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Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA and destroys not enhance national security

News Neoconservatism Recommended Links Paleoconservatism Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization "F*ck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place New American Militarism
Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Obama: a yet another Neocon Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS Wolfowitz Doctrine Hillary role in Libya disaster Lock her up movement
From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss  Color revolutions John Dilulio letter Mayberry Machiavellians Madeleine Albright Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Leo Strauss and the Neocons
Neoliberalism as a New form of Corporatism Deception as an art form The History of Media-Military-Industrial Complex Concept Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism The ability and willingness to employ savage methods Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism   IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement
American Exceptionalism Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Robert Kagan Samantha Power Jeb "Wolfowitz Stooge" Bush Corporatism Big Uncle is Watching You
Fifth Column of Neoliberal Globalization Guardian paper LA Times Paper by Neal Gabler   Washington Post paper by Mike Allen    
Mayberry Machiavellians Corporatism Hong Cong Color Revolution of 2014   Neoliberal Propaganda: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few Politically Incorrect Humor Etc
Note: This page is partially based on Wikipedia materials.

Introduction

The neoconservative impulse became visible in modern American foreign policy since Reagan, but it became dominant ideology and foreign policy practice during criminal George W. Bush administration, which unleashed disastrous for American people Iraq war and destabilized the region, which eventually led to creation of ISIS. Those disastrous neoconservative policies were continued during Obama administration ("Fuck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place. Especially sinister role was played  Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton  while she was the Secretary of State. She was the butcher of Libya and Syria.

Unlike traditionalist conservatism (which in the USA survived in the form of Paleoconservatism and preaches noninterventionism), Neoconservatism has nothing to do with conservative doctrine at all. This is neoliberal interpretation of Trotskyism -- neoTrotskyism. Like neofascism it glorifies militarism (in the form of New American Militarism as described by Professor Bacevich), emphasizes confrontation, and regime change in countries hostile to the interests of global corporations, and which are a barrier of spread of neoliberalism and extension of global, US dominated neoliberal empire. It is an extremely jingoistic creed.  All Secretaries of state starting from Madeleine "not so bright" Albright subscribed to neocon thinking.

The unspoken assumptions of neocon cult have led the United States into a senseless, wasteful, and counter-productive posture of nearly perpetual wars of neoliberal conquest.  Which overextended the USA as a country and lowered the standard living of population further, as if neoliberalism alone was not enough.

It also led to destabilization of the whole regions. It was the USA that launched political Islam into its current position, which at the end resulted in creation of ISIS and "institutionalization" of  suicide bombings as the only means to fight against global neoliberal empire by people deprived of regular military means.  From which many nations, suffered especially Russia and several European nations such as GB and France. 

In Russia neocons supported radical Islam and Wahhabism promoting it in such areas as Chechnya and Dagestan, facilitated import of extremists (sponsored by Saudi Arabia and Gulf monarchies). Like in Afghanistan before that they considered Wahhabi extremists as a useful political tool in their attempts to dismember Russia, as the lesser evil.

In Ukraine neocons supported far right nationalists with distinct national socialism leanings and history of crimes against humanity (Massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia - Wikipedia). Organized by them putsch against the legitimate (albeit corrupt) government of Yanukovich. Which was done with full support of several EU nations which also now have imperial ambitions and wanted to cut the country from Russia and use it the market for EU goods as well as the source of cheap commodities and labor for EU.

EuroMaydan as this color revolution was called made the country a debt slave of IMF and dropped already low standard of living of population almost three times. Making the Ukraine probably the poorest country in Europe where large percent of population (especially pensioners and single mothers) needs to survive of less the $2 a day. Average (note the word "average")  pension in Ukraine is about $1500 grivna which at the current exchange rate is approximately $60. It was three times higher before the Maydan color revolution which State Department so skillfully organized.

Everywhere neocons bring wars and disasters. And they impoverish the US middle class. To say nothing about desperate, completely robbed 50 or so million people with McJobs, who are liming essentially in the third world country that exists within the USA now  (Food Stamp Beneficiaries Exceed 46,000,000 for 38 Straight Months ). 

They are concerned mainly with enriching themselves and their masters from military industrial complex and bloated government bureaucracy, especially "national security parasites"). In other words they behave like the USSR nomenklatura -- a privileged, above the law class, degeneration of which eventually led to collapse of the USSR. Such a conservatives. And not unlike Party bureaucracy of the Third Reich, despite being disproportionally Jewish. 

In foreign policy they were a real, unmitigated  disaster.  Or more correctly series of disaster of varying magnitudes.

Iraq was a huge, humiliating disaster. Probably the biggest one. 

Afghanistan was a disaster of lesser scale.

Libya were another, more small scale disaster.

Syria is a potentially huge disaster, due to international consequences of creating ISIS in this region. 

Ukraine is a huge and very expensive disaster, which might lead to the WWIII, a nuclear holocaust (neocons like to speculate on tragedy of Jewish population during the WWII but now are acting like Nazi and ally with far right extremists)

They successfully revived the threat of nuclear war with Russia (probably in the name of "US security", as neocons understand it ;-). Moreover they moved Russia closer to China, which is no way is in the USA geopolitical interests.

Starting from Clinton administration their attitude to Russia was essentially was: be our vassal, or you have no right to exist. Which is reckless attitude to the second most powerful nuclear armed state in the world.  Even taking into account huge difficulties and huge deterioration of the Russia military capabilities after the dissolution of the USSR they were playing with fire initiating  the rearmament of Russia (which negatively affected the well-being of Russian people).  And they are enjoying every minute of their destructive actions.  Just look at glib face of Robert Kagan (the husband of Victoria Nuland, who was appointed as advisor to State Department by Hillary Clinton) during his public speeches. This man is definitely enjoying himself and his wit. 

An assertion that the fundamental determinant of the relationship between states rests on military power and the willingness to use it, is clearly wrong. It is a foreign policy equivalent to Al Capone idea that "You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone". It is very close to neo-Nazi idea that "War is a natural state, and peace is a utopian dream that induces softness, decadence and pacifism." The problem here is that it's the person who promotes this creed can be shot. Of course neocons are chickenhawks and prefer other people die for their misguided adventures.  Almost non of them served in Vietnam.

The idea  that disagreement about some unrealistic postulates (such as "full spectrum dominance") is tantamount to defeatism is simply silly. "Global unilateralism" promoted by neocon since dissolution of the USSR is capable to bankrupt the USA and it awakened  really powerful countervailing forces. The military alliance of Russia, China and Iran now is a distinct possibility at least in certain areas, despite all differences. Pakistan might be  the next to join this alliance. 

Democracy promotion was a nice racket (via color revolutions) until probably 2008, but now way too many countries understand the mechanics of color revolutions and created mechanism to defend themselves from such attempts. bout. They failed in Russia in 2012 and in Hong Cong later.   Their last success was EuroMaydan in Ukraine which can well turn in Pyrrhic victory.

Neocon policies created the level of anti-American sentiment at Middle East unheard before,  provoked rearmament of Russia and armament of China which together represent a formidable force able to turn the USA into radioactive ash no less effectively then the USA can turn them. 

Despite disastrous results of the Neocon foreign policy neocons remain a powerful, dominant political force in Washington. In recent Presidential race neocons were represented by Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton which managed to get almost half of the votes (or steal then for Sanders, to be exact -- DNC pushed Sanders under the bus).

After the defeat they launched anti-Russian hysteria (as the way of rallying the nation around the flag and preventing loss of power of Clinton's wing of the Democratic Party) and then the color revolutions against Trump (with heavy involvement of FBI and CIA). Russiagate will remain one of the most sordid stories in the US political life, next to McCarthyism  

Neoconservatives are attempting to build an American Empire, seen as successor to the British Empire

From Wikipedia

John McGowan, professor of humanities at the University of North Carolina, states, after an extensive review of neoconservative literature and theory, that neoconservatives are attempting to build an American Empire, seen as successor to the British Empire, its goal being to perpetuate a Pax Americana. As imperialism is largely considered unacceptable by the American media, neoconservatives do not articulate their ideas and goals in a frank manner in public discourse. McGowan states,[68]

Frank neoconservatives like Robert Kaplan and Niall Ferguson recognize that they are proposing imperialism as the alternative to liberal internationalism. Yet both Kaplan and Ferguson also understand that imperialism runs so counter to American's liberal tradition that it must... remain a foreign policy that dare not speak its name...

While Ferguson, the Brit, laments that Americans cannot just openly shoulder the white man's burden, Kaplan the American, tells us that "only through stealth and anxious foresight" can the United States continue to pursue the "imperial reality [that] already dominates our foreign policy", but must be disavowed in light of "our anti-imperial traditions, and... the fact that imperialism is delegitimized in public discourse"...

The Bush administration, justifying all of its actions by an appeal to "national security", has kept as many of those actions as it can secret and has scorned all limitations to executive power by other branches of government or international law.

Neoconservatism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In foreign policy, the neoconservatives' main concern is to prevent the development of a new rival. Defense Planning Guidance, a document prepared during 1992 by Under Secretary for Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz, is regarded by Distinguished Professor of the Humanities John McGowan at the University of North Carolina as the "quintessential statement of neoconservative thought". The report says:[68]
"Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power."

.... For its opponents it is a distinct political ideology that emphasizes the blending of military power with Wilsonian idealism...

Donald Rumsfeld and Victoria Nuland at the NATO-Ukraine consultations in Vilnius, Lithuania, October 24, 2005

Democracy promotion as the universal door opener

See also Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair

Neoconservative foreign policy is a descendant of so-called Wilsonian idealism. Neoconservatives endorse democracy promotion by the US and other democracies, based on the claim  that human rights belong to everyone, while killing thousand hundred people in their attempt to install puppet regimes in various countries in the globe. They practice so call liberation by killing, or "in order to free the village you need to destroy it". They hypocritically criticized the United Nations and, in the past, the  detente with the USSR not understanding the existence of the USSR, while disastrous to Russian people, were the main factor that protected the middle class in the USA from looting by financial oligarchy and prevented the US elite from self-destructive impulses, which became apparent after 1991.

Democracy promotion is allegedly derived from a belief that "freedom" (understood as the rule of neoliberal oligarchy subservant to the USA) is a universal human right and by opinion polls showing majority support for democracy in countries with authoritarian regimes. But the neocons driven "democracy promotion" provided fertile ground to the rise of Radical Islamism the most anti-democratic regime in existence. This essentially created ISIS. They also consider medieval Saudi Arabia to be the US ally and close eyes on horrible social condition of woman in this country.  Such a despicable hypocrites.

Another Neoconservative myth is that democratic regimes are less likely to start wars. The USA is perfect count-argument to that (although  the idea that it is a democratic country is open to review -- empires usually are not democracies, and not even republics). If we assume that the USA is still a republic, it is the most war-hungry and aggressive republic in the history of the world. Being  a direct successor of British empire, they actually managed to beat British in this respect, which is not easy, taking into account British record of mass murders in India, Opium wars and like.

Neocons argue that not extreme debilitating poverty, but the lack of freedoms, lack of economic opportunities, and the lack of secular general education in authoritarian regimes promotes radicalism and extremism. At the same time they promote nationalism and islamist extremists movement in Russia ("divide and conquer" strategy). In short  neoconservatives advocate democracy promotion to regions of the world with natural resources to loot, such  the Arab nations, Iran, Russia, and China.

During April 2006 Robert Kagan wrote in The Washington Post that Russia and China may be the greatest "challenge [neo]liberalism faces today":

"The main protagonists on the side of autocracy will not be the petty dictatorships of the Middle East theoretically targeted by the Bush doctrine. They will be the two great autocratic powers, China and Russia, which pose an old challenge not envisioned within the new "war on terror" paradigm. ... Their reactions to the "color revolutions" in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan were hostile and suspicious, and understandably so. ... Might not the successful liberalization of Ukraine, urged and supported by the Western democracies, be but the prelude to the incorporation of that nation into NATO and the European Union -- in short, the expansion of Western liberal hegemony?"[77]

During July 2008 Joe Klein wrote in TIME magazine that today's neoconservatives are more interested in confronting enemies than in cultivating friends.  In other words in foreign policy they tend to behave like a bully. He questioned the sincerity of neoconservative interest in exporting democracy and freedom, saying, "Neoconservatism in foreign policy is best described as unilateral bellicosity cloaked in the utopian rhetoric of freedom and democracy."[78]

"Neoconservatism in foreign policy is best described as unilateral bellicosity cloaked in the utopian rhetoric of freedom and democracy." ~  Joe Klein

Support of Israel as the key goal

During February 2009 Andrew Sullivan wrote that he no longer took Neoconservatism seriously because its basic tenet became the defense of Israel:[79]

The closer you examine it, the clearer it is that neoconservatism, in large part, is simply about enabling the most irredentist elements in Israel and sustaining a permanent war against anyone or any country who disagrees with the Israeli right. That's the conclusion I've been forced to these last few years. And to insist that America adopt exactly the same constant-war-as-survival that Israelis have been slowly forced into... But America is not Israel. And once that distinction is made, much of the neoconservative ideology collapses.

Neoconservatives respond to charges of merely rationalizing aid for Israel by noting that their "position on the Middle East conflict was exactly congruous with the neoconservative position on conflicts everywhere else in the world, including places where neither Jews nor Israeli interests could be found – - not to mention the fact that non-Jewish neoconservatives took the same stands on all of the issues as did their Jewish confrères."[80]

Wolfowitz Doctrine as quintessential Neoconservatism

Wolfowitz Doctrine is an unofficial name given to the initial version of the Defense Planning Guidance for the 1994–99 fiscal years (dated February 18, 1992) authored by Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz and his deputy Scooter Libby. Not intended for public release, it was leaked to the New York Times on March 7, 1992,[1] and sparked a public controversy about U.S. foreign and defense policy. The document was widely criticized as imperialist as the document outlined a policy of unilateralism and pre-emptive military action to suppress potential threats from other nations and prevent any other nation from rising to superpower status.

Such was the outcry that the document was hastily re-written under the close supervision of U.S. Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell before being officially released on April 16, 1992. Many of its tenets re-emerged in the [2] which was described by Senator Edward M. Kennedy as "a call for 21st century American imperialism that no other nation can or should accept."[3]

Superpower status

The doctrine announces the US’s status as the world’s only remaining superpower following the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War and proclaims its main objective to be retaining that status.

Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.

This was substantially re-written in the April 16 release.

Our most fundamental goal is to deter or defeat attack from whatever source... The second goal is to strengthen and extend the system of defense arrangements that binds democratic and like-minded nations together in common defense against aggression, build habits of cooperation, avoid the renationalization of security policies, and provide security at lower costs and with lower risks for all. Our preference for a collective response to preclude threats or, if necessary, to deal with them is a key feature of our regional defense strategy. The third goal is to preclude any hostile power from dominating a region critical to our interests, and also thereby to strengthen the barriers against the re-emergence of a global threat to the interests of the U.S. and our allies.

U.S. primacy

The doctrine establishes the US’s leadership role within the new world order.

The U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests. In non-defense areas, we must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order. We must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.

This was substantially re-written in the April 16 release.

One of the primary tasks we face today in shaping the future is carrying long standing alliances into the new era, and turning old enmities into new cooperative relationships. If we and other leading democracies continue to build a democratic security community, a much safer world is likely to emerge. If we act separately, many other problems could result.

Unilateralism

The doctrine downplays the value of international coalitions.

Like the coalition that opposed Iraqi aggression, we should expect future coalitions to be ad hoc assemblies, often not lasting beyond the crisis being confronted, and in many cases carrying only general agreement over the objectives to be accomplished. Nevertheless, the sense that the world order is ultimately backed by the U.S. will be an important stabilizing factor.

This was re-written with a change in emphasis in the April 16 release.

Certain situations like the crisis leading to the Gulf War are likely to engender ad hoc coalitions. We should plan to maximize the value of such coalitions. This may include specialized roles for our forces as well as developing cooperative practices with others.

Pre-emptive intervention

The doctrine stated the US’s right to intervene when and where it believed necessary.

While the U.S. cannot become the world's policeman, by assuming responsibility for righting every wrong, we will retain the preeminent responsibility for addressing selectively those wrongs which threaten not only our interests, but those of our allies or friends, or which could seriously unsettle international relations.

This was softened slightly in the April 16 release.

While the United States cannot become the world's policeman and assume responsibility for solving every international security problem, neither can we allow our critical interests to depend solely on international mechanisms that can be blocked by countries whose interests may be very different than our own. Where our allies interests are directly affected, we must expect them to take an appropriate share of the responsibility, and in some cases play the leading role; but we maintain the capabilities for addressing selectively those security problems that threaten our own interests.

Russian threat

The doctrine highlighted the possible threat posed by a resurgent Russia.

We continue to recognize that collectively the conventional forces of the states formerly comprising the Soviet Union retain the most military potential in all of Eurasia; and we do not dismiss the risks to stability in Europe from a nationalist backlash in Russia or efforts to reincorporate into Russia the newly independent republics of Ukraine, Belarus, and possibly others....We must, however, be mindful that democratic change in Russia is not irreversible, and that despite its current travails, Russia will remain the strongest military power in Eurasia and the only power in the world with the capability of destroying the United States.

This was removed from the April 16 release in favor of a more diplomatic approach.

The U.S. has a significant stake in promoting democratic consolidation and peaceful relations between Russia, Ukraine and the other republics of the former Soviet Union.

Middle East and Southwest Asia

The doctrine clarified the overall objectives in the Middle East and Southwest Asia.

In the Middle East and Southwest Asia, our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power in the region and preserve U.S. and Western access to the region's oil. We also seek to deter further aggression in the region, foster regional stability, protect U.S. nationals and property, and safeguard our access to international air and seaways. As demonstrated by Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, it remains fundamentally important to prevent a hegemon or alignment of powers from dominating the region. This pertains especially to the Arabian peninsula. Therefore, we must continue to play a role through enhanced deterrence and improved cooperative security.

...

The April 16 release was more circumspect and it reaffirmed U.S. commitments to Israel as well as its Arab allies.

In the Middle East and Persian Gulf, we seek to foster regional stability, deter aggression against our friends and interests in the region, protect U.S. nationals and property, and safeguard our access to international air and seaways and to the region's oil. The United States is committed to the security of Israel and to maintaining the qualitative edge that is critical to Israel's security. Israel's confidence in its security and U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation contribute to the stability of the entire region, as demonstrated once again during the Persian Gulf War. At the same time, our assistance to our Arab friends to defend themselves against aggression also strengthens security throughout the region, including for Israel.

Neocon architects of American foreign policy are destroying American national security

Regular Americans can't even imagine the level of hate and resentment that neocon policies produce. . And those feeling became material force when they are shared by the majority of people of a particular country. In some countries it is now really uncomfortable to be an America tourist. I know the cases then American tourists in Spain pretended being from other country to avoid this resentment. But spectrum of problems neocons inflict on the USA are much wider and more dangerous. Professor Stephen Cohen recently gave a very insightful interview to  Patrick L. Smith in salon.com (Architects of American policy towards Russia and Ukraine are destroying American national security) which we will reproduce verbatim:

“Architects of American policy towards Russia and Ukraine are destroying American national security”: Stephen F. Cohen on the truths U.S. media and politicians hide

Myths of American nationalism busted as our interview with noted scholar concludes

Patrick L. Smith

If there is a lesson in Stephen F. Cohen’s professional fortunes over the past year, it is the peril of advancing a dispassionate reading of our great country’s doings abroad. Cohen’s many pieces in The Nation on the Ukraine crisis and the consequent collapse of U.S.-Russia relations now leave him in something close to a state of siege. “My problem with this begins with the fact that… I don’t have a vested interest in one of the ‘isms,’ or ideologies,” Cohen says in this, the second part of a long interview conducted last month. 

The problem lies with the ideologues infesting the waters wherein Cohen swims. Terminally poisoned by Cold War consciousness, they cannot abide disinterested thought. Cohen has been mostly scholar, partly journalist, since the 1970s. His “Sovieticus” column, launched in The Nation in the 1980s, put a magazine traditionally tilted toward domestic issues among the few American publications providing consistent analysis of Russian affairs. At this point, Cohen’s Nation essays are the bedrock scholarly work to which those (few) writing against the orthodoxy turn.

The first half of our exchange, last week on Salon, began with events during the past year and advanced toward the post-Soviet origins of the current crisis. In part two, Cohen completes his analysis of Vladimir Putin’s inheritance and explains how he came to focus his thinking on “lost alternatives”—outcomes that could have been but were not. Most surprising to me was the real but foregone prospect of reforming the Soviet system such that the suffering that ensued since its demise could have been averted.

Salon: Putin inherited a shambles, then—as he would say, “a catastrophe.”

Stephen F. Cohen: As Russia’s leader, Putin has changed over the years, especially in foreign policy but also at home. His first impulse was toward more free-market reforms, anti-progressive taxes. He enacted a 13 percent flat tax—Steve Forbes would’ve been ecstatic, right? He offers [George W.] Bush what Clinton never really offered Yeltsin: a full partnership. And what does he do? On September 11, 2001, he called George and said, Whatever you want, we’re with you. Bush says, Well, I think we’re going to have to go to war in Afghanistan. And Putin said, I can help you. We’ve got major resources and assets in Afghanistan. I even have an army over there called the Northern Alliance. I’ll give it to you! You want overflight? It’s all yours!

How many American lives did Putin save during our land war in Afghanistan? And do you know what a political price he paid in Russia for that? Because his security people were completely against it.

They were? Please explain.

Oh, yeah. You think they minded seeing America being brought to its knees? They’d been invaded so often; let America get a taste of it! But Putin assumes he’s achieved what Yeltsin couldn’t and that this benefits the Russian state. He has a real strategic partnership with America. Now, remember, he’s already worried about his radical Islamic problem because Russia has nearly 20 million Muslim citizens of its own. Russia sits in the East and in the West; it’s on the front lines.

What does Bush give him in return? He expands NATO again and he unilaterally withdraws the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the bedrock of Russia’s nuclear security— it’s a complete betrayal. Is that how you repay somebody who’s helped you save the lives of your citizens? This is where the word “betrayal” begins to enter into the discourse.

It’s an important word for Putin.

It’s not only Putin; [Dmitry] Medvedev uses it, too, when he becomes president [in 2008]. America has broken its word, it’s betrayed us, it’s deceived us, and we no longer take America at its word— well, they never should’ve in the first fucking place, just as Gorbachev should have got the promise not to expand NATO in writing. We’d have done it anyway, but at least they would have had a talking point.

This trust, this naive trust on the part of Russians, that there’s something about American presidents that makes them honorable—it suggests they need a crash course in something. This was betrayal for Putin, and for the entire Russian political class, and Putin paid a price.

I’ve heard him called, among right-wing Russian intellectuals, an appeaser of the West. Soft. You can hear this today: Mariupol? Odessa? Should’ve taken them a year ago; they belong to us. What’s he thinking? Why is he discussing it? [Mariupol and Odessa are two contested cities in the southeastern region of Ukraine.]

So Putin sets his course, and then comes this famous speech he gives in 2007 in Munich, with McCain sitting in the front row. Putin says just what I told you. He says, Look, we want to be your partner; this is what we’ve wanted to be since Gorbachev. We believe in the common European home. But every time we turn to you or we negotiate with you or we think we have an agreement with you, you act like a hegemon and everybody has to do exactly what you say if they want to be on your side. 

Putin has come to tell them that America is risking a new Cold War with more than a decade of bad behavior towards post-Soviet Russia. John McCain interprets this as the declaration of a new Cold War.

But the demonization of Putin came earlier, before the Munich speech, when he began to drive a few favorite American oligarchs [oil companies] out of the country. I looked it up: No major oil-producing country permits majority foreign ownership of its oil. So there’s a long a long history of how Putin goes from a democrat for sure in the U.S. media and an aspiring partner of America to becoming the Hitler of today, as Hillary Clinton put it. You can see what a disease it’s become, this Putin-phobia….

RT just aired a documentary in which Putin explains exactly when and why he decided to move as he did in Crimea. It’s striking: The deliberations began the night President Yanukovych was ousted in the American-supported coup last year. Can you talk about Putin’s thinking on the Crimea question, leading to the annexation? 

Putin, in my judgment, did some wrong-headed things. We now know much more about Crimea, but even given what he has said, there was an argument. It wasn’t quite as clear-cut as he says it was. There was a debate with two sides.

One side said, “Take Crimea now or fight NATO there later.” The other said, “Let the referendum [on association with Russia, held in March 2014] go forward and they’re going to vote 80-plus percent to join Russia. We don’t have to act on it; they’ve just made a request and we’ll say what we think about it. Meanwhile, we see what happens in Kiev.” The Kremlin had done polling in Crimea. And it’s the best bargaining chip Putin will have. He’ll have Crimea wanting to join Russia and he can say to Washington, Well, you would like the Crimea to remain in Ukraine? Here’s what I’d like in return: an eternal ban on NATO membership and federalization of the Ukrainian constitution, because I have to give my Crimean brethren something.

But those arguing that Crimea was the biggest bargaining chip Putin was ever going to have lost. The other side prevailed.

Now, Putin took all the credit, but that’s not what really happened. They were all dependent on intelligence coming out of Kiev and Crimea and Donbass. You see now, if you watch that film, what a turning point the overthrow of Yanukovych was. Remember, the European foreign ministers—Polish, German, and French—had brokered an agreement saying that Yanukovych would form a coalition government and stay in power until December, and that was burned in the street. I’ll never forget the massive Klitschko [Vitali Klitschko, a prizefighter-turned-political oppositionist, currently Kiev’s mayor] standing on a platform at Maidan, all 6’ 8” of him, announcing this great triumph of negotiation, and some smaller guy whipping away the microphone and saying, Go fuck yourself. This thing is going to burn in the streets. The next day it did. That night you saw what an undefeated heavyweight champion looks like when he’s terror-stricken.

This is the turning point, and “It’s all due to Putin,” but it’s all due to Putin because demonization has become the pivot of the analysis.

What do we do from here to resolve the Ukraine question? You used the word “hope” when talking about the February cease-fire, Minsk II—“the last, best hope.” It tripped me up. Hope’s a virtue, but it can also be very cruel.

Anyone of any sense and good will knows that it [the solution] lies in the kind of home rule they negotiated in the U.K.—and don’t call it a federated Ukraine if that upsets Kiev. As the constitution stands, the governors of all the Ukrainian provinces are appointed by Kiev. You can’t have that in eastern Ukraine. Probably can’t even have that in Western and Central Ukraine anymore. Ukraine is fragmenting.

I want to turn this around: what is your view of America’s strategic goal? I ask in the context of your analysis, in “Failed Crusade,” of “transitionology,” as you term the paradigm wherein Russia was supposed to transition into a free-market paradise. As the book makes clear, it amounted to the elevation and protection of crooks who asset-stripped most of an entire nation. Now we don’t hear much about Russia’s “transition.” What is Washington’s ambition now?

I think the Ukrainian crisis is the greatest blow to American national security— even greater than the Iraq war in its long-term implications— for a simple reason: The road to American national security still runs through Moscow. There is not a single major regional or issue-related national security problem we can solve without the full cooperation of whoever sits in the Kremlin, period, end of story.

Name your poison: We’re talking the Middle East, we’re talking Afghanistan, we’re talking energy, we’re talking climate, we’re talking nuclear proliferation, terrorism, shooting airplanes out of the sky, we’re talking about the two terrorist brothers in Boston.

Look: I mean American national security of the kind I care about—that makes my kids and grandkids and myself safe—in an era that’s much more dangerous than the Cold War because there’s less structure, more non-state players, and more loose nuclear know-how and materials…. Security can only be partial, but that partial security depends on a full-scale American-Russian cooperation, period. We are losing Russia for American national security in Ukraine as we talk, and even if it were to end tomorrow Russia will never, for at least a generation, be as willing to cooperate with Washington on security matters as it was before this crisis began.

Therefore, the architects of the American policy towards Russia and Ukraine are destroying American national security—and therefore I am the patriot and they are the saboteurs of American security. That’s the whole story, and any sensible person who doesn’t suffer from Putin-phobia can see it plainly.

Is it too strong to say that the point is to destabilize Moscow?

What would that mean? What would it mean to destabilize the country that may have more weapons of mass destruction than does the U.S.?

Is that indeed the ambition?

I don’t think there’s any one ambition. I come back to the view that you’ve got various perspectives in discussion behind closed doors. I guess Mearsheimer [John Mearsheimer, the noted University of Chicago scholar] is right in the sense of saying that there’s a faction in Washington that is behaving exactly as a great power would behave and trying to maximize its security, but it doesn’t understand that that’s what other great powers do, too. That’s its failure. Gorbachev and Reagan, though it wasn’t originally their idea, probably agreed on the single most important thing: Security had to be mutual. That was their agreement and they built everything on that. We have a military build-up you’re going to perceive as a threat and build up, and I will perceive your build-up as a threat… and that’s the dynamic of permanent and conventional build-up, a permanent arms race. And that’s why Gorbachev and Reagan reasoned, We’re on the edge of the abyss. That’s why we are going to declare the Cold War over, which they did.

That concept of mutual security doesn’t mean only signing contracts: It means don’t undertake something you think is in your security but is going to be perceived as threatening, because it won’t prove to be in your interest. Missile defense is the classic example: We never should have undertaken any missile defense program that wasn’t in cooperation with Russia, but, instead, we undertook it as an anti-Russian operation. They knew it and we knew it and scientists at MIT knew it, but nobody cared because some group believed that you’ve got to keep Russia down.

The truth is, not everything depends on the president of the United States. Not everything, but an awful lot does, and when it comes to international affairs we haven’t really had a president who acted as an actual statesman in regard to Russia since Reagan in 1985-88. Clinton certainly didn’t; his Russia policy was clownish and ultimately detrimental to U.S. national security interests. Bush’s was reckless and lost one opportunity after another, and Obama’s is either uninformed or completely out to lunch. We have not had a statesman in the White House when it comes to Russia since Reagan, and I am utterly, totally, 1000 percent convinced that before November 2013, when we tried to impose an ultimatum on Yanukovych—and even right now, today—that a statesman in the White House could end this in 48 hours with Putin. What Putin wants in the Ukraine crisis is what we ought to want; that’s the reality.

Interesting.

What does Putin want? He’s said the same thing and he’s never varied: He wants a stable, territorial Ukraine—Crimea excepted—and he knows that’s possible only if Ukraine is free to trade with the West and with Russia but is never a member of NATO. However, somebody’s got to rebuild Ukraine, and he’s not going to take that burden on himself, but he will help finance it through discounted energy prices. It could all be done tomorrow if we had a statesman in the White House. Tomorrow! Nobody else has to die.

I think Chancellor Merkel understands this, too.

I think she’s come to, but how strong she is and whether Washington will cut her legs out from under her as they’re trying to do now… [Shortly before this interview Senator McCain delivered a blunt attack on Merkel at a security conference in Munich for opposing the supply of lethal weapons to Ukraine. The Arizona Republican was similarly critical when Merkel began to explore a diplomatic solution in Ukraine in spring 2013.]

They have very little respect for her, which is wrong.

What Lindsay Graham and McCain did in Germany, in her own country, on German national television, to her face—and the fact that she’s a woman didn’t help, either. The way they spoke to her, I can’t think of a precedent for that.

Parts of your work are very moving, and that’s not a word a lot of scholarship prompts. The enormous value the Soviet Union accreted—most Americans know nothing of this; with the media’s encouragement, we’re completely ignorant of this. There’s nothing encouraging us to understand that the hundreds of billions of misappropriated assets during the 1990s was essentially the misappropriation of Soviet wealth.

A lot of it came here, to the United States.

Can you talk about this?

I can tell you about a guy who was formerly very high up in the CIA. I called him about a something I was writing on Russian wealth smuggled through the banks into the United States, and he said, We have informed the FBI exactly where all this wealth is in the United States but we are under strict political orders to do nothing about it. Now, the interesting thing is, why now? Well, it would have badly damaged the Yeltsin regime, which the Clinton administration had unconditionally embraced, but also because that money became part of the flourishing stock and real estate markets here at that time.

Even today in Russia, when you ask people if they wish the Soviet Union hadn’t ended, you’re still getting over 60 percent, among young people, too, because they hear the stories from their parents and grandparents. It requires a separate study, but it’s not rocket science. If young kids see their grandparents dying prematurely because they’re not being paid their pensions, they’re going to resent it. When the bottom fell out of the Soviet welfare state and out of the professions, what happened in the 1990s was that the Soviet middle class— which was one of the most professional and educated, and had some savings and which therefore should have been the building block of a Russian free market sector— that middle class was wiped out, and it’s never been recreated. Instead, you got a country of impoverished people and of very, very rich people—with a small middle class serving the rich. That changed under Putin; Putin has rebuilt the middle class, gradually.

The Russian middle class isn’t the same as ours. A lot of Russia’s middle class are people who are on the federal budget: Army officers, doctors, scientists, teachers—these are all federal budget people. They’re middle class, but they don’t become middle class as autonomous property owners. A lot of my friends are members of this class, and a lot of them are very pro-Putin, but a lot of my friends are very anti-Putin, too. The thing about the Soviet Union can be summarized very simply: The Soviet Union lasted 70-plus years, so that would be less than the average life of an American male today. A person cannot jump out of his or her autobiography any more than they can jump out of their skin; it’s your life. You were born in the Soviet Union, you had your first sexual experience in the Soviet Union, you were educated, you got a career, you got married, you raised your kids: That was your life. Of course you miss it, certainly parts of it.

There were ethnic nationalities in the Soviet Union who hated it and wanted to break away, and this became a factor in 1991, but for a great many people— certainly the majority of Russians and a great many Ukrainians and Belorussians and the central Asians— it’s not surprising that 25 years later, those adults still remember the Soviet Union with affection. This is normal, and I don’t find anything bad in it. You know, Putin wasn’t actually the first to say this but he did say it and it’s brilliant and tells you who Putin is and who most Russians are. He said this: Anyone who doesn’t regret the end of the Soviet Union has no heart. Anyone who thinks you can recreate the Soviet Union has no head. That’s it, that’s exactly right!

Didn’t Putin say that the end of the Soviet Union was the 20th century’s greatest catastrophe?

It all has to do with the word “the.” There’s no “the” in Russian. Did Putin say, in translation, that the end of the Soviet Union was “the” greatest catastrophe of the 20th century? If so, there’s something wrong with that, because for Jews it was the Holocaust. Or did he say, “one of” the greatest catastrophes?

I would have guessed the latter.

All four professional translators I sent Putin’s phrase to said you have to translate it as “one of the greatest catastrophes of the 20th century.” Now, we can have a discussion. He’s taken a moderate position, but what are the others? Fair enough, but catastrophe for whom? Americans don’t think it was a catastrophe. Putin would say, “Look, 20 million Russians found themselves outside the country when the Soviet Union broke up, that was a tragedy for them, a catastrophe. Seventy or 80 percent plunged into poverty in the 1990s, lost everything. Can I put that on the list of “one of the greatest?” I would say sure, because for everybody there’s a greater catastrophe. For the Jews there’s no catastrophe greater than the Holocaust. For the Armenians, their genocide. Again, people can’t jump out of their history. A tolerant, democratic person acknowledges that. Each people and nation has its own history. I’d like to write an article about this, but I’m not going to live long enough to write all the articles or books I want to write. We say, for example, the Russians have not come to grips with and fully acknowledged the horrors of Stalinism and its victims. I would argue in this article that they have done more to acknowledge the horrors of Stalinism than we have of slavery.

Interesting.

For example, do we have a national museum of the history of slavery in the United States? They’re building a large one in Moscow to commemorate Stalin’s victims. He recently signed a decree mandating a monument in central Moscow to those victims.

In the way of being moved by some of the things you write, I’ve wanted to ask you about this for years. It has to do with the sentiments of Russians and what they wanted, their ambitions for themselves, some form of… as I read along in these passages I kept saying, “I wonder if he’s going to use the phrase ‘social democracy.’” And, sure enough, you did. These passages got me to take Rudolph Bahro [author of “The Alternative in Eastern Europe”] off the shelf. The obvious next step after East-West tension subsided was some form of social democracy. I don’t know where you want to put it. I put it between Norway and Germany somewhere. To me what happened instead is a horrific tragedy, not only for Russia but for Eastern Europe.

My problem with this begins with the fact that I’m not a communist, I’m not a socialist, a social democrat. I’d like to have enough money to be a real capitalist, but it’s a struggle. [Laughs.] I don’t have a vested interest in one of the “isms” or the ideologies, but I agree with you. I don’t know about Eastern Europe, let’s leave it aside, but look at Russia. You’d have thought that the logical outcome of the dismantling of the Stalinist Communist system, because the system was built primarily by Stalin from the 1930s on, would have been Russian social democracy and that, of course, was what Gorbachev’s mission was. Lots of books have been written, most persuasively by Archie Brown, the great British scholar, who knows Gorbachev personally, probably as well as I do, that Gorbachev came to think of himself as a European social democrat while he was still in power. That’s what his goal was. He had this close relationship with the Social Democratic prime minister of Spain, I forget his name.

Zapatero?

I don’t remember, but I remember that they did a lot of social democratic socializing and talking.

Felipe Gonzalez, I think it was.

Gonzalez, that’s right. Gorbachev was a very well-informed man and his advisors during his years in power were mostly social democrats and had been for years. Their mission had been to transform the Soviet Union. Now, remember, Lenin began as a social democrat, and the original model for Lenin had been not only Marx but the German Social Democratic Party. The Bolshevik or Communist Party was originally the Russian Social Democratic Party, which split into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. So in a way, and I once said this to Gorbachev, historically you want to go back to Lenin before he became a Bolshevik. He said, “Well that’s kind of complicated.” Then Gorbachev said, “Everybody agrees Russia is a left-of-center country.”

The Russian people are left of center. They’re a welfare-state country. Gorbachev had this interesting conversation with Putin, when he went to tell Putin that he, Gorbachev, was going to start a social democratic party. There had been several start-ups and they never went anywhere. And Putin said that’s the right thing to do, because Russia really is a left-of-center country. So Putin said the same thing. And so Russia is, if you look at the history of Russia…

Are you talking about Russia very early, thinking about Russian givenness to community and all that?

However you put it all together, the peasant tradition, the urban tradition, the socialist tradition. Almost all the revolutionary parties were socialist. You didn’t have a Tea Party among them. This is a Russian tradition. Now, it’s obviously changed, but I would say that today, looking at the polls, most Russians overwhelmingly believe that the state has obligations that include medical care, free education, and guaranteeing everybody a job. In fact, it’s in the Russian constitution, the guarantee of a job. Most Russians feel there should not be a “free market” but a social or regulated market, that some things should be subsidized, that the government should regulate certain things, and that nobody should be too rich or too poor. For that you get 80 percent of the vote every time. So that’s a social democratic program, right? Why don’t they have it?

I ask everybody in Russia who wants a social democratic party. They exist, but not a party that can win elections? What’s the problem here? I think know, but I want to hear Russians tell me what’s right. People cite what you and I would guess. First of all, there’s the hangover from communism, which was social democratic and somewhat socialist, in some form.

Second, and this is probably the key thing, social democratic movements tended to grow out of labor movements—labor unions, historically, in England and Scandinavia and Germany. They became the political movement of the labor movement, the working class movement. So you normally get a labor movement that favors political action instead of strikes, creates a political party, you have a parliamentary system, they begin to build support in the working class, elements of the middle class join them, and you end up eventually with European social democracy.

Old Labour in Britain is a perfect example.

Well, the labor unions in Russia are a complete mess. I shouldn’t say that, but they’re complicated. The major one remains the old Soviet official one, which is in bed deeply with state employers. The independent one, or ones, haven’t been able to get enough traction. In almost every European country there were circumstances, you might say the political culture was favorable. Those objective circumstances don’t exist [in Russia]. First, you have an insecure savaged middle class that’s seen its savings confiscated or devalued repeatedly in the last 25 years. You’ve got a working class trapped between oligarchs, state interests and old industries, and private entrepreneurs who are very vulnerable. In other words, the working class itself is in transition. Its own insecurities don’t lead it to think in terms of political organizations but in terms of issues—of whether Ford Motor Company is going to fire them all tomorrow. They’re localized issues.

Then you don’t have a leadership. Leadership really matters. No one has emerged, either in the Russian parliament or in Russian political life. By the 1990s Gorbachev was past his prime and too hated for what had happened to the country. He hoped to be, when he ran for president that time [in 1996] and got 1 percent, he hoped to be the social democratic leader. There are a couple guys in Parliament who aspire to be the leader of Russian social democracy…. When I’m asked, and I’ve told this to young social democrats and to Gennady Zyuganov, whom I’ve known for 20 years, the leader of the Russian Communist Party, the only real electoral party, that Russia needs social democracy with a Russian face….

What this means is that the most important force in Russia, and people were wrong to say Putin created it, is nationalism. This began, in fact, under Stalin. It was embedded during the Brezhnev years, and it was overshadowed during perestroika in the late-1980s. Then there was an inevitable upsurge as a result of the 1990s. You cannot be a viable political candidate in Russia today unless you come to grips with nationalism.

Therefore, the best way, in my judgment, if you also want democracy, is social democracy with a Russian nationalist face. What’s interesting is the guy who was until recently the most popular opposition leader, Navalny [Alexei Navalny, the noted anti-corruption activist], who got nearly 30 per cent of the vote in the Moscow mayoral elections and then blew it by becoming again a foe of the entire system instead of building on his electoral success—he’s too nationalistic for the taste of a lot of democrats.

Truly? You wouldn’t know it from what you read.

He’s got a bad history in regards to the Caucasus people, among others. But what’s interesting in this regard is, we don’t ever speak of American nationalism. We call it patriotism. It’s weird, isn’t it? We don’t have a state, we have a government….

Every American politician who seeks the presidency in effect tries to make American nationalism the program of his or her candidacy, but they call it patriotism. They’re fully aware of the need to do this, right? So why they think Putin doesn’t have to do it, too, is completely beyond me. There’s no self-awareness.

In Russia, people had lost hope tremendously after 1991 but their hope later attached to Putin—imagine what he faced. For example, can you imagine becoming the leader of such a country and for the sake of consensus having a textbook putting together Tsarist, Soviet and post-Soviet history? Our presidents had a hard time dealing with slave and post-slave, Civil War and post-Civil War history. How do they do it? Each president did it differently, but Putin inherited this conflicting history, and the way he’s tried to patch all three together into a consensual way for Russians to view their history and to teach kids in school is very interesting. Now, of course, it’s being ruptured again with this war and with Crimea and with this new nationalism.

I’d like to change the subject. Often in the books you mention an interest in alternatives: What could’ve happened if this or that hadn’t. We just covered one, the missed opportunity for a historically logical social democratic outcome in Russia. How do you account for this tendency in your thinking?

We have formative experiences—what shaped you, at least so you think when you look back. You don’t know it at the time, you don’t know a formative experience is formative until later. You’d agree with that.

It’s only in hindsight. “Reality takes form only in memory.” Proust.

For me it was growing up in the segregated South. But the reality was valid in retrospect, because I later realized that what I was doing had been so shaped by growing up in the segregated South, the way I reacted to that and the way I learned from it later, actually, in a strange way, led me to Russia.

You suggested this in the book on gulag returnees, “The Victims Return.” I wonder if you could explain the connection. How did growing up in Kentucky [Cohen was raised in Owensboro] lead you to Russian studies, and what does it do for your analysis of the Russian situation? How does a Kentucky childhood keep you alert to alternatives?

Well, you have to remember what segregation was. I didn’t understand this as a little boy, but it was American apartheid. Owensboro, probably had fewer than  20,000 people then, including the farmers. For a kid growing up in a completely segregated county, first of all, the world you’re born into is the normal world. I had no questions about it…. I didn’t perceive the injustice of it.

And then you get older and you begin to see the injustice and you wonder, how did this happen?… At Indiana University I run into this professor who becomes my mentor, Robert C. Tucker, [Tucker, who died in 2010, was a distinguished Russianist and author of a celebrated biography of Stalin]. I’d been to Russia—accidentally, I went on a tour—and he asked, “What in Russia interests you?” And I said, “Well, I’m from Kentucky, and I’ve always wondered if there was an alternative in Kentucky’s history between being deep South and not being deep South.” And Tucker said, “You know, one of the biggest questions in Russian history is lost alternatives. Nobody ever studies them.” And I said, “Aha!”

So the title of your 2009 book, “Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives,” is in his honor?

I began to live in Russia in 1976, for two or three months a year until they took my visa away in 1982. This is when I got deeply involved in the dissident movement, smuggling manuscripts out and books back in and all these things. I begin to think, how does Russia change today? And my mind reverted to segregation and the end of segregation and the friends and foes of change…. I wrote an article called “The Friends and Foes of Change” about reformism and conservatism in the Soviet system, because I thought that it was institutions, it was culture, it was history and leaders and that you needed a conjunction of these events before you could get major change in Russia and the Soviet Union…. I published that as an article in 1976 or 1977 and I expanded it for a book I wrote, “Rethinking the Soviet Experience,” which was published in 1985, a month before Gorbachev came to power. And everybody would later say, “He foresaw Gorbachev.”

Actually I didn’t quite. What I foresaw was perestroika. For me it wasn’t about the name of the leader, but the policy such leader would enact. I got one thing wrong. Because it was so hard to make this argument in Cold War America, that the Soviet Union had a capacity for reform awaiting it, if factors came together. I didn’t think to carry the argument beyond liberalization to actual democratization. So I didn’t foresee a Gorbachev who would enact actual democratization, free voting, and dismantle the Communist Party…. But I always thought that thinking about the history of Kentucky, living through segregation, watching the change, seeing the civil rights movement, seeing the resistance to it and why helped me think more clearly about the Soviet Union under Brezhnev and about my dissident friends. And I also knew reformers in the party bureaucracy pretty well, and when we would talk at night, I never mentioned this but my mind would always kind of drift back.

The connection is not at all obvious but you explain it very well and it’s clear once you do. 

Well, sometimes people read a book that opens their eyes. I think the whole secret, particularly as you get older… Trotsky I think wrote that after some age, I think he said 39 or 45, all we do is document our prejudices. And there’s some truth to that, obviously. But one of the ways that you avoid becoming dogmatic about your own published views is to keep looking for things that challenge what you think. You try to filter them through whatever intellectual apparatus you’ve been using for, in my case, 40 years.

I thought it would be interesting to get through those sections of Kennan’s journals [“The Kennan Diaries,” 2014] that would be germane to our exchange. What struck me coming away from them was the enormous sadness and pessimism that hung over him in the later years. I wonder if you share that.

My position has always been, America doesn’t need a friend in the Kremlin. We need a national security partner. Friendships often don’t last. Partnerships based on common interests, compatible self-interests, do.

I have always known such a partnership would be difficult to achieve because there are so many differences, conflicts, and Cold War landmines. There were numerous chances to enhance the relationship—during the Nixon-Brezhnev détente period, Gorbachev and Reagan, Gorbachev and Bush, even with Putin after 9/11, when he helped [George W.] Bush in Afghanistan. But they all became lost opportunities, those after 1991 lost mainly in Washington, not Moscow.

When I speak of lost alternatives I do not mean the counter-factuals employed by novelists and some historians—the invention of “what-ifs.” I mean actual alternatives that existed politically at turning points in history, and why one road was taken and not the other. Much of my work has focused on this large question in Soviet and post-Soviet Russian history and in U.S.-Russian relations.

So you ask if I’m disappointed by the lost opportunities for an American-Russian partnership, especially in light of the terrible confrontation over Ukraine? Having struggled for such a partnership for about 40 years, yes, of course, I’m personally disappointed—and even more so by the Ukraine crisis because I think it may be fateful in the worst sense.

On the other hand, as an historian who has specialized in lost alternatives, well, now I have another to study, to put in historical context and analyze. And it’s my historical analysis—that an alternative in Ukraine was squandered primarily in Washington, not primarily in Moscow—that those who slur me don’t like.

To which I reply, Let them study history, because few of them, if any, seem ever to have done so.

Patrick Smith is the author of “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century.” He was the International Herald Tribune’s bureau chief in Hong Kong and then Tokyo from 1985 to 1992. During this time he also wrote “Letter from Tokyo” for the New Yorker. He is the author of four previous books and has contributed frequently to the New York Times, the Nation, the Washington Quarterly, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter, @thefloutist.

More Patrick L. Smith.  

Nulandgate as an example of disastrous neocon foreign policy

While moving Ukraine closer to the West might be a worthwhile goal, but handing of this geopolitical task by the USA is a classic case of "elephant in china store". Level of incompetence, Chutzpah demonstrated by Nuland and her neocon friends in State Department is simply staggering. With the level of control of Yanukovich they demonstrated  during EuroMaydan events, including their ability simply buy some key government figures (and control of a part of Ukrainian security apparatus, inherited by Yanukovich from Yushchenko, who was a pro-Western president)  the need to violet overthrow of his government is highly questionable.

As a result, Ukrainians (like Iranian and Libyans before them) became another victim of Washington's dirty geopolitical games. And they are paying for those games with their lives,  with dramatically (to the level of starvation of pensioners; and I am not exaggerating) diminished standard of living and destroyed infrastructure, completely broken economic ties with Russia -- which was the major economic partner and major market for Ukrainian goods.

While rise of Ukrainian nationalism was given, taking into account the mere fact of independence, the forms which it took are definitely sub optional. Now they have a civil war in the South East, with all the associated cruelty and destruction. In other words "Somalization" of Ukraine proceeded after February 22, 2014 at full speed. It's very easy to destroy a civil order in a fragile country, but it will take decades to repair the damage and bring citizens back to their previous level of well-being and security.

Victoria Nuland will probably enter the history as a person who instigated the start of civil war in Ukraine. Generally Ukraine proved to be another colossal failure of the USA foreign policy: they tried to hit Russia, but got closer alliance of Russia and China. And like elephant in China store they hit Ukraine first, breaking country into peaces,  destroying the economy in the process. And what West needed is a new market for manufacturing, not a new hot spot. Not another failed country that now needs to be financed and maintained by Western loans which have little chance to be repaid.  Actually the role of Germany and personally Angela Merkel in all this mess is pretty negative too, although Germans definitely can't match the level of Chitzpah of their transatlantic masters.

Important factor contributing to the failures of the US foreign policy in recent years is the decrease of the intellectual potential of the "foreign policy establishment". To see the trend it's enough to compare Kissinger or Brzezinski, with the current Secretary Kerry and Victoria Nuland. The result is the degradation of quality of the USA foreign policy, which now creates a lot of unnecessary anger and indignation in large part of Europe and Asia. Even when goals of the USA are not that imperialistic per se. 

Unlike McFaul who got Ph.D, Nuland has just BA from Brown University (1983) where she studied Russian literature, political science, and history. She never served in Russian or even any Eastern European embassy. Her major previous position were  U.S. ambassador to NATO and State Department spokeswoman. Both positions required very little diplomacy and destructive influence of being the State Department spokeswoman (which is the propagandist, not a diplomat) were clearly detrimental to her current role.  Especially, her previous position as the US ambassador to NATO which essentially conditions a person to view Russia only via hairlines. And she lacks real, native diplomatic skills which the following dialogs clearly attests:

The start of this trend toward the intellectual degradation probably has began with the collapse of the USSR. At that time, the USA elite suddenly became the actual "master of the world", which does not need to be engaged in maneuvers in international politics, but can simply to impose their will through various levers of political and economic coercion, and, if necessary, by military operations. So the USA became a bully.

The first robin of this degradation was "not so bright" Madeleine (not so bright) Albright -- an interesting example if not a female sociopath, then a pretty much borderline personality. Those personalities do not care about building lasting fundament of international relations based on UN (which was created as an effort for preventing the repeat of WWII), they were hell bent on destroying this framework to provide the USA maximum political and economic advantages in the unipolar world. As such they all work toward WWIII ( Jen, July 13, 2014 at 6:11 pm ):

Since when Madeleine Albright (she who uttered the notorious line “What’s the point of having this superb military that you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” to Colin Powell) was US State Secretary, the US State Department has more or less acted as a rogue element within the US government. Not that this particular gallery of rogues has been the only one with a mind of its own. The US Treasury is dominated by Goldman Sachs management, some of whose people have investments and links with arms companies and thus clear conflicts of interest. Plus US economic and foreign policies have been dictated by University of Chicago alumni who worship Friedrich Hayek / Milton Friedman free market economics and Leo Strauss’s faux-Platonian Republic political philosophy in which a ruling elite tells lies to its subjects to keep them all under control.

