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Did the Pentagon collaborate with Moscow on which targets to hit?
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The April 14 missile attacks on Syria were a politically-motivated fireworks display that were largely designed to silence Trump’s critics. The attacks– which were coordinated with Moscow– did not kill any Russian, Syrian, Iranian or Hezbollah combat troops. They did not kill any Syrian civilians. They did not impede the Syrian Army’s ongoing military offensive or roll back any of the recent territorial gains in East Ghouta. They did not destroy any critical infrastructure nor did they undermine the determination of the Russian-led coalition to continue to prosecute the 7 year-long war against CIA-backed terrorists who are responsible for the deaths of 500,000 Syrians and the displacement of 7 million others. In short, the attacks accomplished nothing except, perhaps, to temporarily mollify the warmongering western media and their bloodthirsty puppetmasters in the foreign policy establishment.

The fact that Trump felt compelled to launch the attacks before the chemical weapons inspectors from the OPCW had even touched down in Damascus, shows that Washington is not interested in providing justifications for its criminal aggression. Similar to claims of Russia hacking the 2016 US elections or the alleged use of toxic nerve agent in the Skripal incident, the case against Syrian President Bashar al Assad was based on the thin gruel of uncorroborated allegations by jihadist-linked organizations on the ground whose long history of staging provocative incidents to foment a crisis is part of the public record. We’re not going to waste our time on that nonsense here. Suffice it to say, that the information from these US-funded organizations is invariably unreliable. Their sole task is to create a justification for more carnage.

As for Assad’s chemical weapons: The entire stockpile was destroyed in 2014 as per an agreement between the US and Syria. According to Ahmet Uzumcu, director general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons:

“Never before has an entire arsenal of a category of weapons of mass destruction been removed from a country experiencing a state of internal armed conflict, and this has been accomplished within very demanding and tight time frames.”

In other words, Assad’s chemical weapons are as fictitious as Saddam’s WMD or Iran’s imaginary nuclear weapons program. All three are mere inventions of western elites looking for a rationale to plunder and control strategically-located nations in the Middle East.

Some readers will remember that Trump tacitly revealed his motivation for the attacks in a tweat he delivered just days before the incident. Here’s what he said on April 11:

“Much of the bad blood with Russia is caused by the Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation, headed up by the all Democrat loyalists, or people that worked for Obama. Mueller is most conflicted of all (except Rosenstein who signed FISA & Comey letter). No Collusion, so they go crazy!” The Real Donald Trump

What Trump is saying is that his real enemy is Mueller not Putin. It’s Mueller, the bigwig Dems and the media that are fomenting this Russphobic hysteria and trying to destroy Trump. And that’s what precipitated the ‘wag the dog’ scenario that unfolded on April 14th. Trump was trying to get his enemies off his back by incinerating a few empty buildings in Syria. And, it almost worked, but now information is beginning to leak-out that could be damaging to both Trump and his chief lieutenants.

What information?

The information from a Pentagon probe into the effectiveness of the missile strikes. The Top Brass is apparently concerned about reports from Moscow that Russian air defenses intercepted 71 of the 103 missiles fired. Here’s a clip from an article at Southfront:

“Informed sources close to the Pentagon say that the US military is about to launch an internal probe in order to get a true picture of the situation, a real number of missiles, which had hit their targets, the reasons behind a minor damage delivered by the strike and the explanations how the Syrian Air Defense Forces had been able to intercept a part of the missiles using their old-fashioned air defense systems.” (“Pentagon Is Concerned About Results Of Syria Strike, Prepares To Launch Internal Probe”, South Front)

More disturbing, is the news that the Pentagon coordinated with Moscow on the sites that would be targeted in the attack. (which would explain why there were no casualties.) Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford has denied the charge, but there are numerous claims circulating on the Internet that sound credible. Check out this excerpt from an article at The Hill:

“The United States used its deconfliction phone line with Russia prior to Friday’s airstrikes in Syria, but did not tell the Russians what the United States was targeting, the U.S. military’s top general said Friday night.

“We specifically identified these targets to mitigate the risk of Russian forces being involved, and we used our normal deconfliction channels — those were active this week — to work through the airspace issues and so forth,” Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford said at a Pentagon briefing. “We did not do any coordination with the Russians on the strikes, nor did we pre-notify them….

“The only communications that took place specifically associated with this operation before the targets were struck was the normal deconfliction of the airspace, the procedures that are in place for all of our operations in Syria,” he said. “We did not coordinate targets or any planning with the Russians.”” (The Hill)

Really? The Russians were not pre-notified?? Then how does one explain this tidbit from RT:

“Before we took the action, the United States communicated with the Russian Federation to reduce the danger of any Russian or civilian casualties,” (US Ambassador to Russia) Jon Huntsman said, claiming that “all the targets were linked with the Assad regime’s illegal chemical weapons program.”…

The US ambassador to Russia said that the US strikes were coordinated with Russia to avoid a great power confrontation.” (RT)

Military analyst Publius Tacitus is even more explicit in a post at Colonel Pat Lang’s website, Sic Semper Tyrannis. He says:

“Russia was told where we were going to strike. Russia in turn warned the Syrians. Both the Syrians and the Russians evacuated key personnel and equipment from the target sites. Any claim by the United States that we caused devastating damage or destroyed essential capabilities is total fantasy.” (Trump’s big Flop in Syria”, Publius Tacitus, Sic semper Tyrannis)

There were also a number of comments on Twitter from usually-reliable sources that #Russia was informed ahead of time” or this from Maxim A. Suchkov, political analyst and Russian editor at Al Monitor:

“U.S. publicly claims that no advanced warning were given to Russians, but Russian (absence of) response indicates otherwise, since Russia has personnel in Damascus but didn’t activate air defenses. This suggests RU knew of location of precision strikes.” (Twitter)

Or this from the Russian Insider:

“Americans and Russians are talking. Intensely. Putin’s spokesman has told the press the hotline the two militaries established to “deconflict” their parallel Syria interventions against ISIS, is still active and “being used by both sides”, which sounds like both sides are interested in talking….

As per Suchkov’s report above… the two (sides) are actually haggling over the details of the US giving target locations to the Russians in advance …That is quite unlike any war the US has recently fought…

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Donald Trump, Russia, Syria 
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On Monday, the Monmouth University Polling Institute released the results of a survey that found that “a large bipartisan majority… feel that national policy is being manipulated or directed by a ‘Deep State’ of unelected government officials…..[1]

According to the survey:”…6-in-10 Americans (60%) feel that unelected or appointed government officials have too much influence in determining federal policy. Just 26% say the right balance of power exists between elected and unelected officials in determining policy. Democrats (59%), Republicans (59%) and independents (62%) agree that appointed officials hold too much sway in the federal government. (“Public Troubled by ‘Deep State”, Monmouth.edu)

The survey appears to confirm that democracy in the United States is largely a sham. Our elected representatives are not the agents of political change, but cogs in a vast bureaucratic machine that operates mainly in the interests of the behemoth corporations and banks. Surprisingly, most Americans have not been taken in by the media’s promotional hoopla about elections and democracy. They have a fairly-decent grasp of how the system works and who ultimately benefits from it. Check it out:

Few Americans (13%) are very familiar with the term “Deep State;” another 24% are somewhat familiar, while 63% say they are not familiar with this term. However, when the term is described as a group of unelected government and military officials who secretly manipulate or direct national policy, nearly 3-in-4 (74%) say they believe this type of apparatus exists in Washington.…Only 1-in-5 say it does not exist.” Belief in the probable existence of a Deep State comes from more than 7-in-10 Americans in each partisan group…”

So while the cable news channels dismiss anyone who believes in the “Deep State” as a conspiracy theorist, it’s clear that the majority of people think that’s how the system really works, that is, “a group of unelected government and military officials…secretly manipulate or direct national policy.”

