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Impeachment Reminder of Our Toxic Foreign Aid

By James Bovard | Ron Paul Institute | Monday June 29, 2020

Foreign aid to Ukraine helped spur the Democrats’ effort to impeach and remove President Trump earlier this year. Ukraine was supposed to be on the verge of great progress until Trump pulled the rug out from under the heroic salvation effort by US government bureaucrats. Unfortunately, Congress has devoted a hundred times more attention to the timing of aid to Ukraine than to its effectiveness. And most of the media coverage pretended that US handouts abroad are as generous and uplifting as congressmen claim.

US foreign aid has long fueled the poxes it promised to eradicate — especially kleptocracy, or government by thieves. A 2002 American Economic Review analysis concluded that “increases in [foreign] aid are associated with contemporaneous increases in corruption” and that “corruption is positively correlated with aid received from the United States.” Windfalls of foreign aid can make politicians more rapacious, which economists have dubbed the “voracity effect.”

Early in his presidency, George W. Bush promised to reform foreign aid, declaring, “I think it makes no sense to give aid money to countries that are corrupt.” Regardless, the Bush administration continued delivering billions of dollars in handouts to many of the world’s most corrupt regimes.

Barack Obama proclaimed at the United Nations in 2010 that the US government was “leading a global effort to combat corruption.” The Los Angeles Times noted that Obama’s “aides said the United States in the past has often seemed to just throw money at problems,” while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted that “a lot of these aid programs don’t work” and lamented their “heartbreaking” failures. But Obama promised during his 2008 campaign to double foreign-aid spending, which obliterated efforts to reform failed programs. In 2011, congressional Republicans sought to restrict foreign aid going to fraud-ridden foreign regimes. Secretary of State Clinton wailed that restricting handouts to nations that fail anti-corruption tests “has the potential to affect a staggering number of needy aid recipients.”

Regardless, the Obama administration continued pouring tens of billions of US tax dollars into sinkholes such as Afghanistan, which even its president, Ashraf Ghani, admitted in 2016 was “one of the most corrupt countries on earth.” The governor of Kandahar denounced his own government officials and police officers as “looters and kidnappers.” John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), declared that “US policies and practices unintentionally aided and abetted corruption” in Afghanistan.

Since the end of the Soviet Union, the United States has provided more than $6 billion in aid to Ukraine. At the House impeachment hearings late last year, a key anti-Trump witness was acting US ambassador to Ukraine William B. Taylor Jr. The Washington Post hailed Taylor as someone who “spent much of the 1990s telling Ukrainian politicians that nothing was more critical to their long-term prosperity than rooting out corruption and bolstering the rule of law, in his role as the head of US development assistance for post-Soviet countries.” A New York Times editorial lauded Taylor and State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent as witnesses who “came across not as angry Democrats or Deep State conspirators, but as men who have devoted their lives to serving their country.”

Their testimony spurred Eric Rubin, president of the American Foreign Service Association, to bewail that “this is the most fraught time and the most difficult time for our members” since Sen. Joe McCarthy’s accusations of communism in the 1950s. A Washington Post headline echoed him: “The diplomatic corps has been wounded. The State Department needs to heal.” But not nearly as much as the foreigners supposedly rescued by US bureaucrats.

The Wall Street Journal reported on October 31 that the International Monetary Fund, which has provided more than $20 billion in loans to Ukraine, “remains skeptical after a history of broken promises [from the Ukrainian government]. Kiev hasn’t successfully completed any of a series of IMF bailout packages over the past two decades, with systemic corruption at the heart of much of that failure.” The IMF concluded that Ukraine continued to be vexed by “shortcomings in the legal framework, pervasive corruption, and large parts of the economy dominated by inefficient state-owned enterprises or by oligarchs.” That last item is damning for US benevolent pretensions. If a former Soviet republic cannot even terminate its government-owned boondoggles, then why was the US government bankrolling them? While many members of Congress could not find Ukraine on a map, far fewer could have offered any coherent explanation of what US aid bought in Ukraine.

Transparency International, which publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index, shows that corruption surged in Ukraine in the late 1990s (after the United States decided to rescue that country) and remains at abysmal levels. Ukraine now ranks in the bottom tier on the list of most corrupt nations, with a worse rating than Egypt and Pakistan, two other major US aid recipients notorious for corruption.

Actually, the best gauge of Ukrainian corruption is the near-total collapse of its citizens’ trust in government or in their own future. Since 1991, the nation has lost almost 20 percent of its population as citizens flee abroad like passengers leaping off a sinking ship. But as long as Kiev was not completely depopulated, US bureaucrats could continue claiming to be on the verge of achieving great things.

The House impeachment hearings and much of the media gushed over those career US government officials despite their strikeouts. It was akin to a congressional committee’s resurrecting Col. George Custer in 1877 and fawning as he offered personal insights in dealing with uprisings by Sioux Indians (while carefully avoiding awkward questions about the previous year at the Little Bighorn).

Foreign aid is virtue-signaling with other people’s money. As long the aid spawns press releases and photo opportunities for presidents and members of Congress and campaign donations from corporate and other beneficiaries, little else matters. Congress almost never conducts thorough investigations into the failure of aid programs despite their legendary pratfalls. As the Christian Science Monitor noted in 2010, AID “created an atmosphere of frantic urgency about the ‘burn rate’ — a measure of how quickly money is spent. Emphasis gets put on spending fast to make room for the next batch from Congress.” Martine van Bijlert of the nonprofit Afghanistan Analysts Network commented, “As long as you spend money and you can provide a paper trail, that’s a job well done. It’s a perverse system, and there seems to be no intention to change it.” The “burn rate” fixation produced endless absurdities, including collapsing school buildings, impassable roads, failed electrification projects, and phantom health clinics. SIGAR’s John Sopko “found a USAID lessons-learned report from 1980s on Afghan reconstruction but nobody at AID had read it.”

