Thursday 22nd of February 2018

Leg Cramps at Night?...

news...news...

Americans are outraged by allegations that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an intelligence service to hack email accounts of the Democratic National Committee. How inexpressibly heinous that one country, Russia, would try to influence elections in another sovereign country, in this case the United States!  How unprecedented!  How diabolical! How uniquely Russian!

In response, the Obama administration has expelled Russian diplomats, hinted at economic sanctions, and promised further retaliation using America’s “world-class arsenal of cyber weapons.”  (NYT Dec. 16, 2016) Obama’s Republican opponents, for their part, have demanded “rocks” instead of Obama’s “pebbles.”

But does the USA meddle in the presidential elections of other countries?

Our friends in South America might have insights here — hundreds of cases of economic and military blackmail, election fraud, assassination, and the violent overthrow of democratically elected leaders.  So too in Europe (Greece, Italy, Portugal, Georgia, Ukraine, etc.), east Asia (Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines, etc.), north Africa (Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco), and dozens of other countries on five of the six inhabited continents. (Joshua Keating, “Election Meddling Is Surprisingly Common,” Slate.com, 4 Jan., 2017; Tim Weiner, CIA:  Legacy of Ashes, 2008; Noam Chomsky, Deterring Democracy, 1992, 2006.)

In the welter of red-faced indignation, the torrents of denunciations from Senate hearings and press conferences, talk shows and podcasts, one might have expected someone to pose the rather obvious question whether American agencies have ever meddled in Russian presidential elections.  And yet (surprise surprise!) America’s corporate-owned press of record, an institution that constantly flaunts its “objectivity,” has failed to raise that straightforward question.

So, let us raise it here:  Has the USA engaged in this sort of meddling?  And if so, what effect has it had on Russia?

The answer to the first question, of course, is a resounding Yes.  Even as you read these words, you can bet that one or more of seventeen Federal agencies of the United States are busy hacking Russia.  (It is a safe bet that other countries are engaged in cyber espionage against Russia and the United States, too, including China and Israel.)

Let us limit our discussion to one single case.  Readers will recall that in the run-up to the 1996 presidential election in Russia, opinion polls put the pro-western incumbent, Boris Yeltsin, in fifth place among the presidential candidates, with only 8% support. The same polls showed that the most popular candidate in Russia by a wide margin was the Communist Party’s Gennady Zyuganov. Moved to desperation by the numbers, well-connected Russian oligarchs suggested just cancelling the election and supporting a military takeover, rather than facing a defeat at the polls.  Neocons in the West embraced the idea–all in the name of Democracy [Gus note: the US financed the "revolution" in Ukraine, 2014], of course.  In the end, though, Yeltsin and the oligarchs decided to retain power by staging the election.

In keeping with Russian laws at the time, Zyuganov spent less than three million dollars on his campaign.  Estimates of Yeltsin’s spending, by contrast, range from $700 million to $2.5 billion.   (David M. Kotz, Russia’s Path from Gorbachev to Putin, 2007) This was a clear violation of law, but it was just the tip of the iceberg.

In February 1996, at the urging of the United States, the International Monetary Fund (which describes itself as “an organization of 188 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation”) supplied a $10.2 billion “emergency infusion” to Russia.The money disappeared as Yeltsin used it to shore up his reputation and to buy votes.  He forced the Central Bank of Russia to provide an additional $1 billion for his campaign, too.  Meanwhile, a handful of Russian oligarchs, notably several big contributors residing in Israel, provided more billions for the Yeltsin campaign.

In the spring of 1996, Yeltsin and his campaign manager, billionaire privatizer Anatoly Chubais, recruited a team of financial and media oligarchs to bankroll the Yeltsin campaign and guarantee favorable media coverage on national television and in leading newspapers.  In return, Chubais allowed well-connected Russian business leaders to acquire majority stakes in some of Russia’s most valuable state-owned assets.

Campaign strategists for the former Republican governor of California Pete Wilson covertly made their way to the President Hotel in Moscow where, behind a guard and locked doors, they served as Yeltsin’s “secret campaign weapon” to save Russia for Democracy.  (Eleanor Randolph, “Americans Claim Role in Yeltsin Win,” L.A. Times, 9 July 1996)  Yeltsin and his cohorts monopolized all major media outlets, print and electronic, public, and private. They bombarded Russians with an incessant and uncontested barrage of political advertising masquerading as news, phony “documentaries,” rumors, innuendos, and bad faith campaign promises (including disbursement of back pay to workers and pensioners, stopping further NATO expansion, and peaceful settlement of Yeltsin’s brutal war against Chechnya [Gus note: Chechnya's troubles came from US financed "rebels"]. Yeltsin campaigners even floated the threat that he would stage a coup and the country would descend into civil war if Zyuganov were to win the vote.

It is now public record that the Yeltsin campaign conducted extensive “black operations,” including disrupting opposition rallies and press conferences, spreading disinformation among Yeltsin supporters, and denying media access to the opposition.  The dirty tricks included such tactics as announcing false dates for opposition rallies and press conferences, disseminating alarming campaign materials that they deceitfully attributed to the Zyuganov campaign, and cancelling hotel reservations for Zyuganov and his volunteers. Finally, widespread bribery, voter fraud, intimidation, and ballot stuffing assured Yeltsin’s victory in the runoff election.

The day after his victory, Yeltsin disappeared from the scene and did not reappear until months later, drunk. During Yeltsin’s second term, the “non-ideological” IMF provided another infusion of money, this time $40 billion.  Once again, more billions disappeared without a trace, much of it stolen by the President’s chronies, who placed it in foreign banks.  The re-elected President didn’t even pretend to make good on his campaign promises.

Serious observers, including leading Democrats, agree that even if the recent hacking allegations against Russia turn out to be true, the “dirty tricks” did not affect the outcome of the 2016 election.  By contrast, American meddling and financing of the 1996 presidential election in Russia clearly played a pivotal role in turning Yeltsin from a candidate with single-digit approval at the beginning of the year into a winning candidate with an official (but disputed) 54.4% of votes cast in the second-round runoff later that same year.