It’s impossible to overstate the significance of the survey. The data suggest that representative democracy is a largely a fraud, that congressmen and senators are mostly sock-puppets who do the bidding of wealthy powerbrokers, and that the entire system is impervious to the will of the people. These are pretty damning results and a clear indication of how corrupt the system really is.

The Monmouth survey also found that “A majority of the American public believe that the U.S. government engages in widespread monitoring of its own citizens and worry that the U.S. government could be invading their own privacy.”….

“Fully 8-in-10 believe that the U.S. government currently monitors or spies on the activities of American citizens, including a majority (53%)who say this activity is widespread… Few Americans (18%) say government monitoring or spying on U.S. citizens is usually justified, with most (53%) saying it is only sometimes justified. Another 28% say this activity is rarely or never justified….” (“Public Troubled by ‘Deep State”, Monmouth.edu)

So, along with the fact, that most Americans think democracy is a pipe-dream, a clear majority also believe that the country has changed into a frightening, lock-down police state in which government agents gather all-manner of electronic communications on everyone without the slightest suspicion of wrongdoing. Once again, the data suggests that the American people know what is going on, know that the US has gone from a reasonably free country where civil liberties were protected under the law, to a state-of-the-art surveillance state ruled by invisible elites who see the American people as an obstacle to their global ambitions–but their awareness has not evolved into an organized movement for change. In any event, the public seems to understand that the USG is not as committed to human rights and civil liberties as the media would have one believe. That’s a start.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the relentless attacks on Donald Trump have reinforced the public’s belief that the country is controlled by an invisible group of elites whose agents in the bureaucracy follow their diktats. From the time Trump became the GOP presidential nominee more than 18 months ago, a powerful faction of the Intelligence Community, law enforcement (FBI) and even elements form the Obama DOJ, have vigorously tried to sabotage his presidency, his credibility and his agenda. Without a scintilla of hard evidence to make their case, this same group and their dissembling allies in the media, have cast Trump as a disloyal collaborator who conspired to win the election by colluding with a foreign government. The magnitude of this fabrication is beyond anything we’ve seen before in American political history, and the absence of any verifiable proof makes it all the more alarming. As it happens, the Deep State is so powerful it can wage a full-blown assault on the highest elected office in the country without even showing probable cause. In other words, the president of the United States is not even accorded the same rights as a common crook. How does that happen?

Over the weekend, former CIA Director and “Russia-gate” ringleader John Brennan fired off an angry salvo at Trump on his Twitter account. Here’s what he said:

“When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America…America will triumph over you.”

Doesn’t Brennan’s statement help to reinforce the public’s belief in the Deep State? How does a career bureaucrat who has never been elected to public office decide that it is appropriate to use the credibility of his former office to conduct a pitch-battle with the President of the United States?

Brennan says “America will triumph over you.” But whose America is he talking about? The American people elected Trump, he is the legitimate president of the United States. Many people may not like his policies, but they respect the system that put him in office.

Not so, Brennan. Brennan and his cadres of rogue agents have been at war with Trump since Day 1. Brennan does not accept the results of the election because it did not produce the outcome that he and his powerful constituents wanted. Brennan wants to destroy Trump. He even admits as much in his statement.

And Brennan has been given a platform on the cable news channels so he can continue his assault on the presidency, not because he can prove that Trump is guilty of collusion or obstruction or whatever, but because the people who own the media have mobilized their deep state agents to carry out their vendetta to remove Trump from office by any means possible.

This is the “America” of which Brennan speaks. Not my America, but deep state America.

And why do Brennan and his fatcat allies hate Trump so much?

They don’t. Because it’s not really about Trump. It’s about the presidency, the highest office in the land. The US Plutocrat Class honestly believe that they are entitled to govern the country that they physically own. It’s theirs, they own it and they are taking it back. That’s what this is all about.

References

[1] Public Troubled By Deep State, Monmouth University Polling Institute

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from March 2 to 5, 2018 with 803 adults in the United States. The results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: American Media, Deep State, Democracy, Donald Trump 
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“We have reliable information at our disposal that US instructors have trained a number of militant groups in the vicinity of the town of At-Tanf, to stage provocations involving chemical warfare agents in southern Syria…They are preparing a series of chemical munitions explosions. This fact will be used to blame (Syrian) government forces. …Strike groups of US naval carriers with cruise missiles are being formed in the Eastern part of the Mediterranean, in the Persian Gulf and in the Red Sea….We note the evidence of preparation for possible attacks.” General Sergey Rudskoy, Russian General Staff spokesman, March 17, 2018

The United States is closer to a war with Russia than anytime since the Cuban missile crisis, but brainwashed Americans don’t have a clue about what’s going on.

Here’s what’s happening: The US’s situation in Syria has significantly deteriorated in the last two weeks. Washington hoped that its CIA-backed militants would be able to maintain a toehold in East Ghouta allowing them to continue to fire mortars and rockets into the urban center of Damascus thus putting additional pressure on the Syrian government. But the flow of jihadists from Raqqa and al Tanf in the east, was unexpectedly cut off by battle-hardened combat troops from the Lebanese militia, Hezbollah. That blockade was followed by the encirclement of the East Ghouta pocket by elite units of the Tiger Forces that rapidly split the battlespace into three cauldrons that have shrunk with every passing day.

The Syrian Army (SAA) ground assault on terrorist enclaves has been swift, focused and ferocious. In a matter of days, the SAA has recaptured 70 percent of rebel-held territory, killing hundreds of jihadists in the onslaught while Russian bombers have pounded their hideaways mercilessly for more than two weeks. The Syrian blitz has been a wake-up call for the Washington warlords who clung to the faint hope that their Sunni footsoldiers would be able to hang on indefinitely and reverse the course of the war. With the collapse of East Ghouta and the ongoing routing of the mostly foreign-born proxies, that hope has gone up in smoke. If the Battle of Aleppo was Syria’s Stalingrad, (WW2 “turning point”) then the Battle of East Ghouta was Syria’s Battle of Kursk, “the theater that held the key to overall victory in the war.” The outcome of the war in Syria is no longer in doubt. The Axis of Resistance won. (aka– Russia-Syria-Iran, Hezbollah)

This is why Washington is in a state of panic, they can finally see the handwriting on the wall. Their precious New World Order is being ground into dust in a pock-marked urban wastelands 10,000 miles from Washington. And, that’s why the rabid Nikki Haley has ramped up her hyperbolic performances at the UN Security Council. Here’s what she said just last week:

“When the international community consistently fails to act, there are times when states are compelled to take their own action….. the United States remains prepared to act if we must. It is not a path we prefer. But it is a path we have demonstrated we will take, and we are prepared to take again.”