Perverse incentives

“Fail and repeat” was also AID’s motto in Iraq. After the 2003 invasion, AID and the Pentagon paired up to spend $60 billion to rebuild Iraq. As long as projects looked vaguely impressive at ribbon-cutting ceremonies, AID declared victory. Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), listed some of the agency’s farcical Iraq success claims at a 2011 hearing: “262,482 individuals reportedly benefited from medical supplies that were purchased to treat only 100 victims of a specific attack; 22 individuals attended a five-day mental-health course, yet 1.5 million were reported as beneficiaries; … and 280,000 were reported as benefitting from $14,246 spent to rehabilitate a morgue.” Ali Ghalib Baban, Iraq’s minister of planning, denied in 2009 that US aid for relief and reconstruction had benefitted his country: “Maybe they spent it, but Iraq doesn’t feel it.” An analysis by the Center for Public Integrity noted that, according to top Iraqi officials, the biggest impact of US aid was “more corruption and widespread money-laundering.”

After driving around the world, investment guru Jim Rogers declared, “Most foreign aid winds up with outside consultants, the local military, corrupt bureaucrats, the new NGO [nongovernmental organizations] administrators, and Mercedes dealers.” Mercedes-Benz automobiles became so popular among African government officials that a new Swahili word was coined: wabenzi — “men of the Mercedes-Benz.” After the Obama administration promised massive aid to Ukraine in 2014, Hunter Biden, the vice president’s son, jumped on the gravy train — as did legions of well-connected Washingtonians and other hustlers around the nation. Similar largesse ensures that there will never be a shortage of overpaid people and hired think tanks ready to write op-eds or letters to the editor of the Washington Post whooping up the moral greatness of foreign aid or some such hokum.

Bribing foreign politicians to encourage honest government makes as much sense as distributing free condoms to encourage abstinence. Rather than encouraging good governance practices, foreign aid is more likely to produce kleptocracies. As a Brookings Institution analysis observed, “The history of US assistance is littered with tales of corrupt foreign officials using aid to line their own pockets, support military buildups, and pursue vanity projects.” Both US politicians and US bureaucrats are prone to want to continue the aid gravy train regardless of how foreign regimes waste the money or use it to repress their own citizens.

US government leaders are far more concerned with buying influence than with safeguarding purity. Foreign aid is often little more than a bribe for a foreign regime to behave in ways that please the US government. One large bribe naturally spawns hundreds or thousands of smaller bribes, and thereby corrupts an entire country. The impeachment of Trump was driven by the specific favor that Democrats claimed he had requested from the Ukrainian president, not from seeking favors per se.

When it comes to the failure of US aid to Ukraine, almost all of Trump’s congressional critics are like the “dog that didn’t bark” in the Sherlock Holmes story. The real outrage is that Trump and prior presidents, with Congress cheering all the way, delivered so many US tax dollars to Kiev that any reasonable person knew would be wasted.

Foreign aid will continue to be toxic as long as politicians continue to be politicians. There is no bureaucratic cure for the perverse incentives created by flooding foreign nations with US tax dollars. If Washington truly wants to curtail foreign corruption, ending US government handouts aid is the best first step. Counting on foreign aid to reduce corruption is like expecting whiskey to cure alcoholism.

June 29, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

US House of Representatives Committee Proposes $3.8 Billion to Fund Anti-Russia Measures in 2021

Sputnik – June 27, 2020

WASHINGTON – The United States House of Representatives Armed Services Committee has proposed allocating $3.8 billion to fund anti-Russia measures in the 2021 fiscal year, according to the committee’s National Defence Authorization Act proposal.

“The proposal provides an additional $3.789 billion for strategic sealift, satellite communications, refueling, submarine, and antisubmarine warfare capabilities that enhance deterrence against Russia”, the document read.

Additionally, officials in Washington are pushing to limit any military cooperation between the US and Russia, although exceptions will be made for the purposes of building dialogue that will reduce the risk of conflict, according to the document.

The committee is also looking to fully fund the European Defence Initiative and provide $250 million to the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. One-fifth of these funds can be used to purchase lethal weapons, the committee said.

The proposal, which was tabled by Chairman Adam Smith, would authorize roughly $730 billion in spending for the purposes of national defence.

In December, President Donald Trump approved the 2020 National Defence Authorization Act, which had a topline budget of $738 billion.

June 27, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

Ukrainian MP reveals new ‘Biden-Poroshenko’ tapes, claims VP’s son was paid ‘protection money’ by Burisma

RT | June 23, 2020

More tapes of what appear to be Joe Biden’s phone calls with the former president of Ukraine have surfaced, along with documents showing how much his son Hunter was paid by Burisma, a gas company desperate to avoid prosecution.

Ledgers show payments of $3.4 million from Burisma to Rosemont Seneca Bohai, the company co-founded by Hunter Biden, for “consulting services,” former prosecutor Konstantin Kulyk and Ukrainian MP Andrii Derkach revealed on Monday in Kiev.

Kulyk added that these services clearly amounted to “political protection of Burisma” and its owner Mykola Zlochevsky by US vice president at the time, Joe Biden.

Kulyk also told reporters that his office had evidence of Burisma’s lawyers offering $50 million to the government to make the case against the company and its founder go away – and not $6 million as was reported earlier.

The reason Burisma’s activities stood out from the white noise of general corruption in Ukraine following the US-backed coup in 2014 is that Zlochevsky sought to shield himself from scrutiny by hiring Hunter Biden as a board member, for a reported salary of $50,000 a month. Biden had no qualifications for the job, other than father being the top US official in charge of Ukraine.

Last month, Derkach released a batch of audio recordings of what sounded like Biden and then-President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine, discussing everything from sacking a prosecutor looking into Burisma to what Kiev needed to do to qualify for an IMF bailout loan. He revealed more tapes on Monday.

The new recordings show ‘Biden’ micro-managing Ukraine’s internal affairs, asking ‘Poroshenko’ for a “favor,” discussing personnel appointments in the prosecutor-general’s office, assuring Poroshenko the FBI is not looking into claims of a Ukrainian MP who blew the whistle on massive corruption and vote-buying schemes, and so on.

The recordings have not been authenticated and Derkach himself was careful to say the voices “sound like” Poroshenko and Biden. He has turned the materials over to the prosecutor-general’s office, which is reportedly looking into charges of treason and abuse of power against the former president.

