|Home||Switchboard||Unix Administration||Red Hat||TCP/IP Networks||Neoliberalism||Toxic Managers|
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better
|News||Demonization of Putin||Recommended Links||UK Government, MI6 and "Integrity Initiative"||Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak||Steele dossier||Skripal poisoning||William Browder, MI6, economic rape of Russia, and Magnitsky Act|
|Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump||MSM as attack dogs of color revolution||Special Prosecutor Mueller and his fishing expedition||Mueller invokes ghosts of GRU operatives to help his and Brennan case||Was Natalia Veselnitskaya meeting with Trump Jr. a trap?||Obama administration directed the intelligence services putsch against Trump||Russiagate -- the Deep state dagger into Trump back||Obama: a yet another Neocon|
|Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA||Do the US intelligence agencies attempt to influence the US Presidential elections ?||Conversion of Democratic Party into War Party and Hillary Clinton policy toward Russia||Color revolutions||Neoliberal war on reality or the importance of controlling the narrative||Deception as an art form||Fake news accusations as projection||Conspiracy theory label as a subtle form of censorship|
|Diplomacy by deception||US and British media are servants of security apparatus||The Deep State||Predator state||Hillary as a pathological liar||Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair||Noble Lie||Doublespeak|
|Pathological Russophobia of the US elite||Cold War II||Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich||Machiavellism||Mayberry Machiavellians||Neocons Credibility Scam||Leo Straus as the godfather of neocons||Nation under attack meme|
|Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism||Neocons Credibility Scam||Leo Strauss and the Neocons||Neoliberalism and Christianity||Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite||Neoconservatism||Politically Incorrect Humor||Etc|
|The original falsehood behind the Iraq War was that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and intended
to use them against America either directly or by giving them to al-Qaeda. The opening lie about the Ukraine crisis was that Russian
President Vladimir Putin instigated the conflict as part of some Hitlerian plan to conquer much of Europe.
Yet, while the Hussein-WMD claim was hard for the common citizen to assess because it was supposedly supported by U.S. intelligence information that was kept secret, the Putin-Ukraine lie collapses under the most cursory examination based simply of what’s publicly known and what makes sense.
The tempest over whether Russian state hackers were behind the WikiLeaks release of Democratic Party emails is really a battle for the narrative of the 2016 Presidential election. Just as Bush v Gore gave birth to the slogan of an illegitimate Bush presidency, so do the Democrats (and some Republican anti-Trumpists) want “Putin stole the election for his friend Trump” to be the narrative of the Trump Presidency.
With the Republicans in control of Congress and the Presidency, the Russian hacking story is the last weapon in the Democrats’ arsenal. They will pursue it with vigor.
Hacking accusation is a perfect propaganda tool, because usually nothing can be proven as form the time operation was performed to the time it was detected most traces are gone. And indirect evidence such as IP from which the attack came, code style, code page of discovered malware code, etc can easily be faked. Also unscrupulous security firms, hungry for funding, serve as a powerful amplifier, predicting rich variety of propaganda warmongering alarmist nonsense the initiators want for free. As most of such firms depends on government funding in no way they can say: Obama administration is lying, even is they see blatant discrepancies in the evidence presented. But discrepancies or complete absence of evidence is not a barrier for launching powerful propaganda campaign, brainwashing public in anti-Russian paranoia in cane of Obama administration, anti-Russian campaign. Not that Russians are perfect, but this is a clear case of pot calling the kettle black.
|Hacking accusation is a perfect propaganda tool, because usually nothing can be proven as form the time operation was performed to the time it was detected most traces are gone. And indirect evidence such as IP from which the attack came, code style, code page of discovered malware code, etc can easily be faked.|
When it is the USA or its allied did it in Iran with Flame and Stuxnet they were protected by the USA status of superpower. There were no UN resolution condemning the USA for such blatant disregard of international norms and unleashing a new, more dangerous phase of cyber war. Most methods used in those works are not entered the arsenal of state actors as well as regular criminals, especially those who specialize on banking fraud.
Who would risk calling the USA government irresponsible and gangrenous cybercriminals. But other countries are a fair play and can be scapegoated any time it is convenient. And what is more dangerous cyber attacks are perfect for false flag operations.
My impression is that if there were attempts to hack US sites from Russian IP space some of them were a false flag operation. As one commenter noted: "The Ukrainian government have been trying to drive a wedge between the West and Russia for years for their own political advantage."
If so the agenda outside obvious attempt to poison US-Russian relations just before Trump assumes presidency coincide with internal need of neocon fifth column in Washington, DC. Neocon in Washington are really afraid of losing their level of influence and their lucrative positions. And there is the whole colony of such "national security professionals" in Washington DC. For example, what other employment Robert Kagan can find, if he can't do anything useful outside his favorite Russophobic agenda? He might well to became unemployed along with his wife, who brought us the Ukrainian disaster. So in way there is some kind of neocon coupe which is centered on undermining the legitimacy of Trump election (The Battle Over Russian Hacking Is Over The Legitimacy Of The Trump Presidency):
The tempest over whether Russian state hackers were behind the WikiLeaks release of Democratic Party emails is really a battle for the narrative of the 2016 Presidential election. Just as Bush v Gore gave birth to the slogan of an illegitimate Bush presidency, so do the Democrats (and some Republican anti-Trumpists) want “Putin stole the election for his friend Trump” to be the narrative of the Trump Presidency. With the Republicans in control of Congress and the Presidency, the Russian hacking story is the last weapon in the Democrats’ arsenal. They will pursue it with vigor. We need desperately to study Russian hybrid warfare, but not in a narrow political forum.
The Washington Post’s “Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House” cites unnamed sources “briefed on the matter” that "intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman." The Post article cites an unnamed senior U.S. official that the "consensus view" of the intelligence committee is that Russia's goal was to get Trump elected.
President-elect Donald Trump's transition team has challenged the credibility of the CIA’s secret assessment: "These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction…The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and 'Make America Great Again.'"
The third player in this drama, Vladimir Putin, has remained consistent in his denials. In an interview carried by his foreign propaganda arm, RT, Putin declared:
“I wouldn’t know anything about it [hacked emails]. You know, there are so many hackers today and they work with such finesse, planting a trail where and when they need. Not even their own trail but masquerade their actions as those of other hackers acting from other territories, nations. It’s difficult to trace, if even possible. Anyway, we certainly don’t do such things on the state level.”
Putin’s press secretary denied Russian interference in the US election: “Russia will never intervene in the internal affairs, much less electoral process of other countries. Moscow scrupulously avoids any actions or words that could be regarded as direct or indirect interference in an electoral process.”
... ... ...
Trump has resisted pressure to agree that Russia was behind the hacks and was trying to get him elected. Instead, Trump has stated that “once they hack if you don't catch them in the act you're not going to catch them. They have no idea if it's Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed some place. I mean, they have no idea.” Trump’s political instincts are again serving him well. If he were to endorse the leaked intelligence community’s “high level of confidence” not only in the hacking but also in its intent, he would be signing on to the illegitimate President narrative the Democrats are pushing.
Here Ukrainians would be very convenient tools for Putin-did-it agenda, especially during post election Monday morning quarterbacking. 200PM Water Cooler 12-30-2016 naked capitalism
UPDATE “With Russia sanctions move, Obama leaves Trump with tough choices” [Japan Times].
FWIW, I view Obama’s moves as half-hearted, particularly given that Clintonites regard Trump as a witting agent of Putin (that is, a traitor (hence, should be prevented from taking office on January 20 by any means necessary)). If Obama wanted to send a strong signal, he wouldn’t be closing down Russian compounds that have been around 44 years, he’d be recalling our Ambassador from Moscow.
I think he’s out to make life hard for Trump, and to get the Clintonites — and The Blob — off his back, and not much more.
We’ll see what the long-promised report shows, but my guess is that there will be no exposed evidence, and no named sources. That is, Obama’s case will be even worse than the case Bush put together to justify the Iraq War, which at least had the status of a National Intelligence Estimate and the benefit of an inter-agency process that produced dissent (in the form of footnotes).
... ... ...
“By all accounts, Bill and Hillary Clinton never had any such qualms, and now their quarter-century project to build a mutual buy-one, get-one-free Clinton dynasty has ended in her defeat, and their joint departure from the center of the national political stage they had hoped to occupy for another eight years. Their exit amounts to a finale not just for themselves, but for Clintonism as a working political ideology and electoral strategy” [Politico]. If this article, and Yglesias’s “Smoking Rubble” piece in Vox, are indicative of the political class hive mind, whatever the Clintonites are ginning up with their Russian War Scare isn’t going to work (ergo, Trump will take the oath of office on January 20.)
Yes, in a way Obama’s case is even worse than the case Bush put together to justify the Iraq War, which at least had the status of a National Intelligence Estimate and the benefit of an inter-agency process that produced dissent (in the form of footnotes).
Dec 14, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
It would appear all the escalating rhetoric from a month of impeachment hearings - including one Democratic congressman asking fellow lawmakers to imagine the teenage daughter of Ukraine's president tied up in Trump's basement - have sparked more than just verbal assaults on Republicans ( just as Maxine Waters would had suggested previously ).
The Hill reports that a man in Illinois has been charged after allegedly threatening to shoot Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) and accusing the congressman of "backing the Russians."
Rodney Lee Davis
64-year-old Randall Tar of Rochester, Ill. was charged with communicating threats to injure a person and threatening to assault, kidnap or murder a federal official, according to court documents released this week (full release below).
Contacted at his home Thursday, Tarr said he saw a television ad in which Davis, a Republican from Taylorville, claimed that Ukraine, not Russia, was responsible for meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections , and it angered him enough to call.
