When it comes to humanitarian concerns the west prefers #fakenews from Syria rather than real news from Yemen

The West’s Moral Hypocrisy on Yemen

Exclusive: The West’s “humanitarian interventionists” howl over bloody conflicts when an adversary can be blamed but go silent when an ally is doing the killing, such as Saudi Arabia in Yemen, reports Jonathan Marshall.

By Jonathan Marshall

Only a few months ago, interventionists were demanding a militant response by Washington to what George Soros branded “a humanitarian catastrophe of historic proportions” — the killing of “hundreds of people” by Russian and Syrian government bombing of rebel-held neighborhoods in the city of Aleppo.

Billionaire currency speculator George Soros. (Photo credit: georgesoros.com)

Leon Wieseltier, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former New Republic editor, was denouncing the Obama administration as “a bystander to the greatest atrocity of our time,” asserting that its failure to “act against evil in Aleppo” was like tolerating “the evil in Auschwitz.”

How strange, then, that so many of the same “humanitarian” voices have been so quiet of late about the continued killing of many more innocent people in Yemen, where tens of thousands of civilians have died and 12 million people face famine. More than a thousand children die each week from preventable diseases related to malnutrition and systematic attacks on the country’s food infrastructure by a Saudi-led military coalition, which aims to impose a regime friendly to Riyadh over the whole country.

“The U.S. silence has been deafening,” said Philippe Bolopion, deputy director for global advocacy at Human Rights Watch, last summer. “This blatant double standard deeply undermines U.S. efforts to address human rights violations whether in Syria or elsewhere in the world.”

Official acquiescence — or worse — from Washington and other major capitals is encouraging the relentless killing of Yemen’s civilians by warplanes from Saudi Arabia and its allies. Last week, their bombs struck a funeral gathering north of Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, killing nine women and a child and injuring several dozen more people.

A day earlier, officials reported a deadly “double-tap” airstrike, first targeting women at a funeral in Sanaa, then aimed at medical responders who rushed in to save the wounded. A United Nations panel of experts condemned a similar double-tap attack by Saudi coalition forces in October, which killed or wounded hundreds of civilians, as a violation of international law.

The Tragedy of Mokha

On Feb. 12, an air strike on the Red Sea port city of Mokha killed all six members of a family headed by the director of a maternal and childhood center. Coalition ground forces had launched an attack on Mokha two weeks earlier.

Xinhua news agency reported, “the battles have since intensified and trapped thousands of civilian residents in the city, as well as hampered the humanitarian operation to import vital food and fuel supplies . . . The Geneva-based UN human rights office said that it received extremely worrying reports suggesting civilians and civilian objects have been targeted over the past two weeks in the southwestern port city . . . Reports received by UN also show that more than 200 houses have been either partially damaged or completely destroyed by air strikes in the past two weeks.”

The U.N.’s humanitarian coordinator further reported that “scores of civilians” had been killed or wounded by the bombing and shelling of Mokha, and that residents were stranded without water or other basic life-supporting services.

That could be Aleppo, minus only the tear-jerking photos of dead and wounded children on American television. However, unlike Syria, Yemen’s rebels don’t have well-financed public relations offices in Western capitals. They pay no lip service to the United States, democracy, or international human rights. Their foe Saudi Arabia is a friend of Washington, not a long-time adversary. In consequence, few American pundits summon any moral outrage at the Saudi-led coalition, despite findings by a United National Panel of Experts that many of its airstrikes violate international law and, in some cases, represent “war crimes.”

Aiding and Abetting

The United States hasn’t simply turned a blind eye to such crimes; it has aided them by selling Saudi Arabia the warplanes it flies and the munitions it drops on Yemeni civilians. It has also siphoned 54 million pounds of jet fuel from U.S. tanker planes to refuel coalition aircraft on bombing runs. The pace of U.S. refueling operations has reportedly increased sharply in the last year.

Saudi King Salman bids farewell to President Barack Obama at Erga Palace after a state visit to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The Obama administration initially supported the Saudi coalition in order to buy Riyadh’s reluctant support for the Iran nuclear deal. Over time, Saudi Arabia joined with anti-Iran hawks to portray Yemen’s rebels as pawns of Tehran to justify continued support for the war. Most experts — including U.S. intelligence officials — insist to the contrary that the rebels are a genuinely indigenous force that enjoys limited Iranian support at best.

As I have documented previously, all of the fighting in Yemen has damaged U.S. interests by creating anarchy conducive to the growth of Al Qaeda extremists. They have planned or inspired major acts of terrorism against the West, including an attempt to blow up a U.S. passenger plane in 2009 and a deadly attack on the Parisian newspaper Charlie Hebdo in January 2015. The Saudis tolerate them as Sunni allies against the rebels, in the name of curbing Iran.

