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“I’m up against an array of very powerful forces, including the intelligence services and major newspapers … all of whom confirmed a major lie that was being used for political purposes and a lie that was repeated and repeated in order to undercut our new president.”

— Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, R-California

Does Dana Rohrabacher really think he’s tough enough to take on the combined power of the US Intelligence Community, the Washington political establishment and the mainstream media?

Good luck with that.

The California Congressman stepped into the limelight last week when he called White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to request a meeting with President Donald Trump. Rohrabacher, it seems, has some important information to pass along to the president, mainly that he has come across some hard evidence that the Russia hacking story is, to put it mildly, a crock.

Rohrabacher recently met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange who assured the Congressman that Russia did not hack Democratic emails and give them to WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential campaign. Of course Assange has made the same claim many times before, the difference now is that he’s willing to provide solid evidence to back up his claim (according to the Wall Street Journal) “a computer drive or other data-storage device that Mr. Rohrabacher said would exonerate Russia.”

Naturally, the Intelligence honchos are not going to sit quietly and twiddle their thumbs while Rohrabacher blows holes in their fake narrative about Russia espionage and presidential collusion. Oh, no. They’re going to act preemptively and do whatever it takes to discredit Rohrabacher, even if it means making him out to be a Putin puppet or a Kremlin stooge. They’re going to attack Rohrabacher and his so called “proof” which they’ll try to tear apart with some ponderous, unsourced counter-narrative that appears on the front pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post. These people are experts at twisting the truth into unrecognizable, pretzel-like shapes that convince their readership that up is down and black is white.

But Rohrabacher’s no fool. He knows it’s going to be an uphill slog. He even said so:

“I’m up against an array of very powerful forces, including the intelligence services and major newspapers … all of whom confirmed a major lie that was being used for political purposes and a lie that was repeated and repeated in order to undercut our new president….You’ve got people who are obviously just trying to cover their ass for mistakes they have made. They will probably do their best to keep Trump from knowing about this and knowing about his options to expose this.”

And he was right, too. Rohrabacher made his case to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly last week saying that he wanted to speak to the President and that he had evidence that proved Russia was not the source of WikiLeaks emails. Here’s what happened according to the Wall Street Journal:

“Mr. Kelly told the congressman that the proposal “was best directed to the intelligence community,” the official said. Mr. Kelly didn’t make the president aware of Mr. Rohrabacher’s message, and Mr. Trump doesn’t know the details of the proposed deal, the official said.” (Wall Street Journal)

Three things are wrong with this excerpt.

First, the contents of the Kelly-Rohrabacher conversation were immediately leaked to the media which suggests that either the White House is bugged or the Intel agencies have people working for them from inside. Which is it?

Second, “Kelly didn’t make the president aware of Mr. Rohrabacher’s message.”

Why? And what does that say about Kelly? His behavior suggests either willful negligence or divided loyalties. Which is it?

Third, “Kelly told the congressman that the proposal “was best directed to the intelligence community.”

Right. So Kelly wants Rohrabacher to take his proof to the people who concocted this wacky Russian farce to begin with. That’s a great idea. I’m sure the upstanding people at the CIA will be forever grateful to Rohrabacher for his patriotic contribution. What a joke. The congressman will be lucky if he can ever show his face in public again after these cannibals get through with him. Does he really know who he’s messing with? Like Chuckie Schumer said, “These people have a million ways to get to you.” And they will, too.

Naturally, the media is doing its level-best to bury the Rohrabacher story. The media’s strategy, so far, has been to divert attention from the central issue (proof that Russia did NOT hack the election) to the trivial prospect of a “deal” between Trump and Assange. Assange wants guarantees that the US will not prosecute him if he provides evidence that Russia did not hack the election. While this “deal” may be meaningful for Assange, it pales in comparison to the possible revelation that the “Russia hacking” narrative is a fraud perpetrated on the American people by elements of the permanent government who are employing a massive propaganda campaign to advance their political agenda. That, of course, is much more important. Not surprisingly, virtually 100 percent of the mainstream coverage has focused on the “deal” aspect of the story. Here are a few of the more than hundred headlines appearing at Google News:

“GOP Congressman Sought Trump Deal on WikiLeaks, Russia” Wall Street Journal

“Report: Congressman Chats With WH About Potential Assange Pardon” Daily Caller

“A GOP congressman reportedly offered Trump a deal on absolving WikiLeaks’ Assange” CNBC

“Republican lawmaker ‘sought a deal with Trump to pardon WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’” International Business Times

GOP rep proposed Assange pardon deal: report” The Hill

“Congressman tries to broker White House pardon for Julian Assange”, New York Daily News

“Lawmaker tried negotiating deal with Trump to help WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange”, Business Insider

Do you see the common thread here? The media is trying to divert attention from the real story until they get their bearings and figure out a way to dispose of Rohrabacher. As soon as they settle on an approach, they’ll be off to the races.

Rohrabacher should be applauded for trying to reveal the truth, but he’s probably bitten off more than he can chew.

I hope not.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

(Republished from Counterpunch by permission of author or representative)
 
Wall Street Journal’s Solution to North Korea

The editors at the Wall Street Journal have settled on a plan for ending the crisis in North Korea. Starve them to death.

I’m not kidding. In an article titled “Options for Removing Kim Jong In” the WSJ’s editorial board suggests that the US use “all of its tools to topple the North Korean regime” including, of course, vital food imports which keep women and children from facing an agonizing death by starvation. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“The North is especially vulnerable to pressure this year because a severe drought from April to June reduced the early grain harvest by 30%. If the main harvest is also affected, Pyongyang may need to import more food while sanctions restrict its ability to earn foreign currency….

While the regime survived a severe famine in the 1990s, today the political consequences of a failed harvest would be severe. …. The army was once the most desirable career path; now soldiers are underpaid and underfed. North Koreans will not simply accept starvation as they did two decades ago.

Withholding food aid to bring down a government would normally be unethical, but North Korea is an exceptional case. Past aid proved to be a mistake as it perpetuated one of the most evil regimes in history. The U.N. says some 40% of the population is undernourished, even as the Kims continue to spend huge sums on weapons. Ending the North Korean state as quickly as possible is the most humane course.”

(“Options for Removing Kim Jong In”, Wall Street Journal)

“Humane”? The WSJ editors think that depriving people of enough food to stay alive is humane?

And look how cheery they sound about the fact that “40% of the population is (already) undernourished”, as if they’re already halfway towards their goal. Hurrah for the US embargo, still inflicting misery on innocent people some 6 decades after the war!

It’s sick!

Who are these people who grow up in our midst, attend our schools and universities, live in the same neighborhoods , and go to the same churches? Where do these monsters come from?

I’m reminded of what Harold Pinter said in his Nobel acceptance speech:

“What has happened to our moral sensibility? Did we ever have any? What do these words mean? Do they refer to a term very rarely employed these days – conscience? A conscience to do not only with our own acts but to do with our shared responsibility in the acts of others? Is all this dead?”

