US Intelligence Shows No Iranian Threat Exists

By Stephen Lendman
Source

Claims by Trump regime hardliners about an Iranian threat lack credibility. No evidence suggests the Islamic Republic threatens any nations — not the US, Israel, its imperial partners, or any others.

Following a closed-door Tuesday congressional briefing on the Islamic Republic, Pompeo slammed Iranian “malign activity” that doesn’t exist, nor “40 years of terrorist activity — how the US and its imperial partners operate, not Tehran.

Trump’s acting war secretary Patrick Shanahan turned truth on its head, claiming “we received credible intelligence about threats to our interests in the Middle East and to American forces (sic)” by Iran, adding:

“That intelligence has borne out in attacks (sic), and I would say it’s also deterred attacks (sic). We have deterred attacks based on our re-posturing of assets, deterred attacks against American forces (sic).”

No such actions occurred because no Iranian threats exist to deter.

After Bolton briefed congressional members Monday on Iran, hawkish GOP Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted:

“It is clear that over the last several weeks Iran has attacked pipelines and ships of other nations (sic) and created threat streams against American interests in Iraq (sic),” adding: 

“If the Iranian threats against American personnel and interests are activated, we must deliver an overwhelming military response.”

Congressional briefings on Monday and Tuesday failed to convince Dems. Senator Chris Murphy said the following:

“I’m listening to Republicans twist the Iran intel to make it sound like Iran is taking unprovoked, offensive measures against the US and our allies,” adding:

“I’ve read the (same) intel, and let me be clear: That’s not what the intel says.” There’s nothing in it about an Iranian threat, just the opposite, indicating no Iranian threat exists.

Rep. Ruben Gallego made similar remarks, saying: “Lindsey and I get the same intel. That is not what is being said. This is total information bias to draw the conclusion he wants for himself and the media.”

Rep. Adam Smith said “(w)e still don’t know what the (Trump’s) objectives are,” adding he “does not anticipate” military action against Iran,” adding:

“What our ‘maximum pressure’ campaign has done in terms of achieving our objections, I have not seen.”

Speaker Pelosi said the White House has “no business” moving toward confrontation with Iran without congressional approval, adding: 

“We have to avoid any war with Iran…The very idea that they would say that they would use the authorization of the use of military force that is 18 years old is not appropriate in terms of its scope, its geography, its timing for any actions they might take.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called information gotten from Trump regime officials about an Iranian threat “inadequate.”

Ranking Dem Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Bob Menendez said “Congress has not authorized war with Iran.” The White House has not provided any information to this committee on the intelligence behind their” their accusations against Tehran.

Former senior State Department official involved in negotiating the JCPOA Wendy Sherman warned against making reckless accusations against Iran, undermining the credibility of its claimants.

Rep. Abigail Spanberger called Trump regime remarks about Iran “deeply troubling.” House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff said he wants to know what Trump’s “strategy is…to keep us out of war” with Iran.

For weeks, Trump regime officials failed to provide evidence of Iranian “malign activities” or threats to US or Israeli regional interests.

The claim about Iran intending to attack US forces is utter rubbish. Not a shred of evidence supports it. What possible benefit could Iran get by taking this action — with everything to lose and nothing to gain by going this far.

Weeks earlier, John Bolton falsely accused Iran of “troubling and escalatory” activities. At the time, a fake news NYT report claimed “intelligence (shows) Iran or its proxies were preparing to attack American troops in Iraq and Syria,” citing unnamed Trump regime officials — no evidence cited because none exists.

In early May, citing unnamed Trump regime officials, NBC News claimed intelligence showed Iran and/or its “proxies…could go after American military targets in the region,” adding:

Attacks could come from “small ships…Iranian-trained Shiite militia groups, and…against US ships by the Houthi rebels in Yemen” — no evidence cited backing the clearly fabricated claims.

In mid May, the NYT falsely claimed “communication intercepts and imagery indicated that Iran was building up its proxy forces’ readiness to fight” — again no evidence presented. Accusations and allegations without it are baseless.

Last week, the Pentagon put its forces in Iraq on high alert over a nonexistent Iranian threat. The State Department ordered all non-emergency personnel to depart the country.

