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Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the Economic Rape of Russia

Chronicles of Harvard University Russian Economic Team Scam and Deep Corruption of Academic Economics

News Recommended books Recommended Links Casino capitalism Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Neoclassical Pseudo Theories and Crooked and Bought Economists Cargo Cult Science
Disaster capitalism Predator state Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement Greece debt enslavement Ukraine debt enslavement Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite
Rubin Larry Summers Shleifer Jeffrey Sachs Nancy Zimmerman Jonathan Hay Anders Åslund
 Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"  Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime The Grand Chessboard Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite The Iron Law of Oligarchy Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"
The Rape of Russia, Testimony of Anne Williamson Critique of neoclassical economics Is neoclassical economics a mafia Lysenkoism Deception Humor Etc
I liked it when he said, "These cases are complicated and difficult to prosecute, but if you're serious about doing them, you can." Doesn't that describe the situation perfectly? It can be done if we set our minds to it. We need to get started and make that happen.

Comment to 'inside job' (Yahoo! Finance)

Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain.

-- Napoleon Bonaparte

The modern power elites thrive by forgetting any regrettable past. This amnesia is easy at Harvard, where the legal fiduciaries operate in secret and need not answer for their acts. They are the antipodes of the selfless institutional servants who built Harvard and other great American enterprises, and they bear close watching.

(Harry R. Lewis Larry Summers, Robert Rubin Will The Harvard Shadow Elite Bankrupt The University And The Country)

"It's a mafia," he says quietly...

Hip Heterodoxy by Christopher Hayes


Introduction

A interesting rogues’ gallery of international financial criminals with high academic degrees who got their education in Harvard (Harvard mafia in a broad sense) owes its existence to the dissolution of the USSR and subsequent financial crisis. The level of corruption and rent seeking behaviors of those individuals is really breathtaking. The term "mafia" is not rhetorical overshoot: they are mafia in a very precise meaning of this word: the mafia at its core is about one thing -- money (see also Russian board game Mafia). Like in a typical Mafioso family there is an ethnic core and a hierarchy, with higher-ranking members making decisions that trickle down to the other members of the family. And its policies are always about oppression, arrogance, greed, self-enrichment, power and hegemony above and against all others.

The story of Andrei Shleifer in Russia is a classic story of "academic extortion": betrayal of trust and academic principles by Harvard professor of economics (probably not without the influence of his wife, hedge fund manager Nancy Zimmerman, longtime friend of Larry Summers). While the guy was just a pawn in a big game, the issues of criminality of economists (and some universities economics departments ;-) and relevance of RICO statute against such offences is a much bigger issue.

Under RICO, a person who is a member of an enterprise that has committed any two of 35 crimes—27 federal crimes and 8 state crimes—within a 10-year period can be charged with racketeering. Those found guilty of racketeering can be fined up to $25,000 and/or sentenced to 20 years in prison per racketeering count. In addition, the racketeer must forfeit all ill-gotten gains and interest in any business gained through a pattern of "racketeering activity." RICO also permits a private individual harmed by the actions of such an enterprise to file a civil suit; if successful, the individual can collect treble damages.

... ... ...

On March 29, 1989, financier Michael Milken was indicted on 98 counts of racketeering and fraud relating to an investigation into insider trading and other offenses. Milken was accused of using a wide-ranging network of contacts to manipulate stock and bond prices. It was one of the first occasions that a RICO indictment was brought against an individual with no ties to organized crime. Milken pled guilty to six lesser offenses rather than face spending the rest of his life in prison.

There is a disturbingly deep analogy between Harvard University (which had been benevolently charged with just breach of contract by the US government) and Michel Milken activities. Separately Shleifer and an associate, Jonathan Hay, were charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government. Later he was stripped of honorary title "Whipple V.N. Jones Professor of Economics" due to ethics violation, but he managed to preserve his position at the university due to Summers protection (Larry Summers A Suicidal Choice - Mark Ames).

How close were Larry Summers and Andrei Schleifer? According to former Boston Globe economics correspondent David Warsh, Summers and Schleifer “were among each other’s best friends,” and Summers taught Schleifer “as an undergraduate, sent him on to MIT for his PhD, took him along on an advisory mission to Lithuania in 1990, and in 1991, shepherded his return to Harvard as full professor, where he was regarded, after Martin Feldstein and Summers, as the leader of the next generation.”

The furor about Andrei Shleifer shadow dealings in Russia contributed to the ouster of Summers from the Harvard presidency. It also exposed sad fact that neoclassic economics represents a dangerous sect which if not exactly mafia is pretty much borderline phenomenon. Somewhat similar with Lysenkoism

Academic Mafiosi as a Social Class

The cynical view is that "Rape of Russia" was a Mafiosi style operation, which was conducted using s Trojan horses special class of Mafiosi, academic economics. This might well have been the intent (in best "disaster capitalism" style of thinking). Instead of helping post-Soviet nations develop self-reliant economies, writes Marshall Auerback,

“the West has viewed them as economic oysters to be broken up to indebt them in order to extract interest charges and capital gains, leaving them empty shells.”

Corruption and local oligarchy were natural allies of this process which was, in essence, the process of Latin-Americanization of post Soviet space. And off-shore safe heavens were the tool. They partially failed in Russia as some of the most notorious deals of this periods (especially in mineral recourses and oil areas) were reversed in 2000-2008, but were quite successful in Ukraine, Georgia, Latvia and several other post Soviet republics. The external debt of those is just staggering. As Professor Michael Hudson noted:

It may be time to look once again at what Larry Summers and his Rubinomics gang did in Russia in the mid-1990s and to Third World countries during his tenure as World Bank economist to see what kind of future is being planned for the U.S. economy over the next few years.

Throughout the Soviet Union the neoliberal model established “equilibrium” in a way that involved demographic collapse: shortening life spans, lower birth rates, alcoholism and drug abuse, psychological depression, suicides, bad health, unemployment and homelessness for the elderly (the neoliberal mode of Social Security reform).

Here is one apt comment about the real nature of economic professors from Harvard and other nice places from the comments to post Economists Fall Back Into Neoclassical Stupor …( naked capitalism. January 18, 2011):

Hugh:

I echo lambert’s and scraping by’s sentiments. The economics profession is not about an analysis of our economy that can make reasonable predictions about it. Economics and economists are enablers of the con and validators of kleptocracy. They say the many must make do with less and do not say that the result of this policy will be the few will have more.

These are not innocent, unworldly types tied to outdated and obsolete ideas. They are abettors and apologists for the greatest economic crimes in human history. We should call and treat them for what they are: criminals. Kleptocracy is not a some time thing. It is not a label you apply occasionally. Kleptocracy is a system. The looters can’t function without corrupt politicians, a complacent propagandizing media, or complicit enabling academics. With kleptocracy, there is no middle ground. You either stand with the looters or their victims. I think this is the critical choice we all must make.

Another pretty telling quote ( from brilliant satire Blacklisted Economics Professor Found Dead NC Publishes His Last Letter « naked capitalism):

Q: Is it really plausible that economists threaten top banks that in the absence of some kind of payoff, they will change the theories they teach in a direction that is less favorable to the banks?

A: There are certainly cases in history of the following sequence:

a. Economist E espouses views that are less favorable to certain special interest groups S. Doing so threatens the ability of S to extract rent from the public.
b. Later, E changes his view, thereby withdrawing the prior threat.
c. Still later, E is paid large amounts of money by representatives of S in exchange for services that do not appear particularly onerous.

For example, let E = Larry Summers and let S = the financial services industry. In 1989 E was (a) a supporter of the Tobin tax, which threatened to reduce the rent extracted by S. This threat was apparently later withdrawn (b), and in 2008 E was paid $5.2 million (c) in exchange for working at the hedge fund D. E. Shaw (an element of S) for one day a week.

However, it is naturally more difficult to witness the negotiations in which specific threats were appeased with specific future payouts. This is a problem that also bedevils Public Choice theory, in which it is likewise difficult to show exactly how a particular politician is remunerated in exchange for threatening businesses with anti-business legislation. The theory assures us that such negotiations occur, although they are difficult to observe directly. Perhaps further theoretical advances will help us to close this gap.

Q: Isn’t it offensive to assume that economists, for motives of personal gain, shade their theoretical allegiances in the directions preferred by powerful interest groups?

A: How could it ever be offensive to assume that a person acts rationally in pursuit of maximizing his or her own utility? I’m afraid I don’t understand this question.

Academic Mafiosi as Byproduct and Simultaneously Enablers of Neoliberalism

Disappearance of a formidable opponent of unrestricted looting of developing countries that USSR formally represented on the the world scene essentially released all moral stops and considerations both inside the USA and outside. The triumph of neoliberalism

And former USSR republics were the first victims of new super-aggressive neoliberal "new normal". Despite crocodile tears about corruption, our world is being reshaped, in sinister fashion, by wide open capital markets and an international banking network that exists to launder hundreds of billions of dollars in ill-gotten gains stolen by government officials and oligarchs in "weaker" countries. In other words, corruption is an immanent feature and principal tool of neoliberalism in developing countries and xUSSR area.

Under pretext of showing the Russians how to convert command type economy to neoliberal model, and how to controls corruption, the gang-style rape of the country was inflicted on its unsuspecting citizens with poverty raising from 2% to 40% of the population. World have witnessed Russia losing half of its total output, plunging it into a depression deeper than the U.S. Great Depression. Please read Anne Williamson’s testimony. Here is one quote:

From the perspective of the many millions of her children, Mother Russia in late 1991 was like an old woman, skirts yanked above her waist, who had been abandoned flat on her back at a muddy crossroads, the object of others’ scorn, greed and unseemly curiosity. It is the Russian people who kept their wits about them, helped her to her feet, dusted her off, straightened her clothing, righted her head scarf and it is they who can restore her dignity – not Boris Yeltsin, not Anatole Chubais, not Boris Berezovsky nor any of the other aspirants to power. And it is the Russian people – their abilities, efforts and dreams – which comprise the Russian economy, not those of Vladimir Potanin or Viktor Chernomyrdin or Mikhail Khodorkovsky or Vladimir Gusinsky. And that is where we should have placed our bet – on the Russian people – and our stake should have been the decency, the common sense and abilities of our own citizens realized not through multilateral lending but through the use of tax credits for direct investment in the Russian economy and the training of Russian workers on 6-month to one year stints at the U.S. offices of American firms in conjunction with the elimination of U.S. tariffs on Russian goods.

The collapse of the USSR was by-and-large caused by internal problems and betrayal of nomenklatura which quickly understood that new neoliberal regime is more profitable for them that command-style economy (although role of financed by West wave of nationalism and West imposed technological isolation should not be underestimated). BTW this myth that Reagan administration won the Cold War is still current.

Economic rape of post USSR economic space was by design not by accident

After the dissolution of the USA, there was a vacuum of ideology in Russia and it was successfully filled with Harvard promoted neoliberalism and associated neo-classical economics. This was a powerful fifths column, oriented on helping the West to extract as much wealth from Russia as possible was created. The USA essentially forced Russians into so called shock therapy using Harvard academic mafia (plan was authored by Jeffrey Sachs who was lecturer at Harvard and implemented by Larry Summers protégé, Russian émigré Shleifer and several other Harvard academic brats with a couple of British poodles to make the gang international) and internal compradors in Yelstin government as fifth column. As a result poverty level jumped from 2% to 40%. Everything that can be stolen, was stolen by implementation of rapid privatization policy. During the heydays of corrupt Yeltsin regime implementation of shock therapy GDP dropped 50%. Suicide rate doubled, life expectancy for males dropped below 60 years (12,8% death rate increase), homeless children which were unknown in the USSR became mass feature of new social order.

The key seller of shock therapy was about Harvard Mafiosi, Professor Jeffrey Sachs who was a prominent neoliberal who because his role in destruction of Russian economics, contributed to immense sufferings in Bolivia, Chili, Poland and several other countries.

Instead of something like Marshall plan, a merciless ands unlawful grab of capital and national resources was successfully implemented in less then five year period after the dissolution. This was an amazingly greedy and short-sited policy by Clinton administration. To rephrase Talleyrand, it was worse then a crime, it was a blunder. As Otto von Bismarck advised long ago:

Do not expect that once taken advantage of Russia's weakness, you will receive dividends forever. Russian always come for their money. And when they come - do not rely on the Jesuit agreement you signed, you are supposed to justify. They are not worth the paper it is written. Therefore, with the Russian stands or play fair, or no play.

Let's hope that the USA will be protected by Providence from the consequences of this blunder because as Otto von Bismarck suggested "There is a providence to that protects idiots, drunkards, children and the United States of America". Otherwise, the level of anger felt by wide strata of Russian people (almost everybody outside of fifth column) can materialize into something really tragic. In Russian history, a generation that has taken a beating is often followed by a generation that deals one. In a way Putin is already a certain punishment, but the possibility of coming to power a real Russian nationalist instead of "resource nationalist" is not out the realm of possibilities ;-)

There is a Providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children and the United States of America.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/o/otto_von_bismarck.html#qr2ARypLke5VpwQb.99

Now Professor Jeffrey Sachs repainted himself from a sharky promoted of "shock therapy" into the Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. Here is an apt comment about this member of Harvard mafia ( NYT, 2009)

Arsen Azizyan

I grew up cold and hungry in the former Soviet republic of Armenia during the shock therapy years of the 90′s; my grandfather was one of the 3 million who died prematurely during those days (incorrect medication and power outages did him in).

I would very much like to tie Mr. Jeffrey Sachs to a chair and slowly force-feed him every worthless page of every idiotic policy paper he’s ever written. I believe that would justly mirror the diet that I had to subsist on for a number of years during my childhood and adolescence.

He still insists that Yeltsin, rather than his American advisors, was responsible for the fact that the privatization policy amounted in practice to the theft by a handful of favored apparatchiks of the industries previously ran – in its own inimitably corrupt fashion – by the state. As former World Bank economist David Ellerman noted it was the speed of the privatization which made such an outcome inevitable stating that

“Only the mixture of American triumphalism and academic arrogance could have produced such a lethal dose of gall.”

Janine R. Wedel in The Harvard Boys Do Russia (The Nation, May 14, 1998) wrote the following about extremely damaging for the USA (in a long run) and Russia (forever) policies Harvard mafia pursued:

"After seven years of economic "reform" financed by billions of dollars in U.S. and other Western aid, subsidized loans and rescheduled debt, the majority of Russian people find themselves worse off economically. The privatization drive that was supposed to reap the fruits of the free market instead helped to create a system of tycoon capitalism run for the benefit of a corrupt political oligarchy that has appropriated hundreds of millions of dollars of Western aid and plundered Russia's wealth. The architect of privatization was former First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais, a darling of the U.S. and Western financial establishments. Chubais's drastic and corrupt stewardship made him extremely unpopular. According to The New York Times, he "may be the most despised man in Russia." Essential to the implementation of Chubais's policies was the enthusiastic support of the Clinton Administration and its key representative for economic assistance in Moscow, the Harvard Institute for International Development. Using the prestige of Harvard's name and connections in the Administration, H.I.I.D. officials acquired virtual carte blanche over the U.S. economic aid program to Russia, with minimal oversight by the government agencies involved. With this access and their close alliance with Chubais and his circle, they allegedly profited on the side. Yet few Americans are aware of H.I.I.D.'s role in Russian privatization, and its suspected misuse of taxpayers' funds.

At the recent U.S.-Russian Investment Symposium at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, Yuri Luzhkov, the Mayor of Moscow, made what might have seemed to many an impolite reference to his hosts. After castigating Chubais and his monetarist policies, Luzhkov, according to a report of the event, "singled out Harvard for the harm inflicted on the Russian economy by its advisers, who encouraged Chubais's misguided approach to privatization and monetarism." Luzhkov was referring to H.I.I.D. Chubais, who was delegated vast powers over the economy by Boris Yeltsin, was ousted in Yeltsin's March purge, but in May he was given an immensely lucrative post as head of Unified Energy System, the country's electricity monopoly.

Some of the main actors with Harvard's Russia project have yet to face a reckoning, but this may change if a current investigation by the U.S. government results in prosecutions. The activities of H.I.I.D. in Russia provide some cautionary lessons on abuse of trust by supposedly disinterested foreign advisers, on U.S. arrogance and on the entire policy of support for a single Russian group of so-called reformers. The H.I.I.D. story is a familiar one in the ongoing saga of U.S. foreign policy disasters created by those said to be our "best and brightest." Through the late summer and fall of 1991, as the Soviet state fell apart, Harvard Professor Jeffrey Sachs and other Western economists participated in meetings at a dacha outside Moscow where young, pro-Yeltsin reformers planned Russia's economic and political future. Sachs teamed up with Yegor Gaidar, Yeltsin's first architect of economic reform, to promote a plan of "shock therapy" to swiftly eliminate most of the price controls and subsidies that had underpinned life for Soviet citizens for decades. Shock therapy produced more shock--not least, hyperinflation that hit 2,500 percent--than therapy.

One result was the evaporation of much potential investment capital: the substantial savings of Russians. By November 1992, Gaidar was under attack for his failed policies and was soon pushed aside ...

I.I.D. had supporters high in the Administration. One was Lawrence Summers, himself a former Harvard economics professor, whom Clinton named Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs in 1993. Summers, now Deputy Treasury Secretary, had longstanding ties to the principals of Harvard's project in Russia and its later project in Ukraine. Summers hired a Harvard Ph.D., David Lipton (who had been vice president of Jeffrey D. Sachs and Associates, a consulting firm), to be Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary for Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. After Summers was promoted to Deputy Secretary, Lipton moved into Summers's old job, assuming "broad responsibility" for all aspects of international economic policy development. Lipton co-wrote numerous papers with Sachs and served with him on consulting missions in Poland and Russia. "Jeff and David always came [to Russia] together," said a Russian representative at the International Monetary Fund. "They were like an inseparable couple." Sachs, who was named director of H.I.I.D. in 1995, lobbied for and received U.S.A.I.D. grants for the institute to work in Ukraine in 1996 and 1997 ...

Andrei Shleifer, a Russian-born emigre and already a tenured professor of economics at Harvard in his early 30s, became director of H.I.I.D.'s Russia project. Shleifer was also a protege of Summers, with whom he received at least one foundation grant ...

Another Harvard player was a former World Bank consultant named Jonathan Hay, a Rhodes scholar who had attended Moscow's Pushkin Institute for Russian Language. In 1991, while still at Harvard Law School, he had become a senior legal adviser to the G.K.I., the Russian state's new privatization committee; the following year he was made H.I.I.D.'s general director in Moscow. The youthful Hay assumed vast powers over contractors, policies and program specifics; he not only controlled access to the Chubais circle but served as its mouthpiece ...

With help from his H.I.I.D. advisers and other Westerners, Chubais and his cronies set up a network of aid-funded "private" organizations that enabled them to bypass legitimate government agencies and circumvent the new parliament of the Russian Federation, the Duma.

Through this network, two of Chubais's associates, Maxim Boycko (who co-wrote Privatizing Russia with Shleifer) and Dmitry Vasiliev, oversaw almost a third of a billion dollars in aid money and millions more in loans from international financial institutions ...

The device of setting up private organizations backed by the power of the Yeltsin government and maintaining close ties to H.I.I.D. was a way of insuring deniability. Shleifer, Hay and other Harvard principals, all U.S. citizens, were "Russian" when convenient. Hay, for example, served alternately and sometimes simultaneously as aid contractor, manager of other contractors and representative of the Russian government ... Against the backdrop of Russia's Klondike capitalism, which they were helping create and Chubais and his team were supposedly regulating, the H.I.I.D. advisers exploited their intimate ties with Chubais and the government and were allegedly able to conduct business activities for their own enrichment. According to sources close to the U.S. government's investigation, Hay used his influence, as well as U.S.A.I.D.-financed resources, to help his girlfriend, Elizabeth Hebert, set up a mutual fund, Pallada Asset Management, in Russia ... After Pallada was set up, Hebert, Hay, Shleifer and Vasiliev looked for ways to continue their activities as aid funds dwindled. Using I.L.B.E. resources and funding, they established a private consulting firm with taxpayer money. One of the firm's first clients was Shleifer's wife, Nancy Zimmerman, who operated a Boston-based hedge fund that traded heavily in Russian bonds.

According to Russian registration documents, Zimmerman's company set up a Russian firm with Sergei Shishkin, the I.L.B.E. chief, as general director. Corporate documents on file in Moscow showed that the address and phone number of the company and the I.L.B.E. were the same. Then there is the First Russian Specialized Depository, which holds the records and assets of mutual fund investors. This institution, funded by a World Bank loan, also worked to the benefit of Hay, Vasiliev, Hebert and another associate, Julia Zagachin. According to sources close to the U.S. government's investigation, Zagachin, an American married to a Russian, was selected to run the depository even though she lacked the required capital ...

Anne Williamson, a journalist who specializes in Soviet and Russian affairs, details these and other conflicts of interest between H.I.I.D.'s advisers and their supposed clients--the Russian people--in her forthcoming book, How America Built the New Russian Oligarchy. For example, in 1995, in Chubais-organized insider auctions of prime national properties, known as loans-for-shares, the Harvard Management Company (H.M.C.), which invests the university's endowment, and billionaire speculator George Soros were the only foreign entities allowed to participate. H.M.C. and Soros became significant shareholders in Novolipetsk, Russia's second-largest steel mill, and Sidanko Oil, whose reserves exceed those of Mobil. H.M.C. and Soros also invested in Russia's high-yielding, I.M.F.-subsidized domestic bond market.

Even more dubious, according to Williamson, was Soros's July 1997 purchase of 24 percent of Sviazinvest, the telecommunications giant, in partnership with Uneximbank's Vladimir Potanin. It was later learned that shortly before this purchase Soros had tided over Yeltsin's government with a backdoor loan of hundreds of millions of dollars while the government was awaiting proceeds of a Eurobond issue; the loan now appears to have been used by Uneximbank to purchase Norilsk Nickel in August 1997. According to Williamson, the U.S. assistance program in Russia was rife with such conflicts of interest involving H.I.I.D. advisers and their U.S.A.I.D.-funded Chubais allies, H.M.C. managers, favored Russian bankers, Soros and insider expatriates working in Russia's nascent markets ...

Despite exposure of this corruption in the Russian media (and, far more hesitantly, in the U.S. media), the H.I.I.D.-Chubais clique remained until recently the major instrument of U.S. economic aid policy to Russia. It even used the high-level Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission, which helped orchestrate the cooperation of U.S.-Russian oil deals and the Mir space station. The commission's now-defunct Capital Markets Forum was chaired on the Russian side by Chubais and Vasiliev, and on the U.S. side by S.E.C. chairman Arthur Levitt Jr. and Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin.

Andrei Shleifer was named special coordinator to all four of the Capital Markets Forum's working subgroups. Hebert, Hay's girlfriend, served on two of the subgroups, as did the C.E.O.s of Salomon Brothers, Merrill Lynch and other powerful Wall Street investment houses. When The Nation contacted the S.E.C. for information about Capital Markets, we were told to call Shleifer for comment. Shleifer, who is under investigation by U.S.A.I.D.'s inspector general for misuse of funds, declined to be interviewed for this article. A U.S. Treasury spokesman said Shleifer and Hebert were appointed to Capital Markets by the Chubais group--specifically, according to other sources, by Dmitry Vasiliev."

Several problems with Harvard academic advisors behavior during Russian privatization program were outlined by Adil Rustomjee (Yale University) in the letter to Johnson’s Russia List :

From: Arustomjee@aol.com (Adil Rustomjee)
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 1998 13:18:14 EDT
Subject: Role of foreign advisers in the Russian Privatization Program.

From: Adil Rustomjee, Yale University, 135 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511
Email: adil.rustomjee@yale.edu

Dear David,

Many thanks for your superb news service. Johnson's Russia List is fast becoming an excellent resource for those who work, who have worked on, or who just share a fascination with that disturbing country. I am writing this letter to humbly suggest a research topic that should be of great interest to JRLs readers. It is a subject that deserves better treatment than that received to date. The topic itself is the exact role of foreign advisers in the Russian Privatization Program.

It is a marvelous tale waiting to be plainly told. The Russian Privatization Program, despite its subsequent vilification, ranks as one of the great experiments at social engineering in the twentieth century. It attempted an authoritative allocation of property rights - and consequently of power - within society on a scale never attempted before. It is therefore a very significant historical process, more significant in the long reach of events than even Stalin's collectivization campaigns of the 1930s. It deserves its own Robert Conquest.

The process itself went through two distinct phases - the voucher phase, and what for want of a better word, we call the "loans for shares" phase. It is the "loans for shares" phase of the program that has attracted the most attention, primarily because of its spectacular abuse by Russia's oligarchs. The real story is in the first voucher stage of the process and the dubious principles it was based on.

The entire voucher program was a product of foreign economic advice. Consider the basic timeline. The Soviet Union itself was dissolved in December 1991. In June 1992, the crucial document governing the voucher privatization effort came out - the State Privatization Program. This seminal document outlined the basic concepts behind the voucher phase of the program. It also rationalized what became a state sponsored giveaway of Russia's national patrimony to the country's managers. The implementation of the State Privatization Program document took a little over two years. By June 1994, Anatoly Chubias , Russia's privatization chief, was announcing the end of the voucher program. In a scant two years, Russia had gone from a communist country with no private sector, to a country with a private sector - that on paper at least - was larger than Italy's !!! Such progress could never have been possible without substantial foreign economic advice. It is a commonplace that privatization is essentially a "learning by doing" process.

Russia could never have gone through a learning curve in such a short time span. Its reformers basically rubberstamped a scheme conceived by Western economists in the crucial 6 month period between December 1991 and June 1992.

Yet despite this, the precise story of the economists behind the entire effort has not been told. Good attempts have been made by Janine Wedel and Anne Williamson - and I will discuss them later - but from a technical standpoint, the story has yet to be told well.

Who were these advisors and what did they achieve? Three groups of actors may be identified - academic economists, bureaucrats from the World Bank, and Western consulting firms. A close examination of the interaction between these three groups itself will offer interesting insights into the birth and dissemination of ideas. For the major ideas behind the Russian program came from a group of academics - many associated with Harvard. These ideas were picked up in the early years and became established "transition economics" orthodoxy at the World Bank. The substantial implementation of the basic ideas was carried out by consulting firms like the Big Six working (often) on USAID contracts.

This is as it should be. Academia is usually the source of the most original thinking on economics. International bureaucrats - particularly those associated with the World Bank - are surprisingly timid and cautious people. They are institutionally incapable of boldness - and great audacity was called for in the Russia of 1992.

Was this boldness misplaced? I believe it was. A rational examination of the process will, I suspect, lead to a damning indictment of Russia's foreign advisors. They created desolation and called it reform. The defining feature of the program was based on remarkably dubious ideas. Foremost among these was the belief that privatization was a series of payoffs - or bribes, as one of its leading advocates, Harvard's Andrei Shleifer, called it - to various " stakeholders" in the program. Given an uncertain legal environment and some
appropriation of state assets by these stakeholders, - euphemistically referred to as "spontaneous privatization" - , better to legalize what was believed to be a trough feeding frenzy. This was the program's dominant idea.

There is little empirical evidence from the early years about the exact extent of " spontaneous privatization". Anecdotal evidence abounds, especially from many near - hysterical accounts of the early 90s but the actual empirical evidence is slender. The decisions to sell a great nation's patrimony - a one shot historical phenomenon with irreversible long range implications - were basically conceived within a six month time frame by a bunch of frightened foreigners, using dubious assumptions, with little basis in empirical understanding. Astonishing.

The actual privatization was accomplished through basically giving away large segments of Russian assets - and consequently cash flows - to these stakeholders. The most notable insider stakeholders - the managers - ended up the biggest winners. They ended up owning most of Russian industry. This august group, more often than not, makes the Marx Brothers seem like models of German efficiency. For a variety of reasons, insider-owned firms are very inefficient, and indeed a long list of papers from the Bank - Fund complex testifies to this. Consequently, Russia is today reaping the whirlwind of its privatization policy. The long delayed supply-side response of the economy, that is supposed to be led by these insider-owned firms, simply refuses to happen.

To round out this stupidity ( and to make it theoretically neater), the advisors had to deal with the problem of insider ownership. They dealt with it in time honored economist fashion - they assumed it away. This was done by trotting out that most venerable of economic propositions - something called the Coase Theorem. In a series of seminal papers written at Chicago in the thirties, Ronald Coase reached a blindingly obvious conclusion on property rights. He proved that the initial allocation - or misallocation - of property rights would not matter as long as those rights could be traded till they found their highest valued end use. In other words, the advisors told the Russians, "Sure, we're making second-best or third-best policy choices on privatization , but hey guys, it doesn't matter. Through the magic of Coase, even if we misallocated the rights, they'll trade up to their highest valued end user, and we'll all live happily ever after ". Consequently, nothing mattered except getting the assets away from the government (depoliticization) and into the "private sector", thereby allowing
the Coase Theorem to work its magic.

The Russians believed this nonsense. The problems with using Coase as a rationale were commonsensical : too much monopoly power in the Russian economy and the fact that Coase himself never had anything remotely resembling Russia in mind, when he formulated the theorem. More crucially, capital markets which would be needed to trade property rights to their highest valued end use, were nonexistent or nascent, and continue to be so. One marvels at the Russians' own capacity for advice of this nature. My comfort is philosophical : It has often been said of the Russians, that they exhibit in extreme form, certain universal characteristics of the human condition.

Perhaps this tendency to extremes applies to their propensity for social engineering too.

In response to critiques of their advice, the foreign advisors resort to a "burden of proof " defense. In other words, they say, " What a pity it's a mess and had to be this way, but you'll have to prove it could have been otherwise". It is this "proving otherwise" that is a key issue. " Proving otherwise" would require a person with substantial economic expertise. Unfortunately most of the critiques of the advisors in Russia have come from people outside the economics community, which on Russia is quite tight knit.

Janine Wedel and Anne Williamson have made good first attempts . But given the enormity of the catastrophe in Russia that the advice has wrought, the definitive account will have to be from a person with some economic stature.

Who were these people anyway ? They include, Wedel and Williamson point out, Andrei Shleifer a Harvard economics professor, Jonathan Hay a freshly minted Harvard Law graduate, and Makim Boycko who was their man in Moscow. Shleifer, a Russian emigrant who remains a tenured professor at Harvard, must have possessed the great advantage of speaking native Russian. In December 1991, Shleifer on a World Bank consultancy authored a paper titled Privatization in Russia - First Steps. It is, I believe, the first systematic attempt at outlining the program's defining feature - privatization as a series of payoffs (or bribes as he called it) to key stakeholders in the process.

Later explications of the basic idea may be found in articles he co-authored with Robert Vishny on the process. Both the unpublished document and later articles remarkably parallel the basic philosophy of the State Privatization Program of June 1992.

A sense of moral outrage over the effects of their policies - while a great temptation - has to be avoided at all costs. This is especially difficult when one considers that the principal protagonists - Andrei Shleifer and Jonathan Hay - are under investigation for alleged insider trading and conflicts of interest in Russia. [ GAO and USAID having found that they "abused the trust of the US government " etc ]. The temptation might therefore be to focus on that entire shabby episode as Wedel and Williamson have done ( in part, but only in part). There is no need for this. The charges are unproven. Besides the amounts Shleifer and Hay are accused of improperly dealing in, are a pittance, compared to the wholesale thievery their ideas sanctioned. The real story is in the voucher scheme they designed and implemented. Told coldly, rationally, and solely concerned with the truth, it will still be a great story. Behind the story after all, loom the long shadows of the millions of Russians whose lives were effected by these disastrous policies. They deserve the truth.

Will the story be told with integrity. I am afraid not. There are too many reputations and too much credibility at stake. The usual candidate would be someone of stature in academia. This is not really an option. The old Kremlinologists have been largely rendered irrelevant by the pace of events and are struggling to retool themselves. The younger economists who work on Russia, who have access to the data and hands-on experience, are the least likely candidates given the devastating outcomes of the policies they advocated. Self serving rationalizations with little intellectual integrity are all that can be expected from this group. Witness for example, Anders Aslunds' comic absurdity "How Russia became a Market Economy". If Russia is a market economy, then I, sir, am a monkey's uncle -- Finally it would be too much to expect the protagonists themselves - Shleifer and his collaborators - to say " We were wrong, terribly wrong". An old man named Robert McNamara looking back on his life, said that about a war that ended twenty five years back, and look at the condemnation that brought him. It would be too much to expect Shleifer and the others - all reportedly in their late thirties and early forties - to make such an admission.

The World Bank is another candidate, but they will distort the tale. The Bank's division that does such studies - the Operations Evaluation Department - will use the standard bureaucratic boiler plate it excels at. Besides the Bank itself picked up the substantial ideas and policies from the Harvard group, and has its own credibility at stake. While some hand wringing can be expected, so can a less than zealous concern for the truth. Besides, even if it is honest, the drama of the story will be lost in the telling.

... ... ...

The reasons of such a behavior by Andrei Shleifer and other players "on the ground" probably run deeper. As Stefan Lemieszewski noted in his letter to Johnson's Russia List:

The failure of these IMF/World Bank/State/Treasury programs should not come as a surprise. Economists such as Michel Chossudovsky (University of Ottawa) go further and suggest that they are by design. In his book, "The Globalization of Poverty: Impacts of IMF and World Bank Reforms" Chossudovsky writes:

"The IMF-Yeltsin reforms constitute an instrument of "Thirdworldisation"; they are a carbon copy of the structural adjustment programme imposed on debtor countries in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. Harvard economist Jeffrey Sachs, advisor to the Russian government, had applied in Russia the same 'macro-economic surgery' as in Bolivia where he was economic advisor to the MNR government in 1985.

The IMF-World Bank programme adopted in the name of democracy constitutes a coherent programme of impoverishment of large sectors of the population.

It was designed (in theory) to 'stabilize' the economy, yet consumer prices in 1992 increased by more than one hundred times (9,900 per cent) as a direct result of the "anti-inflationary programme". As in Third World 'stabilization programme', the inflationary process was largely engineered through the 'dollarization' of domestic prices and the collapse of the national currency. The 'price liberalization programme' did not, however, resolve (as proposed by the IMF) the distorted structure of relative prices which existed under the Soviet system."

In Ukraine and some other republics the magnitude of collapse was even greater and all middle class was essentially wiped out. Many emigrated. Also a lot of assets were simply stolen by western companies for cents on the dollar (disaster capitalism in action; some of most blatant cases were reversed under Putin, but not much). Bush II administration was busy with reelections and Clinton administration never viewed Russia as a partner only as a body on the ground to kick with a boot with impunity. As President Richard Nixon pointed out a major aid package could stop the economic free fall and help anchor Russia in the West for years to come.

In this respect the Clinton administration’s greatest failure was its decision to take advantage of Russia’s weakness. And the fact that they used puppets like Jeffrey Sachs to take advantage of the Russia situation produced a long term damage to the US strategic interests in the region. Here is a relevant quote from Foreign Affairs article “Losing Russia”:

BEHIND THE facade of friendship, Clinton administration officials expected the Kremlin to accept the United States’ definition of Russia’s national interests. They believed that Moscow’s preferences could be safely ignored if they did not align with Washington’s goals. Russia had a ruined economy and a collapsing military, and it acted like a defeated country in many ways. Unlike other European colonial empires that had withdrawn from former possessions, Moscow made no effort to negotiate for the protection of its economic and security interests in Eastern Europe or the former Soviet states on its way out. Inside Russia, meanwhile, Yeltsin’s radical reformers often welcomed IMF and U.S. pressure as justification for the harsh and hugely unpopular monetary policies they had advocated on their own.

Soon, however, even Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev–known in Russia as Mr. Yes for accommodating the West–became frustrated with the Clinton administration’s tough love. As he told Talbott, who served as ambassador at large to the newly independent states from 1993 to 1994, “It’s bad enough having you people tell us what you’re going to do whether we like it or not. Don’t add insult to injury by also telling us that it’s in our interests to obey your orders.”

But such pleas fell on deaf ears in Washington, where this arrogant approach was becoming increasingly popular. Talbott and his aides referred to it as the spinach treatment: a paternalistic Uncle Sam fed Russian leaders policies that Washington deemed healthy, no matter how unappetizing these policies seemed in Moscow.

As Talbott adviser Victoria Nuland put it, “The more you tell them it’s good for them, the more they gag.” By sending the message that Russia should not have an independent foreign policy — or even an independent domestic one — the Clinton administration generated much resentment. This neocolonial approach went hand in hand with IMF recommendations that most economists now agree were ill suited to Russia and so painful for the population that they could never have been implemented democratically. However, Yeltsin’s radical reformers were only too happy to impose them without popular consent.

Here is the Shleifer part of the story although it is important to realize that he was just a puppet, low level criminal (No. 6 card or "shesterka" : lowest member of a gang in Russian slang) in the biggest looting of the century, looting that exceeds performed by Hitler armies in 40th. (Harry R. Lewis Larry Summers, Robert Rubin Will The Harvard Shadow Elite Bankrupt The University And The Country):

In 1992, Andrei Shleifer, a Harvard professor and a close friend of Summers since Shleifer's college days at Harvard, became head of a Harvard project that directed U.S. government money for the development of the Russian economy. Tens of millions of dollars in noncompetitive U.S. contracts flowed to Harvard for Shleifer's Russian work, and his team directed the distribution of hundreds of millions more. Through the mid-1990s, complaints accumulated in Washington about self-dealing and improper investing by the Harvard team, and by mid-1997, the Harvard contracts had been canceled and the FBI had taken up the case. For two years it was before a federal grand jury.

In September, 2000, the government sued Harvard, Shleifer, and others, claiming that Shleifer was lining his own pockets and those of his wife, hedge fund manager Nancy Zimmerman -- formerly a vice president at Goldman Sachs under Rubin.

Soon after, when Summers became a candidate for the Harvard presidency, Shleifer lobbied hard for him in Cambridge. Rubin assured the Fellows that the abrasiveness Summers had exhibited at Treasury was a thing of the past. They named him president--in spite of what was already known about his enabling role in the malodorous Russian affair, and the implausibility of a personality metamorphosis.

Summers did not recluse himself from the lawsuit until more than three months after his selection as president, and even then used his influence to protect Shleifer. The Fellows--including Rubin, whom Summers added to the Corporation--fought the case for years, spending upwards of $10M on lawyers. But in 2005 a federal judge found Shleifer to have conspired to defraud the government and held Harvard liable as well. To settle the civil claims, Shleifer paid the government $2M and Harvard paid $26.5M; Zimmerman's company had already paid $1.5M. Shleifer denied all wrongdoing, and Harvard disclosed nothing about any response of its own--a departure from its handling of misconduct by faculty farther from the center of power.

Summers remained close to Shleifer, yet claimed in a February 2006 faculty meeting to know too little about the scandal to have formed an opinion about it. This prevarication brought a gasp from the assembled faculty and solidified faculty opposition to the Summers presidency.

Rubin is now gone from his leadership role and his board membership at Citigroup, hauling away $126M from a firm that was $65B poorer than when he joined it, with 75,000 fewer jobs. But he remains on the Harvard board, in spite of the financial meltdowns at both Citigroup and Harvard and his poor oversight of the problematic president he persuaded Harvard to hire.

The Rubin network remains alive and well in the White House, including not just Summers but several other Rubin protégés. Among the strangest of these power loops is that the well-connected Nancy Zimmerman has turned up as a member of Summers's economic policy brain trust.

It's pretty funny that in 1993 Andrei Shleifer co-authored a paper about corruption":

Abstract

This paper presents two propositions about corruption. First, the structure of government institutions and of the political process are very important determinants of the level of corruption. In particular, weak governments that do not control their agencies experience very high corruption levels. Second, the illegality of corruption and the need for secrecy make it much more distortionary and costly than its sister activity, taxation. These results may explain why, in some less developed countries, corruption is so high and so costly to development.

Copyright 1993, the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Compare this paper with the assessment of his own behavior in the article "On Post-Modern Corruption"(Economic Principals):

It is against this background that a seemingly unrelated matter, the Andrei Shleifer case, should be considered. Readers are all too familiar with the details of how a 31-year-old Russian expatriate, swiftly risen to eminence as a Harvard University economics professor, was put in charge in 1992 of a huge US government-financed, Harvard-administered mission to advise the Russian government of Boris Yeltsin on how to establish a market economy of their own -- until he was discovered in 1996 to be lining his own pockets, and those of his wife, his deputy and the deputy's girlfriend. At that point the mission collapsed.

Four years later, the US Attorney in Boston sued. Four years after that, Shleifer was found to have committed fraud and Harvard University to have breached its contract. Each was ordered to repay the government.

Perhaps the Shleifer story is no big deal, and not the symbol of post-modern corruption having spread to universities that I think it is. Yet there are similarities to the Congressional situation, I believe. The case against Shleifer case was a civil complaint, not a criminal charge. Cunningham was elected, Shleifer was hired. Each helped himself to some good old-fashioned graft, and each was found by a court to have done (in the words of the San Diego prosecutor) "the worst thing an Éofficial can do -- he enriched himself through his position and violated the trust of those who put him there."

And just as the tactics of the House leadership are more alarming than the conduct of the lowly Cunningham, so the determination of Harvard's administrators to defend Shleifer for nine long years is more astounding than what Shleifer actually did. He was young and inexperienced. They had all the advice and time in the world. His culpability has been established. Theirs has barely been addressed.

Here is some information about the events form Wikipedia article Andrei Shleifer:

Controversy

Under the False Claims Act, the US government sued Harvard, Shleifer, Shleifer's wife, Shleifer's assistant Jonathan Hay, and Hay's girlfriend (now his wife) Elizabeth Hebert, because these individuals bought Russian stocks and GKOs while they were working on the country's privatization, which potentially contravened Harvard's contract with USAID. In 2001, a federal judge dismissed all charges against Zimmerman and Hebert.[4] In June 2004, a federal judge ruled that Harvard had violated the contract but was not liable for treble damages, but that Shleifer and Hay might be held liable for treble damages (up to $105 million) if found guilty by a jury [2].

In June 2005, Harvard and Shleifer announced that they had reached a tentative settlement with the US government. On August 3 of the same year, Harvard University, Shleifer and the Justice department reached an agreement under which the university paid $26.5 million to settle the five-year-old lawsuit. Shleifer was also responsible for paying $2 million dollars worth of damages, though he did not admit any wrong doing. A firm owned by his wife previously had paid $1.5 million in an out of court settlement.

Because Harvard University paid most of the damages and allowed Shleifer to retain his faculty position, the settlement provoked allegations of favoritism on the part of Harvard's outgoing president Lawrence Summers, who is Shleifer's close friend and mentor. Shleifer's conduct was reviewed by Harvard's internal ethics committee. In October 2006, at the close of that review, Shleifer released a statement making it clear that he remains on Harvard's faculty. However, according to the Boston Globe, he has been stripped of his honorary title of Whipple V. N. Jones Professor of Economics[3].

Shleifer's involvement in Russia was investigated by David McClintick, a Harvard alumnus and journalist for Institutional Investor Magazine. His 30-page January 2006 article claims to show that "economics professor Andrei Shleifer, in the mid-1990s, led a Harvard advisory program in Russia that collapsed in disgrace." The article drew considerable criticism among Shleifer's colleagues, collaborators, close friends, and students. According to the Harvard Crimson[4], the university's daily newspaper, Shleifer's colleague and economics professor Edward Glaeser said that the Institutional Investor article "is a potent piece of hate creation—not quite 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,' but it's in that camp." But Glaeser later apologized for his statement[5].

Larry Summers was not only defender but also the handler of Andrei Shleifer

Prominent role of Larry Summers in Andrei Shleifer affair shed very negative light on this very controversial figure. Positioning him as a key figured in Clinton administration intended to destroy the xUSSR republic economies, especially economics of Russia. And that role perfectly alight with his general political role in Clinton administration and after that. The role of enforcer of neoliberal social order. Role of Larry Summers in adopting "shock therapy" and Yeltsin privatization of state assets still needs to be investigated. But it is perfectly consistent with his track record. Among key "mis-achievements" of Bubble Boy Larry:

Opium for the masses: Neoclassical economics role under neoliberalism as equivalent of the role of Catholic Church under feudalism

Some use the term “neo-feudalism” to characterize operation of the USA and "friends" in xUSSR space but they are essentially neocolonialism. When open brutal used of military force for conquering nations was substitutes by financial instruments. But neoliberalism definitely use neo-feudal methods, and that includes usage of neoclassic economics in the USA. Here I mean use of neoclassic economic as a new religion that justify and "bless" neoliberal social order. Essentially the same role that Catholic church played for classic feudalism. It serves as "An opium for the masses", if we use slightly overdone Marx quote ;-)

While related to economic rape of Russia, Shleifer's story has a wider meaning as an apt symbol of "post-modern" corruption at universities and especially in Harvard where students were actively indoctrinated in pseudoscientific theories which constitute a theoretical framework of casino capitalism serving simultaneously as the role of ideology which is not that far from the role of Marxism in the USSR. Here is Anna Willamson view (The Rape of Russia, Testimony of Anne Williamson Before the House Banking Committee)

From the perspective of the many millions of her children, Mother Russia in late 1991 was like an old woman, skirts yanked above her waist, who had been abandoned flat on her back at a muddy crossroads, the object of others' scorn, greed and unseemly curiosity. It is the Russian people who kept their wits about them, helped her to her feet, dusted her off, straightened her clothing, righted her head scarf and it is they who can restore her dignity - not Boris Yeltsin, not Anatole Chubais, not Boris Berezovsky nor any of the other aspirants to power. And it is the Russian people - their abilities, efforts and dreams - which comprise the Russian economy, not those of Vladimir Potanin or Viktor Chernomyrdin or Mikhail Khodorkovsky or Vladimir Gusinsky. And that is where we should have placed our bet - on the Russian people - and our stake should have been the decency, the common sense and abilities of our own citizens realized not through multilateral lending but through the use of tax credits for direct investment in the Russian economy and the training of Russian workers on 6-month to one year stints at the U.S. offices of American firms in conjunction with the elimination of U.S. tariffs on Russian goods.

Russia is a fabled land, home to a unique and provocative thousand year-old culture, and a country rich in the resources the world needs whose people had the courage and resilience to defeat this century’s greatest war machine, Hitler’s invading Wehrmacht. Yet, thanks to Boris Yeltsin’s thirst for power and megalomaniacal inadequacy, Russia has become the latest victim of American expediency and of a culturally hollow and economically predatory globalism. Consequently, Americans, who thought their money was helping a stricken land, have been dishonored; and the Russian people who trusted us are now in debt twice what they were in 1991 and rightly feel themselves betrayed.

The worst of it was that some pretty good ideas - private property, sound money, minimal government, the inviolability of contract and public accountability - that have delivered to the West’s citizenry the most prosperity and the most liberty in world history, and might have done the same for the Russians, were twisted into perverse constructions and only then exported via a Harvard-connected cabal of Clinton administration appointees who funded - without competition - their allies at Harvard University courtesy the public purse. Joining the US-directed effort were the usual legions of overpaid IMF/World Bank advisers whose lending terror continues to encircle the globe.

As reader with nickname DownSouth commented on Naked Capitalism blog (Obama Administration “Nothing to See Here” on Foreclosure Crisis « naked capitalism), historically one of the most powerful forces that supported feudalism in Europe were Catholic and Orthodox churches: the feudal order was upheld by the Church’s priestly class allied with European royalty.

In the modern USA something similar can be said about the relations of the neoclassical economists and bankers. It wasn’t meant to be this way, either with the priests of old or the priests of new. As Robert H. Nelson points out in Economics as Religion,

…Samuelson followed the Roman Catholic model. The members of the economics profession, and other scientific and professional elites, would be motivated by the higher considerations of a priesthood, as compared with businesspeople and other ordinary citizens in the commercial realm. There would be no popular votes held for the scientific leaders of society. Samuelson acknowledged the practical necessity to allow wide rein for the pursuit of self-interest in the marketplace. However, the professional economists and other scientific managers of the progressive state would function according to the ethical standard of the Roman Catholic priesthood. They would reject the commercial motive of self-interest and instead act in their professional and public capacity to serve the common good—-“the public interest”—-of all of society.

In Darwin’s Cathedral David Sloan Wilson made the observation that all major churches seem to have a “life cycle.”

Religious denominations range from huge established churches that encompass most of the population to tiny sects that reject the larger churches as corrupt and regard themselves as keepers of the original faith. The huge established churches begin as sects, grow into churches, give rise to offspring sects, and then mysteriously fall into senility, to be replaced by their own offspring sects. I would just add that it seems like theology follows function in this life cycle.

For instance, as Wilson points out, the early Christian church, while it was still a small sect, had “a policy of extreme altruism and forgiveness toward the downtrodden” and “a policy of unyielding opposition” toward the main Jewish religious institutions, which it perceived to be in league with the Roman Empire. As the Christian church matured and became the established church, however, it became part and parcel of the power structure, championing it and defending it against the downtrodden. What began as a small sect with a theology based upon knowledge and moral authority morphed into a church whose theology was all about defending wealth and power.

Eventually a new sect rose to challenge this priestly class. As Nelson explains:

Indeed, it was this strong distinction between ordinary people and the church priesthood that, among a number of other tenets of Catholic doctrine, incurred the wrath of Martin Luther. Luther saw the Roman Catholic Church as selling ordinary people short and thus declared a new Protestant “priesthood of all believers.” The ministry of the Protestant churches would stand on an equal plane with the faithful—-both, for example, would marry. The leadership of Protestant parishes would be elected by the ordinary members of the church, while the Roman Catholic Church would continue to select its own leaders in a hierarchal fashion, as when the pope designates the cardinals of the church.

What Luther had to say about the priestly class of the Medieval Catholic Church rings true about modern-day high priests of "casino capitalism", the neoclassical economists of "Harvard Mafia". As Luther wrote the Pope in letter in 1520:

But they See, which is called the Roman Curia, and of which neither thou nor any man can deny that is more corrupt than any Babylon or Sodom ever was, and which is, as far as I can see, characterized by a totally depraved, hopeless, and notorious wickedness—-that See I have truly despised… The Roman Church has become the most licentious den of thieves, the most shameless of all brothels, the kingdom of sin, death, and hell… They err who ascribe to thee the right of interpreting the Scripture, for under cover of thy name they seek to set up their own wickedness in the Church, and, alas, through them Satan has already made much headway under thy predecessors. In short, believe none who exalt thee, believe those who humble thee.


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[Dec 17, 2017] Newly-Declassified Documents Show Western Leaders Promised Gorbachev that NATO Would Not Move One Inch Closer to Russia by George Washington

Notable quotes:
"... By George Washington. Originally published at Washington's Blog ..."
"... When Russian Supreme Soviet deputies came to Brussels to see NATO and meet with NATO secretary-general Manfred Woerner in July 1991, Woerner told the Russians that "We should not allow [ ] the isolation of the USSR from the European community." According to the Russian memorandum of conversation, " Woerner stressed that the NATO Council and he are against the expansion of NATO (13 of 16 NATO members support this point of view)." (See Document 30) ..."
"... Thus, Gorbachev went to the end of the Soviet Union assured that the West was not threatening his security and was not expanding NATO ..."
"... IIRC, the U.S. has, historically, not lived up to one treaty in its entire existence. Quite a remarkable accomplishment, no? Methinks the chickens are coming home to roost, yes? ..."
"... Trump's doubts about NATO, including his demands that European members pay more, are presented as evidence (it is hinted) of his collusion with the evil Putin. ..."
"... History is bunk, as ol' Henry Ford said: Americans live in the eternal now. Our PDS (Putin Derangement System) journos insist that Putin is bad to the bone, as all Russkis are, and there's just no reason for it except for their dark slavic hearts which contrast so painfully with our bright pure red white 'n blue ones. :-( ..."
"... first draft of history ..."
"... Zero acknowledgement by any of the deep permastate types that the consent of the governed is even necessary. We the people are simply the bobbleheads to be manipulated by the lying sociopaths in power. ..."
"... Any thing like this pretty much ignores the fact that all of the Visegad four (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) were pushing VERY strongly to get included in NATO, as for them at the time it was the one clear signal that they are not in the USSRs zone of dominion any more. Anything else would just not do ..."
"... The EU has been willing to say "no" to the much more geographically important Turkey for decades. Why does Poland have more clout? ..."
"... the whole treatment of Russia as a beaten country (when they very clearly didn't feel like that) was beyong stupid, it was , and the West should have learned from history (how it ended with Germany post WW1). ..."
"... My point is that way too often I have seen this as "America does this, America does that" – without considering the wider picture. Yes, ultimately it was US decision (because they could have just keep saying no, although polish minority in the US is large – it's larger than Jewish, although I suspect there is an overlap. Also, Albright was born in Czechoslovakia and emigrated after the communist takeover, so there you go, she might have played a role in turning Clinton around) – but it wasn't that they were rushing to do it from day 0 and forcing the V4 to get into NATO just to do one over Russia. ..."
"... I suspect one of the reasons they actually agreed to it in the end was because they thought Russia was done for (who in the world cared for Russia in 1995-1998? Apart from looters, that is, both foreign and domestic), and NATO was just a fomality that would be gone in a decade. ..."
"... My point is that way too often I have seen this as "America does this, America does that" – without considering the wider picture Also, Albright was born in Czechoslovakia and emigrated after the communist takeover, so there you go, she might have played a role in turning Clinton around) – but it wasn't that they were rushing to do it from day 0 and forcing the V4 to get into NATO just to do one over Russia. ..."
"... who in the world cared for Russia in 1995-1998? Apart from looters, that is, both foreign and domestic ..."
"... "Russia is finished" ..."
"... WW2 was "won" by Russia defeating Germany, while losing 30 million people. The US "won" WW2 by bombing a quarter million citizens at Hiroshima/Nagasake, while losing maybe 250,000 soldiers in the total war effort.. ..."
"... Gentlemen prefer jackboots ? ..."
"... The U.S. and its allies made a set of commitments to Gorbachev, and then Bill Clinton broke those promises. Full stop. Bush then doubled down. Obama and Trump added Albania, Croatia and Montenegro because I guess it's now a required machismo ritual. (interestinng coincidence that accessions just happened to be scheduled for the first six months after open-seat Presidential elections, no?) The consequences of those decisions are the responsibility of the inhabitants of the White House, and no one else's. ..."
"... The recent history, with savage civil wars in Yugoslavia, Moldavia and Ukraine, shows that there are enough wacky people imbued with detestation for their neighbours to overwhelm the sane ones. Echoes of what some Ukrainian groups tell about e.g. Poles make me think we should be wary of those old grievances. ..."
"... A century ago, Russians had a positive image amongst Eastern Europeans (except Poles). The ones who were the target of contempt and detestation were the Austrians and the Turks. Perhaps the next generation will have entirely forgotten about the Russians of the Warsaw Pact, the COMECON and the "limited sovereignty". ..."
"... Lost in your one-sided account of the brave Hungarians is the fact that a non-trivial contingent of those invading the USSR during the Second World War were Hungarians. There were a lot of fascists in Hungary, and no joke about it, and they willingly participated in the invasion. ..."
"... Instead the western powers got greedy, expanded up the the Russian border, lined it with Special Forces formations and future nuclear first-strike-missiles and holds NATO tank parades literally blocks away from the Russian border. Epic fail that. ..."
"... Nice thought but the military industry can't have peace and harmony. NATO was very quick to start talking about Islam as the next threat after the fall of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... The entrenched USG neocons will foster a demonization of Putin (and Russia) until they achieve WWIII; but an objective evaluation of Russian superiority in weapons suggests that theirs is a suicide mission. Peruse the saga of the USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea, and the US military fear of Soviet defense missile systems, to understand. ..."
"... except that it wasn't as bad as its immediate successor. ..."
"... the reneging of Baker's promise + regime change in Iraq + regime change in Libya + near regime change in Syria demonstrate to everyone outside of Nato that the US/the West can't be trusted to honor international law -- regardless of the administration (Dem or Rep). And other countries will act accordingly ..."
"... In the book "Who Lost Russia", the author, Peter Conradi, mentions a political lobby group funded by the defense contractors to promote NATO expansion to the East in the 1990s. Does anyone have information concerning this group and its influence? ..."
"... By the late 90s, with Yeltsin in charge, Russian opposition was less of an issue. In the end, NATO stumbled into enlargement, telling itself that it would be confined to the V3/4 and that would be it. But as a number of us pointed out at the time, once you start, there's no logical point at which you stop. And so Ukraine. ..."
"... tell it to the American Natives (Indians). The US lies to eveyone to gain land and leverage. ..."
"... Another problem, and much more significant one, was that Russia adopted capitalist at the very unfortunate moment of the domination of neoliberalism which led to many catastrophic decisions. ..."
"... I find it hard to believe that Gorbachev, or indeed anyone in international politics, would trust the US government or US ruling class absent some sort of material verification, guarantees, even hostages. That requires some explanation. ..."
"... The Warsaw Pact was USSR military colonialism. NATO was US military colonialism. What does an imperial power do when its "enemy" vacates a space, asking for neutrality? It takes over, demanding tribute. The tribute in this case was neoliberalism, to the benefit of US business, especially the MIC. ..."
Dec 16, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on December 15, 2017 by Yves Smith Yves here. This is a more purely geopolitical piece than we normally run. The reason for featuring it is that this bit of history is vital to understanding current US/Russian relations.

Even though experts have acknowledged that Secretary of State James Baker promised Mikhail Gorbachev that the Western powers would not move NATO into former Warsaw Pact countries, they claimed that the Russians were naive to have taken this promise as meaningful. The argument went that the US regarded only obligations committed to writing as binding, while the Soviets regarded firm, unambiguous statement by parties authorized to negotiate as commitments.

As the post below describes in detail, the Russians have more basis for feeling abused by the US and its allies than the US defense above indicates. Not only did Baker repeat his "not one inch eastward" declaration on three separate occasions, many national leaders and top-level diplomats in NATO countries, such as Maggie Thatcher, Helmut Kohl, and Francois Mitterand, both affirmed that they would respect the security interests of the former USSR and would also involve it in European "security structures."

And as we've said repeatedly, when the Clinton Administration broke these commitments by moving NATO eastward in 1997, cold warrior George Kennan predicted that it would be the worst geopolitical mistake the US ever made.

By George Washington. Originally published at Washington's Blog

The U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union at the time it broke up and many other experts have said that the West promised Gorbachev that – if the USSR allowed German re-unification – NATO wouldn't move "one inch closer" to Russia.

While Western leaders have long denied the promise, newly-declassified documents now prove this.

The National Security Archive at George Washington University reported Tuesday:

U.S. Secretary of State James Baker's famous "not one inch eastward" assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991, according to declassified U.S., Soviet, German, British and French documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University ( http://nsarchive.gwu.edu ).

The documents show that multiple national leaders were considering and rejecting Central and Eastern European membership in NATO as of early 1990 and through 1991, that discussions of NATO in the context of German unification negotiations in 1990 were not at all narrowly limited to the status of East German territory, and that subsequent Soviet and Russian complaints about being misled about NATO expansion were founded in written contemporaneous memcons and telcons at the highest levels

The documents reinforce former CIA Director Robert Gates's criticism of "pressing ahead with expansion of NATO eastward [in the 1990s], when Gorbachev and others were led to believe that wouldn't happen."

***

The first concrete assurances by Western leaders on NATO began on January 31, 1990, when West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher opened the bidding with a major public speech at Tutzing, in Bavaria, on German unification. The U.S. Embassy in Bonn (see Document 1) informed Washington that Genscher made clear "that the changes in Eastern Europe and the German unification process must not lead to an 'impairment of Soviet security interests.' Therefore, NATO should rule out an 'expansion of its territory towards the east, i.e. moving it closer to the Soviet borders.'" The Bonn cable also noted Genscher's proposal to leave the East German territory out of NATO military structures even in a unified Germany in NATO

This latter idea of special status for the GDR territory was codified in the final German unification treaty signed on September 12, 1990, by the Two-Plus-Four foreign ministers (see Document 25). The former idea about "closer to the Soviet borders" is written down not in treaties but in multiple memoranda of conversation between the Soviets and the highest-level Western interlocutors (Genscher, Kohl, Baker, Gates, Bush, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Major, Woerner, and others) offering assurances throughout 1990 and into 1991 about protecting Soviet security interests and including the USSR in new European security structures . The two issues were related but not the same. Subsequent analysis sometimes conflated the two and argued that the discussion did not involve all of Europe. The documents published below show clearly that it did.

