of well-rewarded mercenaries, often of foreign origins so that they will have little sympathy for the population they harshly repress. I strongly suspect that some of the most common traditional economic niches of European Jews, such as tax-farming and the arrenda estate-management system of Eastern Europe, should be best understood in a similar light, with Jews being more likely to extract every last penny of value from the peasants they controlled for the benefit of their local king or lords, and their notorious antipathy for all non-Jews ensuring that such behavior was minimally tempered by any human sympathy. Thus, we should not be surprised that Jews first entered England in the train of William the Conqueror, in order to help him and his victorious Norman lords effectively exploit the subjugated Anglo-Saxon population they now ruled.

But states in which the vast majority of the population is oppressed and dominated by a thin slice of rulers and their mercenary enforcers tend to be much weaker and more brittle than those in which rulers and ruled share common interests, and I believe this is just as true for economic enforcers as for military ones. In many cases, lands reliant upon Jewish economic intermediaries, notably Poland, never successfully developed a native middle class, and often later fared quite poorly against their nationally-unified competitors. Spain was actually one of the last countries in Europe to expel its Jews, and over the next century or two reached the peak of its military and political glory. Prof. Kevin MacDonald’s controversial books on Judaism have also extensively argued that rulers who seem to have been more concerned for the well-being of their subjects also tend to be the ones more likely to be labeled “anti-Semitic” in modern history books, and his volumes are now easily available in my selection of HTML Books:

In 2009, Gene Expression blogger Razib Khan interviewed eminent evolutionary theorist David Sloan Wilson on the group selection ideas that have been his major focus. During this hour-long discussion, the theories of MacDonald became a major topic, with Wilson seeming to take them quite seriously, and pointing out that within the scientific framework “parasitism” has a simple technical definition, namely the exploitation of the large by the small. Unsurprisingly, the video record of such extremely touchy subject matter was quickly truncated to just the first 11 minutes, and eventually completely removed from both YouTube and BloggingHeadsTV. But it still at least partially survives in archived form:

David_Sloan_Wilson_on_group_selection_Kevin_MacDonald_and_the_Jewish_Question

In recent years, the history of Jewish expulsions from various European societies over the last thousand years has received considerable attention. The total number is somewhat disputed but almost certainly in excess of 100, with the 1930s policies of Hitler’s Germany being merely the most recent example, and Wired Magazine provided an interesting graphical presentation of this large dataset in 2013. Given these unfortunate facts, it may be difficult to point to any other group so consistently at bitter odds with its local neighbors, and the religious details provided by Shahak certainly make this remarkable historical pattern far less inexplicable.

A very even-handed but candid description of the behavior pattern of Jewish newcomers to America was provided in a chapter of a 1914 book on immigration groups by E.A. Ross, one of America’s greatest early sociologists. Ross had been one of the towering Progressive intellectuals of his era, widely quoted by Lothrop Stoddard on the Right while still so highly regarded by the Left that he was named to the Dewey Commission to adjudicate the conflicting accusations of Trotsky and Stalin and also received glowing praise in the pages of the Communist New Masses. His dismissal on political grounds from Stanford University led to the formation of the American Association of University Professors. Yet his name had so totally vanished from our history books I had never even encountered it until beginning work on my content-archiving project, and I would not be surprised if that single chapter from one of his many books played a major role in his disappearance.

Jews spent two thousand years living as a diaspora people, and their tightly-bound trans-national colonies provided them with a uniquely effective international trading network. Since their religious traditions regarded slavery as the natural and appropriate lot of all non-Jews, both ideological and practical factors combined to apparently make them some of the leading slave-traders of Medieval Europe, though this is hardly emphasized in our histories. Closer to home, in 1991 the Black Nationalists of The Nation of Islam published The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, Volume One, which seemed to persuasively document the enormous role Jews had played in the American slave-trade. In 1994, Harold Brackman published a short attempted rebuttal entitled Ministry of Lies under the auspices of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, but I found his denials much less compelling. I very much doubt that most Americans are aware of these historical facts.

Throughout most of my life, Nobel Laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn was generally regarded as the greatest Russian literary figure of our modern era, and after reading all of his works, including The First Circle, Cancer Ward, and The Gulag Archipelago, I certainly concurred with this assertion, and eagerly absorbed Michael Scammel’s brilliant thousand page biography. Although Russian himself, many of his closest friends were Jewish, but during the 1980s and 1990s, whispers of his supposed anti-Semitism began floating around, probably because he had sometimes hinted at the very prominent role of Jews in both financing and leading the Bolshevik Revolution, and afterward staffing the NKVD and administering the Gulag labor camps. Late in his life, he wrote a massive two-volume history of the tangled relationship between Jews and Russians under the title Two Hundred Years Together, and although that work soon appeared in Russian, French, and German, nearly two decades later, no English translation has ever been authorized. His literary star seems also to greatly waned in America since that time, and I only very rarely see his name mentioned these days in any of my regular newspapers.