Let us consider some of the consequences of Yeltsin’s electoral win:

–In the first years of the Chubais-Yeltsin privatization scheme, the life expectancy of a Russian male fell from 65 years to 57.5 years.  Female life expectancy in Russia dropped from 74.5 years in 1989 to 72.8 years in 1999.

–Throughout Yeltsin’s terms as President, flight of capital away from Russia totaled between $1 and $2 billion every month.

–Each year from 1989 to 2001 there was a fall of approximately 8% in Russia’s productive assets.

–From 1990 to 1999 the percentage increase of people living on less than $1 a day was greater in Russian and the other former socialist countries than anywhere else in the world.

–The number of people living in poverty in the former Soviet Republics rose from 14 million in 1989 to 147 million in 1998. As a result of the 1998 financial collapse and the devaluation of the ruble, the life savings of tens of millons of Russian families disappeared over night.  Since then, the Great Recession and low oil pries have only made matters worse.

–In the period from 1992 to 1998 Russia’s GDP fell by half–something that did not happen even under during the German invasion in the Second World War.

Under Yeltsin’s tenure, the death rate in Russia reached wartime levels.  Accidents, food poisoning, exposure, heart attacks, lack of access to basic healthcare, and an epidemic of suicides—they all played a role.  David Satter, a senior fellow at the anti-communist, Washington DC-based Hudson Institute, writing in the conservative Wall Street Journal, described the consequences of this victory of Democracy:  “Western and Russian demographers now agree that between 1992 and 2000, the number of ‘surplus deaths’ in Russia–deaths that cannot be explained on the basis of previous trends–was between five and six million persons.” (Accessed 8 April 2015.  American sociologist James Petras has given a figure of 15 million surplus deaths since the demise of the Soviet Union.)

NATO continued its expansion east. Yeltsin turned the Chechen city of Grozy into a field of rubble, and he quickly became the most reviled man in Russia.  But as one observer put it at the time, “Yeltsin didn’t seem to notice, which is hardly surprising, since he was drunk for most of his tenure in office.”By the time he left office, the American-approved President of the Russian Federation had an approval rating of 2%.  (CNN, 2002)   But by that time it didn’t matter:  the kleptocrats were safely installed in power, and American-imposed Democracy had achieved its aims in Russia’s “transition.”

Yeltsin died in 2007, celebrated as an anti-communist hero by the neocons in Washington and New York, but hated by the vast majority of Russians.  Four years later, Dmitri Medvedev, then-President of Russia, eulogized Yeltsin for creating “the base of a new Russian statehood, without which none of our future successes would be possible.”  But a Time magazine writer reported that, despite Medvedev’s public praise, the story he told privately was quite different.  On 20 February 2012, he reportedly told attendees at a closed-door meeting:  “Russia’s first President did not actually win re-election in 1996 for a second term.  The second presidential vote in Russia’s history, in other words, was rigged.”  (Simon Shuster, “Rewriting Russian History:  Did Boris Yeltsin Steal the 1996 Presidential Election?” Timeonline, 24 Feb. 2012.)

Some readers, perhaps, do not see the point of reminding ourselves of America’s role in the election of Yeltsin and America’s responsibility for the resulting misery and mass death.  But let us remind ourselves that the recent hacking accusations are just one element of a full-on media assault against Russia, led by Washington.  From supposed Russian war crimes in the fight against the murderous jihadi occupiers of Syria to Russia’s re-annexation of overwhelmingly pro-Russian Crimea and the doping of Olympic athletes, America’s neocons are engaged in a propaganda blitz with high stakes.

Armenia is one of many frontline positions in Washington’s escalating media campaign against Russia.  Yes, the Russian Federation is an imperialist state, in V.I. Lenin’s technical sense of the term.  And yes, Russia wields undo influence in Armenia.  But by now it is clear that greater sovereignty for Armenia is not what is at stake when it comes to the Russophobe opposition.  After all, the Russia haters do not seem to have much problem with the idea of giving up sovereignty to the American imperialists and their regional surrogate, the Republic of Turkey. More importantly, the cause of greater national sovereignty will be harmed if the Russia haters have their way.  They only confirm the pervasivesense of vulnerability, economic isolation, and military encirclement among Russians, a people who have endured three decades of enormous destruction and humiliation, after a century of invasion and wars that claimed the lives of tens of millions of their compatriots.

Let us remind ourselves that the loudest of Yerevan’s Russia haters are the same fanatics who led Armenia to its present state of ruin.  After so much failure and disaster, they continue to hawk the old dangerous fantasy of Uncle Sam as Armenia’s savior. They are unrepentant, and like Yeltsin, they take their marching orders from Washington.

Markar Melkonian is a teacher and an author. His books include Richard Rorty’s Politics:  Liberalism at the End of the American Century (1999), Marxism: A Post-Cold War Primer (Westview Press, 1996), and My Brother’s Road (2005).

read more:

https://www.globalresearch.ca/us-meddling-in-1996-russian-elections-in-support-of-boris-yeltsin/5568288

helping yeltsinhelping yeltsin

And let's remind viewers, readers and myself that not a single proof of Russia meddling in the US Presidential elections has been shown... All the this and that "evidence" of Mueller and co are not proof, even if someone "did" business with some "Russian" and swindled a few dollars. Today's paradise papers dump reminds us that the USA is full of "clean and honest Christian" businesses, while the rest of the world, especially Russia, is devious, tax evading and "evil" ... 

 

And remind me. Who was Us President at the time of this US meddling in Russian elections? Ah yes... William Jefferson Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III; August 19, 1946) who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. It looks like it took 20 years for Russia's revenge... But in fact, Russia did not have to, and did not, interfere with the 2016 presidential elections. Rupert Murdoch did. Putin knew that this would be enough. 

and read: 

 

The story of Fancy Bear

 

the "it's complicated" saudis...

It started off with the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, a clearly orchestrated move produced and executed by his paymasters in Riyadh.

