Two analyses by Paul Craig Roberts

July 18, 2018Two analyses by Paul Craig Roberts

Note by the Saker: As I have mentioned here, I am currently on a road trip and I have very spotty access to the Internet.  The recent Putin-Trump summit has elicited a lot of reactions and I will write an analysis of my own by the time I get back home (somewhere around the 20th-22nd of July).  In the meantime, I am posting two more articles by the special permission of Paul Craig Roberts. They were initially posted here

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/07/17/putin-confronts-the-american-dystopia/
https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/07/18/america-overrules-trump-no-peace-with-russia/

I don’t necessarily agree with every point made by Paul Craig Roberts, but I do fully share his assessment of the gravity of the situation.  In fact, I have a very strong feeling that in spite of the fact that Trump is in reality a very weak man (just look how long it took him to deny having said what he, in fact, did say) the USA seems to be headed for a major constitutional crisis.  On this topic, please all see this article by Finian Cunningham originally posted on Sputnik.  Until my return, I leave you with Paul Craig Roberts’ latest analyses.

The Saker
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Putin Confronts The American Dystopia

We have to hand it to Putin. He is the best that there is. Note the ease with which he mopped up the floor with that idiot Chris Wallace. https://www.rt.com/usa/433447-putin-interview-fox-wallace/

What is wrong with the US media that it cannot produce a second competent journalist as company for Tucker Carlson? Why are America’s remaining good journalists, such as Chris Hedges, now in the alternate media?

All I can say, and Putin probably already knows it, is that there is more going on than presstitutes holding the relationship between Russia and the US hostage to an internal political struggle between the Democratic Party and President Trump. It is not just that the corrupt US media is serving as propagandists for the Democratic Party against President Trump. The presstitutes are serving the interest of the military/security complex, which has ownership interests in the highly concentrated US media, to keep Russia positioned as the enemy that justifies the huge $1,000 billion budget of the military/security complex. Without the “Russian enemy,” what is the justification for such a waste of money when so many real needs go underfunded and unfunded?

In other words, the American media are not only stupid, they are corrupt beyond all measure.

Today at 12:40 Eastern time NPR had a collection of Trump-bashers doing their utmost to prevent the Trump/Putin meeting from leading to a normalizing of relations between the two governments. For example, as every informed person knows, the US intelligence community has most certainly not concluded that Russia interfered in the presidential election. That conclusion was reached by a few hand-picked members of 3 of the 16 intelligence agencies and was expressed not as a proven fact but as “highly likely.” It other words, it was nothing but an orchestrated opinion given by cooperative agents who no doubt expect promotions in return.

Despite this known fact, the NPR propaganda team said that Trump had believed Putin instead of an unanimous US factual intelligence report that proved Russia interfered. The NPR Trump-bashers said that Trump had believed the “thug Putin” and not his own American experts. The NPR Trump-bashers went on to compare Trump’s “siding with Putin” with Trump’s opinion that the Charlottesville violence had contributors from both sides. The NPR Trump-bashers equated Trump’s factual statement about violence from both sides with “siding with the neo-nazis” in Charlottesville.

NPR’s point is that Trump sides with Nazis and Russian thugs and is against Americans.

What Trump said in fact about alleged election interference was that whether there was or was not any election interference, it had no effect as Comey and Rosenstein have admitted, and is certainly not as important as two nuclear powers getting along with one another and avoiding tensions that could result in nuclear war. One would think that even an NPR idiot could understand that.

The Trump-bashing on NPR has gone on all day intermixed with an occasional bashing of Russia for killing Syrian civilians in air attacks on the Washington-supported jihadists that are, as instructed by Washington, trying to hold on to a bit of Syria so that Washington and Israel can restart the war. One wonders at the stupidity of those who give money to NPR so that NPR can lie to them all day long. Like George Orwell foresaw, people are more comfortable with Big Brother’s lies than with the truth.

NPR was once an alternative voice, but it was broken by the George W. Bush regime and has become completely corrupt. NPR still pretends to be “listener-supported,” but in fact is now a commercial station just like every commercial station. NPR tries to disguise this fact by using “with support from” to introduce the paid advertisements from the corporations.

“With support from” is how NPR traditionally acknowledged its philanthropic donors. The real question is: how does NPR hold on to its 501c3 tax-exempt status when it sells commercial advertising? No need for NPR to worry. As long as the presstitute entity serves the ruling elite at the expense of truth, it will retain its illegal tax-exempt status.

It is obvious that the indictments of the 12 Russian intelligence officers immediately prior to the Trump/Putin meeting was intended to harm the meeting and to give the presstitutes more opportunities for more dishonest shots at President Trump. In my day, journalists would have been smart enough and would have had enough integrity to understand that. But Western presstitutes have neither intelligence nor integrity.

How much proof do you want? Here is presstitute Michelle Goldberg writing in the New York Times that “Trump shows the world he’s Putin’s lackey.” The presstitute says she is “staggered by the American president’s slavish and toadying performance.” Apparently Goldberg thinks Trump should have beaten up Putin.

The Washington Post, formerly a newspaper, now a sick joke, alleged that “Trump just colluded with Russia. Openly.”

It is not only the presstitutes. It is the so-called experts, such as Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, a self-important group, financed by the military/security complex, that presides over American foreign policy. Haass, sticking to the official military/security line, declared erroneously: “International order for 4 centuries has been based on non-interference in the internal affairs of others and respect for sovereignty. Russia has violated this norm by seizing Crimea and by interfering in the 2016 US election. We must deal with Putin’s Russia as the rogue state it is.”

What is Haass talking about? What respect for sovereignty does Washington have? Surely Haass is familiar with the ruling neoconservative doctrine of US world hegemony. Surely Haass knows that the orchestrated troubles with Iraq, Libya, Syria, North Korea, Russia, and China are due to Washington’s resentment of their sovereignty. What is Washington’s unilateralism about if Washington respects the sovereignty of countries? Why does Washington want a unipolar world if Washington respects the sovereignty of other countries? It is precisely Russia’s insistence on a multi-polar world that has Russia in the propaganda crosshairs. If Washington respects sovereignty, why does Washington overthrow countries that have it? When Washington accuses Russia of being a threat to world order, Washington means that Russia is a threat to Washington’s world order. Is Haass demonstrating his idiocy or his corruption?

As the American media has conclusively proven that it has no independence but is a mouthpiece for Democrats and corporate interests, it should be nationalized. The American media is so compromised that nationalization would be an improvement.

The armaments industry should also be nationalized. Not only is it a power greater than the elected government, it also is vastly inefficient. The Russian armaments industry with a tiny fraction of the US military budget produces far superior weapons. As President Eisenhower, a Five-Star General, said, the military-industrial complex is a threat to American democracy. Why are the presstitute scum so worried about non-existent Russian interference when the military/security complex is so powerful that it can actually substitute itself for the elected government?

There was a time when the Republican Party represented the interests of business, and the Democratic Party represented the interests of the working class. That kept America in balance. Today there is no balance. Since the Clinton regime, the rich one percent has been getting vastly richer, and the 99 percent has been getting poorer. The middle class is in serious decline.

The Democrats have abandoned the working class, which Democrats now dismiss as “Trump deplorables,” and support instead the divisiveness and hatreds of Identity Politics. At a time when the American people need unity to stand up to warmongering and greed, there is no unity. Races and genders are taught to hate one another. It is everywhere you look.

Compared to the America I was born into, the America of today is fragile and weak. The only effort at unity is to create unity that Russia is the enemy. It is just like George Orwell’s 1984. In other aspects the current American dystopia is worse than the one Orwell described.

Try to find an American public or private institution that is worthy of respect, that is honorable, that respects truth, that is compassionate and strives for justice. What you find in place of compassion and demand for justice are laws that punish if you criticize the Israeli genocide of the Palestinians or leak information showing the felonies committed by the US government. With all of their institutions corrupted, the American people become corrupted as well. Corruption is what the young are born into. They know no different. What future is that for America?

How can Russia, China, Iran, North Korea reach a compromise with a government that does not know the meaning of the word, a government that requires submission and when submission is not given destruction follows as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen learned.

Who would be so foolish as to trust an agreement with Washington?

Instead of pursuing an agreement with Trump, who is being set up for removal, Putin should be preparing Russia for war.

War is definitely coming.

America Overrules Trump: No Peace With Russia

The governments of Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, if their countries are to survive, must give up their deluded hopes of reaching agreements with the United States. No such possibility exists on terms that the countries can accept.

American foreign policy rests on threat and force. It is guided by the neoconservative doctrine of US hegemony, a doctrine that is inconsistent with accepting the sovereignty of other countries. The only way that Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea can reach an agreement with Washington is to become vassals like the UK, all of Europe, Canada, Japan, and Australia.

The Russians—especially the naive Atlanticist Integrationists—should take note of the extreme hostility, indeed, to the point of insanity, directed at the Helsinki meeting across the entirety of the American political, media, and intellectual scene. Putin is incorrect that US-Russian relations are being held hostage to an internal US political struggle between the two parties. The Republicans are just as insane and just as hostile to President Trump’s effort to improve American-Russian relations as the Democrats, as Donald Jeffries reminds us. https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/07/donald-jeffries/the-trump-putin-conference/

The American rightwing is just as opposed as the leftwing. Only a few experts, such as Stephen Cohen and Amb. Jack Matlock, President Reagan’s ambassader to the Soviet Union, have spoken out in support of Trump’s attempt to reduce the dangerous tensions between the nuclear powers. Only a few pundits have explained the actual facts and the stakes.

There is no support for Trump’s agenda of peace with Russia in the US foreign policy arena. The president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, spoke for them all when he declared that “We must deal with Putin’s Russia as the rogue state it is.”

Russia is a “ rogue state” simply because Russia does not accept Washington’s overlordship. Not for any other reason.

There is no support even in Trump’s own government for normalizing relations with Russia unless the neoconservative definition of normal relations is used. By normal relations neoconservatives mean a vassal state relationship with Washington. That, and only that, is “normal.” Russia can have normal relations with America only on the basis of this definition of normal. Sooner or later Putin and Lavrov will have to acknowledge this fact.

A lie repeated over and over becomes a fact. That is what has happened to Russiagate. Despite the total absence of any evidence, it is now a fact in America that Putin himself put Trump in the Oval Office. That Trump met with Putin at Helsinki is considered proof that Trump is Putin’s lacky, as the New York Times and many others now assert as self-evident. That Trump stood next to “the murderous thug Putin” and accepted Putin’s word that Russia did not interfere in the election of the US president is regarded as double proof that Trump is in Putin’s pocket and that the Russiagate story is true.

We can see now why neoconservative John Bolton arranged the Helsinki meeting. It set Trump up for political execution by the media and Congress, both controlled by the military/security complex. In the United States there is zero independence, with the exception of Tucker Carlson, in the print and TV media, and zero independence in Congress. These are controlled institutions, and Tucker will not be tolerated much longer.