Samizdat versions of major sections of his final work may easily be located on the Internet, and a few years ago Amazon temporarily sold a 750 page hard copy edition, which I ordered and lightly skimmed. Everything seemed quite innocuous and factual, and nothing new jumped out at me, but perhaps the documentation of very heavy Jewish role in Communism was considered inappropriate for American audiences, as was the discussion of the extremely exploitative relationship between Jews and Slavic peasants in pre-revolutionary times, based on liquor-dealing and money-lending, which the Czars had often sought to mitigate.

When a ruling elite has limited connection to the population it controls, benevolent behavior is far less likely to occur, and those problems are magnified when that elite has a long tradition of ruthlessly extractive behavior. Enormous numbers of Russians suffered and died in the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution, and given the overwhelmingly Jewish composition of the top leadership during much of that period, it is hardly surprising that “anti-Semitism” was deemed a capital offense. Kevin MacDonald may have been the one who coined the term “hostile elite,” and discussed the unfortunate consequences when a country comes under such control.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, reborn Russia soon fell under the overwhelming domination of a small group of Oligarchs, almost entirely of Jewish background, and a decade of total misery and impoverishment for the general Russian population soon followed. But once an actual Russian named Vladimir Putin regained control, these trends reversed and the lives of Russians have enormously improved since that time. America’s media organs were overwhelmingly friendly toward Russia when it was under Jewish Oligarchic rule, while Putin has been demonized in the press more ferociously than any world leader since Hitler. Indeed, our media pundits regularly identify Putin as “the new Hitler” and I actually think the analogy might be a reasonable one, but just not in the way they intend.

Sometimes it is much easier to notice obvious patterns in a foreign country than in one’s own. In the early 2000s I read The Master Switch, a widely-praised history of modern communications technology by Columbia University professor Tim Wu, who has subsequently become a leading Internet-rights activist. I found the account fascinating, with so many stories never before known to me. However, I couldn’t help but notice that all the powerful mass-media technologies of our modern world–film, radio, and television–had been invented and pioneered by Gentiles, mostly of Anglo-Saxon origin, but in each case control was seized by ruthless Jewish businessmen, who sometimes destroyed the lives and careers of those creators. By the 1950s, nearly all of America’s leading concentrations of electronic media power—with the sole major exception of Disney Studios—were solidly in Jewish hands. In an open society such as ours, these are the central levers of political influence, and over the next generation or so, America’s long-dominant and heavily Anglo-Saxon ruling elite was replaced by a mostly Jewish one, a development I alluded to in my long Meritocracy article of a few years ago.

Critics today of all backgrounds bemoan the total impoverishment of so much of America’s once comfortably affluent middle class, noting that some sixty percent of the American population today possesses less than $500 in readily available savings. A younger generation has been reduced to permanent debt-servitude by ruinous student loans, while the the newspapers report that the opioid drug epidemic has claimed a dreadful toll in lives and family-breakdown even while Wall Street and other elite sectors of the financialized economy are richer than they have ever been before. There are certainly many different explanations for this sad economic trajectory, including technological change, growing international competition, and shifts of political power in the American system of government. But it does sometimes seem like a substantial fraction of our population has been reduced to a 21st century version of the drunken, ignorant, exploited, indebted, impoverished, and immiserated Slavic peasantry of the Jewish-dominated Pale of Settlement, and a striking graph produced by the Economic Policy Institute demonstrates that a very sharp economic inflection point occurred in the early 1970s, right around the time that the aforementioned ethnic transformation of our ruling elites was fully under way.

Contrary to widespread popular belief, it is not actually illegal to be a “Nazi” in America, nor are Nazis prohibited from owning property, even including media outlets. But suppose that the overwhelming majority of America’s major media concentrations were owned and controlled by Nazis of a particularly fanatical type. Surely that might have serious consequences for the course of our society, and especially that fraction of the population viewed with considerable disfavor under Nazi doctrine.

One important point to consider in the abbreviated history of Hitler’s Third Reich was that although the ruling Nazi elite was often quite harsh and extreme in its behavior, well over 98% of the population it ruled prior to the outbreak of war consisted of Germans, the particular group which that ruling elite most sought to benefit and uplift in all possible ways, and despite the obscuring cloud of retrospective propaganda, this goal seems to have largely been achieved. In 2004, Counterpunch published a column by the late Alexander Cockburn, its redoubtable editor, noting the tremendous success of Hitler’s peacetime economic policies, and in 2013 that same webzine carried a much longer column focused entirely on this same subject, citing the analysis of Henry C.K. Liu, whose Chinese background provided him greater critical distance. Indeed, during most of the 1930s Hitler received widespread international praise for the great success of his domestic economic and social achievements, making the cover of Time Magazine on numerous occasions and even being named its Man of the Year for 1938. By contrast, I suspect that a population that was some 98% non-German but ruled by those same fanatically pro-German leaders might have fared far worse.