Though the Obama administration is gone, the Trump administration is flush with ideologues who are eager to take a stand against Tehran through Yemen and look tough on “terrorism.” Within days of taking office, President Trump approved a commando raid targeting an alleged Al Qaeda compound in central Yemen that went awry, killing an estimated 10 women and children. The administration has also diverted a U.S. destroyer to patrol Yemen’s coast.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, to his credit, has cited “the urgent need for the unfettered delivery of humanitarian assistance throughout Yemen,” according to a department spokesman. But no amount of humanitarian aid will save Yemen’s tormented people from the bombs made in America and dropped from U.S.-made warplanes, with little protest from Washington’s so-called “humanitarian interventionists.”

Jonathan Marshall is author of many recent articles on arms issues, including “Obama’s Unkept Promise on Nuclear War,” “How World War III Could Start,” “NATO’s Provocative Anti-Russian Moves,” “Escalations in a New Cold War,” and “Ticking Closer to Midnight.”

US Troops Don’t Belong in Syria, not to mention fact it would be contrary to International Law

US Troops Don’t Belong in Syria  by Doug Bandow

President Donald Trump instructed the Pentagon to develop a strategy to defeat the Islamic State. Apparently one of the options is introducing U.S. combat forces to confront ISIS. Americans could be fighting in Syria in just a few weeks. That would be an extraordinarily foolish policy.

An F/A-18F Super Hornet takes off from the US navy’s super carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) (‘Ike’) in the Mediterranean Sea on July 7, 2016. (ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

Defeating the Islamic State is not America’s responsibility. It arose out of Syria’s spiral into civil war and Iraq’s descent into sectarian rule. In the first ruthless Islamists proved to be the most effective opponents of the Assad regime. In the second desperate Sunnis preferred ISIS’s 7th century warriors to Baghdad’s modern sectarian killers.

Originally the Islamic State in the Levant, which grew out of al-Qaeda in Iraq, focused on creating a “caliphate,” or quasi-government. Although hostile to America, its principal enemies were states in the Middle East: Shiite Iraq, Syria’s Alawite-dominated government, independence-minded Kurds, Sunni monarchies from Jordan to Saudi Arabia, and Turkey with its secular, practical heritage. Add to that military-ruled Egypt, drawn into the struggle after the slaughter of Coptic Christian workers kidnapped in Libya. Despite the Islamic State’s initial defeat of ill-led Iraqi forces and assumption of a lead role in the Syrian insurgency, the insurgent group faced an overwhelming if largely disorganized coalition.

Bringing these forces to bear would have been complicated and time-consuming. But the initial success of Daesh, as it is known in the Middle East, would have forced its opponents to commit more to defeat the movement. And the Islamic State’s terrorist retaliation, its only means of fighting back against nation states with an overwhelming conventional military advantage, would have been focused on its Middle Eastern opponents.

However, in 2014 the U.S. took the lead in attempting to build an anti-ISIS coalition. Unfortunately, turning the battle into one between Islamic crusaders and the Great Satan helped the Islamic State’s recruitment efforts. America’s involvement also allowed allied states to back away. Turkey and the Gulf states were more interested in ousting Bashar al-Assad than defeating ISIS. Ankara actually accommodated ISIS for some time before moving against the Islamists, and even now more seriously battles Syrian Kurdish forces. The Gulf States largely abandoned the conflict, launching an unprovoked, aggressive assault on Yemen, which the Obama administration backed in a misguided show of allied solidarity.

A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces made up of US-backed Kurdish and Arab fighters, stands guard near the village of Bir Fawaz, 20 km north of Raqa, during their offensive towards the Islamic State’s Syrian stronghold, on February 8, 2017. (DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

In Syria Washington found itself lost amid a welter of conflicting powers with different objectives. The administration sought to overthrow Assad, even though he was the strongest barrier against Islamic extremists. The Obama administration sought to simultaneously work with the Kurds and Turkey. In Iraq, America found itself backing a sectarian government guilty of war crimes allied with Iranian militias.

A former (?) Mossad officer predicts that Trump will be impeached on grounds of treason

February 21, 2017

Thanks to “MS” who drew my attention to this amazing video.  This is an except from an RT program entitled “Watching the Hawks” (see full video here).  In this excerpt, a (supposedly) “former” Mossad officer, Juval Aviv, predicts that Donald Trump will be impeached for treason in the next few months.  See for yourself:

Nevermind the telling way Aviv constantly uses “us” when speaking of the USA and nevermind the nonsense he spews about the Middle-East returning to peace.  What is most interesting is that what we see is one of two things happening:

Option 1: Aviv is echoing something that he has heard from well-informed sources
Option 2: Aviv is part of a campaign to gradually prepare the narrative about Trump being impeached for treason.

A combination of option 1 and 2 is also possible, of course.  Either way, this is most interesting.

Also notice the way Aviv fully accepts and endorses the notion that the Russians have some means of pressure on Trump.  This is not innocent either, especially not when aired on RT (and provides, if needed, yet another proof that RT is very far, alas, from being a government controlled media outlet) and especially not coming from a person which has the external hallmarks of credibility (thanks to the AngloZionist propaganda we all “know” that Mossad officers are all geniuses with unbelievable IQs and superhuman capabilities).