Prosecutors say Tarr called Davis's district office last month and left a profanity-filled voicemail, saying:
"I just saw you ... on the TV. You backing the Russians, boy?"
"Stupid son of a bitch, you're gonna go against our military and back the Russians?" he allegedly added.
"I'm a sharpshooter. ... I'd like to shoot your f---ing head off you stupid motherf---er."
Tarrlater reportedly told The Associated Press :
"I screwed up," Tarr said.
"I don't even have a weapon to do it, is the silliest thing."
"I wish I could just take it all back and just say he's a lousy (expletive) for backing the Russian theory."
Of course, the only problem with all this is that the Democrats' constant spewing of the narrative that Ukraine did not 'meddle' in the 2016 election is entirely false .
Dr Anon , 45 minutes ago linkgreek mafia , 46 minutes ago link
The bigger story is the number of mentally unstable Americans. When you go driving next, remember that about 20% of them are gorked on prescribed medications. The behavior you will observe makes complete sense in that context.Pendolino , 47 minutes ago link
Damn...64 and still stupid as hell
" I'm a sharpshooter "
Well he certainly knows how to shoot his mouth off.
Dec 14, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
squid, 7 hours ago linkMeme Iamfurst , 6 hours ago link
They want to do it by Christmas in the vain hope that this circus will all blow over by November. I think not.
While the typical BubisAmericanus will have forgotten all the details by then, me thinks the hard core democrats, I mean nomal'ish people that usually vote blue, simply stay home.
Part of me, however, thinks back to something that Harry Truman said, "in politics there are no accidents" .
Was this whole impeachment thing completely designed for the dems to fall on their sword and put the Donald back in for another 4? Dunno.
The Republicans will have both houses when in 2024 the the tax take will barley cover interest.
designed for the dems to fall on their sword and put the Donald back in for another 4? Dunno.
Been thinking along the same lines. May be the last thing they want is to be "on line" in 2021. I even wonder if CNN and BSNBC, etc, are there to DRIVE the decent Democrat to the Republicians.
I do think that things are not adding up.
Dec 14, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Md4 , 8 hours ago link
No reputable legal authority would fear ensuring due process for an accused, unless it had no evidence of an actual crime to justify prosecution...but DID have ulterior motives and nefarious purposes for doing so.
Let's be clear.
To date, not a single shred of actual evidence has ever been produced to prove Russian involvement or interference in the 2016 presidential election.
We have the opinion of domestic intelligence agencies, but we have no physical or direct evidence.
On the contrary, we have as much reason to believe some or all of them interfered in the Trump campaign, to orchestrate and execute a foreign interference hoax against Trump, before and after his election.
Daily, and throughout this sick prog left congressional abuse of power, we have repeatedly heard claims of an "ongoing war with Russia" in Ukraine.
Which war is this? Is this a continuation of the non-invasion of the Donbas in 2014? The specious and false claims of Russian troop concentrations, and tanks rolling, that even spy satellites didn't see? Are we still lying about this? If so, where are the media reports of Russian airstrikes, burning Ukrainian villages, or body bags?
In any "on-going" war with Russia, we would've been treated to near-constant news video of Russian armor all over eastern Ukraine. Have we? Perhaps this war they keep telling us about is like the Russian "invasion" of Crimea that didn't happen either.
We clearly remember the two Crimean-initiated referenda which put them back in their ancestral Russian homelands, but none of that had anything to do with invading Russians, who already had a substantial military presence in Crimea for decades.
No sir, Professor Turley.
There is no basis whatsoever for Trump's impeachment.
There is mounting evidence of a continued coup against this president, and the substantial number of Americans who actually elected him.
We too are closely monitoring the actual situation...
Dec 14, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com
Twolfe , 10 Dec 2019 16:30One aspect of this report in the NYT is very troubling but not a great surprise to those who pay attention to Asian affairs.
The reports that US military leaders had no idea of what to do in Afghanistan and constantly lied to the public should rouse citizens in America to take a different view of military leaders. That view must be to trust nothing coming from the Pentagon or from spokespersons for the military. Included must be any and all secretaries of defence, and all branches of the military.
It is totally unacceptable that 1-2 trillion dollars and several thousand lives were spent by America for some nebulous cause. This does not include many thousands of civilians.
During the Vietnam disaster, it became obvious that American military was lying to the public and taking many causalities in an unwinnable war. Nothing was learned about Asia or Asian culture because America entered Afghanistan without a real plan and no understanding of the country or it's history.
The experience of the USSR in that country should have sent up all kinds of red flags to the invading US military but it apparently did not. Both USSR and America lost thousands of military lives -- but nothing has changed in the country. Life in Afghanistan is actually worse now than before the multiple invasions. The only think which has improved is the cultivation of poppies and the export of opium.
Dec 08, 2019 | consortiumnews.com
Retired Australian diplomat Tony Kevin, in conversation with former Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, says the West is unnecessarily determined to undermine Russia.
A t an event last week in Sydney, Kevin and Carr discussed how the West, led by the United States, has been on an aggressive campaign to destabilize Russia, without cause.
When Kevin said he returned to Russia after more than 40 years in 2016 he realized he "had to take sides" in the U.S.-Russia standoff when all Nato countries boycotted the Moscow celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
"I had to take a moral position that it is not right for the West to be ganging up on Russia," Kevin says in his conversation with the former Australian foreign minister.
The New Cold War can traced back to a broken promise made to Moscow on Nato expansion eastward. "London and Washington are orchestrating a disinformation" campaign today against Russia, as the New Cold War has heated up over Syria, Ukraine, NATO troops on Russia's borders and Russiagate.
Watch the hour-long in depth discussion which was filmed and produced by Consortium News' CN Live! Executive Producer Cathy Vogan.
Tags: Bob Carr Russia Russiagate Russophobia Tony Kevin Vladimir Putin
Tom Culpeper , December 11, 2019 at 16:03
Putin & the Russian citizenry play chess on this 3-dimensional world.! The Americas and their inane elites attempt checkers on their flat Earth . Pity, some such as Noam Chomsky are admirable world citizens..! Pity again.! WE will miss men of this honest calibre and down- to-earth intelligence. Bob Carr is of this cohort.
Eugenie Basile , December 10, 2019 at 03:36
The 'Russia did it' mantra is a gift for the powers in the Kremlin. It rallies most Russians behind their leaders because they are proud of their country and don't accept the West's moral hypocrite grandstanding.
Just recently the WADA proclaimed sporting ban against Russia is a perfect example. It excludes all Russian athletes because they happen to represent their country while U.S. athletes who have been caught cheating in the past are allowed to participate .
Jerry Alatalo , December 10, 2019 at 00:30
It is very encouraging to know there are good people like Mr. Tony Kevin and Mr. Bob Carr alive and sharing their powerful wisdom at this dangerous historical point on planet Earth. Mr. Kevin and Mr. Carr's immensely important and courageously honest discussion should become – immediately, and for many years to come – required study in university classrooms and government halls around this world.
ElderD , December 9, 2019 at 15:03
Tony's (especially!) and Bob's sane and sensible view of this dangerous and destructive state of affairs deserve the widest possible distribution and attention.
George McGlynn , December 9, 2019 at 13:27
A quarter century has passed since the fall of the Soviet Union, and little has changed. Cold War patterns of thinking about Russia show no sign of weakening in America. The further we distance ourselves from the end of the Cold War, the closer we come to its revival. Hostility to Russia is the oldest continuous foreign policy tradition in the United States. It is now so much of a part of America's identity that it is unlikely to be ever cured.
peter mcloughlin , December 9, 2019 at 10:45
It is a dangerous miscalculation to think the "New Cold War" will end like the first. Russia (the USSR) had a buffer zone then, it doesn't today. For Moscow the coming war (world war) will be about survival. All that is left is the fall-back position of nuclear deterrence doctrine – annihilation. I don't think western capitals see how perilous the situation is.
Lois Gagnon , December 9, 2019 at 17:30
I agree. Putin made it clear when he said the next war would not be fought inside Russia. The troglodytes in the West are unable to grasp not only what that means, but why he said it.
AnneR , December 9, 2019 at 07:48
The latest efforts at attacking Russia via smear, allegation and Doublespeak have been, are via that US supported supposed oversight committee, WADA which has done what the US-UK wanted: banned Russia for four years from international sporting events including the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and World Cup (Football – soccer to Americans).
Then there were allegations – of those "highly likely" (therefore one knows to be untrue and unadulterated propaganda to increase Russophobia) sort – about Russian hackers (always giving the impression that the "Kremlin" is behind itl) being the Labour Party's source of the Tory party's US-UK trade deal which would/will deliberately and finally destroy the NHS and replace it with (of course) US "health" insurance company profiteering.
(Always the Tory intention from the NHS's initiation in May of 1948; only its popularity among many Tory party supporters among the working and lower middle classes prevented them from a full-frontal killing off the NHS; the Snatcher's government began the undermining, via installing a top-heavy bureaucratization, siphoning off a sizable proportion of the funds that would otherwise have gone to medical care, demanding that hospitals not "lose" money – a concept completely beyond the remit of the NHS as originally conceived and constructed and like exactions.)
Then there are snide remarks about the meeting today concerning the Ukrainian Azov (Neo-Nazi) attacks on the Donbass (NOT how either the BBC or NPR speaks of this of course) in France. This struggle, between the Russian-speaking Donbass peoples and the neo-Nazis of western Ukraine, has killed many thousands of people (most likely mostly those of the Donbass). The Donbass fighters are spoken of as "Russian-supported" in an attempt to deny them and the reasons for their struggle *any* legitimacy (meanwhile the support for the neo-Nazis goes unmentioned, leaving the listener with the impression that they are the Ukrainian military, thus legitimately fighting a foreign funded and manned insurgency).