Nuland can also can be viewed as example of a related trend: the trend for the appointment to senior posts in the State Department people on the criteria of loyalty to a particular clan of the political elite to the detriment of the interests of the state as a whole. This trend started under Reagan and which got in full force under Bush II and continued under Barack Obama administration. Victoria Nuland was a member of Cheney's Cabal of Zealots:

'Cabal' of Zealots - Wilkerson calls Cheney’s inner group a “cabal” of arrogant, intensely zealous, highly focused loyalists. Recalling Cheney’s staff interacting in a variety of interagency meetings and committees, “The staff that the vice president sent out made sure that those [committees] didn’t key anything up that wasn’t what the vice president wanted,” says Wilkerson.

“Their style was simply to sit and listen, and take notes. And if things looked like they were going to go speedily to a decision that they knew that the vice president wasn’t going to like, generally they would, at the end of the meeting, in great bureaucratic style, they’d say: ‘We totally disagree. Meeting’s over.’” The committee agendas were generally scuttled.

And if something did get written up as a “decision memo” bound for the Oval Office, Cheney himself would ensure that it died before ever reaching fruition.”

It does not help that Nuland is married to Washington Post columnist and neoconservative historian Robert Kagan, who helped sell the case for the Iraq War, advised both Mitt Romney and John McCain’s presidential campaigns, and co-founded the Project for a New American Century think tank with Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol. His credentials as neocon chickenhawk in the conservative foreign policy establishment are unimpeachable. Obama has spoken fondly of some of Kagan’s work as well.

And it does not help that her previous job was State Department spokesmen, the job which definitely further  radicalized her into right-wing neocon zealot. And would negatively effect the political views of  even more moderate person then Nuland was at the moment of her appointment.  Now she is definitely far tot he right from her husband Robert Kagan, who along with Wolfowitz is a leading US neocon:

Nuland is married to Washington Post columnist and neoconservative historian Robert Kagan, who helped sell the case for the Iraq War, advised both Mitt Romney and John McCain’s presidential campaigns, and co-founded the Project for a New American Century think tank with Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol. Obama has spoken fondly of some of Kagan’s work as well, but his credentials in the conservative foreign policy establishment are unimpeachable.

"Republicans are good at wielding power, but they're not so wonderful when it comes to the more idealistic motives of liberal internationalism. The Democrats are better at liberal internationalism, but they're not so good at wielding power. I would say that if there were a Joe Lieberman/John McCain party, I'm in the Joe Lieberman/John McCain party."

- Robert Kagan

Leading antiwar blogger Marcy Wheeler called her a “former Cheney hack.” In both Bush and Obama State Departments when such people commit errors, some of which had all the signs of intentional crimes, they are swiped under the carpet. This has created favorable conditions for creation of the situation when real national interests and the security of the USA were sacrificed to the private interests of individual corporations and oligarchic clans, which enriched themselves using "sacred" neoliberal principle: " profits to private corporations, expenses to the state."

This reduction of the intellectual potential of the American elite contributed to gradual replacement of real experts in the higher echelons of power with incompetents who are sometimes called "effective managers" - people with close, often family connection to powerful clans (such as neoconservatives) and who after obtaining particular position try to advance interests of those clans on international arena. Occupying senior positions, such "effective managers" select the relevant employees. Both Hillary Clinton and Victoria Nuland can be viewed as examples of this trend.

Foreign policy became yet another area in which, in best traditions of neoliberalism, the objective interests of the United States as a state are sacrificed to the interests of private corporations. for example by driving the United States into military conflicts, in result of which the country suffers tremendous losses -- both material and image-related -- and only certain corporations reap huge profits (Iraq). There are similar signs of the same intellectual degradation in other areas, for example development of new types of military hardware based on unproven technologies. Which gives zero results but still generating huge profits for military-industrial complex.

This intellectual degradation strengthen Messianic elements in the USA foreign policy, the confidence that only the USA should solely determine all the elements of the new world order in all countries. And for this trend EuroMaidan in general and Victoria Nuland in particular is a textbook example.

See more in "Fuck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place

Instead of conclusions: Neocons are the War Party

Justin Raimondo aptly described neocons as the war party:

Such phrases as "the War Party" (yes, capitalized like that), and casual mention of "the neocons" – language pretty much confined to this site, until relatively recently – are now commonplace. The anti-interventionist lexicon is defining the terms of the debate, and I think Antiwar.com can take much of the credit.

All during the period leading up to the Kosovo war – and long after – we warned of the danger posed by the neoconservatives, and their doctrine of "benevolent global hegemony," as Bill Kristol, their Lenin, put it in 1996. In my first column, dated February 26, 1999, I wrote:

"Well-funded and well-connected, the War Party is such a varied and complex phenomenon that a detailed description of its activities, and its vast system of interlocking directorates and special interests, both foreign and domestic, would fill the pages of a good-sized book. The alternative is to break down the story, and serve up its constituent parts in brief glimpses, portraits of individuals and organizations that lobbied hard for this war and its bloody prosecution."

Except that the war I was referring to was the Kosovo war, those words might easily have been written today. The face of the enemy is unchanged: what's changed is that it is increasingly recognized, and resented. That is what we have been doing, here at www.antiwar.com: revealing, with every link and article, the many faces of the War Party – in all its aspects, and from a wide variety of viewpoints.

Our eclecticism has been the focus of criticism by some: David Frum, the ex-White House speechwriter turned neocon enforcer of political correctness, recently took us to task for running links to pieces by John Pilger, Noam Chomsky, Gore Vidal, Alexander Cockburn, and other demons of the right-wing imagination. It is typical of Commissar Frum that he would misunderstand the whole purpose of linking in this way: the very concept of the internet, with its constant cross-referencing interconnectivity, is utterly alien to the party-lining neocon mentality.

Another problem for the neocons is that it's much harder to smear someone on the internet than it is on paper, without showing up the smearer as a liar. In criticizing the views of an opponent, one is obliged to come up with a link – so that readers can see for themselves if the criticism is fair. The artful use of ellipses no longer works, because the entire context of a statement is readily available. Of course, one always can do what Commissar Frum did in his National Review screed against antiwar libertarians and conservatives, and not provide any links to the targets of abuse. But that isn't very convincing. Indeed, it is highly suspicious: no wonder many conservatives are now rising up against the self-appointed arbiters of political correctness on the Right. The neocon campaign to smear conservative opponents of the Iraq war as "anti-American" has backfired badly – and we at Antiwar.com take a special pride in knowing that this site had a lot to do with that.

We have, from the beginning, cultivated anti-interventionist sentiment on the Right, not only among libertarians – who already accept it as a defining principle of their ideology – but also among conservatives. The idea that we cannot be a republic and an empire is finally beginning to dawn on the advocates of limited government -–as they see the national security state swallowing up the last of our freedoms. Big Brother reads our email and tracks our every move, while Big Government just keeps on getting bigger.

Conservatives are catching on, and, while Antiwar.com alone can't take credit for this, what we can take credit for is amplifying and popularizing anti-interventionist views on the right, injecting them into the national debate.

Over the years Antiwar.com has presented a wide range of opinion, from left to right and all points in between, yet we have always been pretty up-front about our own ideological predilections. We are libertarians: we stand for the free market, and we don't take the view that American culture and American capitalism are the repositories of all that is wrong with the world. We reserve that role for governments –notably, and especially lately, the U.S. federal government.

We support the antiwar movement, yet we are not uncritical: far from it. We have tried to promote some sense of self-awareness, and of responsibility, while doing our best to correct what we view as the mistakes and misconceptions that are rife in antiwar circles. You may not always agree with our analysis – of tactics, or of general principles – but it is hard to contend that we haven't consistently tried to broaden and deepen the anti-interventionist current, in America and internationally.

Looking back on where we've been, I am filled with pride – and a sense of optimism. Looking ahead, however, to the prospect of future wars, I can feel only a gathering sense of dread.

My friend Pat Buchanan has recently posed the question: "Is the Neoconservative Moment Over?" He makes the case that the worst may already be behind us:

"The salad days of the neoconservatives, which began with the president's Axis-of-Evil address in January 2002 and lasted until the fall of Baghdad may be coming to an end. Indeed, it is likely the neoconservatives will never again enjoy the celebrity and cachet in which they reveled in their romp to war on Iraq.

"…the high tide of neoconservatism may have passed because the high tide of American empire may have passed. 'World War IV,' the empire project, the great cause of the neocons, seems to have been suspended by the President of the United States."

It's a nice thought, but I don't believe it for a moment. Not when the same propaganda campaign once directed at Iraq is now being launched against Iran; not when leading politicians declare that U.S. troops may have to go after Hamas – and certainly not as long as the President of the United States reserves the "right" to carry out a policy of "regime change" as a means of preemptive "defense."

The empire project may or may not be temporarily suspended: perhaps stalled is the right word. We can be sure, however, that the War Party isn't going away. As long as they're around, and more active than ever, Antiwar.com is a necessity. But our continued existence is by no means assured.

Unlike the interventionists, who lavish billions – much of it taxpayer dollars – on their permanent propaganda campaign, Antiwar.com doesn't have access to unlimited funding. Arrayed against us is the whole complex of neocon think tanks, newspaper chains, radio networks and special interests that keep the arteries of the media clogged with a constant stream of warmongering disinformation and outright fabrications. We have no Rupert Murdoch, no "merchants of death," and no government subsidies to fill our coffers. We depend on you, our readers, for the support we need to survive.

... ... ...


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The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.

And while you're studying that reality-judiciously, as you will-we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."[2]

An unnamed aide to George W. Bush (later attributed to Karl Rove:

Reality-based community - Wikipedia

[Feb 22, 2018] Ray McGovern's First Day as CIA Director

Notable quotes:
"... The low-calorie Jan. 6 ICA was clumsily cobbled together: "We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks." ..."
"... Binney and other highly experienced NSA alumni, as well as other members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), drawing on their intimate familiarity with how the technical systems and hacking work, have been saying for a year and a half that this CIA/FBI/NSA conclusion is a red herring , so to speak. Last summer, the results of forensic investigation enabled VIPs to apply the principles of physics and the known capacity of the internet to confirm that conclusion. ..."
"... Oddly, the FBI chose not to do forensics on the so-called "Russian hack" of the Democratic National Committee computers and, by all appearances, neither did the drafters of the ICA. ..."
"... What troubles me greatly is that the NYT and other mainstream print and TV media seem to be bloated with the thin gruel-cum-Kool Aid they have been slurping at our CIA trough for a year and a half; and then treating the meager fare consumed as some sort of holy sacrament. That goes in spades for media handling of the celebrated ICA of Jan. 6, 2017 cobbled together by those "handpicked" analysts from CIA, FBI, and NSA. It is, in all candor, an embarrassment to the profession of intelligence analysis and yet, for political reasons, it has attained the status of Holy Writ. ..."
"... And Democrats like Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, were kicking the ball hard down the streets of Washington. On Jan. 25, 2017, I had a chance to confront Schiff personally about the lack of evidence -- something that even Obama had acknowledged just before slipping out the door. I think our two-minute conversation speaks volumes. ..."
"... Now I absolutely look forward to dealing with Adam Schiff from my new position as CIA director. I will ask him to show me the evidence of "Russian hacking" that he said he could not show me on Jan. 25, 2017 – on the chance his evidence includes more than reports from the New York Times ..."
"... Intelligence analysts put great weight, of course, on sources. The authors of the lede, banner-headlined NYT article of Jan. 7, 2017 were Michael D. Shear and David E. Sanger; Sanger has had a particularly checkered career, while always landing on his feet. Despite his record of parroting CIA handouts (or perhaps partly because of it), Sanger is now the NYT's chief Washington correspondent. ..."
"... More instructive still, in May 2005, when firsthand documentary evidence from the now-famous "Downing Street Memorandum" showed that President George W. Bush had decided by early summer 2002 to attack Iraq, the NYT ignored it for six weeks until David Sanger rose to the occasion with a tortured report claiming just the opposite. The title given his article of June 13 2005 was "Prewar British Memo Says War Decision Wasn't Made." ..."
"... Against this peculiar reporting record, I was not inclined to take at face value the Jan. 7, 2017 report he co-authored with Michael D. Shear – "Putin Led a Complex Cyberattack Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Finds." ..."
"... Nor am I inclined to take seriously former National Intelligence Director James Clapper's stated views on the proclivity of Russians to be, well, just really bad people – like it's in their genes. I plan to avail myself of the opportunity to discover whether intelligence analysts who labored under his "aegis" were infected by his quaint view of the Russians. ..."
"... I shall ask any of the "handpicked" analysts who specialize in analysis of Russia (and, hopefully, there are at least a few): Do you share Clapper's view, as he explained it to NBC's Meet the Press on May 30, 2017, that Russians are "typically, almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever"? I truly do not know what to expect by way of reply. ..."
"... In sum, my priority for Day One is to hear both sides of the story regarding "Russian hacking" with all cards on the table. All cards. That means no questions are out of order, including what, if any, role the "Steele dossier" may have played in the preparation of the Jan. 6, 2017 assessment. ..."
Feb 22, 2018 | www.antiwar.com

Now that I have been nominated again – this time by author Paul Craig Roberts – to be CIA director, I am preparing to hit the ground running.

Last time my name was offered in nomination for the position – by The Nation publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel – I did not hold my breath waiting for a call from the White House. Her nomination came in the afterglow of my fortuitous, four-minute debate with then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, when I confronted him on his lies about the attack on Iraq , on May 4, 2006 on national TV. Since it was abundantly clear that Rumsfeld and I would not get along, I felt confident I had royally disqualified myself.

This time around, on the off-chance I do get the nod, I have taken the time to prepare the agenda for my first few days as CIA director. Here's how Day One looks so far:

Get former National Security Agency Technical Director William Binney back to CIA to join me and the "handpicked" CIA analysts who, with other "handpicked" analysts (as described by former National Intelligence Director James Clapper on May 8, 2017) from the FBI and NSA, prepared the so-called Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) of Jan. 6, 2017. That evidence-impoverished assessment argued the case that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his minions "to help President-elect Trump's election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton."

When my predecessor, CIA Director Mike Pompeo invited Binney to his office on Oct. 24, 2017 to discuss cyber-attacks, he told Pompeo that he had been fed a pack of lies on "Russian hacking" and that he could prove it. Why Pompeo left that hanging is puzzling, but I believe this is the kind of low-hanging fruit we should pick pronto.

The low-calorie Jan. 6 ICA was clumsily cobbled together: "We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks."

Binney and other highly experienced NSA alumni, as well as other members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), drawing on their intimate familiarity with how the technical systems and hacking work, have been saying for a year and a half that this CIA/FBI/NSA conclusion is a red herring , so to speak. Last summer, the results of forensic investigation enabled VIPs to apply the principles of physics and the known capacity of the internet to confirm that conclusion.

Oddly, the FBI chose not to do forensics on the so-called "Russian hack" of the Democratic National Committee computers and, by all appearances, neither did the drafters of the ICA.

Again, Binney says that the main conclusions he and his VIPs colleagues reached are based largely on principles of physics – simple ones like fluid dynamics. I want to hear what that's all about, how that applies to the "Russian hack," and hear what my own CIA analysts have to say about that.

I will have Binney's clearances updated to remove any unnecessary barriers to a no-holds-barred discussion at a highly classified level. After which I shall have a transcript prepared, sanitized to protect sources and methods, and promptly released to the media.

Like Sisyphus Up the Media Mountain

At that point things are bound to get very interesting. Far too few people realize that they get a very warped view on such issues from the New York Times . And, no doubt, it would take some time, for the Times and other outlets to get used to some candor from the CIA, instead of the far more common tendentious leaks. In any event, we will try to speak truth to the media – as well as to power.

I happen to share the view of the handful of my predecessor directors who believed we have an important secondary obligation to do what we possibly can to inform/educate the public as well as the rest of the government – especially on such volatile and contentious issues like "Russian hacking."

What troubles me greatly is that the NYT and other mainstream print and TV media seem to be bloated with the thin gruel-cum-Kool Aid they have been slurping at our CIA trough for a year and a half; and then treating the meager fare consumed as some sort of holy sacrament. That goes in spades for media handling of the celebrated ICA of Jan. 6, 2017 cobbled together by those "handpicked" analysts from CIA, FBI, and NSA. It is, in all candor, an embarrassment to the profession of intelligence analysis and yet, for political reasons, it has attained the status of Holy Writ.

The Paper of (Dubious) Record

I recall the banner headline spanning the top of the entire front page of the NYT on Jan. 7, 2017: "Putin Led Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Says;" and the electronic version headed "Putin Led a Complex Cyberattack Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Finds." I said to myself sarcastically, "Well there you go! That's exactly what Mrs. Clinton – not to mention the NY Times, the Washington Post and The Establishment – have been saying for many months."

Buried in that same edition of the Times was a short paragraph by Scott Shane: "What is missing from the public report is what many Americans most eagerly anticipated: hard evidence to back up the agencies' claims that the Russian government engineered the election attack. That is a significant omission."

Omission? No hard evidence? No problem. The publication of the Jan. 6, 2017 assessment got the ball rolling. And Democrats like Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, were kicking the ball hard down the streets of Washington. On Jan. 25, 2017, I had a chance to confront Schiff personally about the lack of evidence -- something that even Obama had acknowledged just before slipping out the door. I think our two-minute conversation speaks volumes.

Now I absolutely look forward to dealing with Adam Schiff from my new position as CIA director. I will ask him to show me the evidence of "Russian hacking" that he said he could not show me on Jan. 25, 2017 – on the chance his evidence includes more than reports from the New York Times .

Sources

Intelligence analysts put great weight, of course, on sources. The authors of the lede, banner-headlined NYT article of Jan. 7, 2017 were Michael D. Shear and David E. Sanger; Sanger has had a particularly checkered career, while always landing on his feet. Despite his record of parroting CIA handouts (or perhaps partly because of it), Sanger is now the NYT's chief Washington correspondent.

Those whose memories go back more than 15 years may recall his promoting weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as flat fact. In a July 29, 2002 article co-written with Them Shanker, for example, Iraq's (nonexistent) "weapons of mass destruction" appear no fewer than seven times as flat fact.

More instructive still, in May 2005, when firsthand documentary evidence from the now-famous "Downing Street Memorandum" showed that President George W. Bush had decided by early summer 2002 to attack Iraq, the NYT ignored it for six weeks until David Sanger rose to the occasion with a tortured report claiming just the opposite. The title given his article of June 13 2005 was "Prewar British Memo Says War Decision Wasn't Made."

Against this peculiar reporting record, I was not inclined to take at face value the Jan. 7, 2017 report he co-authored with Michael D. Shear – "Putin Led a Complex Cyberattack Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Finds."

Nor am I inclined to take seriously former National Intelligence Director James Clapper's stated views on the proclivity of Russians to be, well, just really bad people – like it's in their genes. I plan to avail myself of the opportunity to discover whether intelligence analysts who labored under his "aegis" were infected by his quaint view of the Russians.

I shall ask any of the "handpicked" analysts who specialize in analysis of Russia (and, hopefully, there are at least a few): Do you share Clapper's view, as he explained it to NBC's Meet the Press on May 30, 2017, that Russians are "typically, almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever"? I truly do not know what to expect by way of reply.

End of Day One

In sum, my priority for Day One is to hear both sides of the story regarding "Russian hacking" with all cards on the table. All cards. That means no questions are out of order, including what, if any, role the "Steele dossier" may have played in the preparation of the Jan. 6, 2017 assessment.

I may decide to seek some independent, disinterested technical input, as well. But it should not take me very long to figure out which of the two interpretations of alleged "Russian hacking" is more straight-up fact-based and unbiased. That done, in the following days I shall brief both the Chair, Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and ranking member Schiff of the House Intelligence Committee, as well as the Chair and ranking member of its counterpart in the Senate. I will then personally brief the NYT's David Sanger and follow closely what he and his masters decide to do with the facts I present.

On the chance that the Times and other media might decide to play it straight, and that the "straight" diverges from the prevailing, Clapperesque narrative of Russian perfidy, the various mainstream outlets will face a formidable problem of their own making. Mark Twain put it this way: "It is easier to fool people than it is to convince them they have been fooled."

And that will probably be enough for Day One.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and CIA analyst for a total of 30 years and now servers on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). Reprinted with permission from Consortium News .

[Feb 22, 2018] The US-UK Deep State Empire Strikes Back 'It's Russia! Russia! Russia!'

Notable quotes:
"... For weeks the unfolding story in Washington has been how a cabal of conspirators in the heart of the American federal law enforcement and intelligence apparat ..."
"... Are you reading this commentary? ..."
"... To the extent that Russiagate was less about Trump than ensuring that enmity with Russia will be permanent and will continue to deepen , this latest Mueller indictment is a smashing success already. ..."
Feb 22, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

There's no defense like a good offense.

For weeks the unfolding story in Washington has been how a cabal of conspirators in the heart of the American federal law enforcement and intelligence apparat colluded to ensure the election of Hillary Clinton and, when that failed, to undermine the nascent presidency of Donald Trump. Agencies tainted by this corruption include not only the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) but the Obama White House, the State Department, the NSA, and the CIA, plus their British sister organizations MI6 and GCHQ , possibly along with the British Foreign Office (with the involvement of former British ambassador to Russia Andrew Wood ) and even Number 10 Downing Street.

Those implicated form a regular rogue's gallery of the Deep State: Peter Strzok (formerly Chief of the FBI's Counterespionage Section, then Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division; busy bee Strzok is implicated not only in exonerating Hillary from her email server crimes but initiating the Russiagate investigation in the first place, securing a FISA warrant using the dodgy "Steele Dossier," and nailing erstwhile National Security Adviser General Mike Flynn on a bogus charge of "lying to the FBI "); Lisa Page (Strzok's paramour and a DOJ lawyer formerly assigned to the all-star Democrat lineup on the Robert Mueller Russigate inquisition); former FBI Director James Comey, former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, and – let's not forget – current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, himself implicated by having signed at least one of the dubious FISA warrant requests . Finally, there's reason to believe that former CIA Director John O. Brennan may have been the mastermind behind the whole operation .

Not to be overlooked is the possible implication of a pack of former Democratic administration officials, including former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice , and President Barack Obama himself, who according to text communications between Strzok and Page "wants to know everything we're doing." Also involved is the DNC, the Clinton campaign, and Clinton operatives Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer – rendering the ignorance of Hillary herself totally implausible.

On the British side we have "former" (suuure . . . ) MI6 spook Christopher Steele, diplomat Wood, former GCHQ chief Robert Hannigan (who resigned a year ago under mysterious circumstances ), and whoever they answered to in the Prime Minister's office.

The growing sense of panic was palpable. Oh my – this is a curtain that just cannot be allowed to be pulled back!

What to do, what to do . . .

Ah, here's the ticket – come out swinging against the main enemy. That's not even Donald Trump. It's Russia and Vladimir Putin. Russia! Russia! Russia!

Hence the unveiling of an indictment against 13 Russian citizens and three companies for alleged meddling in U.S. elections and various ancillary crimes.

For the sake of discussion, let's assume all the allegations in the indictment are true, however unlikely that is to be the case. (While that would be the American legal rule for a complaint in a civil case, this is a criminal indictment, where there is supposedly a presumption of innocence. Rosenstein even mentioned that in his press conference, pretending not to notice that that presumption doesn't apply to Russian Untermenschen – certainly not to Olympic athletes and really not to Russians at all, who are presumed guilty on "genetic" grounds .)

Based on the public announcement of the indictment by Rosenstein – who is effectively the Attorney General in place of the pro forma holder of that office, Jeff Sessions (R-Recused) – and on an initial examination of the indictment, and we can already draw a few conclusions:

The Mueller indictment against the Russians is a well-timed effort to distract Americans' attention from the real collusion rotting the core of our public life by shifting attention to a foreign enemy. Many of the people behind it are the very officials who are themselves complicit in the rot. But the sad fact is that it will probably work.

[Feb 22, 2018] McMaster, Kelly On Their Way Out Zero Hedge

Feb 22, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

In January, McMaster quashed rumors of his departure, telling reporters "I have a job and it is my intention to go as long and hard as I can in service of the President of the nation," adding that it was "a tremendous honor to do this job every day."

Trump's first National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, resigned shortly after taking office amid a controversy over whether he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.

On Thursday, the Pentagon directed all inquiries about McMaster to the White House. "General McMaster works for President Trump. Any decision with regards to staff, the White House will make those determinations," said chief spokesperson Dana White. Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Tuesday that Trump "still has confidence in General McMaster."

A Source within the White House, leaking to CNN, reports that Trump can't stand McMaster's demeanor during briefings - and that the President considers his National Security Advisor to be "gruff and condescending."

He prefers the briefing style of someone like CIA Director Mike Pompeo or Defense Secretary James Mattis, who patiently answer his questions, regardless of the premise. McMaster, meanwhile, is the person who delivers the news that Trump doesn't want to hear on a daily basis, according to the senior Republican source.

The issue is not political but mostly stylistic, as McMaster and Mattis tend to discuss information before it is presented to the President, the same source added. - CNN

Kelly and McMaster both declined to comment, however Reuters' sources were quick to add that "tensions could blow over, at least for now, as have previous episodes of discord between the president and other top officials who have fallen out of favor."

4

LetThemEatRand Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:18 Permalink

So much for the "military is behind Trump" meme. Kudos to Trump for telling this guy where he can shove it after repeating Deep State propaganda.

Sir Edge -> LetThemEatRand Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:18 Permalink

Finally... 'Dereliction Of Duty' comes home to roost...


Edgey...

J S Bach -> Sir Edge Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:21 Permalink

McSinister is the essence of Goldfinger in the old James Bond fiction. One couldn't envision a more stereotypical "worm-tonguesque" villain in charge of our armed forces and acting presidential "advisor".

GUS100CORRINA -> Normalcy Bias Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:57 Permalink

McMaster Finally Out? Pentagon Paving Way For Return To Military: Report

My response: Looks like the POTUS is prepping for the Return of General Flynn.

McMaster has some very suspicious associations and has been referenced in Q-ANON posts. He was an "OBOZO" plant.

Also, it appears that "OBOZO's" LEGAL problems are growing by the day.

"OBOZO" maybe the first POTUS in US history to be charged with TREASON. Also, KERRY is in a DEEP PILE OF SHIT as well. He directed the US State Department to provide 9 million dollars to her charity. This is ladies and gentlemen of ZH is BULLSHIT!!!!!!

CORRUPTION and CRIME as far as the EYE can see for the last four POTUS office holders. It make me ashamed of my nation at times.

May GOD bless, guide and protect President TRUMP and the TRUMP administration as they "DRAIN THE SWAMP".

Chupacabra-322 -> Luc X. Ifer Thu, 02/22/2018 - 21:21 Permalink

Flynn blew the whistle on Pure Evil War Criminal Treasonous Seditious Psychopath Obama, the CIA & State Dept. arming, funding & training terror organizations.

The Criminal Deep State has had it for him ever since.

gatorengineer -> J S Bach Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:52 Permalink

Member of the council on foreign relations... Nough said? Trump sure likes Obama stooges for some reason

directaction -> gatorengineer Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:54 Permalink

Trump is refusing to start new wars.

That's annoying the deep state rats inside the military.

I sure wish Trump would stop all of Obama's wars, too.

gatorengineer -> directaction Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:58 Permalink

Boy you sure get a different news feed than I do.... Mine says we have heavy ground presence in Syria (didnt under Obowel), are on the verge of war with the NORKs after the Olympics, and our CIA has been stirring the shit pot in Iran....

Does your news coverage come before of after the episodes of My little pony?

The only difference between Trump and Hillary is Hillary has better hair. Follow what Trump actually does and not what he Tweets, HUGE difference. WE ARENT WINNING.

loveyajimbo -> LetThemEatRand Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:30 Permalink

McMaster is a Deep State maggot... but who on Trump's team is not??? Too many MIC Generals all begging for moar war for profit...

Sessions is the biggest maggot... he has overseen the total breakdown of the rule of law in America and should be tarred and feathered.

Navymugsy -> LetThemEatRand Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:40 Permalink

The military is an arm of the deep state. Congratulations West Point, Annapolis, etc.

squilmi -> LetThemEatRand Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:51 Permalink

McMaster was NEVER with Trump. The military in general is.

New_Meat -> nmewn Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:31 Permalink

SecDef knows him (from in the sandbox) and might want/need him to fill a CinC slot. The pussified O crowd cut off the balls of many of the flag ranks and they need to be purged (Regan did that and brought in/up Starry and Papa Bear and Vuono and Art C-ski and the other knuckle draggers).

POTUS might be getting his foreign policy situation sorted out. McMaster hasn't ever been a smooth team player within the Army structure--that would also endear him to Jim, but not suit him to a staff/advisor role.

We can always blame it on Global Climate Change and the Rooskies--cover all the bases.

lurker since 2012 Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:26 Permalink

Fuck yea put him in Nork country. Fat boy and Monster McMaster can face off in the octagon.

Previous post regarding McMaster...

lurker since 2012 Tue, 02/20/2018 - 17:27 Permalink

Monster McMaster opening greeting to the Munich security conference, "I know OUR good friend John McCain can't be here, as unfortunately he can't, but he brings you good wishes"....Then he proceeded to outline Russian Election bullshit. Cyber bot farm meddling invading Georgia BLA BLA BLA. This is why war is plausible, McMaster is Military SWAMP.

Brazen Heist Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:37 Permalink

Oh boy, some oversized ego tripping....the sheer hubris of it all....fuckers cannot see or admit to the gross amount of meddling they have done to the world, and yet react like little bitches when allegations are merely cooked up.

I cannot believe that this is the lowly state of American political discourse in 2018 AD.

Just another Rome, only with a much bigger budget for bullshit and weaponry.

Dickguzinya Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:50 Permalink

Fire him. Forget the fourth star. He is undeserving. Another scumbag trying to upend President Trump's agenda/objectives. The scumbag conveniently doesn't mention that the Russian Hacking didn't have an impact on the election. This untrustworthy piece of shit never should have been brought into the fold. And don't even think about allowing him back into the military. Fuck off you turncoat.

Green2Delta Thu, 02/22/2018 - 21:06 Permalink

This guy was the commanding officer of 3rd ACR while I was in. Only time I saw him in Iraq was when he flew down to tell us how sorry he was, or something like that, after we lost 1/3 of our platoon. The rest of the time he was in northern Iraq where it was safe. While those of us unlucky enough to be in 3rd Squadron were stuck down on the south side of Baghdad. If you read his bio they make it out like he personally did all kinds of Rambo shit. I guess that's they way it is for officers. Those guys will slit your throat for the next shiny thing to stick on their uniform.

Even back then my buddy SSG Judy, just talked to him an hour ago, told me McMaster was being groomed for bigger roles. He definitely nailed that one.

NoWayJose Thu, 02/22/2018 - 22:35 Permalink

These two and Mad Dog keep whispering "Evil Russia" at Trump and demanding US troops keep poking a stick at the bear - meanwhile Trump knows there is no collusion. How does that square up?

[Feb 20, 2018] For the life of me I cannot figure why Americans want a war/conflict with Russia

Highly recommended!
This post summaries several "alternative" views that many suspect, but can't express as clearly as here.
Feb 20, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Palloy | Feb 20, 2018 8:52:02 PM | 34

@4 "For the life of me I cannot figure why Americans want a war/conflict with Russia."

Ever since US Crude Oil peaked its production in 1970, the US has known that at some point the oil majors would have their profitability damaged, "assets" downgraded, and borrowing capacity destroyed. At this point their shares would become worthless and they would become bankrupt. The contagion from this would spread to transport businesses, plastics manufacture, herbicides and pesticide production and a total collapse of Industrial Civilisation.

In anticipation of increasing Crude Oil imports, Nixon stopped the convertibility of Dollars into Gold, thus making the Dollar entirely fiat, allowing them to print as much of the currency as they needed.

They also began a system of obscuring oil production data, involving the DoE's EIA and the OECD's IEA, by inventing an ever-increasing category of Undiscovered Oilfields in their predictions, and combining Crude Oil and Condensate (from gas fields) into one category (C+C) as if they were the same thing. As well the support of the ethanol-from-corn industry began, even though it was uneconomic. The Global Warming problem had to be debunked, despite its sound scientific basis. Energy-intensive manufacturing work was off-shored to cheap labour+energy countries, and Just-in-Time delivery systems were honed.

In 2004 the price of Crude Oil rose from $28 /barrel up to $143 /b in mid-2008. This demonstrated that there is a limit to how much business can pay for oil (around $100 /b). Fracking became marginally economic at these prices, but the frackers never made a profit as over-production meant prices fell to about $60 /b. The Government encourages this destructive industry despite the fact it doesn't make any money, because the alternative is the end of Industrial Civilisation.

Eventually though, there must come a time when there is not enough oil to power all the cars and trucks, bulldozers, farm tractors, airplanes and ships, as well as manufacture all the wind turbines and solar panels and electric vehicles, as well as the upgraded transmission grid. At that point, the game will be up, and it will be time for WW3. So we need to line up some really big enemies, and develop lots of reasons to hate them.

Thus you see the demonisation of Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela for reasons that don't make sense from a normal perspective.

[Feb 20, 2018] Hillary Clinton If I m President, We Will Attack Iran We Would be Able to Totally Obliterate Them. Global Research - Cent

Notable quotes:
"... Among Global Research's most popular articles in 2016. ..."
"... Hillary is Dangerous. She Means What She says? Or Does She? (M. C. GR. Editor) ..."
"... On July 3, 2015, presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton addressed a hand-picked audience at a Dartmouth College campaign event. She lied calling Iran an "existential threat to Israel I hope we are able to get a deal next week that puts a lid on (its) nuclear weapons program." ..."
"... Stephen Lendman ..."
"... lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. ..."
"... His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III." ..."
"... http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html ..."
Feb 20, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

Hillary Clinton: "If I'm President, We Will Attack Iran We Would be Able to Totally Obliterate Them." By Stephen Lendman Global Research, February 19, 2018 Global Research 5 July 2015 Region: Middle East & North Africa , USA Theme: Militarization and WMD , US NATO War Agenda In-depth Report: IRAN: THE NEXT WAR?

Among Global Research's most popular articles in 2016.

Hillary is Dangerous. She Means What She says? Or Does She? (M. C. GR. Editor)

* * *

On July 3, 2015, presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton addressed a hand-picked audience at a Dartmouth College campaign event. She lied calling Iran an "existential threat to Israel I hope we are able to get a deal next week that puts a lid on (its) nuclear weapons program."

Even if we do get such a deal, we will still have major problems from Iran. They are the world's chief sponsor of terrorism.

They use proxies like Hezbollah to sow discord and create insurgencies to destabilize governments. They are taking more and more control of a number of nations in the region and they pose an existential threat to Israel.

We have to turn our attention to working with our partners to try to reign in and prevent this continuing Iranian aggressiveness.

Fact: US and Israeli intelligence both say Iran's nuclear program has no military component. No evidence whatever suggests Tehran wants one. Plenty indicates otherwise.

As a 2008 presidential aspirant, she addressed AIPAC's annual convention saying:

The United States stands with Israel now and forever. We have shared interests .shared ideals .common values. I have a bedrock commitment to Israel's security.

(O)ur two nations are fighting a shared threat" against Islamic extremism. I strongly support Israel's right to self-defense (and) believe America should aid in that defense.

I am committed to making sure that Israel maintains a military edge to meet increasing threats. I am deeply concerned about the growing threat in Gaza (and) Hamas' campaign of terror.

No such campaign exists. The only threats Israel faces are ones it invents.

Clinton repeated tired old lies saying Hamas' charter "calls for the destruction of Israel. Iran threatens to destroy Israel."

"I support calling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard what it is: a terrorist organization. It is imperative that we get both tough and smart about dealing with Iran before it is too late."

She backs "massive retaliation" if Iran attacks Israel, saying at the time:

" I want the Iranians to know that if I'm president, we will attack Iran. In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."

She endorses using cluster bombs, toxic agents and nuclear weapons in US war theaters. She calls them deterrents that "keep the peace." She was one of only six Democrat senators opposed to blocking deployment of untested missile defense systems – first-strike weapons entirely for offense.

*

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

[Feb 20, 2018] Russophobia is a futile bid to conceal US, European demise by Finian Cunningham

Highly recommended!
This is an old method to unite the nation against external enemy. Carnage (with so much oil and gas) needs to be destroyed. And it's working only partially with the major divisions between Trump and Hillary supporters remaining open and unaffected by Russiagate witch hunt.
Notable quotes:
"... It is an age-old statecraft technique to seek unity within a state by depicting an external enemy or threat. Russia is the bête noire again, as it was during the Cold War years as part of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... Russophobia -- "blame it all on Russia" -- is a short-term, futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning when furious and informed Western citizens will demand democratic restitution for their legitimate grievances. ..."
"... The dominant "official" narrative, from the US to Europe, is that "malicious" Russia is "sowing division;""eroding democratic institutions;" and "undermining public trust" in systems of governance, credibility of established political parties, and the news media. ..."
"... A particularly instructive presentation of this trope was given in a recent commentary by Texan Republican Representative Will Hurd. In his piece headlined, "Russia is our adversary" , he claims: "Russia is eroding our democracy by exploiting the nation's divisions. To save it, Americans need to begin working together." ..."
"... He contends: "When the public loses trust in the media, the Russians are winning. When the press is hyper-critical of Congress the Russians are winning. When Congress and the general public disagree the Russians are winning. When there is friction between Congress and the executive branch [the president] resulting in further erosion of trust in our democratic institutions, the Russians are winning." ..."
"... The endless, criminal wars that the US and its European NATO allies have been waging across the planet over the past two decades is one cogent reason why the public has lost faith in grandiose official claims about respecting democracy and international law. ..."
"... The US and European media have shown reprehensible dereliction of duty to inform the public accurately about their governments' warmongering intrigues. Take the example of Syria. When does the average Western citizen ever read in the corporate Western media about how the US and its NATO allies have covertly ransacked that country through weaponizing terrorist proxies? ..."
"... The destabilizing impact on societies from oppressive economic conditions is a far more plausible cause for grievance than outlandish claims made by the political class about alleged "Russian interference". ..."
"... Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV. ..."
Feb 20, 2018 | www.rt.com

Russophobia - "blame it all on Russia" - is a short-term, futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning when furious and informed Western citizens will demand democratic restitution for their legitimate grievances

It is an age-old statecraft technique to seek unity within a state by depicting an external enemy or threat. Russia is the bête noire again, as it was during the Cold War years as part of the Soviet Union.

But the truth is Western states are challenged by internal problems. Ironically, by denying their own internal democratic challenges, Western authorities are only hastening their institutional demise.

Russophobia -- "blame it all on Russia" -- is a short-term, futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning when furious and informed Western citizens will demand democratic restitution for their legitimate grievances.

The dominant "official" narrative, from the US to Europe, is that "malicious" Russia is "sowing division;""eroding democratic institutions;" and "undermining public trust" in systems of governance, credibility of established political parties, and the news media.

This narrative has shifted up a gear since the election of Donald Trump to the White House in 2016, with accusations that the Kremlin somehow ran "influence operations" to help get him into office. This outlandish yarn defies common sense. It is also running out of thread to keep spinning.

Paradoxically, even though President Trump has rightly rebuffed such dubious claims of "Russiagate" interference as "fake news", he has at other times undermined himself by subscribing to the notion that Moscow is projecting a campaign of "subversion against the US and its European allies." See for example the National Security Strategy he signed off in December.

Pathetically, it's become indoctrinated belief among the Western political class that "devious Russians" are out to "collapse" Western democracies by "weaponizing disinformation" and spreading "fake news" through Russia-based news outlets like RT and Sputnik.

Totalitarian-like, there seems no room for intelligent dissent among political or media figures.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has chimed in to accuse Moscow of "sowing division;" Dutch state intelligence claim Russia destabilized the US presidential election; the European Union commissioner for security, Sir Julian King, casually lampoons Russian news media as "Kremlin-orchestrated disinformation" to destabilize the 28-nation bloc; CIA chief Mike Pompeo recently warned that Russia is stepping up its efforts to tarnish the Congressional mid-term elections later this year.

On and on goes the narrative that Western states are essentially victims of a nefarious Russian assault to bring about collapse.

A particularly instructive presentation of this trope was given in a recent commentary by Texan Republican Representative Will Hurd. In his piece headlined, "Russia is our adversary" , he claims: "Russia is eroding our democracy by exploiting the nation's divisions. To save it, Americans need to begin working together."

Congressman Hurd asserts: "Russia has one simple goal: to erode trust in our democratic institutions It has weaponized disinformation to achieve this goal for decades in Eastern and Central Europe; in 2016, Western Europe and America were aggressively targeted as well."

Lamentably, all these claims above are made with scant, or no, verifiable evidence. It is simply a Big Lie technique of relentless repetition transforming itself into "fact" .

It's instructive to follow Congressman Hurd's thought-process a bit further.

He contends: "When the public loses trust in the media, the Russians are winning. When the press is hyper-critical of Congress the Russians are winning. When Congress and the general public disagree the Russians are winning. When there is friction between Congress and the executive branch [the president] resulting in further erosion of trust in our democratic institutions, the Russians are winning."

As a putative solution, Representative Hurd calls for "a national counter-disinformation strategy" against Russian "influence operations" , adding, "Americans must stop contributing to a corrosive political environment".

The latter is a chilling advocacy of uniformity tantamount to a police state whereby any dissent or criticism is a "thought-crime."

It is, however, such anti-democratic and paranoid thinking by Western politicians -- aided and abetted by dutiful media -- that is killing democracy from within, not some supposed foreign enemy.

There is evidently a foreboding sense of demise in authority and legitimacy among Western states, even if the real cause for the demise is ignored or denied. Systems of governance, politicians of all stripes, and institutions like the established media and intelligence services are increasingly held in contempt and distrust by the public.

Whose fault is that loss of political and moral authority? Western governments and institutions need to take a look in the mirror.

The endless, criminal wars that the US and its European NATO allies have been waging across the planet over the past two decades is one cogent reason why the public has lost faith in grandiose official claims about respecting democracy and international law.

The US and European media have shown reprehensible dereliction of duty to inform the public accurately about their governments' warmongering intrigues. Take the example of Syria. When does the average Western citizen ever read in the corporate Western media about how the US and its NATO allies have covertly ransacked that country through weaponizing terrorist proxies?

How then can properly informed citizens be expected to have respect for such criminal government policies and the complicit news media covering up for their crimes?

Western public disaffection with governments, politicians and media surely stems also from the grotesque gulf in social inequality and poverty among citizens from slavish adherence to economic policies that enrich the wealthy while consigning the vast majority to unrelenting austerity.

The destabilizing impact on societies from oppressive economic conditions is a far more plausible cause for grievance than outlandish claims made by the political class about alleged "Russian interference".

Yet the Western media indulge this fantastical "Russiagate" escapism instead of campaigning on real social problems facing ordinary citizens. No wonder such media are then viewed with disdain and distrust. Adding insult to injury, these media want the public to believe Russia is the enemy?

Instead of acknowledging and addressing real threats to citizens: economic insecurity, eroding education and health services, lost career opportunities for future generations, the looming dangers of ecological adversity, wars prompted by Western governments trashing international and diplomacy, and so on -- the Western public is insultingly plied with corny tales of Russia's "malign influence" and "assault on democracy."

Just think of the disproportionate amount of media attention and public resources wasted on the Russiagate scandal over the past year. And now gradually emerging is the real scandal that the American FBI probably colluded with the Obama administration to corrupt the democratic process against Trump.

Again, is there any wonder the public has sheer contempt and distrust for "authorities" that have been lying through their teeth and playing them for fools?

The collapsing state of Western democracies has got nothing to do with Russia. The Russophobia of blaming Russia for the demise of Western institutions is an attempt at scapegoating for the very real problems facing governments and institutions like the news media. Those problems are inherent and wholly owned by these governments owing to chronic anti-democratic functioning, as well as systematic violation of international law in their pursuit of criminal wars and other subterfuges for regime-change objectives.

Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.

[Feb 19, 2018] Nunes FBI and DOJ Perps Could Be Put on Trial by Ray McGovern

Highly recommended!
Nunes chances to bring perpetrators to justice are close to zero. The Deep State controls the Washington, DC and can withstand sporadic attacks.
It is an extremly courageous of Devin Nunes to give this interview.
Notable quotes:
"... Throwing down the gauntlet on alleged abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by the Department of Justice and the FBI, House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) stated that there could be legal consequences for officials who may have misled the FISA court. "If they need to be put on trial, we will put them on trial," he said. "The reason Congress exists is to oversee these agencies that we created." ..."
"... Nunes took this highly unusual, no-holds-barred stance during an interview with Emmy-award winning investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson , which aired on Sunday. ..."
"... He unapologetically averred that, yes, a criminal trial might well be the outcome. "DOJ and FBI are not above the law," he stated emphatically. "If they are committing abuse before a secret court getting warrants on American citizens, you're darn right that we're going to put them on trial." ..."
"... The stakes are very high. Current and former senior officials -- and not only from DOJ and FBI, but from other agencies like the CIA and NSA, whom documents and testimony show were involved in providing faulty information to justify a FISA warrant to monitor former Trump campaign official Carter Page -- may suddenly find themselves in considerable legal jeopardy. Like, felony territory. ..."
"... On the other hand, the presumptive perps have not run into a chairman like Nunes in four decades, since Congressmen Lucien Nedzi (D-Mich.), Otis Pike (D-NY), and Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) ran tough, explosive hearings on the abuses of a previous generation deep state, including massive domestic spying revealed by quintessential investigative reporter Seymour Hersh in December 1974. (Actually, this is largely why the congressional intelligence oversight committees were later established, and why the FISA law was passed in 1978.) ..."
"... At this point, one is tempted to say plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose ..."
"... One glaring sign of the media's unwillingness to displease corporate masters and Official Washington is the harsh reality that Hersh's most recent explosive investigations, using his large array of government sources to explore front-burner issues, have not been able to find a home in any English-speaking newspaper or journal. ..."
"... On this point, Nunes said, "In the last administration they were unmasking hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of Americans' names. They were unmasking for what I would say, for lack of a better definition, were for political purposes." ..."
"... It is real courageous of Devin Nunes to give this interview. It is not only the accountability to law that is at stake in U.S., but the Whole World is imperiled with what happens in Washington. But as many have written before in comments about this complete moral collapse of the Entire West, I am afraid, it is all going to be swept under the rug. We have to just keep the fingers crossed. ..."
"... I have never seen such media bias against a sitting president in my lifetime, not even against Richard Nixon when they at least practiced decorum and feigned objectivity even if they were secretly cheering on his demise. I will reiterate here that I do not champion the man but rather due process under our constitution, which has been made a travesty from the moment of Clinton's loss at the polls. ..."
"... I completely agree with you Realist. I am not Trump's fan or supporter of his agenda, in fact, in many things quite the opposite of it. However, he raised some very valid points about the the domestic economy and other issues, and about the need to stop interventions in foreign countries, and getting along Russia, and the need to rebuild country's manufacturing system again. He was duly elected by the people, and he should have been given the support to pursue what he promised. But it did not happen. ..."
"... Although it's being done for the wrong reasons, I am nevertheless looking forward to seeing our out-of-control intelligence agencies being put in their place. If I were president and my party controlled both houses of Congress, you'd better believe I'd be looking to dismantle the national surveillance state and reduce the military budget to a "mere" $250 billion annually. ..."
"... The post 9-11 wars of aggression, massive surveillance, torture and other war crimes were sold to the American public as only to be inflicted on foreigners, i.e. "we fight them over there so we don't fight them here." But the blowback has now turned America's schools, malls, workplaces, concerts and churches into war zones and little by little, the disinformation ops, "regime change" know-how and other accoutrements of perpetual war (the fool's errand of gaining full spectrum dominance over the rest of the world) have been turned inward on the American people, including powerful American officials themselves. So it would seem to be a good thing that some politicians like Nunes have finally seen the light exactly as Frank Church did -- only when they themselves began to reap the negative consequences of what they thought would only negatively impact other, lesser people. ..."
"... But there is more to it, as some have pointed out in comments above, there are some intra-party quarrels going on in Washington to take the upper hand. Regarding foreign policy, National Security State and surveillance, and other such issues, both parties are joined at the hip. ..."
"... It is instructive to read the comments on any NYT article on this subject. The comments are clearly written by intelligent, well-educated individuals – who parrot the Deep State's anti-Russian propaganda as if they were the dumbest of the "Better dead than Red!" 50s McCarthyites. ..."
"... The new McCarthyites are actually stupider and more authoritarian than their sad fore-bearers, because they could pierce the Deep States lies with 30 minutes of online research, but they prefer tribalism and ignorance, instead. ..."
"... Trump started going head to head with the intel folks, but has backed down a lot now. Let's hope Nunes et al hang in there and keep the pressure on these despicable criminals who hide behind governmental powers. ..."
"... Somehow I don't think Nunes or his committee is capable of reigning in Frankenstein. His "constitutuents"" are not likely to allow it and although the monster was pieced together from many body parts its instincts for self-preservation are formidable. Nevertheless, I would applaud anyone who makes the effort. ..."
"... Note that after saying the Russians are indicted for interfering in the election, and spending 5 minutes on this, at the 5 minute 20 second mark Rosenstein says there is no evidence that the Russians had any affect [sic] on the election! So what we have is the Deputy Attorney General of the United States announcing an indictment for which he says there is no evidence! ..."
"... In the world of cypher espionage I have no knowledge, but if Russia does hang out in it well then I'm sure the U.S. is already there to do what it must to defend it's cypher security. So that's a wash, but this insane Russia-Gate distraction was originally a way to deflect attention from Hillary & Debbie's putting the screws to Socialist Sanders . then Russia-Gate became a MSM driven coup to oust Trump from his Electoral won presidential office. ..."
"... Impossible to get the whole Gorgon's head, anyway, in such a corrupt system as we have ..."
"... Ray, do you think Trump has made a deal: he'll allow escalations against Russia, and in return the Deep State will leave him alone? If so, does that portend that this will fizzle out? ..."
"... While the shiny ball, smoke and mirrors psychological operation known as "Russiagate" has begun running on fumes before the gas tank finally runs dry, the major revelation of the Clinton WikiLeaks emails describing Saudi/Qatari financing of ISIS drops further down the memory hole. There's nothing like success ..."
Feb 19, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes has stated that "DOJ and FBI are not above the law," and could face legal consequences for alleged abuses of the FISA court, reports Ray McGovern.

Throwing down the gauntlet on alleged abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by the Department of Justice and the FBI, House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) stated that there could be legal consequences for officials who may have misled the FISA court. "If they need to be put on trial, we will put them on trial," he said. "The reason Congress exists is to oversee these agencies that we created."

Nunes took this highly unusual, no-holds-barred stance during an interview with Emmy-award winning investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson , which aired on Sunday.

Attkisson said she had invited both Nunes and House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) but that only Nunes agreed. She asked him about Schiff's charge that Nunes' goal was "to put the FBI and DOJ on trial." What followed was very atypical bluntness -- candor normally considered quite unacceptable in polite circles of the Washington Establishment.

Rather than play the diplomat and disavow what Schiff contended was Nunes' goal, Nunes said, in effect, let the chips fall where they may. He unapologetically averred that, yes, a criminal trial might well be the outcome. "DOJ and FBI are not above the law," he stated emphatically. "If they are committing abuse before a secret court getting warrants on American citizens, you're darn right that we're going to put them on trial."

Die Is Cast

The stakes are very high. Current and former senior officials -- and not only from DOJ and FBI, but from other agencies like the CIA and NSA, whom documents and testimony show were involved in providing faulty information to justify a FISA warrant to monitor former Trump campaign official Carter Page -- may suddenly find themselves in considerable legal jeopardy. Like, felony territory.

This was not supposed to happen. Mrs. Clinton was a shoo-in, remember? Back when the FISA surveillance warrant of Page was obtained, just weeks before the November 2016 election, there seemed to be no need to hide tracks, because, even if these extracurricular activities were discovered, the perps would have looked forward to award certificates rather than legal problems under a Trump presidency.

Thus, the knives will be coming out. Mostly because the mainstream media will make a major effort -- together with Schiff-mates in the Democratic Party -- to marginalize Nunes, those who find themselves in jeopardy can be expected to push back strongly.

If past is precedent, they will be confident that, with their powerful allies within the FBI/DOJ/CIA "Deep State" they will be able to counter Nunes and show him and the other congressional investigation committee chairs, where the power lies. The conventional wisdom is that Nunes and the others have bit off far more than they can chew. And the odds do not favor folks, including oversight committee chairs, who buck the system.

Staying Power

On the other hand, the presumptive perps have not run into a chairman like Nunes in four decades, since Congressmen Lucien Nedzi (D-Mich.), Otis Pike (D-NY), and Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) ran tough, explosive hearings on the abuses of a previous generation deep state, including massive domestic spying revealed by quintessential investigative reporter Seymour Hersh in December 1974. (Actually, this is largely why the congressional intelligence oversight committees were later established, and why the FISA law was passed in 1978.)

