Four Dead Russian Diplomats in Three Months

Posted on February 21, 2017

Russia’s long time ambassador to the UN has died suddenly in New York – this is the fourth Russian diplomat who has died in the last 3 months.

Vitaly Churkin was one of the wisest voices in international diplomacy.  His voice will no longer echo in the halls of the United Nations. Articulate, polite yet commanding, wise yet affable, he oversaw some of Russia’s and the world’s most important events in a position he occupied since 2006.

Churkin had to face a great deal of hostile criticism from both the Bush and Obama administrations during his time at the UN, but he always did so with grace. He never failed to explain the Russian position with the utmost clarity.

Standing next to some of his colleagues, he often looked like a titan in a room full of school children.

His death, a day before his 65th birthday, is a tragedy first and foremost for his family, friends and colleagues. It is also a deeply sad day for the cause of justice, international law and all of the principles of the UN Charter which Churkin admirably upheld in the face of great obstacles.

His death however raises many uncomfortable questions…

Here are 5 things that must be considered:

1.  A Macabre Pattern Has Emerged  

Beginning in 2015, there were several deaths within the Russian Diplomatic corps and a special Russian Presidential adviser.

–LESIN

First there was Russia’s RT founder and special adviser to President Putin, Mikhail Lesin. He died in November of 2015 in his hotel room. Reports said that he appeared discombobulated during his last sighting before he died. Later it emerged that he died of a blunt head trauma. Drinking was blamed, but many questions were left unanswered.

–MALANIN

Earlier last month, Andrei Malanin, a Senior Russian Diplomat to Greece was found dead in his bathroom. The causes of death remain unknown.

–KADAKIN

Just last month, Russia’s Ambassador to India, Alexander Kadakin, an always prestigious role, died of a heart attack, although no one was aware of any previous health issues.

–KARLOV

In December of last year Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey was assassinated by a lone jihadi gunmen in an art gallery.  There was no effective security as the killer simply walked up to Ambassador Andrei Karlov and shot him multiple times in the back.

–CHURKIN

Vitaly Chirkin is the highest profile member of Russia’s diplomatic corps to die in recent years.

2. A Motive For Foul Play? 

Each of the recently deceased Russian Ambassadors were high profile targets for miscreants and criminals, whether state actors, mercenaries or fanatics.

Lesin was a instrumental in the creation of RT, a news outlet which has come under constant attack from the western establishment.

Malanin had overseen a period of warming fraternal relations between Greece and Russia at a time when Greece is feeling increasingly alienated from both the EU and NATO.

Karlov is said to be responsible for helping to facilitate the rapprochement between Presidents Erdogan and Putin.

Kadakin oversaw a period of renewed tensions between India and Pakistan at a time when Russia was trying to continue its good relations with India whilst building good relations with Pakistan.

On the 31st of December, 2016, Churkin’s resolution on a ceasefire in Syria passed in the UN Security Council after months of deadlock. The resolution is still in force.

Anyone who wanted to derail the diplomatic successes that the aforementioned men achieved for Russia would have a clear motive to extract vengeance.

3. Who Stands To Gain? 

In the matter of Karlov, any derailment of restored Russo-Turkish relations would be good for those happy for Turkey to continue her support of jihadists in Syria rather than moving towards accepting a Russian and indeed Iranian brokered peace process which respects the sovereignty of Syria as Russia and Iran always have, but Turkey has not.

In the case of Lesin, anyone wanting ‘vengeance’ for RT’s popularity would be able to say that a kind of former media boss was taken down.

For Malanin, many fear that if ‘Grexit’ happens, Russia will become an increasingly important partner for Greece. The EU would not like one of its vassal states enjoying fruitful relations with Russia, a country still under sanctions from Brussels.

For Kadakin, it is a matter of interest for those wanting Pakistan to continue favouring western powers and not wanting Russia to be able to mediate in conflict resolutions between New Delhi and Islamabad.

Churkin had come to dominate the UN in ways that his counterparts on the Security Council simply could not. No one really stood a chance in a debate with Churkin. His absence leaves open the possibility for a power vacuum that would makes other peoples’ jobs easier.

4. Where The Deaths Took Place

Each death took place on foreign soil. Mr. Karlov’s killing in particular, exposed the weakness of his security contingent. If security was that weak in a comparatively volatile place like Turkey, it goes without saying that security in states considered more politically stable would be even more lax.

Again it must be said that a non-biased detective might say that the only pattern which has emerged is that many people in the Russian diplomatic corps and related institutions have heart attacks. Maybe they eat fatty foods every day and drink and smoke too much. But if this was this case, why are the heart attacks all on foreign soil?

If all of the former Ambassadors except Karlov were really in bad health, is it really just a coincidence that none of these men had a health scare on Russian soil? Again, a pattern has emerged.

5. The Ethics of Speculation? 

Many will say that it is too early to suspect foul play. Indeed, I must make it clear that this is simply speculation based on a pattern of tragic and at times unexplained events, combined with the objective reality that because of Russia’s recently elevated profile as a born-again geopolitical superpower, Russia is a bigger target for international criminals than it was in the broken 1990s or the more quiet early 2000s.

When such events happen, one’s duty is to speculate so that better health and  safety precautions are taken to ensure the wellbeing of Russia’s important diplomats. Furthermore, if foul play is a factor, it means that such seemingly unrelated events must be investigated more thoroughly.

Russia has historically suffered from invasion, revolution and more recently from immense international pressure. The Russian people, like Russia’s ambassadors are entitled to the peace and long lives deserved by any member of a country that has suffered for too long.