The "Tutzing formula" immediately became the center of a flurry of important diplomatic discussions over the next 10 days in 1990, leading to the crucial February 10, 1990, meeting in Moscow between Kohl and Gorbachev when the West German leader achieved Soviet assent in principle to German unification in NATO, as long as NATO did not expand to the east

***

The conversations before Kohl's assurance involved explicit discussion of NATO expansion, the Central and East European countries, and how to convince the Soviets to accept unification. For example, on February 6, 1990, when Genscher met with British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd, the British record showed Genscher saying, "The Russians must have some assurance that if, for example, the Polish Government left the Warsaw Pact one day, they would not join NATO the next ." (See Document 2)

Having met with Genscher on his way into discussions with the Soviets, Baker repeated exactly the Genscher formulation in his meeting with Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze on February 9, 1990, (see Document 4); and even more importantly, face to face with Gorbachev

Not once, but three times, Baker tried out the "not one inch eastward" formula with Gorbachev in the February 9, 1990, meeting. He agreed with Gorbachev's statement in response to the assurances that "NATO expansion is unacceptable." Baker assured Gorbachev that "neither the President nor I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place," and that the Americans understood that "not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO's present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction." (See Document 6).

Here are two relevant excerpts from Document 6 :

***

The National Security Archive report continues:

Baker reported: "And then I put the following question to him [Gorbachev]. Would you prefer to see a united Germany outside of NATO, independent and with no U.S. forces or would you prefer a unified Germany to be tied to NATO, with assurances that NATO's jurisdiction would not shift one inch eastward from its present position? He answered that the Soviet leadership was giving real thought to all such options [ .] He then added, 'Certainly any extension of the zone of NATO would be unacceptable.'" Baker added in parentheses, for Kohl's benefit, "By implication, NATO in its current zone might be acceptable." ( See Document 8)

Well-briefed by the American secretary of state, the West German chancellor understood a key Soviet bottom line, and assured Gorbachev on February 10, 1990: "We believe that NATO should not expand the sphere of its activity." (See Document 9).

Here is a related excerpt from Document 9 :

The National Security Archives report concludes:

All the Western foreign ministers were on board with Genscher, Kohl, and Baker. Next came the British foreign minister, Douglas Hurd, on April 11, 1990.

***

Hurd reinforced the Baker-Genscher-Kohl message in his meeting with Gorbachev in Moscow, April 11, 1990, saying that Britain clearly "recognized the importance of doing nothing to prejudice Soviet interests and dignity." (See Document 15)

The Baker conversation with Shevardnadze on May 4, 1990, as Baker described it in his own report to President Bush, most eloquently described what Western leaders were telling Gorbachev exactly at the moment: "I used your speech and our recognition of the need to adapt NATO, politically and militarily, and to develop CSCE to reassure Shevardnadze that the process would not yield winners and losers. Instead, it would produce a new legitimate European structure – one that would be inclusive, not exclusive." (See Document 17)

Baker said it again, directly to Gorbachev on May 18, 1990 in Moscow, giving Gorbachev his "nine points," which included the transformation of NATO, strengthening European structures, keeping Germany non-nuclear, and taking Soviet security interests into account. Baker started off his remarks, "Before saying a few words about the German issue, I wanted to emphasize that our policies are not aimed at separating Eastern Europe from the Soviet Union. We had that policy before. But today we are interested in building a stable Europe, and doing it together with you." (See Document 18)

The French leader Francois Mitterrand continued the cascade of assurances by saying the West must "create security conditions for you, as well as European security as a whole." (See Document 19) Mitterrand immediately wrote Bush in a " cher George " letter about his conversation with the Soviet leader, that "we would certainly not refuse to detail the guarantees that he would have a right to expect for his country's security." (See Document 20)

At the Washington summit on May 31, 1990, Bush went out of his way to assure Gorbachev that Germany in NATO would never be directed at the USSR : "Believe me, we are not pushing Germany towards unification, and it is not us who determines the pace of this process. And of course, we have no intention, even in our thoughts, to harm the Soviet Union in any fashion. That is why we are speaking in favor of German unification in NATO without ignoring the wider context of the CSCE, taking the traditional economic ties between the two German states into consideration. Such a model, in our view, corresponds to the Soviet interests as well." (See Document 21)

The "Iron Lady" also pitched in, after the Washington summit, in her meeting with Gorbachev in London on June 8, 1990. Thatcher anticipated the moves the Americans (with her support) would take in the early July NATO conference to support Gorbachev with descriptions of the transformation of NATO towards a more political, less militarily threatening, alliance . She said to Gorbachev: "We must find ways to give the Soviet Union confidence that its security would be assured . CSCE could be an umbrella for all this, as well as being the forum which brought the Soviet Union fully into discussion about the future of Europe." (See Document 22)

The NATO London Declaration on July 5, 1990 had quite a positive effect on deliberations in Moscow, according to most accounts, giving Gorbachev significant ammunition to counter his hardliners at the Party Congress which was taking place at that moment.

***

As Kohl said to Gorbachev in Moscow on July 15, 1990, as they worked out the final deal on German unification: "We know what awaits NATO in the future, and I think you are now in the know as well," referring to the NATO London Declaration. (See Document 23)

In his phone call to Gorbachev on July 17, Bush meant to reinforce the success of the Kohl-Gorbachev talks and the message of the London Declaration. Bush explained: "So what we tried to do was to take account of your concerns expressed to me and others, and we did it in the following ways: by our joint declaration on non-aggression; in our invitation to you to come to NATO ; in our agreement to open NATO to regular diplomatic contact with your government and those of the Eastern European countries; and our offer on assurances on the future size of the armed forces of a united Germany – an issue I know you discussed with Helmut Kohl. We also fundamentally changed our military approach on conventional and nuclear forces. We conveyed the idea of an expanded, stronger CSCE with new institutions in which the USSR can share and be part of the new Europe." (See Document 24)

The documents show that Gorbachev agreed to German unification in NATO as the result of this cascade of assurances , and on the basis of his own analysis that the future of the Soviet Union depended on its integration into Europe, for which Germany would be the decisive actor. He and most of his allies believed that some version of the common European home was still possible and would develop alongside the transformation of NATO to lead to a more inclusive and integrated European space, that the post-Cold War settlement would take account of the Soviet security interests. The alliance with Germany would not only overcome the Cold War but also turn on its head the legacy of the Great Patriotic War.

But inside the U.S. government, a different discussion continued , a debate about relations between NATO and Eastern Europe. Opinions differed, but the suggestion from the Defense Department as of October 25, 1990 was to leave "the door ajar" for East European membership in NATO . (See Document 27)

***

As late as March 1991, according to the diary of the British ambassador to Moscow, British Prime Minister John Major personally assured Gorbachev, "We are not talking about the strengthening of NATO ." Subsequently, when Soviet defense minister Marshal Dmitri Yazov asked Major about East European leaders' interest in NATO membership, the British leader responded, " Nothing of the sort will happen ." (See Document 28)

When Russian Supreme Soviet deputies came to Brussels to see NATO and meet with NATO secretary-general Manfred Woerner in July 1991, Woerner told the Russians that "We should not allow [ ] the isolation of the USSR from the European community." According to the Russian memorandum of conversation, " Woerner stressed that the NATO Council and he are against the expansion of NATO (13 of 16 NATO members support this point of view)." (See Document 30)

Thus, Gorbachev went to the end of the Soviet Union assured that the West was not threatening his security and was not expanding NATO

Anti-Schmoo , December 15, 2017 at 4:22 am

IIRC, the U.S. has, historically, not lived up to one treaty in its entire existence. Quite a remarkable accomplishment, no? Methinks the chickens are coming home to roost, yes?

Jim Haygood , December 15, 2017 at 7:26 am

Nice timing for the release of these archives on Dec 12th. Yesterday the WaPo posted an article "based on interviews with more than 50 current and former U.S. officials" titled "Doubting the Intelligence: Trump Pursues Putin and Leaves a Russian Threat Unchecked":

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/world/national-security/donald-trump-pursues-vladimir-putin-russian-election-hacking/

Axiomatic to the WaPo hacks authors is that NATO ranks right up there with the 1776 Declaration and the Constitution as a bedrock US principle. Trump's doubts about NATO, including his demands that European members pay more, are presented as evidence (it is hinted) of his collusion with the evil Putin.

Naturally the new archives released by GWU play no part in the WaPo story two days later, since they aren't "fitted to the narrative."

History is bunk, as ol' Henry Ford said: Americans live in the eternal now. Our PDS (Putin Derangement System) journos insist that Putin is bad to the bone, as all Russkis are, and there's just no reason for it except for their dark slavic hearts which contrast so painfully with our bright pure red white 'n blue ones. :-(

Sid Finster , December 15, 2017 at 11:16 am

Any time you hear or read a Russian conspiracy theory in the MSM or elsewhere, substitute the words "Jews" for "Russians" and the words "International Jewry" for "Russia". Then re-read the sentence.

See how ugly that sentence now looks?

So why should we rightfully decry such racism against Jews or others, but applaud the same sort of racism when it is directed against Russians?

Jfree , December 15, 2017 at 4:32 am

Interesting to see these first draft of history discussions come out. At roughly the same time, Jeanne Kirkpatrick wrote an article directed more to a public discussion that the end of the 40-year Cold War could lead to America once again becoming a normal country in normal times . With its implication that NATO's very existence might not even be necessary anymore.

Gotta say the thing that most disappoints me is that none of these conversations ever actually occurred in any public – anywhere. There was absolutely zero public discussion about what a post-Cold War world and its mutual obligations might look like.

Zero acknowledgement by any of the deep permastate types that the consent of the governed is even necessary. We the people are simply the bobbleheads to be manipulated by the lying sociopaths in power.

Sid Finster , December 15, 2017 at 11:18 am

Yeah, but then the Deep State might actually have to get *jobs*.

skippy , December 15, 2017 at 4:33 am

Ask the Afghani Mujaheddin

vlade , December 15, 2017 at 4:44 am

You cannot read this alone – I said so before, and will again.

Any thing like this pretty much ignores the fact that all of the Visegad four (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) were pushing VERY strongly to get included in NATO, as for them at the time it was the one clear signal that they are not in the USSRs zone of dominion any more. Anything else would just not do.

It was a symbol, more than anything else. You need to remember that all of those countries had Soviet troops (and nuclear weapons), some since WW2, and ALL of them had their citizens killed by Soviet troops (Czechoslovakia 1968, Hungary 1956, Poland pre-and post WW2) within living memory.

Clinton resisted this (for a time, and I believe on advice of his security advisors), but in the end was won over. I have actually talked to a few people from V4 who were involved in this at a quite high level, so feel like I can comment.

Ignoring the above is to me just a sort of different American bubble that says "everything (for one group good, for another bad) that happens in the world is because America wishes so". It entirely ignores the history and the political situation in the area at the time.

That's not to say US couldn't have played it better – but it was not "America wake up and said "let's extend NATO for the kicks of it"" either.

Yves Smith Post author , December 15, 2017 at 5:20 am

Did you read the post? The commitments weren't just from the US. They were also from the leaders of Germany, France, and the UK.

The EU has been willing to say "no" to the much more geographically important Turkey for decades. Why does Poland have more clout?

Quentin , December 15, 2017 at 7:09 am

Maybe Poland has more clout because the rest of Europe and the US see Poland as part of their world. Not so much Turkey, which didn't get into any European 'game' plan until the end of the Ottoman empire, especially beginning with Ataturk. Before that, it was more an enemy if anything. And Russia then? Well Russia has always been seen as the big, bad freak who refuses to comply and conform, submit, to the West's deepest wishes.

Carolinian , December 15, 2017 at 9:10 am

I'm reading a book about the Crimean War and even in the middle of the 19th cent. there was widespread sentiment in England that the Russians were Slavic barbarians threatening the rest of Europe with their size, expansionist ambitions and different version of Christianity. So perhaps the current Russophobia has deeper roots than we realize and may center on Old Blightey with the cousins along for the ride. In this scenario Poland became the buffer zone against the Russians and was much quarreled over by the great powers.

vlade , December 15, 2017 at 7:13 am

I can't answer that – but the reality is, that US was giving V4 "No" answer when they were lobbying for it, and it took them years to get there.

If US was so keen to do it, it would have been done by Bush, not Clinton towards the end of hist first term. Clinton told Havel (and I have it from a person who was in the room at the time) that his military/security advisors were telling him "No".

Donald , December 15, 2017 at 7:30 am

What difference would it make to the Russians if Clinton was told not to do it and then did it anyway? You are arguing in effect that the US had good intentions and didn't want to break its word, but that is a secondary issue. The issue here is that not only did the US break its word, but we have been misled about it.

I was thinking about this in connection with a story about Yemen in the Intercept a couple of days ago. It seems that our ambassador to Yemen was more hawkish than some others in the Obama Administration. I think we should know as much as possible about how such decisions ar made and I thought the story was useful, but I can imagine how it would be spun if the mainstream press were ever pressured into covering our horrific role in Yemen with as much energy as they pour into Russiagate. They would look for a scapegoat like the ambassador and do everything they could to show that overall the US had good intentions.

vlade , December 15, 2017 at 8:22 am

My point is not the Russian grievance – that stands. I'd even agree with that it was a dumb move – but the whole treatment of Russia as a beaten country (when they very clearly didn't feel like that) was beyong stupid, it was , and the West should have learned from history (how it ended with Germany post WW1).

My point is that way too often I have seen this as "America does this, America does that" – without considering the wider picture. Yes, ultimately it was US decision (because they could have just keep saying no, although polish minority in the US is large – it's larger than Jewish, although I suspect there is an overlap. Also, Albright was born in Czechoslovakia and emigrated after the communist takeover, so there you go, she might have played a role in turning Clinton around) – but it wasn't that they were rushing to do it from day 0 and forcing the V4 to get into NATO just to do one over Russia.

I suspect one of the reasons they actually agreed to it in the end was because they thought Russia was done for (who in the world cared for Russia in 1995-1998? Apart from looters, that is, both foreign and domestic), and NATO was just a fomality that would be gone in a decade.

TBH, I also suspect that the first expansion Russia could have lived with – but the second expansion, especially taking in Baltics, and any suggestion of having NATO expand more towards Russia's borders was, is and will be seen as a provocation and a direct threat by Russia. Russia feels safe only when it has a nice plump buffer, preferrably of aligned states.

hemeantwell , December 15, 2017 at 9:17 am

The "wider picture" is that the US was the preeminent military power at that time. That is a reality that could have been leveraged into a transition in the terms of competition between Russia and the West. Your suggestion that four small countries should bear any responsibility for US' failure to follow through on its assurances and to use this opening to put an end to militarized competition and brinksmanship is impossible to take seriously. It ignores major players, e.g. the good old military-industrial complex (which here needs to be thought of in international terms), that were seriously threatened by the possibility of a wind-down in tensions.

timbers , December 15, 2017 at 9:19 am

My point is that way too often I have seen this as "America does this, America does that" – without considering the wider picture Also, Albright was born in Czechoslovakia and emigrated after the communist takeover, so there you go, she might have played a role in turning Clinton around) – but it wasn't that they were rushing to do it from day 0 and forcing the V4 to get into NATO just to do one over Russia.

Trump came into office promising better relations w/Russia and look how that turned out. It "wasn't that Trump was rushing into" worse relations w/Russia, but it still happened and in a very big hurry or "rush.".

I'd say the "Deep State" agenda was very much in a rush to start aggression against Russia.

Was Trump? Bill Clinton? Bush? Certainly Hillary was. But maybe they were/are just puppets of the Deep State.

visitor , December 15, 2017 at 11:11 am

who in the world cared for Russia in 1995-1998? Apart from looters, that is, both foreign and domestic

The general view of Russia as a goner was actually a post-1998 phenomenon because of the financial crash, bank failures, currency depreciation, state bankruptcy -- and the realization of how corrupt, destitute and rotten the "new democratic Russia" was. The (in)famous article "Russia is finished" by Jeffrey Tayler was published in 2001 -- at a time when Putin had just started taking control of things.

Wukchumni , December 15, 2017 at 12:30 pm

My parents knew the Korbels in Denver in the 50's, as an interesting aside to the conversation.

I'm on the phone with my mom right now, and she relates that the idea that Madeleine didn't know she was Jewish until 1997 is a bit preposterous as her mother looked very much the part, but it was a different era way back when, and anti-semitism was such that you might have been turned away on a hotel room when they asked your surname, in some quarters.

MisterMr , December 15, 2017 at 9:52 am

"The EU has been willing to say "no" to the much more geographically important Turkey for decades. Why does Poland have more clout?"

In my opinion, there is some sort of European nationalism, by which I mean the idea that Europe should be a single big nation state, in most of Europe. This view is not as strong and obvious as single nation state nationalism, but it exists: for example Giuseppe Mazzini, one of the "founding fathers" of Italy, created two secret societies: the "giovine Italia" [young Italy] for the unification of Italy, and the "giovine Europa" [young Europe] for the unification of Europe, already in the 19th century before Italian unification.

The whole idea of a "united Europe" is part of the reason of the EU, so it's natural that Poland, which was already perceived as an European country, was welcome in the EU; Turkey on the other hand is not generally perceived as European so it's less welcome (you can see this as racism, or as sense of identity, the difference is quite blurry IMHO).

Russia too would have been welcome into the EU (in my opinion), but I don't think the Russians would have accepted the loss of sovereignity that this entail.

I think that this has to do with the fact that many (most) European countries were beaten quite hard in WW2, and even the two european "winners" of WW2 won only in the sense that the USA and the USSR won and they happened to be on the right side of the war at that time.

So nationalistic identity and pride in most of Europe is, IMHO, a more complex thing than it is in the USA, and Europeans mostly welcomed the idea of a United Europe.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the ones who appear to be the less attached to the idea of a "United Europe" are the British, who are the one who still may think they won WW2.

Anon , December 15, 2017 at 9:30 pm

WW2 was "won" by Russia defeating Germany, while losing 30 million people. The US "won" WW2 by bombing a quarter million citizens at Hiroshima/Nagasake, while losing maybe 250,000 soldiers in the total war effort..

Alex Morfesis , December 15, 2017 at 7:10 am

A bit confused on this viceguard suggestion of nostalgia for the wehrmacht and pure hate for Moscow

is it the food, the wine, or the women (kiss me muti) on the west side of the oder-neisse line ?

Gentlemen prefer jackboots ?

vlade , December 15, 2017 at 8:34 am

Where do you see nostalgia for Wehrmacht?

In 1990s, Soviets were the leaving occupants, who were there for 20+ years. They were thorougly despised – that's a fact. Soviets in 1950s were still often seen as liberators by a majority of the population, but managed to squander that away with bloody suppression of Hungarians in 50s, and less bloody, but not less jackbooted supression of Prague Spring in 68 (in a way more, since Hungarians actually fought, while in Prague Spring the killed were unarmed civilians)

whiteylockmandoubled , December 15, 2017 at 10:51 am

Yes, the Soviets were hated occupiers, but so what? The stakes on this are and were enormous, both in traditional Great Power terms, and with the added dimension of nuclear confrontation.

There were many steps that the US, UK, Germany and France could have taken to provide reassurances and security to the Eastern European states during the ensuing 20 years short of expanding NATO membership, beginning, of course, with economic integration. EU membership doesn't necessarily require NATO membership.

Yes, there were domestic "Captive Nations" political pressures in the U.S., but they could have been finessed with smart policy short of NATO expansion, and in fact, they were. I know it was a terrible strain, but US politicians heroically resisted that pressure for a full decade -- the first expansion didn't happen until 1999, more than half-way through Clinton's second term.

The U.S. and its allies made a set of commitments to Gorbachev, and then Bill Clinton broke those promises. Full stop. Bush then doubled down. Obama and Trump added Albania, Croatia and Montenegro because I guess it's now a required machismo ritual. (interestinng coincidence that accessions just happened to be scheduled for the first six months after open-seat Presidential elections, no?) The consequences of those decisions are the responsibility of the inhabitants of the White House, and no one else's.

America really did this one.

visitor , December 15, 2017 at 11:18 am

Interestingly, Eastern Europeans detest each other as well: Romanians vs. Hungarians, Poles vs. Ukrainians, Bulgarians vs. Serbs, etc. Their execration of the historically dominating and boorish Russians is what brings them together -- as well as their wariness of the overbearing and historically dominating Germany.

Olga , December 15, 2017 at 12:01 pm

Detest is a very strong word and not accurate in this case. There are historical grievances (such as Hungarians wanting to scrap the Trianon treaty), but most sane people have moved on Same goes for "boorish" Russians – have you ever met a Russian or read a bit of history about Eastern Europe? And yes, the struggle against German domination dates back to 800-900AD.

visitor , December 15, 2017 at 1:40 pm

The recent history, with savage civil wars in Yugoslavia, Moldavia and Ukraine, shows that there are enough wacky people imbued with detestation for their neighbours to overwhelm the sane ones. Echoes of what some Ukrainian groups tell about e.g. Poles make me think we should be wary of those old grievances.

Yes, I did meet Russians. Actually, I worked with them. In fact, I hired some. Very nice guys and fun lads, very intelligent, conscientious and imaginative (my branch is IT -- I view Russians as the elite there). Not boorish at all (but a bit cynical).

On the other hand, the anecdotes they kept telling about how things were going with police, "businessmen" and politicians back home made it very clear that those are extremely boorish -- and they were mostly the ones Eastern Europeans had to deal with. Those stories also explain why my Russian colleagues were so reserved initially, and opened up when they realized how different the interactions were in Western Europe.

I also had Hungarians and Romanians working with me and the Russians -- and there was absolutely no problem. All young generation though, they were schoolboys when the Eastern bloc collapsed. Time frame: early 2000s.

A century ago, Russians had a positive image amongst Eastern Europeans (except Poles). The ones who were the target of contempt and detestation were the Austrians and the Turks. Perhaps the next generation will have entirely forgotten about the Russians of the Warsaw Pact, the COMECON and the "limited sovereignty".

Sid Finster , December 15, 2017 at 11:22 am

Want to induce a spitting mad Donald Duck meltdown in a Polish person?

Simply remind them that the only reason that there are Polish people alive in Poland today is because of the Red Army. Anyone who thinks that the Germans were going to stop at Jews is not familiar with Mein Kampf or Generalplan Ost.

This is not to excuse anything else that the Soviets did in Eastern Europe, but at the same time, it is the only reason those Polish people are alive to nurse their russophobia.

Olga , December 15, 2017 at 11:56 am

For example, in some parts of Ukraine

JerseyJeffersonian , December 15, 2017 at 5:17 pm

Vlade,

Lost in your one-sided account of the brave Hungarians is the fact that a non-trivial contingent of those invading the USSR during the Second World War were Hungarians. There were a lot of fascists in Hungary, and no joke about it, and they willingly participated in the invasion. If you think that the losses in life and property caused directly by the invading Hungarian fascists to the Russian and Soviet peoples, both military and civilian, and the war crimes with which they were likely liberally festooned were not remembered, well, think again. And when the uprising began, those memories probably informed the severity of the Soviet response.

The Hungarians took up arms and participated in a brutal and genocidal attack against the USSR during the Third Reich's invasion. This was only slightly more than 10 years before the Hungarian uprising. Realistically, what did you expect the Soviets' reaction to be to the uprising? Soviet intelligence was surely aware of the Gladio program, and this would only be seen as part and parcel of this western-guided and sponsored program.

Were the deaths and repression that followed regrettable? Of course they were; I am not maintaining otherwise. But times were what they were largely due to what had gone before, and to elide that from the account is unbalanced.

The Rev Kev , December 15, 2017 at 8:16 am

I am wondering what would have happened if NATO had not only expanded east but had also let the Russian Federation itself become part of NATO. Of course countries like Estonia and Lithuania would have squawked about that but they could have been simply told to have a large cup of shut the **** up. Either that or they would have been neutral countries with NATO to the west as well as the east (Russia). Can you imagine?

Instead of NATO merely being the military wing of the western powers it would be one that stretched from Vladivostok right through to the Atlantic. Such an entity would have made it its job to stabilize all the Stans to the south of it as well as Afghanistan itself. There would never be the scenario, as is the case now, where China and Russia have been forced into a defensive alliance. Perhaps Russia would have become part of the EU. Imagine the trade possibilities.

Instead the western powers got greedy, expanded up the the Russian border, lined it with Special Forces formations and future nuclear first-strike-missiles and holds NATO tank parades literally blocks away from the Russian border. Epic fail that.

Chaos is the goal , December 15, 2017 at 9:12 am

Nice thought but the military industry can't have peace and harmony. NATO was very quick to start talking about Islam as the next threat after the fall of the Soviet Union.

UK even insisted that they needed their nuclear submarines to fight islam.

Olga , December 15, 2017 at 12:02 pm

There's be no need for MICC – can't have that, can we

andyb , December 15, 2017 at 8:32 am

The entrenched USG neocons will foster a demonization of Putin (and Russia) until they achieve WWIII; but an objective evaluation of Russian superiority in weapons suggests that theirs is a suicide mission. Peruse the saga of the USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea, and the US military fear of Soviet defense missile systems, to understand.

jfleni , December 15, 2017 at 9:28 am

Blowback: Kim Jong-Un, China, Russia, etc, etc, "We'll never believe you again, you lying Yankee [obscenities], a pox on you! And who can blame them?

Joel , December 15, 2017 at 10:34 am

When are historians going to start saying that the Clinton presidency was one of the most disastrous in American history?

The more we know, the more it seems much bad and little good came out of it, except that it wasn't as bad as its immediate successor.

visitor , December 15, 2017 at 11:02 am

except that it wasn't as bad as its immediate successor.

In so far as the major consequences of the policies and decisions taken by Clinton actually occurred during GWB's presidency, there is little to choose between them.

Extraordinary renditions? Clinton. Military interventions without UNO resolutions? Clinton. Complete dismantling of the financial sector leading to untrammeled speculation? Clinton. Bombing of foreign countries as a standard policy? Clinton (though with old-fashioned aeroplanes and long-range missiles, not drones, so there was innovation with Bush).

Amfortas the Hippie , December 15, 2017 at 11:19 am

At the time(clinton era), I was leery of Billary, but I couldn't put my finger on it I was too busy being young and wild and crazy, as well as keeping body and soul together.

and it was preinternet.

so one had to find alternative narratives regarding the shape of the world where one could people on street corners in the Montrose(Houston) handing out Lyndon Larouche newsletters, later street people on the Drag in Austin handing out Zines from Zendik Farms, still wet with ink, or the odd John Bircher at the aa meeting, the closet Klansman at the beer joint as well as more respectable outlets(William Greider comes to mind).

More to the point of this story, growing up listening to my Half Cherokee Grandad talk about perfidy on the part of the US, I guess I have always been immune to the usual flagwaving superpatriotism the US gov is not to be trusted. Ever.

It's only since I finally got on the Web, circa 1999, that I've been able to sift through all the chaff, and look at things like the foreign press and FOIA Docs, that that Feeling has hardened into Certainty.

The more I learn, the more I find that I loathe my country.(see: history of the CIA, for just one egregious crime spree in our name)
That sucks especially since expressing such dislike is the quickest way to getting lynched in the places I've spent my life(Texas and the South).

Olga , December 15, 2017 at 11:57 am

you're right, now it seems we shoulda kept papa bush for another term.

urdsama , December 15, 2017 at 12:36 pm

That is not what Joel said.

There has been a steady stream of articles and government disclosures that have shown the Clinton years were less than the rosy picture commonly painted.

This just adds to that narrative. Nothing is being said that we should have had more Bush the elder. But perhaps Clinton wasn't the answer either.

Louis Fyne , December 15, 2017 at 11:37 am

the reneging of Baker's promise + regime change in Iraq + regime change in Libya + near regime change in Syria demonstrate to everyone outside of Nato that the US/the West can't be trusted to honor international law -- regardless of the administration (Dem or Rep). And other countries will act accordingly

P Fitzsimon , December 15, 2017 at 11:58 am

In the book "Who Lost Russia", the author, Peter Conradi, mentions a political lobby group funded by the defense contractors to promote NATO expansion to the East in the 1990s. Does anyone have information concerning this group and its influence?

Olga , December 15, 2017 at 12:04 pm

I do remember reading about this group – someone wrote a lengthy article on this. Will look.

RWood , December 15, 2017 at 1:02 pm

Olga, you mention the MICC, while to others, it's the MIC. What discourse or determination leads you to that difference? I'm asking because I agree, and want further documentation, and the elimination of the last "C" is constant, and a great misperception.

David , December 15, 2017 at 1:34 pm

I was there. I've never believed that western leaders were being deliberately deceitful about NATO expansion – they were as much victims of events as anything else, and the situation was moving incredibly fast. Remember that the conversation with Gorbachev (Document 9) dates from February 1990, barely three months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when western capitals were in shock, and the priority was a peaceful reunification of Germany and the exit of Soviet forces stationed there. At that stage, as the situation changed almost daily, nobody much was thinking about NATO expansion. Indeed, many were wondering if NATO would go on at all.

Vlade is quite right that there was pressure from the V3 (later 4) for closer ties with the West, and this eventually turned into membership, but this was not being discussed in early 1990, when the V3 themselves did not want to move from one military bloc to another, and when it would have been seen as a gratuitous insult to the Soviet Union. On the other hand, there was a lot of worry about the stability of some of the ex Warsaw Pact countries and the Soviet successor states.

The real issue was the future of NATO itself. NATO had all sorts of pragmatic political advantages for all sorts of nations, including many in Europe, and it was necessary to find something for it to do. In the absence of a threat, enlargement was more or less all it could do, and so that was what it spent a long time doing.

By the late 90s, with Yeltsin in charge, Russian opposition was less of an issue. In the end, NATO stumbled into enlargement, telling itself that it would be confined to the V3/4 and that would be it. But as a number of us pointed out at the time, once you start, there's no logical point at which you stop. And so Ukraine.

Anon , December 15, 2017 at 9:47 pm

tell it to the American Natives (Indians). The US lies to eveyone to gain land and leverage.

Alex , December 15, 2017 at 2:54 pm

I'm grinding my teeth when I think about that time when it was possible to effect a genuine reset of relations between Russia and the West.\

Another problem, and much more significant one, was that Russia adopted capitalist at the very unfortunate moment of the domination of neoliberalism which led to many catastrophic decisions.

Anarcissie , December 15, 2017 at 4:35 pm

I find it hard to believe that Gorbachev, or indeed anyone in international politics, would trust the US government or US ruling class absent some sort of material verification, guarantees, even hostages. That requires some explanation.

RBHoughton , December 15, 2017 at 6:39 pm

The article notes dishonesty originated in the Department of Defense. Why am I not surprised?

One the most attractive features of NATO is that it emasculates all its members before the most powerful one. The strongman gets to know what the others can do militarily and adjusts for that. Its like a secret society – once in, you can't leave even if you want to. So joining the NATO gang for security actually brings submission. Should the strongest one withdraw into domestic contemplation the others will just wither away. Horror of horrors, peace might break out. Doubtful? What did we see in Serbia and Bosnia? Remind me.

wilroncanada , December 15, 2017 at 7:41 pm

The Warsaw Pact was USSR military colonialism. NATO was US military colonialism. What does an imperial power do when its "enemy" vacates a space, asking for neutrality? It takes over, demanding tribute. The tribute in this case was neoliberalism, to the benefit of US business, especially the MIC.

Olaf Lukk , December 15, 2017 at 10:20 pm

NATO was formed in 1948 response to the Soviet refusal to withdraw from the Eastern European nations it continued to occupy with Soviet troops and control with puppet governments after WWll. The Soviet response was to form the Warsaw Pact- consisting of those very same nations: (East) Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslavakia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania. The only time Warsaw Pact troops were used militarily was to put down rebellions by its own members: Hungary in 1956; Czechoslavakia in 1968.

The collapse of the Soviet empire- its Eastern European "sphere of influence"- began with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and culminated in the collapse of the Soviet "union" in 1991. In subsequent years, all of the Warsaw Pact members, plus the illegally annexed and occupied Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, having reclaimed their sovereignty, also made a point of joining NATO- to ensure that a reawakened Russian bear did not return to do even more damage.

Western leaders in 1990, seeking to reassure Gorbachev regarding German unification, had no standing to negotiate away the future foreign policies of those nations which had endured half a century of the failed Soviet experiment and were still within the Soviet "sphere of influence". In any case, how do you keep a "promise" to a political entity- the USSR- which no longer exists?

The nations of Eastern Europe chose to join NATO; they were not coerced into doing so. Russian actions in Ukraine have validated their pragmatism in joining NATO. Although Putin described the demise of the USSR as "the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th Century", Russia does not have some sort of divine right to rebuild the Soviet empire and it "sphere of influence". NATO is not a threat to Russia; it is only a threat to those who would seek to rebuild its lost empire.

Yves Smith Post author , December 15, 2017 at 10:36 pm

Sorry, NATO is a club, just like the EU, which has refused entry to Turkey. NATO decides who to let in. Outsiders don't have any rights, any more than Quebec could demand to join France.

Olaf Lukk , December 15, 2017 at 11:02 pm

"NATO decides who to let in". Precisely! All of the former Warsaw Pact members, plus the Baltic states, asked to join NATO, and were granted membership. Don't the nations of Eastern Europe- after fifty years of Soviet (Russian) domination, have the right to decide their own future, and to decide which alliances to join?

Considering the post WWll history of Eastern Europe -- the Soviet domination until the Soviet collapse -- Russia complaining about NATO expansion is tantamout to a burglar complaining that his victims have installed a burglar alarm.

[Dec 11, 2017] How Russia-gate Met the Magnitsky Myth by Robert Parry

Highly recommended!
Looks like Browder was connected to MI6. That means that intellignece agances participated in economic rape of Russia That's explains a lot, including his change of citizenship from US to UK. He wanted better protection.
Notable quotes:
"... The Russian lawyer, Natalie Veselnitskaya, who met with Trump Jr. and other advisers to Donald Trump Sr.'s campaign, represented a company that had run afoul of a U.S. investigation into money-laundering allegedly connected to the Magnitsky case and his death in a Russian prison in 2009. His death sparked a campaign spearheaded by Browder, who used his wealth and clout to lobby the U.S. Congress in 2012 to enact the Magnitsky Act to punish alleged human rights abusers in Russia. The law became what might be called the first shot in the New Cold War. ..."
"... Despite Russian denials – and the "dog ate my homework" quality of Browder's self-serving narrative – the dramatic tale became a cause celebre in the West. The story eventually attracted the attention of Russian filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov, a known critic of President Vladimir Putin. Nekrasov decided to produce a docu-drama that would present Browder's narrative to a wider public. Nekrasov even said he hoped that he might recruit Browder as the narrator of the tale. ..."
"... Nekrasov discovered that a woman working in Browder's company was the actual whistleblower and that Magnitsky – rather than a crusading lawyer – was an accountant who was implicated in the scheme. ..."
"... Ultimately, Nekrasov completes his extraordinary film – entitled "The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes" – and it was set for a premiere at the European Parliament in Brussels in April 2016. However, at the last moment – faced with Browder's legal threats – the parliamentarians pulled the plug. Nekrasov encountered similar resistance in the United States, a situation that, in part, brought Natalie Veselnitskaya into this controversy. ..."
"... That was when she turned to promoter Rob Goldstone to set up a meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr. To secure the sit-down on June 9, 2016, Goldstone dangled the prospect that Veselnitskaya had some derogatory financial information from the Russian government about Russians supporting the Democratic National Committee. Trump Jr. jumped at the possibility and brought senior Trump campaign advisers, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, along. ..."
"... By all accounts, Veselnitskaya had little or nothing to offer about the DNC and turned the conversation instead to the Magnitsky Act and Putin's retaliatory measure to the sanctions, canceling a program in which American parents adopted Russian children. One source told me that Veselnitskaya also wanted to enhance her stature in Russia with the boast that she had taken a meeting at Trump Tower with Trump's son. ..."
"... But another goal of Veselnitskaya's U.S. trip was to participate in an effort to give Americans a chance to see Nekrasov's blacklisted documentary. She traveled to Washington in the days after her Trump Tower meeting and attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, according to The Washington Post. ..."
"... There were hopes to show the documentary to members of Congress but the offer was rebuffed. Instead a room was rented at the Newseum near Capitol Hill. Browder's lawyers. who had successfully intimidated the European Parliament, also tried to strong arm the Newseum, but its officials responded that they were only renting out a room and that they had allowed other controversial presentations in the past. ..."
"... Their stand wasn't exactly a profile in courage. "We're not going to allow them not to show the film," said Scott Williams, the chief operating officer of the Newseum. "We often have people renting for events that other people would love not to have happen." ..."
"... So, Nekrasov's documentary got a one-time showing with Veselnitskaya reportedly in attendance and with a follow-up discussion moderated by journalist Seymour Hersh. However, except for that audience, the public of the United States and Europe has been essentially shielded from the documentary's discoveries, all the better for the Magnitsky myth to retain its power as a seminal propaganda moment of the New Cold War. ..."
"... Over the past year, we have seen a growing hysteria about "Russian propaganda" and "fake news" with The New York Times and other major news outlets eagerly awaiting algorithms that can be unleashed on the Internet to eradicate information that groups like Google's First Draft Coalition deem "false." ..."
"... First Draft consists of the Times, the Post, other mainstream outlets, and establishment-approved online news sites, such as Bellingcat with links to the pro-NATO think tank, Atlantic Council. First Draft's job will be to serve as a kind of Ministry of Truth and thus shield the public from information that is deemed propaganda or untrue. ..."
"... From searches that I did on Wednesday, Nekrasov's film was not available on Amazon although a pro-Magnitsky documentary was. I did find a streaming service that appeared to have the film available. ..."
"... Why are so many people–corporate executives, governments, journalists, politicians–afraid of William Browder? Why isn't Andrei Nekrasov's film available via digital versatile disk, for sale on line? Mr. Parry, why can't you find it? Oh, wait: You did! Heaven forbid we, your readers, should screen it. Since you, too, are helping keep that film a big fat secret at least give us a few clues as to where we can find it. Throw us a bone! Thank you. ..."
"... Hysterical agit-prop troll insists that world trembles in fear of "genuine American hero" William Browder. John McCain in 2012 was too busy trembling to notice that Browder had given up his US citizenship in 1998 in order to better profit from the Russian financial crisis. ..."
"... Abe – and to escape U.S. taxes. ..."
"... Excellent report and analysis. Thanks for timely reminder regarding the Magitsky story and the fascinating background regarding Andrei Nekrasov's film, in particular its metamorphosis and subsequent aggressive suppression. Both of those factors render the film a particular credibility and wish on my part to view it. ..."
"... I am beginning to feel more and more like the citizens of the old USSR, who, were to my recollection and understanding back in the 50's and 60's:. Longing to read and hear facts suppressed by the communist state, dependent upon the Voice of America and underground news sources within the Soviet Union for the truth. RU, Consortium news, et. al. seem somewhat a parallel, and 1984 not so distant. ..."
"... Last night, After watching Max Boot self destruct on Tucker Carlson, i was inspired to watch episode 2 of The Putin Interviews. I felt enlightened. If only the Establishment Media could turn from promoting its agenda of shaping and suppressing the news into accurately reporting it. ..."
"... Media corruption is not so new. Yellow journalism around the turn of the 19th century, took us into a progression of wars. The War to End All Wars didn't. Blame the munitions makers and the Military Industrial Complex if you will, but a corrupt medial, at the very least enabled a progression of wars over the last 120 or so years. ..."
"... Nekrasov, though he's a Putin critic, is a genuine hero in this instance. He ulitimately put his preconceptions aside and took the story where it truly led him. Nekrasov deserves boatloads of praise for his handling of Browder and his final documentary film product. ..."
"... "[Veselnitskaya] traveled to Washington in the days after her Trump Tower meeting and attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, according to The Washington Post." The other day I saw photos of her sitting right behind Amb. McFaul in some past hearing. How did she get a seat on the front row? ..."
"... "The approach taken by Brennan's task force in assessing Russia and its president seems eerily reminiscent of the analytical blinders that hampered the U.S. intelligence community when it came to assessing the objectives and intent of Saddam Hussein and his inner leadership regarding weapons of mass destruction. The Russia NIA notes, 'Many of the key judgments rely on a body of reporting from multiple sources that are consistent with our understanding of Russian behavior.' There is no better indication of a tendency toward 'group think' than that statement. ..."
"... "The acknowledged deficit on the part of the U.S. intelligence community of fact-driven insight into the specifics of Russian presidential decision-making, and the nature of Vladimir Putin as an individual in general, likewise seems problematic. The U.S. intelligence community was hard wired into pre-conceived notions about how and what Saddam Hussein would think and decide, and as such remained blind to the fact that he would order the totality of his weapons of mass destruction to be destroyed in the summer of 1991, or that he could be telling the truth when later declaring that Iraq was free of WMD. ..."
"... Magnitsky Act in Canada has been based on made-up `facts` as Globe & Mail reporting proves. Not news, but deepens my concern about Canada following the Cold War without examination. ..."
"... Bill Browder's grandfather was Earl Browder, leader of the CPUSA from the the late 30s to late 40s. His father was also a communist. Bill jr parlayed those connections with the Soviet apparatchiks to gain a foothold in looting Russia of its state assets during the 1990s. No he was not a communist but neither were the leaders of the Soviet Union at the time of its dissolution (in name yes, but in fact not). ..."
"... I've also heard that it was the Jewish commissars who, when the USSR fell apart, rushed off to grab everything they could (with the help of outside Jewish money) and became the Russian oligarchs we hear about today. This is probably what Britton is getting at: "His father has a communist past." You go from running the government to owning it. Anti-Putin because Putin put a stop to them. ..."
"... backwardsevolution: I worked with a Soviet emigre engineer – Jewish – on the same project in an Engineering design and construction company during early 1990's. He immigrated with his family around 1991. In Soviet Union, there being no private financial institutions or lawyers so to speak , many Jews went into science and engineering. A very interesting person, we were close work place friends. His elder brother had stayed behind back in Russia. His brother was in Moscow and involved in this plunder going on there. He used to tell me all these hair raising first hand stories about what was going on in Russia during that time. All the plunder flowed into the Western Countries. ..."
"... I have read all the comments up to yours you have told it like it was in Russia in those years. Browder was the king of the crooks looting Russia. ..."
"... I remember reading Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine," but I just could not get through the chapter on the USSR falling apart. I started reading it, but I didn't want to finish it (and I didn't) because it just made me angry. The West was too unfair! Russia was asking for help, but instead the West just looted. I'd say that Russia was very lucky to have someone like Putin clean it up. ..."
"... The Canadian Minister Chrysta Freeland met with William Brawder in Davos a few months ago " -- Birds of a feather flock together. Mrs. Chrystal Freeland has a very interesting background for which she is very proud of: her granddad was a Ukrainian Nazi collaborator denounced by Jewish investigators: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/27/a-nazi-skeleton-in-the-family-closet/ ..."
Jul 13, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

Exclusive: A documentary debunking the Magnitsky myth, which was an opening salvo in the New Cold War, was largely blocked from viewing in the West but has now become a factor in Russia-gate, reports Robert Parry.

Near the center of the current furor over Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer in June 2016 is a documentary that almost no one in the West has been allowed to see, a film that flips the script on the story of the late Sergei Magnitsky and his employer, hedge-fund operator William Browder.

The Russian lawyer, Natalie Veselnitskaya, who met with Trump Jr. and other advisers to Donald Trump Sr.'s campaign, represented a company that had run afoul of a U.S. investigation into money-laundering allegedly connected to the Magnitsky case and his death in a Russian prison in 2009. His death sparked a campaign spearheaded by Browder, who used his wealth and clout to lobby the U.S. Congress in 2012 to enact the Magnitsky Act to punish alleged human rights abusers in Russia. The law became what might be called the first shot in the New Cold War.

According to Browder's narrative, companies ostensibly under his control had been hijacked by corrupt Russian officials in furtherance of a $230 million tax-fraud scheme; he then dispatched his "lawyer" Magnitsky to investigate and – after supposedly uncovering evidence of the fraud – Magnitsky blew the whistle only to be arrested by the same corrupt officials who then had him locked up in prison where he died of heart failure from physical abuse.

Despite Russian denials – and the "dog ate my homework" quality of Browder's self-serving narrative – the dramatic tale became a cause celebre in the West. The story eventually attracted the attention of Russian filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov, a known critic of President Vladimir Putin. Nekrasov decided to produce a docu-drama that would present Browder's narrative to a wider public. Nekrasov even said he hoped that he might recruit Browder as the narrator of the tale.

However, the project took an unexpected turn when Nekrasov's research kept turning up contradictions to Browder's storyline, which began to look more and more like a corporate cover story. Nekrasov discovered that a woman working in Browder's company was the actual whistleblower and that Magnitsky – rather than a crusading lawyer – was an accountant who was implicated in the scheme.

So, the planned docudrama suddenly was transformed into a documentary with a dramatic reversal as Nekrasov struggles with what he knows will be a dangerous decision to confront Browder with what appear to be deceptions. In the film, you see Browder go from a friendly collaborator into an angry adversary who tries to bully Nekrasov into backing down.

Blocked Premiere

Ultimately, Nekrasov completes his extraordinary film – entitled "The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes" – and it was set for a premiere at the European Parliament in Brussels in April 2016. However, at the last moment – faced with Browder's legal threats – the parliamentarians pulled the plug. Nekrasov encountered similar resistance in the United States, a situation that, in part, brought Natalie Veselnitskaya into this controversy.

Film director Andrei Nekrasov, who produced "The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes."

As a lawyer defending Prevezon, a real-estate company registered in Cyprus, on a money-laundering charge, she was dealing with U.S. prosecutors in New York City and, in that role, became an advocate for lifting the U.S. sanctions, The Washington Post reported.

That was when she turned to promoter Rob Goldstone to set up a meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr. To secure the sit-down on June 9, 2016, Goldstone dangled the prospect that Veselnitskaya had some derogatory financial information from the Russian government about Russians supporting the Democratic National Committee. Trump Jr. jumped at the possibility and brought senior Trump campaign advisers, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, along.

By all accounts, Veselnitskaya had little or nothing to offer about the DNC and turned the conversation instead to the Magnitsky Act and Putin's retaliatory measure to the sanctions, canceling a program in which American parents adopted Russian children. One source told me that Veselnitskaya also wanted to enhance her stature in Russia with the boast that she had taken a meeting at Trump Tower with Trump's son.

But another goal of Veselnitskaya's U.S. trip was to participate in an effort to give Americans a chance to see Nekrasov's blacklisted documentary. She traveled to Washington in the days after her Trump Tower meeting and attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, according to The Washington Post.

There were hopes to show the documentary to members of Congress but the offer was rebuffed. Instead a room was rented at the Newseum near Capitol Hill. Browder's lawyers. who had successfully intimidated the European Parliament, also tried to strong arm the Newseum, but its officials responded that they were only renting out a room and that they had allowed other controversial presentations in the past.

Their stand wasn't exactly a profile in courage. "We're not going to allow them not to show the film," said Scott Williams, the chief operating officer of the Newseum. "We often have people renting for events that other people would love not to have happen."

In an article about the controversy in June 2016, The New York Times added that "A screening at the Newseum is especially controversial because it could attract lawmakers or their aides." Heaven forbid!

One-Time Showing

So, Nekrasov's documentary got a one-time showing with Veselnitskaya reportedly in attendance and with a follow-up discussion moderated by journalist Seymour Hersh. However, except for that audience, the public of the United States and Europe has been essentially shielded from the documentary's discoveries, all the better for the Magnitsky myth to retain its power as a seminal propaganda moment of the New Cold War.

Financier William Browder (right) with Magnitsky's widow and son, along with European parliamentarians.

After the Newseum presentation, a Washington Post editorial branded Nekrasov's documentary Russian "agit-prop" and sought to discredit Nekrasov without addressing his many documented examples of Browder's misrepresenting both big and small facts in the case. Instead, the Post accused Nekrasov of using "facts highly selectively" and insinuated that he was merely a pawn in the Kremlin's "campaign to discredit Mr. Browder and the Magnitsky Act."

The Post also misrepresented the structure of the film by noting that it mixed fictional scenes with real-life interviews and action, a point that was technically true but willfully misleading because the fictional scenes were from Nekrasov's original idea for a docu-drama that he shows as part of explaining his evolution from a believer in Browder's self-exculpatory story to a skeptic. But the Post's deception is something that almost no American would realize because almost no one got to see the film.

The Post concluded smugly: "The film won't grab a wide audience, but it offers yet another example of the Kremlin's increasingly sophisticated efforts to spread its illiberal values and mind-set abroad. In the European Parliament and on French and German television networks, showings were put off recently after questions were raised about the accuracy of the film, including by Magnitsky's family.

"We don't worry that Mr. Nekrasov's film was screened here, in an open society. But it is important that such slick spin be fully exposed for its twisted story and sly deceptions."

The Post's gleeful editorial had the feel of something you might read in a totalitarian society where the public only hears about dissent when the Official Organs of the State denounce some almost unknown person for saying something that almost no one heard.

New Paradigm

The Post's satisfaction that Nekrasov's documentary would not draw a large audience represents what is becoming a new paradigm in U.S. mainstream journalism, the idea that it is the media's duty to protect the American people from seeing divergent narratives on sensitive geopolitical issues.

Over the past year, we have seen a growing hysteria about "Russian propaganda" and "fake news" with The New York Times and other major news outlets eagerly awaiting algorithms that can be unleashed on the Internet to eradicate information that groups like Google's First Draft Coalition deem "false."

First Draft consists of the Times, the Post, other mainstream outlets, and establishment-approved online news sites, such as Bellingcat with links to the pro-NATO think tank, Atlantic Council. First Draft's job will be to serve as a kind of Ministry of Truth and thus shield the public from information that is deemed propaganda or untrue.

In the meantime, there is the ad hoc approach that was applied to Nekrasov's documentary. Having missed the Newseum showing, I was only able to view the film because I was given a special password to an online version.

From searches that I did on Wednesday, Nekrasov's film was not available on Amazon although a pro-Magnitsky documentary was. I did find a streaming service that appeared to have the film available.

But the Post's editors were right in their expectation that "The film won't grab a wide audience." Instead, it has become a good example of how political and legal pressure can effectively black out what we used to call "the other side of the story." The film now, however, has unexpectedly become a factor in the larger drama of Russia-gate and the drive to remove Donald Trump Sr. from the White House.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America's Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com ).

Joseph A. Haran, Jr. , July 13, 2017 at 2:13 pm

Why are so many people–corporate executives, governments, journalists, politicians–afraid of William Browder? Why isn't Andrei Nekrasov's film available via digital versatile disk, for sale on line? Mr. Parry, why can't you find it? Oh, wait: You did! Heaven forbid we, your readers, should screen it. Since you, too, are helping keep that film a big fat secret at least give us a few clues as to where we can find it. Throw us a bone! Thank you.

Rob Roy , July 13, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Parry isn't keeping the film viewing a secret. He was given a private password and perhaps can get permission to let the readers here have it. It isn't up to Parry himself but rather to the person(s) who have the rights to the password. I've come across this problem before.

ToivoS , July 13, 2017 at 4:01 pm

Parry wrote: I did find a streaming service that appeared to have the film available.

Any link?? I am willing to buy it.

Lisa , July 13, 2017 at 6:28 pm

This may not be of much help, as the film is dubbed in Russian. If you want to look for the Russian versions on the internet, search for: "????? ?????? ????????? "????? ???????????. ?? ????????"

https://my.mail.ru/bk/n-osetrova/video/71/18682.html?time=155&from=videoplayer

I'll keep looking for the film with translation into some other language.

Lisa , July 13, 2017 at 6:31 pm

Sorry, the Russian text did not appear. Try with latin alphabet: Film Andreia Nekrasova "Zakon Magnitskogo. Za kulisami"

Lisa , July 13, 2017 at 6:45 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8d1ylakLMNU

This is the same dubbed version, on youtube.

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 5:21 pm

Hysterical agit-prop troll insists that world trembles in fear of "genuine American hero" William Browder. John McCain in 2012 was too busy trembling to notice that Browder had given up his US citizenship in 1998 in order to better profit from the Russian financial crisis.

backwardsevolution , July 13, 2017 at 5:51 pm

Abe – and to escape U.S. taxes.

incontinent reader , July 13, 2017 at 6:24 pm

Well stated.

Vincent Castigliola , July 13, 2017 at 2:38 pm

Mr. Parry,

Excellent report and analysis. Thanks for timely reminder regarding the Magitsky story and the fascinating background regarding Andrei Nekrasov's film, in particular its metamorphosis and subsequent aggressive suppression. Both of those factors render the film a particular credibility and wish on my part to view it.

Is there any chance you can share information regarding a means of accessing the forbidden film?

I am beginning to feel more and more like the citizens of the old USSR, who, were to my recollection and understanding back in the 50's and 60's:. Longing to read and hear facts suppressed by the communist state, dependent upon the Voice of America and underground news sources within the Soviet Union for the truth. RU, Consortium news, et. al. seem somewhat a parallel, and 1984 not so distant.

Last night, After watching Max Boot self destruct on Tucker Carlson, i was inspired to watch episode 2 of The Putin Interviews. I felt enlightened. If only the Establishment Media could turn from promoting its agenda of shaping and suppressing the news into accurately reporting it.

Media corruption is not so new. Yellow journalism around the turn of the 19th century, took us into a progression of wars. The War to End All Wars didn't. Blame the munitions makers and the Military Industrial Complex if you will, but a corrupt medial, at the very least enabled a progression of wars over the last 120 or so years.

Demonizing other countries is bad enough, but wilfully ignoring the potential for a nuclear war to end not only war, but life as we know it, is appalling.

Anna , July 13, 2017 at 5:54 pm

"After watching Max Boot self destruct on Tucker Carlson "
Am I the only one who thinks that Max Boot should have been institutionalized for some time already? He is not well.

Vincent Castigliola , July 13, 2017 at 9:41 pm

Anna,
Perhaps Max can share a suite with John McCain. Sadly, the illness is widespread and sometimes seems to be in the majority. Neo con/lib both are adamant in finding enemies and imposing punishment.

Finding splinters, ignoring beams. Changing regimes everywhere. Making the world safe for Democracy. Unless a man they don't like get elected

Anna , July 14, 2017 at 9:31 am

Max Boot parents are Russain Jews who seemingly instilled in him a rabid hatred for everything Russian. The same is with Aperovitch, the CrowdStrike fraudster. The first Soviet (Bolshevik) government was 85% Jewish. Considering what happened to Russia under Bolsheviks, it seems that Russians are supremely tolerant people.

orwell , July 14, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Anna, Anti-Semitism will get you NOWHERE, and you should be ashamed of yourself for injecting such HATRED into the rational discussion here.

Cal , July 14, 2017 at 8:03 pm

Dear orwell

re Anna

Its not anti Semitic if its true .and its true he is a Russian Jew and its very obvious he hates Russia–as does the whole Jewish Zionist crowd in the US.

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 1:02 am

orwell, I wonder why the truth always turns out to be so anti-semitic!?

Taras77 , July 13, 2017 at 11:17 pm

I hope you caught the preceding tucker interview with Ralph Peters, who says he is a retired us army LTC. He came off as completely deranged and hysterical. The two interviews back to back struck me as neo con desperation and panic. My respect for Tucker just went up for taking on these two wackos.

Zachary Smith , July 13, 2017 at 2:51 pm

The fact that the film is being suppressed by everybody is significant to me. I don't know a thing about the "facts" of the Magnitsky case, and a quick look at the results of a Google search suggests this film isn't going to be available to me unless I shell out some unknown amount of money.

If the producers want the film to be seen, perhaps they ought to release it for download to any interested parties for a nominal sum. This will mean they won't make any profit, but on the other hand they will be able to spit in the eyes of the censors.

Dan Mason , July 13, 2017 at 6:42 pm

I went searching the net for access to this film and found that I was blocked at every turn. I did find a few links which all seemed to go to the same destination which claimed to provide access once I registered with their site. I decided to avoid that route. I don't really have that much interest in the Magnitsky affair, but I do wonder why we are being denied access to information. Who has this kind of influence, and why are they so fearful. I'm really afraid that we already live in a largely hidden Orwellian world. Now where did I put that tin foil hat?

orwell , July 14, 2017 at 3:48 pm

The Orwellian World is NOT HIDDEN, it is clearly visible.

Drew Hunkins , July 13, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Nekrasov, though he's a Putin critic, is a genuine hero in this instance. He ulitimately put his preconceptions aside and took the story where it truly led him. Nekrasov deserves boatloads of praise for his handling of Browder and his final documentary film product.

backwardsevolution , July 13, 2017 at 3:30 pm

Drew – good comment. It's very hard to "turn", isn't it? I wonder if many people appreciate what it takes to do this. Easier to justify, turn a blind eye, but to actually stop, question, think, and then follow where the story leads you takes courage and strength.

BannanaBoat , July 13, 2017 at 6:12 pm

Especially when your bucking an aggressive billionaire.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 1:49 am

BannanaBoat – that too!

Zim , July 13, 2017 at 3:11 pm

This is interesting:

"In December 2015, The Wall Street Journal reported that Hillary Clinton opposed the Magnitsky Act while serving as secretary of state. Her opposition coincided with Bill Clinton giving a speech in Moscow for Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank! for which he was paid $500,000.

"Mr. Clinton also received a substantial payout in 2010 from Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank whose executives were at risk of being hurt by possible U.S. sanctions tied to a complex and controversial case of alleged corruption in Russia.

Members of Congress wrote to Mrs. Clinton in 2010 seeking to deny visas to people who had been implicated by Russian accountant Sergei Magnitsky, who was jailed and died in prison after he uncovered evidence of a large tax-refund fraud. William Browder, a foreign investor in Russia who had hired Mr. Magnitsky, alleged that the accountant had turned up evidence that Renaissance officials, among others, participated in the fraud."

The State Department opposed the sanctions bill at the time, as did the Russian government. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pushed Hillary Clinton to oppose the legislation during a meeting in St. Petersburg in June 2012, citing that U.S.-Russia relations would suffer as a result."

More: http://observer.com/2017/07/natalia-veselnitskaya-hillary-clinton-magnitsky-act/

Virginia , July 13, 2017 at 6:13 pm

Very interesting, Zim.

Bart in Virginia , July 13, 2017 at 3:15 pm

"[Veselnitskaya] traveled to Washington in the days after her Trump Tower meeting and attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, according to The Washington Post." The other day I saw photos of her sitting right behind Amb. McFaul in some past hearing. How did she get a seat on the front row?

Now I remember that Post editorial. I was one of only 20 commenters before they shut down comments. It was some heavy pearl clutching.

Cal , July 13, 2017 at 3:31 pm

WOW..excellent reporting.

BobH , July 13, 2017 at 3:35 pm

nice backgrounder for an ever evolving story censorship is censorship by any other name!

BobH , July 13, 2017 at 3:38 pm

afterthought couldn't the film be shown on RT America?

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 1:11 am

Would that not enable Bowder's employees online to claim that this documentary is Russian state propaganda, which it obviously is not because it would have been made available for free everywhere already just like RT. I believe that Nekrasov does not like RT and RT probably still does not like Nekrasov. The point of RT has never been the truth then the alternative point of view, as they advertised: Audi alteram partem.

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 3:41 pm

"The approach taken by Brennan's task force in assessing Russia and its president seems eerily reminiscent of the analytical blinders that hampered the U.S. intelligence community when it came to assessing the objectives and intent of Saddam Hussein and his inner leadership regarding weapons of mass destruction. The Russia NIA notes, 'Many of the key judgments rely on a body of reporting from multiple sources that are consistent with our understanding of Russian behavior.' There is no better indication of a tendency toward 'group think' than that statement.

Moreover, when one reflects on the fact much of this 'body of reporting' was shoehorned after the fact into an analytical premise predicated on a single source of foreign-provided intelligence, that statement suddenly loses much of its impact.

"The acknowledged deficit on the part of the U.S. intelligence community of fact-driven insight into the specifics of Russian presidential decision-making, and the nature of Vladimir Putin as an individual in general, likewise seems problematic. The U.S. intelligence community was hard wired into pre-conceived notions about how and what Saddam Hussein would think and decide, and as such remained blind to the fact that he would order the totality of his weapons of mass destruction to be destroyed in the summer of 1991, or that he could be telling the truth when later declaring that Iraq was free of WMD.

'President Putin has repeatedly and vociferously denied any Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. Those who cite the findings of the Russia NIA as indisputable proof to the contrary, however, dismiss this denial out of hand. And yet nowhere in the Russia NIA is there any evidence that those who prepared it conducted anything remotely resembling the kind of 'analysis of alternatives' mandated by the ODNI when it comes to analytic standards used to prepare intelligence community assessments and estimates. Nor is there any evidence that the CIA's vaunted 'Red Cell' was approached to provide counterintuitive assessments of premises such as 'What if President Putin is telling the truth?'

'Throughout its history, the NIC has dealt with sources of information that far exceeded any sensitivity that might attach to Brennan's foreign intelligence source. The NIC had two experts that it could have turned to oversee a project like the Russia NIA!the NIO for Cyber Issues, and the Mission Manager of the Russian and Eurasia Mission Center; logic dictates that both should have been called upon, given the subject matter overlap between cyber intrusion and Russian intent.

'The excuse that Brennan's source was simply too sensitive to be shared with these individuals, and the analysts assigned to them, is ludicrous!both the NIO for cyber issues and the CIA's mission manager for Russia and Eurasia are cleared to receive the most highly classified intelligence and, moreover, are specifically mandated to oversee projects such as an investigation into Russian meddling in the American electoral process.