It’s sure as hell is dead at the WSJ, that’s for sure. Dead as a doornail.

And what is starvation supposed to achieve anyway? What’s the ultimate objective?

Why regime change, of course, isn’t that what it’s always about, installing a more compliant stooge to follow Washington’s diktats?

Of course it is. But how’s it supposed to work, after all, depriving people of food isn’t like giving them guns and training them to topple the regime, is it?

No, it’s not, in fact, there’s not even the remotest chance that the plan will work at all. None. But it will help to punish the Korean people for the behavior of their government. It will do that. And it will generate more suffering, unhappiness and misery. That much is certain.

Imagine if the shoe was on the other foot and North Korea had the power cut vital food supplies to people in the United States. Sure, it’s far fetched, but just think about it for a minute. How would you react? Would you gather your neighbors and friends together to concoct a plan to overthrow the government?

The idea is ridiculous, isn’t it? The editors at the WSJ know that. These are educated, intelligent men who understand how the world works and who know the impact of particular policies. They know that starvation isn’t going to lead to revolution. That’s just not going to happen.

Then why support a policy that won’t work?

Good question, but that’s where we have to veer into a very gray area of analysis, that is, trying to understand why some people are so morally malignant that they seem to enjoy inflicting pain on others. Why is that? Why are there so many cruel people in positions of power and authority?

It’s a mystery.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

(Republished from Counterpunch by permission of author or representative)
 

A new report by a retired IT executive at IBM, debunks the claim that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential campaign by hacking Democratic computers and circulating damaging information about Hillary Clinton. The report, which is titled “The Non-Existent Foundation for Russian Hacking Charge“, provides a rigorous examination of the wobbly allegations upon which the hacking theory is based, as well as a point by point rejection of the primary claims which, in the final analysis, fail to pass the smell test. While the report is worth reading in full, our intention is to zero-in on the parts of the text that disprove the claims that Russia meddled in US elections or hacked the servers at the DNC.

Let’s start with the fact that there are at least two credible witnesses who claim to know who took the DNC emails and transferred them to WikiLeaks. We’re talking about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and WikiLeaks ally, Craig Murray. No one is in a better position to know who actually took the emails than Assange, and yet, Assange has repeatedly said that Russia was not the source. Check out this clip from the report:

Assange …. has been adamant all along that the Russian government was not a source; it was a non-state player. …

ASSANGE: Our source is not a state party

HANNITY (Conservative talk show host): Can you say to the American people unequivocally that you did not get this information about the DNC, John Podesta’s emails — can you tell the American people 1,000 percent you did not get it from Russia…

ASSANGE: Yes.

HANNITY: … or anybody associated with Russia?

ASSANGE: We — we can say and we have said repeatedly… over the last two months, that our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party…

(“The Non-Existent Foundation for Russian Hacking Charge”, Skip Folden)

Can you think of a more credible witness than Julian Assange? The man has devoted his entire adult life to exposing the truth about government despite the risks his actions pose to his own personal safety. In fact, he is currently holed up at the Ecuador embassy in London for defending the public’s right to know what their government is up to. Does anyone seriously think that a man like that would deliberately lie just to protect Russia’s reputation?

No, of course not, and the new report backs him up on this matter. It states: “No where in the Intelligence Community’s Assessment (ICA) was there any evidence of any connection between Russia and WikiLeaks.” The reason Assange keeps saying that Russia wasn’t involved is because Russia wasn’t involved. There’s nothing more to it than that.

As for the other eyewitness, Craig Murray, he has also flatly denied that Russia provided WikiLeaks with the DNC emails. Check out this except from an article at The Daily Mail:

(Murray) “flew to Washington, D.C. for emails….He claims he had a clandestine hand-off … near American University with one of the email sources. Murray said the leakers’ motivation was ‘disgust at the corruption of the Clinton Foundation and the ’tilting of the primary election playing field against Bernie Sanders’…

Murray says: ‘The source had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks’. ‘Regardless of whether the Russians hacked into the DNC, the documents Wikileaks published did not come from that,’ Murray insists.” ….

Murray said he was speaking out due to claims from intelligence officials that Wikileaks was given the documents by Russian hackers as part of an effort to help Donald Trump win the U.S. presidential election.

‘I don’t understand why the CIA would say the information came from Russian hackers when they must know that isn’t true,’ he said. ‘Regardless of whether the Russians hacked into the DNC, the documents Wikileaks published did not come from that.”

(EXCLUSIVE: Ex-British ambassador who is now a WikiLeaks operative claims Russia did NOT provide Clinton emails“, Daily Mail)

Is Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and human rights activist, a credible witness?

There’s one way to find out, isn’t there? The FBI should interview Murray so they can establish whether he’s telling the truth or not. And, naturally, one would assume that the FBI has already done that since the Russia hacking story has been splashed across the headlines for more than a year now.

But that’s not the case at all. The FBI has never questioned Assange or Murray, in fact, the FBI has never even tried to get in touch with either of them. Never. Not even a lousy phone call. It’s like they don’t exist.

Why? Why hasn’t the FBI contacted or questioned the only two witnesses in the case?

Could it be because Assange and Murray’s knowledge of the facts doesn’t coincide with the skewed political narrative the Intel agencies and their co-collaborators at the DNC what to propagate? Isn’t that what’s really going on? Isn’t Russia-gate really just a stick for beating Russia and Trump? How else would one explain this stubborn unwillingness of the FBI to investigate what one senator called “The crime of the century”?

Here’s something else from the report that’s worth mulling over:

“It is no secret that NSA has the technology to trace a web event, e.g., a cyber attack, back to its source. There has been no public claim, nor is it implied in either Grizzly Steppe or the ICA that the NSA has trace routing to Russia on any of these purported Russian hacks.” (“The Non-Existent Foundation for Russian Hacking Charge”, Skip Folden)

This is a crucial point, so let’s rephrase that in simple English. What the author is saying is that: If Russia hacked the DNC computers, the NSA would know about it. It’s that simple.

But no one at the NSA has ever verified the claims or produced one scintilla of evidence that connects Russia to the emails. In fact, the NSA has never even suggested that such evidence exists. Nor has anyone in the media asked Director Michael Rogers point blank whether the NSA has hard evidence that Russia hacked the DNC servers?

Why? Why this conspiracy of silence on a matter that is so fundamental to the case that the NSA and the other Intel agencies are trying to make?

The only logical explanation is that there’s no proof that Russia was actually involved. Why else would the NSA withhold evidence on a matter this serious? It makes no sense.

According to the media, Intelligence agents familiar with the matter have “high confidence’ that Russia was involved.

Okay, but where’s the proof? You can’t expect to build a case against a foreign government and a sitting president with just “high confidence”. You need facts, evidence, proof. Where’s the beef?

