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Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

So much for Russian disinformation: Hunter Biden’s signed receipts turn up – American Thinker

Posted by M. C. on October 21, 2020

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2020/10/so_much_for_russian_disinformation_hunter_bidens_signed_receipts_turn_up.html

By Monica Showalter

As Andrea Widburg noted in her excellent post here, the left has pulled out all stops to create a miasma of confusing information about the frighteningly sharp and clear Hunter Biden emails found on an abandoned MacBook Pro computer, of a crack addict selling access to his father’s office for millions in public gain.

The computer itself is evidence, corroborated by additional emails from Biden’s associates, in jail or heading there, while the rapacious Hunter skates. There’s additional information the Senate investigative report.

Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, though, same as he did during impeachment, claims it’s Russian disinformation, assuming he can go to that well more than once. His New York Times media toadies are following.

Other members of the leftist press are, with JournoList-style echo-chamber talking points, calling it a “garbage fire.” See here and here.

Some leftists are claiming Photoshopping. Others are yelling partisan dirty tricks. Salon called it a “complete fabrication.”

Now it’s falling apart.

Signed receipts from the computer repair-shop owner where Hunter Biden abandoned his MacBook Pro have turned up, along with witnesses describing the drunken, drug-addled vice presidential son:

NEW: @MikeEmanuelFox obtains photo showing an alleged Hunter Biden signature on paperwork for the computer repair shop pic.twitter.com/LMBkiXmCer — Sean Langille (@SeanLangille) October 19, 2020

The truth keeps licking closer, which explains why Biden has remained silent, telling a reporter: “I have no response!” to the Hunter Biden influence-selling story, which very clearly involves him. He’s hoping to pull a Clinton, making the story of “the big guy” and his bagman son all go away.

Maybe that’s because, as Hunter’s emails say, he’s “the big guy,” taking his fifty percent cut. A recent IBD/TIPP poll is showing that it’s a scandal that’s taking off for real on his presidential bid, with rapidly falling public support. It is, after all, classic high-level, and very naked corruption that can be explained in a sentence or two — Hunter Biden sold access to Joe Biden’s office for millions of dollars, payable in advance. He wants that out of the news entirely.

Social media has made an unprecedented, and shark-jumping, effort to oblige, silencing and shutting down the whole story, as well as the New York Post which reported it. The receipt story is not searchable with Google.

Bottom line, though, is that it’s getting harder to refute — the statements and admissions made in the computer, and the proof of ownership. It’s not the Russians, it’s Hunter and Joe. 

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How the Media Has Whitewashed FBI Abuses in the Russia Probe | The National Interest

Posted by M. C. on October 15, 2020

It’s hard to decide which development is worse: the FBI’s lengthy pattern of arrogant misconduct, or the mainstream media’s willingness to be an accomplice in excusing such misconduct. Either behavior undermines government accountability and the protection of civil liberties. The entire episode is a sobering example of irresponsibility on the part of institutions that nevertheless insist on respect from the public.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/politics/how-media-has-whitewashed-fbi-abuses-russia-probe-170709

by Ted Galen Carpenter

he mainstream media not only continues to parrot the narrative that President Donald Trump is a Russian asset who collaborated with Moscow to steal the 2016 presidential election, but journalists have also minimized or dismissed evidence about FBI abuses during the course of the investigation into those allegations. 

One point that emerged clearly when Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz issued his report in December 2019 was that the FBI had committed serious violations of its own procedures and basic requirements of due process. The scope and severity of that misconduct have become even more apparent with the passage of time.

Although Horowitz did not endorse the Trump White House’s core allegation that the FBI had initiated the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation of the Trump campaign out of political bias, the IG report identified 17 major instances of improper behavior, including violations of standard procedures and safeguards for the rights of individuals targeted in an investigation. Most of the abuses occurred with respect to investigative warrants aimed at Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. Especially disturbing violations included the withholding of exculpatory evidence in warrant applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. Among the offenses was the repeated failure to disclose that Page was working for the CIA during the period he was making contact with Russian diplomatic and intelligence officials.  In one instance, FBI assistant general counsel Kevin Clinesmith even altered a document to make it state the opposite of its original language about Page’s role.

Despite the damaging revelations in the IG report, most of the initial accounts in the mainstream media echoed the arguments that former FBI director James Comey and other agency defenders made.  News stories emphasized the rejection of the political bias charge, with that aspect eclipsing all other conclusions that placed the FBI in a less favorable light. NBC News opted for the headline “Internal Justice watchdog finds that Russia probe was justified, not biased against Trump.” PBS NewHour’s headline was “DOJ inspector general finds no bias in FBI’s Russia probe.” Other outlets were at least as flagrant in their spin of the IG’s report.  New York Magazine’s headline blared that “Inspector General Finds Russia Investigation Wasn’t an FBI Witch Hunt,” “So much for the Deep State Plot against Donald Trump,” proclaimed an article in Wired.

Even when news stories acknowledged problems with the FBI’s behavior, writers and reporters attributed those actions to “errors” and “missteps,” not misconduct or abuses. But Horowitz himself pushed back on the notion that he had exonerated the FBI. A week later, he clarified that his investigation into the FBI’s FISA warrants “did not reach” the conclusion that the bureau was unaffected by political bias during its Russia investigation. In response to questioning from Senator Josh Hawley (R- MO.), Horowitz explained that his investigation did leave the door open to possible political bias, because his team could not accept the explanations FBI members gave about why there were “so many errors” in their investigation.  As reasons for caution, he specifically cited  “the alteration of the email, the text messages associated with the individual who did that, and our inability to explain or understand, to get good explanations so that we could understand why this all happened.” Such caveats indicated that the Horowitz report was far from being an exoneration of the FBI.