'President Trump has come under repeated criticism for his perceived slighting of the U.S. intelligence community in repeatedly citing the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction intelligence failure when downplaying intelligence reports, including the Russia NIA, about Russian interference in the 2016 election. Adding insult to injury, the president's most recent comments were made on foreign soil (Poland), on the eve of his first meeting with President Putin, at the G-20 Conference in Hamburg, Germany, where the issue of Russian meddling was the first topic on the agenda.

"The politics of the wisdom of the timing and location of such observations aside, the specific content of the president's statements appear factually sound."

Throwing a Curveball at 'Intelligence Community Consensus' on Russia By Scott Ritter http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/did-17-intelligence-agencies-really-come-to-consensus-on-russia/

Joe Tedesky , July 13, 2017 at 4:13 pm

Thanks Abe once again, for providing us with news which will never be printed or aired in our MSM. Brennan may ignore the NIC, as Congress and the Executive Branch constantly avoid paying attention to the GAO. Why even have these agencies, if our leaders aren't going to listen them?

Virginia , July 13, 2017 at 6:16 pm

Abe, I'm always amazed at how much you know. Thank you for sharing. If you have your comments in article form or on a site where they can be shared, I'd really like to know about it. I've tried, but I garble the many points you make when trying to explain historical events you've told us about.

Skip Scott , July 14, 2017 at 9:08 am

Thanks Abe. You are a real asset to us here at CN.

John V. Walsh , July 13, 2017 at 3:54 pm

Very good article! The entire Magnitsky saga has become so convoluted and mired in controversy and propaganda that it is very hard to understand. I remember vaguely the controversy surrounding the showing of the film at the Newseum. it is especially impressive that Nekrasov changed his opinion as fcts unfolded.

I will now try to get the docudrama and watch it.
If anyone has suggestions on how to do this, please let me know via a response. here.
Thanks.

Roger Annis , July 13, 2017 at 4:02 pm

A 'Magnitsky Act' in Canada was approved by the (appointed) Senate several months ago and is now undergoing fine tuning in the House of Commons prior to a third and final vote of approval. The proposed law has the unanimous support of the parties in Parliament.

A column in today's Globe and Mail daily by the newspaper's 'chief political writer' tiptoes around the Magnitsky story, never once daring to admit that a contrary narrative exists to that of Bill Browder.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/when-it-comes-to-magnitsky-laws-its-clear-what-russia-is-looking-for/article35678618/

John-Albert Eadie , July 13, 2017 at 5:01 pm

Magnitsky Act in Canada has been based on made-up `facts` as Globe & Mail reporting proves. Not news, but deepens my concern about Canada following the Cold War without examination.

backwardsevolution , July 13, 2017 at 5:56 pm

Roger Annis – just little lemmings following the leader. Disgusting. I hope you posted a comment at the Globe and Mail, Roger, with a link to this article.

Britton , July 13, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Browder is a Communist Jew, his father has a Communist past according to his background so I know I can't trust anything he says. Hes just one of many shady interests undermining Putin I've seen over the years. His book Red Notice is just as shady. Good reporting Consortium News. Fox News promotes Browder like crazy every chance they get especially Fox Business channel.

Joe Average , July 13, 2017 at 5:06 pm

"Browder is a Communist " Hedge Fund managers are hardly Communist – that's an oxymoron.

ToivoS , July 13, 2017 at 6:02 pm

Bill Browder's grandfather was Earl Browder, leader of the CPUSA from the the late 30s to late 40s. His father was also a communist. Bill jr parlayed those connections with the Soviet apparatchiks to gain a foothold in looting Russia of its state assets during the 1990s. No he was not a communist but neither were the leaders of the Soviet Union at the time of its dissolution (in name yes, but in fact not).

Joe Average , July 13, 2017 at 6:34 pm

ToivoS,

thank you for this background information.

My main intention had been to straighten out the blurring of calling a hedge fund manager communist. Nowadays everything gets blurred by people misrepresenting political concepts. Either the people have been dumbed-down by misinformation or misrepresenting is done in order to keep neo-liberalism the dominant economical model. On many occasions I had read comments of people seemingly believing that Nationalsocialism had been some variant of socialism. Even the ideas of Bernie Sanders had been misrepresented as socialist instead of social democratic ones.

backwardsevolution , July 13, 2017 at 6:21 pm

Joe Average – Dave P. mentioned Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's book entitled "Two Hundred Years Together" the other day. I've been reading a long synopsis of this book. What Britton says appears to be quite true. I don't know about Browder, but from what I've read the Jews were instrumental in the communist party, in the deaths of so many Russians. It wasn't just the Jews, but they played a big part. It's no wonder Solzhenitsyn's book has been "lost in translation", at least into English, for so many years.

I've also heard that it was the Jewish commissars who, when the USSR fell apart, rushed off to grab everything they could (with the help of outside Jewish money) and became the Russian oligarchs we hear about today. This is probably what Britton is getting at: "His father has a communist past." You go from running the government to owning it. Anti-Putin because Putin put a stop to them.

Dave P. , July 13, 2017 at 7:37 pm

backwardsevolution: I worked with a Soviet emigre engineer – Jewish – on the same project in an Engineering design and construction company during early 1990's. He immigrated with his family around 1991. In Soviet Union, there being no private financial institutions or lawyers so to speak , many Jews went into science and engineering. A very interesting person, we were close work place friends. His elder brother had stayed behind back in Russia. His brother was in Moscow and involved in this plunder going on there. He used to tell me all these hair raising first hand stories about what was going on in Russia during that time. All the plunder flowed into the Western Countries.

In recent history, no country went through this kind of plunder on a scale Russia went through during ten or fifteen years starting in 1992. Russia was a very badly ravaged country when Putin took over. Means of production, finance, all came to halt, and society itself had completely broken down. It appears that the West has all the intentions to do it again.

Bruce Walker , July 13, 2017 at 9:29 pm

I have read all the comments up to yours you have told it like it was in Russia in those years. Browder was the king of the crooks looting Russia. Then he got to John McCain with all his lies and bullshit and was responsible for the sanctions on Russia. All the comments aboutBrowders grandfather andCommunist party are all true but hardly important. Except that it probably was how Browder was able to get his fingers on the pie in Russia. And he sure did get his fingers in the pie BIG TIME.

I am a Canadian and am aware of Maginsky Act in Canada. Our Minister Chrystal Freeland met with William Brawder in Davos a few months ago both of these two you could say are not fans of Putin, I certainly don't know what they spoke about but other than lies from Browder there is no reason she should have been talking with him. I have made comments on other forums regarding these two meeting. Read Browders book and hopefully see the documentary that this article is about. When I read his book I knew instantly that he was a crook a charloten and a liar. Just the kind of folk John McCain and a lot of other folks in US politics love. You all have a nice Peacefull day

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 12:38 am

Joe Average – "I guess that this book puts blame for Communism entirely on the Jewish people and that this gave even further rise to antisemitism in the Germany of the 1930's."

No, it doesn't put the blame entirely on the Jews; it just spells out that they did play a large part. As one Jewish scholar said, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was too much of an academic, too intelligent to ever put the blame entirely on one group. But something like 40 – 60 million died – shot, taken out on boats with rocks around their necks and thrown overboard, starved, gassed in rail cars, poisoned, worked to death, froze, you name it. Every other human slaughter pales in comparison. Good old man, so civilized (sarc)!

But someone(s) has been instrumental in keeping this book from being translated into English (or so I've read many places online). Solzhenitsyn's "Gulag Archipelago" and his other books have been translated, but not this one. (Although I just found one site that has almost all of the chapters translated, but not all). Several people ordered the book off Amazon, only to find out that it was in the Russian language. LOL

Solzhenitsyn does say at one point in the book: "Communist rebellions in Germany post-WWI was a big reason for the revival of anti-Semitism (as there was no serious anti-Semitism in the imperial [Kaiser] Germany of 1870 – 1918)."

Lots of Jewish people made it into the upper levels of the Soviet government, academia, etc. (and lots of them were murdered too). I might skip reading these types of books until I get older. Too bleak. Hard enough reading about the day-to-day stuff here without going back in time for more fun!

I remember reading Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine," but I just could not get through the chapter on the USSR falling apart. I started reading it, but I didn't want to finish it (and I didn't) because it just made me angry. The West was too unfair! Russia was asking for help, but instead the West just looted. I'd say that Russia was very lucky to have someone like Putin clean it up.

Keep smiling, Joe.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 12:58 am

Dave P. – I told you, you are a wealth of information, a walking encyclopedia. Interesting about your co-worker. Sounds like it was a free-for-all in Russia. Yes, I totally agree that Putin has done and is doing all he can to bring his country back up. Very difficult job he is doing, and I hope he is successful at keeping the West out as much as he can, at least until Russia is strong and sure enough to invite them in on their own terms.

Now go and tell your wife what I said about you being a "walking encyclopedia". She'll probably have a good laugh. (Not that you're not, but you know what she'll say: "Okay, smartie, now go and do the dishes.")

Chucky LeRoi , July 14, 2017 at 9:56 am

Just some small scale, local color kind of stuff, but living in the USA, west coast specifically, it was quite noticeable in the mid to late '90's how many Russians with money were suddenly appearing. No apparent skills or 'jobs', but seemingly able to pay for stuff. Expensive stuff.

A neighbor invited us to her 'place in the mountains', which turned out to be where a lumber company had almost terra-formed an area and was selling off the results. Her advice: When you go to the lake (i.e., the low area now gathering runoff, paddle boats rentals, concession stand) you will see a lot of men with huge stomachs and tiny Speedos. They will be very rude, pushy, confrontational. Ignore them, DO NOT comment on their rudeness or try to deal with their manners. They are Russians, and the amount of trouble it will stir up – and probable repercussions – are simply not worth it.

Back in town, the anecdotes start piling up quickly. I am talking crowbars through windows (for a perceived insult). A beating where the victim – who was probably trying something shady – was so pulped the emergency room staff couldn't tell if the implement used was a 2X4 or a baseball bat. When found he had with $3k in his pocket: robbery was not the motive. More traffic accidents involving guys with very nice cars and serious attitude problems. I could go on. More and more often somewhere in the relating of these incidents the phrase " this Russian guy " would come up. It was the increased use of this phrase that was so noticeable.

And now the disclaimer.

Before anybody goes off, I am not anti-Russian, Russo-phobic, what have you. I studied the Russian language in high school and college (admittedly decades ago). My tax guy is Russian. I love him. My day to day interactions have led me to this pop psychology observation: the extreme conditions that produced that people and culture produced extremes. When they are of the good, loving , caring, cultured, helpful sort, you could ask for no better friends. The generosity can be embarrassing. When they are of the materialistic, evil, self-centered don't f**k with me I am THE BADDEST ASS ON THE PLANET sort, the level of mania and self-importance is impossible to deal with, just get as far away as possible. It's worked for me.

Joe Average , July 13, 2017 at 8:10 pm

backwardsevolution,

thanks for the info. I'll add the book to the list of books onto my to-read list. As far as I know a Kibbutz could be described as a Communist microcosm. The whole idea of Communism itself is based on Marx (a Jew by birth). A while ago I had started reading "Mein Kampf". I've got to finish the book, in order to see if my assumption is correct. I guess that this book puts blame for Communism entirely on the Jewish people and that this gave even further rise to antisemitism in the Germany of the 1930's.

The most known Russian Oligarchs that I've heard of are mainly of Jewish origin, but as far as I know they had been too young to be commissars at the time of the demise of the USSR. At least one aspect I've read of many times is that a lot of them built their fortunes with the help of quite shady business dealings.

With regard to President Putin I've read that he made a deal with the oligarchs: they should pay their taxes, keep/invest their money in Russia and keep out of politics. In return he wouldn't dig too deep into their past. Right at the moment everybody in the West is against President Putin, because he stopped the looting of his country and its citizens and that's something our Western oligarchs and financial institutions don't like.

On a side note: Several years ago I had started to read several volumes about German history. Back then I didn't notice an important aspect that should attract my attention a few years later when reading about the rise of John D. Rockefeller. Charlemagne (Charles the Great) took over power from the Merovingians. Prior to becoming King of the Franks he had been Hausmeier (Mayor of the Palace) for the Merovingians. Mayor of the Palace was the title of the manager of the household, which seems to be similar to a procurator and/or accountant (bookkeeper). The similarity of the beginnings of both careers struck me. John D. Rockefeller started as a bookkeeper. If you look at Bill Gates you'll realize that he was smart enough to buy an operating system for a few dollars, improved it and sold it to IBM on a large scale. The widely celebrated Steve Jobs was basically the marketing guy, whilst the real brain behind (the product) Apple had been Steve Wozniak.

Another side note: If we're going down the path of neo-liberalism it will lead us straight back to feudalism – at least if the economy doesn't blow up (PCR, Michael Hudson, Mike Whitney, Mike Maloney, Jim Rogers, Richard D. Wolff, and many more economists make excellent points that our present Western economy can't go on forever and is kept alive artificially).

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 12:50 am

Joe Average – somehow my reply to you ended up above your post. What? How did that happen? You can find it there. Thanks for the interesting info about John D. Rockefeller, Gates, Jobs and Wozniak. Some are good managers, others good at sales, while others are the creative inventors.

Yes, Joe, I totally agree that we are headed back to feudalism. I don't think we'll have much choice as the oil is running out. We'll probably be okay, but our children? I worry about them. They'll notice a big change in their lifetimes. The discovery and capture of oil pulled forward a large population. As we scale back, we could be in trouble, food-wise. Or at least it looks that way.

Thanks, Joe.

Miranda Keefe , July 14, 2017 at 5:48 am

Charlemagne did not take over from the Merovingians. The Mayor of the Palace was not an accountant.

During the 7th Century the Mayor of the Place more and more became the actual ruler of the Franks. The office had existed for over a century and was basically the "prime minister" to the king. By the time Pepin of Herstal, a scion of a powerful Frankish family, took the position in 680, the king was ceremonial leader doing ritual and the Mayor ruled- like the relationship of the Emperor and the Shogun in Japan. In 687 Pepin's Austrasia conquered Neustria and Burgundy and he added "Duke of the Franks" to his titles. The office became hereditary.

When Pepin died in 714 there was some unrest as nobles from various parts of the joint kingdoms attempted to get different ones of his heirs in the office until his son Charles Martel took the reins in 718. This is the famous Charles Martel who defeated the Moors at Tours in 732. But that was not his only accomplishment as he basically extended the Frankish kingdom to include Saxony. Charles not only ruled but when the king died he picked which possible heir would become king. Finally near the end of his reign he didn't even bother replacing the king and the throne was empty.

When Charles Martel died in 741 he followed Frankish custom and divided his kingdom among his sons. By 747 his younger son, Pepin the Short, had consolidated his rule and with the support of the Pope, deposed the last Merovingian King and became the first Carolingian King in 751- the dynasty taking its name from Charles Martel. Thus Pepin reunited the two aspects of the Frankish ruler, combining the rule of the Mayor with the ceremonial reign of the King into the new Kingship.

Pepin expanded the kingdom beyond the Frankish lands even more and his son, Charlemagne, continued that. Charlemagne was 8 when his father took the title of King. Charlemagne never was the Mayor of the Palace, but grew up as the prince. He became King of the Franks in 768 ruling with his brother, sole King in 781, and then started becoming King of other countries until he united it all in 800 as the restored Western Roman Emperor.

When he died in 814 the Empire was divided into three Kingdoms and they never reunited again. The western one evolved into France. The eastern one evolved in the Holy Roman Empire and eventually Germany. The middle one never solidified but became the Low Countries, Switzerland, and the Italian states.

Anna , July 14, 2017 at 9:45 am

The Canadian Minister Chrysta Freeland met with William Brawder in Davos a few months ago " -- Birds of a feather flock together. Mrs. Chrystal Freeland has a very interesting background for which she is very proud of: her granddad was a Ukrainian Nazi collaborator denounced by Jewish investigators: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/27/a-nazi-skeleton-in-the-family-closet/

Since the inti-Russian tenor of the Canadian Minister Chrysta Freeland is in accord with the US ziocons anti-Russian policies (never mind all this fuss about WWII Jewish mass graves in Ukraine), "Chrysta" is totally approved by the US government.

Joe Average , July 14, 2017 at 11:32 pm

I'll reply to myself in order to send a response to backwardsevolution and Miranda Keefe.

For a change I'll be so bold to ignore gentleman style and reply in the order of the posts – instead of Ladies first.

backwardsevolution,

in my first paragraph I failed to make a clear distinction. I started with the remark that I'm adding the book "Two Hundred Years Together" to my to-read list and then mentioned that I'm right now reading "Mein Kampf". All remarks after mentioning the latter book are directed at this one – and not the one of Solzhenitsyn.

Miranda Keefe,

I'm aware that accountant isn't an exact characterization of the concept of a Mayor of the Palace. As a precaution I had added the phrase "seems to be similar". You're correct with the statement that Charlemagne was descendant Karl Martel. At first I intended to write that Karolinger (Carolings) took over from Merowinger (Merovingians), because those details are irrelevant to the point that I wanted to make. It would've been an information overload. My main point was the power of accountants and related fields such as sales and marketing. Neither John D. Rockefeller, Bill Gates nor Steve Jobs actually created their products from scratch.

Many of those who are listed as billionaires haven't been creators / inventors themselves. Completely decoupled from actual production is banking. Warren Buffet is started as an investment salesman, later stock broker and investor. Oversimplified you could describe this activity as accounting or sales. It's the same with George Soros and Carl Icahn. Without proper supervision money managers (or accountants) had and still do screw those who had hired them. One of those victims is former billionaire heiress Madeleine Schickedanz ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madeleine_Schickedanz ). Generalized you could also say that BlackRock is your money manager accountant. If you've got some investment (that dates back before 2008), which promises you a higher interest rate after a term of lets say 20 years, the company with which you have the contract with may have invested your money with BlackRock. The financial crisis of 2008 has shown that finance (accountants / money managers) are taking over. Aren't investment bankers the ones who get paid large bonuses in case of success and don't face hardly any consequences in case of failure? Well, whatever turn future might take, one thing is for sure: whenever SHTF even the most colorful printed pieces of paper will not taste very well.

Cal , July 13, 2017 at 10:13 pm

History's Greatest Heist: The Looting of Russia by the Bolsheviks on

http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1nppst

History's Greatest Heist: The Looting of Russia by the Bolsheviks . EVER SINCE THE Emperor Constantine established the legal position of the church in the

Many Bolsheviks fled to Germany , taking with them some loot that enabled them to get established in Germany. Lots of invaluable art work also.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 1:54 am

Cal – read about "History's Greatest Heist" on Amazon. Sounds interesting. Was one of the main reasons for the Czar's overthrow to steal and then flee? It's got to have been on some minds. A lot of people got killed, and they would have had wedding rings, gold, etc. That doesn't even include the wealth that could be stolen from the Czar. Was the theft just one of those things that happened through opportunism, or was it one of the main reasons for the overthrow in the first place, get some dough and run with it?

Cal , July 14, 2017 at 2:22 pm

@ backwards

" Was the theft just one of those things that happened through opportunism, or was it one of the main reasons for the overthrow"'

imo some of both. I am sure when they were selling off Russian valuables to finance their revolution a lot of them set aside some loot for themselves.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 4:09 pm

Cal – thank you. Good books like this get us closer and closer to the truth. Thank goodness for these people.

Brad Owen , July 14, 2017 at 11:45 am

An autocratic oligarch would probably be a better description. He probably believes like other Synarchist financiers that they should rightfully rule the World, and see democratic processes as heresy against "The Natural Order for human society", or some such belief.

Brad Owen , July 14, 2017 at 12:13 pm

Looking up "A short definition of Synarchism (a Post-Napoleonic social phenomenon) by Lyndon LaRouche" would give much insight into what's going on. People from the intelligence community made sure a copy of a 1940 army intelligence dossier labelled something like "Synarchism:NAZI/Communist" got into Lyndon's hands. It speaks of the the Synarchist method of attacking a targeted society from both extreme (Right-Left) ends of the political spectrum. I guess this is dialectics? I suppose the existence of the one extreme legitimizes the harsh, anti-democratic/anti-human measures taken to exterminate it by the other extreme, actually destroying the targeted society in the process. America, USSR, and (Sun Yat Sen's old Republic of) China were the targeted societies in the pre-WWII/WWII yearsfor their "sins" of championing We The People against Oligarchy. FDR knew the Synarchist threat and sided with Russia and China against Germany and Japan. He knew that, after dealing with the battlefield NAZIs, the "Boardroom" NAZIs would have to be dealt with Post-War. That all changed with his death.The Synarchists are still at it today, hence all the rabid Russo-phobia, the Pacific Pivot, and the drive towards war. This is all being foiled with Trump's friendly, cooperative approach towards Russia and China.

mike k , July 13, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Big Brother at work – always protecting us from upsetting information. How nice of him to insure our comfort. No need for us to bother with all of this confusing stuff, he can do all that for us. The mainstream media will tell us all we need to know .. (Virginia – please notice my use of irony.)

Joe Tedesky , July 13, 2017 at 4:21 pm

Do you remember mike K when porn was censored, and there were two sides to every issue as compromise was always on the table? Now porn is accessible on cable TV, and there is only one side to every issue, and that's I'm right about everything and your not, what compromise with you?

Don't get me wrong, I don't really care how we deal with porn, but I am very concerned to why censorship is showing up whereas we can't see certain things, for certain reasons we know nothing about. Also, I find it unnerving that we as a society continue to stay so undivided. Sure, we can't all see the same things the same way, but maybe it's me, and I'm getting older by the minute, but where is our cooperation to at least try and work with each other?

Always like reading your comments mike K Joe

Joe Average , July 13, 2017 at 5:09 pm

Joe,

when it comes to the choice of watching porn and bodies torn apart (real war pictures), I prefer the first one, although we in the West should be confronted with the horrible pictures of what we're assisting/doing.

Joe Tedesky , July 13, 2017 at 5:27 pm

This is where the Two Joe's are alike.

mike k , July 13, 2017 at 6:07 pm

I do remember those days Joe. I am 86 now, so a lot has changed since 1931. With the 'greed is good' philosophy in vogue now, those who seek compromise are seen as suckers for the more single minded to take advantage of. Respect for rules of decency is just about gone, especially at the top of the wealth pyramid.

Cal , July 13, 2017 at 10:15 pm

Yep

BannanaBoat , July 13, 2017 at 6:36 pm

Distraction from critical thinking, excellent observation ( please forget the NeoCon Demos they are responsible for half of the nightmare USA society has become.

ranney , July 13, 2017 at 4:37 pm

Wow Robert, what a fascinating article! And how complicated things become "when first we practice to deceive".
Abe thank you for the link to Ritter's article; that's a really good one too!

John , July 13, 2017 at 4:40 pm

If we get into a shooting war with Russia and the human race somehow survives it Robert Parry' s name will one day appear in the history books as the person who most thoroughly documented the events leading up to that war. He will be considered to be a top historian as well as a top journalist.

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 7:01 pm

"Browder, who abjured his American citizenship in 1998 to become a British subject, reveals more about his own selective advocacy of democratic principles than about the film itself. He might recall that in his former homeland freedom of the press remains a cherished value."

A Response to William Browder
By Rachel Bauman
http://nationalinterest.org/feature/response-william-browder-16654

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 7:16 pm

William Browder is a "shareholder activist" the way Mikhail Khodorkovsky is a "human rights activist".

Both loudly bleat the "story" of their heroic "fight for justice" for billionaire Jewish oligarchs: themselves.

http://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.686922.1447865981!/image/78952068.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_625/78952068.jpg

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 7:19 pm

"never driven by the money"
https://www.thejc.com/culture/books/be-careful-of-putin-he-is-a-true-enemy-of-jews-1.61745

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 2:50 am

Abe – "never driven by the money". No, he would never be that type of guy (sarc)!

"It's hard to know what Browder will do next. He rules out any government ambitions, instead saying he can achieve more by lobbying it.

This summer, he says he met "big Hollywood players" in a bid to turn his book into a major film.

"The most important next step in the campaign is to adapt the book into a Hollywood feature film," he says. "I have been approached by many film-makers and spent part of the summer in LA meeting with screenwriters, producers and directors to figure out what the best constellation of players will be on this.

"There are a lot of people looking at it. It's still difficult to say who we will end up choosing. There are many interesting options, but I'm not going to name any names."

What the ..? I can see it now, George Clooney in the lead role, Mr. White Helmets himself, with his twins in tow.

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 1:56 am

Is it not impressive how money buys out reality in the modern world? This is why one can safely assume that whatever is told in the MSM is completely opposite to the truth. Would MSM have to push it if it were the truth? You may call this Kiza's Law if you like (modestly): " The truth is always opposite to what MSM say! " The 0.1% of situations where this is not the case is the margin of error.

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 7:39 pm

"no figure in this saga has a more tangled family relationship with the Kremlin than the London-based hedge fund manager Bill Browder [ ]

"there's a reticence in his Jewish narrative. One of his first jobs in London is with the investment operation of the publishing billionaire Robert Maxwell. As it happens, Maxwell was originally a Czech Jewish Holocaust survivor who fled and became a decorated British soldier, then helped in 1948 to set up the secret arms supply line to newly independent Israel from communist Czechoslovakia. He was also rumored to be a longtime Mossad agent. But you learn none of that from Browder's memoir.

"The silence is particularly striking because when Browder launches his own fund, he hires a former Israeli Mossad agent, Ariel, to set up his security operation, manned mainly by Israelis. Over time, Browder and Ariel become close. How did that connection come about? Was it through Maxwell? Wherever it started, the origin would add to the story. Why not tell it?

"When Browder sets up his own fund, Hermitage Capital Management -- named for the famed czarist-era St. Petersburg art museum, though that's not explained either -- his first investor is Beny Steinmetz, the Israeli diamond billionaire. Browder tells how Steinmetz introduced him to the Lebanese-Brazilian Jewish banking billionaire Edmond Safra, who invests and becomes not just a partner but also a mentor and friend.

"Safra is also internationally renowned as the dean of Sephardi Jewish philanthropy; the main backer of Israel's Shas party, the Sephardi Torah Guardians, and of New York's Holocaust memorial museum, and a megadonor to Yeshiva University, Hebrew University, the Weizmann Institute and much more. Browder must have known all that. Considering the closeness of the two, it's surprising that none of it gets mentioned.

"It's possible that Browder's reticence about his Jewish connections is simply another instance of the inarticulateness that seizes so many American Jews when they try to address their Jewishness."

http://forward.com/news/376788/the-secret-jewish-history-of-donald-trump-jrs-russia-scandal/

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 3:15 am

Abe – what a web. Money makes money, doesn't it? It's often what club you belong to and who you know. I remember a millionaire in my area long ago who went bankrupt. The wealthy simply chipped in, gave him some start-up money, and he was off to the races again. Simple as that. And I would think that the Jews are an even tighter group who invest with each other, are privy to inside information, get laws changed in favor of each other, pay people off when one gets in trouble. Browder seems a shifty sort. As the article says, he leaves a lot out.

Abe , July 14, 2017 at 11:37 pm

In 1988, Stanton Wheeler (Yale University – Law School), David L. Weisburd (Hebrew University of Jerusalem; George Mason University – The Department of Criminology, Law & Society; Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Faculty of Law). Elin Waring (Yale University – Law School), and Nancy Bode (Government of the State of Minnesota) published a major study on white collar crime in America.

Part of a larger program of research on white-collar crime supported by a grant from the United States Department of Justice's National Institute of Justice, the study included "the more special forms associated with the abuse of political power [ ] or abuse of financial power". The study was also published as a Hebrew University of Jerusalem Legal Research Paper

The research team noted that Jews were over-represented relative to their share of the U.S. population:

"With respect to religion, there is one clear finding. Although many in both white collar and common crime categories do not claim a particular religious faith [ ] It would be a fair summary of our. data to say that, demographically speaking, white collar offenders are predominantly middle-aged white males with an over-representation of Jews."

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2632989

In 1991, David L. Weisburd published his study of Crimes of the Middle Classes: White-Collar Offenders in the Federal Courts, Weisburd found that although Jews comprised only around 2% of the United States population, they contributed at least 9% of lower category white-collar crimes (bank embezzlement, tax fraud and bank fraud), at least 15% of moderate category white-collar crimes (mail fraud, false claims, and bribery), and at least 33% of high category white-collar crimes (antitrust and securities fraud). Weisburg showed greater frequency of Jewish offenders at the top of the hierarchy of white collar crime. In Weisbug's sample of financial crime in America, Jews were responsible for 23.9%.

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 2:26 am

What I find most interesting is how Putin handles the Jews.

It is obvious that he is the one who saved the country of Russia from the looting of the 90s by the Russian-American Jewish mafia. This is the most direct explanation for his demonisation in the West, his feat will never be forgiven, not even in history books (a demon forever). Even to this day, for example in Syria, Putin's main confrontation is not against US then against the Zionist Jews, whose principal tool is US. Yet, there is not a single anti-Semitic sentence that Putin ever uttered. Also, Putin let the Jewish oligarchs who plundered Russia keep their money if they accepted the authority of the Russian state, kept employing Russians and paying Russian taxes. But he openly confronted those who refused (Berezovsky, Khodorovsky etc). Furthermore, Putin lets Israel bomb Syria under his protection to abandon. Finally, Putin is known in Russia as a great supporter of Jews and Israel, almost a good friend of Nutty Yahoo.

Therefore, it appears to me that the Putin's principal strategy is to appeal to the honest Jewish majority to restrain the criminal Jewish minority (including the criminally insane), to divide them instead of confronting them all as a group, which is what the anti-Semitic Europeans have traditionally been doing. His judo-technique is in using Jewish power to restrain the Jews. I still do not know if his strategy will succeed in the long run, but it certainly is an interesting new approach (unless I do not know history enough) to an ancient problem. It is almost funny how so many US people think that the problem with the nefarious Jewish money power started with US, if they are even aware of it.

Cal , July 16, 2017 at 5:41 am

" His judo-technique is in using Jewish power to restrain the Jews. "

The Jews have no power without their uber Jew money men, most of whom are ardent Zionist.
And because they get some benefits from the lobbying heft of the Zionist control of congress they arent going to go against them.

Abe , July 15, 2017 at 5:11 pm

Bill Browder with American-Israeli interviewer Natasha Mozgovaya, TV host for Voice of America.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbgNeQ_xINM

In this 2015 tirade, Browder declared "Someone has to punch Putin in the nose" and urged "supplying arms to the Ukrainians and putting troops, NATO troops, in all of the surrounding countries".

The choice of Mozgovaya as interviewer was significant to promote Browder with the Russian Jewish community abroad.

Born in the Soviet Union in 1979, Mozgovaya immigrated to Israel with her family in 1990. She became a correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronoth in 2000. Although working most of the time in Hebrew, her reports in Russian appeared in various publications in Russia.

Mozgovaya covered the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, including interviews with President Victor Yushenko and his partner-rival Yulia Timoshenko, as well as the Russian Mafia and Russian oligarchs. During the presidency of Vladimir Putin, Mozgovaya gave one of the last interviews with the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. She interviewed Garry Kasparov, Edward Limonov, Boris Berezovsky, Chechen exiles such as Ahmed Zakaev, and the widow of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko.

In 2008, Mozgovaya left Yedioth Ahronoth to become the Washington Bureau Chief for Haaretz newspaper in Washington, D.C.. She was a frequent lecturer on Israel and Middle Eastern affairs at U.S. think-tanks. In 2013, Mozgovaya started working at the Voice of America.

HIDE BEHIND , July 13, 2017 at 7:43 pm

Gramps was decended from an old Irish New England Yankee lineage and in my youth he always dragged me along when the town meetings were held, so my ideas of American DEmocracy stem from that background, one of open participation.
The local newspapers had more social chit chat than political news of international or for that mstter State or Federal shenanigansbut everu member in that far flung settled communit read them from front to back; ss a child I got to read the funny and sports pages until Gramps got finidhed reading the "News Section, always the news first yhen the lesser BS when time allowed,this habit instilled in me the sence of
priority.
Aftrr I had read his dection of paper he would talk with me,even being a yonker, in a serious but opinionated manner, of the Editorial section which had local commentary letterd to the editor as large as somtimes too pages.
I wonder today at which section of papersf at all, is read by american public, and at how manyadults discuss importsn news worthy tppics with their children.
At advent of TV we still had trustworthy journalist to finally be seen after years of but reading their columns or listening on radios,almost tottaly all males but men of honesty and character, and worthy of trust.
They wrre a part of all social stratas, had lived real lives and yes most eere well educated but not the elitist thinking jrrks who are no more than parrots repeating whatevrr a teleprompter or bias of their employers say to write.
Wrll back to Gramps and hid home spun wisdom: He alwsys ,and shoeed by example at those old and somrtimes boistrous town Halls, that first you askef a question, thought about the answer, and then questioned the answer.
This made the one being question responsible for the words he spoke.
So those who have doubts by a presumed independent journalist, damn right they should question his motives, which in reality begin to answer our unspoken questions we can no longer ask those boobs for bombs and political sychophants and their paymasters of popular media outlets.
As one who likes effeciency in prodution one monitors data to spot trends and sny aberations bring questions so yes I note this journalist deviation from the norms as well.
I can only question the why, by looking at data from surrounding trends in order to later be able to question his answers.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 2:07 am

Hide Behind – sounds like you had a smart grandpa, and someone who cared enough about you to talk things over with you (even though he was opinionated). I try to talk things over with my kids, sometimes too much. They're known on occasion to say, "Okay, enough. We're full." I wait a few days, and then fill them up some more! Ha.

Joe Tedesky , July 13, 2017 at 10:53 pm

Here's a thought; will letting go of Trump Jr's infraction cancel out a guilty verdict of Hillary Clinton's transgressions?

I keep hearing Hillary references while people defend Donald Trump Jr over his meeting with Russian Natalia Veselnitskaya. My thinking started over how I keep hearing pundits speak to Trump Jr's 'intent'. Didn't Comey find Hillary impossible to prosecute due to her lack of 'intent'? Actually I always thought that to be prosecuted under espionage charges, the law didn't need to prove intent, but then again we are talking about Hillary here.

The more I keep hearing Trump defenders make mention of Hillary's deliberate mistakes, and the more I keep hearing Democrates point to Donald Jr's opportunistic failures, the more similarity I see between the two rivals, and the more I see an agreed upon truce ending up in a tie. Remember we live in a one party system with two wings.

Am I going down the wrong road here, or could forgiving Trump Jr allow Hillary to get a free get out of jail card?

F. G. Sanford , July 14, 2017 at 12:42 am

I've been saying all along, our government is just a big can of worms, and neither side can expose the other without opening it. But insiders on both sides are flashing their can openers like it's a game of chicken. My guess is, everybody is gonna get a free pass. I read somewhere that Preet Bharara had the goods on a whole bunch of bankers, but he sat on it clear up to the election. Then, he got fired. So much for draining the swamp. If they prosecute Hillary, it looks like a grudge match. If they prosecute Junior, it looks like revenge. If they prosecute Lynch, it looks like racism. When you deal with a government this corrupt, everybody looks innocent by comparison. I'm still betting nobody goes to jail, as long as the "deep state" thinks they have Trump under control.

Joe Tedesky , July 14, 2017 at 1:29 am

It's like we are sitting on the top of a hill looking down at a bunch of little armies attacking each other, or something.

I'm really screwy, I have contemplated to if Petraues dropped a dime on himself for having a extra martial affair, just to get out of the Benghazi mess. Just thought I'd tell you that for full disclosure.

When it comes to Hillary, does anyone remember how in the beginning of her email investigation she pointed to Colin Powell setting precedent to use a private computer? That little snitch Hillary is always the one when caught to start pointing the finger .she would never have lasted in the Mafia, but she's smart enough to know what works best in Washington DC.

I'm just starting to see the magic; get the goods on Trump Jr then make a deal with the new FBI director.

Okay go ahead and laugh, but before you do pass the popcorn, and let's see how this all plays out.

Believe half of what you hear, and nothing of what you see.

Joe

Lisa , July 14, 2017 at 4:22 am

"Believe half of what you hear, and nothing of what you see."

Joe, where does this quote originate? Or is it a paraphrase?
I once had an American lecturer (political science) at the university, and he stressed the idea that we should not believe anything we read or hear and only half of what we see. This was l-o-o-ng ago, in the 60's.

Joe Tedesky , July 14, 2017 at 10:59 am

The first time I ever heard that line, 'believe nothing of what you see', was a friend of mine said it after we watched Roberto Clemente throw a third base runner out going towards home plate, as Robert threw the ball without a bounce to the catcher who was standing up, from the deep right field corner of the field .oh those were the days.

Gregory Herr , July 14, 2017 at 9:12 pm

JT,
Clemente had an unbelievable arm! The consummate baseball player I have family in western PA, an uncle your age in fact who remembers Clemente well. Roberto also happened to be a great human being.

Joe Tedesky , July 14, 2017 at 9:56 pm

I got loss at Forbes Field. I was seven years old, it was 1957. I got separated from my older cousin, we got in for 50 cents to sit in the left field bleachers. Like I said I loss my older cousin so I walked, and walked, and just about the time I wanted my mum the most I saw daylight. I followed the daylight out of the big garage door, and I was standing within a foot of this long white foul line. All of a sudden this Black guy started yelling at me in somekind of broken English to, 'get off the field, get out of here'. Then I felt a field ushers hand grab my shoulder, and as I turned I saw my cousin standing on the fan side of the right field side of the field. The usher picked me up and threw me over to my cousin, with a warning for him to keep his eye on me. That Black baseball player was a young rookie who was recently just drafted from the then Brooklyn Dodgers .#21 Roberto Clemente.

Gregory Herr , July 14, 2017 at 10:12 pm

You were a charmed boy and now you are a charmed man. Great story life is a Field of Dreams sometimes.

Zachary Smith , July 15, 2017 at 9:00 pm

Believe half of what you hear, and nothing of what you see.

My introduction to this had the wording the other way around:

"Don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you see."

This was because the workplace was saturated with rumors, and unfortunately there was a practice of management and union representatives "play-acting" for their audience. So what you "saw" was as likely as not a little theatrical production with no real meaning whatever. The two fellows shouting at each other might well be laughing about it over a cup of coffee an hour later.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 2:01 am

Sanford – "But insiders on both sides are flashing their can openers " That's funny writing.

Gregory Herr , July 14, 2017 at 10:20 pm

yessir, love it

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 2:41 am

Absolutely, one of the best political metaphors ever (unfortunately works in English language only).

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 6:19 pm

BTW, they are flashing at each other not only can openers then also jail cells and grassy knolls these days. But the can openers would still be most scary.

Abe , July 14, 2017 at 2:13 am

Israeli banks have helped launder money for Russian oligarchs, while large-scale fraudulent industries, like binary options, have been allowed to flourish here.

A May 2009 diplomatic cable by the US ambassador to Israel warned that "many Russian oligarchs of Jewish origin and Jewish members of organized crime groups have received Israeli citizenship, or at least maintain residences in the country."

The United States estimated at the time that Russian crime groups had "laundered as much as $10 billion through Israeli holdings."

In 2009, then Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara charged 17 managers and employees of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims for defrauding Germany 42.5 million dollars by creating thousands of false benefit applications for people who had not suffered in the Holocaust.

The scam operated by creating phony applications with false birth dates and invented histories of persecution to process compensation claims. In some cases the recipients were born after World War II and at least one person was not even Jewish.

Among those charged was Semyon Domnitser, a former director of the conference. Many of the applicants were recruited from Brooklyn's Russian community. All those charged hail from Brooklyn.

When a phony applicant got a check, the scammers were given a cut, Bharara said. The fraud which has been going on for 16 years was related to the 400 million dollars which Germany pays out each year to Holocaust survivors.

Later, in November 2015, Bharara's office charged three Israeli men in a 23-count indictment that alleged that they ran a extensive computer hacking and fraud scheme that targeted JPMorgan Chase, The Wall Street Journal, and ten other companies.

According to prosecutors, the Israeli's operation generated "hundreds of millions of dollars of illegal profit" and exposed the personal information of more than 100 million people.

Despite his service as a useful idiot propagating the Magnitsky Myth, Bharara discovered that for Russian Jewish oligarchs, criminals and scam artists, the motto is "Nikogda ne zabyt'!" Perhaps more recognizable by the German phrase: "Niemals vergessen!"

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 3:00 am

Abe – wow, what a story. I guess it's lucrative to "never forget"! Bandits.

Cal , July 14, 2017 at 2:14 pm

https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/Abstract.aspx?id=6180

National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS)
NCJRS Abstract
The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the NCJRS Abstracts Database. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

NCJ Number: NCJ 006180
Title: CRIMINALITY AMONG JEWS – AN OVERVIEW

United States of America
Journal: ISSUES IN CRIMINOLOGY Volume:6 Issue:2 Dated:(SUMMER 1971) Pages:1-39
Date Published: 1971
Page Count: 15
.
Abstract: THE CONCLUSION OF MOST STUDIES IS THAT JEWS HAVE A LOW CRIME RATE. IT IS LOWER THAN THAT OF NON-JEWS TAKEN AS A WHOLE, LOWER THAN THAT OF OTHER RELIGIOUS GROUPS,

HOWEVER, THE JEWISH CRIME RATE TENDS TO BE HIGHER THAN THAT OF NONJEWS AND OTHER RELIGIOUS GROUPS FOR WHITE-COLLAR OFFENSES,

THAT IS, COMMERCIAL OR COMMERCIALLY RELATED CRIMES, SUCH AS FRAUD, FRAUDULENT BANKRUPTCY, AND EMBEZZLEMENT.

Index Term(s): Behavioral and Social Sciences ; Adult offenders ; Minorities ; Behavioral science research ; Offender classification

Country: United States of America
Language: English

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 4:21 pm

Cal – that does not surprise me at all. Of course they would be where the money is, and once you have money, you get nothing but the best defense. "I've got time and money on my side. Go ahead and take me to court. I'll string this thing along and it'll cost you a fortune. So let's deal. I'm good with a fine."

A rap on the knuckles, a fine, and no court case, no discovery of the truth that the people can see. Of course they'd be there. That IS the only place to be if you want to be a true criminal.

Skip Scott , July 15, 2017 at 1:57 pm

Thanks again Abe, you are a wealth of information. I think you have to allow for anyone to make a mistake, and Bharara has done a lot of good.

BannanaBoat , July 14, 2017 at 10:45 am

USA justice for Oilygarchs; Ignore capital crimes and mass destruction ; concentrate on entertaining shenanigans.

Cal , July 13, 2017 at 11:39 pm

If Trump wants to survive he better let go of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Lets start here:

Trump's personal attorneys are reportedly fed up with Jared Kushner
http://www.businessinsider.com/jared-kushner-trump-lawyers-donald-jr-emails-2017-7

Longtime Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz and his team have directed their grievance at Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser.
Citing a person familiar with Trump's legal team, The Times said Kasowitz has bristled at Kushner's "whispering in the president's ear" about stories on the Russia investigation without telling Kasowitz and his team.
The Times' source said the attorneys, who were hired as private counsel to Trump in light of the Russia investigation, view Kushner "as an obstacle and a freelancer" motivated to protect himself over over Trump. The lawyers reportedly told colleagues the work environment among Trump's inner circle was untenable, The Times said, suggesting Kasowitz could resign

Second
Who thinks Jared works for Trump? I don't.
Jared works for his father Charles Kushner, the former jail bird who hired prostitutes to blackmail his brother in law into not testifying against him. Jared spent every weekend his father was in prison visiting him.,,they are inseparable.

Third
So what is Jared doing in his WH position to help his father and his failing RE empire?

Trying to get loans from China, Russia, Qatar,Qatar

And why Is Robert Mueller Probing Jared Kushner's Finances?

Because of this no doubt:..seeking a loan for the Kushners from a Russian bank.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/03/sergei-gorkov-russian-banker-jared-kushner

The White House and the bank have offered differing accounts of the Kushner-Gorkov sit-down. While the White House said Kushner met Gorkov and other foreign representatives as a transition official to "help advance the president's foreign policy goals." Vnesheconombank, also known as VEB, said it was part of talks with business leaders about the bank's development strategy.
It said Kushner was representing Kushner companies, his family real estate empire.

Jared Kushner 'tried and failed to get a $500m loan from Qatar before
http://www.independent.co.uk › News › World › Americas › US politics
2 days ago –
Jared Kushner tried and failed to secure a $500m loan from one of Qatar's richest businessmen, before pushing his father-in-law to toe a hard line with the country, it has been alleged. This intersection between Mr Kushner's real estate dealings and his father-in-law's

The Kushners are about to lose their shirts..unless one of those foreign country's banks gives them the money.

At Kushners' Flagship Building, Mounting Debt and a Foundered Deal
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/nyregion/kushner-companies-666-fifth-avenue.html
The Fifth Avenue skyscraper was supposed to be the Kushner Companies' flagship in the heart of Manhattan -- a record-setting $1.8 billion souvenir proclaiming that the New Jersey developers Charles Kushner and his son Jared were playing in the big leagues.
And while it has been a visible symbol of their status, it has also it has also been a financial headache almost from the start. On Wednesday, the Kushners announced that talks had broken off with a Chinese financial conglomerate for a deal worth billions to redevelop the 41-story tower, at 666 Fifth Avenue, into a flashy 80-story ultraluxury skyscraper comprising a chic retail mall, a hotel and high-priced condominiums"

Get these cockroaches out of the WH please.,,,Jared and his sister are running around the world trying to get money in exchange for giving them something from the Trump WH.

BannanaBoat , July 14, 2017 at 10:52 am

The NYC skyline displays 666 in really really really HUGE !!!! numbers. Perhaps the USA government as Cheney announced has gone to the very very very DARK side.

Cal , July 14, 2017 at 2:16 pm

Yea 666 probably isn't a coincidence .lol

Chris Kinder , July 14, 2017 at 12:15 am

What I think most comments overlook here is the following: the US is the primary imperialist aggressor in the world today, and Russia, though it is an imperialist competitor, is much weaker and is generally losing ground. Early on, the US promised that NATO would not be extended into Eastern Europe, but now look at what's happened: not only does the US have NATO allies and and missiles in Eastern Europe, but it also engineered a coup against a pro-Russian regime in Ukraine, and is now trying to drive Russia out of Eastern Ukraine, as in Crimea and the Donbass and other areas of Eastern Ukraine, which are basically Russian going back more than a century. Putin is pretty mild compered to the US' aggressive stance. That's number one.

Number two is that the current anti-Russian hysteria in the US is all about maintaining the same war-mongering stance against Russia that existed in the cold war, and also about washing clean the Democratic Party leadership's crimes in the last election. Did the Russians hack the election? Maybe they tried, but the point is that what was exposed–the emails etc–were true information! They show that the DNC worked to deprive Bernie Sanders of the nomination, and hide crimes of the Clintons'! These exposures, not any Russian connection to the exposures, are what really lost Hillary the election.

So, what is going on here? The Democrats are trying to hide their many transgressions behind an anti-Russian scare, why? Because it is working, and because it fits in with US imperialist anti-Russian aims which span the entire post-war period, and continue today. And because it might help get Trump impeached. I would not mind that result one bit, but the Democrats are no alternative: that has been shown to be true over and over again.

This is all part of the US attempt to be the dominant imperialist power in the world–something which it has pursued since the end of the last world war, and something which both Democrats and Republicans–ie, the US ruling class behind them–are committed to. Revolutionaries say: the main enemy is at home, and that is what I say now. That is no endorsement of Russian imperialism, but a rejection of all imperialism and the capitalist exploitative system that gives rise to it.

Thanks for your attention -- Chris Kinder

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 1:58 am

Chris – good post. Thanks.

mike k , July 14, 2017 at 11:35 am

Chris, I think most commenters here are aware of everything you summarized above, but we just don't put all that in each individual post.

Paranam Kid , July 14, 2017 at 6:40 am

It is ironic that Browder on his website describes himself as running a battle against corporate corruption in Russia, and there is a quote by Walter Isaacson: "Bill Browder is an amazing moral crusader". http://www.billbrowder.com/bio

HIDE BEHIND , July 14, 2017 at 10:02 am

One cannot talk of Russian monry laundering in US without exposing the Jewish Israeli and many AIPAC connections.
I studied not so much the Jewish Orthodoxy but mainly the evolution of noth their outlook upon G.. but also how those who do not believe in a G.. and still keep their cultural cohesiveness
The largest money laundering group in US is
both Jewish and Israeli, and while helping those of their cultural similarities, their ecpertise goes. Very deep in Eastern U.S. politics and especially strong in all commercial real estate, funding, setting up bribes to permitting officials,contractors and owners of construvtion firms.
Financials some quite large are within this Jew/Israel connections, as all they who offshore need those proper connections to do so. take bribes need the funding cleaned and
flow out through very large tax free Jewish Charity Orgd, the largest ones are those of Orthodox.
GOV Christie years ago headed the largest sting operation to try and uproot what at that time he believed was just statewide tax fraud and laundering operations, many odd cash flows into political party hacks running for evrry gov position electefd or appointed.
Catchng a member of one of the most influential Orthofox familys mrmbers, that member rolled on many many indivifuals of his own culture.
It was only when Vhristies investigative team began turning up far larger cases of laundering and political donations thst msinly centered in NY Stste and City, fid he then find out howuch power this grouping had.
Soon darn near every AIPAC aided elected politico from city state and rspecially Congress was warning him to end investigation.
Which he did.
His reward was for his fat ass to be funded for a run towards US Presidency, without any visibly open opposition by that cultural grouping.
No it is not odd for Jewery to charge goyim usury or to aid in political schemes that advance their groups aims.
One thing to remenber by the Bible thumpers who delay any talks of Israel ; Christian Zionist, is that to be of their culture one does not have to believe in G.
There are a few excellent books written about early days Jewish immigrant Pre Irish andblre Sicilian mafias.
The Jewish one remainst to this day but are as well orgNized as the untold history of what is known as "The Southern mafia.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Hide Behind – fascinating! I guess if we ever knew half of what goes on behind the scenes, we'd be shocked. We only ever know things like this exist when people like you enlighten us, or when there's a blockbuster movie about it. Thanks.

Deborah Andrew , July 14, 2017 at 10:03 am

With great respect and appreciation for your writing about the current unsubstantiated conversations/writing about 'Russia-gate' I would ask if 'the other side of a story' is really what we want or, is it that we want all the facts. Analysis and opinions, that include the facts, may differ. However, it is the readers who will evaluate the varied analysis and opinions when they include all the facts known. I raise this question, as it seems to me that we have a binary approach to our thinking and decision making. Something is either good or bad, this or that. Sides are taken. Labels are added (such as conservative and progressive). Would we not be wiser and would our decision making not be wiser if it were based on a set of principles? My own preference: the precautionary principle and the principle of do no harm. I am suggesting that we abandon the phrase and notion of the 'other side of the story' and replace it with: based on the facts now known, or, based on all the facts revealed to date or, until more facts are revealed it appears

BannanaBoat , July 14, 2017 at 11:00 am

HEAR -- HEAR -- Excellent --

Zachary Smith , July 14, 2017 at 11:04 am

I would ask if 'the other side of a story' is really what we want or, is it that we want all the facts.

Replying to a question with another question isn't really good form, but given my knowledge level of this case I can see no alternative.

How do you propose to determine the "facts" when virtually none of the characters involved in the affair appear trustworthy? Also, there is a lot of evidence (displayed by Mr. Parry) that another set of "characters" we call the Mainstream Media are extremely biased and one-sided with their coverage of the story.

Again – Where am I going to find those "facts" you speak of?

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 2:52 am

Spot on.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 2:02 pm

Deborah Andrew – good comment, but the problem is that we never seem to get "the other side of the story" from the MSM. You are right in pointing out that "the other side of the story" probably isn't ALL there is (as nothing is completely black and white), but at least it's something. The only way we can ever get to the truth is to put the facts together and question them, but how are you going to do that when the facts are kept away from us?

It can be very frustrating, can't it, Deborah? Cheers.

Cal , July 14, 2017 at 8:52 pm

Nice comment.

None of us can know the exact truth of anything we ourselves haven't seen or been involved in. The best we can do is try to find trusted sources, be objective, analytical and compare different stories and known the backgrounds and possible agendas of the people involved in a issue or story.

We can use some clues to help us cull thru what we hear and read.

Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation

Note: The first rule and last five (or six, depending on situation) rules are generally not directly within the ability of the traditional disinfo artist to apply. These rules are generally used more directly by those at the leadership, key players, or planning level of the criminal conspiracy or conspiracy to cover up.

1. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Regardless of what you know, don't discuss it -- especially if you are a public figure, news anchor, etc. If it's not reported, it didn't happen, and you never have to deal with the issues.

2. Become incredulous and indignant. Avoid discussing key issues and instead focus on side issues which can be used show the topic as being critical of some otherwise sacrosanct group or theme. This is also known as the 'How dare you!' gambit.

3. Create rumor mongers. Avoid discussing issues by describing all charges, regardless of venue or evidence, as mere rumors and wild accusations. Other derogatory terms mutually exclusive of truth may work as well. This method which works especially well with a silent press, because the only way the public can learn of the facts are through such 'arguable rumors'. If you can associate the material with the Internet, use this fact to certify it a 'wild rumor' from a 'bunch of kids on the Internet' which can have no basis in fact.

4. Use a straw man. Find or create a seeming element of your opponent's argument which you can easily knock down to make yourself look good and the opponent to look bad. Either make up an issue you may safely imply exists based on your interpretation of the opponent/opponent arguments/situation, or select the weakest aspect of the weakest charges. Amplify their significance and destroy them in a way which appears to debunk all the charges, real and fabricated alike, while actually avoiding discussion of the real issues.

5. Sidetrack opponents with name calling and ridicule. This is also known as the primary 'attack the messenger' ploy, though other methods qualify as variants of that approach. Associate opponents with unpopular titles such as 'kooks', 'right-wing', 'liberal', 'left-wing', 'terrorists', 'conspiracy buffs', 'radicals', 'militia', 'racists', 'religious fanatics', 'sexual deviates', and so forth. This makes others shrink from support out of fear of gaining the same label, and you avoid dealing with issues.

6. Hit and Run. In any public forum, make a brief attack of your opponent or the opponent position and then scamper off before an answer can be fielded, or simply ignore any answer. This works extremely well in Internet and letters-to-the-editor environments where a steady stream of new identities can be called upon without having to explain criticism, reasoning -- simply make an accusation or other attack, never discussing issues, and never answering any subsequent response, for that would dignify the opponent's viewpoint.

7. Question motives. Twist or amplify any fact which could be taken to imply that the opponent operates out of a hidden personal agenda or other bias. This avoids discussing issues and forces the accuser on the defensive.

8. Invoke authority. Claim for yourself or associate yourself with authority and present your argument with enough 'jargon' and 'minutia' to illustrate you are 'one who knows', and simply say it isn't so without discussing issues or demonstrating concretely why or citing sources.

9. Play Dumb. No matter what evidence or logical argument is offered, avoid discussing issues except with denials they have any credibility, make any sense, provide any proof, contain or make a point, have logic, or support a conclusion. Mix well for maximum effect.

10. Associate opponent charges with old news. A derivative of the straw man -- usually, in any large-scale matter of high visibility, someone will make charges early on which can be or were already easily dealt with – a kind of investment for the future should the matter not be so easily contained.) Where it can be foreseen, have your own side raise a straw man issue and have it dealt with early on as part of the initial contingency plans. Subsequent charges, regardless of validity or new ground uncovered, can usually then be associated with the original charge and dismissed as simply being a rehash without need to address current issues -- so much the better where the opponent is or was involved with the original source.

11. Establish and rely upon fall-back positions. Using a minor matter or element of the facts, take the 'high road' and 'confess' with candor that some innocent mistake, in hindsight, was made -- but that opponents have seized on the opportunity to blow it all out of proportion and imply greater criminalities which, 'just isn't so.' Others can reinforce this on your behalf, later, and even publicly 'call for an end to the nonsense' because you have already 'done the right thing.' Done properly, this can garner sympathy and respect for 'coming clean' and 'owning up' to your mistakes without addressing more serious issues.

12. Enigmas have no solution. Drawing upon the overall umbrella of events surrounding the crime and the multitude of players and events, paint the entire affair as too complex to solve. This causes those otherwise following the matter to begin to lose interest more quickly without having to address the actual issues.

13. Alice in Wonderland Logic. Avoid discussion of the issues by reasoning backwards or with an apparent deductive logic which forbears any actual material fact.

14. Demand complete solutions. Avoid the issues by requiring opponents to solve the crime at hand completely, a ploy which works best with issues qualifying for rule 10.

15. Fit the facts to alternate conclusions. This requires creative thinking unless the crime was planned with contingency conclusions in place.

16. Vanish evidence and witnesses. If it does not exist, it is not fact, and you won't have to address the issue.

17. Change the subject. Usually in connection with one of the other ploys listed here, find a way to side-track the discussion with abrasive or controversial comments in hopes of turning attention to a new, more manageable topic. This works especially well with companions who can 'argue' with you over the new topic and polarize the discussion arena in order to avoid discussing more key issues.

18. Emotionalize, Antagonize, and Goad Opponents. If you can't do anything else, chide and taunt your opponents and draw them into emotional responses which will tend to make them look foolish and overly motivated, and generally render their material somewhat less coherent. Not only will you avoid discussing the issues in the first instance, but even if their emotional response addresses the issue, you can further avoid the issues by then focusing on how 'sensitive they are to criticism.'

19. Ignore proof presented, demand impossible proofs. This is perhaps a variant of the 'play dumb' rule. Regardless of what material may be presented by an opponent in public forums, claim the material irrelevant and demand proof that is impossible for the opponent to come by (it may exist, but not be at his disposal, or it may be something which is known to be safely destroyed or withheld, such as a murder weapon.) In order to completely avoid discussing issues, it may be required that you to categorically deny and be critical of media or books as valid sources, deny that witnesses are acceptable, or even deny that statements made by government or other authorities have any meaning or relevance.

20. False evidence. Whenever possible, introduce new facts or clues designed and manufactured to conflict with opponent presentations -- as useful tools to neutralize sensitive issues or impede resolution. This works best when the crime was designed with contingencies for the purpose, and the facts cannot be easily separated from the fabrications.

21. Call a Grand Jury, Special Prosecutor, or other empowered investigative body. Subvert the (process) to your benefit and effectively neutralize all sensitive issues without open discussion. Once convened, the evidence and testimony are required to be secret when properly handled. For instance, if you own the prosecuting attorney, it can insure a Grand Jury hears no useful evidence and that the evidence is sealed and unavailable to subsequent investigators. Once a favorable verdict is achieved, the matter can be considered officially closed. Usually, this technique is applied to find the guilty innocent, but it can also be used to obtain charges when seeking to frame a victim.

22. Manufacture a new truth. Create your own expert(s), group(s), author(s), leader(s) or influence existing ones willing to forge new ground via scientific, investigative, or social research or testimony which concludes favorably. In this way, if you must actually address issues, you can do so authoritatively.

23. Create bigger distractions. If the above does not seem to be working to distract from sensitive issues, or to prevent unwanted media coverage of unstoppable events such as trials, create bigger news stories (or treat them as such) to distract the multitudes.

24. Silence critics. If the above methods do not prevail, consider removing opponents from circulation by some definitive solution so that the need to address issues is removed entirely. This can be by their death, arrest and detention, blackmail or destruction of theircharacter by release of blackmail information, or merely by destroying them financially, emotionally, or severely damaging their health.

25. Vanish. If you are a key holder of secrets or otherwise overly illuminated and you think the heat is getting too hot, to avoid the issues, vacate the kitchen. .

Note: There are other ways to attack truth, but these listed are the most common, and others are likely derivatives of these. In the end, you can usually spot the professional disinfo players by one or more of seven (now 8) distinct traits:

Eight Traits of the Disinformationalist
by H. Michael Sweeney
copyright (c) 1997, 2000 All rights reserved

(Revised April 2000 – formerly SEVEN Traits)

1) Avoidance. They never actually discuss issues head-on or provide constructive input, generally avoiding citation of references or credentials. Rather, they merely imply this, that, and the other. Virtually everything about their presentation implies their authority and expert knowledge in the matter without any further justification for credibility.

2) Selectivity. They tend to pick and choose opponents carefully, either applying the hit-and-run approach against mere commentators supportive of opponents, or focusing heavier attacks on key opponents who are known to directly address issues. .

3) Coincidental. They tend to surface suddenly and somewhat coincidentally with a new controversial topic with no clear prior record of participation in general discussions in the particular public arena involved. They likewise tend to vanish once the topic is no longer of general concern. They were likely directed or elected to be there for a reason, and vanish with the reason.