The lie of Russian interference is now so firmly established that even the Open Letter published in The Nation and signed by luminaries such as Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, and Gloria Steinem states: “We must reach common ground to safeguard common interests—taking steps to protect the nation’s elections and to prevent war between the world’s two nuclear superpowers.” Even the most lucid Americans have to accept Russiagate as a fact and regard protecting our elections as important as preventing nuclear war.

There is no meaningful support in the Republican or Democratic party for Trump’s agenda of normalizing US/Russian relations. The combination of a lie made into truth and the power of political campaign combinations from the military/security complex suffice to stifle any support for normalizing relations with Russia. Any US Senator or Representative who supports Trump’s effort to remove Russia from the enemy category will find themselves confronted in their re-election with well-financed opponents declaring them to be traitors who supported Trump’s sell-out of America, while their own campaign contributions dry up.

The American people who are not on the military/security payroll or otherwise dependent on this powerful lobby support peace and elected Trump for that reason, only to discover that a president who stands for peace with Russia is branded a traitor.

It has happened many times before. For example, in his history, The First World War, A. J. P. Taylor explained that all efforts to stop the disastrous war that destroyed Europe were blocked by smearing “as a defeatist, a pacifist, probably a traitor, every advocate of peace, or even of moderation.” As Taylor writes, the “top hats” wanted the money, and the “cloth hats” paid for it with their lives.

What we are experiencing is that democracy is weak and dysfunctional when confronted with powerful lobbies capable of controlling explanations. In America the control over explanations is so complete that the vast majority live in The Matrix.

The Russian media has ignored the American outpouring of hatred and insult against Trump for “selling out America” and has portrayed the Helsinki meeting positively as having established a road to better relations. This Russian view ignores that Trump has no support in the US government or in the media to help him to build this road. The Russian media desperately needs to become familiar with the American response to Trump’s Helsinki meeting with Putin. I have collected together a number of these responses in my recent columns, and the link in this column to Donald Jeffries provides a good sample of the Republicans’ rejection of Trump’s effort to repair the US-Russian relationship.

Just as the World War I British, French, German, and Russian governments could not end the slaughter because they had promised victory and would be discredited, once the Russian government encourages the Russian people that better relations with America are in the making, the Russian government will be locked into delivering the better relations, and this will require the Russian government to give up more than it gains. Russian sovereignty will be part of the price for the agreement.

If the Russians, desperate for Western acceptance, hold on to their delusion that Washington’s hegemony is negotiable, it will not only be at their own peril but also at the peril of all of humanity.

Postscript: The rant in the URL below in Salon, which I suspect is a CIA asset, by a non-entity of no merit or achievement is devoid of fact. But it does stand as an accurate representation of the organized, orchestrated assault in the United States on truth and on those individuals committed to truth, such as Jill Stein and Julian Assange. As the goal is to denigrate Trump, it is not possible to believe the portrayal of the unidentified Republican state senator in the Salon account who lost his faith in Trump simply because Trump did not behave provocatively when he met with Putin. Nevertheless, the portrayal, even if fictional, is accurate in the sense that it represents the controlled explanation that is being fed to the American people and the subject peoples of Washington’s empire. https://www.salon.com/2018/07/18/trump-regret-syndrome-is-spreading-among-republicans-after-helsinki-how-far-will-it-go/

The Russian media desperately needs to accurately translate and publish the Salon article in order for the Russian people to comprehend the impossibility of any agreement with the United States that leaves Russia a sovereign nation. The hatred of Russia that is being generated in America is extraordinary. It can only lead to war.

Throughout the Western World truth and facts have lost their authority. The West lives in lies, and this is the West that confronts the world. It is pathetic to watch Lavrov and Putin continue, time and again, to appeal to facts and to truth when these mean nothing in the West.

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Merchants of Death

Darko Lazar

Since the 1990s, the global trade in illicit goods has grown exponentially. From the trafficking of human beings and their organs, to the sale of narcotics, oil and, of course, weapons, today’s world enables the acquisition of anything if the price is right.

The illegal arms trade in particular has enjoyed a rise in both orders and prices since 2012, much to the delight of its chief benefactors.

Like most other markets, this one has its top movers and shakers, too, commonly associated with one or more flags.

Aside from the internationally-renowned Viktor Bout, who had the misfortune of being immortalized by Nicholas Cage’s portrayal of Yuri Orlov in the 2005 Hollywood film Lord of War, there are indeed another half-dozen individuals who act as the face of the illegal arms trade.

All originate from former Soviet republics, and all work for the security apparatuses of at least one state – the support of which is essential in the tussle for the world’s warzones.

Among these is Leonid Efimovich Minin, who is known to have sold hundreds of tons of arms, mostly to client states in West Africa.

Minin left his native Ukraine in 1972, before ending up in “Israel”, where he was quickly given the citizenship.

Another “Israeli” citizen of Ukrainian origin, Vadim Rabinovich, maintains a special place in the club of arms dealers.

Rabinovich is the president of the All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress and has his own political party in Kiev. But he also enjoys a reputation for being the delivery mechanism for arms shipments to all of the world’s hotspots.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, Rabinovich’s numerous businesses have only flourished in recent years.

According to a Geneva-based independent research project, Small Arms Survey, Ukraine has been transformed into a leading destination for the trade in illegal weapons since the country’s ‘colored revolution’ in 2014.

‘Have lots of sons and lots of guns’

Pakistan’s Darra Adam Khel, which has a local bazaar packed with gunsmiths and weapons merchants, gained notoriety over the years for having the highest rate of arms deals in a single town.

Attracting captivated tourists and filmmakers, the town’s locals pride themselves on their reputation, even adopting the motto, ‘have lots of sons and lots of guns’.

Ukraine may soon be espousing similar axioms as it develops traditions of its own.

These days, news of a weapons depot explosion anywhere in the country is greeted with the assumption that the facility had first been emptied of its most valuable contents before being set ablaze.

The fires restrict access to the sites because detonations resulting from the ammunition intentionally left behind take months to subside.

Interpol’s records show that Ukraine has had over USD 30 billion of military hardware stolen in recent years.

Another lesser known piece of information to the general public is the fact that Ukraine was flooded with no fewer than three million pieces of illegal small arms in the lead-up to the country’s civil war.

But portals from across the border in Russia report that Ukraine was not the final destination for these colossal weapons stockpiles.

The Small Arms Survey makes similar allegations in one of its briefing papers, warning that “while [Ukraine’s] armed conflict may be geographically contained, its small arms are not.”

The Ukrainian connection  

There has been no shortage of stories since the start of the conflict in Syria about the way in which Eastern European ports are used as the main transit points for American arms shipments destined for terrorist groups in the Middle East.

The latest came from Ukrainian journalists and social media activists, who published leaked documents showing that food containers headed for Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq were in fact stuffed with large-caliber rockets and other projectiles.

Linking American arms companies with Ukrainian officials and terrorists in the Middle East, the reports showed that the weapons were being transported under the guise of civil freight by the Seattle-based Alaska Reefer Management firm.

The arms shipments are reported to have made it into the hands of the Daesh terror group, and a number of other militant formations operating across the volatile region.

Another badly kept secret is the fact that the transportation and distribution of American arms shipments requires a license from the Central Intelligence Agency, which then offers logistical support and advice on how to avoid detection.

From a political standpoint, the motivations for a state’s involvement in such a business are obvious.

The sale of illegal arms is used as an instrument for affecting the outcome of global conflicts.

This initially clandestine form of support eventually evolves into a public and ‘legal’ delivery of more advanced weapons – transforming the entire process into a tool for exerting international, geopolitical and diplomatic influence.

The big deals

Although the illegal arms trade generates a substantial sum of money – estimates put the number at USD 30 billion annually – the genuinely lucrative deals are often inked in full view of the world.

Last year, US President Donald Trump reached an agreement with Saudi Arabia to sell the kingdom USD 350 billion worth of weapons over the next decade in what became the single largest arms deal in history.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the Middle East was witnessing a sharp increase in arms imports even before Trump took office.

Between, 2012 and 2016, the region saw an 86% rise in weapons imports – accounting for 29% of the world’s total.

Saudi Arabia is the biggest importer of arms in the Middle East and the second in the world, quickly followed by its neighbor, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Meanwhile, the US is the world’s top weapons exporter and controls one-third of the global market.

It also sells arms in more than 100 countries around the world— significantly more than any other supplier state.

These weapons have played an instrumental role in fuelling global conflicts, especially those that have been ravaging the Middle East for decades.

Following the publication of SIPRI’s data earlier this year, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif quickly took to Twitter, blasting Washington for pumping “over half of its arms exports into our region.”

“The vast majority goes to inexperienced and adventurist leaders who are engaged in war crimes,” Zarif added in reference to the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen.

“Yet Iran is alleged to be the source of instability. Funny how facts are the greatest enemy of both demagoguery and populism.”

Source: Al-Ahed

The Two Superpowers: Who Really Controls the Two Countries?

The Saker

June 30, 2018

by Paul Craig Roberts (cross-posted with PCR’s website with his special agreement)

Among the ruling interests in the US, one interest even more powerful than the Israel Lobby—the Deep State of the military/security complex— there is enormous fear that an uncontrollable President Trump at the upcoming Putin/Trump summit will make an agreement that will bring to an end the demonizing of Russia that serves to protect the enormous budget and power of the military-security complex.

You can see the Deep State’s fear in the editorials that the Deep State handed to the Washington Post (June 29) and New York Times (June 29), two of the Deep State’s megaphones, but no longer believed by the vast majority of the American people.  The two editorials share the same points and phrases.  They repeat the disproven lies about Russia as if blatant, obvious lies are hard facts.

Both accuse President Trump of “kowtowing to the Kremlin.”  Kowtowing, of course, is not a Donald Trump characteristic.  But once again fact doesn’t get in the way of the propaganda spewed by the WaPo and NYT, two megaphones of Deep State lies.

The Deep State editorial handed to the WaPo reads: “THE REASONS for the tension between the United States and Russia are well-established. Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine, instigated a war in eastern Ukraine, intervened to save the dictatorship of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, interfered in the U.S. presidential election campaign to harm Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump, poisoned a former intelligence officer on British soil and continues to meddle in the elections of other democracies.”

The WaPo’s opening paragraph is a collection of all the blatant lies assembled by the Deep State for its Propaganda Ministry.  There have been many books written about the CIA’s infiltration of the US media.  There is no doubt about it.  I remember my orientation as Staff Associate, House Defense Appropriation Subcommittee, when I was informed that the Washington Post is a CIA asset.  This was in 1975. Today the Post is owned by a person with government contracts that many believe sustain his front business.

And don’t forget Udo Ulfkotte, an editor of the  Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, who wrote in his best seller, Bought Journalism, that there was not a significant journalist in Europe who was not on the CIA’s payroll. The English language edition of Ulfkotte’s book has been suppressed and prevented from publication.