Most of these disheartening facts that have so completely upended my understanding of reality over the last decade could not possibly have come to my attention until the rise of the Internet, which partially broke centralized control over the distribution of information. But many other people surely must have known large portions of this important story long before that, and recognized the very serious consequences these matters might have for the future of our society. Why has there been so little public discussion?

I believe one factor is that over the years and the decades, our dominant media organs of news and entertainment have successfully conditioned most Americans to suffer a sort of mental allergic reaction to topics sensitive to Jews, which leads to all sorts of issues being considered absolutely out of bounds. And with America’s very powerful Jewish elites thereby insulated from almost all public scrutiny, Jewish arrogance and misbehavior remain largely unchecked and can increase completely without limit.

I’ve also sometimes suggested to people that one under-emphasized aspect of a Jewish population, greatly magnifying its problematical character, is the existence of what might be considered a biological sub-morph of exceptionally fanatical individuals, always on hair-trigger alert to launch verbal and sometimes physical attacks of unprecedented fury against anyone they regard as insufficiently friendly towards Jewish interests. Every now and then, a particularly brave or foolhardy public figure challenges some off-limits topic and is almost always overwhelmed and destroyed by a veritable swarm of these fanatical Jewish attackers. Just as the painful stings of the self-sacrificing warrior caste of an ant colony can quickly teach large predators to go elsewhere, fears of provoking these “Jewish berserkers” can often severely intimidate writers or politicians, causing them to choose their words very carefully or even completely avoid discussing certain controversial subjects, thereby greatly benefiting Jewish interests as a whole. And the more such influential people are thus intimidated into avoiding a particular topic, the more that topic is perceived as strictly taboo, and avoided by everyone else as well.

For example, about a dozen years ago I was having lunch with an especially eminent Neoconservative scholar with whom I’d become a little friendly. We were bemoaning the overwhelmingly leftward skew among America’s intellectual elites, and I suggested it largely seemed a function of our most elite universities. Many of our brightest students from across the nation entered Harvard and the other Ivies holding a variety of different ideological perspectives, but after four years departed those halls of learning overwhelmingly in left-liberal lock-step. Although he agreed with my assessment, he felt I was missing something important. He nervously glanced to both sides, shifted his head downward, and lowered his voice. “It’s the Jews,” he said.

I do not doubt that much of the candid analysis provided above will be quite distressing to many individuals. Indeed, some may believe that such material far exceeds the boundaries of mere “anti-Semitism” and easily crosses the threshold into constituting an actual “blood libel” against the Jewish people. That extremely harsh accusation, widely used by stalwart defenders of Israeli behavior, refers to the notorious Christian superstition, prevalent throughout most of the Middle Ages and even into more modern times, that Jews sometimes kidnapped small Christian children in order to drain their blood for use in various magic rituals, especially in connection with the Purim religious holiday. One of my more shocking discoveries of the last dozen years is that there is a fairly strong likelihood that these seemingly impossible beliefs were actually true.

I personally have no professional expertise whatsoever in Jewish ritual traditions, nor the practices of Medieval Jewry. But one of the world’s foremost scholars in that field is Ariel Toaff, professor of Jewish Renaissance and Medieval Studies at Bar-Ilan University near Tel Aviv, and himself the son of the Chief Rabbi of Rome.

In 2007, he published the Italian edition of his academic study Blood Passovers, based on many years of diligent research, assisted by his graduate students and guided by the suggestions of his various academic colleagues, with the initial print run of 1,000 copies selling out on the first day. Given Toaff’s international eminence and such enormous interest, further international distribution, including an English edition by a prestigious American academic press would normally have followed. But the ADL and various other Jewish-activist groups regarded such a possibility with extreme disfavor, and although these activists lacked any scholarly credentials, they apparently applied sufficient pressure to cancel all additional publication. Although Prof. Toaff initially attempted to stand his ground in stubborn fashion, he soon took the same course as Galileo, and his apologies naturally became the basis of the always-unreliable Wikipedia entry on the topic.

Eventually, an English translation of his text turned up on the Internet in a PDF format and was also placed for sale on Amazon.com, where I purchased a copy and eventually read it. Given those difficult circumstances, this work of 500 pages is hardly in ideal form, with most of the hundreds of footnotes disconnected from the text, but it still provides a reasonable means of evaluating Toaff’s controversial thesis, at least from a layman’s perspective. He certainly seems an extremely erudite scholar, drawing heavily upon the secondary literature in English, French, German, and Italian, as well as the original documentary sources in Latin, Medieval Latin, Hebrew, and Yiddish. Indeed, despite the shocking nature of the subject matter, this scholarly work is actually rather dry and somewhat dull, with very long digressions regarding the particular intrigues of various obscure Medieval Jews. My own total lack of expertise in these areas must be emphasized, but overall I thought Toaff made a quite persuasive case.