4) Teamwork. They tend to operate in self-congratulatory and complementary packs or teams. Of course, this can happen naturally in any public forum, but there will likely be an ongoing pattern of frequent exchanges of this sort where professionals are involved. Sometimes one of the players will infiltrate the opponent camp to become a source for straw man or other tactics designed to dilute opponent presentation strength.

5) Anti-conspiratorial. They almost always have disdain for 'conspiracy theorists' and, usually, for those who in any way believe JFK was not killed by LHO. Ask yourself why, if they hold such disdain for conspiracy theorists, do they focus on defending a single topic discussed in a NG focusing on conspiracies? One might think they would either be trying to make fools of everyone on every topic, or simply ignore the group they hold in such disdain.Or, one might more rightly conclude they have an ulterior motive for their actions in going out of their way to focus as they do.

6) Artificial Emotions. An odd kind of 'artificial' emotionalism and an unusually thick skin -- an ability to persevere and persist even in the face of overwhelming criticism and unacceptance. You might have outright rage and indignation one moment, ho-hum the next, and more anger later -- an emotional yo-yo. With respect to being thick-skinned, no amount of criticism will deter them from doing their job, and they will generally continue their old disinfo patterns without any adjustments to criticisms of how obvious it is that they play that game -- where a more rational individual who truly cares what others think might seek to improve their communications style, substance, and so forth, or simply give up.

7) Inconsistent. There is also a tendency to make mistakes which betray their true self/motives. This may stem from not really knowing their topic, or it may be somewhat 'freudian', so to speak, in that perhaps they really root for the side of truth deep within.

8) BONUS TRAIT: Time Constant. Wth respect to News Groups, is the response time factor. There are three ways this can be seen to work, especially when the government or other empowered player is involved in a cover up operation:
1) ANY NG posting by a targeted proponent for truth can result in an IMMEDIATE response. The government and other empowered players can afford to pay people to sit there and watch for an opportunity to do some damage. SINCE DISINFO IN A NG ONLY WORKS IF THE READER SEES IT – FAST RESPONSE IS CALLED FOR, or the visitor may be swayed towards truth.
2) When dealing in more direct ways with a disinformationalist, such as email, DELAY IS CALLED FOR – there will usually be a minimum of a 48-72 hour delay. This allows a sit-down team discussion on response strategy for best effect, and even enough time to 'get permission' or instruction from a formal chain of command.
3) In the NG example 1) above, it will often ALSO be seen that bigger guns are drawn and fired after the same 48-72 hours delay – the team approach in play. This is especially true when the targeted truth seeker or their comments are considered more important with respect to potential to reveal truth. Thus, a serious truth sayer will be attacked twice for the same sin.

Michael Kenny , July 14, 2017 at 11:22 am

I don't really see Mr Parry's point. The banning of Nekrasov's film isn't proof of the accuracy of its contents and even less does it prove that anything that runs counter to Nekrasov's argument is false. Nor does proving that a mainstream meida story is false prove that an internet story saying the opposite is true. "A calls B a liar. B proves that A is a liar. That proves that B is truthful." Not very logical! What seems to be established is that the lawyer in question represents a Russian-owned company, a money-laundering prosecution against which was settled last May on the basis of what the company called a "surprise" offer from prosecutors that was "too good to refuse". This "Russian government attorney" (dixit Goldstone) had information concerning illegal campaign contributions to the Democratic National Committee. Trump Jr jumped at it and it makes no difference whether he was tricked or even whether he actually got anything, his intent was clear. In addition DNC "dirt" did indeed appear on the internet via Wikileaks, just as "dirt" appeared in the French election. MacronLeaks proves Russiagate and "Juniorgate" confirms MacronLeaks. The question now is did Trump, as president, intervene to bring about this "too good to refuse" offer? That question cannot just be written off with the "no evidence" argument.

Skip Scott , July 14, 2017 at 1:40 pm

God, you are persistent if nothing else. Keep repeating the same lie until it is taken as true, just like the MSM. You say that Russia-gate, Macron leaks, etc can't be written off with the "no evidence" argument (how is that logical?), and then you trash a film you haven't even seen because it doesn't fit your narrative. Maybe some evidence is provided in the film, did you consider that possibility? That fact that Nekrasov started out to make a pro Broder film, and then switched sides, leads me to believe he found some disturbing evidence. And if you look into Nekrasov you will find that he is no fan of Putin, so one has to wonder what his motive is if he is lying.

I am wondering if you ever look back at previous posts, because you never reply to a rebuttal. If you did, you would see that you are almost universally seen by the commenters here as a troll. If you are being paid, I suppose it might not matter much to you. However, your employer should look for someone with more intelligent arguments. He is wasting his money on you.

Abe , July 14, 2017 at 9:27 pm

Propaganda trolls attempt to trash the information space by dismissing, distracting, diverting, denying, deceiving and distorting the facts.

The trolls aim at confusing rather than convincing the audience.

The tag team troll performance of "Michael Kenny" and "David" is accompanied by loud declarations that they have "logic" on their side and "evidence" somewhere. Then they shriek that they're being "censored".

Propaganda trolls target the comments section of independent investigative journalism sites like Consortium News, typically showing up when articles discuss the West's "regime change" wars and deception operations.

Pro-Israel Hasbara propaganda trolls also strive to discredit websites, articles, and videos critical of Israel and Zionism. Hasbara smear tactics have intensified due to increasing Israeli threats of military aggression, Israeli collusion with the United States in "regime change" projects from the Middle East to Eastern Europe, and Israeli links to international organized crime and terrorism in Syria.

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 3:04 am

Gee Abe, you are a magician (and I thought that you only quote excellent articles). Short and sharp.

Abe , July 15, 2017 at 4:15 pm

When they have a hard time selling that they're being "censored" (after more than a dozen comments), trolls complain that they're being "dismissed" and "invalidated" by "hostile voices".

exiled off mainstreet , July 14, 2017 at 1:54 pm

Aaron Kesel, in Activistpost documents the links between Veselnitskaya and Fusion GPS, the company engaged by the Clintons to prepare the defamatory Christopher Steele Dossier against Trump later used by Comey to help gin up the Russian influence conspiracy theory. In the article, it is true the GPS connection may have involved her lobbying efforts to overturn the Magnitsky law, not the dossier, but it is also interesting that she is on record as anti-Trump and having associations with Clinton democrats. Though it may have been part of the beginnings of a conspiracy, the conspiracy may have developed later and the meeting became something they related back to to bolster this fraudulent dangerous initiative.

mike k , July 14, 2017 at 2:01 pm

I think as you say Skip that most on this blog have seen through Michael Kenny's stuff. Nobody's buying it. He's harmless. If he's here on his own dime, if we don't feed him, he will get bored and go away. If he's being payed, he may persist, but so what. Sometimes I check the MSM just to see what the propaganda line is. Kenny is like that; his shallow arguments tell me what we must counter to wake people up.

Skip Scott , July 14, 2017 at 5:51 pm

Yeah mike k, I know you're right. I don't know why I let the guy get under my skin. Perhaps it's because he never responds to a rebuttal.

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 3:14 am

Then you would have to waste more time rebutting the (equally empty) rebuttal.

The second thing is that many trolls suffer from DID, that is the Dissociative Identity Disorder, aka sock puppetry. There is a bit of similarity in argument between David and Michael and HAWKINS, only one of them rebuts quite often.

Philippe Lemoine , July 14, 2017 at 3:41 pm

Another excellent article! I wrote a very detailed blog post in which I methodically take apart the latest "revelation" about Donald Trump Jr.'s emails. I talk a lot about the Magnitsky Act, which is very relevant to this whole story.

Joe Tedesky , July 14, 2017 at 4:43 pm

I always like reading your articles Philippe, you have a real talent. Maybe read what I wrote above, but I'm sensing this Trump Jr affair will help Hillary more than anything, to give her a reprieve from any further FBI investigations. I mean somehow, I'm sure by Hillary's standards and desires, that this whole crazy investigation thing has to end. So, would it not seem reasonable to believe that by allowing Donald Jr to be taken off the hook, that Hillary likewise will enjoy the taste of forgiveness?

Tell me if you think this Donald Trump Jr scandal could lead to this Joe

PS if so this could be a good next article to write there I go telling the band what to play, but seriously if this Russian conclusion episode goes on much longer, could you not see a grand bargain and a deal being made?

Philippe Lemoine , July 14, 2017 at 5:14 pm

Thanks for the compliment, I'm glad you like the blog. I wasn't under the impression that Clinton was under any particular danger from the Justice Department, but even if she was, she doesn't have the power to stop this Trump/Russia collusion nonsense because it's pushed by a lot of people that have nothing to do with her except for the fact that they would have preferred her to win.

Abe , July 14, 2017 at 6:48 pm

Excellent summary and analysis, Philippe. Key observation:

"as even the New York Times admits, there is no evidence that Natalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer who met Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort for 20-30 minutes on 9 June 2016, provided any such information during that meeting. Donald Trump Jr. said that, although he asked her about it, she didn't give them anything on Clinton, but talked to him about the Magnitsky Act and Russia's decision to block adoption by American couples in retaliation. Of course, if we just had his word, we'd have no particularly good reason to believe him. But the fact remains that no documents of the sort described in Goldstone's ridiculous email ever surfaced during the campaign, which makes what he is saying about how the meeting went down pretty convincing, at least on this specific point. It should be noted that Donald Trump Jr. has offered to testify under oath about anything related to this meeting. Moreover, he also said during the interview he gave to Sean Hannity that there was no follow-up to this meeting, which is unlikely to be a lie since he must know that, given the hysteria about this meeting, it would come out. He may not be the brightest guy in the world, but surely he or at least the people who advised him before that interview are not that stupid."

Philippe Lemoine , July 14, 2017 at 10:27 pm

Thanks!

exiled off mainstreet , July 16, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Your own necpluribus article was one of the best I've seen summarising the whole controversy, and your exhaustive responses to the pro-deep state critics was edifying. I am now convinced that your view of Veselnitskaya's role in the affair and the nature her connections to the dossier drafting company GPS being based on their unrelated work on the magnitsky law is accurate.

Mike , July 14, 2017 at 9:36 pm

Pretty interesting:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-jr-russia-bill-browder-testify-senate-links-natalia-veselnitskaya-steele-dossier-a7840061.html

Big Tim , July 15, 2017 at 12:31 am

"Bill Browder, born into a notable Jewish family in Chicago, is the grandson of Earl Browder, the former leader of the Communist Party USA,[2] and the son of Eva (Tislowitz) and Felix Browder, a mathematician. He grew up in Chicago, Illinois, and attended the University of Chicago where he studied economics. He received an MBA from Stanford Business School[3] in 1989 where his classmates included Gary Kremen and Rich Kelley. In 1998, Browder gave up his US citizenship and became a British citizen.[4] Prior to setting up Hermitage, Browder worked in the Eastern European practice of the Boston Consulting Group[5] in London and managed the Russian proprietary investments desk at Salomon Brothers.[6]"

Rake , July 15, 2017 at 9:13 am

Successfully keeping a salient argument from being heard is scary, given the social media and alternative media players who are all ripe to uncover a bombshell. Sy Hersh needs to convince Nekrasov to get his documentary to WkiLeaks.

Anna , July 15, 2017 at 10:25 am

"Sy Hersh needs to convince Nekrasov to get his documentary to WkiLeaks."
Agree.

P. Clark , July 15, 2017 at 12:01 pm

When Trump suggested that a Mexican-American judge might be biased because of this ethnicity the media said this was racist. Yet these same outlets like the New York Times are now routinely questioning Russian-American loyalty because of their ethnicity. As usual a ridiculous double standard. Basically the assumption is all Russians are bad. We didn't even have this during the cold war.

Cal , July 15, 2017 at 8:10 pm

Yes indeed P. Clark .that kind or hypocrisy makes my head explode!

MichaelAngeloRaphaelo , July 15, 2017 at 12:17 pm

Enough's Enough
STOP DNC/DEMs
#CryBabyFakeNewsBS

Support Duly ELECTED
@POTUS @realDonaldTrump
#BoycottFakeNewsSponsors
#DrainTheSwamp
#MAGA

Roy G Biv , July 15, 2017 at 12:50 pm

CN article on 911 truthers:

https://www.consortiumnews.com/2011/011511.html

Finnish wonderer , July 15, 2017 at 1:19 pm

Wow, I just learned via this article that in US Nekrasov is labeled as "pro-Kremlin" by WaPo. That's just too funny. He's in a relationship with a Finnish MEP Heidi Hautala, who is very well known for her anti-Russia mentality. Nekrasov is defenetly anti-Kremlin if something. He was supposed to make an anti-Kremlin documentary, but the facts turned out to be different than he thought, but still finished his documentary.

Mark Dankof , July 15, 2017 at 3:21 pm

The lengths to which the Neo Conservative War Cabal will go to destroy freedom of speech and access to alternative news sources underscores that the United States is becoming an Orwellian agitation-propaganda police state equally dedicated to igniting World War III for Netanyahu, the Central Banks, our Wahhabic Petrodollar Partners, and a pipeline consortium or two. The Old American Republic is dead.

Roy G Biv , July 15, 2017 at 4:38 pm

Interesting to note that each and everyone of David's comments were bleached from this page. Looks like he was right about the censorship. Sad.

Abe , July 15, 2017 at 5:41 pm

Note "allegations that are unsupported by facts".

https://consortiumnews.com/2016/01/19/a-reminder-about-comment-rules-2/

David , July 16, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Duly noted Abe. But you should adhere to the first part of the statement that you somehow forgot to include:

From Editor Robert Parry: At Consortiumnews, we welcome substantive comments about our articles, but comments should avoid abusive language toward other commenters or our writers, racial or religious slurs (including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia), and allegations that are unsupported by facts.

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 6:06 pm

My favorite was David's claim that he contributed to this zine whilst it was publishing articles not to his liking (/sarc). I kindly reminded him that people pay much more money to have publishing the way they like it – for example how much Bezos paid for Washington Post, or Omidyar to establish The Intercept.

Except for such funny component, David's comments were totally substance free and useless. Nothing lost with bleaching.

Roy G Biv , July 16, 2017 at 5:44 am

You're practicing disinformation. He actually said he contributed early on and had problems with the recent course of the CN trajectory. Censorship is cowardly.

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 1:53 pm

Consortium News welcomes substantive comments.

"David" was presenting allegations unsupported by facts and disrupting on-topic discussion.

Violations of CN comment policy are taken down by the moderator. Period. It has nothing to do with "censorship".

Stop practicing disinformation and spin, "Roy G Biv".

David , July 16, 2017 at 3:57 pm

I stopped contributing after the unintellectual dismissal of scientific 911 truthers. And it's easy for you to paint over my comments as they have been scrubbed. There was plenty of useful substance, it just ran against the tide. Sorry you didn't appreciate it the contrary viewpoint or have the curiosity to read the backstory.

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 5:02 pm

The cowardly claim of "censorship".

The typical troll whine is that their "contrary viewpoint" was "dismissed" merely because it "ran against the tide".

No. Your allegations were unsupported by facts. They still are.

Martyrdom is just another troll tactic.

dub , July 15, 2017 at 9:44 pm

torrent for the film?

Roy G Biv , July 16, 2017 at 5:56 am

Here is the pdf of the legal brief about the Magnitsky film submitted by Senator Grassly to Homeland Security Chief. Interesting read and casts doubt on the claims made in the film, refutes several claims actually. Skip past Chuck Grassly's first two page intro to get to the meat of it. If you are serious about a debate on the merits of the case, this is essential reading.

https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2017-04-04%20CEG%20to%20DHS%20(Akhmetshin%20Information)%20with%20attachment.pdf

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 1:16 pm

Yes, very interesting read. By all means, examine the brief.

But forget the spin from "Roy G Biv" because the brief actually refutes nothing about Andrei Nekrasov's film.

It simply notes that the Russian government was understandably concerned about "unscrupulous swindler" and "sleazy crook" William Browder.

After your finished reading the brief, try to remember any time when Congress dared to examine a lobbying campaign undertaken on behalf of Israeli (which is to say, predominantly Russian Jewish) interests, the circumstances surrounding a pro-Israel lobbying effort and the potential FARA violations involved. or the background of a Jewish "Russian immigrant".

Note on page 3 of the cover letter the CC to The Honorable Dianne Feinstein, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Feinstein was born Dianne Emiel Goldman in San Francisco, to Betty (née Rosenburg), a former model, and Leon Goldman, a surgeon. Feinstein's paternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Poland. Her maternal grandparents, the Rosenburg family, were from Saint Petersburg, Russia. While they were of German-Jewish ancestry, they practiced the Russian Orthodox faith as was required for Jews residing in Saint Petersburg.

In 1980, Feinstein married Richard C. Blum, an investment banker. In 2003, Feinstein was ranked the fifth-wealthiest senator, with an estimated net worth of US$26 million. By 2005 her net worth had increased to between US$43 million and US$99 million.

Like the rest of Congress, Feinstein knows the "right way" to vote.

David , July 16, 2017 at 1:50 pm

So you're saying because a Jew Senator was CC'd it invalidates the information? Read the first page again. The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is obligated to CC these submissions to the ranking member of the Committee, Jew heritage or not. Misinformation and disinformation from you Abe, or generously, maybe lazy reading. The italicized unscrupulous swindler and sleazy crook comments were quoting the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov after the Washington screening of Nekrasov's film and demonstrating Russia's intentions to discredit Browder. You are practiced at the art of deception. Hopefully readers will simply look for themselves.

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 2:11 pm

Ah, comrade "David". We see you're back muttering about "disinformation" using your "own name".

My statements about Senator Feinstein are entirely supported by facts. You really should look into that.

Also, please note that quotation marks are not italics.

And please note that the Russian Foreign Minister is legally authorized to present the view of the Russian government.

Browder is pretty effective at discrediting himself. He simply has to open his mouth.

I encourage readers to look for themselves, and not simply take the word of one Browder's sockpuppets.

David , July 16, 2017 at 2:55 pm

It won't last papushka. Every post and pended moderated post was scrubbed yesterday, to the cheers of you and your mean spirited friends. But truth is truth and should be defended. So to the point, I reread the Judiciary Committee linked document, and the items you specified are in italics, because the report is quoting Lavrov's comments to a Moscow news paper and "another paper" as evidence of Russia's efforts to undermine the credibility and standing of Browder. This is hardly obscure. It's plain as day if you just read it.

David , July 16, 2017 at 2:59 pm

Also Abe, before I get deleted again, I don't question any of you geneological description of Feinstein. I merely pointed out that she is the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, and it is normal for the Chairman of the Committee (Republican) to CC the ranking member. Unless of course it is Devin Nunes, then fairness and tradition goes out the window.

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 4:01 pm

It's plain as day, "David" or whatever other name you're trolling under, that you're here to loudly "defend" the "credibility" and "standing" of William Browder.

Sorry, but you're going to have to "defend" Browder with something other than your usual innuendo, blather about 9-11, and slurs against RP.

Otherwise it will be recognized for what it is, repeated violation of CN comment policy, and taken down by the moderator again.

Good luck to any troll who wants to "defend" Browder's record.

But you're gonna have to earn your pay with something other than your signature unsupported allegations, 9-11 diversions, and the "non-Jewish Russian haters gonna hate" propaganda shtick.

David , July 16, 2017 at 5:07 pm

I wish you would stop with the name calling. I am not a troll. I have been trying to make simple rational points. You respond by calling me names and wholly ignoring and/or misrepresenting and obfuscating easily verifiable facts. I suspect you are the moderator of this page, and if so am surprised by your consistent negative references to Jews. I'm not Jewish but you're really over the top. Of course you have many friends here so you get little push back, but I really hope you are not Bob or Sam.

Anonymous , July 16, 2017 at 10:26 am

We can see that it was what can be considered to be a Complex situation, where it was said that someone had Dirt on Hillary Clinton, but there was No collusion and there was No attempted collusion, but there was Patriotism and Concern for Others during a Perplexing situation.

This is because of what is Known as Arkancide, and which is associated with some People who say they have Dirt on the Clintons.

The Obvious and Humane thing to do was to arrange to meet the Russian Lawyer, who it was Alleged to have Dirt on Hillary Clinton, regardless of any possible Alleged Electoral advantage against Hillary Clinton, and until further information, there may have been some National Security Concerns, because it was Known that Hillary Clinton committed Espionage with Top Secret Information on her Unauthorized, Clandestine, Secret Email Server, and the Obvious cover up by the Department of Justice and the FBI, and so it was with this background that this Complex situation had to be dealt with.

This is because there is Greater Protection for a Person who has Dirt or Alleged Dirt on the Clintons, if that Information is share with other People.

This is because it is a Complete Waste of time to go to the Authorities, because they will Not do anything against Clinton Crimes, and a former Haitian Government Official was found dead only days before he was to give Testimony regarding the Clinton Foundation.

We saw this with Seth Rich, where the Police Videos has been withheld, and we have seen the Obstruction in investigating that Crime.

The message to Leakers is that Seth Rich was taken to hospital and Treated and was on his way to Fully Recovering, but he died in hospital, and those who were thinking of Leaking Understood the message from that.

There was Also concern for Rob Goldstone, who Alleged that the Russian Lawyer had Dirt on the Clintons.

We Know that is is said Goldstone that he did Not want to hear what was said at the meeting.

This is because Goldstone wanted associates of Candidate Donald Trump to Know that he did Not know what was said at that meeting.

We now Know that the meeting was a set up to Improperly obtain a FISA Warrant, which was Requested in June of 2016, and that is same the month and the year as the meeting that the Russian Lawyer attended.

There was what was an Unusual granting of a Special Visa so that the Russian Lawyer could attend that set up, which was Improperly Used to Request a FISA Warrant in order to Improperly Spy on an Opposition Political Candidate in order to Improperly gain an Electoral advantage in an Undemocratic manner, because if anything wrong was intended by Associates of Candidate Donald Trump, then there were enough People in that meeting who were the Equivalent of Establishment Democrats and Establishment Republicans, because we Know that after that meeting, that the husband of the former Florida chair of the Trump campaign obtained a front row seat to a June 2016 House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing for the Russian Lawyer.

There are Americans who consider that the 2 Major Political Party Tyranny has Betrayed the Constitution and the Principles of Democracy, because they oppose President Donald Trump's Election Integrity Commission, because they think that the Establishment Republicans and the Establishment Democrats are the Bribed and Corrupted Puppets of the Shadow Regime.

We Know from Senator Sanders, that if Americans want a Political Revolution, then they will need their own Political Party.

There are Americans who think that a Group of Democratic Party Voters and Republican Party Voters who have No association with the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, and that they may be named The Guardians of American Democracy.

These Guardians of American Democracy would be a numerous Group of People, and they would ask Republican Voters to Vote for the Democratic Party Representative instead of the Republican who is in Congress and who is seeking Reelection, in exchange for Democratic Party Voters to Vote for the Republican Party Candidate instead of the Democrat who is in Congress and who is seeking Reelection, and the same can be done for the Senate, because the American People have to Decide if it is they the Shadow Regime, or if it is We the People, and the Establishment Republicans and the Establishment Democrats are the Bribed and Corrupt Puppets of the Shadow Regime, and there would be equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats replaced in this manner, and so it will Not affect their numbers in the Congress or the Senate.

There could be People who think that Debbie Wasserman Schultz was Unacceptability Biased and Unacceptability Corrupt during the Democratic Party Primaries, and that if she wants a Democratic Party Candidate to be Elected in her Congressional District, then she Should announce that she will Not be contesting the next Election, and there could be People who think that Speaker Paul Ryan was Unacceptability Disloyal by insufficiently endorse the Republican Presidential nominee, and with other matters, and that if he wants a Republican Party Candidate to be Elected in his Congressional District, then he Should announce that he will Not be contesting the next Election, and then the Guardians of American Democracy can look at other Dinos and Rinos, including those in the Senate, because the Constitution says the words: We the People.

There are Many Americans who have Noticed that Criminal Elites escape Justice, and Corruption is the norm in American Politics.

There are those who Supported Senator Sanders who Realize that Senator Sanders would have been Impeached had he become President, and they Know that they Need President Donald Trump to prepare the Political Landscape so that someone like Senator Sanders could be President, without a Coup attempt that is being attempted on President Donald Trump, and while these People may not Vote for the Republicans, they can Refuse to Vote for the Democratic Party, until the conditions are there for a Constitutional Republic and a Constitutional Democracy, and they want the Illegal Mueller Team to recuse themselves from this pile of Vile and Putrid McCarthyist Lies Invented by their Shadow Regime Puppet Masters,

There are Many Americans who want Voter Identification and Paper Ballots for Elections, and they have seen how several States are Opposed to President Donald Trump's Commission on Election Integrity, because they want to Rig their Elections, and this is Why there are Many Americans who want America to be a Constitutional Republic and a Constitutional Democracy.

MillyBloom54 , July 16, 2017 at 12:31 pm

I just read this article in the Washington Monthly, and wish to read informed comments about this issue. There are suggestions that organized crime from Russian was heavily involved. This is a complicated mess of money, greed, etc.

http://washingtonmonthly.com/2017/07/10/trumps-inner-circle-met-with-no-ordinary-russian-lawyer/

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 1:32 pm

Yes, very interesting read. By all means, examine the article, which concludes:

"So, let's please stay focused on why this matters.

"And why was Preet Bharara fired again?"

Israeli banks have helped launder money for Russian oligarchs, while large-scale fraudulent industries have been allowed to flourish in Israel.

A May 2009 diplomatic cable by the US ambassador to Israel warned that "many Russian oligarchs of Jewish origin and Jewish members of organized crime groups have received Israeli citizenship, or at least maintain residences in the country."

The United States estimated at the time that Russian crime groups had "laundered as much as $10 billion through Israeli holdings."

In 2009, then Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara charged 17 managers and employees of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims for defrauding Germany 42.5 million dollars by creating thousands of false benefit applications for people who had not suffered in the Holocaust.

The scam operated by creating phony applications with false birth dates and invented histories of persecution to process compensation claims. In some cases the recipients were born after World War II and at least one person was not even Jewish.

Among those charged was Semyon Domnitser, a former director of the conference. Many of the applicants were recruited from Brooklyn's Russian community. All those charged hail from Brooklyn.

When a phony applicant got a check, the scammers were given a cut, Bharara said. The fraud which has been going on for 16 years was related to the 400 million dollars which Germany pays out each year to Holocaust survivors.

Later, in November 2015, Bharara's office charged three Israeli men in a 23-count indictment that alleged that they ran a extensive computer hacking and fraud scheme that targeted JPMorgan Chase, The Wall Street Journal, and ten other companies.

According to prosecutors, the Israeli's operation generated "hundreds of millions of dollars of illegal profit" and exposed the personal information of more than 100 million people.

Why was Bharara fired?

Any real investigation of Russia-Gate will draw international attention towards Russian Jewish corruption in the FIRE (Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate) sectors, and lead back to Israel.

Ain't gonna happen.

David , July 16, 2017 at 3:22 pm

Remember Milly that essentially one of the first things Trump did when he came into office was fire Preet, and just days before the long awaited trial. Then, Jeff Sessions settled the case for 6 million without any testimony on a 230 million dollar case, days after. Spectacular and brazen, and structured to hide the identities of which properties were bought by which investors. Hmmmm.

David , July 16, 2017 at 3:33 pm

By the way Milly, great summary article you have linked and one that everyone who is championing the Nekrasov film should read.

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 4:37 pm

The "great" article was not written by a journalist. It's an opinion piece written by Martin Longman, a blogger and Democratic Party political consultant.

From 2012 to 2013, Longman worked for Democracy for America (DFA) a political action committee, headquartered in South Burlington, Vermont, founded by former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

Since March 2014, political animal Longman has managed the The Washington Monthly website and online magazine.

Although it claims to be "an independent voice", the Washington Monthly is funded by the Ford Foundation, JP Morgan Chase Foundation, and well-heeled corporate entities http://washingtonmonthly.com/about/

Longman's credentials as a "progressive" alarmist are well established. Since 2005, he has been the publisher of Booman Tribune. Longman admits that BooMan is related to the 'bogey man' (aka, bogy man, boogeyman), an evil imaginary character who harms children.

Vladimir Putin is the latest bogey man of the Democratic Party and its equally pro-Israel "opposition".

Neither party wants the conversation to involve Jewish Russian organized crime, because that leads to Israel and the pro-Israel AIPAC lobby that funds both the Republican and Democratic parties.

Very interesting.

[Dec 10, 2017] Video How the U.S. Caused the Breakup of the Soviet Union Defend Democracy Press

Notable quotes:
"... Capitalism in the Web of Life ..."
"... An Inconvenient Truth ..."
"... Sean Gervasi (1933-1996) spent the latter part of his career exposing the role of the United States and Western powers in the breakup of the USSR and Yugoslavia. He was working on a book,Balkan Roulette, at the time of his death. ..."
"... New York Amsterdam News ..."
"... Le Monde Diplomatique ..."
"... Covert Action Information Bulletin ..."
"... Global Research ..."
"... Capitalism in the Web of Life ..."
"... An Inconvenient Truth ..."
"... Sean Gervasi (1933-1996) spent the latter part of his career exposing the role of the United States and Western powers in the breakup of the USSR and Yugoslavia. He was working on a book,Balkan Roulette, at the time of his death. ..."
"... New York Amsterdam News ..."
"... Le Monde Diplomatique ..."
"... Covert Action Information Bulletin ..."
"... Global Research ..."
Dec 10, 2017 | www.defenddemocracy.press

Although the United States played a crucial role in WWII, it was slow to get involved and it let the Soviet Union do much of the heavy lifting and suffer the heaviest losses. The United States had a lot of help in achieving the victory Mr. Gore claims for America, and we could assume he knows this, so the way he chose to describe historical events is telling.

Perhaps acknowledging the reality would have detracted from his second point about "bringing down communism." Everyone knows that what he is referring to so proudly is the destabilization and destruction of the USSR, the Warsaw bloc nations, and Yugoslavia, not the abstract notion of communism. He is referring to a "victory" which precipitated civil wars and a disastrous collapse of the economy and social welfare systems in these countries, one that killed and impoverished millions. In China, Cuba and the DPRK, contrary to what he stated, these nations' versions of socialism haven't been brought down at all. [1992]

Explicitly describing the "bringing down of communism" as America's deliberate actions to dismantle the USSR might run the risk of reminding the audience about the illegality of interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, and it might have reminded people of what a betrayal this was of America's WWII ally and partner in the détente of the 1970s. The inconvenient truth is that the USSR was the WWII ally that played a crucial role in the victory that Mr. Gore claimed solely for America.

Nonetheless, the comment about "bringing down communism" is refreshingly, and maybe accidentally, very honest. Most descriptions of the Soviet collapse, even those done by historians specializing in this field, pay little attention to American efforts to undermine the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s. The political class always denied that America had a plan to dismantle the USSR, and denied having any significant influence on events which they claim arose from domestic causes. If America's influence is addressed at all, it is considered as a matter of speculation, a mystery hardly worth thinking about when one can more easily look at the dramatic events that occurred on the surface within the Soviet Union in the last decade of its existence. The following transcript of the lecture by Sean Gervasi, delivered in 1992, shortly after the collapse, is unique and valuable for what it reveals about the significant, and perhaps decisive, American role in the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In his conclusion, Mr. Gervasi came to this judgment:

The Soviet Union today, in the absence of this extraordinarily crafty, well-thought-out, extremely costly strategy deployed by the Reagan administration, would be a society struggling through great difficulties. It would still be a socialist society, at least of the kind that it was. It would be far from perfect, but it would still be there, and I think, therefore, that Western intervention made a crucial difference in this situation."

The journey to how he came to this conclusion is well worth the reader's time.

A final comment about Mr. Gore's remarks: He is oblivious to the inconvenient solution that has been staring him in the face all these years: that the necessary reduction of carbon emissions will require severe constraints on capitalism, a thesis developed by Jason W. Moore in Capitalism in the Web of Life .[ii] Mr. Gore should know that a radical solution is needed. In his recent sequel to An Inconvenient Truth he complains about the undue influence of "money in politics" that has gotten so much worse over the last ten years, but that's as deep as the class analysis and ideological exploration can go in America. He evinces no awareness of the historical figures who developed answers to the problem of unaccountable private control of a nation's government, resources and productive capacities. Gore is still proud of having actively worked against a revolution in human affairs that aimed to curtail the savage capitalism that led to the present ecological catastrophe.

In spite of the flaws one might see in what the Soviet Union actually became, flaws that arose to a great extent because it had to fight against external threats throughout its existence, the goals of the revolution of 1917 are still relevant to the crises of the 21st century, and this is what makes Sean Gervasi's research so valuable now, after a quarter century in which America doubled down on its "winning ways" and worsened the crises that were evident long ago in 1992.

About Sean Gervasi

Sean Gervasi (1933-1996) spent the latter part of his career exposing the role of the United States and Western powers in the breakup of the USSR and Yugoslavia. He was working on a book,Balkan Roulette, at the time of his death.

Gervasi was an economist trained at the University of Geneva, Oxford and Cornell. His political career began when he took a post as an economic adviser in the Kennedy administration. He resigned in protest after the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

After his resignation, Gervasi was never able to get work again in the United States as an economist, despite his impressive academic credentials. He became a lecturer at the London School of Economics after leaving Washington. Notwithstanding his great popularity, the school refused to renew his contract in 1965.

During the 1970s and 1980s he was an adviser to a number of governments in Africa and the Middle East, helping them navigate the hostile and predatory world of transnational corporations and megabanks. He also worked for the UN Committee on Apartheid and the UN Commission on Namibia.

In addition, Gervasi was a journalist, contributing to a wide range of publications, from the New York Amsterdam News to Le Monde Diplomatique . He was a frequent commentator on the listener-supported Pacifica radio station WBAI in New York. In 1976, Gervasi broke the story of how the U.S. government was secretly arming the apartheid regime in South Africa.

In the late 1980s, Gervasi began to focus on the Cold War and what he called the "full court press," a basketball term for a highly aggressive "all in" strategy. In an article published in the Covert Action Information Bulletin in early 1991[iii], when the breakup of the USSR was imminent, Gervasi showed how the Reagan administration's strategy of economic isolation, a gargantuan arms buildup with the threat of a nuclear attack, overt funding of internal dissent, and CIA-directed sabotage had been decisive in bringing down the USSR. Gervasi backed up his analysis with careful scholarship and documentation.

Gervasi was widely respected as a leading independent figure in the left, but his views were contrary to the fashionable dogma that attributed the USSR's collapse almost exclusively to such things as failures of leadership, centralization of the economy, the black market, Chernobyl, or independence movements, and not to external hostility. These are the subjects which he addressed in the following lecture given to a small audience in January 1992. The lecture can still be found on internet video sites, but the thesis of this lecture still remains marginal and obscure two decades later, even though it is highly pertinent to the Cold War replay that is underway in the second decade of the 21st century -- one in which Russia stands accused of turning the tables and doing a comparatively very tame version of the propaganda war waged on the USSR in the 1980s.

After 1992, Gervasi focused his attention on the breakup of Yugoslavia, which he discovered was a replay of the strategy used to break up the Soviet Union. He became active in exposing the role of external powers, particularly the U.S. and German governments, in fomenting the civil war in the Balkans. His view that the war in Bosnia was sparked by the aggressive machinations these nations, and not age-old ethnic rivalries, alienated Gervasi from much of the liberal and progressive movement. Journals to which he had once regularly contributed would no longer print his articles. He had great difficulty finding a publisher for his book on the Balkans, but some of his research on this topic can be found in the article "Why Is NATO In Yugoslavia?"[iv] published by Global Research in 2001.[v]

Dennis Riches, November 2017

***

VIDEO Although the United States played a crucial role in WWII, it was slow to get involved and it let the Soviet Union do much of the heavy lifting and suffer the heaviest losses. The United States had a lot of help in achieving the victory Mr. Gore claims for America, and we could assume he knows this, so the way he chose to describe historical events is telling.

Perhaps acknowledging the reality would have detracted from his second point about "bringing down communism." Everyone knows that what he is referring to so proudly is the destabilization and destruction of the USSR, the Warsaw bloc nations, and Yugoslavia, not the abstract notion of communism. He is referring to a "victory" which precipitated civil wars and a disastrous collapse of the economy and social welfare systems in these countries, one that killed and impoverished millions. In China, Cuba and the DPRK, contrary to what he stated, these nations' versions of socialism haven't been brought down at all. [1992]

Explicitly describing the "bringing down of communism" as America's deliberate actions to dismantle the USSR might run the risk of reminding the audience about the illegality of interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, and it might have reminded people of what a betrayal this was of America's WWII ally and partner in the détente of the 1970s. The inconvenient truth is that the USSR was the WWII ally that played a crucial role in the victory that Mr. Gore claimed solely for America.

Nonetheless, the comment about "bringing down communism" is refreshingly, and maybe accidentally, very honest. Most descriptions of the Soviet collapse, even those done by historians specializing in this field, pay little attention to American efforts to undermine the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s. The political class always denied that America had a plan to dismantle the USSR, and denied having any significant influence on events which they claim arose from domestic causes. If America's influence is addressed at all, it is considered as a matter of speculation, a mystery hardly worth thinking about when one can more easily look at the dramatic events that occurred on the surface within the Soviet Union in the last decade of its existence. The following transcript of the lecture by Sean Gervasi, delivered in 1992, shortly after the collapse, is unique and valuable for what it reveals about the significant, and perhaps decisive, American role in the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In his conclusion, Mr. Gervasi came to this judgment:

The Soviet Union today, in the absence of this extraordinarily crafty, well-thought-out, extremely costly strategy deployed by the Reagan administration, would be a society struggling through great difficulties. It would still be a socialist society, at least of the kind that it was. It would be far from perfect, but it would still be there, and I think, therefore, that Western intervention made a crucial difference in this situation."

The journey to how he came to this conclusion is well worth the reader's time.

A final comment about Mr. Gore's remarks: He is oblivious to the inconvenient solution that has been staring him in the face all these years: that the necessary reduction of carbon emissions will require severe constraints on capitalism, a thesis developed by Jason W. Moore in Capitalism in the Web of Life .[ii] Mr. Gore should know that a radical solution is needed. In his recent sequel to An Inconvenient Truth he complains about the undue influence of "money in politics" that has gotten so much worse over the last ten years, but that's as deep as the class analysis and ideological exploration can go in America. He evinces no awareness of the historical figures who developed answers to the problem of unaccountable private control of a nation's government, resources and productive capacities. Gore is still proud of having actively worked against a revolution in human affairs that aimed to curtail the savage capitalism that led to the present ecological catastrophe.

In spite of the flaws one might see in what the Soviet Union actually became, flaws that arose to a great extent because it had to fight against external threats throughout its existence, the goals of the revolution of 1917 are still relevant to the crises of the 21st century, and this is what makes Sean Gervasi's research so valuable now, after a quarter century in which America doubled down on its "winning ways" and worsened the crises that were evident long ago in 1992.

About Sean Gervasi

Sean Gervasi (1933-1996) spent the latter part of his career exposing the role of the United States and Western powers in the breakup of the USSR and Yugoslavia. He was working on a book,Balkan Roulette, at the time of his death.

Gervasi was an economist trained at the University of Geneva, Oxford and Cornell. His political career began when he took a post as an economic adviser in the Kennedy administration. He resigned in protest after the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

After his resignation, Gervasi was never able to get work again in the United States as an economist, despite his impressive academic credentials. He became a lecturer at the London School of Economics after leaving Washington. Notwithstanding his great popularity, the school refused to renew his contract in 1965.

During the 1970s and 1980s he was an adviser to a number of governments in Africa and the Middle East, helping them navigate the hostile and predatory world of transnational corporations and megabanks. He also worked for the UN Committee on Apartheid and the UN Commission on Namibia.

In addition, Gervasi was a journalist, contributing to a wide range of publications, from the New York Amsterdam News to Le Monde Diplomatique . He was a frequent commentator on the listener-supported Pacifica radio station WBAI in New York. In 1976, Gervasi broke the story of how the U.S. government was secretly arming the apartheid regime in South Africa.

In the late 1980s, Gervasi began to focus on the Cold War and what he called the "full court press," a basketball term for a highly aggressive "all in" strategy. In an article published in the Covert Action Information Bulletin in early 1991[iii], when the breakup of the USSR was imminent, Gervasi showed how the Reagan administration's strategy of economic isolation, a gargantuan arms buildup with the threat of a nuclear attack, overt funding of internal dissent, and CIA-directed sabotage had been decisive in bringing down the USSR. Gervasi backed up his analysis with careful scholarship and documentation.

Gervasi was widely respected as a leading independent figure in the left, but his views were contrary to the fashionable dogma that attributed the USSR's collapse almost exclusively to such things as failures of leadership, centralization of the economy, the black market, Chernobyl, or independence movements, and not to external hostility. These are the subjects which he addressed in the following lecture given to a small audience in January 1992. The lecture can still be found on internet video sites, but the thesis of this lecture still remains marginal and obscure two decades later, even though it is highly pertinent to the Cold War replay that is underway in the second decade of the 21st century -- one in which Russia stands accused of turning the tables and doing a comparatively very tame version of the propaganda war waged on the USSR in the 1980s.

After 1992, Gervasi focused his attention on the breakup of Yugoslavia, which he discovered was a replay of the strategy used to break up the Soviet Union. He became active in exposing the role of external powers, particularly the U.S. and German governments, in fomenting the civil war in the Balkans. His view that the war in Bosnia was sparked by the aggressive machinations these nations, and not age-old ethnic rivalries, alienated Gervasi from much of the liberal and progressive movement. Journals to which he had once regularly contributed would no longer print his articles. He had great difficulty finding a publisher for his book on the Balkans, but some of his research on this topic can be found in the article "Why Is NATO In Yugoslavia?"[iv] published by Global Research in 2001.[v]

Dennis Riches, November 2017

***

VIDEO

[Dec 07, 2017] Amy Klein, in particular her book Shock Doctine tells how Milton Friedman's neoliberal economics was brought to S. America, Russia, Iraq, and other vulnerable nations to devore them by the greedy Vampire Squid with insatiable appetite for money and unchallenged world power.

Dec 07, 2017 | www.unz.com

edNels , December 7, 2017 at 3:45 am GMT

@ChuckOrloski

I read her books,

To others: Even FB may gain some historical wisdom by reading Amy K.'s description of the Chicago School of Economics and how Milton Friedman's economic "Shock Doctrine" was brought to S. America, Russia, Iraq, and other awe struck nations vulnerable to the greedy Vampire Squid's insatiable appetite for money and unchallenged world power.

you must mean Naomi Klein, who wrote "Shock Doctrine". She's great and looks good too. Recently some British black woman interviewed her and she was nicely poised and patient with the Dodo. Milton Friedman, whata guy, is he any relative of Thomas (alla'akbar ) Friedmin? (whata other f'n guy too.

I think Vampire Squid was a phrase that Taibbi started about Wall St. But haven't seen much of him lately.

[Dec 03, 2017] How Criminals Built Capitalism by Clive Crook

That explains why after dissolution of the USSR organized crime reached such level: this is standard capitalism development scenario.
Notable quotes:
"... In fact, the evolution of the modern economy owes more than you might think to these outlaws. That's the theme of " Forging Capitalism: Rogues, Swindlers, Frauds, and the Rise of Modern Finance " by Ian Klaus. It's a history of financial crimes in the 19th and early 20th centuries that traces a recurring sequence: new markets, new ways to cheat, new ways to transact and secure trust. As Klaus says, criminals helped build modern capitalism. ..."
"... Cochrane, in a way, was convicted of conduct unbecoming a man of his position. Playing the markets, let alone cheating, was something a man of his status wasn't supposed to do. Trust resided in social standing. ..."
"... The stories are absorbing and the larger theme is important: "Forging Capitalism" is a fine book and I recommend it. But I have a couple of criticisms. The project presumably began as an academic dissertation, and especially at the start, before Klaus starts telling the stories, the academic gravity is crushing. ..."
"... Nonetheless, Klaus is right: Give the markets' ubiquitous and ingenious criminals their due. They helped build modern capitalism, and they aren't going away. Just ask Bernie Madoff. ..."
Apr 05, 2015 | Bloomberg View

Whenever buyers and sellers get together, opportunities to fleece the other guy arise. The history of markets is, in part, the history of lying, cheating and stealing -- and of the effort down the years to fight commercial crime.

In fact, the evolution of the modern economy owes more than you might think to these outlaws. That's the theme of "Forging Capitalism: Rogues, Swindlers, Frauds, and the Rise of Modern Finance" by Ian Klaus. It's a history of financial crimes in the 19th and early 20th centuries that traces a recurring sequence: new markets, new ways to cheat, new ways to transact and secure trust. As Klaus says, criminals helped build modern capitalism.

And what a cast of characters. Thomas Cochrane is my own favorite. (This is partly because he was the model for Jack Aubrey in Patrick O'Brian's "Master and Commander" novels, which I've been reading and rereading for decades. Presumably Klaus isn't a fan: He doesn't note the connection.)

Cochrane was an aristocrat and naval hero. At the height of his fame in 1814 he was put on trial for fraud. An associate had spread false rumors of Napoleon's death, driving up the price of British government debt, and allowing Cochrane to avoid heavy losses on his investments. Cochrane complained (with good reason, in fact) that the trial was rigged, but he was found guilty and sent to prison.

The story is fascinating in its own right, and the book points to its larger meaning. Cochrane, in a way, was convicted of conduct unbecoming a man of his position. Playing the markets, let alone cheating, was something a man of his status wasn't supposed to do. Trust resided in social standing.

As the turbulent century went on, capitalism moved its frontier outward in every sense: It found new opportunities overseas; financial innovation accelerated; and buyers and sellers were ever more likely to be strangers, operating at a distance through intermediaries. These new kinds of transaction required new ways of securing trust. Social status diminished as a guarantee of good faith. In its place came, first, reputation (based on an established record of honest dealing) then verification (based on public and private records that vouched for the parties' honesty).

Successive scams and scandals pushed this evolution of trust along. Gregor MacGregor and the mythical South American colony of Poyais ("the quintessential fraud of Britain's first modern investment bubble," Klaus calls it); Beaumont Smith and an exchequer bill forging operation of remarkable scope and duration; Walter Watts, insurance clerk, theatrical entrepreneur and fraudster; Harry Marks, journalist, newspaper proprietor and puffer of worthless stocks. On and on, these notorious figures altered the way the public thought about commercial trust, and spurred the changes that enabled the public to keep on trusting nonetheless.

The stories are absorbing and the larger theme is important: "Forging Capitalism" is a fine book and I recommend it. But I have a couple of criticisms. The project presumably began as an academic dissertation, and especially at the start, before Klaus starts telling the stories, the academic gravity is crushing.

Trust, to be simple with our definition, is an expectation of behavior built upon norms and cultural habits. It is often dependent upon a shared set of ethics or values. It is also a process orchestrated through communities and institutions. In this sense, it is a cultural event and thus a historical phenomenon.

No doubt, but after a first paragraph like that you aren't expecting a page-turner. Trust me, it gets better. When he applies himself, Klaus can write. Describing the messenger who brought the false news of Napoleon's death, he says:

Removed from the dark of the street, the man could be seen by the light of two candles. He looked, a witness would later testify, "like a stranger of some importance." A German sealskin cap, festooned with gold fringes, covered his head. A gray coat covered his red uniform, upon which hung a star Neighbors and residents of the inn stirred and peered in as the visitor penned a note.

Tell me more.

My other objection is to the book's repeated suggestion that Adam Smith and other classical proponents of market economics naively underestimated the human propensity to deceive and over-credited the market's ability to promote good behavior. Klaus doesn't examine their claims at length or directly, but often says things such as:

The sociability in which Adam Smith had placed his hopes for harnessing self-interest was not a sufficient safeguard in the sometimes criminal capitalism of the ruthless free market.

Of course it wasn't. Smith didn't believe that the market's civilizing tendencies, together with humans' instinct for cooperation, were a sufficient safeguard against fraud or breach of contract or other commercial wrongs. He was nothing if not realistic about human nature. And by the way, many of the subtle adaptations to the shifting risk of fraud that Klaus describes were private undertakings, not government measures. Far from being surprised by them, Smith would have expected their development.

Nonetheless, Klaus is right: Give the markets' ubiquitous and ingenious criminals their due. They helped build modern capitalism, and they aren't going away. Just ask Bernie Madoff.

To contact the author on this story: Clive Crook at ccrook5@bloomberg.net

[Nov 30, 2017] The people who worked in int l finance in the 90s (representing countries to the WB and IMF) knew about the criminal callousness of these institutions when pushing austerity or reform policies. Local elites sometimes were complacent and profited (those privatizations! those newly opened markets!), sometimes resisted, but the US and the multilateral system –financial or otherwise– are ruthless and very hard to resist.

Notable quotes:
"... "The World Wealth and Inequality project's latest white-paper, co-authored by Thomas "Capital in the 21st Century" Piketty, painstaking pieces together fragmentary data-sources to build up a detailed picture of wealth inequality in Russia in the pre-revolutionary period; during phases of the Soviet era; on the eve of the collapse of the USSR; and ever since. ..."
"... According to our benchmark estimates, top income shares are now similar to (or higher than) the levels observed in the United States. We also find that inequality has increased substantially more in Russia than in China and other ex-communist countries in Eastern Europe. We relate this finding to the specific transition strategy followed in Russia. According to our benchmark estimates, the wealth held offshore by rich Russians is about three times larger than official net foreign reserves, and is comparable in magnitude to total household financial assets held in Russia. ..."
"... For my money, Saker emphasises the supposed friendliness of the Western people towards Russia too much. It is not the Western people who want to attack Russia then the Western Anglozionist elite, but the Western people really do not care, as long as it is not the blood of their progeny and their own money paying for bringing Russia to heel. ..."
"... And if Russia is destroyed, just like Ukraine, then there could be some lucrative jobs when the Western Zio-elite starts dismembering the Russian corpse. And well paying jobs are in great demand in the bankrupt West. The unwritten contract that the Western people have with their Anglozionist elite says: find a way to destroy Russia without a global nuclear war, cheaply, without serious dying on our side and throw us a few bones and we will gladly hybernate our moral conscience. ..."
Nov 30, 2017 | www.unz.com

Anon , Disclaimer November 29, 2017 at 3:02 am GMT

The people who worked in int'l finance in the 90s (representing countries to the WB and IMF) knew about the criminal callousness of these institutions when pushing 'austerity' or 'reform' policies. Local elites sometimes were complacent and profited (those privatizations! those newly opened markets!), sometimes resisted, but the US and the multilateral system –financial or otherwise– are ruthless and very hard to resist.

Many countries suffered, not because they were Russian or Brazilian or Mexican, but because the opportunity for gain was there.

anon , Disclaimer November 29, 2017 at 4:51 am GMT
There's some common ground between the reds and whites in that the reds tapped into nationalist sentiments, hence the wars of national liberation around the world being supported by the communists: Korea, Vietnam, insurgencies in Latin America, Africa, etc. The script has flipped with the western countries now being the 'godless' ones who are trying to destroy religion, the family and traditional ways of life. The 1% were horrified that there was an ideology out there that advocated taking their loot away so they used all their resources in combatting it, even being willing to take the world to the brink of nuclear Armageddon in doing so. They'd take the world down with them rather than lose their positions of power and money. Now that the ideology is no longer there it's just back to the business of robbing everyone weaker than them. All the hysteria about Putin is simply that he's built up the Russian state to where they can resist and that he's not a fellow slaveholder like them.

The intervention in Syria has unhinged parts of the west where they thought they could rob and kill anywhere they pleased but now have been successfully resisted. Political systems come and go but the people have endured for the past thousand years, something the fat cats of the west are trying to destroy to enlarge their slave plantation.

peterAUS , November 29, 2017 at 6:57 am GMT
@anon

he's not a fellow slaveholder like them .

Quick Google:
Inequality in Russia

https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/apr/25/unequal-russia-is-anger-stirring-in-the-global-capital-of-inequality

" With the richest 10% owning 87% of all the country's wealth, Russia is rated the most unequal of the world's major economies. ."

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/wealth-inequality-in-russia-in-photos-2017-7?r=US&IR=T#/#li-mi-yan-photographed-this-series-in-moscow-1

" Russia has greater economic disparity than any other major global power. In 2016, Credit Suisse's Global Wealth Report found that the wealthiest 10% of people in Russia controlled 89% of the country's wealth ..

"The World Wealth and Inequality project's latest white-paper, co-authored by Thomas "Capital in the 21st Century" Piketty, painstaking pieces together fragmentary data-sources to build up a detailed picture of wealth inequality in Russia in the pre-revolutionary period; during phases of the Soviet era; on the eve of the collapse of the USSR; and ever since.

The headline findings: official Russian estimates drastically understate national inequality; Russia is as unequal as the USA or even moreso; Russian inequality is more intense than the inequality in other post-Soviet states and in post-Deng China.

This paper combines national accounts, survey, wealth and fiscal data (including recently released tax data on high-income taxpayers) in order to provide consistent series on the accumulation and distribution of income and wealth in Russia from the Soviet period until the present day. We find that official survey-based measures vastly under-estimate the rise of inequality since 1990. According to our benchmark estimates, top income shares are now similar to (or higher than) the levels observed in the United States. We also find that inequality has increased substantially more in Russia than in China and other ex-communist countries in Eastern Europe. We relate this finding to the specific transition strategy followed in Russia. According to our benchmark estimates, the wealth held offshore by rich Russians is about three times larger than official net foreign reserves, and is comparable in magnitude to total household financial assets held in Russia.

From Soviets to Oligarchs: Inequality and Property in Russia 1905-2016 [Filip Novokmet, Thomas Piketty, Gabriel Zucman/World Wealth and Income Database]"

Etc

Cyrano , November 29, 2017 at 8:25 am GMT
@anon

People used to stage revolutions in order to bring communism to their countries. Plenty of examples for that: Russia, China, Cuba and many others. Of course, those people were deluded, right? Who would want to bring a system that preaches economic equality? It must be someone who is out of their mind. Has there ever been a capitalist revolution where someone took up arms trying to bring capitalism to their country? Must be because it's such a humane and desirable system. Also, a lot of people think that Islam is a backward religion. Really? Then how come it tolerates socialism (communism), better than Christianity ever did? Libya, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan they were all socialist at some point. That's why the greatest democracy set their sights on them to destroy them. Because, you see, by their calculations, no matter how extremist and backward the Islam gets, it's still more progressive than socialism or communism. Helluva math there. The game has always been about preserving capitalism, and not the most benign version either. Which is too bad, because capitalism has been known to tolerate dictatorship, fascism, Nazism, slavery – pretty much the ugliest forms of government the sick human mind can come up with, but it can't tolerate little bit of socialism. Because you see, socialism is worse than any of those lovely political systems. Democracy (capitalism) is too pure for that, such a fragile and delicate thing that it is.

I am surprised Sweden hasn't been bombed yet, for their flirting with socialism, but the way the things are going over there, they don't have to be bombed. They did themselves in by following someone's stupid ideas about multiculturalism – which of course is also a form of socialism – racial one, instead the real deal – the economic socialism that the greatest democracy of them all is so afraid of.

Kiza , November 29, 2017 at 12:30 pm GMT
When the Serbians in different parts of Yugoslavia started being attacked by the West, I was constantly pointing out that in recent times, since WW1, an attack on Serbia has been a kind of introduction to an attack on Russia. In other words, I had no doubt that Russia was next.

But, there is one huge difference between Serbia and Russia. Whilst the Serbians killed very few of those Western Zionist military mercenaries who were killing Serbians directly or using their Croat, Muslim and Albanian proxies, if attacked the Russian military could kill hundreds of thousands of the Western mercenaries. This is why whilst the war on Serbia was real and bloody only on Serbians and the Bosnian Muslim proxies, the war on Russia would be totally disastrous for the Anglozionist Empire. This is the only reason a shooting war on Russia has not started already.

For my money, Saker emphasises the supposed friendliness of the Western people towards Russia too much. It is not the Western people who want to attack Russia then the Western Anglozionist elite, but the Western people really do not care, as long as it is not the blood of their progeny and their own money paying for bringing Russia to heel.

And if Russia is destroyed, just like Ukraine, then there could be some lucrative jobs when the Western Zio-elite starts dismembering the Russian corpse. And well paying jobs are in great demand in the bankrupt West. The unwritten contract that the Western people have with their Anglozionist elite says: find a way to destroy Russia without a global nuclear war, cheaply, without serious dying on our side and throw us a few bones and we will gladly hybernate our moral conscience.

yeah , November 29, 2017 at 3:31 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

Well, what evidence have you for asserting that Putin is a thug? You saw through the media's false reporting earlier as you admit, so how come you again swallow the load of marbles that they dish out?

And while Putin may or may not be feared by "near abroad" he certainly is feared by those who seek total dominance of the planet. The thing is, he is not an easy pushover and that is what is behind the thug claims. Many thinking people admire his intellect, statesmanship, and skill in dealing with major problems of our times. The media also hates him because he shows up the western leaders for the clowns that they are.

A principled US Government would have dealt very differently with Russia and Putin. There is no inherent conflict of interest with Russia once global dominance is discarded as the main policy objective.

Avery , November 29, 2017 at 3:59 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

{The only people that fear Putin is the near abroad, .}

Sure, if you say so, Bub.
Texas* is, of course, 'near aboard' .

[Russia has begun testing of its new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the RS-28 Sarmat. Sarmat can carry a payload of up to ten tons of nukes. The missile system is set to enter service in 2018.
The RS-28 Sarmat is the first entirely new Russian ICBM in decades. The heavyweight missile weighs 100 tons and can boost 10 tons. Russia claims the Sarmat can lift 10 heavyweight warheads, or 16 lighter ones, and Russian state media has described it as being able to wipe out an area the size of Texas or France.]

_______________________
*
[Russia's New ICBM Could "Wipe Out Texas"]

http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a23547/russias-new-icbm-could-wipe-out-texas/

disturbed_robot , November 29, 2017 at 4:20 pm GMT
@WorkingClass

Wow, this is the most refreshing and clear minded comment I've seen here in a while. Nice job WorkingClass, you've managed to keep your mind clear and not buy into the BS. You've given me some hope Thank you.

Anonymous , Disclaimer November 29, 2017 at 4:52 pm GMT
@peterAUS

Inequality in Russia

The supposed leaders of the West are busy trying to replace or at the very least water down their own populations with a totally different set of people from far away. Obviously these supposedly democratic leaders loathe what are supposed to be their own people but rather see all those below them as just so many replaceable units of labor, the mark of a "slaveholder". Putin has helped his people immensely. Life expectancies had plummeted into the 50′s and that's now been improved greatly as well as living standards. He's popular because he's done much for the people he identifies with, unlike Western leaders who hold their noses when anywhere near the citizenry. If the Russians like him then they must not be as worried about some issues as critics outside the country appear to be.

L.K , November 29, 2017 at 6:35 pm GMT
Very interesting interview with Professor McCoy:

On Contact: Decline of the American empire with Alfred McCoy

WorkingClass , November 29, 2017 at 7:03 pm GMT
@disturbed_robot

Thanks for the kind words.

Aedib , November 29, 2017 at 7:08 pm GMT
@James N. Kennett

It is hard to find people in the West who "hate the Russian people themselves"; but in place of hatred there is definitely fear – fear of Russia's military strength.

Disagree. The enormous propagandistic effort to demonize Russia in the West, not only reveals fear. It also reveals hate, at least on most of the elites. Most people are indifferent toward Russia but elites definitively have fear to the bear. You can test some people by simply naming "Russia" and you will see on their eyes a quite irrationala mix of hate and fear. I think this is result of an Orwellian propaganda effort aimed at injecting fear to "Eurasia".

This fear is exaggerated by the US military-industrial complex for its own purposes;

Agreed.

gwynedd1 , November 29, 2017 at 7:22 pm GMT
@WorkingClass

Given any two races or culture , what they are and what I think of them hardly matters. However pitted against each other it will cultivate and create good conditions for the scum of both of them and embroil the rest in the conflict. It is an against of chaos for a hostile order.

gwynedd1 , November 29, 2017 at 7:30 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

"Why should the west try to destroy Russia? They're doing a great job of it all by themselves"

How many times have you visited Russia?

Cyrano , November 29, 2017 at 7:41 pm GMT
@Philip Owen

Right. Those were capitalist revolutions. You are bang on. Capitalism is one of the most tolerant systems of all kinds of extremism, as I already mentioned. Capitalism has been known to tolerate monarchy, fascism, Nazism, various forms of dictatorships, slavery, pretty much everything. But they draw the line at tolerating socialism, like it's the worst extremism they have ever tolerated. My point is, capitalism is pretty robust system, it's not some delicate beauty that will fall apart if it comes in touch with socialism. Democracy is only a window dressing, it has never been about democracy, it has always been about capitalism.