The New York Times, which last told the truth in the 1970s when it published the leaked Pentagon Papers and had the fortitude to stand up for its First Amendment rights, repeats the lies about Putin’s “seizure of Crimea and attack on Ukraine” along with all the totally unstantiated BS about Russia interferring in the US president election and electing Trump, who now kowtows to Putin in order to serve Russia instead of the US. The editorial handed to the NYT insinuates that Trump is a threat to the national security of America and its allies (vassals). The problem, the NYT declares, is that Trump is not listening to his advisors.

Shades of President John F. Kennedy, who did not listen to the CIA and Joint Chiefs of Staff about invading Cuba, nuking the Soviet Union, and using the false flag attack on America of the Joint Chiefs’ Northwoods Project (look it up online).  Is the New York Times setting up Trump for assassination on the grounds that he is lovely-dovey with Russia and sacrificing US national interests?

I would bet on it.

While the Washington Post and New York Times are telling us that if Trump meets with Putin, Trump will sell out US national security, The Saker says that Putin finds himself in a similar box, only it doesn’t come from the national security interest, but from the Russian Fifth Column, the Atlanticist Integrationists whose front man is the Russian Prime Minister Medvedev, who represents the rich Russian elite whose wealth is based on stolen assets during the Yeltsin years enabled by Washington.  These elites, The Saker concludes, impose constraints on Putin that put Russian sovereignty at risk. Economically, it is more important to these elites for financial reasons to be part of Washington’s empire than to be a sovereign country.  http://thesaker.is/no-5th-column-in-the-kremlin-think-again/ 

I find The Saker’s explanation the best I have read of the constraints on Putin that limit his ability to represent Russian national interests.

I have often wondered why Putin didn’t have the security force round up these Russian traitors and execute them.  The answer is that Putin believes in the rule of law, and he knows that Russia’s US financed and supported Fifth Column cannot be eliminated without bloodshed that is inconsistent with the rule of law.  For Putin, the rule of law is as important as Russia.  So, Russia hangs in the balance.  It is my view that the Russian Fifth Column could care less about the rule of law.  They only care about money.

As challenged as Putin might be, Chris Hedges, one of the surviving great American journalists, who is not always right but when he is he is incisive, explains the situation faced by the American people.  It is beyond correction.  American civil liberties and prosperity appear to be lost.   https://russia-insider.com/en/politics/america-shows-many-signs-impending-catastrophic-collapse-pulitzer-prize-winner-explains 

In my opinion, Hedges leftwing leanings caused him to focus on Reagan’s rhetoric rather that on Reagan’s achievements—the two greatest of our time—the end of stagflation, which benefited the American people, and the end of the Cold War, which removed the theat of nuclear war.  I think Hedges also does not appreciate Trump’s sincerety about normalizing relations with Russia, relations destroyed by the Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama regimes, and Trump’s sincerety about bringing offshored jobs home to American workers. Trump’s agenda puts him up against the two most powerful interest groups in the United States.  A president willing to take on these powerful groups should be appreciated and supported, as Hedges acknowledges the dispossessed majority do.  If I might point out to Chris, whom I admire, it is not like Chris Hedges to align against the choice of the people.  How can democracy work if people don’t rule?

Hedges writes, correctly, “The problem is not Trump. It is a political system, dominated by corporate power and the mandarins of the two major political parties, in which we [the American people] don’t count.”
Hedges is absolutely correct.

It is impossible not to admire a journalist like Hedges who can describe our plight with such succinctness:

“We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowlege, the press destroys information, religion destroys morals, and banks destroy the economy.”

Read The Saker’s explanation of Russian politics.  Possibly Putin will collapse under pressure from the powerful Fifth Column in his government.  Read Chris Hedges analysis of American collapse. There is much truth in it.  What happens if the Russian people rise up against the Russian Fifth Column and if the oppressed American people rise up against the extractions of the military/security complex? What happens if neither population rises up?

Who sets off the first nuclear weapon?

Our time on earth is not just limited by our threescore and ten years, but also humanity’s time on earth, and that of every other species, is limited by the use of nuclear weapons.

It is long past the time when governments, and if not them, humanity, should ask why nuclear weapons exist when they cannot be used without destroying life on earth.

Why isn’t this the question of our time, instead of, for example, transgender toilet facilities, and the large variety of fake issues on which the presstitute media focuses?

The articles by The Saker and Chris Hedges, two astute people, report that neither superpower is capable of making good decisions, decisions that are determined by democracy instead of by oligarchs, against whom neither elected government can stand.

If this is the case, humanity is finished.

Here are the Washington Post and New York Times editorials:

Washington Post
June 29, 2018
Editorial
Trump is kowtowing to the Kremlin again. Why?
Ahead of a summit with Putin, Trump is siding with the Russian leader, with dangerous results.

THE REASONS for the tension between the United States and Russia are well-established. Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine, instigated a war in eastern Ukraine, intervened to save the dictatorship of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, interfered in the U.S. presidential election campaign to harm Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump, poisoned a former intelligence officer on British soil and continues to meddle in the elections of other democracies. Yet on Wednesday in the Kremlin, President Vladimir Putin brushed it all aside and delivered the Russian “maskirovka,” or camouflage, answer that it is all America’s fault.

Meeting with John Bolton, the president’s national security adviser, Mr. Putin declared that the tensions are “in large part the result of an intense domestic political battle inside the U.S.” Then Mr. Putin’s aide Yuri Ushakov insisted that Russia “most certainly did not interfere in the 2016 election” in the United States. On Thursday morning, Mr. Trump echoed them both on Twitter: “Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!”

Why is Mr. Trump kowtowing again? The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russia did attempt to tilt the election using multiple campaigns, including cyberintrusions and insidious social media fakery. Would it be so difficult to challenge Mr. Putin about this offensive behavior? A full accounting has yet to be made of the impact on the election, but Mr. Bolton did not mince words last year when he described Russian interference as “a true act of war” and said, “We negotiate with Russia at our peril.” And now?

Summits can be productive, even – maybe especially – when nations are at odds. In theory, a meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin, now scheduled for next month in Helsinki, could be useful. But a meeting aimed at pleasing Mr. Putin is naive and foolhardy. A meeting aimed at pleasing Mr. Putin at the expense of traditional, democratic U.S. allies would be dangerous and damaging.

Just as Mr. Bolton was flattering Mr. Putin, Russia was engaging in subterfuge on the ground in Syria. The United States, Russia and Jordan last year negotiated cease-fire agreements in southwestern Syria, along the border with Jordan and the Golan Heights. In recent days, the United States has warned Russia and its Syrian allies not to launch an offensive in the area, where the rebel forces hold parts of the city of Daraa and areas along the border. The State Department vowed there would be “serious repercussions” and demanded that Russia restrain its client Syrian forces. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, saying an offensive would be unacceptable. All to no avail; Syria is bombing the area.

This is what happens when Mr. Trump signals, repeatedly, that he is unwilling or unable to stand up to Russian misbehavior. We are on dangerous ground. Either Mr. Trump has lost touch with essential U.S. interests or there is some other explanation for his kowtowing that is yet unknown.

New York Times
June 29, 2018
Editorial
Trump and Putin’s Too-Friendly Summit
It’s good to meet with adversaries. But when Mr. Trump sits down with Mr. Putin, it will be a meeting of kindred spirits. That’s a problem.

It’s good for American presidents to meet with adversaries, to clarify differences and resolve disputes. But when President Trump sits down with President Vladimir Putin of Russia in Finland next month, it will be a meeting of kindred spirits, and that’s a problem.

One would think that at a tête-à-tête with the Russian autocrat, the president of the United States would take on some of the major concerns of America and its closest allies. Say, for instance, Mr. Putin’s seizure of Crimea and attack on Ukraine, which led to punishing international sanctions. But at the Group of 7 meeting in Quebec this month, Mr. Trump reportedly told his fellow heads of state that Crimea is Russian because everyone there speaks that language. And, of course, Trump aides talked to Russian officials about lifting some sanctions even before he took office.

One would hope that the president of the United States would let Mr. Putin know that he faces a united front of Mr. Trump and his fellow NATO leaders, with whom he would have met days before the summit in Helsinki. But Axios reported that during the meeting in Quebec, Mr. Trump said, “NATO is as bad as Nafta,” the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is one of Mr. Trump’s favorite boogeymen.

Certainly the president would mention that even the people he appointed to run America’s intelligence services believe unequivocally that Mr. Putin interfered in the 2016 election to put him in office and is continuing to undermine American democracy. Right? But on Thursday morning, Mr. Trump tweeted, “Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!”

More likely, Mr. Trump will congratulate Mr. Putin, once again, for winning another term in a sham election, as he did in March, even though his aides explicitly warned him not to. And he has already proposed readmitting Russia to the Group of 7, from which it was ousted after the Ukraine invasion.

Summits once tended to be carefully scripted, and presidents were attended by senior advisers and American interpreters. At dinner during a Group of 20 meeting last July, Mr. Trump walked over to Mr. Putin and had a casual conversation with no other American representative present. He later said they discussed adoptions – the same issue that he falsely claimed was the subject of a meeting at Trump Tower in 2016 between his representatives and Russian operatives who said they had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

It’s clear that Mr. Trump isn’t a conventional president, but instead one intent on eroding institutions that undergird democracy and peace. Mr. Trump “doesn’t believe that the U.S. should be part of any alliance at all” and believes that “permanent destabilization creates American advantage,” according to unnamed administration officials quoted by Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic.

Such thinking goes further than most Americans have been led to believe were Mr. Trump’s views on issues central to allied security. He has often given grudging lip service to supporting NATO, even while complaining frequently about allies’ military spending and unfair trade policies.

The tensions Mr. Trump has sharpened with our allies should please Mr. Putin, whose goal is to fracture the West and assert Russian influence in places where the Americans and Europeans have played big roles, like the Middle East, the Balkans and the Baltic States.

Yet despite growing anxieties among European allies, Mr. Trump is relying on his advisers less than ever because, “He now thinks he’s mastered this,” one senior member of Congress said in an interview. That’s a chilling thought given his inability, so far, to show serious progress on any major security issue. Despite Mr. Trump’s talk of quick denuclearization after his headline-grabbing meeting with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, experts say satellite imagery shows the North is actually improving its nuclear capability.

While the White House hasn’t disclosed an agenda for the Putin meeting, there’s a lot the two leaders should be discussing, starting with Russian cyberintrusions. Mr. Trump, though, has implied that Mr. Putin could help the United States guard against election hacking. And although Congress last year mandated sweeping sanctions against Russia to deter such behavior, Mr. Trump has failed to implement many of them.