Hariri announced on a Saudi-owned channel, from the Saudi capital, that he was resigning his post in protest at foreign intervention in Lebanon's domestic affairs. The irony was lost on him. 

The ostensible reason he gave, as he invoked his late father's name, was that he too is threatened with assassination. 

As the day turned into evening, there were reports of explosions being heard close to the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. It transpired that Houthi rebels (linked to Iran and allied with former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is partially linked to the United Arab Emirates) had fired at least one ballistic missile from Yemen towards Riyadh. It put an exclamation point on the fact that the war in Yemen is far from over - more than two years since Saudi Arabia launched operation "Decisive Storm."

As the clock inched to midnight another bombshell was dropped; this time by the Saudis: A royal decree ordering the arrest of several princes, billionaires, and notable figures, as well as the sacking of senior government officials. Some were the sons of the late King Abdullah. One was the head of the Saudi National Guard. 

All three of these developments will have seismic implications, not just on Saudi Arabia, but on the region and beyond. 

read more:

http://www.aljazeera.com/blogs/middleeast/2017/11/saudi-arabia-game-thob...

But do not despair at the pumps:

The market for oil, Saudi Arabia's most lucrative export, is unlikely to be affected by the arrest of dozens of former Saudi state officials and at least 11 Saudi princes in an anti-corruption drive, financial analysts have said.

On Sunday, it was reported that 11 Saudi princes, four incumbent ministers of the Saudi government and dozens of former government ministers had been arrested in an anti-corruption drive. 

Reportedly among those arrested is prominent billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, owner of the Kingdom Holding Company which has large stakes in businesses and property around the world including Citigroup, Twitter and several luxury hotel chains.

The arrests took place just hours after Saudi ruler King Salman decreed the creation of a powerful new anticorruption committee led by his son and heir, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. King Salman also fired several high-profile ministers.

 

read more:

https://sputniknews.com/business/201711051058838602-saudi-shock-arrests-...

Here we must contemplate that should the price of oil go up, the Ruskies would become rich...The USA cannot allow this to happen so they will make sure the price of oil stays more or less put, despite the Saudi clean up. I would suggest that the Saudi King might have to watch his back...

of fake news and ASIO...

 

...

It's only the older people who smile and say "plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose". This came back to mind when a recent article in The New Daily was drawn to my attention. Its headline made the bold claim that ASIO were the secret police doing enormous damage to our democracy. It asserts that ASIO "was born out of the anti-communist hysteria of the post-war era and has always been closely associated with the conservative side of politics".

The unsuspecting reader might take this to be a statement of fact. It was presumably intended to convey the idea that people right-of-centre like the idea of secret intelligence agencies and whipped themselves into a false frenzy about communists after WWII, hence we have this dastardly agency called ASIO.

 

What is not said is also what is conveyed: sensible lefties would not have been so sucked in by the hysteria. A quick look into ASIO history tells a different story. It was in fact set up by Labor under Ben Chifley. Under the "five eyes" intelligence sharing, our government knew from material acquired through Operation Venona, run by the United States, that there were Russian operatives active in Australia during and after WWII.

Chifley's famous 1949 speech referring to the "light on the hill" may have drawn inspiration from the parable of salt and light at Matthew 5:14: "You are a light to the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden." 

But in setting up ASIO he knew, as our allies knew, there were "reds under the bed". In fact, there was one in Herbert Evatt's office, who was attorney-general at the time.

Read all of Amanda's posts:

http://www.smh.com.au/comment/fake-news-has-been-around-a-lot-longer-tha...

 

 

Let's remind ourselves that Saddam's WMDs was a CIA concocted fake news.

 

See also: http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/1686

and

http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/11276

 

 

Meanwhile in the land of the guns that don't kill people and god:

A gunman walked into a small Baptist church in rural Texas on Sunday and opened fire, killing at least 25 people and turning a tiny town east of San Antonio into the scene of the country’s most recent mass horror.

Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas confirmed the death toll, which has steadily increased throughout the day after the shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs.

Accounts of the number of dead have varied: Paul W. Pfeil, a Wilson County, Tex., commissioner, said that he did not have a total count of those killed but that it was “more than 20.”

Albert Gamez Jr., another Wilson County commissioner, told CNN that he was told by an emergency medical technician that 27 people were dead and 24 others were injured. He said he was told by the police that the gunman was chased into the next county and was killed, but it was not clear whether the police shot him or he killed himself.

Mr. Gamez said the victims were still inside the church. Sutherland Springs is a small community where everyone knows one another, he said.

read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/05/us/church-shooting-texas.html

(note this story has been referenced in the third panel of the toon at top). Sad.

of fake news at the SMH...

 

Dr Evan Jones analyses recent MSM "good guys versus bad guys" coverage of politics and world events.

BEING of advanced years, it is imperative that I try to achieve a rough mental and emotional equilibrium. Old age attracts many killers, but one doesn’t want to die prematurely of apoplexy.

The secret appears to be — do not expose oneself to any media, but especially the mainstream media. It’s a perennial struggle because of the thirst for information and the lust for understanding one’s world.

I have put myself on a strict diet, but even the over-breakfast glance at the Sydney Morning Herald has me jumping up with outrage. Outrage and fury. It’s enough to drive one early to drink.

One thinks that it can’t get any worse, but then it does get worse.

The crims are running the shop

Never has elected officialdom been so comprehensively full of cretins, spivs, criminals and flunkeys for power. If these contemptible slimes are so bereft of the concept of the public purpose, how have they germinated, flourished and coagulated into monopolising public office?

And then they all run off and get their paychecks from their paymasters.

Revolving door of #corruption & #Greed destroying our country. Time for CHANGE #auspol#revolution https://t.co/y29ijnu1HR @IndependentAus

— Marcus Champ (@OzMyHomeMAC) November 4, 2017

The Abbott-Turnbull Federal Government and the O’Farrell-Baird-Berejiklian State Government have to be the worst in Australian political history. The hollow Billy McMahon at the Federal level (1971-72) and the corrupt Robert Askin in NSW (1965-75), for example, pale into significance compared to the current regimes under which us NSW people survive.