AB_Anonymous , November 29, 2017 at 8:12 pm GMT
There's nothing easier nowadays than becoming a Kremlin (or any other kind of) Troll. Just start talking about things as they are and you're half way through. Keep talking that way a bit longer, and you'll forever become another precious source of income for the army of no-talent crooks with unlimited rights and zero oversee from those for whom they officially work. These guys are simply used to build their entire careers and financial well-beings by adjusting reality to their needs. They've been doing it for decades. Why not, as long as the true bosses are happy ? Why not, when the MSM will make population to swallow anything, no matter how idiotic and illogical it is ?

[Nov 30, 2017] The people who worked in int'l finance in the 90s (representing countries to the WB and IMF) knew about the criminal callousness of these institutions when pushing 'austerity' or 'reform' policies. Local elites sometimes were complacent and profited (those privatizations! those newly opened markets!), sometimes resisted, but the US and the multilateral system –financial or otherwise– are ruthless and very hard to resist.

Nov 30, 2017 | www.unz.com

Anon , Disclaimer November 29, 2017 at 3:02 am GMT

The people who worked in int'l finance in the 90s (representing countries to the WB and IMF) knew about the criminal callousness of these institutions when pushing 'austerity' or 'reform' policies. Local elites sometimes were complacent and profited (those privatizations! those newly opened markets!), sometimes resisted, but the US and the multilateral system –financial or otherwise– are ruthless and very hard to resist.

Many countries suffered, not because they were Russian or Brazilian or Mexican, but because the opportunity for gain was there.

anon , Disclaimer November 29, 2017 at 4:51 am GMT
There's some common ground between the reds and whites in that the reds tapped into nationalist sentiments, hence the wars of national liberation around the world being supported by the communists: Korea, Vietnam, insurgencies in Latin America, Africa, etc. The script has flipped with the western countries now being the 'godless' ones who are trying to destroy religion, the family and traditional ways of life. The 1% were horrified that there was an ideology out there that advocated taking their loot away so they used all their resources in combatting it, even being willing to take the world to the brink of nuclear Armageddon in doing so. They'd take the world down with them rather than lose their positions of power and money. Now that the ideology is no longer there it's just back to the business of robbing everyone weaker than them. All the hysteria about Putin is simply that he's built up the Russian state to where they can resist and that he's not a fellow slaveholder like them.

The intervention in Syria has unhinged parts of the west where they thought they could rob and kill anywhere they pleased but now have been successfully resisted. Political systems come and go but the people have endured for the past thousand years, something the fat cats of the west are trying to destroy to enlarge their slave plantation.

peterAUS , November 29, 2017 at 6:57 am GMT
@anon

he's not a fellow slaveholder like them .

Quick Google:
Inequality in Russia

https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/apr/25/unequal-russia-is-anger-stirring-in-the-global-capital-of-inequality

" With the richest 10% owning 87% of all the country's wealth, Russia is rated the most unequal of the world's major economies. ."

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/wealth-inequality-in-russia-in-photos-2017-7?r=US&IR=T#/#li-mi-yan-photographed-this-series-in-moscow-1

" Russia has greater economic disparity than any other major global power. In 2016, Credit Suisse's Global Wealth Report found that the wealthiest 10% of people in Russia controlled 89% of the country's wealth ..

"The World Wealth and Inequality project's latest white-paper, co-authored by Thomas "Capital in the 21st Century" Piketty, painstaking pieces together fragmentary data-sources to build up a detailed picture of wealth inequality in Russia in the pre-revolutionary period; during phases of the Soviet era; on the eve of the collapse of the USSR; and ever since.

The headline findings: official Russian estimates drastically understate national inequality; Russia is as unequal as the USA or even moreso; Russian inequality is more intense than the inequality in other post-Soviet states and in post-Deng China.

This paper combines national accounts, survey, wealth and fiscal data (including recently released tax data on high-income taxpayers) in order to provide consistent series on the accumulation and distribution of income and wealth in Russia from the Soviet period until the present day. We find that official survey-based measures vastly under-estimate the rise of inequality since 1990. According to our benchmark estimates, top income shares are now similar to (or higher than) the levels observed in the United States. We also find that inequality has increased substantially more in Russia than in China and other ex-communist countries in Eastern Europe. We relate this finding to the specific transition strategy followed in Russia. According to our benchmark estimates, the wealth held offshore by rich Russians is about three times larger than official net foreign reserves, and is comparable in magnitude to total household financial assets held in Russia.

From Soviets to Oligarchs: Inequality and Property in Russia 1905-2016 [Filip Novokmet, Thomas Piketty, Gabriel Zucman/World Wealth and Income Database]"

Etc

Cyrano , November 29, 2017 at 8:25 am GMT
@anon

People used to stage revolutions in order to bring communism to their countries. Plenty of examples for that: Russia, China, Cuba and many others. Of course, those people were deluded, right? Who would want to bring a system that preaches economic equality? It must be someone who is out of their mind. Has there ever been a capitalist revolution where someone took up arms trying to bring capitalism to their country? Must be because it's such a humane and desirable system. Also, a lot of people think that Islam is a backward religion. Really? Then how come it tolerates socialism (communism), better than Christianity ever did? Libya, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan they were all socialist at some point. That's why the greatest democracy set their sights on them to destroy them. Because, you see, by their calculations, no matter how extremist and backward the Islam gets, it's still more progressive than socialism or communism. Helluva math there. The game has always been about preserving capitalism, and not the most benign version either. Which is too bad, because capitalism has been known to tolerate dictatorship, fascism, Nazism, slavery – pretty much the ugliest forms of government the sick human mind can come up with, but it can't tolerate little bit of socialism. Because you see, socialism is worse than any of those lovely political systems. Democracy (capitalism) is too pure for that, such a fragile and delicate thing that it is.

I am surprised Sweden hasn't been bombed yet, for their flirting with socialism, but the way the things are going over there, they don't have to be bombed. They did themselves in by following someone's stupid ideas about multiculturalism – which of course is also a form of socialism – racial one, instead the real deal – the economic socialism that the greatest democracy of them all is so afraid of.

Kiza , November 29, 2017 at 12:30 pm GMT
When the Serbians in different parts of Yugoslavia started being attacked by the West, I was constantly pointing out that in recent times, since WW1, an attack on Serbia has been a kind of introduction to an attack on Russia. In other words, I had no doubt that Russia was next.

But, there is one huge difference between Serbia and Russia. Whilst the Serbians killed very few of those Western Zionist military mercenaries who were killing Serbians directly or using their Croat, Muslim and Albanian proxies, if attacked the Russian military could kill hundreds of thousands of the Western mercenaries. This is why whilst the war on Serbia was real and bloody only on Serbians and the Bosnian Muslim proxies, the war on Russia would be totally disastrous for the Anglozionist Empire. This is the only reason a shooting war on Russia has not started already.

For my money, Saker emphasises the supposed friendliness of the Western people towards Russia too much. It is not the Western people who want to attack Russia then the Western Anglozionist elite, but the Western people really do not care, as long as it is not the blood of their progeny and their own money paying for bringing Russia to heel.

And if Russia is destroyed, just like Ukraine, then there could be some lucrative jobs when the Western Zio-elite starts dismembering the Russian corpse. And well paying jobs are in great demand in the bankrupt West. The unwritten contract that the Western people have with their Anglozionist elite says: find a way to destroy Russia without a global nuclear war, cheaply, without serious dying on our side and throw us a few bones and we will gladly hybernate our moral conscience.

yeah , November 29, 2017 at 3:31 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

Well, what evidence have you for asserting that Putin is a thug? You saw through the media's false reporting earlier as you admit, so how come you again swallow the load of marbles that they dish out?

And while Putin may or may not be feared by "near abroad" he certainly is feared by those who seek total dominance of the planet. The thing is, he is not an easy pushover and that is what is behind the thug claims. Many thinking people admire his intellect, statesmanship, and skill in dealing with major problems of our times. The media also hates him because he shows up the western leaders for the clowns that they are.

A principled US Government would have dealt very differently with Russia and Putin. There is no inherent conflict of interest with Russia once global dominance is discarded as the main policy objective.

Avery , November 29, 2017 at 3:59 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

{The only people that fear Putin is the near abroad, .}

Sure, if you say so, Bub.
Texas* is, of course, 'near aboard' .

[Russia has begun testing of its new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the RS-28 Sarmat. Sarmat can carry a payload of up to ten tons of nukes. The missile system is set to enter service in 2018.
The RS-28 Sarmat is the first entirely new Russian ICBM in decades. The heavyweight missile weighs 100 tons and can boost 10 tons. Russia claims the Sarmat can lift 10 heavyweight warheads, or 16 lighter ones, and Russian state media has described it as being able to wipe out an area the size of Texas or France.]

_______________________
*
[Russia's New ICBM Could "Wipe Out Texas"]

http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a23547/russias-new-icbm-could-wipe-out-texas/

disturbed_robot , November 29, 2017 at 4:20 pm GMT
@WorkingClass

Wow, this is the most refreshing and clear minded comment I've seen here in a while. Nice job WorkingClass, you've managed to keep your mind clear and not buy into the BS. You've given me some hope Thank you.

Anonymous , Disclaimer November 29, 2017 at 4:52 pm GMT
@peterAUS

Inequality in Russia

The supposed leaders of the West are busy trying to replace or at the very least water down their own populations with a totally different set of people from far away. Obviously these supposedly democratic leaders loathe what are supposed to be their own people but rather see all those below them as just so many replaceable units of labor, the mark of a "slaveholder". Putin has helped his people immensely. Life expectancies had plummeted into the 50′s and that's now been improved greatly as well as living standards. He's popular because he's done much for the people he identifies with, unlike Western leaders who hold their noses when anywhere near the citizenry. If the Russians like him then they must not be as worried about some issues as critics outside the country appear to be.

L.K , November 29, 2017 at 6:35 pm GMT
Very interesting interview with Professor McCoy:

On Contact: Decline of the American empire with Alfred McCoy

WorkingClass , November 29, 2017 at 7:03 pm GMT
@disturbed_robot

Thanks for the kind words.

Aedib , November 29, 2017 at 7:08 pm GMT
@James N. Kennett

It is hard to find people in the West who "hate the Russian people themselves"; but in place of hatred there is definitely fear – fear of Russia's military strength.

Disagree. The enormous propagandistic effort to demonize Russia in the West, not only reveals fear. It also reveals hate, at least on most of the elites. Most people are indifferent toward Russia but elites definitively have fear to the bear. You can test some people by simply naming "Russia" and you will see on their eyes a quite irrationala mix of hate and fear. I think this is result of an Orwellian propaganda effort aimed at injecting fear to "Eurasia".

This fear is exaggerated by the US military-industrial complex for its own purposes;

Agreed.

gwynedd1 , November 29, 2017 at 7:22 pm GMT
@WorkingClass

Given any two races or culture , what they are and what I think of them hardly matters. However pitted against each other it will cultivate and create good conditions for the scum of both of them and embroil the rest in the conflict. It is an against of chaos for a hostile order.

gwynedd1 , November 29, 2017 at 7:30 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

"Why should the west try to destroy Russia? They're doing a great job of it all by themselves"

How many times have you visited Russia?

Cyrano , November 29, 2017 at 7:41 pm GMT
@Philip Owen

Right. Those were capitalist revolutions. You are bang on. Capitalism is one of the most tolerant systems of all kinds of extremism, as I already mentioned. Capitalism has been known to tolerate monarchy, fascism, Nazism, various forms of dictatorships, slavery, pretty much everything. But they draw the line at tolerating socialism, like it's the worst extremism they have ever tolerated. My point is, capitalism is pretty robust system, it's not some delicate beauty that will fall apart if it comes in touch with socialism. Democracy is only a window dressing, it has never been about democracy, it has always been about capitalism.

AB_Anonymous , November 29, 2017 at 8:12 pm GMT
There's nothing easier nowadays than becoming a Kremlin (or any other kind of) Troll. Just start talking about things as they are and you're half way through. Keep talking that way a bit longer, and you'll forever become another precious source of income for the army of no-talent crooks with unlimited rights and zero oversee from those for whom they officially work. These guys are simply used to build their entire careers and financial well-beings by adjusting reality to their needs. They've been doing it for decades. Why not, as long as the true bosses are happy ? Why not, when the MSM will make population to swallow anything, no matter how idiotic and illogical it is ?

[Nov 29, 2017] How I became a Kremlin Troll by The Saker

Nov 29, 2017 | www.unz.com

The Soviet authorities had long listed me, and my entire family, as dangerous anti-Soviet activists and I, therefore, could not travel to Russia until the fall of Communism in 1991 when I immediately caught the first available flight and got to Moscow while the barricades built against the GKChP coup were still standing. Truly, by this fateful month of August 1991, I was a perfect anti-Soviet activist and an anti-Communist hardliner. I even took a photo of myself standing next to the collapsed statue of Felix Derzhinsky (the founder of the ChK – the first Soviet Secret police) with my boot pressed on his iron throat. That day I felt that my victory was total. It was also short-lived.

Instead of bringing the long-suffering Russian people freedom, peace, and prosperity, the end of Communism in Russia only brought chaos, poverty, violence, and abject exploitation by the worst class of scum the defunct Soviet system had produced. I was horrified. Unlike so many other anti-Soviet activists who were also Russophobes, I never conflated my people and the regime which oppressed them. So, while I rejoiced at the end of one horror, I was also appalled to see that another one had taken its place. Even worse, it was undeniable that the West played an active role in every and all forms of anti-Russian activities, from the total protection of Russian mobsters, on to the support of the Wahabi insurgents in Chechnya, and ending with the financing of a propaganda machine which tried to turn the Russian people into mindless consumers to the presence of western "advisors" (yeah, right!) in all the key ministries. The oligarchs were plundering Russia and causing immeasurable suffering, and the entire West, the so-called "free world" not only did nothing to help but helped all the enemies of Russia with every resource it had. Soon the NATO forces attacked Serbia, a historical ally of Russia, in total violation of the most sacred principles of international law. East Germany was not only reunified but instantly incorporated into West Germany and NATO pushed as far East as possible. I could not pretend that all this could be explained by some fear of the Soviet military or by a reaction to the Communist theory of world revolution. In truth, it became clear to me that the western elites did not hate the Soviet system or ideology, but that they hated Russian people themselves and the culture and civilization which they had created.

By the time the war against the Serbian nation in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo broke out, I was in a unique situation: all day long I could read classified UNPROFOR and military reports about what was taking place in that region and, after work, I could read the counter-factual anti-Serbian propaganda the western corporate Ziomedia was spewing out every day. I was horrified to see that literally everything the media was saying was a total lie. Then came the false flags, first in Sarajevo, but later also in Kosovo. My illusions about "Free World" and the "West" were crumbling. Fast.

Fate brought me to Russia in 1993 when I saw the carnage of meted out by the "democratic" Eltsin regime against thousands of Russians in Moscow (many more than what the official press reported). I also saw the Red Flags and Stalin portraits around the parliament building. My disgust by then was total. And when the Eltsin regime decided to bring Dudaev's Chechnia to heel triggering yet another needless bloodbath, that disgust turned into despair. Then came the stolen elections of 1996 and the murder of General Lebed. At that point, I remember thinking "Russia is dead."

So, when the entourage of Eltsin suddenly appointed an unknown nobody to acting President of Russia, I was rather dubious, to put it mildly. The new guy was not a drunk or an arrogant oligarch, but he looked rather unimpressive. He was also ex-KGB which was interesting: on one hand, the KGB had been my lifelong enemy but on the other hand, I knew that the part of the KGB which dealt with foreign intelligence was staffed by the brightest of the brightest and that they had nothing to do with political repression, Gulags and all the rest of the ugly stuff another Directorate of the KGB (the 5th) was tasked with (that department had been abolished in 1989). Putin came from the First Main Directorate of the KGB, the "PGU KGB." Still, my sympathies were more with the (far less political) military intelligence service (GRU) than the very political PGU which, I was quite sure by then, had a thick dossier on my family and me.

Then, two crucial things happened in parallel: both the "Free world" and Putin showed their true faces: the "Free world" as an AngloZionist Empire hell-bent on aggression and oppression, and Vladimir Putin as a real patriot of Russia. In fact, Putin slowly began looking like a hero to me: very gradually, in small incremental steps first, Putin began to turn Russia around, especially in two crucial matters: he was trying to "re-sovereignize" the country (making it truly sovereign and independent again), and he dared the unthinkable: he openly told the Empire that it was not only wrong, it was illegitimate (just read the transcript of Putin's amazing 2007 "Munich Speech").

Putin inspired me to make a dramatic choice: will I stick to my lifelong prejudices or will I let reality prove my lifelong prejudices wrong. The first option was far more comfortable to me, and all my friends would approve. The second one was far trickier, and it would cost me the friendship of many people. But what was the better option for Russia? Could it be that it was the right thing for a "White Russian" to join forces with the ex-KGB officer?

SteveLancs , November 28, 2017 at 5:44 am GMT

The transcript for the 2007 speech is here in English, plus questions and answers

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Speech_and_the_Following_Discussion_at_the_Munich

NoseytheDuke , November 28, 2017 at 1:07 pm GMT
@SteveLancs

Thanks for that Steve, I had intended to search for it but got sidetracked by visits to the vet. What strikes me whenever I read a transcript of Putin's speeches is the precision of his language, it's really impressive. It really isn't fair to compare that to the loose waffle of GWB or the Trumpster but even WJC or BHO who were considered to be commendable orators just lack the fine edge and the gravitas of Putin.

[Nov 18, 2017] Why is communism considered as evil (like fascism and nazism) in the United States - Politics Stack Exchange

Notable quotes:
"... approximately 100 million people in contrast to the approximately 25 million victims of the Nazis ..."
Nov 18, 2017 | politics.stackexchange.com

Why is communism considered as evil (like fascism and nazism) in the United States? up vote 33 down vote favorite 10

,yesterday

In this question, a person asks why it's so easy to ban Nazi symbols and so hard to ban communist symbols: Why is banning communism symbols so hard to achieve as opposed to banning of Nazi symbols?

The implication being that communism and Nazism is pretty much the same.

What is the reason for this idea that communism is evil or like Nazism and fascism and aims to kill people?

Is it merely due to the propaganda during the Cold War? I find that doubtful as that was quite a while ago. So why do Americans still commonly have this opinion?

Wes Sayeed ,yesterday

This question is more of a philosophical one than about any specific policy, but it strikes at the very heart of political thought and policymaking in general. I think it should be left open. – Wes Sayeed yesterday

Erik ,yesterday

Do you have any stats about how communism is viewed throughout the Western world? I always get the feeling the hatred of communism isn't a "Western" thing, it's a "United States" thing. – Erik yesterday

Sam I am ♦ ,14 hours ago

Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat . – Sam I am ♦ 14 hours ago

Pakk ,11 hours ago

The current most popular answers don't answer this question, but are explanations why the answerer thinks that communism is evil. Even if everything in those answers is true, it only shows that mass murders are an originally unintended consequence of communism, while the mass murders of Nazism are part of the ideology. For me, Nazism is an evil idea, and Communism is a bad idea because it leads to evil things. This is a big difference. I think this is a great question, and I hope there will be a true answer to this question, because I don't know the answer. – Pakk 11 hours ago

user4012 ,1 hour ago

@Pakk - there's two competing philosophies (and no, they aren't communism and capitalism :). One posits that things ought to be judged on the basis of intent. The other posits that things ought to be judged on the basis of outcome (aka the road to hell is paved with good intentions). – user4012 1 hour ago

Wes Sayeed ,yesterday

Fundamental to communist ideology is the common ownership of the means of production and abolishment of social classes and social hierarchy. In practice, that means no (or very few) private property rights, and forced redistribution of wealth from those who are most able to produce to those who are less able or unwilling to do so.

Private property and the exclusive access to the fruits of one's own labor are fundamental human rights under natural law. In order for communism to be moral, it requires everyone to voluntarily cooperate with each other towards a common goal. Unfortunately, people do not work this way. They are different in their ambitions, in their capabilities, and in their values. These differences cause different outcomes, cause some to be more successful than others, and even cause differences by which success is measured in the first place. But communism requires collectivism in order to work. Communism must eliminate those variations of the individual in order to harmonize with the collective good. This is absolutely counterintuitive to everything about human nature.

In order to realize communist goals, private property and the individual's right to their own labor must be seized from them for the sake of the collective. And because this is antithetical to individual freedom, communist governments must also work to eliminate dissent. Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.

In light of the authoritarian oppression of every communist regime in the history of ever, there are those who still make the argument that the idea of communism is good; it's just been "done wrong" by every communist state that has attempted it. However, this is not true. Communism is a fundamentally flawed ideology at its core. Its goals are attractive in principle, but completely unworkable in practice.

Communist governments must necessarily use coercion to achieve the social harmony they promise, depriving the individual of the right to choose their own destiny -- especially if those choices lead to better outcomes for them than for others. This is why every communist state has been a totalitarian nightmare replete with rampant and gross human rights violations. That is the inevitable destiny of any communist regime because it is utterly and completely incompatible with individual freedom and conscience.

tim ,yesterday

Communists would argue that people already do not have full access to the result of their labor (because capitalists own the means of production and thus collect a surplus value from that labor). I also think that you make a pretty big jump from "right to their labor must be seized" (which is already a reach) to "terror" and living in fear. If you make that jump, and would agree that workers currently do not have full access to the result of their labor (which is fair to say), you could also say that people in capitalist societies must live in terror and fear (which is not generally the case). – tim yesterday

IllusiveBrian ,yesterday

@tim People living in capitalist societies who do not own 100% of their labor (per your definition) give up the percentage to their employer so that they do not have to own the risk of investing in equipment/office space/etc to be able to perform their labor and the risk of having to actually turn the labor into something someone else is willing to buy. Additionally, everyone is free to try to own 100% of their labor by investing in it and selling it themselves. If anything, the only thing laborers have to fear is that they must sell their labor to someone in order to pay taxes. – IllusiveBrian yesterday

tim ,yesterday

@IllusiveBrian Even if you calculate "risk" into the equation, there is still a surplus; it's why large companies end up with billions in revenue. I don't see how say a coal miner could bypass that by "selling it themselves"; it's not a realistic possibility. But my point was that capitalist exploitation is comparable to the "no right to their labor" argument by OP. Both have to be enforced, but saying that it has to be enforced with terror is a reach (anti-communists might argue that it needs to be in communism, and anti-capitalists might argue that the same is true for capitalism). – tim yesterday

wizzwizz4 ,10 hours ago

This answer is focussing more on why communism is bad (and is an opinion piece regardless of the validity or not of said opinion). Perhaps focussing on why it is viewed in this way instead of stating said view would make this a less controversial answer. – wizzwizz4 10 hours ago

Azor-Ahai ,9 hours ago

What is "natural law"? – Azor-Ahai 9 hours ago

user4012 ,yesterday

TL;DR: because communism did, in fact, kill people. Between 23 million (low estimate) and 100 million (high estimate) of them killed by regimes that collectively self-branded themselves as led by "communist" parties.

The question contains two premises, both 100% false:

  1. That the only reason Communism is seen as evil is "because propaganda" and "because the people with that view are uneducated/stupid".

    Contrary to that, as the answer below shows, there's objective evidence leading people to consider Communism evil.

  2. That Communism is universally unpopular in the West, especially USA.

Let's expand on both points:


Is it merely due to the propaganda during the Cold War? I find that doubtful. That was so long ago, and the people who were subject to that propaganda are all old or dead now. So why have Americans and other westerners not smartened up by now and understood what Communism is?

It's a nice theory that is fully contradicted by the fact that among the most anti-communist segments of population are those who know best - immigrants from "communist" (well, socialist) states. People from former USSR, refugees from Castro's Cuba, Venezuelans who escaped Chavez's regime - they are all far more anti-Communist than the average Westerner. Because:

  1. They know exactly what the reality of living in your "communist" dream entails.
  2. They know their history. My grandmother was almost repressed because she happened to study genetics when Lysenko was in power. Many members of my extended family were repressed during Stalin's times. She also remembers "Doctor's Plot" (and the fact that Stalin missed out on getting rid most Soviet Jews by a few weeks when he died unexpectedly). Or, for less personalized history lessons:

So yes, people who "understood what Communism is" are actually the ones most anti-Communist.


Secondly, Communism is actually pretty popular in the US/West, especially among millennials - who have been shown to not even know basic facts about history of communism.

Part of the reason for that is that this is the generation who have been subjected to and influenced by left wing biased views by educators for the last 40 years (As of 2007, 18 percent of social scientists in the United States, self-identify as Marxists , and an overwhelming majority of college professors is progressive/left wing at 12/1 ratio )

Or, for those who do understand and know the facts, they simply refuse to judge Communism by its actual record instead of some theoretical imaginary goals .

Sam I am ♦ ,14 hours ago

Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat . – Sam I am ♦ 14 hours ago

ruakh ,6 hours ago

Re: "My grandmother was almost repressed [...] Many members of my extended family were repressed during Stalin's times": I think you may be using the wrong word here; Stalin's regime was definitely repressive, but "repress" is very vague, to the point that "almost repressed" is meaningless. Did you mean something more specific? – ruakh 6 hours ago

Tony Ennis ,4 hours ago

My Russian teachers had nothing nice to say about the Socialist state from which they fled. – Tony Ennis 4 hours ago

canadianer ,3 hours ago

The poll says 7% prefer a communist country while 44% prefer a socialist country. The same poll also says that most people don't know or misidentify what socialism or communism really are. Is it not, then, misleading to say "51%... prefer to live in socialist or communist country..." in support of the premise that "Communism is actually pretty popular..." ? – canadianer 3 hours ago

user4012 ,2 hours ago

@ruakh - I'm not sure what the correct technical English term is for the russian word "repressirovan (репрессирован)". But it has a very un-ambiguous meaning in context . – user4012 2 hours ago

not store bought dirt ,yesterday

Marx wrote about the inevitability of a paradise of post scarcity once communism is achieved, but very strongly implied that we need to climb over some well dressed corpses to get there. It seems pretty expected that the people currently wearing those clothes aren't going to want that.

Negative news reports weren't that long ago. Whether this is propaganda or not is increasingly hard to say, but:

Two of the countries Americans are most concerned about are still aligned with communism. There are still reports of humans rights violations. Some fairly brutal suppressions happened in the last 40 years, which is withing living memory (not everyone is a millennial no matter what the internet says).

I remember watching The Wall being smashed and a man stopping a tank on TV. And they will live on in the internet, forever counterrevolutionary, with commentary about why they are important. These are events that stick with some people as strongly as One Small Step, I Have A Dream, or a man burning as he falls.

Some of the none governmental propaganda against communism is still regularly used. 1984 and Animal Farm are fairly hard to avoid in American school and Ayn Rand is surprisingly often mentioned.

user4012 ,yesterday

+1 but I am rather surprised where you found a single American school mentioning Ayn Rand. – user4012 yesterday

blip ,yesterday

@user4012 it's often required or suggested reading. Less so today, fortunately :) – blip yesterday

blip ,yesterday

@user4012 it's in many school libraries...or at least was. I had it as part of coursework in college. My son had it as a book he could read (suggested, not required) in high school. – blip yesterday

blip ,yesterday

@seeReality23 rather, she was a complete nutcase, a bad writer, and ultimately a hypocrite of her own philosophy. 6/half-dozen. – blip yesterday

Shautieh ,3 hours ago

Looked up Ayn Rand rom wikipedia: "In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral,[3] and opposed collectivism and statism as well as anarchism, and instead supported laissez-faire capitalism, which she defined as the system based on recognizing individual rights". What's so controversial about disliking oppressive regimes and supporting individual rights? – Shautieh 3 hours ago

Chloe ,yesterday

Communism has committed atrocities far greater than the Holocaust.

Holodomor : up to 12 million dead

Khmer Rouge : up to 3 million dead

The Great Leap Forward : up to 55 million dead

Tanzania Experiment : no deaths, only near famine

Death, famine, and genocide are usually considered evil.

user41281 ,yesterday

I don't particularly see how these reflect negatively on communism as an ideology. Rather, they are examples of failed/inefficient policies by specific authoritarian governments, and in some of the above might have even been politically motivated. If one were to ascribe these failings to any particular form of government, I would personally attribute them to the authoritarian underpinnings of the states in question, not their goals of communism. Moreover, states like the USSR weren't communist in any form (they were socialist, both in the constitution and in practice). – user41281 yesterday

Dan Walmsley ,yesterday

user41281 The parent question asked "why it's so easy to ban Nazi symbols and so hard to ban communist symbols" I thinks it's fair to say many evils have been done under those symbols, it is strange they are seen in a positive light. The symbols represent specific implementations of Communism. I personally think communism as an ideology is destined to lead to tyranny but even if you don't think that's the case they symbols were used by some horrific tyrannies. – Dan Walmsley yesterday

Chloe ,yesterday

@MoziburUllah Colonialism isn't required by capitalism. Communal farming is required by communism. Also, tu quoque is a logical fallacy. – Chloe yesterday

Mozibur Ullah ,yesterday

Colonialism and slavery is historically linked with Capitalism in the same way that Communism is historically linked with the atrocities you've mentioned; its part of a even-handed critique to look at both sides of an argument, as opposed to criticism which is just one-sided. – Mozibur Ullah yesterday

jamesqf ,yesterday

@Mozibur Ullah: Linked by whom? Usually as propaganda by the left, no? Certainly we can find colonialism and slavery in cultures that pre-date modern capitalism: Rome and Islam to pick just two well-known instances. – jamesqf yesterday

Twelfth ,yesterday

Why is communism considered as evil (like fascism and nazism) in western countries?

Simple answer is them vs us. This was previously nationality, but cold-war era saw this them vs us line drawn more on economic lines as alliances spanned multiple nations. I'll try to ignore the actuals behind why communism is evil and try to focus more on the perception of why it's remained the big evil within western society.

It should be noted that if you include deaths from sweatshops, activities outlined in 'confessions of an economic hitman', and a handful of wars...capitalism likely has quite the death toll behind it as well, but where do you draw the line between imperial ambitions and capitalism...and if we're willing to draw that line for capitalism, where does that line lay for the communists death toll? Ideal theory vs less than ideal implementation is always a factor in this discussion, usually people have to wear pretty heavy blinders to declare why our system is good and just while their system is corrupt and evil.

Much longer answer, a lot of this is generational. Younger generations are more and more embracing a 'help your neighbor' viewpoint associating capitalism with a 'Individual at the expense of everyone else' ala Martin Shkreli vs a communism 'collective looking out for the good of one another', which seems to have caused a bit of a leftist tilt in the younger generation (probably a bit to do with people get screwed over by capitalism as well and the much greener grass of communism is a dream to address that). Of course, this is entirely a dream world and has little to do with what communism actually is, yet a large number of youths in capitalist nations have somehow come to the conclusion that communism is preferable. Teaching this younger generation what the implementation of communism actually looks like is often done in the 'communism is evil' standpoint, perpetuating the 'communism is evil' viewpoint.

This is greatly exacerbated in the US, which shows a weird mix of misunderstanding and political posturing...we've already got an answer claiming all socialism is communism (same people that use 'liberal' as a curseword), which makes a pretty good example for this. Very much an exercise of reductio ad absurdum in action, suggesting some social support is countered by all social support is communism and therefore evil. Much of the wealthy within the US is generally against using their money to finance social constructs (healthcare is a big one here, but it's used against a pretty wide array of social programs) and a consistent tactic to whip up support is to use the lines "this is socialism, all socialism is communism, communism is evil, therefore "insert hot topic like universal healthcare" is evil. This political posturing is a heavy reason this 'communism is evil!' argument continues in America.

But with all that said...the key reason why Communism is regarded as evil can be reduced to freedom. "communism = someone else/collective telling us what to do and how to behave" vs "capitalism is the individual choosing what to do and how to behave". People who have had their freedom denied will heavily resist what appears to be taking freedom away.

blip ,yesterday

The catch with capitalism is that it can equally end up being someone else telling us what to do and how to behave. It's not a simple contrast in that regard. – blip yesterday

Twelfth ,yesterday

@blip - Agreed entirely, I'm tried to keep my talking points to perception and not the reality...more often than not, perceptions are reduced down to the simplest form. – Twelfth yesterday

blip ,yesterday

Good point re: perception. – blip yesterday

J Doe ,yesterday

Of course under capitalism you still have people telling you how to behave. – J Doe yesterday

J Doe ,yesterday

Indeed, the whole point of communism is that it is supposed to free us from the yoke of capitalism. Here's an example: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commons-based_peer_productionJ Doe yesterday

libeako ,yesterday

The base of socialism is higher tax and more control over the economy in order to "help the poor". If one amplifies this to total [everything is taken away by tax, every economical decision is controlled], then one gets exactly in a situation that is equivalent with communism.

So "communism" is just the extreme of socialism. To be general, i will speak about socialism mostly, but it applies to communism too.

Socialism, as any other social order : has a basic categorization : voluntary or enforced. By the word "socialism" most people mean the one enforced by state, which is of course violent, as laws of the state are mandatory, and enforced by violence. Such socialism is really bad, even if not by intention, but at least by results.

In the enforced socialism : the state [hence, and more precisely the rulers] gain power to take away the private property of the people and control economical activity. This has 2 notable results :

In short time : exploitation of the economy and distribution of the stolen assets to the poor is popular. This also strengthens the political power of the socialist ruler. But in the long time : the effect on the economy is felt by the people, who then start to want political change. In this stage the ruler, who has by now established a tyranny : has 2 choices :

What makes socialism especially dangerous idea is that it gives high power to the ruler, hence is prone to tyranny. I said "prone". Socialism does not necessarily leads to tyranny. In fact : most democratic countries today are socialist for decades. If socialism is applied in a sufficiently small dose then the negative consequences are small too and the country can survive it, even prosper.

Socialism and hitlerism are the same in their core principle, which is : "I have an idea about how people should live. It is so good that we should gain power and attack people to force them to live that way."

It is very important to see where the problem is. It is not in the social ideology itself.

The problem is the idea that people should be violently attacked to enforce an idea.

Violence itself may be even a good thing. For example it is good to kill a person who is committing mass shooting. Not only because it saves more lives than it takes, but because it saves innocent life and takes guilty life. Even it is good to shoot a group of criminals who are killing a single innocent person. What is then really bad about violence? It is the initiation of it ["attack", "aggression"].

More precisely we should condemn not only initiation of violence, but more generally : initiation of harm. Harm also contains theft.

Economic freedom [voluntary exchange of goods and services] does not need violence at all, but restricting economic freedom does. Defending property right does need violence, but robbery needs more. Theft is initiation of harm, while using force against theft is violence and therefore harm too, but not initiation of harm.

Twelfth ,yesterday

You've done a great job of illustrating how communism is erroneously conflated with socialism. Not exactly the point of the question, unless you were going with irony. – Twelfth yesterday

Twelfth ,yesterday

"help the poor" - it's to help the people regardless of wealth, middle class still use the social structures. But you are badly mixing the two topics up, communism is political while socialism is economical and you seem to have this driving point to say that socialism cannot be achieved without a dictator which is completely false. Democratic socialism already exists proving your answer to be complete paranoia and a perfect example of the 'communism is evil, flee while you can' mantra. Hence my +1 for ironic answer award – Twelfth yesterday

Obie 2.0 ,yesterday

@Andy - Can one have a capitalist economy without the use of force? ;) Private property rights don't enforce themselves, you know. – Obie 2.0 yesterday

Twelfth ,yesterday

@Andy - movement in the US seems to be growing in popularity without force. thenation.com/article/ Scandinavian nations being classified as such, and the socialist related death count in Norway is low. dissentmagazine.org/article/ Social dems in Germany are doing decent. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Democratic_Party_of_Germany socialism and communism are not the same, democratic socialism is alive and distant from communism – Twelfth yesterday

owjburnham ,9 hours ago

@Andy The Internet is not in America. There is no "they". The European socialists are already here, in the comments with you. Hello! – owjburnham 9 hours ago

[Oct 30, 2017] IMF forced Russia to allow other former Soviet countries to use, and issue, Rubles, thereby delaying the introduction of national currencies by a year, and giving the other former Soviet countries a motivation to issue huge quantities of currency, and thereby driving hyperinflation

Notable quotes:
"... New York Magazine ..."
Oct 30, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

saskydisc , October 27, 2017 at 7:21 pm

I am reading Alex Krainer's book on Bill Browder. After introducing himself, he summarized Browser's Red Alert, then spends several chapters giving the context of the 1990s US/IMF rape of Russia via Yeltsin. One thing that he mentions of which I was not aware, is that the IMF forced Russia to allow other former Soviet countries to use, and issue , Rubles, thereby delaying the introduction of national currencies by a year, and giving the other former Soviet countries a motivation to issue huge quantities of currency, and thereby driving hyperinflation. He portrays Jeffrey Sachs as possibly a geopolitical useful idiot of the US and IMF.

The IMF refused to give loans to actually assist the transition, but they had no problem giving Yeltsin a 6.7 billion dollar loan for the Chechen war. Banks were given loans "to support the ruble," which were promptly used to bet against same.

At times, the conduct of the Harvard connected personnel in Russia became so blatantly criminal that the FBI investigated and prosecuted. Harvard defended the guilty parties, and even paid a 31 million dollar US fine to settle the matter, and kept the guilty party as faculty.

rkka , October 28, 2017 at 1:08 pm
By the way, Jeff Sachs has come to the conclusion that he was used in exactly that way, that the USG never intended to actually assist Russia's transition, but to make the process as prolonged and destructive as possible.

And then there was the US support to Yeltsin's reelection campaign in '96. In January Yeltsin was polling with a 5% approval rating. 55% of Russians thought he should resign rather than seek reelection, mostly because his policies had them dying off by almost a million a year. Funny that. He and the 'Family' seriously considered cancelling the election and ruling by decree.

Instead, they decided to steal it, with the assistance of Western governments & the IMF. In March, President Clinton prevailed on the IMF to release about $10b to the Russian government, which used the funds to support Yeltsin's reelection. Years of wage arrears for government workers were suddenly cleared, as if by magic! Zyuganov was buried under a tsunami of stories that he intended to bring back War Communism and the Purges from both State and Oligarch-owned media, while getting no coverage of his actual positions from same. Zyuganov adhered to the legal limits on campaign spending, while Yeltsin exceeded them by a couple of orders of magnitude, with no consequence. And to top it all off, there was flagrant use of 'administrative resource' and outright voter fraud. Mr. Michael Meadowcroft, the leader of the OSCE election monitoring team, told The Exile of the heavy pressure he got from Western governments to minimize his reporting of how the Yeltsin reelection team was abusing Russian political processes in every possible way to ensure his reelection and the continuation of the policies that had Russians dying off by almost a million a year.

And so in '96 Western media celebrated the 54% majority vote for the guy with the 5% approval rating as 'A Triumph of Democracy!'

In 2012 they called it 'Massive Fraud!' when the guy with the 66% approval rating got 63% of the vote.

The only possible conclusion from this is that Western government care nothing for what Russians think, or how, or even whether, they live, only that the Russian government submit.

Their big problem for Western governments is that Russian voters now understand this, which puts them beyond the influence of the Anglosphere Foreign Policy Elite & Punditocracy.

This drives the AFPE&P up the wall, for they are obsessed with having 'Leverage' and 'Influence' and cannot stand having none.

And so they bleat about a miniscule Facebook ad buy.

saskydisc , October 28, 2017 at 4:23 pm
The desperation is in full display. One interesting thing that I notice is that the apolitical people are not aware, and even forget the propaganda shortly after being subjected to it. While this has the downside of making them uninterested in the facts, it does make them indifferent to the propaganda as well. Should they be dragooned into fighting, they will fight to survive, rather than to conquer.

As such, the powers that still are, are out of options. Winning a battle such as a colour revolution is more expensive to their aims in the long run than not initiating one, yet they need to steal other countries' wealth to roll over their expense accounts. I need to work up my cynicism and invest in popcorn.

saskydisc , October 28, 2017 at 4:40 pm
Another nice little detail that Krainer includes is the sending of large sums of mint US banknotes to Russian banks involved in money laundering for gangs. This was done by a bank owned by Browser's "angel" investor, Edmond Safra, and he lists how the regulators went out of their way to avoid their legal responsibilities in that matter. He also spends some time on Browder's confession that his (Browder's) pretensions of being in opposition to Soros outfit Renaissance Capital was a ruse, as Browder admits to having conducted much business with same.

He also spends some pages looking at Browder's tax evasion through transfer pricing (selling cheaply abroad, to a tax haven) using avionics outfit AVISMA.

Finally, some humour: when Browder got served his summons, he started complaining that he left the US due to prosecution of his family. Under examination, it turns out that his immediate family included professors at prestigious US universities, long after McCarthy, but long before he opted for UK citizenship.

marknesop , October 29, 2017 at 12:48 pm
Yes, I did a piece on that long ago , probably before your time here. It included some very useful links, some of which probably still work – perhaps the most eye-popping being Robert Friedman's "The Money Plane", from New York Magazine . Check it out; I think you'll find it enlightening.

I did not know that Renaissance Capital was connected to Soros, though; that's news to me, and I guess you can always learn something.

saskydisc , October 29, 2017 at 2:32 pm
Will check it out. Krainer does cite one of your pieces, in a different matter.
saskydisc , October 29, 2017 at 2:44 pm
You go into more detail, e.g. that the purpose of the shell companies was to take ownership of and manipulate Gazprom et alia. You also have more detail on Safra -- Krainer did not mention his death, and I don't recall him mentioning Mr North.
marknesop , October 29, 2017 at 9:06 am
And there is considerable anecdotal confirmation – which I realize is not evidence – that Zyuganov actually won the election, but was so stupefied and frightened at the prospect of leading such a restive country that he allowed the election to be stolen from him without opposing it. If true, he has never spoken of it himself to my knowledge. But others have.
Pro-Freedom , October 29, 2017 at 9:08 am
For that matter, there likely wouldn't not have been a Putin presidency.
kirill , October 29, 2017 at 10:30 am
Zyuganov was 5th column comprador who made sure the Communist Party did not evolve and thereby ensuring its long term oblivion.
Matt , October 29, 2017 at 10:45 am
Per Dugin, that technically qualifies him as a 6th columnist:

http://katehon.com/1318-sixth-column.html

This structure sure is stable, kek.

[Oct 24, 2017] I found the following article to be reasonable and consistent with my admittedly imperfect understanding of pre-WW II Russian/Soviet history

Oct 24, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Patient Observer , October 22, 2017 at 7:25 pm

I found the following article to be reasonable and consistent with my admittedly imperfect understanding of pre-WW II Russian/Soviet history. The consistency for me was was in finding a balance with the typically hyper-exaggerated claims of Western historians (evident to this day) and the demonstrated behavior of Slavic Orthodox who tend be be far less excessive than the West when it comes to war and genocide.

Regarding Jews in Russia, the article maintains that many were associated with betrayal of Russia and many fought valiantly against the Western invaders so its a mixed bag in that regard.

http://russia-insider.com/en/revisionist-look-soviet-history-1930-1955/ri21209

The article suggests that the Soviet Union concluded that it had 10 years to prepare for the Western invasion that was meant to murder them all. They had to collectivize to release labor for rapid industrialization and had to eliminate the anti-Russian 5th column. Only the foregoing allowed the Soviet Union to survive and then defeat the Western invasion. It seems quite plausible.

The article also debunks (sorry) claims of multi-million deaths from the famine and more from the purges although this seems to still be a point of contention even among Russian historians not slavishly following the Western party line.

I do recall that Gorbechev himself caused ire in the West when he stated that the numbers killed by the purges were in the tens of thousands and not millions.

I think that it is time for Russia to write its own history without the slightest regard of what the West will think. That holds even more so for Serbia.

[Oct 21, 2017] Socialism, Land and Banking 2017 compared to 1917 by Michael Hudson

Notable quotes:
"... Socialism a century ago seemed to be the wave of the future. There were various schools of socialism, but the common ideal was to guarantee support for basic needs, and for state ownership to free society from landlords, predatory banking and monopolies. In the West these hopes are now much further away than they seemed in 1917. Land and natural resources, basic infrastructure monopolies, health care and pensions have been increasingly privatized and financialized. ..."
"... Instead of Germany and other advanced industrial nations leading the way as expected, Russia's October 1917 Revolution made the greatest leap. But the failures of Stalinism became an argument against Marxism – guilt-by-association with Soviet bureaucracy. European parties calling themselves socialist or "labour" since the 1980s have supported neoliberal policies that are the opposite of socialist policy. Russia itself has chosen neoliberalism. ..."
"... Few socialist parties or theorists have dealt with the rise of the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector that now accounts for most increase in wealth. Instead of evolving into socialism, Western capitalism is being overcome by predatory finance and rent extraction imposing debt deflation and austerity on industry as well as on labor. ..."
"... Failure of Western economies to recover from the 2008 crisis is leading to a revival of Marxist advocacy. The alternative to socialist reform is stagnation and a relapse into neofeudal financial and monopoly privileges. ..."
"... Russia's Revolution ended after 74 years, leaving the Soviet Union so dispirited that it ended in collapse. The contrast between the low living standards of Russian consumers and what seemed to be Western success became increasingly pronounced. ..."
"... When the Soviet Union dissolved itself in 1991, its leaders took neoliberal advice from its major adversary, the United States, in hope that this would set it on a capitalist road to prosperity. But turning its economies into viable industrial powers was the last thing U.S. advisors wanted to teach Russia. [3] Their aim was to turn it and its former satellites into raw-materials colonies of Wall Street, the City of London and Frankfurt – victims of capitalism, not rival producers. ..."
"... It should not be surprising that banks became the economy's main control centers, as in the West's bubble economies. Instead of the promised prosperity, a new class of billionaires was endowed, headed by the notorious Seven Bankers who appropriated the formerly state-owned oil and gas, nickel and platinum, electricity and aluminum production, as well as real estate, electric utilities and other public enterprises. It was the largest giveaway in modern history. The Soviet nomenklatura became the new lords in outright seizure that Marx would have characterized as "primitive accumulation." ..."
"... The American advisors knew the obvious: Russian savings had been wiped out by the polst-1991 hyperinflation, so the new owners could only cash out by selling shares to Western buyers. The kleptocrats cashed out as expected, by dumping their shares to foreign investors so quickly at such giveaway prices that Russia's stock market became the world's top performer for Western investors in 1994-96. ..."
"... The basic neoliberal idea of prosperity is financial gain based on turning rent extraction into a flow of interest payments by buyers-on-credit. This policy favors financial engineering over industrial investment, reversing the Progressive Era's industrial capitalism that Marx anticipated would be a transition stage leading to socialism. Russia adopted the West's anti-socialist rollback toward neofeudalism. ..."
"... Russia joined the dollar standard. Buying Treasury bonds meant lending to the U.S. Government. The central bank bought U.S. Treasury securities to back its domestic currency. These purchases helped finance Cold War escalation in countries around Russia. Russia paid 100% annual interest in the mid-1990s, creating a bonanza for U.S. investors. On balance, this neoliberal policy lay Russia's economy open to looting by financial institutions seeking natural resource rent, land rent and monopoly rent for themselves. Instead of targeting such rents, Russia imposed taxes mainly on labor via a regressive flat tax – too right wing to be adopted even in the United States! ..."
"... Theories of Surplus Value ..."
"... This Western financial advice became a textbook example of how not ..."
"... By 1991, when the Soviet Union's leaders decided to take the "Western" path, the Western economies themselves were reaching a terminus. Appearances were saved by a wave of unproductive credit and debt creation to sustain the bubble economy that finally crashed in 2008. ..."
"... The same debt overgrowth occurred in the industrial sector, where bank and bondholder credit since the 1980s has been increasingly for corporate takeovers and raiding, stock buybacks and even to pay dividends. Industry has become a vehicle for financial engineering to increase stock prices and strip assets, not to increase the means of production. The result is that capitalism has fallen prey to resurgent rentier ..."
"... Theories of Surplus Value ..."
"... American Journal of Economics and Sociology ..."
"... Super-Imperialism ..."
"... The Great Credit Crash ..."
"... The Contradictions of Austerity: The Socio-Economic Costs of the Neoliberal Baltic Model ..."
"... Journal of Economic Issues ..."
Oct 20, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org
Socialism a century ago seemed to be the wave of the future. There were various schools of socialism, but the common ideal was to guarantee support for basic needs, and for state ownership to free society from landlords, predatory banking and monopolies. In the West these hopes are now much further away than they seemed in 1917. Land and natural resources, basic infrastructure monopolies, health care and pensions have been increasingly privatized and financialized.

Instead of Germany and other advanced industrial nations leading the way as expected, Russia's October 1917 Revolution made the greatest leap. But the failures of Stalinism became an argument against Marxism – guilt-by-association with Soviet bureaucracy. European parties calling themselves socialist or "labour" since the 1980s have supported neoliberal policies that are the opposite of socialist policy. Russia itself has chosen neoliberalism.

Few socialist parties or theorists have dealt with the rise of the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector that now accounts for most increase in wealth. Instead of evolving into socialism, Western capitalism is being overcome by predatory finance and rent extraction imposing debt deflation and austerity on industry as well as on labor.

Failure of Western economies to recover from the 2008 crisis is leading to a revival of Marxist advocacy. The alternative to socialist reform is stagnation and a relapse into neofeudal financial and monopoly privileges.

Socialism flowered in the 19 th century as a program to reform capitalism by raising labor's status and living standards, with a widening range of public services and subsidies to make economies more efficient. Reformers hoped to promote this evolution by extending voting rights to the working population at large.

Ricardo's discussion of land rent led early industrial capitalists to oppose Europe's hereditary landlord class. But despite democratic political reform, the world has un-taxed land rent and is still grappling with the problem of how to keep housing affordable instead of siphoning off rent to a landlord class – more recently transmuted into mortgage interest paid to banks by owners who pledge the rental value for loans. Most bank lending today is for real estate mortgages. The effect is to bid up land prices toward the point where the entire rental value is paid as interest. This threatens to be a problem for socialist China as well as for capitalist economies.

Landlords, banks and the cost of living

The classical economists sought to make their nations more competitive by keeping down the price of labor so as to undersell competitors. The main cost of living was food; today it is housing. Housing and food prices are determined not by the material costs of production, but by land rent – the rising market price for land.

In the era of the French Physiocrats, Adam Smith, David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill, this land rent accrued to Europe's hereditary landlord class. Today, the land's rent is paid mainly to bankers – because families need credit to buy a home. Or, if they rent, their landlords use the property rent to pay interest to the banks.

The land issue was central to Russia's October Revolution, as it was for European politics. But the discussion of land rent and taxation has lost much of the clarity (and passion) that guided the 19 th century when it dominated classical political economy, liberal reform, and indeed most early socialist politics.

In 1909/10 Britain experienced a constitutional crisis when the democratically elected House of Commons passed a land tax, only to be overridden by the House of Lords, governed by the old aristocracy. The ensuing political crisis was settled by a rule that the Lords never again could overrule a revenue bill passed by the House of Commons. But that was Britain's last real opportunity to tax away the economic rents of landlords and natural resource owners. The liberal drive to tax the land faltered, and never again would gain serious chance of passage.

The democratization of home ownership during the 20 th century led middle-class voters to oppose property taxes – including taxes on commercial sites and natural resources. Tax policy in general has become pro- rentier and anti-labor – the regressive opposite of 19 th -century liberalism as developed by "Ricardian socialists" such as John Stuart Mill and Henry George. Today's economic individualism has lost the early class consciousness that sought to tax economic rent and socialize banking.

The United States enacted an income tax in 1913, falling mainly on rentier income, not on the working population. Capital gains (the main source of rising wealth today) were taxed at the same rate as other income. But the vested interests campaigned to reverse this spirit, slashing capital gains taxes and making tax policy much more regressive. The result is that today, most wealth is not gained by capital investment for profits. Instead, asset-price gains have been financed by a debt-leveraged inflation of real estate, stock and bond prices.

Many middle-class families owe most of their net worth to rising prices for their homes. But by far the lion's share of the real estate and stock market gains have accrued to just One Percent of the population. And while bank credit has enabled buyers to bid up housing prices, the price has been to siphon off more and more of labor's income to pay mortgage loans or rents. As a result, finance today is what is has been throughout history: the main force polarizing economies between debtors and creditors.

Global oil and mining companies created flags of convenience to make themselves tax-exempt, by pretending to make all their production and distribution profits in tax-free trans-shipping havens such as Liberia and Panama (which use U.S. dollars instead of being real countries with their own currency and tax systems).

The fact that absentee-owned real estate and natural resource extraction are practically free of income taxation shows that democratic political reform has not been a sufficient guarantee of socialist success. Tax rules and public regulation have been captured by the rentiers , dashing the hopes of 19 th -century classical reformers that progressive tax policy would produce the same effect as direct public ownership of the means of production, while leaving "the market" as an individualistic alternative to government regulation or planning.

In practice, planning and resource allocation has passed to the banking and financial sector. Many observers hoped that this would evolve into state planning, or at least work in conjunction with it as in Germany. But liberal "Ricardian socialist" failed, as did German-style "state socialism" publicly financing transportation and other basic infrastructure, pensions and similar "external" costs of living and doing business that industrial employers otherwise would have to bear. Attempts at "half-way" socialism via tax and regulatory policy against monopolies and banking have faltered repeatedly. As long as major economic or political choke points are left in private hands, they will serve s springboards to subvert real reform policies. That is why Marxist policy went beyond these would-be socialist reforms.

To Marx, the historical task of capitalism was to prepare the way for socializing the means of production by clearing away feudalism's legacy: a hereditary landlord class, predatory banking, and the monopolies that financial interests had pried away from governments. The path of least resistance was to start by socializing land and basic infrastructure. This drive to free society from economic overhead in the form of hereditary privilege and unearned income by the "idle rich" was a step toward socialist management, by minimizing rentier costs (" faux frais of production").

Proto-socialist reform in the leading industrial nations

Marx was by no means alone in expecting a widening range of economic activity to be shifted away from the market to the public sector. State socialism (basically, state-sponsored capitalism) subsidized pensions and public health, education and other basic needs so as to save industrial enterprise from having to bear these charges.

In the United States, Simon Patten – the first economics professor at the new Wharton business school at the University of Pennsylvania – defined public infrastructure as a "fourth factor of production" alongside labor, capital and land. The aim of public investment was not to make a profit, but to lower the cost of living and doing business so as to minimize industry's wage and infrastructure bill. Public health, pensions, roads and other transportation, education, research and development were subsidized or provided freely. [1]

The most advanced industrial economies seemed to be evolving toward some kind of socialism. Marx shared a Progressive Era optimism that expected industrial capitalism to evolve in the most logical way, by freeing economies from the landlordship and predatory banking inherited from Europe's feudal era. That was above all the classical reform program of Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and the intellectual mainstream.

But the aftermath of World War I saw the vested interests mount a Counter-Enlightenment. Banking throughout the Western world find its major market in real estate mortgage lending, natural resource extraction and monopolies – the Anglo-American model, not that of German industrial banking that had seemed to be capitalism's financial future in the late 19 th century.

Since 1980 the Western nations have reversed early optimistic hopes to reform market economies. Instead of the classical dream of taxing away the land rent that had supported Europe's hereditary landed aristocracies, commercial real estate has been made virtually exempt from income taxation. Absentee owners avoid tax by a combination of tax-deductibility for interest payments (as if it is a necessary business expense) and fictitious over-depreciation tax credits that pretend that buildings and properties are losing value even when market prices for their land are soaring.

These tax breaks have made real estate the largest bank customers. The effect has been to financialize property rents into interest payments. Likewise in the industrial sphere, regulatory capture by lobbyists for the major monopolies has disabled public attempts to keep prices in line with the cost of production and prevent fraud by breaking up or regulating monopolies. These too have become major bank clients.

The beginning and end of Russian socialism

Most Marxists expected socialism to emerge first in Germany as the most advanced capitalist economy. After its October 1917 Revolution, Russia seemed to jump ahead, the first nation to free itself from rent and interest charges inherited from feudalism. By taking land, industry and finance into state control, Soviet Russia's October Revolution created an economy without private landlords and bankers. Russian urban planning did not take account of the natural rent-of-location, nor did it charge for the use of money created by the state bank. The state bank created money and credit, so there was no need to rely on a wealthy financial class. And as property owner, the state did not seek to charge land rent or monopoly rent.

By freeing society from the post-feudal rentier class of landlords, bankers and predatory finance, the Soviet regime was much more than a bourgeois revolution. The Revolution's early leaders sought to free wage labor from exploitation by taking industry into the public domain. State companies provided labor with free lunches, education, sports and leisure activity, and modest housing.

Agricultural land tenure was a problem. Given its centralized marketing role, the state could have reallocated land to build up a rural peasantry and helped it invest in modernization. The state could have manipulated crop prices to siphon off agricultural gains, much like Cargill does in the United States. Instead, Stalin's collectivization program waged a war against the kulaks. This political shock led to famine. It was a steep price to pay for avoiding rent was paid to a landlord class or peasantry.

Marx had said nothing about the military dimension of the transition from progressive industrial capitalism to socialism. But Russia's Revolution – like that of China three decades later – showed that the attempt to create a socialist economy had a military dimension that absorbed the lion's share of the economic surplus. Military aggression by a half dozen leading capitalist nations seeking to overthrow the Bolshevik government obliged Russia to adopt War Communism. For over half a century the Soviet Union devoted most of capital to military investment, not provide sufficient housing or consumer goods for its population beyond spreading literacy, education and public health.

Despite this military overhead, the fact that the Soviet Union was free of a rentier class of financiers and absentee landlords should have made the Soviet Union the world's most competitive low-cost economy in theory. In 1945 the United States certainly feared the efficiency of socialist planning. Its diplomats opposed Soviet membership on the ground that state enterprise and pricing would enable such economies to undersell capitalist countries. [2] So socialist countries were kept out of the IMF, World Bank and the planned World Trade Organization, explicitly on the ground that they were free of land rent, natural resource rent, monopoly rent and financial charges.

Capitalist economies are now privatizing and financializing their basic needs and infrastructure. Every activity is being forced into "the market," at prices that need to cover not only the technological costs of production but also interest, ancillary financial fees and pension set-asides. The cost of living and doing business is further privatized as financial interests pry roads, health care, water, communications and other public utilities away from the public sector, while driving housing and commercial real estate deeply into debt.

The Cold War has shown that capitalist countries plan to continue fighting socialist economies, forcing them to militarize in self-defense. The resulting oppressive military overhead is then blamed on socialist bureaucracy and inefficiency.

The collapse of Russian Stalinism

Russia's Revolution ended after 74 years, leaving the Soviet Union so dispirited that it ended in collapse. The contrast between the low living standards of Russian consumers and what seemed to be Western success became increasingly pronounced. In contrast to China's housing construction policy, the Soviet regime insisted that families double up. Clothing and other consumer goods had only drab designs, needlessly suppressing variety. To cap matters, public opposition to Russia's military personnel losses in Afghanistan caused popular resentment.

When the Soviet Union dissolved itself in 1991, its leaders took neoliberal advice from its major adversary, the United States, in hope that this would set it on a capitalist road to prosperity. But turning its economies into viable industrial powers was the last thing U.S. advisors wanted to teach Russia. [3] Their aim was to turn it and its former satellites into raw-materials colonies of Wall Street, the City of London and Frankfurt – victims of capitalism, not rival producers.

Russia has gone to the furthest anti-socialist extreme by adopting a flat tax that fails to distinguish wages and profits of labor and capital from unearned rental income. By also having to pay a value-added tax (VAT) on consumer goods (with no tax on trading in financial assets), labor is taxed much higher than the wealthy.

Most Western "wealth creation" is achieved by debt-leveraged price increases for real estate, stocks and bonds, and by privatizing the public domain. The latter process has gained momentum since the early 1980s in Margaret Thatcher's Britain and Ronald Reagan's America, followed by Third World countries acting under World Bank tutelage. The pretense is that privatization will maximize technological efficiency and prosperity for the economy as a whole.

Following this advice, Russian leaders agreed that the major sources of economic rent – natural resource wealth, real estate and state companies – should be transferred to private owners (often to themselves and associated insiders). The "magic of the marketplace" was supposed to lead the new owners to make the economy more efficient as a byproduct of making money in the quickest way possible.

Each Russian worker got a "voucher" worth about $25. Most were sold off simply to obtain money to buy food and other needs as many companies stopped paying wages. Russia had wiped out domestic savings with hyperinflation after 1991.

It should not be surprising that banks became the economy's main control centers, as in the West's bubble economies. Instead of the promised prosperity, a new class of billionaires was endowed, headed by the notorious Seven Bankers who appropriated the formerly state-owned oil and gas, nickel and platinum, electricity and aluminum production, as well as real estate, electric utilities and other public enterprises. It was the largest giveaway in modern history. The Soviet nomenklatura became the new lords in outright seizure that Marx would have characterized as "primitive accumulation."

The American advisors knew the obvious: Russian savings had been wiped out by the polst-1991 hyperinflation, so the new owners could only cash out by selling shares to Western buyers. The kleptocrats cashed out as expected, by dumping their shares to foreign investors so quickly at such giveaway prices that Russia's stock market became the world's top performer for Western investors in 1994-96.

