Iran ‘Ground Zero’ for US Regime Change

Iranians chant slogans as they march in support of the government near the Imam Khomeini grand mosque in the capital Tehran on December 30, 2017

There seems little doubt that the surge in New Year protests across Iran was, at least in part, following a regime-change agenda set by the United States.

Public statements issued by US President Donald Trump and his senior officials all made strident calls in support of protesters while denigrating the Iranian government as a “brutal oppressor.” Arguably, that amounts to audacious incitement of sedition in a foreign state, and such American misconduct should be legally sanctioned.

What’s remarkable too is just how close the recent turmoil in Iran seemed to follow a well-worn US formula for regime change, including political statements of condemnation; biased media coverage to undermine the legitimacy of the target government; and the apparent hijacking of peaceful protests by violent provocateurs.

Such a formula has been used by Washington and its allies in dozens of countries over the decades, including more recently in Syria during the 2011 unrest that led to an all-out war.What is acutely resonant is the historical background. Iran was probably the first nation to have been subjected to American regime-change operations in the post-Second World War period, with the CIA-led coup carried out in 1953.

But first, let’s look at the flagrant attempts by the US to destabilize the Iranian government through highly pejorative and misleading public statements.

Last week, the American ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley even claimed that “the Iranian people are crying out for freedom against their dictators.” A senior official in the US State Department also admitted that his government was communicating via social media with demonstrators in Iran.

Washington’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, openly said in a media interview this weekend that his government is seeking “political transition” in Iran – or, in other words, regime change.

Also this weekend, the US called an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council in an attempt to censure the Iranian government for the dozens of deaths incurred during the week-long protests. Haley declared: “The world is watching what Iran does.”

Iran, Russia, and China have berated the US for violating Iranian sovereignty by interfering in the country’s internal affairs. The brazen attempt by the US to fuel protests in Iran is indeed a serious breach of the UN Charter forbidding interference in any nation’s political matters. US regime-change policy is arguably criminal conduct.

It remains to be seen just how actively involved on the ground US agencies were in stoking the recent protests in Iran. The initial demonstrations that first broke out on December 28 in the city of Mashhad quickly spread to dozens of other urban centers. Iranian authorities have blamed the US and other foreign enemies for being behind the disturbances.A legitimate part of the rallies was motivated by genuine economic grievances among the population. But at the same time, the rapid escalation of violence and armed attacks on police stations suggest that a subversive plot was being orchestrated.

The role of the US news media, and to lesser extent European, in covering the Iranian unrest was also indicative of a geopolitical agenda. The American media, in particular, tended to portray the protests in a benign light as an uprising against an autocratic regime.

Nikki Haley, the US envoy to the UN, dismissed Iranian claims of foreign subversion. Haley’s dismissal contradicts the public statements and admissions of the US president and other senior officials.

However, Iran has sound reason to suspect a pernicious agenda seeking to exploit social protests.

In 2013, some 60 years after the 1953 coup in Iran, the CIA was obliged to disclose classified documents that prove the agency was behind that infamous event. The CIA worked covertly with its British counterpart MI6 to carry out Operation Ajax to overthrow the elected government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. Mosaddegh intended to nationalize Iran’s oil industry, thereby threatening American and British interests.The coup ushered in the rule of the pro-Western Shah Pahlavi who opened up Iranian oil fields to American and British companies. The CIA and US military were lynchpins in the Shah’s regime and its brutal repression of Iranians until he was finally overthrown in the Islamic Revolution of 1979. For this reason, Washington has never forgiven the Iranian people and is why the US political establishment is driven by regime-change obsession in Tehran.

What is telling are the similarities between events then and now. The CIA-led coup in 1953 involved a propaganda campaign using news media outlets to undermine the government. The New York Times labeled Mosaddegh a “dictator” and compared him to “Hitler” and “Stalin”. Britain’s state broadcaster, the BBC, was also involved in the campaign to undermine the Iranian authorities, as Mark Curtis recounts in his book Web of Deceit.

Back in Washington and London, the political leaders implemented an economic embargo on Tehran and denounced it as a Soviet stooge.

When the coup got underway, the CIA is now on record admitting that it paid thugs and provocateurs to launch street violence in Tehran, which was blamed on the authorities ostensibly showing a heavy-hand.From the CIA and MI6’s point of view, the coup was a stunning success. The regime change opened up big oil interests. For the Iranian people, it meant years of vicious repression under the Shah and his CIA-trained SAVAK secret police.

In 1953, the CIA was only newly formed in the aftermath of the Second World War. What the Iran coup marked was a fateful turning point for the agency, and the nature of American governments ever since, with global repercussions. In its original formation, the CIA was only intended to serve as an “intelligence gathering” service to aid US presidents to formulate foreign policy.

What the coup in Iran marked was the beginning of a “secret government” within the US; one that was above the law and unaccountable. US presidents would come and go in elections, but the “deep state” of the CIA would remain. It assumed the powers to carry out regime change against any foreign government regardless of international law. Subversion and political assassination would become tools of this new US statecraft.

Once the CIA got the habit of regime change in Iran it could not stop. Since 1953, the American “secret government” has gone on to conduct dozens of such dirty operations around the world with deadly and horrific consequences for masses of people.While the recent social protests in Iran have subsided, nevertheless there also seems to be another, more sinister dimension to the Iranian disturbances – an illegal agenda of regime change promoted by Washington.