Is she serious? Is Washington really planning to bomb Syrian troops in East Ghouta –which will unavoidably kill Russian Special Forces and advisors in the process– to save their jihadist proxies from impending annihilation? Is that worth risking WW3?

The panic in Washington is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It’s not just Nikki Haley doing her trademark “off my meds and out of therapy” performance, it’s the entire political establishment and their media sock puppets, they’ve all succumbed to the anti-Russia hysteria. These people have simply lost touch with reality. Their collective angst is splashed almost-daily across the headlines in the most provocative language imaginable. The demonization of Vladimir Putin has reached levels that were not seen at anytime during the Cold War. It is absolute madness, and it’s all because Washington’s maniacal globalist plan to use foreign-born proxies to topple the legitimate government of Syria has fallen flat on its face. Are we, as Americans, supposed to feel bad about this? Are we supposed to feel some sense loyalty to the internationalist cockroaches who have seized the levers of state power and use them to kill and maim people across the Middle East for some elusive project to rule the world?

Hell, no!

The spurious claims that Putin poisoned a double agent and his daughter fit perfectly within this same sordid strategy to vilify those countries that are, in fact, defending the principles upon which the international order rests: State sovereignty, strict borders, self determination and non intervention, all of which have been discarded like garbage by the “exceptional” country that puts itself squarely above the law.

There is no more proof that Moscow was involved in the poisoning of the Russian double agent than there is that Russia meddled in the 2016 elections. None. The whole matter is a risible remake of Colin Powell’s appalling “Anthrax” slapstick at the UN, where the career general sacrificed his personal credibility and integrity to hoodwink America’s allies into a savage war of annihilation on the Iraqi people. Theresa May is merely taking over where Powell left off. Her job is to build the case for war whether there is proof or not. The cabal of western leaders have decided that Russia must pay for its impudence, that more must be done to ratchet up the pressure on Russia, and that Putin’s resolve must be put to the test.

But how far can Putin be pushed, that is the question, isn’t it? And how will he respond if Washington takes things to the next level? Will he respond proportionately, overwhelmingly or not at all? Washington wants to know. The US figures it’s gone as far as it can with mere sanctions, demonization and armed proxies. Washington has decided that a limited but direct confrontation is the next logical step. Judging by the outpouring of deranged fulminations in the media, the decision to attack has already been made. (That is my guess, at least.)

Russia has become the biggest single obstacle to Washington’s global ambitions. Trump’s new National Defense Strategy makes that point quite clear. Moscow is blocking US plans to redraw the map of the Middle East, control vital resources and pipelines corridors, and pivot to this century’s most prosperous markets in Asia. All of that is now at risk, and Russia is to blame. Is it any wonder why the media denounces Putin as “The New Hitler”?

The defeat in East Ghouta changes everything. The gloves are coming off and Washington is ramping up for a shooting war with its biggest emerging rival. The hostile and frantic statements issuing from NATO headquarters and from UK, France, and Germany all suggest the momentum for war is building and that an attack could be launched in a matter of days. Some analysts believe the US will fire cruise missiles from warships in the Mediterranean as early as March 19, a date that was picked to coincide with the Russian presidential elections.

Leaders in the Kremlin are taking these threats seriously, and have warned that if the US attacks their troops or advisors in Syria, Russia will retaliate, and they will attack the platforms from which the missiles were launched. They will aim their missiles at US warships in the Mediterranean. Think about that for a minute: The lunatics in Washington are mulling over a calculated attack on Russia (in Syria) that could quickly escalate into a nuclear war just so they can find out whether Putin is bluffing or not. Isn’t that why Tillerson was just replaced for Pompeo, so the behind-the-scenes powerbrokers would have another warmongering neocon nutcase in a position of authority who would breezily rubber-stamp their plans for nuclear holocaust?

 
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The replacement of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo signals a hawkish shift in the administration’s foreign policy that is clearly intended to prepare the country for a confrontation with Russia. Pompeo was not chosen for his diplomatic skills or his nuanced grasp of foreign relations but for his hardline approach to issues like North Korea, the Iran nuclear agreement, and the so-called “Russian threat”. With the nomination of Pompeo, Trump has abandoned his campaign promise to end the foreign interventions and regime change operations, and has instead aligned himself with a small group of arch-neocons who are fully committed to US global domination through the application of hard power.

Not surprisingly, the right-wing Weekly Standard is already celebrating Pompeo’s nomination although his appointment is far from certain. Here’s a short excerpt from an article that TWS published on Wednesday titled “Iran-Deal Critics Praise Pompeo Nomination”:

“The Senate’s top Iran hawks heaped praise on the president’s nomination of CIA director Mike Pompeo to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Tuesday, and critics of the deal on and off Capitol Hill expressed confidence that Pompeo’s presence would place renewed pressure on negotiations to fix the Iran nuclear deal—or nix it…
.
“Tillerson and his team really weren’t preparing for the possibility of a world without a flawed Iran nuclear deal,” the staffer continued. “But Pompeo is at least intellectually open to thinking about how does the United States prepare for a world without the Iran deal, and making sure that we prevail in such a world. He will come at the Iran issue with a fresh set of eyes.”…

“For those Europeans (and Americans) who think Trump is not serious about walking away on May 12th if there’s no agreement to fix the Iran nuke deal, I give you Exhibit A: his soon-to-be Secretary of State Mike Pompeo,” said Mark Dubowitz, CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.” (The Weekly Standard)

The Iran nukes deal or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as it is known, prevents Iran from building nuclear weapons and enforces the strictest nuclear weapons inspections regime in the history of the IAEA. Even so, it is despised by neocons and right wing Israelis who see it as an obstacle to Tel Aviv’s ambitions for regional hegemony. Now these extremists will have an ally at the State Department who will make every effort to sabotage the agreement in order to achieve their strategic objectives. (For the record, Pompeo has called Iran a “thuggish police state” and promised to “roll back” the nukes deal.)

Pompeo can also be trusted to put the kibosh on the upcoming face-to-face negotiations between Trump and Kim Jong-Un. According to the Washington Post:

“Mike Pompeo has been in sync with President Trump from day one — on North Korea in particular,” said Patrick Cronin, a scholar at the Center for a New American Security. “There has been no doubt that he has been instrumental in shaping the administration’s maximum-pressure-and-engagement strategy.”

Pompeo, like Trump, believes that talking with North Korea is pointless and that the DPRK will only respond to force. He will demand that Kim Jong-Un take verifiable steps towards denuclearization in exchange for nothing, not even minimal security guarantees that the US will not unilaterally attack the North sometime in the future. Pompeo is entirely inflexible on this issue. He recently responded to a question in a televised interview saying: “Make no mistake about it, while these negotiations are going on, there will be no concessions made.” (March 11, 2018) He also added this ominous rejoiner: “We are focused like a laser on achieving (denuclearization). We are equally, at the same time, ensuring that the — if we conclude that it is not possible, that we present the president with a range of options that can achieve what is his stated intention.” (Jan. 23, 2018)

By “range of options”, Pompeo means overwhelming military force which suggests that he will encourage Trump to preemptively bomb (nuke?) the North.