We already mentioned how the FBI never bothered to question the only eyewitnesses in the case. That’s odd enough, but what’s even stranger is the fact that the FBI never seized the DNC’s servers so they could conduct a forensic examination of them. What’s that all about? Here’s an excerpt from the report:

“The FBI, having asked multiple times at different levels, was refused access to the DNC server(s). It is not apparent that any law enforcement agency had access.

The apparent single source of information on the purported DNC intrusion(s) was from Crowdstrike.

3. Crowdstrike is a cyber security firm hired by the Democratic Party.

4. Not the FBI, CIA, nor NSA organizations analyzed the information from Crowdstrike. Only picked analysts of these agencies were chosen to see this data and write the ICA….”

( “The Non-Existent Foundation for Russian Hacking Charge)

(Republished from Counterpunch by permission of author or representative)
 

Donald Trump isn’t going to start a war with North Korea. That’s just not going to happen.

Not only does the United States not have the ground forces for such a massive operation but, more important, a war with the North would serve no strategic purpose at all. The US already has the arrangement it wants on the Peninsula. The South remains under US military occupation, the economic and banking systems have been successfully integrated into the US-dominated western system, and the strategically-located landmass in northeast Asia provides an essential platform for critical weapons systems that will be used to encircle and control fast-emerging rivals, China and Russia.

So what would a war accomplish?

Nothing. As far as Washington is concerned, the status quo is just dandy.

And, yes, I realize that many people think Trump is calling the shots and that he is an impulsive amateur who might do something erratic that would trigger a nuclear conflagration with the North. That could happen, but I think the possibility is extremely remote. As you might have noticed, Trump has effectively handed over foreign policy to his generals, and those generals are closely aligned to powerful members of the foreign policy establishment who are using Trump’s reputation as a loose cannon to great effect. For example, by ratchetting up the rhetoric, (“fire and fury”, “locked and loaded”, etc) Trump has managed to stifle some of the public opposition to the deployment of the THAAD missile system which features “powerful AN/TPY-2 radar, that can be used to spy on Chinese territory, and the interceptors are designed to protect US bases and troops in the event of nuclear war with China or Russia.”

THAAD is clearly not aimed at North Korea which is small potatoes as far as Washington is concerned. It’s an essential part of the military buildup the US is stealthily carrying out to implement its “pivot to Asia” strategy.

Trump’s belligerence has also prompted a response from the North which has accelerated it ballistic missile and nuclear weapons testing. The North’s reaction has stirred up traditional antagonisms which has helped to undermine the conciliatory efforts of liberal President Moon Jae-in. At the same time, the North’s behavior has strengthened far-right groups that –among other things– want to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in the South. By playing to the right wing and exacerbating hostilities between North and South, Trump has helped to fend off efforts to reunify the country while creating a justification for continued US military occupation. In other words.

The crisis has clearly tightened Washington’s grip on the peninsula while advancing the interests of America’s elite powerbrokers. I seriously doubt that Trump conjured up this plan by himself. This is the work of his deep state handlers who have figured out how to use his mercurial personality to their advantage.

A Word About North Korea’s Nukes

Leaders in North Korea don’t want to blow their money on nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles when their people are on the brink of starvation. But what choice do they have? The primary responsibility of every government is to provide security for their people. That’s hard to do when the nation is still technically at war with a country that has toppled or tried to topple 50 sovereign governments in the last 70 years. The Korean War did not end with a treaty, it ended with an armistice which means the war is ongoing and could flare up at any time. And Washington won’t sign a treaty with the North because it despises their form of government, and is just waiting for the opportunity to force them from power. Trump is no different from most of his predecessors in this regard. He hates the leadership in Pyongyang and makes no bones about it.

Bottom line: The US refuses to provide the North with any written guarantees that it won’t resume hostilities, kill its people and blow their cities to smithereens. So, naturally, the North has taken steps to defend itself. And, yes, Kim Jong-in fully realizes that if he ever used his nukes in an act of aggression, the United States would –as Colin Powell breezily opined– “turn the North into a charcoal briquette.” But Kim is not going to use his nukes because he has no territorial ambitions nor does he have any driving desire to be subsumed into a fiery ball of ash. His nukes are merely bargaining chits for future negotiations with Washington. The only problem is that Trump doesn’t want to bargain because US geopolitical interests are better served by transforming a few pathetic missile tests into an Armageddon-type drama. No one knows how to exploit a crisis better than Washington.

Does Trump know anything about the history of the current crisis? Does he know that North Korea agreed to end its nuclear weapons program in 1994 if the US met its modest demands? Does he know that the US agreed to those terms but then failed to hold up its end of the bargain? Does he know that the North honored its commitments under the agreement but eventually got tired of being double-crossed by the US so they resumed their plutonium enrichment program? Does he know that that’s why the North has nuclear weapons today, because the United States broke its word and scotched the agreement?

That’s not conjecture. That’s history.

Here’s a clip from an article in the Independent that provides a brief outline of the so called Framework Agreement:

“Under the terms of the 1994 framework, North Korea agreed to freeze and ultimately dismantle its nuclear programme in exchange for “the full normalisation of political and economic relations with the United States”. This meant four things:

By 2003, a US-led consortium would build two light-water nuclear reactors in North Korea to compensate for the loss of nuclear power.

Until then, the US would supply the north with 500,000 tons per year of heavy fuel.

The US would lift sanctions, remove North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, and – perhaps most importantly – normalise the political relationship, which is still subject to the terms of the 1953 Korean War armistice.

Finally, both sides would provide “formal assurances” against the threat or use of nuclear weapons.” (“Why America’s 1994 deal with North Korea failed – and what Trump can learn from it”, The Independent)

It was a totally straightforward agreement that met the requirements of both parties. The North got a few economic perks along with the security assurances they desperately wanted and, in return, the US got to monitor any and all nuclear sites, thus, preventing the development of weapons of mass destruction. Everyone got exactly what they wanted, right? There was only one glitch: The US started foot-dragging from Day 1. The lightwater reactors never got beyond the foundation stage and the heavy fuel deliveries got more and more infrequent. In contrast, the North Koreans stuck religiously to the letter of the agreement. They did everything that was expected of them and more. In fact, according to the same article, four years after the agreement went into effect:

“both the US and the international atomic energy agency were satisfied that there had been ‘no fundamental violation of any aspect of the framework agreement’ by North Korea. But on its own pledges, Washington failed to follow through.” (Independent)

There you have it: The North kept its word, but the US didn’t. It’s that simple.

This is an important point given the fact that the media typically mischaracterizes what actually took place and who should be held responsible. The onus does not fall on Pyongyang, it falls on Washington. Here’s more from the same article:

(Republished from Counterpunch by permission of author or representative)
 

Here’s what the media isn’t telling you about North Korea’s recent missile tests.

Last Monday, the DPRK fired a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan’s Hokkaido Island. The missile landed in the waters beyond the island harming neither people nor property.

The media immediately condemned the test as a “bold and provocative act” that showed the North’s defiance of UN resolutions and “contempt for its neighbors.” President Trump sharply criticized the missile test saying:

“Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. All options are on the table.”