Iraqi officials said they’re unaware of any threat to US or other foreign personnel from Iran. UK General Chris Ghika, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve deputy commander, expressed a similar view, saying:

“There’s been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces” in Iraq or regionally. “We monitor them along with a whole range of others because that’s the environment we’re in. If the threat level…go(es) up then we’ll raise our force protection measures accordingly,” adding:

“As of now, “coalition forces observed no change in (the posture of Iran and its allies) since the recent exchange between the US and (Tehran), and we hope and expect (this) will continue…We don’t see an increased threat from them at this stage” because there is none.

A CENTCOM statement shot back, repeating the falsified claim of an Iranian threat without providing a shred of evidence proving it.

If a legitimate Iranian threat existed, the US and its “coalition” partners would agree, not disagree on the issue.

Germany’s Defense Ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff agreed with Ghika, saying “there is no concrete threat” from Iran to the US or its regional allies.

Claims about Iranian responsibility for sabotage to Saudi and UAE tankers, as well as against Saudi pumping stations, were and remain willful disinformation.

The Trump regime is waging war on Iran by other means, aiming to make its economy scream through harsh illegal sanctions and other hostile actions.

Its plan to drive Iranian oil exports to zero is doomed to fail. China remains a key buyer, in April purchasing about 800,000 barrels a day of Iranian crude, according to customs data.

Its Sinopec and China National Petroleum Corp invested billions of dollars in Iran’s oil fields, recouping their investment by importing large amounts of Iranian oil monthly, what’s highly unlikely to stop.

Its Foreign Ministry denounced US anti-Iranian actions. Both countries maintain normal political, economic, and trade relations. The same goes for Russia, Turkey and other nations.

War winds are blowing way short of gale force. Going this far against Iran is opposed by the world community and leading Dems. Even some establishment media are skeptical in recent articles and commentaries.

The usually hawkish Washington Post raised concerns, saying “war with Iran would be the mother of all quagmires.”

“A conflict with Iran would not be like the Iraq War. It would be worse…Trump is barreling toward war with Iran. Congress must act to stop him…The Iran threat is being exaggerated by GOP hawks.”

A NYT opinion piece headlined: “Don’t Fight Iran.” A separate one headlined: “How to Stop the March to War With Iran.”

Last Friday, the Times headlined: “War With Iran? Count US Out, Europe Says.” In its latest edition, the Times said Trump officials haven’t convinced skeptical Dems about supporting war on Iran.

WaPo today headlined a similar remark. The Wall Street Journal quoted Trump regime acting war secretary Patrick Shanahan, saying the “Iran threat” (sic) has been put “on hold.”

Separately, the Journal said “Intel suggests (the) US (and) Iran misread each other, stoking tensions.”

Trump appears wary of war on Iran. John Bolton’s rage for attacking the country gained traction among hawkish Republicans, not Dems.

As long as the world community and Dem leadership oppose going this far, attacking Iran most likely will be restricted to waging war by other means — short of military intervention.

Note: According to a newly released Reuters/Ipsos poll, 60% of Americans oppose US war on Iran. Only 12% support it.

Proving propaganda works as intented, 53% of respondents said they believe the Islamic Republic is a “serious (or) imminent” threat — polar opposite reality.

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The Enemy is not Resistance

caged but undaunted

{Originally published May 10, 2019)

The Enemy is not Resistance

The Islamic Resistance Movement began more than thirty years ago at an historical moment in time which it knew to be fraught with absolute peril for their people. The founders of this national liberation struggle examined the overwhelming military capabilities of Israel, fostered by its global superpower sponsor, the United States. They looked at Israel’s expansionist programs… the Zionist project of illegal settlements erasing their homes and villages, dispossessing mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers… and at the failure of the international community to stop them. They knew then, that within a generation Palestinians would lose it all … their motherland and patrimony and their nation… leaving them homeless captives to the whims of another man’s door. In that moment, resistance was not a lifestyle choice or a revolutionary pose. It was existential necessity, just as it is now.

Everything…

View original post 2,110 more words

Trump And PM Khan Might Have Just Ruined Iranian-Indian Relations

By Andrew Korybko
Source

The American and Pakistani leaders independently took two very important and uncoordinated moves at almost the exact same time that might coincidentally have the same effect of ruining Iranian-Indian relations.