Gallup: Americans’ Hostility to Russia Soared After Obama’s 2012 Re-Election

Gallup: Americans’ Hostility to Russia Soared After Obama’s 2012 Re-Election

ERIC ZUESSE | 21.02.2017 | OPINION

Gallup: Americans’ Hostility to Russia Soared After Obama’s 2012 Re-Election

The Gallup organization samples Americans’ approval-disapproval of Russia in February of each year, and the approval-figure for this year is only slightly more than half as high as it had been back in 2012 when Obama publicly mocked his Presidential-campaign opponent Mitt Romney’s famous statement that «Russia, this is, without question, our number one geopolitical foe».

Gallup poll released on 20 February 2017 showed that Americans’ favorability rating of Russia, immediately after U.S. President Barack Obama left office, is only 28%, which is just above Americans’ 24% favorability toward The Palestinian Authority, and just below the 31% favorability toward Saudi Arabia. Russia hasn’t always been rated down in that low league of American popularity.

Back in 2012, before Obama’s second term, that favorability rating toward Russia was 50%. The year before that, in 2011, it was 51%. It had been reasonably stable until Obama’s re-election (except during 1998-2004 when it gyrated wildly because of Americans’ uncertainty of what the post-Soviet, post-communist, Russian government was like).

The lowest-ever American approval-rating for Russia occurred in Gallup’s poll on 8-11 February 2015, almost a year after the overthrow of Ukraine’s government and the vote of Crimeans to abandon Ukraine’s government and rejoin Russia, when it was 24%. In Gallup’s immediate-prior poll, which was taken right before the 20-26 February 2014 overthrow of the Ukrainian government, the Gallup poll on 6-9 February 2014, 34% of Americans approved of Russia.

No other nation has plunged even nearly as steeply in Americans’ favorability as did Russia, during Obama’s second term. The plunge, from 50% to 28%, which is a 44% plunge in the rating, compares with, as the second-steepest such plunge, Saudi Arabia: it’s a plunge from 42% in 2012, to 31% now, which is a 26% plunge — far less than the 44% plunge for Russia.

The biggest rise during Obama’s second term was for Cuba: 37% favorability-rating in 2012, 51 % today, which is a 38 % rise, during the four years of Obama’s second term.

Cuba’s remarkable rise during Obama’s second term cannot reasonably be attributed to Obama’s having restored, on 20 July 2015, diplomatic relations with Cuba, which had been severed in 1961. The rise instead occurred gradually throughout Obama’s second term. And, prior to 2012, going all the way back to 1998, Americans’ approval-rating of Cuba had been rather stable, within the 25 % to 30 % range. So: apparently throughout Obama’s second term, the U.S. press were providing increasingly favorable ‘news’ coverage of Cuba.

Russia’s chart-topping plunge occurred fairly steadily throughout Obama’s second term. It wasn’t caused entirely by the events in February and March 2014 in Ukraine: the overthrow of President Yanukovych and the plebiscite in which over 90 % of Crimeans (who had voted overwhelmingly for Yanukovych) voted to no longer to be in Ukraine but instead to return to being citizens of Russia, which Crimeans had been until 1954, when the Soviet dictator arbitrarily transferred Crimea from Russia to Ukraine (he was a Ukrainian: Nikita Khrushchev). Obama’s policy on that was to insist that the people of Crimea had no right of self-determination of peoples (which right he agreed with when it pertained to Catalonians in Spain and to Scots in UK but not to Crimeans in Ukraine) but that instead Russia’s acceptance of Crimeans back into Russia is ‘conquest of land’ by Russia, and so Obama imposed economic sanctions against Russia, and NATO poured U.S. and other troops and missiles onto Russia’s borders, allegedly so that there would be no more such ‘conquests’ by Russia (as if there were anything like a plebiscite in Romania or Latvia or Poland etc. in which a majority of the residents there sought for their land to become a part of Russia).

What is especially important to note regarding the plunge in Americans’ approval-rating for Russia is that it didn’t occur only after, but started well before, those events in Ukraine in 2014; it started at the very end of Obama’s first term, in 2012.

Obama’s State Department started planning the overthrow of Ukraine’s government by no later than 2011, when they were probing Julian Assange for information about how to stir revolutions by drawing supporters into online resistance activities. Assange did not know, at that time, what use the U.S. State Department (assisted by Google’s chief, Eric Schmidt) were aiming to make of the information that he provided. However, by the time the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine started on 1 March 2013 its «tech camps» to implement the ‘revolution’, it became clear what use Obama’s people were making of Assange’s insights.

Apparently, the ‘news’ coverage of Russia during the years of the plunge, 2012-2016, was somehow becoming progressively more and more unfavorable, in preparation for the 2014 Ukrainian coup and its aftermath of economic sanctions and the positioning of increasing numbers of U.S. troops and missiles on and near Russia’s borders. The U.S. government even publicly celebrated its propaganda-success.

Manipulating the public in a ‘democracy’ has become so much of a science, so that a person can reasonably doubt whether democracy, in even the limited extents to which it has existed in the past, possesses any realistic meaning in today’s world — or (if so) what meaning.

The basic theories of politics and understandings of ideology — everything that employs the concept «democracy» — are false now, even if they weren’t false earlier, when ‘democracies’ routinely included societies such as ancient Athens, where the majority of citizens owned one or more slaves.

Where lies reign, what meaning has ‘democracy’? Has it become merely one more lie? This is a serious question.

There’s a Deep State in America?!