It appears that a considerable number of Ashkenazi Jews traditionally regarded Christian blood as having powerful magical properties and considered it a very valuable component of certain important ritual observances at particular religious holidays. Obviously, obtaining such blood in large amounts was fraught with considerable risk, which greatly enhanced its monetary value, and the trade in the vials of this commodity seems to have been widely practiced. Toaff notes that since the detailed descriptions of the Jewish ritualistic murder practices are very similarly described in locations widely separated by geography, language, culture, and time period, they are almost certainly independent observations of the same rite. Furthermore, he notes that when accused Jews were caught and questioned, they often correctly described obscure religious rituals which could not possibly have been known to their Gentile interrogators, who often garbled minor details. Thus, these confessions were very unlikely to have been concocted by the authorities.

Furthermore, as extensively discussed by Shahak, the world-view of traditional Judaism did involve a very widespread emphasis on magical rituals, spells, charms, and similar things, providing a context in which ritualistic murder and human sacrifice would hardly be totally unexpected.

Obviously, the ritual murder of Christian children for their blood was viewed with enormous disfavor by the local Gentile population, and the widespread belief in its existence remained a source of bitter tension between the two communities, flaring up occasionally when a Christian child mysteriously disappeared at a particular time of year, or when a body was found that exhibited suspicious types of wounds or showed a strange loss of blood. Every now and then, a particular case would reach public prominence, often leading to a political test of strength between Jewish and anti-Jewish groups. During the mid-19th century, there was one such famous case in French-dominated Syria, and just before the outbreak of the First World War, Russia was wracked by a similar political conflict in the 1913 Beilis Affair in the Ukraine.

I first encountered these very surprising ideas almost a dozen years ago in a long article by Israel Shamir that was referenced in Counterpunch, and this would definitely be worth reading as an overall summary, together with a couple of his follow-up columns, while writer Andrew Hamilton offers the most recent 2012 overview of the controversy. Shamir also helpfully provides a free copy of the book in PDF form, an updated version with the footnotes properly noted in the text. Anyway, I lack the expertise to effectively judge the likelihood of the Toaff Hypothesis, so I would invite those interested to read Toaff’s book or better yet the related articles and decide for themselves.

The notion that the world is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine has often been misattributed to the British astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington, and over the last fifteen-odd years I’ve sometimes begun to believe that the historical events of our own era could be considered in a similar light. I’ve also sometimes joked with my friends that when the true history of our last one hundred years is finally written and told—probably by a Chinese professor at a Chinese university—none of the students in his lecture hall will ever believe a word of it.

Related Readings:

July 17, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

‘US Needs Russia More Than Russia Needs US’ – Academic on Trump-Putin Summit

Sputnik – July 16, 2018

In a historic bilateral summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin met his US counterpart Donald Trump in the Finnish capital. In an interview with Sputnik, Dr. Denis Rancourt, a civil rights advocate and social theorist, provided his insight into the importance of the meeting.

Sputnik: Could you share your feelings as to how significant this is; how significant is the timing of this? What do you expect to be accomplished?

Dr. Denis Rancourt: I don’t think the timing is that important, I mean it had to happen because Trump and the US want it to happen and also Russia wants it to happen. It’s going to happen anyway. The US wants things from Russia and to some degree, the US needs Russia more than Russia needs the US, because the United States in the world has lost a lot of credibility and Russia has credibility. It has a coherent diplomacy, which the US no longer has.

So it needs that credibility… Trump uses the expression “We need to run the world”: what he means by that is that he wants to be able to acquire the benefits of having a collaboration with Russia on certain issues. I think that credibility is one; but there is another important issue that clearly is of concern to Trump and the United States and that is the question of weapons; the democratizing of missiles, especially.

The US would have a lot to lose if more and more nations acquire the possibility of defending themselves against US threats and attacks. And so, the possibility of missiles being given to people who need them, by Korea or by Iran, or even indirectly, or directly, by Russia itself, is a great threat to the United States, because the US system relies on military intimidation and its projection of power in the world.

So, for that to be removed would take away many of its acquired territories and ability to coerce and intimidate economies and large parts of the world. I think those are the things, it’s in that sense that the United States wants kind of a weapons management and understanding that they are going to limit this […] spread of weapons; because it’s not just nuclear weapons. Technology is advancing, and we now have more and more accurate missile that can hit cities that are estimated to be the source of military intimidation. For example, Tel Aviv can be hit by missiles and so on. It’s illustrated by what’s happening in Yemen now.

The Yemenis have rudimentary missiles that are able to hit targets in Saudi Arabia and have demonstrated their ability to take our ships. So, the US is more and more vulnerable to this advancing technology. It relies on projection of power through aircraft carriers, which are themselves, by their nature, vulnerable to missile attacks and to the kind of technology that can easily hit large ships. They need to be able to protect themselves and they’ve lost credibility, especially after the total destruction that they have made in Iraq and Libya. The world has seen this and understands how vicious NATO and the United States can be. I think it’s a combination of those two things that brings Trump and the US to the table, to try to negotiate with Russia.

Sputnik: […] Trump has virtually dismissed reports, even from his own intelligence, on the alleged Russian meddling. What do you think about this?