Poroshenko’s corruption and Hunter Biden’s job have had a major impact on US politics. Last year, Democrats accused President Donald Trump of soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 election by bringing up Burisma on a phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky and threatening to withhold US military aid to Kiev. The House of Representatives actually impeached Trump on those charges, though he was acquitted in the Senate.

One of the witnesses in the process was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent. On Monday, Derkach named Kent as the liaison between Biden and Poroshenko, used to keep them informed of any developments regarding Burisma.

Poroshenko responded to the revelations by claiming they were a “fabrication” by Russia as “part of a large-scale hybrid war” intended to “undermine the Ukrainian-American strategic partnership that underlies the international coalition in support for Ukraine.”

He said the same exact thing about last month’s revelations, though on that occasion he also accused someone from Zelensky’s office of handing over “raw materials” to investigative journalists who then gave the recordings to Derkach.

June 23, 2020 Posted by | Corruption | , , | Leave a comment

Victoria Nuland’s plan for US policy on Russia is dumb, delusional and dangerous

Victoria Nuland and Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt distribute pastries at Independence square in Kiev, December 11, 2013. © REUTERS/Andrew Kravchenko/Pool
By Nebojsa Malic | RT | June 20, 2020

Victoria Nuland, the infamous State Department diplomat who “midwifed” Ukraine’s 2014 coup, has outlined a Russia strategy for the Biden administration. It is based on fantasies and projection, offering nothing of value to anyone.

You may remember ‘Tori’ Nuland from the so-called “revolution of dignity” in Ukraine, in particular the publicity stunt in which she doled out pastries to “peaceful protesters” on Kiev’s Independence Square. Standing next to her was US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, who will be recorded some weeks later discussing with Nuland which protest leader will be allowed to form a government. Soon thereafter, the people they named led an armed coup against the government in Kiev and set up their own.

That was the zenith of her diplomatic career, however, as she resigned from the State Department after the inauguration of President Donald Trump and went into the private sector – currently working for Madeleine Albright’s consultancy group in Washington. Now Nuland is making a comeback, with an article in the July-August edition of Foreign Affairs titled ‘Pinning Down Putin.’

Between re-airing the usual mainstream Washington accusations against Russia and projecting US and NATO wrongdoing on Moscow, Nuland is basically outlining a policy for the Biden administration, should Democrats capture the White House this November as the US establishment hopes. Bear in mind as you read on that Nuland isn’t necessarily partisan – she worked for Bill Clinton’s Russia guru Strobe Talbott as well as George W. Bush’s grey eminence Dick Cheney. If there is an embodiment of the bipartisan US establishment consensus on Russia, that’s her. That’s the main reason her essay is worth a look.

Her actual policy advice is trite and predictable, calling for “consistent US leadership at the presidential level, unity with democratic allies and partners, and a shared resolve to deter and roll back dangerous behavior by the Kremlin.”

According to Nuland, President Vladimir Putin has “cut off his population from the outside world” and the US needs to “speak directly to the Russian people about the benefits of working together and the price they have paid for Putin’s hard turn away from liberalism.”

Far from being “cut off” though, Russians have greater access to news and opinion than your average American – including news and opinions Nuland disagrees with, which is obviously the problem here. Someone is clearly salty that Putin has made it more difficult for US-backed “civil society” activists and NGOs to operate in Russia.

Nuland argues that the US and NATO have “tried to persuade Moscow that NATO was a purely defensive alliance that posed no threat to Russia” but then has the gall to invoke the “independence” of Kosovo as an example of a “democratic struggle” and talks about how “a belt of increasingly democratic, prosperous states around Russia would pose a challenge” to Putin’s leadership!

Yet Kosovo is proof positive of NATO’s perfidy, and it was the 1999 war there that “lost” Russia, which had previously uncritically looked up to the West – something Nuland hopes to replicate. If she believes places like Ukraine or Georgia are either democratic or prosperous, she’s clearly delusional. Note that Washington praised Putin’s “democratic” predecessor Boris Yeltsin when he sent tanks to bomb the parliament in 1993. US allies like Poland and Hungary are being denounced by the EU as “undemocratic” these days. Perhaps “democracy” means only US-backed parties are allowed to win, along the lines of what happened in Serbia after the 2000 color revolution?

No less delusional are Nuland’s expectations. She describes matters in terms of “the carrot and the stick,” as if Russia were a donkey. Even if we get over the offensive metaphor, her “carrot” is patently ridiculous: Joint investments? Free trade? Lower tariffs? Energy partnerships? A toothless and pointless “pan-European security dialogue” proposed 12 years ago? Meanwhile, Russia would have to “demonstrate its commitment to ending its attacks on democracies” – in other words, prove a negative. Quite a bargain!

What Nuland really wants is to get around the Russian government and win the hearts and minds of the people, using the academia, “civil society” activists and students. She even proposes visa-free travel for Russians “between the ages of 16 and 22, allowing them to form their own opinions before their life paths are set.” Because the kind of graduates that come from US college campuses these days are really an example for the whole world to aspire to!

Nuland was a Sovietologist, so it’s not a surprise her proposals are still stuck in the Cold War mindset. But the 1980s propaganda was based on American opulence, prosperity and Reagan-era confidence. Soviets who bought into it ended up with what Nuland herself recognizes as the “years of chaos and impoverishment during the 1990s.” Putin is the product of that disillusionment, and while one may argue things might have been better this way or that, there is zero argument that his rule hasn’t been vastly preferable over the 1990s to everyone – except the oligarchs and the activists on the payroll of the National Endowment for Democracy.

What does the US offer now, though? Russians look at the scenes from American television, and see a remake of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. They see race riots and self-proclaimed Communists calling for a revolt. They see “science” that says one thing one day and something completely different the other, based solely on political considerations. They see the destruction of monuments and renunciation of the nation’s history and heritage.

Can one blame them if all of this reminds them of Russia’s own past from 1917 onward? As the very American expression goes, “been there, done that.” Also, “no thanks.”

Nebojsa Malic is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Twitter @NebojsaMalic

June 20, 2020 Posted by | Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Ukraine receives Javelin anti-tank missiles & other US military aid worth $60mn – embassy

RT | June 17, 2020

Kiev has received military aid worth more than $60 million from Washington, including Javelin anti-tank missiles, the United States embassy said on Wednesday.