It’s the events of course. Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton, mastermind of refugee torture and manslaughter albeit the front for an entrenched system, is sub-human. One could go on — the list is endless.

But it’s also the media. One gets outraged at the parlous state of the world and the forces behind the degradation, but one also gets outraged that we are lied to about who these forces are. It’s all the fault of the bad guys — over there. We’re still being served up world politics as a spaghetti western.

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) and the good guys versus bad guys scenario

Witness the Sydney Morning Herald editorial (Wednesday 1 October) titled ‘The Russia plot thickens as Trump advisers fall’.

Claims the editorial writer:

'But we already know the Russian meddling, which included the hacking of emails and the use of social media to disseminate phoney stories, was real. That is because a range of official U.S. security agencies – the same ones that now report to Mr Trump, and that he relies upon – have told us so.'

The state of Trumps delusion exceeded only by his voters. The Russia plot thickens as Trump advisers fall https://t.co/VnDhDCpwpY via @smh

— Stephen Asprey (@stephenasprey) October 31, 2017

Rather, we know nothing of the sort. There is no evidence of official Russian influence to date. The claims of influence from the "Kremlin" and the evil Putin keep changing, with no-one in the MSM worrying about the changing stories.

There is a very real prospect of finding Trump’s links to Russian-born business spivs who operate outside the law, as has Trump in building his real estate empire, but the American authorities don’t seem to be interested in pursuing these links.

The reason that Trump is in the White House has nothing to do with the supposedly ever malignant Evil Empire but because the corrupt Democratic National Committee bet on the wrong horse. It’s that simple.

The SMH editorial is an embarrassment. And representative of Fairfax’s coverage of international affairs, not least the U.S. In a word — lamentable.

read more:

https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/the-msms-prob...

 

Please Evan, don't blow an engine cylinder up on the account of the spivs with pens at the SMH... Lamentable but the SMH is not the only stupid media on the planet, unfortunately... And by the way, despite the mediocre media frothing at the mouth, there is far less certainty about Putin's interference in the US Presidential elections than there was "certainty" about Saddam's WMDs... Think about it in front of a glass of red ned....

 

of fake news at the new york times...

Disregarding President Trump’s insistent claim that the establishment press propagates “fake news” requires a constant effort—especially when a prestigious outlet like the New York Times allows itself to be used for blatantly fraudulent purposes.

I cherish the First Amendment. Mark me down as favoring journalism that is loud, lively, and confrontational. When members of the media snooze—falling for fictitious claims about Saddam’s WMD program or Gaddafi’s genocidal intentions, for example—we all lose.  

So the recent decision by Times editors to publish an op-ed regarding Paul Manafort’s involvement in Ukraine is disturbing. That the Times is keen to bring down Donald Trump is no doubt the case. Yet if efforts to do so entail grotesque distortions of U.S. policy before Trump, then we are courting real trouble. Put simply, ousting Trump should not come at the cost of whitewashing the follies that contributed to Trump’s rise in the first place.

The offending Times op-ed, the handiwork of Evelyn N. Farkas, appears under the title “With Manafort, It Really Is About Russia, Not Ukraine.” During the Obama administration, Farkas served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia, and Mess Kit Repair.  Okay, I added that last bit, but it does seem like quite an expansive charter for a mere deputy assistant secretary.  

The story Farkas tells goes like this.

First, from the moment it achieved independence in 1991, Ukraine was a divided nation, “torn between Western Europe and Russia.” Ukrainians in the country’s western precincts wanted to join the European Union and NATO. Those further to east “oriented themselves toward Russia, which exerted maximum influence to keep Ukraine closely aligned.” In one camp were enlightened Ukrainians. In the other camp, the unenlightened.

Second, Manafort’s involvement in this intra-Ukrainian dispute was—shockingly—never about “advanc[ing] the interests of democracy, Western Europe or the United States.” Manafort’s motives were strictly venal. In what Farkas describes as a “standoff between democracy and autocracy,” he threw in with the autocrats, thereby raking in millions.

Third, Manafort’s efforts mattered bigly. In 2010, he helped Victor F. Yanukovych become president of Ukraine. An unquestionably nasty piece of work, Yanukovych was, according to Farkas, “Putin’s man in Kiev.” Yet like it or not, he came to power as the result of democratic election. In 2013, Yanukovych opted against joining the EU, which along with NATO, had, in Farkas’s words, “experienced a burst of membership expansion” right up to Russia’s own borders.

In response to Yanukovych’s action, “the Ukrainian people,” that is, the enlightened ones, “took to the streets,” forcing him to flee the country. Rather than bowing to the expressed will of the people, however, Russia’s Vladimir Putin “instigated a separatist movement” in eastern Ukraine, thereby triggering “a war between Russia and Ukraine that continues to this day.”

To accept Farkas’s account as truthful, one would necessarily conclude that as Manafort was hijacking history, the United States remained quietly on the sidelines, an innocent bystander sending prayers heavenward in hopes that freedom and democracy might everywhere prevail.

Such was hardly the case, however.  One need not be a Putin apologist to note that the United States was itself engaged in a program of instigation, one that ultimately induced a hostile—but arguably defensive—Russian response.  

In the wake of the Cold War, the EU and NATO did not experience a “burst” of expansion, a formulation suggesting joyous spontaneity. Rather, with Washington’s enthusiastic support, the West embarked upon a deliberate eastward march at the Kremlin’s expense, an undertaking made possible by (and intended to exploit) Russia’s weakened state. In football, it’s called piling on.

That this project worked to the benefit of Czechs, Poles, Hungarians, the Baltic Republics, and others is very much the case. On that score, it is to be applauded.  

That at some point a resentful Russia would push back was all but certain. Indeed, more than a few Western observers had warned against such a response.  

