The reasons why confronting Israel is important – By Philip Giraldi The Unz Review – (SOTT)

NetanyahuCongress

© Unknown
Netanyahu and US Congress

The Jewish state is no friend.

I am often asked why I have this “thing” about Israel, with friends suggesting that I would be much more respected as a pundit if I were to instead concentrate on national security and political corruption. The problem with that formulation is that the so-called “special relationship” with Israel is itself the result of terrible national security and foreign policy choices that is sustained by pervasive political and media corruption, so any honest attempt to examine the one inevitably leads to the other. Most talking heads in the media avoid that dilemma by choosing to completely ignore the dark side of Israel.

Israel – not Russia – is the one foreign country that can interfere with impunity with the political processes in the United States yet it is immune from criticism. It is also the single most significant threat to genuine national security as it and its powerful domestic lobby have been major advocates for the continuation of America’s interventionist warfare state. The decision to go to war on false pretenses against Iraq, largely promoted by a cabal of prominent American Jews in the Pentagon and in the media, killed 4,424 Americans as well as hundreds of thousands Iraqis and will wind up costing the American taxpayer $7 trillion dollars when all the bills are paid. That same group of mostly Jewish neocons more-or-less is now agitating to go to war with Iran using a game plan for escalation prepared by Israel which will, if anything, prove even more catastrophic.

And I can go on from there. According to the FBI, Israel runs the most aggressive spying operations against the U.S. among ostensibly “friendly” nations, frequently stealing our military technology for resale by its own arms merchants. Its notable successes in espionage have included the most devastating spy in U.S. history Jonathan Pollard, while it has also penetrated American communications systems and illegally obtained both the fuel and the triggers for its own secret nuclear weapons arsenal.

Israel cares little for American sovereignty. It’s prime ministers Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu have both boasted how they control the United States. In 2001, Israel was running a massive secret spying operation directed against Arabs in the U.S. Many in the intelligence and law enforcement communities suspect that it had considerable prior intelligence regarding the 9/11 plot but did not share it with Washington. There was the spectacle of the “dancing Shlomos,” Israeli “movers” from a company in New Jersey who apparently had advanced knowledge of the terrorist attack and danced and celebrated as they watched the Twin Towers go down.

Comment: 9/11 is the Israeli leverage on America that keeps on giving. It shares secrets being kept from the US public about this horrific event.

Jewish power, both in terms of money and of access to people and mechanisms that really matter, is what allows Israel to act with impunity, making the United States both poorer and more insecure. A well-funded massive lobbying effort involving hundreds of groups and thousands of individuals in the U.S. has worked to the detriment of actual American interests, in part by creating a permanent annual gift of billions of dollars to Israel for no other reason but that it is Israel and can get anything it wants from a servile Congress and White House without any objection from a controlled media.

Israel has also obtained carte blanche political protection from the U.S. in fora like the United Nations, which is damaging to America’s reputation and its actual interests. This protection now extends to the basing of U.S. troops in Israel to serve as a tripwire, guaranteeing that Washington will become involved if Israel is ever attacked or even if Israel itself starts a war. The current U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley is little more than a shill for Israel while America’s Ambassador in Israel David Friedman is an open supporter of Israel’s illegal settlements, which the U.S. opposes, who spends much of his time defending Israeli war crimes.

And here on the home front Israel is doing damage that might be viewed as even more grave in Senator Ben Cardin’s attempt to destroy First Amendment rights by making any criticism of Israel illegal. The non-violent Israel Boycott movement (BDS) has already been sanctioned in many states, the result of intensive and successful lobbying by the Israeli government and its powerful friends.

So if there is a real enemy of the United States in terms of the actual damage being inflicted by a foreign power, it is Israel. In the recent Russiagate investigations it was revealed that it was Israel, not Russia, that sought favors from Michael Flynn and the incoming Trump Administration yet Special Counsel Robert Mueller has evidently not chosen to go down that road with his investigations, which should surprise no one.

Noam Chomsky, iconic progressive intellectual, has finally come around on the issue of Israel and what it means. He has always argued somewhat incoherently that Israeli misbehavior has been due to its role as a tool of American imperialism and capitalism. At age 89, he has finally figured out that it is actually all about what a parasitic Israel wants without any regard for its American host, observing on Democracy Now that

…take, say, the huge issue of interference in our pristine elections. Did the Russians interfere in our elections? An issue of overwhelming concern in the media. I mean, in most of the world, that’s almost a joke. First of all, if you’re interested in foreign interference in our elections, whatever the Russians may have done barely counts or weighs in the balance as compared with what another state does, openly, brazenly and with enormous support. Israeli intervention in U.S. elections vastly overwhelms anything the Russians may have done… I mean, even to the point where the prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, goes directly to Congress, without even informing the president, and speaks to Congress, with overwhelming applause, to try to undermine the president’s policies – what happened with Obama and Netanyahu in 2015….

Politicians are terrified of crossing the Jewish lobby by saying anything negative about Israel, which means that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu always gets a pass from the American government, even when he starves civilians and bombs hospitals and schools. Netanyahu uses snipers to shoot dead scores of unarmed demonstrators and the snipers themselves joke about their kills without a peep from Washington, which styles itself the “leader of the free world.”

Just recently, Israel has declared itself a Jewish State with all that implies. To be sure, Israeli Christians and Muslims were already subject to a battery of laws and regulations that empowered Jews at their expense but now it is the guiding principle that Israel will be run for the benefit of Jews and Jews alone. And it still likes to call itself a “democracy.”

A recent television program illustrates just how far the subjugation of America’s elected leaders by Israel has gone. British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen is featured on a new show called Who is America? in which he uses disguises and aliases to engage politicians and other luminaries in unscripted interviews that reveal just how ignorant or mendacious they actually are. Several recent episodes remind one of a February 2013 Saturday Night Live skit on the impending confirmation of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. A Senator asks Hagel. “It is vital to Israel’s security for you to go on national television and perform oral sex on a donkey… Would you do THAT for Israel?” A “yes” answer was, of course, expected from Hagel. The skit was never aired after objections from the usual suspects.

Baron Cohen, who confronted several GOP notables in the guise of Colonel Erran Morad, an Israeli security specialist, provided a number of clues that his interview was a sham but none of the victims were smart enough to pick up on them. Cohen, wearing an Israeli military uniform and calling himself a colonel, clearly displayed sergeant’s stripes. Hinting that he might actually be a Mossad agent, Cohen also sported a T-shirt on which the Hebrew text was printed backwards and he claimed that the Israeli spy agency’s motto was “if you want to win, show some skin.”

Cohen set up Dick Cheney by complimenting him on being the “the king of terrorist killers” before commenting that “my neighbor in Tel Aviv is in jail for murder, or, as we call it, enhanced tickling.” Morad went on to tell Cheney that he once waterboarded his wife to check for infidelity and then convinced the former Vice President to sign a “waterboarding kit” that “already had” the signatures of Benjamin Netanyahu, Ariel Sharon and Demi Lovato.

Another more spectacular sketch included a Georgia state senator Jason Spencer who was convinced to shout out the n-word as part of an alleged video being made to fight terrorism. After Cohen told Spencer that it was necessary to incite fear in homophobic jihadists, Spencer dropped his pants and underwear, before backing up with his exposed rear end while shouting “USA!” and “America!” Spencer also spoke with a phony Asian accent while simulating using a selfie-stick to secretly insert a camera phone inside a Muslim woman’s burqa.

In another series of encounters, Cohen as Morad managed to convince current and ex-Republican members of Congress – to include former Senate majority leader Trent Lott – to endorse a fictional Israeli program to arm grade school children for self-defense.