At this point, one is tempted to say plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose -- or the more things change, the more they stay the same -- but that would be only half correct in this context. Yes, scoundrels will always take liberties with the law to spy on others. But the huge difference today is that mainstream media have no room for those who uncover government crimes and abuse. And this will be a major impediment to efforts by Nunes and other committee chairs to inform the public.

One glaring sign of the media's unwillingness to displease corporate masters and Official Washington is the harsh reality that Hersh's most recent explosive investigations, using his large array of government sources to explore front-burner issues, have not been able to find a home in any English-speaking newspaper or journal. In a sense, this provides what might be called a "confidence-building" factor, giving some assurance to deep-state perps that they will be able to ride this out, and that congressional committee chairs will once again learn to know their (subservient) place.

Much will depend on whether top DOJ and FBI officials can bring themselves to reverse course and give priority to the oath they took to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. This should not be too much to hope for, but it will require uncommon courage in facing up honestly to the major misdeeds appear to have occurred -- and letting the chips fall where they may. Besides, it would be the right thing to do.

Nunes is projecting calm confidence that once he and Trey Gowdey (R-Tenn.), chair of the House Oversight Committee, release documentary evidence showing what their investigations have turned up, it will be hard for DOJ and FBI officials to dissimulate.

In Other News

In the interview with Attkisson, Nunes covered a number of other significant issues:

The committee is closing down its investigation into possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign; no evidence of collusion was found. The apparently widespread practice of "unmasking" the identities of Americans under surveillance. On this point, Nunes said, "In the last administration they were unmasking hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of Americans' names. They were unmasking for what I would say, for lack of a better definition, were for political purposes." Asked about Schiff's criticism that Nunes behaved improperly on what he called the "midnight run to the White House," Nunes responded that the stories were untrue. "Well, most of the time I ignore political nonsense in this town," he said. "What I will say is that all of those stories were totally fake from the beginning."

Not since Watergate has there been so high a degree of political tension here in Washington but the stakes for our Republic are even higher this time. Assuming abuse of FISA court procedures is documented and those responsible for playing fast and loose with the required justification for legal warrants are not held to account, the division of powers enshrined in the Constitution will be in peril.

A denouement of some kind can be expected in the coming months. Stay tuned.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Savior in inner-city Washington. He was a CIA analyst for 27 years and is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).


Skip Scott , February 19, 2018 at 9:38 am

Thanks Ray for another great article. One can only hope that Nunes is successful. However, like you say, the MSM is now complicit with the "Deep State", so the fight for justice becomes much harder. One also has to remember Schumer's "six ways from Sunday" applies equally to the congress as it does to the president. I hardly ever watch TV news, but recently I've been subjected to it, and I've seen a deluge of fluff pieces on our so-called Intelligence Agencies. I would love to see Trump give a speech (instead of a tweet) directly to the American people letting them know what rascals like Brennan, Clapper, et al have been up to.

Bob Van Noy , February 19, 2018 at 12:51 pm

This may be the best broadcast tv journalism in many years, read Sharyl Attkisson's story, "Stonewalled" (I will link the commentary page to that book for thorough readers). And thank you Nat, Ray McGovern & CN

https://www.amazon.com/Stonewalled-Obstruction-Intimidation-Harassment-Washington/dp/0062322850/ref=sr_1_1/140-4375232-2286101?ie=UTF8&qid=1519058613&sr=8-1&keywords=stonewalled#customerReviews

Dave P. , February 19, 2018 at 2:29 pm

An excellent and very timely article by Ray McGovern. Lawlessness, greed, complete subservience to Wall Street Finance and other Powers, insanity, and utter inhumanity prevails in present day Ruling Establishment in Washington. Obama, "the hope and change" Con Artist for whose election, being democrats we worked so hard in 2008 turned to be the biggest perpetrator of this lawlessness and responsible for fanning the flames still further in starting a new Cold War.

It is real courageous of Devin Nunes to give this interview. It is not only the accountability to law that is at stake in U.S., but the Whole World is imperiled with what happens in Washington. But as many have written before in comments about this complete moral collapse of the Entire West, I am afraid, it is all going to be swept under the rug. We have to just keep the fingers crossed.

Howard Dean just said yesterday that Nunes and people like him belong in jail. Now can you believe it, how low these so called liberal democrats have come to? Looking at the pictures of Adam Schiff, Howard Dean, and others in their company, I literally feel sick in the stomach. And one asks the essential question: "did not their parents teach them any honesty or moral principles in young age?".

Abbybwood , February 19, 2018 at 3:54 pm

But what he said is very confusing. First he says that Congress has no way to prosecute the DOJ/FBI for wrong doing then at the end he says Congress will need to prosecute the DOJ/FBI if necessary. Either Congress has the ability to prosecute the DOJ/FBI and issue indictments and set up Grand Juries or they don't.

Somebody needs to find out, Constitutionally, what the solution is when the DOJ/FBI at the highest levels become the criminals. WHO has the power to indict/convict these individuals??

Sam F , February 19, 2018 at 10:36 pm

A special prosecutor (Mueller's position) is appointed by the Pres or AG.

Annie , February 19, 2018 at 3:20 pm

From what I've heard expressed by a few FBI people, you don't come before a court, but a judge, one person, and they are known to rubber stamp almost everything. So they should be investigated too.

Realist , February 19, 2018 at 5:02 pm

I have never seen such media bias against a sitting president in my lifetime, not even against Richard Nixon when they at least practiced decorum and feigned objectivity even if they were secretly cheering on his demise. I will reiterate here that I do not champion the man but rather due process under our constitution, which has been made a travesty from the moment of Clinton's loss at the polls.

Dave P. , February 19, 2018 at 7:56 pm

I completely agree with you Realist. I am not Trump's fan or supporter of his agenda, in fact, in many things quite the opposite of it. However, he raised some very valid points about the the domestic economy and other issues, and about the need to stop interventions in foreign countries, and getting along Russia, and the need to rebuild country's manufacturing system again. He was duly elected by the people, and he should have been given the support to pursue what he promised. But it did not happen. We would not know now what he actually wanted to accomplish.

Sam F , February 19, 2018 at 10:41 pm

Yes, neither party nor the mass media shows concern for the Constitution or for the people. As the propaganda agency, the mass media are primarily responsible. The zionist/WallSt/MIC oligarchy have consolidated control over mass media, secret agencies, and elections, but not without factions.

Michael , February 19, 2018 at 10:00 am

Although it's being done for the wrong reasons, I am nevertheless looking forward to seeing our out-of-control intelligence agencies being put in their place. If I were president and my party controlled both houses of Congress, you'd better believe I'd be looking to dismantle the national surveillance state and reduce the military budget to a "mere" $250 billion annually.

Joe Tedesky , February 19, 2018 at 11:09 am

Michael I hear ya. Yes, there is a civil war of sorts going on in DC, and yes it would be a wonderful thing to rid our bureaucracy of all the slim that is in it, but taking Jiminy Cricket's good advice to heart would be so much more fruitful to if you and I would only sing;

'When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires will come to you"

Now that song will be stuck in my head all day .got any Journey? Joe

Coleen Rowley , February 19, 2018 at 3:27 pm

It's true that people generally do not care when bad practices, policies or violence is inflicted on others and not on themselves. Of course that's stupid because it's just a matter of time before "blowback" occurs (as the CIA euphemistically labeled how doing unto others eventually boomerangs back on perpetrators). Going back to the Church Committee and how that bit of accountability finally happened, it only got off the ground when Frank Church and other Senators found THEMSELVES in the crosshairs of FBI Cointelpro; CIA's "CHAOS" and NSA's "Minaret" surveillance. http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/09/25/secret-cold-war-documents-reveal-nsa-spied-on-senators/ (To this day, only 7 of the 1000 or so Americans targeted by the NSA during the Vietnam War have been discovered but their identities are telling.)

The post 9-11 wars of aggression, massive surveillance, torture and other war crimes were sold to the American public as only to be inflicted on foreigners, i.e. "we fight them over there so we don't fight them here." But the blowback has now turned America's schools, malls, workplaces, concerts and churches into war zones and little by little, the disinformation ops, "regime change" know-how and other accoutrements of perpetual war (the fool's errand of gaining full spectrum dominance over the rest of the world) have been turned inward on the American people, including powerful American officials themselves. So it would seem to be a good thing that some politicians like Nunes have finally seen the light exactly as Frank Church did -- only when they themselves began to reap the negative consequences of what they thought would only negatively impact other, lesser people.

BobS , February 19, 2018 at 4:50 pm

" the blowback has now turned America's schools, malls, workplaces, concerts and churches into war zones"

"blowback" is doing a lot of work in that sentence, if you're referring specifically to "post 9-11 wars of aggression, massive surveillance, torture and other war crimes". Whenever the incidents have had a political agenda attached, it's more often than not been of the domestic right-wing variety. And of course, all of them have been facilitated by easy civilian access to hardware that was originally developed by the military (ours and the Soviets) to efficiently kill/incapacitate large numbers of enemy fighters.

Gregory Herr , February 19, 2018 at 7:30 pm

BobS fails to understand that blowback encapsulates more than "revenge". "Forever war" and all Colleen mentions that goes with it has had societal impact because violence is glorified as a "solution" and feelings of suspicion and antagonism become part of the dark undertow.

Sam F , February 19, 2018 at 10:54 pm

Well said, Colleen. Let us hope that Nunes is not merely acting the part. I wonder whether the greatest secrets of domestic spying are now so compartmentalized and controlled that only those most dependent upon their agency could blow the whistle.

Annie , February 19, 2018 at 4:23 pm

This is not to be compared to spying on citizens, which is unacceptable, but they tried to undermine a presidency, whether you like Trump or not, and at the same time it allowed them to push their cold war agenda. I remember Clinton's campaign manager coming out right after the e-mail dump that said the Russians did it. And didn't Obama send a lot of those Russian ambassadors packing? They should be investigated, as should the FISA court itself. Perhaps if Trump didn't have this charge of colluding with Russia he might have been able to be more diplomatic on that score. Now, they made sure he would never be getting along with Russia. What they have now is a bunch of Russians acting on their own that allegedly interfered in our elections and created political discord, which is absurd, since the democrats are mainly responsible for this nonsense, as is the FBI and DOJ. I was a democrat, but no more.

Dave P. , February 19, 2018 at 4:52 pm

Annie, you are right on that. However, Coleen Rowely has also made some very good observations in her comments. But there is more to it, as some have pointed out in comments above, there are some intra-party quarrels going on in Washington to take the upper hand. Regarding foreign policy, National Security State and surveillance, and other such issues, both parties are joined at the hip.

Gregory Herr , February 19, 2018 at 7:42 pm

I wouldn't completely discount the idea that Nunes' sense of responsibility has been activated by being a close witness to what is blatant wrongdoing. But then my cynicism is still tempered by the belief that sometimes people are compelled to do what's right just because it's what's right. Silly me.

Virginia , February 19, 2018 at 10:34 am

Me, too, Michael, to " dismantle the national surveillance state and reduce the military budget to a 'mere' $250 billion annually."

Thanks to Ray McGovern for another good article with link to interview. Good to hear they will finally be closing the Mueller investigation (Nunes was straightforward about that, no there there) and will likely be investigating the FBI and DOJ.

Applause goes to David Nunes. Keep up the good work.

Abbybwood , February 19, 2018 at 4:03 pm

But I see where Trump asked for nearly one TRILLION dollars for the military and got it.

Pandas4peace , February 19, 2018 at 10:24 am

Where can we get access to Seymour Hersh's "recent explosive investigations" even if they are written in German?

Cherrycoke , February 19, 2018 at 11:57 am

https://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article165905578/Trump-s-Red-Line.html

There is more at the bottom of the page.

Ray McGovern , February 19, 2018 at 12:11 pm

Try this link: http://raymcgovern.com/?s=hersh+welt or simply search on consortiumnews.com webpage.

ray

mike k , February 19, 2018 at 2:54 pm

"On June 25th 2017 the German newspaper, Welt, published the latest piece by Seymour Hersh, countering the "mainstream" narrative around the April 4th 2017 Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack in Syria."

Ray McGovern , February 19, 2018 at 9:35 pm

Ranney,

Please have a look at this: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/06/25/intel-behind-trumps-syria-attack-questioned/

Consortiumnews.com publishes and comments on everything Pulitzer Prize winning Sy Hersh does. The problem is that he is BANNED from English-language pubs -- simply banned and even kept off erstwhile "liberal" TV and radio programs. Amy Goodman, for example, has ALWAYS had Sy on when he had a new story until this one. She would not touch it; these days prefers to go with the "White Helmets" of this world. O Tempora, O Mores. Sad.

So, in sum, the problem is a very basic one. Sy does not publish until he has nailed down every significant detail and, since he is so well plugged in with many longtime, trusted sources to sift through, that takes a while for a bit story -- as all of them are. And when he is ready to publish, he hears folks whisper "Leper" as he gets close to an editorial office. It really IS that bad. We owe the op-ed editor at die Welt our thanks.

Btw: The Consortiumnews.com main page has a SEARCH button that I find very handy. Try to search on Seymour Hersh. Same goes for easily searchable raymcgovern.com, my website.

Ray

David Otness , February 19, 2018 at 5:37 pm

The London Review of Books has been publishing Hersh's work. That's one source.

Ray McGovern , February 19, 2018 at 9:51 pm

David,

Not for his latest of last June. See explanation of LRB cave in at: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/06/25/intel-behind-trumps-syria-attack-questioned/

The ostracizing of Sy Hersh is a major -- if highly depressing -- story in and of itself. But he is irrepressible. I do not think he is going to silently steal away any time soon.

Ray McGovern

Kim Dixon , February 19, 2018 at 10:32 am

Can anyone imagine the Neocon WashPo, or the NYT (or CBS, or CNN, or ) committing actual journalism, as this story progresses?

That, and the DNC's commitment to the DNC to the Russia Did It!™ canard, will ensure that real revelations go nowhere.

It is instructive to read the comments on any NYT article on this subject. The comments are clearly written by intelligent, well-educated individuals – who parrot the Deep State's anti-Russian propaganda as if they were the dumbest of the "Better dead than Red!" 50s McCarthyites.

The new McCarthyites are actually stupider and more authoritarian than their sad fore-bearers, because they could pierce the Deep States lies with 30 minutes of online research, but they prefer tribalism and ignorance, instead.

Lois Gagnon , February 19, 2018 at 1:01 pm

You got that right! I live in the 5 college area in Massachusetts. Plenty of those types around here playing activists. They fit your description. I can't stand to be in the same room with any of them. They may as well be from Mars.

Nancy , February 19, 2018 at 2:47 pm

I agree. The average working person has more common sense than the so-called intelligent, educated class. I suspect their views reflect the fact that they are very comfortable, financially, with the status quo, and don't want any real change.

mike k , February 19, 2018 at 10:35 am

Trump started going head to head with the intel folks, but has backed down a lot now. Let's hope Nunes et al hang in there and keep the pressure on these despicable criminals who hide behind governmental powers. When you allow people to do whatever they want in secret with no oversight, you can expect them to abuse their power. The basic question all this leads to is "who is running this country and making crucial decisions about war and peace, or fascism and democracy"?

BobH , February 19, 2018 at 10:52 am

Somehow I don't think Nunes or his committee is capable of reigning in Frankenstein. His "constitutuents"" are not likely to allow it and although the monster was pieced together from many body parts its instincts for self-preservation are formidable. Nevertheless, I would applaud anyone who makes the effort.

BobH , February 19, 2018 at 6:43 pm

Here's where Mueller's investigation didn't go https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-2_Bc_7Pos

Bob Van Noy , February 19, 2018 at 7:11 pm

Thanks BobH, that's an excellent rant, thanks for passing it along.

Joe Tedesky , February 19, 2018 at 10:58 am

The only way any trail that Nunes could even begin to make magically appear to happen before our weary eyes will happen only, and I say only, will appear because it will be good for tv ratings. Enforcing Constitutional law, I mean who does that anymore? Why today in our nation's capital we have congressional people asking the opposite of what Ben Franklin warned us good citizens about as the swamp critters are saying, 'Constitution how can we lose it'. You know this Ray that these crooks and crookettes in DC think that the U.S. Constitution is so passé and so anciently colonial that they hear Jefferson saying, 'ignore this stupid document, I was drunk with Adams and Franklin when I wrote it. It was all a big mistake.' Or something like that, but Constitutional law we don't need no stink'n Constitutional law, now get back to your part time work. (Whip cracking sound)

Hey Ray this whole fiasco does what is most important in this new American century, this fiasco is entertaining and the ratings are going through the roof so with that what more could a red blooded good American ask for now pass the tv remote.

Joe Tedesky , February 19, 2018 at 11:29 am

Paul Craig Roberts may have nailed this thing: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/02/18/cbs-contradicts-muellers-report/

blimbax , February 19, 2018 at 9:21 pm

Paul Craig Roberts wrote,

Note that after saying the Russians are indicted for interfering in the election, and spending 5 minutes on this, at the 5 minute 20 second mark Rosenstein says there is no evidence that the Russians had any affect [sic] on the election! So what we have is the Deputy Attorney General of the United States announcing an indictment for which he says there is no evidence!

If we take Roberts' statement at face value, he may have inadvertenly mischaracterized Rosenstein's statement. According to Roberts, Rosenstein said there is no evidence of an effect on the election, but it does not follow from that that Rosenstein is saying that there is no evidence of interference. There may have been "interference" that had no impact. And, of course, there is the question, just what is meant by "interference" in this context?

I share the frustration many commenters have about the entire "Russiagate" narrative, but I think it is important to be careful in how we evaluate these statements. It may all be a "nothinburger," but it is important to describe things carefully and correctly. Otherwise, one ends up inadvertently setting up a straw man for someone else to knock down.

Joe Tedesky , February 19, 2018 at 10:25 pm

I share the stress you do blimblax that you and all who stay on this Russia-Gate pay-ops suffer, but the way this crooked nail investigation has been going, mostly distorted by the press coverage, your argument about the interpretation of Rosenstein's words to the general public will be like splitting hairs with bald people . they just won't get it, and why, because I'm not sure the vast amount of Americans get it now. They got turned off along time ago back when the FBI didn't produce Trump performing his much heard about Steele Dossier acclaimed Water Sports in his Moscow Obama's Presidential Suite sick, yes, but it's the truth. No pictures, no believe you.

Personally I have never doubted any Russian influence in the way of statements, or essays, but this contribution of opinion is to be expected from any well thinking country, or nation if you'd rather of the world. Plus the Russians spending wasn't even close to any real fraction of what both U.S. Presidential candidate spend on their campaigns, get real.

In the world of cypher espionage I have no knowledge, but if Russia does hang out in it well then I'm sure the U.S. is already there to do what it must to defend it's cypher security. So that's a wash, but this insane Russia-Gate distraction was originally a way to deflect attention from Hillary & Debbie's putting the screws to Socialist Sanders . then Russia-Gate became a MSM driven coup to oust Trump from his Electoral won presidential office.

We could argue to how Trump,should be questioned, or even brought up on impeachment charges, but not for this particular Russia interference into our so well guarded American democracy. In fact we Americans don't need any Russian help at bringing our American democracy down, because we Americans already did that with the Patriot Act as among a few many other things. Joe

Joe Tedesky , February 19, 2018 at 11:59 am

Here is a rant by Charles Hugh Smith: http://charleshughsmith.blogspot.com/2018/02/russian-meddling-gagging-on-irony.html

SocraticGadfly , February 19, 2018 at 1:35 pm

Neither Dems nor GOP truly care about the First Amendment. Ray won't write about that. I have, re the Mueller indictments: http://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2018/02/internet-research-agency-butt-hurt.html

Joe Tedesky , February 19, 2018 at 2:14 pm

That was a terrific read, and so is this: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/02/mueller-indictement-the-russian-influence-is-a-commercial-marketing-scheme.html#more

Enjoy. Joe

Bill , February 19, 2018 at 11:48 am

Somehow many Democrats are convinced that the FBI/DOJ did nothing wrong with regards to the FISA warrants. And they're still convinced that Trump colluded with Putin. Nothing will change their minds, it's hopeless.

Lois Gagnon , February 19, 2018 at 4:17 pm

It is indeed surreal to watch people who classify themselves as the left undermining the left by supporting the very agencies whose sole purpose from their inception is to destroy the left.

As David William Pear put it at OpEd News, "I don't think even Orwell has a scene like this: anti-authoritarian dissidents endorse more authoritarian means to weed out authoritarians resulting in authoritarians having more control to weed out dissidents."

I have a headache.

Jessika , February 19, 2018 at 11:55 am

The Deep State is very, very deep, and we're "Knee Deep in the Big Muddy" (Pete Seeger). Anybody knows the US Deep State was thoroughly entrenched by Reagan's time. It's overdue not to let this deep state corruption harden to concrete. I support neither party until there is a course correction, and Nunes makes valid points in support of a correction. Thanks, Ray.

BobS , February 19, 2018 at 11:58 am

Thin skinned too, eh Ray?
You're right, of course- Russia analysts at the CIA did stellar work in the 1980s.

Joe Tedesky , February 19, 2018 at 12:01 pm

No BobS it's you with your thickhead that doesn't get it. Keep it up BobS, because eventually you are going to say something funny. Take care. Joe

SocraticGadfly , February 19, 2018 at 1:34 pm

Ray continues to engage in two-siderism. He ignores digging into legit critiques of Mueller, as I have. http://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2018/02/internet-research-agency-butt-hurt.html

Charles Misfeldt , February 19, 2018 at 11:58 am

Will Nunes or any conservative go after the thousands of illegal acts perpetrated by conservatives??? NO! Nunes, along with every conservative traitor in America (republican or democrat) needs to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The conservative agenda is not moral or constitutional.

BobS , February 19, 2018 at 1:09 pm

Considering their disregard for law as well as their worship of authoritarianism (exercised against the proper targets, of course), I'd say it's more than "self-enrichment" that drives conservatives, both ancient and modern.

Deniz , February 19, 2018 at 1:58 pm

Perhaps that is an issue, but I am unclear precisely what is wrong in Nunes position that he is relying on Gowdy, an undeniably sharp, precise, prosecutor, to review the examined material. Watching both Nunes and Gowdy in sessions, I would have probably, and gladly, made the same decision. It also make sense politically that they cover for each other, one person is expendable and takes the heat – Nunes, while the other – Gowdy, an upward star of the party, who probably ran the whole investigation anyway, keeps his hands clean.

BobS , February 19, 2018 at 2:09 pm

The always partisan "upward star" Trey 'BENGHAZI!!!' Gowdy announced his retirement from congress last month due to his being "sick of hyper-partisanship". And let me show you this bridge I'm selling

Deniz , February 19, 2018 at 2:32 pm

In fact, I would greatly enjoy a discussion on weapons transfers from Libya to Erdogan to Al – Qaeda via Clinton. This is actually one of my favorite topics. So have it.

Deniz , February 19, 2018 at 5:34 pm

So what is your argument, that we should be loyal to our crime family and not theirs?

Or do you think Hillary, "We came, we saw, he died" or Mueller, of nothing to see here on 9/11 notoriety are the sort of people we should be defending.

Jessika , February 19, 2018 at 12:07 pm

Impossible to get the whole Gorgon's head, anyway, in such a corrupt system as we have. Why else are we in such a mess? Both GOP and Democrats have not served the people, so we should therefore give up trying to address any abuse?

Antiwar7 , February 19, 2018 at 12:35 pm

Ray, do you think Trump has made a deal: he'll allow escalations against Russia, and in return the Deep State will leave him alone? If so, does that portend that this will fizzle out?

Gregory Herr , February 19, 2018 at 8:14 pm

So you are privy to the briefings in question. Just because Reagan bloated the military budget doesn't mean he was being fed false intelligence by McGovern.

On the other hand, it is well publicized that Cheney twisted arms at Langley and Tenet obliged and Rummy worked the Iraq angle as well. We also had the Downing Street Memo and the Powell fiasco and Valerie Plame. Ray was right to be indignant.

Jerry Alatalo , February 19, 2018 at 3:50 pm

While the shiny ball, smoke and mirrors psychological operation known as "Russiagate" has begun running on fumes before the gas tank finally runs dry, the major revelation of the Clinton WikiLeaks emails describing Saudi/Qatari financing of ISIS drops further down the memory hole. There's nothing like success

Drew Hunkins , February 19, 2018 at 3:59 pm

Good point Mr. Alatalo. The Saudi-Zio Terror Network gets away with murder, literally and figuratively and of course the Saudi-Zio Terror Network NEVER, EVER interferes in ANY elections in the United States, no never.

(sarcasm)

Paul E. Merrell, J.D. , February 19, 2018 at 5:59 pm

Related news: Kim Dotcom: "Let Me Assure You, The DNC Hack Wasn't Even A Hack", https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-02-18/kim-dotcom-let-me-assure-you-dnc-hack-wasnt-even-hack (Kim Dot Com claims personal knowledge on who took the DNC emails (Seth Rich) and his lawyers wrote to Mueller twice, offering his testimony, but never heard back from Mueller).

Bob Van Noy , February 19, 2018 at 7:18 pm

Thank you Paul E. Merrell, J.D. I have been convinced from the beginning of all of this that this was the line to Wikileaks. Now if we could only get a real investigation into Seth's murder.

Stop Bush and Clinton , February 19, 2018 at 7:34 pm

"We found that they broke a vast number of laws, did surveillance of a competitor with a warrant based on fake evidence, all adding up to treason worse than Watergate. But we think that no reasonable prosecutor would file charges .." -- The FBI

[Feb 19, 2018] US must immediately leave area it controls in southern Syria -- Lavrov

Feb 19, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press

19 Feb, 2018
US troops must immediately shut down their zone of control in southern Syria in the area of Al-Tanf, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested when asked what should be done to help the Syrian peace settlement.

Lavrov was referring to an area on Syria's border with Jordan and Iraq, which the US declared to be under its protection last year. Among other things, it contains the Rukban refugee camp.

The facility is apparently used by radical militants, including members of UN-designated terrorist group best known by its former name Al-Nusra Front, to recover and raid other parts of Syria, Lavrov said at the Valdai Club conference on the Middle East in Moscow.

The US is turning a blind eye to such abuses of its protection, he added.

[Feb 19, 2018] The Russiagate Intelligence Wars What We Do and Don't Know

Highly recommended!
Mueller was the person responsible for investigation of 911. That fact alone tells you all as for what we can expect.
Notable quotes:
"... NO actual physical proof has been presented to the public to substantiate claims that Russia hacked the DNC ..."
"... There is NO proof (only allegations) of collusion between Trump's campaign and the Kremlin ..."
"... Social media efforts by Russian trolls to influence the election were minimal in the extreme, laughably amateurish and completely ineffective ..."
"... Glenn Greenwald has spent the past year documenting in detail the large volume of fake anti-Russian "news" generated by the MSM (see GG at The Intercept) ..."
"... There is NO connection between the Russian government and the 13 private citizens recently indicted for their pathetic and ineffectual activity as part of a troll farm ..."
"... Thanks to the paranoid, xenophobic, Russia-bashing nationalistic propaganda that is being promoted by our military-industrial-intelligence-media complex, the U.S. now believes it is acceptable to launch a first strike nuclear attack in retaliation for breeches of cyber security ..."
"... Trump won't be impeached over Russiagate for the simple reason that Russiagate is nothing but a psyops perpetrated against the American people by the national-security bureaucracy (and their corporate media propagandists) for the purposes of reigniting a second Cold War and maintaining U.S. global hegemony. ..."
"... Thanks to the hysterical McCarthyism now rampant among Democrats - and that is being used to great effect by Washington's bipartisan neocon warmongers - we may just end up in a nuclear war. The good news: it will be a short war and the Democrats will never have to accept responsibility for Clinton's loss. ..."
"... How about that Clinton got the CIA to partner with neo-Nazis in Ukraine to stage a coup, kick out Putin's friend, and install a billionaire capitalist as President? - something the media never mentions. ..."
"... Ultimately, I see the Russia story as getting its legs from the efforts of the dominant Hillary wing of the Democratic party, backed by big media, to continue to assert that Hillary really won the presidency in 2016, and that their wing should continue to have control of the party. ..."
"... That an immensely dangerous war fever is being whipped up in the process is of no importance to them. And, by no means incidentally, they are ignoring all of the real atrocities being committed by the Trump administration against the American people and the earth's environment. ..."
"... It has been thus since the creep moved into the White House. Dreyfuss, perky Rachel Maddow, Colbert, Maher, and many others have been the true "useful idiots". ..."
"... This same media never gave Sanders any media exposure during the primary. ..."
"... I would add that the election manipulations which the Clinton forces engaged in to defeat Sanders during the Democratic primaries dwarfs, by orders of magnitude, anything alleged against the Russians by even the most hawkish backers of the Russia probe. ..."
"... tweet by Peter Van Buren, former US foreign intelligence officer "Just did a quick read of the '13 Russian' indictment. Missing are a) any connections between the 13 and the Russian government and/or Trump campaign; b) any discussion of the impact (if any) their social media efforts had. It describes them buying Facebook ads, but nothing about if it affected votes; c) no connection shown between any of this and DNC, Wikileaks, hacking of emails; d) no discussion of motive; e) assumption that anything anti-Clinton was defacto pro-Bernie and/or pro-Trump. And all indicted persons are Russians, and outside the U.S., so highly unlikely this is going anywhere further legally. ..."
"... BTW, today the media put up that scumbag Podesta as a spokesperson for the Democrats. ..."
"... Seems that the end justifies the means. No matter what is the truth. In the mean-time, they're actually harming the opposition to Trump. I suppose nobody asked Podesta why the DNC never offered their computers for FBI forensics. ..."
"... The MSM never asks the hard questions anymore. It seems all pre-scripted and sanitized for corporate media. ..."
"... It's been a year since Mueller went to work and what's he got? A couple of Republican political operatives being political operatives. Their crime was not reporting to the USG that they were working for Ukraine. Now we're down to social media posts. You're probably one of those people who say, I saw it on the internet so it must be true. If the government is going to be upset about crap they see on social media from foreign parties, they need to start by telling said social media that they can't solicit advertising from foreign entities with political overtones as facebook did of RT. ..."
"... So we are going to limit global free speech by spending $Trillions more on building a nuclear arsenal - total madness - driven by [un] Democratic whining. ..."
"... Apparently, it comes down to trolls who planted various "fake news" stories. Stipulate to all of that; the worst of it. How does THAT begin to stack–up against the murderous coup that the USA OPENLY fomented in the Ukraine a couple of years earlier by bankrolling dozens of Non-governmental organizations whose sole purpose was "regime change"? ..."
"... Maybe come back to me about all of this when the FBI can convincingly prove that the Russian government armed and funded a Neo–nazi para–military group that assaulted and burned–down the North Carolina State House. ..."
"... You mean like Clinton and the CIA did in Ukraine, for economic domination over Russia, don't you? ..."
"... Tell me, as soon as you can, when having skepticism on the Russia/Election Meddling story is finally permitted. I heard tell, we've lately dropped the "Treason" narration. Now the spin du jour is that Trump & Co were all duped by them clever Ruskies. Whatever floats your boat. ..."
"... Stephen Cohen's take on Russiagate makes a lot of sense, to me. I've followed Russia/soviet/US relations very closely since Gorbachev. Open your eyes, Mattis has labeled Russia our mortal enemy, we just upped defense spending to an obscene level that shall keep our schools, hospitals, social services, and infrastructure in their bad state. ..."
Feb 19, 2018 | www.thenation.com

Cara Marianna says: February 19, 2018 at 4:36 pm

Here's what we know:

  1. NO actual physical proof has been presented to the public to substantiate claims that Russia hacked the DNC
  2. There is NO proof (only allegations) of collusion between Trump's campaign and the Kremlin
  3. Social media efforts by Russian trolls to influence the election were minimal in the extreme, laughably amateurish and completely ineffective
  4. Glenn Greenwald has spent the past year documenting in detail the large volume of fake anti-Russian "news" generated by the MSM (see GG at The Intercept)
  5. There is NO connection between the Russian government and the 13 private citizens recently indicted for their pathetic and ineffectual activity as part of a troll farm
  6. Thanks to the paranoid, xenophobic, Russia-bashing nationalistic propaganda that is being promoted by our military-industrial-intelligence-media complex, the U.S. now believes it is acceptable to launch a first strike nuclear attack in retaliation for breeches of cyber security

Read number six again and think about it. The U.S. is ready and willing to launch a preemptive nuclear attack against any nation it accuses of undermining our cyber security - no proof necessary. The Democratic establishment, which has spent the past year engaging in baseless Kremlin-baiting (and very little else), is directly responsible for this insanity.

Trump won't be impeached over Russiagate for the simple reason that Russiagate is nothing but a psyops perpetrated against the American people by the national-security bureaucracy (and their corporate media propagandists) for the purposes of reigniting a second Cold War and maintaining U.S. global hegemony.

Thanks to the hysterical McCarthyism now rampant among Democrats - and that is being used to great effect by Washington's bipartisan neocon warmongers - we may just end up in a nuclear war. The good news: it will be a short war and the Democrats will never have to accept responsibility for Clinton's loss.

Fred Caruso says: February 18, 2018 at 9:30 pm

Who gives a shit really?

How about that Clinton got the CIA to partner with neo-Nazis in Ukraine to stage a coup, kick out Putin's friend, and install a billionaire capitalist as President? - something the media never mentions.

Caleb Melamed says: February 18, 2018 at 9:12 am

As I open the online edition of The Nation this morning, there are two lead stories. One of them tells how Trump is planning to evict 5 million poor people from public housing. A very important story.

The second story by Bob Dreyfuss is probably the 10,000th one I've seen about the Russia probe. The public housing story is obviously much more important and substantial, yet the Democrats have been focusing almost exclusively on the flimsy Russia probe. Not even the pressing need to regulate assault rifles has really grabbed their full attention, even in the wake of the latest dreadful Florida high school massacre. In perusing the news stories this Sunday morning, the Russia probe continues to hold first place in coverage by a big margin.

Ultimately, I see the Russia story as getting its legs from the efforts of the dominant Hillary wing of the Democratic party, backed by big media, to continue to assert that Hillary really won the presidency in 2016, and that their wing should continue to have control of the party.

That an immensely dangerous war fever is being whipped up in the process is of no importance to them. And, by no means incidentally, they are ignoring all of the real atrocities being committed by the Trump administration against the American people and the earth's environment.

Clark M Shanahan says: February 18, 2018 at 9:52 am

Amen, Caleb
It has been thus since the creep moved into the White House. Dreyfuss, perky Rachel Maddow, Colbert, Maher, and many others have been the true "useful idiots".

Fred Caruso says: February 18, 2018 at 9:33 pm

This same media never gave Sanders any media exposure during the primary.

Caleb Melamed says: February 18, 2018 at 9:42 am

I would add that the election manipulations which the Clinton forces engaged in to defeat Sanders during the Democratic primaries dwarfs, by orders of magnitude, anything alleged against the Russians by even the most hawkish backers of the Russia probe.

Clark M Shanahan says: February 18, 2018 at 8:24 am

FYI
tweet by Peter Van Buren, former US foreign intelligence officer "Just did a quick read of the '13 Russian' indictment. Missing are a) any connections between the 13 and the Russian government and/or Trump campaign; b) any discussion of the impact (if any) their social media efforts had. It describes them buying Facebook ads, but nothing about if it affected votes; c) no connection shown between any of this and DNC, Wikileaks, hacking of emails; d) no discussion of motive; e) assumption that anything anti-Clinton was defacto pro-Bernie and/or pro-Trump. And all indicted persons are Russians, and outside the U.S., so highly unlikely this is going anywhere further legally.

Fred Caruso says: February 18, 2018 at 9:37 pm

There is nothing illegal or unethical about any individual of government supporting one candidate over another. BTW, today the media put up that scumbag Podesta as a spokesperson for the Democrats.

Clark M Shanahan says: February 19, 2018 at 9:02 am

Seems that the end justifies the means. No matter what is the truth. In the mean-time, they're actually harming the opposition to Trump. I suppose nobody asked Podesta why the DNC never offered their computers for FBI forensics.

Fred Caruso says: February 19, 2018 at 12:31 pm

The MSM never asks the hard questions anymore. It seems all pre-scripted and sanitized for corporate media.

Richard Phelps says: February 18, 2018 at 2:52 am

There is one issue that no media is talking about regarding the "memos". Trump is clearly a "person of interest", if not a suspect in some parts of the investigation. Given Trump's entanglement how is it not an absolute conflict of interest for Trump being the person who decides what memos get to be public and what redactions must be made.

Imagine a judge being a suspect in a crime or a major stockholder in a corporate civil suit. S/he would never be allowed to make any rulings on what evidence the jury gets to see or anything about the case. Some non-interested 3rd party needs to make those decisions.

Fred Caruso says: February 18, 2018 at 9:38 pm

Quit feeding this beast.

Jeffrey Harrison says: February 16, 2018 at 8:15 pm

The other interesting and fun fact not mentioned anywhere. Three Names won by 3 million votes. Crafty Ruskis.

Carla Skidmore says: February 16, 2018 at 7:33 pm

This investigation by Mueller is just beginning. In other words, and to use the vernacular, "We "ain't seen nothing," yet."

Fred Caruso says: February 18, 2018 at 9:40 pm

You are right. This is nothing but bullshit and it may be just the beginning. The Democrats have an endless supply of donkey-shit.

Jeffrey Harrison says: February 16, 2018 at 6:08 pm

It's interesting that the Russians set this all up to boost Trump and disparage Three Names before Trump even announced he was running. The basic set up for this was going on in 2014 whereas Trump announced in 2015.

Carla Skidmore says: February 16, 2018 at 7:29 pm

No, not really. Trump was making gestures of interest in the presidency in 2012

Clark M Shanahan says: February 18, 2018 at 10:28 am

Since when have you been so trusting of our FBI & CIA, Carla? From what we've experienced together from the Gulf of Tonkin onward, I'm a wee-tad taken aback. Please read the ex-foreign intelligence officer's twitter posting that I posted above.

Jeffrey Harrison says: February 16, 2018 at 8:30 pm

Pfui. He also made noises about running in the 2012 election. People don't set up organizations to do stuff just on the off chance that some politician or wannabe is going to run. These guys ain't got nothin'. It's been a year since Mueller went to work and what's he got? A couple of Republican political operatives being political operatives. Their crime was not reporting to the USG that they were working for Ukraine. Now we're down to social media posts. You're probably one of those people who say, I saw it on the internet so it must be true. If the government is going to be upset about crap they see on social media from foreign parties, they need to start by telling said social media that they can't solicit advertising from foreign entities with political overtones as facebook did of RT.

Fred Caruso says: February 19, 2018 at 3:35 pm

So we are going to limit global free speech by spending $Trillions more on building a nuclear arsenal - total madness - driven by [un] Democratic whining.

Francis Louis Szot says: February 16, 2018 at 6:05 pm

Apparently, it comes down to trolls who planted various "fake news" stories. Stipulate to all of that; the worst of it. How does THAT begin to stack–up against the murderous coup that the USA OPENLY fomented in the Ukraine a couple of years earlier by bankrolling dozens of Non-governmental organizations whose sole purpose was "regime change"?

Maybe come back to me about all of this when the FBI can convincingly prove that the Russian government armed and funded a Neo–nazi para–military group that assaulted and burned–down the North Carolina State House.

Fred Caruso says: February 19, 2018 at 3:37 pm

You mean like Clinton and the CIA did in Ukraine, for economic domination over Russia, don't you?

Clark M Shanahan says: February 16, 2018 at 3:44 pm

I'm hoping the hush-money passed on to two of Trump's romantic caprices, during the election, gets traction.

Tell me, as soon as you can, when having skepticism on the Russia/Election Meddling story is finally permitted. I heard tell, we've lately dropped the "Treason" narration. Now the spin du jour is that Trump & Co were all duped by them clever Ruskies. Whatever floats your boat.

Clark M Shanahan says: February 17, 2018 at 10:13 am

Yes David, I'm still a skeptic. In fact, I think this move to indict 13 suspects, that have a snowball in Hell's chance of ever being tried, is simply a dog and pony show to placate the public. Debrief yourself, read Binney's report and listen to Stephen F Cohen's latest, here on the Nation.

Clark M Shanahan says: February 17, 2018 at 5:25 pm

Stephen Cohen's take on Russiagate makes a lot of sense, to me. I've followed Russia/soviet/US relations very closely since Gorbachev. Open your eyes, Mattis has labeled Russia our mortal enemy, we just upped defense spending to an obscene level that shall keep our schools, hospitals, social services, and infrastructure in their bad state.

As if Hill, who stole the primaries actually ran a competent campaign.

[Feb 19, 2018] Kim Dotcom Let Me Assure You, The DNC Hack Wasn t Even A Hack Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... All fucking Kabuki. All of it. ..."
"... The Deep State (Oligarchs and the MIC) is totally fucking loving this: they have Trump and the GOP giving them everything they ever wanted and they have the optics and distraction of an "embattled" president that claims to be against or a victim of the "deep state" and a base that rally's, circles the wagons around him, and falls for the narrative. ..."
"... They know exactly who it was with the memory stick, there is always video of one form or another either in the data center or near the premises that can indicate who it was. They either have a video of Seth Rich putting the stick into the server directly, or they at least have a video of his car entering and leaving the vicinity of the ex-filtration. ..."
"... This would have been an open and shut case if shillary was not involved. Since it was involved, you can all chalk it up to the Clinton body count. I pray that it gets justice. It and the country, the world - needs justice. ..."
Feb 19, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Kim Dotcom: "Let Me Assure You, The DNC Hack Wasn't Even A Hack"

by Tyler Durden Mon, 02/19/2018 - 07:51 3.4K SHARES

Kim Dotcom has once again chimed in on the DNC hack, following a Sunday morning tweet from President Trump clarifying his previous comments on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

In response, Dotcom tweeted " Let me assure you, the DNC hack wasn't even a hack. It was an insider with a memory stick. I know this because I know who did it and why," adding "Special Counsel Mueller is not interested in my evidence. My lawyers wrote to him twice. He never replied. 360 pounds! " alluding of course to Trump's "400 pound genius" comment.

Dotcom's assertion is backed up by an analysis done last year by a researcher who goes by the name Forensicator , who determined that the DNC files were copied at 22.6 MB/s - a speed virtually impossible to achieve from halfway around the world, much less over a local network - yet a speed typical of file transfers to a memory stick.

The local transfer theory of course blows the Russian hacking narrative out of the water, lending credibility to the theory that the DNC "hack" was in fact an inside job, potentially implicating late DNC IT staffer, Seth Rich.

John Podesta's email was allegely successfully "hacked" (he fell victim to a phishing scam ) in March 2016, while the DNC reported suspicious activity (the suspected Seth Rich file transfer) in late April, 2016 according to the Washington Post.

On May 18, 2017, Dotcom proposed that if Congress includes the Seth Rich investigation in their Russia probe, he would provide written testimony with evidence that Seth Rich was WikiLeaks' source.

On May 19 2017 Dotcom tweeted "I knew Seth Rich. I was involved"

Three days later, Dotcom again released a guarded statement saying "I KNOW THAT SETH RICH WAS INVOLVED IN THE DNC LEAK," adding:

"I have consulted with my lawyers. I accept that my full statement should be provided to the authorities and I am prepared to do that so that there can be a full investigation. My lawyers will speak with the authorities regarding the proper process.

If my evidence is required to be given in the United States I would be prepared to do so if appropriate arrangements are made. I would need a guarantee from Special Counsel Mueller, on behalf of the United States, of safe passage from New Zealand to the United States and back. In the coming days we will be communicating with the appropriate authorities to make the necessary arrangements. In the meantime, I will make no further comment."

Dotcom knew.

While one could simply write off Dotcom's claims as an attention seeking stunt, he made several comments and a series of tweets hinting at the upcoming email releases prior to both the WikiLeaks dumps as well as the publication of the hacked DNC emails to a website known as "DCLeaks."

In a May 14, 2015 Bloomberg article entitled "Kim Dotcom: Julian Assange Will Be Hillary Clinton's Worst Nightmare In 2016 ": "I have to say it's probably more Julian," who threatens Hillary, Dotcom said. " But I'm aware of some of the things that are going to be roadblocks for her ."

Two days later, Dotcom tweeted this:

Around two months later, Kim asks a provocative question

Two weeks after that, Dotcom then tweeted "Mishandling classified info is a crime. When Hillary's emails eventually pop up on the internet who's going to jail?"

It should thus be fairly obvious to anyone that Dotcom was somehow involved, and therefore any evidence he claims to have, should be taken seriously as part of Mueller's investigation. Instead, as Dotcom tweeted, "Special Counsel Mueller is not interested in my evidence. My lawyers wrote to him twice. He never replied. "

chunga Sun, 02/18/2018 - 21:59 Permalink

Pffft...this guy sounds like the reds with their "blockbuster" memo. Honest Hill'rey is laughing!

SethPoor -> chunga Sun, 02/18/2018 - 22:00 Permalink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_8VaMbPjUU

Bes -> J S Bach Sun, 02/18/2018 - 22:17 Permalink

All fucking Kabuki. All of it.

The Deep State (Oligarchs and the MIC) is totally fucking loving this: they have Trump and the GOP giving them everything they ever wanted and they have the optics and distraction of an "embattled" president that claims to be against or a victim of the "deep state" and a base that rally's, circles the wagons around him, and falls for the narrative.

Meanwhile they keep enacting the most Pro Deep State/MIC/Police State/Zionist/Wall Street agenda possible. And they call it #winning

----

pathetic.

bigkahuna -> CheapBastard Mon, 02/19/2018 - 09:58 Permalink

"Had to be a Russian mole with a computer stick. MSM, DNC and Muller say so."

They know exactly who it was with the memory stick, there is always video of one form or another either in the data center or near the premises that can indicate who it was. They either have a video of Seth Rich putting the stick into the server directly, or they at least have a video of his car entering and leaving the vicinity of the ex-filtration.

This would have been an open and shut case if shillary was not involved. Since it was involved, you can all chalk it up to the Clinton body count. I pray that it gets justice. It and the country, the world - needs justice.

StarGate -> CheapBastard Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:23 Permalink

Don't forget the "hack" analysis of Russian owned "Crowdstrike" since the FBI did and continues to, refuse to analyze the DNC computers.

KuriousKat -> CheapBastard Mon, 02/19/2018 - 13:26 Permalink

Isn't Alperovitch the Only Russian in there?.. When you rule out the impossible...whatever remains probable.. probably is..

wildbad -> IntercoursetheEU Mon, 02/19/2018 - 03:05 Permalink

Kim is great, Assange is great. Kim is playing a double game. He wants immunity from the US GUmmint overreach that destroyed his company and made him a prisoner in NZ.

Good on ya Kim.

His name was Seth Rich...and he will reach out from the grave and bury Killary who murdered him.

NumberNone -> wildbad Mon, 02/19/2018 - 10:04 Permalink

There are so many nuances to this and all are getting mentioned but the one that also stands out is that in an age of demands for gun control by the Dems, Seth Rich is never, ever mentioned. He should be the poster child for gun control. Young man, draped in a American flag, helping democracy, gunned down...it writes itself.

They either are afraid of the possible racial issues should it turn out to be a black man killing a white man (but why should that matter in a gun control debate?) or they just don't want people looking at this case. I go for #2.

Socratic Dog -> Buckaroo Banzai Mon, 02/19/2018 - 12:09 Permalink

Funny that George Webb can figure it out, but Trump, Leader of the Free World, is sitting there with his dick in his hand waiting for someone to save him.

Whatever he might turn out to be, this much is clear: Trump is a spineless weakling. He might be able to fuck starlets, but he hasn't got the balls to defend either himself or the Republic.

verumcuibono -> Buckaroo Banzai Mon, 02/19/2018 - 14:26 Permalink

Webb's research is also...managed. But a lot of it was/is really good (don't follow it anymore) and I agree re: SR piece of it.

I think SR is such an interesting case. It's not really an anomaly because SO many Bush-CFR-related hits end the same way and his had typical signatures. But his also squeels of a job done w/out much prior planning because I think SR surprised everyone. If, in fact, that was when he was killed. Everything regarding the family's demeanor suggests no.

verumcuibono -> NumberNone Mon, 02/19/2018 - 12:41 Permalink

MANY patterns in shootings: failure in law enforcement/intelligence who were notified of problem individuals ahead of time, ARs, mental health and SSRIs, and ongoing resistance to gun control in DC ----these are NOT coincidences. Nor are distractions in MSM's version of events w/ controlled propaganda.

Children will stop being killed when America wakes the fuck up and starts asking the right questions, making the right demands. It's time.

KJWqonfo7 -> wildbad Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:15 Permalink

Kim is awesome to watch, I remember his old website of pics of him on yachts with hot girls and racing the Gumball Rally.

verumcuibono -> wildbad Mon, 02/19/2018 - 14:28 Permalink

I don't think you know how these hackers have nearly ALL been intercepted by CIA--for decades now. DS has had backdoor access to just about all of them. I agree that Kim is great, brilliant and was sabotaged but he's also cooperating. Otherwise he'd be dead.

StarGate -> Billy the Poet Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:48 Permalink

Bes is either "disinfo plant" or energy draining pessimist. Result is the same - to deflate your power to create a new future.

Trump saw the goal of the Fed Reserve banksters decades ago and spoke often about it. Like Prez Kennedy he wants to return USA economy to silver or gold backed dollar then transition to new system away from the Black Magic fed reserve/ tax natl debt machine.

The Globalist Cabal has been working to destroy the US economy ever since they income tax April 15th Lincoln at the Ford theater. 125 years. But Bes claims because Trump cannot reverse 125 years of history in one year that it is kabuki.

Pessimism is its own reward.

[Feb 19, 2018] Russian-Turkish axis in Syria faces meltdown by M. K. Bhadrakumar

Feb 19, 2018 | www.atimes.com

Will Erdogan again turn towards the US? Feb 8, 2018 | 5,604 96
Two things differentiate the downing of a Russian Su-25 ground-attack jet in the western province of Idlib on February 3 from the drone attacks on the Russian air base at Hmeimim a month earlier.

One, Russia could thwart the attack on January 5 by a wave of drone aircraft but singularly failed to anticipate the use of man-portable air defense systems by extremists operating in Idlib under Turkish watch. Russia lost an ace fighter pilot in the latter attack.

Two, Moscow sensed an American hand in the drone attack on January 5, but this time around Russia's Tass news agency promptly highlighted an American denial on record. The Kremlin's Dmitry Peskov made a point of cautioning against speculations "before one gets precise information as to how terrorists in Syria got that particular man-portable air defense system and other weapons that they have."

Notably, however, an influential lawmaker – Dmitry Sablin, coordinator of the Russia-Syria parliamentary friendship group – went ahead to "speculate," saying: "We have information that the MANPADS used to bring down our jet was brought into Syria from a neighboring country several days ago. Countries from whose territory weapons arrive, that are then used against Russian servicemen, must understand that this will not go unpunished."

Curiously, the day after Sablin spoke, Turkey came out with a counter-allegation of its own, attributed to "security sources," to the effect that the weaponry used in the attack against a Turkish army tank on February 3 by Kurds in Afrin "might have been a Russian-made 9M113 Konkurs" and that the "claim is being evaluated." Five Turkish soldiers were killed in that attack.

Suffice to say, the air is thick with innuendos and dark hints that Russia and Turkey may have drawn each other's blood on February 3, despite notionally being allies in Syria's hybrid war.

In January, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reached out to President Vladimir Putin to clarify the situation. But over the latest incident, no such exchange has so far taken place, even though Erdogan is under obligation to initiate one – according to the understanding reached in talks in Astana last year following the Syrian ceasefire, Turkey is entrusted with setting up "observation posts" in Idlib to monitor the activities of extremist groups.

Meanwhile, on February 5, Putin sent an effusive message to Nicos Anastasiades congratulating him on his re-election as the President of the Republic of Cyprus. Putin's message expressed confidence that the "constructive dialogue" and "joint work" by the two countries are in the mutual interests of both and "in keeping with efforts to improve stability and security in Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean." Cyprus' relations with Turkey have been unfriendly ever since the Turkish invasion and occupation of the northern part of the country in 1974.

Typically, therefore, Erdogan will now seek a modus vivendi with the US. Of course, it will be a dream come true for the US if the hairline crack in the Russian-Turkish axis in Syria widens and becomes a rift in the coming weeks. In their opposition to the establishment of Russian bases in Syria, Washington and Ankara are on the same page.

On the other hand, the Pentagon will expect Erdogan to give up his plans to launch any military operation to attack the Kurds in Manbij. The US simply cannot accede to the Turkish demand that it break its alliance with Syria's Kurds. US Defence Secretary James Mattis hinted on Friday that talks are going on with Turkey to dissuade Erdogan from ordering an operation on Manbij.