It is already clear that Pompeo will not negotiate the terms of an agreement with the DPRK, Iran, Russia, Syria or anyone else for that matter. His job at State will be inform foreign leaders what Washington expects of them and what the consequences will be if they fail to comply.

There’s also a good chance that Pompeo will be assisted in his duties by former UN ambassador John Bolton who met with Trump last week and may soon replace National Security advisor, HR McMaster. Bolton, who served in the GW Bush administration, is a radical war-hawk who helped to build the case against Saddam Hussein and who at various times in his career supported attacks on both North Korea and Iran. He also supported the partitioning of Syria to create what he dubbed “Sunnistan” in the eastern part of the country. Here’s more on Bolton from an article at VOX:

“Bolton’s history suggests a long and storied history of cherry-picking intelligence to support his preferred hawkish policies…… Bolton drafted a five-page memo detailing his proposal for tearing up the (Iran nuclear) deal, which he then published in National Review………In a 2015 New York Times op-ed, Bolton advocated for a US and/or Israeli airstrike on Iranian nuclear facilities. “Time is terribly short, but a strike can still succeed,” he wrote. “Such action should be combined with vigorous American support for Iran’s opposition, aimed at regime change in Tehran.”…

… And in February 2018, he published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal arguing that the US needed to solve the nuclear standoff with North Korea by force….“Pre-emption opponents argue that action is not justified because Pyongyang does not constitute an ‘imminent threat.’ They are wrong,” Bolton wrote. “It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current ‘necessity’ posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons by striking first.” (“John Bolton, the ultrahawk rumored to be Trump’s next national security adviser, explained”, VOX)

Bolton believes that war is the solution to every problem, which is why Trump’s biggest supporters are likely to feel betrayed by his appointment. It’s worth noting, that “candidate Trump” cast himself as an “America First” non-interventionist not a warmongering neocon. Here’s a couple of quotes from Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign that help to illustrate why many voters thought his policies might be dramatically different than Hillary Clinton’s:

TRUMP– “We will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past…We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments…. Our goal is stability not chaos, because we want to rebuild our country [the United States]… We will partner with any nation that is willing to join us in the effort to defeat ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism …In our dealings with other countries, we will seek shared interests wherever possible and pursue a new era of peace, understanding, and good will.”

And there’s this: “We’ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that, frankly, if they were there and if we could have spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems—our airports and all the other problems we have—we would have been a lot better off, I can tell you that right now. We have done a tremendous disservice not only to the Middle East—we’ve done a tremendous disservice to humanity. The people that have been killed, the people that have been wiped away—and for what? It’s not like we had victory.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Neocons, Russia, Syria 
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The United States has launched a three-pronged offensive on Russia. First, it’s attacking Russia’s economy via sanctions and oil-price manipulation. Second, it’s increasing the threats to Russia’s national security by arming and training militant proxies in Syria and Ukraine, and by encircling Russia with NATO forces and missile systems. And, third, it’s conducting a massive disinformation campaign aimed at convincing the public that Russia is a ‘meddling aggressor’ that wants to destroy the foundation of American democracy. (Elections)

In response to Washington’s hostility, Moscow has made every effort to extend the olive branch. Russia does not want to fight the world’s biggest superpower any more than it wants to get bogged down in a bloody and protracted conflict in Syria. What Russia wants is normal, peaceful relations based on respect for each others interests and for international law. What Russia will not tolerate, however, is another Iraq-type scenario where the sovereign rights of a strategically-located state are shunted off so the US can arbitrarily topple the government, decimate the society and plunge the region deeper into chaos. Russia won’t allow that, which is why it has put its Airforce at risk in Syria, to defend the foundational principle of state sovereignty upon which the entire edifice of global security rests.

The majority of Americans believe that Russia is the perpetrator of hostilities against the United States, mainly because the media and the political class have faithfully disseminated the spurious claims that Russia meddled in the 2016 elections. But the allegations are ridiculous and without merit. Russia-gate is merely the propaganda component of Washington’s Full Spectrum Dominance theory, that is, disinformation is being used to make it appear as though the US is the victim when, in fact, it is the perpetrator of hostilities against Russia. Simply put, the media has turned reality on its head. Washington wants to inflict as much pain as possible on Russia because Russia has frustrated its plan to control critical resources and pipeline corridors in Central Asia and the Middle East. The Trump administration’s new National Defense Strategy is quite clear on this point. Russia’s opposition to Washington’s destabilizing interventions has earned it the top spot on the Pentagon’s “emerging rivals” list. Moscow is now Public Enemy#1.

Washington’s war on Russia has a long history dating back at least 100 years to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Despite the fact that the US was engaged in a war with Germany at the time (WW1), Washington and its allies sent 150,000 men from 15 nations to intervene on behalf of the “Whites” hoping to staunch the spread of communism into Europe. In the words of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the goal was “to strangle the Bolshevik baby in its crib.”

According to Vasilis Vourkoutiotis from the University of Ottawa:

“… the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War.. was a failed attempt to eradicate Bolshevism while it was still weak….As early as February 1918… Britain supported intervention in the civil war on behalf of the Whites, and in March it landed troops in Murmansk. They were soon joined by forces from France, Italy, Japan, the United States, and ten other nations. Eventually, more than 150,000 Allied soldiers served in Russia…

The scale of the war between the Russian Reds and Whites, however, was such that the Allies soon realized they would have little, if any, direct impact on the course of the Civil War unless they were prepared to intervene on a far grander scale. By the end of April 1919 the French had withdrawn their soldiers….British and American troops saw some action in November 1918 on the Northern Front… but this campaign was of limited significance in the outcome of the Civil War. The last British and American soldiers were withdrawn in 1920. The main Allied contributions to the White cause thereafter were supplies and money, mostly from Britain….

The chief purpose of Allied intervention in Soviet Russia was to help the Whites defeat the Reds and destroy Bolshevism.” (Allied Intervention in the Russian Revolution”, portalus.ru)

The reason we bring up this relatively unknown bit of history is because it helps to put current events into perspective. First, it helps readers to see that Washington has been sticking its nose in Russia’s business more than a century. Second, it shows that– while Washington’s war on Russia has ebbed and flowed depending on the political situation in Moscow– it has never completely ended. The US has always treated Russia with suspicion, contempt and brutality. During the Cold War, when Russia’s global activities put a damper on Washington’s depredations around the world, relations remained stretched to the breaking point. But after the Soviet Union collapsed in December, 1991, relations gradually thawed, mainly because the buffoonish Boris Yeltsin opened the country up to a democratization program that allowed the state’s most valuable strategic assets to be transferred to voracious oligarchs for pennies on the dollar. The plundering of Russia pleased Washington which is why it sent a number of prominent US economists to Moscow to assist in the transition from communism to a free-market system. These neoliberal miscreants subjected the Russian economy to “shock therapy” which required the auctioning off of state-owned resources and industries even while hyperinflation continued to rage and the minuscule life savings of ordinary working people were wiped out almost over night. The upshot of this Washington-approved looting-spree was a dramatic uptick in extreme poverty which intensified the immiseration of tens of millions of people. Economist Joseph Stiglitz followed events closely in Russia at the time and summed it up like this:

“In Russia, the people were told that capitalism was going to bring new, unprecedented prosperity. In fact, it brought unprecedented poverty, indicated not only by a fall in living standards, not only by falling GDP, but by decreasing life spans and enormous other social indicators showing a deterioration in the quality of life…..