Since then, the media’s favorable spin on the FBI’s performance has become even more difficult to sustain. That was especially true once the FISA court forcefully rebuked the FBI for its actions, and then retroactively invalidated two of four warrants issued in the Page investigation. That move was virtually unprecedented.  So too was a subsequent move in March 2020, when the court barred any agents involved in the original warrant applications from submitting future surveillance applications.

Such measures were stunning since the FISA court was notorious over the years for rubber-stamping warrant requests from national security agencies. Sharp criticism from the FISA court of such an agency, much less the imposition of sanctions against that agency’s personnel, was only a little less startling than if the Chinese People’s Congress had criticized President Xi Jinping and curtailed his powers. 

Yet another blow to the media narrative came in early June 2020 when former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein stated in congressional testimony that he never would have signed the FISA warrant renewal application if he had known how unreliable was the Steele dossier and the other underlying evidence. On this occasion, his statement received a respectable amount of attention in the mainstream media, including the Washington Post, CBS News, and Yahoo News.  Most of them also acknowledged that the admission was the main thrust of Rosenstein’s testimony.  NBC News, though, went out of its way to put a different spin on that testimony, with the utterly misleading headline: “Rod Rosenstein defends Mueller appointment, approval of FISA applications in Russia probe.”

The prevailing, but increasingly strained, media narrative that any problems with the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation suffered another blow in August 2020 when former assistant general counsel Kevin Clinesmith pled guilty to the document alteration charge in the FISA warrant applications for the continuing surveillance of Carter Page. Mainstream press stories acknowledged the guilty plea, but they carefully avoided drawing any wider conclusions about Crossfire Hurricane abuses.

Indeed, some of the accounts went out of their way to assert that Clinesmith’s offense was nothing more than an isolated incident. CNN’s treatment was typical. The network’s analysis contended that “court documents laying out the single charge against Clinesmith don’t make any broader allegation of a conspiracy by FBI investigators against Trump, an accusation Trump has frequently made. Instead, it shows another FBI official who signed the fourth FISA warrant raising a concern about whether Page was a CIA source and seeking email proof when Clinesmith downplayed the CIA relationship with Page.”

Only a few analyses in conservative publications pointed out that the forgery episode was part of a larger pattern of FBI procedural violations during Crossfire Hurricane. Andrew McCarthy’s article in National Review explicitly concluded that Clinesmith’s plea was a “perfect snapshot of Crossfire Hurricane’s duplicity.” It was a valid point; Clinesmith’s conduct was merely the most egregious case among numerous episodes of FBI misconduct during that probe, as Horowitz’s report had already documented.

Subsequent Senate hearings in September and October 2020 have cast further doubt on the thesis that there was enough evidence to justify commencing the Russia collusion investigation in the first place. The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley A. Strassel provided a blunt assessment of the excesses. “Chairman Lindsey Graham hauled the former FBI director in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee ostensibly to answer for stunning new details in the bureau’s Trump-Russia probe.  But the hearing more broadly resurrected the breathtaking arrogance of the swamp. This was the crew that in 2016—based on the thinnest of tips—launched a counterintelligence investigation into a presidential campaign, complete with secret surveillance warrants and informants.”

Strassel added:  “FBI agent Peter Strzok in 2018 lectured Congress that the bureau had too many “safeguards” and “procedures” ever to allow “improper” behavior. Yet this past week provided evidence the FBI leaders blew through red light after red light.  We already knew they based the probe on a dossier that came from a rival campaign. We knew the bureau was warned early on that the dossier was potential Russian disinformation.  And now we know it discovered that the man who was the dossier’s primary source had been under FBI investigation as a suspected agent for Moscow. The bureau hid all of this from the surveillance court.”  

It’s hard to decide which development is worse: the FBI’s lengthy pattern of arrogant misconduct, or the mainstream media’s willingness to be an accomplice in excusing such misconduct. Either behavior undermines government accountability and the protection of civil liberties. The entire episode is a sobering example of irresponsibility on the part of institutions that nevertheless insist on respect from the public.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in security studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at the National Interest, is the author of 12 books and more than 850 articles.

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America’s Alliance with NATO Needs to Change | The National Interest

Posted by M. C. on September 11, 2020

“The first step in this process should be for the United States to transition from being the frontline defense of NATO countries to a supporting role. European democracies in the 1950s were poor and destitute. No more. Germany, for example, has the world’s fourth-largest economy. It is more than financially capable of providing the bulk of its own security. U.S. troops, meanwhile, should be redeployed to home bases where they can focus on defending America’s borders and global interests.”

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/skeptics/americas-alliance-nato-needs-change-168626

by Daniel L. Davis

Thirty years after the end of the Cold War, NATO is facing a threat of a potentially existential nature. No, it’s not a would-be Russian invasion of Western Europe. It’s the possibility of a fratricidal war between its own members, Greece and Turkey. Before the unthinkable happens, the United States should reassess the future of NATO and its role in it.

Turkey and Greece have long had an antagonistic relationship. Since becoming members of NATO in 1952, they have twice been at the brink of war against one another. The first was in 1974 when a Greek military junta threatened to join all of Cyprus to the Greek mainland and Turkish military forces invaded the northern part of the Island. A tense standoff occurred and the island has been split since.