Iranian-Indian relations might be about to enter their worst-ever period in modern history as a result of two very important and uncoordinated moves undertaken at almost the exact same time by the American and Pakistani leaders. PM Khan just paid his first visit to Iran where he and his hosts announced that they’ll enter into a new era of anti-terrorist cooperation that geopolitical analyst Adam Garrie comprehensively analyzed in his recent piece on this breaking news event. The ball was indeed in Iran’s court to stop India’s anti-Pakistani Baloch terrorism like I wrote the other day, and to Tehran’s credit, its leadership finally understood this and decided to expand its military partnership with the global pivot state of Pakistan. This will greatly complicate India’s Hybrid War capabilities in clandestinely using Iranian territory to carry out terrorist attacks against Pakistan by proxy as it obsessively seeks to sabotage CPEC, meaning that PM Khan’s visit will have far-reaching and long-term geostrategic security consequences in the New Cold War.

In parallel with this, Trump decided that the US won’t renew its Iranian oil sanctions waivers and that Washington’s GCC partners of Saudi Arabia and the UAE will help the Islamic Republic’s energy customers replace their imports with Gulf resources instead. India was very vocal last year about its intent to defy the US’ unilateral sanctions against Iran, but as I wrote in my piece at the time about the “Indian Illusion“, all of this was just rhetoric to hide the fact that New Delhi was quietly implementing its new American patron’s will. Trump just put Modi on the spot, however, and it might augur negatively for the Indian leader during the ongoing month-long electoral process if he publicly capitulates to the US’ demands and replaces Iranian resources with Gulf ones like I suspected he’s been planning to do since late last year after his summit in Argentina with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. As such, this American move might also be yet another “bad cop” tactic against Modi to get more strategic concessions out of India.

It therefore wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Trump and PM Khan might have just ruined Iranian-Indian relations for good when considering the combined effect of their latest moves to that relationship. The Pakistani leader exposed India’s Hybrid War terrorist plot during his talks with the Iranian leadership which probably explains why the two neighboring nations decided to take their military cooperation with one another to the next level, while the American leader is forcing India to stop importing Iranian oil under the threat of potentially crippling “secondary sanctions” and to replace its resources with those from the Islamic Republic’s hated GCC foes. Although Iran and India still have shared strategic interests in the Chabahar Corridor and North-South Transport Corridor, the trust that formerly defined their relations is broken and their ties will never be the same. The end result is beneficial to the US and Pakistan for different reasons and might even interestingly be a tangential outcome of their recent diplomatic cooperationin Afghanistan.

Sri Lankan Authorities May Have Fallen Into a Trap Set by a Foreign Power

By Adam Garrie
Source

The entire world remains confronted with the horrors that unfolded yesterday throughout Sri Lanka. Whilst the country remains under curfew, the authorities have pinned the blame for the attack on an obscure group called National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ). NTJ is reportedly an Islamist terror group that as noted by Sri Lankan authorities, has multiple links to foreign countries. The links to foreign countries appears to hold the key to determining who is really behind the attacks. Notably, it has been reported by journalists that the group trains in Chennai in Tamil Nadu – the same location where LTTE had previously trained. Others yet claim that NTJ is such a small and obscure group that even if it wanted to pull off such an attack, it did not have the capacity to do so.

As the Muslim population of Sri Lanka is less than 8% of the country’s entire population, it is difficult to conceive that any genuine local Islamist group would seek to stage such massive attacks when the possibility of any material gain would be limited by the fact that not only is Sri Lanka’s Muslim population at harmony with the Buddhist majority, but the population of Muslims is incredibly small. This contrasts sharply with the situation in Syria where a Sunni Muslim majority was weaponized against a leadership comprised of the minority Alawite faction.

Therefore, due to NTJ’s foreign links, it is highly likely that a foreign entity, most likely a foreign state or state intelligence agency was behind the attacks and that the men on the ground who have been captured are merely pawns in a much larger and even more dangerous game. When it comes to seeking to pin-pointing the country with a clear motive for orchestrating the attacks, India is the one that springs immediately to mind, not least because NTJ reportedly trains where the LTTE once did.