(Due to) the tight monetary policies that were pursued… firms didn’t have the money to even pay their employees…. they didn’t have enough money to pay their pensioners, to pay their workers….Then, with the government not having enough revenue, other aspects of life started to deteriorate. They didn’t have enough money for hospitals, schools. Russia used to have one of the good school systems in the world; the technical level of education was very high. (But they no longer had) enough money for that. So it just began to affect people in every dimension of their lives….

The number of people in poverty in Russia, for instance, increased from 2 percent to… somewhere between 40 and 50 percent, with more than one out of two children living in families below poverty. The market economy was a worse enemy for most of these people than the Communists had said it would be. It brought Gucci bags, Mercedes, the fruits of capitalism to a few….But you had a shrinking (economy). The GDP in Russia fell by 40 percent. In some (parts) of the former Soviet Union, the GDP, the national income, fell by over 70 percent. And with that smaller pie it was more and more unequally divided, so a few people got bigger and bigger slices, and the majority of people wound up with less and less and less…. (PBS interview with Joseph Stiglitz, Commanding Heights)

 
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“It is essential to provide conditions for creative labor and economic growth at a pace that would put an end to the division of the world into permanent winners and permanent losers. The rules of the game should give the developing economies at least a chance to catch up with those we know as developed economies. We should work to level out the pace of economic development, and brace up backward countries and regions so as to make the fruit of economic growth and technological progress accessible to all. Particularly, this would help to put an end to poverty, one of the worst contemporary problems.” Vladimir Putin, President Russian Federation, Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club

Putin wants to end poverty? Putin wants to stimulate economic growth in developing countries? Putin wants to change the system that divides the world into “permanent winners and losers”? But, how can that be, after all, Putin is bad, Putin is a “KGB thug”, Putin is the “new Hitler”?

American liberals would be surprised to know that Putin actually supports many of the same social issues that they support. For example, the Russian President is not only committed to lifting living standards and ending poverty, he’s also a big believer in universal healthcare which is free under the current Russian Constitution. Naturally, the Russian system has its shortcomings, but there has been significant progress under Putin who has dramatically increased the budget, improved treatment and widened accessibility. Putin believes that healthcare should be a universal human right. Here’s what he said at the annual meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club:

“Another priority is global healthcare…. All people in the world, not only the elite, should have the right to healthy, long and full lives. This is a noble goal. In short, we should build the foundation for the future world today by investing in all priority areas of human development.” (Vladimir Putin, President Russian Federation, Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club)

How many “liberal” politicians in the US would support a recommendation like Putin’s? Not very many. The Democrats are much more partial to market-based reforms like Obamacare that guarantee an ever-increasing slice of the pie goes to the giant HMOs and the voracious pharmaceutical companies. The Dems no longer make any attempt to promote universal healthcare as a basic human right. They’ve simply thrown in the towel and moved on to other issues.

Many Americans would find Putin’s views on climate change equally surprising. Here’s another clip from the Valdai speech:

“Ladies and gentlemen, one more issue that shall affect the future of the entire humankind is climate change. … I suggest that we take a broader look at the issue….What we need is an essentially different approach, one that would involve introducing new, groundbreaking, nature-like technologies that would not damage the environment, but rather work in harmony with it, enabling us to restore the balance between the biosphere and technology upset by human activities.

It is indeed a challenge of global proportions. And I am confident that humanity does have the necessary intellectual capacity to respond to it. We need to join our efforts, primarily engaging countries that possess strong research and development capabilities, and have made significant advances in fundamental research. We propose convening a special forum under the auspices of the UN to comprehensively address issues related to the depletion of natural resources, habitat destruction, and climate change. Russia is willing to co-sponsor such a forum…..” Valdai)

Most people would never suspect that Putin supports a global effort to address climate change. And, how would they know, after all, bits of information like that– that help to soften Putin’s image and make him seem like a rational human being– are scrubbed from the media’s coverage in order to cast him in the worst possible light. The media doesn’t want people to know that Putin is a reflective and modest man who has worked tirelessly to make Russia and the world a better place. No, they want them to believe that he’s is a scheming tyrannical despot who’s obsessive hatred for America poses a very real threat to US national security. But it’s not true.

Putin is not the ghoulish caricature the media makes him out to be nor does he hate America, that’s just more propaganda from the corporate echo-chamber. The truth is Putin has been good for Russia, good for regional stability, and good for global security. He pulled the Russian Federation back from the brink of annihilation in 2000, and has had the country moving in a positive direction ever since. His impact on the Russian economy has been particularly impressive. According to Wikipedia:

“Between 2000 and 2012 Russia’s energy exports fueled a rapid growth in living standards, with real disposable income rising by 160%. In dollar-denominated terms this amounted to a more than sevenfold increase in disposable incomes since 2000. In the same period, unemployment and poverty more than halved and Russians’ self-assessed life satisfaction also rose significantly.”

Inequality is a problem in Russia just like it is in the US, but the vast majority of working people have benefited greatly from Putin’s reforms and a system of distribution that –judging by steady uptick in disposable incomes– is significantly superior to that in the United States where wages have flatlined for over 2 decades and where virtually all of the nation’s wealth trickles upward to the parasitic 1 percent.

Since Putin took office in 2000, workers have seen across-the-board increase in wages, benefits, healthcare and pensions. Poverty and unemployment have been reduced by more than half while foreign investment has experienced steady growth. Onerous IMF loans have been repaid in full, capital flight has all-but ceased, hundreds in billions in reserves have been accumulated, personal and corporate taxes have been slashed, and technology has experienced an unprecedented renaissance. The notorious Russian oligarchs still have a stranglehold on many privately-owned industries, but their grip has begun to loosen and the “kleptocracy has begun to fade.”

Things are far from perfect, but the Russian economy has flourished under Putin and, generally speaking, the people are appreciative. This helps to explain why Putin’s public approval ratings are typically in the stratosphere. (70 to 80 percent) Simply put: Putin the most popular Russian president of all time. And his popularity is not limited to Russia either, in fact, he typically ranks at the top of most global leadership polls such as the recent Gallup International End of Year Survey (EoY) where Putin came in third (43 percent positive rating) behind Germany’s Angela Merkel (49 percent) and French President Emmanuel Macron. (45 percent) According to Gallup: “Putin has gone from one in three (33 percent) viewing him favourably to 43 percent, a significant increase over two years.”

 
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Here’s your legal koan for the day: When is an indictment not an indictment?

Answer– When there is no intention of initiating a criminal case against the accused. In the case of the 13 Russian trolls who have just been indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, there is neither the intention nor the ability to prosecute a case against them. (They are all foreign nationals who will not face extradition.)

But, if that’s the case, than why would Mueller waste time and money compiling a 37-page document alleging all-manner of nefarious conduct when he knew for certain that the alleged perpetrators would never be prosecuted? Why?