The Russian oligarchs kept most of their sales proceeds abroad in British and other banks, beyond the reach of Russian authorities to recapture. Much was spent on London real estate, sports teams and luxury estates in the world's flight-capital havens. Almost none was invested in Russian industry. Wage arrears often mounted up half a year behind. Living standards shrank, along with the population as birth rates plunged throughout the former Soviet economies. Skilled labor emigrated.

The basic neoliberal idea of prosperity is financial gain based on turning rent extraction into a flow of interest payments by buyers-on-credit. This policy favors financial engineering over industrial investment, reversing the Progressive Era's industrial capitalism that Marx anticipated would be a transition stage leading to socialism. Russia adopted the West's anti-socialist rollback toward neofeudalism.

Russian officials failed to understand the State Theory of money that is the basis of Modern Monetary Theory: States can create their own money, giving it value by accepting it in payment of taxes. The Soviet government financed its economy for seventy years without any need to back the ruble with foreign exchange. But Russia's central bank was persuaded that "sound money" required it to back its domestic ruble currency with U.S. Treasury bonds in order to prevent inflation. Russian leaders did not realize that dollars or other foreign currencies were only needed to finance balance-of-payments deficits, not domestic spending except as this money was spent on imports.

Russia joined the dollar standard. Buying Treasury bonds meant lending to the U.S. Government. The central bank bought U.S. Treasury securities to back its domestic currency. These purchases helped finance Cold War escalation in countries around Russia. Russia paid 100% annual interest in the mid-1990s, creating a bonanza for U.S. investors. On balance, this neoliberal policy lay Russia's economy open to looting by financial institutions seeking natural resource rent, land rent and monopoly rent for themselves. Instead of targeting such rents, Russia imposed taxes mainly on labor via a regressive flat tax – too right wing to be adopted even in the United States!

When the Soviet Union dissolved itself, its officials showed no apprehension of how quickly their economies would be de-industrialized as a result of accepting U.S. advice to privatize state enterprises, natural resources and basic infrastructure. Whatever knowledge of Marx's analysis of capitalism had existed (perhaps in Nicolai Bukharin's time) was long gone. It is as if no Russian official had read Volumes II and III of Marx's Capital (or Theories of Surplus Value ) where he reviewed the laws of economic rent and interest-bearing debt.

The inability of Russia, the Baltics and other post-Soviet countries to understand the FIRE sector and its financial dynamics provides an object lesson for other countries as to what to avoid. Reversing the principles of Russia's October 1917 Revolution, the post-Soviet kleptocracy was akin to the feudal epoch's "primitive accumulation" of the land and commons. They adopted the neoliberal business plan: to establish monopolies, first and most easily by privatizing the public infrastructure that had been built up, extracting economic rents and them paying out the resulting as interest and dividends.

This Western financial advice became a textbook example of how not to organize an economy. [4] Having rejoined the global economy free of debt in 1991, Russia's population, companies and government quickly ran up debts as a result of its man-made disaster. Families could have been given their homes freely, just as corporate managers were given their entire companies virtually for free. But Russian managers were as anti-labor as they were greedy to grab their own assets from the public domain. Soaring housing prices quickly plagued Russian's economy with one of the world's highest-priced living and business costs. That prevented any thought of industrial competitiveness with the United States or Europe. What passed for Soviet Marxism lacked an understanding of how economic rents and the ensuing high labor costs affected international prices, or how debt service and capital flight affected the currency's exchange rate.

Adversaries of socialism pronounced Marxist theory dead, as if the Soviet dissolution meant the end of Marxism. But today, less than three decades later, the leading Western economies are themselves succumbing to an overgrowth of debt and shrinking prosperity. Russia failed to recognize that just as its own economy was expiring, so was the West's. Industrial capitalism is succumbing to a predatory finance capitalism that is leaving Western economies debt-ridden. [5] The underlying causes were clear already a century ago: unchecked financial rentiers , absentee ownership and monopolies.

The post-Soviet collapse in the 1990s was not a failure of Marxism, but of the anti-socialist ideology that is plunging Western economies under domination by the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector's symbiosis of the three forms of rent extraction: land and natural resource rent, monopoly rent, and interest (financial rent). This is precisely the fate from which 19 th -century socialism, Marxism and even state capitalism sought to save the industrial economies.

A silver lining to the Soviet "final" stage has been to free Marxist analysis from Russian Marxology. Its focus of Soviet Marxology was not an analysis of how the capitalist nations were becoming financialized neo- rentier economies, but was mainly propagandistic, ossifying into a stereotyped identity politics appealing to labor and oppressed minorities. Today's revival of Marxist scholarship has begun to show how the U.S.-centered global economy is entering a period of chronic austerity, debt deflation, and polarization between creditors and debtors.

Financialization and privatization are submerging capitalism in debt deflation

By 1991, when the Soviet Union's leaders decided to take the "Western" path, the Western economies themselves were reaching a terminus. Appearances were saved by a wave of unproductive credit and debt creation to sustain the bubble economy that finally crashed in 2008.

The pitfalls of this financial dynamic were not apparent in the early years after World War II, largely because economies emerged with their private sectors free of debt. The ensuing boom endowed the middle class in the United States and other countries, but was debt financed, first for home ownership and commercial real estate, then by consumer credit to purchase of automobiles and appliances, and finally by credit-card debt just to meet living expenses.

The same debt overgrowth occurred in the industrial sector, where bank and bondholder credit since the 1980s has been increasingly for corporate takeovers and raiding, stock buybacks and even to pay dividends. Industry has become a vehicle for financial engineering to increase stock prices and strip assets, not to increase the means of production. The result is that capitalism has fallen prey to resurgent rentier interests instead of liberating economies from absentee landlords, predatory banking and monopolies. Banks and bondholders have found their most lucrative market not in the manufacturing sector but in real estate and natural resource extraction.

These vested interests have translated their takings into the political power to shed taxes and dismantle regulations on wealth. The resulting political Counter-Reformation has inverted the idea of "free market" to mean an economy free for rent extractors, not free from landlords, monopolists and financial exploitation as Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and other classical economists had envisioned. The word "reform" as used by today's neoliberal media means undoing Progressive Era reforms, dismantling public regulation and government power – except for control by finance and its allied vested interests.

All this is the opposite of socialism, which has now sunk to its nadir through the Western World. The past four decades have seen most of the European and North American parties calling themselves "socialist" make an about-face to follow Tony Blair's New Labour, the French socialists-in-name and the Clinton's New Democrats. They support privatization, financialization and a shift away from progressive taxation to a value-added tax (VAT) falling on consumers, not on finance or real estate.

China's socialist diplomacy in today's hostile world

Now that Western finance capitalism is stagnating, it is fighting even harder to prevent the post-2008 crisis from leading to socialist reforms that would re-socialize infrastructure that has been privatized and put a public banking system in place. Depicting the contrast between socialist and finance-capitalist economies as a clash of civilizations, U.S.-centered "Western" diplomacy is using military and political subversion to prevent a transition from capitalism into socialism.

China is the leading example of socialist success in a mixed economy. Unlike the Soviet Union, it has not proselytized its economic system or sought to promote revolution abroad to emulate its economic doctrine. Just the opposite: To avert attack, China has given foreign investors a stake in its economic growth. The aim has been to mobilize U.S. and other foreign interests as allies, willing customers for China's exports, and suppliers of modern production facilities in China.

This is the opposite of the antagonism that confronted Russia. The risk is that it involves financial investment. But China has protected its autonomy by requiring majority Chinese ownership in most sectors. The main danger is domestic, in the form of financial dynamics and private rent extraction. The great economic choice facing China today concerns the degree to which land and natural resources should be taxed.

The state owns the land, but does fully tax its rising valuation or rent-of-location that has made many families rich. Letting the resulting real-estate and financialized wealth dominate its economic growth poses two dangers: First, it increases the price that new buyers must pay for their home. Second, rising housing prices force these families to borrow – at interest. This turns the rental value of land – value created by society and public infrastructure investment – into a flow of interest to the banks. They end up receiving more over time than the sellers, while increasing the cost of living and doing business. That is a fate which a socialist economy must avoid at all costs.

At issue is how China can best manage credit and natural resource rent in a way that best meets the needs of its population. Now that China has built up a prosperous industry and real estate, its main challenge is to avoid the financial dynamics that are subjecting the West to debt deflation and burying Western economies. To avoid these dynamics, China must curtail the proliferation of unproductive debt created merely to transfer property on credit, inflating asset prices in the process.

Socialism is incompatible with a rentier class of landlords, natural resource owners and monopolists – the preferred clients of banks hoping to turn economic rent into interest charges. As a vehicle to allocate resources "the market" reflects the status quo of property ownership and credit-creation privileges at any given moment of time, without consideration for what is fair and efficient or predatory. Vested interests claim that such a market is an immutable force of nature, whose course cannot be altered by government "interference." This rhetoric of political passivity aims to deter politicians and voters from regulating economies, leaving the wealthy free to extract as much economic rent and interest as markets can bear by privatizing real estate, natural resources, banking and other monopolies.

Such rent seeking is antithetical to socialism's aim to take these assets into the public domain. That is why the financial sector, oil and mineral extractors and monopolists fight so passionately to dismantle state regulatory power and public banking. That is the diplomacy of finance capital, aiming to consolidate American hegemony over a unipolar world. It backs this strategy with a neoliberal academic curriculum that depicts predatory financial and rentier gains as if they add to national income, not simply transfer it into the hands of the rentier classes. This misleading picture of economic reality poses a danger for China sending its students to study economics at American and European universities.

The century that has elapsed since Russia's October 1917 Revolution has produced a substantial Marxist literature describing how finance capitalism has overpowered industrial capitalism. Its dynamics occupied Marx in Volumes II and III of Capital (and also his Theories of Surplus Value ). Like most observers of his era, Marx expected capitalism to make a substantial step toward socialism by overcoming the dynamics of parasitic capital, above all the tendency for debt to keep on expanding at compound interest until it produces a financial crash.

The only way to control banks and their allied rentier sectors is outright socialization. The past century has shown that if society does not control the banks and financial sector, they will control society. Their strategy is to block government money creation so that economies will be forced to rely on banks and bondholders. Regulatory authority to limit such financial aggression and the monopoly pricing and rent extraction it supports has been crippled in the West by "regulatory capture" by the rentier oligarchy.

Attempts to tax away rental income (the liberal alternative to taking real estate and natural resources directly into the public domain) is prone to lobbying for loopholes and evasion, most notoriously via offshore banking centers in tax-avoidance enclaves and the "flags of convenience" sponsored by the global oil and mining companies. This leaves the only way to save society from the financial power to convert rent into interest to be a policy of nationalizing natural resources, fully taxing land rent (where land and minerals are not taken directly into the public domain), and de-privatizing infrastructure and other key sectors.

Conclusion

Markets have not recovered for the products of American industry and labor since 2008. Industrial capitalism has been sacrificed to a form of finance capitalism that is looking more pre-capitalist (or simply oligarchic and neofeudal) with each passing year. The resulting polarization forces every economy – including China – to choose between saving its bankers and other creditors or freeing debtors and lowering the economy's cost structure. Will the government enforce bank and bondholder claims, or will it give priority to the economy and its people? That is an eternal political question spanning pre-capitalist, capitalist and post-capitalist economies.

Marx described the mathematics of compound interest expanding to absorb the entire economy as age-old, long predating industrial capitalism. He characterized the ancient mode of production as dominated by slavery and usury, and medieval banking as predatory. These financial dynamics exist in socialist economies just as they did in medieval and ancient economies. The way in which governments manage the dynamics of credit and debt thus are the dominant force in every era, and should receive the most pressing attention today as China shapes its socialist future.

Notes.

[1] I give the details in "Simon Patten on Public Infrastructure and Economic Rent Capture," American Journal of Economics and Sociology 70 (October 2011):873-903.

[2] My book Super-Imperialism (1972; new ed. 2002) reviews this discussion during 1944-46.

[3] I discuss the IMF and World Bank plan to wipe out Russian savings with hyperinflation and make manufacturing investment uneconomic in "How Neoliberal Tax and Financial Policy Impoverishes Russia – Needlessly," Mir Peremen (The World of Transformations), 2012 (3):49-64 (in Russian). МИР ПЕРЕМЕН 3/2012 (ISSN 2073-3038) Mir peremen М. ХАДСОН, Неолиберальная налоговая и финансовая политика приводит к обнищанию России, 49-64.

[4] I give details in "How Neoliberals Bankrupted 'New Europe': Latvia in the Global Credit Crisis," (with Jeffrey Sommers), in Martijn Konings, ed., The Great Credit Crash (Verso: London and New York, 2010), pp. 244-63, and "Stockholm Syndrome in the Baltics: Latvia's neoliberal war against labor and industry," in Jeffrey Sommers and Charles Woolfson , eds., The Contradictions of Austerity: The Socio-Economic Costs of the Neoliberal Baltic Model (Routledge 2014), pp. 44-63.

[5] For more analysis see Dirk Bezemer and Michael Hudson, " Finance is Not the Economy: Reviving the Conceptual Distinction ," Journal of Economic Issues , 50 (2016: #3), pp. 745-768.

[Oct 18, 2017] Spy Schools How the CIA, FBI and Foreign Intelligence Secretly Exploit America's Universities by Nick Roll

Notable quotes:
"... Spy Schools: How the CIA, FBI and Foreign Intelligence Secretly Exploit America's Universities ..."
"... The Boston Globe ..."
"... Inside Higher Ed ..."
"... The Wall Street Journal ..."
"... The Price of Admission ..."
"... Inside Higher Ed ..."
"... Inside Higher Ed ..."
"... look back to Stalin, Hitler, Franco, Mao, Mussolini et.al with THIER use of domestic agencies to impose lock-step thinking and to ferret out free-thinkers. ..."
"... It is amazing how many biochemists and microbiologists from the People's Republic of China would e-mail me asking if I had a position in my "lab," touting their bench skills, every time I published a paper on the federal bioterrorism program, medical civic action programs, etc. ..."
"... When I started teaching 48 years ago, the president of my college was James Dovonan, Bill Donovan's (founder of the OSS) brother, portrayed by Tom Hanks in the movie, "Bridge of Spies." ..."
"... Beyond NIH funded grant-based research, Homeland Security, Energy, Defense, and the Intelligence Community agencies have long histories of relationships with American academia. This could be funded research, collaborative research, shared personnel relationships, or all other manner of cooperation. Sometimes it's fairly well known and sometimes it's kept quiet, and sometimes it's even classified. But it is much more extensive and expansive than what Golden describes, and much less "cozy" or suspicious. ..."
"... For years I have said that it is foolish to look to universities for moral guidance, and this story is one more instance. In this case, the moral ground is swampy at best, and the universities do not appear to have spent a lot of time worrying about possible problems as long as the situation works to their advantage financially. ..."
"... Does Golden discuss at all the way in which the CIA and other intelligence services funnel money into academic research without the source of the funding ever being revealed? This was common practice in the 1960s and 1970s, and colleges like MIT were among those involved in this chicanery. ..."
"... Where has IHE been for the past several decades? Read Rosenfeld's book, Subversives..... about the FBI's illegal acts at Berkeley. Or read this, a summary of his book: https://alumni.berkeley.edu... Or read George R. Stewart, The Year of the Oath. ..."
www.chronicle.com
October 3, 2017

The CIA Within Academe 21 Comments

Book documents how foreign and domestic intelligence agencies use -- and perhaps exploit -- higher education and academe for spy operations.
Foreign and domestic intelligence services spar and spy on one another all across the world. But it would be naïve to think it's not happening in the lab or classroom as well.

In his new book, Spy Schools: How the CIA, FBI and Foreign Intelligence Secretly Exploit America's Universities ( Henry Holt and Company ), investigative journalist Daniel Golden explores the fraught -- and sometimes exploitative -- relationship between higher education and intelligence services, both foreign and domestic. Chapters explore various case studies of the Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation using the open and collaborative nature of higher education to their advantage, as well as foreign governments infiltrating the U.S. via education.

"It's pretty widespread, and I'd say it's most prevalent at research universities," Golden, an editor at ProPublica and an alumnus of The Boston Globe 's "Spotlight" team, told Inside Higher Ed . "The foreign intelligence services have the interest and the opportunity to learn cutting-edge, Pentagon-funded or government-funded research."

Golden, who has also covered higher education for The Wall Street Journal , previously wrote about the intersection of wealth and admissions in his 2006 book The Price of Admission .

Each of the case studies in Spy Schools , which goes on sale Oct. 10, is critical. One could read the chapters on the Chinese government's interest in U.S. research universities as hawkish, but then turn to the next chapter on Harvard's relationship with the CIA and read it as critical of the American intelligence establishment as well.

"People of one political persuasion might focus on [the chapters regarding] foreign espionage; people of another political persuasion might focus on domestic espionage," Golden said. "I try to follow where the facts lead."

Perhaps the most prestigious institution Golden examines is Harvard University, probing its cozy relationship with the CIA. (While Harvard has recently come under scrutiny for its relationship with the agency after it withdrew an invitation for Chelsea Manning to be a visiting fellow -- after the agency objected to her appointment -- this book was written before the Manning incident, which occurred in September.) The university, which has had varying degrees of closeness and coldness with the CIA over the years, currently allows the agency to send officers to the midcareer program at the Kennedy School of Government while continuing to act undercover, with the school's knowledge. When the officers apply -- often with fudged credentials that are part of their CIA cover -- the university doesn't know they're CIA agents, but once they're in, Golden writes, Harvard allows them to tell the university that they're undercover. Their fellow students, however -- often high-profile or soon-to-be-high-profile actors in the world of international diplomacy -- are kept in the dark.

"Kenneth Moskow is one of a long line of CIA officers who have enrolled undercover at the Kennedy School, generally with Harvard's knowledge and approval, gaining access to up-and-comers worldwide," Golden writes. "For four decades the CIA and Harvard have concealed this practice, which raises larger questions about academic boundaries, the integrity of class discussions and student interactions, and whether an American university has a responsibility to accommodate U.S. intelligence."

But the CIA isn't the only intelligence group operating at Harvard. Golden notes Russian spies have enrolled at the Kennedy School, although without Harvard's knowledge or cooperation.

When contacted by Inside Higher Ed , Harvard officials didn't deny Golden's telling, but defended the university's practices while emphasizing the agreement between the university and the CIA -- which Golden also writes about -- on not using Harvard to conduct CIA fieldwork.

"Harvard Kennedy School does not knowingly provide false information or 'cover' for any member of our community from an intelligence agency, nor do we allow members of our community to carry out intelligence operations at Harvard Kennedy School," Eric Rosenbach, co-director of the Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, said in a statement.

While Golden said the CIA's involvement on campus raises existential questions about the purpose and integrity of higher education, Harvard maintained that the Kennedy School was living up to its mission.

"Our community consists of people from different spheres of public service. We are proud to train people from the U.S. government and the intelligence community, as well as peace activists and those who favor more open government," Rosenbach said in his statement. "We train students from a wide range of foreign countries and foreign governments, including -- among others -- Israel, U.K., Russia and China. That is consistent with our mission and we are proud to have that reach."

On the other hand, other countries are interested in exploiting U.S. higher education. Golden documents the case of Ruopeng Liu, a graduate student at Duke University who siphoned off U.S.-government-funded research to Chinese researchers. Liu eventually returned to China and has used some of the research for his Chinese-government-funded start-up ventures.

Golden is comprehensive, interviewing Duke researchers who worked with Liu, as well as dispatching a freelance journalist in China to interview Liu (he denied wrongdoing, saying his actions were taken as part of higher education's collaborative norms regarding research projects). Despite questions that arose while Liu was a student, he received his doctorate in 2009 without any formal questions or pushback from the university. A week before Liu defended his dissertation, Golden notes that Duke officials voted to move forward in negotiations with the Chinese government regarding opening a Duke campus in China -- raising questions about whether Duke was cautious about punishing a Chinese student lest there were negative business implications for Duke. ( The building of the campus proved to be a controversial move in its own right. )

The Duke professor Liu worked under told Golden it would be hard to prove Liu acted with intentional malice rather than out of genuine cultural and translational obstacles, or ethical slips made by a novice researcher. Duke officials told Inside Higher Ed that there weren't any connections between Liu and the vote.

"The awarding of Ruopeng Liu's degree had absolutely no connection to the deliberations over the proposal for Duke to participate in the founding of a new university in Kunshan, China," a spokesman said in an email.

These are just two chapters of Golden's book, which also goes on to document the foreign exchange relationship between Marietta College, in Ohio, and the controversial Chinese-intelligence-aligned University of International Relations. Agreements between Marietta and UIR, which is widely regarded a recruiting ground for Chinese intelligence services, include exchanging professors and sending Chinese students to Marietta. Conversely, Golden writes, as American professors teach UIR students who could end up spying on the U.S., American students at Marietta are advised against studying abroad at UIR if they have an interest in working for the government -- studying at UIR carries a risk for students hoping to get certain security clearances. Another highlight is the chapter documenting the CIA's efforts to stage phony international academic conferences, put on to lure Iranian nuclear scientists as attendees and get them out of their country -- and in a position to defect to the U.S. According to Golden's sources, the operations, combined with other efforts, have been successful enough "to hinder Iran's nuclear weapons program."

But Golden's book doesn't just shed light on previously untold stories. It also highlights the existential questions facing higher education, not only when dealing with infiltration from foreign governments, but also those brought on by cozy relationships between the U.S. intelligence and academe.

"One issue is American national security," Golden said. "Universities do a lot of research that's important to our government and our military, and they don't take very strong precautions against it being stolen," he said. "So the domestic espionage side -- I'm kind of a traditionalist and I believe in the ideal of universities as places where the brightest minds of all countries come together to learn, teach each other, study and do research. Espionage from both sides taints that that's kind of disturbing."

After diving deep into the complex web that ties higher education and espionage together, however, Golden remains optimistic about the future.

"It wouldn't be that hard to tighten up the intellectual property rules and have written collaboration agreements and have more courses about intellectual safeguards," he said. "In the 1970s, Harvard adopted guidelines against U.S. intelligence trying to recruit foreign students in an undercover way they didn't become standard practice [across academe, but], I still think those guidelines are pertinent and colleges would do well to take a second look at them."

"In the idealistic dreamer mode, it would be wonderful if the U.N. or some other organization would take a look at this issue, and say, 'Can we declare universities off-limits to espionage?'"

Nicholas Dujmovic , October 3, 2017 8:18 AM

Equating the presence and activities of US intelligence on campuses with that of foreign intelligence is pretty obtuse moral relativism. US academia and US intelligence alike benefit from cooperation, and the American people are the winners overall. By the way, is it really necessary to twice describe this relationship as "cozy"? What does that mean, other to suggest there's something illicit about it?

Grace Alcock -> Nicholas Dujmovic , October 4, 2017 1:30 AM

It'd be nice if American intelligence was paying a bit more attention to what goes on in academic research--as far as I can tell, the country keeps making policies that don't seem particularly well-informed by the research in relevant areas. Can we get them to infiltrate more labs of scientists working on climate change or something?

Maybe stick around, engage in some participant observation and figure that research out? It's not clear they have any acquaintance with the literature on the causes of war. Really, pick a place to start, and pay attention.

alsotps -> Nicholas Dujmovic , October 3, 2017 5:20 PM

If you cannot see how a gov't intelligence agency, prohibited from working in the USA by statute and who is eye-deep in AMERICAN education is wrong, then I am worried. Read history. Look back to the 1970's to start and to the 1950's with FBI and the military agents in classrooms; then read about HUAC.

Now, look back to Stalin, Hitler, Franco, Mao, Mussolini et.al with THIER use of domestic agencies to impose lock-step thinking and to ferret out free-thinkers.

Get it? it is 'illicit!"

Nicholas Dujmovic -> alsotps , October 4, 2017 12:38 PM

Actually, I read quite a bit of history. I also know that US intelligence agencies are not "prohibited from working in the USA." If they have relationships in academia that remind you of Stalin, Hitler, etc., how have US agencies "imposed lock-step thinking and ferreted out free-thinkers?" Hasn't seemed to work, has it? Your concern is overwrought.

Former Community College Prof -> Nicholas Dujmovic , October 3, 2017 12:12 PM

"Cozy" might refer to the mutual gains afforded by allowing the federal government to break many rules (and laws) while conducting their "intelligence operations" in academe. I do not know if I felt Homeland Security should have had permission to bring to this country, under false premises supported by ICE and accrediting agencies, thousands of foreign nationals and employed them at companies like Facebook, Apple, Morgan Stanley and the U.S. Army. While Homeland Security collected 16K tuition from each of them (and the companies that hired these F-1s didn't have to pay FICA) all our nation got was arrests of 20 mid level visa brokers.

https://www.nytimes.com/201...

Personally, I think cozy was quite complimentary as I would have chosen other words. Just imagine if there are additional "undercover students" with false credentials in numbers significant enough to throw off data or stopping universities and colleges from enforcing rules and regulations. If you set up and accredit a "fake university" and keep the proceeds, it strikes me as illicit.

alsotps -> Former Community College Prof , October 3, 2017 5:21 PM

Hey...don't imagine it. Read about Cointelpro and military 'intelligence' agents in classes in the early 1970's....

Trevor Ronson -> Nicholas Dujmovic , October 3, 2017 2:36 PM

And behaving as if the "the presence and activities of US intelligence on campuses" is something to accept without question is also "obtuse moral relativism". We are talking about an arrangement wherein a / the most prestigious institutions of higher learning has an established relationship with the CIA along with some accepted protocol to ongoing participation.

Whether it is right, wrong, or in between is another matter but please don't pretend that it's just business as usual and not worthy of deeper investigation.

alsotps -> Trevor Ronson , October 3, 2017 5:16 PM

Unfortunately for many people, it IS business as usual.

George Avery , October 3, 2017 9:46 AM

It is amazing how many biochemists and microbiologists from the People's Republic of China would e-mail me asking if I had a position in my "lab," touting their bench skills, every time I published a paper on the federal bioterrorism program, medical civic action programs, etc.

Never mind that I primarily do health policy and economics work, and have not been near a lab bench since I returned to school for my doctorate.....anything with a defense or security application drew a flurry of interest in getting involved.

As a result, I tended to be very discerning in who I took on as an advisee, if only to protect my security clearance.

alsotps -> George Avery , October 3, 2017 5:22 PM

PAr for the course for both UG and grad students from China who have not paid a head hunter. ANY school or program offering money to international students was flooded by such inquiries. Get over yourself.

John Lobell , October 3, 2017 6:25 AM

When I started teaching 48 years ago, the president of my college was James Dovonan, Bill Donovan's (founder of the OSS) brother, portrayed by Tom Hanks in the movie, "Bridge of Spies."

We had a program in "Tropical Architecture" which enrolled students form "third world" countries. Rumor was -- --

jloewen , October 3, 2017 10:38 AM

When I got my Ph.D. from Harvard in 1968, the Shah of Iran got an honorary doctorate at the same commencement. The next year, by pure coincidence!, he endowed three chairs of Near Eastern Studies at H.U.

alsotps -> jloewen , October 3, 2017 5:24 PM

Absolutely a coincidence! You don't think honoraria have anything whatsoever to do with the Development Office do you? (Snark)

Kevin Van Elswyk , October 3, 2017 9:31 AM

And we are surpised?

Robert4787 , October 4, 2017 6:28 PM

So glad to see they're on campus. Many young people now occupy the CIA; the old "cowboys" of the Cold War past are gone. U may find this interesting>> http://osintdaily.blogspot....

TinkerTailor1620 , October 3, 2017 5:29 PM

Hundreds of government civil servants attend courses at the Kennedy School every year. That a few of them come from the CIA should be no surprise. It and all the other intelligence agencies are nothing more than departments within the federal government, just like Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, the FDA, Energy, and so on. Nothing sneaky or suspicious about any of it. Why anyone with cover credentials would tell the Kennedy School admin that is beyond me. When I was in cover status, I was in cover status everywhere; to not be was to blow your cover, period, and was extremely dangerous.

Beyond NIH funded grant-based research, Homeland Security, Energy, Defense, and the Intelligence Community agencies have long histories of relationships with American academia. This could be funded research, collaborative research, shared personnel relationships, or all other manner of cooperation. Sometimes it's fairly well known and sometimes it's kept quiet, and sometimes it's even classified. But it is much more extensive and expansive than what Golden describes, and much less "cozy" or suspicious.

Phred , October 3, 2017 1:49 PM

For years I have said that it is foolish to look to universities for moral guidance, and this story is one more instance. In this case, the moral ground is swampy at best, and the universities do not appear to have spent a lot of time worrying about possible problems as long as the situation works to their advantage financially.

alsotps -> Phred , October 3, 2017 5:25 PM

The key, here, is financially. The bean counters and those whose research is funded don't look hard at the source of the funding. Just so it keeps coming.

Jason , October 4, 2017 6:34 PM

Academic treason.

Sanford Gray Thatcher , October 4, 2017 6:13 PM

Does Golden discuss at all the way in which the CIA and other intelligence services funnel money into academic research without the source of the funding ever being revealed? This was common practice in the 1960s and 1970s, and colleges like MIT were among those involved in this chicanery.

Remember also how intelligence agency money was behind the journal Encounter? Lots of propaganda got distributed under the guise of objective social science research.

donald scott , October 3, 2017 6:05 PM

Where has IHE been for the past several decades? Read Rosenfeld's book, Subversives..... about the FBI's illegal acts at Berkeley. Or read this, a summary of his book: https://alumni.berkeley.edu... Or read George R. Stewart, The Year of the Oath.

In the research for my biography of Stewart I found significant information about CIA presence on the UC Berkeley campus, in the mid-twentieth century, which reached in to the highest levels of the administration and led to a network of "professors" recruited by that unAmerican spy agency.

The oaths, the current gender wars and the conviction by accusation of harassment are all later attempts to politicize education and turn fiat lux into fiat nox. IHE should be writing more about that and about the current conviction by sexual accusation, and the effect of such on free thought and free inquiry.

[Oct 16, 2017] matveychev-oleg.livejournal.com

Oct 16, 2017 | matveychev-oleg.livejournal.com

-- Согласно внешнеполитической доктрине США само существование Советского Союза было несовместимо с американской безопасностью. Изменилось ли, на Ваш взгляд, отношение США к России после официальной констатации окончания "холодной войны" и распада СССР?

-- К 1991 году, если судить по документам МВФ и ряду документов внутри самих США, американцами было проведено глубокое изучение нашей экономики и морально-политического состояния и настроения советского народа. Конгресс США рассмотрел эти материалы и в результате был принят закон 102 от 1992 года под оскорбительным для России названием "Закон о свободе для России и новых независимых государств". Одновременно, осенью 1992 года, Объединённый комитет начальников штабов США доложил президенту и Конгрессу оценку состояния Вооружённых Сил США, где в первом же абзаце 11-й главы "Специальные операции" говорится, что, не смотря на то, что руководители России взяли на себя обязательства реформировать свои Вооружённые Силы и правоохранительные органы, Россия всё равно будет оставаться нашим главным противником, требующим самого пристального внимания.

( Читать дальше... Свернуть )
-- Но можно ведь и сказать, что это были только первые постсоветские годы, и США, быть может, ещё находились под впечатлением недавнего милитаристского с их точки зрения прошлого нашей страны? Просто-напросто не спешили нам доверять.

-- Можно сказать, что тогда ещё было горячее время, "лихие 1990-е", но Несколько лет тому назад Норвежский институт стратегических исследований опубликовал работу, написанную бывшим советским офицером, который, вероятно, когда-то "ушёл" на Запад (я специально не исследовал это обстоятельство) под названием "Может ли территория бывшей сверхдержавы стать полем боя". В ней он, исходя из собственного опыта и на основании анализа многих документов, даёт заключение, какое сопротивление на территории России могут встретить военные подразделения стран НАТО: в каком месте их будут встречать камнями, в каком месте будут стрелять, а в каком будут приветствовать.

Насколько нам удалось понять, в дальнейшем наблюдая за судьбой этой работы, она прошла большой круг исследования в странах НАТО и была очень серьёзно принята в США. Они, конечно, никогда в этом не признаются, но это так. Так что я полностью уверен, что со времён крушения Советского Союза отношение США к нам не изменилось. Сегодняшнее внимание США к России -- это внимание к не поверженному окончательно в 1991 году противнику. И США руководствуются этим принципом в осуществлении своей внешней политики.

-- Если США, по-прежнему нам не доверяют и, мягко говоря, не способствуют нашему развитию, то почему они не боялись возрождения послевоенной Германии, своего реального врага на поле боя?

-- Возрождения послевоенной Германии американцы не боялись, как не боятся её усиления сейчас, потому что в 1949 году, прежде чем окончательно сформировалась ФРГ, которой разрешили иметь Бундесвер, Германию по рукам и ногам связали соглашениями с США и другими странами НАТО. Бывший начальник военной контрразведки Бундесвера генерал Камоса опубликовал книгу "Секретные игры тайных служб", где прямо пишет, что согласно послевоенным германо-американским соглашениям каждый новый канцлер Германии, приходящий к управлению страной, должен сразу после выборов приехать в США и подписаться под документом под названием "Канцлер-акт". Срок окончания "Канцлер-акта" -- 2099 год.

Процитирую вам выдержку из "Секретных игр тайных служб":

"21 мая 1949 года Федеральная разведка опубликовала под грифом "Совершенно секретно" тайный государственный договор, в котором были изложены основные принципы подходов победителей к суверенитету Федеральной республики до 2099 года "

Останется ли к этому времени немец немцем? Останется ли к этому времени Бундесвер способным воевать так, как он воевал во Второй Мировой войне? Каково вообще конечное назначение "Канцлер-акта"? Вот какие вопросы возникают при чтении этой книги.

Кстати, генерал Камоса был очень осторожен, поэтому не осмелился издать "Секретные игры тайных служб" в Германии, а вынужден был выпустить книгу в Австрии. Был небольшой шум. Наши корреспонденты, которые прочитали "Секретные игры тайных служб" в Австрии, опубликовали маленькую заметку: отдаёт ли себе отчёт генерал Камоса какую "бомбу" он выдал? Вместе с тем они задались вопросом: а что подписали в 1991 году наши руководители? Политический обозреватель "Независимой газеты" Фаенко полгода назад в одной из своих статей выложил свою "бомбу" Он пишет, что в США очень многие видные политические деятели и крупные бизнесмены недовольны тем, что Россия не придерживается негласных соглашений, которые были подписаны её руководителями.

-- Была ли, на Ваш взгляд, у СССР вообще хоть когда-нибудь пусть теоретическая возможность стать полноценным партнёром США? Ну, хотя бы на пике советско-американского сотрудничества во Второй Мировой войне.

-- Нет, потому что вина за то, что немцы в 1941 году напали на СССР, в том числе лежит и на США. Об этом почему-то сейчас не вспоминают, но ведь в 1940-м году советник английского премьер-министра Черчилля -- Монтгомери Хайд, который помогал Уильяму Доновану (один из руководителей американских спецслужб -- авт.) создавать Управление стратегических служб, передал ему для вручения президенту США Рузвельту письмо Черчилля, где тот писал: поскольку США не находятся в состоянии войны с Германией, то не могли бы вы побудить Гитлера оставить в покое Балканы и ускорить мероприятия в отношении России. С той поры прошло уже много лет и многим на Западе кажется, что про это письмо все забыли. Но забыть можно лишь тогда, когда ты не хочешь помнить о чём-то.

Сегодня никто не вспоминает так же, что на самом деле подготовка ко Второй Мировой войне началась в 1929 году со встречи американского президента Герберта Гувера с виднейшими предпринимателями США из центра Рассела; есть у них такое тайное общество. Оно заявило Гуверу:

"Приближается кризис, попытаться избежать трудного положения, в котором могут оказаться США, можно лишь изменив расстановку сил в мире. Для этого надо оказать помощь России, чтобы она окончательно избавилась от разрухи -- последствий гражданской войны, и помочь Германии избавиться от тисков Версальского договора". "Но на это нужны деньги, -- возразил Гувер, -- несколько миллиардов. Да и для чего нам это нужно, что будет потом?". "А потом надо столкнуть Россию и Германию лбами для того, чтобы, воспрянув после кризиса, США оказались только один на один с оставшимся из этих противников".

Такие деньги в результате были выделены. И те же самые американские концерны, которые помогали России восстанавливать хозяйство -- строили заводы, участвовали в создании Днепрогэса -- восстанавливали и оснащали Германию. Не зря же дед президента США Буша -- Прескотт Буш, который в 1930-е годы помогал немцам, сразу после начала войны был лишён права управлять своим имуществом, исходя из того, что США в данный момент находятся в состоянии войны с Германией. Всё это документально зафиксировано, в том числе и в пятитомнике американского экономиста и историка Энтони Саттона. А что было после войны известно: американцы на протяжении всего 20 века вели очень серьёзную, продуманную работу по уничтожению оставшегося у них одного сильного противника в лице СССР.

Кстати, наглядно принцип выборочной памяти в отношении истории демонстрировал сегодня, например, Сванидзе в своей передаче "Суд времени", где регулярно нарочно умалчивает о важных фактах, ну, а если собеседник ему о них напоминает, то он его быстро обрывает. Смотреть эту передачу, конечно, было противно, но интересно, потому что она показывает глубину работы американцев по осуществлению операции влияния на противную сторону. В Америке же разработана очень интересная система влияния на большие людские массивы, для того, чтобы убедить их принять американскую точку зрения по тому или иному поводу.

-- С 1979 по 1991 год Вы возглавляли Управление нелегальной разведки КГБ СССР, поэтому наверняка лучше всех знаете, каковы, кроме чисто гуманитарного навязывания американского взгляда на прошлое и настоящее той или иной страны, ещё цели деятельности "системы влияния на большие людские массивы"?

-- Например, чтобы получить во взаимоотношениях с тем или иным государством какое-либо дипломатическое преимущество. Именно поэтому политическая линия США по разрушению внутреннего спокойного содержания той или иной страны глубоко продумана, а не локальна и спонтанна, как иногда кажется. Для этого во многих странах создаются прослойки людей, распространяющих те идеи, которые им диктуют на Западе, чтобы облегчить ему овладение конкретной территорией. Ведь ещё Сунь Цзы говорил, что лучше покорить страну, не сражаясь. США, начав серьезно изучать нас в 1917-м году, больше никогда не оставляли вне поля своего зрения, занимались не просто аналитической или научной работой, а вели и очень серьёзную разведывательную деятельность.

Кстати, интересный факт. После взрыва башен-близнецов в Нью-Йорке американцы провели большую работу по изучению опыта борьбы советской власти с басмачеством. Между прочим, и развитие терроризма в странах Ближнего Востока, Юго-Восточной Азии, и на нашей территории -- явление отнюдь не случайное. Если внимательно посмотреть, кто учился в специальных школах на территории США и Великобритании, то становится понятно, что именно там готовили моджахедов и ваххабитов, скажем, для подрывной деятельности в Уфе или на Северном Кавказе.

А то, что происходило в Татарстане в районе Зеленодольска -- было, видимо, подготовлено англичанами, я имею в виду волнения среди мусульман, спровоцированные ваххабитами, которых, к счастью, сами татары быстро подавили; люди, организовавшие эти волнения, ведь ездили на подготовку в Англию, и очень много было таких людей. Или взять сложности, которые сейчас переживает Башкирия. Они тоже имеют западные корни. И удивляться тут нечему, потому что американцы создали специальное учреждение -- Объединённый университет по подготовке лидеров антитеррористических организаций, под эгидой которого и готовятся кадры для организации волнений в различных регионах мира, а не только для реальной борьбы с террором.

Тут надо ещё сказать вот что Запад использует территорию Афганистана и территории наших Среднеазиатских республик для проникновения в Россию. В Афганистане готовят людей, которые создают очаги напряжённости в Киргизии, Таджикистане, Узбекистане В данном случае американцы осуществляют план, который изложен в работе "Задачи ВВС США на Северном Кавказе и в Средней Азии" -- разделять бывшие республики СССР на куски, чтобы тут же подбирать то, что отвалится.

-- Вы несколько лет работали резидентом советской разведки в Нью-Йорке и знаете Америку и её политическое устройство, что называется, изнутри. Скажите, может ли политика США в отношении России колебаться в зависимости от личностных особенностей тех или иных персон американского правящего истаблишмента? Насколько независимы, по Вашему мнению, в принятии решений высшие государственные деятели США?

-- Несколько лет назад Конгресс США возложил на президента в качестве одной из приоритетных его задач работу с общественными организациями, а руководитель Госдепартамента США Кондолиза Райс незадолго до своего ухода с этого поста утвердила специальную директиву "О задачах Госдепартамента при осуществлении специальных операций политического влияния", где расписаны функции каждого дипломатического сотрудника: от посла до самого маленького драгомана.

В контексте ответа на ваш вопрос большой интерес представляет работа, подготовленная Rand Corporation (неофициальный мозговой центр правительства США -- авт.) "Внешняя политика США до и после Буша", где дана оценка целому комплексу политических мероприятий правительства США и выработана национальная стратегия в отношении стран, которые представляют для США большой интерес. Так что политика США по отношению к России и к другим интересным им странам -- это тщательно продуманный подход при подготовке любых официальных или неофициальных мероприятий. Другое дело, что выводы, которые делают те или иные американские аналитики из того же Rand Corporation, не всегда воспринимаются администрацией США при разработке конкретных мероприятий -- и это святое право любого государственного деятеля -- но то, что к ним внимательно прислушиваются, это точно.

-- Декларировали когда-нибудь вслух США свои интересы к недрам СССР или идея освоить природные богатства нашей страны стала витать в воздухе только в постсоветское время?

-- В отношении экономических богатств нашей страны у США аппетиты были большими всегда. Мало кто знает, что в конце Великой Отечественной войны, когда странами-участницами антигитлеровской коалиции обсуждалось будущее мира, были приняты два решения, цитирую:

"создать Организацию объединённых наций с Советом безопасности -- как прообраз мирового правительства" и -- на нём особенно настаивали американские миллиардеры -- "создать трёхстороннюю комиссию для осуществления постепенных попыток слияния экономик США и СССР".

И такая комиссия была создана. Она существовала. Она действовала. Когда я работал в Америке, мне приходилось принимать участие в некоторых встречах с Рокфеллером, и по его вопросам мне становилось понятно, что в результате хотят от СССР американцы.

Для них главной политической целью работы в этой комиссии было, конечно, полное поглощение нашей экономики, о чём некоторые люди из ЦК КПСС, стоявшие тогда у руля нашей экономической политики, знали или догадывались, но участвовали в этой игре, надеясь в свою очередь перехитрить противника и посредством этой комиссии усовершенствовать торговые контакты между СССР и Западом. В некоторых случаях им это удавалось, в некоторых нет, а вот Западу, чтобы полностью реализовать свои замыслы понадобилось, как мы видим, около 50-ти лет.

-- Судя по тому, что Вы пишите в своей книге "Операция "Президент". От "холодной войны" до перезагрузки", всё ужасное для России только начинается:

"Мир вступил в фазу наиболее опасного противостояния -- цивилизованного. Цена поражения в этом противостоянии -- полное исчезновение с лица Земли одной из цивилизаций".

-В данном случае под словом "цивилизация" понимается система или системы ценностей, объединяющих людей разных национальностей, живущих в разных государствах и исповедующих разные религии. Могущественные транснациональные олигархические кланы уже определили будущее всего человечества, а академические круги Запада даже придали ему для большей убедительности научно-теоретическую форму. Практический процесс глобализации уже идет, и с каждым годом мир неуклонно приближается к торжеству нового мирового порядка.

При этом история Запада не дает никаких оснований для надежды на то, что его правящие круги предоставят незападным странам и народам необходимые ресурсы и материальные блага, которые западные государства целеустремленно отбирали у них на протяжении столетий. Вся мировая история убедительно свидетельствует, что они никогда и ни при каких обстоятельствах не пойдут на уменьшение своего потребления ради выживания незападных народов. В этих условиях России уготована участь тельца, который должен быть принесен в жертву "для блага всего человечества", как и предлагал почти сто лет назад личный советник президента США Вильсона полковник Хауз.

-- Каково в этой ситуации будет значение органов госбезопасности, призванных охранять суверенитет страны?

-- Голландский ученый, лауреат Нобелевской премии Ян Тинберген прямо говорил:

"Обеспечение безопасности нельзя отдать на усмотрение суверенных национальных государств. < > Мы должны стремиться к созданию децентрализованного планетарного суверенитета и сети сильных международных институтов, которые будут его осуществлять ".

Вот так. Глобальная структуризация и иерархизация мира при одновременном упразднении суверенитета национальных государств откроет олигархии свободный доступ ко всем природным ресурсам планеты.

-- Давая оценку советскому политическому наступлению периода разрядки, администрация США делала вывод, что активность советских разведывательных операций в пять раз превышает размеры деятельности ЦРУ и союзников. Но если иметь в виду, что могильщиком СССР всё-таки стали США, то возникает резонный вопрос: а почему же мы проиграли?

-- Американский разведчик, бывший резидент США в Индии Гарри Розицки в своей книге написал, что если бы в США была такая нелегальная разведывательная служба, как в Советском Союзе, численностью хотя бы человек в 100, то Америка могла бы чувствовать себя спокойно. Так что, разведка не проиграла. Проиграла страна в целом. А проиграла, потому что у нас не было времени. Ведь практически весь период первых пятилеток, когда нам удалось кое-что создать, и то происходил в условиях борьбы. Причём борьбы, как извне, так и в результате очень серьёзных споров и разногласий в политическом руководстве СССР. Причём эти разногласия были и в последние годы существования СССР.

В частности на примере взаимодействия разведки и политической власти СССР могу сказать, что работа наших руководителей по использованию установленных нами связей в политических интересах государства в какой-то мере была ослаблена. Каждый из руководителей считал свою точку зрения истинной в последней инстанции, у них были серьёзные споры друг с другом. Скажем, по делу Шевченко (в 1970-е годы зам представителя СССР в ООН, сбежавший на Запад ) мне Юрий Владимирович (Андропов) прямо сказал:

"Я прочитал всё, что ты писал. Ты был прав, и никто тебя наказывать не будет".

Дело в том, что заподозрив Шевченко в измене, я, как резидент нашей разведки в США, стал сигнализировать об этом в Москву. А в результате получил запрет на наблюдение за Шевченко! Тем не менее, я сам себе сказал: "Нет, так дело не пойдёт!" и продолжал отправлять компрометирующие Шевченко материалы в центр.

-- Запрет трогать Шевченко был внутриведомственным конфликтом и нежеланием бросать тень на МИД или в Москве его берегли агенты влияния во властных структурах?

-- Мне сложно сейчас сказать, почему мне не разрешали трогать Шевченко, но я знаю, что влияние самого Шевченко на наших руководителей было достаточно высоким. Он и его семья были в очень близких отношениях с Громыко. Кроме этого у Шевченко была ещё группа хороших знакомых на разных должностях и в разных позициях, которые могли ему подыгрывать, оказывая влияние на наших руководителей, которые рассматривали мои материалы по Шевченко. Поскольку Шевченко проработал в Нью-Йорке большой промежуток времени, мои предшественники, которые там с ним общались, тоже чувствовали себя немного связанными, боялись получить выговор, если что-то всплывёт, и не поехать потом заграницу. Это естественные вещи Бывают в жизни, к сожалению, такие истории. (Вздыхает). Трояновский (советский дипломат, следующий, после Шевченко, представитель СССР в ООН -- авт.) тогда меня прямо спросил:

"А что, разве не может советский человек выбрать себе новую родину?"

Я ему ответил:

"Родина -- одна, можно сменить место жительства".

И нажил ещё одного недруга.

-- Тогда, быть может, одной из внутренних причин гибели Советского Союза было то, что, как Вы выразились "работа наших руководителей по использованию установленных нами связей в политических интересах государства в какой-то мере была ослаблена", что, говоря простым языком означает: информацию разведчиков принимали к сведению, но использовать не спешили. Вы ощущали политический или дипломатический эффект от своей работы?

-- В принципе, ощущал, и даже бывал на приёмах у наших руководителей, которые знакомились с результатами работы нелегальной разведки и принимали на её основании решения, но, с другой стороны, скажем, в моём личном деле, как мне говорили, есть резолюция ещё самого Никиты Сергеевича Хрущёва, которого в 1960-х годах я, как резидент советской разведки в Китае, предупреждал о готовящихся столкновениях на Даманском, а Хрущёв на материале с этой моей информацией написал:

"Не верю".

А ведь мы тогда специально отправили людей в район сосредоточения китайских подразделений напротив Даманского, где тогда жили бывшие белогвардейцы; эти люди встретились там с нашим древним "источником", который рассказал, что китайцы прогнали его с собственной пасеки, построили на её месте гигантский ящик с песком, в котором воссоздали всю территорию по ту сторону границы, которая принадлежала СССР, и проводят там военные учения.

После этой информации мы изучили положение дел на китайских железных дорогах -- какие и куда осуществляются перевозки, поговорили с иностранцами, а окончательный вывод, к сожалению, оказавшийся верным, нам помогло сделать одно обстоятельство. У меня была встреча с представителями концерна "Крупп", которым мы поставляли водку и которых по целому ряду вопросов обхаживали китайцы, и один из этих представителей мне прямо сказал:

"Вы что -- слепые? Не видите, что китайцы делают? А я вижу, потому что я -- "Крупп", я -- сталь, а сталь -- это война!".

Вот и весь разговор, который тем не менее переполнил чашу наших догадок. Мы обобщили информацию и сделали вывод: следует ожидать вооружённой провокации в районе Даманского. Но Хрущёв нам не поверил.

Заместитель покойного Александра Михайловича Сахаровского (в то время руководитель ПГУ КГБ СССР) генерал-лейтенант Мортин, который в это время сидел на его месте, когда я приехал в отпуск и с ним встретился, сказал мне: "Слушай, ты меня в инфаркт вгонишь своими телеграммами!" (Смеётся). Его можно понять, была ведь трудная обстановка. В Китае шла культурная революция, всё больше и больше приобретающая антисоветский и антирусский характер, в которой, кстати, активно участвовали бывшие троцкисты, которых выкинули из США и почему-то бросили в Китай; это произошло в разгар маккартизма в конце 1940-х годов. Я с некоторыми из них был знаком. Хорошо знал Анну Луизу Стронг, Ванштейна. Все они хорошо говорили по-русски.

- Слушаю и не понимаю, за что же Вас тогда было поздравлять с днём рождения самому Мао Цзэдуну?

-- Мао Цзэдун не мог меня поздравить. Это была шутка моих коллег. Когда я справлял в Китае один из своих дней рождения, ребята, которые входили в состав нашей резидентуры, изготовили "сообщение" сводки "Синьхуа" (китайское информационное агентство -- авт.) по этому событию. (Смеётся). Спустя много лет после этого случая, когда я приехал на работу в Нью-Йорк, где встречал своё 50-летие, то застал там несколько моих бывших сотрудников, которые хорошо помнили тот наш китайский период. Они-то и принесли и положили передо мной рулон телетайпной ленты, где сообщалось, что Юрия Дроздова с юбилеем поздравил Мао Цзэдун. Я говорю:

"Опять сотворили провокацию?"

Тут надо понять, что "американцы" и "китайцы" были в разведке двумя внутренне доброжелательно соперничающими структурами, а эта шутка дала мне понять, что большая легальная резидентура в США приняла меня за своего.

-- Возвращаясь к Китаю Как я понимаю, в 1960-е годы разглядеть истоки китайского экономического чуда было ещё нельзя? Разведке не из чего было делать такие далеко идущие выводы?

-- Когда в 1968 году я заканчивал свою работу на посту резидента советской разведки в Китае, мне из центра прислали телеграмму:

"Не смотря на то, что ваша работа в Китае завершена, Юрий Владимирович просит вас задержаться на месяц и написать свои соображения относительно положения в Китае и перспектив советско-китайских отношений".

В течении этого месяца я написал 103 страницы, где среди прочего было сказано, что ситуация, которая складывается в настоящее время в Китае изменчива, китайцы решают вопрос создания новой общественной формации, но в этом нет ничего удивительного, к этому надо относится терпимо и исходить из того, что китайцы будут использовать в интересах своей страны передовые элементы как социалистической, так и капиталистической систем.

После моего возвращения из Китая прошло больше года, когда мне однажды позвонил Андропов: "Возвращаю тебе твой отчёт по Китаю" и отдал мне мой материал. И добавил: "На нём есть пометки. Знаешь, чьи?" Пожимаю плечами:

"Нет, не знаю". "Эта пометка такого-то, эта такого-то, а вот эта такого-то -- называет Андропов фамилии высоких политических деятелей. -- А вообще-то смело написано!"

-- Правда, что в кабинете одного из американских контрразведчиков висел портрет Андропова?

-- Да, правда. Это был начальник отделения ФБР в штате Нью-Джерси. Это было в середине 1970-х. Лично я этого портрета не видел, его видел наш сотрудник, который поддерживал контакты с ФБР по обмену наших товарищей, которые тогда сидели в центральной нью-йоркской тюрьме. Энгера и Черняева. Кстати, фактически их выдал как раз Шевченко, хотя, в принципе, их не должны были поймать, однако, во время одной из операций Черняева и Энгера задержали, потому что мы не учли, что американцы пустят в воздух небольшой спортивный самолётик, с которого и будут вести наблюдение за нашими разведчиками. Так вот. Когда наш сотрудник был в кабинете у начальника отделения ФБР, он поднял глаза, увидел на стене портрет Андропова и страшно удивился. Был ответ:

"А чего ты удивляешься? Я что, не могу повесить портрет руководителя лучшей разведки мира?"

-- Было ли с Андроповым у СССР перспектив выжить больше, чем с любым другим советским лидером? Каковы Ваши впечатления об Андропове?

-- Помню, Семичастный (в начале 1960-х руководитель КГБ СССР -- авт.) впервые отправил меня на доклад к Андропову, как к заведующему отделом социалистических стран ЦК. Я не ожидал, что встречу в ЦК абсолютно другого, нежели остальные партийные руководители человека, с которым можно разговаривать, интересного; мы просидели с Андроповым тогда больше 4-х часов, он расспрашивал о Китае, а в это время к нему в кабинет заходили и выходили люди, некоторых Андропов оставлял:

"Сиди, слушай, тебе это нужно".

Андропов, например, читал всё: и приятное, и неприятное, а ведь были и такие руководители, которые читали только приятную информацию.

Андропов никогда никому не мстил. Если видел, что у человека что-то не получается, то просто переводил его на другую работу, а если, к примеру, он убирал чекиста совершившего какую-то ошибку в другое подразделение, то, получив дополнительное объяснение, почему человек ошибся, мог и изменить свою точку зрения. Помню, как-то во время нашего доклада Андропову, Юрий Владимирович сказал, что у него есть другая, отличная от нашей, информация. Я возразил: "Это не так". Андропов говорит:

"Сколько надо дней, чтобы проверить, кто прав: я или ты?" "Дней 40-50. Сложные условия".

Крючков меня потом упрекал, зачем я среагировал так грубо, но я сказал, что Андропов с давних пор просил меня говорить только правду. Спустя срок меня встречает тот же Крючков:

"Ну как?" "К сожалению, прав оказался я". (Смеётся).

Сейчас ФСБ готовит к выходу книгу "Команда Андропова", куда я написал свои впечатления об отношениях с Юрием Владимировичем, которые озаглавил "Ю.В.Андропов (на партучёте в нелегальной разведке)". (Улыбается). Он ведь действительно был членом нашей партийной организации. Приходил. Но не каждый раз, человек он всё-таки был очень занятый.

-- Каковы были максимальные сроки пребывания разведчиков на нелегальном положении? И, кстати, когда нелегала было подготовить проще: в Ваше время или сейчас?

-- В те годы, когда приходилось работать нам, будущий нелегал зачастую не имел тех качеств, которые имеют сегодня самые обычные люди; у наших сотрудников, к примеру, изначально не было зубастой хватки людей, занимающихся бизнесом. Поэтому нередко приходилось смотреть, какие личностные качества присущи конкретному человеку и фактически давать ему второе образование, от средней школы -- до высшего. У нас не было нелегалов, которые знали бы только один иностранный язык, минимум 2-3. То есть мы проделывали огромную работу.

В одном случае, самый короткий срок подготовки нелегала для конкретной цели у нас составил 7 лет, после чего человек 3 года отработал за рубежом и украсил свою грудь 2-мя орденами и знаком "Почётный чекист". Естественно, что срок подготовки нелегала зависит от поставленной перед ним цели. А цель бывает разная: от хорошего места, где он может спокойно жить и работать, до сейфа какого-нибудь зарубежного руководителя. В этом смысле самый длинный период от начала работы в нелегальных условиях до выполнения поставленного задания составил 17 лет; человек этот, к слову, вернулся Героем Советского Союза.

Продолжение будет обязательно.

Продолжение будет обязательно.

Источник

[Aug 18, 2017] Nomenklatura was an internal contradiction that doomed the USSR

Notable quotes:
"... Kotz and Weir's "Russia's Path From Gorbachev to Putin" is decent as an explanation. ..."
"... To sum it up, laws in 1986-87 effectively criminalized the 'command departments' of the Central Committee in planning policy through Gosplan, Gossnab, and Gosbank. A national market was encouraged by individual activity laws, joint stock laws, cooperative laws, and the directive banning the federal monopoly on inter-state trade in 1988. ..."
"... Out of this top-down 'reform,' a minority of Soviet Enterprises began mimicking capitalist infrastructure: managers, directors, and ministers (of companies and banks) granting themselves larger wages or salaries, using the surpluses to buy up and monopolize the stocks and infrastructure of competing companies, using artificial resale of (monopolized) local goods or exclusively selling natural resources to Western clients, tripling the profits for a minority of private households. ..."
"... This nascent middle class used this newfound profit to privatize Soviet media, effectively monopolizing it by the end of the decade, shifting the narratives of Soviet society, bribing politicians to convince the Soviet population that 'market reform' wasn't total privatization of resources, stocks, and companies, and 'Russian autonomy' wasn't succession from the Union (neutral European Polls found clear majorities in the original nine Soviet Republics continued to support democratic socialism, social democracy, and preserving the Union in 1991). Political crisis, like the Moscow coup in August of 1991, was used to manipulate the passive public in accepting fundamental change. ..."
"... The Soviet Union effectively repeated the Yugoslav model: self-governed, democratically managed, or autonomous companies (and later republics) 'fairly competing' in an unregulated or semi-regulated national market. Both models produced middle classes pushing for the acceptance of IMF credits, total privatization of any state companies to repay Western debts, and seceding from a Union of socialist states. ..."
"... Fair competition in a 'socialist' market is a myth. ..."
Aug 18, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

anoymous | Aug 17, 2017 4:59:14 PM | 62

@52

I remember reading Shahak's translation of Yinon's "A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties" and seeing other articles in the Zionist collection arguing nuclear war was the ideological core of Marxism-Leninism, implying the Soviet Politburo and Soviet society would never accept reform without it.

Do you think 'ideological readings' of foreign policy are always the best interpretation?

@Madderhatter67 | Aug 17, 2017 4:25:43 PM | 59

Stonebird

The Soviet Union collapsed because of its internal contradictions. Not due to overspending.

stonebird | Aug 17, 2017 4:45:30 PM | 61

Thirdeye @56.

Gently is the name of the game. The whole "movement" is probably based on a long-term scenario. The Chinese think along those lines. So OK they won't blow the house down, but they will move in incremental steps. It might take generations to fully exploit the gap left by the US loosing influence.

"Save the US"? Maybe, if they can gain something in exchange - but it won't be cash.

Madderhatter67 @59
That was one of them, and another would have been the "rise" of the Nomenklatura (with only one million card-carrying voters). Which just shows that an "elite", when in power, simply won't look after anyone but themselves.

I presume that is what you meant by "internal contradictions", - having an unaccountable elite in a supposedly socialist/egalitarian country. But it was for their egos that they overspent on the immediately visble - and not on the infrastructure needed to keep the country going.
(Tut tut, doesn't that remind you of somewhere?)

@Madderhatter67 | Aug 17, 2017 5:21:58 PM | 63

Stonebird

Nomenklatura was an internal contradiction.

"Some Marxists, such as Ernest Mandel, have criticised Djilas and the theory of state capitalism: "The hypothesis that the Soviet bureaucracy is a new ruling class does not correspond to a serious analysis of the real development and the real contradictions of Soviet society and economy in the last fifty years."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nomenklatura#Criticism

&

"The New Class: An Analysis of the Communist System is a political theory book by communist Yugoslav figure and intellectual Milovan Đilas about the concept of the new class.[1][2] He proposed that the party-state officials formed a class which "uses, enjoys and disposes of nationalised property".[3]"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_Class:_An_Analysis_of_the_Communist_System

anoymous | Aug 17, 2017 5:28:18 PM | 65

@59

@61

It is an apologist work for Khrushchevite and Gorbachevite ideology, but Kotz and Weir's "Russia's Path From Gorbachev to Putin" is decent as an explanation.