February 18, 2017

by Ramin Mazaheri

There’s a Deep State in America?!

Imagine my surprise when, on my flight back from San Francisco to New York, that’s what my trusty New York Times revealed to me.

My first thought was: I can’t believe how this horrible Donald Trump has set up a Deep State in less than a month?!

Surely Russia was involved in its formation.

Then again, I strangely find myself thinking a lot about Russia these days. I’ll admit it – when my morning breakfast was late it fleetingly occurred to me that the Kremlin was behind this slowdown in my hotel room service.

Putting that aside, I was immediately relieved when by the 3rd paragraph our nation’s paper of record had put to rest my fears of an unprecedented formation of a US Deep State with, “Not quite, experts say….”

Whew.

I just don’t put anything past the evil capabilities of the Donald!

Reading the article I was surprised to find that the Deep State isn’t what I thought it was – apparently it’s only when the government leaks information to the media?

That’s funny, because one time on the SF-NYC “Job Creator Red-eye” I sat next to an Egyptian guy. Of course I was worried, at first, but I found out it he was a Coptic Christian, so that put me at ease. Who even knew they had those?!

This Egyptian told me about his country’s Deep State, and it sounded really bad:

He said that they colluded with “some Western countries” – he didn’t say which and looked kind of uncomfortable as he said it, for some reason – to stop that great Tahrir Square Revolution which was to guarantee that Israel would be safe.

“Mr. Gypsy” said that the Egyptian version of the Deep State was that their military controlled the economy, and that they bribed, imprisoned and killed people to keep their grip on the economy and control over foreign policy.

It sounded pretty bad.

I told him I was happy that Washington was supporting Al-Sisi’s military takeover with billions in aid, and that he didn’t have to thank me personally for that.

A “military” intertwined with the “economy”…I must admit, it did make me think.

Of Russia! I’m nearly certain that Putin created something similar over thereafter he banned elections, so why even verify it with some research?!

But this Egyptian must not have known what he was talking about, because the New York Times article didn’t say anything about the economy?

What they said was:

“Mr. Trump, apparently seeking to cut the intelligence community, State Department, and other agencies out of the policy-making process almost entirely, may have triggered a conflict whose escalation we are seeing in the rising number of leaks.”

Officials, deprived of the usual levers for shaping policies that are supposed to be their purview, are left with little other than leaking.”

Trump was clearly trying to cut public officials out of the democratic process, and they had no choice but to resort to these “illegal” leaks!

I mean, I’m pretty sure you don’t get elected to be a CIA spy or NSA agent, but somebody up top is and…well, I don’t know if they did the leaks…and I don’t know if the leaks are really true or not…but I’m telling you – we have to get Donald out NOW!

Anything that’s bad for Trump must be good. It’s really that simple, so case closed.

“We’re in a world now where the president is playing to the edge of his powers, and I think there are real concerns about the constitutional implications of some of the actions he’s taken,” said somebody who must be totally objective and perfect because why else would the New York Times choose them?

If there’s one thing Obama never, ever, ever did it was to expand his executive authority in ways unbeseeming to the presidential authority.

If Obama had done that, I would have been in the streets, you can bet! Trust me: I have my anti-Trump “pussy hat” in my closet and ready for the next protest!

Don’t bring up “drones”! You’ll just remind me of this guy at work nobody understands – Fazlollah “Lefty” Bittermani – he’s always doing that!

Between you and me, his last name ends in a vowel, so…you know….he may have certain sympathies. That guy really cheeses me off!

What Lefty doesn’t realize is that we are at war – not with Russia, yet – but with – not Muslims – but with…certain people, let’s just say. And the president has the right to fight war however he wants.

But when it comes to waging diplomacy the president must be restricted as much as possible!

We refuse to accept Hillary’s defeat until the Russians give back the Donbass to the Crimeans! This is simply a question of our humanitarian rights!

Trump is trying to make a liar out of not just Hillary, but of Sylvester Stallone and “Rocky IV” – even when the Russians cheat they are still supposed to lose to the Americans!

Was I back on Russia again? I don’t know…I’m like, obsessed with them, or something?

Back to the New York Times, which always reassures me when contradictions confuse me. Just after that last quote they wrote this:

That has forced officials in agencies to ask how far they will go themselves. As each side begins to perceive itself as under attack and the other as making dangerous power-grabs, it will justify more and more extreme behavior.

So clearly, these officials are justified more and more in extreme behavior…because it’s Trump!

I really wish we had some of these great, extreme officials during the Dubya era, but why bring up ancient history?

One thing is certain: During just four weeks in office Trump has clearly destroyed the culture and future of the United States and must be impeached. These officials – even if they are unelected – should absolutely not be listening to their elected leader!

Why? Well just read the next paragraph, another unassailable analyst of the Times:

“In President Trump, you have a president whose behavior shocks even more than the content of his policies.”

Yes! Behavior, not content!

I was telling my son this recently: He came in 19th place in a recent science competition (but out of 24!), and he was upset that his blue ribbon wasn’t an actual trophy.

I told him, “Son, I’m going to buy you that trophy because your behavior was correct, even if you totally screwed up measuring the contents of your volcano experiment, and it exploded and burned the girl next to you.”

I think the girl was Russian, anyway. She was certainly shocked.

Anyway, the Times goes on to say that now this dangerous Trump wants to appoint someone to review our intelligence agencies. Astounding, the gall of this man! I really think he’s psychologically insane.

“It looks, sounds and feels like a political witch hunt,” said Analyst #1 (the White one, not the Egyptian one). “It’s like pouring gasoline on the fire.”