The second was in 1996 over a dispute in the Aegean Sea. The seemingly trivial dispute that began over a salvage operation of a Greek ship that ran aground off the Turkish coast almost escalated into a full-blown war between the two over conflicting claims of sovereignty.

Conflict was averted, but tensions and emotions never fully cooled. With the discovery of large deposits of natural gas throughout the Eastern Mediterranean, however, the stakes of which country is sovereign over those rocks have taken on considerably greater urgency. Turkey is taking a far harder stance, elevating its national interests above the common interests of NATO.

Turkish vice president Fuat Oktay said in an interview that if Greece attempting “to expand its territorial waters isn’t a cause of war, then what is?’’ Ankara is butting heads with more than just Greece, however.

Relations between Turkey and France continue to fray over Paris’s displeasure regarding Ankara’s deepening involvement against French interests in Libya. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned that Greece and Turkey were moving “closer and closer to the abyss,” and that if the two don’t resolve their disputes, then at some point a “spark, however small, could lead to a disaster.”

Meanwhile, as Nick Squires wrote in the Christian Science Monitor, “France and the United Arab Emirates have sent aircraft and warships to back up Greece, while Cyprus, Israel, and Egypt also have a stake in prospecting for hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean.” If you’re thinking this doesn’t sound like the actions of closely aligned allies, then you are correct. What it does sound like, however, is increasing evidence of an alliance that has failed to adjust with the times.

The Cold War world that existed in 1952 when Turkey and Greece entered NATO was one in which a group of relatively free nations put aside their differences for the collective good of them all to balance the power of the Soviet Union. That world ended with the dissolution of the USSR.

Instead of acknowledging the changed global conditions and adjusting NATO accordingly, the West clung to the past and tried to ride the status quo into a static future. If we don’t take action quickly, then our unwillingness to acknowledge reality could cost us far more than merely the loss of an alliance structure.

Every president from Truman to Trump has understandably complained that European members of NATO have not been paying enough for their own security, forcing a major burden on America. But the issue is no longer about just making Europeans “pay more,” but as the potential for fratricidal war between Turkey and Greece is exposing, we need major reform and change.

The first step in this process should be for the United States to transition from being the frontline defense of NATO countries to a supporting role. European democracies in the 1950s were poor and destitute. No more. Germany, for example, has the world’s fourth-largest economy. It is more than financially capable of providing the bulk of its own security. U.S. troops, meanwhile, should be redeployed to home bases where they can focus on defending America’s borders and global interests.

Any military alliance system the United States enters into (or stays within) must include reciprocating benefits for both countries and result in a strengthening of U.S. defenses. It should not be a one-way street where America provides the majority of the benefits to other lands and shoulders the majority of the risks of a new war—especially one in which its interests would otherwise not be at risk.

U.S. policymakers have, for many decades, been unwilling to even consider adjusting the NATO structure. If the country fails to take the rational action to do so now, however, then the cost may be the self-destruction of the alliance when its members begin shooting at one another, forcing the rest to take sides. That would be the worst time to take the issue on and far worse for U.S. interests. Now is the time to act, while there is still time to avoid disaster.

Daniel L. Davis is a senior fellow for Defense Priorities and a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army who retired in 2015 after twenty-one years, including four combat deployments. Follow him @DanielLDavis1.

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Craig Murray – Historian, Former Ambassador, Human Rights Activist

Posted by M. C. on September 5, 2020

Next we are supposed to believe that Putin, having poisoned Navalny with novichok, allowed him to be flown to Germany to be saved, making it certain the novichok would be discovered. And that Putin did this because he was worried Merkel was angry, not realising she might be still more angry when she discovered Putin had poisoned him with novichok

The United States is very keen indeed to stop Germany completing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will supply Russian gas to Germany on a massive scale, sufficient for about 40% of its electricity generation.

Novichok, Navalny, Nordstream, Nonsense

by

Once Navalny was in Berlin it was only a matter of time before it was declared that he was poisoned with Novichok. The Russophobes are delighted. This of course eliminates all vestiges of doubt about what happened to the Skripals, and proves that Russia must be isolated and sanctioned to death and we must spend untold billions on weapons and security services. We must also increase domestic surveillance, crack down on dissenting online opinion. It also proves that Donald Trump is a Russian puppet and Brexit is a Russian plot.

I am going to prove beyond all doubt that I am a Russian troll by asking the question Cui Bono?, brilliantly identified by the Integrity Initiative’s Ben Nimmo as a sure sign of Russian influence.

I should state that I have no difficulty at all with the notion that a powerful oligarch or an organ of the Russian state may have tried to assassinate Navalny. He is a minor irritant, rather more famous here than in Russia, but not being a major threat does not protect you against political assassination in Russia.

What I do have difficulty with is the notion that if Putin, or other very powerful Russian actors, wanted Navalny dead, and had attacked him while he was in Siberia, he would not be alive in Germany today. If Putin wanted him dead, he would be dead.

Let us first take the weapon of attack. One thing we know about a “Novichok” for sure is that it appears not to be very good at assassination. Poor Dawn Sturgess is the only person ever to have allegedly died from “Novichok”, accidentally according to the official narrative. “Novichok” did not kill the Skripals, the actual target. If Putin wanted Navalny dead, he would try something that works. Like a bullet to the head, or an actually deadly poison.