For his part, Erdogan will seek a tradeoff with the Trump administration to create conditions for a broader rapprochement with the US. He is well aware that the US will see advantages in the developing situation to push its containment strategy against Iran more effectively in Syria and to isolate the Assad regime. Indeed, a rift in the Russian-Turkish axis in Syria opens an entirely new ball game in the country, one that enables the US to create new facts on the ground and negotiate harder on the terms of a future Syrian settlement. Israel is also a stakeholder here.

Erdogan all along hankered for an enhanced role for Turkey as the flag carrier in the West's strategies in Syria, fancying himself to be the role model for the Muslim Middle East. But President Barack Obama was disinterested in any such dalliance with the mercurial Sultan in Ankara.

Things are very much in flux, though. Erdogan met Pope Francis on Monday. It was the first time in 59 years that a Turkish President had visited the Vatican.

[Feb 19, 2018] With the almost non stop Russian bashing in the US one has to wonder if something else is at play here. Like priming the US psych to cheer on an inevitable war with Russia.

More like attempt to unite the nation which crumbles die to crisis of neoliberalism and decimation of neoliberal ideology. And resore even on false pretext trust for neoliberal ruling elite that is sitting in Congress and major government institutions.
As well as swipe Hillary political fiasco under the rug and prevent loss of power by Clinton wing of Democratic Party.
Feb 19, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

not dead vet Fri, 02/16/2018 - 23:43 Permalink

With the almost non stop Russian bashing in the US one has to wonder if something else is at play here. Like priming the US psych to cheer on an inevitable war with Russia. If one digs into the revelations it's obvious they are bunk, unless your reading Wapo, New York Times, Time, and other neocon mouthpieces which are full of fiction not facts, but America is a soundbite nation. We stop reading after the headline and the way stories are structured that do have some truth in them never get read.

No matter what the US has done to crash the Russian economy Putin has strengthened it and is working hard to make it impervious to outside forces.

Unlike the US where the government and the CEO's can't destroy it fast enough while filling their wallets. The more successful Putin is, especially on foreign policy, the more desperate and dangerous the neocons will become. Remember they have nice luxurious bunkers to wait out the inevitable while you die a slow death.

[Feb 19, 2018] America Is Descending Into a Dangerous Psychosis by James Howard Kunstler

Notable quotes:
"... The author is a prominent American social critic, blogger, and podcaster , and we carry his articles regularly on RI . His writing on Russia-gate has been highly entertaining. ..."
"... He is one of the better-known thinkers The New Yorker has dubbed 'The Dystopians' in an excellent 2009 profile , along with the brilliant Dmitry Orlov, another regular contributor to RI (archive) . These theorists believe that modern society is headed for a jarring and painful crack-up. ..."
"... You can find his popular fiction and novels on this subject, here . To get a sense of how entertaining he is, watch this 2004 TED talk about the cruel misery of American urban design - it is one of the most-viewed on TED. ..."
"... If you like his work, please consider supporting him on Patreon . ..."
"... Why Does Trump Ignore Top Officials' Warnings on Russia? , ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... Sport's Illustrated ..."
"... Actually the Times's editorial seems to have CIA / NSA fingerprints all over it, or at least Deep State paw prints. By stating that the Russians are already "meddling" in 2018 elections that haven't happened yet, aren't our own security agencies setting up the public to lose faith in the electoral process and fight over election results? Oh, by the way, the Times ..."
"... The longer this fantasy about Russia continues from the Left side of the political transect, the deeper the nation sinks into a dangerous collective psychosis. After all this time, the only known instances of American political figures "colluding" with Russians involve the shenanigans between the DNC, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and US intel services including the FBI and CIA, in paying for the "Steele Dossier" and the activities of the Fusion GPS company that claimed Russia hacked Hillary's and John Podesta's email. ..."
"... There is now a ton of evidence about all this monkey business, and no sign (yet) that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller may be taking a good hard look at it, not to mention the professional misconduct of a half dozen senior FBI, NSA, and CIA officials, especially former CIA chief John Brennan, who has now morphed into a CNN "analyst," taking an active role in what amounts to a psy-ops campaign to shove the public toward war. ..."
"... We are already choking this polity to death by endlessly litigating the past, insuring that the country doesn't have the time or the fortitude to deal with much more important quandaries of the present -- especially a financial system that is speeding into the most colossal train wreck in history. That will de-rail Mr. Trump soon enough, and then all the rest of us will have enough to do to keep our lives together or to refashion them in some that will work in a very different economy. ..."
Feb 19, 2018 | russia-insider.com
The author is a prominent American social critic, blogger, and podcaster , and we carry his articles regularly on RI . His writing on Russia-gate has been highly entertaining.

He is one of the better-known thinkers The New Yorker has dubbed 'The Dystopians' in an excellent 2009 profile , along with the brilliant Dmitry Orlov, another regular contributor to RI (archive) . These theorists believe that modern society is headed for a jarring and painful crack-up.

You can find his popular fiction and novels on this subject, here . To get a sense of how entertaining he is, watch this 2004 TED talk about the cruel misery of American urban design - it is one of the most-viewed on TED.

If you like his work, please consider supporting him on Patreon .

Forget about sharks. In their Valentine's Day editorial: Why Does Trump Ignore Top Officials' Warnings on Russia? , The New York Times jumped several blue whales (all the ones left on earth), a cruise ship, a subtropical archipelago, a giant vortex of plastic bottles, and the Sport's Illustrated swimsuit shoot. The lede said:

The phalanx of intelligence chiefs who testified on Capitol Hill delivered a chilling message: Not only did Russia interfere in the 2016 election, it is already meddling in the 2018 election by using a digital strategy to exacerbate the country's political and social divisions.

Hmmm . After almost two years of relentless public paranoia about Russia and US elections, don't you suppose these Ruskie gremlins would find some other way to make mischief in our world -- maybe meddle in the NHL playoffs, or hack WalMart's bookkeeping department, or covertly switch out the real Dwayne Johnson with a robot? I kind of completely and absolutely doubt that they'll bother with our elections.

Actually the Times's editorial seems to have CIA / NSA fingerprints all over it, or at least Deep State paw prints. By stating that the Russians are already "meddling" in 2018 elections that haven't happened yet, aren't our own security agencies setting up the public to lose faith in the electoral process and fight over election results? Oh, by the way, the Times presented no evidence whatsoever that this alleged "meddling" is taking place. They just assert it, as if it were already adjudicated.

But then they take it another step, making the case that because Mr. Trump does not go along with the Russian Meddling story, he is obstructing efforts to prevent Russian interference in the elections that haven't happened yet, and is therefore by implication guilty of treason. A fine piece of casuistry.

The longer this fantasy about Russia continues from the Left side of the political transect, the deeper the nation sinks into a dangerous collective psychosis. After all this time, the only known instances of American political figures "colluding" with Russians involve the shenanigans between the DNC, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and US intel services including the FBI and CIA, in paying for the "Steele Dossier" and the activities of the Fusion GPS company that claimed Russia hacked Hillary's and John Podesta's email.

There is now a ton of evidence about all this monkey business, and no sign (yet) that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller may be taking a good hard look at it, not to mention the professional misconduct of a half dozen senior FBI, NSA, and CIA officials, especially former CIA chief John Brennan, who has now morphed into a CNN "analyst," taking an active role in what amounts to a psy-ops campaign to shove the public toward war.

The "resistance" may think it is getting some mileage out of this interminable narrative, but its arrant inconsistencies only undermine faith in all our political institutions, and that is really playing with fire.

We are already choking this polity to death by endlessly litigating the past, insuring that the country doesn't have the time or the fortitude to deal with much more important quandaries of the present -- especially a financial system that is speeding into the most colossal train wreck in history. That will de-rail Mr. Trump soon enough, and then all the rest of us will have enough to do to keep our lives together or to refashion them in some that will work in a very different economy.

... ... ...

[Feb 19, 2018] Russian Meddling Was a Drop in an Ocean of American-made Discord by AMANDA TAUB and MAX FISHER

Highly recommended!
Very weak analysis The authors completely missed the point. Susceptibility to rumors (now called "fake new" which more correctly should be called "improvised news") and high level of distrust to "official MSM" (of which popularity of alternative news site is only tip of the iceberg) is a sign of the crisis and tearing down of the the social fabric that hold the so social groups together. This first of all demonstrated with the de-legitimization of the neoliberal elite.
As such attempt to patch this discord and unite the US society of fake premises of Russiagate and anti-Russian hysteria look very problematic. The effect might be quite opposite as the story with Steele dossier, which really undermined credibility of Justice Department and destroyed the credibility o FBI can teach us.
In this case claims that "The claim that, for example, Mrs. Clinton's victory might aid Satan " are just s a sign of rejection of neoliberalism by voters. Nothing more nothing less.
Notable quotes:
"... It has infected the American political system, weakening the body politic and leaving it vulnerable to manipulation. Russian misinformation seems to have exacerbated the symptoms, but laced throughout the indictment are reminders that the underlying disease, arguably far more damaging, is all American-made. ..."
"... A recent study found that the people most likely to consume fake news were already hyperpartisan and close followers of politics, and that false stories were only a small fraction of their media consumption. ..."
Feb 18, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

That these efforts might have actually made a difference, or at least were intended to, highlights a force that was already destabilizing American democracy far more than any Russian-made fake news post: partisan polarization.

"Partisanship can even alter memory, implicit evaluation, and even perceptual judgment," the political scientists Jay J. Van Bavel and Andrea Pereira wrote in a recent paper . "The human attraction to fake and untrustworthy news" -- a danger cited by political scientists far more frequently than orchestrated meddling -- "poses a serious problem for healthy democratic functioning."

It has infected the American political system, weakening the body politic and leaving it vulnerable to manipulation. Russian misinformation seems to have exacerbated the symptoms, but laced throughout the indictment are reminders that the underlying disease, arguably far more damaging, is all American-made.

... ... ...

A recent study found that the people most likely to consume fake news were already hyperpartisan and close followers of politics, and that false stories were only a small fraction of their media consumption.

Americans, it said, sought out stories that reflected their already-formed partisan view of reality. This suggests that these Russians efforts are indicators -- not drivers -- of how widely Americans had polarized.

That distinction matters for how the indictment is read: Though Americans have seen it as highlighting a foreign threat, it also illustrates the perhaps graver threats from within.

An Especially Toxic Form of Partisanship

... ... ...

"Compromise is the core of democracy," she said. "It's the only way we can govern." But, she said, "when you make people feel threatened, nobody compromises with evil."

The claim that, for example, Mrs. Clinton's victory might aid Satan is in many ways just a faint echo of the partisan anger and fear already dominating American politics.

Those emotions undermine a key norm that all sides are served by honoring democratic processes; instead, they justify, or even seem to mandate, extreme steps against the other side.

Advertisement Continue reading the main story

In taking this approach, the Russians were merely riding a trend that has been building for decades. Since the 1980s , surveys have found that Republicans and Democrats' feelings toward the opposing party have been growing more and more negative. Voters are animated more by distrust of the other side than support for their own.

This highlights a problem that Lilliana Mason, a University of Maryland political scientist, said had left American democracy dangerously vulnerable. But it's a problem driven primarily by American politicians and media outlets, which have far louder megaphones than any Russian-made Facebook posts.

"Compromise is the core of democracy," she said. "It's the only way we can govern." But, she said, "when you make people feel threatened, nobody compromises with evil."

The claim that, for example, Mrs. Clinton's victory might aid Satan is in many ways just a faint echo of the partisan anger and fear already dominating American politics.

Those emotions undermine a key norm that all sides are served by honoring democratic processes; instead, they justify, or even seem to mandate, extreme steps against the other side.

[Feb 18, 2018] America Is Descending Into a Dangerous Psychosis by James Howard Kunstler

Notable quotes:
"... The author is a prominent American social critic, blogger, and podcaster , and we carry his articles regularly on RI . His writing on Russia-gate has been highly entertaining. ..."
"... He is one of the better-known thinkers The New Yorker has dubbed 'The Dystopians' in an excellent 2009 profile , along with the brilliant Dmitry Orlov, another regular contributor to RI (archive) . These theorists believe that modern society is headed for a jarring and painful crack-up. ..."
"... You can find his popular fiction and novels on this subject, here . To get a sense of how entertaining he is, watch this 2004 TED talk about the cruel misery of American urban design - it is one of the most-viewed on TED. ..."
"... If you like his work, please consider supporting him on Patreon . ..."
"... Why Does Trump Ignore Top Officials' Warnings on Russia? , ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... Sport's Illustrated ..."
Feb 18, 2018 | russia-insider.com
The author is a prominent American social critic, blogger, and podcaster , and we carry his articles regularly on RI . His writing on Russia-gate has been highly entertaining.

He is one of the better-known thinkers The New Yorker has dubbed 'The Dystopians' in an excellent 2009 profile , along with the brilliant Dmitry Orlov, another regular contributor to RI (archive) . These theorists believe that modern society is headed for a jarring and painful crack-up.

You can find his popular fiction and novels on this subject, here . To get a sense of how entertaining he is, watch this 2004 TED talk about the cruel misery of American urban design - it is one of the most-viewed on TED.

If you like his work, please consider supporting him on Patreon .

Forget about sharks. In their Valentine's Day editorial: Why Does Trump Ignore Top Officials' Warnings on Russia? , The New York Times jumped several blue whales (all the ones left on earth), a cruise ship, a subtropical archipelago, a giant vortex of plastic bottles, and the Sport's Illustrated swimsuit shoot. The lede said:

The phalanx of intelligence chiefs who testified on Capitol Hill delivered a chilling message: Not only did Russia interfere in the 2016 election, it is already meddling in the 2018 election by using a digital strategy to exacerbate the country's political and social divisions.

Hmmm . After almost two years of relentless public paranoia about Russia and US elections, don't you suppose these Ruskie gremlins would find some other way to make mischief in our world -- maybe meddle in the NHL playoffs, or hack WalMart's bookkeeping department, or covertly switch out the real Dwayne Johnson with a robot? I kind of completely and absolutely doubt that they'll bother with our elections.

Actually the Times's editorial seems to have CIA / NSA fingerprints all over it, or at least Deep State paw prints. By stating that the Russians are already "meddling" in 2018 elections that haven't happened yet, aren't our own security agencies setting up the public to lose faith in the electoral process and fight over election results? Oh, by the way, the Times presented no evidence whatsoever that this alleged "meddling" is taking place. They just assert it, as if it were already adjudicated.

But then they take it another step, making the case that because Mr. Trump does not go along with the Russian Meddling story, he is obstructing efforts to prevent Russian interference in the elections that haven't happened yet, and is therefore by implication guilty of treason. A fine piece of casuistry.

The longer this fantasy about Russia continues from the Left side of the political transect, the deeper the nation sinks into a dangerous collective psychosis. After all this time, the only known instances of American political figures "colluding" with Russians involve the shenanigans between the DNC, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and US intel services including the FBI and CIA, in paying for the "Steele Dossier" and the activities of the Fusion GPS company that claimed Russia hacked Hillary's and John Podesta's email.

There is now a ton of evidence about all this monkey business, and no sign (yet) that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller may be taking a good hard look at it, not to mention the professional misconduct of a half dozen senior FBI, NSA, and CIA officials, especially former CIA chief John Brennan, who has now morphed into a CNN "analyst," taking an active role in what amounts to a psy-ops campaign to shove the public toward war.

The "resistance" may think it is getting some mileage out of this interminable narrative, but its arrant inconsistencies only undermine faith in all our political institutions, and that is really playing with fire.

We are already choking this polity to death by endlessly litigating the past, insuring that the country doesn't have the time or the fortitude to deal with much more important quandaries of the present -- especially a financial system that is speeding into the most colossal train wreck in history. That will de-rail Mr. Trump soon enough, and then all the rest of us will have enough to do to keep our lives together or to refashion them in some that will work in a very different economy.

PS: Readers may wonder why I did not devote this space to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. It is exactly what you get in a society that wants to erase behavioral boundaries. It is especially dangerous where adolescent boys are concerned. The country has a gigantic boundary problem.

We have also created perfect conditions -- between the anomie of suburbia and the dreariness of our school systems -- to induce explosions of violent despair. That's why these things happen.

Until we change these conditions, expect ever more of it.

[Feb 18, 2018] Both agencies were complicit in the most infamous assassinations and false flag episodes since the Kennedy/MLK Vietnam days. Don't forget Air America CIA drug running and Iran/Contra / October Surprise affairs.

Notable quotes:
"... The Dulles brothers, with Allan as head of Sullivan and Cromwells' CIA were notorious facilitators for the international banksters and their subsidiary corporations which comprise the largest oil and military entities which have literally plainly stated in writing, need to occasionally "GALVANIZE" the American public through catastrophic and catalyzing events in order for Americans to be terrified into funding and fighting for those interlocked corporations in their quest to spread "FULL SPECTRUM DOMINANCE," throughout the globe. ..."
"... The book by Peter Dale Scott, "The American Deep State Wall Street, Big Oil And the Attack on American Democracy" covers in detail some of the points you mention in your reply. It is a fascinating book. ..."
Feb 18, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Lee Anderson , February 17, 2018 at 4:32 pm

Your link to the Giraldi piece is appreciated, however, Giraldi starts off on a false premise: He claims that people generally liked and trusted the FBI and CIA up until or shortly after 9/11. Not so! Both agencies were complicit in the most infamous assassinations and false flag episodes since the Kennedy/MLK Vietnam days. Don't forget Air America CIA drug running and Iran/Contra / October Surprise affairs.

The Dulles brothers, with Allan as head of Sullivan and Cromwells' CIA were notorious facilitators for the international banksters and their subsidiary corporations which comprise the largest oil and military entities which have literally plainly stated in writing, need to occasionally "GALVANIZE" the American public through catastrophic and catalyzing events in order for Americans to be terrified into funding and fighting for those interlocked corporations in their quest to spread "FULL SPECTRUM DOMINANCE," throughout the globe.

The political parties are theatre designed to fool the people into believing we are living in some sort of legitimate, representative system, when it's the same old plutocracy that manages to get elected because they've long figured out the art of polarizing people and capitalising on tribal alignments.

We should eliminate all government for a time so that people can begin to see that corporations really do and most always have run the country.

It's preposterous to think the stupid public is actually discussing saddling ourselves and future generations with gargantuan debt through a system designed and run by banksters!

it should be self evident a sovereign nation should maintain and forever hold the rights to develop a monetary/financial system that serves the needs of the people, not be indentured servants in a financial system that serves the insatiable greed of a handful of parasitic banksters and corporate tycoons!

Joe Tedesky , February 17, 2018 at 5:08 pm

You are so right, in fact Robert Parry made quite a journalistic career out of exposing the CIA for such things as drug running. I gave up on that agency a longtime ago, after JFK was murdered, and I was only 13 then. Yeah maybe Phil discounts the time while he worked for the CIA, but the CIA has many, many rooms in which plots are hatched, so the valiant truth teller Giraldi maybe excused this one time for his lack of memory .I guess, right?

Good comment Lee. Joe

Annie , February 17, 2018 at 5:56 pm

Yes, but he's referring to the public's opinion of these agencies, and if they didn't continue to retain, even after 9/11, a significant popularity in the public's mind how would we have so many American's buying into Russia-gate? In my perception of things they only lost some ground after 9/11, but Americans notoriously have a short memory span.

Gregory Herr , February 17, 2018 at 6:42 pm

And films that are supposed to help Americans feel good about the aims and efficacy of the agencies like Zero Dark Thirty and Argo are in the popular imagination.

Skeptigal , February 17, 2018 at 7:19 pm

The book by Peter Dale Scott, "The American Deep State Wall Street, Big Oil And the Attack on American Democracy" covers in detail some of the points you mention in your reply. It is a fascinating book.

[Feb 18, 2018] Warehouses With Israeli-Produced Weapons Discovered in Deir ez-Zor

Feb 18, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press

Syrian government army units have discovered warehouses with weapons and ammunition, including those produced in Israel while patrolling areas in Deir Ez-Zor liberated from Daesh terrorist group (outlawed in Russia), the SANA news agency reported. The warehouses with a huge amount of rockets, mortars, tank shells and other ammunition were discovered in Al Boukamal and Al Mayadin areas, according to the Syrian state-run news agency. The weapons reportedly were produced in Israel.

A source told the media outlet that in one of the tunnels in the al-Sbikhan village to the east of al-Mayadin, the army units found a factory for manufacturing shells and explosives as well as barrels with a strange essence that could be used for manufacturing toxic substances.

Israel and Syria, which have a very embittered relations recently, and have a long history of troublesome controversies over the Golan Heights, have repeatedly exchanged fire, with the latest incident taking place in February.

In December 2017, Syrian Army units discovered a huge pile of the US and European-made weapons inside Daesh dens in Deir ez-Zor's countryside.

In October, local media reported that Syrian troops had found weapons in the city of Mayadin, which had been the largest Daesh stronghold in the region, with weapons from Belgium, Great Britain, and Israel. As the Syrian military noted, the jihadists supposedly received these weapons, which were allegedly bought under Pentagon programs, in order to help the allies.

Published at sputniknews.com

[Feb 18, 2018] Instead of Turning East, Turkey is Going It Alone by Nick Danforth

Notable quotes:
"... * Nick Danforth is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Bipartisan Policy Center. He completed a PhD in Turkish history at Georgetown University and has written widely on Middle Eastern politics. ..."
Feb 18, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press

What makes the current situation alarming is that anti-Western hostility, which extends far beyond Erdogan's base, now appears to be driving policy independent of pragmatic or specifically Islamist concerns. Erdogan, for example, is now courting U.S. sanctions by purchasing S-400 air defense systems from Moscow . His decision appears motivated in part by a genuine belief that he needs them for self-protection following a 2016 coup attempt that he, like a majority of his citizens, believes was orchestrated by the United States. By comparison, Ankara's anger over U.S. support for the YPG makes much more sense. But it has been dangerously inflamed by a climate of rampant nationalism . Most recently, Meral Aksener, a nationalist politician who has emerged as a potential challenger to Erdogan, called for Turkish forces to move east and attack territories where American soldiers are present.

Only against this backdrop is it possible to imagine a worst-case scenario where, say, direct fighting between U.S. and Turkish troops pushes both sides toward a decisive rupture that each hopes to avoid. Were this to happen, Ankara would face hard decisions about whether to try to pragmatically patch things up or embrace an unequal and unrewarding relationship with an unsympathetic power like Russia. It remains to be seen whether Ankara's lack of other options will be enough to save the U.S.-Turkish alliance. But Washington would do well not to count on it.

* Nick Danforth is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Bipartisan Policy Center. He completed a PhD in Turkish history at Georgetown University and has written widely on Middle Eastern politics.

Published at https://warontherocks.com/2018/02/turkey/

[Feb 18, 2018] And, what about all the foreign nationals who post here in this forum on this blog? I daresay most offer opinions not complementary of the US government and its political menagerie.

"I swear that Russiagate is nothing more than trying to cover up the blatant corruption of the DNC, Hillary Clinton, the FBI, CIA and The Department of Justice. Keep everybody busy with Russiagate and don't allow the corruption (with the help of the press) to see the light of day. Otherwise, people in high places would be going to jail.
Notable quotes:
"... As many commentators have pointed out, we are a country of completely brain washed people now. Schiff, Schumer, Sanders . . . they are all cut from the same cloth. There is not one politician left in the country who will challenge the The Ruling Power Structure's narrative. Even in Russia, there are lot of opposition leadership voices who are making noises against the System they disagree with. ..."
"... They can't make "hacking" stick 'cause it's false. They can't make "Trump is a Putin puppet" stick 'cause it's false. So now the whole damn dumb show–regurgitated by either shameless war profiteers or straight-faced useful idiots–comes down to so-called Russian social media trolls exercising the same "speech" that we are supposedly so proud to call "free" in this country. ..."
"... The Thought Police use surveillance and psychological monitoring to find and eliminate members of society who challenge the party's authority and ideology. ..."
"... Anyone who has questioned the intelligence agencies narrative that Russians and Trump colluded to win the election are viewed with suspicion as potential enemies of the state. ..."
"... What is the end goal? The end goal is to prop up a long in the tooth multi-decade cold war with Russia to justify massive military spending. Do you want to know the answer to your question of whether or not the US defense industry and our intelligence agencies are trying to spark a war with Russia? ..."
"... The answer is yes they are. As crazy as that sounds, the hungry defense industry with its insatiable appetite for more weapons has decided to go for the ultimate win the lottery strategy and foment war with Russia. It had been happening under Obama and now it is happening under Trump. They are trying to box him into a corner where he will feel enough pressure to go against Russia. Perhaps they can goad him into attacking Russia which is what I believe they want to do. Our national media plays along and is in bed with the intelligence agencies as much as ever just like they spouted the lies of Chalabi in Iraq War II falsely believing his claims that Saddam Hussein had nuclear and chemical and biological weapons. ..."
"... "Yet still they want more as Caitlin Johnstone pointed out. What they want now to do is to do the same thing they have been doing under Obama and enlist Trump on the grandest military adventure of all. War with Russia." ..."
"... The Russiagate affair has been going on for almost a year and I would think Mueller is under a lot of pressure to find something to stick. This indictment may be it. ..."
"... Once again, Russia's reputation will be taken down a few notches and made to suffer another humiliation. And the US will move on to the next allegation, "UK and US blame Russia for the malicious NotPetya cyberattack" (headline on BBC). ..."
Feb 18, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

"Realist , February 17, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Essentially, all Mueller did yesterday was to indict a bunch of private Russian citizens for expressing their opinions about the candidates in the last presidential election via public media (mainly Facedbook and Twitter), and the individual Russians contacted by the press about it did not deny doing so. Mueller made no links to the Russian government, Putin, the FSB or even their alleged puppet Donald Trump. Just private individuals being persecuted for expressing an opinion on American politics in public because they are foreigners. Doesn't matter whether the opinions were true, false, complementary or disparaging because they were subjective just like anyone else's opinions (you know, opinions are like a-holes, everybody's got one).

So, if that move by Mueller is allowed to stand and serve as a precedent in American jurisprudence, doesn't that mean that journalists from foreign lands, like Caitlin herself, are at risk of being indicated at any moment by the US Justice Department if they express opinions that the insiders in the Deep State do not like? And, what about all the foreign nationals who post here in this forum on this blog? I daresay most offer opinions not complementary of the US government and its political menagerie. And, to be honest, many do so in order to either change minds or solidify shared beliefs with others, including great swirling drifts of snowflake Americans.

This free exchange of thoughts is now to be verboten because someone other than Uncle Sam may have an influence or even change the mind of a precious American citizen? This is madness. That the most educated and articulate amongst us do not see this, but rather participate in the feeding frenzy upon the carcass of what is left of our liberal democracy is absolutely stupifying. As I have been saying for some time now, someone or some force must be imposing a form of mass hypnosis upon the population and only a few of us (including most here) seem to be immune to its effects. Maybe something we consume acts as an antidote. Perhaps your Italian grandma's muffalettas or calzones, Joe? Or my mother's German rouladen?

Dave P. , February 17, 2018 at 5:01 pm

Realist –

"As I have been saying for some time now, someone or some force must be imposing a form of mass hypnosis upon the population and only a few of us (including most here) seem to be immune to its effects."

You are dead right on that. My wife was yelling and screaming last night that why I was not watching this "Russia trolls" show with her on CNN, MSNBC, and PBS; to learn how the Russians have destroyed our beautiful democracy. She had seen the World too, mostly for fun and experiences; she taught English in Malaysia – British colony until 1957 – as a peace Corps volunteer during 1960's. There you have it. As many commentators have pointed out, we are a country of completely brain washed people now. Schiff, Schumer, Sanders . . . they are all cut from the same cloth. There is not one politician left in the country who will challenge the The Ruling Power Structure's narrative. Even in Russia, there are lot of opposition leadership voices who are making noises against the System they disagree with.

Gregory Herr , February 17, 2018 at 6:21 pm

They can't make "hacking" stick 'cause it's false. They can't make "Trump is a Putin puppet" stick 'cause it's false. So now the whole damn dumb show–regurgitated by either shameless war profiteers or straight-faced useful idiots–comes down to so-called Russian social media trolls exercising the same "speech" that we are supposedly so proud to call "free" in this country. They not only take us for moronic fools, but they can't even see that that they are insulting us further by insinuating that our voting decisions are completely unsophisticated and easily swayed to the point that 13 Russians could have an impact amidst a sea of election season campaign "propaganda" from both major parties and an array of special interest influence peddling. Like the Clinton campaign didn't hire Facebook trolls!
Bye Bye First Amendment no one in the halls of power takes it seriously enough to defend it unless you're spouting groupthink right Bernie?

Zachary Smith , February 17, 2018 at 8:00 pm

Essentially, all Mueller did yesterday was to indict a bunch of private Russian citizens for expressing their opinions about the candidates in the last presidential election via public media (mainly Facedbook and Twitter), and the individual Russians contacted by the press about it did not deny doing so.

I'll echo Drew Hunkins in calling this a brilliant condensation of the issue. What worries me is what the morons-in-charge might have in mind as a follow-up to this lunacy.

CitizenOne , February 18, 2018 at 2:31 am

Perhaps we are entering into the Orwellian dawn of Thought Crimes which are any feelings or thinking a Citizen has which are counter to the State Propaganda put out by the Ministry of Truth. The Thought Police (thinkpol in Newspeak) are the secret police of the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is their job to uncover and punish thoughtcrime. The Thought Police use surveillance and psychological monitoring to find and eliminate members of society who challenge the party's authority and ideology.

Anyone who has questioned the intelligence agencies narrative that Russians and Trump colluded to win the election are viewed with suspicion as potential enemies of the state.

It would appear to be allegations of thought crime because 15 foreign nationals posted things on social media. We have been under the perception that social media is a free forum for discourse but now, like China, we are seeing the formation of a witch hunt for foreign devils who have infiltrated the social mediascape and are on trial for the results of a national election.

We are literally burning some innocent teenager for the calamity we are convinced was not of our own making. We need to find a witch to brew some witchcraft to explain how our current situation has arisen.

Not sure if anyone alive today believes the Salem Witch Trials served justice and created a restoration of civil harmony. I'm fairly sure that everyone looks at those dark days as a travesty of justice.

Yes we are living in a time of universal deceit and the act of telling the truth has become a revolutionary act just as Orwell portrayed in his novel.

Thought crimes are fairly scary and they imply that our government is willing to indict the thoughts of whoever it deems to be an enemy of the state and bring the thinkers of thought crime as defined by the state as anyone who questions the official fake narrative of Russia Gate to "justice".

What is the end goal? The end goal is to prop up a long in the tooth multi-decade cold war with Russia to justify massive military spending. Do you want to know the answer to your question of whether or not the US defense industry and our intelligence agencies are trying to spark a war with Russia?

The answer is yes they are. As crazy as that sounds, the hungry defense industry with its insatiable appetite for more weapons has decided to go for the ultimate win the lottery strategy and foment war with Russia. It had been happening under Obama and now it is happening under Trump. They are trying to box him into a corner where he will feel enough pressure to go against Russia. Perhaps they can goad him into attacking Russia which is what I believe they want to do. Our national media plays along and is in bed with the intelligence agencies as much as ever just like they spouted the lies of Chalabi in Iraq War II falsely believing his claims that Saddam Hussein had nuclear and chemical and biological weapons.

Even the analysis on North Korea which opines that NK will use all weapons first as a first strike in a scenario the USA has called the "Use it or Lose it" fell short and was proved a false scenario or that there were really no actual WMDs in Iraq as the UN claimed.

Either way, the likely outcomes of a WMD armed Iraqi leader facing imminent demise which would cause him to use all available weapons at his disposal did not happen. There are only two conclusions to the outcome. Saddam did not have these weapons or the likely scenario of "Use it or Lose it" is all wrong.

Either way the premise of the war was shown to be false.

Unfortunately in the aftermath of that war there was no US counterpart to the British Chilcot Report and the US went on to engage in regime change in other nations like Ukraine, Syria, Libya and elsewhere.

There is no sense to it other than to destabilize nations, foment violence and create international tensions which have the effect of causing our elected leaders to pony up more money for defense to combat the new enemies we just created.

Yet still they want more as Caitlin Johnstone pointed out. What they want now to do is to do the same thing they have been doing under Obama and enlist Trump on the grandest military adventure of all. War with Russia.

I agree with her assessment that this is crazy. This is the most irresponsible thing yet but it has been enabled by a fake news press just as it was enabled by the fake news media all the times before.

I agree with you Joe that a form of mass hypnosis has gripped our democrat officials and a large segment of our population. We have been handed a leader they don't like and they are ready and able to make hay with the election outcome to persuade us by force to support more military adventures.

Dave P. , February 18, 2018 at 3:53 am

Citizen One –

"Yet still they want more as Caitlin Johnstone pointed out. What they want now to do is to do the same thing they have been doing under Obama and enlist Trump on the grandest military adventure of all. War with Russia."

I agree with her assessment that this is crazy. This is the most irresponsible thing yet but it has been enabled by a fake news press just as it was enabled by the fake news media all the times before."

Yes. This scenario is getting more and more likely. All steps point to that direction.

Skeptigal , February 17, 2018 at 11:10 pm

Unfortunately I'm not as confident. Here is the complete indictment at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-43091945 . There are three counts (with almost 70 allegations): 1. Conspiracy to Defraud the United States 2. Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud And Bank Fraud and 3. Aggravated Identity Theft. It ends with a forfeiture allegation seeking property, real or personal from the defendants.

The Russiagate affair has been going on for almost a year and I would think Mueller is under a lot of pressure to find something to stick. This indictment may be it. Mueller will be the hero; Trump may be saved as the interference started in 2014, before his campaign began; the Hillary emails and Nunes memo will be cast aside; and the USA can say to the world "see I told you so."

Once again, Russia's reputation will be taken down a few notches and made to suffer another humiliation. And the US will move on to the next allegation, "UK and US blame Russia for the malicious NotPetya cyberattack" (headline on BBC).

Martin - Swedish citizen , February 18, 2018 at 1:15 am

If the allegations are true, they need to be put in perspective:
– what might be the rational behind? Eg tit-for-tat for Western meddling, arms race,
– do other nations engage in similar projects? What are the scale of those?

Starting in 2014 could it have been triggered by the Kiev coup and Nuland's was it five billion?

[Feb 18, 2018] This dangerous escalation of tensions with Russia is extremely lucrative for the war profiteers, the retired generals intelligence members who prostitute themselves as media pundits, the members of Congress who get $$$ from the war profiteers, and the corporate media which thrives on links to the war profiteers as well as on war reporting

Highly recommended!
Feb 18, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

REDPILLED

This dangerous escalation of tensions with Russia is extremely lucrative for the war profiteers, the retired generals & intelligence members who prostitute themselves as media pundits, the members of Congress who get $$$ from the war profiteers, and the corporate media which thrives on links to the war profiteers as well as on war reporting.

That's why we must all be kept fearful, so we don't demand that annual trillion dollar military "defense" budgets be slashed and that money instead be spent on social safety net programs and infrastructure.

That's also why tensions with not only Russia, but Iran, Syria, North Korea, and China must be maintained, and our endless wars and global empire of military bases continued.

As long as war and militarism are such profitable rackets, it doesn't matter that all life on earth is threatened. That is the essence of capitalism in a nutshell: profits are more important than life itself.

Joe Tedesky , February 17, 2018 at 12:55 pm

You got that right, and the sooner the American public wise up to all these lies the better. If you want this maddening insanity to stop, well then my fellow Americans quit buying into their lies. Just go ahead and board the damn plane, oh BTW one of the reasons NFL attendance is down is well think of the new security rules put in place plus who knows the rules of football anymore (our football is even tainted with screwiness). Sorry for the rant, but we Americans got to start calling our officials out on this stuff. It's that plain and simple. Nice post REDPILLED. Joe

Virginia , February 17, 2018 at 1:06 pm

REDPILLED,

I'm just imagining how it must feel, if you're Putin, to be able to rein in your emotions, to not react no matter how much baited, and to stay above the fray while warmongers, like dogs, are barking at your feet. That degree of self-composure, resting on a strong necessity to try to prevent WWIII and nuclear annihilation, well, I'm afraid not many of us will ever know or feel that exactly, but we can imagine! To do this with grace and dignity, insult after insult! There are lessons to be learned here.

Joe Tedesky , February 17, 2018 at 1:10 pm

Virginia we Americans better hope patient Putin stays in power. Joe

irina , February 17, 2018 at 3:19 pm

Exactly. I can't imagine who the Creatures of the Deep think would be a
good successor to Putin, but I do think they should be very careful of
what they wish for. Case in point, the Ukraine. What exactly happened
to "Our Man Yats" anyway ? He seems to have (been ?) disappeared. . .

Joe Tedesky , February 17, 2018 at 3:30 pm

There is a bit of a warring nature still left in this old fighter cat, and during these imaginary moments of destruction I struggle with I see Russian T72 tanks driving down Maiden Square looking for old Yats and his friends. Not to worry though, I seriously don't want anyone, anywhere, to have to suffer even one minute of war, but on a bad day, well need I say more? Joe

ranney , February 17, 2018 at 5:45 pm

I agree Virginia. I am so depressed by Mueller's actions my head swims. I had hoped that Mueller was actually an honest investigator who believed in the rule of law as everyone said. Now I can't imagine what game he is playing. Now it seems like all hope has vanished that anything even vaguely resembling the truth will come out.. Mueller"s indictments of these poor people seals the deal: Russia is the evil bugbear that must be destroyed and all right thinking patriots will agree to that when we launch nuclear war.
I keep feeling like we're all in a Kafka exercise or a Harold Pinter play where motives and truths are hidden behind an impenatrable wall. Even the new Consortium article by McGovern and Binney seems to hint at much more than they are telling, leaving me to wish they'd just come out and say what they are worried about given their knowledge and expertise. Instead I'm left with the sense that there is a coded message in there that I have missed.

So yes, I too worry about how patient Putin can be when we have already in so many ways performed a dozen or more acts of war on Russia in the past year and he has not reacted violently.

p.s. Once again Caitlin has provided great links. Click on one of the first about the government telling us lies. It'll get you a great 4 minute cartoon based on Chomskys book Manufacturing Consent. It's about propaganda. You'll like it.

Virginia , February 17, 2018 at 8:50 pm

Ranney -- One thing that has lifted my spirit somewhat, I heard a real thinker say that the Deep State (DS) is losing ground now because its anointed candidate HRC was defeated in 2016. So 2016 marks a positive time of turning and healing. Putin and Xi seem to both be working for the good of the world. Wonderful if Donald Trump could drain the swamp and get on board. Either way, those two Leaders together can lead us out of this morass.

There's a state of thought that remains composed no matter what the valley of the shadow of death. The more I learn -- and sometimes what I learn is vastly darker than I could ever conceive -- the deeper grows my joy. It's been a puzzle to me that I could read something truly devastating here on CN and walk away with more joy than I had before reading it (and believe me, it's not because of the evil news). It's partly because I'm grateful that my eyes have been opened. There is absolutely nothing I can do without being well informed about it. I feel I'm learning all this for a reason; a very real big good reason. Don't you? There's a state of thought that refuses to be fearful no matter what. Adopt that one, Ranney.

Just look at those Olympiads doing the impossible! They start with, "I can."

Dave P. , February 18, 2018 at 4:07 am

Virginia,

Yes. Regarding the barking dogs, I read some where this Putin's answer to a question a few days ago on that list of 200 sanctioned Russians put out by U.S. Treasury Department. Putin said: Let the barking dogs bark, but the caravan goes on.

[Feb 18, 2018] Escalation in Syria how far can the Russians be pushed The Vineyard of the Saker

Notable quotes:
"... 'Former CIA deputy director Michael Morell, who supports Hillary Clinton and insists that Donald Trump is being manipulated by Russian President Vladimir Putin, said that Russians and Iranians in Syria should be killed covertly to "pay the price."' ..."
"... Reminds me of the notorious Imperial Japanese Navy order of the day. Perhaps we might say that Washington's policy is: "The bombings will continue until stability improves". ..."
"... Even the head of the Israeli Air Force Air Division confessed that his country has carried out "thousands of operations in Syria" in the last year alone. This fact was missing from most mainstream news accounts, which portrayed Israel as a non-interventionist bystander in the Syrian conflict. ..."
"... Neither the Russians nor the Americans can trust Turkey to any great degree, because politics in Turkey has traditionally been based on treachery and deceit. The Turks would like nothing better than to play Russians against Americans and visa versa, but even they know this would be going too far, as there are limits. ..."
"... When it comes to Turkey, the Russians have the advantage, in the short term certainly, and probably in the long term. Erdogan cannot forget that the US instigated that coup d'etat against him, and that Russia saved his life, literally, warning him of the approaching coup and sending combat planes to prevent his own plane being shot down. ..."
"... The goal has remained the same and will never change – to take out Assad and create a Northern vassal state. Anyone suggesting otherwise is doing disinfo for the Empire. ..."
"... mod-to note: last line removed as unnecessary to the comment and inflammatory. ..."
"... watch the old footage of helicopters flying from the rooftops in Saigon. "Ugly" doesn't worry the US elites that control policy. They'll gladly trade 'ugly' for any small benefit, and the same elites have no problems putting the lives of the people who are foolishly loyal to them into great danger. ..."
"... I believe this is where US and Israeli intentions are. With the defeat of the US/Israel/Saudi plan to degrade Syria's military preparatory to an Israel attack on Lebanon, Israel now wants to up the ante by getting the US to join it in an attack on Hizballah in Lebanon and then the US will find a way to justify extending that war into Syria. ..."
"... The last shooting skirmish between Syria and Israel caused much more than a downed F16I. It caused consternation because the Air Space at Ben Gurion was officially closed during the hostilities. ..."
"... Hezbollah also confirmed that an Israeli vs Syria + Hezbollah war will include the resistance striking targets in Israel's off shore Gas and Oil interests. The war front will be wider including Israel occupied Golan Heights, Shebaa farms, Off Shore gas rigs operated by Israel. ..."
"... In Syria's East the Hegemon is in an untenable situation. Weaponizing the Kurds against Turkey will result in an accelerated Turkey-exit from NATO on the least and an inter NATO clash on the worst case. ..."
"... I hope sanctions will not hurt many Russian citizens. Since neither the Russian government, nor the Russian citizens live in a make-believe world, they could suspect that the West will not give up with its efforts at destabilizing the Russian Federation. ..."
"... True and I believe this is the correct policy. Dramatic confrontations with the US are not in Russia's interest. There is also the issue that Trump is looking increasingly like a winner, in the Russian collusion fight. If the republicans do well in the up coming elections, he will be able to put that vicious battle behind him. This will open up possibilities for the US to cooperate with Russia, if only tacitly, in Syria and Ukraine. ..."
"... Surely Russia must have anticipated that the powers-that-be in the US would never admit defeat and cease interfereing. This will always be the case. It's a consequence of the US ubermensch mentality. As ever, to anticipate US behavior one must ask oneself 'what would the Mafia do?' ..."
"... This is why Putin has twice declared a Russian withdrawal from Syria. The Russians understand they have no good options in a direct confrontation with the West and further their greatest potential ally in the region, the Iranians, are themselves playing a double game, also secretly alligned to the Peridious Ones, as has been highlighted repeatedly by Thierry Meyssan. ..."
"... Should the Iranians wish it they could sweep the US and SDF Kurds out of eastern Syria and northern Iraq in no time flat. It is the secret cooperation of the Iranians and Pentagon in Iraq and eastern Syria which gives the game away concerning the role of the Pentagon. By threatening to tear up the nuclear agreement, which in any case gives the Iranians nothing and relinquishes over 100 billion dollars of Iranian assets held since the Iranian revolution, the Trump administration is creating a pretext which appears to be holding the Iranians back from full cooperation with Russia and ultimately, from victory in this war. ..."
"... Something is missing from the story, I keep thinking it's still about oil, lots of powerful people in the States made it in the oil industry. Why is the USA going so hard out with it's fracking? Energy isn't that expensive, why not use other countries reserves first? ..."
"... By the way, I do not see Trump falling for this trap, I believe he is sincere in his wish to disengage the US from such foreign adventures. But there is not much he can do presently against the neocon establishment. But he has already made real progress, ISIS would not have been defeated and the Syrians won the war, if Trump had not been president. Try and imagine a Hillary presidency, with McCain making Syria policy. ..."
"... Counter escalation is too logical. Syria is a quagmire. The 'mud' weighing down Russia is Daesh and the pro-US 'moderates', mainly those Kurds backed by the US. But there more potential 'mud' that can suck in the US. ..."
Feb 18, 2018 | thesaker.is

... US goals in Syria include:

  1. The imposition of a de-facto partition of Syria by taking under control the Syrian territory east of the Euphrates river (we could call that "plan C version 3.0")
  2. The theft of the gas fields located in northeastern Syria
  3. The creation of a US-controlled staging area from which Kurdish, good terrorist and bad terrorist operations can be planned and executed
  4. The sabotaging of any Russian-backed peace negotiations T
  5. he support for Israeli operations against Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon and Syria Engaging in regular attacks against Syrian forces attempting to liberate their country from foreign invaders Presenting the invasion and occupation of Syria as one of the "victories" promised by Trump to the MIC and the Israel lobby

So far the Russian response to this developing strategy has been a rather a passive one and the current escalation strongly suggests that a new approach might be needed. The shooting down of the Israeli F-16 is a good first step, but much more needs to be done to dramatically increase the costs the Empire will have to pay for is policies towards Syria. The increase in the number of Russian commentators and analysts demanding a stronger reaction to the current provocations might be a sign that something is in the making.


Tom Welsh on February 16, 2018 , · at 10:51 am UTC
'Killing Russians "on the margins", so to speak, either with plausible deniability or, alternatively, killing Russians private contractors is much safer and thus far more tempting option'.

Remind anyone of this?

'Former CIA deputy director Michael Morell, who supports Hillary Clinton and insists that Donald Trump is being manipulated by Russian President Vladimir Putin, said that Russians and Iranians in Syria should be killed covertly to "pay the price."'

https://www.rt.com/usa/355291-morrell-kill-russians-clinton/

Tom Welsh on February 16, 2018 , · at 10:53 am UTC
'The bottom line is this: since the US Americans have declared that they will (illegally) stay in Syria until the situation "stabilizes" they now must do everything their power to destabilize Syria'.

Reminds me of the notorious Imperial Japanese Navy order of the day. Perhaps we might say that Washington's policy is: "The bombings will continue until stability improves".

proper gander on February 17, 2018 , · at 3:42 pm UTC
The 4 principle objectives of the Israeli's and their American dog in Syria:
  1. Removing a government that was resistant to globalist debt-death finance.
  2. In concert with the 'pipe cutting' operation in Ukraine, to push through a Axis of Evil controlled gas pipe line from Qatar to the EU to strangle Russia.
  3. Partition of Syria, creating US military controlled Kurdistan to the North (with oil fields) to control Syria between two fronts, plus annexation of Golan heights as part of 'greater Israel'.
  4. Sinking Russia into another Afghanistan.

1 & 2 have failed.

3 & 4 are still in play.

It is as simple as that.

vot tak on February 16, 2018 , · at 11:01 am UTC
A related analysis in RT on the situation in Syria that exposes the Israeli role there behind the terrorists. Syria strikes back as Israel discovers its warplanes aren't invincible (Op-ed)

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/418986-syria-israel-plane-down/

"Israel has long been the unchallenged bully in the Middle East, but now Tel Aviv will face consequences for its temper tantrums. That was the message from Damascus last weekend when the Syrian army shot down an Israeli F-16.

As usual, Israel painted itself as a victim of irrational Arab aggression. However, in fact, Syria was clearly acting in self-defence against repeated Israeli violations of its sovereignty.

Even the head of the Israeli Air Force Air Division confessed that his country has carried out "thousands of operations in Syria" in the last year alone. This fact was missing from most mainstream news accounts, which portrayed Israel as a non-interventionist bystander in the Syrian conflict. That couldn't be further from the truth. Not only has Israel repeatedly bombed Syrian government installations, it has also armed Jihadist rebel groups in the Golan Heights, coordinated with Al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate against government forces and provided medical treatment to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State-linked rebels before sending them back into battle."

A123 on February 16, 2018 , · at 11:22 am UTC
Two key issues with this as an operational concept:

1) Regardless of the original manufacturing point of the MANPAD, it downed a Russian plane from the hands of a Turkish/SDF combatant. Also, Erdogan is still the #1 advocate of regime change in Syria.*

A unitary state structure would have a legal framework that ensures an eventual regime change in Syria produces an opposition government that exercises political power over the entire country. This outcome would be highly beneficial for Turkey's geopolitical interests, as it would allow Syria to potentially become a Turkish ally if Assad were to fall from power.

Encouraging Erdogan to expand operations in Syria is incredibly risky as his forces could attack South towards Damascus instead of West. It seems unlikely that Assad or Putin would be willing to gamble on their ability to predict/control Erdogan's behaviour.

2) Assuming that Turkey-NATO relations are destroyed in the manner suggested, where will freed up NATO forces reposition?

While the idea of reducing NATO activity in Syria sounds good on paper it could readily lead to increased NATO activity in areas of much deeper concern to Russia, such as the Baltics or Ukraine. Keeping NATO focused on Syria serves Putin's interest by tying up resources. It seems unlike that he would risk these other more critical locations for potential gains in Syria.
_________

(*) http://nationalinterest.org/feature/how-turkeys-geopolitical-ambitions-could-change-the-middle-24207

B.F. on February 16, 2018 , · at 11:30 am UTC
Neither the Russians nor the Americans can trust Turkey to any great degree, because politics in Turkey has traditionally been based on treachery and deceit. The Turks would like nothing better than to play Russians against Americans and visa versa, but even they know this would be going too far, as there are limits.

When it comes to Turkey, the Russians have the advantage, in the short term certainly, and probably in the long term. Erdogan cannot forget that the US instigated that coup d'etat against him, and that Russia saved his life, literally, warning him of the approaching coup and sending combat planes to prevent his own plane being shot down. Even Russian AA missile systems in Syria protected Erdogans life, the plotters receiving warnings from Russian ground crews. Erdogan knows the EU will never accept him, and Turkeys membership of NATO is more than a liability, becoming dangerous. The last thing Erdogan wants is for Turkey to be involved in a possible US war against Iran, let alone in a war against Russia, for which Turkey would pay a price.

Some analysts have speculated that Turkey and the US could make a deal at the expense of Russia. Not impossible, but unlikely, as neither side could trust the other. As far as I can see, Erdogan is playing the waiting game, waiting for the right moment to leave NATO and prevent Turkey being dragged into a potential US led war, from which Turkey has nothing to gain but plenty to lose. I think even the US knows this, which is the reason it will try another coup against Erdogan, and Erdogan knows it. Turkey is now playing a balancing act, waiting for the right moment to turn to Russia and China and their economic alliances.

One well known analyst has stated that it's only a matter of time before both the EU and NATO implode. NATO's implosion could well start with Turkey exiting.

As for Russia, it will stay in Syria for a long time. I don't see the US staying too long, as it's tactical position in northern Syria is dangerous, the supply lines being easily cut. Yes, the US could, in conjunction with Saudi Arabia and Israel, attack Iran. However, the repercussions would be tremendous. The US would not get any European backing, while such a move could well speed up Turkey's exit from NATO.

Cyril on February 16, 2018 , · at 12:09 pm UTC
I don't see the US staying too long, as it's tactical position in northern Syria is dangerous, the supply lines being easily cut.

If Syria's enhanced air defenses can routinely knock out the U.S.'s cargo planes, the U.S. position in Syria will be seriously damaged.

stephen on February 16, 2018 , · at 12:00 pm UTC
For our part, we must tell commentators on this issue to stop claiming the US has changed its position on Assad and Syria because tillerson/kerry/whoever said something that seemed like a ray of light (anyone Orthodox, by the way, should be immune to the idea of humans producing rays of light).

The goal has remained the same and will never change – to take out Assad and create a Northern vassal state. Anyone suggesting otherwise is doing disinfo for the Empire.

mod-to note: last line removed as unnecessary to the comment and inflammatory.

Chad on February 16, 2018 , · at 4:10 pm UTC
Thanks, everyone, for your insights on these issues. In light of Mr. Trump's recent statement about a big military parade he would like to see staged later this year (at a cost of at least thirty million dollars) , I can't help but wonder what kind of "victory" or Make America Great Again big win he wants to pull out of the hat that would make the parade even more appropriate "victory" over North Korea? ? ? "victory" in Syria? ?

I am very concerned about the whole timetable. Hopefully these wars aren't being waged with glowing visions of rapid effortless victories. The flip side to that is that these wars are being waged with the intent of dragging on for half of forever, consuming as many human lives as possible, and above all, destroying as much human hope and love as possible.