Isn’t is because the indictments are not really a vehicle for criminal prosecution, but a vehicle for political grandstanding? Isn’t that the real purpose of the indictments, to add another layer of dirt to the mountain of unreliable, uncorroborated, unproven allegations of Russian meddling. Mueller is not acting in his capacity as Special Counsel, he is acting in his role of deep state hatchet-man whose job is to gather scalps by any means necessary.

Keep in mind, the subjects of the indictment will never be apprehended, never hire an attorney, never be in a position to defend themselves or refute the charges, and never have their case presented before and judge or a jury. They will be denied due process of law and the presumption of innocence. Mueller’s ominous-sounding claims, which were the centerpiece of his obscene media extravaganza, made sure of that. In most people’s minds, the trolls are guilty of foreign espionage and that’s all there is to it. Case closed.

But the indictments themselves suggest that Mueller’s narrative is wrong. The objective was not to influence the election, but make money by getting viewers to “click on” advertisements. Check it out:

“Defendants and their co-conspirators also used the accounts to receive money from real U.S. persons in exchange for posting promotions and advertisements on the ORGANIZATION-controlled social media pages. Defendants and their co-conspirators typically charged certain U.S. merchants and U.S. social media sites between 25 and 50 U.S. dollars per post for promotional content on their popular false U.S. persona accounts, including Being Patriotic, Defend the 2nd, and Blacktivist.”

That sounds like a money-making scheme to me not an attempt to subvert US democracy. So why is Mueller in such a lather? Isn’t this all just an attempt to divert attention from the fact that the Nunes’ investigation has produced proof that senior-level officials at the FBI and DOJ were “improperly obtaining” FISA warrants to spy on members of the Trump Campaign? Isn’t that what’s really going on?

If we can agree that the indictments were not intended to bring the “accused” to justice, then don’t we also have to agree that there must have been an ulterior motive for issuing them? And what might that ulterior motive be? What are the real objectives of the investigation, to cast a shadow on an election that did not produce the results that powerful members of the entrenched bureaucracy wanted, to make it look like Donald Trump did not beat Hillary Clinton fair and square, and to further demonize a geopolitical rival that has blocked Washington’s imperial ambitions in Syria and Ukraine? Which of these is the real driving force behind Russiagate or is it ‘all of the above?’

Nothing will come of the indictments because the indictments were not designed reveal the truth or bring the accused to justice. They were written to shape public perceptions and to persuade the American people that Trump cheated in the elections and that Russia poses a serious threat to US national security. The indictments have no legal merit, they are a form of domestic propaganda and disinformation. The real target is the American people.

It’s worth noting, that if Mueller really wanted to get to the bottom of the Russia-gate allegations, he would interview the people who have first-hand knowledge what actually happened. He would question Julian Assange (WikiLeaks) and Craig Murray, both of whom have stated publicly that they know who stole the Podesta emails. Mueller hasn’t done that, nor has he contacted the VIPs (Ray McGovern, William Binney, Skip Folden, etc) who did extensive forensic investigation of the “hacking” allegations and proved that the emails were not hacked but leaked. Mueller has not pursued that line of inquiry either. Nor has he interviewed California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who met with Assange personally and who has suggested that Assange may reveal the name (of the DNC “leaker”) under the right conditions. Instead of questioning witnesses, Mueller has spent a great deal of time probing the online activities Russian trolls who were engaged in a money-making scheme that was in no way connected to the Russian government, in no way connected to the Trump campaign, and in no way supportive of the claims of hacking or collusion. None of this reflects well on Mueller who, by any stretch, appears to be either woefully incompetent or irredeemably biased.

The indictment states that the organization that employed the trolls “had the strategic purpose of sowing political discord in the United States.” This seems to be a recurrent theme that has popped up frequently in the media as well. The implication is that the Russians are the source of the widening divisions in the US that are actually the result of growing public angst over the lopsided distribution of wealth that naturally emerges in late-stage capitalism. Moscow has become the convenient scapegoat for the accelerated parasitism that has seen 95% of the nation’s wealth go to a sliver of people at the top of the foodchain, the 1 percent. (But that’s another story altogether.) Here’s a brief clip from the portentous-sounding indictment:

“The general conspiracy statute… creates an offense “[i]f two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose….

The intent required for a conspiracy to defraud the government is that the defendant possessed the intent (a) to defraud, (b) to make false statements or representations to the government or its agencies in order to obtain property of the government, or that the defendant performed acts or made statements that he/she knew to be false, fraudulent or deceitful to a government agency, which disrupted the functions of the agency or of the government. It is sufficient for the government to prove that the defendant knew the statements were false or fraudulent when made.”

The above statement helps to prove my point that the indictments are not a vehicle for criminal prosecution, but part of a politically-motivated information campaign to damage Trump and vilify Russia. No one seriously believes that Mueller would ever try to prosecute this case based on the spurious and looney claims of a criminal conspiracy. The whole idea is laughable.

There are a couple interesting twists and turns regarding the indictments that could be significant, but, then again, maybe not. We found it interesting that Rob Goldman, who is the Vice President of Facebook Ads, tweeted this revealing disclaimer on Monday which Trump posted on Twitter:

“I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal.”

Then there are the puzzling comments by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who said on Friday:

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: American Media, Deep State, Donald Trump, Russia 
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“If the election is ‘disrupted’ by voters changing their votes due to Russians posting on Facebook, then the problem is not that Russians are posting on Facebook, the problem is that voters are changing their votes based on posts they read on Facebook.” Bill H, comments line Sic Semper Tyrannis

“God help America. We’ve lost our damn minds.” Publius Tacitus

Robert Mueller’s Friday night indictment-spree, is a flagrant and infuriating attempt to divert attention from the damning revelations in the Nunes memo (and the Graham-Grassley “criminal referral”) which prove that senior-level officials at the FBI and DOJ were engaged in an expansive conspiracy to subvert the presidential elections by spying on members of the Trump campaign. The evidence that the FBI and DOJ “improperly obtained” FISA warrants to spy on Trump campaign affiliate, Carter Page, has now been overshadowed by the tragic massacre in Parkland, Florida and the obfuscating indictments of 13 Internet “trolls” who have not been linked to the Russian government and who are being used to conceal the fact that the 18 month-long witch hunt has not yet produced even one scintilla of hard evidence related to the original claims of “hacking or collusion”.

Think about what’s Mueller is really up to: He’s not just moving the goalposts, he’s loading them onto a spaceship and putting them on another planet. Where’s the evidence that Russia hacked the DNC computers and stole their emails? Where’s the proof that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia? That’s what we want to know, not whether some goofy Russian troll was spreading false information on Facebook. That has nothing to do with the original charges. It’s just politically-motivated gibberish that proves Mueller has nothing to support his case. After a full year, the investigation has failed to produce anything but a big goose egg.

According to the indictment, the alleged Russian trolls “posted derogatory information about a number of candidates” and its “operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump…and disparaging Clinton.”

Big whoop. If people are so malleable that they can be brainwashed by some suggestive posting on Facebook, then maybe we should abandon democracy altogether. But that’s not what this is really about, is it? Because if it was, Mueller would have posted the contents of those nefarious Russian comments in the indictment…WHICH HE DIDN’T because he knows it’s all obfuscating bullsh** designed to make the sheeple think evil Putin is dabbling in our precious elections.