Cohen’s footage included a former Illinois congressman and talk radio host named Joe Walsh saying:

“The intensive three-week ‘Kinderguardian’ course introduces specially selected children from 12 to 4 years old to pistols, rifles, semiautomatics and a rudimentary knowledge of mortars. In less than a month – less than a month – a first-grader can become a first grenade-er.”

Both controversial Alabama judge Roy Moore and Walsh were fooled into meeting Cohen to attend a non-existent pro-Israel conference to accept an award for “significant contributions to the state of Israel.” Representative Dana Rohrabacher, meanwhile, also was interviewed and he commented that,

“Maybe having young people trained and understand how to defend themselves and their school might actually make us safer here.”

And Congressman Joe Wilson observed that

“A 3-year-old cannot defend itself from an assault rifle by throwing a ‘Hello Kitty’ pencil case at it.”

Cohen’s performance is instructive. A man shows up in Israeli uniform, claims to be a terrorism expert or even a Mossad agent, and he gains access to powerful Americans who are willing to do anything he says. How Cohen did it says a lot about the reflexive and completely uncritical support for Israel that many American politicians – particularly Republicans – now embrace.

This, in a nutshell, is the damage that Israel and its Lobby have done to the United States. Israel is always right for many policymakers and even palpably phony Jews like Colonel Morad are instantly perceived as smarter than the rest of us so we’d better do what they say. That kind of thinking has brought us Iraq, Libya, Syria and the possibility of something far worse with Iran.

Israel routinely interferes in American politics and corrupts our institutions without any cost to itself and that is why I write and speak frequently regarding the danger to our Republic that it poses. It is past time to change the essentially phony narrative. Israel is nothing but trouble. It has the right to defend itself and protect its interests but that should not involve the United States. One can only hope that eventually a majority of my fellow American citizens will also figure things out. It might take a while, but the ruthless way Israel openly operates with no concern for anyone but itself provides a measure of optimism that that day is surely coming.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is www.councilforthenationalinterest.org.

Comment: With Congress, the president and intel agencies in its pocket, who is going to confront Israel?

See Also:

Israel’s policies in Gaza are genocidal – By Haidar Eid. (MONDOWEISS)

The 1948 Genocide Convention clearly states that one instance of genocide is “the deliberate infliction of conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction of a people in whole or in part.” No matter whether this happens at a fast rate, or in “slow motion.” That is what has been done to Gaza since the imposition of the blockade by Israel, and the subsequent massacres which led to the death of more than 4000 Palestinians in three successive genocidal wars.

Palestinians of Gaza live an ongoing, illegal, crippling Israeli siege that has shattered all spheres of life, prompting the former UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, Richard Falk, to describe it as “a prelude to genocide”. In 2009, the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, headed by the highly respected South African judge, Richard Goldstone, found Israel guilty of “war crimes and possible crimes against humanity,” as did major international human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The Goldstone report, for example, concludes that Israel’s war on Gaza was “designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability.”

The same scenario was repeated in 2012, and a worse one in 2014 only because Israel feels that it can carry on its war crimes with full impunity. And last week Israel has decided to tighten the siege by closing the only commercial crossing, even to increase its attacks by targeting peaceful protesters demanding the implementation of UN resolutions, and an end to this deadly, hermetic siege.

In her visit to Gaza, Professor Sara Roy, an expert on Gaza, describes the Strip as “a land ripped apart and scarred, the lives of its people blighted. Gaza is decaying under the weight of continued devastation, unable to function normally…” Professor Roy concludes that “[T]he decline and disablement of Gaza’s economy and society have been deliberate, the result of state policy–consciously planned, implemented and enforced… And just as Gaza’s demise has been consciously orchestrated, so have the obstacles preventing its recovery.” In addition to Israel’s daily attacks and air strikes, Gazans also suffer from the contamination of water, air and soil, since the sewage system is unable to function due to power cuts necessitated by lack of fuel to the main generators of the Gaza power grid. Medical conditions due to injuries from internationally prohibited butterfly bullets and other illegal Israeli weapons as well as from water contamination cannot be treated because of the siege. In addition to the ban on building materials, Israel also prevents many other necessities from being imported: lights bulbs, candles, matches, books, refrigerators, shoes, clothing, mattresses, sheets, blankets, tea, coffee, sausages, flour, cows, pasta, cigarettes, fuel, pencils, pens, paper… etc. In Gaza, people are wondering whether the current Israeli government, the most fascist in the county’s history, might even discuss a ban on Oxygen! Add to this the punitive measure taken by the PA, and the drastic cuts endorsed by UNRWA, not to mention the constant closure of the Rafah crossing–the only exit Gaza has to the external world– leading to one of the highest unemployment rates and poverty on the face of earth.

In fact, the conclusion Gazans have reached is that Israel is intent on destroying Gaza because world official bodies and leaders choose to say and do absolutely nothing. The brazen refusal of Israel to cooperate with the decision of the International Community to re-construct Gaza, for which several billions of dollars were pledged in Sharm El-Sheikh, should not be tolerated. Israel’s attacks have damaged or completely destroyed many public buildings and have according to the UN’s own Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports severely damaged or completely destroyed some thousands of family dwellings, schools, universities and factories. Many other Palestinians who have spent the past several winters and summers in tents and caravans have also been promised the means to rebuild homes and schools, though to date nothing has been done to alleviate their suffering.

The practice of wanton willful killing of civilians exemplified in the extra-judicial sniping of non-violent protesters at the eastern fence of the Gaza Strip is not an isolated incident. It is part and parcel of an ongoing, comprehensive policy targeting the civilian Palestinians of the Gaza strip and systematically denying them their rights to movement, work, medical care, study, livelihood and increasingly life itself. But it is also a reflection of the nature of the state of Israel.i. e., a settler-colony. Israel’s leading, anti-Zionist historian, Ilan Pappe,  sheds light  on the driving ideology behind this genocidal policy:

Zionism is, in essence, a settler colonial movement, which was interested in having as much of the land of Palestine with as few Palestinians on it as possible. As the late scholar of settler colonialism, Patrick Wolfe, has put it; the encounter between the settlers and the indigenous population triggered ‘the logic of the elimination of the native’. In some places, such as North America, annihilation was literally a genocide of the native; in Palestine it was a different kind of elimination, obtained through segregation, ethnic cleansing and enclavement

In spite of Israel’s alleged unilateral withdrawal from the Strip in 2005, it still maintains a permanent military presence in Gaza’s territorial waters and controls the movement of people and goods onto the strip by land and water in addition to movement within the strip through targeting anyone entering the “no go” zone designated by the Israeli military. Israel also continues to control Gaza’s population registry. Yet, Israel claims that it is no longer the occupying power in the Gaza strip and uses this excuse, in addition to the results of 2006 democratic elections, to intensify its policy of siege and lethal attacks on Gaza’s civilians.

And now, Israel has decided to become openly an apartheid state by legalizing racial discrimination. I have tried very hard to find out whether there are constitutions or laws in the world similar to Israel’s “new” Nation-State Basic Law which aims to establish a legal basis for Jewish supremacy and racism against indigenous Palestinians, including those living in what has become the largest open-air prison on earth; only South Africa under apartheid and America in the eras of slavery and segregation.

So, what to do?!

In a piece published in MEE, Gideon Levy asks “Israel, where is your outrage at the legislation of Apartheid?” Actually, we are not expecting a settler-colonial community to act against its own racism. The outside world has to intervene. Hence our call for #BDS. But, in Palestine, we are in urgent need of serious discussions about a program of radical political transformation, what with the disastrous failure of the existing programs, right and left, a program that divorces itself from the racist two-state solution, one that endorses a more inclusive program that guarantees the rights of all segments of the Palestinian people.