“Novichok” is not a specific chemical. It is a class of chemical weapon designed to be improvised in the field from common domestic or industrial precursors. It makes some sense to use on foreign soil as you are not carrying around the actual nerve agent, and may be able to buy the ingredients locally. But it makes no sense at all in your own country, where the FSB or GRU can swan around with any deadly weapon they wish, to be making homemade nerve agents in the sink. Why would you do that?

Further we are expected to believe that, the Russian state having poisoned Navalny, the Russian state then allowed the airplane he was traveling in, on a domestic flight, to divert to another airport, and make an emergency landing, so he could be rushed to hospital. If the Russian secret services had poisoned Navalny at the airport before takeoff as alleged, why would they not insist the plane stick to its original flight plan and let him die on the plane? They would have foreseen what would happen to the plane he was on.

Next, we are supposed to believe that the Russian state, having poisoned Navalny, was not able to contrive his death in the intensive care unit of a Russian state hospital. We are supposed to believe that the evil Russian state was able to falsify all his toxicology tests and prevent doctors telling the truth about his poisoning, but the evil Russian state lacked the power to switch off the ventilator for a few minutes or slip something into his drip. In a Russian state hospital.

Next we are supposed to believe that Putin, having poisoned Navalny with novichok, allowed him to be flown to Germany to be saved, making it certain the novichok would be discovered. And that Putin did this because he was worried Merkel was angry, not realising she might be still more angry when she discovered Putin had poisoned him with novichok

There are a whole stream of utterly unbelievable points there, every single one of which you have to believe to go along with the western narrative. Personally I do not buy a single one of them, but then I am a notorious Russophile traitor.

The United States is very keen indeed to stop Germany completing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will supply Russian gas to Germany on a massive scale, sufficient for about 40% of its electricity generation. Personally I am opposed to Nord Stream 2 myself, on both environmental and strategic grounds. I would much rather Germany put its formidable industrial might into renewables and self-sufficiency. But my reasons are very different from those of the USA, which is concerned about the market for liquefied gas to Europe for US produces and for the Gulf allies of the US. Key decisions on the completion of Nord Stream 2 are now in train in Germany.

The US and Saudi Arabia have every reason to instigate a split between Germany and Russia at this time. Navalny is certainly a victim of international politics. That he is a victim of Putin I tend to doubt.

The UK state is of course currently trying to silence one small bubble of dissent by imprisoning me, so you will not have access to another minor but informed view of world events for you to consider. Yesterday I launched a renewed appeal for funds for my legal defence in the Contempt of Court action against me for my reporting of the attempted fit-up of Alex Salmond. I should be extremely grateful if you can contribute to my defence fund, or subscribe to my blog.

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The Brookings Hand Behind Russiagate Points Back to Rhodes Trust Coup on America — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on August 15, 2020

To this day over 8000 students have been processed by the Rhodes Trust, with 32 being taken in from America every year permeating every branch of society.

The historian Carrol Quigley, of Georgetown University wrote of this cabal in his posthumously published “Anglo-American Establishment”:

“This organization has been able to conceal its existence quite successfully, and many of its most influential members, satisfied to possess the reality rather than the appearance of power, are unknown even to close students of British history. This is the more surprising when we learn that one of the chief methods by which this Group works has been through propaganda.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/08/10/the-brookings-hand-behind-russiagate-points-back-to-rhodes-trust-coup-on-america/

 Matthew Ehret

An incredible report on Real Clear Politics by Paul Sperry on July 24 has revealed a new dimension to the Russiagate frenzy that contaminated American politics for the last four years. While all claims of Russian collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin have been thoroughly debunked over recent months, it was believed that the culprits of this coup effort were merely swaths of deep state operatives in the DNC alongside British Intelligence assets like Christopher Steele, and Sir Richard Dearlove.

All of these things are still very true, but the story has just become significantly more interesting.

As investigative journalist Paul Sperry rigorously lays out in his report, a major piece of the Russiagate puzzle was revealed when it became known that the primary source used by Christopher Steele in shaping his dodgy dossier was not the high level Kremlin insider which the world was told, but rather a former Brookings Institute employee named Igor Danchenko.

This young Russian-born analyst who hadn’t been to Russia in decades admitted to the FBI in January 2017 that he had no contacts with any notable Russian operatives anywhere near the Kremlin (or even Russia itself it seems), and was totally confused when he was asked why he believed Steele hired him to put together an intelligence dossier on Trump in the first place!

Such admissions didn’t seem to bother the FBI at this time, who ignored the evidence of the dossier’s fraudulent foundations and proceeded to use the Steele/Danchenko material to acquire FISA warrants on Carter Page. This dossier also fueled the fires of the Russiagate inquisition and first gave voice to the narrative that Russia “hacked” the DNC emails (which have been completely refuted by former NSA insider Bill Binney).

The firestorm of revelations surrounding the Brookings Institute, have induced Rep. Devin Nunes to announce a long-awaited probe on the powerful liberal think tank which has acted as a controlling force in America’s deep state for decades and the powerful figure of the Institute’s former president Strobe Talbott.

Nunes stated:

“You may remember that the State Department was involved and there were additional dossiers that weren’t the Steele dossier- except that they mirrored the Steele dossier. And we think there is a connection between the [former] president of Brookings and those dossiers that were given to the State Department.”