Given that Iran is “ground zero” for America’s historical worldwide practice of regime change, the threat to national security from foreign interference is an understandable concern.

Russia and China have taken the correct position in warning the US to cease adding instability in Iran. The Iranian people must be safeguarded from external meddling to resolve their own internal problems. The laughable irony is that while American politicians and media complain hysterically about others meddling in their country, they have no qualms about brazenly poking into Iran.

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

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Syria, Russia & Iran shift to Diplomacy, While US and Allies Push for War

By Finian Cunningham

November 21, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – In a big week for Syrian peace talks, President Assad was hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, where the leaders of Iran and Turkey are also to convene. Fittingly, perhaps, the US had no input into the renewed effort for peace in Syria.

Putin said that with the defeat of ISIS (Daesh, Islamic State) and other terror groups in Syria now virtually achieved, the parties to the conflict must underpin the political means to win the peace. Significantly, the talks in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi reinforce the earlier Geneva accord which assents to President Bashar Assad and his government in Damascus as the sovereign authority of Syria.

The demand by Washington and its European allies for Assad to “stand down” has long ago expired. That void is a tacit acknowledgment the nearly seven-year covert war in Syria for regime change has been defeated or at least the covert war in its guise of Western-backed proxy militant groups.

The absence of US and European officials at the peace talks in Sochi this week speaks volumes about their pernicious role in the Syrian war.

While Syria, Russia, Iran, and Turkey endeavor to revamp the peace negotiations, it is significant that Pentagon chief James Mattis was last week saying that US military forces would be digging in further on Syrian territory.

The reluctance of US forces to pack up in Syria despite the demise of the terror groups is perhaps best viewed as part of a regional resurgence of an American military presence. Under President Trump – despite his election campaign promises – the level of US forces has increased substantially in Afghanistan and Iraq. Deployment in Syria fits into this pattern of a regional buildup.

The increasing level of US military strength in the region also underlines the ominous signs of Saudi Arabia and Israel ramping up hostility toward Iran and Lebanon.

Last week, US Defense Secretary James Mattis said American forces would be staying in Syria despite the contradiction of terror groups being routed. Mattis’ claims that US forces have a legal United Nations’ mandate for their presence in Syria were dismissed by Russia and Syria as a flawed understanding of international law.

But even on Mattis’ own faulty reasoning, his claims are dubious. If US forces have a mandate to be in Syria to defeat terrorists, as claimed, then why are they there given the terrorists have been largely defeated?

Mattis said the new purpose of US forces were to “prevent ISIS 2.0” arising. Despite the fact that the Americans hardly ever engaged in fighting against ISIS, and indeed, as the BBC evenreported, gave the militants safe passage, including helicopter airlifting commanders out of harm’s way.

It was the Syrian Arab Army, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah who did all the heavy lifting to roll back the terror groups, which had been covertly armed and financed by the US and its NATO and regional client regimes. ISIS, Nusra, and all the other alphabet-soup terror groups were only ever a pretext for the US to deploy its warplanes and Special Forces in Syria – a presence which actually constitutes foreign aggression, as the Syrian government and Russia have repeatedly pointed out.

And yet here we have Mattis claiming that it was the US which defeated ISIS in Syria, and warning that the specter of this American asset reemerging as ISIS 2.0 is grounds for continuing to occupy Syrian territory. The Americans’ handy phantom-enemy is serving twice over. That is to “legitimize” the US intervening in Syria; and now to justify US forces staying there – just when the real victors against the terrorists, Syria, Russia, and Iran are trying to demilitarize the country.

RT@RT_com

‘There never was ‘revolution’ in #Syria, it was a premeditated war by foreign powers’ (Op-Ed by @EvaKBartletthttps://on.rt.com/8rai 

8:15 AM – Nov 3, 2017

Absurdities of Syrian war propaganda — RT Op-Edge

Сorporate media continues to recycle accusations of starvation, chemical weapons, and more, in the propaganda war on Syria.

rt.com

Far from the public view, US forces are scaling up their presence in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Politico has called it an “official charade.” The Trump administration and the Pentagon are going behind the American people’s backs to deploy thousands more troops across the Middle East.

Much to the displeasure of Washington, Turkey disclosed last week that the US has 13 military bases in Syria. Russia, apparently, has only five bases, even though that country had a much greater military impact on defeating ISIS and other terrorist networks over the past two years.

One of the biggest US bases is near Kobani, about 140 kilometers from the northern city of Raqqa. This is the location no doubt where Mattis was referring to when he said last week that US forces would be digging in.

The US airbase at Kobani has been dramatically upgraded over the past year from what was a rough airfield accommodating only a select few types of aircraft to one now where “every type of air frame” in the Pentagon’s fleet can be landed, including the largest troop-carrying and cargo planes.

The US base at Kobani is also part of a chain of new airfields that connect from Qayarrah West in northern Iraq, to the Taqba Dam, also north of Raqqa.

Officially, there are supposed to be only 500 troops in Syria under the Pentagon’s Force Management Level policy. But as with Afghanistan and Iraq, the real numbers are believed to be much higher than what is officially acknowledged.