JJ on February 17, 2018 , · at 5:16 am UTC
RT carrying news that the USA is to increase its stockpile of miltary shells be 800%
Dr. NG Maroudas on February 16, 2018 , · at 1:00 pm UTC
A positive note from analyst 6 1/2hr ago. [Basically the enemy continues in retreat]:

" the deal between the Syrian Government and Afrin Canton is begin to take shape and has the best shot to be signed today or tomorrow. This is as close to a deal as it has ever, so this time all sides are determined to get it done.

"It is early to celebrated, as I mentioned yesterday, there are other players that may influence in the last minute, but it is encouraging.

When I say celebrate, it means this deal (assuming the Syrian Government takes full control of State business and the SAA is fully present in all Canton with minimum possibility of setbacks with armed militias), will influence the years to come in Syria, Sheikh Maksud (which is slowly being absorbed into normal life in Aleppo) will be the first to join the deal completely.

We will see impact in Hasaka city and Province, where many inhabitants (Arabs and Kurds doe support the Syrian Government). This deal could be a message to the US that it is time to get out with some dignity or it will get uglier as time goes by .."

Anonymous on February 16, 2018 , · at 2:44 pm UTC
watch the old footage of helicopters flying from the rooftops in Saigon. "Ugly" doesn't worry the US elites that control policy. They'll gladly trade 'ugly' for any small benefit, and the same elites have no problems putting the lives of the people who are foolishly loyal to them into great danger.

The great philosopher George Carlin famously once said, "its a small club. And you ain't in it." They only care about the members of their club, and will sacrifice a few of them when forced to. But they don't care about 'ugly' and they make sure that no members of the club are among the last to flee Saigon and beyond that they don't care about anyone or anything else if it gets into the way of their grabs for power and wealth.

Anonius on February 17, 2018 , · at 8:24 am UTC
You could always count on George with his spot on critique of the establishment and other subjects. May he rest in peace.
Edward on February 16, 2018 , · at 1:03 pm UTC
Given its precarious situation, maybe Turkey will eventually try to patch its relations with Syria, although I see no sign of this so far.
sea on February 17, 2018 , · at 12:31 am UTC
Very difficult , one week ( may ten days) ago all Turkish newspapers published a photo of Erdogan : at his right side the prime minister, and at the left side the previous prime minister Davutoglu.

Davutoglu has been the most important planner of the Syrian war, big ally of the USA. He was obliged to resign and practically disappear from the political scene when Erdogan went to Putin excusing himself for the shooting down of a Russian plane. Now he ( and his policies ) seem to have made a full scale coming back .

Blue on February 17, 2018 , · at 3:33 am UTC
The US is still trying to use the Kurds to manipulate Turkey into a direct conflict with Syria. Erdoğan still wants to overthrow Assad as does the US.

Erdoğan's blocking Syria in Idlib and the possible movement of SA into Afrin sets up this potential confrontation.

The question is will Turkey take the bit if its observation forces are challenged or attecked in Idlib, and send in the Turkish army, or will they back off and leave the fighting to their Takfiri? The US hopes that the former will occur.

Gastarbeiter on February 16, 2018 , · at 1:49 pm UTC
RF will stay passive till end of World Cup (where US did not "qualify"). Afterwards all bets are off (all fronts).

TK can at best act as party spoiler and taking attention away from other areas. Can't be trusted. One can just win time.

RF could also retaliate with caliber hits at still ISIS areas, where for sure critical resources are embedded, just like was done last year at Aleppo.

Richard Steven Hack on February 16, 2018 , · at 2:03 pm UTC
"The support for Israeli operations against Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon and Syria"

I believe this is where US and Israeli intentions are. With the defeat of the US/Israel/Saudi plan to degrade Syria's military preparatory to an Israel attack on Lebanon, Israel now wants to up the ante by getting the US to join it in an attack on Hizballah in Lebanon and then the US will find a way to justify extending that war into Syria.

Tillerson just attacked Hizballah again today as part of the ramp-up"

Tillerson says Hezbollah a danger to Lebanon: https://www.thenational.ae/world/tillerson-says-hezbollah-a-danger-to-lebanon-1.705030

Larchmonter445 on February 16, 2018 , · at 3:02 pm UTC
Tillerson w/Hariri. Says it all.

President Aoun decides about Hezbollah, and he already has decided he wants them, he wants Russia and he wants no relationship with Hegemon. Tillerson is a traveling carnival show. Sad to see a man used as a puppet.

Sun Tzu on February 17, 2018 , · at 1:36 pm UTC
Lebanon is being presented with two diametrically opposite choices: a) attempt to disarm Hezbollah so that it stops threatening Israeli off-shore claims or water access wishes in southern Lebanon. b) provide access to Russian navy assets on all your ports. The first choice is just political suicide. The second choice will infuriate the Hegemon.

The last shooting skirmish between Syria and Israel caused much more than a downed F16I. It caused consternation because the Air Space at Ben Gurion was officially closed during the hostilities. Elijah Magnier ejmagnier.com asserts that his Syrian sources confirm a decision to rain down a couple of dozen Surface to Surface missiles over Israeli towns in the Golan Heights or anywhere in Israel if IAF violates Syrian air space sovereignty. The fact that Israel immediately after mobilized to strengthened its Air Defense batteries to the Northern border speaks to that threat.

Hezbollah also confirmed that an Israeli vs Syria + Hezbollah war will include the resistance striking targets in Israel's off shore Gas and Oil interests. The war front will be wider including Israel occupied Golan Heights, Shebaa farms, Off Shore gas rigs operated by Israel.

In Syria's East the Hegemon is in an untenable situation. Weaponizing the Kurds against Turkey will result in an accelerated Turkey-exit from NATO on the least and an inter NATO clash on the worst case.

It is with this in mind that I am convinced that this is the beginning of the war called Armageddon in the Bible. The Tel Megiddo is a man made mound in Northern Israel that dominates this famous battlefield.

The next Front is now in Northern Israel as proven by the location of the downed F16 and by Israeli fortification of its Northern Air Defense.

Auslander on February 16, 2018 , · at 3:07 pm UTC
In my opinion any reactions by Russia to the escalating provocations in Syria and elsewhere will be muted, and this includes if serving Russian Military are killed again. There are a number of reasons for this but again in my opinion this muted response has nothing to do with the upcoming election and/or the football champion ships which, by the way, will probably be withdrawn at the last minute as yet another calculated insult to Russia.

Muted response has been the norm from Russia for quite some years but on the other hand this in no way means there was no and/or will not be a response. Take for instance the pinpoint accuracy mortar attack on the field hospital last year that killed our doctors and nurses who were in place to treat Syrian civilians. I will not go in to the mechanics of this attack but I know exactly how it was done and I am willing to guaranty you that the highly trained and expert foreign team that did the attack is not alive today nor were they alive 3 days after the attack. It is the same with the team that shot down our Dry 25. They are dead. Period. However, killing these teams after they do their deed does not negate the damage they do in the first place and therein is the problem.

There are two ways to stop these ongoing and guaranteed to escalate attacks. One, Russia surrenders and pulls everyone and everything back to within her borders. Not going to happen. Period. Two, Russia continues on her implacable course of steady pressure on the Empire to not so much as defeat her but to preserve Russian interests and world interests, world interests meaning peace on this war wracked planet we call home.

In the near future, read a good part of this year, you can expect escalating attacks and provocations against any Russian interests and this will include both Syria and Ukraine plus southern and western Russia, proposed or in process gas supply lines and various business and industrial projects and agreements between Russia and other countries. I have few doubts that the orcs will be ordered to attack Novorossiya within a week of the Russian elections and at the same time the well known coming false flag chemical attack in Syria will take place. Both attacks will result in increasingly serious sanctions against Russia in attempts to turn the Russian populace against President Putin and foment a revolution against the government. This will not happen, that is a given, but the sanctions will hurt an ever widening part of the populace. Russians are a pretty tough bunch and additional sanctions will do nothing but make the Russians more resolved to support their government and culture.

In the end, Russia will persevere and while we will have more and more of our servicemen and women coming home dead, we will win in the end. The Empire is dying, that is obvious, but a dying animal is if anything more dangerous than when young and healthy. Therein is the real problem, will the empire in it's death throes pull down the entire world with it.

One more little detail. The number of Russian citizens under contract to Syria killed in the now world famous attack is three, two dead and one wounded who died. End of story, except for the grieving widows and families in Russia and Syria.

Auslander
Author

Sevastopol, The Third Defense. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079KRPLS4 Book 1, A Premonition, The Move South

An Incident On Simonka https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01ERKH3IU NATO Is Invited To Leave Sevastopol, One Way Or The Other.

Anonymous on February 16, 2018 , · at 7:18 pm UTC
"This will not happen, that is a given, but the sanctions will hurt an ever widening part of the populace."

I hope sanctions will not hurt many Russian citizens. Since neither the Russian government, nor the Russian citizens live in a make-believe world, they could suspect that the West will not give up with its efforts at destabilizing the Russian Federation. Russia, in corporation with China can produce pretty neat hich-tech gadgets. The Chines are able to produce excellent quality (if they want to). Who needs many Western products (often produced to fail – planned obsolescence) if the Russians have learned to develop / produce quality stuff themselves?

Ngoyo on February 17, 2018 , · at 4:00 am UTC
True and I believe this is the correct policy. Dramatic confrontations with the US are not in Russia's interest. There is also the issue that Trump is looking increasingly like a winner, in the Russian collusion fight. If the republicans do well in the up coming elections, he will be able to put that vicious battle behind him. This will open up possibilities for the US to cooperate with Russia, if only tacitly, in Syria and Ukraine.

I think Saker is way too hard on Trump, his zig-zagging on Russia is due to his domestic issues. The possibilities for friendship between Russia and the US remain. Edgar Cayce the US's "Sleeping Prophet" predicted in 1932 and 1944 that:

1944: " What then of nations? In Russia there comes the hope of the world, not as that sometimes termed of the Communistic, of the Bolshevistic; no. But freedom, freedom! that each man will live for his fellow man! The principle has been born. It will take years for it to be crystallized, but out of Russia comes again the hope of the world. Guided by what? That friendship with the nation that hath even set on its present monetary unit "In God We Trust." "

and

1932:"On Russia's religious development will come the greater hope of the world. Then that one, or group, that is the closer in its relationships, may fare the better in the gradual changes and final settlement of conditions as to the rule of the world. "

Makedonia on February 16, 2018 , · at 5:40 pm UTC
Can someone please explain why China has not provided real assistance in Syria in terms of sending their defense forces namely their air force and navy? If anything it would provide them with real combat experience which they may more than possibly need to rely on in any potential conflicts with Taiwan and the South China Sea. I really don't understand their "neutrality" with this situation. Russia really needs their help right now or the consequences of this whole Syrian situation will just be unimaginable.
JackJC on February 16, 2018 , · at 6:30 pm UTC
China has been supplying material and trainers to the Syrians – this is documented.

What is not known is how far that level of support has gone. As I mentioned in another post a few weeks ago, supplying Chinese military personnel to Syria – overtly – is not in China's strategic interest. If they actually supply 'unattached' Chinese troops it will be covert and very quiet.

дулебг on February 16, 2018 , · at 6:03 pm UTC
@ main purpose of the entire US deployment in northern Syria:
--
I think main purpose for the US in northern Syria is:
– to establish Kurdish state, from which Americans would control the whole Middle East,
– to build pipelines from the Gulf to Turkey and Europe, and to dictate the prices of oil and petrol,
– to exploit local gas and oil fields.
mijj on February 16, 2018 , · at 6:08 pm UTC
Surely Russia must have anticipated that the powers-that-be in the US would never admit defeat and cease interfereing. This will always be the case. It's a consequence of the US ubermensch mentality. As ever, to anticipate US behavior one must ask oneself 'what would the Mafia do?'
HDan on February 17, 2018 , · at 4:01 am UTC
No it's much more simple. If one wants to anticipate what they will do as a next step just ask yourself what would the lowest scum do, and your bet will hit better than 50% absolutly certain..
Where-Wolf on February 16, 2018 , · at 6:28 pm UTC
Read carefully because everything is coming into view. At the begining of WW1 the British, in an incident involving the battlecruiser Goeben, placed under a Turkish flag but still operated by a German crew, shelled Odessa pushing the Ottomans into the war on the side of the Central Powers.

The Young Turks had wanted very badly to be on the side of the Entente, but this did not matter because the British plan was to carve up the Ottoman Empire, ultimately aiming to control all of it's oil (imagine how much oil it would control if it were around today), and so after the war it was dismantled and the British-made stooge Attaturk was installed.

The same strategy is being enacted today vis a vis Turkey and Russia. Erdogan is the direct inheritor of the Young Turk political tradition and he is also a stooge of the British.

What is the proof that the Turks are controlled by the British?

There are many but one obvious link concerns the Anglo-Zionist propaganda and the chemical weapons 'management' organization known as White Helmets, which are imbedded with Turkish controlled HTS in Northern Syria, thus dilineating a crystal clear link to support what I am describing. There was also the recent drone attack on the Russian Khmeimim made from Turkish controlled Syrian territory, an attack which the Russians expalined was not 'Turkish' without further elaborating.

The Russians understood the attack on Khmeimim was perpetrated by British Intelligence, and so they gave Turkey a pass.

Now, imagine you are the Russians and your best bets for a military ally in Syria are Turkey and perhaps Iran.

What would you think?

Under no circumstances would you even consider exposing your armies to dependence on Turkish support or supply lines to Syria which could easily be blocked. To do so would be suicide.

Therefore the Russian strategy is delay delay delay, because they understand there are no good options for them in a war against the Perfidious Ones in Syria, who are effectively allied to China despite mountains of (scarcely believable) propaganda suggesting China supports Russia, which is in itself an absolute load of Dung Xiaoping.

But the Anglo-Zionists, like the Russians, all together understand these surface calculations and so the Perfidious Ones are going one better, to entice the Russians into overestimating their strength and becoming more deeply involved in Syria especially.

This involves convincing the Russians that the Pentagon junta which controls the Whitehouse of Donald Trump is also on their side and would effectively (as it sometimes appears) support Russia in a wider war, thus changing the Kremlin calculation, however, despite close cooperation in Syria between the Russians and Pentagon, and in alternative media which is generally pro Russian and pro-Pentagon , it seems the Russians are not fooled and will do their best to keep options for withdrawal from Syria open.

This is why Putin has twice declared a Russian withdrawal from Syria. The Russians understand they have no good options in a direct confrontation with the West and further their greatest potential ally in the region, the Iranians, are themselves playing a double game, also secretly alligned to the Peridious Ones, as has been highlighted repeatedly by Thierry Meyssan.

Should the Iranians wish it they could sweep the US and SDF Kurds out of eastern Syria and northern Iraq in no time flat. It is the secret cooperation of the Iranians and Pentagon in Iraq and eastern Syria which gives the game away concerning the role of the Pentagon. By threatening to tear up the nuclear agreement, which in any case gives the Iranians nothing and relinquishes over 100 billion dollars of Iranian assets held since the Iranian revolution, the Trump administration is creating a pretext which appears to be holding the Iranians back from full cooperation with Russia and ultimately, from victory in this war.

James Speaks on February 16, 2018 , · at 7:03 pm UTC
I don't think the question, "What will be the Russian response to further provocation?" is the right question. Although Russia is doing the right thing, assisting Syria at its request to fight terrorism and launching a legitimate peace process, from the twisted viewpoint of Rogue State and Hegemon, these actions are provocation. Any action that prevents Rogue State and Hegemon from destroying other nations is viewed as a provocation.

I think the right question is, "Based on the success of the past two years, how will Russia tweak its policies going forth?"

My guess is that the obvious rules. Syrian lands belong to Syria. Russia has affirmed its support for Syrian territorial integrity. Neither party has earned a reputation for hyperbole. There are locations where ISIS/Acronym have been identified, namely the pocket west of Deir Ezzor, The pocket along the border with Iraq east of the Euphrates, Al-Tanf, spots south of Damascus, Daara, and just across the Euphrates from Deir Ezzor where ISIS et all attacked SAA and government aligned troops as they attempted to cross the Euphrates and approach the Conoco oil fields.

Now that Syria has established their prerogative to shoot down opposition warplanes, and I hope Russia is providing massive ordnance in this regard, I suspect we will see a war of attrition that plays into Syrian strengths and Hegemon's weaknesses; Rather than asymmetric warfare waged on Syrian and Russian forces, wouldn't it be a hoot if the good guys waged a guerrilla operation on Hegemon. And what can Hegemon do, launch airplanes? They can be shot down, and over Syrian territory.

Andrew on February 16, 2018 , · at 9:54 pm UTC
We should go back to Libya, it's the big why we need an answer to. Hillary Clinton said' we came, we saw, he died'. Thats a lot of spite from someone raised in the South and living in comfort a long way away.

Something tipped someone over the edge, the Brits went for Gaddafi, even with NATO help they needed the USA to finish the job, they must have known it would erupt in internecine warfare, unless their intelligence is very basic, it's not like it hasn't happened everywhere else they have been. It left the EU very short of light crude for diesel, so there was some sacrifice from the EU.

Israel got a hammering in Lebanon, any idea of their invincibility was well and truly vanquished, they still have great intelligence capacity and nukes but not seen as invincible in a traditional scrap.

Something is missing from the story, I keep thinking it's still about oil, lots of powerful people in the States made it in the oil industry. Why is the USA going so hard out with it's fracking? Energy isn't that expensive, why not use other countries reserves first?

China is most dependent on energy imports, he who controls energy controls it all, and that was the house of Saud with its dependence on the USA and Aramco, a company that could be worth 10 trillion in the right market. A China/Russia alliance is going to be very powerful, China is being driven into trade deals with Russia to protect its energy supplies. China wasn't happy with the old TPP deal.

Today the energy market is more fragmented, taking control is harder and Russia looks likely to be the big player and they won't be pushed around or influenced like those in the middle east.

Syria is a mix match of cultures but it sort of works. Why was Syria so important, Ok they side with Iran and Iran is a red flag to the States. Still it shouldn't be enough to warrant this treatment, unless someone thought they could get to Iran via Syria. Either that or the Jewish lobby in the States is more powerful than I thought and it's all about Israel

The Assads have very close ties to the UK, she was born and went to school there, it's makes more sense they would be pro British than anything else. Just me thinking aloud.

vot tak on February 16, 2018 , · at 11:08 pm UTC
"Either that or the Jewish lobby in the States is more powerful than I thought and it's all about Israel"

That it is.

one minion on February 17, 2018 , · at 7:49 am UTC
He got his eye doctor training here and her parents still live here, but it doesn't necessarily follow that they are particularly pro-British. Pro-Syrian and cosmopolitan is far more likely.
Rob from Canada on February 16, 2018 , · at 10:42 pm UTC
Russia made an offer for the Saudi Aramco IPO. http://www.atimes.com/article/putin-prefers-aramco-trumps-sword-dance/
Keith McClary on February 17, 2018 , · at 12:50 am UTC
Whatever happened to the turkey israel water/gas pipeline ?
Ngoyo on February 17, 2018 , · at 3:34 am UTC
The Russians should encourage the US to go for its mini Kurdistan project and hope they achieve it. The benefits of such a policy far outweigh the costs of trying to prevent it:
  1. A mini Kurdistan in the interior of Syria is completely unsustainable in the face of Syrian, Turkish and Iraqi opposition.
  2. It will make the perfect quagmire for the US/Israel combo. It will tie up vast AngloZionist resources in establishing and defending it. All for nothing in the medium to long term.
  3. It will drive a major wedge between Turkey and the US. This would likely lead to the US being driven from Turkey and Iraq.
  4. It will allow Syria to mop up the rest of the country and begin reconstruction. This rebuilding is Syria's best defense against the AngloZionist imperialists. Syria must build itself into a fortress like Iran if it is to survive.

Sometimes people want something to happen, just out of spite for someone else, without thinking of the consequences for themselves. This is the case with the US Kurdistan project. The US wants to spite Russia and Syria by establishing Kurdistan. But such a state would be landlocked between very hostile neighbors. It has absolutely no viability. At the same time it will destroy the US geopolitical position in the middle east. Kurdistan is poisoned fruit and if the US wants it, why should Russia stand in its way?

By the way, I do not see Trump falling for this trap, I believe he is sincere in his wish to disengage the US from such foreign adventures. But there is not much he can do presently against the neocon establishment. But he has already made real progress, ISIS would not have been defeated and the Syrians won the war, if Trump had not been president. Try and imagine a Hillary presidency, with McCain making Syria policy.

Oscar on February 17, 2018 , · at 5:34 am UTC
"Step two: saturating Syria with mobile modern short/middle range air defenses" It is the only possible way to go forward (in my humble opinion) this to try avoid risking Russian lives. The best and most advanced weapons should be provided to the Syrian, Hezbollah and Iran militias. Israel will be mad about that but is the only way to put pressure on them to stop their aggression against Syria.

"One objection to this plan would be that two can play this game and that there is nothing preventing the USA from sending even more advanced MANPADs to their "good terrorist" allies". Whatever Russia does will not prevent the US from providing these weapons, on the contrary they are probably doing that already through their "secret" channels like the CIA, Mossad, etc.

Simon Chow on February 17, 2018 , · at 12:13 pm UTC
Counter escalation is too logical. Syria is a quagmire. The 'mud' weighing down Russia is Daesh and the pro-US 'moderates', mainly those Kurds backed by the US. But there more potential 'mud' that can suck in the US.

Turkey is already bogged down by the Kurds in what can be identified as the beginning of protracted warfare with Turkish cargo 200 being steadily produced for Erdogan. Israel feels threatened and so does the US.

But the Israelis are too astute to put boots on the ground in Syria in substantial numbers. Besides Hezbollah has 100,000 rockets pointed like a gun to Israel's head. But the US? There is now a window of opportunity to suck in the US in a protracted guerrilla war in Syria.

Hezbollah, Iranians and the Iraqi Shi'ites would be only too glad to scalp the Yankees in Syria and elsewhere. Now what can be done or rather what can Russia do or don't do, to suck in the ZioYanks into a Vietnam-like protracted scrap in Syria? If the ZioYanks are sucked into Syria in a big way, the fighting will likely spread to Iraq and Afghanistan. If this happen, it will also doom the already badly managed US economy! I think the solution is staring us in the eyes! Just speculatin'.

Larry Galearis on February 17, 2018 , · at 12:38 pm UTC
As usual, a well thought out and presented essay for an escalation in Syria.

Additional thought: If the Russians are concerned about a "deniability context" in supplying more competent anti-air capacity against US/Israeli air attacks I wonder if announcing a sale of S-300 or better units to Syria would be preferable to letting this escalate gradually with Russian upgrades of what already exists in Syria.

If such a purchase was undertaken, these would be Syrian owned missile systems and therefore deniable as aggressive on the part of Russia. After all the Turks are buying them, and the Iranians and the Saudis are also in line for them. But for the Syrians it would be tantamount to them declaring a no fly zone; the air losses to Israel and US planes would be very serious – serious enough to discourage this kind of escalation completely.

FWIW,
L.
P.S. Typos are the pepper in a Saker meal, maybe it doesn't add much, but given the positives I tolerate them very well.

Dimitar on February 17, 2018 , · at 3:16 pm UTC
How far can the Russians be pushed? The important thing is their responses are always the response of an intelligent, self-assured player who understands that power is not to be thrown around like some schoolyard bully. To quote Shakespeare in "Cymbelline", the game is up. And Uncle Scam knows it.
Tit for tat on February 17, 2018 , · at 6:27 pm UTC
American contractors can now come under similar pressure, after march election the command and control of the US proxies may be missiled. Even if there are US advisors on site.

[Feb 18, 2018] Had Hillary Won What Now by Andrew Levine

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... ANDREW LEVINE is the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What's Wrong With the Opium of the People . He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). ..."
Feb 18, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

Then Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, would be president of the United States, but the Senate, probably, and the House of Representatives, certainly, would have remained under Republican control.

In other words, had Hillary won, we would now have pretty much what we had when Barack Obama was president – but with the executive branch less competently led and more packed with Clintonite (neoliberal, liberal imperialist, shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later) officials, and with a Congress run by obstinate Republican troglodytes running roughshod over feckless, slightly less retrograde Democrats.

Radical impulses would, of course, continue to stir throughout the general population but notwithstanding widespread and deep popular support, to even less avail than before.

A Clinton presidency wouldn't make the blood of high-minded people boil, the way the Trump presidency has done, though, for anyone with the courage to face reality squarely, it would be nearly as painful to endure.

That pain would be much less constructive than the pain that is now so widely felt. Instead of sparking anodyne "resistance," it would be drowned out in a sea of acquiescence.

In a word, Clinton's first term would be what a third Obama term would have been – ratcheted down a few notches in the squelched "hope" and "change" departments.

By being African American, Obama stirred up plenty of hope and change illusions, especially at first, in many, maybe most, sectors of the population. In other sectors, Obama's race brought barely suppressed prejudices and resentments out into the open.

Because it soon became clear – not to everybody, but to everybody not willfully blind – that, under Obama, little, if any, good would come, Obamaphilia eventually faded away; the racism and nativism Obama's election boosted proved more durable.

Hillary, on the other hand, was anything but a beacon of hope – except perhaps to those of her supporters whose highest priority was electing a woman president. Hardly anyone else ever expected much good to come from her calling the shots.

In comparison with Obama, she wasn't even good at what she did. Despite a constant barrage of public relations babble about how experienced and competent she is, this was widely understood, even if seldom conceded.

She hadn't been much of a First Lady or Senator; among other things, she helped set the cause of health insurance reform back a generation, and she supported the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.

Then, as Secretary of State, she was at least partly responsible for devastating levels of disorder and mayhem throughout North Africa (Libya especially), the Greater Middle East (not just Syria), and elsewhere (Honduras, for example). But for her tenure at Foggy Bottom, there would be many fewer refugees in the world today.

It is therefore a good bet that were she president now, Obama would be sorely missed – notwithstanding his fondness for terrorizing civilians with weaponized drones, and for deporting Hispanics and others with a zeal exceeding George Bush's.

Inasmuch as he did break a color line that seemed infrangible, it was impossible for persons of good will not to root for the man. That would be like not rooting for Jackie Robinson. But the fact remains: except in comparison to his rivals and to Trump, he was no prize.

Because it was clear to nearly everybody outside the Clinton propaganda circuit that, by 2016, there really was no "glass ceiling" holding women back, Hillary had nothing like that going for her.

There were and are plenty of people of all ages and genders who would have liked to see a woman elected president; the time for that is long past due. But, by the time Clinton became the Democratic standard bearer, hardly anyone could truly believe that patriarchal attitudes or rampant misogyny were significant factors standing in her way.

To be sure, the lingering effects of attitudes in place years ago have diminished the pool of plausible female candidates. But then so too did the idea that Clinton was somehow entitled to the office. Because that attitude was so deeply entrenched, few women wanted to cross her.

Nevertheless, there are women who, running on the Democratic line, could surely have defeated Trump. An obvious example is Elizabeth Warren.

I am not alone in thinking that had the Democratic National Committee not rigged the nomination process in Clinton's favor, Bernie Sanders would have become the party's nominee and then gone on to defeat Trump. Warren's chances of winning the election were better still – precisely because, she is a woman.

Clinton's problem was not her gender; it was her politics.

Even so, we would be a lot better off now had she won in 2016 -- not just because the evil we know (too well!) is easier to deal with than the blooming buzzing confusion we ended up with instead, but also because, despite her Russophobia and fondness for "military solutions," the likelihood that the United States would blunder into a nuclear Armageddon would now be significantly less.

Too bad therefore that she flubbed even more egregiously than those of us who saw through the public relations myths about her accomplishments and competence thought possible.

Needless to say, in the alternative universe that Democrats and their media flacks have concocted, they explain the election outcome differently. In their view, Hillary lost because "the Russians" subverted our democratic institutions.

Or was it because James Comey, then the Director of the FBI, tipped that election to Trump by refocusing attention on Clinton's emails as Election Day approached?

One would think that it would faze Democratic confabulators that, shortly after the election was over, Comey rose to the top of Donald Trump's shit list – and was unceremoniously fired. They really should get their story straight.

While they are sorting that out, they might also make an effort to be a tad less besotted with the FBI. It is, to say the least, unseemly, even for faux-progressives, to cozy up to the perennial scourge of every progressive tendency in the American body politic.

And it isn't just the FBI – Democrats nowadays are smitten with the entire national security state apparatus, including the CIA and the NSA.

Democrats have always been that way to some extent, but, in the pre-Trump era, Republicans were generally the more gung ho of our two semi-established parties.

For decades, Cold War anti-Communist paranoia endeared the FBI and the others to wide swathes of the general public and to Republicans and Democrats alike. When a dearth of real world Communists made that story line impossible to maintain, "Islamic terrorists" were on hand to take their place.

These obsessions pair well with the right's passion for law and order – in other words, for keeping the poor generally, and persons of color especially, down.

And so, being the more rightwing of the duopoly parties, Republicans, before Trump, were especially besotted with the forces of order – from local police (for whom, black lives don't really matter) on up (or is it down?).

Democrats have never had any real quarrel with any of this, but, being the "nicer" and more reasonable of the duopoly parties, they were less inclined to go overboard.

It grieves me to say anything good about Donald Trump, but, to his credit, he did force Republicans onto a less unreasonable track – not in general, but towards Russia, a country with a nuclear arsenal so formidable that only maniacs would want to mess with it unnecessarily.

In all likelihood, Trump's reasons are venal or otherwise nefarious, and have little if anything to do with common sense. But anything that holds back the Doomsday Clock is welcome.

It is likely, though, that, before long, Republicans will revert back to their old ways.

Indeed, this is already happening: witness Trump's new "defense strategy" – aimed at the old Cold War bugaboos, Russia and China.

The scare quotes are in order because there is no strategy there, and what Trump is proposing has nothing to do with defense. It has everything to do, however, with giving free rein to the Pentagon to squander monies that could be otherwise spent in socially useful ways, and with stuffing the pockets of death merchants ("defense contractors") and those who feed off the taxpayer money our political class throws their way.

***

Despite even this, Democrats remain the less odious duopoly party. On nearly all "issues," just about any Republican is worse than any Democrat; and the attitudes and instincts Republicans evince are more execrable by far.

It should be born in mind, however, that the Democratic Party is, if anything, even more responsible for Trump than the Republicans are.

Insofar as he has set political views and attitudes, they were forged in New York City, under the aegis of Democratic Party politicians. And the Clintonite (neoliberal) turn in the larger political culture created the conditions for the possibility of Trump, or someone like him, rising to national prominence.

Democrats pulled this off by malignly neglecting the working class – and therefore less well-off white voters, among others – and by euthanizing nascent left oppositions that showed promise of challenging the economic supremacy and political power of the so-called "donor class" and of capitalists generally.

Neoliberalism shifts power and resources from the state sector to private capital, it encourages the globalization of trade, and it facilitates the free flow of capital around the world.

Its nostrums are integral to a form of class struggle aimed at weakening working class opposition – largely, but not exclusively, by attacks on the labor movement.

The classical fascism of the interwar years took aim at workers' economic and political organizations too – more directly, through violent frontal assaults. Neoliberalism works more gently, through protracted wars of attrition. The consequences, however, are much the same.

The Clintons and Tony Blair and their counterparts in other countries make a show of their progressivism – limiting their efforts, however, to cultural issues that do not materially harm capitalists' interests.

Around election times, they even make nice with union leaders -- because they need the resources and manpower they can still provide. But it is all a ruse, as workers and others know well.

Real fascists set out to intimidate workers' organizations; they liked bloodying noses. Neoliberals take aim at workers' power in such subtle but far-reaching ways that they often don't even realize that they have been had.

In the early days of the Regan era, Bertram Gross famously introduced the notion of "friendly fascism." The GOP used to be the friendly fascist's natural home. These days, however, Republicans are a lot nastier than they were in Reagan's time.

In recent years, the Tea Party and then Trump and the miscreants he has empowered have accentuated the GOP's racist, nativist, and authoritarian side. It is not a fascist party in the traditional sense, but the resemblances are more than a little worrisome.

And so, Reagan-style friendly fascism has largely disappeared from the Republican fold. But for what has taken its place, this would be a reason to celebrate.

Meanwhile, the spirit of the "Reagan revolution" lives on in the other duopoly party –where, thanks to the Clintons and others like them, efforts to keep "the donor class up" and everyone else down continue in a seemingly more benign way.

The electoral consequences are predictable. The kinds of working class people whom Trump derides – basically, everyone who is not white, male and straight – are, of course, more likely to vote for Democrats than Republicans. But they are more likely still not to vote at all.

Why would they when they have nothing to vote for ?

And, in large (mainly rural) swathes of the country, white working class men and the women who stand by them will vote for anyone, even an obviously incompetent billionaire buffoon whose policies will do nothing for them materially, provided only that he channels their resentments at Clintonite policies and people.

However, malign neglect of an important segment of the working class is only partly responsible for Trump. The absence of a genuine left is of far greater importance.

The reasons for its absence are many, and go far beyond the Democratic Party. Even so, Democrats have a lot to answer for.

As it became increasingly clear that the Bush-Cheney wars launched after 9/11 were responsible for enormous harm to people and to geopolitical stability, a peace movement took shape that, by 2006, had become a force to be reckoned with.

At the same time, in anticipation of the 2008 election, the leadership of the Democratic Party did its best to keep dissent in bounds. Their aim was to get Hillary Clinton elected president, and they feared that political turbulence would upset their plans.

At the very least, with the House back under Democratic control in 2006, Democrats could have initiated impeachment proceedings against George Bush; they had more than ample grounds. Whether or not he would then have been removed from office, he and his subordinates would have been impeded to some extent from doing at least some of the harm they went on to do.

But Nancy Pelosi and her co-thinkers in Congress put the kibosh on that idea. Their efforts did not stifle the growing peace movement entirely, but it did take some of the wind out its sails.

When it turned out that Obama was a stronger candidate than Clinton, and that the nomination would go his way, leading Democrats adapted. Hillary was their favorite, but Obama had been thoroughly vetted for corporate-friendliness and passed all the tests with flying colors. That was good enough for them.

And so it fell to the Nobel laureate to put the peace movement definitively down, even as he continued – temporarily even escalating -- the Bush-Cheney wars.

For too long and against too much contrary evidence, liberals took it for granted that Obama was on the side of the angels. They therefore let pass the murder and mayhem he was responsible for.

After eight years of that, what little semblance of a genuine left there had been within the Democratic Party's ambit found itself narcotized into oblivion.

An appetite for real opposition, even rebellion, existed within the general public; under the pressure of events it was growing all the time. But, with our debilitating duopoly party system in place, there was no political way out of the status quo.

Had Hillary won, that sad state of affairs would have continued, while the underlying maladies that Trump exploited for the benefit of himself and his class would have continued to fester.

And we would now likely be on the brink of even more appalling electoral outcomes than we suffered through in 2010 and 2014, and in 2016, when the Trump phenomenon defied all expectations.

Paradoxically, though, with Trump's victory, the prospects for a better mainstream politics actually improved. Trump is so manifestly unfit for the job he holds that his hold over the White House and the Republican Party actually harms the right more than it helps it.

His ever expanding docket of impeachable offenses and his crude misogyny are doing the work an organized left opposition would be doing, if only one existed -- creating space for popular movements to develop.

It started with the Women's March, immediately after Inauguration Day, and has been growing ever since; with women – black, brown, and white – leading the surge.

With midterm elections looming, the danger of cooptation is great -- Democrats, their media in tow, are working overtime to make that happen. But thanks to Trump, things have gone too far by now to be squelched entirely.

What Obama's victory did to the peace movement after 2008, a Hillary victory in 2016 would have done ten times over to the several (mainly woman-led) insurgencies that were beginning to take shape during the campaign.

With Trump in the White House, progressive women remain in the forefront of struggles to change the world for the better. With Clinton there instead, their best efforts would be swamped by anodyne campaigns led by well-meaning liberals of the kind that understandably rile up the Trump base.

All things considered, it would have been better (less catastrophically awful) had Hillary won. Even so, there is some reason to be grateful that she did not. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Andrew Levine

ANDREW LEVINE is the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What's Wrong With the Opium of the People . He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

[Feb 17, 2018] Russia condemned and defined as the enemy of America with laughably little evidence (effing Facebook posts being about the extent of it) .... not a word about JEWISH MONEY controlling the entire political system in the USA. When Netanyahu gets 29 standing ovations from Congress should that not have triggered an FBI Investigation

Taking oil price to 30th or 40th is a strategic goal of the USA in relation to Russia. Listen at 3:30.
Notable quotes:
"... Appeasing interview with a shockingly cheap incompetent former CIA head Woolsey. If this man seriously represents the intellectual level of the CIA, then the USA will implode even faster than in ten years. ..."
"... You are exactly right. U$ politicians are uninformed, stupid, detached from reality, selfish and they think like schoolyard kids do. ..."
"... They are the product of the US society as a whole. ..."
"... Craig Murray nailed this issue stone dead for all time a few years ago, when he wrote:"[neo]liberal interventionism, the theory that bombing brown people is good for them". ..."
"... In the former The Ukraine, the Jewish Quisling oligarch dictator, Poroshenko, has been appointing foreigners to positions of power (SackOfShvilli is but one). He supported this by stating: "Ukrainians are too corrupt to rule themselves." When will we in America hear such a statement from our leaders to justify the appointment of Jews and paid Judaeophiles to all positions of power? ..."
"... I'm just waiting for Yevgeny Prigozhin to hold a press conference in Russia to claim that Hillary Clinton paid him to run the Internet Research Agency to besmirch her opponent- watch the fireworks :) It's all a hall of mirrors. ..."
"... The Internet Research Agency couldn't have possibly been more ineffective, which points to it's main purpose being to besmirch Trump (more more likely it was just an unimportant hobby of Prigozhin). ..."
"... Sure the United States has, they have been doing it since 1953 with the overthrow of Iran, to as recently as 2012 Russian Election, 2014 Ukraine Election, the UK referendum on 23 June 2016 on Brexit and currently trying to overthrow it this year. These are just a few and there is a very long list of other countries also. The United States in now in Russia and Hungry today meddling it their elections. Got to get the right people in office so they will cow-tow to the United States. ..."
"... What an admission! trump doesn't want more drilling for oil to Americans to use. It is for export and for foreign interference ..."
"... and if the price of oil would go down to 30/40$ that would make a unhappy input and so would be the saudis and you fracking industry would go down the toilet and thy will drag the banks with them. What a moron. And US oil companies would like that alot too ..."
Feb 17, 2018 | theduran.com

Gano1 , February 17, 2018 10:31 AM

The USA has lost all morality, they are so hypocritical it is risible.

Patricia Dolan , February 17, 2018 10:25 AM

What Russian expansionism??? Look at the US expansionism..........get a grip!

Ann Johns Patricia Dolan , February 17, 2018 2:51 PM

Another tiresome, butthurt yank/wank? Between the new One Belt, One Road Chinese initiative, the Russians taking control of ME oil production and the fact that america has NO answers to help it's declining empire, it would seem to the non-partisan observer that america is well and truly f***ed. You must be talking about their debt expansionism, $20 TRILLION and rising by the second.

Vera Gottlieb Patricia Dolan , February 17, 2018 2:29 PM

US expansionism...really? Where? 😜

Mario8282 Vera Gottlieb , February 17, 2018 2:58 PM

Syria? Libya? Yemen? Africa, Afgh...

Vera Gottlieb Mario8282 , February 17, 2018 3:00 PM

And you left out Latin America...

Mario8282 Vera Gottlieb , February 17, 2018 3:05 PM

This is why I left with the dots... The list would end up with America itself (an endless spree of false flags and deception schemes).

Patricia Dolan Mario8282 , February 17, 2018 6:11 PM

Thank you Mario......let's not forget Ukraine, Kosovo, Bosnia, the entirety of eastern Europe, the entirety of northern Africa, Rwanda, the Congo, Venezuela, Chili, Guatemala, Panama, Jeeeeeeeze etc......

Patricia Dolan Vera Gottlieb , February 17, 2018 6:07 PM

get a grip......and turn your TV off!

Terry Ross Patricia Dolan , February 17, 2018 6:08 PM

'twas sarcasm Patricia.

Patricia Dolan Terry Ross , February 17, 2018 6:18 PM

I guess the WINKS need to be LARGER!!!! LOL

ThereisaGod , February 17, 2018 10:05 AM

Russia condemned and defined as the enemy of America with laughably little evidence (effing Facebook posts being about the extent of it) .... not a word about JEWISH MONEY controlling the entire political system in the USA. When Netanyahu gets 29 standing ovations from Congress should that not have triggered an FBI "Investigation"? Nah ... nothing happening there. It is breathtaking that THIS is the Alice-In-Wonderland world we inhabit.

Ton Jacobs, Human Guardians , February 17, 2018 10:02 AM

Appeasing interview with a shockingly cheap incompetent former CIA head Woolsey. If this man seriously represents the intellectual level of the CIA, then the USA will implode even faster than in ten years.

christianblood Ton Jacobs, Human Guardians , February 17, 2018 12:32 PM

(...If this man seriously represents the intellectual level of the CIA, then the USA will implode even faster than in ten years...)

You are exactly right. U$ politicians are uninformed, stupid, detached from reality, selfish and they think like schoolyard kids do.

Jesse Marioneaux christianblood , February 17, 2018 12:43 PM

They are the product of the US society as a whole.

christianblood Jesse Marioneaux , February 17, 2018 12:57 PM

They indeed are! U$A! U$A! U$A!

tom , February 17, 2018 11:14 AM

Craig Murray nailed this issue stone dead for all time a few years ago, when he wrote:"[neo]liberal interventionism, the theory that bombing brown people is good for them".

journey80 , February 17, 2018 12:37 PM

Yeah, that's hilarious. Join the murdering creep in a giggle, Laura, that's cute. Here's a global criminal who should have been hung years ago for crimes against humanity. No one in their right mind would treat this creep with anything but contempt and horror, let alone find him funny.

Franz Kafka , February 17, 2018 12:17 PM

In the former The Ukraine, the Jewish Quisling oligarch dictator, Poroshenko, has been appointing foreigners to positions of power (SackOfShvilli is but one). He supported this by stating: "Ukrainians are too corrupt to rule themselves." When will we in America hear such a statement from our leaders to justify the appointment of Jews and paid Judaeophiles to all positions of power?

journey80 Franz Kafka , February 17, 2018 12:34 PM

We don't need to hear it, we're living it.

Franz Kafka journey80 , February 17, 2018 3:33 PM

My profound and sincere condolences. You are getting the 'Democracy Treatment' by the West. I hope some of you survive to tell the tale and take revenge.

Franz Kafka , February 17, 2018 12:09 PM

Are those ears or bat-wings? WOW! Yet another Jewe, pretending not be be. I guess he would say that the USA murdered all the Indians and enslaved Africans 'for their own good' as well.
Talmudo-Satanism is the pernicious underlying ideology of the people who have taken over, not just the USA, but, lets face it, the entire West.

Vera Gottlieb , February 17, 2018 2:28 PM

What a bunch of ingrates we are...not appreciating all that the CIA is doing for us. We must thank them instead of complaining.

Trauma2000 , February 17, 2018 5:30 PM

Lets not forget that the U.$.A. meddled in Australia's election of the Whitlam Government. (And several governments there after as soon as they realised they could get away with it an nothing would happen to them). The United States are a bunch of sick puppies; really sick puppies the way they have treated Australia.

So much for being allies. With allies like the United States you don't need enemies (Unless the U.$. doctors them up for you to force you to pay them more money for weapons and protection).

And it makes me sick that so many 'naive' people around the world keep falling for the SH*T that comes out of their mouths.

When dealing with the United States there are a few rules to follow. (Apologies to the innocent Americans out there but 'they' allow their government to do some unspeakable horrors to the world.)

And that goes for the entire planet no matter who the United States is speaking to.

End of story.

Shue Trauma2000 , February 17, 2018 5:51 PM

Worst part is the our Gov can't think ahead, if they keep antagonising China on behalf of the Seppo's China will eventually pull their mineral imports and our economy will crash overnight.

HappyCynic , February 17, 2018 4:31 PM

Yes, nobody doubts that the US interferes with elections in other countries - we're the good guys, so this is ok :)

I'm just waiting for Yevgeny Prigozhin to hold a press conference in Russia to claim that Hillary Clinton paid him to run the Internet Research Agency to besmirch her opponent- watch the fireworks :) It's all a hall of mirrors.

The Internet Research Agency couldn't have possibly been more ineffective, which points to it's main purpose being to besmirch Trump (more more likely it was just an unimportant hobby of Prigozhin).

John R Balch Jr , February 17, 2018 6:31 PM

Sure the United States has, they have been doing it since 1953 with the overthrow of Iran, to as recently as 2012 Russian Election, 2014 Ukraine Election, the UK referendum on 23 June 2016 on Brexit and currently trying to overthrow it this year. These are just a few and there is a very long list of other countries also. The United States in now in Russia and Hungry today meddling it their elections. Got to get the right people in office so they will cow-tow to the United States.

Graeme Pedersen , February 17, 2018 6:11 PM

I believe john Key was sent from the U$A (Merrill Lynch) to ruin our economy in New Zealand as well.

janbn , February 17, 2018 5:37 PM

What an admission! trump doesn't want more drilling for oil to Americans to use. It is for export and for foreign interference.

Aidi Deduction , February 17, 2018 4:51 PM

Frederick the Great concluded that to allow governments to be dominated by the majority would be disastrous: "A democracy, to survive, must be, like other governments a minority persuading a majority to let itself be led by a minority."

General Kreeg , February 17, 2018 4:13 PM

Russian Trolls are all of a sudden the Russian Gov't.

fredd , February 17, 2018 3:18 PM

and if the price of oil would go down to 30/40$ that would make a unhappy input and so would be the saudis and you fracking industry would go down the toilet and thy will drag the banks with them. What a moron. And US oil companies would like that alot too

Mario8282 , February 17, 2018 2:56 PM

...and the US bombed half of the world's countries for their own good too. US made Libya a slave market for humanity's good as well. Oboomer even got the Nobel Peace Prize for it.

K Walker , February 17, 2018 2:55 PM

I would be greatly relieved if the USA government merely tweeted instead of invading and indulging in regime change.

Kevin S , February 17, 2018 12:55 PM

Talk about the pinnacle of hypocrisy!

[Feb 17, 2018] Trump has at least one thing right our post-9-11 wars have been a mistake by Andrew J. Bacevich

MIC controls Trump, not the other way around. That's why Trump deflated just three months after inauguration. He can tell all he wants, but his actions speak louder then his words. His actions are typical neocon actions.
Notable quotes:
"... However inadvertently, Trump has thereby bestowed on the American people a singular gift, putting a presidential imprimatur on a point that critics have been making for years, to no avail. Pointing out that our post-9/11 wars have resulted in a multitrillion-dollar waste of lives and treasure represents easily the greatest achievement of his young administration. ..."
"... Now let's look at the rest of the story. I will claim that most US military adventures, since Korea has been a failure often with unintended consequences, squandering taxpayer dollars while the national infrastructure and national psyche crumble. Involving ourselves in Vietnam after the French abandoned it was a horrific mistake with the loss of many lives and the expenditure of immeasurable political and economic capital. Somebody tell me again what Bay of Pigs and Grenada accomplished? There have been numerous other short term in-and-out deployments of troops and materiel since Korea. See Wikipedia's "Timeline of United States military operations." ..."
"... Let's face it. The military-industrial complex continues to lead the country into deeply unfortunate places and situations. Let's tie all this back to the recent school massacre in Parkland FL, one of many in recent years. Military surplus has been given away by the federal government to build up highly militarized SWAT teams in cities, armed with tanks, missile launchers and automatic weapons. Citizens easily and quickly arm themselves with semi-automatic weapons, seizing on loopholes that regulate the buying of hand guns but not AK-15s, all because the NRA owns too many members of Congress. ..."
"... Let's go beyond Trump's simplistic pronouncement. The United States has been and is a bellicose and violent nation. Unfortunately, President Trump's words have been equally bellicose, especially toward North Korea. I have little faith that our country will dial back its aggressiveness under the Trump regime. ..."
Feb 16, 2018 | www.bostonglobe.com

In a typically offhand remark, President Trump the other day rendered his personal assessment of our various post-9/11 wars, interventions, and punitive expeditions. " Seven trillion dollars. What a mistake ," he said. "But it is what it is."

The seven trillion is merely a guesstimate, of course. No one, least of all the lords of the Pentagon, really knows how much our sundry military campaigns, large and small, have cost. Yet at this point, total expenditures certainly reach well into the trillions. And whatever the current tally, that sum will inevitably increase as our wars drag on and as downstream obligations – care for veterans, for example – pile up for decades to come.

That Trump himself should characterize those wars as mistaken represents a moment of plain speaking rare in today's Washington. After all, as the current commander in chief, he owns that mistake and its myriad consequences. We may doubt that the generals occupying senior positions in his administration share their boss's assessment. Nor, in all likelihood, does the national security establishment as a whole. Yet it qualifies as more than mildly interesting that the individual exercising supreme authority views the entire enterprise as misbegotten.

Imagine the head of Planned Parenthood declaring herself a pro-lifer. Imagine Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos criticizing the American penchant for conspicuous consumption. Imagine Tom Brady announcing that his son will never play a brutal and dangerous sport like football. A sitting American president characterizing ongoing American wars as mistaken is hardly less notable and ought to command widespread public attention.

Imagine the head of Planned Parenthood declaring herself a pro-lifer. Imagine Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos criticizing the American penchant for conspicuous consumption. Imagine Tom Brady announcing that his son will never play a brutal and dangerous sport like football. A sitting American president characterizing ongoing American wars as mistaken is hardly less notable and ought to command widespread public attention. Of course, Trump is an improbable source of truth. His many critics have become accustomed to dismissing his every word as either false or hateful or simply bizarre. Yet in this instance, I submit, he has uttered a genuine truth of profound importance.

Unfortunately, Trump's bottom line obscures the implications of that truth: "It is what it is." There are at least two ways of interpreting that remark. The first is fatalistic: We're stuck in a heckuva mess and there's no way of getting unstuck. The second is pragmatic: Here are facts that we dare not ignore.

... ... ...

In Hans Christian Andersen's familiar tale "The Emperor's New Clothes," a young child states the obvious: The monarch is naked. Now we have the emperor himself making a comparably self-evident point: Our wars aren't working.

However inadvertently, Trump has thereby bestowed on the American people a singular gift, putting a presidential imprimatur on a point that critics have been making for years, to no avail. Pointing out that our post-9/11 wars have resulted in a multitrillion-dollar waste of lives and treasure represents easily the greatest achievement of his young administration.

We tend to think that the story of that administration thus far has been one of ineptitude combined with persistent scandal. Yet the real scandal will occur if the American people and their elected representatives in Washington fail to treat Trump's verdict regarding our recent wars with the respect and seriousness it deserves.

Thank you, Mr. President, for your candor. If for nothing else, on this score, we owe you one.

Andrew J. Bacevich is the author, most recently, of "America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History."

[Feb 17, 2018] Looks like Obama Nobel Price was for reviving slavery market in Lybia

Feb 17, 2018 | theduran.com

Mario8282 , February 17, 2018 2:56 PM

...and the US bombed half of the world's countries for their own good too. US made Libya a slave market for humanity's good as well. Oboomer even got the Nobel Peace Prize for it.

[Feb 17, 2018] Former CIA Chief Admits US Meddling In Foreign Elections For Their Own Good

Notable quotes:
"... How about Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa? Fuck Allen Dulles, Mike Pompeo, and everybody in-between! ..."
"... BTW, Victoria Noodles will be very disappointed Ukraine didn't make the list after all of her hard work. ..."
"... Victoria "F*ck the EU" Nuland and the CIA were all over the Ukrainian "coup", but of course no mention of that on "Fair and Balanced". Laura Ingram is a typical Fox News Zio-Nazi bitch, hiding behind a cross, who apparently believes her own BS, and along others like Hannity have blood on their hands. ..."
"... You can always spot a psychopathic liar by their predisposition to smile or laugh at questions that are not humorous. Laura Ingraham is a neocon mouth-peice for the establishment. ..."
Feb 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Former CIA chief James Woolsey appeared on Fox News to push the narrative of how dastardly 'dem Russkies' are in their meddling with the sacred soul of America's democracy.

Woolsey did his patriotic deep-state-duty and proclaimed the evils of "expansionist Russia" and dropped 'facts' like "Russia has a larger cyber-army than its standing army," before he moved on to China and its existential threats.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/SpWai3kZ-gM

But then, beginning at around 4:30 , the real debacle of the conversation begins as Ingraham asks Woolsey,

"Have we ever tried to meddle in other countries' elections?"

Hes responds, surprisingly frankly...

"Oh probably... but it was for the good of the system..."

To which Ingraham follows up...

"We don't do that now though? We don't mess around in other people's elections?"

Prompting this extraordinary sentence from a former CIA chief...