India has a long history of seeking to manipulate the power balance in Sri Lanka in order to turn the country into something of an Indian protectorate. These attempts have notably been resisted by most contemporary Sri Lankan leaders who seek an independent foreign policy that aims at securing win-win friendship not only with India but crucially, also with China and Pakistan.

In spite of this, India was one of the first open backers of the LTTE’s reign of terrorism that gripped Sri Lanka beginning in 1983. India ultimately paid a price for its dithering in the early stages of the Sri Lankan civil war. By the end of the 1987, India had given up on LTTE and instead sought to influence the situation by committing a deeply controversial peace keeping force to Sri Lanka whose overall effect only served to provoke further violence. As a result of India’s 1987 decision to publicly “switch sides”, LTTE assassinated Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991. In spite of this, it has been widely known in Sri Lanka and elsewhere that in spite of the official rhetoric in New Delhi, India’s RAW intelligence agency resumed covert support of LTTE later in the 1990s.

Since the end of the war against LTTE in 2009, India has sought to monopolise foreign influence in a post-war Sri Lanka that has developed ever more economic ties with China and plays a key role in the Belt and Road initiative. This has clearly been a source of consternation for an Indian state that has a track record of meddling in the affairs of both Sri Lanka and the much smaller Maldives. In both Sri Lanka and the Maldives, political factions are often divided by foreign observers into a pro-India side and a pro-China side. Although such divisions are not black and white, there is a level of truth to such descriptions. As such, India recently engaged in what geopolitical expert Andrew Kroybko described as a “electoral regime change in the Maldives”. This came after the prominent BJP supporter Subramanian Swamy called for a traditional war against the Maldives.

India was clearly looking to the south both in terms of Maldives and Sri Lanka for much of late 2018 and early 2019. Beginning in late 2018, Sri Lanka experienced a serious political crisis after President Maithripala Sirisena abruptly sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replaced him with former political rival (and former President) Mahinda Rajapaksa. According to Sirisena and his supporters, the proximate causes of Wickremesinghe’s dismissal were personal, cultural and class differences that Sirisena called irreconcilable. Furthermore, it was claimed by some in the Sri Lankan press that the sacking of Wickremesinghe was due to an Indian backed assassination plot against the President which resulted in the abrupt about face in respect of the Sri Lankan President’s loyalty. Later however, Sirisena assured Indian Premier Modi that he had never made such an accusation.

But while Sirisena took the time to assure India that stories regarding an Indian assassination plot are ‘fake news’, an inevitable geopolitical justification for Wickremesinghe’s sacking was offered from many quarters of Indian media.

According to the Indian narrative throughout the end of the 2018,  the traditionally/”formerly” pro-India Sirisena dismissed the pro-India Wickremesinghe in favour of the pro-China Rajapaksa due to pressure from Beijing. Of course, no one has been able to present any evidence of any Chinese involvement in the matter while China itself has taken a diplomatic line on the matter that has respected Sirisena’s decision in a rather subdued manner.

Ultimately, the courts overruled Sirisena and Wickremesinghe has continued to serve as the country’s Prime Minister.

Whilst the saga which pitted Wickremesinghe against Rajapaksa on the orders of Sirisena does ultimately seem to have been a completely internal matter, India clearly has not forgotten that Sirisena had moved to install a Prime Minister who ostensibly was more favourable to China and less so to India. As Sri Lanka is a much larger country than Maldives, meddling in the political situation was clearly going to be more difficult than the “electoral regime change” that New Delhi pulled off in Malé. Beyond this, whilst Indian media did their best to meddle in the situation in Sri Lanka during late 2018 and early 2019, this may well not have been enough to satisfy elements of the Indian deep state seeking revenge against Sirisena.

Beyond this, the timing of the attacks is incredibly suspicious. After India’s  recent provocation against Pakistan resulted in humiliation after Pakistan downed two Indian jets and safely captured and later released an Indian pilot, it can be logically deduced that India sought to create a different regional disturbance against a target that is generally seen as “softer” from the Indian perspective vis-a-vis Pakistan.

As Sri Lanka defeated LTTE ten years ago, the atmosphere of peace that had prevailed may well have created a false sense of security that was ripe for exploitation. Even before Colombo named an obscure Islamist group as the culprits of the attacks, Indian politicians up to and including Narendra Modi began banging the drums of jingoistic Islamophobia as is par for the course when it comes to the radical Hindutva BJP.