The proposed incorporation of Ukraine into NATO brought matters to a head. For Putin, this was an unacceptable prospect. He acted as would any U.S. president contemplating the absorption of a near neighbor into hostile bloc of nations. Indeed, he acted much as had Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy when they assessed the implications of Cuba joining the Soviet bloc.

read more:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/more-fake-news-alas-from...

"Gaddafi’s genocidal intentions" were no more than preventing terrorists from Al Qaeda and other groups from taking over the country, under the financing of the Saudis and possibly America. It would have been good for the media to stop the West's view of the situation by exposing the similitude with the "Saddam's WMDs" now being used to destroy Libya... Had the media been awake at the US conspiracy against Gaddafi, Libya would still be a reasonable country in Africa and there would have been half as much refugees in Europe. Remove the US/European intervention to support the "moderate" Al Qaeda/Al Nusra rebels in Syria and there would have been no refugee crisis in Europe

war for ever... and ever... except with russia...

 

Even interventionists are regretting some of the wars into which they helped plunge the United States in this century.

Among those wars are Afghanistan and Iraq, the longest in our history; Libya, which was left without a stable government; Syria’s civil war, a six-year human rights disaster we helped kick off by arming rebels to overthrow Bashar Assad; and Yemen, where a U.S.-backed Saudi bombing campaign and starvation blockade is causing a humanitarian catastrophe.

Yet, twice this century, the War Party was beaten back when seeking a clash with Putin’s Russia. And the “neo-isolationists” who won those arguments served America well.

What triggered this observation was an item on Page 1 of Wednesday’s New York Times that read in its entirety:

“Mikheil Saakashvili, former president of Georgia, led marchers through Kiev after threatening to jump from a five-story building to evade arrest. Page A4”

Who is Saakashvili? The wunderkind elected in 2004 in Tbilisi after a “Rose Revolution” we backed during George W. Bush’s crusade for global democracy.

During the Beijing Olympics in August 2008, Saakashvili sent his army crashing into the tiny enclave of South Ossetia, which had broken free of Georgia when Georgia broke free of Russia.

In overrunning the enclave, however, Saakashvili’s troops killed Russian peacekeepers. Big mistake. Within 24 hours, Putin’s tanks and troops were pouring through Roki Tunnel, running Saakashvili’s army out of South Ossetia, and occupying parts of Georgia itself.

As defeat loomed for the neocon hero, U.S. foreign policy elites were alive with denunciations of “Russian aggression” and calls to send in the 82nd Airborne, bring Georgia into NATO, and station U.S. forces in the Caucasus.

“We are all Georgians!” thundered John McCain.

Not quite. When an outcry arose against getting into a collision with Russia, Bush, reading the nation right, decided to confine U.S. protests to the nonviolent. A wise call.

And Saakashvili? He held power until 2013, and then saw his party defeated, was charged with corruption, and fled to Ukraine. There, President Boris Poroshenko, beneficiary of the Kiev coup the U.S. had backed in 2014, put him in charge of Odessa, one of the most corrupt provinces in a country rife with corruption.

In 2016, an exasperated Saakashvili quit, charged his patron Poroshenko with corruption, and fled Ukraine. In September, with a band of supporters, he made a forced entry back across the border.

Here is the Times’ Andrew Higgins on his latest antics:

“On Tuesday … Saakashvili, onetime darling of the West, took his high-wire political career to bizarre new heights when he climbed onto the roof of his five-story apartment building in the center of Kiev…

“As … hundreds of supporters gathered below, he shouted insults at Ukraine’s leaders … and threatened to jump if security agents tried to grab him.

“Dragged from the roof after denouncing Mr. Poroshenko as a traitor and a thief, the former Georgian leader was detained but then freed by his supporters, who … blocked a security service van before it could take Mr. Saakashvili to a Kiev detention center and allowed him to escape.

“With a Ukrainian flag draped across his shoulders and a pair of handcuffs still attached to one of his wrists, Mr. Saakashvili then led hundreds of supporters in a march across Kiev toward Parliament. Speaking through a bullhorn he called for ‘peaceful protests’ to remove Mr. Poroshenko from office, just as protests had toppled the former President, Victor F. Yanukovych, in February 2014.”

This reads like a script for a Peter Sellers movie in the ’60s.

Yet this clown was president of Georgia, for whose cause in South Ossetia some in our foreign policy elite thought we should go to the brink of war with Russia.

And there was broad support for bringing Georgia into NATO. This would have given Saakashvili an ability to ignite a confrontation with Russia, which could have forced U.S. intervention.

Consider Ukraine. Three years ago, McCain was declaring, in support of the overthrow of the elected pro-Russian government in Kiev, “We are all Ukrainians now.”

Following that coup, U.S. elites were urging us to confront Putin in Crimea, bring Ukraine, as well as Georgia, into NATO, and send Kiev the lethal weapons needed to defeat Russian-backed rebels in the East.

This could have led straight to a Ukraine-Russia war, precipitated by our sending of U.S. arms.

Do we really want to cede to folks of the temperament of Mikhail Saakashvili an ability to instigate a war with a nuclear-armed Russia, which every Cold War president was resolved to avoid, even if it meant accepting Moscow’s hegemony in Eastern Europe all the way to the Elbe?

Watching Saakashvili losing it in the streets of Kiev like some blitzed college student should cause us to reassess the stability of all these allies to whom we have ceded a capacity to drag us into war.

Alliances, after all, are the transmission belts of war.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.

read all:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/buchanan/the-loose-canon-the-neocons-wanted-in-nato-mikheil-saakashvili-georgia/

 

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see also: https://sputniknews.com/europe/201712091059845450-hunger-strike-saakashvili-jail-arrest/

the clintons role...

The role of former US President Bill Clinton and his associates in the economic liberalization of Russia and the post-Soviet space in the 1990s deserves scrupulous investigation, Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel has told Sputnik, adding that although decades have passed since then, the issue has not lost its relevance.

Nearly 20 years ago an article by Dr. Janine Wedel "Harvard Boys Do Russia" appeared in The Nation shedding light on the controversial role the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) backed by the Clinton administration played in Russia's 1990s economic reforms. Wall Street analyst and investigative journalist Charles Ortel believes that the case still deserves scrutiny.