My experience and gut feeling tells me that this is far from innocent.  What I see happening is a preparation for a Trump impeachment on grounds of treason, here I fully agree with Aviv.

Whether Trump realizes it or not, he is now fighting for his life, politically and, probably, literally.  And he has only days, maybe weeks, to take very strong action.  If he continues to take hit after hit after hit and think that good speeches are going to save him, he is absolutely wrong.

Alas, with Flynn Trump *really* blew it.  Flynn, for all his idiosyncrasies and failings, was the kind of man who could have stood by Trump and directed a desperately needed crackdown against the Neocons and their part of the ‘deep state’.  Now he left with the very non-political McMaster.  Pompeo and Mattis are, at best, useless too.  And I am really not impressed by Jeff Sessions who does not strike me as the kind of man would could support, nevermind lead, a counter-coup.

As for the notion that Trump is now leaning on Netanyahu for support – I see that as a death sentence for Trump.  Netanyahu is an arrogant and incompetent man who has an amazing record of failures and miscalculations.  And the US Neocons don’t give a damn about Bibi anyway.

Friends, I am afraid that the Trump Presidency is on life support.

The Saker

The “Blind Sheik” Omar Abdul-Rahman And The CIA – Media Bury U.S. Support For Radical Islamism

The “Blind Sheik” And The CIA – Media Bury U.S. Support For Radical Islamism

Source: Moon of Alabama

 

Two days ago the Takfiri Islamist leader Omar Abdul-Rahman , the so called “Blind Sheik”, died in a U.S. prison. He had been found guilty of involvement in the 1993 attempt to bring down the World Trade Center in New York and of other crimes.

The obituaries of Omar Abdul-Rahman in U.S. media are an example of white washing of the U.S. exploitation of radical Islamism for its imperial purposes. While extensively documented in earlier media and official reports the CIA’s facilitation and involvement with Abdul-Rahman is seemingly stricken from history.

Since the 1970s Omar Abdul-Rahman was involved in the growth of radical Sunni Islamism:

Founded in 1976, Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt (FIBE) is part of the banking empire built by Saudi Prince Mohammed al-Faisal. Several of the founding members are leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood, including the “Blind Sheikh,” Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman.

Financed by Saudi sources Abdul-Rahman created various groups of radicals in Egypt and gets deeply involved with Al-Qaeda, recruiting fighters for Afghanistan in cooperation with the CIA and the Pakistani secret services. He was the ideological leader of Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, an Islamic radical organization in Egypt responsible for several terrorist attacks. He traveled to the U.S. several timed between 1986 and 1990 to further his violent ideology. His visas were issued by CIA agents despite his appearance on a State Department terrorism watch list. In 1990 he moves to the U.S. where he preached his violent Islam and continued to recruit fighters for radical causes.

In December 1990 the New York Times reported:

The 52-year-old religious leader, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, entered the country more than five months ago despite being on a State Department list of people with ties to terrorist groups, the authorities said. He illegally obtained a tourist visa from a consul in the United States Embassy in Khartoum, the Sudan, in May, according to records of the Federal Immigration and Naturalization Service and State Department officials.

In July 1993 the NYT reported that “illegally obtained tourist visa” was not illegal at all:

Central Intelligence Agency officers reviewed all seven applications made by Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman to enter the United States between 1986 and 1990 and only once turned him down because of his connections to terrorism, Government officials said today. … Mr. Abdel Rahman helped to recruit Arab Muslims to fight in the American-backed war in Afghanistan, and his lawyer and Egyptian officials have said he was helped by the C.I.A. to enter the United States. …American officials had acknowledged last week that the diplomat at the United States Embassy in Khartoum who signed the May 1990 visa request that allowed Mr. Abdel Rahman to enter the United States was in fact a C.I.A. officer.

Several attempts to remove Abdel-Rahman from the U.S. mysteriously failed. In 1991 he was inexplicably granted a Green Card despite still being blacklisted.

His involvement in the 1993 WTC bombing was a typical “blowback” from the CIA’s chronic support of radical takfiri Islamism, supported by Saudi Arabia, whenever it helps its “regime change” plans here or there. Over the last years such CIA support led to the growth of Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

After the recent death of Omar Abdul-Rahman several obituaries appeared in U.S. media. But none of them mention or dig into his deep and long CIA connections and the continuing CIA support for radical Islamism.

There is zero mentioning of the CIA and the visa shenanigans in his NYT obit, despite its earlier reporting. Neither the Associated Press nor AFP mention any connection to the CIA. The British service Reuters buries the visa story in one sentence in the 12th paragraph.

That the deep involvement over the years of the CIA (and FBI) in the crimes Omar Abdul-Rahman is now swept under the carpet and forgotten is not just coincidentally. It is a distinct feature of U.S. political culture.