A large part of the false accounting arises because the Pentagon doesn’t count units which spend less than 120 days in the country. These units include engineers and troops who are charged with building bridges, roads, and landing strips.

There is a direct analogy here with how US and NATO forces underestimate force levels in the Baltic and Black Sea regions by arbitrarily not counting troops, warplanes and ships described as “rotating presence.” But if you rotate frequently enough, the force levels in effect become permanent and are much larger in practice than is officially admitted.

In addition to ensuring its proxies don’t come back as “ISIS 2.0” (how’s that for chutzpah!), Mattis also said that the expanded US forces were there to ensure the future peace talks in Geneva, resuming on November 28, would gain “traction.”

“We’re not just going to walk away right now before the Geneva process has traction,” said Mattis last week while in London meeting his British counterparts.

What this suggests is that Washington is using its illegitimate military occupation of Syrian territory as a way to leverage the political process. By forcibly holding on to Syrian territory, Washington is perhaps calculating that the Assad government might cede to its demands on standing down or allowing a defeated opposition more say in drawing up a new constitution.

If the US were genuinely committed to a political process in Syria, then why aren’t its diplomats giving momentum to the Russian-brokered talks in Sochi this week in preparation for the subsequent Geneva summit?

But even more sinister is the region-wide context of US force buildup – largely in secret unknown to the American public. With Washington’s client regimes, Saudi Arabia and Israel,pushing for a confrontation with Iran, directly or via Lebanon and Yemen, the expanding military presence in Syria indicates war in that country is far from over. Instead, it could be but a prelude to a more devastating regional conflagration.

Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.

This article was originally published by RT –

Trump Pushes War with Iran

Trump Pushes War with Iran

By Finian Cunningham

November 08, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  Iran has responded furiously to what it called “reckless” Saudi threats after the latter accused Iran of “an act of war” in carrying out a long-range ballistic strike near the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

Iran categorically denied any involvement in the missile attack at the weekend, which reports say was mounted by Houthi rebels in Yemen on Saudi Arabia’s southern border.

However, the Saudi rulers were quick to accuse Iran of supplying the Houthi militants with the ballistic weapon and thereby carrying out an act of war on Saudi Arabia. No evidence was presented in support of the Saudi claims.

Nevertheless, the Saudi position was immediately backed up by US President Donald Trump who, while on a tour of Asia, asserted: “Iran just took a shot at Saudi Arabia.”

This automatic concurrence of views between Trump and the Saudi rulers suggests a level of concerted thinking by Washington and Riyadh, with the aim of incriminating Iran.

In other words, Saudi Arabia’s provocative accusations against Iran – which could serve as a pretext for a military escalation – are not just isolated bluster from Riyadh.

The alarming thing is that the Trump administration has been coordinating its hostile rhetoric towards Iran for several months now, along with Saudi Arabia and Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu. All three allies have been using virtually the same talking-points, making hollow accusations against Iran of sponsoring terrorism and destabilizing the Middle East region.

Trump’s threat to tear up the international nuclear accord with Iran and the reimposition of economic sanctions is also part of what appears to be an agenda of stoking a confrontation with the Islamic Republic. Before its 1979 revolution, Iran was a loyal client regime of the US. Washington, it seems, has never gotten over the loss of its Persian vassal state.

So, when the Saudi rulers accuse Iran of “an act of war” over the missile strike at the weekend, that suggests another step being taken in furthering a concerted agenda worked out by the US, Israel and the Saudis for setting up a conflict.

All of this has to be put in a much bigger regional context in which there has been a dramatic shift in geopolitical power. Russia, Iran, Syria and Lebanon’s Hezbollah have emerged as new dominant political forces in the strategically vital Middle East.

The defeat of the US-led axis, including Saudi Arabia and Israel, in the proxy war in Syria is a momentous setback. The newly established dominance of Russia and Iran is anathema to the US and its regional clients.

This why the US and its client regimes are seeking to sow conflict elsewhere in the region and towards Iran in particular. It’s a nefarious consolation prize for having their regime-change plans spectacularly upended in Syria by Russia and Iran.

When Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri was summoned to Saudi Arabia at the weekend to tender his resignation, it was obviously a ploy to smear Iran and its ally Hezbollah. Hariri claimed in a Saudi television broadcast that he was running for his life to escape an assassination plot hatched by Iran and Hezbollah.

The sensationalist claims made by Hariri were dismissed by Iran as ridiculous. Even Lebanese President Michel Aoun treated the claims with derision, saying that he expects Hariri to return to Beirut immediately and explain his “surprise” resignation while standing in his own country, not from a TV studio in some foreign capital.

But the point is that the Saudi-Hariri publicity stunt appears to be yet another step in a concerted agenda to destabilize the region and provoke a confrontation with Iran.

Amid the turmoil over the past week, the Saudi royal family has embarked on a major purge of potential rivals within the kingdom. The purge is purportedly an “anti-corruption” crackdown. But it’s clear from the list of senior royals being arrested and detained that King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), are making an ambitious power grab to consolidate their autocratic rule.

MbS, the 32-year-old heir to the Saudi throne, has emerged as a vitriolic enemy of Iran, promising earlier this year that he would “take the battle to Iranian territory”. Saudi rulers and their Wahhabi fundamentalist version of Islam have always viewed Shia Iran as an apostate nation. But MbS has taken this traditional sectarian hostility to a higher level. And with Trump’s dubious blessing.