"Absolutely," Ortel told Sputnik responding to the question whether the HIID's activities in the post-Soviet space and its assistance in the all-out privatization of state-owned assets need to be properly reinvestigated.

The Wall Street analyst underscored that "in theory, 'privatization' sounds like a fine idea — taking an inefficient government controlled organization that may own valuable assets but lacks modern controls and incentives, and transforming it from a drain on a nation's treasury to a source of tax revenues."

"In practice, it is certain that insiders in many nations where privatization happened (not only in the former Soviet Union, but across Central Europe and the rest of the world) likely appropriated many billions of dollars (arguably far more than that) by transferring valuable assets at low prices, and other thefts, often with the support and connivance of many politicians who also were in on the game," Ortel explained.

 

 

read more:

https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201712211060211903-clinton-sachs-privat...

 

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biden's bid...

Imagine Vladimir Putin admitted on camera to telling President Nieto of Mexico “fire your state prosecutor or you don’t get the loan we promised you.” Imagine he joked about this overt interference in another sovereign country, imagine he revelled in it as a sign of his country’s power and supremacy. What would the mainstream media headlines be? How many times would the clip be played on CNN, the BBC and Sky News? How many people in the world would not be aware he had said these words? Proof at last that Russia is meddling in the affairs of other nations.

BIDEN: I was supposed to announce that there was another billion-dollar loan guarantee. And I had gotten a commitment from Poroshenko and from Yatsenyuk that they would take action against the state prosecutor. And they didn’t…. I said, nah…we’re not going to give you the billion dollars. They said, you have no authority. You’re not the president. The president said—I said, call him. (Laughter.) I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars. I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. (Laughter.) He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.

You see it wasn’t Vladmir Putin, it was Joe Biden, former vice-President of the United States, at the Council for Foreign Relations, bragging about how he put the squeeze on the Yatseniuk/Poroshenko government – 5,000 miles from his country’s borders.

 

Read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2018/01/30/us-boasts-about-interfering-in-sovereign-nations-while-sanctioning-russia-for-allegedly-doing-the-same/

 

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US interfering with russian elections?...

The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on,” Putin said on Tuesday, several hours after the report featuring the entire Russian government and scores of prominent Russian business people was issued.

The list of 210 people fails to mention the Russian leader – much to his 'distress'.

“It’s a pity,” Putin said sarcastically in answer to a journalist's question on how he feels about his absence.

However, the move is “certainly unfriendly” as it damages already deteriorating Russian-US relations, Putin added.

“What do they want? They must decide for themselves,” Putin said, referring to Washington’s policy.

Russia is eager to build long-term relations which are “stable and based on international law,” the Russian leader added.

In a tougher comment, Putin slammed Washington for inconsistency and “stupidity.” The Russian president noted that the US equates Moscow with Tehran and Pyongyang, while at the same time calling on Russia to help solve the North Korean crisis and mediate on issues involving Iran.

On Tuesday, the US Treasury published a list featuring the entire Russian government among some 114 other top officials, as well as 96 prominent businessmen. The document claims it is in no way “a sanctions list,” despite being part of a sanctions law that targeted Moscow as well as Tehran and Pyongyang.

read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/417366-putin-reaction-kremlin-list/

 

This has to be seen as a US interference with the Russian elections... No?...

Russia could publish a list of all the corrupt officials from the Clinton administration to that of Trump's... But the Russians don't have to. The Western media is doing it daily, quite amusingly, with the help of the Democrats and the Republicans who are eager to shoot themselves in the foot... Corruption in the USA is a long honorable tradition, as long as one does not get caught in bed with a minor.

 

with putin, russia did not bendtheknees...

by Eric Zuesse

An accountant, Sergei Magnitsky, was employed by a wealthy American investor, William Browder, and died in a Russian prison on 16 November 2006. How did it happen; who was to blame for it? The Russian Government was blamed for it, and this blame produced in 2012 the first set of economic sanctions to squeeze Vladimir Putin out of power.

Magnitsky’s death in prison thus provided the factual basis for the first of the economic-sanctions regimens that were imposed by The West against the Russian Government, the 2012 Magnitsky Act — sanctions that preceded the 2014 sanctions which were imposed on account of Russia’s response to America’s February 2014 coup in Ukraine. However, that [western] account of the Magnitsky incident is full of lies, according to a 2016 documentary investigation into the matter. But publication of this video investigation — at youtube or anywhere — is effectively banned in The West. 

Here’s how Gilbert Doctorow, who is one of the extremely few people in The West who managed to see this totally-suppressed-in-The-West investigative news-documentary that was done (and which he said proved to him that the basis of the Magnitsky Act is lies) expressed his shock, at what he saw and learned from it:

Nekrasov [the investigator] largely allows William Browder to self-destruct under the weight of his own lies.

A film review: Andrei Nekrasov, ‘The Magnitsky Act. Behind the Scenes’

The case against Browder that Nekrasov unintentionally stumbled upon when making the film is clearly so persuasive and so massive that even some leading members of the anti-Putin coalition in Europe feel strongly that the truth must out, whatever the consequences. … [But] lynch law necessarily operates. Human rights watchers everywhere, beware! … Nekrasov has not been a friend, still less a “stooge” of the Putin regime. Indeed, as he explained at the start of his brief speech, before taking the assignment to do a film about Magnitsky. … Nekrasov had friendly relations with Bill Browder [the U.S. oligarch who was behind Magnitsky].

The Empty Seat: William Browder Once Again Takes Charge at the European Parliament

Furthermore, another investigator, Alex Krainer, had his book, which was published on the matter, withdrawn promptly without explanation; so, Krainer put his investigation online, and its findings were entirely consistent with Nekrasov’s findings. The video is embedded above, the transcript can be found here.