The rate of Soviet GNP was uneven, but not consistently negative until after the successions of Russia and the separation of Soviet Republics from the Union.

To sum it up, laws in 1986-87 effectively criminalized the 'command departments' of the Central Committee in planning policy through Gosplan, Gossnab, and Gosbank. A national market was encouraged by individual activity laws, joint stock laws, cooperative laws, and the directive banning the federal monopoly on inter-state trade in 1988.

Out of this top-down 'reform,' a minority of Soviet Enterprises began mimicking capitalist infrastructure: managers, directors, and ministers (of companies and banks) granting themselves larger wages or salaries, using the surpluses to buy up and monopolize the stocks and infrastructure of competing companies, using artificial resale of (monopolized) local goods or exclusively selling natural resources to Western clients, tripling the profits for a minority of private households.

This nascent middle class used this newfound profit to privatize Soviet media, effectively monopolizing it by the end of the decade, shifting the narratives of Soviet society, bribing politicians to convince the Soviet population that 'market reform' wasn't total privatization of resources, stocks, and companies, and 'Russian autonomy' wasn't succession from the Union (neutral European Polls found clear majorities in the original nine Soviet Republics continued to support democratic socialism, social democracy, and preserving the Union in 1991). Political crisis, like the Moscow coup in August of 1991, was used to manipulate the passive public in accepting fundamental change.

anoymous | Aug 17, 2017 5:40:53 PM | 66
@63

While I come from a Yugoslav family, I have far less sympathy for market socialist ideology. I've never understood the romanticism so many Westerners have always had for the Old Country. Mind you, I'm not including you in this.

The Soviet Union effectively repeated the Yugoslav model: self-governed, democratically managed, or autonomous companies (and later republics) 'fairly competing' in an unregulated or semi-regulated national market. Both models produced middle classes pushing for the acceptance of IMF credits, total privatization of any state companies to repay Western debts, and seceding from a Union of socialist states.

Fair competition in a 'socialist' market is a myth.

[Aug 11, 2017] Is the United States in Decline by Christopher Layne

Notable quotes:
"... Writing in the Financial Times , former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said that London's AIIB decision and its aftermath "may be remembered as the moment the United States lost its role as the underwriter of the global economic system." ..."
"... Summers was both right and wrong. The U.S. role as the hegemonic power in international politics and economics indeed is being challenged. But this did not start when Britain and the others decided to sign-up with the AIIB. America has been slowly, almost imperceptibly, losing its grip on global leadership for some time, and the Great Recession merely accelerated that process. China's successful launch of the AIIB and its OBOR offspring merely accentuates that process. ..."
"... While President Trump lacks any serious, coherent worldview, there are more than enough Republican members of the foreign policy establishment to ensure that he doesn't break with America's post-1945, bipartisan policy of primacy. And Trump's slogan "Make America Great Again'' certainly puts him in the camp of U.S. global dominance. ..."
"... But Paul Kennedy was correct when he noted in The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers that in the history of the modern international system (since around 1500) no state has managed to remain permanently atop the great power pyramid. "American exceptionalism" notwithstanding, the United States will not be an exception. ..."
"... Pax Americana was the product of a unique post-World War II constellation of power. As scholars such as Kennedy and Gilpin have pointed out, when World War II ended the United States accounted for half of the world's manufacturing output and controlled some two-thirds of the world's gold and foreign exchange. Only America could project air and naval power globally. ..."
"... the United States kept the Soviet Union at bay until that artificial regime collapsed of its own weight. ..."
"... today China's AIIB presents a double-barreled challenge to U.S. leadership of the global economy as well as to Pax Americana's institutional (and ideational) foundations. The AIIB aims at enhancing China's role both in managing the international economy and in international development. With AIIB China means to demonstrate its seriousness in demanding a share of decision-making power in the Bretton Woods legacy institutions, the IMF and World Bank, reflecting its current economic and financial clout. The AIIB's impact, however, transcends international economic affairs and reflects the shifting Sino-American balance of power. ..."
"... because of the AIIB, America's "international credibility and influence are being threatened." ..."
"... For their part, the Chinese regarded the U.S. stance as an attempt to counter China's rise and its ambition to become the dominant power in East Asia. As China's former Vice Minister of Finance, Wei Jianguo, put it, "You could think of this as a basketball game in which the U.S. wants to set the duration of the game, size of the court, the height of the basket and everything else to suit itself. In fact, the U.S. just wants to exclude China from the game." ..."
"... China's rise within the post-1945 international order doesn't mean it has any interest in preserving Pax Americana's core. On the contrary, the evidence suggests China wants to reshape the international order to reflect its own interests, norms, and values. As Martin Jacques puts it: ..."
"... The main plan of American soft power is democracy within nation-states; China by way of contrast emphasizes democracy between nation-states!most notably in respect for sovereignty!and democracy in the world system. China's criticism of the Western-dominated international system and its governing institutions strikes a strong chord with the developing world at a time when these institutions are widely recognized to be unrepresentative and seriously flawed. ..."
"... Rules and institutions do not exist in a vacuum. Rather, they reflect the distribution of power in the international system. In global politics, the rules are made by those who rule. ..."
"... As E. H. Carr, the renowned English historian of international politics, once observed, a rules-based international order "cannot be understood independently of the political foundation on which it rests and the political interests which it serves." The post-World War II international order is an American order that, while preserving world stability for a long time, primarily privileged U.S. and Western interests. ..."
"... But Beijing, by all the evidence, does not see it that way. And OBOR and the AIIB prove the point. Instead of living within the geopolitical, economic, and institutional confines imposed by Pax Americana, an increasingly powerful China will seek to revise the international order so that it reflects its own political and economic interests. Thus are OBOR and the AIIB straws in the wind. And, as the great Bob Dylan said, you don't need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. ..."
"... Paradoxically the acceleration in the decline began with the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Incredible hubris followed, and we are reaping the usual results. ..."
Aug 11, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

No state stays on top of the great power pyramid forever. August 8, 2017 In mid-May, leaders of 29 nations, and representatives from some 80 others, descended on Beijing to discuss China's ambitious "One Belt One Road" (OBOR) development initiative!also known to some as the "New Silk Road." This plan is the follow-on to China's creation several years ago of the Asia Infrastructure Development Bank (AIIB), a major new international financial institution to foster economic development in "emerging market" nations.

OBOR, a signature policy of Chinese president Xi Jinping, calls for investing massive amounts of money ($1 trillion, according to some reports) to promote trade and economic development by constructing transportation links that will tie together East Asian manufacturing hubs with Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Africa, and Southwest Asia. These new transportation routes also will connect China with the participating nations and Europe. China's aim is twofold: to create new markets for the goods and services it produces, and to extend its geopolitical influence. Some analysts see OBOR as a Chinese version of the Marshall Plan, the important post-World War II American initiative that helped rebuild Western Europe and laid the foundation for European economic unity that ultimately culminated in the European Union.

With OBOR, China is following the example of Great Britain and the United States (as well as pre-World War I European great powers such as Germany). In the 19th century, the expansion of the British empire, including what scholars Ronald Robinson and John Gallagher describe as its "informal empire," was driven by the perceived need to find outlets for the United Kingdom's "surplus" goods and capital!that is, goods and capital that could not be profitably absorbed by the domestic economy. When the United States burst onto the world stage as a great power in the late 19th century, acquiring Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Guam, and the Philippines, it imitated Britain's pursuit of both informal and formal empire for the same reason: the belief that America's continuing economic growth depended on exporting American capital and goods. China today faces the problem of insufficient demand for its products and limited prospects for profitable domestic investment. Beijing is responding to these problems pretty much as Britain and the United States did in the latter part of the 19th century: by seeking new markets and attractive investment opportunities abroad.

As both Britain and the United States demonstrated, economic expansion begets geopolitical expansion. Economic clout can buy a lot of political influence. But the lines of communication linking the home country to its overseas markets must be protected. And political stability must be maintained where the home country is investing. For Britain and the United States, economic expansion resulted in the inexorable expansion of their military power and diplomatic sway. We can expect OBOR to have a similar effect on China. It is a powerful incentive for China to expand its military projection capabilities. Beijing will be compelled to assume an increasingly active role in managing regional security in places affected by OBOR!especially in Central Asia and Pakistan, which are plagued by political instability and terrorism.

OBOR is a milestone on China's path to great power status and is one of several indicators of receding American power!not just geopolitically, but also in matters involving the international economy and international institutions. When discussing the Sino-American rivalry, attention is focused on the military balance between the United States and China and to flashpoints between the two countries that could spark a conflict!the South China Sea, the East China Sea, Taiwan, the Korean Peninsula. But these more intangible economic and diplomatic developments will be no less important in shaping relations between Washington and Beijing as in determining the fate of the world order built by the United States following World War II!that is, Pax Americana, or what is sometimes referred to as "the liberal rules-based international order."

Since the early 2000s there has been an ongoing conversation among scholars, policymakers, and members of the broader American foreign policy establishment about whether U.S. power is in decline. The question actually extends back to the 1980s, with the publication of Yale historian Paul Kennedy's The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers and other important books on the subject by scholars David Calleo and Robert Gilpin. The controversy surrounding decline dissipated, however, when the Soviet Union imploded and Japan's economic bubble burst. In one fell swoop, America's primary military and economic competitors fell off the geopolitical chessboard.

The decline issue remained dormant through the "the unipolar moment" of the 1990s but was rekindled with China's rapid great-power emergence in the early 2000s. China's rise is the flip side of American decline. The central geopolitical question of the early 21st century is whether Pax Americana can survive China's rise and the resulting shift of world geopolitical and economic power from west to east. The U.S. foreign policy establishment is allergic to the word "decline." After all, as Jon Huntsman declared during his brief presidential run in 2012: "Decline is un-American." Perhaps so, but that doesn't mean that it's not happening.

Though Huntsman has plenty of company on this issue in the foreign policy establishment, we would do better to heed the advice of the great Hall of Fame pitcher Satchel Paige. "Don't look back," he said, "because something may be gaining on you." A glance at the rear-view mirror shows China rapidly closing the gaps with the United States in all the dimensions of power upon which the Pax Americana was built: military, economic, and institutional.

In the last decade, China has displaced the United States as the world's leading manufacturing power. In 2014, according to the World Bank, China passed America as the world's largest economy (measured by purchasing power parity). In 1980, the United States accounted for about 25 percent of gross world product. Today it accounts for around 18 percent. Some analysts have come up with clever arguments to discount the importance of these economic trends. They are unconvincing. But the reality of U.S. decline is more than just a matter of numbers; it is also evident in Washington's diminishing ability to manage the international economy and in the growing challenges to many legacy institutions of Pax Americana.

A strain of thinking called hegemonic stability theory holds that a liberal, open international economy requires an overarching power to manage and stabilize the system by creating a political and security order that permits economic openness. The United States filled this role for half a century, from 1945 until the Great Recession. The world's economic hegemon must provide public goods that benefit the international system as a whole, including: making the rules for the international economic order; opening its domestic market to other states' exports; supplying liquidity to the global economy; and providing a reserve currency. Having declined to grasp the mantle of leadership during the 1930s, Washington seized it decisively after World War II. Johns Hopkins professor Michael Mandelbaum has argued that, following the Cold War, the United States essentially acted as a de facto government for the international system by providing security and managing the global economy.

The Great Recession impaired the United States' ability to provide leadership for the international economy. After all, an economic hegemon is supposed to solve global economic crises, not cause them. But America plunged the world into economic crisis when its financial system seized up with the sub-prime mortgage crisis. A hegemon is supposed to be the lender of last resort in the international economy, but the United States became the borrower of first resort!the world's largest debtor. When the global economy falters, the economic hegemon must assume responsibility for kick-starting recovery by purchasing other nations' goods. From 1945 to the Great Recession, America's willingness to consume foreign goods constituted the primary firewall against global economic downturns. During the Great Recession, however, the U.S. economy proved too infirm to lead the global economy back to health.

At the April 2009 G20 meeting in London, President Barack Obama conceded that, in key respects, the United States' days as economic hegemon were numbered because America is too deeply in debt to continue as the world's consumer of last resort. Instead, he said, the world would have to look to China (and other emerging market states plus Germany) to be the motors of global recovery.

Another example of how the U.S. has lost its grip on global economic leadership is its failure to prevail over the Europeans (read: Germany) in the transatlantic "austerity versus stimulus" debate that commenced in late 2009. Reflecting their different historical experiences, the United States and Europe (more specifically, Germany and the European Central Bank, or ECB) adopted divergent fiscal policies during the Great Recession. Obama administration economic policymakers were guided by the Keynesian lessons learned from the 1930s Great Depression: to dig out of a deep economic slump, the federal government should boost demand by pump-priming the economy through deficit spending, and the Federal Reserve should add further stimulus through low interest rates and easy money. Obama administration policymakers and leading American economists were haunted by the "1937 analogy"!FDR's "recession within the Depression''!demonstrating that if stimulus is withdrawn prematurely, a nascent recovery may be aborted.

On the other hand, Germany!the EU's economic engine!has long been haunted by the "1923 analogy": the fear that inflation can become uncontrollable, with disastrous economic, social, and political consequences. From the founding of post-World War II West Germany until the advent of the European Monetary Union and eventually the Euro, Germany's central Bundesbank maintained a primary mission of combatting inflation and preserving the Deutschmark's value. For the German government, assurance that the new ECB would follow the Bundesbank's sound money policy was a sine qua non for Berlin's decision to give up the Deutschmark in favor of the Euro.

This U.S.-European divide on austerity versus stimulus was apparent as early as the April 2009 London G20 summit, where the United States wanted to rebalance the international economy by inducing the Europeans (most particularly, Germany, which, with China, was one of the two large surplus economies) to lift the Continent out of the Great Recession by emulating Washington's use of deficit spending to galvanize economic revival. Washington wanted Germany to export less and import more. Berlin flatly refused. German Chancellor Angela Merkel argued that for states!especially ones already deeply in debt!to accumulate more debt in an effort to spend themselves out of the Great Recession would only set the stage for an even greater crisis down the road.

Washington's inability to prevail over Berlin in the stimulus vs. austerity debate highlighted waning U.S. power in the international economy. Jack Lew, then Treasury secretary, implicitly said as much at the October 2015 IMF-World Bank annual meeting when he stated that the United States could not be the "sole engine" of global growth.

But America's inability to get Germany to give up austerity was not the only indicator of America's decreasing ability to shape the international economic agenda. During the Obama administration's first term, the United States was unable to persuade China to allow the renminbi to appreciate to Washington's preferred level (which the United States hoped would reduce China's export surplus to the United States while simultaneously boosting American exports to China).

U.S. economic and fiscal troubles have contributed significantly to the fraying of Pax Americana's institutional global framework. The Great Recession spurred calls for a major overhaul of the international institutional order as evidenced by the emergence of the G20, demands for IMF and World Bank reform, and a push for expanded membership of the UN Security Council. The past decade or so also has seen the creation of new international organizations and groupings such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). As American power wanes, a parallel or "shadow" international order is being constructed as an alternative to Pax Americana. Perhaps the most dramatic example of his is Beijing's Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

As Beijing rolled out its AIIB plans, the Obama administration kicked into high gear diplomatically in an attempt to squelch it. As the New York Times reported, Washington "lobbied against the [AIIB] with unexpected determination and engaged in a vigorous campaign to persuade important allies to shun the project." Washington's attempt to dissuade its allies from joining the AIIB failed. The dam burst when, in an Ides of March 2015 decision, Britain announced it was going to become a member of the AIIB ("Et Tu Britain?"). London's decision to join the AIIB set off a stampede as other states on the fence rushed to sign up for membership. Those joining included U.S. allies such as France, Germany, Italy, Australia, South Korea, even Israel and Taiwan. Beijing's diplomatic coup in attracting widespread support for its AIIB initiative from long-standing U.S. allies was viewed as a direct challenge to America's global geopolitical and economic leadership.

Writing in the Financial Times , former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said that London's AIIB decision and its aftermath "may be remembered as the moment the United States lost its role as the underwriter of the global economic system."

Summers was both right and wrong. The U.S. role as the hegemonic power in international politics and economics indeed is being challenged. But this did not start when Britain and the others decided to sign-up with the AIIB. America has been slowly, almost imperceptibly, losing its grip on global leadership for some time, and the Great Recession merely accelerated that process. China's successful launch of the AIIB and its OBOR offspring merely accentuates that process.

Not surprisingly, U.S. policymakers and the wider foreign policy establishment brush off any possibility of diminishing U.S. power. Recent books by leading foreign policy analysts (including Josef Joffe, Robert Lieber, and Joseph S. Nye Jr.) assert that U.S. power is robust, and that the 21st century, like the 20th, will be an "American century." Meanwhile, during the Obama administration U.S. foreign policy officials never missed a chance to assert America's continuing role as a global hegemon (though President Obama's own views on U.S. primacy seemed more nuanced). For example, the Obama administration's 2015 National Security Strategy, a twenty-nine page document, invoked the term "American leadership" more than 100 times.

While President Trump lacks any serious, coherent worldview, there are more than enough Republican members of the foreign policy establishment to ensure that he doesn't break with America's post-1945, bipartisan policy of primacy. And Trump's slogan "Make America Great Again'' certainly puts him in the camp of U.S. global dominance.

But Paul Kennedy was correct when he noted in The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers that in the history of the modern international system (since around 1500) no state has managed to remain permanently atop the great power pyramid. "American exceptionalism" notwithstanding, the United States will not be an exception.

Pax Americana was the product of a unique post-World War II constellation of power. As scholars such as Kennedy and Gilpin have pointed out, when World War II ended the United States accounted for half of the world's manufacturing output and controlled some two-thirds of the world's gold and foreign exchange. Only America could project air and naval power globally.

And, of course, the United States alone had atomic weapons. America used its commanding economic, military, and political supremacy to lay the foundations of the post-World War II international order, reflected in such institutions as the United Nations, NATO, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (which has morphed into the World Trade Organization). Additionally, the United States kept the Soviet Union at bay until that artificial regime collapsed of its own weight.

All this represented a remarkable achievement, ensuring relative peace and prosperity for more than half a century. But today China's AIIB presents a double-barreled challenge to U.S. leadership of the global economy as well as to Pax Americana's institutional (and ideational) foundations. The AIIB aims at enhancing China's role both in managing the international economy and in international development. With AIIB China means to demonstrate its seriousness in demanding a share of decision-making power in the Bretton Woods legacy institutions, the IMF and World Bank, reflecting its current economic and financial clout. The AIIB's impact, however, transcends international economic affairs and reflects the shifting Sino-American balance of power.

Washington said it opposed AIIB because of doubts that it would adhere to the same environmental, governance, lending, transparency, labor, and human rights standards practiced by the IMF, World Bank, and Asian Development Bank. But Treasury's Lew was more candid when he said that, because of the AIIB, America's "international credibility and influence are being threatened."

For their part, the Chinese regarded the U.S. stance as an attempt to counter China's rise and its ambition to become the dominant power in East Asia. As China's former Vice Minister of Finance, Wei Jianguo, put it, "You could think of this as a basketball game in which the U.S. wants to set the duration of the game, size of the court, the height of the basket and everything else to suit itself. In fact, the U.S. just wants to exclude China from the game."

The Obama administration's ballyhooed Asian pivot was based on the assumption that, although the ASEAN nations of Asia, along with Australia and South Korea, are being pulled into China's economic orbit, they will turn to the United States as a geopolitical counterweight. However, Beijing's ability to get ASEAN, South Korea, and other neighboring states to jump on the AIIB bandwagon suggests this assumption may be erroneous. The pull of Beijing's economic power may override security concerns and draw these states into China's geopolitical orbit. The trajectory of ASEAN's trade flows is revealing. In 1993, the United States accounted for 18 percent of ASEAN's total trade (imports and exports combined), and China for only 2 percent. By 2013 the United States' share of ASEAN's total trade had shrunk to 8.2 percent while China's had jumped to 14 percent. The trend lines indicate that in coming years China's share of regional trade will continue to rise while that of the U.S. will decline.

Thus while OBOR and the AIIB don't get the same attention from U.S. grand strategists as does China's military buildup, they are equally important in signaling the ongoing power transition between the United States and China in East Asia. Among American security studies scholars, even those who once firmly believed that unipolarity would last far into the future now grudgingly concede that the era of American hegemony may be drawing to a close. They console themselves, however, with the thought that the United States can cushion itself against future power declines and the loss of hegemony by taking advantage of what they see as a still-open window to "lock in" Pax Americana's essential features!its institutions, rules, and norms!so that they outlive unipolarity. As Princeton's G. John Ikenberry puts it, the United States should act today to put in place an institutional framework "that will safeguard our interests in future decades when we will not be a unipolar power."

Ikenberry argues that China, having risen within the post-1945 international system, has no incentive to overturn it. His argument is superficially attractive because it posits that, even if the material foundations of U.S. dominance wither, its institutional and ideational essence will live on. This almost certainly is incorrect. China's rise within the post-1945 international order doesn't mean it has any interest in preserving Pax Americana's core. On the contrary, the evidence suggests China wants to reshape the international order to reflect its own interests, norms, and values. As Martin Jacques puts it:

The main plan of American soft power is democracy within nation-states; China by way of contrast emphasizes democracy between nation-states!most notably in respect for sovereignty!and democracy in the world system. China's criticism of the Western-dominated international system and its governing institutions strikes a strong chord with the developing world at a time when these institutions are widely recognized to be unrepresentative and seriously flawed.

Thus the "lock-in" concept isn't likely to work because China, along with much of the developing world, does not accept the foundations upon which the post-World War II liberal international order rests.

For many American scholars and policy makers the notion of a "liberal, rules-based, international order" has a talismanic quality. They believe that rules and institutions are politically neutral and thus ipso facto beneficial for all. Many proponents of "lock-in" have constructed a geopolitically antiseptic world, one uncontaminated by clashing national interests. In this world, great power competition and conflict are transcended by rules, norms, and international institutions. The problem is that this misconstrues how the world works. Great power politics is about power. Rules and institutions do not exist in a vacuum. Rather, they reflect the distribution of power in the international system. In global politics, the rules are made by those who rule.

As E. H. Carr, the renowned English historian of international politics, once observed, a rules-based international order "cannot be understood independently of the political foundation on which it rests and the political interests which it serves." The post-World War II international order is an American order that, while preserving world stability for a long time, primarily privileged U.S. and Western interests.

Proponents of "lock-in" are saying that China will!indeed, must!agree to be a "responsible stakeholder" (with Washington defining the meaning of "responsibility") in an international order that it did not construct and that exists primarily to advance the interests of the United States. In plain English, what those who believe in "lock-in" expect is that an increasingly powerful China will continue to accept playing second fiddle to the United States.

But Beijing, by all the evidence, does not see it that way. And OBOR and the AIIB prove the point. Instead of living within the geopolitical, economic, and institutional confines imposed by Pax Americana, an increasingly powerful China will seek to revise the international order so that it reflects its own political and economic interests. Thus are OBOR and the AIIB straws in the wind. And, as the great Bob Dylan said, you don't need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing.

Christopher Layne is University Distinguished Professor of International Affairs, and Robert M. Gates Chair in National Security, at Texas A&M University.

ds9 , says: August 9, 2017 at 12:30 am

Thank you for a very interesting article. Still, I think there is a large issue not addressed: Isn't China on the verge of a now unstoppable demographic catastrophe? How do you see that affecting China's "rise" long term?
RVA , says: August 9, 2017 at 12:34 am
Professor Layne: You left out something very significantly causal re: decline of American power. It is not mysterious or a deeply historic twist of inevitable fate.

Rather, we have spent TRILLIONS in vain military blood and treasure over the past 17 years, with NOTHING to show for it – besides a destabilized region raining the most refugees since WW2 onto our allies, the Europeans (destabilizing THEM as well.)

This failure is not even being addressed, let alone changed. Policymakers responsible apparently have clearance to continue this uselessness indefinitely.

A Chinese sage named Sun Tzu said it best, some 2500 years ago, in The Art of War:

" When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength.

3. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain.

4. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.

5. Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.

6. There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare. "

No mystery here. America is proving not to be Exceptional enough to survive elite mismanagement.

Catalan , says: August 9, 2017 at 1:02 am
No. The rest of the world is merely catching up. The wealth that the US enjoyed relative to the rest of the world in the decades following WWII was unprecedented, and is probably not a repeatable phenomenon. If we are declining, it is only because we fail to appreciate the multi-latereral nature of our world, and stick our nose where it doesn't belong.
hn , says: August 9, 2017 at 2:20 am
too long of an article to read.
Nelson , says: August 9, 2017 at 9:14 am
We're in decline not because of China but because of the decisions we make (or fail to make). We devote too many resources towards wars and asset appreciation (financial bubbles) and not enough into investing in ourselves (education and infrastructure). In the short run, the strong military made us look strong to the world snd ourselves but we never examined whether that was the most judicious use of our resources for the long run.

This is not anything new. Eisenhower spoke of this 50 some odd years ago.

EliteCommInc. , says: August 9, 2017 at 9:33 am
If we are in decline and there are signs that is the case. It is by our doing. Over expanded strategic goals and dismantling the very social structure(s) that maintains, sustains and protects longevity.

The abandonment of national identity by our leadership class. They claim in the national interests, but upon examining their policy agendas, immigration, bailout, lobbying rules, domestic agendas and management, there's plenty to be concerned about.

EliteCommInc. , says: August 9, 2017 at 9:41 am
" For Britain and the United States, economic expansion resulted in the inexorable expansion of their military power and diplomatic sway. We can expect OBOR to have a similar effect on China. It is a powerful incentive for China to expand its military projection capabilities."

The trick here is managing the relational dynamics so that whatever mechanisms one uses in maintaining that power don't backlash to the point of disruptive violence or using sufficient force that such backlash doesn't occur.

The British/European model model of colonial rule was unsustainable. It might be wise to examine Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, maybe Germany but comparing these socialist smaller states would be a tricky comparison.

bkh , says: August 9, 2017 at 10:07 am
The idea that the US would maintain its world standing has been laughable for decades. A nation cannot excel when you have a population as narcissistic and willfully ignorant like we have now. The economic downfall is only a symptom of the ever deepening moral failures we find ourselves fighting over and even clinging to. I am no fan of socialism or communism, but what we have created here in America is an out of control monster set to destroy all in its path.
Kurt Gayle , says: August 9, 2017 at 10:22 am
A valuable analysis, Dr. Layne:

"The Obama administration's ballyhooed Asian pivot was based on the assumption that, although the ASEAN nations of Asia, along with Australia and South Korea, are being pulled into China's economic orbit, they will turn to the United States as a geopolitical counterweight. However, Beijing's ability to get ASEAN, South Korea, and other neighboring states to jump on the AIIB bandwagon suggests this assumption may be erroneous. The pull of Beijing's economic power may override security concerns and draw these states into China's geopolitical orbit."

It is in this context -- South Korea, Japan, and other south Asian nations being drawn inexorably into China's geopolitical orbit, thus overturning US post-WW2 hegemony in the region – that current, much-exaggerated US concerns about North Korean nuclear weapons can best be understood.

The US is using North Korea's nuclear development – undertaken by North Korea as a defensive measure against regime change by the US – as one of a series of pretexts aimed at preserving its ever-diminishing post-WW2 hegemony in Asia.

At some point the US will begin to withdraw the 30,000 US troops stationed in South Korea and the 30,000 US troops stationed in Japan – and will stop conducting military exercises and shows of force near the Chinese border – and will sit down with China, North Korea, South Korea, and Japan and begin the long process of negotiating the gradual, peaceful US acceptance of the new geopolitical reality in east Asia.

John Gruskos , says: August 9, 2017 at 10:28 am
The lesson I took from reading Paul Kennedy was, decline is a choice.

China, India and the Middle East could have competed with early modern Europe if centralized multi-ethnic empires (Manchu, Mughal and Ottoman Empires) hadn't stifled the energy of those civilizations.

The Spanish could have stayed on top if, beginning in 1559, Philip II, III, and IV hadn't stubbornly clung to ethnically dissimilar European territories such as the Netherlands, and if they hadn't wasted their nation's strength in the wars of the Counter Reformation.

Beginning with the 1670 Treaty of Dover, the French under Louis XIV and XV fell into the same trap, wasting their strength in the service of the Counter Reformation and territorial ambitions in the Netherlands.

The British could have stayed on top if they hadn't alienated the Americans, wasted their strength on tropical imperialism and balance of power wars, and then surrendered their industrial lead to Germany and America via the dogmatic embrace of free trade.

Germany might have replaced Britain as the new leading power if they had maintained the peace with a simply foreign policy based on a strong alliance with Russia, instead of the Byzantine complexity of Bismark's diplomacy followed by the belligerent buffoonery of Kaiser Wilhelm.

Prior to the Cold War, Americans did everything right. We grew from a tiny settlement in 1607 to a colossas possessing half (!) the world's GDP in 1947. We maintained the homogeneity, without stifling the energy, of our people. Most of our wars were fought to obtain sparsely populated temperate zone land for the colonization of our people – not for tropical imperialism, balance of power, or international ideological crusades. Pragmatism, not ideology, guided our economic policy. During the Cold War, we began sacrificing the interests of the American nation to the newfangled ideology of "Americanism". Tentatively under Truman, and definitively beginning with Kennedy, we undermined the homogeneity of our people with mass immigration from the whole world, undermined our traditional morality with liberal social engineering, became the policeman of the world intent on exporting "Americanism", and assumed an attitude of lofty contempt for our own trade interests.

The Chinese, on the other hand, chose ascent when they purged The Gang of Four and substituted Chinese ethno-nationalism for feverish Maoism as their guiding principle.

ScottA , says: August 9, 2017 at 10:30 am
It is obvious that we are now in the decline phase of the life cycle of empires. See the British general Sir John Bagot Glubb's book "The Course of Empire" and other writings.
Kurt Gayle , says: August 9, 2017 at 10:31 am
@ "hn" who said (2:20 a.m.): "too long of an article to read."

Luv it!

That comment belongs in a time capsule.

Michael Kenny , says: August 9, 2017 at 10:50 am
Blue chip stocks yield to blue chopsticks! Human civilisation is a forward-moving perpetual motion machine. It never stops and it never goes back. There is no "end of history". There is no point at which human civilisation just stops dead in its tracks and never moves again until the sun implodes in 10 million years and roasts us all. The world has always had its revisionists and reactionaries who want to take their countries back to some real or imagined golden age. If we're lucky, such people eventually disappear into Trotsky's famous "dustbin of history". If we're not lucky, they start a war, lose it and then disappear into said dustbin, destroying their country in the process and opening up the way for a new dominant power to emerge. Just as Britain dominated the world by 1850 and the US by 1950, China will dominate the world by 2050. I don't really see what disadvantage there is in that for Americans and for us in Europe, it looks very positive. Machiavelli said that as between two tyrants, always choose the most distant. China is Europe's distant tyrant. OBOR seems to be very much to Europe's advantage, displacing American hegemony and undermining US hegemonists' attempts to use Putin's Russia as an instrument to keep Europe under their control.
Dan Green , says: August 9, 2017 at 11:24 am
Being a confirmed Realist and having researched Realism what is going on today between ourselves, the Chinese Reds, and Russia is quite understandably. Few share our Democracy model, it is too messy.
Jon S , says: August 9, 2017 at 11:34 am
"the liberal rules-based international order."

Let's not be obtuse. This order was put in place by individuals in the USA because it was to their economic benefit to do so. That in no way means that this order benefits all Americans or even a majority. And to the tens of thousands of American soldiers who have died maintaining this order it was to their great detriment.

I personally have no allegiance to "the liberal rules-based international order". If the Chinese can do better, let them have at it.

The important question is not whether America is in decline. It is whether the American people's living standards are in decline.

Gaius Gracchus , says: August 9, 2017 at 11:44 am
Empire is not cost effective or beneficial to the general welfare of a country. It only serves to enrich a few, while creating domestic corruption and inequality.

The post-WW2 American empire, allegedly to contain Communism, really didn't benefit America. And the costs have been enormous.

It did benefit bankers, defense contractors, scoundrels, and the Wall Street Washington cabal centered on the CFR.

We wasted the post Cold War era believing there was an "End to History". Anyone with decent understanding would have considered that trying for a unipolar moment was a huge mistake and a world with various Great Powers was a more likely outcome.

Unipolar attempts don't work. Acknowledging the US as the greatest Great Power, among many, is a much better idea than trying to keep the US as the sole Superpower. That isn't decline but breaking through illusion.

Michael N Moore , says: August 9, 2017 at 12:43 pm
The Soviet Union sustained 20 Million causalities in the Second World War while it moved its factories east to keep them out of German hands. Contrast this with the US imperial elite who simply handed over our industrial base to China. The result is that China's economy is growing a rate three times that of the United States.
Adriana I Pena , says: August 9, 2017 at 12:49 pm
What goes up must come down
Spinnin' wheel got to go 'round
Talkin' 'bout your troubles it's a cryin' sin
Ride a painted pony let the spinnin' wheel spin
Interguru , says: August 9, 2017 at 1:35 pm
This thoughtful article is followed by thoughtful comments. One commenter already mentioned demographics. Due to immigration, America is the only advanced country not facing a population implosion.

Another ace-in-the-whole is geography. We are protected by two oceans with weak friendly neighbors on our land borders.We are blessed with rich resources. This includes rich agricultural land reachable by navigable rivers and mineral wealth.

We have rich political and social institutions that hopefully can survive Trump.

While we are doing our best to squander these they give us a cushion.

SteveM , says: August 9, 2017 at 2:39 pm
The U.S. is in an inevitable decline. The only question is the extent of the economic sabotage and outright wars that the Deep State will instigate to try to forestall the collapse.

Washington will not tolerate a second axis of power arising even if it is strictly economic. Consider how American Elites used subversion to catalyze the coup in Ukraine. They will stop at nothing to sustain U.S. hegemony in the larger global sphere.

Should China, Russia and Europe seek to integrate into a huge, contiguous Eurasian economic marketplace independent of United States hegemonic interference, the Deep State will use all of its military power to prevent it. (Especially ironic since death and destruction are becoming America's primary exports.)

The current rumblings of American power projection in the South China Sea and Russian borders are a set up for future conflicts. The United States regime deluded by arrogance and stupidity and saturated by the cult of military exceptionalism can't say no to military coercion and war as its primary foreign policy instrument.

With the Neocon/Neoliberal militarists now running the show, it's only going to get worse

Peter , says: August 9, 2017 at 3:56 pm
We are in decline because the decisions we made during and after the cold war.
– we tried to buy goodwill ("allies") by using the "most favored nation" clause – outsourcing manufacturing jobs, starting at the bottom of the sophistication scale (apparel, appliances ).
And all we have left is defense manufacturing jobs. We have no more jobs to give away to buy goodwill.
– while reducing taxes, we kept increasing defense related spending by borrowing money.
With all the senseless wars, we have a huge debt, not exactly something which gives you clout.
– we wasted brainpower on financial gimmicks which have zero contribution to economic strength.
Such gimmicks might mess up the economy – and we did this, too – for the whole world.
China took the market driven part of communist economy which was viciously stamped out by Stalin – the New Economic Policy (NEP) – and built an economic powerhouse, with money to spend.
Phillip , says: August 9, 2017 at 4:06 pm
The decline of the United States can be directly correlated to the decline in our spiritual fervor and the absence of the fear of God. Falling morals precipitate the fall of the nation. It's not a question of if at this point, but when. You can argue whatever other factors you wish, but there is a direct correlation between strength of a nation and God throughout human civilization.
Dan Green , says: August 9, 2017 at 4:37 pm
Lots to chew on as they say, but a couple key points from the article. A US President represents how the world view's we Americans. From all the so called turmoil, with both political parties sent packing, Trump may in fact represent real America. The fantasy the left markets, of a social democratic welfare state is a myth. Next, we have grown up on a diet of our President elect, being Commander in Chief, of the worlds most powerful military. So I ask, did Bill Clinton or Barack Obama seem to Americans, like a commander in chief. Bush wasn't capable of responding to 9-11, he tried and failed. Last Commander in Chief we had in our image was Ronald Reagan. Any wonder our enemies are making hay while the sunshines. So now we have two very very admirable foes. China and Russia neither with western values. How we now fit is up in the air. Getting Trump impeached or forced to resign replaced with whoever won't change millions of Americans.
EliteCommInc. , says: August 9, 2017 at 5:28 pm
I would take exception to some of these comments about inevitable decline. The word decline suggests to some end. That is very different than retraction or change.

When one examines China, Russia, Europe, these nations have been in play as states for 1500 years. And despite periods of retraction have maintained some semblance of their origins, more than some. Their cores remain intact as to culture and practice despite differing polities What is key for the US is her youth. We are unable to match the strategic long term strategies as the states mentions because we have not been around long enough to seal our core existence as a nation.

Mistaking youthful exuberance for wisdom of age is where we are. There is no mistaking that the US can remain a major player in world events and we should. But that process need not be at the expense of who we are are becoming or in lieu of it.

I will have to dig out my Zsun Tsu. It is easy to apply those admonitions out of their intended context. Because so many different environmental war scenarios are addressed. For example, Asia plays the long game. They are not thinking merely about this century, this decade, this year, month . . . but the next century. Hence the idea of long war. Consider how long they have been on the Continent of Africa.

They are in a sense just waiting everyone else out. Iraq, blood in the water. Afghanistan, blood in the water. They are not the least troubled that we are embroiled in the ME.

The size of our debt is troubling and the size of how much of that debt is owned by other states is disturbing. China, some ten years ago, indicated that they are seeking a way around the power of the dollar.

I am fully confident that we can survive the rise of any nation on earth. I believe we are special unique, and endowed with an energy, ingenuity, vibrancy and psyche today's world. But we are so inundated with a kind of can't do -- must accept attitude in social polity that undermines sense of self. and that is where I think the force of a Pres Trump is helpful, reinvigorating.

Conserving a sense of self, identity is mandatory for survival.

And while I have opposed out latest military interventions as unnecessary, if we decide to make war -- we had better do it to the full and be done with. This is more in line with what I think Tzun Tzu -- destabilize the opponents psychology.

Here the importation of Doaist, Hindu, and other existentialist philosophies are upending western thought. The humanities are tearing asunder our social and psychological meaning of self. Whether it is soulmates, no anchored truth or reality or the notion of that human sexuality is malleable and no right no wrong save as to individual minding and social circumstance . . . the system of concreteness is being chiseled to nothingness.

And it shows. Europe remains a cautionary tale.

EliteCommInc. , says: August 9, 2017 at 5:36 pm
"Such gimmicks might mess up the economy – and we did this, too – for the whole world."

Actually we did something else, we embraced the world's standards – Basel I and Basel II. Which are major contributors to our economic system. When Pres Nixon pressed to go off the gold standard . . . huge error.

Last week one of the toughest hurdles was to avoid getting into that ambulance I knew the minute I did, I would be entering a system bent on bending me to its will.

Before we go about making the world -- we need a clear and clean sense of self and resist change, regardless of the pressure by friend or foe.

EliteCommInc. , says: August 9, 2017 at 5:42 pm
" The United States filled this role for half a century, from 1945 until the Great Recession. The world's economic hegemon must provide public goods that benefit the international system as a whole, including: making the rules for the international economic order; opening its domestic market to other states' exports; supplying liquidity to the global economy; and providing a reserve currency."

Uhh you are playing fast and loose here with one overarching reality -- there really was no one else left who could do so. And that lasted a good while. As those regions recovered, we continued to provide without ever adjusting to the their own ability to provide. Prime example, our presence in Europe, I would be interested in the ROI of defending the Europeans even as they make war on others or encourage conflicts they themselves ave no intention of supporting, but are more than happy that the US do so.

SteveK9 , says: August 9, 2017 at 7:31 pm
Paradoxically the acceleration in the decline began with the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Incredible hubris followed, and we are reaping the usual results.
philadelphialawyer , says: August 9, 2017 at 8:53 pm
I think just the opposite. OBOR, AIIB and the Shanghai Group show China playing precisely by the rules of the international, rules-based liberal order set up by the Western powers generally over the last few centuries and particularly by the USA after WWII. China actually follows the international rules. It hasn't invaded anyone since 1979. How many wars not authorized by the UNSC, and generally either dubious or flat out in violation of international law, has the US engaged in since that date? China does not interfere in the internal affairs of other nations. As the article states, China follows the rules of Westphalian sovereignty. But it also follows the rules of international law. China does not abuse its veto power in the UNSC, the way the Western powers, particularly the USA, does. China is not looking to impose its way of life on other countries. And its international initiatives, including the international organizations it has created and sponsored, are all about trade, tourism, and co operation and development, as opposed to the USA's, which are all about domination, ever expanding "defensive" military alliances, military bases everywhere, demeaning and degrading, not to mention hypocritical, "human rights report cards," endless "sanctions" and "embargoes" on everyone who does not do its bidding, covering up for the sins of its aggressive, horrible client states, particularly Israel and the KSA, handing out cookies to coupsters in the process of overthrowing legitimate, and even democratically elected, governments, and generally sticking its nose into the elections of other countries, and now, with Trump, threatening to upset the apple cart when it comes to international trade and tourism and cultural exchange.

The USA is the rogue state, in regard to the very international order that it played a huge role in establishing. The USA can't even seem to go through an Olympic Games without making a fuss about something or another.

"Rules and institutions do not exist in a vacuum. Rather, they reflect the distribution of power in the international system. In global politics, the rules are made by those who rule international politics 'cannot be understood independently of the political foundation on which it rests and the political interests which it serves.' The post-World War II international order is an American order that, while preserving world stability for a long time, primarily privileged U.S. and Western interests. Proponents of 'lock-in' are saying that China will!indeed, must!agree to be a 'responsible stakeholder' (with Washington defining the meaning of 'responsibility') in an international order that it did not construct and that exists primarily to advance the interests of the United States. In plain English, what those who believe in 'lock-in' expect is that an increasingly powerful China will continue to accept playing second fiddle to the United States. But Beijing, by all the evidence, does not see it that way. And OBOR and the AIIB prove the point. Instead of living within the geopolitical, economic, and institutional confines imposed by Pax Americana, an increasingly powerful China will seek to revise the international order so that it reflects its own political and economic interests. Thus are OBOR and the AIIB straws in the wind. And, as the great Bob Dylan said, you don't need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing."

Of course the distribution of power matters. But China is using its power within the liberal, rules-based framework established by the West. It actually already behaves in a "responsible" manner. It didn't invade Hong Kong or Macao, rather it made deals with the declining colonial powers which controlled them. It doesn't invade Taiwan. Rather it uses diplomacy to slowly advance its cause with respect to "One China." It uses its economic clout to develop trading partners, not to try to bully them into political submission, a la the USA. It is patient with regard to North Korea. It is patient with regard to US sabre rattling and blustering right at its borders. It is patient and rule-abiding in just about everything. Its organization are bypassing the USA. Not confronting it. If China eventually eclipses the USA, it will be because China has beaten it at its own game.

Sam Bufalini , says: August 9, 2017 at 9:26 pm
Last Commander in Chief we had in our image was Ronald Reagan. Yeah, that invasion of Grenada was huge!
Dale McNamee , says: August 9, 2017 at 10:51 pm
Our moral decline leads to the other decline mentioned in the article. There's a statement that says :"America is great because she is good But, she will cease to be great because she ceased to be good" We've been in decline since the '60's and are coming to our "bottom" ( and end ) ever more quickly
Interguru , says: August 9, 2017 at 11:13 pm
"The decline of the United States can be directly correlated to the decline in our spiritual fervor and the absence of the fear of God. " @Phillip

Does China have a fear of God?

Misstique , says: August 9, 2017 at 11:37 pm
Sort of a silly question isn't it?
Student , says: August 10, 2017 at 9:40 am
One thing not mentioned in the article is how we lost our technological lead. This in large part due to our H1B program, which is a conveyor belt to transfer tech and organizational knowhow abroad. Most R&D operations seem to be staffed largely by guest workers from China and India. Yes, there is a saving on salaries, leading to profits. But in addition to the knowledge transfer, there is the discouragement to US natives from entering tech fields.

[Aug 03, 2017] The Magnitsky Hoax

Margnistsky was an accountant. He never has been a laywer.
Notable quotes:
"... "Foreign non-governmental pro-democracy groups" means absolutely different things than it is stated. We must read "foreign" as "American", "non-governmental" as "uncontroled by the Russian government, but sponsored by the US government", and "pro-democracy" as "pro-US". ..."
"... There is nothing democratic in these groups. Everything they say is a lie. They do not want at all democracy for Russians. Because if there were democracy in Russia, then Browder and other foreign carpetbaggers were shot dead by popular vote. Or at least they could never come to Russia and rob it as they have been doing. And they all know it. They do not want freedom and human right for Russians. By "freedom" these groups understand the freedom for THEM and THEIR friends, and by "human right" they understand the rights for THEM and THEIR friends. ..."
"... I've been reading the Western press for many years now, and when they write about Russia or the above-mentioned holy things, I constantly read only less than a dozen of names. Namely: Politkovskaya, Litvinenko, Magnitsky, Khodorkovsky and a couple of others. Everything that concerns the human rights violations in Russia is just about that privileged dozen of people. Nothing else bad happens in Russia with anybody else. Believe me if all the problems with human rights in Russia were only with that dozen of people I would be really happy. ..."
"... The yankee imperium has evolved into the inverted totalitarianism structure. The mainstream press and those inside the beltway are no more free agents than politburo members were during the Soviet era. Why would Nekrasov, prior to this film a known enemy of the Russian state, change his views unless he was an honourable man convinced by the evidence? The treatment of this film reveals the true nature of the contemporary yankee power structure. ..."
"... The latest neocon line is to use Brexit as an excuse to (a) blame Putin even more (b) expand NATO. Today's Washington Post had an editorial demanding that NATO be strengthened to ward off the enhanced Russian threat now that Britain will be leaving the EU. ..."
"... Here is the perfect moment to remember that it was antisemitism to question the western narrative on Iran nuclear program. David Brooks will conform if his mind is still sharp enough that he once suggested attacking George Bush war of 2003 was a also antisemitic . ..."
"... Dr. Giraldi, do you know there is a Jewish organization in UK, which gives "Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Awards"? Last year, it awarded the honor on Israel-First Rep. Jim McGovern. Jim McGovern, a Democrat who co-chairs the influential 'Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission' – named after Jewish Rep. Tom Lantos (d. 2008). ..."
"... A famous quote springs to mind: "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American people believe is false." CIA director William Casey (CIA director, 1981-1987) ..."
"... According to Israel Shamir, both Browder himself and the Jewish community consider him to be Jewish. http://www.unz.com/ishamir/the-good-fortune-of-mr-browder/ ..."
"... Putin said 'enough!' And has stopped them in Syria (for now) when everyone else was wringing their hands, Putin showed them all how a man with integrity must act, when faced with a thug and a bully. You stand up to them. Or you cower, and place your fate in their hands, as Gadhafi had done. ..."
"... And from that you all have a problem. You get information about Russia either from the Washington-centric quasi-independent ("independent" in the American political doublespeak always means independent from everyone but Washington) outlets, like NYT, WP, Fox, CNN, you name it, and their view of Russia for the past 90 years is quite predictable if not annoying, and I understand why you do not believe them and interpret everything they say in the opposite way, so you have formed a habit that when they say something is black you understand it as something is white. ..."
"... On the other hand you have the Kremlin propaganda state machine like RT who obviously do the same thing as the Washington propaganda machine, but in the opposite direction; or Russophilic individuals (usually emigres with nostalgia), lone wolf voices like the Saker or Karlin, but whose voice anyway is irrelevant and illusional because, as I've said, they are outsiders and know little about the actual Russian life, but they rather might be characterized as positive interpreters of open sources (and neither the sources nor their interpretations ought to be true). ..."
"... Also we have local "opposition" outlets either in Russian like the radio station "Ekho Moskvy", the TV station "Dozhd", "Novaya Gazeta" and so on, or in English like "The Moscow Times", but I do not even take them seriously, I consider them as virtually subsidiaries of the Western MSM (though there is one irony that furiously anti-government "Ekho Moskvy" is owned by Gazprom). ..."
"... What I wanted to say, that even if many who are not hopelessly brainwashed understand that the demonizing of Russia is a lie, it does not make the opposite view automatically right, and your over-positive opinion is generally illusional. I tried to bring you around, but seemed to fail, though to change anybody's opinion was not my goal, I was just trying to say my opinion, be it right or wrong. ..."
"... It works in the opposite direction as well. When people have not enough means, they have no much time left to think about and to follow good moral, they are simply surviving as they can, often doing very ugly things. In most cases a society in strong need ends up in a chaos as we can see it in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. ..."
"... And then out of the blue came Putin, who wrested Russia away from the Fiend, and gave her hope, (and an ascendant middle class and pride in Russia's heritage). For the Fiend, this was an abomination, and ironically enough; Putin was now a new Hitler – especially when he jailed on of their own (and for hard labor -- It was another Holocaust!). But as long as he played ball with the West by letting most of the Jewish oligarchs keep their ill-gotten billions, and went along with atrocities like the savage rape of Iraq, the oligarchs were willing to ignore what Putin had done to their designs and fun up to a degree. ..."
"... I would say that Putin certainly does care about Iran. It doesn't take a genius to know which nations have been declared evil and targeted by the US, they are frequently named by traitorous whores like Hillary, Obuma, Biden etc, along with the treacherous neo-cons who bear responsibility for fomenting wars in the ME. ..."
"... Putin is smart enough to know that if any nation sits back and waits its turn to be attacked it will surely be destroyed. He went out on a limb to arrest the destruction of Syria and it has paid off. He appears to have played his cards remarkably well to date. I can't imagine that the stratospheric level of approval and support that he receives in Russia is fictional. ..."
"... I would believe RT News before I would the BBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, DW, Fox and all the other discredited western "news" outlets. ..."
"... To like/dislike Putin is not a political stance but rather a personal opinion. But it does not explain nor imply any other view. To be precise, several persons can dislike Putin, but one may be a pro-Western ultra-liberal, another a Stalinist, other a National-Bolshevik, other a Christian Monarchist, other a racist Nazi, other a pro-Ukrainian Nazi, and so on. It is difficult to list them all. And they all may have totally different views on many subjects, but just one thing in common, as you said, a dislike to Putin. ..."
"... Russia is on the fall . The crisis of the past two years has just nullified any achievements of the previous 2004-2014 decade. Russia has practically returned to its starting position. And nothing says about its rise, everything says the contrary . Russians have entered a difficult time. They will be remembering 2000-2014 with bitter nostalgia. ..."
"... Actually, for the past 25 years Russia is becoming "a multi-culture, failing state, with grinding poverty where the different factions of the population hate each other while a corrupt and incompetent elite rules over them" . I will add that that elite is in the West in their minds, and they have to be physically located in Russia just for the sake of "earning" money. ..."
Aug 03, 2017 | www.unz.com

The documentary began with the full participation of American born UK citizen William Browder, who virtually served as narrator for the first section that portrayed the widely accepted story on Magnitsky. Browder portrays himself as a human rights campaigner dedicated to promoting the legacy of Sergei Magnitsky, but he is inevitably much more complicated than that. The grandson of Earl Browder the former General Secretary of the American Communist Party, William Browder studied economics at the University of Chicago, and obtained an MBA from Stanford.

From the beginning, Browder concentrated on Eastern Europe, which was beginning to open up to the west. In 1989 he took a position at highly respected Boston Consulting Group dealing with reviving failing Polish socialist enterprises. He then worked as an Eastern Europe analyst for Robert Maxwell, the unsavory British press magnate and Mossad spy, before joining the Russia team at Wall Street's Salomon Brothers in 1992.

He left Salomons in 1996 and partnered with the controversial Edmond Safra, the Lebanese-Brazilian-Jewish banker who died in a mysterious fire in 1999, to set up Hermitage Capital Management Fund. Hermitage is registered in tax havens Guernsey and the Cayman Islands. It is a hedge fund that was focused on "investing" in Russia, taking advantage initially of the loans-for-shares scheme under Boris Yeltsin, and then continuing to profit greatly during the early years of Vladimir Putin's ascendancy. By 2005 Hermitage was the largest foreign investor in Russia.

Browder had renounced his U.S. citizenship in 1997 and became a British citizen apparently to avoid American taxes, which are levied on worldwide income. In his book Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder and One Man's Fight for Justice he depicts himself as an honest and honorable Western businessman attempting to function in a corrupt Russian business world. That may or may not be true, but the loans-for-shares scheme that made him his initial fortune has been correctly characterized as the epitome of corruption, an arrangement whereby foreign investors worked with local oligarchs to strip the former Soviet economy of its assets paying pennies on each dollar of value. Along the way, Browder was reportedly involved in making false representations on official documents and bribery.

As a consequence of what came to be known as the Magnitsky scandal, Browder was eventually charged by the Russian authorities for fraud and tax evasion. He was banned from re-entering Russia in 2005, even before Magnitsky died, and began to withdraw his assets from the country. Three companies controlled by Hermitage were eventually seized by the authorities, though it is not clear if any assets remained in Russia. Browder himself was convicted of tax evasion in absentia in 2013 and sentenced to nine years in prison.

Browder has assiduously, and mostly successfully, made his case that he and Magnitsky have been the victims of Russian corruption both during and since that time, though there have been skeptics regarding many details of his personal narrative. He has been able to sell his tale to leading American politicians like Senators John McCain, Ben Cardin and ex-Senator Joe Lieberman, always receptive when criticizing Russia, as well as to a number of European parliamentarians and media outlets. But there is, inevitably, another side to the story, something quite different, which Andrei Nekrasov presents to the viewer.

Nekrasov has discovered what he believes to be holes in the narrative that has been carefully constructed and nurtured by Browder. He provides documents and also an interview with Magnitsky's mother maintaining that there is no clear evidence that he was beaten or tortured and that he died instead due to the failure to provide him with medicine while in prison or treatment shortly after he had a heart attack. A subsequent investigation ordered by then Russian President Dimitri Medvedev in 2011 confirmed that Magnitsky had not received medical treatment, contributing to this death, but could not confirm that he had been beaten even though there was suspicion that that might have been the case.

Nekrasov also claims that much of the case against the Russian authorities is derived from English language translations of relevant documents provided by Browder himself. The actual documents sometimes say something quite different. Magnitsky is referred to as an accountant, not a lawyer, which would make sense as a document of his deposition is apparently part of a criminal investigation of possible tax fraud, meaning that he was no whistleblower and was instead a suspected criminal.

Other discrepancies cited by Nekrasov include documents demonstrating that Magnitsky did not file any complaint about police and other government officials who were subsequently cited by Browder as participants in the plot, that the documents allegedly stolen from Magnitsky to enable the plotters to transfer possession of three Hermitage controlled companies were irrelevant to how the companies eventually were transferred and that someone else employed by Hermitage other than Magnitsky actually initiated investigation of the fraud.

In conclusion, Nekrasov believes there was indeed a huge fraud related to Russian taxes but that it was not carried out by corrupt officials. Instead, it was deliberately ordered and engineered by Browder with Magnitsky, the accountant, personally developing and implementing the scheme used to carry out the deception.

To be sure, Browder and his international legal team have presented documents in the case that contradict much of what Nekrasov has presented in his film. But in my experience as an intelligence officer I have learned that documents are easily forged, altered, or destroyed so considerable care must be exercised in discovering the provenance and authenticity of the evidence being provided. It is not clear that that has been the case. It might be that Browder and Magnitsky have been the victims of a corrupt and venal state, but it just might be the other way around. In my experience perceived wisdom on any given subject usually turns out to be incorrect.

Given the adversarial positions staked out, either Browder or Nekrasov is essentially right, though one should not rule out a combination of greater or lesser malfeasance coming from both sides. But certainly Browder should be confronted more intensively on the nature of his business activities while in Russia and not given a free pass because he is saying things about Russia and Putin that fit neatly into a Washington establishment profile. As soon as folks named McCain, Cardin and Lieberman jump on a cause it should be time to step back a bit and reflect on what the consequences of proposed action might be.

One should ask why anyone who has a great deal to gain by having a certain narrative accepted should be completely and unquestionably trusted, the venerable Cui bono? standard. And then there is a certain evasiveness on the part of Browder. The film shows him huffing and puffing to explain himself at times and he has avoided being served with subpoenas on allegations connected to the Magnitsky fraud that are making their way through American courts. In one case he can be seen on YouTube running away from a server, somewhat unusual behavior if he has nothing to hide.

A number of Congressmen and staffers were invited to the showing of the Nekrasov

likbez, August 4, 2017 at 3:50 am GMT

Magnitsky was a sleazy accountant, not a lawyer and among his activities one was about getting tax breaks for Browder, using fictitious hiring of disabled people to get a tax break.

Browder was one of the very bold and very suspicious "gold-diggers" in xUSSR space, who tried to participate in the "economic rape of Russia".

http://thebirdman.org/Index/Others/Others-Doc-Economics&Finance/+Doc-Economics&Finance-GovernmentInfluence&Meddling/BankstersInRussiaAndGlobalEconomy.htm

During this time of gangster capitalism in Russia under drunk Yeltsin such a person, especially a foreign one, could easily get a six grams of led if he stepped on some oligarchs foot, but this did not stopped him. He was really reckless. I wonder why. Who protected him in Russia? Here is pretty interesting and educational reading

https://marknesop.wordpress.com/2011/01/19/sergei-magnitsky-bill-browder-hermitage-capital-management-and-wondrous-metamorphoses/

One quote:

"Ties with Russia run deep in his family; his grandfather was General Secretary of the US Communist Party and, according to documents released in 1995, worked for the NKVD, running a spy ring. Bill himself specialized in Eastern European markets, and when he felt the time was right, he founded Hermitage Capital Management in 1996, along with the main investor, Edmond Safra."

His real connection and why he renounced US citizenship and is hiding in UK suggest that some influential British structures were behind his activities.

In a way Browder was very interested in Magnitsky death as dead Magnitsky was much more useful for him that alive. Magnitsky knew way too much about Brower activities in Russia and already started talking.

Boris N, June 28, 2016 at 6:04 am GMT

It's a pity that doublespeak and doublethink rule the world. Every time you read something you now must decipher.

"Foreign non-governmental pro-democracy groups" means absolutely different things than it is stated. We must read "foreign" as "American", "non-governmental" as "uncontroled by the Russian government, but sponsored by the US government", and "pro-democracy" as "pro-US".

There is nothing democratic in these groups. Everything they say is a lie. They do not want at all democracy for Russians. Because if there were democracy in Russia, then Browder and other foreign carpetbaggers were shot dead by popular vote. Or at least they could never come to Russia and rob it as they have been doing. And they all know it. They do not want freedom and human right for Russians. By "freedom" these groups understand the freedom for THEM and THEIR friends, and by "human right" they understand the rights for THEM and THEIR friends.

But the real problem is the Russian government do not want good for Russians as well. This entire conflict is between the native colonial administration and the foreign carpetbaggers. And the main point is who'll get the cash, either Browder and his friends or some unknown Russian oligarchs and corrupt officials. But both the results are bad for Russians.

Haxo Angmark, Website June 28, 2016 at 6:33 am GMT

the Short Version: Putin's Russia is a large White pebble in the open-borders Judeo-globalist shoe. The Zionists/neo-conz/cucks will do anything – even upbrink to a nuclear WW III – to destroy Nationalist Russia

Boris N, June 28, 2016 at 6:36 am GMT

And something else about democracy, freedom, human rights and so on hypocritical demagogy of the West.

I've been reading the Western press for many years now, and when they write about Russia or the above-mentioned holy things, I constantly read only less than a dozen of names. Namely: Politkovskaya, Litvinenko, Magnitsky, Khodorkovsky and a couple of others. Everything that concerns the human rights violations in Russia is just about that privileged dozen of people. Nothing else bad happens in Russia with anybody else. Believe me if all the problems with human rights in Russia were only with that dozen of people I would be really happy.

But the fact is that everyday for the last 25 years thousands of common Russians are faced with the violations of their rights. But nobody in the West worry about them, nobody mention them, they simply do not exist for the West. The only people that exist are those who are directly or indirectly connected with the Western establishment. That is the Western establishment and their tame press are concerned only about their personal interests.

And when another Western (or Russian) journalist or human rights "activist", while writing another article about Russia, mention again and again just only that half a dozen of the names, I just cannot help but despise those hypocrites.

exiled off mainstreet, June 28, 2016 at 6:55 am GMT

The yankee imperium has evolved into the inverted totalitarianism structure. The mainstream press and those inside the beltway are no more free agents than politburo members were during the Soviet era. Why would Nekrasov, prior to this film a known enemy of the Russian state, change his views unless he was an honourable man convinced by the evidence? The treatment of this film reveals the true nature of the contemporary yankee power structure.

Rehmat, June 28, 2016 at 8:33 am GMT

Sergei Magnitsky like the US and EU was a Zionist clown whose strings were held by the Organized Jewry.