In a similar vein, should Mr. Trump agree to unilaterally lift sanctions imposed after Moscow invaded Ukraine and started a war, it would further upset alliance members, which joined the United States in imposing sanctions at some cost to themselves. Moreover, what would deter Mr. Putin from pursuing future land grabs?

Mr. Trump could compound that by canceling military exercises, as he did with South Korea after the meeting with Mr. Kim, and by withdrawing American troops that are intended to keep Russia from aggressive action in the Baltics.

Another fraught topic is Syria. Mr. Trump has signaled his desire to withdraw American troops from Syria, a move that would leave the country more firmly in the hands of President Bashar al-Assad and his two allies, Russia and Iran. Russia, in particular, is calling the shots on the battlefield and in drafting a political settlement that could end the fighting, presumably after opposition forces are routed.

What progress could be made at this summit, then? Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin may find it easier to cooperate in preventing a new nuclear arms race by extending New Start, a treaty limiting strategic nuclear weapons that expires in 2021.

Another priority: bringing Russia back into compliance with the I.N.F. treaty, which eliminated all U.S. and Soviet ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, until Russia tested and deployed a prohibited cruise missile.

Mr. Trump’s top national security advisers are more cleareyed about the Russian threat than he is. So are the Republicans who control the Senate. They have more responsibility than ever to try to persuade Mr. Trump that the country’s security is at stake when he meets Mr. Putin, and that he should prepare carefully for the encounter.

Russia and Iran Prepare To Retaliate for the Attack on Syria (TruNews Radio)

The Rape of Russia (Saker blog exclusive interview)

by Lars Schall for the Saker blog

Introduction by Pepe Escobar:

William Engdahl is one of the world’s top geopolitical analysts. His books – from Century of War to Full Spectrum Dominance – are absolutely essential to understand how the self-described exceptional nation created and expanded its global hegemony tentacles.

A measure of his influence is that as much as Engdahl may be dismissed or derided across the Beltway, the usual suspects do read him – and are incapable of finding conclusive arguments to prove him wrong.

This extensive interview by financial journalist Lars Schall is largely centered on Chapter 3 – The Rape of Russia – of Engdahl’s new book Manifest Destiny: Democracy as Cognitive Dissonance.

Here you will find all you need to know about the genesis of the 1990s Russian oligarchs; the dirty deals of the Yeltsin mafia; everything from the plunder of Soviet gold to the dodgy operations of the elder Bush’s brother; the incredible Yamashita gold story; the “privatization coupon” scam; the way the Harvard mafia run the Russian economy – all the way to Putin’s uphill battle throughout the 2000s to turn Russia into a functioning economy as NATO kept marching east.

As Engdahl notes, if we don’t understand what happened in Russia in the 1990s it’s absolutely impossible to contextualize the neocons and US Think Tankland’s deep hatred and 24/7 demonization campaign of Putin’s Russia.

So sit back, relax, enjoy the crash course and keep it as an essential reference you will find nowhere else.

The Rape of Russia (full transcript)

Lars Schall: Hello ladies and gentlemen. I am now connected with F. William Engdahl, who has written a new book, Manifest Destiny: Democracy as Cognitive Dissonance. Hi William.

F. William Engdahl: Hello, Lars. Good to be with you again.

LS: Great to have you with us. And first off, let me read something to you and our audience that was written by the economist Dean Baker earlier this month.

As a long-term columnist at the NYT, Thomas Friedman apparently never feels the need to know anything about the topics on which he writes. This explains his sarcastic speculation that Putin could be a CIA agent since he has done so much to hurt Russia.

For all his authoritarian tendencies, it is likely that most Russians think primarily about Putin’s impact on the economy, just as is typically the case among voters in the United States. On that front, Putin has a very good record.

According to data from the IMF Russia’s economy had plunged in the 1990s under the Yeltsin presidency. When Putin took over in 1998, per capita income in the country had shrunk by more than 40 percent from its 1990 level. This is a far sharper downturn than the United States saw in the Great Depression. Since Putin took power its per capita income has risen by more than 115 percent, an average annual growth rate of more than 3.9 percent.

While this growth has been very unequal, that was also the case even as Russia’s economy was collapsing under Yeltsin. The typical Russian has done hugely better in the last two decades under Putin than they did in the period when Yeltsin was in power.

For this reason, there are probably few Russians who would have sympathy for Friedman’s speculation about Putin’s ties to the CIA. The same would not be the case for Boris Yeltsin.

Now, I think this is a good starting point for our discussion William because in your book, you have a chapter entitled The Rape of Russia, the CIA’s Yeltsin Coup d’état. Why do you talk about rape related to Russia?

FWE: What the US Government under George Herbert Walker Bush, Bush Senior organised together with CIA, old boy networks of his, in terms of the breaking up of the Soviet Union and the looting of the assets, this open theft, the destruction of pensions, security, the health system and everything. The only appropriate word is the rape of Russia. They just pondered anything that they could.

And what you just read from Mr. Friedman is of course horse rubbish but the real CIA asset of this whole collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s was in fact Boris Yeltsin and the so called Yeltsin Family, the Yeltsin Mafia. And in my book, the Manifest Destiny book I document and detail at great lengths the relation of a handful of KGB very, very senior persons who worked with the Bush Senior old boys CIA networks in the West and their banks to create a group of oligarchs around Yeltsin, you know the famous Russian oligarchs, well, The New York Times and other Western Media portrayed them as Russian Mafia. They were kind of mafia but the real point was that they were a CIA-run mafia. They were run by the West. They betrayed their own country, their own people and literally stole billions and billions and billions of dollars of assets. And that’s the reason for the title in that chapter.

LS: And Boris Yeltsin was very essential for this.

FWE: He was the key figure. He had been selected as a regional governor and brought into Moscow and a certain point Gorbachev saw him as a rising star and someone that could help with a little bit more liberal image as [unclear] was – the Russian economy was running into serious trouble in the ‘80s, the Star Wars of Reagan, the Nicaragua and above all the war in Afghanistan which is a CIA project with the Mujahideen, that took 10 years long that was bleeding the Soviet economy, the Soviet Union’s Vietnam, as Brzezinski used to call it.

And the West, the Bush networks recruited a handful of KGB agents around Yeltsin who literally promoted Yeltsin to the top when they engineered the August 1991 fake coup. You remember, I’m sure many people remember the picture of Boris Yeltsin standing there courageously on top of a Soviet tank in front of the Russian White House or Soviet House, the Supreme Soviet building and reading a speech defying Gorbachev and so forth. Well, that was a KGB CIA-engineered coup d’état in June 1991. And through that the – this network, this corrupt network within the KGB that was working with the CIA, working with General Philip, Bob [unclear] is one of them, so called at that time the KGB brain. He was head of the KGB Fifth Directorate controlling to roll this in. And he later joined the [#inaudible 00:06:40-0#] oil and to this day he’s still a member of the State Duma giving him prosecution immunity.

So, some of these people are still around after some 23, 25 years and incredibly enough but others of them have died off, have been killed, or murdered or whatever. But the operation that was done with Yeltsin, this corrupt KGB network working with the CIA financed Yeltsin’s the silent seat of the presidency of the Russian Federation. And once they had their man in controlling the Russian Federation which is the largest of the former Soviet Union, the Socialist Republic, they were able to engineer through the international monetary fund that was mandated to oversee the transformation of the Soviet economy.

They engineered a complete opening up of the assets of the Russian Federation which called today the Russian Federation, the largest part of the former Soviet Union and they made it such that the Russian Federation would assume all of the debts of Ukraine, of Kazakhstan and the other socialist republics of the Soviet and all the assets, all the crucial assets that were within the Russian Federation so the aluminium Rusal that’s in the headlines yesterday, the nickel, the oil, the gas, just hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars’ worth of assets that came into Yeltsin’s control.

LS: But those assets were sold to a price that was rather ridiculous.

FWE: Someone estimated that that gets into the whole coupon privatisation that was set up under Yeltsin in the ‘90s. The coupon privatisation issued one coupon to every single Russian man, woman and child 140 million in total. And the value of those coupons was such someone estimated that the totality of Russian Soviet’s Fed assets or Russian Federation assets now was equal to the value of the stock at that point of General Electric Company on the New York Stock Exchange. I mean that’s just laughable. Russia had financial bankruptcy because the shock therapy, the Jeffrey Sachs and others from Harvard and elsewhere brought in, George Soros and his pals. That created bankrupt companies that couldn’t stand on their own and suddenly they had no, no resources. But the assets, the assets on the ground, the nickel, the aluminium, the uranium that Hillary Clinton knows more than a little bit about them, all of these were estimated to be in the trillions of dollars. And this is what the Bush operation aimed at. And they used NGOs, they used the National Endowment for Democracy, they used, George Soros’ Open Society Foundation and so forth to bring this about.

LS: You’ve mentioned already the coup d’etat attempt of August 1991. Highly important for things to come was something that took place in early 1991 and that was the theft of the Soviet gold. Please tell us about this.

FWE: The, under the Soviet Union, this is a very crucial point about the transition that Washington forced on the Russian Federation because Yeltsin was, I think as long as he was well-supplied with vodka he didn’t protest very much. But under the Soviet system and the Russian Federation took this over, there was a state bank, not a private central bank like the Federal Reserve or the European Central Bank today but a state bank that was an entity of the Russian State apparatus and that was called the Gosbank. And a man named Viktor Gerashchenko was the chairman of Gosbank at the time of Yeltsin’s early start in 1991.

And Gerashchenko made a speech around that time in November of ’91 to the Russian Duma or the parliament such as it was and said, “I have to report to you ladies and gentlemen that of perhaps 3,000 tons of Gosbank state-owned gold reserves, we have an estimated less than 400 tons that we can account for.” And then he had to go to tell, shock members of parliament that he had no idea what happened to the missing gold, which of course was a lie. And Gerashchenko had created right after 1989 to prepare this coup d’etat coup, which was the CIA and Bush’s old boys, he had created something called [unclear] on the Channel Islands in the Island of Jersey to handle the Russian foreign currency reserves.

And the Jersey was exempt from European supervision, so this was a perfect place to hide money, dirty money or stolen money and they managed something like $37 billion between 1993 and 1998. The Gerashchenko and the Gosbank even went to the lengths of hiring a New York Financial Detective firm called the Financial CIA back then called Jules Kroll Associate. And they were told to track the Soviet gold, find out what happened to it and something like $14 billion of communist party assets that were missing as well. And the Cruel which was tied with the CIA linked AIG Insurance Group Hank Greenberg whom you remember from the 2008 to the bail out of Henry Paulson.

LS: Yes.

FEW: The Kroll Associates after a few months announced that they had no results in the attempt to find the missing Soviet Gosbank gold. Then to add insult to injury, the IMF came in and rewrote the constitution of the Russian Federation under Yeltsin and took the power of money creation just like the Federal Reserve took the power of money creation from the congress in 1913. They took the power of money creation from the state and created the Russian Federation Central Bank, the Russian Central Bank and gave it a mandate for two things. One, to control inflation and the other to create currency stability.