Therefore, when one connects the dots, one sees that India stands to uniquely benefit from Sri Lanka’s turmoil not only in terms of internal electoral politics but in terms of weakening a Sri Lankan government that in spite of its allegedly pro-India Prime Minister maintains healthy and growing ties to China and Belt and Road. Thus, the attack could well serve as a “punishment” for Sri Lanka’s “crime” of moving closer towards Belt and Road. Making matters all the more beneficial for India is that a relative of the Bangladesh Prime Minister’s family was also killed in the attack which took place on a five star hotel in which he was staying. It cannot be ruled out that RAW had knowledge of this and specially targeted the hotel in order to inevitably inflame Bangladeshi sentiment against Sri Lanka for its self-evident security failure.

Taken as a whole, India has clear motives for seeking to destabilise Sri Lanka at this time. What’s left for Sri Lankan investigators to do is make the foreign links of NTJ know to the wider world whilst Sri Lanka must also record and make public the voices of the surviving suspects so that experts can determine if the suspects speak in the language, dialect and vernacular that one would expect. Also, the bodies of the terrorists must be examined to determine whether they are circumcised or not. This is crucial as previous Indian false flag attacks have involved non-circumcised men (therefore not Muslims) participating in allegedly Islamist attacks whilst also, previous false flag attacks in India allegedly involving Pakistanis were later exposed due to the fact that the “Pakistani” suspects could not speak Urdu or any other official Pakistani language but instead spoke in languages and vernaculars common only to India.

Therefore, while it cannot be concluded with certainty that yesterday’s atrocity was a false flag attack, it can certainly not be ruled out. As such, anyone with a clear motive for conducting a false flag attack should be thoroughly investigated by the Sri Lankan authorities.

The Legal Narrative Funnel That’s Being Used To Extradite Assange

By Caitlin Johnstone
Source

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Isn’t it interesting how an Ecuadorian “asylum conditions” technicality, a UK bail technicality, and a US whistleblowing technicality all just so happened to converge in a way that just so happens to look exactly the same as imprisoning a journalist for telling the truth?

Following the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, top UK officials all began simultaneously piping the following exact phrase into public consciousness: “No one is above the law.”

Embedded video

“This goes to show that in the United Kingdom, no one is above the law,” Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament after Assange’s arrest.

“Julian Assange is no hero and no one is above the law,” tweeted Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

“Nearly 7 years after entering the Ecuadorean Embassy, I can confirm Julian Assange is now in police custody and rightly facing justice in the UK. I would like to thank Ecuador for its cooperation and @metpoliceuk for its professionalism. No one is above the law,” tweeted Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

Over and over again that phrase showed up to be unquestioningly re-bleated by the human livestock known as the British press in all their reporting on the Assange case: No one is above the law. No one is above the law. No one is above the law. Something tells me they really want people to know that, with regard to Julian Assange, no one is above the law.

But what is “the law” in this particular case? What they are constantly referring to as “the law” with regard to Assange is in fact nothing more than a combination of ridiculous bureaucratic technicalities which can be (and have been) interpreted very differently, but are now instead being interpreted in a way which just so happens to lead to a truth-telling journalist being locked in a cage, awaiting extradition to the same government which tortured Chelsea Manning.

Now, the US is a Free Democracy™. When you are a Free Democracy™, you can’t just go around imprisoning journalists willy nilly simply for telling the truth about your government. That’s something other countries do, bad countries, the kind of country the US routinely invades in order to help spread Freedom and Democracy™. The US would never do that. But it would diddle a bunch of narratives in such a way that just so happens to achieve exactly the same result.

As we discussed yesterday, the Trump administration’s extradition request is accompanied by criminal charges which are based on the same information which the Obama administration declined to charge Assange for, a point which has been discussed in more detail in a new article by The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald and Micah Lee. The Obama administration looked at the evidence and concluded that there was no way to charge Assange with anything without endangering press freedoms, then the Trump administration looked at literally the exact same evidence and said screw press freedoms, we’re going after him. They wanted to punish Assange and show the world what happens to a journalist who exposes US war crimes, so they changed the narrative to make it happen.