"Well...hhhmmm, numm numm numm numm... only for a very good cause...in the interests of democracy"

So just to clarify - yes, the CIA chief admitted that Democracy-spreading 'Murica meddled in the Democratic elections of other nations "in the interests of democracy."

In case you wondered which ones he was referring to, here's a brief selection since 1948...

2016: UK (verbal intervention against Brexit)
2014: Afghanistan (effectively re-writing Afghan constitution)
2014: UK (verbal intervention against Scottish independence)
2011: Libya (providing support to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi)
2009: Honduras (ousting President Zelaya)
2006: Palestine (providing support to oust Prime Minister Haniyeh)
2005: Syria (providing support against President al-Assad)
2003: Iran (providing support against President Khatami)-
2003: Iraq (ousting of President Hussein)
2002: Venezuela (providing support to attempt an overthrow of President Chavez)
1999: Yugoslavia (removing Yugoslav forces from Kosovo)
1994: Iraq (attempted overthrow of President Hussein)
1991: Haiti (ousting President Aristide)
1991: Kuwait (removing Iraqi forces from Kuwait)
1989: Panama (ousting General Noriega)
1983: Grenada (ousting General Austin's Marxist forces)
1982: Nicaragua (providing support
1971: Chile (ousting President Allende)
1967: Indonesia (ousting President Sukarno)
1964: Brazil (ousting President Goulart)
1964: Chile (providing support against Salvador Allende)
1961: Congo (assassination of leader Lumumba)
1958: Lebanon (providing support to Christian political parties)
1954: Guatemala (ousting President Arbenz)
1953: Iran (ousting Prime Minister Mossadegh)
1953: Philippines (providing support to the President Magsaysay campaign)
1948: Italy (providing support to the Christian Democrats campaign)

(h/t @Yogi_Chan)


gellero Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:18 Permalink

What?? No Ukrania ???

Stan522 -> gellero Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:23 Permalink

obama sent in operatives into Israel to mess with Bibi....... They missed that one too....

skbull44 -> Stan522 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:25 Permalink

It's always for the children...

https://olduvai.ca

TBT or not TBT -> skbull44 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:29 Permalink

Yeah, a little bit for the children, but primarily it's for the stockholders and upper management, with some serious trickle down to their children.

Looney -> TBT or not TBT Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:32 Permalink

How about Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa? Fuck Allen Dulles, Mike Pompeo, and everybody in-between!

Looney

Mango327 -> manofthenorth Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:01 Permalink

This Russia bullshit has gotta stop. For the love of God, it's been like two and a a half years now. If Vladimir Putin was as twice as evil as we're told, he still wouldn't be half as evil as the Clintons are on any given Thursday.

MUELLER IS A JOKE, ABOLISH the F.B.I.

https://youtu.be/wC_Ro80LlhE

SoilMyselfRotten -> skbull44 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:47 Permalink

Democracy? Annnnnnnd it's gone! No wonder the rest of the world thinks we've collectively lost our minds. BTW, Victoria Noodles will be very disappointed Ukraine didn't make the list after all of her hard work.

marysimmons -> SoilMyselfRotten Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:16 Permalink

Victoria "F*ck the EU" Nuland and the CIA were all over the Ukrainian "coup", but of course no mention of that on "Fair and Balanced". Laura Ingram is a typical Fox News Zio-Nazi bitch, hiding behind a cross, who apparently believes her own BS, and along others like Hannity have blood on their hands.

The whole purpose of the Mueller indictment was to give the mainstream outlets something to report so idiot Americans will believe the crap put out about Russia since the Winter Olympics in Sochi and set the tone to justify a military conflict with Russia that won't end well for anyone, IMO

veritas semper -> marysimmons Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:40 Permalink

And Victoria Nuland Kagan is now Senior Adviser in the Donald's Department of Defense. See, kids, how the swamp is drained?

New_Meat -> marysimmons Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:46 Permalink

mary, just a touch catty tonight, don't cha' think?

Zio-Nazi? How dat work?

Whole purpose of the Mueller indictments is to give the folks a show to prove that their money hasn't been wasted on a Trump collusion charge for collusion that started in 2014 when Trump was prolly out schlongin' some playmate or other..

TheSilentMajority -> Looney Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:47 Permalink

They didu sumtin.

Deep Snorkeler -> skbull44 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:38 Permalink

America plays political-economic pranks on the rest of the world for the good of the system. It's worked out well.

Dumpster Elite -> Stan522 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:28 Permalink

I kinda wondered why they missed that one, too. I've seen that list on here before. I guess messing with Israel's elections doesn't fit the ZH narrative?

Justin Case -> Stan522 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:36 Permalink

That anchor sounds like she would be a good candidate for a gender change, meat stick and tea bag.

Vilfredo Pareto -> Stan522 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:00 Permalink

They missed post war Greece too, Albania, and a ton of others.

Bastiat -> Vilfredo Pareto Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:18 Permalink

. . . and Australia: watch The Falcon and the Snowman, if you haven't.

TheSilentMajority -> gellero Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:51 Permalink

Rothschilds at it again?

keep the basta -> gellero Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:53 Permalink

No Australia? Whitlam dismissal 11/11/1975 even wiki lists it

dirty fingernails Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:20 Permalink

The US is working hard to make banana republics look respectable

TBT or not TBT -> dirty fingernails Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:31 Permalink

We're The Most Interesting Banana Republic In The World.

Justin Case -> dirty fingernails Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:45 Permalink

to make banana republics look respectable

Not like a shit hole?

Bay Area Guy Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:20 Permalink

I generally can't stand Laura, but that was a spot on question. America is the quintessential "do as I say and not as I do" government.

chunga -> Bay Area Guy Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:33 Permalink

Among the many things sorely lacking in uncle sam is simple humility.

rwe2late Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:29 Permalink

Woolsey is an evil man. I doubt if he really believes. that the murders and tortures he presided over were for "their own good".

Ms No -> rwe2late Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:55 Permalink

No way he believes it. One thing about people who lack human empathy is that they would NEVER fall for the same tricks that the empathy having population does. They will always see the angle. It's what their brain is devoted to. All the capacity that we use to be reflective, emotional or caring all goes to angling for advantage with them. He knows exactly why people are tortured and couldn't give a shit less. You are either shark or mutilated gold fish as far as he is concerned.

New_Meat -> rwe2late Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:51 Permalink

Woolsey is an evil man, for a certainty. But, au contraire, I bet he does believe it is for their own good. Whoever "they" are that he's doin' shit to. Like the Jesuits in Andalusia, purging the non-believers.

- Ned

dizzyfingers Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:29 Permalink

This repeats our own terrible history: Tom Landess on "The Dark Side of Abraham Lincoln," and the week in review at the Abbeville Institute.

serotonindumptruck Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:31 Permalink

You can always spot a psychopathic liar by their predisposition to smile or laugh at questions that are not humorous. Laura Ingraham is a neocon mouth-peice for the establishment.

Dumpster Elite Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:32 Permalink

It really would be a new dawn for this country if the entire Deep State were outed, and publicly executed. I know that sounds like tinfoil hat talk, but hey, I'm sure the NSA is all over me right about now. Too bad they can't seem to find serial killers that say they're going to shoot up a school online. Too busy trying to shut up those that don't like the Deep State.

Ms No Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:50 Permalink

They have always done this and every single other accusation that they have levied against other "tyrants". The crazy train continues to pick up speed.

OT: Wales may have had a fracking quake. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fM4Wcqe6s_s

This is pretty funny. "Footage" of quake. Fracking quakes usually are not that big but it did drop masonry off of buildings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEI4cSd4B38

Paracelsus Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:52 Permalink

Ummm, Fidel Castro, Cuba, 1962 ? Leading up to Dallas? Which led to LBJ and ramp up of Indochina. If you look closely you will see that there was a huge little war going on in Laos, lots of bombing of the Ho Chi Minh trail from fighter bombers based in Thailand.

Also, Australia. The 1972 Whitlam dismissal was a bloodless coup d'état. Whitlam recognized North Vietnam which pissed off a bunch of people in Langley. The pilots were on strike and they couldn't fly parts and crew into Alice Springs (Pine Gap Satellite facility). The Aussies have long memories and it will be a cold day in hell before they trust the Yanks like before. This is a country with a strong sense of injustice. The Aussies still talk about the "bodyline" cricket scandal with the Brits, and that happened in the 1930's....

[Feb 17, 2018] Victoria Nuland Kagan is now Senior Adviser in the Donald's Department of Defense

Notable quotes:
"... So just to clarify - yes, the CIA chief admitted that Democracy-spreading 'Murica meddled in the Democratic elections of other nations "in the interests of democracy." ..."
Feb 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

So just to clarify - yes, the CIA chief admitted that Democracy-spreading 'Murica meddled in the Democratic elections of other nations "in the interests of democracy."

In case you wondered which ones he was referring to, here's a brief selection since 1948...

2016: UK (verbal intervention against Brexit)
2014: Afghanistan (effectively re-writing Afghan constitution)
2014: UK (verbal intervention against Scottish independence)
2011: Libya (providing support to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi)
2009: Honduras (ousting President Zelaya)
2006: Palestine (providing support to oust Prime Minister Haniyeh)
2005: Syria (providing support against President al-Assad)
2003: Iran (providing support against President Khatami)-
2003: Iraq (ousting of President Hussein)
2002: Venezuela (providing support to attempt an overthrow of President Chavez)
1999: Yugoslavia (removing Yugoslav forces from Kosovo)
1994: Iraq (attempted overthrow of President Hussein)
1991: Haiti (ousting President Aristide)
1991: Kuwait (removing Iraqi forces from Kuwait)
1989: Panama (ousting General Noriega)
1983: Grenada (ousting General Austin's Marxist forces)
1982: Nicaragua (providing support
1971: Chile (ousting President Allende)
1967: Indonesia (ousting President Sukarno)
1964: Brazil (ousting President Goulart)
1964: Chile (providing support against Salvador Allende)
1961: Congo (assassination of leader Lumumba)
1958: Lebanon (providing support to Christian political parties)
1954: Guatemala (ousting President Arbenz)
1953: Iran (ousting Prime Minister Mossadegh)
1953: Philippines (providing support to the President Magsaysay campaign)
1948: Italy (providing support to the Christian Democrats campaign)

(h/t @Yogi_Chan)


gellero Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:18 Permalink

SoilMyselfRotten -> skbull44 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:47 Permalink

Democracy? Annnnnnnd it's gone! No wonder the rest of the world thinks we've collectively lost our minds. BTW, Victoria Noodles will be very disappointed Ukraine didn't make the list after all of her hard work.

marysimmons -> SoilMyselfRotten Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:16 Permalink

Victoria "F*ck the EU" Nuland and the CIA were all over the Ukrainian "coup", but of course no mention of that on "Fair and Balanced". Laura Ingram is a typical Fox News Zio-Nazi bitch, hiding behind a cross, who apparently believes her own BS, and along others like Hannity have blood on their hands.

The whole purpose of the Mueller indictment was to give the mainstream outlets something to report so idiot Americans will believe the crap put out about Russia since the Winter Olympics in Sochi and set the tone to justify a military conflict with Russia that won't end well for anyone, IMO

veritas semper -> marysimmons Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:40 Permalink

And Victoria Nuland Kagan is now Senior Adviser in the Donald's Department of Defense.

See, kids, how the swamp is drained?

[Feb 17, 2018] Iran is already being attacked from West and East in the North

Feb 17, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Posted by: ninel | Feb 11, 2018 3:59:15 PM

Here is an interesting article that points to the new American strategy with respect to Iran and central Asia. Iran is already being attacked from West and East in the North. And central Asia is next. This might force Iran to pull back some forces from Syria and Iraq.

No end to the wars.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/02/06/us-isis-nexus-afghanistan-becomes-hot-topic.html

[Feb 17, 2018] What s good for the Jews Stephen Miller by Marcus Alethia

Notable quotes:
"... Culture of Critique ..."
"... The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State. ..."
Feb 11, 2018 | www.unz.com

Young right-leaning Jews don't have many Jewish figures to look up to. Illustrious elder scholar and "alt right godfather" Paul Gottfried . Taki columnist and revisionist David Cole Stein . Brilliant neo-reactionary thinker and half-Jew Curtis Yarvin ( Mencius Moldbug ).

But thankfully we now have Stephen Miller, the 32-year old Trump advisor and immigration hard-liner recently blamed by Democratic senators for scuttling their desired amnesty deal for illegal immigrants. Transparently, the Dems are trying to spoil Trump's relationship with Miller, as they did with Bannon, by insinuating that Miller is pulling Trump's strings. Of course it is absurd to suggest that Trump is anything but his own man. But Miller is a crucially important figure in the Trump administration and his influence is, from what I can tell, entirely positive for the interest of Americans concerned with mass immigration and the very tangible threat of Europeans and people of European descent becoming minorities in their own countries.

Jews, and Americans overall, need more Stephen Millers. Brash, unafraid, quick-witted, verbally formidable, and unabashedly "America First," Miller is a powerful spokesman for economic nationalist positions , anti-globalism , and for preserving this country's original culture and people against the Democratic scheme to flood it with illegal and legal immigrants whose main gift to America will be their reliable Democratic votes in every future election. Miller is roundly despised by the establishment for his positions and rhetoric. Nancy Pelosi has called Miller a "White supremacist," while others on the left have compared him to Joseph Goebbels . He's the only Jew I can think of offhand that the mainstream media actively encourages the country to hate.

But we Jews should be honest: for every mensch like Miller, we have shmucks like Tim Wise , Noel Ignativ , Rob Reiner , Charles Schumer, and thousands of other high-profile Jews who seem to hate or fear White Christian Americans and seek to hasten their demise as the ethnic majority of this country. Yes, we Jews have Miller, but we also have the ADL and the SPLC -- powerful well-funded groups who conduct witch hunts against anyone who dares speak out against multiculturalism, open-borders, globalist doctrine, or who dares to criticize Jews. Jewish political influence in the US is still overwhelmingly negative, despite the great work of a few good Jews.

As an American (first) and Jew (second) who supports Trump and Trumpism, the European New Right, and anyone concerned with the long-term impacts of mass immigration, I want to see more Jews, particularly younger, Generation Z Jews move to our ideological side. I have tried to explore my own motivations for this. Why do I find myself so far to the Right on the issue of immigration and of protecting European cultures and peoples? Why do I hope other Jews follow me on this ideological journey? And there is growing indication they are.

First of all, it has nothing to do with being "self-hating", a common but largely asinine Jewish slur used against Jews who step out of line. I neither hate myself or Jews collectively. Like many non-Jewish critics of Jews, I just want Jews to stop attacking Europeans and their descendants in their former colonies by pushing destructive ideologies and policies.

Secondly, I agree with the major criticism of Jews and certainly of Jewish activists: that they seek to do what they think is good for Jews, while hiding their ethnocentrism by pretending their interests are universalist. Self-interest is often disguised as "tikun olam," bringing light to the world.

Most importantly, accepting some of the recent critique of the JQ, or the Jewish role in the West's current situation -- without thinking the situation is simple, monocausal, or part of a grand conspiracy, I view it as important to think about what Jews can do positively in the current year.

It seems clear that ethnic Jewish activists in the 20 th century had a conscious or subconscious fear of European Christians maintaining their ethnic or cultural identities, and this manifested itself in the various movements MacDonald brilliantly analyzes in the Culture of Critique : the anthropology of race, psychoanalysis, communism, the Frankfort School and Cultural Marxism. When Jewish activists pushed through immigration reform in the US, the effects were absolutely transformative. Jews largely achieved their goals, or maybe even surpassed them. Now, more than 50 years later, we can re-examine the question: was this actually good for the Jews?

To me the answer to this question is a resounding NO. To look at just one simple factor: the people pouring into the US in recent years are no more Jew-friendly then the White Americans who made up almost 90% of the county in 1960 were. In fact, they are likely to be considerably less Jew friendly. Mexicans have no special relationship with Jews or with Israel. Neither do Somalis, or Syrians, or Afghans, or MS-13. Identity-politics obsessed leftist college activists have already made it quite clear that Jews who side against them are to be viewed as White s -- their Jewishness will not protect them. This trend will continue, and Jews will become Whites in the eyes of the many people who hate Whites. However different things may have looked to our parents' or grandparents' generation, there is no tangible benefit today to ordinary American Jews today from the importation of quarter of Mexico's population, or to ordinary French Jews from a million new Muslims. To think otherwise is to deny reality.

A main motivation for Jewish activism on immigration and other related issues was Jewish fear of being a major outgroup in American society. Perhaps these fears may have seemed real in the wake of the Second World War, or perhaps even then they were delusional. Today, they seem absurd. Maybe it is a generational thing, or maybe my Jewish identification is too weak, or maybe it was the context I grew up in; but I just can't understand American Jews having feelings of fear or hostility towards White Christian Americans in general. I grew up around White Christians; work with them; live amongst them; and count many as friends, neighbors, colleagues or teachers. Jewish neurosis or not, a generalized Jewish fear of American Whites is, in my view, insane. Granted, things could change in the future if we reach such a desperate state that American Whites begin to focus on some of the negative influence Jews have had in changing their society, and collectively determine to do something about it. But flooding the country with immigrants doesn't lessen the possibility that will happen. Quite the opposite, it increases it.

Given that, what is really best for the Jews? As American Whites slowly begin to wake up to the reality of their own ethnic interests, what kind of Jews do we want as our representatives in the public sphere: Stephen Miller or Charles Schumer?

From my point of view, what is "best for the Jews" is to realize that while Jewish elites have been pushing a corrosive and destructive agenda for 50 years or more, the rest of us are under no obligation to support it. Being Jewish doesn't mean one has to be a leftist or multiculturalist booster, or work to disenfranchise White majorities in traditionally White countries. Stephen Miller is proof of that.

But there is another response to the question "what is good for the Jews?" that is also worth serious consideration by American Jews. The response is: who cares? Seriously, look at the current state of Jews in America. Jews have an extremely disproportionate share of control over the media, entertainment industry, banking and financial sector, law, medicine, academia, and important policy-making institutions. Jews are the wealthiest ethnic group in the country. I don't allege any conspiracy here. Jews' tendency to position ourselves close to power is well described in Benjamin Ginsberg's The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State. Jews have high IQs and are excellent verbalists, and obviously Jewish nepotism exists as well. While I abhor the contemporary politicized notion of "privilege" that minority groups use to cover up their lack of rational argument, it would be dishonest to not admit that if there is a privileged ethnic group in the US today, that group is not Whites as a whole, but Jews.

It is impossible to look at the situation objectively and not see that generally things have been going very well for American Jews, and certainly for Jewish elites, for some time. There is thus no reason to spend time and energy thinking about what is good for the Jews. Even if things do go wildly wrong for diaspora Jews in the future, we have a viable ethnostate that we know will take us in; a luxury few other peoples in the world possess.

There are abundant reasons however to worry about the welfare of Europeans and people of European descent. The migration crisis in Europe and the reality of looming major demographic increases in Africa and the Middle East that could drive much larger waves of migrants are rapidly creating a potential future in which entire peoples could become minorities in their own countries. In the US, demographic changes due to migration and considerably higher fertility rates among immigrants will alter the country permanently unless drastic changes to immigration policies are made. Jews need to focus our "tikun olam" on the moral necessity of protecting ethnic homelands and cultures in Europe, and the neo-Europes. In Stephen Miller we see a Jew who seems to understand what needs to be done. There is no reason other American Jews can't follow his lead.

In my view, in 2018 what's good for the Jews is for us to stop thinking about what's good for the Jews and start thinking about the right to self-determination and survival for the people we live amongst: the people who have facilitated the most stunning successes of our tribe's history in diaspora to date, Americans, Europeans, and people of European descent. (Republished from The Occidental Observer by permission of author or representative)

[Feb 17, 2018] Neo-McCarthyite Hysteria at US Senate Intelligence Committee Hearing Global Research - Centre for Research on Globalization

Notable quotes:
"... The concern of the American ruling class is not Russian or Chinese "subversion," but the growth of social opposition within the United States. The narrative of "Russian meddling" has been used to justify a systematic campaign to censor the Internet and suppress free speech. ..."
"... World Socialist Web Site ..."
Feb 17, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

The concern of the American ruling class is not Russian or Chinese "subversion," but the growth of social opposition within the United States. The narrative of "Russian meddling" has been used to justify a systematic campaign to censor the Internet and suppress free speech.

Senator Mark Warner

The performance of Senator Mark Warner , the ranking Democrat on the committee, was particularly obscene. Warner, whose net worth is estimated at $257 million, appeared to be doing his best impersonation of Senator Joe McCarthy . He declared that foreign subversion works together with, and is largely indistinguishable from, "threats to our institutions from right here at home."

Alluding to the publication of the so-called Nunes memo, which documented the fraudulent character of the Democratic-led investigation of White House "collusion" with Russia, Warner noted,

"There have been some, aided and abetted by Russian Internet bots and trolls, who have attacked the basic integrity of the FBI and the Justice Department."

Responding to questioning from Warner, FBI Director Christopher Wray praised the US intelligence agencies' greater "engagement" and "partnership" with the private sector, concluding,

"We can't fully police social media, so we have to work with them so that they can police themselves."

Wray was referring to the sweeping measures taken by social media companies, working directly with the US intelligence agencies, to implement a regime of censorship, including through the hiring of tens of thousands of "content reviewers," many with intelligence backgrounds, to flag, report and delete content.

The assault on democratic rights is increasingly connected to preparations for a major war, which will further exacerbate social tensions within the United States. Coats prefaced his remarks by declaring that "the risk of inter-state conflict, including among great powers, is higher than at any time since the end of the Cold War."

As the hearing was taking place, multiple news outlets were reporting that potentially hundreds of Russian military contractors had been killed in a recent US air strike in Syria. This came just weeks after the publication of the Pentagon's National Defense Strategy, which declared,

"Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in US national security."

However, the implications of this great-power conflict are not simply external to the US "homeland." The document argues that "the homeland is no longer a sanctuary," and that "America is a target," for "political and information subversion" on the part of "revisionist powers" such as Russia and China.

Since "America's military has no preordained right to victory on the battlefield," the only way the US can prevail in this conflict is through the "seamless integration of multiple elements of national power," including "information, economics, finance, intelligence, law enforcement and military."

In other words, America's supremacy in the new world of great-power conflict requires the subordination of every aspect of life to the requirements of war. In this totalitarian nightmare, already far advanced, the police, the military and the intelligence agencies unite with media and technology companies to form a single seamless unit, whose combined power is marshaled to manipulate public opinion and suppress political dissent.

The dictatorial character of the measures being prepared was underscored by an exchange between Wray and Republican Senator Marco Rubio , who asked whether Chinese students were serving as spies for Beijing.

"What is the counterintelligence risk posed to US national security from Chinese students, particularly those in advanced programs in the sciences and mathematics?" asked Rubio.

Wray responded that

"the use of nontraditional collectors, especially in the academic setting, whether it's professors, scientists, students, we see in almost every field office that the FBI has around the country, not just in major cities, small ones as well, basically every discipline."

This campaign, with racist overtones, recalls the official rationale -- defense of "national security" -- used to justify the internment of some 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry during the Second World War.

In its open letter calling for a coalition of socialist, antiwar and progressive websites against Internet censorship, the World Socialist Web Site noted that

"the ruling class has identified the Internet as a mortal threat to its monopolization of information and its ability to promote propaganda to wage war and legitimize the obscene concentration of wealth and extreme social inequality."

It is this mortal threat -- and fear of the growth of class conflict -- that motivate the lies and hypocrisy on display at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.

The original source of this article is World Socialist Web Site Copyright © Andre Damon , World Socialist Web Site , 2018

[Feb 17, 2018] News Watch A Reading on Collective Angst naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... or like viewing old photos of the Robber Barons. The msm has stopped trying to convince middle class readers it's 'on their side', imo. A few have gone full plutocrat friendly. Anything that rocks the plutocrats boats must be caused by 'russians, russians, russians', or outside agitators, or foreigners of one kind or another – not 'real' Americans. ..."
"... Exactly the kind of things the robber barons and their press said 100+ years ago about working class workers striking for better wages and working conditions. ..."
"... I agree in the regard to the seeming reduction in analytical quantity and quality. I think you're right with it being caused by reductions in newsroom staff, but I think the type of journalists we have has also changed drastically. ..."
"... In this real world context, this guy wants to promote an unnecessary new cold war to get Democrats elected. Truly disgusting and insane. ..."
"... Not only disgusting and insane, but politically stupid. Any Democrat politician who thinks that promoting Unhinged Russia Hysteria is a winning political strategy is guilty of political malpractice. ..."
"... seems to be what she and they are pushing(unhinged Russia hysteria ) as a winning political strategy. ..."
"... That's what people are going to remember when they go to the voting booth in 2018 (if they even bother) – while the Democrats where whining about Putin and Russia and doing nothing productive whatsoever to improve people's lives, Trump gave everybody more $$$. ..."
"... The "official" narratives from much of the MSM are increasingly removed from any reality experienced by the majority. For example, the latest is a report from Hamilton that much of the social media activity concerning the Florida school shooting is now infested and promoted by Russian bots "to sow division". How more absurd could it be? ..."
"... I have it on good authority that the whole rebranding of the KKK first as the CCC than as the NRA was a long-term Soviet Russian plot to cause an epidemic of mass shootings that would undermine not only US 'Democracy', but the entire capitalist juggernaut! ..."
"... Following up on something Lambert wrote once, it seems that pundits who are incapable of using the term "working class" without somehow attaching the word "white" to it are -- besides not really being on the left -- also more likely than others to push the "Russia ate my Election" nonsense. ..."
"... I think what the horrid warmongering article in Useless News misses is that the flyover states, which supply the troops for the wars, are getting war weary (and why not). Trump capitalized on this in the election, and there was a positive correlation at IIRC the county level between war casualities and troop support. ..."
"... An anti-war candidate who could make the case in the flyover states might really make an impact. ..."
"... I wholeheartedly agree about how a significant factor is that the mainstream media insists on viewing everything through ridiculously contrived "lenses" (Trump, "Russia-gate", Brexit, harassment) and, intentionally I would claim, deliberately obscuring the real problems (wealth distribution, neoliberalism, collapse of the social contract). ..."
"... whatever other news there is seems weirdly predictable and is based around personalities, rather than communities and systems. ..."
"... Animals become agitated in advance of earthquakes. It may be that the reason for angst does not lie in the past, but in the future. In general, so many of the stories are predictable self-parodies, from the Democrats relentless pursuit of the mythical 'moderate insurgents' in republican suburbs, and their comical screeching about Putin, to the drumbeat stories attacking Trump for Obama policies, to the contortions of the neocon policy apparatus trying to justify occupation and regime change in Syria, without mentioning those goals ..."
"... For me, this is key. When I cast my eye upon the news I'm greeted with unrelenting bleakness. Trump's cruel and terrible health plan was big news for months, then his terrible tax cut plan, now his terrible budget. Foreign affairs are equally bleak: the Democrats are busy stirring up a second Cold War. There's no end in sight to the trillions of dollars our nation spends every year on waste and destructive mayhem. Sociopathic corporations and octogenarian billionaires own this country. It's difficult to see anything positive on the horizon. ..."
"... There are two Americas. The news is mostly for and from the one that protects the rentier or elite class. They send their children to private schools. The second one has children who go to public schools who get shot and killed by gunmen that the school and law authorities have been warned about and then decide it's not worth their attention. ..."
"... I think we have reached America's breaking point. Shitty jobs, shitty pay, shitty hours, no hope of affordable housing anywhere, no advancement, massive amounts debt, no easy access to medical care, uneven safety nets, denigration, lack of mutual respect, a lifetime of working with little hope of a safe retirement it's just not pretty out here. ..."
"... I think we are still in a Wile E. Coyote moment where he has gone off the cliff but gravity has not taken hold yet (cartoons don't understand parabolic arcs, similar to central banks and politicians). One of the purposes of financial crises like 2008 is to reset the playing field. The inequality and inefficiency of the Roaring 20s got reset in the 1930s where many people who had paper wealth, but large debt, collapsed and regulation followed that survived for 60 years in preventing similar scenarios. The 2009-2016 period missed that window of opportunity as the focus became preserving the people who had destabilized the system. That meant the damage was one-sided to the bottom 90%. The top 10% are largely disconnected, deliberately, from what is going on with the bottom 90% and as a result are baffled about the swelling unrest in the country. That unrest is still largely unfocused and just burps out random things right now like the Tea Party, Trump, Sanders etc. ..."
"... The only good news to come out of the Florida shooting is that the young people are beginning to realize that they are cannon fodder (literally) in the cynical political battles waged by their elders. ..."
"... I've done my stint in living through the chaotic end to the 1970's and endured the major social upheavals in Thatcher's show-no-mercy early 1980's. Those were bad times. But this is worse in a lot of ways, if only for the crushing atmosphere of a powerless proletariat. ..."
"... The Dem commitment to Russiagate has become their WMD story, it has to be stuck with lest its proponents admit their lying ..."
"... The Russo-Resistance strategy has had the effect of exacerbating divisions in the potential opposition to neoliberalism. Not a bug. ..."
"... Compare and contrast with Putin and Xi, who are personally untouched by corruption taint, and whom their population actually believes has their nations' long-term interests at heart ..."
"... The general consensus was that we simply cannot go on as we are. ..."
"... I think you've hit the nail on the head. Whether it's skyrocketing measures of income inequality, health insurance premiums rising faster than wages, college tuition rates and student loan balances rising faster than wages, mindlessly skyrocketing stock markets and asset bubbles fueled by stupid central bank policies, or whatever other unsustainable woe you choose to pick, these things cannot go on forever ..."
"... And we're incredibly divided. Most of the MSM has been sucked into personality conflicts and the us-vs-them mindset. They actively feed it now. You're expected to pick a team and learn to hate the other guys. ..."
"... I too suspect that "tweaking round the edges" will prove totally inadequate, but I have no desire for revolution. I've seen too many of them start off well but then go off the rails in horrible, terrifying directions. Revolutions can be terribly sloppy affairs, with real people getting hurt in the process. And they usually don't end where we really want them to. ..."
"... Just yesterday I was asked, "Aren't you a liberal Democrat?" I answered, "No, I hate both parties equally." That set them back on their laurels. They expected me to say "Yes." ..."
"... The general consensus was that we simply cannot go on as we are ..."
"... Waiting for Godot ..."
"... A seemingly endless loop of outrage that yields nothing, except the feeling of powerlessness -- that all that is important in life is out of our hands, and in the hands of those who look at us and see nothing but another source of revenue. ..."
"... I rather think that our "feeling of powerlessness" is the goal aimed for by the msm. And identity politics serves a divide and conquer function. (But you can buy T-shirts! so it's all good. /s) ..."
"... I hope to draw some response to the second part of my complaint, which is that in the dog-eat-dog world of a society ordered solely by markets, we are reduced: First, from being to citizens to consumers, then from being consumers to being marks, rubes, suckers. The "news" (such as it is) isn't reported to us, it's sold to us. ..."
"... Corporate media has been pumping out Trump Derangement Syndrome stories for 18+ months. [if you're cynical] not only because the media genuinely dislike trump, but to drive clickbait and subscription sign-ups ..."
"... From my reading of history, when countries have been in the grip of anxiety it is often a relief when a feared thing happens – such as when Japan bombed Pearl Harbour it was widely reported that the response of the public, including anti-war activists, was great relief. ..."
"... I've read that much the same feeling descended over much of Europe at the start of WWI. While the same situation doesn't quite apply in the US, I do fear that there is a craving for some sort of decision, a decisive act. ..."
"... I think Trump understands more than he reveals. I think we are looking at the tempered effects of MSM froth by all the good, sensible internet bloggers and commenters which serve to neutralize the nonsense. What I see is angst failure – nobody bought this farcical onslaught of propaganda. Everyone questioned it. Something happens to the "news" when opposite views and facts collide – it gets emulsified like vinegar and oil into much less drastic possibilities. ..."
"... Interesting reminds me of how some torturers have learned that the fear of the pain can be worse than the pain itself in terms of emotional distress and breaking down ego-barriers to cooperation/submission. When the fear is worse than the feared experience, the feared experience itself is a relief. ..."
"... ur–Angst? ..."
"... Our Jerri-Lynn, who mainly lives overseas, was briefly in the US last month and dropped by our NYC meetup. She commented to me that she was very eager to leave because she could sense how high the general tension level was. ..."
"... Few people I know feel secure; a lot of it is about the basic stuff, health care and jobs. ..."
"... True, but can they address those concerns? The Occupy movement was such an effort, but the police seem to have stifled it. Then Sen. Sanders appeared on the scene with his Presidential campaign and that too was suppressed. If people are in fact not engaged it probably indicates an absence of what is important and meaningful for them in the larger society ..."
"... The LAT had truly turned into a piece of garbage the past years, they'd get scooped on stories in their own backyard, the writing was what you'd expect from a newspaper emanating from a city of 48,424, and it would be a given that new reporter hires should go at least a page into google when investigating. ..."
"... We've been watching a German TV series called Babylon Berlin, which is set in Wiemar Germany, 1929, just before the crash. It's fascinating to compare those times to our own, there are many parallels. The show is extremely well done. https://newrepublic.com/article/147053/babylon-berlin-sees-weimar-republic ..."
"... ah, yes. this has been on my mind lately. More the best lacking all conviction and the worst full of passionate intensity than the rough beast part He's already ensconced in Washington and doesn't seem to be able to do much of anything [brain glancing off the specter of all those judges]. ..."
"... post the nation state ..."
"... When war comes it will not be fought by "post-nation states." ..."
"... These are middle aged and middle class professionals about to be thrown on the scrap heap. ..."
"... Colonel Smithers, I observed something similar during the Sanders campaign's peak here in Tucson. That would be during late 2015 and early 2016. Let's just say that people weren't flocking to Bernie because their lives were going well. ..."
"... If the subtext to the MSM's Trump coverage is, "He's a racist authoritarian so he must be stopped at all costs," then you'd think they'd cover police brutality every day. If they're so concerned about racism and authoritarianism. Instead, we're seeing the FBI, CIA, etc., cast in the role of 'oppressed minorities standing up to The System, Maaan!' ..."
"... Plus, as a fan of paranoia, I can say. . . I've never seen a more unsatisfying, overly-abstract conspiracy in my life. It's not that they are rehabilitating CIA goons, but they're doing so specifically in order to obsess over memos, and reports about memos, and memos about reports about leaks about other memos. ..."
"... It's like an episode of The Office if everyone in the office had nukes. ..."
"... that attitude is nearly universal, across all layers of society ..."
"... I am in my late 50s, and for most of my life there was an air of seriousness and competence about national leaders. Even when they were doing something you didn't like, you could generally assume they were adequate to the situation, or at least had access to people who were. E.g., the moronic Reagan at least supposedly had a coterie of serious people in his administration who could keep the train on the tracks. ..."
"... Now we seem to be at a point where the people in charge are unapologetic about their greed, their lack of ability or even interest in their jobs and consitiuents, their lack of intellect and integrity, and the absence of any pretense of doing anything useful for the population or the society ..."
"... I guess what I'm saying is, as one surveys the landscape, there is a marked loss of hope coupled with a tearing urgency that something needs to be done. It's a terrible, very volatile and dangerous condition. ..."
Feb 17, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Jim Haygood , February 16, 2018 at 7:42 am

' orthodox MSM outlets like the New York Times and the WaPo seem to be presenting us with stale fare right now '

Such as this [paywalled] bombshell from the WaPo: 'With McCain's retreat, some turn to Romney to carry his torch.'

Riveting. Like reviewing old photos of the Soviet Politburo to see who got airbrushed out. To paraphrase the WaPo's slogan, 'Democracy dies in decadence. '

flora , February 16, 2018 at 10:31 am

or like viewing old photos of the Robber Barons. The msm has stopped trying to convince middle class readers it's 'on their side', imo. A few have gone full plutocrat friendly. Anything that rocks the plutocrats boats must be caused by 'russians, russians, russians', or outside agitators, or foreigners of one kind or another – not 'real' Americans.

Exactly the kind of things the robber barons and their press said 100+ years ago about working class workers striking for better wages and working conditions.

Alex V , February 16, 2018 at 10:25 am

I agree in the regard to the seeming reduction in analytical quantity and quality. I think you're right with it being caused by reductions in newsroom staff, but I think the type of journalists we have has also changed drastically.

Most of the younger generation that is being brought in has gone directly to journalism school, but has no other experience in the real world. I think many of the older guard had other careers, expertise or experience before they started writing.

So much of what passes for "analysis" nowadays reveals very shallow knowledge of the subject being covered by the writer. This is often most apparent in tech or science articles. I would say some overlap to "management" culture – managers are interchangeable, no matter the industry, since they are experts on managing. Same thing with journalism – if you can write something, you can write about anything .

XXYY , February 16, 2018 at 2:59 pm

For one thing, the, MSM has become heavily dependent on election coverage in the last decade or so, both (I assume) in revenue from political advertising, and in fountains of easy-to-write daily horse race articles about the state of the election.

I think 2017, a post-election year, kind of got a free pass because of the election of Trump, who was either going to make everything great (again!) or blow everything up, and the media was able to sustain an electoral-style energy and reader involvement well beyond the 2016 elections.

Now that (a) Trump has turned out to be an incompetent and ineffectual idiot who does nothing but watch TV, (b) we are seeing the tired old GOP program of screwing the population instead of anything new, and ( c) the Dems have done absolutely nothing for 13 months beyond foam at the mouth about Trump, perhaps the energy of the 2016 election is finally wearing off.

In other words, this is a pre-2018 election lull.

Emorej a Hong Kong , February 16, 2018 at 6:44 am

How much does this weigh?

The article ( https://www.usnews.com/opinion/thomas-jefferson-street/articles/2018-02-13/democrats-should-use-patriotism-to-appeal-to-white-working-class-voters ) linked in yesterday's Water Cooler, seemed to be a major step forward in articulating and advocating a strategy of the Democratic establishment making anti-Russia hysteria (and resulting surveillance and military spending and probably adventures), as a core campaigning plank, the new normal, completely independent of any impeachment or even re-election defeat of Trump.

This strategy was already starting to become implicit, as the Mueller-related "wolf"-crying drags on (and counter-investigations of Clintons are brandished as a M.A.D. deterrent), and as we read that Trump's tax cuts are playing well among likely swing voters both in Congress and in the low-middle income electorate, while it gets ever-closer to "too late" (to be credible before the 2018 midterms) for the Democratic establishment to show any new seriousness about the issues raised and pursued by Bernie Sanders, and by the many local candidates being sabotaged (of necessity more openly than in the past) by the donor-addicted Democratic establishment.

Dwight , February 16, 2018 at 7:48 am

In the real world, we have growing social needs with an aging population that will require Social Security and Medicare. This guy is basically saying to ignore that, which will likely result in a mass die-off of the middle-aged and elderly like that which occurred in 1990s Russia when social programs were gutted under neoliberal shock-therapy "advisors" to the puppet Yeltsin.

Meanwhile, climate change advances requiring massive investment in adaptation, and mitigation if Democrat concerns about climate change are to be taken at face value. (I believe we are 30 years too late, but should do what we can. Democrats claim to be concerned about climate change with their posturing around the Paris Agreement – how does this new cold war lower emissions?)

Nuclear waste from nuclear power and weapons needs to be secured before climate change kicks in, but instead we are spending trillions on new weapons that will create new radioactive waste. The new arms race with Russia and China will be incredibly expensive and dangerous, taking money from real societal and economic needs. Arms spending by the US will result in arms spending in Russia and China, multiplying the problem on a global scale. Unsecured nuclear waste in Russia and China, like unsecured nuclear waste in the US, affects the entire globe.

In this real world context, this guy wants to promote an unnecessary new cold war to get Democrats elected. Truly disgusting and insane.

Big River Bandido , February 16, 2018 at 11:18 am

In this real world context, this guy wants to promote an unnecessary new cold war to get Democrats elected. Truly disgusting and insane.

Not only disgusting and insane, but politically stupid. Any Democrat politician who thinks that promoting Unhinged Russia Hysteria is a winning political strategy is guilty of political malpractice.

petal , February 16, 2018 at 12:22 pm

On that note, I'll try harder to go to that Sen. Jeanne Shaheen talk on Tuesday, as that seems to be what she and they are pushing(unhinged Russia hysteria ) as a winning political strategy.

lyman alpha blob , February 16, 2018 at 1:54 pm

It really is politically stupid.

I got paid today and since the Republican tax cut, my take home pay is larger. Not a dollar or two larger, but enough that it's very easy to notice.

That's what people are going to remember when they go to the voting booth in 2018 (if they even bother) – while the Democrats where whining about Putin and Russia and doing nothing productive whatsoever to improve people's lives, Trump gave everybody more $$$.

DHG , February 16, 2018 at 7:42 pm

Not everything is about money and its not going to affect the majority of people who will be going to the polls, we are already set in our objections of the POTUS and unless he becomes Presidential quickly none of us are changing our minds. This brought to you by a swing voting independent. I will not vote for a republican in 2018 sans what I said.

sleepy , February 16, 2018 at 8:05 am

. . . articulating and advocating a strategy of the Democratic establishment making anti-Russia hysteria (and resulting surveillance and military spending and probably adventures), as a core campaigning plank, the new normal, completely independent of any impeachment or even re-election defeat of Trump.

The "official" narratives from much of the MSM are increasingly removed from any reality experienced by the majority. For example, the latest is a report from Hamilton that much of the social media activity concerning the Florida school shooting is now infested and promoted by Russian bots "to sow division". How more absurd could it be?

I think that sort of disconnect produces both a numbness and an anxiety and a belief that we are governed and led by institutions completely clueless and out of control. Therefore, people just hunker down in disbelief.

taunger , February 16, 2018 at 8:41 am

this. this seems important. coupled with the fact that enough of the news consumers today are wholly cynical regarding any ability of the hoi poloi to make change.

Skip Intro , February 16, 2018 at 10:03 am

I have it on good authority that the whole rebranding of the KKK first as the CCC than as the NRA was a long-term Soviet Russian plot to cause an epidemic of mass shootings that would undermine not only US 'Democracy', but the entire capitalist juggernaut!

Fiery Hunt , February 16, 2018 at 11:05 am

Key phrase here "out of control".

I've definitely been noticing a fairly obvious breakdown in people's ability to be on top of even basic things. We're all fried. I've got really reliable clients suddenly bouncing payments, unable to track projects I've also had first hand encounters with both the law/court system and the medical industry/health care system and the IT processes are byzantine and hugely ineffective.

I think Lambert used the phrase "boom exhaustion ". I think it's apt. We're spinning so hard and nothings getting better or easier.

" the center can't hold.
Things fall apart."

I suggest we expect serious gyrations.

Andrew Watts , February 16, 2018 at 10:42 am

That story is a classic example of a dominant minority resorting to archaism to address the present crisis they face. It won't work either. The US government had an extraordinarily high amount of social trust and support heading into the external crisis that was the Cold War. They eventually frittered it away into the present and the expectation that events will turn out the same is why the creative minority of our past is now a dominant minority in the present. I've said it before, but I'll say it again, for the sake of clarity. We live in a target rich environment for people who've studied Toynbee.

will_f , February 16, 2018 at 12:53 pm

https://www.usnews.com/opinion/thomas-jefferson-street/articles/2018-02-13/democrats-should-use-patriotism-to-appeal-to-white-working-class-voters

Following up on something Lambert wrote once, it seems that pundits who are incapable of using the term "working class" without somehow attaching the word "white" to it are -- besides not really being on the left -- also more likely than others to push the "Russia ate my Election" nonsense.

Lambert Strether , February 16, 2018 at 4:50 pm

I think what the horrid warmongering article in Useless News misses is that the flyover states, which supply the troops for the wars, are getting war weary (and why not). Trump capitalized on this in the election, and there was a positive correlation at IIRC the county level between war casualities and troop support.

An anti-war candidate who could make the case in the flyover states might really make an impact. And the only candidate I can see doing that is Sanders, and I'm not sure Sanders has the inclination, or even the stones, to do it. That F-35 base in Vermont rankles. Is that really the kind of bacon to bring home?

windsock , February 16, 2018 at 7:14 am

A couple of thoughts:

1) Do you think this might be an age-related experience? The elders among us may have a feeling of deja-vu, been here, seen that there's not much new in the world, just the same scenes endlessly repeated with new actors, or an incremental worsening of situations that have already been in decline for years. How long can endless war be news? Or endless corruption? Or endless neo-liberalism etc?

2) Here in the UK, I personally am sick to death with everything being seen through the prism of Brexit. Yes it is an existential crisis for our politics and our way of life but no-one is addressing the ways in which it will improve/demolish our daily lives – food being an obvious one. Yes it is referred to but not in such terms as ordinary people can identify with. It's all about abstracts – treaties/reciprocal arrangements/customs and tariffs/values and volumes of exports/imports etc. And in the meantime, we get stories about how Europeans leaving us will damage our NHS and crop picking without addressing the underlying causes of WHY we need imported labour and why the NHS is still deteriorating despite having those immigrants.

3) Following on from 2, whatever other news there is seems weirdly predictable and is based around personalities, rather than communities and systems. Whatever source one chooses to read, this predictability leads one to end up agreeing with Mandy Rice-Davies "Well, he would say that, wouldn't he?", no matter who the subject is.

4) Now we are leaping on the Russiabus but it is largely met with a huge yawn, unless you like to foam at the mouth at ConservativeHome.

Clive , February 16, 2018 at 7:44 am

I wholeheartedly agree about how a significant factor is that the mainstream media insists on viewing everything through ridiculously contrived "lenses" (Trump, "Russia-gate", Brexit, harassment) and, intentionally I would claim, deliberately obscuring the real problems (wealth distribution, neoliberalism, collapse of the social contract).

Fiery Hunt , February 16, 2018 at 11:09 am

Yep.
And that discord is showing signs of sowing collapse.

sleepy , February 16, 2018 at 9:45 am

Here in the UK, I personally am sick to death with everything being seen through the prism of Brexit.

I read the following article from today's Links fully expecting it to be about Brexit and the political fallout from a possible hard border. Instead, the pivotal issue in the split between Sinn Fein and the DUP apparently revolves around efforts to secure offical status for the Irish language in the North. While that issue too may well be a distraction, it had nothing to do with Brexit, and I was surprised.

https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2018/02/could-direct-rule-solve-northern-irelands-political-crisis/

MoBee , February 16, 2018 at 10:30 am

whatever other news there is seems weirdly predictable and is based around personalities, rather than communities and systems.

This really hit home for me. Thank you!

Skip Intro , February 16, 2018 at 7:17 am

Animals become agitated in advance of earthquakes. It may be that the reason for angst does not lie in the past, but in the future. In general, so many of the stories are predictable self-parodies, from the Democrats relentless pursuit of the mythical 'moderate insurgents' in republican suburbs, and their comical screeching about Putin, to the drumbeat stories attacking Trump for Obama policies, to the contortions of the neocon policy apparatus trying to justify occupation and regime change in Syria, without mentioning those goals

" The centre does not hold, mere anarchy is loosed upon the world ".

Lee Robertson , February 16, 2018 at 7:22 am

It's the mind numbing parade of horrors.

Brooklin Bridge , February 16, 2018 at 10:55 am

Yes! I've never seen anything like this by any measure. It's the scope and magnitude and number and inter-relatedness and intractability of all the issues at once. Population, climate change, economic disaster systems as in Capitalism going nuts, exploding Military Industrial Complex and perpetual wars , 2 Bat -- - Crazy and utterly corrupt political parties playing nuclear Russian Roulette, Baghdad Bob like main stream media, transformation from a democracy into a police state, open and protected killing of blacks for being black (the fact that isn't exaggerated is mind-numbing), technological tsunamis being co-opted and twisted into iron fisted dystopias by all of the above.

The mind simply can't keep up with it – particularly the reality of it (as in the Democrats going stark raving mad with Russia-Gate – never mind just being corrupt and hypocritical to the core) and the body or something inside sends out a sort of anesthetic to help the mind deal with the increasing perception of the trauma.

I do "get" the analogy of calm before the storm and perhaps that is indeed what we are going through right now but to me it feels like we are simultaneously in the middle of the disaster and constantly waking up to just how horrific it really is.

John , February 16, 2018 at 10:57 am

"Slowed down by a sense of hopelessness in all his decisions and movements, he suffered from bitter sadness, and his incapacity solidified into a pain that often sat like a nosebleed behind his forehead the moment he tried to make up his mind to do something." -- Robert Musil, The Man Without Qualities

False Solace , February 16, 2018 at 4:39 pm

For me, this is key. When I cast my eye upon the news I'm greeted with unrelenting bleakness. Trump's cruel and terrible health plan was big news for months, then his terrible tax cut plan, now his terrible budget. Foreign affairs are equally bleak: the Democrats are busy stirring up a second Cold War. There's no end in sight to the trillions of dollars our nation spends every year on waste and destructive mayhem. Sociopathic corporations and octogenarian billionaires own this country. It's difficult to see anything positive on the horizon.

It could also come down to low Vitamin D and an unusually cold (thanks to climate change) winter.

Lambert Strether , February 16, 2018 at 4:52 pm

> the Democrats are busy stirring up a second Cold War

That's hardly fair; they're stirring up a second Civil War at home, because that's what an impeachment would amount to.

sd , February 16, 2018 at 7:24 am

There are two Americas. The news is mostly for and from the one that protects the rentier or elite class. They send their children to private schools. The second one has children who go to public schools who get shot and killed by gunmen that the school and law authorities have been warned about and then decide it's not worth their attention.

I think we have reached America's breaking point. Shitty jobs, shitty pay, shitty hours, no hope of affordable housing anywhere, no advancement, massive amounts debt, no easy access to medical care, uneven safety nets, denigration, lack of mutual respect, a lifetime of working with little hope of a safe retirement it's just not pretty out here.

rd , February 16, 2018 at 11:38 am

I agree with this. For example this article yesterday caught my attention: http://www.businessinsider.com/san-francisco-housing-crisis-home-sale-2018-2?r=UK&IR=T

Where I live, they post the real estate sales in the newspaper and there are many weeks where not a single house sold for over $500k. But in SF, it is news that something sold for $500k because nothing is ever that cheap.

So you have many areas of the country (not accidental they voted for Trump) where $500k is a fabulously high price for a house because the economies are in a rut but the places where all the people carrying huge student debt loads are supposed to go to work to be part of the future are completely unaffordable for all but a few.

I think we are still in a Wile E. Coyote moment where he has gone off the cliff but gravity has not taken hold yet (cartoons don't understand parabolic arcs, similar to central banks and politicians). One of the purposes of financial crises like 2008 is to reset the playing field. The inequality and inefficiency of the Roaring 20s got reset in the 1930s where many people who had paper wealth, but large debt, collapsed and regulation followed that survived for 60 years in preventing similar scenarios. The 2009-2016 period missed that window of opportunity as the focus became preserving the people who had destabilized the system. That meant the damage was one-sided to the bottom 90%. The top 10% are largely disconnected, deliberately, from what is going on with the bottom 90% and as a result are baffled about the swelling unrest in the country. That unrest is still largely unfocused and just burps out random things right now like the Tea Party, Trump, Sanders etc.

The only good news to come out of the Florida shooting is that the young people are beginning to realize that they are cannon fodder (literally) in the cynical political battles waged by their elders. We may start to see more passion for change occurring. https://www.thecut.com/2018/02/florida-school-shooting-survivors-share-powerful-messages.html Hopefully the 70 years old politicians will move out of the way and allow a new generation with new ideas to start to emerge. However, it will take a lot to displace the current political inertia from funding allowed for the wealthy 70 year olds by Citizens United.

Clive , February 16, 2018 at 7:25 am

Strangely enough, I've been thinking the exact same things, obviously from a U.K. framed perspective. I've not commented on this on posts nor have I discussed this with either Jerri-Lynn, Lambert, Yves, Richard Smith or any of the regular crowd here. I just passed it off to myself as my usual neurotic preoccupations.

I can't really put it into words properly. Which can be one of the reasons why I've not put my thoughts down in writing. Musing on this earlier this week, the best way I could come up with capturing the vibe was to quote from E M Forster who (describing an English country house, the people in it and as a metaphor for the country as a whole at the time) as "being not yet actually in decline, but in the torpor which precedes it". That fit both the mood that I sense and the cause of the pervasive anxiety.

It also, he says, opening a can of worms which he'll probably regret, but here goes, covers and explains several conversations I've had with fellow Brexit voters. The U.K. government is screwing things up royally with regards to the implementation of Brexit. The national division is just as bad as ever. And we're alienating the neighbors who we really need to keep in with for the sake of the long term. We may yet end up as being something akin to Mordor-on-Sea. But, among the friends and relatives I've had these discussions with, none of us could, if we were being honest, really say we cared that much. The nihilism was slightly shocking. What was the reason for that?