The first shipment of Javelin systems worth around $47 million was sent to Ukraine in April 2018, according to Reuters.

Military aid to Ukraine was at the center of a House of Representatives impeachment inquiry in December into US President Donald Trump, on charges of obstruction of Congress and of pressuring Ukraine to investigate the son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Trump was acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate in February.

Pentagon Comptroller Elaine McCusker, who was reported to have questioned the suspension of US military aid to Ukraine, a key element in the inquiry leading to Trump’s impeachment, resigned on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said.

June 17, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

NATO’s colonization of Ukraine under guise of partnership

By Scott Ritter | RT | June 13, 2020

NATO has extended yet another in a long line of “incentives” designed to tease Ukraine with the prospects of joining the transatlantic alliance, while stopping short of actual membership.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has designated Ukraine as an “Enhanced Opportunity Partner,” making it one of six nations (the others being Georgia, Sweden, Finland, Australia and Jordan) rewarded for their significant contributions to NATO operations and alliance objectives by having the opportunity for increased dialogue and cooperation with the alliance.

A main objective of this enhanced interaction is for NATO and Ukraine to develop operational capabilities and interoperability through military exercises which will enable Ukrainian military personnel to gain practical hands-on experience in operating with NATO partners.

Seen in this light, the “Enhanced Opportunity Partner” status is an extension of the “Partnership Interoperability Initiative” designed to maintain the military interoperability between NATO and Ukraine, developed after more than a decade of involvement by Ukraine in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. Thus Kiev keeps open the door for the possibility of military cooperation in any future NATO operational commitment, ensuring that Ukrainian military forces would be able to fight side by side with NATO if called upon to do so.
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The designation of “Enhanced Opportunity Partner” is the latest example of NATO outreach to Ukraine, which fosters the possibility of full membership, something that the Ukrainian Parliament called its strategic foreign and security policy objective back in 2017. The current president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has likewise expressed his desire to put engagement with NATO at the top of his policy priorities.

The dream of Ukraine becoming a member of NATO dates back three decades. Dialogue and cooperation between NATO and Ukraine began in October 1991, on the eve of the collapse of the Soviet Union, when a newly independent Ukraine joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC). NACC was envisioned as a forum for dialogue and cooperation between NATO and the non-Russian members of the former Warsaw Pact. Then came the “Partnership for Peace” program in 1994, giving Ukraine the opportunity to develop closer ties with the alliance.

In July 1997 Ukraine and NATO signed the “Charter on a Distinctive Partnership,” which established a NATO-Ukraine Commission intended to further political dialogue and cooperation “at all appropriate levels.” In November 2002 Ukraine signed an “Individual Partnership Plan” with NATO outlining a program of assistance and practical support designed to facilitate Ukraine’s membership in the alliance, and followed that up in 2005 with the so-called “Intensive Dialogue” related to Ukraine’s NATO aspirations.
Also on rt.com Ukraine’s ex-leader Poroshenko blames President Zelensky’s office for helping ‘fabricate’ audio of his call with Biden

In 2008 NATO declared that Ukraine could become a full member when it was ready to join and could meet the criteria for membership, but refused Ukraine’s request to enter into a formal Membership Action Plan. The lack of popular support within Ukraine for NATO membership, combined with a change in government that saw Viktor Yanukovych take the helm as President, prompted Ukraine to back away from its previous plans to join NATO.

This all changed in 2014 when, in the aftermath of the Euromaidan unrest Yanakovych was driven out of office, eventually replaced by Petro Poroshenko, who found himself facing off against a militant minority in the Donbas and the Russian government in the Crimea. The outbreak of fighting in eastern Ukraine since 2014 prompted Poroshenko to renew Ukraine’s call to be brought in as a full-fledged NATO member, something the transatlantic alliance has to date failed to act on.

There is a saying that if something looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck. Given its lengthy history of political and military interaction with NATO, including a decade-long military deployment in Afghanistan, Ukraine has achieved a level of interoperability with NATO that exceeds that of some actual members. US and NATO military personnel are on the ground in Ukraine conducting training, while Ukrainian forces are deployed in support of several ongoing NATO military commitments, including Iraq and Kosovo. Ukraine looks like NATO, talks like NATO, acts like NATO – but it is not NATO. Nor will it ever be.
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The critical question to be asked is precisely what kind of relationship NATO envisions having with Ukraine. While the status of “enhanced opportunity partner” implies a way toward eventual NATO membership, the reality is that there is no discernable path that would bring Ukraine to this objective. The rampant political corruption in the country today is disqualifying under any circumstances, and the dispute with Hungary over Ukraine curbing minority rights represents a death knell in a consensus-driven organization like NATO.

But the real dealbreaker is the ongoing standoff between Kiev and Moscow over Crimea. There is virtually no scenario that has Russia leaving it voluntarily or by force. The prospects of enabling Ukraine to resolve the conflict by force of arms simply by invoking Article 5 of the UN Charter is not something NATO either seeks or desires.

Which leaves one wondering at NATO’s true objective in continuing to string Ukraine along. The answer lies in the composition of the six nations that have been granted “enhanced opportunity partner” status. Four of them – Ukraine, Georgia, Sweden and Finland – directly face off against Russia on a broad front stretching from the Arctic to the Black Sea. Jordan’s interests intersect with Moscow’s in Syria. Australia provides NATO with an opening for expanding its reach into the Pacific, an objective recently outlined by NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg.

NATO aspires to be a political organization, but in reality it is nothing more than a military alliance with geopolitical ambition. Its effectiveness rests in its ability to project military power, and in order to do this effectively, the military organizations involved must possess a high level of interoperability across a wide spectrum of areas, including command and control, logistics and equipment.
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By extending the status of “enhanced opportunity partner” to Ukraine and the other five nations, NATO is expanding its military capabilities without taking on the risks associated with expanding its membership; Ukrainian troops can be sacrificed in some far-off land void of any real national security interest to the Ukrainian people, and yet NATO will never mobilize under Article 5 to come to Kiev’s aid on its own soil. In many ways, the relationship mirrors that of a colonial master to its subjects, demanding much while delivering little. At the end of the day, the status of “enhanced opportunity partner” is little more than that of a glorified minion who trades its own flesh and blood for the false promise of opportunity that will never materialize.

Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer. He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter

June 13, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

NATO declares Ukraine ‘enhanced opportunities partner’

RT | June 12, 2020

NATO declared Kiev one of the major contributors to the Alliance cause outside of the military bloc itself, adding Ukraine to the list of “Enhanced Opportunities Partners” – nations that were granted access to the NATO Partnership Interoperability Initiative (PII). Launched in 2014, the program is aimed at “deepening connections built up between NATO and its partner forces.”

Under the PII, nations that “made significant contributions to NATO-led operations and missions” get access to political consultation with NATO members, interoperability programmes and exercises and information sharing. Ukraine made it to the list since it “provided troops to Allied operations, including in Afghanistan and Kosovo, as well as to the NATO Response Force and NATO exercises,” NATO said in a statement.

Kiev becomes the sixth partner on the list that so far includes Australia, Finland, Georgia, Jordan and Sweden.

June 12, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

The Victims of MH17 Deserve More than the Shoddy Lies Perpetrated by Politicians and Media

By James O’Neill | Dissident Voice | June 7, 2020

The ABCs Insider program broadcast each Sunday morning is one of the ABCs most watched and most important programs. The three guests are drawn from the country’s mainstream media outlets. This is perhaps itself a limitation considering the broad range and frequently high standards of much political analysis in the country are non-mainstream outlets. The invited person subjected to questioning by the show’s host is almost invariably a politician drawn from either the Liberal or Labor parties.

One would be unwise to expect much more than a partisan view from the weekly political guest. It is, however, not unreasonable to think that the members of the panel might be expected to offer a factual analysis, albeit tempered by the political stance of their employee newspapers.

On the program broadcast on 7 June 2020 both the political guest, Labor deputy leader Richard Miles, and one of the panelists, the Sydney Morning Herald’s David Crowe offered an opinion that was stunning in its disregard for the body of information that is now available on the topic of the comment.

That topic was the shooting down of Malaysian airlines MH17 in July 2015 with the loss of life of 298 passengers and crew. The Dutch lost the largest proportion of the passengers, followed by Australia with 38 citizens and residents, then Malaysia and a smattering of citizens from a number of other countries.

An inquiry team was immediately established led by the Dutch, with other representatives coming from Australia, Belgium and Ukraine. There were three surprises in this contingent. The Dutch and Australians were not unexpected as having lost a significant number of their citizens. The inclusion of Belgium was puzzling and perhaps, in the light of subsequent events, only explicable in their role as the host of the NATO military alliance.

The second surprise was the inclusion of Ukraine. Although the tragedy occurred over Ukrainian territory it was clearly not an accident but the result of unfriendly criminal activity by a party or parties then unknown. Ukraine was at the very least a possible culprit.

The third surprise was the exclusion of Malaysia which as the owner and operator of the flight would normally be an automatic inclusion in any inquiry. Their exclusion was unexplained at the time. It was only later that it emerged that the four investigating countries had reached an agreement between themselves, the details of which have never been fully disclosed.

What is known however, is that part of the agreement provided that no statement on the investigation would be released without the unanimous agreement of all four members. To describe this as astonishing would be an understatement. It was one of the early clues that the investigation would not be an impartial investigation, but would in effect follow a political agenda. This has indeed proven to be the case.

What was also unknown at the time, but revealed relatively recently by the Malaysians, was that they had sent a team to the Ukraine immediately. Thanks to the assistance of Ukrainian rebels then (and now) engaged in a bitter war with the Kiev government, the plane’s black boxes had been retrieved. The rebels handed those over to the Malaysians who returned to Malaysia where they were examined before being in turn given to the British for further analysis.

It was with this information that the Malaysians then negotiated their entry into the inquiry team in late 2015. It was one of the features of this case that the Malaysian viewpoint has been almost entirely absent from the Dutch and Australian reporting of the case.

It did not take long for the Dutch, Australians and Ukrainians to blame Russia for the tragedy despite the fact, then and now, of anyone being able to offer even a remotely plausible reason for Russia to have shot down the civilian airliner of a friendly country. The improbability was compounded by the fact that the tragedy occurred over Ukrainian territory.

The implausibility of this version of events was enhanced when a British organisation known as Bellingcat published what they claimed to be pictures of a Russian missile firing weapon system returning to Russia from the area where the alleged missile had been fired from.

It is one of the telling features of this case that later evidence was disclosed, but not reported in the Australian media, that there were no Russian weapons capable of firing a BUK missile (the alleged weapon used) in the vicinity of the area it would have to be in to have fired the allegedly fatal missile. Neither for that matter was there any Ukrainian BUK missile facility within range, although the Ukrainians certainly possessed such missiles, a left over from the days when it was a part of the old Soviet Union and used Russian supplied weapons.

The other relevant point about the shoot down was the claim by then United States secretary of state John Kerry that United States satellites overhead at the time (observing what was a war zone) had seen exactly what had happened. There is no reason to doubt Mr Kerry’s claim. It is also likely that the Russians had overhead satellites, for exactly the same reason.

The important point, however, is that the United States has never produced that evidence to the Dutch led inquiry or anybody else. Given that such photos would in all probability be conclusive of the argument, their nonproduction leads to an irresistible inference. They do not support the Dutch-Ukrainian version. It is a safe assumption that if they did, we would have been inundated with those pictures, ad nauseam, ever since.

What the Russians and the Ukrainian rebels have said all along was that the plane was brought down by the actions of two Ukrainian jet fighters observed by independent eye witnesses at the time. The presence of multiple bullet holes in the plane’s recovered fuselage further confirms this interpretation of how MH17 came to its tragic end.

There is no obvious reason as to why the Ukrainians would shoot down a civilian airliner. The first of the three most likely possibilities are that it was a genuine accident, but if that was the case why not admit it, plead accident and pay appropriate compensation.

The second possibility is that it was a case of mistaken identity. It is known that a plane carrying Russia’s President Putin was in the general vicinity at that time, returning from an official trip to South America. Putin’s official plane carries very similar markings to Malaysian airlines.