Strobe Talbott not only led Brookings for years, but served as former Deputy Secretary of State of the Clinton White House, former director of the Council on Foreign Relations, was a member of the Trilateral Commissions executive committee and also acted as Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Policy Board of the Obama White House. It was Talbott who deployed Danchenko’s Brookings Institute mentor Fiona Hill to acquire a job at the National Security Council in 2017 where she not only advanced an anti-Russian war plan but testified in Trump’s impeachment trial in 2019.

Hill, who had known Christopher Steele since 2006 and were in frequent discussion since 2016, co-authored two Brookings Institute intelligence reports with Danchenko and endorsed him as a “creative and accomplished analyst and researcher” which was posted on his Linkedin account.

The “additional dossiers that weren’t the Steele dossier” addressed by Nunes is a reference to a lesser known dodgy dossier produced by Brookings-affiliated journalist Cody Shearer (brother-in-law of Strobe Talbott) which was crafted explicitly to validate the wildly unsupported claims found in Steele’s dossier.

Apparently having two dossiers full of the same lies is more believable than only one.

Other information which has surfaced- especially since Steele’s recent UK trial testimony was made public, is that Talbott reached out to the MI6 asset in August 2016 to discuss the dossier, while comparing notes on the Shearer file. With Trump’s surprise election in November 2016, both Steele and Talbott met to strategize how they should handle the Steele dossier going forward.

Another Brookings Institute player who interfaced directly with Steele and ensured that the dossier made it into the hands of prominent pro-impeachment figures and news media outlets in America was none other than regime-change queen Victoria Nuland herself who hired Steele as an advisor during the Ukraine Maidan debacle and met with him on several occasions to discuss the dossier before Trump’s election. Both Nuland and her neo-con husband Robert Kagan serve as Senior Fellows at Brookings Institute.

The Real issue of Talbott’s British Pedigree

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US Intelligence: If Trump Wins Russia Did It, If Biden Wins It Was China And Iran – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on August 12, 2020

Mass media throughout the western world are uncritically passing along a press release from the US intelligence community, because that’s what passes for journalism in a world where God is dead and everything is stupid.

What this completely unsubstantiated narrative means, of course, is that no matter who wins in November America’s opaque government agencies will have already primed the nation for more dangerous escalations against countries which have resisted being absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized empire. If Trump wins we can expect his administration to continue its escalations against Russia in retaliation for its 2020 “election interference”, and if Biden wins we can expect his cabinet of Obama administration holdovers to ramp up escalations against China in the same way while Joe mumbles to himself off to the side as his brain turns to chowder.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/08/08/us-intelligence-if-trump-wins-russia-did-it-if-biden-wins-it-was-china-and-iran/

Back in April I said “China’s gonna be so surprised when it finds out it interfered in the November election.”

Now three months ahead of schedule China is already getting its surprise, alongside fellow unabsorbed governments Iran and Russia.

Mass media throughout the western world are uncritically passing along a press release from the US intelligence community, because that’s what passes for journalism in a world where God is dead and everything is stupid.

The press release, from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and authored by National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina, claims that Russia wants Donald Trump to win re-election in November and is pushing to advance than goal, while China and Iran are doing the same with Joe Biden.

China

“We assess that China prefers that President Trump – whom Beijing sees as unpredictable – does not win reelection,” the press release reads. “China has been expanding its influence efforts ahead of November 2020 to shape the policy environment in the United States, pressure political figures it views as opposed to China’s interests, and deflect and counter criticism of China.”

Russia

“We assess that Russia is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden and what it sees as an anti-Russia ‘establishment,’” the press release claims. “Some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television.”

Iran

“We assess that Iran seeks to undermine U.S. democratic institutions, President Trump, and to divide the country in advance of the 2020 elections,” says the press release. “Iran’s efforts along these lines probably will focus on on-line influence, such as spreading disinformation on social media and recirculating anti-U.S. content. Tehran’s motivation to conduct such activities is, in part, driven by a perception that President Trump’s reelection would result in a continuation of U.S. pressure on Iran in an effort to foment regime change.”

What this completely unsubstantiated narrative means, of course, is that no matter who wins in November America’s opaque government agencies will have already primed the nation for more dangerous escalations against countries which have resisted being absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized empire. If Trump wins we can expect his administration to continue its escalations against Russia in retaliation for its 2020 “election interference”, and if Biden wins we can expect his cabinet of Obama administration holdovers to ramp up escalations against China in the same way while Joe mumbles to himself off to the side as his brain turns to chowder.

There is never a legitimate reason to believe any unproven claim made by unaccountable spook agencies about US-targeted governments, but even if everything in this press release were true it’s an incredibly stupid thing to care about. The influence that Russia, China or Iran could exert over public opinion in the United States is a tiny fraction of that which is exerted by the unaccountable US billionaire media every single day, which already has its own factions pushing for Biden over Trump and Trump over Biden. Adding some foreign social media operations into the mix would change literally nothing.

Secondly, as the press release itself acknowledges, the US is openly pushing regime change in Iran. It is already engaging in various acts of economic warfare against all three of the named governments, and it openly interfered in Russia’s elections in the nineties to a far greater extent than anything it has even accused Russia of doing. The US government’s own data shows that it is the very worst election meddler in the world by an extremely wide margin, which would make it a perfectly legitimate target for election interference by any nation on earth.

Lastly, the dumbest thing about believing foreign nations are interfering in American democracy is believing America has any democracy to interfere with. The integrity of US elections ranks dead last among all western democracies, public opinion is constantly  which has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo which keeps them rich and powerful, and it’s a  where both  advance the same establishment agendas.