Dr. Denis Rancourt: […]Of course this is a global war. Of course, RT and Sputnik exist now and that’s a reality, and it influences opinions and outlooks in the world, and that’s not going to change, it’s not going to go away. This is all largely a domestic issue, whether it’s true or not, it’s still just a domestic issue.

July 16, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Putin laughs at suggestion that Russia collected dirt on Trump

RT | July 16, 2018

Vladimir Putin laughed after being asked if Russia had compromising information about Donald Trump or his family, replying that it’s absurd to suggest that Moscow collects dirt on every American businessman who visits the country.

Jonathan Lemire, a White House reporter for the Associated Press, asked Putin during the post-summit press conference whether Russia had any “compromising material on president Trump or his family.”

Laughing once the question was fully translated, Putin responded: “When Trump came over to Moscow, I was not aware of it. When he came over as a businessman, I was not even aware that he was in Moscow. Take the St. Petersburg Economic Forum. More than 500 senior executives from the US came over to Russia. Do you think that we are compiling compromising material on all of them? Well, definitely it’s absurd. I cannot really imagine anything more absurd than this. So please, throw out this nonsense.”

Trump added that if there was compromising information about him, it would have been published long ago.

While the Russian leader’s answer was hardly ambiguous, journalists flocked to Twitter to claim that Putin had not denied that Moscow had dirt on Trump.

The theory that Moscow has dirt on the US president stemmed from the so-called ‘Steele Dossier,’ which – among other sensational but ultimately unproven allegations – claims that Trump paid prostitutes to urinate on a bed in which Barack Obama once slept. The dossier, written by retired UK intelligence officer Christopher Steele and allegedly compiled using sources from “inside the Kremlin,” has been repeatedly cited by Russiagate enthusiasts who claim that Donald Trump is a Kremlin puppet.

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

Trump Is Israel’s “Useful Idiot”

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald tribune | July 16, 2018

The claim made by many neoconservatives that Israel and the United States are partners in the Middle East because their strategic interests are identical is belied by the fact that the Israelis are more than willing to ignore Washington when its suits them to do so. The claim of identical interests has always been false, promoted by the Zionist media and an intensively lobbied Congress to make the lopsided relationship with an essentially racist and apartheid regime more palatable to the American public, but, in wake of the slaughter in Gaza and pending legislation in the Knesset empowering Israeli communities to ban non-Jewish residents, it completely lacks any credibility.

It would probably surprise most American friends of Israel to learn that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has visited Moscow three times so far this year, particularly as Russia has been getting vilified in the U.S. mainstream media on an almost daily basis. There is a reason for the Russophobia beyond what Moscow might or might not have done in the 2016 election. Russia has become a particular target of hostility for the burgeoning number of neoconservative foundations, also closely linked to Israel, whose funding from defense contractors depends on having a powerful enemy. The ability of Israel and its supporters to play both sides regardless of what the accepted perception of what American interests might be should therefore be an issue of some concern.

The United States military is deeply engaged in Syria, in part due to Israeli pressure, seeking to depose the existing government of President Bashar al-Assad and replace it with a Syria composed primarily of fragmented local jurisdictions representing tribal and religious groups rather than a unified state. Israel believes that a shattered Syria would not pose any threat to its continued possession of the occupied Golan Heights and might even offer an opportunity to expand that occupation.

In response to Israeli interests, the U.S. has sought regime change in Syria and has toyed with the creation of mini states within the country controlled by the Kurds and the so-called moderate rebels. It would mean the end of Syria as a nation, which has been an Israeli objective since 1967. Israel has been contributing to the turmoil by attacking targets inside Syria. The targets are generally described as either “Iranian” or “Hezbollah,” but they have also included Syrian Army installations. One such attack took place last week after a drone allegedly entered Israeli territory.

Israel has also collaborated with rebel groups inside Syria, to include al-Qaeda affiliates and ISIS, which puts Washington in an awkward position as it claims to be in Syria primarily to defeat ISIS and other terrorists. In one bizarre episode, ISIS actually apologized to Israel for inadvertently attacking Israeli positions in the Golan Heights. There have also been reports of Israeli hospitals treating wounded terrorists.

The Israeli willingness to play all sides in the Syrian conflict recognizes that Russia rather than the United States has assumed the pivotal role in determining what the ultimate political outcome of the fighting is likely to be. Apart from weakening and fragmenting Syria itself, Israel’s clearly stated objective has been to reduce or, even better, eliminate Iranian presence in the country, which Netanyahu describes hyperbolically as “… very important for the national security of the state of Israel.”

Benjamin Netanyahu’s visits to Russia can be seen as efforts to get Moscow’s backing to push back against Iran, admittedly a Sisyphean task as both Russia and Iran are in Syria by invitation of the legitimate government and both have been critical to the success of Damascus’s successful counter-offensive. There are, however, differences in perception, as Moscow’s role has been limited and largely high-tech while Iran has supplied as many as 80,000 of the foot soldiers in the conflict. Russia would prefer that Syria not become an Iranian satrapy after the fighting is over.