And here are my own transcriptions of highlights from the video: 

  • 22:00: “The Magnitsky Act is essentially where the new cold war started” “in 2012, yes? And that’s right before Ukraine.”
  • 25:00: “The bigger agenda is … Basically what happened during the 1990s when Russia went from communism to capitalism, there was a massive massive transfer of wealth from Russia to The West. So, Western financial institutions and government organizations like the United States Treasury and State Department and USAID, the IMF, the World Bank, and so forth, they arranged this massive transfer of ownership over Russian assets to the Western hand, some of it legally, some of it illegally, but they so completely infiltrated the Russian Government.”
  • 26:00:: “Between $200 billion and $600 billion, depending on whom you ask, of Russian assets were moved to Western ownership. And Bill Browder himself, I think, made maybe a hundred million dollars, maybe a few hundred million dollars, for himself. The reason why his ability to frustrate Russian investigations of his tax-fraud and of his theft of Russian asssets that he was involved with [is that] at the same time [he] protect[s] all of the people and organizations like … HSBC, and Bank of New York, and who knows who else, it’s … legal immunity from prosecution, for all of them.”
  • 27:00: “So, it’s not just Browder’s few hundred million, but up to $600 billion of stolen assets, so that when Russia goes to Western courts, they are obstructed.”
  • 29:40: “Bill Browder is in this network where, essentially, laws don’t apply to them.”
  • This is the Krainer book, The Killing of William Browder, which, finally in 2017, he placed free online. This is an excerpt:

    It is clear that shock “therapy” was little more than a relentless, cruel strangulation of Russia’s economy to facilitate looting of her vast industrial and resource wealth. Nonetheless, most Western-published analyses of this episode tended to treat it as [a] failure of good intentions. While lamenting the outcomes and certain questionable practices, most analysts essentially attribute the failure of [the] Russian transition to honest errors, Russia’s endemic corruption, and perhaps inexperience in many of the drama’s protagonists. In New York Review of Books, Robert Cotrell provides a typical example:

    “One cannot really fault the youthful democratic movements for this failure. They were amateurs and innocents with a hazy grasp at best of what they wanted to achieve and no grasp at all of how concretely to achieve it.”

    Goldman Marshall of Harvard and the Council of Foreign Relations, wrote:

    “To be sure, there were unsettling reports of shady dealings during the takeovers, but most observers explained them away as inevitable side effects of such a far-reaching transformation.” 

    Naturally, Marshall fails to detail how or where he polled these “most observers,” but his message to the readers is unmistakable: move along folks, there’s nothing to see here – especially pay no attention to the fact that many of those thousands of westerners who came to Russia “for the best of reasons,” including Bill Browder, Andrei Schleifer and Jonathan Hay, returned from Russia as multi-millionaires. Financial reporter Anne Willamson, who covered Russia for the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, [and whose book on the subject has likewise been banned] rightly remarked in her Congressional testimony that, “Americans, who thought their money was helping a stricken land, have been dishonored; and the Russian people who trusted us are now in debt twice what they were in 1991 and rightly feel themselves betrayed.”

    p. 75, The Killing of William Browder

    Anne Williamson’s book on the subject, Contagion: The Betrayal of Liberty, Russia, and the United States in the 1990s, was to have been published by a major publisher in or around 1999. It too was completed, but never published; and she did not place hers online, because she’s still hoping for a publisher. But she has summarized, here, her findings.

    In an interview, Williamson explained why no publisher has published her book on the subject:
    http://web.archive.org/web/20020809170802/http://www.russians.org/ann_wndr.htm

    More about Harvard’s involvement in “the rape of Russia” can be found here:
    http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/harvard_mafia.shtml

    An excellent article about the ways in which today’s Russian Government is trying to extricate itself from the enormous harms that the rape of Russia perpetrated, can be found here:
    http://www.israelshamir.com/article/the-rich-also-cry/

    The war between The West and Russia has been restored, on the basis of news-suppression, if not of outright lies. For some reason, anyone who independently investigates the ‘historical’ account of the origin of the Magnitsky Act is effectively blocked from making public their findings. And, for some reason, the findings, in the three independent investigations that have been done, seem to be essentially the same as each other, and they contradict, each in the same ways, the ‘history’ that has been published about the matter, in The West.

    The other main basis for The West’s sanctions against Russia concerns Ukraine (the U.S. coup there in 2014), and that matter produced both the increased sanctions against Russia, and the massing of NATO weapons and troops on and near Russia’s borders — all likewise on the basis of lies.

     

    Read more:

    https://off-guardian.org/2018/02/02/a-scandal-of-the-wests-news-suppress...

     

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    The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on...

    “The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on,” Putin said on Tuesday, several hours after the report featuring the entire Russian government and scores of prominent Russian business people was issued.

    The list of 210 people fails to mention the Russian leader – much to his 'distress'.

    “It’s a pity,” Putin said sarcastically in answer to a journalist's question on how he feels about his absence.

    However, the move is “certainly unfriendly” as it damages already deteriorating Russian-US relations, Putin added.

    “What do they want? They must decide for themselves,” Putin said, referring to Washington’s policy.

    Russia is eager to build long-term relations which are “stable and based on international law,” the Russian leader added.

    In a tougher comment, Putin slammed Washington for inconsistency and “stupidity.” The Russian president noted that the US equates Moscow with Tehran and Pyongyang, while at the same time calling on Russia to help solve the North Korean crisis and mediate on issues involving Iran.

     

    Read more:

    https://www.rt.com/news/417366-putin-reaction-kremlin-list/

     

     

    dumbdumb's chicken wings...

    All pending international problems are affected by the refusal of the United States – and sometimes their European allies – to admit the growth of other countries. And Washington does not hesitate to use unspeakable methods to postpone the fall of its empire.

    Let’s remember the end of the Soviet Union, in 1991. The colossus fell to ruins, throwing the economy of its populations back several decades, brutally amputating the life expectancy of its inhabitants by more than twenty years, and provoking the domino fall of several of its allies. At that time, the question of knowing what would be the consequences of this cataclysm on the other great empire of the 20th century – the United States and their allies – was already being asked.