Someone even suggested that President Putin needed to be diplomatic. Really? From what I've read the man is the most diplomatic and intelligent politician (not just political leader) along with Xi Jinping and the Iranian government that exist on the world stage. None of them are hubristic, solipsistic, eager beaver killers of peoples in other countries. Unlike their western "world" political counterparts.
Jeff Harrison , December 8, 2019 at 18:30
Mad Dog Mattis spoke the truth when he said that an opponent wasn't defeated until they agreed they were defeated. The US merely assumed that Russia agreed that they were defeated and are doubling down when they now suddenly realize that Russia never said any such thing.
St. Ronnie's whole thing back in the 80's was to outspend Russia militarily and it worked well. We're trying to do it again but Russia isn't playing the same game this time and now it is the US that has a mountain of debt and Russia that doesn't.
SIPIRI tags US military spending at $650B and Russian military spending at $62B. But we know that the $650B number is bogus because it doesn't include our in-violation-of-the-NNPT nuclear program which is in the energy department or our veteran's expenses which are in HHS. I don't know what's missing from Russia's $62B but I'll bet they can sustain that a whole lot better than we can sustain our $650B and rising bill.
Antonio Costa , December 9, 2019 at 13:17
Good point regarding Russia's downsizing the Soviet Union. From Gorbachev to Putin there was NEVER a surrender, intended in any way. The intent has been multilateral partnerships. For Russia the US/West won nothing at all except the opportunity to live and work in peace. (By the way this policy has a long Russian history.)
They gave up the Warsaw Pact and America with our worthless "word" expanded NATO.
The US foreign policy has lost even the semblance of sanity. Our naked aggression is clear as never before, a mad man throwing a global fit armed with megaton nuclear projectiles on trigger first strike alert. What could go wrong?
nondimenticare , December 8, 2019 at 15:56
If, magically, Consortium News/CN Live! were a mass-distribution network/magazine (hence universally consulted), allowing the light in for the mass of the viewing and listening public, it could change the world – both an exalting and despairing thought.
Lily , December 8, 2019 at 09:52
It is a great joy to listen to this conversation!
I am really sick of the smearing of Russia done by the US and UK. The Skripal as well as the MH17 case are plain ridiculus. Anybody can see through these silly plants. US and UK obviously don't feel obliged to respect any international rules any more. (The one person who is suffering most at the moment from the decline in respect is Julian Assange, an Australian citizen!)
I wish people would have the courage to break away from the group pressure originated by a nation which has been started by killing more than 90% of the indigenous people in their country and since then has turned the worl into a very insecure place.
Chapeau, Tony Kevin! Thanks to Bob Carr and Consortiums News.
Lily , December 9, 2019 at 01:18
It seems that some facts are beginning to be realized in the military department.
JOHN CHUCKMAN , December 8, 2019 at 07:30
"At an event last week in Sydney, Kevin and Carr discussed how the West, led by the United States, has been on an aggressive campaign to destabilize Russia, without cause."
The American establishment's problem with Russia is simply that Russia is the only country on earth capable of obliterating the United States. Not even China has yet reached that capacity.
"Carthago delenda est"
Skip Scott , December 9, 2019 at 06:13
There is "cause." Russia was our latest vassal under Yeltsin. Putin stopped the looting, and worked to benefit average Russian citizens. Just watch "The Magnitsky Act, behind the scenes" to know the "cause".
Bruno DP , December 8, 2019 at 02:34
The West is ganging up on Russia? Replace "West" by "United States of America", and I will agree.
Much of the West (i.e. Germany) has been dragged by force into damage control mode. The Magnitsky Act monster, the election interference hysteria, are just 2 crying examples met with shock and disbelief across the pond. The Fiona Hill testimony was a very telling moment for the inner workings of a self perpetuating logic.
Russia is no lightweight by any means, and not always friendly.
But it has regularly done the right thing in international conflicts which the Kremlin seems to understand better than all of "the Western" intelligence combined.
Martin Schuchert , December 8, 2019 at 17:33
I'm German, living in the US, and I agree with your comment. I especially love the last two sentences:
"Russia is no lightweight by any means, and not always friendly. But it has regularly done the right thing in international conflicts which the Kremlin seems to understand better than all of "the Western" intelligence combined."
Dec 13, 2019 | irrussianality.wordpress.com
Unprecedented brazenness December 11, 2019 PaulR 6 Comments 'Something is rotten with the state of Denmark', or if not Denmark then certainly the United States of America. It's the only conclusion one can draw from the way the absolutely normal is nowadays treated as the most extraordinary drama.
On Monday, US President Donald Trump met Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. It's about as normal a diplomatic event as one could possibly imagine, but it caused much of the American commentariat to go into a collective meltdown.
'Trump welcoming Russia's top diplomat to the Oval Office is one of his most brazen moves yet,' declared the Washington Post , which makes you think that Trump really needs to step up his game on the brazenness front. The Post isn't alone in thinking this way, however. What one might call the 'liberal' TV channels leapt on the story too, dragging in some representatives of the American security apparatus to ram home the point (there was a time when liberals regarded the FBI and CIA with suspicion, but such days are apparently long gone).
And so it was that CNN brought on as a guest former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe to 'explain why the photograph tweeted by President Trump of his meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov is so extraordinary.' As McCabe told CNN :
There's no doubt there's something deeply odd about the way this president interacts with Russia. We've never seen anything like this before. Russia is our most significant enemy on the world stage. I don't think that we've ever seen a photograph out of the Oval Office on the lines of the one we saw today.
Meanwhile, MSNBC had its own star witness, former Under Secretary of State Richard Stengel. 'Why is a head of state meeting with the Russian foreign minister?' Stengel asked , 'Vladimir Putin doesn't meet with Mike Pompeo when he comes to Moscow. So it's very curious and it's very strange.'
Actually Rick, dear boy, Putin does meet with Pompeo, as you can see from this photo here. But when did one ever let little details like factual accuracy get in the way of a good line?
Stengel wasn't MSNBC's only witness to Trump's suspicious behaviour. Former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul also put in an appearance. 'He's obsessed with the East, like a certain world leader in the 1940s was obsessed with the East. Why is this guy obsessed with meeting with Russians all over the place', the host asked McFaul. The latter let pass the gratuitous Hitler comparison, and gave his learned response: 'It's truly bizarre. I confess I do not have a rational explanation for it,' said McFaul .
Just in case you think it was only the media, FBI, and the State Department, others were on the ball too. The Trump-Lavrov meeting had Twitter abuzz. Anne Applebaum, for instance, had the following to say.
It's all simply nuts. Trump is Hitler. A former ambassador can't think of any reason why representatives of two major powers might wish to meet. A former deputy head of the US foreign service thinks that heads of state never meet foreign ministers. And all of them believe that a photograph of the US President and the Russian foreign minister is totally unprecedented and suggestive of something deeply suspicious, though exactly what they can't quite tell us. Which makes you wonder what they'd all make of this picture.
I don't know about you, but that looks a lot like Sergei Lavrov and President Obama to me. So, was Obama a Russian agent? Was he secretly selling out US interests to a foreign power? Should we be investigating him as well? It's all rather suspicious, don't you think?
I'll leave the last word to the excellent Fred Weir of the Christian Science Monitor:
It's pretty clear by now that no normal dialog is going to be possible between Russia and the US. Perhaps ever again. It's not my job to advise the Russians what to do, but if it were I would suggest they just give it up. Spend your time going to Beijing, Delhi, Ankara, even Berlin and Paris, but give Washington a miss.
It's the most peculiar damned thing I have ever seen. Even at the lowest depths of the Cold War, the Washington Post would never have run a headline that described a US president meeting a Soviet leader in the Oval Office as "one of his most brazen moves yet."
Analyzing the official photo of Trump and Lavrov in the Oval Office, the main -- disapproving -- takeaway the WaPo has to offer here is: "Judging by the expressions on their faces, the conversation does not seem to have been particularly acrimonious." Geez.
Dec 12, 2019 | theintercept.comJust as was true when the Mueller investigation closed without a single American being charged with criminally conspiring with Russia over the 2016 election, Wednesday's issuance of the long-waited report from the Department of Justice's Inspector General reveals that years of major claims and narratives from the U.S. media were utter frauds .
Before evaluating the media component of this scandal, the FBI's gross abuse of its power – its serial deceit – is so grave and manifest that it requires little effort to demonstrate it. In sum, the IG Report documents multiple instances in which the FBI – in order to convince a FISA court to allow it spy on former Trump campaign operative Carter Page during the 2016 election – manipulated documents, concealed crucial exonerating evidence, and touted what it knew were unreliable if not outright false claims.
If you don't consider FBI lying, concealment of evidence, and manipulation of documents in order to spy on a U.S. citizen in the middle of a presidential campaign to be a major scandal, what is? But none of this is aberrational: the FBI still has its headquarters in a building named after J. Edgar Hoover – who constantly blackmailed elected officials with dossiers and tried to blackmail Martin Luther King into killing himself – because that's what these security state agencies are. They are out-of-control, virtually unlimited police state factions that lie, abuse their spying and law enforcement powers, and subvert democracy and civic and political freedoms as a matter of course.
In this case, no rational person should allow standard partisan bickering to distort or hide this severe FBI corruption. The IG Report leaves no doubt about it. It's brimming with proof of FBI subterfuge and deceit, all in service of persuading a FISA court of something that was not true: that U.S. citizen and former Trump campaign official Carter Page was an agent of the Russian government and therefore needed to have his communications surveilled.
Dec 12, 2019 | www.rt.com
Russian FM Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have briefed the media after talks in Washington, DC, the first such meeting since 2017. Speaking at the press conference on Tuesday, Pompeo said the US was seeking a "better relationship" with Russia and that the two countries have been working on improving relations since his visit to Sochi in May. He said lines of communication between Moscow and Washington were open and relations were candid.