With both Iran and Israel courting Russian favor, President Vladimir Putin hosted last week back-to-back visits by Netanyahu and Iranian senior foreign policy adviser Ali Akbar Velayati. Netanyahu was open about his desire to explain to Putin why a significant Iranian presence in Syria post-war would be undesirable and even dangerous. He pushed for restoration of a United Nations monitored demilitarized zone along the Golan Heights and also for complete withdrawal of Iranian forces from the country. In return, the Russians suggested that they would support an Iranian military presence “tens of kilometers” away from the Israeli border, but Putin also made clear that Syria would be reunited under its government in Damascus and that the Iranians should have a role in the country’s reconstruction and defense. Netanyahu did not get what he wanted but the conversation with a basically friendly Russia will continue. Expect more visits.

The Iranians, for their part, were dealing with the broader issue of impending United States sanctions on the Iranian oil industry. They obtained a commitment from Putin to continue investment in Iranian oil development and also to continue cooperation to stabilize Syria and drive out the last of the so-called rebels. As Russia is an energy exporter, the issue of buying Iranian oil was irrelevant, but Velayati was reportedly on his way to China to press for a commitment from Beijing to continue purchases of oil in spite of the threat of sanctions from Washington after November 4th.

Whatever one believes about the Syrian conflict and Washington’s role in it, the adherence to Israeli points of view in framing policy has made the United States largely irrelevant and has handed control of the situation to enemy du jour Russia. The Israelis have found the new administration in Washington to be what Lenin once described as a “useful idiot,” prepared to support whatever Netanyahu proposes while at the same time so clueless that the Israeli government can freely and openly simultaneously cut deals with Moscow that undermine the U.S. continued presence in the country.

Donald Trump’s recent comment that the United States might move to get out of Syria completely by the end of the year suggests that he might actually be figuring things out and is no longer willing to be the Israeli patsy in developments in that country. It just might also be that the White House has finally realized that continued engagement in Syria is a lose-lose no matter how it turns out.

July 16, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 3 Comments

Breaking a downward spiral: Trump-Putin meeting a breakthrough regardless of practical outcome

RT | July 16, 2018

The US and Russian leaders will meet in an atmosphere of open animosity towards Russia in the West. In this context, the very fact of the meeting, which part of the US establishment sought to derail, could be deemed a success.

A summit between US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, is a much-anticipated event and it is also long overdue. As unhinged Russophobia increasingly grips the West and relations between two of the world’s major powers hit a historic low since the Cold War, a meeting between the two leaders might at least slow down the continued slide towards even greater confrontation if not really improve the troubled relations between Moscow and Washington.

The extraordinary circumstances surrounding this meeting make it a sort of victory of proponents of common sense over those who seek to push their own narrow interests at the expense of international relations and, eventually, global security.

Long & thorny path to dialogue

During his election campaign in 2016 and after his inauguration, Trump said repeatedly that he would like to have better relations with Russia, which had already soured on the last leg of Barack Obama’s second presidential term over Syria and Ukraine. His position that having good ties with Russia is better for the US brought on him the additional ire of the liberal ‘resistance’ and the establishment amid the Mueller probe into alleged election meddling and collusion that hasn’t produced much evidence, but generated high costs and daily debates.

Trump’s presidency has seen further deterioration of relations between Moscow and Washington. When a diplomatic row began under the Obama administration and saw diplomats expelled, Russia chose not to retaliate, waiting for Trump’s actions. Under his administration, however, sanctions have been slapped on Moscow, diplomats have been expelled, and Russian diplomatic compounds have been searched.

Moscow condemned Washington’s moves at that time, calling it the “behavior of raiders” and accusing the US of violating the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The US ignored Russia’s objections and once again broke into a Russian diplomatic compound. This followed more expulsions in response to London’s baseless accusation that Moscow poisoned the former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK.

This time, the US also went so far as to boot out Russian diplomats working at the UN headquarters in New York, in what Moscow called a violation of international agreements.

Coupled with unfettered Russophobia following the worst patterns of McCarthyism that swayed the minds of a significant part of the US establishment and the media community, this policy brought relations between the two countries to within a hair’s breadth of a red line separating political animosity from open conflict.

The US named Russia among the major threats in its Nuclear Posture Review, and it sought ways to bypass one of the cornerstones of the international disarmament regime – the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty – all in the name of countering perceived “aggressive strategies” by Russia. It has therefore become clear that the US officials preoccupied with anti-Russian conspiracies, which they themselves contrived, have lost touch with reality and are ready to put the world on the brink of a new arms race, if not a new global war, in a bid to protect Washington’s dominance in the world.

Even at the beginning of his presidency, Trump admitted that US-Russian relations had hit a historic low. Since that time, the situation has seemingly become much worse. With US-Russian relations reduced to “sporadic meetings between diplomats and military,” as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently put it, a meeting that could overcome this confrontational narrative of bilateral relations by the mere fact of it taking place would have extreme significance.