    An eminent Russian political scientist like Igor Panarin predicted the disintegration of the United States into five distinct countries, according to the ethnic origins of its inhabitants. Some people believed he was projecting onto Russia’s rival the reasoning that French political scientist, Hélène Carrere d’Encausse, had applied to the USSR – a scenario which did not occur, but which nonetheless governed the future of the ex-Soviet territory.

    Seeking to avoid the implosion of his country, President George H. Bush decided to get rid of his Cold War military apparatus as quickly as possible. He forced international recognition of US leadership during operation « Desert Storm », then demobilised more than a million soldiers, in other words, half of his taskforce. He reoriented his policy, believing that he was entering a period of peace and prosperity. However, he nonetheless provided a doctrine for his country aimed at forestalling the emergence of a new rival. Although no-one at the time imagined that Russia would rise again, either in the medium or the long term, his extreme-left advisor, Paul Wolfowitz, convinced President Bush to keep the European Union in check.

    Fearing the spectre of collapse, the Republican Party took over the House of Representatives in order to promote its Contract with America. In 1995, it forced Democrat President Bill Clinton to rearm the country and integrate the ex-members of the Warsaw Pact into the Atlantic Alliance. And yet there was no longer an enemy, and therefore no reason to arm, nor to perpetuate NATO. Congress rejected the dream of Presidents Bush the father and Clinton of a world where, freed from a serious rival, the United States would become the motor of the world economy. On the contrary, it considered that the Pentagon should profit from the disappearance of the USSR to extend its domination to the whole planet.

    Once rearmament was voted, with the approval but not the commitment of President Clinton, the Pentagon was implicated in the wars in Yugoslavia. This engagement quickly became public and led to the war of NATO against the future Serbia.

    Simultaneously, the members of the Continuity of Government (Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, James Woolsey, etc.) launched the Project for a New American Century. Its objectives were: 

    the defense of the homeland; 

    the engagement and victory in several simultaneous major wars (the important point is victory, we shall find a way to justify these conflicts later. Author’s Note); 

    the accomplishment of the usual tasks of the armed forces (mainly the defense of the multinational companies who are exploiting the oil. (Author’s Note); 

    and the transformation of the armed forces in order to exploit the revolution in military affairs.

    Only the initiated knew at the time that the fourth point was taken from the strategy elaborated by one of Rumsfeld’s protégés, the future Pentagon leader of the Office of Force Transformation, Admiral Arthur Cebrowski [3]. This strategy was taught in the different military academies from the end of 2001, then vulgarised in 2004 by Cebrowski’s assistant, Thomas Barnett [4]. We can see this strategy at work since the attacks of 9/11 with the progressive destruction of the States and their societies throughout the whole of the Greater Middle East, under various pretexts which mask its real objective.

    The Rearmament Act of 1995 and the strategy of Pentagon’s new map, which were implemented in the Greater Middle East from 2001, are now on their last legs. While the United States concentrated the greater part of its resources on the destruction of the Muslim world, other countries were developing, including Russia and China. Today, the US armed forces are no longer the strongest armies in the world.

    This is what President Donald Trump and General James Mattis, his Defense Secretary, admitted in the National Security Strategy statement during his speech on 17 January at Johns Hopkins University. Even though they did not explicitly state that they had been overtaken, they posited that it was an absolute priority to « re-establish [their] comparative military advantage », which basically admits the same.

    StateMilitary expenditure in (source SIPRI)United States611 billion dollarsChina215 billion dollarsRussia69 billion dollarsSaudi Arabia63 billion dollarsIndia65 billion dollars

    Of course, the US armed forces have an unparalleled budget which is nine times greater than that of Russia. But its armies are pitifully unproductive. In Syria and Iraq, the Pentagon deployed approximately 10,000 men against Daesh, of whom only a third were soldiers and two thirds « contractors » (mercenaries) from private companies. The budget for this operation was seven times greater than that of Russia, and the military outcome was a miserable failure. Donald Rumsfeld - who had brilliantly reorganised the multinational company Gilead Science, which he managed - not only proved incapable of reforming the Secretariat of Defense, but the more money he threw at it, the less efficient it became.

    US armament is certainly produced in huge quantities, but it is obsolete compared with that of Russia and China. US engineers are no longer able to produce new weapons, as demonstrated by the failure of the F-35programme. At best, they cobble together bits of old machines and present them as new aircraft. As President Trump noted in his National Security Strategy, the problem is due both to the collapse of Research and Development and the omnipresent corruption in Pentagon acquisitions. The armament industries sell their products automatically, while the Secretariat of Defense has no idea of what is really necessary.

    Whichever way we look at the problem, the United States army is a paper tiger and there is no hope of reforming it either in the medium or the long term – and there is even less chance that it will once again eventually overtake its rivals Russia and China.

    The election of Donald Trump to the White House is first of all the consequence of this undeniable collapse. The only solution for maintaining the quality of life for US citizens is in fact to immediately abandon the dream of a global empire and to return to the principles of the United States Republic of 1789, as laid out in the Bill of Rights.

    Over the last sixteen years, the very old problems of US society have developed exponentially. For example, the use of drugs, which until recently concerned mostly the minorities, has become an epidemic for white males. To the point where the struggle against opioids has become a major national cause. Or again, the possession of fire-arms has become an obsession. The cause is not a question of the constitutional right to bear arms in order to protect oneself from eventual abuse by the State, nor the behaviour of cowboys gunning for potential criminals, but the fear of generalised riots. During the most recent Black Friday sales, weapons became the best sellers, overtaking portable phones. 185,000 guns were bought in one day, in 2015 and 2016, and more than 200,000 in 2017. Finally, as soon as they have the financial possibility, US citizens now group themselves in compounds with people of the same cultural origins and the same social class.

    As from now, international relations are dominated by this question – will the United States accept its current position or not. Today, Donald Trump finds himself in the same uncomfortable position that Mikhaïl Gorbatchev once occupied.

    Thierry Meyssan

    Translation 
    Pete Kimberley

     

    http://www.voltairenet.org/article199471.html

     

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