The third possibility, which frankly is rather horrible to contemplate, is that it was a deliberate attempt to frame Russia, the major supporter of the Ukrainian rebel groups (overwhelmingly Russian speaking). It should not be forgotten also that the former Russian territory of Crimea (gifted to Ukraine by Khrushchev in Soviet days) had voted overwhelmingly to return to Russia.  This had outraged the Ukrainian government who had vowed to retake Crimea by force. The United States also had plans to take over the Russian naval base on Crimea, thereby depriving Russia of a vital warm water port.

All of these facts make the rather ludicrous threat by then Australian prime minister Abbott of military action in support of Ukraine’s attempt to force Crimea back within its fold all the more ridiculous. More importantly, it makes the allegations of Messrs Marles and Crowe completely unsupportable. Australian government policy towards Ukraine, then as now, completely ignores the fact that it is a neo-fascist regime that came to power by violently overthrowing the legitimate Ukrainian government.

Both men ought to have known better. Indeed, it is probable both do know better but because Australia is a loyal supporter of the West’s official anti-Russian line, have gone along with helping perpetrate a manifest fiction, unsupported by the five years of evidence that have been accumulated in the interim. The Moscow based Australian journalist John Helmer is one of the very few to have consistently followed this Dutch led travesty and disclosed the evidence as it has emerged.

That the Australian mainstream media have chosen to ignore that evidence, to actively conceal the investigative role played by Australian forces in the early stages, and to perpetuate a gross falsehood does neither Mr Marles nor Mr Crowe or any organisation they represent any credit at all.

The families of the victims of this tragedy do not need the perpetuation of shoddy lies for geopolitical purposes. Messrs Marles and Crowe do neither themselves, their country, nor the organisations they represent any credit by helping to perpetuate a shameful lie.

James O’Neill is a Barrister at Law and geopolitical analyst. He can be contacted at joneill@qldbar.asn.au.

June 8, 2020 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , , | 2 Comments

US Unable to Provide Extra Information on Missile Fired at Boeing MH17, Dutch Judge Says

Sputnik – 08.06.2020

US authorities have informed the Netherlands of being unable to provide additional information about a missile fired at the Malaysian Airlines Boeing, МН17, apart from a document sent in 2014, presiding judge Hendrik Steenhuis has stated at the resumed hearings in the MH17 case.

“The court asked whether classified satellite images of the missile launch, presented to Dutch special services, could be attached to the case … The prosecution said that the request had been sent to the US back in 2014, and in response a memorandum was sent. The Dutch prosecutor in charge of the fight against terrorism was able to check the accuracy of the memorandum … The prosecutor came to the conclusion that the memorandum was supported by other sources he had consultations with. He requested the conclusions be attached to the case. The US authorities said they could not provide any additional information regarding the missile launch in addition to the memorandum”, Steenhuis said.

Hearings in the 2014 MH17 crash case resumed on 8 June at the Schiphol Judicial Complex not far from Amsterdam. Earlier matters in the case of the MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine were heard in hearings on 9-10 March.

Russian nationals Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky, and Oleg Pulatov, as well as Ukrainian national Leonid Kharchenko, are defendants in the case.

Russia has repeatedly demanded to provide data from Ukrainian radars and US satellites as part of an investigation into the MH17 crash.

MH17 Crash Case Details

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crashed on 17 July 2014, in eastern Ukraine while en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people aboard. Most of the deceased were Dutch citizens. Kiev and the self-proclaimed republics in Ukraine’s east have exchanged blame for the downing of the plane.

The accident is being investigated by Dutch prosecutors and the JIT, which claim that the plane was hit by a Buk missile that belonged to the Russian armed forces. Moscow has repeatedly denied involvement in the incident and has called the JIT investigation biased, as Russia’s evidence showing that the plane had been shot down by a Ukrainian Buk missile has been ignored by investigators.

Russian President Vladimir Putin noted that the country has not been allowed to investigate the crash of the plane in eastern Ukraine, and Moscow can only accept the results of the investigation if it can fully participate in the probe. All missiles and the engine that were showed by the Dutch Commission for the investigation into the crash of the MH17, were disposed of after 2011, according to the Russian Defence Ministry.

June 8, 2020 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , | 1 Comment

Biothreat from US on the Rise

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By Vladimir Platov – New Eastern Outlook – 03.06.2020

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate many nations of the world, the global community and media outlets have been increasingly focusing on questionable activities being carried out at biolabs financed by funds from the US Department of Defense budget.

There have already been a number of publications expressing concern about the collection of human specimens for research from members of various ethnic groups by the Pentagon. The total budget for this program is supposedly $2 billion. The key long-term aims of USA’s biological defense program are to “counter and reduce the risk of biological threats and to prepare, respond to, and recover from them if they happen” in any given region. These goals include monitoring all the research conducted on pathogens; collecting biological specimens in countries of interest (and then handing them over to the United States); studying how susceptible certain ethnic groups are to various diseases and their responses to appropriate treatments, and conducting clinical trials of drugs in regions with ethnically diverse populations. In order to reach these objectives, the United States has ensured the establishment of partner alert and response systems for epidemics in the aforementioned countries, which encompass national, regional and local research laboratories, institutes of veterinary medicine as well as medical facilities.

USA’s National Security Strategy, unveiled in 2017, stated that “China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity”. Hence, it is not surprising that research on bio-threats is being actively conducted in partnership with the United States in the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) region. In addition, a network of US partner biolabs is being established on the borders of Russia and China. In this regard, the USA seems to be particularly interested in Central Asian nations, Ukraine and Eastern European countries. It is particularly frightening that, in recent years, new US partner biological laboratories have reportedly been established in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Moldova and Ukraine (altogether, there are several dozen facilities of this nature in 25 countries).