Hopes & expectations

Even though the meeting apparently already has enough symbolic meaning to make holding it a worthy goal, both sides also have certain expectations of the event. Quite reasonably, Moscow sees the summit primarily as a way to just restore dialog between the two nations and add some common sense in bilateral relations.

If Trump and Putin manage to “re-open all the channels [of dialog] on both divisive issues… and those issues where we can usefully cooperate,” such an outcome of the meeting could be called “ideal,” Lavrov told Larry King in a recent interview. The US and NATO, which together spend 12 times more money on defense than Russia, has yet to “understand that it cannot dictate to each and every country how to handle international security matters,” the minister said, adding that “dialogue is required.”

His words were partly echoed by the Russian president’s aide, Yury Ushakov, who said that the Kremlin sees the goal of the meeting as “changing the negative situation in relations between the US and Russia,” as well as “bringing mutual trust to some acceptable level.” However, Moscow is apparently also reluctant to set its hopes high as Ushakov said that the Russian side does not expect the two leaders to even issue a joint statement following the summit.

Such a stance perfectly fits into Moscow’s general approach that involves readiness to “build bridges” with the US, which it prefers to see as a “partner” despite its “regrettable” security strategy. The US expectations for the summit, meanwhile, look much vaguer as Washington seemingly still cannot define its own attitude to its negotiating partner.

Over the days preceding the summit, Trump has already called Putin a “competitor” and said that the US was “tougher on Russia than anybody.” At the same time, he also repeatedly stated that “if we could develop a relationship, it would be good for Russia and good for us, good for everybody.”

On Sunday, the US president told CBS that he is going into the meeting with “low expectations.” He added that “nothing bad is going to come out of it, and maybe some good will come out of it.”

According to the US ambassador to Russia, Trump would like to meet Putin one-on-one to actually understand if Russia wants good relations with the US. The US president himself, meanwhile, admitted that he still “cannot say” if Moscow is Washington’s “friend or foe.”

Notably, neither Moscow nor Washington spoke about any concrete agreements that could be reached as a result of the talks, which makes one presume that, in a practical sense, the results of the summit would hardly be significant.

“The main purpose of the meeting is to highlight the need to restore direct lines of communication at many levels between the US and Russian governments and civil society that were severed by the Obama administration following the Crimea referendum,” Gilbert Doctorow, political analyst and author, told RT. “There is a great deal to be accomplished in restoring normal, civilized relations between the two countries first,” he added.

Meanwhile, Jim Jatras, a Washington DC-based attorney, political analyst, and media and government affairs specialist, believes that the meeting will not result in a practical agreement – not only because of the sorry state of US-Russian relations – but also because “while Putin is master in his ‘house,’ Trump is not in his.”

“There is virtually no instruction Trump can give to the Washington apparatus of power he can be confident will be carried out,” Jatras told RT, noting that the establishment and media “tried to prevent his election, then tried to neutralize him after he won, and is still trying to find a means to remove him, by any means possible.”

Russophobia in West goes into overdrive

The US establishment as well as at least some of Washington’s Western allies have, meanwhile, spared no effort to prevent or at least spoil the forthcoming summit. The US media are almost competing to provide their audiences with most bizarre conspiracy theories about possible collusion between Trump and Putin as a renewed push to promote the narrative that has become increasingly threadbare over the last couple of years.

In one of the most vivid examples of such dizzying feats, New York magazine claimed that the US leader was actually a Russian spy since at least 1987. The US neocons were also not too far behind the media as they suggested that US National Security Advisor John Bolton, who is actually known as an arch-hawk and war cheerleader, might well be Putin’s stooge just because he traveled to Moscow to discuss the details of the meeting between the two leaders.

The crux of the matter was the US Justice Department’s announcement that 12 people identified as “Russian intelligence officers” had been indicted for hacking the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign. The news conveniently came just days ahead of the meeting, prompting Moscow to say that the move was aimed at spoiling the upcoming summit in the Finnish capital of Helsinki.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, the British establishment and journalists launched their own verbal assault on the Kremlin following yet another chemical incident on the British soil, even though the UK has so far provided no evidence linking even the March poisoning of Skripals to Moscow, not to mention the new incident, which was predictably immediately blamed on Russia without any proof being presented.

“For the establishment, US-Russia enmity isn’t a means to an end – it is the end,” Jatras said, commenting on the issue. He told RT that Washington effectively sees Russia as “an obstacle to continued US global hegemony and the huge flows of money spread around, both at home and abroad, [used] to sustain it.

“Anything less than endless hostility is a direct threat to the financial wellbeing and ideological core of a vast army of mandarins,” he added.

Read more:

Russia hysteria reaches fever pitch in US media as Trump-Putin summit looms

July 16, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia | , | 4 Comments

Trump’s Summit with Putin Could Reduce Risk of Nuclear War

By Robert Roth • Unz Review • July 12, 2018

I disagree with President Donald Trump about practically everything. With two exceptions.