About Haidar Eid

Haidar Eid is Associate Professor of Postcolonial and Postmodern Literature at Gaza’s al-Aqsa University. He has written widely on the Arab-Israeli conflict, including articles published at Znet, Electronic Intifada, Palestine Chronicle, and Open Democracy. He has published papers on cultural Studies and literature in a number of journals, including Nebula, Journal of American Studies in Turkey, Cultural Logic, and the Journal of Comparative Literature.

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LA GUERRE EST FINIE; ISIS ANNIHILATED IN SYRIA AS TERRORISTS SEEK TO RETURN TO EUROPE – By ZIAD FADEL

With the war in Syria now a vanishing memory, the Syrian Army turns its attention to the north where rodents have recently formed a new front excluding Hay’at Tahreer Al-Shaam (HTS).  Needless to say, Jaysh Al-Islam, the Saudi funded terrorist group that fancied itself some kind of conventional army has been eradicated.  Muhammad ‘Alloosh is reportedly in Turkey or Saudi Arabia wolfing down Alka Seltzer tablets.  He has already been condemned to death and faces a noose the instant he tries to enter Syria.  This new front is primarily made up of the Noor-Al-Deen Al-Zangi group some (which is renowned for its “moderate character” as it beheaded a 12 year-old Palestinian boy in front of cameras) along with a mish-mash of other criminals.  I am told that the individual rodent who beheaded the boy is wanted by the PFLP-GC dead or alive, preferably the former.  If he is taken alive, as the great British director, Ken Russell, once wrote:  “Hell will hold no surprises for him”.

As I reported before, the Kurds are deeply suspicious of American intentions and do not have the desire to repeat historic disasters.  Ghassan Kadi’s article, listed below, is in basic agreement with this proposition.  It is fair to say that even the Kurd issue has been resolved through negotiation – a much more civilized way to resolve conflict.  However, the Syrian government is insisting on Kurdish disarmament, an issue that may encounter some stumbling blocks.

At Al-Qaseer in the Golan, ISIS has been routed from its last stronghold by the Syrian Army.  ISIS terrorists have been monitored looking for ways out of the Middle East, most heading back to Europe or, even, Bangla Desh.  With Angela Merkel in office, we can expect Germany to turn into another Afghanistan if she is given the authority to open European doors to the fleeing rodents.

I have a close relative in Syria who tells me everything is returning to normal.  While there is some fear that the terrorists holed up in Idlib might target Latakia, the Russians have relayed Turk assurances that such a scenario is not going to take place.  Of course, Erdoghan is treacherous and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.  We cannot sit rest assured he won’t renege on his promises.

Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees are returning home.  The news is that the amnesty program is working and is taken seriously by the government.  That is, unless you have a known history of killing Syrian soldiers or security men who were taken hostage.  Those individuals, their hands bloodied, are winding up in European capitals, Canada or the United States.  Applications for refugee status are indicators of an unwillingness to return to Syria out of fear of arrest and trial.  Individuals, such as those in Lebanon are returning without any fear.

Since the Russians have taken a negative attitude toward the liberation of Idlib, we will start to concentrate on that particular issue in future posts.  I will not be reporting on SAA assaults in the East for the reason that these pockets of cockroaches are doomed either because of the elements or their own psychological depression.  The terrorists at Al-Tanf are expected to surrender the moment the U.S. pulls out before the end of the year.  Some may try to move to Jordan, but, the majority will probably melt into the general population – or so they think.  There is a suggestion by some that Jordan will pick up where the U.S. left off at Al-Tanf with Saudis picking up the tab.

NEWS AND COMMENT:

The Western tune has changed indeed.  Read how the liars lick their collective wounds:

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/07/23/the-syrian-war-is-over-and-america-lost/

Note how articles like this one are winding up in the public domain.  This makes the NYT grimace:

http://thefederalist.com/2018/08/01/trump-ignore-failed-dc-establishment-get-u-s-troops-syria/

Ghassan Kadi discusses the Kurdish situation with Sputnik:  Thanks, Intibah:

https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201808031066917418-syria-kurds-thaw/

Brexit is the Road to Britain’s Ruin – By Martin SIEFF – (STRATEGIC CULTURE FOUNDATION)

Brexit is the Road to Britain’s Ruin

Martin SIEFF | 28.07.2018 | WORLD / Europe

There are at least 65 million people the main island of Britain: At least 52 million of them concentrated in England. The real figure may be as much as 5 million higher. Yet the Optimum Population Trust (now called Population Matters) warned in 2008 that under the most favorable circumstances, Britain can only grow enough food to feed 17 million people.

Once Britain pulls out of the European Union reducing it to “only” 27 countries, how is it going to pay for the food for the remaining “surplus” 48 million people?

Prime Minister Theresa May after two years in office has managed to make even Neville Chamberlain and Herbert Henry Asquith – the hapless prime ministers who led Britain into catastrophe at the beginning of both world wars – look positively Churchillian by contrast.

May’s political masterstroke on taking office two years ago was to appoint the three great demagogues of her ruling Conservative Party, Boris Johnson, David Davis and Liam Fox as the ministers charged with negotiating the terms of Brexit – British withdrawal from the EU. It is now clear that none of these clowns – of whom only Fox remains in office – has had the slightest clue what to do.

Britain has not concluded a single trade deal with any other major nation. Fox has talked airily of concluding 40 or more. Yet there has been no discernable progress made towards achieving a single one.

There is no doubt that US President Donald Trump, whom May has recklessly and relentlessly alienated will make his priority resolving trade differences with the EU to improve the US annual trade balance. Britain will be left out in the cold.

Far from improving relations with both Moscow and Washington – the great achievements of both World War II leader Winston Churchill and of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, May has gone out of her way to enrage the leaders of both superpowers. Relations with Russia under May’s hapless leadership are even worse than they are with the EU.

Talks with the EU over Brexit are deadlocked. The British government is now making urgent plans to stockpile medicines and emergency supplies and have the miniscule Royal Air Force fly them to beleaguered parts of the kingdom if May goes ahead with her bombastic claim to implement a “hard’ Brexit if necessary after producing a more sensible plan to seek a “soft” and mutually negotiated divorce from Brussels.

The Brexiteers really do not have a clue what they will do. Their mad Americanophilia and obsession with lecturing the rest of the world guarantees that China and Russia will not rescue them and India, just acceded to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and mindful of its sufferings, racist oppression and relentless looting under the British Empire, certainly won’t.

The hard, unrelenting truth is that the Brexiteers continue to live in a deluded image of a long-dead past. They have no real policies and no practical plans. They walk and talk in a fugue state. The fate of 65 million people has fallen into the hands of cowardly nonentities and literal madmen.

The British Empire that covered one quarter of the territory and population of the entire human race has been totally dismantled for more than half a century. Britain’s legendary industrial base was crumbling and disintegrating for a full century before Britain even joined the European Community in 1973.

Since then Britain has survived, and at least partially prospered primarily by being the financial directing investment center for the EU. The money managers of the City of London easily beat off the challenges of Brussels, Paris and Frankfurt to win this role in the 1980s under the hardheaded leadership of Mrs. Thatcher.

Thatcher, for all her talk of British nationalism was, like her great friend, counterpart and partner, US President Ronald Reagan a lot more sensible and cautious in her real policies than the rhetoric in which she publicly indulged. Johnson, Fox and Davis mindlessly swallowed Thatcher’s slogans and ignored her successful and hardheaded policies. Their idea of a State Paper on policy is reading the Daily Mail, Britain’s most influential tabloid every morning.