Lavrov echoed that, saying the two met regularly and also spoke frequently by phone. "It is useful to talk to each other," he said. "Always better than not talking to each other."
In a nod to the ongoing anti-Russia hysteria in the US, Lavrov said their joint work was, however, " hindered by the wave of suspicions that have overcome Washington." Calling allegations of Russian interference in US internal affairs "baseless," Lavrov said Moscow had "many times" asked the Trump administration to publish all correspondence between Trump and Putin from October 2016 and 2017, but that it had received "no response."
Allegations of Russian interference in US internal affairs are 'baseless': 'We have not seen any evidence, because it does not exist' – Lavrov pic.twitter.com/M1Ezgs22kd-- RT (@RT_com) December 10, 2019
Russia is hoping the current anti-Russia feeling dissipates like the McCarthyism of the 1950s, Lavrov added.
Pompeo said that cooperation on anti-terrorism is one of the main focuses of the relationship, particularly in relation to Syria.
"We want to make sure Syria never again becomes a safe haven for ISIS or other terrorist groups," he said.
On Ukraine, Pompeo said the resolution of conflict in the eastern regions of the country begins "with adherence to the Minsk agreements."
Dec 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
The FBI agents and lawyers intentionally lied to the court. Their violations were not mistakes. All 51 of them were in favor of further spying on members of the Trump campaign and on everyone they communicated with.
The FBI has used the Steele dossier to gain further FISA application even after it had talked with Steele's 'primary source' (who probably was the later 'buzzed' Sergei Skripal ) and after it had learned that the allegations in the dossier were no more than unconfirmed rumors.Michael Droy , Dec 11 2019 18:42 utc | 16Great stuff as ever. How useful is it that Skripal is Unavailable but not Dead? For example does it affect redaction of material linked to him?JR , Dec 11 2019 19:41 utc | 20By now Steele's credibility is zero. Time to revisit Steele's involvement with the debunked "Russia bought the soccer World Champion games", the Litvinenko polonium poisening and the Skripal novichok poisening. The timing of the Skripal matter deserves some scrutiny in relation to Skripal possibly being Steele's source for the infamous Trump dossier. There might be a motive hidden there.Jen , Dec 11 2019 22:27 utc | 42I know on a recemt MoA Open Thread comments forum that there was a link to this recent John Helmer / Dances With Bears article mentioning that Sergei and Julia Skripal were being held at an airbase in Gloucestershire being used by the United States Air Force (USAF) at the time that Julia Skripal was interviewed by a Reuters representative in May last year. I consider that link and the news worth mentioning again in this comments thread as some commenters have already mentioned Sergei Skripal in connection with Christopher Steele's dossier.Jen , Dec 11 2019 22:44 utc | 47
As early as August 2018 , there had been speculation that the Skripals were being held at USAF Fairford airbase, based on audiovisual evidence in the background garden scene where the interview took place. Helmer's sources (they requested anonymity) spotted a chicken coop in the background which they say is a crow ladder trap. This is one indication that the garden scene was located near a runway. Background noises included the roar of jet engines.
If Helmer's information is correct, then we can now understand why the British government never gave Russian embassy staff access to the Skripals: London was in no position to do so, the Skripals were on US territory.
One implication of this new information is that the Skripals may no longer be in Britain and may now be living in North America somewhere with new identities. Should something happen to them (or have happened to them already), they will not be missed by their new neighbours. The Skripals will never be allowed to return to Russia and Sergei Skripal will never see or be allowed to communicate with his elderly mother again.
It really does look as if Sergei Skripal may have had something to do with that Orbis dossier after all, even if as a minor source or as a reference rather than the primary source of disinformation about Donald Trump's past activities in Moscow. What other work has Skripal done for his American masters?JR @ 20:RJPJR , Dec 11 2019 23:56 utc | 50
It looks as if Sergei Skripal may not be the primary source of the disinformation in Christopher Steele's dossier. Perhaps the person who is the primary source is not a Russian at all.JR | Dec 11 2019 19:41 utc | 20 brings up a revisiting of the Litvinenko polonium poisoning.bevin , Dec 12 2019 1:46 utc | 53
It is worth mentioning that a tiny but crucial and virtually never mentioned detail of the official inquiry (considered the last word on the matter) is that those conducting the official inquiry were never allowed access to the autopsy report -- which should have been (which would have been, in any honest effort at inquiry) the bedrock starting point. The report has right along been sequestered by Scotland Yard in the interests of... you guessed it: national security. Go figure...It strikes me that the best explanation of the attack on the Skripals is not that he was responsible for the Steele Dossier in any way, but that he could easily prove that it was a fantasy. And was planning to do so.
He knew better, though, than to say so in the UK which suggests that he was on his way home with his daughter when MI6 caught up with him and poisoned them both.
Steele, Pablo Miller and Skripal were old partners in crime.
I'm wondering whether the mistake Sergei made was not to leave the house -- probably worth lotsa rubles -- behind and just go. On the other hand he was almost certainly under constant surveillance.
@50 The Official Report to which you refer was also very careful to enter extensive caveats regarding its conclusions for which there was almost no real evidence.
Cynica , Dec 12 2019 1:48 utc | 54@Jackrabbit #12, @karlof1 #15pretzelattack , Dec 12 2019 2:04 utc | 55
It seems important to note that Mr. Lavrov refers to administrations in his comments, not presidents per se. As there are many staff in presidential administrations, it seems entirely possible that 1) the requests from the Russians never reached Obama or Trump personally, and 2) either or both presidents were therefore not even aware of the requests. In the case of Trump, that would be consistent with the fact that many members of his administration have been revealed to have operated contrary to his wishes.
The Skripals residing on US territory would definitely indicate that the US has been the senior partner in the "Skripal operation". This seems to be part of a general pattern.
For the Steele dossier to be intentional bullshit (meaning its creator(s) knew it was false when they created it) doesn't seem all that surprising. Intelligence agencies promote disinformation all the time. That in no way means that Trump is in on the game.by this point i don't know if either Skripal is still alive. Why keep them alive if they could debunk the oh so precious propaganda?karlof1 , Dec 12 2019 3:20 utc | 58Cynica @54--
Both Putin and Lavrov have stated that they talked directly with Obama and Trump about the issues involved with their relations, so there's no excuses or obfuscation possible is this case.
Dec 10, 2019 | www.nytimes.comOpinion With Trump, All Roads Lead to Moscow
Monday's congressional hearing and the inspector general's report tell a similar story.
By Jesse Wegman Mr. Wegman is a member of the editorial board.
When it comes to Donald Trump and Russia, everything is connected.
That's the most important lesson from the two big events that played out Monday on Capitol Hill -- the House Judiciary Committee's hearings on President Trump's impeachment and the release of the report on the origins of the F.B.I.'s investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
One of these involved the 2016 election. The other involves the 2020 election. Both tell versions of the same story: Mr. Trump depends on, and welcomes, Russian interference to help him win the presidency. That was bad enough when he did it in 2016, openly calling for Russia to hack into his opponent's emails -- which Russians tried to do that same day . But he was only a candidate then. Now that Mr. Trump is president, he is wielding the immense powers of his office to achieve the same end.
That is precisely the type of abuse of power that the founders were most concerned about when they created the impeachment power, and it's why Democratic leaders in the House are pressing ahead with such urgency on their inquiry. They are trying to ensure that the 2020 election, now less than a year away, is not corrupted by the president of the United States, acting in league with a foreign power. "The integrity of our next election is at stake," said Representative Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. "Nothing could be more urgent."
On Monday morning, lawyers for the Democrats on the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees presented the clearest and most comprehensive narrative yet of President Trump's monthslong shakedown of the new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, for Mr. Trump's personal political benefit. They explained in methodical detail how the president withheld a White House meeting and hundreds of millions of dollars in crucial, congressionally authorized military aid to Ukraine, all in an effort to get Mr. Zelensky to announce two investigations -- one into Mr. Trump's political rival, Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter, and another into Ukraine's supposed interference in the 2016 election.
David Leonhardt helps you make sense of the news -- and offers reading suggestions from around the web -- with commentary every weekday morning.
Who would benefit from these announcements? Mr. Trump, who believes his re-election prospects are threatened most by Mr. Biden, and Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, who has been working for years to make Ukraine the fall guy for his own interference in the 2016 election. Mr. Putin has not fooled serious people, like those in the American intelligence community who determined that his government alone was responsible for meddling on Mr. Trump's behalf . But he has fooled Republicans in Congress, who have degraded themselves and their offices by faithfully parroting Mr. Putin's propaganda in the mainstream press.