The British poet Harold Pinter referred to this in his 2005 Nobel lecture:

It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest.

I have called this chronic forgetfulness the concept of immaculate conception of U.S. (foreign) policy. There never is an acknowledged history of U.S. misdeeds that may have led to this or that current blowback. When there is one it immediately gets buried, pushed out of sight, never to be talked about. The same applies to partisan policies within the U.S.

Currently the fake “resistance” against a Trump presidency blasts his policy of seeking better relations with Russia, his temporary travel ban reference to seven specific countries and his words against media leaks. But it was the Secretary of State Clinton who initiated a “reset” with Russia, it was the Obama administration that set a ban on those seven countries and it was the Obama justice department that used the espionage act against journalists for publishing leaked material. That all is now forgotten and not to be talked about.

Likewise the deep CIA connection with Omar Abdul-Rahman is now scrubbed from any of the semi-official media reporting. This at the same time the CIA continues its involvement with radical Islamists in Syria and elsewhere.

Pinter continued his lecture:

The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.

To not be taken in by the “immaculate conception” mechanism I recommend to reread or watch Pinter’s lecture every once a while

President Trump: Diplomacy and Democracy in America

Global Research, February 19, 2017
Donald Trump

By the end of the first month of President Trump’s Administration we are in a better position to evaluate the policies and direction of the new President.  An examination of foreign and domestic policy, particularly from a historical and comparative perspective will provide insights about whether America is heading for a catastrophe as the mass media claim or toward greater realism and rationality. 

We will proceed by examining whether Trump pursues diplomacy over warfare.  We will evaluate the President’s efforts to reduce US foreign debt and trade burdens with Europe and Asia .  We will follow with a discussion of his immigration and protectionist policies with Mexico .  Finally we will touch on the prospects for democracy in the United States.

Foreign Policy

President Trump’s meeting with the leaders of Japan , the United Kingdom and Canada were largely successful.  The Abe-Trump meeting led to closer diplomatic ties and a promise that Japan would increase their investment in automobile manufacturing in the US .  Trump may have improved trade relations by reducing the trade imbalances.  Trump and Abe adopted a moderate position on the North Korean missile test in the Sea of Japan , rejecting a further military build-up as the liberal-neo-con media demanded.

US-UK meeting, in the post-Brexit period, promised to increase trade.

Trump moved to improve relations with China , clearly backing the ‘single China ’ policy and proceeding to re-negotiate and re-balance trade relations.

The US backed the unanimous UN Security Council vote to condemn North Korea ’s missile launch.  Trump did not consider it a military threat or rising to the level of additional sanctions.

Trump’s policy of reconciliation with Russia in order to improve the war against Islamist terrorism has been stymied.  Led by the witch-hunting left liberal Senator Elizabeth Warren, neo-conservative militarists and Democrats pronounced Russia as the primary threat to US national security!

The rabid, ceaseless mass media blitz forced the resignation of Trump’s National Security Adviser, Ret. General Michael Flynn, on the basis of an 18th century law (the Logan Act) that prohibited private citizens from discussing policy with foreign leaders.  This law has never been implemented.  If it were enforced, hundreds of thousands of American citizens, most especially the big-wigs among the 51 ‘Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations’, as well as the foreign affairs editors of all major and minor US media outlets and foreign policy academics would be on the ‘chain-gangs’ with convicted drug dealers.  Never embarrassed by absurdity or by trivializing tragedy, this recent ‘Tempest in the Teapot’ has whipped up passionate calls by the media and Democratic Party operatives for a new ‘Nine-Eleven Style Investigation’ into General Flynn talks with the Russians.

Trump’s setback on his National Security Adviser Flynn has put the prospects for improved, less bellicose foreign affairs in danger.  It heightens the risk for a nuclear confrontations and domestic repression.  These dangers, including a domestic anti-Russian McCarthy-style purge of foreign policy ‘realists’, are exclusively the responsibility of the ultra-militarist Democratic Party-Neo-Conservative alliance.  None of this addresses the serious domestic socioeconomic problems.

Rebalancing Foreign Spending and Trade

Trump’s public commitment about rebalancing US relations with NATO, namely reducing the US share of funding, has already started.  Currently only five NATO members meet the required contribution.  Trump’s insistence on Germany , Italy , Spain , Canada , France and 18 other members fulfilling their commitments would add over $100 billion to NATO’s budget – reducing US foreign imbalances.

Of course, it would be far better for all if NATO was disbanded and the various nations re-allocate these many hundreds of billions of dollars for social spending and domestic economic development.

Trump has announced a major effort to reduce US trade imbalances in Asia .  Contrary to the claims, often made by foreign trade ‘experts’ in the mass media, China is not the only, or even the largest, among the ‘offenders’ in exploiting unbalanced trade with the US .