What industry Britain still has is in large part the product of international, mainly US, Japanese and Chinese investment or is fully integrated with the major industries and combines of the EU. Brexit – as Britain’s business leaders have always recognized and repeatedly warned in vain – will inevitably dismantle all of those relationships.

Britain simply does not have the industrial base, the entrepreneurial culture, tax system and legal system, the technically trained population or the 21st century research and development resources to Go It Alone.

Hard Brexit therefore will inevitably mean the worst economic crisis in British history, a collapse of even basic food imports and the rapid departure of Scotland and Northern Ireland from the irreparably Dis-United Kingdom.

Brexit dooms Britain to disintegration, crisis and ruin. The British people should avoid it at all costs.

Any Conservative Members of Parliament who are still capable of intelligent thought, independent action and who have any sense of patriotism or public responsibility at all now have only one real course of action left to them. As Matthew Jamison has written in these columns, they need to join forces with the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn and set up an emergency national government that can then order a second referendum on Brexit immediately.

Instead, in the short term we may see the delusional Conservatives doubling up on denying reality and electing Boris Johnson as their next leader: If that happens, he is likely to be Britain’s last. 

Finian Cunnigham: Western collapse… Scapegoating Trump & Putin… The real Pox Americana – Finian Cunnigham (Strategic Culture Foundation)

Trump and PutinFinian Cunnigham
Strategic Culture Foundation

Former US President Barack Obama was in South Africa last week for the centennial anniversary marking the birth of the late Nelson Mandela. Obama delivered a speech warning about encroaching authoritarianism among nations and the “rise of strongman politics”.

Coming on the heels of the summit in Helsinki between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, media reports assumed that Obama was taking a swipe at these two leaders for supposed growing authoritarianism.

Obama’s casting of the “strongman” as a foreboding enemy to democracy is a variant of the supposed threat of “populism” that Western political establishments also seem concerned about.

Trump, Putin, Turkey’s Erdogan, Italy’s Salvini, Victor Orban in Hungary and Sebastian Kurz in Austria, among many others, are all lumped together as “strongman politics”, “populists” or “authoritarians”.

Here we are not trying to defend the above-mentioned political leaders or to make out that they are all virtuous democrats.

The point rather is to debunk the false narrative that there is some kind of dichotomy in modern politics between those who, on one hand, are supposedly virtuous, liberal, democratic, multilateralists, and on the other hand, the supposedly sinister “strongman”, “authoritarian”, or “populist”.

In Obama’s pompous depiction of world political trends, people like him are supposedly the epitome of a civilized, democratic legacy that is now under threat from Neo-fascists who are darkly rising to destroy an otherwise happy world order. That world order, it is presumed, was up to now guided by the magnificence of American political leadership. In short, the “Pax Americana” that prevailed for nearly seven decades following the Second World War.

Following the Helsinki summit, the Western media went full-tilt in hysterics and hyperbole. Trump was assailed for “embracing a dictator” while repudiating Western democratic allies.

In a Washington Post article, the headline screamed: “Is Trump at war with the West?” It was accompanied by a photograph of Trump and Putin, bearing the caption: “The New Front”.

Meanwhile, a New York Times piece editorialized: “His [Trump’s] embrace of Putin is a victory dance on the Euro-American tomb.”

Another NY Times op-ed writer declared: “Trump and Putin vs. America”.

The Western establishment political and media commentary promulgates the notion that the US-led Western order is breaking down because of “populist”, “strongman” Trump. In this alleged assault on the pillars of democracy and rule of law, Trump is being aided and abetted by supposedly nasty, like-minded authoritarians like Russian leader Vladimir Putin, or other nationalistic European politicians.

The premise of this establishment narrative is that all was seemingly salubrious and convivial in the US-led order until the arrival of various renegade-type politicians, like Trump and Putin.

That premise is an absolute conceit and deception. If we look at Obama’s presidency alone, one can see how the supposed guardians of democracy and international order were the very ones who have actually done the most to decimate that order.

Obama, you will recall, was the US president who notched up seven simultaneous overseas wars conducted by American military, arguably without a shred of international legal mandate. Under international law, Obama and other senior officials in his administration should face prosecution for war crimes. He also greatly expanded the executive use of assassination with aerial drones, reckoned to have killed thousands of innocent civilians in several countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia, merely on the suspicion of being terrorists.

It was Obama who ramped up the covert war policy of his predecessor GW Bush in Syria, arming and directing terrorist proxies in a failed bid to overthrow the elected government of President Assad. That US-backed covert war in Syria, along with Obama’s overt regime-change war in Libya, largely contributed to the refugee crisis that has destabilized the politics of the European Union.

So here we have the supremely bitter irony. Obama now lectures audiences with his pseudo-gravitas about the specter of strongman politics and xenophobic populism, when in fact it was politicians like Obama who created much of the refugee problems that have given rise to anti-immigrant politics in Europe.

It really is a conceited delusion among US and European establishment politicians, pundits and media that somehow a once virtuous, law-abiding US-led Western order is being eroded by rabble rousers like Trump, Salvini, Orban and so on, all being orchestrated by a “strongman dictator” in the Kremlin.

For the record, Putin, the supposed “strongman” in the Kremlin, warned more than a decade ago in a seminal Munich speech that the international order was being eroded by rampant American unilateralism and disregard for law in its pursuit of illegal wars for US hegemony. That was at the height of US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which killed more than one million civilians and forced millions more into infernal destitution.

In truth, the Pax Americana that is presumed to have prevailed over the past 70 years was never about order, peace or justice in the world. The notion that the US guided the world with its “moral authority” and maintained stability throughout is one of the most fatuous delusions of modern history.

From the atomic holocaust in Japan and during subsequent decades, the US has waged wars non-stop in almost every year, whether from covert operations in Latin America and Africa, to full-on genocidal wars in Indochina. The past quarter-century has seen an acceleration and expansion of these US wars, sometimes with the assistance of its military axis in NATO, largely because Washington viewed that its license to kill for mass murder was unchecked after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

This is the real dynamic underlying why the Western order is now seen to be collapsing. The US and its minions among European allies have destroyed any foundations of international order from their unabated wars and campaigns of mass murder. Their corporate-capitalist plunder has eviscerated the planet.

The chaos from these wars, including economic impacts of gargantuan costs to Western populations, has created social conditions which engender politics of protest, anti-establishment, anti-austerity, anti-war, anti-immigration, and so on.

If the supposed order is shaking for the establishment political class and its flunkies like Barack Obama it is because of their own criminal depredations – depredations which have been going on for decades under the guise of Pax Americana.

The writers at Monthly Review had it so presciently right years ago, when they analyzed the actual Western order as “Pox Americana” – a diseased affliction.

This is the historical context which accounts for why US and European establishments are decrying “strongmen” and “populists”. They are essentially scapegoating others for the historic failure of institutionalized Western criminality led primarily by “democratic” regimes in Washington.

Russian President Vladimir Putin stands out as the one international leader who put a brake on the US-led criminal assault on global peace. Putin’s stand first emerged with his landmark speech in Munich in 2007, and then came into clear expression when he helped put an end to the US-led covert criminal war on Syria.

That is why Putin is so vilified and demonized by the Western establishment. The poachers have been stopped from raiding the globe, and in their exasperation, they have whipped up all sorts of disparaging epithets like “strongman” and “authoritarian”.

No one has practiced more fascist-style criminality and brutality towards law and peace than the polite-sounding pseudo-democrats who have been in office for the past 70 years in the US and Europe.

The Western political establishment and its elite-driven capitalism is rotten to the core. Always has been. Its own erosion and oozing corruption is the source of the putrid smell that it now wishes to waft away by scapegoating others.