In November 2015, in an interview with UK's No.1 Israeli propaganda media outlet, 'Jewish Chronicle', William Browder, the American-born Jewish tycoon who describes himself as Putin's "number one enemy" in his book: Red Notice, claimed that though Putin had met Netanyahu, Avigdor Lieberman, and local Jewish leaders; supports Israel and donated $1 million to Moscow's Holocaust Museum – his heart is filled with hatred towards Jews. Why? Because he tortured and killed Magnitsky and supports Iran's ally Assad.

Madeleine Albright, who found her Jewish family roots while holding post of US secretary of state, in a recent interview she gave to Austrian newspaper DiePress.com called Russian president Vladimir Putin "a smart but a truly evil man." She claimed that Putin is trying his best to destroy European Union and NATO, two of Israel's allies.

"He is smart but truly an evil man. An officer of KGB, who wants to exercise power and believes that every body has come together to conspire against Russia. This is not true. Putin is playing bad cards well, for the time being at least. I believe his goal is to undermine and split EU. He want NATO to disappear from his sphere of influence," She said.

https://rehmat1.com/2016/04/24/madeleine-albright-putin-is-an-evil-man/

Philip Giraldi, June 28, 2016 at 11:43 am GMT

@Rehmat

Thanks. The latest neocon line is to use Brexit as an excuse to (a) blame Putin even more (b) expand NATO. Today's Washington Post had an editorial demanding that NATO be strengthened to ward off the enhanced Russian threat now that Britain will be leaving the EU.

Wizard of Oz, June 28, 2016 at 3:57 pm GMT

@exiled off mainstreet

You omit taking notice of the author's shrewd observation that there might still be available some large amount of money that even Nekrasov might find irresistable as way to quickly achieved financial independence. Even if he is basically an honest man he might be able to rationalise selling out if he knows that Browder is, anyway, a crook.

Rurik, June 28, 2016 at 5:06 pm GMT

@Boris N Hello Boris,

But the real problem is the Russian government do not want good for Russians as well.

in your opinion, is the Putin government just as corrupt as the Zio-West? From here in the (dying and looted) West, it looks like Russia's middle class is ascendant, while ours is being systematically murdered off

Personally, for me, what it feels like is that the worst elements in the population that were in Russia (and Eastern Europe) during the 20th century have now emigrated over to the West. And that just as Russia and Eastern Europe suffered unimaginable horrors during the last century, under cruel and sadistic Bolsheviks (and the Cheka and NKVD), they are now over here, fomenting genocide and looting the place blind.

It's as if when Putin came to power, the Fiend slithered over the Berlin wall into the West, where it now molders in the assorted banking houses and think tanks plotting its next iniquitous atrocity, whether financial or military or social/cultural.

That's how it seems to me anyways.

(thank you PG for your superlative and informative articles. They're very much appreciated)

bunga, June 28, 2016 at 5:53 pm GMT

@Rehmat

I guess he doesn't have to be anti Jewish ,but being a proponent of prosperity at home and peace abroad does create a monster out of a decent man in today's garbage land which defines the western minds . It sure doesn't help the warmongering war readiness war friendly Zio

In some way Zio are doing what they did to other peace makers through the ages. Being against war and being for peace automatically ensures extended definition of antisemitism will be attached

Here is the perfect moment to remember that it was antisemitism to question the western narrative on Iran nuclear program. David Brooks will conform if his mind is still sharp enough that he once suggested attacking George Bush war of 2003 was a also antisemitic .

WTF with these shitheads

Rehmat, June 28, 2016 at 10:32 pm GMT

Dr. Giraldi, do you know there is a Jewish organization in UK, which gives "Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Awards"? Last year, it awarded the honor on Israel-First Rep. Jim McGovern. Jim McGovern, a Democrat who co-chairs the influential 'Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission' – named after Jewish Rep. Tom Lantos (d. 2008).

During his acceptance speech Jim McGovern said that he was a staunch supporter of Israel and supported the US-Iran nuclear agreement because it would be good for Israel in long-term.

During his stay in London, Jim McGovern was interviewed by Israeli mouthpiece, Jewish Chronicle – published on November 27.

"I understand the security concerns, but I also believe that ultimately, the way forward in Israel is for there to be real negotiations with the Palestinians -- a two-state solution. People need to learn to live with each other -- that's the solution all over the world," McGovern said.

When asked does that include Hamas? McGovern replied: "I don't need to negotiate with my friends. I need to negotiate with the people I consider my adversaries and my enemies."

He also criticized Israel's human rights abuses and warned such actions are isolating Israel from the international community. "I think Israel does not have a perfect human rights record. I think the settlement policies are very troublesome," he said.

https://rehmat1.com/2015/11/28/rep-mcgovern-only-hamas-can-guarantee-israels-security/

Anonymous, Disclaimer June 29, 2016 at 12:28 am GMT

@Anonymous Scotland the Brave

http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/scotland-the-brave/?highlight=pan+am+103+lockerbie

Sam J., June 29, 2016 at 3:06 am GMT

@Anonymous As Anonymous says,"
Q: Who is guilty of lying, Nekrasov or Browder?

A: Which one is the Jew?"

Agreed. Frequently you will find that to find the truth just see what the Jew is saying and the opposite will be the truth or what they say will be so convoluted as to twist the truth into a blaspheme of some sort.

Art, June 29, 2016 at 4:09 am GMT

@Rehmat

Last year, it awarded the honor on Israel-First Rep. Jim McGovern. Jim McGovern, a Democrat who co-chairs the influential 'Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission' – named after Jewish Rep. Tom Lantos (d. 2008).

God help us, that Jew jerk Lantos is still screwing over America. Wonder how many Palestinians he is responsible for murdering?

Wizard of Oz, June 29, 2016 at 7:51 am GMT

@Anonymous Are you just idly polluting UR with your prejudices or do you have some faintly relevant information?

The Browders who are descended from (non-Jewish) Communist Earl Browder seem to have good mathematical brains which may be inherited from Earl Browder's Russian Jewish wife. But it appears the Jewishness ended with her. The younger Bill Browder (who has a mathematician uncle also called Bill) is the son of mathematician Felix who doesn't appear to have married a Jew. Over to you to research Nekrasov. Will your brain suffer spasms or paraysis if you find that neither of them are Jews.

Carroll Price, June 29, 2016 at 9:59 am GMT

A famous quote springs to mind: "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American people believe is false." CIA director William Casey (CIA director, 1981-1987)

Philip Giraldi, June 29, 2016 at 10:05 am GMT

@Wizard of Oz

According to Israel Shamir, both Browder himself and the Jewish community consider him to be Jewish. http://www.unz.com/ishamir/the-good-fortune-of-mr-browder/

alexander, June 29, 2016 at 10:34 am GMT

@Carroll Price Carroll,

If this is an accurate quote, and I assume that it is, .what is the point of it? I mean what goals should the CIA have ? Shouldn't OUR CIA be doing everything in its power, (like every other government agency which we employ) to shore up the health ,wealth and security of our nation.? Every action it takes, clandestine or otherwise, should be designed to ensure the safety, freedom , and prosperity of our nation and its citizens .

Period. End of story. If they are not doing that .Fire the bums.

peterike, June 29, 2016 at 2:44 pm GMT

@Greasy William

I still don't get what the cute girl in the pic is all about? She doesn't look Jewish or anything.

That cute girl is Elena Servettaz who edited the book, the cover of which is behind her. Here's a lot more photos of her for your viewing pleasure. Including one with her and Crazy John McCain, which probably tells you all you need to know.

http://magnitskybook.com/?page_id=29

Carroll Price, June 29, 2016 at 3:33 pm GMT

@Greasy William Without going into a lot of unnecessary detail, Elena Servettaz is a Russian Jew who serves basically the same role in the international journalistic world as Pamela Gellar serves in the right-wing talk-show host/U-tube world based in Jew York City.

http://www.digplanet.com/wiki/Elena_Servettaz

JL, June 29, 2016 at 5:28 pm GMT

@Wizard of Oz Don't be ridiculous, Bill Browder is Jewish and has always strongly identified as such. He has a mezuzah on his office door and only hires Jewish employees. I knew him personally back in the 90s and 00s.

Eileen Kuch, June 29, 2016 at 8:32 pm GMT

@Boris N I agree with you wholeheartedly, Boris, with the comments you made on democracy in Russia, as well as the role the foreign (US) carpetbaggers had played in Russian society.

However, you failed to mention Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had succeeded the drunken, incompetent Boris Yeltsin, who had been installed by the Jewish Oligarchs, who were – during his Presidency – looting the Russian Treasury and bleeding the nation dry. It was Putin who salvaged the Russian economy by imprisoning and/or exiling these Oligarchs and seizing all of their assets. He also restored Orthodox Christianity in Russia after 70 years of it being underground under Bolshevik Communism. The magnificent Cathedral of Christ the Redeemer, which had been built in the 19th Century, then demolished by Lazar Kaganovich under Josef Stalin's orders, was restored (rebuilt) after Yeltsin became President in the 1990′s.

Democracy also came to Russia under Putin, along with the revival of Orthodox Christianity. As a result, the Russian people are experiencing more freedom than people are in Western countries, including the US. In a way, these two nations – Russia and the US – have switched ideologies. Even as I type this reply, Boris, Christianity in the US has just come under attack by the Federal Courts which, btw, is a gross violation of the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution, which guarantees, along with freedoms of speech, press and peaceable assemply, freedom of religion.

helena, June 29, 2016 at 9:01 pm GMT

@Wizard of Oz "as amongst the Jews what anti-Semites (and some Jews) would regard as "typically Jewish"."

Don't be ridiculous. Jewish people define themselves as an ethnic group. The fact that the ethnic group has considerably admixed is not the fault of those who merely observe that fact.

Carroll Price, June 30, 2016 at 4:27 am GMT

@Carroll Price https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/06/jean-marie-le-pen-fined-again-dismissing-holocaust-detail

Wizard of Oz, June 30, 2016 at 7:15 am GMT

@Eileen Kuch A friend who ran a very big charity funded by Khodorkovsky told me that he is not Jewish but Russian Orthodox and, indeed, his mother Marins seems to be Orthodox Christian, so why would the Jerusalem Post online refer to him as Jewish? Did he convert?

I guess its just that, on balance, any group likes to claim the rich unless they are too disreputable.

A related question is whether people with Jewish fathers, like K, got into the habit of associating with others who were at least part Jewish because of the viciousness or at least weight of anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union. After all one can get an idea of what it was like from the mad snti-Semitism in UR comments where even Rupert Murdoch can be called Jewish out of spite and envy even though he doesn't have a drop of known Jewish ancestry – pure Anglo-Celt it seems in case some twisted mind picks on that "known".

Boris N, June 30, 2016 at 7:29 pm GMT

@Rurik

in your opinion, is the Putin government just as corrupt as the Zio-West?

Yes, absolutely. It is not just my mere assumption, and it is not a conspiracy either, but clear open facts that anybody can see if one wants to see. It is not "as corrupt as", it IS controled by the West. We must not be deceived by the trickery red herring play of the official Kremlin (I do not like the cliche "Kremlin propaganda", but this is exactly it; unfortunately the Western MSM use this term for absolutely different things; the Western MSM play in the same duo, by the way).

Who is Putin and where has he come from in the first place? Apart from that he is a former KGB officer, and, as they say, "there aren't former KGB officers" (and this is important as a great deal of Russian oligarchs came from that organization), he has not come from anywhere and suddenly but fairly won the presidential campaign in 2000. During the 1990s he was moving around in the Russian oligarchic and Kremlin circles, in fact he once was the right hand of the first mayor of St.-Petersburg Sobchak, which in turn was a friend of Yeltsin. You think Putin is different, but he is the same, he is from the same circles, you has been tricked by the made-up image of Putin, a fiend for oligarchs and a friend of people, whereas he is, in fact, a friend of oligarchs, literally.

Then, what is more important. Even if we know little about Putin's life in the 1990s (everything is deliberately hidden), we know, hey, the entire world knows, how Putin has come to power. Putin was a protege of Yeltsin, and this Yeltsin's protectionism was not hidden, but absolutely public and official. Putin is the successor of Yeltsin, directly appointed by Yeltsin, a "legacy president" whose main goal is to maintain the status quo from the 1990s. I would rater call him a CEO under the control of the real masters, than an independent leader of the state. How can one at all believe "Putin is not Yeltsin", when it is contrary to the facts. And again we know which circles Yeltsin represented, and we know that those circles have had close connections with the West if not controled by the West, and here we've come to the most interesting part.

The entire post-Soviet Russian elite (oligarchs and government officials) has come come from the Communist nomenklatura, from the KGB and from the Soviet black market mafia structures (usually run by Jews, Ukrainians and Asiatics like Georgians, Armenians, Azeris and Uzbeks). And everybody of them have had many connections with the West, particularly with London, thousands of Russian oligarchs, higher officials or at least their families live in London, London is a second (true?) capital of Russia.

So there is no reason, why we must take the Kremlin and the West at face value. Why must we believe there is a conflict of the planetary scale, when there is none.

Well, I've said much enough (I hope MI6 will not find me; joke), but you can dig further yourself, everything is in open, the Russian ruling clique does not much hide itself, you do not need to be a secret agent trying to acquire the secret Kremlin (or rather Westminster?) documents, you just need to know the right directions of your searches. Just don't allow them to confuse yourself with the information noise, both from the Kremlin and the West. Sift attentively thousands of articles about a good Putin and a bad Putin from both the direction, because their real goal is just to hide the real truth.

Boris N, June 30, 2016 at 8:17 pm GMT

@Rurik

from here in the (dying and looted) West, it looks like Russia's middle class is ascendant, while ours is being systematically murdered off

As for the Russian middle class. Of course, since 2000 the living standards of Russians have improved greatly. We could argue if it is due magical Putin or high prices of natural resources. But this only if we compare it with the Sovet pitiful existence and the extreme poverty of the 1990s. But Even if Russians have now more money, cars, things and all, Russia outside of Moscow and St.-Petersburg is still and will be for many decades a Second Word country, in many places even a Third World one. I lived in Western Europe and I can tell the difference. This is absolutely another different planet. Every bit there is better than in Russia, so Russia seems quite backward. It is just simply pleasant to live in a First World country. You constantly complain how bad the life in the West is, but you do not understand your luck that you were born or live there.

And nothing much have changed since the 1990s, if not since the Soviet times. The entire country is still ruled by the former Soviet nomenklature, the oligarchs of the 1990s and Western companies still own and pwn Russia, gigantic bulks of the Russian wealth flow to off-shore havens, the state budget still consist of >60% of the "natural rent", the high level corruption is flourishing, a great deal of the budget is embezzled by officials. Maybe the reason why the average Russians still live decent lives is Russia's wealth so immense, that even if half of it is stolen by the upper 5-10%, the remaining half is enough for the well-being of the other 90%. But imagine how well the Russians would live without the robbery by the Kremlin oligarchic clique.

And don't take official Russian statistics at face value. The Russian middle class hardly exists. And after 2014 the income of people has been dropping steadily. For the most provincial cities the picture is following (at 70 roubles per USD):

  • Lowest 30% earn below $200 per month
  • Low Middle 40% – $200-$400
  • High Middle 20% – $400-$600
  • Upper 5% – $600-$1200

In Moscow, St.-Petersburg and some northern regions these number are 2 times higher, but they comprise barely 15% of the population.

And we're left with 5%, the clique and their servants.

I can hardly name the people who earns under $400 the "middle class", and the country where 70% earns below that can hardly be called rich (though it is quite developed, comparing with the Third World). So there are just 5%, max 25%, of the real middle class. And the average pensions are around $200/month, so no less than 40 mln of senior Russians live for that small amount of money, and with constantly rising prices it is very difficult to make both ends meet.

And the last. You will complain that Europe is being flooded with immigrants, but Russia is a last stronghold. But I'll tell you what. Russia is on the second place by immigrant population after the USA! And they are coming in. Russia has officially 10 mln and unofficially close to 25 mln of immigrants from Asia. Moscow, in fact, must compete with London by the percentage of Asiatic immigrants. The Muslim population is rising and the Kremlin openly favours Muslims and Muslim immigrants.

Boris N, June 30, 2016 at 9:00 pm GMT

@Eileen Kuch You just reproduce the idealized image (either good or bad) of Putin that has been created by the propaganda machine from both the sides during the past 15 years. As I said above, Putin is hardly a threat to the oligarchs. Putin hardly persecute any oligarch. There are up to 100 Russian billionaires, and some thousands of millionaires, but only Khodorkovsky, Lebedev and maybe a couple of others were really imprisoned. No any other oligarchs have been persecuted. Never the privatisation of the 1990s was questioned. Never the legacy of Yeltsin was questioned, rather he is a "hero", an entire Yeltsin museum has been built. The very same oligarchs from the 1990s, except for maybe some outcasts, are continuing to loot and rob Russian wealth. They buy entire castles somewhere in England or France, they buy enormous luxury yachts, they have bought a great deal of the London luxury realty, etc., etc. They roll in money, Russian money. The only reason the average Russians still live decent is the enormous size of the Russian wealth, that even scraps are enough for the entire nation to live.

And I'm not that religious, I do not think that the renaissance of religiosity in Russia is any good, I rather agree with (a rare case) the Marx's opinion about "opium for the people". It just makes Russian people stupid, superstitious and easy to manipulate. We live in the 21th century, we do not need 2000-year old fairy tales to be good. Anyway, I have a great respect for the PAST Russian Christian tradition, I think it is an important part of the Russian culture and mentality, so I'm strongly against any destruction of it.

However, with both the economics and the culture you seem to present a false dilemma. You imply that the only alternative to Yeltsin and Putin are Kaganovich and Stalin, whereas I strongly believe there are many better alternatives.

Carroll Price, July 1, 2016 at 2:00 am GMT

@Boris N The overall quality of life in any country and in any generation depends on much more than annual income, reflected in the amount of money people have at their disposal. In fact, it's becoming increasingly evident that the more money people have to spend on "toys" and other unnecessary items, leads to major social problems including atomized families, wide-spread drug addiction, high suicide rates, mental problems, obesity, and homelessness. Not to speak of a lowering of moral standards that's simply off the charts – in the wrong direction. It's obvious that rural Americans (in particular) in the 1920s and 30s, although having little money at their disposal, enjoyed a much higher quality of life including extended and close knit families, than the majority of Americans today. I could be mistaken, but I suspect the same would be true for the average Russian today.

Rurik, July 2, 2016 at 7:33 pm GMT

@Boris N Thank you for your reply Boris.

We all know Putin plays footsie with the oligarchs. We all know he pretends to like Bibi and is a master at realpolitik. But the impression I get is of a man who wrested control of Russia away from the worst of the oligarchs, while playing nice with the rest of them. That's how it looked to us from thousands of miles away in the dying West, and firmly under the Zio/Rothschild boot, that this was/is a great man. A world-class statesman and nationalist who crushed the fanatical terrorists in Chechnya and mollified the moderate ones with reasonable policies, and he returned the resources of Russia back the Russian state.

Sure there is massive corruption, and other problems, but considering what the Russian people have endured with decades of (Jewish imposed) genocidal commie slavery, and then having it all do a 180 and then being impoverished even worse under the cruel destitution of crony Jewish 'capitalism' that simply handed Russia over to a few Jewish and Russian minions of Rothschild- to lord it over the dying and starving Russian people- for Putin to have turned this around is incomprehensible. It's nothing less than an historic accomplishment of a truly great man. A giant on the world's stage.

He has, it seems to me, nearly single handedly reined in the drooling, frothing Fiend, ripping to shreds everything it could get its blood dripping teeth on. Libya was the final straw for Putin, and he alone stood up to the beast when all of Europe were counting their shekels and tossing their citizens and their nation's dignity onto the Moloch's pyres of war and slaughter and cowardly appeasement of the Fiend.

Putin said 'enough!' And has stopped them in Syria (for now) when everyone else was wringing their hands, Putin showed them all how a man with integrity must act, when faced with a thug and a bully. You stand up to them. Or you cower, and place your fate in their hands, as Gadhafi had done.

That's sort of how I see it. Yes, he plays ball with some very unsavory types, and corruption is rampant. But he has done something wonderful Boris.. he has given the Russian people back their dignity. They have something today that I don't think they've had for generations.. Hope. A shred of pride at being who and what they are; Russians.

How do you put a price on that? How do you quantify that kind of thing. Sure, Americans may be able to afford more flat screen TVs, with which to watch their culture and heritage being relentlessly maligned, their identities excoriated as evil, and their culture turned into a sewer. Oh joy. But how do you put a value on giving to your people a quiet sense of personal dignity? Vs. pitting them endlessly against each other with raging identity politics and a race down to the moral abyss of spiritual feculence, writ large.

That is our lot over here in the West Boris, and the SUVs and flat screen TVs just aren't all that, when you consider the soul and the doomed future of your people.

Boris N, July 2, 2016 at 8:15 pm GMT

@Carroll Price

I will strongly disagree. We have a lot of examples all around the world where the lack of money and low living standards lead to the same bad things that you have listed. You do not need to go far, just look at your neighbour countries in Central America, or else you even might go to your own American poor minority (Black or Hispanic) neighbourhood, where the people will strongly disagree with you that their living on $10,000/year gives them a great virtue, like if they have no money to buy "toys" (in fact, first-necessity goods) then they live better "spiritual" lives. When the poor speak about the spirituality of poverty, this usually means a getaway from the harsh reality with the help of self-illusion. When the rich speak about the spirituality of poverty, this usually means they try to cheat the poor.

Greasy William, July 2, 2016 at 8:22 pm GMT

We all know he pretends to like Bibi and is a master at realpolitik .

1. He's not pretending. There is a reason that Russian nationalists absolutely despise him. He completely betrayed Iran when he refused to sell them the s-300 until they accepted Obama's deal.

2. He is extremely conscious of Russian public opinion, and yet still has no problem having publicly good relations with Netanyahu. That tells you all you need to know about how indifferent the Russian people are towards the Palestinians. Contrary to your delusions, Russia is not some sort of alt right paradise as any of the nationalists who actually live in Russia would be quick to tell you.

Rurik, July 2, 2016 at 9:05 pm GMT

He completely betrayed Iran when he refused to sell them the s-300 until they accepted Obama's deal.

Jesus Greasy, that the realpolitik I was talking about that you even highlighted in your quote! What he doesn't want is an all out war with the Zio-West!

2. He is extremely conscious of Russian public opinion, and yet still has no problem having publicly good relations with Netanyahu.

again, he's pretending to like Bibi because Bibi is the king of the Jews and therefore the default king of the West today. He's Rothschild's number one stooge. Of course Putin has to play nice with him. But be honest Greasy, no one on this planet actually likes Bibi. That's like saying you like hemorrhoids. You deal with things like hemorrhoids or Bibi, as the case may be, but sure as shit don't like them.

Russia is not some sort of alt right paradise as any of the nationalists

no, certainly not. But it's also not a cultural sewer of the Jewish id, that we in the West all have to marinate in, thankyouverymuch.. not

Greasy William, July 2, 2016 at 9:37 pm GMT

@Rurik

Bibi is the king of the Jews

Bibi rules purely by default. He's not the king of anything. Nasrallah knew what he was talking about when he said that Sharon was the last King of Israel.

Jesus Greasy, that the realpolitik I was talking about that you even highlighted in your quote!

But Putin is democratically elected. The only reason he can engaged in realpolitik in the middle east is because the Russia public doesn't give a rat's ass what happens to the Iranians or Palestinians. The only people in Russia who care about those groups are the nationalists, who, as I have said, hate Putin's guts.

Carroll Price, July 2, 2016 at 9:54 pm GMT

@Boris N Moral always come first, with money being secondary. Of course It takes a certain amount of money for people to live, but in practically every case, the more money immoral people have at their disposal the lower they sink and the sorrier they get. With Hollywood pukes being living examples of what money without morals produces. I'm surprised you haven't figured this out.

Greasy William, July 2, 2016 at 10:42 pm GMT

but in practically every case, the more money immoral people have at their disposal the lower they sink and the sorrier they get.

Without spiritual health, economic health is not only meaningless, it's unsustainable. As we here in America are about to learn the hard way.

Boris N, July 4, 2016 at 12:30 pm GMT

@Rurik I can understand why you have a distorted view of Putin and the Russian life. Because Westerners simply lack important sources of information about the reality in Russia, you simply do not live in Russia, do not meet and hear the people everyday, you are not insiders. This is why I always say that the voice for Russia in the Western media (at least in the non-mainstream one, because I have no illusion about the MSM) must be given not to West-based either Russophobes or Russophiles, who practically know nothing, but to middle-aged, middle-class Russians, who love and understand best their own home. But even in such a case we must have many voices because no two Russians have a similar point of view, for example, even if I become one of the voices (I've written quite much here, that many of my comments deserve to become articles on their own, ha-ha) many Russians will agree with me, many will disagree, and many may have totally different third, forth, and so on views. The Russian political spectrum is much diverse, there is no false dichotomy like in the West.

And from that you all have a problem. You get information about Russia either from the Washington-centric quasi-independent ("independent" in the American political doublespeak always means independent from everyone but Washington) outlets, like NYT, WP, Fox, CNN, you name it, and their view of Russia for the past 90 years is quite predictable if not annoying, and I understand why you do not believe them and interpret everything they say in the opposite way, so you have formed a habit that when they say something is black you understand it as something is white.

On the other hand you have the Kremlin propaganda state machine like RT who obviously do the same thing as the Washington propaganda machine, but in the opposite direction; or Russophilic individuals (usually emigres with nostalgia), lone wolf voices like the Saker or Karlin, but whose voice anyway is irrelevant and illusional because, as I've said, they are outsiders and know little about the actual Russian life, but they rather might be characterized as positive interpreters of open sources (and neither the sources nor their interpretations ought to be true).

Also we have local "opposition" outlets either in Russian like the radio station "Ekho Moskvy", the TV station "Dozhd", "Novaya Gazeta" and so on, or in English like "The Moscow Times", but I do not even take them seriously, I consider them as virtually subsidiaries of the Western MSM (though there is one irony that furiously anti-government "Ekho Moskvy" is owned by Gazprom).

What I wanted to say, that even if many who are not hopelessly brainwashed understand that the demonizing of Russia is a lie, it does not make the opposite view automatically right, and your over-positive opinion is generally illusional. I tried to bring you around, but seemed to fail, though to change anybody's opinion was not my goal, I was just trying to say my opinion, be it right or wrong.

Maybe our opinions are heavily influenced by our lives, both you and I may have been disappointed by our lives in our respective countries, but you believe that there is somewhere a better land, and it's Russia, while I, in turn, believe the life in the West is better. But there is one distinction. I've been in both the places and I can compare, but I bet if you come to Russia and do not become one of the high-paid Western expats who live luxury lives in Moscow, you'll very soon run off home and your Putinism will fade immediately (though your love to Russia itself may strengthen, as it has been with many Westerners).

Boris N, July 4, 2016 at 12:46 pm GMT

@Greasy William I do not know what sort of Russian nationalists you are speaking about, simply because there are not THE Russian nationalists, but one or two dozens of diffused different small groups with different if not opposite views, who may call themselves or other may call them "Russian nationalists". Not to mention thousands of common non-partisan Russians who may call themselves nationalists as well but as well may have thousands of different personal opinions about the past and the current affairs.

Among those nationalists I know personally, most of them absolutely do not care about Iran, Israel and Palestine and about the Middle East in general. The interest has only aroused since the Syrian intervention, but the general opinion about it is negative, because many think that the war in Syria is utterly inappropriate, when just at the border there is an ongoing unfinished war with Ukraine. And some nationalists even have a positive view of both Israel and Iran as good examples of national states, of what Russia must become. And unlike many commenters here, most (with some exemptions) are not so much obsessed with Israel and Jews, and they do not care if Putin loves either Israel or Iran, they dislike Putin not for that, but for other mostly internal problems.

Boris N, July 4, 2016 at 12:56 pm GMT

@Carroll Price

I do not deny the need and the role of good moral, but I have a more materialistic view of the world, an important if not the fundamental condition for good moral is the full stomach. Again no need to go far for examples, there is Latin America where people theoretically have good moral, they all are devoted Catholics, but they live in a chaotic criminal frenzy, when Detroit would look like a safe haven compared to San Salvador. Do you really think that if the USA will be as poor as but as "spiritual" as Latin America, the US life will improve?

Boris N, July 4, 2016 at 1:07 pm GMT

@Greasy William

It works in the opposite direction as well. When people have not enough means, they have no much time left to think about and to follow good moral, they are simply surviving as they can, often doing very ugly things. In most cases a society in strong need ends up in a chaos as we can see it in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

In both the cases wealth does not guarantee good moral, but good moral is not an inevitable result of poverty. Where do you choose to live, in wealthy but "immoral" Geneva or in poor but "spiritual" San Salvador?

Greasy William, July 4, 2016 at 7:19 pm GMT

Where do you choose to live, in wealthy but "immoral" Geneva or in poor but "spiritual" San Salvador?

But San Salvador is just as spiritually sick as the West, just in a different way. A spiritually healthy society will have low corruption, low violence, respect for women's rights and concern for the welfare of the weak (the poor, the disabled, the sick). Poverty *can* breed evil, but evil always ultimately breeds poverty.

I do not know what sort of Russian nationalists you are speaking about

The one's who show off their gorgeous girlfriends who have "88″ and bladed swastikas tattooed on their asses.

And some nationalists even have a positive view of both Israel and Iran as good examples of national states, of what Russia must become.

They want Russia to become multi culture, failing states, with grinding poverty where the different factions of the population hate each other while a corrupt and incompetent elite rules over them? That is what they want Russia to become?

Have you ever read the Kreutzer Sonata? It is the only piece of Russian literature I have ever read and I really liked it a lot.

Rurik, July 5, 2016 at 2:11 pm GMT

@Boris N Hey Boris,

The Russian political spectrum is much diverse, there is no false dichotomy like in the West.

well from what I can glimmer, the 'dichotomy' in Russia seems to go something like either 'we/I like Putin', or 'we/I don't like Putin'.

Perhaps it has something to do with hard politics on the ground, and the reality that it's this guy that is running things today in Russia, for better or worse.

I understand why you do not believe them and interpret everything they say in the opposite way, so you have formed a habit that when they say something is black you understand it as something is white.

I wouldn't quite characterize it in this way. It's true I never believe them, but that doesn't mean they never tell the truth. Sometimes they mix a little truth in with the lies, and sometimes they say what's really going on, because by doing so it suits their agenda(s).

When they say the Olympics are happening in Sochi, I believe them. When they say Putin shot down MH17, I think they're lying. And then with most things in between, I think it's a combination of lies and truth, always with an agenda in mind. If Putin were assisting with the destruction of Syria today, like they (the occupied West) did to Iraq and Libya, I think they'd be calling him a great statesman, and partner in freedom and democracy. It all depends on if he toes the line.

but you believe that there is somewhere a better land, and it's Russia, while I, in turn, believe the life in the West is better. But there is one distinction. I've been in both the places and I can compare

It's true I've never been to Russia, at least not yet. The closest I've came is Slovakia and Hungary, (but I did meet a beautiful Russian girl when I visited Cuba a few years ago!)

I've never thought life was better in Russia. We do have many blessings in the West. But today I consider the government of Russia (with all of it's well known corruption and chicanery) as hands down a thousand times better than what we now have in the West. And the trajectory of Putin's Russia vs. the US or Germany for instance, I consider as like a country on the rise, vs. a civilization in rapid (free-fall) decline.

My short take is that after the revolution and the murder of the Tsar and his family, the Fiend took control of Russia, and set about slaughtering the best of the Russians (and everyone else they could get their feculent hands on), and imposing a genocidal slavery on those people for generations. And then one day when they (Rothschild) decided that commie slavery was too expensive (you had to feed and house the people), they decided to impose a system even more cruel and fiendish. They'd simply use their puppet, quisling government in Moscow to loot the wealth and resources of Russia outright, and make Rothschild's minions some of the richest men in the world overnight, while impoverishing the Russian people to the point of near starvation. (it's what the do ; )

And then out of the blue came Putin, who wrested Russia away from the Fiend, and gave her hope, (and an ascendant middle class and pride in Russia's heritage). For the Fiend, this was an abomination, and ironically enough; Putin was now a new Hitler – especially when he jailed on of their own (and for hard labor -- It was another Holocaust!). But as long as he played ball with the West by letting most of the Jewish oligarchs keep their ill-gotten billions, and went along with atrocities like the savage rape of Iraq, the oligarchs were willing to ignore what Putin had done to their designs and fun up to a degree.

But then came Libya, and Putin saw that the Fiend was in absolute control of the West, and must not be fed anymore, lest the Fiend grow and fester and become a dire threat to Russia itself, (again). So Putin put the kibosh on Syria, and now he's locked in a death struggle with the Fiend, who is insane with power-lust.

It's a difficult situation to be sure. And that's how I see the West vs. Putin's Russia, and why I like Putin even with all his warts and faults. At least he's trying to make Russia great again, and that's why there are many of us in the West who pine for a man like him to take on the Fiend that has its fangs locked deeply into the jugular of the West.

For what it's worth.

cheers

Rurik, July 5, 2016 at 2:25 pm GMT

@Greasy William

The only reason he can engaged in realpolitik in the middle east is because the Russia public doesn't give a rat's ass what happens to the Iranians or Palestinians.

I think they do care what happens to Iran, since it's a close trading partner. And the Palestinians are just a distant, tragic people to the Russians. Why should they wring their hands, it isn't them who're foisting the evils upon the Pals, it's us Americans that are doing that.

The only people in Russia who care about those groups are the nationalists, who, as I have said, hate Putin's guts.

how many Russian nationalists do you know or speak to who are not Jewish, Greasy?

From what I understand, the IDF is chock full of Russian émigrés, and their take on things must be skewed by Putin's thwarting of Israel's designs on the Golan.

here's a forum run by an ultra-Russian nationalist

http://www.network54.com/Forum/84302

another

http://slavija.proboards.com/

here's the Pravda main forum

http://engforum.pravda.ru/index.php?/forum/3-main-forum/

lot's of chafe on that one but you can at least glimmer a nuanced inkling of what the Russian nationalists are on about

(they love Putin ; )

Rurik, July 5, 2016 at 2:39 pm GMT

@Greasy William

Without spiritual health, economic health is not only meaningless, it's unsustainable. As we here in America are about to learn the hard way.

having linked to the Pravda forum, I just took a moment to peruse the Pravda front page.

This from an article on Russia today:

Putin has saved the country before and he is saving the country now. We despise all the fifth column "dissent" that is based on your taxpayer money. Russia will never behave like Soros, who maintains institutions to overthrow governments, because our leaders are Orthodox Christians. Capitalism is not our religion. You are addicted to a beautiful body, and we are addicted to a beautiful soul.

more:

Our aggressiveness exists only in your imagination. The reunification of the Russian people with the Crimea passed without one single shot, because Russia is more than just a country. Russia is a territory, which shares a common language, history and culture. We see any attempt to "reprogram" Russians in Ukraine as a hybrid warfare against us. One can welcome the Scottish Premier and discuss the likelihood for the UK to fall apart, but one can not support the population of southern lands of the former Russian Empire in their aspiration to withdraw from Ukraine? Is this not a double standard?

.. we do not like your determination to make us be like you. We change. Moscow has become one of the most beautiful capitals in Europe. We do not live up to Western lifestyles, and we do not "give a damn" if you do not like our way.

http://www.pravdareport.com/society/stories/04-07-2016/134920-russians_foreigners-0/

NoseytheDuke, July 6, 2016 at 3:22 am GMT

@Greasy William

I would say that Putin certainly does care about Iran. It doesn't take a genius to know which nations have been declared evil and targeted by the US, they are frequently named by traitorous whores like Hillary, Obuma, Biden etc, along with the treacherous neo-cons who bear responsibility for fomenting wars in the ME.

Putin is smart enough to know that if any nation sits back and waits its turn to be attacked it will surely be destroyed. He went out on a limb to arrest the destruction of Syria and it has paid off. He appears to have played his cards remarkably well to date. I can't imagine that the stratospheric level of approval and support that he receives in Russia is fictional.

I would believe RT News before I would the BBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, DW, Fox and all the other discredited western "news" outlets.

Boris N, July 9, 2016 at 2:25 am GMT

@Rurik

the 'dichotomy' in Russia seems to go something like either 'we/I like Putin', or 'we/I don't like Putin'.

To like/dislike Putin is not a political stance but rather a personal opinion. But it does not explain nor imply any other view. To be precise, several persons can dislike Putin, but one may be a pro-Western ultra-liberal, another a Stalinist, other a National-Bolshevik, other a Christian Monarchist, other a racist Nazi, other a pro-Ukrainian Nazi, and so on. It is difficult to list them all. And they all may have totally different views on many subjects, but just one thing in common, as you said, a dislike to Putin.

I cannot say for sure for the Western public but I hardly saw such a variety of views. Maybe the reason why Russians cannot unite and change something, because they are so disintegrated on many issues.

It's true I never believe them, but that doesn't mean they never tell the truth.

OK, I did not mean that. Of course, when they say that somewhere there has been a tornado, or, as in your example, a sporting event, or some other trivial factual thing they simply cannot not to say truth. But when they are trying to create some sort of analysis about hot global political affairs they usually back up the agenda of their Washington-Brussels masters. But the agenda of the Kremlin is hardly better . The best option is not to listen them both.

But today I consider the government of Russia (with all of it's well known corruption and chicanery) as hands down a thousand times better than what we now have in the West.

Again, you say this because you simply has a very limited range of sources of information. You just repeat a made-up image of the Russian government or, precisely, of just one person, Putin. But this is just an image for the outside (non-Russian) public . You need know more, much more, form a variety of Russian sources, for a long period of time, and then you might have not the right, but at least a less distorted view. The actual Russian government, if we put Putin (pun) aside, is comprised of very ugly, greedy, treacherous, hypocritical people, I simply cannot find the right words for those bastards. They are utterly disgusting. They have been ruining the country for the past 25 years.

And the trajectory of Putin's Russia vs. the US or Germany for instance, I consider as like a country on the rise, vs. a civilization in rapid (free-fall) decline.

Russia is on the fall . The crisis of the past two years has just nullified any achievements of the previous 2004-2014 decade. Russia has practically returned to its starting position. And nothing says about its rise, everything says the contrary . Russians have entered a difficult time. They will be remembering 2000-2014 with bitter nostalgia.

And then out of the blue came Putin, who wrested Russia away from the Fiend, and gave her hope,

Putin did not turn out of blue, he was a member of the 1990s robbing elite, he is a continuation of Yeltsin, I explained it in my other comments colorfully. Not to mention Putin's "team" are the very same people from the 1990s. Take anybody and they all were doing some ugly things in the 1990s, but now they are "respected" officials and "businessmen". The only thing he has done is to hide this ugly truth under the cover. And millions around the world believe his deceit, how naive.

Boris N, July 9, 2016 at 2:42 am GMT

@Greasy William

The one's who show off their gorgeous girlfriends who have "88″ and bladed swastikas tattooed on their asses.

If you speaking seriously, what I doubt, then they are a very small, marginal minority. Since the 2000s being 1488 is a mauvais ton in the Russian national circles, nobody take those Racial Holy Warriors and fans of Hitler seriously, they are just nutheads.

They want Russia to become multi culture, failing states, with grinding poverty where the different factions of the population hate each other while a corrupt and incompetent elite rules over them? That is what they want Russia to become?

Actually, for the past 25 years Russia is becoming "a multi-culture, failing state, with grinding poverty where the different factions of the population hate each other while a corrupt and incompetent elite rules over them" . I will add that that elite is in the West in their minds, and they have to be physically located in Russia just for the sake of "earning" money.

Of course, no Russian nationalists want this, even the Nazi nuthead minority. When I said Israel was taken as an example I meant something like that .

Boris N, July 9, 2016 at 2:56 am GMT

@Rurik

lot's of chafe on that one but you can at least glimmer a nuanced inkling of what the Russian nationalists are on about

(they love Putin ; )

No, you cannot accidentally pick up some obscure bulletin boards, hosted on a free-hosting site, which boards nobody knows and cares about.

The actual whole Russian national movement has been being thought through, discussed and constructed for many years entirely in Russian, in the Russian part of the internet, and not in English by some pro-Russian foreigners or Russian emigres.

[Jul 23, 2017] Emigrant Russians scientists after fleeing our benevolent Shock Treatment are still ungrateful and like to bemoan the horrors of the West insisting that contemporary US University Education Administration is Worse than under Brezhnev , and to accuse us – the West – of having sold them, the Soviets, a bag of ideological nonsense about capitalism and freedom.

Notable quotes:
"... The problems that the Communist bloc countries developed in the 80ies were problems of growth. Liberalization of the regime was under way and clearly understood as necessary by the leadership – but that process failed – because it was taken advantage of, both internally and externally. ..."
"... "In what circumstances would you want the economy to be planned, and what sort of planning do you have in mind?" ..."
"... intellectual ..."
"... Aron was in some sense a "Marxian" ..."
"... the theorists of colonialism ..."
"... "were convinced that the USSR was a genuine incarnation of Left values." ..."
"... Roma Città Aperta ..."
"... would have thought ..."
"... Quaderni del carcere ..."
"... "understand the world" ..."
"... "to change the world" ..."
"... America's Protectionist Takeoff 1815-1914: The Neglected American School of Political Economy ..."
"... Securing the Fruits of Labor: The American Concept of Wealth Distribution, 1765-1900 ..."
"... Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America ..."
"... society in the process of formation ..."
"... A Hard Rain Fell: SDS and Why It Failed ..."
"... War In the Shadows, the Guerilla in History, Vol II ..."
"... Theory of the Partisan ..."
Jul 23, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

witters , , July 21, 2017 at 7:01 pm

It is awkward when – as has happened with me – a Russian comes to the West – fleeing our beneficient "Shock Treatment" – and then shocks one by saying in anger at my casual derogatory comment about Stalin, "Listen, Stalin wasn't all bad!"

And then goes on to bemoan the horrors of the West. He finished, in the corridor of the Department, by insisting that contemporary Westen University Education Administration was "Worse than under Brezhnev", and to accuse us – the West – of having sold them, the Soviets, a bag of ideological nonsense about capitalism and freedom.

And then invited me to his home for borsch and table tennis.

Vlade would set him straight, but I went and had the borscht and played – and lost – the table tennis.

kukuzel , , July 21, 2017 at 11:23 am

I grew up in the Communist block in the 70-ies and 80-ies. I've now lived in the US for about 20 years. Comparing the lives of the people on minimum or low wages in the US with those similarly placed in the Communist block economies is in my view indisputably in favor of the Communist bloc. Free child care, education, provided at decent quality, and practically EVERYONE owned a home – a small one, but nonetheless a normal home, that you paid off over 30 years with your state guaranteed job. No interest loans from simple savings pools managed on rotational principle at work (my parents used them extensively). Nearly everyone in the cities had a small summer cottage and a small garden that produced vegetables – for recreation and added self-sufficiency, and not to mention a boost to communities. Yeah, our family car was a Trabant – a laughable vehicle for the US consumer, even absurd by today's standards. But we didn't have and didn't need 6-lane highways either, so the Trabi was adequate. And yeah, many personal freedoms were severely limited, and there was a lack of culture of law – but that was more attributable to historic backwardness, because that culture of law is even more absent today.

As a middle class professional today in Silicon Valley earning way beyond the median income in the US, I am struggling to provide a similar level or security for my family and a similar quality of community life and good education. Bottom line, this level of security is probably only achievable for under 5% of the US households.

So yeah, I agree with the statement.

So for all those focused on the committed atrocities, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. There were good things and we have lost them. Probably forever.

Outis Philalithopoulos Post author , , July 21, 2017 at 11:31 am

Thanks for your comment – can you tell us a little more about which countries you lived in (and, if possible, which ones you thought worked better than others)? As I said in my post, I'm interested in learning more about the specificities of particular countries.

kukuzel , , July 21, 2017 at 2:39 pm

I grew up in Bulgaria. I also have memories from a summer camp and middle school exchange program in Czechoslovakia in the 80ies, and the standard of living and the culture of people there seemed much higher. For example, my Czech host family (the parents worked in an electronic watch factory, in a small town east of Prague – they could have been engineers possibly and not line workers as they seemed well educated) had a small two-story single family concrete house, with a small rye-grass lawn and a barbeque – luxuries that we in Bulgaria did not have. They also had a bathtub – again a luxury I was not familiar with in Bulgarian homes. I remember that the stores and pastry shops in my hosts' town looked nicer and had more and better quality items.

One other thing I remember: the bread and tap water were not as good as in Bulgaria. I guess not everything is explainable by the economic system alone :)

Nowadays reliable info about the standard of living of those times is harder and harder to find – and it seems that any info is used to ridicule it rather than try to genuinely understand how it was achieved. My relatives like to talk about it, and what they share is not all rosy. But all of the baby boomer generation who came of age in the 60ies, 70ies and 80ies managed to raise and educate 2 kids on average, and acquire a modest but adequate home – ALL. Note that people needed a special permission to acquire a second home. Homelessness and crime virtually did not exist. I think it can safely be said that 90% of society had a solid basic standard of living – no vacations on the Bahamas, no diamonds on your wife's finger and no latest model BMW in your garage, but you knew the big items were taken care of.

The problems that the Communist bloc countries developed in the 80ies were problems of growth. Liberalization of the regime was under way and clearly understood as necessary by the leadership – but that process failed – because it was taken advantage of, both internally and externally.

kukuzel , , July 21, 2017 at 2:57 pm

I want to add one more thing: today, in my observation, the generation X and millennials in Bulgaria can only afford to live on the meager incomes their jobs provide because they have a free flat or house from their parents or grandparents. Gradually home ownership levels are eroding and more and more people have to rent, just like in the mature "developed" economies. That is a time bomb that will enslave all but few.

This is one factor that I see mentioned nowhere – how Communism, given its objections to private property, actually allowed the vast majority of working people to build a base of wealth in their homes – that is to this day supporting the economic balance of the country.

There is a program under way currently in Bulgaria to upgrade the insulation of Communist era apartment blocs. There are discussions on TV and press about how many billions of euros this costs. Well, I would say – then how about putting this in perspective to the cost of actually BUILDING all of this housing fund which was done in the prior era?? Imagine the billions upon billions that were spent by this society to build 100s of thousands of units, affordable units, with green spaces around them, schools etc. Can you imagine a program of that magnitude anywhere today?

So these are the contrasts that emerge, and I would much rather have the discussion be about that – and not about the horrors of Stalinism or other Communist totalitarianism. Those should not be ever forgotten or concealed, but what would be really useful today in our Western society is the good things that Communist regimes managed to achieve – because they are very illuminating about what is economically possible to achieve.

Outis Philalithopoulos Post author , , July 21, 2017 at 6:53 pm

kukuzel, thanks so much for all of this highly detailed information.

On your last point, what I actually think we should strive for is the ability not to have to choose between the two kinds of discourses you indicate. It shouldn't be a playground contest over "Well, your system's more horrible." It should be about us being able to say – for example – I want to be able to have these positive aspects from the Bulgarian communist years without having to have these negative ones.

Or to put it another way, not having to take societies as blocs.

That means having to tease apart the extent to which positive aspects were or were not achieved through means that also led to the negative aspects. But this kind of analysis has to be done anyway – even if the idea were to return to something like this or this other particular society, it would still not work without adapting the earlier model to changed circumstances.

Lee , , July 21, 2017 at 12:08 pm

The collapse of the Soviet Union was a disaster for many Russians. The one Russian family I know well were well-off prior to the collapse but for an extended period they could not provide for their two daughters so they asked my wife and I to sponsor and serve as wards for one of them who had lived with us under a student exchange program. Her mother had worked as an industrial chemist and her father had worked in IT for financial institutions. The father died a death of despair; he drank himself to death. The mother now teaches college level chem. The daughter who remained with us now works for a well known US company making films, is married and has two children. The daughter who remained in Russia is a marine biologist. This family, well educated and dedicated to their work and each other did well under the Soviet system and their lot has improved immensely under Putin.

Outis Philalithopoulos Post author , , July 21, 2017 at 5:45 pm

I have read that Putin's economic policies are somewhat "right-wing" in their tendencies.

I don't know whether this is accurate although maybe some readers do. If it is, though, it would suggest that what made the difference in Russia is not so much communism versus capitalism but a strong state (Putin, communism) versus a weak state (the 90s).

Carolinian , , July 21, 2017 at 8:57 am

Thanks for this. Perhaps the latest crime of "capitalism"–40,000 civilians may have died under American and Iraqi bombs and shells as Mosul was "liberated." Rather than visit mass violence on their own people the US and Britain have turned it outward and then claimed it was unfortunately necessary.

As for the above post, I think it may be minimizing the degree to which capitalist opposition shaped communism. This Stephen Cohen article that I linked the other day suggests that the Soviets under Glasnost may have been moving toward a more democratic form of communism but that was subverted by the greed of its own oligarchs and open US support for Yeltsin who crushed democracy and wrecked the country.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2006/dec/13/comment.russia

Outis Philalithopoulos Post author , , July 21, 2017 at 10:45 am

The Stephen Cohen article is interesting and I'm puzzled as to why you think it is somehow incompatible with anything that I said in the post.

When you say we should emphasize more the extent to which capitalist opposition shaped communism, you fail to address my response that this argument proves too much. Every regime or institution faces some sort of opposition. This opposition partly constrains how it can act. Why couldn't you just as easily say, "Everything that Monsanto (or Uber, or Goldman, etc., etc.) does has to be understood considering that they are operating in a fearsome competitive environment, where at the first sign of weakness, their competitors were ready to crush them"?

Rossana Rossanda, who had every reason in the world to want to find extenuating circumstances for the regime she had "loved," was unable to convince herself that the argument you are proposing sufficed to conjure away the moral problem. See below (response to Ulysses) where I quote from her book at length.

I also think you are engaging in sloppy reasoning when you attribute 40,000 deaths at Mosul to "capitalism." That's the same kind of lack of concern to agents used in the Black Book when it attributes massive numbers of war deaths to "communism."

Carolinian , , July 21, 2017 at 11:22 am

If America had never invaded Iraq would those 40,000 still be alive? I'd say there's a persuasive case that they would be. And there's also a persuasive case that George W. Bush's motives had everything to do with capitalist imperatives, oil imperialism, the profits of the MIC etc.

And I'm not trying to defend Soviet communism since IMO both sides of the Cold War divide were misguided. I'm just saying that from the very beginning the attitude of the capitalist countries was that communism was something that couldn't be allowed to succeed lest the contagion spread. So it's hard for us to know how, say, Cuba might have turned out absent so much US meddling.

optimader , , July 21, 2017 at 7:26 pm

Perhaps the latest crime of "capitalism"–40,000 civilians may have died under American and Iraqi bombs and shells as Mosul was "liberated."

is this an indictment of capitalism or of US politicians delusion of "transformation" and the inertia of the MIC?
correlation is not causation File under: crimes of Stalin, Mao, PolPot and Castro

Vatch , , July 21, 2017 at 10:37 am

The Brits starved something like 30 million Indians in the 19th century,

Source, please. Note that prior to 1857, the British control over India was incomplete. Many of the famine deaths prior to that were unrelated to British rule. I think I've seen estimates that about 5 million people died in 1876 and again in 1896. I'm not defending British rule -- they had no right to be there, and they did not care about the needs of the people that they ruled. I'm just wondering about the number 30 million.

if people accurately tallied up the deaths and inefficiencies under capitalism and imperialism, Stalin and Mao were quaint.

False. In addition to what happened in Ukraine and Kazakhstan in 1931-1933, we need to consider the catastrophe of Mao's Great Leap Forward from 1958 to 1962. The low estimate of deaths from starvation is 30 million, and in Frank Dikötter's book Mao's Great Famine , the author estimates that at least 45 million died of starvation. That's just a 4 – 5 year period.

Carolinian , , July 21, 2017 at 11:10 am

Perhaps the Russians could claim that the 20 million plus Russians who died during WW2 were victims of capitalism not to mention all those who died in WW1. The point is that neither system has clean hands when it comes to violence. They just have different targets.

Vatch , , July 21, 2017 at 11:19 am

There's a difference between deaths in wartime and deaths in peacetime. They're equally horrible, but it's harder to pick an economic ideology to blame for wartime deaths. After all, Stalin helped start the European portion of WWII with the Molotov Von Ribbentrop Pact. So one could say that those 20 million deaths were partly caused by communism.

Carolinian , , July 21, 2017 at 11:38 am

One reason many in the West were at first complacent about Hitler coming to power was the hope that he would take out the Soviets. I'd say there's a case to be made that the whole second half of the 20th century was shaped by the Russian Revolution and the reaction to it. Hitler was always going to invade Russia. He hoped Britain and others would join him in his crusade. When WW2 was over there were many who thought we should keep going and take out the Soviets too, even if with nuclear weapons. Some people it seems still think that even though Russians are no longer communists.

So it's a power struggle of course, but in the 20th cent it was very much an ideological struggle. Perhaps anti-communism was just an excuse but having been there I'd say the Cold Warriors were true believers.

Vatch , , July 21, 2017 at 11:52 am

Hitler was always going to invade Russia.

Very likely true. But first he had to invade Poland, and he would have done that later if it had not been for his Nonaggression Pact with the Soviets. Meanwhile, if the invasion of Poland had been delayed, Britain and France would have improved their military capabilities, because they knew what Hitler was up to after he seized Czechoslovakia earlier in 1939. Stalin made it easier for Hitler in 1939.

Alex Morfesis , , July 21, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Could we just order summary execution for anyone who brings up mass deaths from the past ?? Only semi snarking

most wars seem to come from grandfathers telling their grandsons things that never were

Someone kills some trees and throws some ink on them to work on tenure 50 75..100 200 500 years after the fact

Why does anyone believe anything anyone writes or says??

The dead are dead we can't bring them back and
they won't have noticed
we avenged them because they are dead

Can we even agree on what is going on around the world today as we speak & communicate ??

Trump being investigated by the watchful eye of the fool who was filling in crossword puzzle books his first few weeks in office allowing the events of 9-11 to occur ??

How funny is that ??

We have the self proclaimed righteous (privately owned) 1$t amendment acela vanity press cutting and pasting talking points while almost never publishing the contents of the federal register or congressional research service reports and it's not just an american phenomenon most countries have "official gazettes" none of the "great and brave journalists" bother actually reporting on the business of government

The dead are dead nothing will bring them back and those who killed them are also probably dead

For those who submit and do not resist, most leadership will seem benevolent for those with other thoughts death will come sooner than originally planned

There is plenty of history when one is handed "atrocities" one should ask why this and why now ??

War is easy peace is difficult

The difficult road is less boring

Katsue , , July 21, 2017 at 12:16 pm

By the time of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, a European war was already unavoidable. The farce of Non-Intervention in the Spanish Civil War, the Munich Agreement, and Poland's participation in the partition of Czechoslovakia, had totally discredited Litvinov's pro-Western foreign policy.

jw , , July 21, 2017 at 12:51 pm

Sources: Late Victorian Holocausts by Mike Davis and Epidemics and History by Sheldon Watts both deal with the staggering death toll of British rule in India (roughly 30 million).

Perilous Passage by Amiya Bagchi has a more rigorous count and analysis of India, China, and other countries subjected to imperialism.

Regarding the Ukraine, the Best Sons for the Fatherland by Lynn Viola details the second civil war that was collectivization. Peasants didn't want to give up grain, so they killed Party members, killed their livestock, destroyed their equipment, etc.

I've read Dikotter. The problem with his death tolls is fertility and birth rates drop during famine. You can't extrapolate pre-famine birth rates and say "oh, these people weren't born therefore those count as deaths." They did the same thing with deaths in Kampuchea. And yes, millions did die of famine in the Ukraine and Kazkhanstan. I'm not disputing that. I'm disputing this notion that Stalin and Mao were worse than Hitler. They were not. It's misleading to say "Stalin killed more of his citizens than Hitler did" because most of the killings by Nazis were of Slavs. The Soviets lost well over 20 million people due to the Nazis genocidal plans.

Regarding China, you know the bloodiest civil war/famine in history? The Taiping Rebellion, which was the result of the Brits shoving opium down China's throat. Mao was no saint, but mortality rates in China were far higher before the 1949 revolution than after. See for instance Mobo Gao's the Battle for China's Past or William Hinton's Through a Glass Darkly.

Ultimately, purges and famines miss another huge source of deaths: disease. Mao's China and Stalin's Russia made astounding leaps in public health, eliminating smallpox for one. Conveniently, these millions of lives saved are ignored by Western hysterics. This isn't to say Stalinism and Maoism are desirable. It is to say that the picture requires nuance. There is a reason Mao and Stalin are still revered by millions of people in China and Russia.

Vatch , , July 21, 2017 at 2:19 pm

Thanks for the references.

"I'm disputing this notion that Stalin and Mao were worse than Hitler."

I'm not sure who said that Stalin and Mao were worse than Hitler, but in my opinion they were approximately the same.

Yes, I'm aware of the Taiping Rebellion. Much more deadly than World War I.

Why are Stalin and Mao still revered by some people? Probably for similar reasons as the reverence that some Americans have for Reagan and Trump: people sometimes believe weird things. As for smallpox, that's been eliminated everywhere (we hope); not just in Russia and China.

Tim , , July 21, 2017 at 2:33 pm

Dikotter is a grotesque neoliberal apologist for imperialist drug dealers. He is also a fabulist in his treatment of the effects of heroin/opiate addiction in late 19th/early 20th century China. Given that we in the US are now experiencing a staggering public health disaster with respect to opiate consumption by the immiserated proletariat, Dikotter's attempts to minimize the impacts of opiates on Chinese public health is ghoulish at best.

Vatch , , July 21, 2017 at 2:43 pm

Well, that doesn't seem relevant to the artificial famine of the Great Leap Forward, but I'm curious. What's your source for your claim that he is an apologist for drug dealers? Did he write something bad about the opium wars? Clearly the behavior of Britain in that context was atrocious.

animalogic , , July 21, 2017 at 7:29 am

I would like to thank the author for taking such an open minded, non doctrinaire attitude to this subject.
That's not to suggest I agree with all his conclusions. Nor does the Q & A approach always prove enlightening.
"Q: Was Stalinism good?
A: No."
The question is easy & the answer is correct. Of course, there is a small wrinkle: most historians agree that it was the USSR that made the primary contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany.
Q: to what degree did "Stalinism" enable the USSR to defeat the Nazis ?
A: It's an open question. It's often forgotten that the USSR came very close to defeat in 41′-42′. In part because of Stalin's interference in military matters. But, would the USSR have had ANY chance of victory "but for" the "crash" industrialisation instituted by Stalin in the 30's ? If you allow that crash industrialisation was a necessary, (not sufficient) condition for eventuaL victory – can we give Stalin any credit ?
"Q: Is it at least true that a planned economy always fails?
A: Probably not." But is that the right question ? Isn't the right question, "to what degree/extent can an economy be planned & succeed ?" (An "economy" is almost be definition "planned". The most basic law on property, succession etc IS planning ).
Some of the author's Q & A's are very good:
"Q: Well, is it at least true that attempts to change a society consciously lead to catastrophe?

A: What does it mean for a society to change "unconsciously"? Aren't most social changes due to human decisions? Often proclamations of this sort can function as code for certain groups of people being allowed to change society in "natural" ways, free from "conscious" and "unnatural" "interference" from others." I think the author probably means "programmatically" when he says "consciously" but his point remains valid: change occurs because people have ideas which they seek to implement.

Outis Philalithopoulos Post author , , July 21, 2017 at 8:48 am

A few responses: First, I agree that your question on whether the 30s industrialization was crucial is worth posing. On Stalin's interference in 1941-1942, yes, and it's also true that Stalin was initially blindsided by Hitler's attack – he was pretty faithful to Molotov-Ribbentrop while it lasted.

On "programmatic" versus "conscious," I agree that your wording is more precise, but my purpose there was to paraphrase standard ideological constructions.

The purpose of the Q & A was to illustrate how some questions can be answered even when we don't know all the historical details. I can't provide a general answer to, "To what extent can an economy be planned and succeed?" – can you? As I indicated in the article, I think the more fundamental question is in any case, "In what circumstances would you want the economy to be planned, and what sort of planning do you have in mind?"

visitor , , July 21, 2017 at 9:40 am

"In what circumstances would you want the economy to be planned, and what sort of planning do you have in mind?"

An answer was given in "Organizations", written by March and Simon in the 1950s: in case of war.

The observation that during WWII every major player (UK, USA, Germany, Japan, USSR), no matter which economic principles it followed, turned to and relied upon a planned economy, with central resource allocation, dirigiste production schedules and centrally rationed consumption, led those authors to analyze markets and planing entities, as well as participating organizations as problem-solving mechanisms geared to processing information and reducing uncertainty. Interestingly, it appears that in the USSR, WWII led to a moderate relaxation of planning in some sectors of the economy.

Basically, when the stakes are very high (of a survival nature), the resources to put into use of a massive (i.e. national) and comprehensive scale, and there is no time to let multiple entities experiment an