But they couldn’t extradite Assange from the UK if the British government didn’t legally have Assange in custody.

To get around this problem, the UK, which is functionally just a province within the US-centralized empire, used a bail technicality to justify his arrest. After the Swedish government decided to drop its sexual assault investigation without issuing any charges, Assange’s legal team attempted last year to get a British arrest warrant dropped for a bail violation which went into effect when the WikiLeaks founder took political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy. The judge in that case, Emma Arbuthnot, just happens to be married to former Tory junior Defence Minister and government whip James Arbuthnot, who served as director of Security Intelligence Consultancy SC Strategy Ltd with a former head of MI6. Lady Arbuthnot denied Assange’s request with extreme vitriol, despite his argument that British law does have provisions which allow for the time he’d already served under functional house arrest to count toward far more time than would be served for violating bail. The British government kept police stationed outside the embassy at taxpayers’ expense with orders to arrest Assange on sight.

But they couldn’t arrest Assange as long as he had legal political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy.

To get around that problem, Ecuador’s new president Lenin Moreno found himself being courted by the US government, meeting with Vice President Mike Pence and reportedly discussing Assange after US Democratic senators petitioned Pence to push for Moreno to revoke political asylum. The New York Times reported last year that in 2017 Paul Manafort met with Moreno and offered to broker a deal where Ecuador could receive debt relief aid in exchange for handing Assange over, and just last month Ecuador ended up receiving a 4.2 billion dollar loan from the Washington-based IMF. And then, lo and behold, we just so happen to see Ecuador justifying the revocation of political asylum under the absurd claim that Assange had violated conditions that were only recently invented, using narratives that were based on wild distortions and outright lies.

In this way a kind of narrative funnel was created, funneling Assange from the embassy to British police on the imaginary narrative that Assange had violated asylum conditions and that he needs to serve time for a bail violation, which in turn allows for Assange to be funneled from the UK into the US on the imaginary narrative that he broke some kind of law by trying to help Chelsea Manning cover her tracks and avoid detection, which is all made possible by the fact that the government of Australia another province in the US-centralized empire) has refused to provide any protection for its citizen. And the end result just so happens to look the same as what you see when a journalist tries to expose malfeasance in an overtly totalitarian government.

This is called Nice Guy Fascism. With a little narrative manipulation you get to act just like a brutal totalitarian regime and then say it’s not because you’re a brutal totalitarian regime, it’s because you’re deeply deeply concerned about the adherence to a specific interpretation of the bureaucratic technicalities of bail protocol. No one is above the law. No one is above the law. No one is above the law.

They keep saying “No one is above the law,” but what they really mean is “No one is safe from the law.” Our rulers are using Assange to show that they can get anyone who tells the truth about them, even if there are laws and policies in place which ostensibly prohibit that.

Manipulators love the rule of law, because they are able to twist it toward their infernal ends. It’s always possible to squint at laws in such a way that it allows them to be interpreted to the benefit of the powerful, which is why lawyers are often horrible human beings. All the most horrific things that have been done throughout the history of civilization have been carried out not by criminals but by law-abiding citizens, because they were perfectly legal under the ruling governments of that time. Genocide, slavery, torture, the use of the atomic bomb: all perfectly legal and state-sanctioned in their time.

They want you looking at “the rule of law”. They want you fixated on it. But really “the rule of law” is nothing other than a series of mental narratives which are treated as reality by existing power structures. Assange is a prisoner by narrative, because he punched holes in the authorized narratives of the powerful. Whoever controls the narrative controls the world.

Land theft, ethnic cleansing, and Jewish supremacy: Israel’s settler colonialism in Syria’s Golan, the forgotten occupied territory — what’s left

By Stephen Gowans March 31, 2019 Israel’s occupation, annexation, and plunder of Syria’s Golan recapitulates all that is repugnant about the Zionist state: its wars of aggression, land theft, ethnic cleansing, racism, quest for lebensraum, and contempt for international legal norms. It also shows that Israeli citizens, including the country’s Left, are not only complicit […]

via Land theft, ethnic cleansing, and Jewish supremacy: Israel’s settler colonialism in Syria’s Golan, the forgotten occupied territory — what’s left

“The Russians are Still Coming” “Without RussiaGate”: The “Fake News” Witch-hunt against the Independent Media

US Foreign Policy under Trump in the Wake of the Russia Probe

Global Research, March 28, 2019

From one day to the next,  following the release of the Mueller report, the shaky RussiaGate consensus created by the corporate media has collapsed.  