It certainly does!

What else do you call our top elected official trying to find out what work is being illegally done in secret with taxpayer money?

I am certain this is something Putin would do with his KGB.

And that’s why Russia is not free – because the KGB cannot operate freely to undermine Putin’s attempts at diplomacy!

Don’t tell me I’m wrong, comrade!

“Mr. Flynn, in his short tenure, exemplified the breakdown between the president’s inner circle and career civil servants. He kept the National Security Council largely shut out of policy-making and sought sweeping changes in foreign policy.”

This is the US, not the USSR! Our career bureaucrats need to be in charge, not our elected officials!

Trump simply cannot make sweeping changes to foreign policy – even if he was democratically elected on that mandate – because career civil servants should run the show!

The next paragraph:

“For concerned government officials, leaks may have become one of the few remaining means by which to influence not just Mr. Flynn’s policy initiatives but the threat he seemed to pose to their place in democracy.”

Democracy is bureaucracy!

You vote for a person, they appoint an official, the person you voted for gets voted out of office, but the appointed official stays forever and amasses power – democracy!

I tried to explain this to that Egyptian guy, but he said,

“Then what’s the point of demonstrating and facing down gun barrels if the people can’t demand change?”

I kept telling him:

“But Israel is fine these days? Tahrir worked out great!”

He didn’t get it.

Anyway, Egypt is not the country who is threatening American democracy, and I don’t have to tell you who is, because I’ve just taken that pill that helps me with my compulsive psychological issues.

The Times continued:

Even if each individual leak is justifiable, as insubordination becomes more sustained and overt, it inches deeper into the gray zone of counter-democratic activities.

I already had the feeling that every anti-Trump leaks was justifiable, and that we are still many, many inches away from counter-democracy, so thanks Gray Lady! I almost had to take that other pill for my anxiety!

And “insubordination” is clearly justified because, as I said, in 4 weeks Trump has already proven himself to be a new Hitler! Don’t get me started on Steve Bannon!

“I don’t think you can say in advance what inappropriate deep-state activity would look like, because we haven’t seen this before,” said Analyst #1.

Exactly – this is a totally new day, and this was all appropriate deep-state activity. We’ve never seen anything like this in the history of the world, much less America.

I told this to Lefty back at work and he started ranting about Kennedy. I totally did not see what Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy had to do with this, but who can fathom what goes on in the mind of a Fazlollah?

The main thing is that we get Trump before he does damage to free trade, because my corporation and all businesses are totally helpless against the government.

They have no influence at all…unlike Egypt.

“There, ‘the deep state is not official institutions rebelling,’ he said, but rather ‘shadowy networks within those institutions, and within business, who are conspiring together and forming parallel state institutions.’”

We all know that there is absolutely nothing like this which is happening in America.

And that’s why the idea of business being involved in America’s Deep State did not appear until the 7th-to-last paragraph. I almost didn’t read that far!

And that’s why the New York Times finished on this heartening note:

“This war between the intelligence community and the White House is bad for the intelligence community, bad for the White House, and bad for the nation’s security.”

See? Our so-called Deep State has nothing to do with business. The New York Times is right next to Wall Street, so they would surely know, right?

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to make a call to the Pentagon for my work.

No, I’m in defense contracting or anything, but the Pentagon is the world’s largest employer…hard to work around them in the United States!

And the profit margins – wow!

I’m so glad our owners had a personal contact in there.

Frankly, I thought the New York Times’ headline was a bit too alarmist: “As Leaks Multiply, Fears of a ‘Deep State’ in America”.

But I’m glad they immediately put those fears to rest.

With that content, I would have run a headline like: “Internal leaks justified as Trump could affect share prices”.

I think that would have been more accurate.

Frankly I’m a bit surprised such a non-story could bump Russia off the front page?

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.

The Stakes for Trump and All of Us

By Paul Craig Roberts

February 18, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – We need to understand, and so does President Trump, that the hoax “war on terror” was used to transform intelligence agencies, such as the NSA and CIA, and criminal investigative agencies, such as the FBI, into Gestapo secret police agencies. Trump is now threatened by these agencies, because he rejects the neoconservative’s agenda of US world hegemony that supports the gigantic military/security annual budget.

Our secret police agencies are busy at work planting “intelligence” among the presstitute media that Trump is compromised by “Russian connections” and is a security threat to the United States. The plan is to make a case in the media, as was done against President Nixon, and to force Trump from office. To openly take on a newly elected president is an act of extraordinary audacity that implies enormous confidence, or else desperation, on the part of the police state agencies.

Here you can see CNN openly cooperating with the CIA in treating wild and irresponsible speculation that Trump is under Russian influence as if it is an established fact. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/46476.htm
The “evidence” provided by CNN and the CIA is a “report” by the New York Times that, with little doubt, was planted in the NYT by the CIA.

This is so obvious that it is clear that CNN and the CIA regard the American people as so gullible as to be completely stupid.

Glenn Greenwald explains to Amy Goodman that the CIA is after Trump, because Trump’s announced policy of reducing the dangerous tensions with Russia conflicts with the military/security complex’s need for a major enemy.

“The deep state, although there’s no precise or scientific definition, generally refers to the agencies in Washington that are permanent power factions. They stay and exercise power even as presidents who are elected come and go. They typically exercise their power in secret, in the dark, and so they’re barely subject to democratic accountability, if they’re subject to it at all. It’s agencies like the CIA, the NSA and the other intelligence agencies, that are essentially designed to disseminate disinformation and deceit and propaganda, and have a long history of doing not only that, but also have a long history of the world’s worst war crimes, atrocities and death squads. This is who not just people like Bill Kristol, but lots of Democrats are placing their faith in, are trying to empower, are cheering for as they exert power separate and apart from—in fact, in opposition to—the political officials to whom they’re supposed to be subordinate.