China ’s current account trade surplus is 5% of its GDP, while South Korea ’s is 8%, Taiwan ’s 15% and Singapore ’s is 19%.  Trump’s target is to reduce the US trade imbalances to $20 billion dollars with each country or 3% of GDP.  Trump’s quota of $100 billion dollars stands in marked contrast to the  ‘Asian Five’s’ (Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore) current trade imbalance of $700 billion dollars in 2015, according to the International Monetary Fund.

In sum, Trump is moving to reduce external imbalances by 85% in order to increase domestic production and create jobs for US-based industries.

Trump and Latin America

Trump’s Latin America policy is focused primarily on Mexico and to a much lesser degree on the rest of the continent.

The White House’s biggest move has been to scuttle Obama’s Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership, which favored multi-national corporations exploiting Chile , Peru and Mexico ’s work force, as well as attracting the neo-liberal regimes in Argentina and Uruguay .  Trump inherits from President Obama numerous military bases in Colombia , Guantanamo , Cuba and Argentina.  The Pentagon has continued Obama’s ‘cold war’ with Venezuela – falsely accusing the Venezuelan Vice President of drug trafficking.

Trump has promised to alter US trade and immigration policy with Mexico .  Despite the widespread opposition to Trump’s immigration policy, he lags far behind Obama’s massive expulsion of immigrants from Mexico and Central America .  America ’s deportation champion was President Barack Obama, who expelled 2.2 million immigrants and their family members in eight years, or approximately 275,000 a month.  In his first month in office, President Trump has deported just one percent of Obama’s monthly average.

President Trump promises to re-negotiate NAFTA, imposing a tax on imports and enticing US multinational corporations to return and invest in America .

There are numerous hidden advantages for Mexico if it responds to Trump’s policies with its own ‘reciprocal protectionist’ economic measures.  Under NAFTA, 2 million Mexican farmers went into bankruptcy and billions of dollars have been spent importing (subsidized) rice, corn and other staples from the US .  A ‘Mexico First’ policy could open the door for a revival of Mexican agriculture for domestic consumption and export; this would also decrease out-migration of Mexican farm workers.  Mexico could re-nationalize its oil industry and invest in domestic refineries gaining billions of dollars and reducing imports of refined petroleum products from the US .  With an obligatory import-substitution policy, local manufacturing could increase the domestic market and employment.  Jobs would increase in the formal economy and reduce the number of unemployed youth recruited by the drug cartels and other criminal gangs.  By nationalizing the banks and controlling capital flows, Mexico could block the annual outflow of about $50 billion dollars of illicit funds.  National-popular policies, via reciprocity, would strengthen the election of new leaders who could begin to purge the corrupt police, military and political leadership.

In sum, while the Trump policies may cause some short-term losses, it can lead to substantial medium and long-term advantages for the Mexican people and nation.

Democracy

President Trump’s election has provoked a virulent authoritarian campaign threatening our democratic freedoms.

Highly coordinated and endless propaganda by all the major media and the two political parties have fabricated and distorted reports and encouraged elected representatives to savage Trump’s foreign policy appointees, forcing resignations and reversals of policy.  The forced resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn highlights the Democratic Party’s pro-war agenda against nuclear-armed Russia .  Liberal Senators, who once made grand speeches against ‘Wall Street’ and the ‘One Percent’, now demand Trump reject working with Russian President Putin against the real threat of ISIS while supporting the neo-Nazis in Ukraine .  Liberal icons openly push for sending more US warships in Asia to provoke China , while opposing Trump’s policy of favorably re-negotiating trade deals with Beijing .

There are many hidden dangers and advantages in this partisan political warfare.

Trump has exposed the systemic lies and distortions of the mass media, confirming the distrust held by a majority of Americans for the corporate news media.  The low opinion of the media, especially held by Americans in the economically devastated center of the country (those described by Hillary Clinton as the ‘deplorables’) is clearly matched by the media’s deep disdain for this huge portion of the electorate.  Indeed, the constant media chatter about how the evil ‘Russians’ had hacked the US presidential elections giving the victory to Donald Trump, is more likely a ‘dog whistle’ to mask their unwillingness to openly denounce the ‘poor whites’– including workers and rural Americans – who overwhelmingly voted for Trump.  This class and regional element goes a long way to explain the constant hysteria over Trump’s victory.  There is widespread fury among the elites, intellectuals and bureaucrats over the fact that Clinton’s big ‘basket of deplorables’ rejected the system and rejected its coiffured and manicured media mouthpieces.

For the first time there is a political debate over freedom of speech at the highest levels of government.   The same debate extends to the new President’s challenge from the enormous, uncontrolled police state apparatus (FBI, NSA, CIA, Homeland Security, etc..), which expanded massively under Barack Obama.