Latest novichok poisoning: The silence of the media whores – By Craig Murray /craigmurray.org.uk(SOTT)

amesbury poisoning sturgess rowley

Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley

The mainstream media are making almost no effort today to fit Charlie Rowley’s account of his poisoning into the already ludicrous conspiracy theory being peddled by the government and intelligence agencies.

ITV News gamely inserted the phrase “poisoned by a Russian nerve agent” into their exclusive interview with Charlie Rowley, an interview in which they managed to ask no penetrating questions whatsoever, and of which they only broadcast heavily edited parts. Their own website contains this comment by their journalist Rupert Evelyn:

He said it was unopened, the box it was in was sealed, and that they had to use a knife in order to cut through it.

“That raises the question: if it wasn’t used, is this the only Novichok that exists in this city? And was it the same Novichok used to attack Sergei and Yulia Skripal?

But the information about opening the packet with a knife is not in the linked interview. What Rowley does say in the interview is that the box was still sealed in its cellophane. Presumably it was the cellophane he slit open with a knife.

So how can this fit in to the official government account? Presumably the claim is that Russian agents secretly visited the Skripal house, sprayed novichok on the door handle from this perfume bottle, and then, at an unknown location, disassembled the nozzle from the bottle (Mr Rowley said he had to insert it), then repackaged and re-cellophaned the bottle prior to simply leaving it to be discovered somewhere – presumably somewhere indoors as it still looked new – by Mr Rowley four months later. However it had not been found by anyone else in the interim four months of police, military and security service search.

Frankly, the case for this being the bottle allegedly used to coat the Skripals’ door handle looks wildly improbable. But then the entire government story already looked wildly improbable anyway – to the extent that I literally do not know a single person, even among my more right wing family and friends, who believes it. The reaction of the media, who had shamelessly been promoting the entirely evidence free “the Russians did it” narrative, to Mr Rowley’s extremely awkward piece of news has been to shove it as far as possible down the news agenda and make no real effort to reconcile it.

By his own account, Mr Rowley is not a reliable witness, his memory affected by the “Novichok”. It is not unreasonable to conjecture there may also be other reasons why he is vague about where and how he came into possession of this package of perfume.

The perfume bottle is now in the hands of the Police. Is it not rather strange that they have not published photos of it, to see if it jogs the memory of a member of the public who saw it somewhere in the last four months, or saw somebody with it? The “perpetrators” know what it looks like and already know the police have it, so that would not give away any dangerous information. You might believe the lockdown of the story and control of the narrative is more important to the authorities than solving the crime, which we should not forget is now murder.

Comment:

The most dangerous man in the world? How Bill Browder’s greed helped spark a new Cold War – By Philip Giraldi /The Unz Review (SOTT)

William browder fraud russia magnitsky

© Reuters
Some of hedgefunder William Browder’s firms were caught involved in $230 million tax fraud in Russia

The darling of the war party needs to answer some questions

At the press conference following their summit meeting in Helsinki, Russian President Vladimir Putin and American President Donald Trump discussed the possibility of resolving potential criminal cases involving citizens of the two countries by permitting interrogators from Washington and Moscow to participate in joint questioning of the individuals named in indictments prepared by the respective judiciaries. The predictable response by the American nomenklatura was that it was a horrible idea as it would potentially require U.S. officials to answer questions from Russians about their activities.

Putin argued, not unreasonably, that if Washington wants to extradite and talk to any of the twelve recently indicted GRU officers the Justice Department has named then reciprocity is in order for Americans and other identified individuals who are wanted by the Russian authorities for illegal activity while in Russia. And if Russian officials are fair game, so are American officials.

Michael McFaul

© Valeriy Levitin / Sputnik
Michael McFaul

A prime target for such an interrogation would be President Barack Obama’s Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, who was widely criticized while in Moscow for being on an apparent mission to cultivate ties with the Russian political opposition and other “pro-democracy” groups. But McFaul was not specifically identified in the press conference, though Russian prosecutors have asked him to answer questions related to the ongoing investigation of another leading critic, Bill Browder, who was named by Putin during the question and answer session. Browder is a major hedge fund figure who, inter alia, is an American by birth. He renounced his U.S. citizenship in 1997 in exchange for British citizenship to avoid paying federal taxes on his worldwide income.

Bill Browder is what used to be referred to as an oligarch, having set up shop in 1999 as Hermitage Capital Management Fund, a hedge fund registered in tax havens Guernsey and the Cayman Islands. It focused on “investing” in Russia, taking advantage initially of the loans-for-shares scheme under Russia’s drunkard President Boris Yeltsin, and then continuing to profit greatly during the early years of Vladimir Putin. By 2005 Hermitage was the largest foreign investor in Russia.

yeltsin time magazine

Yeltsin had won a fraudulent election in 1996 supported by the oligarch-controlled media and by President Bill Clinton, who secured a $20.2 billion IMF loan that enabled him to buy support. Today we would refer to Clinton’s action as “interference in the 1996 election,” but at that time a helpless and bankrupt Russia was not well placed to object to what was being done to it. Yeltsin proved keen to follow oligarchical advice regarding how to strip the former Soviet Union of its vast state-owned assets. Browder’s Hermitage Investments profited hugely from the commodities deals that were struck at that time.

Browder and his apologists portray him as an honest and honorable Western businessman attempting to operate in a corrupt Russian business world. Nevertheless, the loans-for-shares scheme that made him his initial fortune has been correctly characterized as the epitome of corruption by all parties involved, 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 money laundering, making false representations on official documents and bribery.

Browder was eventually charged by the Russian authorities for fraud and tax evasion. He was banned from re-entering Russia in 2005 and began to withdraw his assets from the country, but three companies controlled by Hermitage were eventually seized by the authorities. Browder himself was convicted of tax evasion in absentia in 2013 and sentenced to nine years in prison.

Browder, who refers to himself as Putin’s “public enemy #1,” has notably been able to sell his tale of innocence to leading American politicians like Senators John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Ben Cardin and ex-Senator Joe Lieberman, all of whom are always receptive when criticizing Russia, as well as to a number of European parliamentarians and media outlets. In the wake of the Helsinki press conference he has, for example, claimed that Putin named him personally because he is a threat to continue to expose the crimes of the mafia that he claims is currently running Russia, but there is, inevitably, another less discussed alternative view of his self-serving narrative.

Central to the tale of what Browder really represents is the Magnitsky Act, which the U.S. Congress passed into law to sanction individual Kremlin officials for their treatment of alleged whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky, arrested and imprisoned in Russia. Browder has sold a narrative which basically says that he and his “lawyer” Sergei Magnitsky uncovered massive tax fraud and, when they attempted to report it, were punished by a corrupt police force and magistracy, which had actually stolen the money. Magnitsky was arrested and died in prison, allegedly murdered by the police to silence him.

Magnitsky

Sergei Magnitsky

The Magnitsky case is of particular importance because both the European Union and the United States have initiated sanctions against the identified Russian officials who were allegedly involved. In the Magnitsky Act, sponsored by Russia-phobic Senator Ben Cardin and signed by President Barack Obama in 2012, the U.S. asserted its willingness to punish foreign governments for human rights abuses. The Act, initially limited to Russia, has now been expanded by virtue of 2016’s Global Magnitsky Act, which enabled U.S. sanctions worldwide.

Russia reacted angrily to the first iteration of the Act, noting that the actions taken by its government internally, notably the operation of its judiciary, were being subjected to outside interference, while other judicial authorities also questioned Washington’s claimed right to respond to criminal acts committed outside the United States. Moscow reciprocated with sanctions against U.S. officials as well as by increasing pressure on foreign non-governmental pro-democracy groups operating in Russia. Some have referred to the Magnitsky Act as the start of the new Cold War.