“And you go—this is not just about Russia. You go all the way back to the campaign, and what you saw was that leading members of the intelligence community, including Mike Morell, who was the acting CIA chief under President Obama, and Michael Hayden, who ran both the CIA and the NSA under George W. Bush, were very outspoken supporters of Hillary Clinton. In fact, Michael Morell went to The New York Times, and Michael Hayden went to The Washington Post, during the campaign to praise Hillary Clinton and to say that Donald Trump had become a recruit of Russia. The CIA and the intelligence community were vehemently in support of Clinton and vehemently opposed to Trump, from the beginning. And the reason was, was because they liked Hillary Clinton’s policies better than they liked Donald Trump’s. One of the main priorities of the CIA for the last five years has been a proxy war in Syria, designed to achieve regime change with the Assad regime. Hillary Clinton was not only for that, she was critical of Obama for not allowing it to go further, and wanted to impose a no-fly zone in Syria and confront the Russians. Donald Trump took exactly the opposite view. He said we shouldn’t care who rules Syria; we should allow the Russians, and even help the Russians, kill ISIS and al-Qaeda and other people in Syria. So, Trump’s agenda that he ran on was completely antithetical to what the CIA wanted. Clinton’s was exactly what the CIA wanted, and so they were behind her. And so, they’ve been trying to undermine Trump for many months throughout the election. And now that he won, they are not just undermining him with leaks, but actively subverting him. There’s claims that they’re withholding information from him, on the grounds that they don’t think he should have it and can be trusted with it. They are empowering themselves to enact policy.

“Now, I happen to think that the Trump presidency is extremely dangerous. You just listed off in your news—in your newscast that led the show, many reasons. They want to dismantle the environment. They want to eliminate the safety net. They want to empower billionaires. They want to enact bigoted policies against Muslims and immigrants and so many others. And it is important to resist them. And there are lots of really great ways to resist them, such as getting courts to restrain them, citizen activism and, most important of all, having the Democratic Party engage in self-critique to ask itself how it can be a more effective political force in the United States after it has collapsed on all levels. That isn’t what this resistance is now doing. What they’re doing instead is trying to take maybe the only faction worse than Donald Trump, which is the deep state, the CIA, with its histories of atrocities, and say they ought to almost engage in like a soft coup, where they take the elected president and prevent him from enacting his policies. And I think it is extremely dangerous to do that. Even if you’re somebody who believes that both the CIA and the deep state, on the one hand, and the Trump presidency, on the other, are extremely dangerous, as I do, there’s a huge difference between the two, which is that Trump was democratically elected and is subject to democratic controls, as these courts just demonstrated and as the media is showing, as citizens are proving. But on the other hand, the CIA was elected by nobody. They’re barely subject to democratic controls at all. And so, to urge that the CIA and the intelligence community empower itself to undermine the elected branches of government is insanity. That is a prescription for destroying democracy overnight in the name of saving it. And yet that’s what so many, not just neocons, but the neocons’ allies in the Democratic Party, are now urging and cheering. And it’s incredibly warped and dangerous to watch them do that.” http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/46476.htm

The United States is now in the extraordinary situation that the liberal/progressive/left is allied with the deep state against democracy. The liberal/progressive/left are lobbying for the impeachment of a president who has committed no impeachable offense. The neoconservatives have stated their preference for a deep state coup against democracy. The media obliges with a constant barrage of lies, innuendos and disinformation. The insouciant American public sits there sucking its thumb.

What can Trump do? He can clean out the intelligence agencies and terminate their license granted by Bush and Obama to conduct unconstitutional activities. He can use anti-trust to breakup the media conglomerates that Clinton allowed to form. If Bush and Obama can on their own authority subject US citizens to indefinite detention without due process and if Obama can murder suspect US citizens without due process of law, Trump can use anti-trust law to break up the media conglomerates that speak with one voice against him.

At this point Trump has no alternative but to fight. He can take down the secret police agencies and the presstitute media conglomerates, or they will take him down. Dismissing Flynn was the worse thing to do. He should have kept Flynn and fired the “leakers” who are actively using disinformation against him. The NSA would have to know who the leakers are. Trump should clean out the corrupt NSA management and install officials who will identify the leakers. Then Trump should prosecute the leakers to the full extent of the law.

No president can survive secret police agencies determined to destroy him. If Trump’s advisers don’t know this, Trump desperately needs new advisers.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, How America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

 

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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Is Donald Trump a Coward, or Just a Fool?

by Eric Zuesse

Is Donald Trump a Coward, or Just a Fool?