Trump’s trade and alliance policies have awakened the US Congress to debates over substantive issues rather than internal procedural quibbles.  Even Trump’s rhetorical policies have aroused mass demonstrations, some of which are bona fide, while others are bankrolled by billionaire supporters of the Democratic Party and its neo-liberal expansionist agenda, like the ‘Grand Sugar Daddy of the Color Revolutions’ George Soros.  It is a serious question whether this may provide an opening for genuine grass-roots democratic-socialist movements to organize and take advantage of the rift among the elite.

The bogus charges of ‘treasonous’ communication with the Russian Ambassador  against Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, while still a civilian, and the convoking of the Logan Act against civilians discussing foreign policy with foreign governments, opens up the possibility of investigating legislators, like Charles Schumer and several hundred others, for discussing US strategic policy positions with Israeli officials…

Win or lose, the Trump Administration has opened a debate on the possibilities of peace with a nuclear superpower, a re-examination of the huge trade deficit and the necessity to stand-up for democracy against authoritarian threats from the so-called ‘intelligence community’ against an elected President.

Trump and the Class Struggle

The Trump socio-economic agenda has already set in motion powerful undercurrents of class conflict.  The media and political class have focused on conflicts over immigration, gender issues, and relations with Russia , NATO and Israel as well as intra-party politics.  These conflicts obscure deeper class antagonisms, which grow out of Trump’s radical economic proposals.

President Trump’s proposal to reduce the power of the federal regulatory and investigatory agencies, simplify and lower taxes, curtail spending on NATO, re-negotiate or scrap multilateral agreements and cut the budgets for research, health and education all seriously threaten the employment for millions of public sector workers and officials across the country.  Many of the hundreds of thousands of protestors at the women’s rallies and marches for immigration and education are public employees and their family members who are under economic threat.  What appears on the surface to be protests over specific cultural, identity or human rights issues are manifestations of a deeper and more extensive struggle between public sector employees and the agenda of a privatizing state, which draws its class support from small business people attracted by lower taxes and less regulatory burdens, as well as private ‘charter school’ officials and hospital administrators.

Trump’s protectionist measures, including export subsidies, pit the domestic manufacturers against multi-billion dollar importers of cheap consumer goods.

Trump’s proposals for deregulated oil, gas, timber, more agro-mineral exports and major infrastructure investments are supported by bosses and workers in those sectors.  This has provoked a sharp conflict with environmentalists, community-based workers and producers, indigenous peoples and their supporters.

Trump’s initial effort to mobilize domestic class forces opposed to continued budget-draining overseas warfare and in support of market relations-based empire building has been defeated by the combined efforts of the military-industrial complex, the intelligence apparatus and their supporters in a liberal-neo-conservative-militarist political elite coalition and their mass supporters.

The evolving class struggle has deepened and threatens to tear apart the constitutional order in two directions: The conflict can lead to an institutional crisis and toward the forceful ouster of an elected president and the installation of a hybrid regime, which will preserve the most reactionary programs of both sides of the class conflict.  Importers, investors and workers in extractive industries, supporters of privatized educations and healthcare, warmongers and members of the politicized security apparatus may take total control of the state.

On the other hand, if the class struggle can mobilize the public sector workers, workers in the commercial sector, the unemployed, the anti-war democrats and progressive IT entrepreneurs and employers dependent on skilled immigrants, as well as scientists and environmentalists into a massive movement willing to support a living wage and unify around common class interests, deep systemic change becomes possible.  In the medium term, the unification of these class movements can lead to a progressive hybrid regime.

Trump’s Watergate All About Drowning Out Russia

Trump’s Watergate All About Drowning Out Russia
FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | 20.02.2017 | OPINION

Trump’s Watergate All About Drowning Out Russia

The adage about One Man’s Terrorist is Another Man’s Freedom Fighter is aptly paraphrased for the running battle in Washington between President Trump and his intelligence agencies. Only instead of «terrorist» substitute the word «leaker».

Prominent sections of the US media are willingly acting as conduits for intelligence agencies leaking classified government information to damage the Trump White House. The media and Trump’s political enemies are thus acting as accomplices in criminal disclosure of supposedly secret government information, which at another time the same media and politicians would condemn as treasonous. Think Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning for instance.

Trump has hit back after his National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was forced to resign over disclosed phone contacts he had with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak earlier this year. With barely contained anger, Trump described the leaks as «criminal» and «un-American» and has scorned media outlets for conspiring to destabilize his presidency – only less than one month after taking office.

In turn, media outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post and CNNhave disparaged Trump for trying to «deflect» the issue away from alleged contacts with Russian state officials to the issue of intelligence services leaking classified information. Such disclosure is a criminal offense, punishable by jail for breach of government secrecy rules.

Trump does have a point though. The practice of leaking confidential information by security services is a grave breach.

But there is something of a contradiction here on both sides of the fight.

When Donald Trump was campaigning as presidential candidate he openly reveled in the leaking of classified information by the Wikileaks whistleblower website because much of the disclosure was highly damaging to his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton, originating partly during her tenure as Secretary of State.