The contrary narrative to that provided by Browder concedes that there was indeed a huge fraud related to as much as $230 million in unpaid Russian taxes on an estimated $1.5 billion of income, but that it was not carried out by corrupt officials. Instead, it was deliberately ordered and engineered by Browder with Magnitsky, who was actually an accountant, personally developing and implementing the scheme, using multiple companies and tax avoidance schemes to carry out the deception. Magnitsky, who was on cardiac medication, was indeed arrested and convicted, but he, according to his own family, reportedly died due to his heart condition, possibly exacerbated by negligent authorities who failed to medicate him adequately when he became ill.

The two competing Browder narratives have been explored in some detail by a Russian documentary film maker Andrei Nekrasov, an outspoken anti-Putin activist, who was actually initially engaged by Browder to do the film. An affable Browder appears extensively in the beginning describing his career and the events surrounding Magnitsky.

Andrei Nekrasov

Andrei Nekrasov. director of “The Magnitsky Act”

As Nekrasov worked on the documentary, he discovered that the Browder supported narrative was full of contradictions, omissions and fabrication of evidence. By the time he finished, he realized that the more accurate account of what had occurred with Browder and Magnitsky had been that provided by the Russian authorities.

When Nekrasov prepared to air his work The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes, he inevitably found himself confronted by billionaire Browder and a battery of lawyers, who together blocked the showing of the film in Europe and the United States. Anyone subsequently attempting to promote the documentary has been immediately confronted with 300-plus pages of supporting documents accompanying a letter threatening a lawsuit if the film were to be shown to the public.

A single viewing of “The Magnitsky Act” in Washington in June 2016 turned into a riot when Browder supporters used tickets given to Congressional staffers to disrupt the proceedings. At a subsequent hearing before Congress, where he was featured as an expert witness on Russian corruption before a fawning Senate Judiciary Committee, Bill Browder suggested that those who had challenged his narrative and arranged the film’s viewing in Washington should be prosecuted under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (FARA), which includes penalties of up to five years in prison.

Because of the pressure from Browder, there has never been a second public showing of “The Magnitsky Act” but it is possible to see it online at this site.

Bill Browder, who benefited enormously from Russian corruption, has expertly repackaged himself as a paragon among businessmen, endearing himself to the Russia-haters in Washington and the media. Curiously, however, he has proven reluctant to testify in cases regarding his own business dealings. He has, for example, repeatedly run away, literally, from attempts to subpoena him so he would have to testify under oath.

When one gets past all of his bluster and posturing, by one significant metric Bill Browder might well be accounted the most dangerous man in the world. Driven by extreme hatred of Putin and of Russia, he personally and his Magnitsky Myth have together done more to launch and sustain a dangerous new Cold War between a nuclear-armed United States and a nuclear-armed Russia. Blind to what he has accomplished, he continues to pontificate about how Putin is out to get him when instead he is the crook who quite likely stole $230 million dollars and should be facing the consequences.

That the U.S. media and Congress appear to be entranced by Browder and dismissive of Moscow’s charges against him is symptomatic of just how far the Russa-phobia in the West has robbed people of their ability to see what is right in front of them. To suggest that what is taking place driven by Browder and his friends in high places could well lead to tragedy for all of us would be an understatement.

About the author

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East

Comment: Alex Krainer has also investigated Bill Browder and felt the weight of his legal wrath.

Why Russia’s offer to let Mueller come to Russia – in return for interrogations of corrupt Americans – sent Washington into a panic – By Thierry Meyssan/ Voltaire Network (SOTT)

browder

© Reuters
Bill Browder in the US Senate

On 16 November 2009, tax specialist lawyer Sergey Magnitsky died in Matrosskaya Tishina prison (Moscow). Immediately, the US Press claimed that he had been in possession of information concerning a State scandal, and had been tortured by the « régime ».

The Magnitsky Act

The death of Magnitsky shut down the legal procedures that had been launched against him by the Russian Minister of Justice. Billionaire William (“Bill”) Browder declared in Washington that the tax expert possessed proof that Russian Power had stolen 3 billion dollars from him. Despite lobbying by Goldman Sachs, the US Congress believed it had clarified the affair, and in 2012 adopted a law sanctioning the Russian personalities suspected of having murdered the lawyer. Goldman Sachs, which did not believe the information forwarded by the parliamentarians, hired the lobbying firm Duberstein Group in an attempt to block the vote on the law [1].

On this model, in 2016, the Congress extended the « Magnitsky Act » to the whole world, requesting the President to implement sanctions against all people and all states which violate individual property. Presidents Obama and Trump obeyed, placing about twenty personalities on the list, including the President of the Republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov.

These two laws were aimed at giving back to the United States the role it had assumed during the Cold War as defender of individual property, even though they had no communist rival.

The two versions of the « Magnitsky affair »

As for the Russian State Duma, it responded to its US counterpart by forbidding the adoption of Russian children by US families, and by denouncing the responsibility of US personalities in the legalisation of torture (the Dima Yakovlev Law, from the name of the Russian child adopted in the USA who died as a result of negligence by the parents). President Putin applied this text in 2013, also forbidding ex-US Vice President Dick Cheney access to Russian territory.

The « Magnitsky affair » could have ended there. It seems to be independent of the « Khodorkovsky affair », exploited by NATO in order to accuse Russia of interference in Western democracies by way of disinformation or « fake news » [2]. However, the Russian Prosecutor General contests the narrative presented by Wiliam Browder to the US Congress.

According to William Browder, his company Hermitage Capital invested in Russia, particularly in Gazprom. He allegedly discovered signs of irregular practices and attempted to warn the Kremlin. However, his resident’s visa was then cancelled. Then his Russian companies were allegedly robbed by Lieutenant-Colonel Artem Kuznetsov, a civil servant from the Financial Brigade of the Russian Ministry of the Interior. Kuznetsov apparently seized the property documents during a search, then used them to register a new owner. Lawyer Sergey Magnitsky, who apparently blew the whistle on the embezzlement, was arrested, tortured and finally died in prison. In the end, Lieutenant-Colonel Artem Kuznetsov and « godfather » Dmitry Klyuev were allegedly able to deposit the 3 billion stolen dollars in a Cypriot bank. This is a classic case of theft by the Russian mafia with the help of the Kremlin [3]. This narrative inspired the seventh season of the Showtime TV series, Homeland.

On the contrary, according to Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika, William Browder illegally acquired 133 million shares in Gazprom on behalf of the Ziff brothers, via various straw men. Not only did Browder avoid paying 150 million dollars in taxes, but the acquisition of part of this crown jewel of the Russian economy is in itself illegal. Furthermore, his financial advisor, Sergey Magnitsky, who had developed another scam for the same Browder, was arrested and died of a heart attack in prison [4].

It is obviously impossible to tell the truth from the lies in these two versions. However, it is now recognised that Sergey Magnitsky was not a lawyer working freelance, but was employed by William Browder’s companies. He was not investigating embezzlement, but was tasked by Browder with the creation of financial structures which would avoid him having to pay taxes in Russia. For example, the two men imagined remunerating mentally handicapped people as front men in order to benefit from their tax exempt status. Browder had much experience with tax evasion – which is why he lived for ten years in Russia with a simple tourist visa, then abandoned his US citizenship and became a British citizen.

Comment: Magnitsky wasn’t even a lawyer. He was an accountant.

These last elements prove William Browder wrong, and are compatible with Prosecutor Chaika’s accusations. In these conditions, it seems at the least imprudent for the US Congress to have adopted the Magnitsky Act, unless of course the operation was aimed not at defending individual property, but at hurting Russia [5].