Ever since Donald Trump won the U.S. Presidency, the U.S. aristocracy (who control or outright own all of the U.S.-based international corporations and especially the weapons-firms such as Lockheed Martin, whose sales-volumes depend upon increasing the nation’s ‘defense’ spending — and that requires restoring ‘the Cold War’) have been trying to abort his Presidency in any and every way they can. Above all, they have been trying to portray Trump as being secretly a Russian agent, a traitor. On February 14th, they clearly conquered him and brought him fully into line (and not merely partially into line, as before, such as by his abolishing environmental and other regulations that reduce their profits). But did this happen because he is a coward, or instead because he is a fool? How did they conquer him? At the current time, this can be determined only by close examination of the way in which he capitulated. So, the February 14th event will be scrutinized here, in detail:

Trump made unequivocally clear, on February 14th, that the new Cold War between the U.S. and Russia will continue until Russia complies with two conditions that would not only be humiliating to Russia (and to the vast majority of its citizens), but that would also be profoundly immoral. One of these two conditions would actually be impossible, even if it weren’t, in addition, immoral. For Vladimir Putin to agree to either of these two conditions, would not only be a violation of his often-expressed basic viewpoint, but it would also cause the vast majority of Russians to despise him — because they respect him for his consistent advocacy of that very viewpoint. He has never wavered from it. The support of Russians for that viewpoint is virtually universal. (This article will explain the viewpoint.)

TRUMP’S DEMAND #1: “RETURN CRIMEA”

In order to understand the Russian perspective on the first of these two issues (which any American must understand who wants to understand the astounding stupidity of Mr. Trump’s position on this matter), which is the issue of Crimea (which had for hundreds of years been part of Russia, but was then suddenly and arbitrarily transferred to Ukraine in 1954 by the Soviet dictator — and the U.S. now demands that his dictat regarding Crimea must be restored), two videos are essential for anyone to see, and here they are:

The first video (click here to see it) (and no one should read any further here who hasn’t seen that video or at least the first twelve minutes of it, because it’s crucial) shows the U.S.-engineered coup that violently overthrew the democratically elected President of Ukraine in February 2014, under the cover of ‘a democratic revolution’, which was actually nothing of the sort, and which had instead started being planned in the U.S. State Department by no later than 2011, and started being organized inside the U.S. Embassy in Kiev by no later than 1 March 2013. The head of the ‘private CIA’ firm Stratfor, has rightly called it “the most blatant coup in history”.

The second video (click here to see it) shows the massacre of Crimeans who were escaping from Kiev during the Ukrainian coup, on 20 February 2014, and which massacre came to be known quickly in Crimea, as “the Pogrom of Korsun,” which was the town where the fascists whom the Obama regime had hired were able to trap the escapees and kill many of them. That’s the incident which — occurring during the coup in Ukraine — stirred enormous fear by Crimeans of the rabid hatred toward them by the U.S.-installed regime.

Finally on the issue of Crimea, all of the Western-sponsored polls that were taken of Crimeans both before and after the plebiscite on 16 March 2014 (which was just weeks after Obama overthrew the Ukrainian President for whom 75% of Crimeans had voted) showed over 90% support by Crimeans for Crimea’s return to being again a part of Russia. Everyone agrees that there was far more than 50% support for that, among the Crimeans. Furthermore, even Barack Obama accepted the basic universal principle of the right of self-determination of peoples when it pertained to Catalans in Spain, and Scotch in UK, and neither he nor anyone else has ever been able to make any credible case for applying it there and generally, but not in Crimea — especially under these circumstances.

So, on the first issue, Trump’s demand that Putin force the residents of Crimea to become subjects of the coup-regime that Obama had just established in Ukraine, it won’t be fulfilled — and it shouldn’t be fulfilled. Obama instituted the sanctions against Russia on the basis of what he called Putin’s “conquest of land” (referring to Crimea), but Russians see it instead as Russia’s standing steadfast for, and protecting, in what was historically and culturally a part of Russia not a part of Ukraine, the right of self-determination of peoples — especially after the country of which their land had been a part for the immediately prior 60 years (Ukraine), had been conquered three weeks earlier, via a bloody coup by a foreign power, and, moreover, this was a foreign power whom Crimeans loathed. Putin will not accept Trump’s demand. Nor should he.

TRUMP’S DEMAND #2: RUSSIA END THE UKRAINE-v.-DONBASS WAR

The way that this demand was stated on February 14th was that Russia must “deescalate violence in the Ukraine,” referring to Ukraine’s invasions of its own former Donbass region, which broke away from the Obama-installed Ukrainian regime shortly after Crimea did, but which Putin (after having already suffered so much — sanctions, etc. — from allowing the Crimeans to become Russians again) refused to allow into the Russian Federation, and only offered military and humanitarian assistance to protect themselves so that not all of the roughly five million residents there would flee across the border into Russia.

Donbass had voted 90% for the Ukrainian President that Obama illegally replaced in his coup.

Francois Hollande, Angela Merkel, and Vladimir Putin, had established the Minsk negotiations and agreements, to end the hottest phase of the (Obama-caused) war between Ukraine and Donbass; and a crucial part of the Minsk-2 agreement was that Ukraine would allow the residents of Donbass a certain minimal degree of autonomy within Ukraine, as part of a new Ukrainian Federation, but Ukraine’s Rada or parliament refuses to do that, refuses to allow it, and the United States and its allies blame the residents of Donbass for that refusal by their enemies, and blame the Donbassers for the continued war, or, as Trump’s press secretary referred to it on February 14th, “violence in the Ukraine.” He’s demanding that Donbass stop the war, when Donbass is being constantly attacked by a Ukrainian regime that refuses even to fulfill a fundamental provision of the peace agreement that Hollande, Merkel, and Putin, had arranged, and that both Ukraine and Donbass signed. (Note: even Hollande and Merkel weren’t able to get the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Obama, to so much as participate in this effort for peace.)

A demand like that — for the victim to stop the fight — is impossible to fulfill. It’s like, in World War II, blaming the United States, Soviet Union, and UK, for their war against Germany, Italy, and Japan. It is a cockeyed demand, which requires only cockeyed credulous believers, for it to be taken seriously.