For example, in Ukraine, which appears to be under Washington’s direct influence after the Maidan Revolution, the USA has purportedly opened a network of 15 secret biolabs. Recently, Oleksandr Lazarev, a Ukrainian political scientist, told Ukrainian TV channel ZIK that these laboratories were conducting research on weaponizing viruses and could therefore jeopardize national security. He added that 15 laboratories had been established in Ukraine since the so-called Orange Revolution in 2005. The political scientist pointed out that these facilities were funded by the US Department of Defense, which meant that their presence in the region was in line with USA’s military objectives. Oleksandr Lazarev used biolabs in Georgia as an example of facilities where questionable research was being carried out. According to the Ukrainian expert, in 2008, when the Georgian–Ossetian conflict occurred and there was a flare-up in tensions between the United States and Russia, the African swine fever virus (ASFV) spread from Georgia to Russia. The political scientist said that numerous factors suggested that the pathogen came from the aforementioned biolabs in Georgia. He also reminded the audience that ASFV then reached the territory of Ukraine, where it indiscriminately killed livestock. Oleksandr Lazarev also opined that outbreaks of various dangerous diseases, which had occurred in different regions of Ukraine, were directly linked to the US partner biolabs in the country.

Many media outlets have reported about the work carried out at the Richard Lugar Public Health Research Center (a US partner biolab in Alekseyevka, Tbilisi). These news items have expressed concern about the legitimacy of US-funded activities in Georgia. Secret experiments are being conducted at the facility. Some research is even done on people, who are isolated in special units and subsequently infected with the most dangerous diseases.

Another region that the US Department of Defense is particularly interested in is Central Asia, where the US military and political leadership has decided to establish partner laboratories in Soviet-era facilities, called the “anti-plague system”. In Kazakhstan, four out of nine regional research centers (in Nur-Sultan, Otar and Oral) have already been repaired and equipped with necessary instruments as part of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) program.

In recent years, the United States has continued to ramp up its activities in partner biolabs in Uzbekistan, a country not far from Russia, China and Iran. The Pentagon started increasing the reach of its secret biolabs within Uzbekistan since the end of 1990s, during the upheavals that followed the collapse of the USSR. Hence, US experts from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA, a body within the US Department of Defense) could have gained access to previously secret biological and chemical facilities in this nation. The first National Reference Laboratory opened in 2007 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, with support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID). In 2013, two more began operations in Andijan and Fergana, and in 2016, another laboratory opened in Urgench (the Khorezm Regional Diagnostic Laboratory). These facilities, as others in countries of the region, were built with the support of the DTRA of the US Department of Defense. Currently, there are more than 10 laboratories aside from the one in Tashkent: in Andijan, Bukhara, Denau, Qarshi, Nukus (the capital of the Republic of Karakalpakstan), Urgench, Samarkand and Fergana. As this network of US partner biolabs continues to expand in Uzbekistan (the most highly-populated Central Asian country), periodic outbreaks of unknown origins have occurred in the nation. However, there is very little information about them at present. For instance, in August 2011, within 24 hours, 70 sick individuals were admitted to hospital in Yangiyul, a city not far from Tashkent. In 2012, an unknown disease spread in Uzbekistan and dozens of people died as a result. In spring 2017, there was an outbreak of chickenpox (a dangerous disease especially for infants, caused by a virus). It had a negative effect on the health of the population in the region and the country, and spread among individuals of working age. Strangely, the rise in infections coincided with the opening of US partner facilities supposedly aimed at reducing the risk of biological threats. It is, therefore, not surprising that there have been rising concerns among the public about the lack of transparency in these laboratories and reporting practices used by them involving US officials.

The United States has been increasing its sphere of influence in the bio defense sector by, first and foremost, expanding its network of partner biolabs and conducting more experiments of interest to the Pentagon. As a result, the aforementioned countries are losing their ability to function independently in this particular field. Fulfilling its objectives could allow the United States to subsequently use these biolabs for military purposes; to ensure US servicemen are protected if they are deployed in the regions where the laboratories are located, and to conduct in-depth research into pathogens that can affect ethnic groups in different ways.

Recently, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that Washington’s rejection of the protocol containing verification measures to strengthen the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction was a cause for concern. “Tensions around the issue have escalated and Washington’s unwillingness to ensure the transparency of its military biological activities in various parts of the world raises questions about what is really going on there and what the actual goals are,” the official pointed out.

June 3, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment

Telephone calls between Biden and Poroshenko reveal Kiev’s submission to Washington

By Lucas Leiroz | May 25, 2020

Recently, several phone calls made four years ago between former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden were revealed. The content of the talks is profound and controversial and reveals the high degree of American influence in the coordination of Ukrainian domestic politics, showing the advanced state of submission of Kiev to Washington.

According to the deputy of the Ukrainian Parliament (Supreme Rada), Andrei Derkach, the audio recordings were received from an anonymous investigative journalist. Derkach revealed the content of the recordings and declared full confidence in his informant.

On audio recordings, we can hear the former US Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State John Kerry demanding that the leader of a formally independent state make decisions that are convenient for them, as well as a totally submissive posture on the part of Poroshenko, who is absolutely oblivious to Ukrainian national interests.

The demands made during the talks are diverse and impressive by the American boldness to interfere so deeply in other states. In one of the recordings, dated from 2015, it is possible to hear John Kerry demanding the resignation of Ukrainian attorney general Viktor Shokin, for not meeting American expectations. In another record, Poroshenko communicates with Biden saying he has “good news for him.” In the recording, Poroshenko says that while there was no charge or complaint against Shokin, he managed to convince the attorney to resign. The interlocutor replies: “Excellent”. So, Poroshenko reports that the dismissal of the attorney general is yet another “step in fulfilling his obligations” to the US.

In another phone call, the topic of appointing a new attorney is discussed. After a conversation between Poroshenko and his American counterparts, Yuri Lutsenko is chosen to be appointed to the office. Washington’s interlocutors make it clear that Lutsenko’s appointment is an essential condition for Kiev’s receipt of a loan of one billion dollars. Totally submissive, Poroshenko agrees with the terms of the agreement and the fees imposed without any dispute, consolidating the “partnership”.

In Washington, assistants of the former Vice President and current candidate Joe Biden informed The Washington Post that the recordings have been edited and are being used improperly to put pressure on the parties involved in the talks. However, the veracity of the existence of such telephone conversations has not been contested, which in itself is enough to create an atmosphere of tension and distrust towards the figures involved.

The fact is that the matter is still far from over. Whether or not they were edited, the recordings are apparently real. And, although the content of the conversations is contested, in truth, one billion dollars were withdrawn from the American public coffers and handed over to the president of another country, without the American population being informed of anything. After all, what will be the reaction of the American people when they understand that this money comes from their taxes and, instead of being invested in improvements to the national infrastructure, it is being used in obscure political maneuvers with other countries?