Now the shoe is on the other foot. President Trump is screaming about classified information being leaked and given out «like candy» to media outlets. Because now the leaks are damaging his administration with allegations that some his aides were in close contact with Russian government officials. The alleged contacts go beyond just former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The New York Times this week reported anonymous US officials claiming that several of Trump’s aides also shared contact with Russians.

Ironically, some of these major US media outlets appear indifferent to the criminal offense of leaking classified information by intelligence agencies. They want to focus on the alleged content of the leaks, namely that Trump and his team are supposedly compromised by clandestine Russian connections. Yet, during the election campaign these same outlets showed little interest in publishing the damaging content of information leaked by Wikileaks against Hillary Clinton. Part of that indifference was feigned to be a concern over publishing leaked classified information.

Again, now the shoe is on the other foot. US media outlets that were previously shunning leaked information about their favored candidate, Clinton, are now all too willing to run with leaks damaging President Trump, whom they were decidedly opposed to becoming the White House occupant.

However, to be fair to Trump when he was a beneficiary of leaks against Clinton during the election campaign he was then a private citizen. There is no evidence that he colluded with the source of the leaks, either Wikileaks or, as is alleged, Russian hackers. Also, much of the damaging information against Clinton – her paid connections to Wall Street banks for instance – was obtained from private emails between her as a Democrat candidate and the Democratic National Committee, not when she was in office as the Secretary of State during the Obama administration. That information was not classified government correspondence, so therefore was fair game for publishing.

Whereas the current leaks against President Trump by intelligence agencies or government officials are a clear breach of secrecy laws on classified information. Those leaks are clearly intended at undermining a sitting president by insinuating that his alleged contacts with Russian officials are potentially treasonous.

The media clamor over Trump’s alleged Russian connections are fueling a growing chorus in Congress for further investigations. Media pundits and lawmakers are boldly using the word «treason» to describe Trump’s alleged contacts with Russia. Some are even referring to the infamous Watergate scandal that led to President Nixon’s ouster in 1974.

The Washington Post which famously helped uncover the Watergate scandal published an editorial this week declaring: «The nation needs answers, not deflections, on Russia and Trump».

The Post editors write: «The news [sic] that members of President Trump’s circle had repeated contacts with Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, reported by the New York Times on Tuesday, might have been less concerning if the president had responded by explaining or condemning the contacts and accepting the need for an impartial investigation. Instead, on Wednesday morning, he dashed off a half-dozen tweets in which he curiously both denied the news [sic] and attacked the leakers who disclosed it. In so doing, he gave more cause for Republicans and Democrats to demand answers about his opaque and increasingly troubling ties with Moscow».

What the Washington Post innocuously calls «news» is actually leaked claims from anonymous US intelligence officials, which are illegal. It is also hardly «news» since the information is unverifiable claims made by anonymous sources.

Nevertheless, the Post castigates Trump for drawing attention to the illegality of the leaks. And it goes on emphatically to «demand answers about his opaque and increasingly troubling ties with Moscow».

The dubious priority here is not to question the ethics of leaking classified information, but rather to push the vapid, unverifiable hearsay that impugns the president for allegedly having private communications with the Russians. Trump has flatly denied that any such contacts were ever made during his campaign.

Ironically, the connection to Watergate is more than it might appear to be. That scandal is commonly thought of as a «high point» of American journalism, in which intrepid reporters from the Washington Post dared to help bring down a Republican president for involvement in «dirty tricks» against Democrats hatched in 1972. A more nuanced account is given by author Russ Baker, in his book Family of Secrets about the Bush dynasty and the CIA. Baker provides evidence that the Washington Post was actually led by intelligence agencies to stitch up Richard Nixon whom they had come to oppose over his shady self-serving politics. Watergate and the demise of Nixon was thus less a triumph of democracy and media righteousness and more a coup by the Deep State against Nixon in which the Washington Post served as the conduit.

The nature of today’s shenanigans with Trump may be different in the precise details. But the modus operandi appears to be the same. A sitting president is out of favor with the Deep State and the latter is orchestrating a media campaign of leaks to dislodge him. Appropriately, the Washington Post is again at the forefront of the Deep State operation to thwart the president, this time Trump, as with Nixon before.

The story of Trump being a potentially treasonous pawn being manipulated by Russia is impossibly far-fetched to be credible. Trump denies it, and Moscow denies it. Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn appears indeed to have had contact with the Russian ambassador during Trump’s transition to the White House. But the content of the conversation has been blown out of all proportion by US intelligence and media to contrive the narrative that Trump is in cahoots with Moscow.

The upshot is that Trump’s avowed policy of restoring friendlier relations with Russia is being hampered at every turn. The president is being goaded into having to deny he is a Russian stooge and to prove that he is not soft on Moscow – by, for example, stating this week through his White House spokesman Sean Spicer that «Russian must hand back Crimea to Ukraine».