What the Mueller investigation contends is that there is no proof that the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 presidential elections. 

The demise of the RussiaGate narrative, however, does not mean that the Trump administration will renew its relations with the Kremlin. “The Russians are still coming”… without RussiaGate. Russia is still portrayed as a threat to America’s National Security. 

In this regard, the objective of the Neocons has been achieved. The Trump administration, with its hawk team of  advisers including Pompeo and Bolton, not to mention Gina Haspel at the CIA, is towing the line. 

Corporate and Political Rivalries

The RussiaGate narrative was required to sustain the multibillion dollar contracts in favor of the military industrial complex including the 1.2 trillion dollar nuclear weapons program.

What was at stake in 2016 were fundamental rivalries within the US establishment marked by the clash between competing corporate (and political) factions, each of which was intent upon exerting control over the incoming US presidency.

In this regard,  Trump was not entirely in the pocket of the lobby groups. He was not a groomed politician. As a member of the business establishment, he had his own corporate sponsors and fund raisers. His stated foreign policy agenda including his “commitment” to revise Washington’s relationship with Moscow did not fully conform with the interests of the defence contractors.

Prior to the elections, a smear campaign was launched by the media on behalf of the  “Clinton faction”. At the height of the election campaign Trump was portrayed by the US media as  “an agent” of the Kremlin, a modern Manchurian candidate.  Barely a month before the November 8 2016 elections, former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leo Panetta  intimated that Trump represented a threat to National Security. The Atlantic (October 8, 2016),  described Trump is a “Modern Manchurian Candidate”.

Belleville National Democrats, Jan 13, 2017

Vanity Fair November 1 2016

The Atlantic October 8 2016

This anti-Trump campaign continued unabated in the wake of the elections. Ironically, Rod Rosenstein who had been nominated for the position of Deputy Attorney General by president Trump in February 2017, acted against Trump almost immediately following his confirmation on April 27, 2017.

Rosenstein’s mandate was to organize the so-called Russia Probe pertaining to alleged Kremlin interference in the November 2016 elections. Rosenstein’s first step consisted in the firing of FBI Director James Comey and appointing former FBI Director Robert Mueller as Special Council to lead the Russia Probe.

Rod Rosenstein had prepared a three page memorandum, which  criticized James Comey for his handling of the Clinton email investigation and the release of Comey’s October 28, 2016 “Second Letter to Congress” 11 days before Election Day.

This action by Comey referred to as “October Surprise” (2016)  was largely detrimental to Clinton’s candidacy. It certainly did not go against the interests of Donald Trump.

The Fake News Witch-hunt. Clamping Down on Independent Media

RussiaGate was not only a conspiracy against Trump, largely in response to his 2016 election campaign commitment to restore “normal” diplomatic relations with Russia, it also took the form of a Witch-hunt directed against the independent online media,  which were casually tagged as “Russian trolls”, “Russian bots”,  “political commentators acting on behalf of the Russian government.” etc.

In chorus, the Western media was involved in accusing Moscow of election meddling without a shred of evidence.

In contrast, the lies and fabrications as well as the criminality underlying the Democrats’ 2016 election campaign were the object of  independent online media reports which were immediately branded as “fake news” on behalf of the Kremlin.

According to Reuters:

 “Russian President Vladimir Putin supervised his intelligence agencies’ hacking of the U.S. presidential election and turned it from a general attempt to discredit American democracy to an effort to help Donald Trump, three U.S. officials said on Thursday.” (emphasis added)

The New York Times (December 15) focussed on Kremlin meddling. Donald Trump is tagged as “a Useful Idiot”:

Kremlin meddling in the 2016 election warrants further investigation, with an eye toward preventive or retaliatory measures. President Obama has asked the nation’s intelligence community to deliver a fuller report on its findings before he leaves office on Jan. 20, …

Mr. Trump’s reaction to the C.I.A.’s findings leaves him isolated, … There could be no more “useful idiot,” to use Lenin’s term of art, than an American president who doesn’t know he’s being played by a wily foreign power. (emphasis added)

According to the Washington Post in a report published one month before the 2016 November elections:

The Obama administration on Friday [October 2016] officially accused Russia of attempting to interfere in the 2016 elections, including by hacking the computers of the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations.