This all tends to strengthen Donald Trump in the upcoming election. The current American president until recently had an absolute majority of voting intentions and is now starting to weaken due to the way he has been dealing with the new coronavirus pandemic in the US – the global epicenter of the infection. Biden, although much less popular, progresses little by little and is already showing the ability to become a real opponent to Trump. However, as the scandals spread, it is likely that there will be a drop in Biden’s supporters or, at least, a greater atmosphere of collective distrust for him.

Still, Joe Biden’s reliability is not the main issue that comes up with the revelations of these recordings, but the level of American interference in the domestic politics of other national states. With these telephone records, Kiev proved to be a zone of foreign interference, where a president is coerced by members of the government of another country to make decisions that he would not like to make. This is not just an extremely demoralizing fact for Ukraine, but it also deeply destroys the myth of “Ukrainian nationalism,” so defended by the militias involved in the Euromaidan coup in 2014. However, more than that, the case may bring Petro Poroshenko to court. The recordings are sufficient evidence to accuse the former president of national treason. If formally accused and condemned, Poroshenko will have ended his political career in the worst possible way for a former president: being remembered as a traitor to his own country.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international Law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

May 25, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , , , | 1 Comment

Will Biden-Ukraine Revelations Fall on Deaf Ears Among US Voters Again?

Sputnik – May 22, 2020

With just five months to go until the presidential election, Joe Biden’s campaign has taken a fresh hit after new tapes implied that he had moved Ukrainian officials like chess pieces. The question is whether the story will have the magnitude of Trump’s impeachment or get overshadowed like the Tara Reade scandal.

The latest developments in Ukrainegate paint a “shocking” picture of a tight US grip on the previous Ukrainian government, but this probably won’t sway the minds of US voters when they go to polls in November, pundits say.

The Ukraine leak

On Tuesday, a Ukrainian lawmaker released the tapes of phone calls between senior Obama administration officials, Joe Biden and John Kerry, and then-Ukrainian President Poroshenko. They appear to show how Joe Biden made US financial assistance to Ukraine contingent on the firing of the country’s prosecutor general.

Poroshenko did fire the prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, despite the fact that there were no corruption charges pressed against him nor was there “any information about him doing something wrong,” as the Ukrainian president himself purportedly told Biden in a phone call. Moreover, it appeared that Poroshenko was only willing to pick a replacement for Shokin – one of the top roles in the judicial system – if Biden gave his blessing.

Andriy Derkach, the lawmaker who leaked the tapes, accused Poroshenko of spending the $1 billion in aid, which he received after firing Shokin, on defence contracts with companies linked to the then-president or his close associates.

‘Shocking’ level of interference

“The conversations of Petro Poroshenko with his US coordinators Joe Biden and John Kerry reveal the role of Washington in Ukrainian politics since the 2014 coup d’etat,” says political analyst and columnist Mateusz Piskorsky. “It was quite obvious before, nevertheless, now there’s a chance, that more people – especially in Ukraine – will understand the level of foreign influence in their country.”

“What might be quite shocking is the level of interference. Of course, we already knew about US strategic control of Ukraine before. But now it’s also obvious, that even medium-level personal decisions have been taken under the influence of Biden and Kerry. On the other hand, it’s quite strange that the vice president of a superpower paid so much attention to the prosecutor general of a country on the periphery. But this is already the question of Biden’s family private business in Ukraine.”

Joe Biden has brought up Shokin’s ouster in the past. He explained it by Shokin’s perceived failure or unwillingness to act against corruption in Ukraine, although Donald Trump and his supporters have claimed that Biden pressed for the firing because Shokin was investigating Burisma, the private energy company where his son Hunter Biden was a paid member of the board.

Trump even asked Poroshenko’s successor Zelensky to investigate the theory, and that request fuelled a rare impeachment process which was stymied in the Republican-controlled Senate in February.

Too divided to keep a cool head

In the meantime, Piskorsky explains that the “American society is so deeply divided along party lines, that the news won’t have crucial significance for Biden’s electoral prospects.”

“For the supporters of a Democratic candidate, it’s all about provocation by Trump and his people,” he says.

Conservative news outlets have been running Biden-Poroshenko stories, but the mainstream media have largely downplayed it. The Washington Post, for instance, called it a “gigantic nothingburger,” and Newsweek repeated Poroshenko’s claims that the tapes were made public as part of a Russian “special operation.”

“Vice-President Biden explains his interference in Ukraine’s politics as supposedly preserving democracy and therefore the liberal media has bought into this weak rationale,” laments Dr. Zalmay Gulzad, professor of social sciences at Harold Washington College in Chicago. “The majority of the media is very anti-Trump and therefore more lenient towards Biden. Unfortunately, the choice that America has is between these two.”

Professor Stephen B. Presser from Northwestern University School of Law suggests that the tapes are likely to have “little effect” on Biden, as did the Tara Reade scandal.

“It is much more likely that Mr. Biden’s diminishing mental abilities will hurt him more, but American politics, as you know are very unpredictable,” Prof Presser adds. “Often Americans pay attention to ethnic characteristics, and Biden’s Catholicism, and the race of his vice presidential running mate (assuming he designates a black woman) may actually be more important than Ukraine or Tara Reade.”

Writer and media commentator E. Michael Jones believes that the new revelations are “not going to help Biden’s chances for election in the fall, which were slim at best and only based on media bias against Donald Trump.”

At the same time, he says, “it also underscores the massive amount of corruption in the Deep State. The legitimacy of the American form of government rests on the belief that government agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation are above partisan politics and can, therefore, be trusted as an impartial investigative body. Adding Bidengate to Russiagate will destroy this fiction forever.”

Although the tapes, released on May 19, have yet to make a splash in the United States, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s office on Wednesday followed up with an investigation into possible treason and abuse of power by Poroshenko.

The former president insists that the recordings were fabricated and that the Kremlin had played a role in the leak. The Biden campaign did not question their authenticity but maintained that they were “heavily edited.”

May 22, 2020 Posted by | Corruption | , , , | Leave a comment