It is evident that the Saudi rulers are working hand-in-hand with the Trump administration and the Israeli leadership to deeply poison relations with Iran.

Trump’s first overseas visit as president was to Saudi Arabia, followed by Israel, during which he singled out and denigrated Iran as the region’s “number one” villain.

While dozens of Saudi royals, including government ministers, were being arrested over the weekend, Trump reportedly gave his tacit endorsement in a phone call with King Salman and the Crown Prince, according to the New York Times.

The NY Times also reported that only days before the crackdown, Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner was in Saudi Arabia where he met with the rulers. There seems little doubt therefore that Trump was fully briefed on the forthcoming “night of the long knives” and that he gave a nod of approval.

What this points to is that the Trump administration is indulging the Saudi power grab as a quid quo pro in firming up the anti-Iran axis of Washington-Riyadh-Tel Aviv.

Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu has long been urging a pre-emptive military strike against Iran. The previous US administration under Barack Obama rebuffed that belligerence, pursuing diplomacy instead with Iran, which resulted in the international nuclear deal that was signed in July 2015, along with Russia, China and the European Union.

Now, sinisterly, there is a wholly different and dangerous triumvirate in place – in the form of Trump, an ambitious young Saudi prince, and Netanyahu – all espousing overt hostility towards Iran.

The level of coordination in this US-led axis leaves one with the stark conclusion that Trump is willingly pushing a war with Iran.

It is just one more illustration of how destructive and nihilistic US foreign policy is in the Middle East.

Wars, deaths, violence, sectarian hatred never seem to satisfy Washington’s bloodlust.

But in taking on Iran, American intrigue may meet its final downfall. Especially too because the people of the region are increasingly becoming aware of how malicious American power operates.

Along with Iran, Russia has been vindicated as a power whose foreign policy is one of seeking genuine partnership and stability. A US-led war against Iran will be seen as a last desperate act of a decrepit American empire.

Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.

This article was originally published by Strategic Culture Foundation –

See also – Trump may have pushed Saudi Arabia and Iran closer to war

Anglo-American War Plan for North Korea

By Finian Cunningham

October 12, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – The United States and Britain – the two countries responsible for so many recent wars and conflicts – are at it again. This time, the diabolical double-act has North Korea in its sights, despite the risk that such an attack could ignite a global nuclear war.

Over the past week, US President Donald Trump has sharpened his bellicose rhetoric towards North Korea, now declaring that “only one thing works” in regard to the security crisis over the Korean Peninsula. That “one thing”, according to Trump, is evidently the “military option”.

For the past several months, the Trump administration has indeed repeatedly threatened the North Korean state led by Kim Jong-un with military force over the latter’s nuclear weapons program. But the American threats have always been conveyed in the context that other options, including diplomacy, were also being considered, or even preferred.

Now Trump is openly admitting that the apparent option of diplomacy is no longer on the table. It’s a belated admission by Trump that the diplomatic option was only ever a cynical charade, not under genuine consideration.

Washington is instead moving towards war with North Korea.

Adding to the gravity of the moment are reports in the British media that Britain’s military chiefs have drawn up plans for deploying forces along with the US against North Korea.

British military chiefs are quoted as saying that they are ready to dispatch a new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, as well as several destroyers and frigates, to the Korean Peninsula in support of its US ally.

Just last week Britain’s defense secretary Michael Fallon also delivered a belligerent speech to the Conservative Party conference in which he declared readiness to order “warships, aircraft and troops” in support of the US and other allies.

Fallon repeated earlier warnings that his government was fully prepared to order a first-strike nuclear attack against North Korea or any other “enemy state”.

The British minister accused North Korea of threatening Britain’s national security, saying that “Manchester and London are closer to Pyongyang than Los Angeles”.

Fallon’s shrill rhetoric echoed the scaremongering claims once made by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair back in 2003 when he justified the imminent Anglo-American war on Iraq because then Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was allegedly capable of mounting a missile attack on Britain “within 45 minutes”. Blair’s war pretext turned out to be a vile fraud.

Britain’s long-standing readiness to join in American military operations around the world is a convenient political-legal cover that gives the impression of “an international coalition” acting in supposed defense of “the international community”.

But the historical record shows that such Anglo-American militarism is nothing other than illegal aggression carried out by Washington and London, which has led to the ruination of whole nations and the unleashing of sectarian conflicts and terrorism. The British-aided American wars against Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003 continue to wreak havoc across the Middle East today.

Yet, in spite of these disasters, not to say criminal wars, Britain’s defense secretary “Sir” Michael Fallon arrogantly asserts that “we should not be squeamish” about committing to further military deployments elsewhere, and in particular with regard to North Korea.

This coupling of American and British military power focused on North Korea is an ominous sign that the Anglo-American war machine is cranking up again.

Earlier this month, President Trump issued an extraordinary rebuke to his secretary of state Rex Tillerson over the latter’s public comments about pursuing diplomatic contacts with North Korea. Trump rebuffed Tillerson for “wasting his time” in negotiations with Pyongyang.

Since then Trump has gone on to sharpen the rhetoric to the point now where he is saying the US is considering “only one option” – a military strike on North Korea.