The way that Sean Spicer, President Trump’s press spokesperson, put this demand in his February 14th press conference, was:

President Trump has made it very clear that he expects the Russian government to deescalate violence in the Ukraine and return Crimea.  At the same time, he fully expects to and wants to be able to get along with Russia.

To some people, that combination sounds idiotic. In any event, it’s not merely unrealistic; it is downright impossible. It’s not seeking peace with Russia; it is instead reasserting war against Russia.

Spicer said, with evident pride: “The President has been incredibly tough on Russia.”

A reporter at the press conference challenged that statement: “To me it seems, and I think to a lot of Americans it seems that this President has not been tough on Russia.” Spicer answered by referring to the statement that America’s new U.N. Representative, Nikki Haley, had made. She said at the U.N. on February 2nd:

I must condemn the aggressive actions of Russia. … The United States stands with the people of Ukraine, who have suffered for nearly three years under Russian occupation and military intervention. Until Russia and the separatists it supports respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, this crisis will continue. … The United States continues to condemn and call for an immediate end to the Russian occupation of Crimea. Crimea is a part of Ukraine. Our Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control over the peninsula to Ukraine.

So, Spicer said that,

with respect to Russia, I think the comments that Ambassador Haley made at the U.N. were extremely forceful and very clear that until — 
Q    That was an announcement from Haley, not the President.
MR. SPICER:  She speaks for the President.  I speak for the President.  All of us in this administration.  And so all of the actions and all of the words in this administration are on behalf and at the direction of this President.  So I don’t think we could be any clearer on the President’s commitment.

Trump is continuing Obama’s war against Russia, although he had not given America’s voters to expect anything of the kind. Some voters (this writer is one) had voted for him because Trump alleged that he strongly disagreed with his opponent Hillary Clinton about that — he outright lied to the voters, on the most important thing of all. He applied mental coercion — deceit — in order to win. But as it turns out, he’s not really opposed at all to Obama’s coup in Ukraine. Perhaps he is so stupid that he’s not even aware that it was a coup, instead of a ‘democratic revolution’ (the cover-story). Maybe he’s so stupid, that he believes Obama’s lies.

At least Hillary Clinton was honest enough to make clear that she was going to continue Obama’s policies (only worse). But she was so stupid that she couldn’t even beat Donald Trump.

Anyway, all of that is water over the damn, now.

Initially, it had seemed that the only way in which Trump was aiming to satisfy the U.S. aristocracy (owners of the military-industrial complex, among other things) about increasing the ‘defense’ budget, was going to be a buildup against Iran; but, now, that war might end up playing second fiddle.

The war with Russia can only escalate, unless or until President Trump reverses course and states publicly, and provides to the American people and the world, the clear evidence of, his predecessor’s perfidy, both in Ukraine, and in Syria. Unless and until he comes clean, and admits that the problem between the U.S. and Russia isn’t Putin, but instead Obama, it will continue escalating, right up to World War III; and here is why:

When it escalates to a traditional hot war, either in Ukraine or in Syria, the side that’s losing that traditional war will have only one way to avoid defeat: a sudden unannounced nuclear all-out blitz attack against the other side. A nuclear war will last less than 30 minutes. The side that attacks first will suffer the less damage, because it will have knocked out some of the other side’s retaliatory missiles and bombs. If Donald Trump were intelligent, then one could assume that he knows this. He’s not, so he doesn’t. He plods on, toward mutual nuclear annihilation. Perhaps, like Hillary Clinton, he believes that the U.S. has ‘Nuclear Primacy’ and so will ‘win’.

It’s all so stupid. But, even worse, it’s evil. And I’m not talking about Russia or Putin here. The real problem — on this ultimate issue, of avoiding a nuclear winter — is my own country: the United States of America. To call this a ‘democracy’ is not merely a lie; it is a bad joke. The American public are not to blame for this evil. The American aristocracy are. It’s an oligarchy gone mad.

Trump was never a principled person. He never really resisted, at all. He caved after only three weeks on the job. Clearly, then, he’s not only a psychopath; he is a fool.

Trump promised to ‘drain the swamp’. Instead, he’s feeding the alligators.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

 

The 140 characters Trump’s diary

February 14, 2017

By GF

Trump got a huge support, there was support from the most unexpected places. But, what was supported? What was Trump opinions about other countries and general issues, was it really a mystery? And is it unpredictable?

He won the presidential run, wow, came out of nowhere, nobody could have imagined. But is that so?

By 2014 his tweeter feed was full, packed with messages of support for a presidential run. To some of those messages he gave a reply while he retweeted others.

The First Weeks

He enters the office. Nominations that would be making the rounds on the news and public debate were expected.

There was even a telephone call with Vladimir Putin, people on news media and blogosphere celebrated.

Some days go by and there is news about War Games on the Persian Gulf. A raid in Yemen. The Ukraine conflict flares up. By this time both China and Mexico were already pissed from the welcome they got. Flynn’s “putting Iran on a notice” statement.

A research on the messages he posted on twitter gives us good background to better understand these actions and maybe the others to come.

Here they are:

The focus is on his thoughts about Iran, Russia and China.

Trump – Iran

War games on the sea, association to the attacks made by the Houthis, accusations of violating the JCPOA.

It was possible to see that his actions and opinions were not really a mystery or a secret.

Iran as a national security threat. But are you sure?

And how to deal with them?

Go with diplomacy?

Already in 2011?

Hey, don’t do it!

There’s more. Let’s check this.