A leader of the Russian opposition paid by Browder

Alongside the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Browder abundantly finances the work of a young lawyer, Alexeï Navalny. Thanks to the help of US ambassador Michael McFaul, the young man pursued his studies in the USA at Yale in 2010. He created an Anti-Corruption Foundation in order to promote Browden’s version and accuse Putin’s administration.

Having become a leader of the political opposition, Navalny and his Foundation directed a first documentary accusing the family of Prosecutor Chaika of corruption. But although the video is convincing at first look, it presents no proof of the facts it relates.

Simultaneously, Navalny ordered a second documentary from a Russian film director and member of the opposition about the « Magnitsky affair ». But this journalist turned against his employer during the investigation, which was finally broadcast by Russian public television.

A spook and an ambassador paid by Browder

Thereafter, William Browder engaged an ex-agent of MI6 in Moscow (1990-93), Christopher Steele, and the ex-US ambassador to Moscow (2012-14), Michael McFaul.

It so happens that it was Christopher Steele who, in 2006 – while he was with MI6 – accused President Vladimir Putin of having ordered the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko with Polonium. In 2016, he also worked – freelance this time – for the US Democratic Party. That was when he wrote the famous dossier accusing candidate Donald Trump of being under the threat of blackmail by the Russian secret services [6] ; an unwarranted charge which has just resurfaced after the bilateral Summit in Helsinki. We find Steele once again, in 2018, involved in the Novitchok poisoning of Sergueï Skripal – as a « consultant » for MI6, he of course accused the inevitable Vladimir Putin.

The Russian riposte

During the US Presidential campaign of 2016, Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika attempted to influence a member of Congress who was open to Russian thinking, Dana Rohrabacher (Republican, California). He sent her a note concerning his version of the Browder-Magnitsky affair. Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya met the son and son-in-law of candidate Donald Trump at Trump Tower, in order to inform them that a part of Browder’s dirty money was being used to finance the candidacy of Hillary Clinton [7].

Thereafter, William Browder became the main source of the enquiry run by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller about possible Russian interference in « US Democracy ». A long time before he became the Director the FBI, Mueller – who officially has no link to the CIA – had been responsible for the enquiry on the Lockerbie attack, which he attributed to Mouammar Kadhafi. Let’s remember that Libya never recognised that it was implicated in this affair, although it accepted to pay a compensation to the victims. Above all, Scottish Justice established the fact that fragments of the detonator found on site were placed there by the CIA in order to accuse Libya. Mueller used the meeting of Trump’s team with Natalia Veselnitskaya as « proof » of the subordination of Donald Trump to the Russian Intelligence services.

In the USA, Natalia Veselnitskaya represents the interests of several of Browder’s Russian victims. She also acted in 2014 on behalf of one of the companies that Browder accused of being connected to « godfather » Dmitry Klyuev. She also raised the question about the manner in which an agent of Homeland Security, Todd Hyman, had transmitted a trial document without proceeding with the usual verifications.

There will be no moment of truth

During the US-Russia summit in Helsinki, President Vladimir Putin proposed that his US counterpart allow US investigators to question those Russian civil servants suspected of interference in the US Presidential campaign, on the condition that Russian investigators would also be allowed to question suspects in the USA. Donald Trump is reserving his answer.

However, when the office of Prosecutor Yury Chaika transmitted the list of witnesses to be questioned, Washington panicked. Not only did Chaika ask to question British subjects William Browder and Christopher Steele if they should travel in the United States, but also ambassador Michael McFaul, lawyer Jonathan Winer, researcher David J. Kramer, and finally, agent Todd Hyman.

Jonathan Winer was in charge of the Lockerbie dossier at the State Department during the 1990’s. He is a personal friend of Christopher Steele, and transmitted his reports to the neo-conservatives for a decade [8].

During Bush Jr.’s first term, David J. Kramer played an important role in the management of the propaganda system for the State Department as well as looking after the stay-behind agents in Eastern Europe and in Russia. After having worked in various think tanks, he became the president of Freedom House, and campaigned on the « Magnitsky affair ». He is today a researcher at the McCain Institute.

Although, so far, nothing enables us to tell which of the Browder and Chaika versions is accurate, the truth will soon emerge. It is possible that Russian interference may be no more than fake news, but US interference (by introduction into the crown piece of the Russian economy as well as via Alexeï Navalny) may in fact be a reality.

In the context of Washington’s unanimous anti-Russian stand, President Trump declines Vladimir Putin’s proposition.

Translation: Pete Kimberley

Sources

  1. Bank of Putin. Goldman Sachs lobbying against human rights legislation“, Adam Kredo, Free Beacon, July 19, 2012.
  2. The NATO campaign against freedom of expression“, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 5 December 2016.
  3. Foreigner’s Investment in Russia Is Derailed by Kremlin’s Might“, Clifford J. Levy, The New York Times, July 24, 2008.
  4. Note from Yury Chaika Office to Dana Rohrabacher, June 2016.
  5. « Intouchable, Mr. Browder ? », par Israël Shamir, Traduction Maria Poumier, Entre la plume et l’enclume (France), The Unz Review (USA), Réseau Voltaire, 22 juin 2016.
  6. The Steele Report“.
  7. Natalia Veselnitskaya Memo on the William Browder & Sergei MagnitskyCase“, by Natalia Veselnitskaya, Voltaire Network, 1 June 2016.
  8. Devin Nunes is investigating me. Here’s the truth“, Jonathan Winer, The Washington Post, February 8, 2018.
Comment: One thing’s for sure: Browder’s version of events is complete BS. See also:

Trump threatens Iran with a catastrophic war – By KEITH JONES (WSWS)

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24 July 2018

US President Donald Trump issued a bloodcurdling threat of all-out war against Iran late Sunday night.

Using language akin to that he previously employed in threatening North Korea, a state of 25 million people, with annihilation, the US commander-in-chief tweeted that Iran would “SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED, if it “EVER” dared to “THREATEN” Washington “AGAIN.”

Trump’s all in-caps tweet was no idle bluster. His administration is pursuing a provocative and reckless drive for regime change in Iran that threatens to ignite a catastrophic war that would set the entire Middle East ablaze, and potentially trigger a head-on clash between the US and other great powers.

In May, Washington blew up the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and relaunched full-scale economic warfare against Iran—an illegal act tantamount to war. Next month sanctions will “snap back” on Iran’s auto sector and trade in gold and other metals. In November, sanctions targeting Iran’s energy, shipping and insurance sectors and the transactions of its central bank are to take effect.

Washington has vowed to reduce Iran’s oil exports, which provide the bulk of the state budget, to near zero. To date it has refused to provide sanction waivers to its ostensible allies in Europe and Asia and instead demonstratively threatened them with exclusion from the US market and financial system if they do not comply with the unilateral American embargo on Iran.

The Pentagon is already engaged in fighting with Iranian forces. US troops in Syria, deployed in the name of fighting ISIS, have repeatedly targeted Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces supporting the regime of Bashar al-Assad, and Washington is providing vital logistical and tactical support for the Saudi monarchy’s savage war in Yemen against the Iranian-supported Houthi.

Yesterday, John Bolton, Trump’s national security advisor and a longstanding proponent of a US attack on Iran, gleefully reiterated Trump’s threat, saying the president had told him, “if Iran does anything at all to the negative, they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid before.”

Trump cast his ominous Sunday tweet as a response to a warning from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that if the US persisted in seeking to destroy Iran’s economy and impose a pro-US government in Tehran, it risked unleashing “the mother of all wars.”

Earlier this month, Rouhani—unnerved by his failure to win a commitment from the European powers that they would not bow to US pressure and renege on their obligations under the Iran nuclear accord—said that were Iran denied the right to export its oil it might close the Strait of Hormuz.