Last week, while hosting US military leaders and their spouses at a dinner in the White House, Trump made the menacing remark that the gathering was the “calm before the storm”. He subsequently refused to clarify what he meant by that cryptic remark.

A couple of days later on October 7, Trump then declared through his usual Twitter feed that diplomacy with North Korea was over. He said the past 25 years of diplomacy under previous administrations had failed, adding, “only one thing will work!”

This is while the US is sending the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and a full battle group of warships towards the Korean Peninsula to commence joint operations with allied South Korean forces over the coming days.

It also follows this week long-distance practice bombing raids by US strategic B1-B Lancer warplanes over the Korean Peninsula. It was reportedly the first time that these US warplanes were accompanied by both South Korean and Japanese fighter jets in the same maneuver.

When Trump and his officials, including defense secretary James Mattis, have previously warned of using military force against North Korea they have let it be known that the action would be “overwhelming” and “catastrophic”. This can be understood to mean the US using nuclear weapons in any action against Pyongyang.

Trump is now positioning the US on an all-out war footing against North Korea by contriving a situation whereby diplomacy has been forfeited.

This is a heinous travesty. American diplomacy towards North Korea to settle the decades-old conflict on the Peninsula has never been genuinely pursued, not under Trump nor previous administrations.

Trump is accelerating US war plans on North Korea. US Pentagon chief James Mattis this week warned American forces to be ready for action and said military plans were being furnished for Trump. Mattis’ willingness to defer to Trump shows that this is a government policy, not merely the depraved recklessness of a lunatic president.

The fact too that Britain, America’s loyal war accomplice, is concurrently drawing up military contingencies over North Korea is a disturbing indicator of how far the Anglo-American war machine is gearing up.

Both Russia and China have repeatedly urged restraint by all parties. This week, Moscow said the US naval build-up around the Korean Peninsula was a dangerous escalation. Russia also said that the newly deployed US anti-missile THAAD system in South Korea was targeting its territory, as well as that of North Korea and China.

If the US and Britain go ahead with their war plans on North Korea, as seems likely, they will ignite a war that threatens the whole planet.

How quintessentially Anglo-American is the arrogance and criminality.

Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.

This article was originally published by Strategic Culture Foundation –

As Russia-Gate Story Stalls, Cue Trump Neo-Nazi Scandal

As Russia-Gate Story Stalls, Cue Trump Neo-Nazi Scandal

FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | 18.08.2017 | OPINION

As Russia-Gate Story Stalls, Cue Trump Neo-Nazi Scandal

The political opponents of President Trump have found a new lever for sabotaging his presidency – his alleged embrace of white supremacists and Neo-Nazis. He is now being labelled a «sympathizer» of fascists and bringing America’s international image into disrepute. Cue the impeachment proceedings.

Notably, the same power-nexus that opposed Trump from the very outset of his presidency is vociferously condemning his alleged racist leanings. Pro-Democrat media like the Washington Post, New York Times and CNN can’t give enough coverage to Trump «the racist», while the intelligence community and Pentagon have also weighed in to rebuke the president. Former CIA chief John Brennan said Trump’s comments on racial violence were a «national security risk».

This is not meant to minimize the ugliness of the various Neo-Nazi fringe groups that have lately rallied across Southern US states. Trump’s wrongheaded remarks which appeared to lay equal blame on anti-fascist protesters for deadly violence last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, were deplorable.

However, the concerted, massive media campaign to nail Trump as some kind of new Fuhrer seems way over the top. The media frenzy smacks of Deep State opponents scouring for a handy new pretext for ousting him from office.

The enthusiasm for whipping up the new anti-Trump campaign seems due in large part because the erstwhile Russia-gate story has patently failed to gain any traction. For nearly seven months since Trump’s inauguration, the relentless claims pushed by Democrats, the media and anonymous intelligence sources that his election last November was enabled by Russian interference have shown little impact in terms of discrediting Trump and ultimately forcing him out of the White House. The Russia-gate theme has failed in its soft coup objective.

Back in January, on the eve of Trump’s inauguration, the US intelligence agencies claimed that Russia had interfered in the presidential election with the aim of promoting Trump’s victory over Democrat rival Hillary Clinton. But seven months on, no evidence has ever been produced to support that sensational claim.

Despite this absence of «killer evidence» to damage Trump as a Russian stooge, the Congress continues to hold investigations into the vapid allegations. And, separately, a «special prosecutor» – former FBI chief Robert Mueller – continues to expand his investigation, forming a grand jury and this week opening enquiries into White House staff.

Thus the whole Russia-gate affair is in danger of becoming a giant farce from the lack of evidence. With so little to show for their herculean efforts to trap Trump as a «Russian patsy», his political opponents, including prominent media organizations, are at risk of being seen as ridiculous hoaxers.

A telltale sign of how bankrupt the Russia-gate story is was the publication of a lengthy article in Wired earlier this month. The California-based online magazine proclaims to be a cutting-edge technology publication. Wired is published by Condé Nast, a global American company, whose other prestige titles include Vogue, Vanity Fair andNew Yorker. With a claimed monthly readership of 30 million, and an editorial staff of over 80, Wired is supposed to be a global leader in new technology and communications.

According to its advertising blurb, «Wired is where tomorrow is realized», adding: «It is the essential source of information and ideas that make sense of a world in constant transformation».