Now, in Russia that day that meant stability of the ruble against the US dollar. So it effectively hammer-locked the Russian money creation into the US dollar. And unfortunately that constitution amendment holds until the present day. It’s one of the difficulties that Vladimir Putin has been having to try to persuade the Independent Central Bank to lower interest rates more rapidly as inflation is simply managed as a problem in Russia in the last two years.

So, they looted the gold so that there would be no stability to the ruble. If you don’t have any gold-backing, then western investors are going to lack confidence which is sort of what happened. And then they began working with very select western bankers to get their money out of Russia.

LS: And instrumental to get money out of Russia were Valmet and Riggs. Can you tell us please about some crucial personnel that was employed there at Valmet and Riggs?

FWE: Valmet Riggs was kind of a fusion of a Swiss bank and Riggs Bank of Washington D. C. And Riggs Bank, this is really quite a fascinating and very little discussed aspect of the reign of Russia back in the ‘90s.

So you have something called Riggs Bank in Washington and they were set up decades earlier since the 1960s CIA Bay of Pigs operation, they were known as the CIA tied bank. They invested the assets of people like Marcos of the Philippines until when he was close to the CIA. And there was a former NATO Ambassador named Alton Keel and in 1989 when the Soviet KGB generals and they had a group of protégés called the ‘Kids’ by George Bush Senior. The protégés were in their 30s and a couple of them were in their 40s but rather young. And they were the ones who were nominated to become the oligarchs, the frontal men for taking these state assets the aluminium, the oil assets and other things and looting the Russian Federation.

And Alton Keel just as the Russians were setting up men at a bank for the oligarchs to funnel their stolen assets, de facto stolen assets, Keel went from NATO and the National Security Council to become a head of international banking of Riggs Bank in Washington and its deputy chairman.

Now, it gets even more interesting because the international banking group of Riggs included a new entity that had been created called Riggs Valmet SA in Switzerland, and Riggs Valmet was set up by a man named Jonathan J. Bush, a private banker, who just happened to be the brother of George Herbert Walker Bush. So, Bush brother and Alton Keel set up Riggs Valmet, there was a money laundering apparatus in Geneva and Riggs then through their help bought the major share in Geneva Valmet to create Riggs Valmet.

So, you have the brother of the president of the United States up to his eyeballs in this whole Yeltsin CIA money laundering operation. And then Jonathan Bush was created CEO of something called Riggs Investment in Connecticut where he lived and at that point the looting and taking of the dollar assets out of Russia was just unstoppable. It was in the billions and tens of billions of dollars.

LS: William, there is one guy who was working closely with those people and he was working on Wall Street but later on he was personally recruited by George Tenet then the Director of CIA to become the number three at the CIA, and this is Alvin Bernard “Buzzy” Krongard.

FWE: Yes. We meet “Buzzy” Krongard at Bankers Trust, which bought up Alex Brown, and Krongard became vice chairman of Bankers Trust along with another charming character named Carter Beese. And at the time of the 1998 collapse of the ruble, Krongard was formally made, as you’ve pointed out, number three, the executive director at the CIA under George Tenet. So, it’s a CIA network from beginning to end, from the banking side to you know the direct CIA side. You have Carter Beast, you have “Buzzy” Krongard, Jonathan Bush and Alton Keel and they were the ones working with Valmet as the Riggs Valmet Bank in Geneva to pull this money out through shell companies.

And the oligarchs, this is an interesting part of this whole thing that you know right now Theresa May and the foreign secretary Boris Johnson in the UK are accusing Putin of murdering almost everybody since the birth of Jesus Christ. And one of them was the person who had been the trusted bodyguard of one of the oligarchs living in London Boris Berezovsky.

And Berezovsky was one of the dirtiest of these oligarchs. He’d financed the Ukrainian Colour Revolution back in 2003, 2004 as a revenge against Putin because he at first thought Putin could be bought like Yeltsin and suddenly he realized that he was up against the faction of nationalists within of what had been the KGB but wanted to stabilise and preserve Russia as a functioning nation today. And so Mikhail Khodorkovskyi, Roman Abramovich, who is listed on the sactios list yesterday, and Berezovsky were some of the leading oligarchs that were created by this Bush operation.

LS: And to jumpstart all of this, we have to talk about something that is well, that is stranger than fiction and that is something called for example “Yamashita’s Gold”. If our audience is interested in this, they could for example look for an article written by Chalmers Johnson, the famous Asian expert, The Looting of Asia, which was published at the London Review of Books on the 20th of November of 2003 because then they can find something on this topic of Yamashita’s gold on an instant basis in the internet ( https://www.lrb.co.uk/v25/n22/chalmers-johnson/the-looting-of-asia). I think this is just fair…

FWE: Yeah.

LS: …because no one really is aware of this whole story. Please tell us about this.

FWE: The Yamashita Gold story is one of the, as you’ve said really incredible stories of post-World War II. During the Second World War, the Japanese Imperial Family looted the gold of occupied Arch of China, they looted the gold of all the parts of Asia that they had conquered.

LS: Basically from 1895 to 1945.

FWE: Yeah, yeah. And because they had no guarantee that Japan was going to win the war, the emperor ordered the gold to be hidden away in, mostly in the Philippines as far as we know and literally untold tons of gold were buried so deep underground in tunnels around the Philippines and the people who dug the tunnels in many cases were later shot you know so that they couldn’t tell. But Marcos who was a CIA asset initially, the dictator of the Philippines through much of the ‘70s and into the ‘80s, yeah through the ’70, Ferdinand Marcos somehow came upon some of this gold. So, the Japanese looted war body was buried in the early ‘40s before the end of the war on orders of Emperor Hirohito should they lose the war.

And at some point in the 1970s, Marcos discovered some of the sites where Hirohito’s soldiers had buried the gold and the gold was stolen from China, Korea, Philippines, Indonesia and other countries occupied by the Japanese forces. And Marcos, and I think this is the major reason the CIA dumped him, got a little bit greedy and took that gold and started selling it under the market through selective secret Swiss banks. But he used the CIA asset, the Saudi billionaire named Adnan Khashoggi to help them get the gold under the market. And what he didn’t realise was that Khashoggi would double cross him. He got a better deal from Bush Senior and the old boys.

LS: We have to say Khashoggi is a figure who is involved for example in B.C.C.I. and in Iran-Contra.

FWE: Back in the ‘70s he was involved in everything dirty that Bush and the CIA were involved in. B.C.C.I. Bank, the money laundering bank of the CIA, the arms deals, Khashoggi was a huge arms dealer during the Iran and Iraq war the CIA was feeding. He was involved in almost every dirty thing the CIA was doing.

LS: He was aware of this gold.

FWE: Supposedly he was helping Marcos to sell the gold out of the market. So he was not only aware of it, he was right in the middle of it. But then once Marcos was tackled by the CIA Bush got rid of Marcos in 1986. Then someone named Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Armitage and Khashoggi began to work with someone in Canada to create something called – Peter Munk was his name, a rather dubious businessman there – to found something called Barrick Gold of Canada and later it went on to become the world’s largest gold mining company.

But Barrick Gold, all available evidence is that buried gold was used to melt down the – I don’t want to get too much into the details of this but basically to melt down the Emperor Hirohito’s gold that had been discovered by Marcos in the Philippines, to melt it down and use that as collateral for derivatives that would be the collateral used to take over the Russian Federation assets.

LS: The money was basically transformed into bank loans into Russia so that the would-become oligarch people could buy up those assets…

FWE: Yes, exactly. So, Yegor Gaidar, the economic privatisation adviser of Yeltsin and his sidekick Anatoly Chubais privatisation had kind of guided this whole process together with Jeffrey Sachs and a group from Harvard University. #00:28:37-8#

LS: Yeah. Let us talk about this. This is known as Harvard Shock Therapy.

FEW: Well, the Jeffrey Sachs Shock Therapy, but the Harvard shock therapy is… – well, what happened, the next phase of this incredible story and it’s important to keep all this in mind, this is one reason that I wrote the book because of what was clear after the CIA coup d’etat of 2014 in Ukraine and all the sanctions against Putin’s Russia and so forth, that if you don’t understand what really happened in the ‘90s, the deep-seated hatred there is on these neoconservatives around Washington and their think tanks as well as, the US political establishment for Putin’s Russia and the nationalism behind group Russia. You can’t make much sense out of what’s going on today with all these incredible lies and accusations against Russia for every crime under the book.

So, what happened is the, as I mentioned the IMF, the International Monetary Fund which had done a beautiful job for Washington in terms of, and George Soros and others in terms of looting the assets of the dead economies of Latin America, Yugoslavia, Poland and others during the oil crisis in the 1970s. The IMF was used and a group of economists around Jeffrey Sachs, a young professor at Harvard University then to impose what Sachs called shock therapy.

And the idea was that Sachs convinced Yeltsin, let prices rise through western market prices and this will increase the supply of goods, you know the stores had a paucity of goods back in the Soviet Times and get rid of trade barriers so foreign commodities could flow in to fill the shelves of Russian stores. The problem was that was a lie. The shops had been full. Okay, you could say it wasn’t Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and Fried Perdue Chickens or whatever, but they were full of Russian food products until November of ’91 when Yeltsin announced that the exact date on December 31st of 1991, that price controls would be suddenly lifted. So, shop owners immediately hid their goods and waited for December 31st. So, suddenly the shops were empty and rationing was imposed and so forth. It’s just unbelievable.

So, into this, this was Jeffrey Sachs on shock therapy and a group of Harvard University under the auspices of the Harvard Institute for International Development, a group of, among other things later documented CIA agents set up shop in Moscow and worked with Yeltsin’s economic team Gaidar and Yegor Gaidar and Anatoly Chubais and themselves got in on the thunder the Russian East Harvard economist working. Now we have a transition in ’93 through the Clinton Administration and there former Harvard professor and former World Bank Chief Economist Lawrence Summers became the deputy secretary of treasury responsible for the looting of Russia, effective and responsible for the gold economic transition in the Russian Federation.

And all of the key actors were named by Summers and they were all involved in the privatisation of Russia. They were all from this Harvard Mafia. For example of David Lipton, a former consulting partner of the Jeffrey Sachs, became deputy assistant secretary of treasure for former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and Sachs himself was named Director of Harvard HIID that oversaw the looting of Russia through the voucher privatisation and so forth. And they got grants from the USAID, AID works very closely with the CIA in different parts of the world, this is documented. And so it was really a tight-knit cabal around Lawrence Summers that oversaw this complete theft through these pieces of paper called privatisation coupons.