Oh, and here’s a little tidbit the MSM managed to overlook in their typically-hysterical coverage. This is from journalist Alexander Mercouris at the pro-Russia website, The Duran: (If you think your delicate mind might be brainwashed by Russian propaganda, please, shield your eyes!)

“The third thing to say about the indictment – and a point which has been almost universally overlooked in all the feverish commentary about it – is that it makes no claim that the Russian government was in any way involved in any of the activities of the persons indicted.

Nowhere in the indictment is the Russian government or any official of the Russian government or any agency of the Russian government mentioned at all. Nor at any point in the indictment is it suggested that any of the persons indicted were employed by the Russian government or were acting under its instructions or on its behalf….” (The Duran, Alexander Mercouris)

No Ruskis involved? But how can that be? We were assured that diabolical Russia is behind everything bad that happens in America. Has evil Putin been sleeping on the job??

Yes, it’s true that the Internet Research Agency, LLC, is in fact located in St. Petersburg but–as yet–there is no known connection between the company and the government. And, if there was, you can bet that Mueller would have exploited it for all it’s worth.

By the way, Mueller’s presumption that the hackers were trying to influence the election, is just that, a presumption. It has no basis in fact whatsoever. It is mere speculation like the rest of the claptrap he’s come up with. The more reasonable explanation is that the hackers were trying to make a little dough on “pageviews or clicks” rather than trying to persuade voters to vote for one candidate or the other. Here’s more from the indictment:

” Defendants and their co-conspirators began to track and study groups on U.S. social media sites dedicated to U.S. politics and social issues. In order to gauge the performance of various groups on social media sites, the organization tracked certain metrics like the group’s size, the frequency of content placed by the group, and the level of audience engagement with that content, such as the average number of comments or responses to a post.”

WTF! Isn’t this what everyone is doing, including the Intel agencies, advertisers, media and corporations? So now it’s a crime? Give me a break!

Here’s a blurb from the comments-line at Sic Semper Tyrannis:

“The “conspiracy” started in 2014, and cost a whopping $1.2 MILLION, which includes salaries, tech support, and bonuses. The indictment includes info that the Russians ran ads supporting Black Lives Matter, Muslims, Jill Stein, Ted Cruz, Rubio, and Trump. They also organized rallies in support of, and in opposition to Trump and Hillary Clinton. They continued their activities up into 2017, still organizing pro-Clinton and pro-Trump rallies. At one point, the indictment says that the Russians ran an ad that reached 59,000 people, which is laughable, people with a camera in their kitchen get more views than that. Essentially, after about 1.5 years of investigating “Russian collusion” this is all they’ve come up with.” –London Bob, Sic Semper Tyrannis

And here’s more from the indictment:

“U.S. law bans foreign nationals from making certain expenditures or financial disbursements for the purpose of influencing federal elections. U.S. law also bars agents of any foreign entity from engaging in political activities within the United States without first registering with the Attorney General.”

This is mind-numbingly stupid. Does Mueller really think he can cobble together a case against 13 foreign-born defendants based on the thin gruel of Russian support for “Black Lives Matter, Jill Stein and Donald Trump?” Good luck with that, Bob.

Political analyst Paul Craig Roberts summarizes how absurd the indictments are in a Friday article tiled “The Result of Mueller’s Investigation: Nothing”:

“How did the 13 Russians go about sowing discord? Are you ready for this? They held political rallies posing as Americans and they paid one person (unidentified) to build a cage aboard a flatbed pickup truck and another person to wear a costume portraying Hillary in prison clothes….”

The whole thing is ridiculous and anyone with half a brain knows it’s ridiculous. The only reason this fiasco continues to drag on, is because the mandarins in the US National Security State run everything in America and they’ve decided that they can invent whatever reality suits their foreign policy agenda and the rest of us will simply accept it in silence or be denounced as “Putin apologists” or “Kremlin stooges”. Fortunately, facts and reason appear to be getting the upper hand which why the deep state powerbrokers are getting so desperate. They’re now genuinely concerned about what might “come out” and who might be exposed.

Do the names John Brennan or Barack Obama ring a bell?

Indeed. I’m sure both names would factor quite large in any seriously impartial and thorough investigation of the Russiagate conspiracy.

 
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Mike Pence’s trip to the Pyeongchang Olympics was an unmitigated disaster. In just 48 hours, the Vice President managed to insult nearly everyone he encountered including South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un’s younger sister, Kim Yo-Jong. The overbearing Pence flaunted his contempt for the Korean people by humiliating their leaders, shrugging off their hospitality, and scoffing at their joint efforts for peace. He acted like an arrogant proconsul who only deigns to visit his subjects in order to treat them with condescension and scorn. Simply put, he disgraced himself and the country.

Before he’d even set foot on Korean soil, Pence had already started stirring up trouble by announcing “the toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea ever”. The announcement, that was made a day earlier in Tokyo, was clearly designed to exacerbate already strained relations and put a damper on any negotiations currently underway between North and South. The belligerent VP wanted to make sure that any attempts at rapprochement between Pyongyang and Soule would be swiftly thwarted by the Washington overlords. Far from an isolated incident, Pence’s preemptive announcement follows a familiar pattern of heavy-handed intervention into Korea’s domestic affairs that stretches back more than 6 decades with the aim of derailing any promising move towards national reconciliation or détente. The western media has done an impressive job in concealing Washington’s malignant role in Korea’s politics. By focusing on Kim’s nuclear weapons, they have obfuscated the real source of the divisions, the distrust, and the hostility. Washington.

Pence childishly showcased his meeting with a defector from the North in order to humiliate the delegation from the DPRK before even meeting with them. He then reiterated the administration’s plan to conduct massive joint-military drills with the South following the Winter Games in order to apply “maximum pressure” on the North. The needlessly provocative military exercises, which are a source of endless aggravation in Pyongyang, include “decapitation” drills that simulate the capturing and killing of the North’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un. Is it any wonder why Kim thinks he needs nuclear weapons to defend himself?

Virtually all of Pence’s activities and statements were designed to incite animosity, generate suspicion, or intensify hostilities. The sole purpose of the VP’s trip was to preserve the status quo, that is, to make sure the country remains permanently split into warring camps that justify Washington’s military occupation, thus, protecting US commercial interests while maintaining control of a strategically-located territory that is a critical part of Washington’s plan to dominate Asia. Pence is merely following the century’s old maxim for preserving imperial power: Divide and conquer. The US doesn’t want a peaceful, prosperous, unified Korea, it wants a fragmented, garrison state where cheap labor is abundant and the politicians dance to Washington’s tune. That was the objective when Washington installed its lackeys in the Capitol in 1953 and that’s the goal today.

Pence’s visit was highlighted by one mortifying gaffe after another making it the worst diplomatic disaster since Prince Philip asked his Aborigine hosts during a trip to Australia if they “still threw spears at each other.” Fortunately, in Philip’s case, he was clever enough to grasp his mistake and quickly make amends. Not so the fatuous Pence who in a short two-day stretch snubbed his hosts and their guests by skipping an extravagant state dinner, refusing to shake hands with Kim Yo-Jong, and by stubbornly remaining seated while the united North-South Korean team entered the Olympic stadium to the rapturous applause of the crowd. If Pence hoped to project the image of a man who thought he was better than everyone else, he certainly succeeded. It is doubtful, however, that he won the love and admiration of the Korean people who are now, undoubtedly, rethinking their relationship with the pompous and trouble-making leaders in Washington.