Therefore, as a US technology forum, this publication is supposed to be the elite in insider information and «nerdy journalism». With these high claims in mind, we then turn excitedly to its article published on August 8 with the headline: «A guide to Russia’s high tech tool box for subverting US democracy».

On reading it, the entire article is a marathon in hackneyed cliches of Russophobia. It is an appalling demonstration of how threadbare are the claims of Russian hacking into the US election last year. Citing US intelligence sources, the Wired article is a regurgitation of unsubstantiated assertions that Russian state agencies hacked into the Democratic National Committee last July and subsequently used whistleblower site Wikileaks to disseminate damaging information against Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton.

«According to US investigators», says Wired, «the hack of the DNC’s servers was apparently the work of two separate Russian teams, one from the GRU [military intelligence] and one from the FSB [state security service], neither of which appears to have known the other was also rooting around in the Democratic Party’s files. From there, the plundered files were laundered through online leak sites like WikiLeaks and DCLeaks… Their impact on the 2016 election was sizable, yielding months of damaging headlines».

Nowhere in the Wired article is any plausible technical detail presented to back up the hacking claims. It relies on US intelligence «assessments» and embellishment with quotes from think tanks and anonymous diplomats whose anti-Russia bias is transparent.

Wired’s so-called Russian «tool box for subverting US democracy» covers much more than the alleged hacking into the DNC. It accuses Russia of using news media, diplomats, criminal underworld networks, blackmail and assassinations as an arsenal of hybrid warfare to undermine Western democracy.

Wired declares: «And they are self-reinforcing, because in Russia the intelligence apparatus, business community, organized crime groups, and media distribution networks blend together, blurring and erasing the line between public and private-sector initiatives and creating one amorphous state-controlled enterprise to advance the personal goals of Vladimir Putin and his allies».

This is an astoundingly sweeping depiction of Russia in the most slanderous, pejorative terms. Basically, Wired is claiming that the entire Russian state is a criminal enterprise. The Russophobia expressed in the article is breathtaking – and this is in a magazine that is supposed to be a leader in technology-intelligence.

Wired tells its readers of Russia having a «Grand Strategy» – to undermine Western democracies, and multilateral alliances from NATO to the European Union.

With foreboding, it warns: «[T]he Putin regime’s systematic effort to undermine and destabilize democracies has become the subject of urgent focus in the West… the biggest challenge to the Western order since the fall of the Berlin Wall».

The salient point here is that despite its grandiose professional claims, Wired provides nothing of substance to support the narrative that Russia hacked into the US election. If a supposed cutting-edge technology magazine can’t deliver on technical details, then that really does demonstrate just how bankrupt the whole Russia-gate story is.

Moreover, another nail in the coffin for the Russia-gate narrative was recently provided by a respected group of former US intelligence officers called Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). Last month, the group wrote to President Trump with their expert analysis that the DNC incident was not a hack conducted via the internet, but rather that the information came from a DNC insider. In other words, the information was a leak, not a hack, in which the data was transferred by person out of the DNC offices on a memory disk. In that case, Russian agents or any other internet agents could not have possibly been involved. The key finding in the VIPS analysis is that the information obtained from the DNC computers was so vast in file size, it could not have been downloaded over the internet in the time period indicated by meta-data.

It is relevant that Wikileaks editor Julian Assange has consistently denied US intelligence and media claims that his source was Russian hackers. Also, former British ambassador Craig Murray has confirmed that he knows the identity of the source for Wikileaks and that, as the dissenting veteran US intelligence people have assessed, the information was leaked, not hacked.

In sum, the Russia-gate story that the US Deep State and media have peddled non-stop for seven months is on its knees gasping for lack of credibility.

Even a supposed top technology publication, Wired, is embarrassingly vacant of any details on how alleged Russian hackers are supposed to have interfered in the US election to get Trump into the White House. As if to compensate for its dearth of detail, the Wired publication pads out its «big story» with hackneyed Russophobia worthy of a corny James Bond knock-off.

Not only that, but now technical details and expert analysis are emerging from credible former US intelligence personnel who are verifying that the Russia-gate story is indeed a hoax.

The Deep State and other political/media opponents of Trump are inevitably scrabbling for alternative means of sabotaging his presidency. They are finding that the Russia-gate ploy to get Trump out of the White House is in danger of collapsing from lack of evidence and from the emergence of a plausible explanation for the DNC breach that damaged Clinton’s election campaign. The bottomline is: it wasn’t the Russians, so all the hype about Trump being a Russian stooge is a case of fake news, just as Trump has long maintained.

The imminent death of the Russia-gate «scandal» is giving way to the next orchestrated campaign to oust Trump in the form of allegations that the president is a «Neo-Nazi sympathizer». Trump’s nationalistic America First views may be suspect, even reprehensible in their wider association. That’s not the point. The point is the concerted, orchestrated way that the Deep State will rail-road the new campaign to oust Trump in place of the failing Russia-gate ploy. The contempt for democratic process raises the question of who the more dangerous American fascists are?

Trump Putin Up Against US Deep State

By Finian Cunningham

July 09, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  It was pleasing to see Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin greet each other cordially at the G20 summit. After their breakthrough first meeting, one hopes the two leaders have a personal foundation for future cooperation.