And what you had was the economic situation under Yeltsin had become so severe I mean people literally they had no jobs because of the freeing up of prices, they could afford to buy little or nothing. So, most people, millions of Russians sold their privatisation vouchers on the street corners to the highest bidder. And of course the would-be oligarchs were the ones with hard currency dollars that they could buy these things up as you pointed out earlier when we talked about them. So, they had credits from their friends in the West, the Riggs Valmet and so forth to buy up these vouchers and therefore they were able when the cost came up, were able to simply steal the property titles, the ownership titles of some of the most valuable investor assets and mineral assets in the world.

LS: And we can talk about this as a classical case of leveraged buyout – even though it was a covered leveraged buyout, if it was?

FEW: Well, you could call it a leveraged buyout. I know Anne Williamson has used that term, the earlier descriptions of it. I think it was simply legalised theft, leveraged buyout gives it too much dignity. That was a term that was quite popular in the financial world back in the ‘80s and the early ‘90s. But whatever name you want to give it, it was certainly not a conventional leveraged buyout, it was bizarre in every sense of the word.

LS: An influential figure in this was mentioned by you already, George Soros. And in 1994, as you point out in your book, he was described with the following words from The Guardian in London, “Soros extraordinary role not only as the world’s most successful investor but now possibly fantastically as the senior most powerful foreign influence in the whole of the former Soviet Empire, it tricks more suspicion than curiosity.” What was he doing back then in Russia?

FWE: Soros was very intermittently tied with Jeffrey Sachs and the whole Harvard to become a shock therapy group and working with Lawrence Summers team at the US Treasury under Clinton. And in 1993 already the opposition inside what was left of Russia when the old communist party was in the Duma and so forth and the population generally was such that the opposition threatened to get out of hand and Yeltsin was forced to agree to hold a national referendum on the entire privatisation. So, this was in April of ’93 and the referendum that was given to the population had four questions, yes or no. Do you support Yeltsin? Yes or no? Do you support Yeltsin’s economic policy? Yes or no? Do you want early election for president? Yes or no? And do you want early elections for parliament? Yes or no?

So, Chubais was as an adviser to Yeltsin at that time and the key person on the economy arranged the secret meeting with George Soros. And Soros agreed to finance of course on behalf of Yeltsin, the referendum campaign. So he funnelled money over a million dollars by some accounts to offshore accounts set up to be used by Chubais to buy media. And so the media campaign and by this time most of the national media had been bought up by the oligarchs around Yeltsin so they were able to exercise undue influence. So they barely squeak through and got a yes to the privatisation scheme that Harvard, Jeffrey Sachs and George Soros and others had going on. And then of course Soros’ company himself benefitted enormously from this privatisation just a little bit later when the auctions took place.

LS: A figure that connects yesterday with today is Vladimir Putin who came to international attention first in 1998, the same year when the ruble crisis took place.

FWE: This was 1999 and in August ’98 you had the collapse of the ruble. This was part of the Bush “Operation Hammer’s” original design. You had a huge scam going on in the GKO Russian Bond market where the interest rates were just unbelievably high. So, you had all sorts of hot money coming in, making profits and pulling it up including Soros Fund, quantum fund and so forth.

And finally, Yeltsin was getting near the end of his ability to hold this thing together. And he appointed in August ’99, he appointed a young former KGB officer who had been in prison during the Cold War in East Germany named Vladimir Putin. And briefly Putin had been a deputy mayor in St. Petersburg and briefly had been the head of the successor to the KGB called FSB and the oligarchs around Putin, I’ve heard various Russian accounts have had this happen but Berezovsky, Brzezinski and other, the Yeltsin oligarchs thought they could take this young guy Putin and do business with him and you know that he was young and had no political base.

So, at that point Putin gave the ultimatum to Yeltsin, resign or face serious consequences and it turned out that Putin which has later been confirmed was the spokesperson for a nationalist faction within the intelligence community, a patriotic faction, call it what you want but Russian nationalist. And so Yeltsin was told, “If you resign and just get out of politics, we’ll leave you alone.” So he took the offer and ran. And before he did that he named Vladimir Putin as acting president until elections in March the following year.

So, Putin then came into power and called a meeting as it were of the most powerful oligarchs who had made staggering fortunes at the expense of Russia and he called them creators of a corrupt state through insider dealings and began criminal prosecution against oligarchs like Vladimir Gusinsky and Media-Most, a financial group led by Vladimir Potanin who is in the newspaper today and soon left an oil company controlled by a Roman Abramovich and Boris Berezovsky. So, at that point Putin began the uphill battle of trying to stabilise Russia as a functioning economy. And the recent re-election of Putin indicates that the Russian people by and large support that effort of Putin’s.

LS: Meanwhile he also had to react to something new that was taking place then and that was NATO was marching east.

FWE: The negotiations and this is, has been confirmed by former US Ambassador to Russia Jack Matlock and that was the negotiations between the Bush administration in 1991 Germany and Gorbachev included a solemn guarantee as Jack Matlock, Ambassador Matlock who was in Moscow in ’87 until ’91 in this period. He said that we gave a categorical assurance to Gorbachev when the Soviet Union still existed that if United Germany was able to stay in NATO, NATO would not move eastward. So, of course that pledge like so many pledges of Washington under Bush successor governance was honoured in the breach and the newly created National Endowment for Democracy that I write about quite a bit in the Manifest Destiny.

You had, Vin Weber was the chairman of the NED at that time and he took US taxpayer money through the NED to supposedly bring democracy into former communist states. Then Weber was also a member of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), the neocon think tank which really shaped the personnel of George W. Bush in the year 2000 and 2001. And Vin Weber was also a lobbyist for the largest military industrial conglomerate of the US Lockheed Martin.

So, he was instrumental together with another military industrial Lockheed Martin, former Vice President for Strategy named Bruce Jackson, Bruce P. Jackson to promote back democracy in former communist countries including Russia. And they started the process of expanding NATO to the east in strict violation of the pledges that had been given back in the early ‘90s. So, by 2003, they had begun this whole expansion of NATO into Poland, into Hungary, all the former communist countries.

LS: And the countries at the Baltic Sea.

FWE: So, at the Baltic Sea right on the doorstep of the Russian Federation, and Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and so forth. And you began to see a very definite NATO encirclement of Russia. And then in 2003-2004, the National Endowment for Democracy, George Soros’ Foundation, the whole arm of the fake democracy NGOs of Washington, began to create the so called Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and also the Rose Revolution in Georgia next door. And if you look at a map, if you bring a pro NATO government into power in Ukraine, this they did under Viktor Gerashchenko in 2004, then you’re presenting a pretty formidable military threat to the national security of Russia.

Now, at that time 2003, Russia was in no shape to do much more than feebly protest as loud as they could but of course they were ignored. Then you had something quite dramatic in 2006, the end of 2006. The George W. Bush administration Donald Rumsfeld was Secretary of Defence back then announced that they were installing ballistic missile defence now I’ll get to that in a minute but it’s anything but defensive. In Poland, in the Czech Republic and that those anti-missile defence installations which included missiles would be aimed at a rogue nuclear attack from Iran.

In early 2007, Vladimir Putin personally came as president of Russia Federation to the Munich Security Conference, the International Security Conference held here in Munich Germany and gave a speech which really defines the security position of Russia right up to the present date. He said of course this is not aimed at Iran or North Korea as Washington says. That’s a lie. It’s like taking your right arm to scratch your left ear we say in Russian. It’s aimed at Russia. And we consider this intolerable as a threat to our national security and we will be forced to respond.

LS: And it is aimed at Russia as a first strike possibility.

FWE: Yeah. Well, the point about the missile defence is I – in connection with the book, I interviewed, in an earlier book I wrote, I interviewed Colonel Robert Bowman who had been briefly the head of Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars or missile defence programme. And became a very, very severe critic of the Bush administration’s reckless policies withdrawing from the antiballistic missile ABM Treaty and so forth, said that missile defence is the missing link to Nuclear Primacy. First strike capability.

And that’s something that Pentagon planners had been opting for since the 1950s. And he said, “If you can block the counterattack from your opponent and you then have this possibility to make a first strike and wipe them out because they can’t simultaneously fire an effective counterstrike.” So, that in a nutshell destroys the whole cold war doctrine of mutual and sure destruction that kept nuclear options off the table up until that time. And the Russians understand military strategy rather well I would say. And said, “This is simply intolerable. We have to respond and we will respond but in our own way and you will see.”

LS: And the Russians have reacted.

B: The Russians have reacted, and if we can go for a minute up until the present…

LS: Please…

FEW: On March 1st Putin gave an address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow televised to the nation. The beginning part of the speech, his annual speech there, was about the Russian economy and plans for the future. This was shortly before the Russian elections that overwhelmingly gave him a new term. But the crucial part of that speech to the Federal Assembly was Russia’s military technologies and this is as he put it. He referred to that 2007 speech in Munich and he said, “We said at that time that Russia would have to reply and since the expansion of NATO to the east which really to be honest that’s – see there is no reason after 1991 or certainly after 2000 for the existence of NATO other than the reason given when NATO was created by the first secretary general of NATO to keep the Russians out the Germans down and the Americans in.”

But Putin’s speech talked about nuclear primacy and the Russian response and he outlined the military are the developments that they had quietly brought online since Washington tore up, unilaterally tore up the ABM Treaty in 2002/2003. So he outlined an awesome array of missiles, hypersonic low flying stealth missiles carrying nuclear warheads, unpredictable trajectories, invisible against perspective missile defence and air defence systems, unmanned submersible vehicles to great depth that could go many times higher than the speed of submarines cutting edge torpedoes just and commentators in the West like CNN. They said, “Oh, this is just bluff and so forth.”

People who know Russian military technology and the intensity of the kind of research and development that’s focused on defending the nation confirm that this is no joke. Hypersonic aircraft five times the speed of sound, that’s hypersonic and they have something called the [unclear] which goes 10 times mark 10 and as Putin described it, “This missile flying 10 times faster than sound can manoeuvre in all phases of the flight trajectory, overcome all prospective and aircraft county missile defences in a range of 2000 kilometres.”

He outlined about six or seven of these I would call them not even cutting edge, bleeding edge military technology and as The Saker commented in his blogpost after the speech, it’s indeed set marching game over for the empire. There’s no more military option against Russia.

This all is to make a point that the entire history up until now, these fake accusations of Putin would have an interest or Russia would have an interest to meddle with the US elections when you have a choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to accuse Putin and Russia of international violations of law by allowing a referendum to take place in Crimea after the CIA coup d’etat in Kiev and now it’s come out from actual mercenary snipers that were brought in from Georgia under [#inaudible 00:55:08-0#] umbrella that they were paid by the CIA or promised to be paid by cut outs to the CIA to create the Maidan Square February 2014 chaos that led to the collapse of the government and the coup d’etat.