And the irony:

Before going to China, these ones:

Trump – China

Actions towards China were less surprising but equally aggressive.

Trump considers China to be stealing US jobs, developing a bigger economy than that of the US, expanding its naval fleet and stealing US technologies and secrets

China is a threat, not a friend.

It’s a threat so he wants to reassess the relationship.

Espionage and again a threat, this time for the economy.

Stealing secrets, not a friend but an enemy! Quite an indictment.

Expansion and Containment?

He’s really blunt regarding China.

Must get tough with the Chinese.

Rebels.

Tough again!

China is called a rival and greatest, major threat.

Hacking and again an enemy!

Remember?

So, a finger against ISIS will bring gains to China, Iran and Syria, he does not seem to appreciate the deal but it may be necessary?

Tough one more time.

Trump – Russia

On the tweets that mention Russia, he is more thoughtfull when choosing the words.

Clear opinion about Snowden, more than one or two times.

Seems to consider a stupid idea to go into Syria!

He had Miss Universe in Moscow.

This is mentioned a number of times, destroying the economy.

Initial thought on Ukraine situation.

Destroying the economy! ObamaCare instead of sanctions.

He is aware of the risks.

One more thought on Snowden.

A second thought about the Ukraine situation, “Russia is on the move”.

It has taken Crimea!

Taken!

When mentioning Putin directly, Trump is more blunt.

He says a lot of times that Russia and Putin have no respect for Obama.

No flexibility!

His objective?

Obama’s weakness when dealing with Putin.

Putin is scheming on how to take over the World!

By rebuilding the Russian Empire.

True.

This was a retweet.

This was his view.

Putin, guns blazing.

We have already seen that Russia took over Crimea.

Before finishing, some others.

Trump – Mexico

Trump – News Media

And lastly:

Thank you.

Campaign to Impeach Trump Continues

 

By Stephen Lendman
February 14, 2017  – Calls for his impeachment began pre-inauguration, along with efforts to prevent his ascension to power – shocking stuff, unprecedented in US history.
On February 9, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D. NY) introduced a politicized witch-hunt Resolution of Inquiry – “directing the Department of Justice to provide the House of Representatives with any and all information relevant to an inquiry into President Trump and his associates’ (alleged) conflicts of interest, ethical violations…and (so-called) Russia ties.”
If the Republican controlled House Judiciary Committee doesn’t schedule a resolution markup within 14 legislative days, Nadler indicated he’ll seek a full House vote – unlikely to succeed, or in the Senate if it’s introduced there. Republicans control both houses.
The campaign to delegitimize Trump throughout the campaign and post-election failed. Efforts continue, Nadler’s action the latest initiative he and other Democrats hope will lead to impeachment and removal of Trump from office.
If successful, it’ll be a first in US history. House members impeached Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, both subsequently acquitted by the Senate. Richard Nixon resigned to avoid impeachment and conviction by the body he once served in as a US senator.

 

“The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”The Constitution’s Article II, Section 4 states:
Trump hasn’t been in office long enough to charge him with any offense, let alone an impeachable one – other than for continuing US imperial wars in multiple theaters.
No president was ever charged with crimes of war or against humanity. Several instead won Nobel Peace Prizes, Obama the latest, despite months of high crimes before getting the award.
Trump may or may not warrant impeachment. A few weeks in office is way too early to judge him this harshly despite justifiable criticism of what he’s done so far.

The Clinton co-presidency, Bush/Cheney and Obama should have impeached and removed from office for imperial high crimes and other grievous human rights abuses.
The US Army Field Manuel (FM) 27-10 – The Law of Land Warfare, paragraph 498 states any person, military or civilian, who commits a crime under international law warrants punishment.
Paragraph 501 says all high level civilian and military officials in any way involved in crimes against peace are personally responsible for war crimes.
Paragraph 509 denies the defense of superior orders in the commission of a crime. Paragraph 510 denies the defense of an “act of state” to absolve them.
All US officials to the highest civilian and military levels are responsible for high crimes against peace. No one is exempt. None deserve immunity.
Trump may turn out as bad or worse than his predecessors once in office long enough to adequately judge whether he deserves to remain US president or not.
Alternatives to his leadership aren’t encouraging. Both wings of America’s one-party state are hugely corrupted. All US officials in high posts serve privileged interests at the expense of the general welfare.
The issue isn’t Trump. It’s America’s debauched system. It needs replacing with an equitable alternative – waging peace, not war, serving all Americans fairly.
Unrelenting anti-Trump propaganda works. A new poll discussed in a previous article showed registered voters equally divided on whether or not to impeach Trump.
Most respondents surveyed likely don’t realize impeachment is only indictment, not conviction. A two-thirds Senate vote (67 upper house members) is needed to remove a sitting president.
The same percentage is required for impeachment, no easy task in either house. Success in both would make America more of a banana republic than already based on Trump’s record so far.
Though he’s largely continued business as usual, it’s outrageous to consider impeachment this early in his tenure – especially given  legitimately impeachable offenses of his predecessors ignored.
On Sunday, Politico reported gambling establishments worldwide are taking bets on whether Trump will remain in office, be impeached and convicted, or resign.
Trump is “big business for the international gambling industry,” said Politico. According to UK oddsmaking giant Ladbrokes PR manager Alex Donohue, “(f)rom a betting perspective, Donald Trump’s presidency has triggered a massive boom for these kinds of markets.”
Admittedly, his first few weeks in office have been a big disappointment, but no surprise.
Still, betting on his impeachment and removal from office is long shot at best, an unlikely prospect.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html . Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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