What the media failed to mention was that, for the last three weeks, Japan, South Korea and the US have been engaged in large-scale joint-military drills on Hokkaido Island and in South Korea. These needlessly provocative war games are designed to simulate an invasion of North Korea and a “decapitation” operation to remove (Re: Kill) the regime. North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un has asked the US repeatedly to end these military exercises, but the US has stubbornly refused. The US reserves the right to threaten anyone, anytime and anywhere even right on their doorstep. It’s part of what makes the US exceptional. Check out this excerpt from an article at Fox News:

“More than 3,500 American and Japanese troops kicked off a weeks-long joint military exercise Thursday against the backdrop of an increasingly belligerent North Korean regime. The exercise, known as Northern Viper 17, will take place on Hokkaido — Japan’s northern-most main island — and will last until Aug. 28….

“We are improving our readiness not only in the air, but as a logistical support team,” Col. R. Scott Jobe, the 35th Fighter Wing commander, said in a statement. “We are in a prime location for contingency purposes and this exercise will only build upon our readiness in the case a real-world scenario occurs.” (US, Japanese troops begin joint military exercise amid North Korea threat”, Fox News)

Monday’s missile test (which flew over Hokkaido Island) was conducted just hours after the war games ended. The message was clear: The North is not going to be publicly humiliated and slapped around without responding. Rather than show weakness, the North demonstrated that it was prepared to defend itself against foreign aggression. In other words, the test was NOT a “bold and provocative act” (as the media stated) but a modest and well thought-out response by a country that has experienced 64 years of relentless hectoring, sanctions, demonization and saber rattling by Washington. The North responded because the Washington’s incitements required a response. End of story.

And the same is true of the three short-range ballistic missiles the North tested last week. (two of which apparently fizzled out shortly after launching.) These tests were a response to the 3 week-long joint-military drills in South Korea which involved 75,000 combat troops accompanied by hundreds of tanks, armored vehicles, landing craft, heavy artillery, a full naval flotilla and flyovers by squadrons of state of the art fighters and strategic bombers. Was the North supposed to sit on its hands while this menacing display of brute military force took place right under its nose???

Of course not. Imagine if Russia engaged in a similar operation over the border in Mexico while the Russian fleet conducted “live fire” drills three miles outside of San Francisco Bay. What do you think Trump’s reaction would be?

He’d blow those boats out of the water faster than you could say “Jackie Robinson”, right?

So why the double standard when it comes to North Korea? Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

North Korea should be applauded for showing that it won’t be intimidated by the schoolyard bully. Kim knows that any confrontation with the US will end badly for the North, even so, he hasn’t caved in or allowed himself to be pushed around by the blustering, browbeating thugs in the White House. Booyah, Kim.

By the way, Trump’s response to Monday’s missile test was barely covered in the mainstream media, and for good reason. Here’s what happened two days later:

On Wednesday, a US-led flight-group of F-35B fighters, F-15 fighters and B-1B bombers conducted military operations over a training range east of Seoul. The B-1B’s, which are low-altitude nuclear bombers, dropped their dummy-bombs on the site and then returned to their home base. The show of force was intended to send a message to Pyongyang that Washington is unhappy with the North’s ballistic missile testing project and is prepared to use nuclear weapons against the North if it fails to heed Washington’s diktats.

So Washington is prepared to nuke the North if they don’t straighten up and do as they are told?

It sure looks that way, but who really knows? In any event, Kim has no choice but to stand firm. If he shows any sign of weakness, he knows he’s going to end up like Saddam and Gaddafi. And that, of course, is what’s driving the hyperbolic rhetoric; the North wants to avoid the Gaddafi scenario at all cost. (BTW, the reason Kim has threatened to fire missiles at the waters surrounding Guam is because Guam is the home of Anderson Airforce Base which is the point-of-origin for the B-1B nuclear-capable bombers that have been making threatening flyovers on the Korean Peninsula for some time now. The North feels like it has to respond to that existential threat.

Wouldn’t it help if the media mentioned that fact or does it better serve their agenda to make it look like Kim is barking mad by lashing out against the ‘totally innocent’ United States, a country that only seeks to preserve the peace wherever it goes?

Give me a break!

It is so hard to find anything in the media that doesn’t reflect Washington’s bias and hostility. Surprisingly, there was pretty decent article at CBS News last week written by a former Western intelligence officer with decades of experience in Asia. It’s the only article I’ve found that accurately explains what’s really going on beyond the propaganda. Check it out:

“Prior to President Trump’s inauguration, North Korea made it clear it was prepared to give the new U.S. administration time to review the policy and come up with something better than President Obama’s. The only wrinkle was that if the U.S. went full-steam ahead with its annual joint exercises with South Korea (especially if that were accompanied by more talk of “decapitation” and more flights of strategic bombers over the Korean peninsula), the North would react strongly.

In short, the U.S. did, and the North reacted.

Behind-the-scenes contacts went up and down, but couldn’t get traction. In April, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un paraded new missiles as a warning, to no effect. The regime launched the new systems, one after another. Still, Washington’s approach didn’t change.” (Analysis: Pyongyang’s view of the North Korea-U.S. crisis”, CBS News)

Okay, so now we know the truth: The North gave it their best shot and came up snakeeyes, mainly because Washington doesn’t want to negotiate, they’d rather twist arms (Russia and China), tighten the embargo and threaten war. That’s Trump’s solution. Here’s more from the same piece:

“On July 4, after North Korea’s first successful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch, Kim sent a public signal that the North could put the nuclear and missile programs “on the table” if the U.S. changed its approach.

(Republished from Counterpunch by permission of author or representative)
 

The United States and South Korea are currently engaged in large-scale, joint-military war games that simulate an invasion of the North, the destruction of the DPRK’s nuclear weapons sites, and a “decapitation operation” to take out the supreme leader, Kim Jong-un. The objective of the operation is to intensify tensions between North and South thereby justifying the continued US occupation of the peninsula and the permanent division of the country.

Imagine if North Korea decided to conduct massive “live fire” military drills, accompanied by a Chinese naval flotilla, just three miles off the coast of California. And, let’s say, they decided to send formations of strategic high-altitude aircraft loaded with nuclear bombs to fly along the Canada and Mexico borders while tens of thousands of combat troops accompanied by hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles rehearsed a “shock and awe” type blitz onto US territory where they would immediately crush the defending army, level cities and critical civilian infrastructure, and topple the regime in Washington.

Do you think the Trump administration would dismiss the North’s provocative war games as merely “defensive maneuvers” or would they see them as a clear and present danger to US national security warranting a prompt and muscular response from the military?

It’s a no brainer, isn’t it? If North Korea treated the US like the US treats North Korea, then Washington would turn everything north of the 38th Parallel into a smoldering wastelands. That much is certain.