At a later press conference in Hamburg, where the G20 summit was held, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he believed there was a chance for restoring the badly frayed US-Russia relations. He praised Trump for being thoughtful and rational. “The TV Trump is quite different from the real life one,” quipped Putin.

Meanwhile, the White House issued a statement hailing the two-hour discussion (four times longer than originally scheduled) between the two leaders as a good start to working together on major world problems.

“No problems were solved. Nobody expected any problems to be solved in that meeting. But it was a beginning of a dialogue on some tough problem sets that we’ll begin now to work on together,” said HR McMaster, Trump’s top national security adviser.

Trump deserves credit for the way he conducted himself. He met Putin on equal terms and with respect. “It’s an honor to meet you,” said the American president as he extended a handshake.

The much-anticipated encounter comes nearly seven months after Trump was inaugurated in the White House. Over that period, large sections of the US media have run an unrelenting campaign accusing Trump of being a Russian stooge and alleging that Putin ordered an interference operation in last year’s US election to benefit Trump.

Apart from innuendo and anonymous US intelligence claims, recycled endlessly by dutiful news organizations, there is no evidence of either Trump-Russia collusion or Putin-sanctioned cyber hacking. Trump has dismissed the claims as “fake news”, while Moscow has consistently rejected the allegations as baseless Russophobia.

Against this toxic background of anti-Russian propaganda, President Trump met Putin at the weekend. The two men were due to talk face-to-face for 30 minutes. As it turned out, their discussions went on for two hours. They reportedly exchanged views on pressing matters of Syria, Ukraine and North Korea among other things. Trump brought up the issue of alleged Russian meddling in the US elections, and Putin responded in detail to assure his American counterpart it was a fabricated brouhaha in which Russia had nothing to do with it.

Only days before the big meeting, US media editorialists and pundits were warning Trump to confront Putin in an aggressive manner. The Washington Post, one of the leading anti-Russia voices, exhortedTrump to rap Putin on “US election meddling” as if the claim was a proven fact. It also urged the president to give notice to Putin that Russia had to accede to regime change in Syria. It was a get-tough order.

To his credit, Trump did not allow the Russophobia in the US media to influence his manner with Putin. He was cordial, respectful and open to listening to the Russian viewpoint on a range of issues. So much so that it appears both leaders have agreed to work together going forward.

The question now is: what next? Trump and Putin have evidently got off to a good start despite the inordinate delay and toxic background. But what does Trump’s willingness to engage positively with Moscow actually mean in practice?

The US Deep State comprising the military-intelligence nexus and their political, media machine in Washington does not want to normalize relations with Russia. Russian independence as a powerful foreign state under President Putin is a problem that rankles US global ambitions. That’s why the Deep State wanted anti-Russia hawk Hillary Clinton to win the election. Trump’s victory upset their calculations.

Under immense pressure, Trump has at times appeared to buckle to the US political establishment with regard to projecting hostility towards Russia, as seen in the prosecution of the covert war in Syria and renewed sanctions on Moscow.

The day before he met Putin in Germany, Trump was in Poland where he delivered a barnstorming speech in Warsaw in which he accused Russia of “destabilizing countries”, among other topics.  The American president also inferred that Russia was undermining “Western civilization”. It was provocative speech bordering on hackneyed Russophobia. It did not bode well for his imminent meeting with Putin. A clash seemed to be coming, just as the US media had been cajoling.

However, the meeting the next day with Putin was surprisingly congenial. And the substance of discussions indicates a genuine desire from both sides to cooperate.

It is good that both presidents have struck up a rapport and personal understanding. Nevertheless, it is important to not bank too much on that.

Immediately following the constructive meeting between the leaders, the US media started cranking up the Russophobia again. The US media are vents for Deep State hostility towards Trump and his agenda for normalizing relations with Moscow.

The New York Times reported another breathless story about Trump’s election campaign having contact with “Kremlin-connected” people. CNN ran opinion pieces on how the president had fallen into a trap laid by Putin.

It is hard to stomach this outlandish confabulation that passes for journalism. And it is astounding that a friendly meeting between leaders of nuclear powers should not be received as a good development.

But it shows that Trump his up against very powerful deep forces within the US establishment who do not want a normalization with Russia. The US Deep State depends on confrontation, war and endless militarism for its existence. It also wants a world populated by vassals over which US corporations have suzerainty. An independent Russia or China or any other foreign power cannot be tolerated because that upends American ambitions for unipolar hegemony.

Trump’s encounter with Putin was commendable because he did not succumb to toxic Russophobia and adopt a stupid, mindless tough-guy posture. Instead, Trump reached out to Putin in a genuine way, as two human beings should do.

The US Deep State is not about humanity or understanding. It is about maintaining perceived dominance over other humans, where anyone seen to be an obstacle is disposed of in the most ruthless way.

President John F Kennedy was assassinated in broad daylight by the US Deep State because he dared to seek a normalization and peaceful coexistence with Moscow. The Deep State does not want normalization or peace with Russia or anyone else for that matter because there are too many lucrative vested interests in maintaining the war machine that is American capitalism.

This is not to predict a violent demise for Trump. The Deep State has other methods, such as the orchestration of media and other dirty tricks.

Trump’s friendly overtures to Russia are at least a promising sign. But given the power structure of the US, and its incorrigible belligerence, it is doubtful that Trump will be allowed to go beyond promises. If he attempts to, we can expect the dark forces to step up.