Pence’s blundering visit helps to confirm that the United States cannot play a constructive role in resolving the thorny issues between North and South. Pyongyang and Soule will have to convene a regional summit on denuclearization headed by China and Russia while demanding the immediate cessation of all joint-military exercises in the South. The North should agree to take verifiable steps to decommission its nuclear arsenal and allow international weapons inspectors free reign to conduct their work, in exchange for the gradual lifting of economic sanctions, the progressive strengthening of economic ties with the South, the signing of a treaty that officially ends the 65 year-long war, and the incremental, but total withdrawal of all US troops and military personnel from the R.O.K.

There will be no lasting peace on the Korean peninsula until the US occupation ends.

 
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The report (“The Dossier”) that claims that Donald Trump colluded with Russia, was paid for by the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign.

The company that claims that Russia hacked DNC computer servers, was paid by the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign.

The FBI’s counterintelligence probe into Trump’s alleged connections to Russia was launched on the basis of information gathered from a report that was paid for by the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign.

The surveillance of a Trump campaign member (Carter Page) was approved by a FISA court on the basis of information from a report that was paid for by the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign.

The Intelligence Community Analysis or ICA was (largely or partially) based on information from a report that was paid for by the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign. (more on this below)

The information that was leaked to the media alleging Russia hacking or collusion can be traced back to claims that were made in a report that was paid for by the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign.

The entire Russia-gate investigation rests on the “unverified and salacious” information from a dossier that was paid for by the DNC and Hillary Clinton Campaign. Here’s how Stephen Cohen sums it up in a recent article at The Nation:

“Steele’s dossier… was the foundational document of the Russiagate narrative…from the time its installments began to be leaked to the American media in the summer of 2016, to the US “Intelligence Community Assessment” of January 2017….the dossier and subsequent ICA report remain the underlying sources for proponents of the Russiagate narrative of “Trump-Putin collision.” (“Russia gate or Intel-gate?”, The Nation)

There’s just one problem with Cohen’s statement, we don’t really know the extent to which the dossier was used in the creation of the Intelligence Community Assessment. (The ICA was the IC’s flagship analysis that was supposed to provide ironclad proof of Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.) According to some reports, the contribution was significant. Check out this excerpt from an article at Business Insider:

“Intelligence officials purposefully omitted the dossier from the public intelligence report they released in January about Russia’s election interference because they didn’t want to reveal which details they had corroborated, according to CNN.” (“Mueller reportedly interviewed the author of the Trump-Russia dossier — here’s what it alleges, and how it aligned with reality”, Business Insider)

Bottom line: Despite the denials of former-CIA Director John Brennan, the dossier may have been used in the ICA.

In the last two weeks, documents have been released that have exposed the weak underpinnings of the Russia investigation while at the same time revealing serious abuses by senior-level officials at the DOJ and FBI. The so called Nunes memo was the first to point out these abuses, but it was the 8-page “criminal referral” authored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Senator Lindsey Graham that gave credence to the claims. Here’s a blurb from the document:

“It appears the FBI relied on admittedly uncorroborated information, funded by and obtained for Secretary Clinton’s presidential campaign, in order to conduct surveillance of an associate of the opposing presidential candidate. It did so based on Mr. Steele’s personal credibility and presumably having faith in his process of obtaining the information. But there is substantial evidence suggesting that Mr. Steele materially misled the FBI about a key aspect of his dossier efforts, one which bears on his credibility.”

There it is. The FBI made a “concerted effort to conceal information from the court” in order to get a warrant to spy on a member of a rival political campaign. So –at the very least– there was an effort, on the part of the FBI and high-ranking officials at the Department of Justice, to improperly spy on members of the Trump team. And there’s more. The FBI failed to mention that the dossier was paid for by the Hillary campaign and the DNC, or that the dossier’s author Christopher Steele had seeded articles in the media that were being used to support the dossier’s credibility (before the FISA court), or that, according to the FBI’s own analysts, the dossier was “only minimally corroborated”, or that Steele was a ferocious partisan who harbored a strong animus towards Trump. All of these were omitted in the FISA application which is why the FBI was able to deceive the judge. It’s worth noting that intentionally deceiving a federal judge is a felony.

Most disturbing is the fact that Steele reportedly received information from friends of Hillary Clinton. (supposedly, Sidney Blumenthal and others) Here’s one suggestive tidbit that appeared in the Graham-Grassley” referral:

“…Mr. Steele’s memorandum states that his company “received this report from REDACTED US State Department,” that the report was the second in a series, and that the report was information that came from a foreign sub-source who “is in touch with REDACTED, a contact of REDACTED, a friend of the Clintons, who passed it to REDACTED.”

It is troubling enough that the Clinton campaign funded Mr. Steele’s work, but that these Clinton associates were contemporaneously feeding Mr. Steele allegations raises additional concerns about his credibility.” (Lifted from The Federalist)

What are we to make of this? Was Steele shaping the dossier’s narrative to the specifications of his employers? Was he being coached by members of the Hillary team? How did that impact the contents of the dossier and the subsequent Russia investigation?

These are just a few of the questions Steele will undoubtedly be asked if he ever faces prosecution for lying to the FBI. But, so far, we know very little about man except that he was a former M16 agent who was paid $160,000 for composing the dubious set of reports that make up the dossier. We don’t even know if Steele’s alleged contacts or intermediaries in Russia actually exist or not. Some analysts think the whole thing is a fabrication based on the fact that he hasn’t worked the Russia-scene since the FSB (The Russian state-security organization that replaced the KGB) was completely overhauled. Besides, it would be extremely dangerous for a Russian to provide an M16 agent with sensitive intelligence. And what would the contact get in return? According to most accounts, Steele’s sources weren’t even paid, so there was little incentive for them to put themselves at risk? All of this casts more doubt on the contents of the dossier.

What is known about Steele is that he has a very active imagination and knows how to command a six-figure payoff for his unique services. We also know that the FBI continued to use him long after they knew he couldn’t be trusted which suggests that he served some other purpose, like providing the agency with plausible deniability, a ‘get out of jail free’ card if they ever got caught surveilling US citizens without probable cause.

But that brings us to the strange case of Carter Page, a bit-player whose role in the Trump campaign was trivial at best. Page was what most people would call a “small fish”, an insignificant foreign policy advisor who had minimal impact on the campaign. Congressional investigators, like Nunes, must be wondering why the FBI and DOJ devoted so much attention to someone like Page instead of going after the “big fish” like Bannon, Flynn, Kushner, Ivanka and Trump Jr., all of whom might have been able to provide damaging information on the real target, Donald Trump. Wasn’t that the idea? So why waste time on Page? It doesn’t make any sense, unless, of course, the others were already being surveilled by other agencies? Is that it, did the NSA and the CIA have a hand in the surveillance too?

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: CIA, Deep State, Donald Trump, John Brennan, Russia