But double standards aside, the United States has always treated Korea with contempt and brutality. The ongoing war games are just the latest in a long line of provocations dating back more than a hundred years. In 1871, the US launched its infamous Korean Expedition in which US warships were deployed to the peninsula to force open markets and seize whatever wealth was available. Not surprisingly, the so called “diplomatic” mission quickly devolved into a full-blown conflagration as an armed contingent of 650 US troops landed on the Korean island of Ganghwa where they captured several Korean forts and slaughtered over 300 Korean soldiers. The battle culminated in a ferocious struggle for a citadel called Gwangseong Garrison. The Korean forces defended the fortress honorably, but their ancient matchlocks were no match for the American’s vastly-superior Remington rolling-block carbines. The Korean forces were butchered defending their own country while the invading American army barely suffered a scratch. (Just three Marines were killed in the fighting.) This was Korea’s first taste of US savagery.

Washington’s hatred for Korea reached its apex during the Korean War, a conflict in which the meddlesome US had no reason to be involved. The nationalist militias that had finally triumphed over 40-years of Japanese occupation, now had to face the full-force of the US military which was committed to containing communism wherever it popped up. In its demented attempt to impose its own values on the rest of the world, the US killed upwards of 3 million people, reduced most of the North to rubble, razed the main population centers to the ground, and viciously carpet-bombed reservoirs, irrigation dams, rice crops, hydroelectric dams, and all of the other life-sustaining infrastructure and food sources. The magnitude of the devastation was unimaginable, everything north of the 38th parallel was transformed into a moonscape. Washington wanted to make sure that survivors would face widespread famine, disease and Stone Age-type conditions for years to come. The US couldn’t win the war, so it destroyed every trace of civilization.

According to the Asia-Pacific Journal:

“By the fall of 1952, there were no effective targets left for US planes to hit. Every significant town, city and industrial area in North Korea had already been bombed. In the spring of 1953, the Air Force targeted irrigation dams on the Yalu River, both to destroy the North Korean rice crop and to pressure the Chinese, who would have to supply more food aid to the North. Five reservoirs were hit, flooding thousands of acres of farmland, inundating whole towns and laying waste to the essential food source for millions of North Koreans.10 Only emergency assistance from China, the USSR, and other socialist countries prevented widespread famine.” (“The Destruction and Reconstruction of North Korea, 1950 – 1960”, The Asia-Pacific Journal, Japan Focus)

The idea that the conflict was a “civil war” was a charade to conceal what was actually taking place. In reality, the US was engaged in a battle to the death with a weaker but more determined national liberation movement that sought to break to bonds of foreign occupation. The US could not prevail in the conflict, but they did manage to force a compromise on their adversary, the partitioning of the state along the 38th parallel followed by the installing of a military dictatorship in Soule. This is the bitter peace the US imposed on Korea.

Had the US had been defeated in Korea as they had been in Vietnam, the situation on the peninsula would probably be similar to that of Vietnam today. The country would be integrated under a central government, standards of living would have likely improved as the economy strengthened, and many of the ideological trappings of communism would have been discarded as the nation became more actively engaged in global trade.

But the US was not defeated in the Korean War, it merely withdrew to military bases in the south where more than 30,000 US combat troops reside to this day. As a result, the southern part of the peninsula remains occupied territory, its government in Seoul largely complies with Washington’s diktats, and the country is still split along the 38th parallel. Also, as the recent verbal confrontation between Washington and Pyongyang illustrates, hostilities could flare up at any time.

It’s worth mentioning that since the war ended in 1953, the United States has toppled or attempted to topple over 50 sovereign governments. In that same period of time, the North has not attacked, toppled or invaded anyone, nor have they leveled sanctions on anyone, nor have they armed and trained neo Nazis, Islamic jihadists or other fanatical militants to execute their proxy wars in far-flung regions around the globe, nor have they established black sites where they brutalize their kidnapped victims with extreme forms of torture. North Korea may be a seriously-flawed and, perhaps, even tyrannical regime, but it has not pummeled entire nations into dust sending millions fleeing across continents to seek refuge. It has not bombed wedding parties, hospitals, mosques etc wreaking havoc while plunging the world deeper into chaos and despair. North Korea is far from perfect, but compared to the United States, it’s looks like a paragon of virtue.

The North Korean’s want peace. They want a formal end to the war and they want guarantees that the United States won’t preemptively attack them. Is that too much to ask?

But the United States won’t sign a treaty with the North because it is not in its interests to do so. Washington would prefer for things to stay just the way they are today. In fact, Hillary Clinton said as much in a speech she made to Goldman Sachs in 2013. Here’s an excerpt:

CLINTON: “We don’t want a unified Korean peninsula, because if there were one South Korea would be dominant for the obvious economic and political reasons.

(Republished from Counterpunch by permission of author or representative)
 

The “Russia hacking” flap has nothing to do with Russia and nothing to do with hacking. The story is basically a DNC invention that was concocted to mitigate the political fallout from the nearly 50,000 emails that WikiLeaks planned to publish on July 22, 2016, just 3 days before the Democratic National Convention. That’s what this is really all about. Russia didn’t hack anything, it’s a big diversion that was conjured up on-the-fly to keep Hillary’s bandwagon from going down in flames.

Put yourself in Hillary’s shoes for a minute. She knew the deluge was coming and she knew it was going to be bad. (According to Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, DNC contractor Crowdstrike claimed to find evidence of Russian malware on DNC servers just three days after WikiLeaks announced that it was about “about to publish “emails related to Hillary Clinton.” Clearly, that was no coincidence. The plan to blame Russia was already underway.) Hillary knew that the emails were going to expose the DNC’s efforts to rig the primaries and torpedo Bernie Sanders campaign, and she knew that the media was going to have a field-day dissecting the private communications word by word on cable news or splashing them across the headlines for weeks on end. It was going to be excruciating. She knew that, they all knew that.

And how would her supporters react when they discovered that their party leaders and presidential candidate were actively involved in sabotaging the democratic process and subverting the primaries? That wasn’t going to go over well with voters in Poughkeepsie, now was it? Maybe she’d see her public approval ratings slip even more. Maybe she’d nosedive in the polls or lose the election outright, she didn’t know. No one knew. All they knew was that she was in trouble. Big trouble.

So she reacted exactly the way you’d expect Hillary to react, she hit the panic button. In fact, they all freaked out, everyone of them including Podesta and the rest of the DNC honchoes. Once they figured that their presidential bid could go up in smoke, they decided to act preemptively, pull out all the stops and “Go Big”.

That’s where Russia comes into the picture. The DNC brass (with help from allies at the CIA) decided to conjure up a story so fantastic that, well, it had to be true, after all, that’s what the 17 intel agencies said, right? And so did the elite media including the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN. They can’t all be wrong, can they? Sure, they goofed-up on Saddam’s WMDs, and Iran’s imaginary nukes program, and Assad’s fictional chemical weapons attack, but, hey, everyone makes mistakes, right? And, besides, have I told you how evil Putin is lately and how much he reminds me of Adolph Hitler? (sarcasm)

In any event, they settled on Russia mainly because Russia had rolled back Washington’s imperial project in both Ukraine and Syria, so the media was already in full demonetization-mode and raring to go. All the DNC needed to do was utter the words “Russia meddling” and they’d be off to the races.