Imagine believing that foreign leaders are looking at the dumpster fire that is the United States and thinking “I know how we can hurt them! We’ll sow division by saying mean things about their presidential candidates on social media!”

It’s the dumbest thing in the world. Yet all the establishment narrative managers are jumping on this intelligence community press release as a real thing that we should all be excited about.

All this hand-wringing and arm-waving about foreign interference on social media comes as social media itself makes policy changes to ensure that only western governments are allowed to conduct propaganda on its platforms, with Twitter instituting a new policy of labeling accounts from unabsorbed governments as “state-affiliated media” while placing no labels or restrictions on any accounts with extensive western government ties.

The overall message in all this is that only western government agencies and oligarchs may conduct propaganda on those who live in the US-centralized empire. It should enrage us all that these unaccountable abusers feel so entitled to insert their rapey fingers in our minds and manipulate how we think, act and vote that they get all chest-thumpy about the idea of anyone else getting a word in edgewise. They do this because they understand that whoever controls the narrative controls the world, and there is no amount of evil they won’t do to ensure that they continue to control the world.

The reason sociopaths are able to insert themselves so easily into positions of power and influence in human civilization is because highly manipulative people with no empathy quickly learn that society is dominated by narrative, while the rest of us do not understand this. This must change before we will be able to create a healthy world.

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Why Russia Likes to Play Aerial ‘Chicken’ with America | The National Interest

Posted by M. C. on August 11, 2020

Nevertheless, the number of such incidents is dwarfed by the surging U.S. military presence along Russia’s border and the incidents that a more robust presence is generating. In other words, most of the interceptions are taking place near Russia and thousands of miles away from the American homeland. The undeniable reality is that the United States and its NATO allies are crowding Russia, not that Russia is crowding the United States, and the aerial encounters must be viewed in that context.

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/why-russia-likes-play-aerial-%E2%80%98chicken%E2%80%99-america-166450

by Ted Galen Carpenter

Over the past few months, there has been a surge of alarming incidents between U.S. and Russian military aircraft. Most of the cases have entailed U.S. spy planes flying near the Russian coast adjacent to the Black Sea—supposedly in international airspace. It is a reckless practice that easily could escalate into a broader, very dangerous confrontation.

The Black Sea region definitely is the epicenter of such episodes. On July 30, a Russian Su-27 jet fighter intercepted two American surveillance aircraft; according to Russian officials, it was the fourth time in the final week of July that they caught U.S. planes in that sector approaching the Russian coast. Yet another interception took place on August 5, again involving two U.S. spy planes. Antiwar.com analyst Jason Ditz notes that although U.S. officials did not comment on why those spy planes are there, “the U.S. has seemed to have a growing interest in the Black Sea as tensions grow between Russia and NATO member Romania over control of that inland sea.”

Following the July 30 episode, U.S. officials claimed that the Russian Su-27 “buzzed” the American aircraft, creating a needless safety hazard. That complaint is a frequent U.S. response to such encounters. In January 2018, the Pentagon asserted that a Russian fighter came within five feet of a U.S. Navy plane in an incident over the Black Sea. Similarly, in September 2016, Washington alleged that a Russian fighter flew within ten feet of the U.S. aircraft it was trying to intercept.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of interceptions of U.S. and NATO military planes each year, not only in the Black Sea region but over the Baltic Sea and areas along the lengthy land border between NATO members and the Russian Federation. In addition, troubling incidents have involved Russian planes buzzing U.S. and NATO ships.

Although both sides can be faulted for engaging in needlessly provocative and dangerous behavior, the United States deserves the bulk of the blame.  As ABC News noted in an April 2020 investigation into such close encounters, most of the episodes have been in the Baltic Sea and Black Sea. The report noted further that “U.S. officials believe Russia’s close encounters with the U.S. military are prompted by Russia’s effort to reassert itself militarily around its borders.”

Granted, Russian aircraft have sometimes conducted provocative aerial approaches to U.S. territory, especially near Alaska, and the frequency of that behavior seems to be growing.  Nevertheless, the number of such incidents is dwarfed by the surging U.S. military presence along Russia’s border and the incidents that a more robust presence is generating. In other words, most of the interceptions are taking place near Russia and thousands of miles away from the American homeland. The undeniable reality is that the United States and its NATO allies are crowding Russia, not that Russia is crowding the United States, and the aerial encounters must be viewed in that context.

One would think that U.S. military and political leaders would exercise greater caution.  It is highly unlikely that the information gathered from spy planes flying off of the Russian coast adds so much to the intelligence already available from satellites that it is worth the risk of a collision and the dangerous diplomatic and military fallout that would ensue. Indeed, the current crop of officials should have learned that lesson from the April 2001 crisis that erupted when a U.S. surveillance plane collided with a Chinese fighter.  Not only was the Chinese pilot killed, but the damaged U.S. aircraft had to make an emergency landing on China’s Hainan Island.

The following days were filled with alarming tensions. Beijing was understandably miffed but then escalated the confrontation by refusing to release the aircraft and—even worse—refusing to release the crew. Eventually, the two governments reached an awkward compromise with George W. Bush’s administration issuing an ultra-vague apology and the crew being able to return home.  China, though, kept the aircraft and its sophisticated technology.