Evidently, the big purpose here is to direct Trump to adopt a harder line on Russia and to abandon any notion of developing cordial relations. Either he must tow the line, or he will be hounded by leaks, media speculation and Congressional probes until he is impeached. This is because the Deep State – primarily the military-industrial complex that is the permanent government of the US – is predicated on a strategic policy of adversity towards Russia and any other designated geopolitical rival.

Meanwhile, amid the raging war between the Trump White House and the US intelligence network, which includes sections of the media, Russia said this week that relations between the two countries were suffering.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, lamented that the turmoil in Washington was turning into a lost opportunity for the US and Russia to normalize relations and get on with bigger, far more urgent tasks of cooperation in world affairs.

And that impasse between the US and Russia, it would seem, is the whole object lesson from Trump’s war with powerful elements within his own state.

Trump may have been elected president. But other darker forces in America’s power structure are intent on over-ruling him when it comes to policy on Russia. Trump’s Watergate is all about drowning out a genuine reset with Russia.

Red Hysteria Engulfs Washington

By Eric Margolis

February 20, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  President Dwight Eisenhower’s warning about the dangers of the military-industrial complex made half a century ago ring as loud and clear today. The soft coup being mounted against the Trump government by America’s ‘deep state’ reached a new intensity this week as special interests battled for control of Washington.

The newly named national security advisor, Lt Gen Michael Flynn, was ousted by Trump over his chats with Russia’s ambassador and what he may or may not have told Vice President Pence. The defenestration of Flynn appeared engineered by our national intelligence agencies in collaboration with the mainstream media and certain Democrats.

Flynn’s crime? Talking to the wicked Russians before and after the election. Big, big deal. That’s what security advisors are supposed to do: keep an open back channel to other major powers and allies. This is also the job of our intelligence agencies.

There is no good or bad in international affairs. The childish concept of ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ comes from the Bush era when simple-minded voters had to be convinced that America was somehow in grave danger from a bunch of angry Mideast goat herds.

The only nations that could threaten America’s very existence are nuclear powers Russia, China, India, France, Britain and Israel (and maybe Pakistan) in that order.

Russia has thousands of nuclear warheads targeted on the US mainland. Any real war with Russia would invite doom for both nations. Two near misses are more than enough. Remember the 1962 Cuban missile confrontation and the terrifying 1983 Able Archer scare – near thermonuclear war caused by Ronald Reagan’s anti-Russian hysteria and Moscow’s panicked response.

Margolis’ #1 rule of international relations: make nice and keep on good terms with nations that have nuclear weapons pointed at you. Avoid squabbles over almost all matters. Intelligence agencies play a key role in maintaining the balance of nuclear terror and preventing misunderstandings that can cause war.

Gen. Flynn was a fanatical anti-Islamic wing nut. He was, to use Trumpese, a bigly terrible choice. I’m glad he is gone. But Flynn’s sin was being loopy, not talking on the phone to the Russian ambassador. The White House and national intelligence should be talking every day to Moscow, even ‘hi Boris, what’s new with you guys? ‘Nothing much new here either besides the terrible traffic.’

The current hue and cry in the US over Flynn’s supposed infraction is entirely a fake political ambush to cripple the Trump administration. Trump caved in much too fast. The deep state is after his scalp: he has threatened to cut the $80 billion per annum intelligence budget – which alone, boys and girls, is larger than Russia’s entire defense budget! He’s talking about rooting waste out of the Pentagon’s almost trillion-dollar budget, spending less on NATO, and ending some of America’s imperial wars abroad.

What’s to like about Trump if you’re a member of the war party and military-industrial-intelligence-Wall Street complex? The complex wants its golden girl Hilary Clinton in charge. She unleashed the current tsunami of anti-Russian hysteria and demonization of Vladimir Putin which shows, sadly, that many Americans have not grown beyond the days of Joe McCarthy.

As a long-time student of Cold War intelligence, my conclusion is that both sides knew pretty much what the other was up to, though KGB and GRU were more professional and skilled than western special services. It would be so much easier and cheaper just to share information on a demand basis. But that would stop the Great Game.

It’s sickening watching the arrant hypocrisy and windbaggery in Washington over alleged Russian espionage and manipulation. The US has been buying and manipulating foreign governments since 1945. We even tapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone. This week Wikileaks issued an intercept on CIA spying and manipulation of France’s 2012 election. We live in a giant glass house.

The Russians are not our pals. Nor are they the evil empire. We have to normalize our thinking about Russia, grow up and stop using Moscow as a political bogeyman to fight our own internal political battles.

Right now, I’m more worried about the far right crazies in the Trump White House than I am about the Ruskis and Vlad the Bad.

Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune the Los Angeles Times, Times of London, the Gulf Times, the Khaleej Times, Nation – Pakistan, Hurriyet, – Turkey, Sun Times Malaysia and other news sites in Asia. https://ericmargolis.com

 The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

Eisenhower’s Farewell Address to the Nation; “This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government.

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