Does any of this sound even remotely believable? Former CIA analyst, Ray McGovern seems to think so, because he expounded a very similar scenario about a month ago in an interview on You Tube. Check it out:

Ray McGovern– “What did Hillary do? …Hillary gathered her war council together and one fellow says, “I know what we can do. We’ll blame it on the Russians.”

And someone else says, “But it wasn’t the Russians it was WikiLeaks.”

(Guy number 1 says)”Well, that’s a twofer. We hate them both equally , so we’ll say WikiLeaks is working with the Russians.”

(Ray McGovern) That was two days before the convention.

And someone else says, “What would the rationale be?”

(Guy number 2 says) “C’mon, the Russians clearly want Trump to win.”

(Number 1) “But what about the major media?”

(Number 2) “Well, the major media really want Hillary to win, so if we get the major media on board, well, we really got it wired.”

(Ray McGovern again) “And if you watch the coverage since the WikiLeaks leak, two days before the convention, the media content was not ‘how did Hillary steal the election’ but ‘How did the Russians do it?”’

(“Ray McGovern: The Deep State Assault on Elected Government Must Be Stopped“)

He’s right, isn’t he? Hillary and Co. pulled off the whole ruse without a hitch. The media focused on the “Russia meddling” angle, and the calculating Ms. Clinton slipped away with nary a scratch. It’s amazing!

But there was one glitch to the ‘Blame Russia’ scheme. There was no hard evidence of Russian involvement. And, now, 10 months into multiple investigations of Russian hacking, there’s still no evidence. How can that be?

Well, for one thing, the FBI was never given access to the DNC computers.

Let me repeat that: In the biggest and most politically-explosive investigation in more than a decade, an investigation that has obvious national security implications– alleged cyber-espionage by a hostile foreign power, alleged collusion by high-ranking officials in the current administration, alleged treason or collusion on part of the Chief Executive, and the possible impeachment of a sitting president– the FBI has not yet secured or examined the servers that may or may not provide compelling forensic evidence of cyber-intrusion by Russia.

Why? Why would the FBI accept the analysis of some flunky organization that no one has ever heard of before (Crowdstrike) rather than use all the tools at their disposal to thoroughly investigate whether or not the hacking actually took place or not? Isn’t that their job?

Yer damn right it is. The reason the FBI never insisted on examining the DNC servers, is because they knew the story was baloney from the get go. Otherwise they would have kicked down the doors at the DNC, seized the computers through brute force, and arrested anyone who tried to stop them. Those computers are Exhibit A in the Trial of the Century. They should be under lock and key at FBI Headquarters not collecting cobwebs in the basement of the DNC-HQ. The fact that the servers have not been seized and examined just proves what a joke this whole Russia-deal really is.

You see, when a law enforcement agency like the FBI fails so conspicuously in carrying out its duties, you have to assume that other factors are involved, mainly politics. It’s all politics, right? There is no rational explanation for the FBI’s behavior other than it is following a political script that coincides with the agenda and ambitions of the DNC and other power players behind the scenes. Investigative journalist Gareth Porter summed it up perfectly in a brilliant article titled Foisting Blame for Cyber-Hacking on Russia. He said:

“…the history of the US government’s claim that Russian intelligence hacked into election databases reveals it to be a clear case of politically motivated analysis by the DHS and the Intelligence Community. Not only was the claim based on nothing more than inherently inconclusive technical indicators but no credible motive for Russian intelligence wanting personal information on registered voters was ever suggested.” (“Foisting Blame for Cyber-Hacking on Russia“, antiwar.com)

(Republished from Counterpunch by permission of author or representative)
 

“The shooting down of the Syrian SU-22 is another demonstration that the US is prepared to resort to the most reckless means to defend its footholds in Syria and lay the basis for the broader war that is being prepared.”

— Peter Symonds, World Socialist Web Site

The downing of a Syrian warplane by a US F-18 Super Hornet on Sunday proves that Washington’s real objective in Syria is not to defeat ISIS but to topple the government, carve up the country and install a puppet who will follow Washington’s directives. ISIS doesn’t have an airforce nor is there any chance that the lumbering Soviet-era SU-22 was mistaken by the American pilot before it was shot down. No, the Syrian plane was positively identified on a clear day flying over Syrian territory. The US ignored the normal protocols, failed to communicate their activities on the “de-confliction” hotline (as per their agreement with Moscow) and –BAM– the Syrian warplane was taken out with two missiles over Ja’Din in the western part of Raqqah province. The attack was a clear provocation.

The downing comes on the heels of three other similar incidents in which Syrian troops were attacked by US-coalition forces in the area around al Tanf near the Jordanian border. All four of these provocations have taken place within the last month suggesting that Washington intends to prevent the Syrian army from liberating its cities and territory in the east where US-proxy militias are operating.

In late May, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) launched Operation “Grand Dawn” which combined the 800th Battalion of the Republican Guards, Hezbollah, Iranian combat troops, and Russian Special Forces (to assist in an advisory capacity.) Grand Dawn, which is the biggest operation of the war, is aimed at clearing the eastern border, liberating ISIS-held cities and territory east of the Euphrates, and reopening the corridor between Damascus to Baghdad. The campaign is an attempt to reestablish the central government’s control over its land, its resources and its population centers in the East.

So far, the operation has made great strides as two main Syrian armies have pressed ahead on parallel tracks killing or routing jihadist fighters on the way. Sunday’s attack (on the Syrian warplane) may have been a desperate attempt to slow the forward-progress of loyalist troops rapidly advancing on the cities of Raqqa, Deir Ezzor and Abu Kamal, all located on the banks of the Euphrates.

The surge of Syrian troops poses a clear threat to Washington’s operational strategy called Plan B which is aimed at (a) splintering the state into smaller, US-controlled enclaves, (b) blocking the critical landbridge between Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and Tehran, and (c) establishing a secure base for training Sunni militants to reenter Syria-proper and engage in future regime destabilizing operations. Seen in this light, the downing of a Syrian SU-22 might have been an attempt by coalition leaders to wave off the Syrian assault which is undermining Washington’s fallback strategy.

The Russian response to the attack was fast and ferocious. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov condemned the action as “a massive violation of international law and military aggression.”

He said: “This strike has to be seen as a continuation of America’s line to disregard the norms of international law….(It is) an act of aggression… designed to help to the very terrorists the US says it is fighting.”