... ... ...
sdavidc9 Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut 12m agoRepublicans are in lawyer mode, advocating for Trump as if he were their client. Lawyers make the best case they can for their clients. It helps if they believe in the case, but it also helps to know the case's weaknesses so they can avoid them. The best lawyers can do both at the same time. Republicans are called on by the Constitution to exit lawyer mode and enter juror mode (which is, or should be, similar to why-did-this-aircraft-crash mode). So far, they are not heeding this call. From all appearances, they are mouthing the words of the Constitution while avoiding or refusing to hear or understand them. They took an oath to support the Constitution, but they are deaf to its call, or have moved to a place beyond understanding it.Mark Larsen Cambria, CA 26m agoThe issue of whether to impeach was made by the President when he engaged in an abuse of his office for personal gain and then obstructed Congress' oversight function. We all understand the political downside arising from an acquittal in the Senate but that interest needs to be secondary to doing the right thing. On these facts, the decision representatives must make of whether to impeach really is no decision at all. Just do the right thing.Twg NV 26m agoWhen Senator John McCain died, he scripted his own funeral as a full bore defense against Trumpian Nationalism, and as an admonishment against a GOP too willing to sell the soul of our nation out to a cultist repudiation of objective fact, truth, and Constitutional order. McCain was a controversial maverick –a person I both admired and disliked in equal proportion. But there is one thing I will always admire him for: his final letter to the nation. It was a warning! He blew a golden bugle to sound the alarm against those entities both within and without our nation who wish to do our democratic republic harm. McCain, whether you agreed with the premise of the Vietnam war or not, was an American hero who served his country and his fellow soldiers with incontrovertible valor and love. President Donald Trump has no concept of what that dedication and sacrifice entails – and sadly, neither do many of the GOP members who continue to lie and make excuses for a president who is clearly abusing his office for personal gain. McCain characterized Trump's actions in Helsinki as an unfathomable 'abasement of the U.S. presidency.' All I can say is the GOP sure ain't the party of my father who fought in WWII against fascism and autocracy. It aggrieves me to no end to witness what too many members of Congress have become: tyrants toward the very meaning of American democracy. God save us from our own duplicity.Jagmont Rousel Fresburg, Ca. 12m ago@Twg Well said, and though I sometimes did not agree with McCain on matters of policy, I wish he were still with us, hopefully to show his fellow republicans what integrity looks like, and what America is supposed to be about. The Republican party I have known and respected is alas, like Senator McCain, no longer with us.Consiglieri NYC 34m agoAmericans have to realize that the whole world is mocking us, and that doesn't necesarily inspire respect. That cold be dangerous. Many medical professionals have noticed a decay in the mental abilities of the president, and certain abnormalities. It would be wise to suggest to the family that maybe the best way forward, with minimal losses would be to motivate a retirement. That would be face saving for them, and save the country from a bitter impeachment spectacle that would not be positive for the USA.Jennifer Francois Holland, Michigan 1h agoI'm waiting for Trump's financial info to be released. There's something in there he doesn't even want his base to know . I think the logical conclusion is that whatever financials DJT has hidden do indeed lead to Moscow. Actually, all of this is very, very alarming. Does Putin have a political asset planted here? Y or N I wish the answer was no and that we had a different President. Can we as a nation hold things together when our leader wants to tear us apart?AL NY 1h agoAll roads lead to the highest bidder(s). 21st century America in the era of Citizens United. Market pricing and the government is open for transactional business domestic and international. Alternate realities per GRU/FOX/GOP misinformation. Combine foreign money carefully grooming an in-need Trump, and a party worshipping money and you have a perfect storm removing any sense of civic duty. Hundreds of years to build and unwound in a few decades, the breathtaking and tragic fall of greatness and hope in our lifetime. It's not fiction, and every day I have to check if it's really happening, and shockingly it is.DO5 Minneapolis 1h agoThere was no Russian meddling, only Ukraine who meddled in 2016 and they are still at it. Listening to the Judiciary Committee hearings, it seems that the Russians have hacked into the Republican Party servers and are sending talking points to Republicans who are defending the indefensible president.We'll always have Paris Sydney, Australia 1h agoAt some point, Republicans have to ask themselves which is better for their party and the country. Slavish devotion to Trump, or losing an election and leaving Democrats a mess to clean up, as in 1932 and 2008?Mike S. Eugene, OR 2h agoBlock witnesses from testifying, then say that the hearing is incomplete. Romney told America at the Republican Convention in 2012 that Russia was our biggest enemy, DJT wanted them to help Republicans win in 2016, said he believed Putin in 2018, and wants to convince us that it was really the Ukraine in 2019. The House has to impeach, even if politically it may be a bad move, because it is the right thing to do; indeed, the very actions I've seen in the past several weeks has given me glimmers of hope for the country.Federalist California 2h agoTrump will be reelected for the reason that the Russian intelligence agencies are still able to hack our election results, because Trump has blocked fixing the weaknesses. That is what happens when a Manchurian candidate is elected and then allowed to obstruct justice. It is not clear the US will survive Trump. One key thing he did was arrange to have the teams at DHS that watch for smuggled nuclear bombs were stood down and disbanded. See the report in the LA Times last July "Trump administration has gutted programs aimed at detecting weapons of mass destruction".David Rochester 2h agoI don't suppose a constructed transcript of Trump's meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov tomorrow will be offered up as a token of our leader's transparency.Markymark San Francisco 2h agoIt's clear now that AG William Barr isn't interested in enforcing the rule of law with fellow republicans, and especially the president. How can there be no recourse when an attorney general completely sells out to a criminal president? Can the employees of the Justice Dept hold a vote of no confidence in the AG? Can 10,000 attorneys nationwide express the same? The prospect of Trump and Barr running roughshod over the rule of law for another year is truly frightening.Aluetian Contemplation 2h ago65,845,063 voters knew clearly who this man was from the beginning and voted for what would have been a better now and future. It was never any secret. 62,980,160 voters also knew clearly who this man was and voted for him anyway. If the Democrats can ensure that we have a fair election in 2020. I'm confident they will win the majority in the house and senate and retake the White House and the end game for Trump will be jail. The problem is, he might not be the only one who's crimes come to light and I suspect a good lot of the GOP are threatening and blackmailing each other to hold the line. If there's any good men or women left in the GOP, your country and history are calling you.Edwin a physician, scientist and realist 2h agoIt has easy to predict Trump's next move for the last 3 years. Just ask, "What would both benefit Trump, and benefit Putin?" Trump supporters = Putin supporters.Kevin CO 2h agoDo you know the American people are fed up with the discourse of all politicians. The republicans are fed up with any decency for the republic. The democrats are fed up with the republicans not facing the common sense of a exec not capable of being the President of the United states. I as a person am fed up with a political system that is not working for all people, just a select few. It's time too have term limits for all positions in gov't. That means all people that serve the people whether it be judges, senators or congressmen/women. It's time to find common sense again in our society as a whole society. We on this earth are all HUMAN.Eben Spinoza 2h agoUnfortunately their are serious problems with term limits. Just consider yourself in the role of a Congressional Representative limited to 4 terms. You know that in 8 years, you'll be be back on the job market. You can selflessly work for the public and damage your ability to get a job or tend to people who can hire you after you leave office. You're rational. Which future would you pick?REBCO FORT LAUDERDALE FL 2h agoTrump needs to keep Putin happy lest he unleash with all the damaging info he has collected on Trump and his financial crooked deals with Russians over decades. THe Russian mob reports to Putin as a former KGB agent he knows how to collect compromat on a politician and how to use it to get Trump to break into a giddy smile when he sees Putin his master it's obvious to most keen observers.M. Barsoum Philadelphia 2h agoFolks it is simple. Can we hear what Trump and Putin said to each other a few months ago. It is recored and on a server it should not be on. I am not sure why nobody is talking about these transcripts.Nelly Half Moon Bay 2h agoFinally! We get someone stating the obvious fact of Trump/Putin. Why are the Dems not talking about this all the time? Why are Congressmen and women not asking the witnesses about this? This is the ONE thing the Republicans are afraid of, so it is the one thing Democrats should do. I have been disappointed that the Russian asset thing hasn't been brought up....It's as if it is purposely bold. Trump is a Russian asset, either witting or unwitting. I doubt if there is one upper Intelligence Official that wouldn't say this. So find the right one and have them sit as a witness for this inquiry. And now the Russian big wig Diplomat and KGb spy, Lavarov, is visiting tomorrow. Good grief! Everyone is thinking this, so get out and say it Dems! Dr. Fiona Hill tried to lead into this direction but still the Dem Committee would take it up and aske her what she thought. Say it: All of Trump's Roads Lead to Russia.Ro Laren Santa Monica 2h agoAny American adult who has made an effort to educate himself or herself about Mr. Mueller's investigation or these impeachment proceedings understands that yes, with Trump all roads lead to Russia. Now if the poll numbers mean anything, Trump's crimes and Russia's involvement only matter to about 60% of us. As Trump's poll numbers remain steady, some 40% of Americans don't care what lawbreaking he is involved with or whether other nations now control our elections. Stop and think about this for a minute. Trump supporters know but literally do not care that Russia is tampering with our elections (2016 and 2020). Their cult-like support for Trump is why the Republican Senate will not remove him. There is no other reason Trump will remain in office. Trump has mesmerized his supporters like a modern day Rasputin. They will do literally anything for him, and Senate Republicans know this. Trump voters do not mind that Putin controls our nation at the highest levels of decision making. Again - think about this - they know he does, and they do not care. So I ask the rest of us. Is this the America we want to live in? To raise our families in? Where a large, rabid minority is in thrall to a lunatic puppet whose strings are firmly in Putin's hands? Because this is very much the America we live in now. The time will come, though, when we, the majority, will no longer tolerate the Trump/Putin regime. But the longer we wait, the harder it will be oust these tyrants.Tracy Washington DC 2h agoIn 2008, Donald Trump Jr. said Russia was an important source of funding for the Trump businesses. American banks wouldn't lend him money. Saudi Arabia likely bailed out Jared's disastrous real estate investment in NYC. Follow. The. Money.Huge Grizzly Seattle 2h agoYou say that Mr. Putin "has fooled Republicans in Congress, who