Perhaps most troubling, anti-China hawks in the United States sought to exploit the crisis to promote a much harder-line overall foreign policy toward Beijing. An article by neo-conservative luminaries William Kristol and Robert Kagan was typical.  The authors described the conciliatory U.S. response as “a national humiliation.” Kristol and Kagan saw much wider, dangerous ramifications from such alleged appeasement. “As the Chinese understand better than American leaders, President Bush has revealed weakness. And he has revealed fear: fear of the political, strategic, and economic consequences of meeting a Chinese challenge. Having exposed this weakness and fear, the Chinese will try to exploit it again and again.”

It is a safe bet, that given the current extent of hostility toward Russia among America’s opinion elites, hawkish types would be even more likely to magnify any crisis involving a similar incident. There would be massive political and media pressure on the White House to take an uncompromising stance against Moscow and “stand up to Putin.” The already dangerous cold war with Russia could easily turn hot. Officials authorizing the provocative spy plane flights along Russia’s borders are playing a game of international chicken.  And as the outcomes of games of chicken using automobiles have shown far too often, they can end tragically.  Responsible military and civilian officials should not behave in such a juvenile fashion.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in security studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at the National Interest, is the author of twelve books and more than 850 articles on international affairs. 

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Taliban, Russia and John Dillinger

Posted by M. C. on July 25, 2020

I made a poorly written Facebook comment regarding Russia and the Taliban. My original thought was the CIA/Pentagram faked the statement that the Taliban was paid to kill US soldiers, not that the CIA/Pentagram did the paying.

The point being we must prevent Trump bringing troops home from the other side of the planet.

I felt uncomfortable with my correction as after all this is the CIA/Pentagram we are talking about. Think of lives lost due to Tokin Gulf and agent orange lies.

Russia having to pay Taliban to kill US forces is like having to pay John Dillinger to rob banks. It makes no sense. The Taliban have been happy to do it for free for 20 years.

A few days later the memory bank kicked in. We have paid the Taliban… a lot. We have paid them protection money, often through middlemen and contractors, not attack supply convoys. And who knows what else.

Money is fungible. Funds that don’t have to be used to supply one thing, because someone else supplies funds for that thing, can be used to kill Americans.

We also supply the enemies throughout the world due to gross incompetence and negligence. When US forces leave an area lots of good stuff is just left. It is easier to tap the taxpayer for more.

The US has supplied and trained forces that have taken and sold their equipment or gone over to Al Qaeda.

The black market is overflowing with high tech US equipment.

There are hundreds of billion$ worth of equipment the pentagram can’t account for and lost.

The links and the snippet below describe some of what we know. As Donald Rumsfield once stated “we don’t know what we don’t know”.

https://thediplomat.com/2018/06/how-the-us-is-indirectly-arming-the-taliban/

https://abcnews.go.com/WN/Afghanistan/united-states-military-funding-taliban-afghanistan/story?id=10980527

“The military has turned to private trucking companies to transport the vast majority of materiel it needs to fight the war — everything from bullets to Gatorade, gas to sandbags — and in turn, the companies are using American money to pay, among others, the Taliban to try to guarantee the trucks’ safe passage, the reports charge.

Trucking executives and investigators from the House Subcommittee on National Security say the United States military knew it was helping fund the people it was fighting but did nothing about it, choosing to satisfy short-term delivery requirements and ignore fears that payments to the enemy help perpetuate Afghanistan’s long-term security problems.

In one case, a security company is paying a local commander who funnels American money directly to the Quetta Shura, the Taliban leadership council based in Pakistan, according to officials in Pakistan. The commander denied the allegation. On a recent day when the commander was told he had lost the security contract, a half dozen trucks were burned on the road between Kabul and Kandahar. The violence stopped a few days later when the contract was given back to him.”

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The Washington Post and Its Cold War Drums – CounterPunch.org

Posted by M. C. on July 20, 2020

It is customary for the political rhetoric to get heated during a presidential campaign, which will find Donald Trump and Joe Biden vying for honors in the field of national security and militancy, but there should be some balance and context from the mainstream media.  The increasingly hard line of the Washington Post on the competition with China, Russia, and Iran suggests that the political contenders will be goaded—and not ameliorated—by the nation’s key newspapers.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/07/10/the-washington-post-and-its-cold-war-drums/#gsc.tab=0

The Washington Post has taken its Cold War campaign against China, Russia, and Iran to a new level.  In the Sunday edition of its Outlook section, the Post gave front-page coverage to long articles by former ambassador Michael McFaul and former New York Times’ writer Tim Weiner to trumpet Russia’s “constant aggression” and its “brutal Cold War rules.”  There was no hint whatsoever of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to improve Russian-American relations over the past two decades, and no suggestion that the actions of the United States over the past 25 years have significantly contributed to the poor state of relations between Moscow and Washington.

The companion pieces have supportive titles, which suggests an editorial decision to express an authoritative point of view.  McFaul’s article is titled “Trump always finds a way to let Putin win….”, and Weiner’s screed follows with “….even when Russia plays by brutal Cold War rules.”  Their joint thesis is a simple one: Donald Trump’s complacency has enabled President Putin’s “litany of belligerent acts.”  Neither writer notes U.S. actions over the past quarter-century that have worsened the international environment and helped to create a  revival of the Cold War.  Indeed, they absolve the last four American presidents of any responsibility for the current state of affairs, ignoring their actions that have been consistent with Cold War policymaking.  Is anyone going to address the importance of restoring a Russian-American dialogue revolving around arms control and disarmament as well as Third World conflict resolution?