The general consensus was that we simply cannot go on as we are. Something -- anything -- is better than years and years, decades and decades of more of the same. A shake up is long overdue and we're way past the point that tweaking round the edges is going to be good enough.

I'm still slightly stunned to have stumbled across this unsettling zeitgeist.

I've done my stint in living through the chaotic end to the 1970's and endured the major social upheavals in Thatcher's show-no-mercy early 1980's. Those were bad times. But this is worse in a lot of ways, if only for the crushing atmosphere of a powerless proletariat.

I do think there are some safety valves. And at least in the past decade we've come to recognise in our shared culture the harms done by things like inequality and how corrupt our governments and corporations really are. And we've channels of common communication (like Naked Capitalism, amongst a few others) which didn't exist a decade or so ago. I'm just not sure they're enough.

windsock , February 16, 2018 at 7:55 am

Mordor-Sea ha! Mordor has better weather.

Completely agree with "none of us could, if we were being honest, really say we cared that much". My friends and I are in the same boat. I'm not sure it's nihilism sometimes I think this is the point of our news coverage – to grind us down with boring mediocrity until we accept whatever settlement suddenly becomes acceptable to TPTB. But then maybe THAT is nihilistic too.

hemeantwell , February 16, 2018 at 8:55 am

Important question! Let me serve up a goulash of inertial fear and loathing:

1. Attacks on Trump have failed to wing him legally. Passage of the corporatophilic tax bill is going to produce a short term stimulus that many of us suspect will undermine the reversal of fortune the policy-thin Dems hoped to pull off. So in part we're stuck with watching a dreary theme in political economy play out in as margin estimates drift downward.

2. The Dem commitment to Russiagate has become their WMD story, it has to be stuck with lest its proponents admit their lying. Down on the ground, I was flummoxed to get a forwarded MoveOn email from a friend encouraging me to participate in flash demonstration at the capitol if Mueller is fired. I was moved to explain that this worried me since it likely hinged on Russophobia. A coolness ensued. This is happening broadly. The Russo-Resistance strategy has had the effect of exacerbating divisions in the potential opposition to neoliberalism. Not a bug.

3. The Syrian conflict has entered yet another crucial phase. I expect the Israelis to kick over the table, and the Trump administration doesn't have the necessary resolution to stop them with guaranteed threats. Militaristic cretins might be given a chance to run with the ball. And then there's North Korea. Breath holding here.

4. Personally, I have very little gut-level understanding of the cadences of crisis politics. Given the seriousness of the issues and the obviousness of the targets, I'd expect Sanders or someone else to be sounding the trumpets. Instead, it seems to be more a matter of setting out rebuttals, worrying about exhausting or boring the audience. I realize that we're not in an "in the streets" phase, but are supposed to be building organizations, finding candidates, etc. But the methodical, deliberate pace of that effort starts to seem inadequate to the moment.

5. And then there's climate warming, which so easily gives rise to that deck chairs feeling. Hard to suppress it at times.

I hate to concede much to the importance of national leadership, but in the absence, as yet, of a broad, thoroughly anti-neoliberal social democratic organization that provides a "culture of solidarity," (as Rick Fantasia described it in his fine book) we need it. And so we're left with moods and presentiments, while trying to deflate fake leader trial balloons -- another Kennedy? Cory Booker?

chwee , February 16, 2018 at 9:42 am

I would argue that there's a basic need for most human beings to feel like part of something greater, that they're working towards something more meaningful than ever more crass consumerism, ala Kennedy's "Ask not what your country can do for you .."

So when push comes to shove, a credible national leader who is able to cajole everyone to start pulling together in the same direction can make a serious go at solving or at least addressing / amerliorating some of our pressing issues. I don't think there's anyone in the US political circles right now that fits the bill ..

Compare and contrast with Putin and Xi, who are personally untouched by corruption taint, and whom their population actually believes has their nations' long-term interests at heart

I'd say national leadership will make all the difference when push comes to shove. Been telling that to US friends for a couple of years, fwiw.

Grumpy Engineer , February 16, 2018 at 8:56 am

" The general consensus was that we simply cannot go on as we are. "

I think you've hit the nail on the head. Whether it's skyrocketing measures of income inequality, health insurance premiums rising faster than wages, college tuition rates and student loan balances rising faster than wages, mindlessly skyrocketing stock markets and asset bubbles fueled by stupid central bank policies, or whatever other unsustainable woe you choose to pick, these things cannot go on forever . Indeed, you can almost feel the "major social upheaval" lurking around the corner.

And we're incredibly divided. Most of the MSM has been sucked into personality conflicts and the us-vs-them mindset. They actively feed it now. You're expected to pick a team and learn to hate the other guys.

I too suspect that "tweaking round the edges" will prove totally inadequate, but I have no desire for revolution. I've seen too many of them start off well but then go off the rails in horrible, terrifying directions. Revolutions can be terribly sloppy affairs, with real people getting hurt in the process. And they usually don't end where we really want them to.

So where does this leave us? Unsettled and full of angst, to say the least, with no good solutions in sight.

perpetualWAR , February 16, 2018 at 9:38 am

Just yesterday I was asked, "Aren't you a liberal Democrat?" I answered, "No, I hate both parties equally." That set them back on their laurels. They expected me to say "Yes."

Lambert Strether , February 16, 2018 at 5:00 pm

> The general consensus was that we simply cannot go on as we are

Waiting for Godot :

ESTRAGON: I can't go on like this.

VLADIMIR: That's what you think.

(Bleakness mitigated by my view that Waiting for Godot is best read, and performed, in the tradition of slapstick comedy.)

bassmule , February 16, 2018 at 7:26 am

A seemingly endless loop of outrage that yields nothing, except the feeling of powerlessness -- that all that is important in life is out of our hands, and in the hands of those who look at us and see nothing but another source of revenue.

timotheus , February 16, 2018 at 7:48 am

Yes, I agree with the "endless loop of outrage" weariness that has set in, the best example being the (ho-hum) shooting of a dozen high school students that in a normal society would prompt mobilization for change and quick marginalization of any leader who said, Let's do nothing! When murder becomes routine, an overall numbness is unavoidable. I had a visitor from Mexico with me recently who asked why I was watching a documentary about serial killer John Wayne Gacey (as someone who hitchhiked nearby around that time, I take a personal interest) and remarked, "In Mexico serial killers are not news."

flora , February 16, 2018 at 10:51 am

"A seemingly endless loop of outrage that yields nothing, except the feeling of powerlessness–"

I rather think that our "feeling of powerlessness" is the goal aimed for by the msm. And identity politics serves a divide and conquer function. (But you can buy T-shirts! so it's all good. /s)

bassmule , February 16, 2018 at 11:39 am

I hope to draw some response to the second part of my complaint, which is that in the dog-eat-dog world of a society ordered solely by markets, we are reduced: First, from being to citizens to consumers, then from being consumers to being marks, rubes, suckers. The "news" (such as it is) isn't reported to us, it's sold to us.

flora , February 16, 2018 at 7:18 pm

Facebook's emotional contagion experiment comes to mind.

Louis Fyne , February 16, 2018 at 7:30 am

Corporate media has been pumping out Trump Derangement Syndrome stories for 18+ months. [if you're cynical] not only because the media genuinely dislike trump, but to drive clickbait and subscription sign-ups

but just as 'likes' juice the happy-chemical parts of your brain, Trump-related outrage stories juice the angry-chemical parts of your brain.

After 18 months of being triggered by the news media [sometimes by Trump, sometimes by DNC pundits, sometimes by real life], your brain basically says -- 'so what? i'm not angry any more.'

qed the overton Window has been moved.

PlutoniumKun , February 16, 2018 at 7:40 am

I was idly wondering yesterday where the current hysteria surrounding Trump will lead everyone. There have been hysterical political situations before, but they have tended to be 'single issue' ones – I can't recall any time when so many people on the main political parties have been so singlemindedly determined to whip up anger. When its a 'single issue' or generated by one side it can run out of steam or diffuse but when its multiple issues I think its liable to either result in an explosion, or, conversely, lead to a sort of nervous exhaustion. Looking at it from the outside, I would really fear what could happen in the US if there was a major economic reversal. A sense of a rising tide can ease over a lot of worries, but if things go into reverse, it can curdle into real anger. In historical situations it can help if the anger has a particular focus, but a huge problem in the US seems to me to be that there is no focus – its all so diffuse – anger at Trump, at inequality, at feminists, at equality, at Russia, at Iran, at pretty much everyone.

From my reading of history, when countries have been in the grip of anxiety it is often a relief when a feared thing happens – such as when Japan bombed Pearl Harbour it was widely reported that the response of the public, including anti-war activists, was great relief. A feeling that at least a course had been set, a key decision made, even if it was a potentially disastrous one.

I've read that much the same feeling descended over much of Europe at the start of WWI. While the same situation doesn't quite apply in the US, I do fear that there is a craving for some sort of decision, a decisive act. While I think Trump is by nature someone who prefers to stir the pot rather than take decisive action, he is also very sensitive to the darker drives of the public feeling. I do fear that he might feel inclined to do something really stupid, and there is nobody sensible around him to stop it happening.

susan the other , February 16, 2018 at 12:25 pm

I think Trump understands more than he reveals. I think we are looking at the tempered effects of MSM froth by all the good, sensible internet bloggers and commenters which serve to neutralize the nonsense. What I see is angst failure – nobody bought this farcical onslaught of propaganda. Everyone questioned it. Something happens to the "news" when opposite views and facts collide – it gets emulsified like vinegar and oil into much less drastic possibilities.

On the one hand – on the other hand. The internet was able to neutralize the MSM because the MSM does only superficial "reporting". There seems to be a state of angst withdrawal, lots of confusion, and no direction. As if "time goes on like nothing is important." And lately a very interesting thing has happened – there is almost no hysteria about "the debt. I have the vague feeling that there are some few people who are actually in control of their senses and the sea change is approaching critical mass. Things will change for the better not only because everyone is fed up but probably more because our dear leaders, including the banksters, are clueless and they don't know how to make capitalism work using the old rules. It's gonna be interesting. Thank you NC.

W , February 16, 2018 at 3:38 pm

Interesting reminds me of how some torturers have learned that the fear of the pain can be worse than the pain itself in terms of emotional distress and breaking down ego-barriers to cooperation/submission. When the fear is worse than the feared experience, the feared experience itself is a relief.

johnf , February 16, 2018 at 7:42 am

I am definitely sensing more Angst in Germany (the ur–Angst? ), but at the moment, that is probably going off topic.

Kevin , February 16, 2018 at 7:44 am

Our Jerri-Lynn, who mainly lives overseas, was briefly in the US last month and dropped by our NYC meetup. She commented to me that she was very eager to leave because she could sense how high the general tension level was.

I can assure you, what she feels is very, very real. My wife and I travel at least once a year back to Canada , where my wife is from – the difference in tension is palpable. I feel so loose and calm when I am there.

windsock , February 16, 2018 at 7:50 am

I feel the same when I leave UK and head to Italy or Portugal.

Lambert Strether , February 16, 2018 at 5:04 pm

> I feel so loose and calm when I am [in Canada]

I felt the very same thing when I lived there for a couple years in the late 90s. I think it's the lack of the imperial burden.

Norello , February 16, 2018 at 7:46 am

"Do you sense, as Lambert and I do, that the news tide has receded?"

My primary news source is the print edition of the Wall Street Journal and I've noted to myself a similar observation recently. The first time I saw the gymnist doctor sex abuse story featured prominetly on the first page I thought it odd. When the story was featured promintely on the front page multiple times after that it felt bizzare. My reaction was wondering how can this possibly be that important compared to everything else happening in the world.

"If so, to resort to Warren Buffett's image, who do you think it has exposed as swimming naked?"

My interpetation has been the news media has been exposed as swimming naked. They are unable or unwilling to spend the money required to deliver professional reporting. Since election season they have depended on reporting on Trump's controversies to fill their pages. That is cheap and easy to do. Without that they have to spend time, money and talent to report on other complex matters.

The quaility and quantity of the print edition of the WSJ has been a noticeable decline the last few years. Little things like a front page lead in to what was supposed to be on page B1 was instead on B4. I've been reading the WSJ for probably twenty years now and never seen that happen before.

Twice during the presidential election they had what looked like at first a normal section of the newspaper but was actually a "paid advertisement" from China and Japan. It was blatant propaganda from their governments. It was shocking that the WSJ would take money to print foreign government's propaganda on election matters. There have been many other observations like that which have lead me to the conclusion news reporting capabilities have been gutted more than most people realize.

Anonymous2 , February 16, 2018 at 4:18 pm

Taken over not so long ago by one R Murdoch? He has damaged every paper he has touched IMO.

Edward , February 16, 2018 at 7:52 am

Maybe this painting depicting ennui captures the current mood: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/sickert-ennui-n03846

Perhaps this is what happens when you are surrounded by nonsensical rubbish by press and government. But I have felt this way for years.

ChiGal in Carolina , February 16, 2018 at 9:17 am

They might be without purpose but they appear secure. Few people I know feel secure; a lot of it is about the basic stuff, health care and jobs.

Edward , February 16, 2018 at 10:02 am

True, but can they address those concerns? The Occupy movement was such an effort, but the police seem to have stifled it. Then Sen. Sanders appeared on the scene with his Presidential campaign and that too was suppressed. If people are in fact not engaged it probably indicates an absence of what is important and meaningful for them in the larger society.

Eustache De Saint Pierre , February 16, 2018 at 7:57 am

I have had the same or at a least similar feeling of late, but for the most part considered it as me reflecting my own circumstances on the world, as well as worrying items of news particularly from Syria. A bit like an increasing tightness of breath, within the increasingly stale & pressurized air of an expanding balloon.

Wukchumni , February 16, 2018 at 7:58 am

It has been a rather dull time for news, and i'm not really feeling any angst, other than when I went to a neighbor's dinner party surrounded by reign of error supporters that seemed to be doubling down on their choice in an assertive manner, with absolutely no prompting from me.

I found that disturbing, the group-sink mentality, a blackjack equivalent of doubling down on a 16, with the dealer showing a face card, why?

The LA Times got sold this week, which came with the SD Union Tribune as 2 for 1 deal for $500 million.

The LAT had truly turned into a piece of garbage the past years, they'd get scooped on stories in their own backyard, the writing was what you'd expect from a newspaper emanating from a city of 48,424, and it would be a given that new reporter hires should go at least a page into google when investigating.

Why would somebody pay half a billion for something that's broken down and even if you fixed it, where is the upside?

Sam Adams , February 16, 2018 at 7:59 am

My take is we are in the period just before WW1 and the last garden parties. Everything seems warm, slightly off. The skirts are hobbling, the hats large and the military medals shiny on gold braid. The politicians are making noise, but we all know that for all the strum and bother, they will come to a resolution.

Did you hear the Austrian heir and his wife were shot? Try the sandwiches .

JacobiteInTraining , February 16, 2018 at 10:36 am

Ummm, those sandwiches are simply MARVELOUS I *must* get your recipe.

My neighbors sons both joined the Uhlan Regiment, and we are organizing a party for them before they go to the academy. They look sooooo precious in their uniforms, I want to be sure we have the best in food and drink for their send off party!

And yes, those dang Serbians. Such troublemakers. Rest assured they will be dealt with swiftly and severely.

Lord Koos , February 16, 2018 at 2:19 pm

We've been watching a German TV series called Babylon Berlin, which is set in Wiemar Germany, 1929, just before the crash. It's fascinating to compare those times to our own, there are many parallels. The show is extremely well done. https://newrepublic.com/article/147053/babylon-berlin-sees-weimar-republic

Carolinian , February 16, 2018 at 7:59 am

There's an Ingmar Bergman film from the 1960s called Winter Light where one of the characters finds out the Red Chinese have acquired the bomb and kills himself. Surely it's the news media who are creating the current wave of high anxiety and even tragedies like school shootings seem to be egged on by the media since most shooters are copycats.

Which is why some of us have taken to getting our news from sites like this one. A sanity filter is needed. A sense of perspective may also be useful as in world historical terms there have been much worse periods than this. Time does heal wounds, perhaps even elites who have lost their marbles.

ChiGal in Carolina , February 16, 2018 at 9:29 am

ah, yes. this has been on my mind lately. More the best lacking all conviction and the worst full of passionate intensity than the rough beast part He's already ensconced in Washington and doesn't seem to be able to do much of anything [brain glancing off the specter of all those judges].

GERMO , February 16, 2018 at 9:46 am

This is an astute post by NC and lots of great comments -- little to add but I'll see your Yeats and raise you one Gramsci:

"The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear."

Bittercup , February 16, 2018 at 11:24 am

Well as long as we're talking poetry, I think Auden's September 1, 1939 might be even more relevant today than it was back when it was written. So much so that I can't decide which part of it to excerpt (and it's a bit too long to just quote the whole thing!).

Actually, no, I do know -- here is the last stanza of the poem, which just happens to describe exactly the kind of thing that NC -- at its best -- can provide in opposition to the "waves of anger and fear [ ] obsessing our private lives."

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

Katherine Calkin , February 16, 2018 at 10:15 pm

How about Sartre: Hell is other people.

Jay Jay , February 16, 2018 at 8:16 am

The DOJ Inspector General report will be out in March. After one look at a draft of the report, Randall Wray fired McCabe. And remember, the DOJIG has all of the Strzok e-mails, including the ones the FBI "inadvertently destroyed." Hopes–and fears–are high that this report will expose all of the Russiagate corruption in complete detail. If so, even mainstream media stars won't have a place to hide. They went all in too long ago and pushed the story way too hard.

So to answer Yves's questions: yes, there is deep fear that a receding tide is about to reveal a lot of naked swimmers and that yes, it will be a tsunami.

nv , February 16, 2018 at 8:16 am

Professor Kendall Thomas, director of the Center for the Study of Law and Culture at Columbia Law School, spoke at Goethe House New York recently. He designated Trump a 'post-president,' saying that the mythological status of the US presidency has been exploded (my word). An audience member asked if we were also post the nation state; Kendall replied that the questioner had answered his own question.

Perhaps here we have the source, or one major source, of the generalized angst? (No video, or no video yet, however, see https://www.goethe.de/ins/us/en/sta/ney/ver.cfm ? fuseaction=events.detail&event_id=21154521)

paul , February 16, 2018 at 12:48 pm

Now that is news I can use!

I suppose it might have been private eye, a very changed publication from my first introduction, suggested that the offspring of the firm were far more interested in discotheques and tax free beaches than than the fealty of the field mice in their property.

A little disinterested resignation might go a long way.

However

paul , February 16, 2018 at 1:21 pm

NCO smithers, sorry to hijack your thread; But if I'm going to do it within the headline post: Iraq war protests: The one in edinburgh was glorious, people flowing in from the mound, the west est end and leith street, blocking the roads, g galloway and t sheridan doing what they do best.

I retired and watched the news on the bbc and that is why I have hardly looked at since then.

What your have gifted me is contributions is that nothing is rational as family business, and extra-family is hopeless romance.

I'll jog along (to use the contemporary parlance),

The only weak point is the family.

Loneprotester , February 16, 2018 at 12:04 pm

When war comes it will not be fought by "post-nation states."

Great thread. Keep it going.

Weltschmerz , February 16, 2018 at 8:26 am

1) gaslighting with news that doesn't matter
2) feeeling of an echo chamber and the same ol same ol
3) unclear ways of taking action and identifying those persons who can fix the mess that those persons impmementing neoliberalism and warmongering have created

Colonel Smithers , February 16, 2018 at 8:58 am

Thank you.

I don't have much contact with the 1% now, having changed jobs in mid-2016, but agree with you and get that sense from friends / former colleagues who do.

I work in the City of London. To use the euphemism en vogue at my employer, many people will be "rolling off the platform", ours, over the spring. It's the same at my former employer and another firm I know well. These are middle aged and middle class professionals about to be thrown on the scrap heap.

One can observe Thatcherites becoming Corbynites.

Arizona Slim , February 16, 2018 at 11:40 am

Colonel Smithers, I observed something similar during the Sanders campaign's peak here in Tucson. That would be during late 2015 and early 2016. Let's just say that people weren't flocking to Bernie because their lives were going well.

Lambert Strether , February 16, 2018 at 5:10 pm

> "rolling off the platform"

What's the metaphor here?

ChiGal in Carolina , February 16, 2018 at 6:23 pm

Just to clarify, these are Bernie folks I'm talking about, with no love of corporate Dems/Hillary, but I fear they don't realize how very real the threat is that the energy of the base will be coopted by the leadership.

Norb , February 16, 2018 at 9:20 am

The news tide has receded because by blurring the line between news/information and entertainment, for most people, it looses all relevance in conducting daily life. People are tuned out and apathetic. Those watching the MSM closely are either entirely satisfied with society as is, brainwashed, social voyeurs titilated by the access to human suffering in ever expanding forms, or for professional interest. The weird atmosphere is that people realize how precarious their social positions have become, but are offered no outlet to relieve the growing anxiety. There is no leadership attempting to address these grievances, and when movements do surface, the same set of characters jump to the forefront and successfully diffuse the energy building for something different.
There is no accountability.

The MSM is ubiquitous in its constant drone of irrelevance. Just as the constant flashing of advertising becomes harder and harder to see, it just stops carrying any useful information regardless of what is being said or shown.

My sense for years has been the thought, "what will it take to break the malaise". Society has gone from the Deep Water Horizon disaster, Fukushima meltdown, endless small wars, and growing ecological disasters. Not to mention growing economic inequality with no end in sight. The response is indifference and obfuscation.

Democracy requires civic action, but without proper leadership, Democracy is impossible. Democracy requires institutions that citizens can participate in, and the current crop of leaders undermines that participation at every turn.

So what is left is that everyone conducts their lives on autopilot- until forced to act otherwise. It is a weird atmosphere where the general consensus is one of quiet despair, but easier to pretend that all is well.

Pat , February 16, 2018 at 9:25 am

I will note that years after I stopped biting my nails I have started again. And this time it is worse. I never endangered the quick, but am now so anxious And I have eliminated most traditional sources of news from my life.

I am powerless. A seismic event that should have caused at least a small path change has not. Instead the road is even more closed to alteration, the real news is the same or worse. And the bread and circuses is not considered necessary because nothing really changed. The shootings, the growing early deaths of the populace, and so on are normal. I do not know if the slow boil of the frogs/populace will only end with their total collapse and that we have merely turned up the heat to speed things up. Or if another seismic event that is more violent and revolutionary is going to happen as the restricted road is overrun by those supposed to die quickly and quietly. A Russian and French Revolution level up rising where our current system is bludgeoned to death.

I try to ignore that sense, that prediction. But as my admission makes clear I cannot. We are cursed to live in interesting times.

Dean , February 16, 2018 at 10:02 am

The firehose of information (shit?) being sprayed at me during my waking hours by the industrial-information complex was chipping away at my soul one clickbait headline at a time, one junk email at a time, one advertisement at a time. So I made a choice and l 'opted out' as best I could. I have only 3 news bookmarks (NC on of them). I dropped all social media in the summer of '16. I've been cable free for nearly two years.

My overall mood has improved greatly over this time. I am not feeling the angst but I see the effect the 24×7 bombardment is having on people close to me.

I am beginning to wonder if this constant bombardment is someone's grand design to wear us down, divide us, and keep us in a permanent state of fear and paralysis.

Loneprotester , February 16, 2018 at 12:37 pm

Brilliant! I felt a similar Lightness of Being after giving up Facebook a few months ago. But this has been undermined by recently taking up Twitter. Twitter is like having a stranger run up to you every few minutes shouting the same piece of nonsense in your face. Then someone else shouts the exact opposite. And so on and so on.

Lambert Strether , February 16, 2018 at 5:24 pm

Twitter demands extremely careful curation, and then it's incredibly valuable. Rather like life.

Kokuanani , February 16, 2018 at 1:06 pm

I share your sense of "bombardment," and for me it's an on-going fight with my husband who wants to watch MSNBC, CNN, etc. We have a very small house, so it's almost impossible for me to get away from the audio, and it's winter, so going outside to escape is more challenging.

I find the yelling of Rachel Maddow et al. actually like a physical assault on my senses. I say to my husband, "you know things in the world are crap. Do you need to have that fact repeated to you again and again? And don't you feel that this assault wears you down and makes you less able to take positive action? That's its effect on me."

[I wear my noise-cancelling earphones a lot.]

Eclair , February 16, 2018 at 1:37 pm

Gosh, Kokuanani, I am in much the same situation. My recently-retired husband turns the TV on first thing in the morning and almost never shuts it down until bedtime. We have downsized to a small condo, which fortunately has a small second bedroom/sitting room, so I can escape for a time.

He watches CNN and the local news stations a lot and, as I stroll through the living room or work in the adjacent kitchen, I am assaulted with the tension-laden voices of the news anchors, pushing the latest disaster. I was almost grateful for the school shooting, since it did make a change from the incessant prattling about l'affaire Porter.

What I find most horrifying are the daytime TV shows that feature white male authority figures telling hapless people who have supposedly screwed up their lives and relationships, exactly where they have gone wrong and what they need to do to straighten themselves out. The audience, or should it be the 'mob,' acts as a chorus, egging on the participants.

I now realize how insulated from the 'real world' I have been for decades.

It is interesting that you feel the verbal yelling as as an almost physical assault. I feel the same about constant background noise; it hurts. My spouse, on the other hand, seems to need the stimulation of the verbal stream. (Might have something to do with his dyslexia).

RMO , February 16, 2018 at 3:36 pm

I frequently like to have the television on – often as background while I do other things. I do have cable (as part of an integrated telephone/internet/television package) and when I have broadcast television playing, as opposed to DVD's etc., I find I gravitate to old comedy reruns. I've rewatched the entirety of the Mary Tyler Moore show multiple times this winter along with many other 50's through early 80's television. The only breakthrough from the hurricane of angst whirling through the U.S. media has been the commercials. The ads are often made up of 50% promotion of a new pharmaceutical or medical product and 50% an invitation to join a class action suit against the makers of a slightly older pharmaceutical or medical product. It's an odd juxtaposition.

Lambert Strether , February 16, 2018 at 5:26 pm

I visit friends who watch CNN all the time fairly regularly (and as readers know, I don't have a TV at all, so it's quite an experience for me).

Whatever's going on at CNN, it's clearly not news in any sense that I understand. It's demented, crazy-making.

John , February 16, 2018 at 10:07 am

The wheels keep turning in place with no movement forward, backward, or in a circle. Case in point: Yet one more mass shooting in a school. Yet one more disturbed, angry, and/or obsessed personal with a semi-automatic weapon. Shock, horror, thoughts, prayers; we need 'sensible' gun controls; it's not the time to talk about guns, etc., etc. Same script every time and it fades away until the next time. Does no one notice?

What can I add to what has already been said? I am sick to death of slippery empty words and sly tactics and thievery. I want to say to hell with it all, but I cannot not care.

Craig H. , February 16, 2018 at 10:11 am

The reason most news is dull is that most of it is fake. I was watching an old interview that Kerry Cassidy did with Jim Marrs the other day and he was riveting. A lot of people classify Marrs as a conspiracy nut but he described himself as a journalist. One of the most memorable things he said (this is not an exact quote) is that he still tried to do journalism, but we really don't have journals any more. They are more like advertising circulars and the stories are almost all government or corporate public relations pieces. There are plenty of stories to write. The pieces you guys run on Uber and Calpers are rare and not dull. It is obvious when a competent journalist has taken the time to do research and investigate and double-check things and think about what they are doing.

The manipulated dope the government releases on the latest shooting is not news. It is propaganda. It isn't worth reading.

schultzzz , February 16, 2018 at 2:08 pm

my 2 cents: the FOX NEWS-ification of the MSM is now complete, and that's why it's weird.

If the subtext to the MSM's Trump coverage is, "He's a racist authoritarian so he must be stopped at all costs," then you'd think they'd cover police brutality every day. If they're so concerned about racism and authoritarianism. Instead, we're seeing the FBI, CIA, etc., cast in the role of 'oppressed minorities standing up to The System, Maaan!'

Plus, as a fan of paranoia, I can say. . . I've never seen a more unsatisfying, overly-abstract conspiracy in my life. It's not that they are rehabilitating CIA goons, but they're doing so specifically in order to obsess over memos, and reports about memos, and memos about reports about leaks about other memos.

It's like an episode of The Office if everyone in the office had nukes. Sheesh, give me P2 and the Vatican Bank any day.

TLDR: It's weird because of the sudden growth of the disconnect between [the very real anxieties we news consumers feel in our daily lives] . . . . and the news reports which attempt to leverage those anxieties into outrage at [whatever media elites are mad at that day].

EGrise , February 16, 2018 at 2:13 pm

A question I'm pondering lately that may be related: suppose a general pulled a Julius Caesar, crossed the Rubicon/Potomac and seized control of the US government. What would the response be?

Sixty years ago, there would have been staunch support for the civilian government, politicians of both parties would have rallied their supporters to defend our democratic heritage, and I believe ordinary citizens would have actively opposed the military government in a number of ways up to and including taking up arms.

Today? I just can't see it. I don't know if anyone would really give a [family_blog] beyond some outrage on Facebook or Twitter. The nihilism and ennui are palpable.

Mark Blyth tells the story of speaking to a room full of fund managers and other monied types, and he asked them if they would have trusted the politicians they supported twenty or thirty years prior to manage one of their accounts, to general assent. But when he asked if they would trust any of the politicians they currently support to do the same, they all laughed out loud. In the US, that attitude is nearly universal, across all layers of society .

Could you see yourself risking your life to go fight for our democracy under the banner of Chuck Schumer? The DNC? Any of the ghouls in the GOP? I can't. And I think that's meaningful.

schultzzz , February 16, 2018 at 2:22 pm

If I didn't know any better, I'd say the MSM is getting revenge on us. They got the 2016 election wrong, were exposed as out-of-touch, and rightly ridiculed. Lacking credibility and unwilling to do stories that would upset their owners (i.e. stories ABOUT average American problems), the only tool left in their 'keep people reading us' toolkit is. . .'aaaaah read this or the country dies!!!!'

And what do you know, the 'anxiety' tool just also happens to inflict a lot of psychic punishment on the same news consumers that ridiculed them. So that's a two-fer!

Rosario , February 16, 2018 at 2:44 pm

I'm having trouble articulating the pile of words in my head to describe my thinking on current news media. I'll just say that I've suspected an "establishment agenda" in most news for years and Trump has mostly confirmed that suspicion. I'm sure it has, to some extent, always been that way with the press (we can't escape our culture), but the stakes of milquetoast (or outright nefarious) new media seem bigger now than ever (US empire collapse, climate change, ballooning global inequality). I'm only 31 so let me know if I'm off base thinking the sky is falling.

I think the hosts are right that the news seems to be drying up as of late, but I think that is more a feature than a bug. There is plenty to discuss and dissect. They are just not the kinds of things that capitalist media wants to even acknowledge much less cover.

I don't know if there are any Aussies in this thread, but I'll include a link to a comedian from Australia who has excellent and usually funny commentary on Australian politics. He posts a great deal on Youtube and has a pretty excellent take down of Vice News. BTW the ever edgy Vice has a 5% stake owned by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox and his boy James is/was a board member, figure that one out. The comedian says more pointedly what I was trying to say above to a particular example of the problem, and I think the critique of Vice News is within the topic of the thread. As a heads up, you may need to see his initial video to get any context. I recommend both.

XXYY , February 16, 2018 at 3:36 pm

I think one thing that is new recently is that the people supposedly driving the bus are *obviously* incompetent and in over their heads.

I am in my late 50s, and for most of my life there was an air of seriousness and competence about national leaders. Even when they were doing something you didn't like, you could generally assume they were adequate to the situation, or at least had access to people who were. E.g., the moronic Reagan at least supposedly had a coterie of serious people in his administration who could keep the train on the tracks. Various government departments were staffed by people who had a lifetime of experience in their affairs, and there was thus a deep bench of skill and experience the national leaders could rely on when needed. Government seemed serious and purposeful for the most part, and the nation seemed in reasonably good hands.

It's impossible to say how much of this sensibility was real and how much carefully maintained illusion; my guess is a lot of what was going on was the latter, but at least leaders and the media realized seriousness was an important front to maintain.

Now we seem to be at a point where the people in charge are unapologetic about their greed, their lack of ability or even interest in their jobs and consitiuents, their lack of intellect and integrity, and the absence of any pretense of doing anything useful for the population or the society. Important national institutions (e.g. the State Department! The CDC!) are being left to languish or being actively dismantled. Who will fill the void? No one cares. The media, meanwhile, not only fails to lament these things but actually seems to have some glee about the situation and delights in spotlighting incompetence and even criminality in the leadership

(I write from the US, obviously; however, the same seems to be true, perhaps even more so, in the UK, from what I read.)

As a result, a deadly sense of futility sets in. At best, we can head off the bigger disasters. Nothing is likely to actually improve. The will and leadership to face our many impending disasters (climate change, nuclear war, inequality, racism, financial collapse, infrastructure collapse) seems utterly absent.

I guess what I'm saying is, as one surveys the landscape, there is a marked loss of hope coupled with a tearing urgency that something needs to be done. It's a terrible, very volatile and dangerous condition.

jrs , February 16, 2018 at 7:40 pm

a sensible emotional response to Trump perhaps. Obama was bad in many ways, but Trump is something harder to make sense of than mere bad: he's absurd.

Jim , February 16, 2018 at 6:55 pm

The Crack-Up F.Scott Fitzgerald (1936)

"Before I go on with this short history, let me make a general observation -- the test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise."

Do we still have that will and can we find a way?

[Feb 16, 2018] Russians Spooked by Nukes-Against-Cyber-Attack Policy Consortiumnews

Feb 16, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Russians Spooked by Nukes-Against-Cyber-Attack Policy February 16, 2018

New U.S. policy on nuclear retaliatory strikes for cyber-attacks is raising concerns, with Russia claiming that it's already been blamed for a false-flag cyber-attack – namely the election hacking allegations of 2016, explain Ray McGovern and William Binney.

By Ray McGovern and William Binney

Moscow is showing understandable concern over the lowering of the threshold for employing nuclear weapons to include retaliation for cyber-attacks, a change announced on Feb. 2 in the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review (NPR).

A nuclear test detonation carried out in Nevada on April 18, 1953.

Explaining the shift in U.S. doctrine on first-use, the NPR cites the efforts of potential adversaries "to design and use cyber weapons" and explains the change as a "hedge" against non-nuclear threats. In response, Russia described the move as an "attempt to shift onto others one's own responsibility" for the deteriorating security situation.

Moscow's concern goes beyond rhetoric. Cyber-attacks are notoriously difficult to trace to the actual perpetrator and can be pinned easily on others in what we call "false-flag" operations. These can be highly destabilizing – not only in the strategic context, but in the political arena as well.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has good reason to believe he has been the target of a false-flag attack of the political genre. We judged this to be the case a year and a half ago, and said so. Our judgment was fortified last summer – thanks to forensic evidence challenging accusations that the Russians hacked into the Democratic National Committee and provided emails to WikiLeaks. (Curiously, the FBI declined to do forensics, even though the "Russian hack" was being described as an "act of war.")

Our conclusions were based on work conducted over several months by highly experienced technical specialists, including another former NSA technical director (besides co-author Binney) and experts from outside the circle of intelligence analysts.

On August 9, 2017, investigative reporter Patrick Lawrence summed up our findings in The Nation. "They have all argued that the hack theory is wrong and that a locally executed leak is the far more likely explanation," he explained.

As we wrote in an open letter to Barack Obama dated January 17, three days before he left office, the NSA's programs are fully capable of capturing all electronic transfers of data. "We strongly suggest that you ask NSA for any evidence it may have indicating that the results of Russian hacking were given to WikiLeaks," our letter said. "If NSA cannot produce such evidence – and quickly – this would probably mean it does not have any."

A 'Dot' Pointing to a False Flag?

In his article, Lawrence included mention of one key, previously unknown "dot" revealed by WikiLeaks on March 31, 2017. When connected with other dots, it puts a huge dent in the dominant narrative about Russian hacking. Small wonder that the mainstream media immediately applied white-out to the offending dot.

Lawrence, however, let the dot out of the bag, so to speak: "The list of the CIA's cyber-tools WikiLeaks began to release in March and labeled Vault 7 includes one called Marble Framework that is capable of obfuscating the origin of documents in false-flag operations and leaving markings that point to whatever the CIA wants to point to."

If congressional oversight committees summon the courage to look into "Obfus-Gate" and Marble, they are likely to find this line of inquiry as lucrative as the Steele "dossier." In fact, they are likely to find the same dramatis personae playing leading roles in both productions.

Two Surprising Visits

Last October CIA Director Mike Pompeo invited one of us (Binney) into his office to discuss Russian hacking. Binney told Pompeo his analysts had lied and that he could prove it.

In retrospect, the Pompeo-Binney meeting appears to have been a shot across the bow of those cyber warriors in the CIA, FBI, and NSA with the means and incentive to adduce "just discovered" evidence of Russian hacking. That Pompeo could promptly invite Binney back to evaluate any such "evidence" would be seen as a strong deterrent to that kind of operation.

Pompeo's closeness to President Donald Trump is probably why the heads of Russia's three top intelligence agencies paid Pompeo an unprecedented visit in late January. We think it likely that the proximate cause was the strategic danger Moscow sees in the nuclear-hedge-against-cyber-attack provision of the Nuclear Posture Statement (a draft of which had been leaked a few weeks before).

If so, the discussion presumably focused on enhancing hot-line and other fail-safe arrangements to reduce the possibility of false-flag attacks in the strategic arena -- by anyone – given the extremely high stakes.

Putin may have told his intelligence chiefs to pick up on President Donald Trump's suggestion, after the two met last July, to establish a U.S.-Russian cyber security unit. That proposal was widely ridiculed at the time. It may make good sense now.

Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst for 27 years, was chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and briefed the President's Daily Brief one-on-one from 1981-1985. William Binney worked for NSA for 36 years, retiring in 2001 as the technical director of world military and geopolitical analysis and reporting; he created many of the collection systems still used by NSA.


mike k , February 16, 2018 at 5:36 pm

Those Russians had a strange mission coming to CIA headquarters to try to negotiate with soulless mass murderers in the name of maintaining a precarious semblance of peace, knowing full well that these men's words and assurances were worth less than nothing. Ah well, I guess in a mad situation one is reduced to making desperate gestures, hoping against hope .

Mild-ly -Facetious , February 16, 2018 at 5:42 pm

F Y I :> Putin prefers Aramco to Trump's sword dance

Hardly 10 months after honoring the visiting US president, the Saudis are open to a Russian-Chinese consortium investing in the upcoming Aramco IPO

By M.K. BHADRAKUMAR
FEBRUARY 16, 2018

[extract]

In the slideshow that is Middle Eastern politics, the series of still images seldom add up to make an enduring narrative. And the probability is high that when an indelible image appears, it might go unnoticed – such as Russia and Saudi Arabia wrapping up huge energy deals on Wednesday underscoring a new narrative in regional and international security.

The ebb and flow of events in Syria – Turkey's campaign in Afrin and its threat to administer an "Ottoman slap" to the United States, and the shooting down of an Israeli F-16 jet – hogged the attention. But something of far greater importance was unfolding in Riyadh, as Saudi and Russian officials met to seal major deals marking a historic challenge to the US dominance in the Persian Gulf region.

The big news is the Russian offer to the Saudi authorities to invest directly in the upcoming Aramco initial public offering – and the Saudis acknowledging the offer. Even bigger news, surely, is that Moscow is putting together a Russian-Chinese consortium of joint investment funds plus several major Russian banks to be part of the Aramco IPO.

Chinese state oil companies were interested in becoming cornerstone investors in the IPO, but the participation of a Russia-China joint investment fund takes matters to an entirely different realm. Clearly, the Chinese side is willing to hand over tens of billions of dollars.

Yet the Aramco IPO was a prime motive for US President Donald Trump to choose Saudi Arabia for his first foreign trip. The Saudi hosts extended the ultimate honor to Trump – a ceremonial sword dance outside the Murabba Palace in Riyadh. Hardly 10 months later, they are open to a Russian-Chinese consortium investing in the Aramco IPO.

Riyadh plans to sell 5% of Saudi Aramco in what is billed as the largest IPO in world history. In the Saudi estimation, Aramco is worth US$2 trillion; a 5% stake sale could fetch as much as $100 billion. The IPO is a crucial segment of Vision 2030, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman's ambitious plan to diversify the kingdom's economy.

MORE : http://www.atimes.com/article/putin-prefers-aramco-trumps-sword-dance/

Anna , February 16, 2018 at 6:46 pm

"Last October CIA Director Mike Pompeo invited one of us (Binney) into his office to discuss Russian hacking. Binney told Pompeo his analysts had lied and that he could prove it."

That was about some Dm. Alperovitch for CrowdStrike fame, who had discovered the "hacking" in 10 sec. Guess Alperovitch, as an "expert" at the viciously Russophobic Atlantic Council (funded by the State Dept., NATO, and a set of unsavory characters like Ukrainian oligrach Pinchuk) decided to show his "understanding" of the task. The shy FBI did not even attempt to look at the Clinton's server because the bosses "knew better."

Alperovitch must be investigated for anti-American activities; the scoundrel has been sowing discord into the US society with his lies while endangering the US citizenry.

[Feb 16, 2018] A Dangerous Turn in U.S. Foreign Policy

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It was President Bill Clinton who moved NATO eastwards, abrogating a 1991 agreement with the Russians not to recruit former members of the Warsaw Pact that is at the root of current tensions with Moscow. And, while the U.S. and NATO point to Russia's annexation of the Crimea as a sign of a "revanchist" Moscow, it was NATO that set the precedent of altering borders when it dismembered Serbia to create Kosovo after the 1999 Yugoslav war. ..."
"... And it was President Barack Obama who further chilled relations with the Russians by backing the 2014 coup in the Ukraine, and whose "Asia pivot" has led to tensions between Washington and Beijing. ..."
"... Certainly the verbiage about Russia and China is alarming. Russia is routinely described as "aggressive," "revisionist," and "expansionist." In a recent attack on China, US Defense Secretary Rex Tillerson described China's trade with Latin America as "imperial. ..."
"... Russia's intervention in the Syrian civil war helped turn the tide against the anti-Assad coalition put together by the US. But its economy is smaller than Italy's, and its "aggression" is largely a response to NATO establishing a presence on Moscow's doorstep. ..."
"... China is, however, the US's major competitor and the second largest economy in the world. It has replaced the US as Latin America's largest trading partner and successfully outflanked Washington's attempts to throttle its economic influence. When the US asked its key allies to boycott China's new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, with the exception of Japan, they ignored Washington ..."
"... Is this a new Cold War, when the U.S. attempted to surround and isolate the Soviet Union? There are parallels, but the Cold War was an ideological battle between two systems, socialism and capitalism. The fight today is over market access and economic domination. When Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned Latin America about China and Russia, it wasn't about "Communist subversion," but trade. ..."
"... For one, the big arms manufacturers -- Lockheed Martian, Boeing, Raytheon, BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics -- have lots of cash to hand out come election time. "Great power competition" will be expensive, with lots of big-ticket items: aircraft carriers, submarines, surface ships, and an expanded air force. ..."
"... This is not to say that the U.S. has altered its foreign policy focus because of arms company lobbies, but they do have a seat at the table. And given that those companies have spread their operations to all 50 states, local political representatives and governors have a stake in keeping -- and expanding -- those high paying jobs. ..."
"... Piling onto Moscow may have consequences as well. Andrei Kostin, head of one of Russia's largest banks, VTB, told the Financial Times ..."
"... Conn Hallinan can be read at dispatchesfromtheedgeblog.wordpress.com ..."
Feb 16, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

The Trump administration's new National Defense Strategy is being touted as a sea change in U.S. foreign policy, a shift from the "war on terrorism" to "great power competition," a line that would not be out of place in the years leading up to World War I. But is the shift really a major course change, or a re-statement of policies followed by the last four administrations?

The U.S. has never taken its eyes off its big competitors.

It was President Bill Clinton who moved NATO eastwards, abrogating a 1991 agreement with the Russians not to recruit former members of the Warsaw Pact that is at the root of current tensions with Moscow. And, while the U.S. and NATO point to Russia's annexation of the Crimea as a sign of a "revanchist" Moscow, it was NATO that set the precedent of altering borders when it dismembered Serbia to create Kosovo after the 1999 Yugoslav war.

It was President George W. Bush who designated China a "strategic competitor," and who tried to lure India into an anti-Chinese alliance by allowing New Delhi to violate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Letting India purchase uranium on the international market -- it was barred from doing so by refusing to sign the NPT -- helped ignite the dangerous nuclear arms race with Pakistan in South Asia.

And it was President Barack Obama who further chilled relations with the Russians by backing the 2014 coup in the Ukraine, and whose "Asia pivot" has led to tensions between Washington and Beijing.

So is jettisoning "terrorism" as the enemy in favor of "great powers" just old wine, new bottle? Not quite. For one thing the new emphasis has a decidedly more dangerous edge to it.

In speaking at Johns Hopkins, Defense Secretary James Mattis warned, "If you challenge us, it will be your longest and worst day," a remark aimed directly at Russia. NATO ally Britain went even further. Chief of the United Kingdom General Staff, Nick Carter, told the Defense and Security Forum that "our generation has become use to wars of choice since the end of the Cold War," but "we may not have a choice about conflict with Russia," adding "The parallels with 1914 are stark."

Certainly the verbiage about Russia and China is alarming. Russia is routinely described as "aggressive," "revisionist," and "expansionist." In a recent attack on China, US Defense Secretary Rex Tillerson described China's trade with Latin America as "imperial. "

But in 1914 there were several powerful and evenly matched empires at odds. That is not the case today.

While Moscow is certainly capable of destroying the world with its nuclear weapons, Russia today bears little resemblance to 1914 Russia, or, for that matter, the Soviet Union.

The U.S. and its allies currently spend more than 12 times what Russia does on its armaments–$840 billion to $69 billion -- and that figure vastly underestimates Washington's actual military outlay. A great deal of U.S. spending is not counted as "military," including nuclear weapons, currently being modernized to the tune of $1.5 trillion.

The balance between China and the U.S. is more even, but the U.S. outspends China almost three to one. Include Washington's allies, Japan, Australia and South Korea, and that figure is almost four to one. In nuclear weapons, the ratio is vastly greater: 26 to 1 in favor of the U.S. Add NATO and the ratios are 28 to 1.

This is not to say that the military forces of Russia and China are irrelevant.

Russia's intervention in the Syrian civil war helped turn the tide against the anti-Assad coalition put together by the US. But its economy is smaller than Italy's, and its "aggression" is largely a response to NATO establishing a presence on Moscow's doorstep.

China has two military goals: to secure its sea-borne energy supplies by building up its navy and to establish a buffer zone in the East and South China seas to keep potential enemies at arm's length. To that end it has constructed smaller, more agile ships, and missiles capable of keeping U.S. aircraft carriers out of range, a strategy called "area denial." It has also modernized its military, cutting back on land-based forces and investing in air and sea assets. However, it spends less of its GDP on its military than does the US: 1.9 percent as opposed to 3.8 percent.

Beijing has been rather heavy-handed in establishing "area denial," aliening many of its neighbors -- Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Taiwan -- by claiming most of the South China Sea and building bases in the Paracel and Spratly islands.

But China has been invaded several times, starting with the Opium Wars of 1839 and 1856, when Britain forced the Chinese to lift their ban on importing the drug. Japan invaded in 1895 and 1937. If the Chinese are touchy about their coastline, one can hardly blame them.

China is, however, the US's major competitor and the second largest economy in the world. It has replaced the US as Latin America's largest trading partner and successfully outflanked Washington's attempts to throttle its economic influence. When the US asked its key allies to boycott China's new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, with the exception of Japan, they ignored Washington .

However, commercial success is hardly "imperial."

Is this a new Cold War, when the U.S. attempted to surround and isolate the Soviet Union? There are parallels, but the Cold War was an ideological battle between two systems, socialism and capitalism. The fight today is over market access and economic domination. When Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned Latin America about China and Russia, it wasn't about "Communist subversion," but trade.

There are other players behind this shift.

For one, the big arms manufacturers -- Lockheed Martian, Boeing, Raytheon, BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics -- have lots of cash to hand out come election time. "Great power competition" will be expensive, with lots of big-ticket items: aircraft carriers, submarines, surface ships, and an expanded air force.

This is not to say that the U.S. has altered its foreign policy focus because of arms company lobbies, but they do have a seat at the table. And given that those companies have spread their operations to all 50 states, local political representatives and governors have a stake in keeping -- and expanding -- those high paying jobs.

Nor are the Republicans going to get much opposition on increased defense spending from the Democrats, many of whom are as hawkish as their colleagues across the aisle. Higher defense spending -- coupled with the recent tax cut bill -- will rule out funding many of the programs the Democrats hold dear. Of course, for the Republicans that dilemma is a major side benefit: cut taxes, increase defense spending, then dismantle social services, Social Security and Medicare in order to service the deficit.

And many of the Democrats are ahead of the curve when it comes to demonizing the Russians. The Russian bug-a-boo has allowed the Party to shift the blame for Hillary Clinton's loss to Moscow's manipulation of the election, thus avoiding having to examine its own lackluster campaign and unimaginative political program.

There are other actors pushing this new emphasis as well, including the Bush administration's neo-conservatives who launched the Iraq War. Their new target is Iran, even though inflating Iran to the level of a "great power" is laughable. Iran's military budget is $12.3 billion. Saudi Arabia alone spends $63.7 billion on defense, slightly less than Russia, which has five times the population and eight times the land area. In a clash between Iran and the US and its local allies, the disparity in military strength would be a little more than 66 to 1.

However, in terms of disasters, even Iraq would pale before a war with Iran.

The most dangerous place in the world right now is the Korean Peninsula, where the Trump administration appears to be casting around for some kind of military demonstration that will not ignite a nuclear war. But how would China react to an attack that might put hostile troops on its southern border?

Piling onto Moscow may have consequences as well. Andrei Kostin, head of one of Russia's largest banks, VTB, told the Financial Times that adding more sanctions against Russia "would be like declaring war."

The problem with designating "great powers" as your adversaries is that they might just take your word for it and respond accordingly. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Conn Hallinan

Conn Hallinan can be read at dispatchesfromtheedgeblog.wordpress.com

[Feb 16, 2018] Mueller Indicts 13 Russians For Interfering In US Election

False flag or real ?
Is not "included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump ("Trump Campaign") and disparaging Hillary Clinton . " (or vise versa) by posting on social media an example of free speech ?
But usage of fake identities clearly is not: "The Russians tracked the metrics of their effort in reports and budgeted for their efforts. Some, as described below, traveled to the U.S. to gather intelligence for the surreptitious campaign. They used stolen U.S. identities, including fake driver's licenses, and contacted news media outlets to promote their activities."
The question is how those unquestionable very talented Russians managed to learn English language without living in the USA and operate such a sophisticated operation from oversees? English is a very difficult language for Russians to master and Russian immigrants who came to the USA being older then 16 and living in the USA for ten or twenty years typically still have horrible accent and bad or very bad grammar (tenses, "a" and "the" usage, you name it). Actually Russian woman are noticeably better then men in this area, especially if they are married to a US spouse. Ass to this dismal understanding of the USA politics including differences between Democratic and Republican parties (you probably need to live in the USA for ten years to start appreciate those differences ;-) . How they managed to learn local political culture to be effective? That's a strong argument in favor of false flag operation -- in case they have puppeteers from the USA everything is more or less rationally explainable.
Notable quotes:
"... It gets better: the defendants reportedly worked day and night shifts to pump out messages, controlling pages targeting a range of issues, including immigration, Black Lives Matter, and they amassed hundreds of thousands of followers. They set up and used servers inside the U.S. to mask the Russian origin of the accounts. ..."
"... The Russian organization named in the indictment - the Internet Research Agency - and the defendants began working in 2014 - so one year before the Trump candidacy was even announced - to interfere in U.S. elections, according to the indictment in Washington. They used false personas and social media while also staging political rallies and communicating with "unwitting individuals" associated with the Trump campaign, it said. ..."
"... The Russians tracked the metrics of their effort in reports and budgeted for their efforts. Some, as described below, traveled to the U.S. to gather intelligence for the surreptitious campaign. They used stolen U.S. identities, including fake driver's licenses, and contacted news media outlets to promote their activities. ..."
"... Defendant ORGANIZATION had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Defendants posted derogatory information about a number of candidates, and by early to mid-2016, Defendants' operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump ("Trump Campaign") and disparaging Hillary Clinton . ..."
"... Defendants, posing as U.S. persons and creating false U.S. personas, operated social media pages and groups designed to attract U.S. audiences. These groups and pages, which addressed divisive U.S. political and social issues, falsely claimed to be controlled by U.S. activists when, in fact, they were controlled by Defendants. Defendants also used the stolen identities of real U.S. persons to post on ORGANIZATION-controlled social media accounts. Over time, these social media accounts became Defendants' means to reach significant numbers of Americans for purposes of interfering with the U.S. political system, including the presidential election of 2016 ..."
"... Sixteen thousand Facebook users said that they planned to attend a Trump protest on Nov. 12, 2016, organized by the Facebook page for BlackMattersUS, a Russian-linked group that sought to capitalize on racial tensions between black and white Americans. The event was shared with 61,000 users. ..."
"... As many as 5,000 to 10,000 protesters actually convened at Manhattan's Union Square. They then marched to Trump Tower, according to media reports at the time . ..."
"... 13 Russians can influence US elections meanwhile US CIA and State Department spend $1 BIllion every year on opposition groups inside Russia without success. ..."
"... Indict AIPAC. That is the real foreign interference in ALL US elections. Such hypocrisy. At the very least, make them register as a foreign operation! Information warfare using social media ? What, you mean like the Israeli students who are paid to shape public opinion thru social media? This is no secret and has been in the news. I fail to find the difference? Psychologists call this projection, that is where you accuse others of the crimes you commit . ..."
"... It looks like Mueller would have these people for identity theft if he had them in the US, which he probably doesn't. ..."
"... Deep state pivot to keep the Russian hate alive. ..."
"... Fucking hilarious - Mueller has indicted an anti-Russian CIA operation that was run out of St. Petersburg. http://thesaker.is/a-brief-history-of-the-kremlin-trolls/ ..."
"... The bigger question is "when is Mueller going to be indicted for covering up the controlled demolition of the WTC buildings on nine eleven??" ..."
Feb 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Mueller charges "defendants knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other (and with persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury) to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the government through fraud and deceit for the purpose of interfering with the U.S. political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016."