have degraded themselves and their offices by faithfully parroting Mr. Putin's propaganda in the mainstream press." You are correct on all counts, except that the Republicans have not been fooled by Putin. They have gone along, headlong and absolutely willingly, in a complete sellout of personal and national principle and integrity. They should not be forgiven for this conduct, any more than Mr. Trump should be forgiven for his sellout of America.Look Ahead WA 2h agoFor Republicans who believe so fervently in their counterfactual narrative, there is an immediate remedy. Bring facts and evidence to the Committees and testify under oath. Without witnesses and evidence presented under oath, all of the GOP antics simply look foolish and very much like they are defending the guilty. It is unfortunate that there is no penalty for elected officials who share unfounded conspiracy theories, engage in innuendo and obstruct process in official Committee hearings. It is also regretable that this President is not held accountable for trying to intimidate witnesses in real time during testimony. And it is a sad reality that one of the most corrupt rulers in the world, who rules a hostile power, has managed to entirely win over one of our major parties.Gerard PA 2h agoThe strangest defense advanced today was the idea that the alleged state of the economy was reason not to impeach the President: the Republicans assert that America, the Constitution, the principle of our government are for sale to be bought by the rising stock market and a plethora of low-wage jobs. We are Faust, and the smell of sulphur is nauseating.richard wiesner oregon 2h agoIf the IG's report on the 2016 Russia investigation had found the only problem was that two of the agents involved had horrible hangnails, Barr and Trump would have condemned it.Asian Philosopher Germany 2h agoWhatever Trump is doing, he always care about his main benefactors, Putin and MBS. This is the first time I have witnessed in history that an American president became a Russian puppet with all his Republican followers at the Congress and Senate. American constitutional crisis happening right in front of the world. I heard the cries of James Madison, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin from their graves.trudds sierra madre, CA 2h ago Times PickSir, do you honestly think that House Republicans have been "fooled" by Mr. Putin? On the contrary, it's pretty obvious they understand and believe the conclusions from our Intel community. These are instead willful lies for political gain. And while some Americans may actually be misled by the theater presented as rebuttal to the impeachment, it's hard to imagine for most it's once again, not conviction but convenience that places such "patriots" solidly in Russia's back pocket.Michele Seattle 2h ago Times PickThe pattern of behavior is clear and compelling: Trump is selling out this country, its national security, its integrity and sovereignty, in order to keep power and avoid his own prosecution, and protect his financial interests. We must get the truth about his relationships and indebtedness to Putin, the Saudis, and Erdogan. Our country has been hijacked and Trump will continue to corrupt the US and turn it into an autocracy if he is not stopped and held accountable under the law.Linus Internet 2h agoThe country voted for this President knowing he is a flawed man in many ways. I don't think anything changes here - the Senate will speedily acquit him and the voters in the swing states will have to decide if they want to give Mr. Trump a second chance while the rest of the country impotently watches.David CT 2h agoIf one looks at all of his actions as "How could this benefit Russia?" most of it makes sense. Why start a trade war with China and Western allies? Why withdraw from Syria? Why try to polarize the American public? Effectively showing this to the public is critical.Mark New York 2h agoExcellent piece. We all know Trump, Inc. turned to Russian oligarchs after '08 for condo sales. It just so happened that those same oligarchs (read as kleptocrats) were laundering money through Deutsche Bank, who was the only bank willing to lend to Trump. Trump's loan officer amazingly was SC Justice Anthony Kennedy's son. Trump was and is a desperate man in need of cash/ Putin is a desperate man who knows that the geyser of oil money that funds his national budget, and has done so since the 1920's, is coming to an end. Russia has no large material economic exports other than oil and gas, but it does still have a large military, hence the military incursions into Moldova, Ossetia, Georgia, Ukraine and Syria. Desperate men do desperate things, and desperately try to project power with weak hands.turbot philadelphia 2h agoThe Republicans in Congress were not fooled by the Russians. They believe in Trump no matter what the Russians do. The bottom line is - What does Putin have on Trumpstan continople brooklyn 2h agoI don't understand why there hasn't been more of a pushback by the military. They went heavily for Trump in 20116, with many bases in the South and many recruits from economically devastated areas, but in the interim, they have seen his reckless, lurching foreign policy, worship of Putin, and clear evidence that somehow everything he does benefits Russia. A commander's first obligation is to their troops, so knowing the man in charge considers their lives subject to both Trump's whims, and Putin's whispers should provoke some reaction. No?Steven Auckland 3h agoUnfortunately - to put it mildly - impeachment will have no effect on the conduct of the 2020 election. The wheels are already turning, everyone knows their part, and only a massive commitment by an honest intelligence apparatus (if there is one) can stop it. One can only hope that, in 2020, the American people make a statement so overwhelming that there can be no doubt as to their intent, despite whatever meddling there may have been. It is entirely possible that there will never be a truly credible election again as long as there are bad actors who are power hungry or bent on destabilizing democratic governments. And make no mistake, these threats are coming from right wing autocracies, and they are in the ascendancy all over the world. American centrists and liberals are the only force that can change that. Are those stakes big enough for you?Michael Kittle Vaison la Romaine, France 3h agoWe may finally have the answer as to why Trump is so accommodating to Putin. Trump has so many investments in Russia dependent on Putin's support. Trump financial reports will reveal this collusion between Trump and Putin. This should not come as a surprise to attentive Americans. Think of the worst an American president can do and that will bring you close to understanding Trump.Ray Haining Hot Springs, AR 3h agoNobody's saying how Trump withholding military aid to Ukraine would benefit Putin and Russia in their WAR against Ukraine. It was, indeed, MILITARY aid he was withholding, was it not? I understand that this is not the impeachable offense of attempting to enlist a foreign government to win an election, but I believe this aspect of the situation should be brought out.Socrates Downtown Verona. NJ 3h agoThe Republican Party has been officially reduced to a giant miasma of fraud, fiction, fantasy, conspiracy theory, deflection, misdirection and prevarication. After tax cuts for rich people and rich corporations...the GOP has no other public policy ideas (except for bankrupting the government). A civilized country needs little things like infrastructure, education, technology, voting rights, law and order, regulations, fair taxation and facts to move forward. But none of those things are ever mentioned by the Republican Party; conspiracy-mongering and tax cuts are now the official governing planks of the Grand Old Propaganda/Grand One Percent party. This is no way to manage a nation anywhere except into the ground. Americans need to hit the Trump-GOP eject button before these Lord of the Fly Republicans take us over a very steep right-wing cliff of insanity.Bob Hudson Valley 3h agoThe Republican Party is now Trump's party and the Republicans know it and are acting accordingly. You could call them opportunists following the way the political winds are blowing. The Constitution is based on members of Congress caring about the Constitution and searching for the truth. Since this is now not the case when if comes to the Republicans the Constitution has no remedy for this situation. The only remedy is an election and if Trump can manipulate elections to his advantage using foreign powers then there is no remedy and the system of government set up by the founders will be no more. The new system replacing it will be controlled by Trump. Putin figured out how to control Russian elections so he always wins and it is likely that Trump has a goal of imitating Putin. Ultimately this would mean taking over the press as Putin did. Trump cannot declare total victory as long as the there is a free press which he has labeled the enemy of the people.DAWGPOUND HAR NYC 3h agoFrom an acute perspective ..indeed shocking to say the least of the nature of this peculiar relationship. But looking at the big picture as evidence by all that has occurred in his or during this eye opening period for all the world to see....not so much so...For me, this dynamic is much expected.James Ricciardi Panama, Panama 3h ago"The witness has used language which impugns the motives of the president and suggests he's disloyal to his country, and those words should be stricken from the record and taken down," Mr. Johnson said. The Johnson rule effectively reads the impeachment power out of the constitution. How can you impeach a president if no one can say anything bad about him/her?Bruce Rozenblit Kansas City, MO 3h agoWe have yet to plow the most fertile road yet. What does Trump care about over all else? Trump. How does Trump gauge his progress? His money. Where does his money come from? Good question. We all know he has filed for bankruptcy 6 times. We all know that because of those bankruptcies, American banks will not loan him any money. We all know he has significant financial dealings with Deutsche Bank. Now, who put the money in Deutsche Bank that ended up financing Trump's business.? That is the two billion dollar question. We also know that Russian oligarchs deal in billions of dollars. We also know that Trump has close relations with Russian business interests. We also know that Trump kowtows to Putin like Pence kowtows to him. We also know that Trump is doing everything possible to conceal his financial dealings from everyone and everything. So, we know that one billion plus one billion equals two billion. But does it also equal Trump? This money road is one we should take a ride on. Will it also take us to Putin?Mark New York 2h ago@Bruce Rozenblit No, but it will take us to those who are surrogates for him. Those whose wealth only continues because of Vova's "good will."Gluscabi Dartmouth, MA 3h agoThe first Democratic candidate who labels Trump a "Russian agent" will own the simplest and most effective tag line going into the general election, provided of course that that candidate does his best to channel his inner Trump by never backing down but instead doubling down every chance he or she gets. Is Trump a Russian agent, paid for and accounted for? Not easy to say without some doubt, but that doesn't really matter because he sure as shoottin' acts like one. And when have the facts ever stopped Trump from going on the attack? The more Trump denies the label, the more he'll be digging his own grave. The real crime here is not so much the strong arming of Zelenskyy for a Biden investigation. That's small potatoes compared to Trump's withholding congressionally designated US military aid from a country engaged in a hot war with Russia, the same cast of characters who starved anywhere from one to eleven million Ukrainians during the 1930's. The Russian agent must go.Alan Columbus OH 3h agoI would not say Trump's lying "is effective", I would say it "has been effective". At some point, the public and his party may have had it with the thuggery and we do not know when that breaking point is.abigail49 georgia 3h agoFor the sake of protecting our 2020 elections from Russian hackers and disinformation, the House is justified in moving forward fast, over the process howls of Republicans, with the compelling evidence they have surrounding Ukraine. But they need to continue investigating his business and financial ties to Russia and any other autocratic governments and their oligarchs, e.g. Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Especially if he is not convicted and removed by the Senate and stands for re-election, Americans need to know what conflicts of interest he has in making foreign policy and military decisions because American soldiers' lives are at stake. The Mueller investigation did not go down that road. Any businessman with global interests is automatically compromised, even more than a vice president whose son sits on a foreign corporation's board of director. Trump's own children continue to do business in foreign countries and we have no idea what Ivanka and Jared, sitting in the White House with top security clearances, are doing. In short, Ukraine should not be the only concern of congressional oversight committees. There's a lot more.Peter Portland OR 3h agoTrump must believe that Russian help in 2016 did help him to win. He must feel that fake evidence presented by an "independent" investigator such as a foreign government appears to carry more weight that the same fake evidence from a partisan investigator. Otherwise why would he be taking such chances to duplicate via Ukraine what he got from the Russians in 2016. But now that the Russian connection is outed, he can't go back to that well.NA Wilson Massachusetts 3h agoI worry it's all for naught. Dems in the House vote to impeach, GOP in the Senate vote to acquit. Trump remains highly competitive in 2020 election, Russia and other adversaries interfere, Trump stays put. Then what?Rafael SC 3h ago@NA Wilson Think of this situation differently. To have all possible scope to defeat him, we must support everything we can to undermine him. Lack of impeachment would have been business as usual. At some point his finances will get out and then all bets are off.Tracy Washington DC 2h ago@NA Wilson: It's all Hands on deck to save the country. Don't just vote, donate what money you can, work for candidates, knock doors, make calls. It's the only way out of this nightmare.N. Smith New York City 3h agoThe Impeachment hearings weren't really necessary to prove what most everyone who's been paying attention knows. With Trump, all roads lead to Moscow. In fact, he's already acting very Putin-esque in his own way by forbidding anyone in the White House to respond to subpoena, by installing the fear of God in those who do, by punishing anyone who dares to think or act on their own, and then there's the act of holding a foreign country ransom until they agree to do his bidding -- not to mention inviting outside interference in our presidential elections. All the signs are not only there but they are ominous. By holding himself above the U.S. Constitution, Trump has declared war on this country and all the laws that govern it. And while entertainment-starved Americans laugh and cheer at his rallies, he and the Republicans drain our right to vote, and with it our Democracy. Today wasn't an epiphany. It was a warning.bl rochester 3h agoThere seems to be no discussion of the financial backing trump received after '08-09 from sources inside Russia and how these actors would have expressed their support (or conditions for their silence) to the trump campaign during '15-16. Did the FBI not identify and investigate the funders behind trump and their interactions with the campaign during 2016? Would this not have been reasonable for an investigation to look into when its entire raison d'etre was to detect sources of Russian influence?Jim TX 3h agoI wonder if Mr. Wegman believes that this editorial will change anyone's mind or influence how anyone votes in the upcoming presidential election. Basically, this is classic preaching to the choir and sadly mostly a wasted effort. I would like to read articles with proven ideas that worked to change the minds of Republicans and other like them. Such articles might give me some better ideas to convince my pro-Trump friends and neighbors to Vote for America next November.Kingfish52 Rocky Mountains 3h ago"When it comes to Donald Trump and Russia, everything is connected." This! This is the central fact of all the things Trump has done (so far), and yet, the Democrats have failed to make this the central focus of the case against him. Instead, they've focused on one incident, and not even the most egregious one, to justify impeachment and removal from office. This was a terrible miscalculation. No, there is no doubt that Trump attempted to coerce Ukraine into helping with his re-election by announcing a bogus investigation of the Bidens. Nor any doubt that this constituted "high crimes and misdemeanors". But this was not the highest of crimes he's committed, nor have the Dems been able to convince any Republicans, or many independents, that this deserves Trump's removal. Moreover, they failed to produce the "smoking gun" of one witness or document in Trump's own words directing the quid pro quo. They gave plenty of room for the Republican attack machine to cast enough doubt and confusion that all but ensures Trump's acquittal in the Senate. Instead of focusing only on this one incident, the Democrats should have built their case around the theme that "with Trump, all roads lead to Russia". That is a crime that even the most skeptical doubter can grasp, and when linked together, all of his crimes can be shown to be of a pattern of serving Putin, and not the people of the United States. All roads lead to Putin, but the Democrats chose to follow a dead end.DW Philly 2h ago@Kingfish52 I completely agree with you and truly don't understand why the Democrats have not been shouting this from the rooftops. For mercy's sake! The problem is not just that the president solicited help from a foreign power for his own personal gain! That's bad enough, but isn't the point that he did this because he is beholden to Russia? Russia. is. not. our. friend. Why aren't the Democrats explaining this clearly to the American people? Trump is Putin's puppet and it could not be more obvious! Don't people understand that it doesn't just happen to be Ukraine that Trump took a notion to squeeze for his "personal gain"? He doesn't just want to win because it is so nice to win elections. He has to do what Putin tells him. Obviously, every last Republican in Congress understands this clearly. Why can't the Democrats explain it to the American people clearly?Mike Republic Of Texas 4h agoObama did not provide lethal aid to Ukraine, after the Russians invaded Crimea. Obama did not Russia prevent the Iranian nuclear deal. Trump cancelled the Iranian nuclear deal, then provided lethal aid to Ukraine. Now I get it. Trump is working for Putin.Mick Montclair 3h agoBy March 2015, the US had committed more than $120 million in security assistance for Ukraine and had pledged an additional $75 million worth of equipment including UAVs, counter-mortar radars, night vision devices and medical supplies, according to the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency. That assistance also included some 230 armored Humvee vehicles. Trump appears to be echoing a critique leveled at the Obama administration by the late Republican Sen. John McCain. "The Ukrainians are being slaughtered and we're sending blankets and meals," McCain said in 2015. "Blankets don't do well against Russian tanks." While it never provided lethal aid, many of the items that the Obama administration did provide were seen as critical to Ukraine's military. Part of the $250 million assistance package that the Trump administration announced (then froze and later unfroze) included many of the same items that were provided under Obama, including medical equipment, night vision gear and counter-artillery radar. The Trump administration did approve the provision of arms to Ukraine, including sniper rifles, rocket launchers and Javelin anti-tank missiles, something long sought by Kiev.Ivan Memphis, TN 2h ago@Mike Trump was not the one providing lethal aid to Ukraine. It was the house and senate that proposed and forced this aid into an appropriation bill - against the wishes of the Trump administration. After Trump realized he could not block this funding he did the second best thing - he used it to blackmail the Ukraine government to provide him with dirt on Biden and support for Putin's favorite narrative (that it was Ukraine not Russia that interfered in the 2016 election).Mark New York 2h ago@Mike It also took two acts of Congress to get the aid to Ukraine. Trump had nothing to do with it. Only the Impound Inclusion Act for foreign aid allows the President to time the release of the funds, which Trump did not follow. The Act was created because Nixon, like Trump, was playing fast and loose with our tax dollars. Who was the last President who asked for help from a foreign intelligence agency? Which President favored foregn intelligence agencies over his own? Answer no one other than Trump. If that doesn't show he's in someone's pocket, nothing does.
Feb 23, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca
Breakaway MPs hope that smearing Corbyn will obscure the fact that they are remnants of an old political order bankrupt of ideasThe announcement by seven MPs from the UK Labour Party on Monday that they were breaking away and creating a new parliamentary faction marked the biggest internal upheaval in a British political party in nearly 40 years, when the SDP split from Labour.
On Wednesday, they were joined by an eighth Labour MP, Joan Ryan , and three Conservative MPs. There are predictions more will follow.
With the UK teetering on the brink of crashing out of the European Union with no deal on Brexit, the founders of the so-called Independent Group made reference to their opposition to Brexit.
The chief concern cited for the split by the eight Labour MPs, though, was a supposed "anti-semitism crisis" in the party.
The breakaway faction seemingly agrees that anti-Semitism has become so endemic in the party since Jeremy Corbyn became leader more than three years ago that they were left with no choice but to quit.
Corbyn, it should be noted, is the first leader of a major British party to explicitly prioritize the rights of Palestinians over Israel's continuing belligerent occupation of the Palestinian territories.
Luciana Berger (image on the right), a Jewish MP who has highlighted what she sees as an anti-Semitism problem under Corbyn, led the charge, stating at the Independent Group's launch that she had reached "the sickening conclusion " that Labour was "institutionally racist".
She and her allies claim she has been hounded out of the party by "anti-semitic bullying". Berger has suffered online abuse and death threats from a young neo-Nazi who was jailed for two years in 2016. There have been other incidences of abuse and other sentences, including a 27-month jail term for John Nimmo , a right-wing extremist who referred to Berger as "Jewish scum" and signed his messages, "your friend, the Nazi".
In an interview with the Jewish Chronicle, the former Labour MP said the Independent Group would provide the Jewish community with a " political home that they, like much of the rest of the country, are now looking for".
In a plea to keep the party together, deputy leader Tom Watson issued a video in which he criticised his own party for being too slow to tackle anti-Semitism. The situation "poses a test" for Labour, he said, adding: "Do we respond with simple condemnation, or do we try and reach out beyond our comfort zone and prevent others from following?"
Ruth Smeeth , another Jewish Labour MP who may yet join a later wave of departures, was reported to have broken down in tears at a parliamentary party meeting following the split, as she called for tougher action on anti-semitism.
Two days later, as she split from Labour, Ryan accused the party of being "infected with the scourge of anti-Jewish racism".
Hatred claims undercut
The timing of the defections was strange, occurring shortly after the Labour leadership revealed the findings of an investigation into complaints of anti-semitism in the party. These were the very complaints that MPs such as Berger have been citing as proof of the party's "institutional racism".
And yet, the report decisively undercut their claims – not only of endemic anti-semitism in Labour, but of any significant problem at all.
That echoed an earlier report by the Commons home affairs committee, which found there was "no reliable, empirical evidence " that Labour had more of an anti-semitism problem than any other British political party.