So, you know, this is not Russia is the arch Evel Knievel looking for a fight every corner of the world. It’s not Russia doing bad things in Syria. It’s Russia trying to stop a NATO and Saudi and other embedded destruction of the Middle East and create some kind of peace and stability. And anyone modest to take the slightest bit of care and follow this, they can read a running commentary on my website williamengdahl.com but not only there, it’s all over the place. You realise that the fake media is the media that dominates and is guided by NATO public relations strategy in the West and it’s not the so called critical media that’s being sanctioned and censored right now.

LS: Let’s talk further about the present, William, by closing one circle of our interview. As we’ve discussed the Russian gold vaults were empty since the early 1990s. This has changed since basically the financial crisis broke out in 2007, 2008, 2009. Since then the Russian Central Bank is buying gold like basically no other nation in a very rapid tempo.

FWE: Since the financial crisis and especially since the opposition of sanctions after the annexation of Crimea in 2014, it’s been the policy of the Russian Central Bank and the Russian Federation to buy as much gold for reserves of the ruble as they can get their hands on. And they are now I think number five or number six in the world in terms of gold reserves and correct me if I’m wrong but just slightly behind the people’s republic of China which has also been vigorously adding gold towards Central Bank reserves for the yuan.

So, what Russia is doing is creating a buffer gold, by the way in my view has never ceased being an object of value to stand behind currencies. If you have currencies like the dollar after all this 1971 when Nixon took the dollar off the bread and wood, gold exchange [unclear], then if you have a military you might or manipulate the oil price petrodollar and so forth, you can create money if you have the reserve currency you can create money without them. So what the Russia is doing is creating a security in terms of its currency and now that security is probably going to be tested by the economic warfare division of the US Treasury in these new sanctions.

But Russia is merging together with China. Interestingly enough after 2014 when the CIA coup d’etat Ukraine took place, Putin responded not by getting bogged down in the destructive war inside the Eastern Ukraine but he responded by turning east, strengthening his relationships with China, with the new president of China then Xi Jinping bringing the Asian economic Union which Russia is the leading economy in, together with Belarus and Kazakhstan, Armenia and others, bringing that in a coherence with Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative One Belt, One Road to link the infrastructure, the energy pipelines, the high-speed rail networks, the deep water ports and so forth to create a Eurasian, some people call it the land bridge but it’s an economic space in Eurasia that would have the majority of the world’s population, would have every raw material resource that the world needs including rare earth metals that China is world’s leading supplier of at the moment.

And Russia has vast oil and gas reserves and military technology, civilian technology, an educated labour force that is probably one of the finest in the world and scientific country and so forth. And independent of the bankrupt economies of Britain and the United States and very rapidly of the European Union where this banking crisis has, since the crisis of 2008 has just been swept under the rug but it’s ready to explode on a moment’s notice. So, you have a depth loaded western NATO world. Let’s call it a NATO world, a world of the NATO member countries and you have Russia together, which by the way, Russia has unbelievably small…

LS: Debt.

FWE: National debt.

LS: Yes.

FWE: Something like 13 to 17% of the gross domestic product.

LS: And now they have this huge stock of gold relative to very little sovereign debt. It’s almost ideal.

FWE: Yes, and that’s by design. That is by Putin’s intention to create this independence. And one thing, I am very often in Russia, have a very, very dear special friends in Russia over the years, the first time I was there was 1994. That was a vastly different, that was in the middle of the Yeltsin and the insanity. The Russians are very not only proud people but they are very determined and they protect their existence and have done that I would say for well over 1000 years going back to the great schism between the Western church in Rome and the Eastern Church in 1054. I think that was a pivotal date in modern history, the division there.

But certainly the Russians have gone through two World Wars and the rape of Russia under Yeltsin, unbelievable trials and tribulations and they are not shying away from defending their existence. That’s something I think the west or certainly Washington with these neocons really doesn’t have a sense of.

LS: One thing that I would like to ask you about as my final question is the following. You are a renowned expert for the geopolitics and the history of oil. And since this month we have a future’s contract in Shanghai, denominated in yuan for oil and we also hear that the Chinese are planning to price oil that they import in yuan which is safe for this buying of oil internationally via yuan, Russia would be the candidate number one as the exporter?

FWE: Definitely. Most definitely and Russia and China are connecting their financial markets ever closer. The Russian government is the in the process sometime this year of issuing Russian bonds denominated new Chinese yuan. The announcing of the petrol yuan, the oil futures contracts being sold in Shanghai, ultimately it won’t happen overnight but it’s certainly off to a positive start in the marketing acceptance. That has the basis for taking oil sales.

Let’s step back a moment to the 1970s and I document this at length in two of my books, Myths, Lies and Oil Wars and A Century of War. In the early 1970s when Nixon took the dollar off of gold, the dollar relative to the German mark and the Japanese yen dropped like a stone, something like 40% over a period of five or six months. And in order to stop that because the New York Banks were hurting quite a bit from that, there was a oil price shock that was orchestrated. I won’t go into the details it’s documented quite extensively in those two books of mine.

LS: And Sheikh Yamani had said something about this, too.

FWE: Yes. He invited me after reading my book to his annual energy retreat in London in 2000, September 2000. And then called me to a private dinner discussion at his home outside of London to talk about what I wrote about in the book. And he later went on CNN on an interview and mentioned my book by name. In the written transcript it’s in there and in the television version they spliced it out so that you couldn’t realise that it’d been in there. But Sheikh Yamani told me you are the first journalist or the first person outside of myself that writes correctly what happened with that oil shock. And that was manipulated by among others Henry Kissinger, the Secretary of State and by a group in the Atlantic establishment called the Bilderberg meeting in Saltsjöbaden, Sweden back in May of that period before the Yom Kippur War.

In any case, the US circles around Rockefeller, who at that point was the chairman of the board of USA Incorporated, I would say. They had engineered a 400% price rise in oil and to make sure that Germany and Japan and other countries wouldn’t make deals to buy oil in German mark but keep the dollar demand high and the dollar value high. They send a delegation from the US Treasury to sign an agreement with the Saudi Arabian monetary agency for a new relationship taking surplus Saudi petrodollars or OPEC petrodollars and buying US government debt.

LS: Yeah, and outside of the normal auction to privileged conditions.

FWE: Yes. In return, Washington agreed to give the Saudis tens and billions of dollars of defence equipment.

LS: Yeah, and Saudi Arabia would use its status as a swing producer in OPEC that it would only accept dollars as a pricing for oil.

FEW: And the quid pro quo was after 1975, this was formalised that Saudis would as swing producer in OPEC guarantee that OPEC sold its oil only in dollars and that held up until the time of Saddam Hussein during the sanctions shortly before the US invasion and Saddam Hussein began buying oil through a French bank denominated in Euros and not in dollars.

LS: And he made a plus, he made a net plus because he did sell his oil in Euro.

FWE: Yeah, yeah. And so this, what that has done up until the present is prop up the US dollars despite the fact that the internal industrial economy import activity of the United States went down the tubes over the past 40 years since the taking the dollar off of gold and the, putting of English dollars for the world economy. So, the idea than China and Russia would trade in energy and that other economies would begin to sell oil to China, Iran for example is a prime candidate in the petro yuan not in petrodollars, this began slowly like acid drops begins to erode the reserve currency status of the US dollar. And if that goes, it’s end game for the US as a financial global power.

LS: We have to make clear to our audience. The fact that you have to buy oil in dollar makes sure that you need dollar, that you acquire dollar in order to buy oil.

FWE: Yeah.

LS: And so if this mechanism goes, well then the US has a problem because the dollars that are floating around internationally would find their way back into the homeland of the US.

FWE: Well, the other thing is that in order to sell now you have under this wonderful Trumponomics as I call it, you have projections that the US annual government deficit, shortage of tax income from tax outgo, spending outgo will by 2020 exceed one trillion dollars a year for every year as far as the eye can see. And by end of 2020, 2028 I think was figured by the congressional budget office, the US public debt is estimated to be well over $33 trillion, it’s 20 now, 38 maybe, it’s just out of control. So, if the ability of the US dollar to command use in the world economy is severely undermined, you’re going to have to raise interest rates so high to sell this debt and it just becomes dysfunctional.

LS: Yes, but you have already in the last few years interest rates payments on this already existing that of per annum $400 billion.

FWE: Yeah.

LS: And if interest rates go up…

FWE: Yeah and that was under zero interest rates, but now, you know, if they have to put up interest rates to five, six, seven, 8% like it was in the 1980s. the whole thing just blows up sky high.

LS: And so coming back to gold, gold has the advantage relative to bonds or shares or the US dollar or other Fiat currencies that there is no counterparty risk. If you have the gold in physical form, there is no counterparty risk.

FWE: Right.

LS: So would you say that gold will be one of the ultimate winners of the ongoing financial crisis when it goes into full gear?

FWE: Well, it’s documented that J. P. Morgan, Chase and other select banks with this collusion of the Federal Reserve have been artificially depressing the price of gold for years. Every time there’s a new financial crisis, they intervene and keep gold within a very tight range. At a certain point that’s not going to work anymore and then some people estimate to follow the gold markets much more than I do but it could quickly go up to $10,000 an ounce or even beyond that.

Be that as it may, gold as you point out has no counterparty risk and it’s a historic store of value. It’s one of the beautiful commodities out there and it has a special – the other just being special significance economically and historically, the other thing is that China is the number one mining producer of gold in the world today, not South Africa. South Africa has fallen far behind…

LS: Yeah, and Russia is number three.

FWE: Russia is number three.

LS: And a lot of member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation are producers or are buying gold.

FWE: At the rail connections of the circle of the China Belt Road Initiative in part are aiming to go in the areas where there are known gold reserves but no infrastructure during the Soviet era to bring that gold down to market. So, we have an extremely fascinating prospect, not just for China and Russia, for the world really to build up instead of tear down, destroy and burn and bankrupt which is the only policy that Washington seems able to follow these days.

LS: Yeah. To sum it up with a famous Chinese proverb. “May you live in interesting times” – you and all the others.

FWE: We certainly do.

LS: Okay. great. Thank you very much, William, for this interview.

FWE: Thank you, Lars.

The War in Syria was a US Intervention Since “Day 1”

April 15, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – In the aftermath of US-led missile strikes on Syria, the Western media has attempted to continue building the case for “US intervention.”

However, before the first agitators took to the streets in Syria in 2011, the US was already involved.

The New York Times in its 2011 article, “U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings,” would admit (emphasis added):

A number of the groups and individuals directly involved in the revolts and reforms sweeping the region, including the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and grass-roots activists like Entsar Qadhi, a youth leader in Yemen, received training and financing from groups like the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, a nonprofit human rights organization based in Washington, according to interviews in recent weeks and American diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks. 

The work of these groups often provoked tensions between the United States and many Middle Eastern leaders, who frequently complained that their leadership was being undermined, according to the cables. 

The financing of agitators from across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) before the so-called “Arab Spring” was meant to stampede targeted governments from power – paving the way for US client states to form. Nations that resisted faced – first, US-backed militants – and failing that, direct US military intervention – as seen in Libya in 2011.