Within hours, the Pentagon issued a statement vowing to ensure “freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce” through the strait, which is the conduit for one-fifth of all world oil exports.

Trump’s claims that Iran threatens the US are preposterous.

It is American imperialism that for a quarter-century served as the bulwark of the tyrannical dictatorship of the Shah and that, with the aim of once again reducing Iran to a neo-colony, has waged a four-decade-long campaign of sanctions, bullying, and war threats against the Islamic Republic, the bourgeois nationalist regime that misappropriated the popular revolution that overthrew the Shah.

It is Washington that illegally invaded Iran’s north-eastern neighbor, Afghanistan, in 2001 and its western neighbor, Iraq, in 2003, in what top Bush administration officials, including Bolton and Vice President Dick Cheney, publicly boasted was a prelude to regime change in Tehran.

It is the US that, in pursuit of untrammeled dominance of the world’s principal oil-exporting region, has waged a succession of ruinous wars since 1991 in the Mideast and North Africa that have razed whole societies, leaving millions dead, injured and displaced.

It is the US that between 2011 and 2015 spearheaded the imposition of sanctions that halved Iran’s oil exports and crippled its economy. It did so while repeatedly threatening Iran with war if it did not submit to Washington’s demands that it dismantle its civilian nuclear program, and while continuing to arm Israel, Saudi Arabia and other regional client states with hundreds of billions of dollars worth of high-tech weaponry.

And it is the Trump administration that has repudiated the Iran nuclear accord and is now waging all-out economic war on Iran, although the International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly found Tehran in full compliance with the 2015 agreement.

Yesterday various Democrats and retired Pentagon and CIA officials criticized Trump’s bellicose tweet. Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer said Trump was trying to distract attention from his “essentially un-American” performance at his July 16 summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. “He’s weak on Putin, and he wants to prove he’s tough on Rouhani,” Hoyer told the Washington Post.

The Democrats share the objective of Trump’s “America First” policy—the assertion of US global hegemony—and they, no less than the Republicans, have been complicit in the drive, since 1991, to use the residual military power of the US to compensate for the vast erosion of its relative economic power and global position.

But there are deep and explosive tactical differences over how to pursue this strategy. This is exemplified by the frenzied campaign of the Democrats, mounted in close concert with the CIA and broad sections of the military-security apparatus, targeting Trump for being “soft on,” if not an outright patsy of, Putin.

This faction of the American ruling elite is bitterly opposed to any let-up in the US military-strategic offensive against Russia, and views Trump’s focus on an immediate showdown with Iran as a distraction from the struggle against this more formidable strategic foe. It has been campaigning for the US to mount a massive military escalation in Syria, arguing that this would provide the US the opportunity to deal a body blow to Russia, while simultaneously augmenting strategic pressure on Iran.

Trump, on the other hand, calculates that a temporary accommodation with Russia could serve US interests. First and foremost, by forestalling the further strategic alignment of Russia and China, but also by smoothing the way for the US war-drive against Iran.

One of Trump’s objectives in Helsinki was to pressure Putin to press for the elimination, or at least drastic curtailment, of Iranian influence in Syria as part of any “peace settlement.” Russia, it should be noted, has in recent months effectively given the Israelis and Americans a free hand to attack Iranian forces in Syria.

Trump’s eagerness to provoke a confrontation with Iran is bound up with his calculation that China must be confronted sooner rather than later. The re-subjugation of Iran would give the US a stranglehold over the oil resources of the Middle East, which are vital to sustaining China’s economy, as well as eliminate an important link in China’s One Belt, One Road strategy to deepen the integration of Eurasia.

Whatever the outcome of this conflict over how best to pursue US imperialism’s predatory aims, Washington is moving inexorably down the path to a volcanic explosion of violence that threatens the people of the Middle East and the world with catastrophe.

As for the European imperialist powers, they resent Trump’s policies only because these threaten their own interests, including their plans to capture Iran’s markets and oil resources. Thus Berlin, London and Paris have all responded to the further escalation of US imperialist violence in the wake of the 2008 world financial implosion by arming themselves to the teeth.

The resurgence of class struggle around the world, including in the US and the Middle East, underscores that the struggle against imperialist war must be founded on the independent political mobilization of the international working class and the fight for socialism.

Keith Jones

90% OF DER’AH LIBERATED; HUNDREDS OF FOREIGN SPEC OPS OFFICERS SMUGGLED TO JORDAN; ZIONIST ATTACK ON MISYAF BASE FLOPS – By ZiadFadel

The Syrian flag is hoisted over the town of Naseeb as the Syrian government opens up the Naseeb Crossing for business.

The MSM is eating crow.  The New York Times, now having promoted a war of terrorism on the Syrian people, must taste the humble pie all losers eventually sit down to devour.  Grudgingly, the WP and the WSJ have predicted the downfall of the terrorist campaign which they enthusiastically championed with orotund analyses, reports and editorials for the last seven years only to find themselves in a swamp of lies, half-truths and propaganda.  Without any doubt, this is the lowest point to which the Western Media has reached.

The Der’ah campaign is almost over.  The Syrian Army and its allies have liberated almost 90% of the province with only some pockets of terrorism left in barren, rugged, cave-pocked areas far away from population centers.  Agreements to evacuate whole towns were reached on July 11, 2018 liberating Der’ah Al-Balad.  On July 12, 2018, the flag of the republic was raised over the city.  Other areas once infested with these foreign-supported cockroaches like Dam Road, the Naaziheen Camp, Sijna, Al-Manshiyya Quarter, Gharz and the Silos Area were all liberated with backround cheers of the citizens – embracing our soldiers and showering them with flowers and rose petal water.

Al-Muzayreeb in northwest Der’ah Province was liberated along with Inkhil and Kafr Shams Town.  Now, a new agreement to depart Nawaa has been reached thanks to Russia which spared the people of that town untold hardship.  Just yesterday, the last of 20 buses carrying vermin who did not accept the Syrian Army’s terms departed for Idlib where they will await certain death.

Of particular interest is the fact that the West has shown uncommon interest in the lives of local people – people like the terrorist group called the White Helmets.  If you really believe that the British and Americans colluded to convince the Zionist Apartheid State and the Jordanians to airlift the poor, helpless and vulnerable terrorists to safety in Jordan, you might also believe that eskimos cultivate mango trees in the Yukon.  The true reason, I am told by my sources, is that there were 2,200 special ops and intelligence officers who were trapped at the border with the White Helmets and who were under threat of being captured or killed by the Syrian Army.  Forgetting the wealth of embarrassment this would have caused the slimy Brits and their cheap Gulf allies, the MOC in Amman ordered their spooks flown out at any cost and, if possible, take out some White Helmets with them.

Instead, only 400 or less White Helmets were provided with seats on the Zionist helicopters.  Another 600 and their families remain trapped at the border where they will either be killed by ISIS nearby or by our troops.  The scene, I am told, was like the last day of the Vietnam evacuation in April of 1975 with people struggling to get on the helicopters.

Of the 2,200 foreign spies and the special ops rodents, 1100 were from Gulf States like Qatar, Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.  They are now in Amman awaiting repatriation.

On the Golan, the SAA and the RuAF have been targeting ISIS at Tal Jammoo’ in the Yarmouk River basin.  ISIS rats know their fate if captured, and, by and large, they prefer martyrdom.  When the Syrian Army liberates Tal Jammoo’, you can be assured every ISIS vulture has been liquidated.  Tal Jammoo’ is a very important and strategic location providing advantageous surveillance capabilities for the SAA.  That is why the Zionist Settler State is giving ISIS unlimited assistance in persevering against a vast and focused onslaught.  Once this site is rodent-free, all the others in Qunaytra will fall like dominoes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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