McFaul’s article is particularly interesting in view of his role as the architect of President Barack Obama’s “reset” policy toward Russia, his standing as one of the leading scholars on post-communist Russia, and his appointment as the first non-career diplomat to be U.S. ambassador to the Kremlin.  His two-year tour was hardly a success as McFaul, only several days after his arrival in Moscow, chose to invite a number of organizers and prominent participants in the anti-Putin protest movement to the U.S. embassy.  McFaul immediately became an Internet celebrity in the tight-knit world of Russian opposition, which demonstrated a lack of awareness of Russian political sensitivities, particularly if the Obama administration was genuinely trying to “reset” relations.

McFaul’s article is totally one-sided.  He argues that “Trump has received nothing” from Moscow despite his concessions to the Russian president, citing “no new arms-control treaty, no help in deal with worsening relations with Iran.”  But it was Trump who backed away from arms control and disarmament with Russia, abrogating the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty and walking away from the Outer Space Treaty.  Conversely, it is Putin who is trying to get back to arms control negotiations, particularly to extend the New START Treaty, which expires in January 2021.  Moreover, it is Putin who supports the Iran nuclear accord, and nowhere does McFaul explain what Russian leaders could possibly do to reverse the damage that the Trump administration has done to relations with Iran as well as to political stability in the Persian Gulf.

Weiner is welcome to his opinion that the CIA’s covert action in Afghanistan was the “last great battle of the Cold War,” but the Russians have dealt with genuine facts for the past 25 years that point to U.S. responsibility for the current disarray in Russian-American relations.  In the 1990s, it was the United States and President Bill Clinton who decided to expand the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, bringing former Soviet republics into NATO, a betrayal of commitments that President George H.W. Bush and Secretary of State James Baker gave to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze not to “leap frog” over Germany in order to go into East Europe.

President George W. Bush went one terrible step further by bringing former Soviet republics into NATO; it took German Chancellor Angela Merkel to get him to stop flirting with membership for Ukraine and Georgia. Merkel convinced Bush that introducing Ukraine and Georgia to NATO would violate Putin’s red line regarding NATO membership.  Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Victoria Nuland used her cell phone to discuss specific individuals who would be in the government or out.  When the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine told Nuland that the European Union would have problems with her intervention, she replied “Fuck the EU.”  The Kremlin intercepted the call and had a field day spreading the news.  The Russian actions toward Ukraine and Georgia that McFaul and Weiner cite were, in fact, a response to U.S. manipulation of the politics and policies of both nations, which followed Putin’s red-line warnings to the United States.

One of the most severe moves reminiscent of the Cold War was President George W. Bush’s abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002.  It was noteworthy that John Bolton served in influential administration positions in 2002 and 2019, when the ABM Treaty and the INF Treaty, respectively, were abrogated.  Bush followed up the abrogation with another offensive maneuver, the deployment of a regional missile defense in Poland and Romania, claiming the defense was designed to counter a possible attack from Iran.  This made no sense at the time, and even less sense during the Obama administration when the Iran nuclear accord was completed.  Not only has Donald Trump demonstrated no interest in the importuning from Putin regarding the need to return to disarmament negotiations, he has created a Cold War-like Space Force and suggested that U.S. troops to be withdrawn from Germany might end up in Poland.  McFaul needs to reconcile the fact that additional U.S. forces will be sent to Poland with his notion that “Trump always finds a way to let Putin win.”

It is customary for the political rhetoric to get heated during a presidential campaign, which will find Donald Trump and Joe Biden vying for honors in the field of national security and militancy, but there should be some balance and context from the mainstream media.  The increasingly hard line of the Washington Post on the competition with China, Russia, and Iran suggests that the political contenders will be goaded—and not ameliorated—by the nation’s key newspapers.

Melvin A. Goodman is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and a professor of government at Johns Hopkins University.  A former CIA analyst, Goodman is the author of Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA and National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism. and A Whistleblower at the CIA. His most recent book is “American Carnage: The Wars of Donald Trump” (Opus Publishing), and he is the author of the forthcoming “The Dangerous National Security State” (2020).” Goodman is the national security columnist for counterpunch.org.

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Poll: Americans Believe Russia Paid Taliban to Kill US Troops – News From Antiwar.com

Posted by M. C. on July 9, 2020

Taliban have been killing US soldiers for 20 years for free.  Russians are not stupid.

Someone has been paying to have US soldiers killed. You and me.

https://news.antiwar.com/2020/07/08/poll-americans-believe-russia-paid-taliban-to-kill-us-troops/

Late last month, reports began emerging claiming that Russia had been paying substantial bounties to the Taliban to kill US troops in Afghanistan. A new poll shows that 60% of Americans view that allegation as “believable.”

Claims Russia did something bad are usually easy to sell, and a claim repeated enough usually gets believed by many. Still, the evidence is not at all on the side of this particular allegation, which the Pentagon tried, and failed, to sell to the US intelligence community.

Centcom head Gen. Frank McKenzie says that when he heard the report it was “worrisome,” but that he’s still not clear anyone was killed on the basis of this. Moreover, he says the US did not change its Afghanistan operations.

It seems clear at this point it was never true, but the New York Times ran with the story, and ran hard, and the poll points to Americans buying the story.

The poll shows that they view Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “threat,” and support a new round of US sanctions against Russia. Alarmingly, 9% even supported attacking Russia outright.

This is undercut by the strong evidence that this plot isn’t true, and never was. The danger is, the US could escalate hostilities and the majority of the public is fine with it.

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