Not surprisingly, the Russian Defense Ministry (MoD) announced it would end its cooperation with the US military under the terms of the Memorandum on the Prevention of Incidents and Ensuring Air Safety in Syria. In practical terms, that means that Moscow will terminate the use of a military hotline for preventing accidents in Syrian airspace. So while media giants like the Wall Street Journal applaud the reckless attack as “signaling an increased willingness by the Trump administration to directly challenge President Bashar al Assad and his allies”, more sober analysts anticipate that the move will only ratchet up the tensions increasing the probability of a clash between the two nuclear-armed superpowers.

The Russian MoD statement added that, “any airborne objects, including aircraft and unmanned vehicles of the [US-led] international coalition, located to the west of the Euphrates River, will be tracked by Russian ground and air defense forces as air targets.”

If the attack was intended to provoke a response, then it appears to have succeeded. If another Syrian warplane is shot down, Moscow will have to retaliate. Was that the intention?

Russia does not want to deepen its involvement in Syria. It’s primary goal is to defeat ISIS, preserve the elected government, and prevent the country from disintegrating into failed state anarchy. Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed this topic recently in an interview where he was asked: “Can you explain why you sent troops to Syria and what your objective was?”

Putin answered: “It’s very easy to explain. We saw what was happening to other countries in the region, particularly Iraq and Libya…. due to the forceful ousting of their governments. The governments were destroyed, not simply ousted from power, and their leaders were killed. We don’t want to see the same thing happen in Syria or the whole region will be plunged into chaos.”

There it is in black and white. Russia has no territorial ambitions in Syria nor does it have any designs on Syria’s resources , industry or pipelines. This isn’t about money, oil or land. It’s about Russia’s national security which has been greatly impacted by the scourge of terrorism. It’s also about defending “sovereignty”, which is the bedrock principle upon which global security rests. This is why Russia is in Syria.

That said, it’s not in Russia’s interest to shoot down American aircraft, intensify the war on coalition-proxies or take any action that would lead to a military escalation. Putin does not want to prolong or expand the war, he wants to end it.

Unfortunately, there are so many players sharing the same, crowded battlespace that even the slightest miscalculation could lead to a serious conflagration. It’s going to take enormous restraint to tip-toe through the Syrian minefield without triggering a Third World War. We’ll have to see if Putin is up to the task or not.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

(Republished from Counterpunch by permission of author or representative)
 

“Washington’s strategic objectives in Iraq and Syria are not those of “fighting terrorism,” but rather consolidating US hegemony over the oil-rich Middle East and preparing for war against the principal obstacles to this objective, Iran and Russia. For US imperialism, undisputed control over both the Persian Gulf and Central Asia would provide the means to cut off energy supplies to its global rival, China.”

— Bill Van Auken, World Socialist Web Site

On June 10, the Syrian Army blitzed across an arid stretch of countryside in southeastern Syria to reach the Iraqi border for the first time in three years. The move, which caught US war-planners off guard, prevents US-backed rebels from moving north from al Tanf to join the fight against ISIS in Raqqa and Deir Ezzor. More important, the move makes it impossible for Washington to achieve its broader strategic objective of consolidating its territorial gains into a contiguous landmass along the Euphrates River. Washington wants to control the eastern part of the country so it can continue its attacks on the regime while overseeing the construction of gas pipelines from Qatar to Turkey. The prospects of that plan succeeding are now greatly in doubt due to the surprise advance of the SAA.

Aside from the humiliation of being caught flat-footed by a Syrian Army that has been battered by 6 consecutive years of war, Washington has allowed loyalist troops to seize a swath of land that splits US proxies on the ground and establishes a critical land corridor connecting Damascus to Baghdad to Tehran, a Shia superhighway that allows for the transport of commercial goods, people and weapons from east to west. Washington wanted to avoid that linkage at all cost, but simply wasn’t prepared to respond. Now any attempt to reverse the situation will involve crossing SAA lines which increases the probability of a direct confrontation with Russia. This is why it is essential to pay attention to events on the ground as they take place. The US and Russia are basically cheek-to-jowl on a topsy-turvy battlefield where any miscalculation could have grave consequences.

This latest move by the Syria Army has only added to Washington’s frustration. Ever since Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the creation of four “de-escalation zones” on May 5, the so called Axis of Resistance (Russia, Syria, Iran and Hezbollah) has been marching eastward along three parallel tracks with the clear intention of liberating cities captured by ISIS and reestablishing Syria’s sovereign borders. It’s been a hard-fought slog, but the progress has been steady and ISIS has been pushed back or beaten wherever they’ve been met.

At the present pace, the fight against ISIS could be over in a matter of months, but that doesn’t mean the hostilities will end. No one really knows whether the Turks, the Kurds or the US-backed militias will agree to withdraw from the territories they’ve captured during the war, but the general consensus seems to be that they won’t. In fact, the US has actually accelerated its operations in order to grab as much land as possible before ISIS is defeated. Here’s a clip from an article in the New York Times that helps to explain what’s going on:

“American-backed forces have begun an assault on Raqqa, the Islamic State’s hub in northern Syria, and signs are that they could capture the long-sought target with relative ease. Yet the militant group’s commanders, who have already withdrawn their toughest forces from the city, and most everyone else in Syria’s multifaceted war are looking ahead to an even more decisive battle in the south.

There, a complex confrontation is unfolding, with far more geopolitical import and risk. The Islamic State is expected to make its last stand not in Raqqa but in an area that encompasses the borders with Iraq and Jordan and much of Syria’s modest oil reserves, making it important in stabilizing Syria and influencing its neighboring countries.

Whoever lays claim to the sparsely populated area in this 21st-century version of the Great Game not only will take credit for seizing what is likely to be the Islamic State’s last patch of a territorial caliphate in Syria, but also will play an important role in determining Syria’s future and the postwar dynamics of the region.

With the stakes so high, the United States, Iran and Russia are all scrambling for advantage. They are building up their forces and proxy fighters and, increasingly, engaging in inflammatory clashes that threaten to escalate into a larger conflict…..

What is really at stake are even larger issues. Will the Syrian government re-establish control of the country all the way to its eastern borders? Will the desert straddling the Syrian-Iraqi border remain a no man’s land ripe for militant control? If not, who will dominate there — forces aligned with Iran, Russia or the United States? Which Syrian factions will wield the most influence?” (“Beyond Raqqa, an Even Bigger Battle to Defeat ISIS and Control Syria Looms”, New York Times)

Repeat: The outcome of the battle for east Syria will determine “the postwar dynamics of the region.”

So, Washington may have been caught flat footed, but it is prepared to make every effort to succeed in maintaining its regional hegemony. That said, the fighting ahead is likely to be more ferocious than ever.

Deir Ezzor is shaping up to be the decisive battle of the war. Washington needs the provincial capital to control the territory east of the Euphrates to establish military bases and create a launching pad for future attacks on the Assad government. The US also wants to control the eastern border with Iraq so the land route from Baghdad and Tehran is permanently blocked. But the US simply doesn’t have the military assets to win the war outright, which means the battlefield losses will continue to mount until government troops retake large sections of the border and the main population centers in the east. This isn’t a war the US can win without putting more boots on the ground. (some say 150,000 are needed) But, as yet, there’s no sign that the Pentagon Brass is willing to do that.