The denunciation, made by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security, came as pressure was growing from within the administration and some lawmakers to publicly name Moscow and hold it accountable for actions apparently aimed at sowing discord around the election.

“The U.S. Intelligence Community is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions,including from U.S. political organizations,” said a joint statement from the two agencies. “. . . These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.” (WP, October 7, 2016)

While the Washington Post (supported by the Deep State?) was spreading rumors on Russia’s alleged election meddling, it was also involved in engineering the Blacklisting of the independent media which was questioning the RussiaGate consensus.

In an “authoritative” Washington Post article, (published 6 days after the November 2016 election) reporter Craig Timberg  reviewed an anonymous website called “PropOrNot,” which had blacklisted several hundred independent online news sources intimating that these websites and social media accounts were part of a Kremlin propaganda network.  Timberg had no evidence in support of his allegations. The objective was to trigger the crackdown against the online independent media:

“Two teams of independent researchers found that the Russians exploited American-made technology platforms to attack U.S. democracy at a particularly vulnerable moment, as an insurgent candidate harnessed a wide range of grievances to claim the White House. The sophistication of the Russian tactics may complicate efforts by Facebook and Google to crack down on “fake news,” as they have vowed to do after widespread complaints about the problem. (Washington Post, November 14, 2016, emphasis added)

Screenshot of WP article, November 24, 2016

***

The Washington Post is “Fake News” at its Best. The report served as an endorsement of the Blacklisting campaign. Sustained by the RussiaGate narrative, a smear campaign was launched.  Several hundred online media sites including Global Research were tagged as “fake news” by Facebook and Google.

The Washington based Atlantic Council and NATO’s Centre of Excellency (COE), a  “Research Centre”  based in Latvia have published several “authoritative reports” which identify the independent online media “with links” to the Kremlin. Much of this “analysis” is fabricated.

The objective was to use the RussiaGate narrative (which had become a broadly accepted public consensus), as a means to suppress critical analysis of neoliberal economic policies, US foreign policy, US-NATO war plans, etc.

What happens now?

While the Mueller report confirms that the corporate media were spreading “fake news” in support of RussiaGate, it is highly unlikely that the mainstream media will indulge in a mea culpa. Moreover, it is also unlikely that social media and search engine censorship against the independent online media will be removed.

What is of course significant is that the broader public is now fully aware that they have been lied to. The public has been deliberately misled by the mainstream media from the very outset of the RussiaGate saga. The corporate media has endorsed war propaganda, it has granted  legitimacy to acts of war and military aggression, through lies and fabrications. Under Nuremberg, war propaganda constitutes the ultimate crime: “the Crime against Peace”.

The Skripal Affair

The Skripal affair –which hit Britain’s tabloids– was an integral part of the RussiaGate Op. It was based on fake intelligence and media disinformation directed against Moscow. Launched by the UK government of Theresa May, a political consensus had unfolded. Moscow was casually accused of conducting a mysterious covert nerve gas attack against a former Russian intelligence operative and his daughter.

While the story was refuted, the objective of the Skripal affair  ultimately succeeded. It consisted in pressuring EU member states to jeopardize their diplomatic relations with Russia.

Meanwhile, the RussiaGate saga also provided legitimacy to NATO threats against Russia, resulting in massive military deployments at Russia’s doorstep.

US Foreign Policy

The Mueller report does not restore sanity in US foreign policy.  Quite the opposite.

What it confirms is that there is no evidence of Russian support of  Trump’s candidacy in the 2016 presidential elections.

Since Trump’s inauguration, however, the objective of normalizing diplomatic relations with Russia has largely been scrapped.

With Bolton and Pompeo, the NeoCons control Trump’s foreign policy.

War scenarios with Russia and China are contemplated.

Nuclear war is on the drawing board of the Pentagon.

The RussiaGate narrative against Trump is no longer required.

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