After the US funded initial unrest in 2011 – the US has armed and funded militants fighting in Syria ever since.

The same NYT would publish a 2013 article titled, “Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A.,” admitting (emphasis added):

With help from the C.I.A., Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters in recent months, expanding a secret airlift of arms and equipment for the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, according to air traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of rebel commanders. 

The airlift, which began on a small scale in early 2012 and continued intermittently through last fall, expanded into a steady and much heavier flow late last year, the data shows. It has grown to include more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and, to a lesser degree, at other Turkish and Jordanian airports.

As the proxy war the US waged against Damascus began to fail, multiple attempts were made to justify direct US military intervention in Syria as the US and its allies did in 2011 against the Libyan government.

This includes repeated attempts to enforce the “responsibility to protect” doctrine, multiple false-flag chemical attacks beginning with the Ghouta incident in 2013 and the emergence of the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) which helped the US justify the deployment of ground troops now currently occupying eastern Syria.

The notion of the US currently “contemplating intervention” in Syria attempts to sidestep the fact that the Syrian conflict itself – from its inception – has been a US intervention.

Long Before “Day 1” 

Even before the most recent attempt at US-led regime change in Syria, the US has pursued campaigns of violent subversion aimed at Syria and its allies.

In 2007, veteran journalist Seymour Hersh would write in his article, “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?,” that (emphasis added):

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

Hersh’s words would become prophetic when, in 2011, the US would begin arming and backing militants – many with overt affiliations to Al Qaeda – in a bid to destabilize Syria and overthrow the government in Damascus.

The article would also lay out preparations that – even in 2007 – were clearly aimed at organizing  for and executing a wider conflict.

Yet, published CIA documents drawn from the US National Archives illustrate how this singular agenda seeking to overthrow the government of Syria stretches back even earlier – by decades.

A 1983 document signed by former CIA officer Graham Fuller titled, “Bringing Real Muscle to Bear Against Syria” (PDF), states (their emphasis):

Syria at present has a hammerlock on US interests both in Lebanon and in the Gulf — through closure of Iraq’s pipeline thereby threatening Iraqi internationalization of the [Iran-Iraq] war. The US should consider sharply escalating the pressures against Assad [Sr.] through covertly orchestrating simultaneous military threats against Syria from three border states hostile to Syria: Iraq, Israel and Turkey. 

The report also states:

If Israel were to increase tensions against Syria simultaneously with an Iraqi initiative, the pressures on Assad would escalate rapidly. A Turkish move would psychologically press him further. 

The document exposes both then and now, the amount of influence the US exerts across the Middle East and North Africa. It also undermines the perceived agency of states including Israel and NATO-member Turkey, revealing their subordination to US interests and that actions taken by these states are often done on behalf of Wall Street and Washington rather than on behalf of their own national interests.

Also mentioned in the document are a variety of manufactured pretexts listed to justify a unilateral military strike on northern Syria by Turkey. The  document explains:

Turkey has considered undertaking a unilateral military strike against terrorist camps in northern Syria and would not hesitate from using menacing diplomatic language against Syria on these issues.

Comparing this signed and dated 1983 US CIA document to more recent US policy papers and revelations of US funding of so-called activists prior to 2011,  reveals not only continuity of agenda – but that attempts to portray the 2011 “uprising” as spontaneous and as merely exploited by the US are disingenuous.

Breaking the Cycle 

The current stalemate in Syria is owed to Russia’s involvement in the conflict. This began in 2013 when Moscow brokered a political deal preventing US military intervention then – and again in 2015 when the Russian military – upon Damascus’ request – built up a presence within the nation. Today, it is the threat of Russian retaliation that has hemmed in US options and plunged American special interests into increasing depths of desperation.

The recent missile strikes by the US and its tentative holdings in eastern Syria reflect geopolitical atrophy amid a conflict that was initially aimed at quickly stampeding the Syrian government from power back in 2011.

Washington’s inability to achieve its objectives leave it in an increasingly desperate position – attempting to reassert itself in the region or face the irreversible decline of its so-called “international order.” However, a desperate hegemon in decline is still dangerous.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

Also Read

1986 CIA Document Analyzes Possibilities Of ‘Regime Change’ in Syria

1986 CIA Document Analyzes Possibilities Of 'Regime Change' in Syria

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 03.04.2018

1986 CIA Document Analyzes Possibilities Of ‘Regime Change’ in Syria

Brandon TURBEVILLE

While the connections between the plans to destroy Syria and the Obama administration are generally known, what is even less well-known is the fact that there existed a plan to destroy Syria as far back as not only the Bush administration but also the Reagan Administration in 1983.

Documents contained in the U.S. National Archives and drawn up by the CIA reveal a plan to destroy the Syrian government going back decades. One such document entitled, “Bringing Real Muscle To Bear In Syria,” written by CIA officer Graham Fuller, is particularly illuminating. In this document, Fuller wrote,

Syria at present has a hammerlock on US interests both in Lebanon and in the Gulf — through closure of Iraq’s pipeline thereby threatening Iraqi internationalization of the [Iran-Iraq] war. The US should consider sharply escalating the pressures against Assad [Sr.] through covertly orchestrating simultaneous military threats against Syria from three border states hostile to Syria: Iraq, Israel and Turkey.

Even as far back as 1983, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s father, Hafez Assad, was viewed as a gadfly to the plans of Western imperialists seeking to weaken both the Iraqis and the Iranians and extend hegemony over the Middle East and Persia. The document shows that Assad and hence Syria represented a resistance to Western imperialism, a threat to Israel, and that Assad himself was well aware of the game the United States, Israel, and other members of the Western imperialist coalition were trying to play against him.

I encourage the reader to access my article, “1983 CIA Document Reveals Plan To Destroy Syria, Foreshadows Current Crisis,” to read more about this document.

The question of the Assad thorn in the side of the West continued on for the United States as was evidenced by yet another CIA document from 1986 entitled “Syria: Scenarios of Dramatic Political Change.” Although not an open advocation of destabilization and/or war, the paper does examine the possibilities of destabilization and “regime change” in Syria, most notably in the scenario of mass unrest, Muslim Brotherhood manipulation and violence, defections, and a coup.

After giving a summation of “The Present Scene” and “Major Players” that include Hafez Assad’s inner circle, the military, Sunnis, and Muslim Brotherhood, the paper goes into a description of possible ways Assad’s government could be brought down and replaced with one more friendly to Western interests. The ways in which this takedown could be accomplished ranged from a military coup, a military defeat, and/or mass public unrest and destabilization. It should also be noted that the report attempts to paint Sunnis and the Muslim Brotherhood as one in the same. However, the MB does not and never has represented the majority of Sunnis in Syria. Thus, when the CIA document mentions “Sunnis” it is referring to the extremist Muslim Brotherhood factions of society.

In a subsection entitled, “Communal Violence Escalates Into Civil War,” the document reads,

Sunni dissidence has been minimal since Assad crushed the Muslim Brotherhood in the early 1980s, but deep-seated tensions remain – keeping alive the potential for minor incidents to grow into major flareups of communal violence. For example, disgruntlement over price hikes, altercations between Sunni citizens and police forces, or anger at privileges accorded to Alawis at the expense of Sunnis could foster small-scale protests. Excessive government force in quelling such disturbances might be seen by Sunnis as evidence of a government vendetta against all Sunnis, precipitating even larger protests by other Sunni groups.

Sunni merchants and artisans probably would launch protests similar to those staged in previous years, for example by closing down businesses and the bazaars in Hamah or Aleppo and possibly Damascus. Sunni students would stage campus demonstrations, and Sunni professional associations would organize stoppages. Mistaking the new protests as a resurgence of the Muslim Brotherhood, the government would step up its use of force and launch violent attacks on a broad spectrum of Sunni community leaders as well as on those engaged in the protests. Regime efforts to restore order would founder if government violence against protesters inspired broad-based communal violence between Alawis and Sunnis.

A general campaign of Alawi violence against Sunnis might push even moderate Sunnis to join the opposition. Remnants of the Muslim Brotherhood – some returning from exile in Iraq – could provide a core of leadership for the movement. Although the regime has the resources to crush such a venture, we believe brutal attacks on Sunni civilians might prompt large numbers of Sunni officers and conscripts to desert or to stage mutinies in support of dissidents, and Iraq might supply them with sufficient weapons to launch a civil war.

Indicators Of A Developing Scenario

  • Strikes and demonstrations demanding government action to end discrimination against Sunnis become frequent.
  • Security personnel force businesses to reopen and confiscate the inventories of many.
  • The government conducts the indiscriminate roundups of Sunni leaders.
  • Syrian leaders accuse Iraq and the Muslim Brotherhood of fomenting unrest.
  • Violent indicators including bombings of Sunni social gatherings take place; Sunnis retaliate with similar violence against Alawis.
  • Government attacks on suspected Sunnis dissidents increase; sometimes razing whole blocks in Sunni residential areas
  • Sunni troops refuse to fire on demonstrators; some units mutiny and join growing Sunni opposition movements.

Thus, while observing potential flareups for social violence, one major aspect of the destabilization of 2011, the CIA viewed the Sunni population, more specifically the Muslim Brotherhood, as the one that would be the most volatile element of society and also that it might be funded from the outside. The CIA predicted “defections” and a “civil war” drawn along religious lines. This “potential” situation was attempted by the CIA in 2011 but was forced to rely on outside Sunni fighters since the fiercely secular Syrian people were not able to be coaxed into a religious civil war as easily as the CIA imagined.

The CIA document also addressed the “Soviet Angle,” opining about ways in which the strong ties between the Russia/Soviet Union and Syria could be broken and the situations which might bring that separation about. The document comes to the conclusion that a military defeat, most likely against Israel, would prove Soviet weapons and military training inferior, forcing Syria to rely more heavily on the West for training and equipment and thus become more pliable to the Western agenda.

In the section entitled, “Implications For The United States,” the document states that the most ideal situation for the US would be to see the Assad government overthrown and replaced by a “Sunni regime controlled by business-oriented moderates.” This essentially refers to a Muslim Brotherhood coup against the Syrian government which would of course follow with a regime that is much more favorable and cooperative with the Western agenda than that of Assad’s Syria. The document also hints at the desire to see the new “Sunni business-oriented moderate” government’s interest in the “private sector,” which historically has come to mean major Western corporations that take over public services and natural resources and turn them into commodities.

While this document did not provide a strategy by which to achieve the desired outcomes it lists (at least not in the sanitized declassified version), it still follows the same train of thought as the CIA document released three years prior in that it hopes for the collapse of deposition of the Assad government and the replacement of that government with one that is more friendly to Western aims. The US government went ahead with the implementation of this plan in 2011 that has resulted in over 400,000 deaths in Syria over the course of seven years of warfare.

activistpost.com

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