At present, all of the warring parties are racing to seize as much land as possible. In some respects, that’s a positive development because it suggests that everyone thinks the war may be coming to an end so they’re positioning their armies in a way that best favors their territorial claims. But resolving the territorial issues won’t alone bring peace. There are deeper issues that can’t be resolved by merely granting greater autonomy to the Kurds, or allowing the Turks to maintain a “safe zone” in the northwest, or letting local (mainly Sunni) councils settle their own affairs in cities like Raqqa. For example, neither Putin nor Assad will ever agree to a deal in which Washington establishes a base in the east where it harbors and deploys jihadists back into Syria-proper to wreak havoc, terrorize the public, and threaten the central government. That’s not going to happen. So while Putin may be flexible about Syria’s borders or greater regional autonomy, he’s not going to give ground on the fundamental issues of national security or terrorism. Those are non negotiable.

(Republished from Counterpunch by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Counterpunch Archives, ISIS, Russia, Syria 

“The Democrats are not fighting Trump over his assault on health care, his attacks on immigrants, his militaristic bullying around the world, or even his status as a minority president who can claim no mandate after losing the popular vote. Instead, they have chosen to attack Trump, the most right-wing president in US history, from the right, denouncing him as insufficiently committed to a military confrontation with Russia.”

— Patrick Martin, “The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming”, World Socialist Web Site

Donald Trump is not the target of an FBI investigation.

Donald Trump has never been the target of an FBI investigation.

The FBI is not investigating Trump for collusion, improper relations with a foreign government, treason or any of the other ridiculous things he’s been falsely accused of in the fake media. In fact, the FBI is not investigating him at all.

Last week, former FBI Director James Comey admitted publicly what he has known all along: that Trump was not a suspect in the Russia hacking probe and never has been. Here’s the story from Politico:

“Comey assured Trump he wasn’t under investigation during their first meeting. He said he discussed with FBI leadership before his meeting with the president-elect whether to disclose that he wasn’t personally under investigation. “That was true; we did not have an open counter-intelligence case on him,” Comey said.” (Politico)

So, there was no counter-intelligence case on Trump? There was no investigation of collusion with Russia?

But how can that be, after all, Trump has been hectored and harassed by the media from Day 1? His appointments have been blocked, his political agenda has been derailed, and the results of the 2016 elections have been effectively repealed due to the relentless attacks of the media, political elites and high-ranking leaders in the Intelligence Community. Now Comey admits that Trump is not guilty of anything, he’s not even a suspect.

What’s going on here? Why didn’t Comey clear the air earlier so the American people would know that their president wasn’t in bed with a foreign power? Why did he allow this farce to continue when he knew there was no substance to the claims? Did he enjoy seeing Trump twisting in the wind or was there some more sinister “political” motive behind his omission?

Trump repeatedly asked Comey to announce that he wasn’t under investigation. According to Comey, Trump “emphasized the problems this was causing him” and (Trump) said “We need to get that fact out.” But Comey repeatedly refused to publicly acknowledge the truth. Why?

Comey never answered that question to Trump, but he did explain his reasoning to the Senate Intelligence Committee last week. He said he didn’t want to announce that Trump was not part of the Bureau’s Russia probe because “it would create a duty to correct, should that change.”

A “duty to correct”? Are you kidding me? What kind of bullshit answer is that? How many hours of legal brainstorming did it take to come up with that lame-ass excuse?

Let’s state the obvious: Comey wanted to maintain the cloud of suspicion that was hanging over Trump because it helped to feed the perception that Trump was a traitor who collaborated with Russia to win the election. By remaining silent, Comey helped to fuel the public hysteria and reinforce the belief that Trump was guilty of criminal wrongdoing. That is why Comey never spoke out before, it’s because his silence was already achieving the result he sought which was to inflict as much damage as possible on Trump and his administration.

Did you know that Comey was spying on Trump from Day 1?

It’s true, he admitted it himself. Following his first meeting with Trump on January 6, he started recording contents of his private conversations with the president-elect on a secure FBI laptop in his car outside Trump Tower. He didn’t even wait until he got back to the office, he did it in the goddamn parking lot. That’s what you call “eager”. In his testimony he admitted that he kept notes of his private meetings with Trump “from that point forward.”

Does that sound like the normal activities of dedicated public servant acting in behalf of the elected government or does it sound like someone who’s on an assignment to dig up as much dirt as possible on the target of a political smear campaign.

Isn’t that what Comey was really up to?

Comey is a man with zero integrity. Did you know that?

He is applauded in the media and by his fellow establishment elites because he is an unprincipled sycophant who slavishly obeys the directives of his deep state paymasters. Take a look at this except from an ACLU report on Comey:

“There’s one very big problem with describing Comey as some sort of civil libertarian: some facts suggest otherwise. While Comey deserves credit for stopping an illegal spying program in dramatic fashion, he also approved or defended some of the worst abuses of the Bush administration during his time as deputy attorney general. Those included torture, warrantless wiretapping, and indefinite detention.

On 30 December 2004, a memo addressed to James Comey was issued that superseded the infamous memo that defined torture as pain “equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure”. The memo to Comey seemed to renounce torture but did nothing of the sort. The key sentence in the opinion is tucked away in footnote 8. It concludes that the new Comey memo did not change the authorizations of interrogation tactics in any earlier memos.

In short, the memo Comey that approved gave a thumbs-up on waterboarding, wall slams, and other forms of torture – all violations of domestic and international law. …Then, there’s warrantless wiretapping. ….”(“Let’s Check James Comey’s Bush Years Record Before He Becomes FBI Director”, ACLU)

Repeat: “He approved or defended some of the worst abuses of the Bush administration (including) torture, warrantless wiretapping, and indefinite detention.”

How does that square with the media’s portrayal of Comey as a man of unshakable integrity and honor?

It doesn’t square at all, does it? The media is obviously lying.

Now ask yourself this: Can a man who rubber-stamped waterboarding be trusted?

No, he can’t be trusted because he’s already proved himself to be inherently immoral.

Would a man like Comey agree to use his position and authority to try to “undo” the damage he did prior to the election when he announced the FBI was reopening its investigation of Hillary Clinton? In other words, was Comey being blackmailed to gather illicit material on Trump?

I think it’s very likely, although entirely unprovable. Even so, Comey has been way too eager to frame Trump for things for which he is not guilty. Why has he been so eager? Was he really just protecting himself as he says or was he gathering information to build a legal case against Trump?

In my mind, Comey tipped his hand when he said that he leaked the memo of his private conversation with Trump to the media in order to precipitate the appointment of a special prosecutor. Think about that for a minute. Here’s what he said:

“My judgment was I needed to get that out into the public square. So I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. I didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons, but I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel, so I asked a close friend of mine to do it.”

(Republished from Counterpunch by permission of author or representative)