Nonetheless, the facts seem to be playing little or no part in influencing the anti-semitism narrative. This latest report was thus almost entirely ignored by Corbyn's opponents and by the mainstream media.
It is, therefore, worth briefly examining what the Labour Party's investigation discovered.
Over the previous 10 months, 673 complaints had been filed against Labour members over alleged anti-semitic behaviour, many based on online comments. In a third of those cases, insufficient evidence had been produced.
The 453 other allegations represented 0.08 percent of the 540,000-strong Labour membership. Hardly "endemic" or "institutional", it seems.
There is the possibility past outbursts have been part of this investigation. Intemperate language flared especially in 2014 – before Corbyn became leader – when Israel launched a military operation on Gaza that killed large numbers of Palestinian civilians, including many hundreds of children.
Certainly, it is unclear how many of those reportedly anti-semitic comments concern not prejudice towards Jews, but rather outspoken criticism of the state of Israel, which was redefined as anti-semitic last year by Labour, under severe pressure from MPs such as Berger and Ryan and Jewish lobby groups, such as the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Labour Movement.Britain's Witchfinders Are Ready to Burn Jeremy Corbyn
Seven of the 11 examples of anti-semitism associated with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition adopted by Labour concern Israel. That includes describing Israel as a "racist endeavour", even though Israel passed a basic law last year stripping the fifth of its population who are not Jewish of any right to self-determination, formally creating two classes of citizen.
Illustrating the problem Labour has created for itself as a result, some of the most high-profile suspensions and expulsions have actually targeted Jewish members of the party who identify as anti-Zionist – that is, they consider Israel a racist state. They include T ony Greenstein, Jackie Walker, Martin Odoni, Glyn Secker and Cyril Chilson .
Another Jewish member, Moshe Machover , a professor emeritus at the University of London, had to be reinstated after a huge outcry among members at his treatment by the party.
Alan Maddison , who has been conducting statistical research on anti-semitism for a pro-Corbyn Jewish group, Jewish Voice for Labour, put the 0.08 percent figure into its wider social and political context this week.
He quoted the findings of a large survey of anti-semitic attitudes published by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research in 2017. It found that 30 percent of respondents from various walks of society agreed with one or more of eight anti-semitic views, ranging from stereotypes such as "Jews think they are better than other people" to Holocaust denial.
However, lead researcher Daniel Staetsky concluded that in most cases, this was evidence of unthinking prejudice rather than conscious bigotry. Four-fifths of those who exhibited a degree of anti-semitism also agreed with at least one positive statement about Jewish people.
This appears to be the main problem among the tiny number of Labour Party members identified in complaints, and is reflected in the predominance of warnings about conduct rather than expulsions and suspensions.
Another of the institute's findings poses a particular problem for Corbyn's opponents, who argue that the Labour leader has imported anti-semitism into the party by attracting the "hard left". Since he was elected, Labour membership has rocketed.
Even if it were true that Corbyn and his supporters are on the far-left – a highly questionable assumption, made superficially plausible only because Labour moved to the centre-right under Tony Blair in the late 1990s – the institute's research pulls the rug out from under Corbyn's critics.
It discovered that across the political spectrum, conscious hatred of Jews was very low, and that it was exhibited in equal measure from the "very left-wing" to the "fairly right-wing". The only exception, as one might expect, was on the "very right-wing", where virulent anti-semitism was much more prevalent.
That finding was confirmed last week by surveys that showed a significant rise in violent, anti-semitic attacks across Europe as far-right parties make inroads in many member states. A Guardian report noted that the "figures show an overwhelming majority of violence against Jews is perpetrated by far-right supporters".
Supporters of overseas war
So what is the basis for concerns about the Labour Party being mired in supposed "institutional anti-semitism" since it moved from the centre to the left under Corbyn, when the figures and political trends demonstrate nothing of the sort?
A clue may be found in the wider political worldview of the eight MPs who have broken from Labour.
All but two are listed as supporters of the parliamentary "Labour Friends of Israel" (LFI) faction. Further, Berger is a former director of that staunchly pro-Israel lobby group, and Ryan is its current chair, a position the group says she will hold onto, despite no longer being a Labour MP.
So extreme are the LFI's views on Israel that it sought to exonerate Israel of a massacre last year, in which its snipers shot dead many dozens of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza in a single day. Faced with a social media backlash, it quietly took down the posts .
The eight MPs' voting records – except for Gavin Shuker, for whom the picture is mixed – show them holding consistently hawkish foreign policy positions that are deeply antithetical to Corbyn's approach to international relations.
They either "almost always" or "generally" backed "combat operations overseas"; those who were MPs at the time supported the 2003 Iraq war; and they all opposed subsequent investigations into the Iraq war.
Committed Friends of Israel
In one sense, the breakaway group's support for Labour Friends of Israel may not be surprising, and indicates why Corbyn is facing such widespread trouble from within his own party. Dozens of Labour MPs are members of the group, including Tom Watson and Ruth Smeeth.
Smeeth, one of those at the forefront of accusing Corbyn of fostering anti-semitism in Labour, is also a former public affairs director of BICOM, another stridently pro-Israel lobby group .
None of these MPs were concerned enough with the LFI's continuing vocal support for Israel as it has shifted to the far-right under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to have stepped down from the group.
'Wrong kind of Jews'
Anti-semitism has taken centre stage in the manoeuvring against Corbyn, despite there being no evidence of significant hatred against Jews in the party. Increasingly, it seems, tangible abuse of Jews is of little interest unless it can be related to Corbyn.
The markedly selective interest in anti-semitism in the Corbyn context among the breakaway MPs and supposed anti-semitism watchdogs has been starkly on show for some time.
Notably, none expressed concern at the media mauling of a left-wing, satirical Jewish group called Jewdas when Corbyn was widely attacked for meeting "the wrong kind of Jews". In fact, leading Labour figures, including the Jewish Labour Movement, joined in the abuse .
And increasingly in this febrile atmosphere, there has been an ever-greater indulgence of the "right kind of anti-semitism" – when it is directed at Corbyn supporters.
A troubling illustration was provided on the TV show Good Morning Britain this week, when Tom Bower was invited on to discuss his new unauthorised biography of Corbyn, in which he accuses him of anti-semitism. The hosts looked on demurely as Bower, a Jewish journalist, defamed fellow Jewish journalist Michael Segalov as a " self-hating Jew " for defending Corbyn on the show.
Revenge of the Blairites
So what is the significance of the fact that the Labour MPs who have been most outspoken in criticising Corbyn – those who helped organise a 2016 leadership challenge against him, and those who are now rumoured to be considering joining the breakaway faction – are heavily represented on the list of MPs supporting LFI?
For them, it seems, vigorous support for Israel is not only a key foreign policy matter, but a marker of their political priorities and worldview – one that starkly clashes with the views of Corbyn and a majority of the Labour membership.
Anti-semitism has turned out to be the most useful – and damaging – weapon to wield against the Labour leader for a variety of reasons close to the hearts of the holdouts from the Blair era, who still dominate the parliamentary party and parts of the Labour bureaucracy.
Perhaps most obviously, the Blairite wing of the party is still primarily loyal to a notion that Britain should at all costs maintain its transatlantic alliance with the United States in foreign policy matters. Israel is a key issue for those on both sides of the Atlantic who see that state as a projection of Western power into the oil-rich Middle East and romanticise Israel as a guarantor of Western values in a "barbaric" region.
Corbyn's prioritising of Palestinian rights threatens to overturn a core imperial value to which the Blairites cling.
Tarred and feathered
But it goes further. Anti-semitism has become a useful stand-in for the deep differences in a domestic political culture between the Blairites, on one hand, and Corbyn and the wider membership, on the other.
A focus on anti-semitism avoids the right-wing MPs having to admit much wider grievances with Corbyn's Labour that would probably play far less well not only with Labour members, but with the broader British electorate.
As well as their enthusiasm for foreign wars, the Blairites support the enrichment of a narrow neo-liberal elite, are ambivalent about austerity policies, and are reticent at returning key utilities to public ownership. All of this can be neatly evaded and veiled by talking up anti-semitism.
But the utility of anti-semitism as a weapon with which to beat Corbyn and his supporters – however unfairly – runs deeper still.
The Blairites view allegations of anti-Jewish racism as a trump card. Calling someone an anti-semite rapidly closes down all debate and rational thought. It isolates, then tars and feathers its targets. No one wants to be seen to be associated with an anti-semite, let alone defend them.
Weak hand exposed
That is one reason why anti-semitism smears have been so maliciously effective against anti-Zionist Jews in the party and used with barely a murmur of protest – or in most cases, even recognition that Jews are being suspended and expelled for opposing Israel's racist policies towards Palestinians.
This is a revival of the vile "self-hating Jew" trope that Israel and its defenders concocted decades ago to intimidate Jewish critics.
The Blairites in Labour, joined by the ruling Conservative Party, the mainstream media and pro-Israel lobby groups, have selected anti-semitism as the terrain on which to try to destroy a Corbyn-led Labour Party, because it is a battlefield in which the left stands no hope of getting a fair hearing – or any hearing at all.
But paradoxically, the Labour breakaway group may have inadvertently exposed the weakness of its hand. The eight MPs have indicated that they will not run in by-elections, and for good reason: it is highly unlikely they would stand a chance of winning in any of their current constituencies outside the Labour Party.
Their decision will also spur moves to begin deselecting those Labour MPs who are openly trying to sabotage the party – and the members' wishes – from within.
That may finally lead to a clearing out of the parliamentary baggage left behind from the Blair era, and allow Labour to begin rebuilding itself as a party ready to deal with the political, social, economic and environmental challenges of the 21st century.
Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.
Jonathan Cook, a British journalist based in Nazareth since 2001, is the the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is a past winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His website and blog can be found at: www.jonathan-cook.net He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.