What needs to change is the US power structure through a democratic revolt. Until that happens, any president in the White House is simply a hostage to the dark forces of the Deep State.

This article was first published by Sputnik News 

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

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Trump-Putin’s Moment of Truth

Trump-Putin’s Moment of Truth

FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | 02.07.2017 | OPINION

Trump-Putin’s Moment of Truth

The forthcoming meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit has got to be the most anticipated political moment of the year. The handshake, smiles, body language and words will all be scrutinized to parse significance in the encounter between the leaders of the world’s two superpowers.

Sections of the American media will no doubt be looking for secret signals between «agent Trump» and the former «KGB spy Putin» to confirm their suspicions it was the Kremlin that orchestrated the US presidential election to get Trump into the White House. That spy-thriller narrative has been running non-stop in prominent US news outlets – and yet six months after Trump’s inauguration not even a single bit of hard evidence has emerged to support the allegations of collusion. It’s a spy fantasy that has taken on a life of its own, which even the CNN channel – one of the biggest purveyors of the Trump-Russia trope – has recently been caught out disclosing quietly that it’s a «nothing burger».

Nonetheless, on a more serious level, the meeting between Trump and Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit next weekend will have a «moment of truth» quality. It’s their first encounter, although the two leaders have held at least two phone conversations in the past six months.

Confirming that the Trump-Putin one-on-one is scheduled during the Hamburg summit, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said that the meeting will «clarify» the state of bilateral relations between Washington and Moscow.

«We expect the Hamburg meeting between our presidents to clarify the prospects for Russian-US cooperation», said Lavrov speaking in Moscow last Friday at the Primakov Readings conference.

The tone of anticipation in Moscow is understandable. As Lavrov pointed out, the relation between the US and Russia is critical for addressing a wide range of pressing global issues. Yet, as he noted, that relation has been distorted into an «abnormal» state because it is «held hostage by domestic political struggles in the US».

When Trump was campaigning for the presidency, he pitched himself as being a leader who would return US-Russia relations to a new normal of friendly cooperation. This contrasted with his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton who was vowing to take a tough confrontational line on Moscow over international issues like Ukraine and Syria. It is a fair assumption that Trump won the election partly because the American electorate preferred his ticket of restoring relations with Russia. After decades of reckless overseas wars, the American voters did not want more of Clinton’s jingoistic posturing.

However, since Trump entered the White House, the promised normalization of US-Russia relations has not materialized. Indeed, with the imposition of new rounds of economic sanctions by Washington and the stepped-up US military intervention in Syria, one could say that relations have deteriorated even further.

Both sides acknowledge that relations between the world’s two largest nuclear powers have sunk to a worrying level. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov openly stated the deplorable situation during their first bilateral meeting in Moscow earlier this year in April.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently said in an interview with American film director Oliver Stone that there has been no discernible improvement in bilateral relations between the US and Russia since Trump became president.

This is in spite of the fact that both the White House and the Kremlin have expressed a desire to seek better relations.

Of course, much of US policy towards Russia is out of Trump’s control. The hawkish Republican and Democrat dominated Congress is pushing through more hostile anti-Russia sanctions independent of Trump’s personal views. The latest bill on increasing sanctions has been tabled in such a way that it curtails Trump’s ability to use his executive power to revoke sanctions.

Also, what we are seeing too are the limits of US democracy. The people may have voted for a president who wants to pursue friendlier relations with Russia, but the American political establishment and its powerful media organizations refuse to accept that democratic expression. The US establishment and large sections of the military-security apparatus wanted Clinton and her Cold War-style foreign policy to win the election. She lost. But the powers-that-be then resorted to Plan B of coercing the new president into adopting its policy goal of hostility toward Russia.

Is Trump being held hostage by the American «deep state» and its influential media machine? No doubt there seems to be a big factor of that at play here. But it is still not clear what Trump’s own intentions are. As well as the Congress slapping on new harsher sanctions against Russia, Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also signed off on a separate round of punitive measures. Surely, if the White House had an intention of normalizing relations with the Kremlin then Trump could have stopped the Treasury from hatching more sanctions?

There is also the question of Trump’s policy on Syria. The ratcheting up of air strikes on Syria under Trump’s watch has escalated tensions with Russia which, rightly, views the American military attacks as a grave violation of Syrian sovereignty and international law. Russia has even intimated that future US air strikes will not be tolerated. Will Trump heed this warning, or is he intent on provoking an all-out confrontation with Syria’s ally, Russia?

Trump’s meeting with Putin in Hamburg will certainly be a moment to watch, if not exactly a vaunted moment of truth. If Trump does adopt a tough-guy posture, then it suggests that the US president is indeed a hostage to reactionary anti-Russia circles in Washington. In a pathetic way, he will be seen has having been cowed by the obsessive Russophobia that is deranging US government.

Alternatively, the bets are that Trump will greet Putin with gusto and a cordial vibe. But in that case the moment will also be telling. In the context of ongoing provocative hostility towards Russia in Washington, the «friendly Trump» shows that he is a non-entity president. Someone who really has no power and ultimately cannot be trusted to make meaningful policy.

Either way, the real moment of truth will be that US democracy is a fiction.

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