The indictment adds that the Russians " were instructed to post content that focused on 'politics in the USA' and to 'use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump -- we support them)' ."

It gets better: the defendants reportedly worked day and night shifts to pump out messages, controlling pages targeting a range of issues, including immigration, Black Lives Matter, and they amassed hundreds of thousands of followers. They set up and used servers inside the U.S. to mask the Russian origin of the accounts.

Ultimately, and this is the punchline, the goal was to disparage Hillary Clinton and to assist the election of Donald Trump.

In other words, anyone who was disparaging Clinton, may have "unwittingly" been a collaborator of the 13 Russian "specialists" who cost Hillary the election.

The Russian organization named in the indictment - the Internet Research Agency - and the defendants began working in 2014 - so one year before the Trump candidacy was even announced - to interfere in U.S. elections, according to the indictment in Washington. They used false personas and social media while also staging political rallies and communicating with "unwitting individuals" associated with the Trump campaign, it said.

The Russians "had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system," according to the indictment in Washington.

The Russians also reportedly bought advertisements on U.S. social media, created numerous Twitter accounts designed to appear as if they were U.S. groups or people, according to the indictment. One fake account, @TEN_GOP account, attracted more than 100,000 online followers.

The Russians tracked the metrics of their effort in reports and budgeted for their efforts. Some, as described below, traveled to the U.S. to gather intelligence for the surreptitious campaign. They used stolen U.S. identities, including fake driver's licenses, and contacted news media outlets to promote their activities.

The full list of named defendants in addition to the Internet Research Agency, as well as Concord Management and Consulting and Concord Catering, include:

Mueller's office said that none of the defendants was in custody.

So how is Trump involved? Well, he isn't, as it now seems that collusion narrative is dead, and instead Russian involvement was unilateral. Instead, according to the indictment, the Russian operations were unsolicited and pro bono, and included " supporting Trump... and disparaging Hillary Clinton,' staging political rallies, buying political advertising while posing as grassroots U.S. groups. Oh, and communicating " with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities. "

Defendant ORGANIZATION had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Defendants posted derogatory information about a number of candidates, and by early to mid-2016, Defendants' operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump ("Trump Campaign") and disparaging Hillary Clinton .

Defendants made various expenditures to carry out those activities, including buying political advertisements on social media in the names of U.S. persons and entities. Defendants also staged political rallies inside the United States, and while posing as U.S. grassroots entities and U.S. persons, and without revealing their Russian identities and ORGANIZATION affiliation, solicited and compensated real U.S. persons to promote or disparage candidates. Some Defendants, posing as U.S. persons and without revealing their Russian association, communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities.

Furthermore, the dastardly Russians created fake accounts to pretend they are Americans:

Defendants, posing as U.S. persons and creating false U.S. personas, operated social media pages and groups designed to attract U.S. audiences. These groups and pages, which addressed divisive U.S. political and social issues, falsely claimed to be controlled by U.S. activists when, in fact, they were controlled by Defendants. Defendants also used the stolen identities of real U.S. persons to post on ORGANIZATION-controlled social media accounts. Over time, these social media accounts became Defendants' means to reach significant numbers of Americans for purposes of interfering with the U.S. political system, including the presidential election of 2016

Mueller also alleges a combination of traditional and modern espionage...

Certain Defendants traveled to the United States under false pretenses for the purpose of collecting intelligence to inform Defendants' operations. Defendants also procured and used computer infrastructure, based partly in the United States, to hide the Russian origin of their activities and to avoid detection by U.S. regulators and law enforcement.

Mueller also charges that two of the defendants received US visas and from approximately June 4, 2014 through June 26, 2014, KRYLOVA and BOGACHEVA " traveled in and around the United States, including stops in Nevada, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Louisiana, Texas, and New York to gather intelligence, After the trip, KRYLOVA and BURCHIK exchanged an intelligence report regarding the trip."

* * *

The indictment points to a broader conspiracy beyond the pages of the indictment, saying the grand jury has heard about other people with whom the Russians allegedly conspired in their efforts.


Joe Davola -> Pandelis Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:02 Permalink

Concord Catering - what, were they offering chicken wings and pigs ears at the polling places?

Never One Roach -> Joe Davola Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:03 Permalink

So how often does Mueller hear those demon voices in his head?

Billy the Poet -> Never One Roach Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:05 Permalink

I wonder if any of these Russians were behind the anti-Trump rallies of November 2016? Thousands attended protest organized by Russians on Facebook.

Thousands of Americans attended a march last November organized by a Russian group that used social media to interfere in the 2016 election.

The demonstration in New York City, which took place a few days after the election, appears to be the largest and most successful known effort to date pulled off by Russian-linked groups intent on using social media platforms to influence American politics.

Sixteen thousand Facebook users said that they planned to attend a Trump protest on Nov. 12, 2016, organized by the Facebook page for BlackMattersUS, a Russian-linked group that sought to capitalize on racial tensions between black and white Americans. The event was shared with 61,000 users.

As many as 5,000 to 10,000 protesters actually convened at Manhattan's Union Square. They then marched to Trump Tower, according to media reports at the time .

The BlackMattersUS-organized rally took advantage of outrage among groups on the left following President Trump's victory on Nov. 8 to galvanize support for its event. The group's protest was the fourth consecutive anti-Trump rally in New York following election night, and one of many across the country.

"Join us in the streets! Stop Trump and his bigoted agenda!" reads the Facebook event page for the rally. "Divided is the reason we just fell. We must unite despite our differences to stop HATE from ruling the land."

http://thehill.com/policy/technology/358025-thousands-attended-protest-

Belrev -> Billy the Poet Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:07 Permalink

13 Russians can influence US elections meanwhile US CIA and State Department spend $1 BIllion every year on opposition groups inside Russia without success.

SamAdams -> Belrev Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:08 Permalink

Indict AIPAC. That is the real foreign interference in ALL US elections. Such hypocrisy. At the very least, make them register as a foreign operation! Information warfare using social media ? What, you mean like the Israeli students who are paid to shape public opinion thru social media? This is no secret and has been in the news. I fail to find the difference? Psychologists call this projection, that is where you accuse others of the crimes you commit .

Belrev -> SamAdams Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:10 Permalink

That is a regime change in DC proposition.

IH8OBAMA -> Belrev Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:21 Permalink

If Mueller is going outside the Trump organization to indict Russians, when is he going to indict some equally criminal Democraps?

I also see that one of the 13 Russians was Valdimir. ( VLADIMIR VENKOV ) LOL

Shillinlikeavillan -> IH8OBAMA Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:24 Permalink

Soooooooo...

They basically indicted the $100,000 facebook ad russian group... Bravo! Ur really on the path to impeaching trump now!
LULZ!

overbet -> Shillinlikeavillan Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:34 Permalink

Boy Hillary sure didnt get her money's worth. She shoulda hired these people.

Is it ok for MSM for to make all of their disparaging commentary, but not ok for people to do the same? Mueller mustve forgot about the craigslist ads hiring protesters to attack Trump rallies. What a fucking clown show.

I guess that's it Mueller gets his indictments to save face and Trump is pleased its over.

El Vaquero -> overbet Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:44 Permalink

This ties directly into the October 31, 2017 testimony from Facebook, Twitter and Google regarding Russian media presence on social media. Mueller is grasping here, and given that it talks about visas granted for short visits, I'm led to believe that most of these people are actually not on US soil to be arrested. This means political grandstanding via an indictment that is never going to see a courtroom where the evidence can be examined and witnesses can be cross examined. It looks like Mueller would have these people for identity theft if he had them in the US, which he probably doesn't.

I'm going to get called a Russian bot over this elsewhere. Well, maybe facetiously here. #WeAreAllRussianBotsNow

spanish inquisition -> El Vaquero Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:56 Permalink

Deep state pivot to keep the Russian hate alive.

FoggyWorld -> spanish inquisition Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:59 Permalink

And set us up for war.

Shemp 4 Victory -> FoggyWorld Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:10 Permalink

Fucking hilarious - Mueller has indicted an anti-Russian CIA operation that was run out of St. Petersburg. http://thesaker.is/a-brief-history-of-the-kremlin-trolls/

pods -> Shemp 4 Victory Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:22 Permalink

Wow, I am going to have to keep the radio off for a couple of days. They are going to be wall to wall on this. Maybe even bump the stories where fakely sympathetic reporter cunts (FSRC) ask mother's if they miss their dead kids.

This is a fucking clownshow anymore. Jesus, THIS is what the investigation brought home? Holy fuckshit, this is a joke. Some guy had 100k followers? Really? Like anyone GAF about that? We have AIPAC making candidates kneel before them and yet some guys on Tweeter fucked around. I think that is even bullshit. If Russians really did that, they wouldn't "work in shifts" they would program some fucking bots to do this.

I can just imagine the fake outrage that that worthless kike from NY Chuckie "don't get between me and a camera" Schumer has to say about this.

This is a Matrix alright, and a cheap ass one at that.

Mueller should be taken out and horsewhipped for bringing this shit home.

Hey Mueller, I read a comment on Yahoo news that was in broken English. Go get um!

pods

stizazz -> pods Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:30 Permalink

They HATE Russia because PUTIN OPENLY derided the American Empire.

BennyBoy -> pods Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:38 Permalink

The Russians duped me.

I was gonna vote for Hillary then I read tweets where she bullied the woman her husband raped to keep quiet. And how her foundation got hundreds of $millions from countries with business before her at the state dept. ALEKSANDRA YURYEVNA KRYLOVA mislead me.

BennyBoy -> BennyBoy Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:42 Permalink

Its probably nothing....

CHINESE STATE-OWNED CHEMICAL FIRM JOINS DARK MONEY GROUP POURING CASH INTO U.S. ELECTIONS

Lee Fang February 15 2018, 10:10 a.m.

WANHUA CHEMICAL, A $10 billion chemical company controlled by the Chinese government, now has an avenue to influence American elections.

On Monday, Wanhua joined the American Chemistry Council, a lobby organization for chemical manufacturers that is unusually aggressive in intervening in U.S. politics.

The ACC is a prominent recipient of so-called dark money -- that is, unlimited amounts of cash from corporations or individuals the origins of which are only disclosed to the IRS, not the public. During the 2012 , 2014 , and 2016 election cycles, the ACC took this dark money and spent over $40 million of it on contributions to super PACs, lobbying, and direct expenditures. (Additional money flowed directly to candidates via the ACC's political action committee.).....

https://theintercept.com/2018/02/15/chinese-state-owned-chemical-firm-j

ThanksChump -> BennyBoy Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:50 Permalink

Duped by facts and truth is no way to go through life, son.

JimmyJones -> ThanksChump Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:59 Permalink

Obama, "I can do more after I'm reelected" to Putin caught on a hot mic.

I always knew Hillary was as pure as the first winter's snow.

Theosebes Goodfellow -> pods Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:42 Permalink

~" In other words, anyone who was disparaging Clinton, may have "unwittingly" been a collaborator of the 13 Russian "specialists" who cost Hillary the election. "~

Wait, does this mean that "disparaging Hillary" was just for the witless? I've been doing that for years, (without any Russian influence at all), and have found it to be rather witty virtually all the time.

Can we NOW get to the point where we appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary?

rwe2late -> Theosebes Goodfellow Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:09 Permalink

not yet ...

any of us who spread "fake news" are now "conspirators" who gave "support" to foreign agents with the goal of undermining the "democratic process" by denying Hillary the presidency.

tsk, tsk.

ignorance can be no excuse for such wanton lawlessness.

rwe2late -> rwe2late Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:36 Permalink

oh, oh

I almost forgot. "conspirators" were blatantly "sowing discord" obvious "proof" of "cooperating" with the Russians

Boxed Merlot -> rwe2late Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:46 Permalink

..."conspirators" were blatantly "sowing discord"...

Yep, so on top of being "Deplorable", I'm also without wit.

His name was Seth.

Squid Viscous -> pods Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:57 Permalink

well said pods, i wish i could upvote you like, 13 times

Machbet -> pods Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:32 Permalink

Well said, my brother. "A fucking clownshow..." A clownshow run by juvenile, idiotic fallen angels.

sixsigma cygnu -> spanish inquisition Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:01 Permalink

I'm just relieved they didn't get Boris. Not this time.

Telling people the truth makes one a very desirable target.

BigCumulusClouds -> sixsigma cygnu Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:06 Permalink

The bigger question is "when is Mueller going to be indicted for covering up the controlled demolition of the WTC buildings on nine eleven??"

eatthebanksters -> spanish inquisition Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:10 Permalink

So this is all they have?

Bubba Rum Das -> Citizen in 1984 Fri, 02/16/2018 - 16:08 Permalink

Yes, Mueller is a clown show, but he came up w/ this crap in an attempt to divert media attention away from his & McCabes direct involvement in trying to cover up Uranium 1 for Hillary...The Truth!

Boxed Merlot -> eatthebanksters Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:48 Permalink

...all they have?...

Sure hope they weren't bettin' the farm.

jmo.

DosZap -> El Vaquero Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:05 Permalink

He has to INDICT someone,since he can't get Trump except on adultery.(the only thing NOT under his purview)

I see a distant MELANIA in his near future.

eclectic syncretist -> DosZap Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:43 Permalink

The FBI going DEEP (#sarc) into its playbook for this one.

Simultaneously distracting from their incompetencies with regards to domestic threats (school shooters/government collusion to subvert presidential election), and exonerating Hillary AGAIN.

"Using lies and deception to cover our lies and deceptions, so that we can enslave the populace to our will" (visualize Meuller/Comey/Strzok/Page/Ohr/Rosenstein/Obama/Rice/ with left hands on Satanic Bible and right arms extended giving oath in Temple of Mammon before upside down American flag).

ebear -> El Vaquero Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:17 Permalink

"#WeAreAllRussianBotsNow"

Ich bin ein Russe!

agNau -> overbet Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:59 Permalink

Hillary hired the entire Russian government with the Uranium one deal.

BigCumulusClouds -> overbet Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:04 Permalink

Protestors?? HRC hired thugs who beat people up at Trump rallies. That's a felony. Some people got hurt real bad.

IH8OBAMA -> Shillinlikeavillan Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:37 Permalink

I wonder if Mueller is going to indict Obama for interfering in the Israeli election?

giovanni_f -> IH8OBAMA Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:56 Permalink

1. CNN can now say Russian interference is a "proven fact".

2. "13 individuals" and "3 companies" - this is a casus belli even for the most pacifist peaceniks on ZH

3. US can now continue to meddle in Russian elections as they did since 1919 pointing to the existential thread those 13 individuals posed.

rwe2late -> giovanni_f Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:46 Permalink

worse than 3.meddling in Russian elections,

anyone who objects to US military and economic aggression,

will be further branded/dismissed (prosecuted?)

as a "proven dupe" of Russia/Putin.

caconhma -> IH8OBAMA Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:08 Permalink

The US Constitution. RIP

The DoJ and Miller activities are anti-American. What else is new in occupied America?

PS

Note Trump does nothing about this unprecedented assault on Freedom of Speech and Assembly in the USA. Therefore, Trump is a willing player in these criminal activities.

commiebastid -> IH8OBAMA Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:21 Permalink

and Brexit and the French election and Venezuela election and The Ukraine; Libya; Palestinian Territories..... lmao

DownWithYogaPants -> Shillinlikeavillan Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:44 Permalink

Ohhh fake social accounts.........the horror!

( If I had known they were the equivalent of Harry Potters magic wand I would have opened a few long ago! )

Seems like Mr Mueller is in face saving mode.

What is Rod Rosenstein doing still at the FBI. He should be in prison.

MEFOBILLS -> Shillinlikeavillan Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:50 Permalink

Mueller is going to go until he gets some meat. Maybe this lean and stringy meat is enough to satisfy. Of course, nobody will look at AIPAC and all of the foreign influence money funneling into senators coffers.

Endgame Napoleon -> carni Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:26 Permalink

He said they stole identities, posting anti-Hillary remarks on Russian-controlled sites, using the stolen identities. They must do that through hacking, which is illegal.

They also organized rallies, he said. There were ads on job sites, advertising for paid [leftist] protestors, long before Trump emerged as a candidate. People posted them on American sites. Some attribute it to Soros. I am a little skeptical that Soros controls the world, anymore than Russians, but that is what people often believe, when it is leftist ads.

Advertisements are all over the Internet. Is that illegal? He called it fraud, referring to the misrepresentation of identity, I guess. They should not be manipulating unknowing people.

But, I wonder if he has the same vigilance when illegal aliens use fake SS cards to acquire jobs, while their girlfriends use real SS cards of US-born kids to get $450 on average in EBT food assistance, in addition to other welfare, making it easy for illegal aliens to undercut American citizens in jobs. Using a fake SS number -- i.e. posing as an American to get a job -- is fraud.

As long as the illegal aliens have sex after illegal border crossings, reproduce and say they misrepresent their identities for the good of their kids, this is legal and deserving of pay-per-birth welfare / child-tax-credit freebies and citizenship, whereas these Russians are committing fraud.

They should not be doing that in either case, but the double standard is interesting.

And if people cannot post freely on the internet without revealing their real names, a lot of internet activity (and a lot of related commerce) will cease. Many people post anonymously, often due to jobs or other factors that have nothing to do with elections.

In fact, FBI agents post under identities (personas) that are not their own. There are many articles, describing how police agencies use fake identities on the internet to track down criminals, including those who abuse children. They do the same thing to monitor terrorists; they use fake identities.

[Feb 16, 2018] Where are these indictments ? Obama, Hillary Clinton, Victoria Nuland, Geoffrey Pyatt and John McCain.

Feb 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Vote up! 2 Vote down! 0

Mike Masr Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:41 Permalink

Where are these indictments ? Obama, Hillary Clinton, Victoria Nuland, Geoffrey Pyatt and John McCain.

The US has been meddling and interfering in other countries elections and internal affairs for decades. Not only does the US meddle and interfere in other countries elections it overthrows democratically elected governments it simply doesn't like, and then installs its own puppet leaders. Our deep-state MIC owned neocons casually refer to this as "regime change".

I can only imagine the hell that would break loose if Russia fomented, paid for, and assisted in a violent overthrow of the legitimately and democratically elected government in Mexico. Imagine Russian spymasters working from the Russian Embassy in Mexico City training radicals how to use social media to bring out angry people and foment violent pubic unrest. Then Russian Duma members in Mexico City handing out tacos, and tamales emboldening and urging these angry people to riot, and overthrow the government and toss the bums out. Then Putin's executive group hand picking all the new (anti-USA) drug cartel junta puppet leaders and an old senile Russian senator in Mexico City stating at a podium on RT, there are no drug cartels here, that's all propaganda!

On the other side of the world Obama's neocon warmongers spent billions doing exactly this. Instead of drug cartels it was Banderist Neo-Nazis. Obama and our neocons, including John McCain intentionally caused all of this fucking mess, civil war and horrific death in Ukraine on Russia's border and then placed the blame on Putin and Russia.

Thanks to John McCain and our evil fucking neocons - the regime change policy implemented by Obama, Clinton and Nuland's minions, like Geoffrey Pyatt, the Ukraine today is totally fucked. It is now a corrupt banana republic embroiled in a bloody civil war. For the US and NATO the golden prize of this violent undemocratic regime change was supposed to be the Crimea. This scheme did not play out as intended. No matter what sanctions the warmongering neocons place on Russia they will NEVER give back the Crimea!

Our neocon fuck heads spent billions of our hard earned taxpayer dollars to create pain, suffering, death and a civil war in Ukraine on the border with Russia.

This is a case of don't do what we do, only do what we tell you to do. It's perfectly okay when we meddle. We don't like it when we think it may have been done to us. It's hypocrisy and duplicity at its finest!

Tech Camp NGO - operating out of US Embassy in Kiev

(using social media to help bring out radicals-and cause civil war-pre Maidan 2013)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9hOl8TuBUM

Nuland talks about $5 billion spent on Ukraine

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaR1_an9CnQ

Nuland plotting(on intercepted phone call) the new handpicked puppet leaders.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CL_GShyGv3o

US Support of Banderist Neo-Nazis in Ukraine 2014

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-RyOaFwcEw

Lavrov reminds the UN a West-inspired coup d'état started Ukraine crisis, not Russia

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/404247-un-lavrov-ukraine-sanctions/

[Feb 16, 2018] What is the definition of a fake social media account ? What is the crime for operatine a fake social medial account? Is this the standard by which we will all be judged?

Feb 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Genby Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:51 Permalink

Mueller effectively called himself an idiot and degenerate.

13 people won against the whole apparatus of FBI (including Mueller). That makes FBI a herd of idiots and degenerates (including Mueller).

SirBarksAlot -> rgraf Fri, 02/16/2018 - 16:44 Permalink

What crime?

Impersonating an American?

Practicing freedom of speech?

Trying to influence an election?

I don't see any crimes.

Joiningupthedots Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:31 Permalink

When does Mueller get charged?

He is part of the fabric of the Clinton Gang along with Comey and others.

How many people have posted derogatory comments about Clinton on ZH alone.

This sounds like when they ludicrously charged and entire unit of the Chinese PLA.

FringeImaginigs Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:31 Permalink

Agreed, it's against the law to steal identities and operate bank accounts and all that. But really, compared to the fraud committed by just one bank - Wells Fargo- this is smal small potatoes. And did I miss it or did the indictment not even mention the value of the ads bought on Facebook - $100,000. (nope, not missing any zeros). And it all started in 2014 while Donald was playing golf and sticking his dick in some whore. And a few ruskies got into the good ol USofA with false statements on their visas. While the courts fought Trump on the fact that immigration from a few countries need to be stopped because there was not way of checking data. I get it - somebody driving too fast gets a speeding ticket, and Muellers investigation gets to issue an indictment. I'm sure we all feel better now.

Lostinfortwalton Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:32 Permalink

So, did Mueller address the crime committed by the then FBI head who refused to allow a FBI informant to address Congress on the Uranium One scam before it was authorized? Uh, that would be Mueller, his very self, so the answer is no.

soyungato Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:33 Permalink

Bob honey, the people are laughing.

But but but those Russians, they call me names.

Grandad Grumps Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:35 Permalink

What is the definition of a "fake social media account"? What is the crime for operatine a fake social medial account? Is this the standard by which we will all be judged?

Or is it that Mueller has NOTHING and is too big of a corrupt idiot to admit it.

Rick Cerone Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:36 Permalink

Putin should define what a NGO is.

He should tell the world how the US uses NGO's to destabilize elections.

He wont do it because he's digging tunnels for the big day.

BigPunny Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:36 Permalink

"In other words, anyone who was disparaging Clinton, may have "unwittingly" been a collaborator of the 13 Russian "specialists" who cost Hillary the election. "

No, not "in other words." That's not what he said at all. Idiot propagandist.

devnickle Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:36 Permalink

And Hillary has done nothing criminal in the last 40 years. All of the evidence has been a fabrication. The Russians perfected time travel technology in the 70's, and have been conspiring against her and planting evidence since then.

What planet am I living on again? We have now stepped into the twilight zone. Facepalm.....

moneybots Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:55 Permalink

"Ultimately, and this is the punchline, the goal was to disparage Hillary Clinton and to assist the election of Donald Trump."

The goal of the MSM was the opposite. To unfairly disparage Trump and assist the election of Hillary Clinton. So why no indictments of members of the American MSM?

Montana Cowboy Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:03 Permalink

What a bunch of horseshit. Mueller did nothing to locate just as much foreign or Russian support for Hillary. Grand Jury is just another one-sided court that passes judgment without any input from the other side. Now where have we seen that before? FISA.

What is wrong with anyone doing what they want to support a candidate? If that is somehow illegal interference, why is Soros running loose in the world?

I have a friend that was a US Federal Prosecutor. He once told me that the most un-American concepts that exist are grand juries and conspiracy laws. I'm sure he would have included FISA if it existed then.

dot_bust Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:03 Permalink

The indictment adds that the Russians " were instructed to post content that focused on 'politics in the USA' and to 'use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump -- we support them)' ."

Criticizing Hillary Clinton constitutes election interference? This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

Over half the United States said she was corrupt and morally bankrupt. Does that mean all those Americans interfered in the election?

Son of Captain Nemo Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:04 Permalink

"Some Defendants, posing as U.S. persons and without revealing their Russian association, communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities."

I thought this was our "shtick" for subverting and overthrowing government(s) since 194_?... Fast forward to 2012 and subverting sovereign foreign government(s) using other means then election(s) ( https://jasirx.wordpress.com/ )

Just ask this person ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CL_GShyGv3o ) who handed out cookies before starting an "overthrow of a sovereign government" right before a Winter Olympics?... And while we're on the subject of subversion of sovereign Nation(s) "OCONUS" ask this fat shit how it's going in the Middle East with it's "partners" ( https://southfront.org/meeting-between-us-state-secretary-and-lebanese- ) Nor should we forget 22 within the Russian diplomatic community in the last 6 years "eliminated" for early retirement courtesy of the U.S. government...

And if all this is true why isn't Muelller indicting government officials within the FBI Department of immigration and Homeland Security that would allow "some defendants" to impersonate Americans after 9/11 and the security infrastructure we built around U.S. to prevent "future attacks" that were obviously (here illegally)???...

On second thought DON'T ANSWER THAT!!!

atabrigade Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:05 Permalink

Our enemies are not overseas. They are right here at home.

Son of Captain Nemo -> atabrigade Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:13 Permalink

That did this ( http://www.ae911truth.org/ ) to their own to grab oil everyplace else they didn't control it!

Concertedmaniac Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:08 Permalink

What a complete load of horseshit. Waste of time and money while the crimes of the clintons and collaborators remain unpunished, including Mueller himself.

wobblie Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:08 Permalink

"Mueller describes a sweeping, years-long, multimillion-dollar conspiracy by hundreds of Russians aimed at criticizing Hillary Clinton and supporting Senator Bernie Sanders and Trump"

Only in the idiot world of Liberalism and Conservatism is this not a laughable statement.

Stupid fucks.

https://therulingclassobserver.com/

Obamaroid Ointment Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:10 Permalink

13 Russian bots to get life sentences in Twitter jail? Is a prisoner exchange with Putin for American bots a possibility?

[Feb 16, 2018] The indictment includes charges not yet proven in a court of law, yet prominent Americans are treating the indictment as fact

Notable quotes:
"... People read these accusational headlines, probably just the headlines, and it acts as a virus and penetrates the membrane of the collective subconscious, without even a moments thought to question the assertion. In time, the virus breaks down the will of the rational consumer to weigh evidence fairly, though it is also aided by further bombardment of fake news, which increases the rate of infection. ..."
Feb 16, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
stonebird , Feb 16, 2018 3:49:41 PM | 39
francis @37

One of the best bits about the indictment is the mention ;"arranging for a Real US person to stand in front of the White House in the district of Colombia with a sign that read; "Happy 55th birthday dear boss" (May 29, in 2016)" America must have trembled. (or maybe they were shaking with laughter?).

NemesisCalling , Feb 16, 2018 4:14:31 PM | 40
People read these accusational headlines, probably just the headlines, and it acts as a virus and penetrates the membrane of the collective subconscious, without even a moments thought to question the assertion. In time, the virus breaks down the will of the rational consumer to weigh evidence fairly, though it is also aided by further bombardment of fake news, which increases the rate of infection.

The virus then blossoms into a fairly beautiful and uniform flower with clean, geometric edges and universal appeal which catches the gaze of others and so is able to double the rate of infection from this secondary source.

This flower, the Ruskiesdidittous, is the result of haphazard propogation, though its ability to survive and thrive is notable due to a carrier population already enfeebled by a diet of Dr. Pepper and a lack of discernible vegetables.

I tremble for my countrymen.

Don Bacon | Feb 16, 2018 4:25:01 PM | 41

...adding to the remarks in #40...

The indictment includes charges not yet proven in a court of law, yet prominent Americans are treating the indictment as fact. from CNN:

>House Speaker Paul Ryan called the Russians' alleged actions "a conspiracy to subvert the process, and take aim at democracy itself." "We have known that Russians meddled in the election, but these indictments detail the extent of the subterfuge," Ryan said in a statement.

>Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement that given the indictments, Trump should "immediately" implement the Russia sanctions that Congress passed last summer to punish Moscow for its election meddling. "The administration needs to be far more vigilant in protecting the 2018 elections, and alert the American public any time the Russians attempt to interfere," Schumer said.

>House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that the indictments "make absolutely clear" that Russians tried to influence the presidential election to support Trump's campaign and continue to try to interfere with our elections. "We are on the eve of the 2018 midterm elections," the statement added. "There is no time to waste to defend the integrity of our elections and our democracy."

>Robby Mook, Clinton's former campaign manager, tweeted: "The intelligence community has repeatedly told us Russia meddled. Now criminal indictments from DOJ. We were attacked by a foreign adversary. Will our Congress and President stand strong and take action? Or let it happen again?"

karlof1 | Feb 16, 2018 5:04:57 PM | 42

My rebuttal of Pelosi's statement @41--

There has never been any "integrity" in US elections, nor is there such a thing as "democracy" within the USA.

IMO, Congresscritters have never before looked and acted so damn stupid -- clearly they are merely mutts being led by a leash and told to bray at a moon called Russia.

The Outlaw US Empire totally lacks integrity and clearly isn't a democracy; it is merely another of history's failed empires destroyed by its own hubris; it really needs to gouge its eyes out and wander in the forest until it dies.

[Feb 15, 2018] Syria Could Be Washington's Next Big Foreign Policy Failure

Syria adventure was hatched by Hillary and Barak. and paid by ordinary Americans. Usual imperial staff.
Feb 15, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

Now the administration assures us that it has an even better idea, an extended occupation by combat troops amid multiple contending armed forces, highlighted by forcing Assad from office, fixing war-ravaged areas, building up Kurdish forces, satisfying the Turkish government, banishing Tehran's influence, and avoiding confrontation with Russia. There is no risk of overreach or mission creep. And certainly no need for Congress to vote on the issue.

[Feb 15, 2018] The partition of Syria according to the US is a fait accompli, presumably the Kurds/SDF will be invited to govern almost one third of the oil rich and fertile parts of Syria, without them being asked. Syria, Iraq, Iran,Turkey or Russia will not like this arrangement

Feb 15, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

harrylaw , Feb 14, 2018 12:13:16 PM | 22

CarlD@14 The partition of Syria according to the US is a fait accompli, presumably the Kurds/SDF will be invited to govern almost one third of the oil rich and fertile parts of Syria, without them being asked. Syria, Iraq, Iran,Turkey or Russia will not like this arrangement, but as you know, when the US occupy a state, they never leave until militarily forced to do so. At this time it is not wise for the five states to fight the US directly even Turkey who have potentially just as much to lose as Syria and have promised to strangle this new state at birth, must do so by at least..
  1. Not letting any trade [particularly oil] cross the border.
  2. Stop any arms shipments to the Kurds.
  3. Since Incirlik air base is essential to the setting up of this state, US forces should be persona non grata there.

If this fails they should do what the coalition have done, us proxies, unattributed of course and ensure they have the weapons to do the job...IED's,EFP's mortars, rockets and manpads. The only langauge the US understands.

Willy2 , Feb 14, 2018 12:17:01 PM | 24
- Peter Lee had one other interesting story: Harry Truman fired surpreme commander Douglas McArthur in 1950 because McArthur wanted to provoke an incident with China and start a war with China.

https://www.libertarianinstitute.org/scotthortonshow/1-26-18-peter-lee-douglas-macarthur-conspired-start-war-china/

[Feb 15, 2018] Seymour Hersh Says Hillary Approved Sending Libya's Sarin to Syrian Rebels

Feb 15, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Speaking of fireworks in NYC:

Obama More Concerned About Manhattan Nuke Than Russia

Also interesting news:

Seymour Hersh Says Hillary Approved Sending Libya's Sarin to Syrian Rebels

Posted by: PeacefulProsperity | Feb 13, 2018 6:29:54 PM | 67

[Feb 15, 2018] Syria's War Has Never Been More International by Uri Friedman

In Syria the USA is playing "might is right" card. Ignoring all international laws. There is no legal justification for the USA troops presence. They care clearly illegal force on Syrian territory. That's a dangerous game. Taking into account the USA unleashed Syria civil war for their own geopolitical purposes, trying to reverse growing influence of Iran due to the blunder on Iraq war this is clearly Roman empire moment for the USA.
This is total capitulation of Trump to neocons.
Feb 15, 2018 | www.theatlantic.com

Turkey, for example, isn't willing to accept the entrenchment of a U.S.-supported Kurdish militia , which the Turkish government associates with Kurdish insurgents in Turkey, right across its border. The United States seems determined to hold ground in Syria to prevent the resurgence of terrorist groups and frustrate Iran's plans to extend its power across the Eastern Mediterranean. Israel shares America's goal of countering Iran, particularly at its border with Syria.

Russia, meanwhile, is bent on preserving a friendly government in Damascus and a military presence on the Mediterranean, while casting itself as a global power player on par with America. The Iranians -- currently "the single-most influential player" in Syria -- are "trying to establish a long-term strategic military infrastructure in [Syria], build missile-production facilities, move precision-guided munitions," Itani said. Both nations " are upset that the United States is not departing the country," Tabler said.

[Feb 15, 2018] Pull U.S. Troops Out of the Middle East and Put 'America First' The National Interest Blog

Notable quotes:
"... Daniel L. Davis is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army who retired in 2015 after twenty-one years, including four combat deployments ..."
Feb 15, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

In Iraq, U.S. advisors and air power in some cases ironically helped Iranian-backed militias succeed on the ground, strengthening Teheran's hand in Iraq. Their influence remains strong today . Less than two months into his presidency, Trump ordered hundreds more troops into Syria to assist the SDF in its battle against ISIS, especially in Raqqa. Almost immediately U.S.-NATO ally Turkey protested the effort, Syria condemned the intrusion into their country, and Russia cautioned against it.

The U.S.-backed SDF did indeed eventually liberate Raqqa , but again it must be pointed out that ISIS would have eventually lost Raqqa even without U.S. involvement. The cost to our country at having supported the Kurds, however, has been growing.

Making good on his early threats, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan crossed into Syrian territory to engage in what he called Operation Olive Branch on January 20. Turkish troops began attacking the SDF, whom Ankara views as a terror threat to its country. Though both Secretary of State Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis mildly protested, Erdogan ignored U.S. pleas with cavalier disdain.

"We don't care what they say," the Turkish president said of America's reaction. "They will learn how wrong it is to trust a terror organization." Adding that Turkey would only remain on Syrian territory until they had accomplished their objectives, Erdogan sarcastically added , "I ask the United States: Did you have any specific time duration in Afghanistan?" Adding insult to injury, Russia owned the airspace above the location in Syria where Turkey attacked: Ankara got Moscow to support its move against the SDF in opposition to U.S. preferences. That a NATO ally can so easily and publicly rebuke the United States, literally killing soldiers that America supported and cooperating with its biggest competitor, is a troubling indicator how much influence Washington has lost. Russia is only too happy to drive a wedge between NATO countries, especially if it pokes a stick in America's eye.

All of these developments are unequivocally antithetical to American interests––and all of them could have been avoided if Obama had not committed the United States to the operations in Iraq and Syria, and if Trump hadn't doubled-down on the missions. As it is, the trouble is still not over. Recent events have raised the potential for unintentional military clashes between the United States and Turkey.

On Wednesday the White House said that Trump told Erdogan in a phone conversation that Trump "urged Turkey to deescalate, limit its military actions, and avoid civilian casualties." On the same day in Ankara, Erdogan announced his forces would expand the assault "[s]tarting in Manbij," where "we will continue to thwart (SDF's) game." In response, U.S. military spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon said the U.S. Forces in the Manbij area "have an inherent right to defend themselves and will do so if necessary."

Moreover, though Washington helped liberate Mosul and Raqqa, the terror threat to the United States ISIS poses is virtually unchanged, as the group's leaders simply moved underground to continue operating. In other words, the United States has expended enormous resources and sacrificed many of its service members to a mission that has resulted in a net loss to America.

Instead of trying desperately to remain in Iraq and Syria to perpetuate these failures, it is time for the interests of America to be considered first. Washington must wind down its combat missions in the Middle East, redeploy its troops to their home bases, and begin the process of rebuilding the ability of America's Armed Forces to face potentially existential fights in the future.

Daniel L. Davis is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army who retired in 2015 after twenty-one years, including four combat deployments . Follow him @DanielLDavis1 .

[Feb 15, 2018] If America Wasn't America, the United States Would Be Bombing It by Darius Shahtahmasebi

Notable quotes:
"... Reprinted with permission from The Anti-Media . ..."
Feb 15, 2018 | ronpaulinstitute.org

February 13, 2018

On January 8, 2018, former government advisor Edward Luttwak wrote an opinion piece for Foreign Policy titled "It's Time to Bomb North Korea."

Luttwak's thesis is relatively straightforward. There is a government out there that may very soon acquire nuclear-weapons capabilities, and this country cannot be trusted to responsibly handle such a stockpile. The responsibility to protect the world from a rogue nation cannot be argued with, and we understandably have a duty to ensure the future of humanity.

However, there is one rogue nation that continues to hold the world ransom with its nuclear weapons supply. It is decimating non-compliant states left, right, and center. This country must be stopped dead in its tracks before anyone turns to the issue of North Korea.

In August of 1945, this rogue nation dropped two atomic bombs on civilian targets, not military targets, completely obliterating between 135,000 and 300,000 Japanese civilians in just these two acts alone. Prior to this event, this country killed even more civilians in the infamous firebombing of Tokyo and other areas of Japan, dropping close to 500,000 cylinders of napalm and petroleum jelly on some of Japan's most densely populated areas.

Recently, historians have become more open to the possibility that dropping the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not actually necessary to end World War II. This has also been confirmed by those who actually took part in it. As the Nation explained:

Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, stated in a public address at the Washington Monument two months after the bombings that 'the atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military standpoint, in the defeat of Japan ' Adm. William "Bull" Halsey Jr., Commander of the US Third Fleet, stated publicly in 1946 that 'the first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment . It was a mistake to ever drop it . [the scientists] had this toy and they wanted to try it out, so they dropped it
A few months' prior, this rogue country's invasion of the Japanese island of Okinawa also claimed at least one quarter of Okinawa's population. The Okinawan people have been protesting this country's military presence ever since. The most recent ongoing protest has lasted well over 5,000 days in a row.

This nation's bloodlust continued well after the end of World War II. Barely half a decade later, this country bombed North Korea into complete oblivion, destroying over 8,700 factories, 5,000 schools, 1,000 hospitals, 600,000 homes, and eventually killing off as much as 20 percent of the country's population. As the Asia Pacific Journal has noted, the assaulting country dropped so many bombs that they eventually ran out of targets to hit, turning to bomb the irrigation systems, instead:

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."
This was just the beginning. Having successfully destroyed the future North Korean state, this country moved on to the rest of East Asia and Indo-China, too. As Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi has explained :
We [this loose cannon of a nation] dumped 20 million gallons of toxic herbicide on Vietnam from the air, just to make the shooting easier without all those trees, an insane plan to win 'hearts and minds' that has left about a million still disabled from defects and disease – including about 100,000 children, even decades later, little kids with misshapen heads, webbed hands and fused eyelids writhing on cots, our real American legacy, well out of view, of course.
This mass murder led to the deaths of between 1.5 million and 3.8 million people, according to the Washington Post. More bombs were dropped on Vietnam than were unleashed during the entire conflict in World War II . While this was going on, this same country was also secretly bombing Laos and Cambodia, too, where there are over 80 million unexploded bombs still killing people to this day.

This country also decided to bomb Yugoslavia , Panama , and Grenada before invading Iraq in the early 1990s. Having successfully bombed Iraqi infrastructure, this country then punished Iraq's entire civilian population with brutal sanctions. At the time, the U.N. estimated that approximately 1.7 million Iraqis had died as a result, including 500,000 to 600,000 children . Some years later, a prominent medical journal attempted to absolve the cause of this infamous history by refuting the statistics involved despite the fact that, when interviewed during the sanctions-era, Bill Clinton's secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, intimated that to this rogue government, the deaths of half a million children were "worth it" as the "price" Iraq needed to pay. In other words, whether half a million children died or not was irrelevant to this bloodthirsty nation, which barely blinked while carrying out this murderous policy.

This almighty superpower then invaded Iraq again in 2003 and plunged the entire region into chaos . At the end of May 2017, the Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) released a study concluding that the death toll from this violent nation's 2003 invasion of Iraq had led to over one million deaths and that at least one-third of them were caused directly by the invading force.

Not to mention this country also invaded Afghanistan prior to the invasion of Iraq (even though the militants plaguing Afghanistan were originally trained and financed by this warmongering nation). It then went on to bomb Yemen, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and the Philippines .

Libya famously had one of the highest standards of living in the region. It had state-assisted healthcare, education, transport, and affordable housing. It is now a lawless war-zone rife with extremism where slaves are openly traded like commodities amid the power vacuum created as a direct result of the 2011 invasion.

In 2017, the commander-in-chief of this violent nation took the monumental death and destruction to a new a level by removing the restrictions on delivering airstrikes, which resulted in thousands upon thousands of civilian deaths. Before that, in the first six months of 2017, this country dropped over 20,650 bombs , a monumental increase from the year that preceded it.

Despite these statistics, all of the above conquests are mere child's play to this nation. The real prize lies in some of the more defiant and more powerful states, which this country has already unleashed a containment strategy upon. This country has deployed its own troops all across the border with Russia even though it promised in the early 1990s it would do no such thing. It also has a specific policy of containing Russia's close ally, China, all the while threatening China's borders with talks of direct strikes on North Korea (again, remember it already did so in the 1950s).

This country also elected a president who not only believes it is okay to embrace this rampantly violent militarism but who openly calls other countries "shitholes" – the very same term that aptly describes the way this country has treated the rest of the world for decades on end. This same president also reportedly once asked three times in a meeting , "If we have nuclear weapons, why don't we use them?" and shortly after proposed a policy to remove the constraints protecting the world from his dangerous supply of advanced nuclear weaponry.

When it isn't directly bombing a country, it is also arming radical insurgent groups , creating instability, and directly overthrowing governments through its covert operatives on the ground.

If we have any empathy for humanity, it is clear that this country must be stopped. It cannot continue to act like this to the detriment of the rest of the planet and the safety and security of the rest of us. This country openly talks about using its nuclear weapons, has used them before, and has continued to use all manner of weapons unabated in the years since while threatening to expand the use of these weapons to other countries.

Seriously, if North Korea seems like a threat, imagine how the rest of the world feels while watching one country violently take on the rest of the planet single-handedly, leaving nothing but destruction in its wake and promising nothing less than a nuclear holocaust in the years to come.

There is only one country that has done and that continues to do the very things North Korea is being accused of doing.

Take as much time as you need for that to resonate.

Reprinted with permission from The Anti-Media .

[Feb 15, 2018] Trump's Bankrupt Ultimatum Diplomacy by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
Feb 15, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The New York Times reports on the Trump administration's poor grasp of diplomacy:

American officials were more guarded, saying they were open to talks but not a full-fledged negotiation.

The United States, they said, would reiterate its demands that North Korea make concessions and did not plan to offer any in return.

This is being billed as the administration's willingness to "open the door" to holding talks with North Korea, but as we can see here there is no real interest in pursuing a diplomatic solution. If U.S. officials just want to deliver an ultimatum in person to North Korean officials, it is a pointless exercise that would make it harder to enter into real negotiations later. North Korea knows what the U.S. wants it to do, and it has said many times that it will never do that, so why would they agree to talks where the same demands will be put to them once again? The U.S. is not willing to make confidence-building gestures that might lead to more substantive negotiations down the road, and it has no intention of offering North Korea anything in exchange for any concessions it might conceivably make.

In the very unlikely event that North Korea agreed to a meeting with administration officials, they would have nothing to gain from the encounter and every incentive to stay away. The problem isn't just that the administration won't offer North Korea the tiniest of carrots, but that it doesn't accept the idea of using carrots in diplomacy in the first place. The administration's posturing is what a government does when it wants to feign support for diplomacy even as it rejects diplomacy at every turn. If people here at home can see through this ploy, North Korea will definitely take it as more proof of Washington's bad faith.

[Feb 15, 2018] Mattis is probably mentally ill. He'll gleefully kill millions more. I really can not see what Tillerson and Mattis have to offer Turkey other than threats.

Feb 15, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mattis is probably mentally ill. He'll gleefully kill millions more.

The terrorists are mentally ill. They would kill millions if they could.

Implacable.

Thus, the reason for the rise of Russia and the influence and respect for Putin. Russians will kill terrorists but embrace Islamic people who want peaceful cooperation.

Peace is a long way off. The Hegemon abhors Peace and has the means and ideology to create chaos, death and destruction anywhere on the globe.

The American economic system depends on MIC expenditures, debt, waste, corruption, and fiscal abuse.

Nothing much will change until multi-polar economic forces come into dominance and coerce the American changes. Those are a long way off, also, though a few of those forces are coming into view.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Feb 12, 2018 12:21:31 PM | 2


ConfusedPundit , Feb 12, 2018 1:33:01 PM | 4

Mattis is coming to Turkey soon.

Pentagon statement today: 550 million dolar, 2018 budget, for PKK.
(Meaning: You can defeat terrorism, but you can't you beat our purse!)

There is a massive propaganda campaing targeting Turkey in the past 2-3 days. It's coming from international sources. BBC, AFP etc.

This is the main theme

"Turks, beware of Russia, Syria and Iran! They are your enemy. Israel is your friend! The USA is a superpower, obey!"

I believe nobody, no muslim targets America or ordinary American people for that mater! So any incident should be received as provocation.
Those who pull the strings in the USA, behind the doors, maybe under risk though.

IMHO

jsn , Feb 12, 2018 1:55:10 PM | 7
Mattis/Pentagon just doing business development for the MIC
nonsense factory , Feb 12, 2018 11:39:44 PM | 32
@colin 3, Yes, I used to try to update the wikipedia page on the TAPI pipeline and while some things remained on the site, most of it was edited away. Anything to do with Exxon, Chevron, US military actions along the pipeline route, Hillary Clinton's cheerleading for the project during the Obama era, actions taken by the US State Department in summer 2001 (pre 9-11) aimed at pressuring the Taliban into signing off on the deal (in exchange for handing over bin Laden, etc.) all gone. Not worth the bother; you're up against PR firms with full-time staff devoted to sanitizing everything.

@4 CP, the corporate media PR stream, it's something I can't even watch anymore (I follow it with Google News search just to see what the headlines are, but it's basically predictable content so that's enough). Here and there across the web there are some honest discussions though:
https://thewire.in/219467/russia-turkey-iran-triangle-economic-interests-paramount/

I really can't see what Tillerson and Mattis have to offer Turkey other than threats.

xaderp , Feb 13, 2018 3:47:05 AM | 35
I think you are reading Mattis's comments wrong.

The moment the USA pulls its troops out of the middle east, a bomb will go off at Times Square .

john , Feb 13, 2018 6:07:37 AM | 43
Yeah, Right says:

"If America Wasn't America, The United States Would Be Bombing It".
Damn, that's funny

yeah, i just read the article , and while the title is indeed humorous, the content is decidedly not. but it's a good synopsis of the unprecedented amount of death and destruction wrought on this undeserving planet by the US of Argh.

ConfusedPundit , Feb 13, 2018 12:12:09 PM | 49
What's this man talking about? US led NATO has been terrorising another member, Turkey.
By means of 3 Proxies: PKK, ISIS, Gulenists.

It's a misconception that the Turks and Americans want a war.
However, both Americans and Turks do want a war against the Neocons!

Perhaps it's time for a false flag nuke at Times Sq or Taksim Sq or Tiananmen Sq or Trafalgar Sq.

Eric Neoconman the chief provocator.

Turkey Is Out of Control.Time for the U.S. to Say So

Partisan , Feb 14, 2018 5:57:41 AM | 72
The West and in particular Amerikkans constantly use the Circular Argument in its public relation and propaganda statements. That kind of attitude works with an allies, nominal or otherwise, in the cases where sovereignty/national interest is threatened that kind of deception is treated just like that, deception.
Unfortunately Tayyip has been used as client state for long time, from Libya to Syria where he experienced sudden awakening.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/02/erdogan-slams-support-kurdish-ypg-fighters-180214070010174.html


The US has reiterated that it has no plans to withdraw its forces from Manbij.

Paul Funk, the commander of US forces in Syria and Iraq, made a recent visit to Manbij and said that the US and its partners in Syria would hit back if attacked.

"You hit us, we will respond aggressively. We will defend ourselves," Funk said.

Erdogan took aim at that, saying: "It is obvious that those, who say they will 'give a sharp response' if they were hit, have not been hit by the Ottoman slap."

He, he, he....that would be something to see.

[Feb 15, 2018] Russia In the Crosshairs by Paul Craig Roberts

that would be nice if the state capable to put the USA in place exists. But such state does not exist and we need to be content with this fact. The period of wnjoying "sole superpower" status which started in 1991 with the dissolution of the USSR will not end probably until we run out of cheap oil. Russia currently is way too weak to confront the USA and NATO allies in Syria. So she needs to suffer, while trying to preserve gains of Assad government.
I think Russia realizes that Washington is not a rational government with which diplomacy can be practiced, peace pursued, and agreements reached.
As the author stated earlier : " With the public in its pocket, the military/security complex will increase its reckless provocations of Russia until we are all dead."
Notable quotes:
"... Eric Zuesse notes that only Syria and Russia complain about Washington's illegal occupation of Syrian territory, an occupation that has no UN authorization and is a complete and total violation of international law, and Israel's continual attacks on Syria. ..."
"... Zuesse also notes that Washington and its UK puppet block all UN action against Washington's illegality. http://rinf.com/alt-news/editorials/u-s-not-globally-condemned-military-occupation-syria/ ..."
"... But the question is, when will Russia learn, if ever, that facts and law make no difference whatsoever to Washington? Washington's interest is in its hegemony over the world and in Israel's hegemony in the Middle East. ..."
"... Lendman makes the point that "As long as Russia maintains the myth of partnership with Washington instead of giving Washington a taste of its own medicine . . . conflict will likely continue escalating." https://www.globalresearch.ca/russia-blasts-us-attack-on-syrian-and-allied-forces/5628740 ..."
"... Either Russia is unsure of its power or Putin is prevented from using Russia's power by the treasonous Atlanticist Integrationists who constitute Washington's Fifth Column inside the Russian government and economy. It is a mystery why Putin tolerates a small handful of traitors who have minimal public support while the West and Israel become daily more aggressive against Russian national interests. ..."
"... Putin sensibly avoids escalating a situation, but one gets the impression that there are constraints on Putin's ability to stand up to Washington. The Saker identifies the problem as the pro-Washington "Atlanticist Integrationists" who for personal career reasons, personal business reasons, and because they are supported by Washington-financed NGOs and media inside Russia, have sold out Russian sovereignty to globalism. ..."
"... This entire conflict, primed to grow in intensity, could have been stopped by Putin acknowledging the same overwhelming majority vote as occured in Crimea and reincorporating the provinces in Russia. The nazi government of Ukraine even with Washington and EU's support is not so completely insane that it would attack Russia and expect to continue to exist. ..."
Feb 15, 2018 |