First, Trump said it from Day One: “Getting along with Russia and China and with everybody is a very good thing. It’s good for the world, it’s good for the U.S.” He said it again regarding his planned July 16 meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

For some years now, we’ve been sleepwalking toward war with Russia, as I try to show at https://www.unz.com/article/ukraine-syria-russiagate-the-media-and-the-risk-of-nuclear-war/. And we now have an opportunity to reduce that risk, with a couple of easy actions.

That’s why the Trump-Putin summit has my attention. As U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley observed, “Only nuclear weapons have the capacity to wipe out humanity in the blink of an eye.”

In 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis took us close to just that catastrophe. Thereafter, the two superpowers negotiated several treaties to decrease the risk of nuclear war. The system that evolved was called Mutually Assured Destruction, or MAD: neither power could launch a first strike because the other could always retaliate. The 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty preserved that system by prohibiting deployment of weapons that could neutralize a retaliatory strike.

Is that crazy, or what? Could anyone seriously consider starting a nuclear war? Daniel Ellsberg gives the unpleasant answer in “The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner.” In fact, the so-called “missile defense” system, a gigantic boondoggle for the military-industrial complex, also looks like a plan to wage and “win” a nuclear war.

Such demented thinking was probably behind U.S. withdrawal, in 2002, from the ABM Treaty, and deployment of the “missile defense shield.” The shield, if effective, would make a nuclear first-strike thinkable, because it could defeat the retaliating strike.

Putin repeatedly asked the U.S. to discontinue its missile defense deployment, warning that Russia would have to take counter-measures. But the deployments have continued. Then, on March 1, Putin announced Russian development of new weapons that he claimed would render a missile shield ineffective.

Make your own assessment. You can see Putin’s speech at

His 30-minute description of the new weapons starts at 1h:18m. A transcript, also with videos, is at http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/56957 . Analysis and commentary appear at http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/03/russia-shows-off-new-weapons-tells-us-to-come-down-to-earth.html#more ; http://www.unz.com/article/the-implications-of-russias-new-weapons/ ; http://thesaker.is/newly-revealed-russian-weapons-systems-political-implications/ ; and https://www.thenation.com/article/how-washington-provoked-and-perhaps-lost-a-new-nuclear-arms-race/ .

Putin’s announcement was dismissed as “saber-rattling.” But his tone was not threatening. Rather, he invited the U.S. “to come to the negotiating table to give thought to an updated, future system of international security and civilization’s sustainable development.”

Thankfully, a few senators were listening. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) promptly urged the State Department to convene the next U.S.-Russia dialogue as soon as possible. Then in late June, Senator Merkley, along with Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tina Smith (D-MN), Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced a Senate resolution in support of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) on the occasion of its “Golden Birthday.” The full resolution can be found at https://www.merkley.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/NPT%20Resolution.pdf .

The planned Trump-Putin summit offers a chance to jump-start that overdue process. You can help with a couple of small but meaningful actions: (1) Contact the White House at (202) 456-1111 or https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ . Tell the President you support his meeting with Mr. Putin, and hope he will use it to discuss nuclear arms control. (2) Contact any or all of the above-mentioned Senators via the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or, if you reside in a State represented by one of them, via email. Thank the Senator for his or her work to support nuclear arms control and ask them to keep at it and keep you posted.

Unfortunately, the “Russiagate” investigation and widespread demonization of Putin and Russia create an atmosphere making it difficult to improve U.S.-Russia relations. This brings me to my second point of agreement with Trump, who has repeatedly denounced the investigation as a “witch hunt.” As appalling as most of Trump’s policies are, I can’t support the effort to unseat a constitutionally elected president by a campaign of disinformation and lies.

“Russiagate” is politically motivated, is founded on an act of deception, and has produced no evidence. Its cornerstone, the misleadingly titled “Intelligence Community Assessment” of January 2017, was in fact authored by hand-picked staffers from just three agencies, and even they admitted their judgments “are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact.” For details, see the London Review of Books at https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n01/jackson-lears/what-we-dont-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-russian-hacking , and a summary by former ambassador Jack Matlock at http://jackmatlock.com/2018/06/musings-russiagate-hysteria/#more-982 .

But isn’t it pointless to negotiate with the diabolical Vladimir Putin? Again, make your own assessment. Read Oliver Stone’s book of interviews with Putin, or former Australian diplomat Tony Kevin’s “Return to Moscow.” Or just take a look at the interview with Russianist Stephen Cohen posted http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/whos-responsible-for-the-new-cold-war-an-interview-with-renowned-russia-expert-stephen-cohen/2018/03/28/ ..

Robert Roth prosecuted consumer fraud for the attorneys general of New York (1981-91) and Oregon (1993-2007). A shorter version of this article originally appeared in the Eugene, Oregon Register-Guard.

July 13, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment