The Terrorists Among US – The Coup Against the Presidency

The Terrorists Among US – The Coup Against the Presidency

by George Eliason for The Saker Blog

For the last few years, a deep state coup against the presidency has been in the media off and on. Starting in 2015 very serious efforts were made to put all the parts in place that guaranteed the 2016 US presidential election’s outcome.

This went so far beyond every extraordinary measure that it deserves special attention.

Before your eyes glaze over, this isn’t an article discussing theories. Why debate what could have happened when we can trace the route showing how things developed. We will show how this is continuing today through a continuing deep state coup.

The first thing you’ll notice is the title is present tense. The cyber terrorists I’ve written about through the last articles have very definite political goals in mind. That word “political” separates what they do from anything remotely close to 1st Amendment freedom of speech issues. The terrorists work for foreign countries directly or they work for groups working for foreign governments that aren’t trying to influence but change the fabric of the US. They’re doing a bang-up job so far.

The attacks on society, social groups, and governmental institutions have been for profit. The terrorist groups push political agendas at the expense of republican democracy in the west, eastern and central Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East.

Second, you’re going to see even the most successful conspiracies in history including this one are a matter of process. Things actually have to happen for the terrorists to be dangerous. It can’t just be ideas. They follow specific directions with their plans to reach goals and milestones.

Third, not all the most brilliant strategies are built on a clean process. Things get messy. When you include new methods, things evolve as you go. People start shooting from the hip or chattering if they are inexperienced. New people are generally clueless about how they should conduct your business.

The case at hand is the business of overthrowing legitimate governments. One of these happens to be your own. The terrorists are in the business of destroying citizen rights and protections. Reducing innocent people into victims like a wolf does its prey.

The coup against the office of the president of the United States started unofficially in 2012. It wasn’t meant to, but it did. It was a reaction to something we never thought about. We certainly didn’t believe it.

This was long before anyone had issues with Donald Trump who was busy with other things at the time. So, understand the term coup against the presidency means against the executive branch.

Should it succeed, and it still may, the next world war will be one of the invariable consequences. Fascism and its sidekick nationalist chauvinism will become the new norm across the western world. If they win, there may be nothing left to turn the clock back to after this.

If we succeed, the coup against the US government stops. There will be no war with Russia. The war in Donbass stops. Criminals investigations, trials in court, and sentencing of seditionists and traitors can and will happen.

On the day before the 2016 election happened, I wrote an article about the current deep state coup and what some of the ramifications were. In the larger sense, it helps because it shows the coup started when no one knew who would be running in the general election or who would win.

Think about that. The first problem was Bernie Sanders, only afterward it became Donald Trump. The accusation against both was they were Putin’s lackeys.

Let’s start at the end of the story. In 2019, a deep state coup still continues against the office of the president of the United States. This materialized in the media as an Information Operation (IO) during the 2016 election cycle.

We are watching the second evolution of a new regime change method in play. It was originally developed to overthrow the election process and be the deciding factor for a given election.

The developers have decided it pays to screw the will of the people. And that is the easiest answer to every political problem we face today.

The newest iteration of this method was developed in 2012 as a new strategy for IO (Information Operations). It’s important to note IO is the realm of Green Berets (SF-Special Forces) and spies. With that in mind, the tactician, a former SF, took the following definition of IO and put it on steroids.

In military IO operations center on the ability to influence foreign audiences, US and global audiences, and adversely affect enemy decision making through an integrated approach. Even current event news is released in this fashion. Each portal is given messages that follow the same themes because it is an across the board mainstream effort that fills the information space entirely when it is working correctly.

The purpose of “Inform and Influence Operations” is not to provide a perspective, opinion, or lay out a policy. It is defined as the ability to make audiences “think and act” in a manner favorable to the mission objectives. This is done through applying perception management techniques which target the audience’s emotions, motives, and reasoning.

These techniques are not geared for debate. It is to overwhelm and change the target psyche.

Using these techniques information sources can be manipulated and those that write, speak, or think counter to the objective are relegated as propaganda, ill informed, or irrelevant. US Psychological Warfare in Ukraine: Targeting Online Independent Media Coverage

Former Green Beret Joel Harding pioneered IO for the US military. In 2012, he took his expertise, the core of regime change, to the extreme for Ukrainian nationalists inside the State Department and in the US Ukrainian Diaspora.

Harding revolutionized regime change by asking the crucial question; What if we did this at a whole nation level?

Next Generation Regime Change

What you are about to see is literally the cutting edge of US military regime changeLessons from Others for Future U.S. Army Operations in and Through the Information Environment –Christopher Paul, Colin P. Clarke, Michael Schwille, Jakub P. Hlávka, Michael A. Brown, Steven S. Davenport, Isaac R. Porche III, Joel Harding

Today, this method is being used in the United States by public Intel officials, NGOs, lobbyists, and private IO and Intel contractors.

Joel Harding developed this IO program for the 2014 coup in Ukraine to enact regime change. It is being used to provoke a war with Russia in the western media. His method is being used across many of the conflict areas primed for regime change in the post-2014 world. Taiwan is the newest example. Syria has suffered the most from this.

Instead of focusing on a small group, Harding’s methods speed the process by controlling all the information everyone has access to within the operation zone and every zone that can influence the operation outcome across the world. Regime change will be welcomed by every sane person reading, watching, or hearing the news his channels are publishing.

This enables him to define the terms used and the enemies fought. Controlling the information means you decide who and where the enemy is. You decide what the enemy is.

All this deals with information that an adversary desperately needs to make an informed decision. That is how we ” influence, disrupt, corrupt, or usurp the decision making of adversaries and potential adversaries”.

Bottom line on the bottom. Cyber and EW are cool, but we dare not lose sight of their ultimate goal, targeting an adversary’s or potential adversary’s decision cycle. Cyber and EW are not goals nor ends by themselves, it’s all about information. Information is the most powerful tool or weapon at our disposal at all times. To Inform is to Influence

After managing the coup in 2014 Ukraine, Harding’s IO group started the war in Donbass. Every major event from the overthrow of Victor Yanukovych until today in Ukraine has its clear marker on it.

This same group is responsible for Russian interference accusations before and during the 2016 election as well as blaming Russia for the DNC hacking exploits. This is very dangerous. The real “hackers” had State Department server passwords from two sources for years, access to DNC servers, as well as state-level tools and support.

The goal of Harding’s employers is to break up Russia and China and reward their old cold war cronies in the Diasporas with countries of their own under a two-level nationalism which is subservient to their interests. This ensures corrupt US politicians will remain incumbents and national elections will always have pre-determined results. If US politicians ignore what these groups are doing or worse, continue to help them, they won’t stop until nuclear war occurs.

This current IO group works with the US State Department and all the agencies from the ODNI including the FBI, CIA, NSA, DHS, etc. Many of them are still trainers and contractors. They still provide the Intel that goes into the President’s Daily Briefing.

They can and do literally provide the president of the United States with enough rope to hang himself through foreign policy missteps. This quagmire has to be cleaned up.

The group we expose today is infecting the US and international media with their Information Operation talking points. This is part is integral to the process of regime change. None of them do this for any high or lofty goal of a better life.

They do this for money and an anti-American contempt for US democracy. To make their story more compelling, I’ll rely on the conspirator’s braggadocio and allow them to tell it while I provide context.

The rest of the article will show the single most successful IO campaign the world has seen.

2010

For the sake of this one event, the world is almost at war. This statement by Stepan Bandera II is the catalyst that prepared the ground for the Ukrainian coup in 2014 and brought us here today.

For the same day your court in Donetsk ruled to strip [Ukrainian Ultra Nationalist hero Stepan] Bandera of his Hero title, God bestowed the best gift possible to our family: the birth of Stepan Bandera’s fifth great-grandchild. The KGB succeeded in killing his great-grandfather. But try as you might, you will never stop the Banderas Coming soon to a gene pool near you! Signed, Glory to Ukraine! Glory to Her Children! In prostration, S.A. Bandera, Grandson of Hero of Ukraine.” This was the third-generation Stepan Bandera’s open letter to Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych in 2010.- Kyiv Post

2012

2012 was a pivotal year for history and international diplomacy. Every evil from the early 20th century that could never rise again was about to be given a platform and PR campaign that would make Adolf Hitler blush.

In 2012, regime changer and former Green Beret Joel Harding was already hard at work. He worked with the HRC (Hillary Rodman Clinton) State Department to develop the method for regime change in Ukraine. The attempt in the US was soon to follow.

“…but I was having problems describing a “whole of government” approach, and I was having even more difficulty explaining how a “whole of nation” effort might be divided. We finally came up with five categories for what I might call government/corporate/private information activities…I am also not certain how to include discussions on content, such as a narrative. Cultural, religious and historical considerations also may be discussed. Where would they fit in?

I also can’t forget the methodology of efficiency, how do we determine Methods of Effectiveness. Once again, the voice of my friend and mentor, Dr. Dorothy Denning reminds me of this important consideration.

If I take a whole of nation approach then I should include marketing, public relations, perception management, reputation management and strategic communications (with an s).

What have I missed?”- How Best to Discuss a Whole of Nation Approach to Information Activities?

Methods of Effectiveness are ways to measure your success or failure so you can adjust course. Harding was keen to publish those too. Pay attention to the dates as we go. We’ll be jumping back and forth across the timeline as we go to cover the involvement of different actors getting involved.

By 2019, Harding’s IO success included Ukraine’s Chief Rabbi Yaakov Bleich and the namesake and grandson to Ukrainian NAZI leader Stepan Bandera working together to rehabilitate Bandera’s murderous image. Bandera is responsible for the murder of close to 500,000 Jews and it was also his people staffed the death camps. When you can get Jewish leaders to deny the Holocaust, it’s a big win for your IO.- Haaretz.com

Milestone 2012

Recently, on a LinkedIn forum, I referred to the Swiss model for a cyber militia. As many of you are aware the Swiss have a ‘home guard’, where all citizens are trained, armed and sent home packing their own individual weapon. Each has the responsibility to secure their weapon, practice periodically and are subject to recall to defend their country. Basically, they go home, stay in shape and wait.- Joel Harding On a US Cyber Militia 2012

Milestone January 2014 Digital Maidan, gained momentum following the initial Twitter storms. Leading the effort were: Lara Chelak, Andrea Chalupa, Alexandra Chalupa, Constatin Kostenko, and others.

The Diaspora learned they could organize and fund the coup in Ukraine from the outside.

· Milestone February 4, 2015- The Ukrainian Diaspora illegally crowdfunded weapon for Ukrainian punisher battalions. This was a continuation of the practice using social media platforms through 2014. The Atlantic Council’s Michael Weiss reports the UCCA was raising money for weapons. These weapons were subsequently used in war crimes. This action by itself is enough to take away 5013C tax-exempt status for every Ukrainian group giving money for Ukraine’s war effort. Ukrainian Diasporas have been funding all the Ukrainian punisher battalions. According to Ukrainian Diaspora sources, Ukrainian Diaspora leaders like Ivanka Zajac is also making leadership decisions for the battalions including how they spend the money. Just knowing that the volunteers are murdering innocent civilians with continued funding by their groups makes the Ukrainian Diaspora liable for the crimes.

Milestone -February 8th, 2014 On Maidan”… Russian websites outright accusing the US of supplying ammunition and other support to the rebels. I asked a friend in a position within the US, that might know more about this, he claims it is a private initiative of US citizens. This I like” “- Harding

· In February 2014, Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat made his first analysis of Ukraine’s EuroMaidan. He claimed the Russians were attacking.

· February 22nd, 2014 marks Harding’s first visible involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. “Yesterday I agreed to help present the information about this situation, bringing in representatives from many of the sources cited above. It is time International Broadcasting is examined. “- Harding

Milestone– On February 22, 2014, Joel Harding did his first efficiency assessment. His only concern was whether or not the international media saw the February 22, 2014 ouster of Victor Yanukovych as a coup. According to Harding “This is a snapshot in time, showing headlines only. The intent is to show how a current situation is being divided in its presentation, pro or con the power in Ukraine, pro or con Russian/Chinese/Iranian, or, it could be argued, pro and anti-Western powers (US/UK, etc).

· On February 28th, 2014 he was announced director of the NSE Strategy Center. Harding reached out immediately to the IO community to see what information anyone had on current Russian cyberspace operations.

MilestoneOn March 1 st 2014 Harding announced cyber options for Ukraine. “Since March 2014, in the wake of the rise of the volunteer movement, several activist groups and individuals assumed the state security functions in the media- and cyber-space

In January 2014, Harding worked with 17-year-old Sviatoslav Yurash to open Euromaidanpress.com. He took Yurash under his wing showing him how to run an IO platform. This can be seen in the comments early on. Sviatoslav Yurash went on to become the deputy representative in Kiev for the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC). The UWC was a sponsor of the 2014 coup and is a signatory partner to the Atlantic Council.

Yurash became the spokesman for the EuroMaidan protest that was turning into an insurgency. He became the post-coup Ukrainian Defense Ministry, Dimitry Yarosh, as well as the 3 conspirators, Arsenii Yatsenyuk, V. Klitschko, and Oleh Tyanhybok.

· Yurash web properties spawned InformNapalm and Ukrainian Cyber Intel UCA, CyberHunta, RUH8, TRINITY, Shaltay Boltay (Humpty Dumpty) aka Anonymous Ukraine: This hacker group is the branch of the hacktivist movement Anonymous in Ukraine. It is, however, internally divided in its position regarding the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. Some of its members are pro-Ukrainian and tend to be close to Cyber Hundred and Null Sector, while others are pro-Russian and close to CyberBerkut. The pro-Russian element is prominent, having claimed several attacks on NATO, US and EU governments’ websites (Carr, 2014). Cyber and Information warfare in the Ukrainian conflict

Anonymous/ Shaltay Boltay/Humpty Dumpty very important when the DNC hacks and influence story comes into play. Note now, they fall under Joel Harding’s IO operation. The other names for these combined groups you are more familiar with are APT 28, APT29, Fancy Bear, and Cozy Bear.

· March 2014 According to InformNapalm, InformNapalm, Myrotvorets, Ukrainian Cyber army, and other volunteer communities organized a series of effective campaigns in data collection, data analysis, identification of hostile activities and retaliation against them. The volunteers took on the roles of intelligence and counterintelligence agents.

· They collected the information on locations and movements of enemy weapons and equipment, blocked servers and websites engaged in Russian terrorist propaganda, and blocked bank accounts of the militants. And they still continue carrying out the important volunteer work in cyberspace. 2016 became the year of escalation of cyber-warfare…

Sviatoslav Yurash worked with Andrea Chalupa, Alexandra, Chalupa, and Irena Chalupa. His team works directly with the Atlantic Council through Bellingcat and Dimtri Alperovich from Crowdstrike. The importance of this will be clear shortly.

· Today, Yurash is a chief advisor to new Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Milestone-On March 3rd, 2014 Harding’s advice was “Now I have a thought bouncing around inside my head, which actually makes sense. But the repercussions are wild, off the charts, bloody and may destroy a nation. .. If one looks at that graphic, natural gas pipelines run through Ukraine. If one had the talent, one could close valves in any of those pipelines and shut down a major part of Russia’s exports and, therefore, a source of money, another kind of power which Putin must truly understand.

Bumping this up one step, blow up those pipelines, although that is going to make one helluva mess. This would result in a Russian invasion. End of story? No. Imagine trying to defend thousands of miles of pipeline. Ukrainian insurgents would make Russia devote dozens of divisions of soldiers…” At the time Victoria Nuland was trying to court Pravy Sektor into legitimacy by offering money and support.

· On March 16th Dimitri Yarosh answered. Yarosh threatened gas lines across Ukraine. The advice Harding gave threatened one of the only remaining sources of income remaining in Ukraine for the Kiev junta. Joel Harding was writing his own foreign policy.

Milestone May 2, 2014, Odessa Trade Union Massacre

It was after this event I figured out Joel Harding existed. Within a couple of days, it was evident from the reporting that a hand was guiding the narrative Ukraine was building. I didn’t know who Joel Harding was, but I could see his handiwork clearly. I started passively looking for him. The official death toll from Ukraine stands at 42.

This alone should have been enough to warrant independent investigations. When enough information came in, witness accounts put the Odessa Trade Union death toll to over 340 and later it rose closer to 400 with over 200 people missing that were never in the building.

According to a police detail who was guarding the scene and a Pravy Sektor member who carried the bodies out, 99 corpses were removed before the official count. That was just from the basement.

This isn’t public relations. This is a crime against humanity on Harding’s part. He covered up the crime which makes him part of it.

The free press part has already been covered. Building dissenting opinions make the work of IO/IIO professionals difficult or impossible. It’s called Information Fratricide and it is to be avoided by all means possible.

Information fratricide is defined as Actions, perceptions, and information from friendly forces that create improper impressions can adversely affect IO in sensitive situations.

Milestone MH17 July 17, 2014, All the information about MH17 from Ukraine comes from Ukrainian IO Joel Harding developed. His sources are described in the March 1st milestone. Five years later, no other sources have been considered by the investigators. Harding took control of the information and took it out of the realm of witness testimony or forensics.

Milestone July 29, 2014, The Information War for Ukraine has taken on a whole new look.  Russia, you need to go down.  You need to choke on your ilk.  You need to feel the pain of exceeding the limits of acceptability.  You need to pay.

Suffer, Russia.- Words Fail the World Against Russia

  • The addition of Eliot Higgins’ Bellingcat (see Feb 2014 Maidan) as an independent investigator cemented Ukraine’s reliance on Harding’s IO. Ukraine’s cyber team (InformNapalm, UCA, CyberHunta) provided the information Bellingcat collated and called their own.
  • The Deputy of Information Policy (Joel Harding started the ministry) announces Bellingcat is his counterpart. They work under Harding. Pay attention as the rest of the IO team comes aboard. This is the same crew mounting the deep state coup. US Intel leaders at the ODNI, FBI, and CIA will be working very closely with them in just over 2 years.
  • Harding’s IO team covered up the shootdown of MH17. This is a crime against humanity. The families will never see justice because until a real investigation is mounted, the only proof of wrongdoing is easily shown to be manufactured.
  • Milestone Mark Paslawsky August 19, 2014, The nephew of Bandera’s 3rd in command, Mikola Lebed was shot in the back as he fled at the battle of Ilovaisk with Donbass battalion.

“The second reason I mention Paslawsky is that he was, after all, a Ukrainian American. In killing him—and make no mistake about it: Putin killed him—Putin has taken on, in addition to the entire world, the Ukrainian American Diaspora. He probably thinks it’s a joke. But in killing a Ukrainian American, he’s made the war in Ukraine personal for Ukrainian Americans. Their intellectual, material, and political resources are far greater than Putin can imagine. Be forewarned, Vlad: diasporas have long memories. And this one will give you and your apologists in Russia and the West no rest.- Alexander Motyl Loose Cannons and Ukrainian Casualties

This event is what unifies the players, methods, and leaders fighting Ukraine’s IO and is the seed for the deep state coup in the USA. It’s important to note who Paslawsky’s brother is. Nestor Paslawsky is the apparent leader of OUNb Ukrainian American Diaspora. It is his rage and revenge that Motyl threatens Putin with. Paslawsky is coming for his pound of flesh.

The June 2016 milestone will show Harding, Ukrainian hackers, Team Hillary, Chalupas, the Ukrainian Diaspora, Bellingcat, and Aaron Weisburd working together pushing toward the overthrow of the 2016 general election.

Milestone-On December 12th, 2014 Harding wrote “Ukraine is a bright shining star. They approved a Minster of Information Policy. They received a National Information Strategy and are working on a counter-propaganda center.

Milestone January 2015 Andrew Aaron Weisburd joins Harding’s IO group and starts Kremlintrolls.com to start documenting websites against the Ukrainian agenda and geolocate readers for action against them.

Milestone February 23rd, 2015 Harding tweeted the creation of the i-army. The next day it was announced to the world. “This effort is geared to contain what they call Russian propaganda in the west.”In late January, Ukraine’s Minister of Information Policy, Yuriy Stets, promised to create an “information-army” to fight Russian propaganda…”

With this, the concept of the troll army was born. Right out of the gate, Ukraine was bragging the Ukrainian I-Army numbered over 40,000 volunteer trolls, hackers, commenters, and propagandists.  According to the Ukrainian Information Ministry– The first assignment is to “Invite your best and closest friends to the website of the Ukrainian Information Forces, where they can join the army by subscribing to a mailing list of daily assignments. This is very important, considering our information struggle against the foreign aggressor.”

· Ukrainian Cyber Troops/Army: This hacker group, which was founded by Eugene Dukokin, a former cybersecurity consultant and programmer (Maheshwari, 2015), targets pro-Russian separatists and Russian troops in Ukraine. The report accounts of pro-Russian officials to various banking and payment websites or social media in order to get the accounts closed. These actions are legal and do not require them to hack any systems (Kerkkänen and Kuronen, 2016) Cyber and Information warfare in the Ukrainian conflict

· In January 2015 Andrew Weisburd starting work for the Ukrainians showing them how he finds the networks of people he is paid to hurt.

· Weisburd starts Kremlintrolls.com and builds the first list of journalists and publications that are against Harding’s Ukrainian Information Ministry agenda.

· Between him and Joel Harding, over 200 publications were listed as Russian assets. Many of them are American websites.

· It should be noted that according to Weisburd and Harding the only real qualifier to be included on the lists is supporting someone other than Hillary Clinton

· According to Weisburd- These countries account for 81% of all the Kremlin Trolls and their engaged followers. The top five countries alone account for 58%. That the USA is ranked first came as something of a surprise. Detailed analysis is ongoing, and I’m unlikely to share the findings publicly.”

From the Economist-“As one of his other guests, a deputy from Mr. Poroshenko’s party, remarked later in the show: “Today, an information war is being waged against Ukraine.

Our task is to be united, to comment as one.”Information warfare, like the shooting kind, is a new art for Ukraine and the learning curve is steep…Criticism of the government is dismissed as mudslinging by Kremlin agents. Last month authorities jailed Ruslan Kotsaba, a western Ukrainian blogger who had spoken out against mobilization. 

Ukrainian authorities accused him of working in Russia’s interests; Amnesty International labeled him a 

As one of his other guests, a deputy from Mr. Poroshenko’s party, remarked later in the show: “Today, an information war is being waged against Ukraine; Our task is to be united, to comment as one.”

Milestone April 16, 2015, Joel Harding/ Ukraine Ministry of Information Policy property Myrotvorets claims first murder victim, Oles Buzina.

From here, we have most of the players lined up. Two years of IO events clearly showcase their handiwork now that it’s been put in context. The same IO teams responsible for developing the terms Russian trolls and characterizing fake Russian influence started characterizing journalists and news sites that were contrary to Harding’s mission as close to enemies of the state as they dared.

“Disrupt, deny, degrade, destroy, or deceive” The 2016 US Election and Deep State Coup

Milestone 1990, Nigel Oakes of Cambridge Analytica fame started the Behavioral Dynamics Institute. He set up a facility that became home for the leading experts in strategic communication and manipulation. He wanted to turn the ability to change people’s behavior into a commercial business. Shifting mass opinion would be more lucrative than traditional advertising ever could be. Based on this, in 1993 he opened Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL).

He expanded into military disinformation, social media, and voter targeting. Within a few years, he advertised he could change the outcome of elections. His company participated in 25 international elections since 1994. Because he was successful, by 1997 SCL was in trouble in the UK because its principals were ignoring the principle of neutrality at home and targeting UK election results.

According to Wikipedia “SCL’s involvement in the political world has been primarily in the developing world where it has been used by the military and politicians to study and manipulate public opinion and political will. It uses what have been called “psy ops” to provide insight into the thinking of the target audience.”

SCL promoted itself as having the knowledge, the people and the experience to help global brands, political organizations, world leaders and militaries deliver measurable and lasting behaviour change.

Wikipedia goes on to say SCL claims that its methodology has been approved or endorsed by agencies of the Government of the United Kingdom and the Federal government of the United States, among others

The SCL Group has been working at the forefront of behavioural change communication for 25 years. Developed in conjunction with the Behavioural Dynamics Institute, SCL has evolved into a multi-disciplined group of behavioural research and communication agencies.

Cambridge Analytica was developed as a subgroup of SCL and designed specifically to take part in the US elections.

While the end of Cambridge Analytica is known, it wasn’t the only company spawned out of the Behavioral Dynamics Institute.

Remember Milestone July 29, 2014, by Joel Harding about MH17 The Information War for Ukraine, has taken on a whole new look.  Russia, you need to go down.  You need to choke on your ilk.  You need to feel the pain of exceeding the limits of acceptability.  You need to pay.

Milestone 11 Aug 2014 1st tweet from IOTA Global. We are an InfoOps, PsyOps, & StratCom training org staffed by 30 experts from 6 nations. iota-global.com

IOTA Global was what changed. Joel Harding started advertising the company he started with his friend IO expert Steve Tatham. IOTA Global and Cambridge Analytica while loosely partnered were worlds apart in terms of skill sets.

IOTA Global is an organisation of the world’s most recognised military Information Operations, Psychological Operations, and Influence professionals, backed by proven social and behavioural scientists, who provide the capability transfer and advice to governmental clients, globally.  Our members have commanded Information Operations and Psychological Operations units on operations; they have written NATO and national doctrine; they lecture in the world’s Defence Academies. Teamed with some of the leading behavioural scientists in the field, there is no other organisation with the same experience and knowledge.

…IOTA Global is the world’s experts.

As predominantly ex-military Officers and diplomats, we understand the importance of discretion and we appreciate the needs of governmental and military organizations. We work only with clients approved by our own respective governments. All IOTA Global products and services are subject to Export Control regulation by the UK Government. Our expertise is so strong that we are the only commercial IO company subject to such conditions.

Through Joel Harding, IOTA Global’s expertise was shared with Ukraine’s Intel community which works for Ukraine’s Information Ministry that Harding is responsible for.

· Milestone July 18, 2014, This appears to be IOTAs first venture into the information space about MH17.

· August 13, 2014, Haynes Mahoney, previously @StateDept and Deputy Chief of US Mission to #Syria has joined

· Milestone June 2015 IOTA Global has been selected as the research and advisory partner to the Norwegian Defence Research Organisation (FFI) for a major project on understanding IO threats and developing future capabilities.

· Milestone July 20, 2015, 8 weeks in Latvia doing #NATO course in TA Analysis. I’m now a senior trainer in the #BDI methodology. stratcomcoe.org/lv/NewsandEven… @iotaglobalIO

· Milestone October 2015 Pleased to have been helping @STRATCOMCOE Latvia with training today. #Stratcom @iotaglobalIO

· Milestone November 2015 Behavioural Conflict @BehaviouralC · 27 Nov 2015

· @iotaglobalIO in Chisinau Moldova working with NATO to build Moldovan govt

· StratCom capability with @STRATCOMCOE

· Milestone December 2015 @iotaglobalIO assists @stratcomcoe in @CanadaLatvia funded capacity building of Ukraine Govt Strat Coms.

SCL Elections shut down, SCL Group’s defence work needs real scrutiny– We can’t understand the significance of Cambridge Analytica without looking at the network it sits in, and how inadequate controls nurtured aspects of this networks’ development. It’s been frustrating to watch some of the key players manage to escape crucial questions that should be asked of them. Because this isn’t just a scandal about an obscure, unethical company. It’s a story about how a network of companies was developed which enabled wide deployment of propaganda tools – based on propaganda techniques that were researched and designed for use as weapons in warzones – on citizens in democratic elections. It’s a logical product of a poorly regulated, opaque and lucrative influence industry. There was little or nothing in place to stop them.- Emma Briant OpenDemocracy.net

While all this success is going on, Harding doesn’t neglect Ukraine, NATO COE Latvia, or the US press with his efforts. From the beginning, he pulled together a team that trains and influences the ODNI and its agencies. For Russia, Ukraine, and Syria, Harding’s teams are writing what the media is presenting and the Intel committees and US president are reading.

Even at this point, everything is about Russia and anything favorable toward Russia is an American heresy. Harding’s machine looks well oiled when it has no visible opponents standing in the way.

· Milestone November 2015 Information Policy Advisor to the Minister Dmitry Zolotukhin met with his US counterpart, team representative Bellingcat Aric Toler. In the notice above which was prepared by his office, it is noted Bellingcat’s Aric Toler is working in an equal capacity to him in the USA. One of the Media Development Center’s sponsors is NATO. It is a project of the US Embassy in Kiev because of the association with the embassy’s diplomatic paper, the Kyiv Post.

· Milestone November 2015 “I am building a database of planners, operators, logisticians, hackers, and anyone wanting to be involved with special activities I will call ‘inform and influence activities’. I have received a few different suggestions to help organize operations – of all sorts – against anti-Western elements. No government approval, assistance or funding. This skirts legalities. This is not explicitly illegal and it may not even be legal, at this point. That grey area extends a long way. I am only trying to assess the availability of people willing to participate in such efforts. Technology, equipment and facility offers are also appreciated. If you would like to be included in my database, please send a tailored resume to joel_harding@”

At the same time, team Bellingcat was training the groups in Ukraine its methods and branches out to doing seminars across the western world. Andrew Weisburd, his partners Clint Watts, and J Berger are filling the media with stories of Russian trolls and Russian conspiracies.

January 2016 started with an unfocused attempt to prove Russian interference in the US election primaries and general election. Until the late summer of 2016, the accusations were incoherent and partisan. The White House and Intel Agencies denied there was any Russian election interference and didn’t put any credence on the rapidly coagulating narrative in MSM.

In fact, the ODNI chief James Clapper said there was no evidence of Russian interference in late November 2016.

Milestone June 2016, Joel Harding met with Christina Dobrovolska and a small contingent of Rada MPs after meeting with one of her bosses, Alexandra Chalupa.  Chalupa was working with the Ukrainians to get OppoResearch on Donald Trump. By working with the Information Ministry, Chalupa was working with a group she was familiar with through her sister Andrea’s work with them, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council, and Crowdstrike. Yes, later we’ll detail how Ukrainian Intel worked with Crowdstrike on the DNC hacks. See Milestone Mark Paslawsky August 19, 2014

Christina and Joel worked on the Ukrainian project together since the beginning or according to Harding for years already. Dobrovolska worked with Harding’s Information Ministry in Ukraine with Ukrainian cyber Intel CyberHunta, Ukrainian Cyber Alliance (UCA), and RUH8.

As a side note, according to the Ukrainian State hackers Milestone March 2014- And they still continue carrying out the important volunteer work in cyberspace. 2016 became the year of escalation of cyber-warfare The Ukrainian Intel project provides Bellingcat’s MH17 intelligence as well as Syria Intel through the same workgroups. Refer to the March 2014 Milestone.

Chistina Dobrovolska took the visiting Rada members to the top of the Ukrainian Diaspora, OUNb head Nestor Paslawsky in New York after meeting Harding and Harding was hired.

It was only subsequent to this meeting that the Russian interference and hacking charges started to crystallize into a narrative that went across the spectrum of media. Connecting the Diaspora to Ukraine’s Monsters Through a Ukrainian Diaspora Handler

How important is the Diaspora to understand the events around the 2016 election and subsequent coup attempts? It couldn’t be done without them. In 2010, HRC set up the International Diaspora Engagement Alliance. This brought all the Diasporas supporting HRC together to work on foreign policy initiatives under the umbrella of the State Department. HRC’s State Department set up the Ukrainian coup and subsequent war the same way she did in Syria, Libya, Yemen, and so on by tapping the various Diasporas. The Diasporas decided who should be in power. All in all her choices have been solidly nationalist chauvinist oppositional governments or figures in exile.

We understand the Clinton camp has hired beaucoup and Zwanzig (a lot) of trolls, we also understand the Kremlin has done the same. We just do not know if Trump has followed suit. From a counterintelligence perspective, this is confusing as heck.- Joel Harding

While the Clinton trolls turned out to be a real I-army (Ukraine), the Kremlin trolls turned out to be the list of American alternative news and analysis websites that published articles against a Clinton presidency.

Benchmark November 2016, this panned out for HRC in a big way. The Central & Eastern European Coalition (CEEC) brought her a 20 million strong bloc vote and internet army based on one question. Will you stand against Russia? The story of the Diasporas full support for HRC can be read here as well as the electoral math that goes with it.

This includes the story of the single Diaspora bloc responsible for the election win by Donald Trump. I still can’t believe Sara Palin spoke to this group and thought they were “cheez heads.”

If you go to the CEEC website, this group represents 20 million US BLOC votes in any election. This means with a little organizing they can and do determine elections.  The Atlantic Council (AC) is the primary think tank among many it employs. The AC is signatory as a working partner with the Ukrainian World Congress which represents another 20 million Ukrainian Diaspora donors worldwide. The AC is signatory with the Ukrainian Congressional Committee of America (UCCA).

The Atlantic Council and its resources primarily through its experts like Irena Chalupa, Dimitry Alperovich, or Aric Toler work to support the Ukrainian and American IO effort. When we get to the DNC hacking aspect, you’ll see how closely the AC works with the hackers the AC experts found.

Photographs can be photoshopped, so can videos.  Eyewitness accounts are suspect.  Reporters stories are only as reliable as the news sources and that means they are not reliable. Even if the most reliable person in the world says something, their word can always be branded speculation, biased or that they are a paid troll, be it Russian or otherwise (although I really don’t know of any others). Harding Aug 31, 2015

What you are about to read should be impossible. No matter how directly or indirectly Hillary Clinton was behind the Ukrainian coup in 2014, showing US government agencies conspiring at the directors level to overthrow the 2016 election and continuing to pursue a coup against the presidency on her behalf should not be possible.

Let’s set the bar.

Is US & international media complicit in the coup against Donald Trump?

The answer is yes. Media is the backbone of any Information Operation and to overthrow the US government it is the key component. The IO operator has to control information and the impact it has on the population.

For a deep state coup against the US presidency to be possible through IO, mainstream media has to be complicit. No proof can stand without this leg in place. Information Operations are about controlling all the information. You set the message and control it.

Why would mainstream media work with Joel Harding’s IO group?

Two years ago I started breaking a story that all of a sudden became popular early in the winter of 2016 with the Washington Post’s introduction of propornot which listed news websites that published”misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy.”

The Russian troll and interference lists Joel Harding and Andrew Weisburd drew up became the model for anti-Americanism inside DNC McCarthyite circles. The Atlantic Council project called @propornot plagiarized these lists to come up with the one the Washington Post made famous and start the fake news meme.

One of the really neat things about this election is seeing all my information operations and information warfare friends on social media, contributing and commenting, looking darned intelligent! Theirs is normally the voice of reason, maturity, and intelligence.” Joel Harding

Tablet Magazine’s story SPIES ARE THE NEW JOURNALISTS-  And with the help of big names in media, they’re turning journalism into an intelligence operation By Lee Smith makes short work out of finding friends for Joel Harding. At the agency and policy-making level, Harding pioneered IO and cyber in the US.

If you look at Harding’s Ukraine and Syria team, they are a who’s who of agency, state, law enforcement, and military trainers. These aren’t just the guys the media listens too, Lee Smith drives it home they are the media too. With so many journalists and analysts freelancing, who are they working for?

The media is now openly entwined with the national security establishment in a manner that would have been unimaginable before the advent of the age of the dossier—the literary forgery the FBI used as evidence to spy on the Trump team. In coordinating to perpetuate the Russiagate hoax on the American public, the media and intelligence officials have forged a relationship in which the two partners look out for the other’s professional and political interests. Not least of all, they target shared adversaries and protect mutual friends.

Fellow MSNBC contributor Naveed Jamali— author of How to Catch a Russian Spy and a self-described “Double agent” and “Intel Officer”—joined in tweeting: “Here’s the other thing to understand about espionage: once you’ve crossed the line once, the second time is easier. While at DIA Flynn had contact with Svetlana Lokhova who allegedly has Russian intel ties.”

Lokhova is seeking $25 million from NBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Dow Jones & Co., owner of the Wall Street Journal, and U.S. government informant Stefan Halper. The British historian alleges that Halper was the source for the press’ multipronged smear campaign against her, a private citizen.

Unlike the New Journalists at CNN and MSNBC/NBC, Julian Assange meets the old-fashioned definition of a journalist, meaning a person who is willing to take personal risks to publish information that powerful people and institutions routinely lie to the public about in order to advance their political and personal agendas.

This problem is unique in that it is private-sector spies that are staffing publications and Intelligence work that gets reported to the agencies and the Presidents Daily Briefing. They literally write the stories their clients want to sell to the government thereby setting policy.

Why aren’t the publishers complaining about this?

If the journalists work for and with Intel, who would they complain to? One of the functions of the US State Department is maintaining America’s image abroad. So, suffice to say it has tools to do this in what was until recently called the Board of Broadcast Governors (BBG), now the USAGM.

Milestone 2016 According to The Quasi-Legal Coup-Hillary Clinton Information Operations In Election 2016 published November 7, 2016the 8-member board, appointed by the President of the United States, are the who’s who of powerful media moguls in film, news, print, and radio. Appointment to the BBG is like being awarded an ambassador position for the media industry. It’s also why big media carries the same line or themes.

· The 7th member of the board of directors which runs RFE/RL in 2016 was Mathew Armstrong. He is a longtime friend and mentor to Joel Harding. He provides Harding a lot of access and influence in media. Armstrong’s background is public relations. He is an expert in IO and IIO operations. His bio: Author, lecturer, and strategist on public diplomacy and international media. He has worked on traditional and emerging security issues with both civilian and military government agencies, news organizations, think tanks, and academia across several continents.

· After the election results came in and Mathew Armstrong found himself without a job, he has sequestered himself to the no extradition country of Switzerland for some unknown reason.

· In what appears to be a conflict of interest, at least two BBG board members were working actively for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.

· Karen Kornbluh is helping refine and to get Hillary Clinton’s message out. ” All of them are names to watch if Clinton wins — and key jobs at the FCC and other federal agencies are up for grabs.”

· According to her bio: Karen founded the New America Foundation’s Work and Family Program and is a senior fellow for Digital Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. Karen has written extensively about technology policy, women, and family policy for The Atlantic, The New York Times and The Washington Post. New York Times columnist David Brooks cited her Democracy article “Families Valued,” focused on “juggler families” as one of the best magazine articles of 2006.

· Michael Kempner is the founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of MWW Group, a staunch Hillary Clinton supporter, and may get a greater role if she is elected.  Kempner is a member of the Public Relations Hall of Fame. Michael Kempner hired Anthony Weiner after the sexting scandal broke in 2011.

· Jeff Shell, chairman of the BBG and Universal Filmed Entertainment is supporting a secondary role by being an honor roll donor to the Atlantic Council. While the BBG is supposed to be neutral it has continuously helped increase tensions in Eastern Europe. While giving to the Atlantic Council may not be illegal while in his position, currently, the Atlantic Council’s main effort is to ignite a war with Russia. This may set up a major conflict of interest.

Today, Karen Kornbluh is Director of Technology Programming at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a think tank dedicated to finding Russian trolls in cyberspace. The German Marshall Fund subgroup, Alliance for Securing Democracy has former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff its board of advisors.

Milestone 2019 Kornbluh is still on the board of the BBG, now renamed to the USAGM and is supposed to be politically neutral in her work. Instead, the German Marshall Fund helped produce the failed Hamilton 68 troll finder cobbled together by Joel Harding IO superstars Andrew Weisburd, Clint Watts, and J Berger.

This team has the distinction of fabricating most of the lies that plague the Trump presidency today starting with Russian election interference.

This state agency within the State Department is actively working against the office of the presidency.

What’s missing?

To say this is happening and not tie Joel Harding in would be a travesty. Joel Harding’s bio at InfoWarCon includes working at the BBG. Harding quite literally positioned himself to decide what the narrative for HRC politics would be and accomplished it.

Joel Harding has shown clearly what the world looks like when a private citizen is allowed to put themselves in positions that are clearly a state responsibility. The world today is according to his client’s politics.

Benchmark January 2015 US broadcasters put RT on same challenge list as ISIS, Boko Haram

RT, formerly known as Russia Today has been labeled a threat by Andrew Luck, the brand new CEO of the US Broadcasting Board of Governors or BBG. Thank you, Joel.

Benchmark- Everything up to this point takes the legs away from the Russian influence and hacking lie. As you ‘ll see, the accusations of collusion along with everything else can’t be real unless some of the information Harding’s IO team released was real.

· This fact makes it clear that the general election was being thrown to HRC through an illegal maneuver that threatens US democracy. After the election, it is coldly clear these same forces used these tools and resources to try to overthrow the presidency of the United States.

Milestone June 2016 The DNC HACK, ALMOST HACK, AND ATTRIBUTION

I have the distinction of showing you Russian hackers without a Russian hack. After HRC left the State Department she retained 6 seats (passwords) to the State Department server for research purposes. Alexandra Chalupa was one of those researchers and she was investigating Paul Manafort in 2015.

One of the groups working for Chalupa (Diaspora royalty) is Christina Dobrovolska’s Ukrainian Intel. Refer to Milestone March 2014 and Milestone of June 2016.

The Ukrainian Intel hacker group working for the Atlantic Council and the DNC through Alexandra Chalupa and Christina Dobrovolska was the only hacker group outside of Crowdstrike that had the X-Agent component of the DNC hack.

· They had access to the DNC servers because of this.

· In January 2016, Alexandra Chalupa claimed there was a hack attempt that Google informed her of. The origin according to Google was Ukraine.

· Because of the Yahoo email hack, some of their members had Huma Abedin’s State Department passwords already

· Their favorite way to hack was phishing exploits. This was the same used on the Podesta hack.

· Ukrainian hackers code in Russian because the Ukrainian language is too underdeveloped. It’s too young to have the expressiveness.

· Russian hacker contingent of Ukrainian Intel was in Kiev working with Ukrainian Intel at the time of the hack. They did OppoResearch with Alexandra Chalupa and Andrea Chalupa.

Benchmark DNC HACKS

If there is only one group that possesses the tools, means, opportunity, and can blame part of their own group to get away with it, all that’s left is to ask- WHO BENEFITED FROM THE “HACK?’ HRC & TEAM HILLARY.  Was there a hack? Nothing remotely close to what is claimed happened.

· “So the help of the USA, I don’t know, why would we need it? We have all the talent and special means for this. And I don’t think that the USA or any NATO country would make such sharp movements in international politics.” We have no Need of 2016 Help Ukrainian Hackers of #Surkov Leaks

· Ukrainian Intel hackers testify as experts for US Congress– Usovsky’s correspondence with the Russian MP and director of the Institute of CIS countries, Konstantin Zatulin, who provided this funding, was revealed by the Ukrainian groups CyberHunta and Cyber Alliance. Usovsky coordinated his anti-Ukrainian actions with…” – Statement of Mustafa Nayyem and Svitlana Zalishchuk Members of the Parliament of Ukraine before the Subcommittee on Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs of the Senate Committee on Appropriations March 29, 2017

Ukraine’s IO hackers testify in front of Congress to get more money and support so they can continue their operations?

Milestone Early 2017 HRC advisor Ukrainian Diaspora member Adam Parkhomenko goes to work with the Ukrainian Intel hackers at the Atlantic Council through Bellingcat and the Digital Sherlock program.

Tic Toc Why The Clock Stops for Progressives if Trump is Dumped

According to the Washington Times ” As recently as Nov. 17, 2016, James Clapper, the nation’s top intelligence officer told Congress his agencies “don’t have good insight” into a direct link between WikiLeaks and the emails supposedly hacked by a Russian operation from Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign.”

· January 10, 2017, According to Reuters “Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on Tuesday the U.S. intelligence community’s report concluding that Russia orchestrated hacks during the 2016 presidential campaign was based on a mix of human sources, collection of technical data and open-source information.”

In January 2017, when the ODNI report came out, the report relied almost in its entirety on Joel Harding’s IO groups which now included Dimitry Alperovich and the Atlantic Council. Alperovich has a professional relationship with the Ukrainian Intel hackers.

The only evidence Dimitry Alperovich provided outside this loop came from a blog Joel Harding tries to denounce. The information stream went like this: IISS Report(think tank) –>Colonel Cassad (Russian blogger)–> the Saker(analytical blog/ translator)—>Alperovitch/ Crowdstrike(information purposely misquoted to create Russian hacker) —>FBI—>CIA—>ODNI (DNI report)—-> You scratching your head wondering who makes this intel crap up. This is one of the DNI report’s secret sources and one that the whole report rests on.

Benchmark  May 31, 2018, Former top spy James Clapper explains how Russia swung the election to Trump “It stretches credulity to conclude that Russian activity didn’t swing voter decisions.”

But now I’m speaking as a private citizen, having left government service and knowing what I know about what the Russians did, how massive the operation was, how diverse it was, and how many millions of American voters it touched. When you consider that the election turned on 80,000 votes or less in three key states, it stretches credulity to conclude that Russian activity didn’t swing voter decisions, and therefore swing the election.

If you refer to the Benchmark November 2016 the group that caused HRC’s loss by that small margin is laid open and they give their own reason why they bloc voted Donald Trump into the presidency.

Benchmark The ODNI and associate agencies based their claim of Russian hacking and influence on a group of Influence peddlers including- Aric TolerPetr PoroshenkoJames ClapperDimitry AlperovichDimitry YaroshHillary ClintonBarrack ObamaAndrij DobrianskyIvanka ZajacGeorge MasniTaras MasnijAlexandra ChalupaIrena ChalupaElliot HigginsNestor PaslawskyJoel HardingAndrew Aaron WeisburdClint WattsAndreas Umland, and Andrea Chalupa. Oh, lest I forget, it just wouldn’t be the same without Ukrainian nationalism’s uber nazi- Stepan Bandera III.

Key organizations working directly and indirectly with Joel Harding’s IO are BellingcatInformNapalmStopfakePropornot, InterpreterMagEuromaidan PressHamilton 68 Dashboard, Facebook, and Twitter.

Linked into the article already is the continuation of the IO starting with the Women’s March which was about everything other than Women’s rights. Trans rights and Immigration topped the headlines while Ukrainian Diaspora allies that don’t qualify for status were tucked in. The Ukrainian Diaspora was bold enough to have youth dressed in WWII OUN nazi uniforms parading around in New York.

Charlottesville had IO operatives on both sides. George Soros footed the bill for Black Lives Matter who were taking down the statues and the so-called neo-nazis forgot to change and some were wearing Ukrainian Diaspora aligned polo shirts with their own CEEC nation logo emblazoned on it.

What this did was legitimize the destruction of historic monuments without even a public hearing and attempt to delegitimize the presidency of the United States.

The free speech protest in Boston on the heels of this was shut down by these same IO actors. The rally was even recognized by the Atlantic Council as a legitimate free speech rally.

What they took note of was the salient point, no one gave a damn about freedom of speech.

If those attempting to impeach Donald Trump do so on any of the false information provided by the IO actors, no future presidency is safe. Without those lies, what is left to target this president? That’s the question that needs to be answered.

Every one of the Intel seniors, leaders of the Intel community that took part, agency heads, and department heads, groups, companies, and private citizens responsible for organizing this have to be investigated. While there is no way to put the genie back in the bottle, Congress has to regulate who gets to do this and how.

If this IO wins and the president is cast out, war with Russia and then World War is the only inevitable event left to look forward to. If you don’t like Donald Trump, vote in 2020 like any other person that believes in western democracy.

If we don’t stop this Information Operation deep state coup, you may not get the chance.

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Bolton Gone: Improved Peace Prospects?

Image result for Bolton Gone: Improved Peace Prospects?

September 13, 2019
The departure of John Bolton as US National Security Adviser is a good step towards decreasing international tensions by the Trump administration. But a lot more is needed from President Donald Trump to indicate a serious pivot to normalizing relations with Russia, Iran and others.

When Trump gave Bolton his marching orders earlier this week, the president said he “strongly disagreed” with his erstwhile security adviser over a range of foreign policy issues. Trump had also expressed frustration with Bolton’s incorrigible militarist tendencies.

There is no doubt Bolton was an odious figure in the White House cabinet. One of our SCF authors, Martin Sieff, wrote this excoriating commentary on Bolton’s nefarious record of warmongering dating as far back as the launching of US wars in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, when the mustachioed maverick served then as a chief neocon ideologue in the GW Bush administration.

One wonders why Trump brought such a war hawk into his administration when he appointed Bolton as NSA in April 2018. Perhaps, as another of our writers, Robert Bridge, surmised in a separate commentary this week, Trump was using hardliner Bolton as a foil to deflect opponents from within the Washington establishment who have been trying to undermine the president as “soft on foreign enemies”. A ruse by Trump of keeping “your enemies close”, it is averred.

Bolton certainly did his best to hamper Trump’s seeming attempts at scaling back US foreign military interventions. He opposed the plan to withdraw American troops from Syria. The reckless Bolton also wound up a policy of aggression and regime change against Venezuela, which Trump has latterly seemed to grow wary of as a futile debacle.

In regard to Russia, Bolton carried heaps of Cold War baggage which made Trump’s declared intentions of normalizing relations with Moscow more difficult.

The shameless warmonger Bolton openly advocated for regime change in Iran, which seemed to contradict Trump’s oft-stated position of not seeking regime change in Tehran, despite the president’s own animosity towards Iran.

The former NSA also opposed any attempt by Trump to engage in detente with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Reportedly, it was Bolton who derailed the incipient efforts at opening up dialogue with Pyongyang.

It is also thought that Bolton used his influence to impede Trump’s recent bid to host Taliban leaders at Camp David earlier this month which was aimed at trust-building for a proposed peace deal to withdraw US troops from that country after nearly 18 years of disastrous war.

That said, however, President Trump has not shown himself to be exactly a dovish figure. He has overseen countless sanctions being imposed on Russia, the abandoning of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty, and ongoing military support for the anti-Russia regime in Kiev.

Too, it was Trump who ordered the US collapse of the 2015 international nuclear accord with Iran in May 2018 and the re-imposition of harsh sanctions on Tehran. So, it would be misplaced to paint Bolton as the sole malign actor in the White House. Trump is personally responsible for aggravating tensions with Iran, as well as with Russia, Venezuela and others.

Nevertheless, it is to be welcomed that an inveterate war hawk like Bolton no longer has the president’s ear. Perhaps Trump can be freer to act on his instincts as a pragmatic deal-maker. One thing that the president deserves credit for is his unconventional style of engaging with nations and leaders who are designated as foes of America.

Russia this week gave a reserved response to the sacking of Bolton. The Kremlin said it would make assessments of a positive change in US policy based on actions, not mere announcements, such as the firing of Bolton. Time will tell.

It seems significant that immediately after Bolton was relieved of his post, Trump hinted to reporters that he was considering lifting sanctions off Iran if such a move persuaded Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to hold a face-to-face meeting with Trump at the United Nations general assembly in New York later this month.

Iran has repeatedly stated categorically that there will be no talks with Trump unless his administration revokes sanctions and returns to abiding by the nuclear accord. If there is a serious pivot to normal diplomacy by the White House, then what Trump does about sanctions on Iran will be a litmus test.

The same can be said about US sanctions on Russia. If Trump is earnest about a genuine reset in bilateral relations, then he must get rid of the raft of sanctions that Washington has piled on Moscow since the 2014 Ukraine crisis amid the many spurious allegations leveled against Russia.

Bolton banished is but a small step towards a more diplomatically engaged US administration. But it would be unwise to expect the departure of this one figure as being a portent for progress and a more peaceful policy emerging in Washington.

The Washington establishment, the deep state and the bipartisan War Party, with its entrenched Cold War ideology, seems to have an endemic sway over policy which may thwart Trump’s efforts to direct a less belligerent US.

To illustrate the twisted nature of the US establishment, one only had to read the way sections of the American corporate-controlled media lamented the departure of Bolton. The New York Times, which is a dutiful conduit for deep state intelligence and the foreign policy establishment, actually bemoaned the ouster of Bolton, calling him a “voice of restraint”.

The NY Times commented, with approval, on how Bolton “objected to attempts to pursue diplomatic avenues with players considered American enemies. And he angered Trump with a last-minute battle against a peace agreement with the Taliban… whether it was inviting the Taliban to Camp David or cooperating with Russia, he [Bolton] was the national security adviser who said no.”

In another piece this week, the NY Times commented, again approvingly of Bolton: “Mr Bolton strongly opposed detente with Iran, and his unceremonious ouster has reignited concerns among some Republicans [and Democrats] in Congress about the White House’s declining projection of American military power around the world.”

Can you believe it? The so-called US “newspaper of record” is somehow valorizing an out-and-out warmonger in the form of Bolton, and appears to be advocating “projection of American military power around the world”. The latter phrase being but an Orwellian euphemism for imperialism and war.

The sobering conclusion is that Bolton’s departure hardly heralds a new beginning of diplomacy and engagement by Trump, if we assume to give this president the benefit of doubt for good intentions. Bolton may be gone, but there are formidable political forces in the US establishment which will work to ensure Trump’s room for maneuver remains heavily compressed. The Cold War ideology is so ingrained in Washington, it is much bigger than just one man, whether that is the vile personage of Bolton or the more flexible Trump.

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

The End of the “Greater Middle East Project”: The Case of Kurdistan

Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential elections has had dire implications for the American “Greater Middle East” project which has guided US foreign policy in the Middle East since it was first put forward in 2003. Trump’s reorientation toward internal US problems (migration, economy, protectionism), the emergence of new geopolitical rivals (China and Iran) and the turning point being reached in the war against Daesh in Syria have resulted, more or less, in a new balance of powers in the Middle East. While the situation is still rather chaotic, one fact is certainly clear: the Americans have lost their dominant position.

On top of all of this, following the events of July 2016, Turkey, one of the central players in the Middle East, headed for geopolitical rapprochement with Russia and began to distance itself from the United States. Turkish authorities accused Washington of having played a role in the attempted coup, driving a wedge in the relationship of the long-time allies. Up to this point, Turkey, together with Israel, were seen as outposts for pushing US foreign policy interests in the Middle East. However, contradictions began to emerge over the US’ reliance on the Kurdish separatists, who are locked in a state of open conflict with the Turkish government. As a result of disagreements over this issue, America began to lose one of its most important regional partners. After the coup attempt, hostilities between Turkey and the West escalated even further: Turkey openly discussed the possibility of a withdrawal from NATO, the West countered by threatening Turkey’s ongoing EU integration process.

Unsuccessful negotiations between Washington and Ankara over the extradition of accused coup leader Fethullah Gulen only complicated matters further, as did disputes over Turkey’s detention of Pastor Andrew Branson. The contradictions eventually reached their sharpest point as the US attempted to dissuade, and ultimately, threaten Turkey over their purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems.

In parallel with these processes, Saudi Arabia and Qatar began to adjust their foreign policy accordingly. Realizing that the West could no longer fully control the situation in the region, Qatar began to seek support from Russia, which had successfully shown the strength of its influence in Syria.

Qatar, being a traditional ally of Turkey (predominantly via the Muslim Brotherhood), began to follow Turkey’s lead, even improving relations with Iran. Saudi Arabia, a regional adversary of Qatar, was forced to follow a similar strategy… of course, not in terms of improving relations with Iran (their main regional adversary) but by establishing ties with Russia. This is evidenced in Riyadh’s attempt to buy S-400s from Moscow against Washington’s wishes.

Thus, the United States has lost most of its regional partners, with only the invariable Israel remaining a part of the Greater Middle East project. Trump has bent over backward to keep this relationship secure, even if it means finally destroy Washington’s relations with the Islamic world altogether and instead rely on the Kurds… a plan as obvious as it is failed.

Revising the Greater Middle East Strategy

The Greater Middle East project was the guiding light of US foreign policy strategy in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia for decades. As of 2011, the project grew to include the Arab nations of North Africa and Syria in particular. On a project map designed by J. Kemp and R. Harkavy, the Republic of Turkey and Kazakhstan were also included.

The project aimed to spread and deepen “democracy” in the region. The plan had two sides: the official one, which was supposed to contribute to a rise in power for states led by pro-Western reformers (initially completely unrealistic) and the unofficial one, which was to actively destabilize existing Islamic regimes, support color revolutions, riots and even bring about regime change.

Creating controlled chaos has always been a central goal of the project. This goal was realized in Libya and Iraq, but its implementation in Syria was disrupted by the effective policy of Russia and Syria’s alliance with Iran and Turkey. In addition to these major powers, Hezbollah played a critical role in disrupting Washington’s plans.

However, the plan also involved the creation of a wider arc of instability – from Lebanon and Palestine to Syria, Iraq, the Persian Gulf and Iran – right up to the Afghanistan border, where NATO garrisons are located. The levers of the project were numerous: large-scale financial investments in the economies of the Middle Eastern countries, support for extremist groups, information warfare, alongside open provocations and false-flags operations. During the implementation of the project, many Middle Eastern countries underwent “color revolutions” backed by Western operators who induced controlled chaos and exploited social media networks in order to use various countries’ social, political, religious, ethnic and economic problems against them. During the “Arab Spring”, this strategy led to regime change in 3 states: Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, while Libya and Syria were left in a state of civil war.

The US and EU were never completely unified over the project. At one G8 summit, the Greater Middle East project was criticized by French President Jacques Chirac, arguing that Middle Eastern countries do not need this kind of forcibly exported “democracy.”

The strategy for “spreading democracy” in the region had essentially become thinly , if at all, veiled US intervention in the domestic political life of Middle Eastern states. Military assaults began in Afghanistan, Iraq, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan and Syria. However, the results were less than favorable for most, resulting in floods of refugees, including representatives of terrorist organizations. Western Europe was forced to face the brunt of the backlash for Bush and Obama’s Middle Eastern adventures. The globalists and neoconservatives were united in their efforts, and although their destructive goals were achieved, the majority of Americans did not even understand why these costly and brutal operations were being prioritized.

Trump properly grasped the mood of voters and promised to curtail the Greater Middle East project. After coming to power, he at least began to move in that direction: in December 2018, he decided to withdraw all American troops from Syria.

Project Implementation Opportunities

After the wave of color revolutions and the Arab spring, some states in the Middle East realized the real threat posed by America’s evolving strategy. Before their eyes, centralized and well-ordered states were turning into ruins. It was not just a change of leadership: the very existence of entire countries was threatened. Hence, many leaders concluded the need for a new emphasis on sovereignty. For example, Turkey, an important player in the region, focused on geopolitical interaction with Russia and China, reorienting itself toward the Eurasian axis which caused a crisis in relations with the United States (the purchase of the S-400s from Russia led the United States to refuse to sell Turkey F-35 fighter jets as previously agreed).

The region around Syria was gradually cleared of extremist groups, with the remaining militants relegated to the province of Idlib and the south-east of the country. When Imran Khan became Prime Minister, Pakistan also moved further away from the United States and began to develop pro-Chinese policies while establishing strategic relations with Russia.

Looking at all of these factors, we can conclude that the Greater Middle East project has already been curtailed.

However, the American strategy only partly depends on who runs the White House. That’s why it’s important to understand the role of the so-called Deep State in US politics. The Deep State has its own logic and direction, something which Trump needs to take into account. Due to the Deep State’s influence, America continues to take advantage of a number of complex problems for the region, one critical example being its tactic of fomenting conflict through support for the forces fighting for an independent Kurdistan. This conflict in particular is shaping  up to be the “last battle” of the Greater Middle East project.

The Kurdish Map

The Greater Middle East project, according to Ralph Peters and Bernard-Henri Levy (the plan’s most important European propagandists), involves the creation of an independent “Free Kurdistan” which includes a number of territories in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. The creation of a single state entity through the unification of the 40 million Kurds residing in these countries could lead to a number of serious problems.

The idea of ​​creating an independent Kurdish state openly and clearly began to emerge at the end of the 19th century (the first Kurdish newspaper in Kurdish began to circulate in Cairo in 1898). At the end of the 19th century, the Kurdish people seemed as though they might actually embrace Turkey. The founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey, Kemal Atatürk, was positively greeted among the Kurds – some Alevite groups interpreted the role of Atatürk as Mahdi, the last successor of the prophet Muhammad. However, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Kurds did not receive their desired autonomy, which began to cause problems.

Historically, the “Kurdish map” has always been an ace-up-the-sleeve of various geopolitical powers striving for influence in the Middle East: Woodrow Wilson first supported the creation of an independent Kurdish state after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the US again supporting Kurdish forces in the 1970s in an attempt to overthrow the Iraqi Ba’ath party… in 2003, it used the Kurds to overthrow Saddam Hussein. The Iranians used the Kurds against Iraq in the 70s as well, while in more recent times the Syrians have tried to use the Kurdish issue against Turkey. Israel has strongly supported the Kurdistan project in order to weaken the Arabic States.

The fragmentation of the Kurds who live in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Turkey, as well as in the Caucasus, is one of the reasons why it is currently impossible to build a single Kurdish state. The Kurdish people have historically been prone to clan and political fragmentation. There are several factors which strongly separate the various groupings of Kurds.

One complication to the formation of an independent Kurdistan is linguistic fragmentation – Soran is spoken in eastern Iraq and Iran, while Kurmanji is spoken by Syrian, Iraqi and Turkish Kurds. Some Kurds in Iraq speak yet another dialect – Zaza.

Religious issues also hinder the unification of Kurdish tribes and clans into a single state: the majority of Kurds are Sunnis (with a large number of Sufi tariqas),  while Zoroastrian styled Yazidism is less widespread. Meanwhile, In Iran, Kurds are mainly followers of Shia Islam. Yazidism is considered the Kurdish national religion, but it is too different from orthodox Islam and even from the rather syncretic Sufi Tariqas.

Yazidism is prevalent mainly among the northern Kurds – Kurmanji.

New year celebrations in Lalish, 18 April 2017. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Religion is a mixture of Zoroastrianism (manifested in the doctrine of the seven Archangels and a special attitude to fire and the sun, along with a strong caste system) with the Sufi teachings of Sheikh Abi ibn Musafir. The unexplored and closed sources of the Yazidi religion strongly complicate the Kurdish factor. The Muslim nations surrounding them often characterize the Yazidi Kurds as worshipers of Shaitan. Shiite-style Kurds (mainly residing in Iran) are a separate group, difficult to reduce to the Shiite branch of Islam as such, and are more approximately a Zoroastrian interpretation of it. Interestingly, Shiite Kurds believe that the Mahdi should appear among the Kurds, suggesting a degree of ethnocentrism.

Another important factor in assessing the chances of creating an independent Kurdistan is their cultural specificity in the Iranian context: the Kurds, unlike other Iranian peoples, maintained a nomadic lifestyle far longer than others.

We can conclude that building a unified Kurdistan is essentially a utopian idea: the rich diversity of the religious, linguistic and cultural codes would be impossible obstacles in building a traditional nation-state… and this is without taking into account the stiff opposition to the project from other states in the region, including Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. For these countries, the implementation of the Greater Kurdistan project would actually mean the end of territorial integrity and a fundamental weakening of their sovereignty, and perhaps even their complete collapse (particularly given the fact that other ethnic minorities would likely want to follow the Kurdish path).

Although an independent state might be a pipe-dream, Turkey’s current tactical ally, Russia, could play a positive role in solving and regulating the Kurdish issue by other means. Being neutral in the conflict, despite historically positive relations with the Kurds, Russia could act as a mediator and guarantor of Kurdish rights while fighting to maintain the territorial integrity of existing states. Russia could assist in providing the Kurds with the possibility of cultural unification, protection and the development of their identity, but this implies the concept of a cultural and historical association rather than a political one. This association could grant the Kurds a certain degree of autonomy while preserving the territorial borders of the states in which they live.

In Iraq, a solution to the Kurdish issue is possible through the construction of a tripartite confederation between the Shiite majority, the Sunnis (with the rejection of Salafism and extremism and with the Sufis playing a predominant roe) and the Kurds (mainly Sunnis). It is also necessary to take into account Assyrian Christians, Yezidis and other ethnic-religious minorities of Iraq.

At present, Iraqi Kurds have the maximum autonomy and prerequisites for the implementation of the Kurdistan project under the leadership of Masoud Barzani. The origins of the relative independence of Iraqi Kurdistan are in American operations during the 2000s. It was during this period that Iraqi Kurds gained a maximum degree of autonomy. At the moment, Iraqi Kurdistan has its own armed forces, currency and even its own diplomats. Its main income comes from oil sales. Interestingly, the per capita GDP in Iraqi Kurdistan is quite high and exceeds that of Iran and Syria.

Moreover, in September 2017, the autonomous region’s leadership held a vote on secession from Iraq – 92.73% voters voted in favor of creating an independent Iraqi Kurdistan. Erbil’s plans in this direction have been met with negativity both in Iraq and in Turkey (despite Erdogan’s partnership with Barzani).

However, the situation in Iraq has its own difficulties and complications – the Barzani clan controls only half of the region, the second part of Iraqi Kurdistan, including the capital located in Sulaymaniyah, is controlled by the Talabani clan (the “Patriotic Union of Kurdistan” party is subordinate to it). Conditional partnerships have been established between the Barzani clan and the Talabani clan, but their orientations differ due to their diverging political priorities: this also manifests itself in terms of foreign policy: The Talabani clan is focused on Iran while the Barzani clan is focused on Turkey. This situation shows that even in the strongest part of Kurdistan there are heavy internal contradictions which make state-hood impossible.

In Turkey, the project faces several particularly sharp problems, a notable one being the ruling circle’s strong views on the Kurdish issue. Erdogan came to power in part by playing on the Kurdish factor (in efforts such as the Western-supported Kurdish–Turkish peace process), but, as relations with the West worsened, he began to return to a national Kemalist course, which traditionally takes a tough anti-separatist position, seeing any compromises with separatists as weakening Turkey’s national unity. As a result, Erdogan is now pursuing a policy of suppressing the movement for Kurdish autonomy – the PKK has responded in turn by carrying out terrorist attacks and issuing ultimatums.

The most stable situation for the Kurds in the Middle East is the one in Iran. The Kurds there live in four provinces – Kurdistan, Kermanshah, Western Azerbaijan and Ilam.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The second seed of the Kurdish state is a network of associations of followers of the partisan leader Abdullah Ocalan, a left-wing politician, and the mastermind/creator of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Ocalan’s teachings are about creating a special political union of Kurds in the spirit of “democratic confederalism”. This project promotes the creation of a virtual Kurdish state, based on socialist ideas. The center of this teaching is currently Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), which has raised strong concerns from Turkey who sees the Syrian Kurds as an integral part of the PKK. Consequently, Erdogan’s policy is based on the uncompromising political rejection of the Syrian Kurds political formations, which is why he is preparing for military operations in northeastern Syria.

In Ocalan’s ideas, we find the interesting postmodern political project of creating a post-national virtual state called a “confederation” which relies on disparate associations, clans and tribes rather than a formal nation. This network-based society surprisingly coincides in its general features with postmodern theories in international relations, promoting the end of the era of nation-states and the need for a transition to a virtual structure of power. In philosophical terms, the idea is inspired by left-wing French postmodernists, in particular, the Deleuzian concept of the “rhizome” – a scattered mushroom in which there is no center, but everything is still connected in a network. The idea is manifested in the Kurdish anarcho-communist project which combines leftist ideas, postmodern philosophy and feminism. Representatives of anarchist communities inspired by globalist financier George Soros also have sympathy for the idea of a virtual rhizomatic state.

The main enemies of Ocalan’s project are Turkey and Syria (in Syria, the followers of Ocalan are based in the North – they call themselves the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria). Support for the Syrian Kurds has also come from the US government… for several years, they have sent financial assistance to the Kurds to fight Daesh terrorists. In the Western media, far more attention was paid to the Kurd’s fight against Daesh than the actual large-scale victories of the Syrian and Turkish armies.

Israel is betting heavily on the Kurds in its regional policy since the Israelis are well aware that a Kurdish state would be a fundamental problem for all of their regional opponents (Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria). Although the Kurds are Muslims, and therefore hardly enthusiastic about Israeli policy toward Palestine, the pragmatic interests of Kurdish nationalism often outweigh confessional solidarity.

Following the recent strengthening of Assad’s position in Syria, Iran’s tough opposition to US policy and Turkey’s geopolitical reversal toward multipolarity, America is also increasingly putting its money on the Kurds, literally and figuratively. In 2019, the Ministry of Defense allocated $300 million to support Kurdish forces in the war against Daesh. The United States, according to UWI sources, continues to supply arms to Kurdish militants from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) today, using them as a weapon in the struggle to overthrow Assad. A report by the Carnegie Foundation notes that Kurdish groups in Syria and Iraq that successfully conducted operations against Daesh are “key US allies.” In the Western media, the Kurds are usually portrayed as “peacekeepers.”

The Americans (who are well aware of the difficulties involved) believe that the process of trying to build a Kurdish state will weaken or destroy their Middle Eastern rivals. After all, the creation of a free Kurdistan would entail the territorial division of Syria, Iran, Iraq and Turkey, creating a wide-ranging but controlled chaos.

An Alternative to the Greater Middle East Project

It has become apparent that the Kurdish issue needs to be resolved in the framework of a new project, an alternative to the globalist’s Greater Middle East strategy. It is important to create an alternative project that could rely on Ankara, while taking into account the interests of Baghdad, Tehran and Damascus. It should be Moscow, and not Washington (at least, not the American deep state) that plays the central mediating role. The project should work to preserve the territorial integrity of existing nations and even strengthen their overall sovereignty… at the same time, it is extremely important to take into account the diversity of peoples in the Middle East, and the Kurds in particular. Within this new political framework, the Kurds should have certain powers and guarantees – but at the same time, they must not be allowed to be exploited by globalist forces looking to destabilize the region to their own advantage.

In the context of the transformation of the Middle East, powers should reorient themselves towards cooperation with the Eurasian pole. China and Russia could become the key players in resolving the Kurdish issue, ensuring a balance between real Kurdish interests and the countries seeking to maintain their territorial integrity. The only way out of the current Kurdish impasse is finding a strict, consistent and integrated approach to solving the problem of Kurdish identity.

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Tulsi Gabbard’s Road to Damascus

August 12, 2019
Image result for Tulsi Gabbard’s Road to Damascus

There’s a good reason the presidential hopeful met with Assad, but the media doesn’t want to talk about it.

Scott RITTER

It was eight minutes of hell for Kamala Harris. Onstage at the second Democratic debate in Michigan, Harris was subjected to a blistering assault on her record as a California prosecutor at the hands of Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

Afterwards, Harris was asked about Gabbard’s attack by CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

“Listen,” she replied, “I think that this coming from someone who has been an apologist for an individual, [Syrian President Bashar al] Assad, who has murdered the people of his country like cockroaches. She has embraced and been an apologist for him in the way she refuses to call him a war criminal. I can only take what she says and her opinion so seriously, so I’m prepared to move on.”

Harris was referring to a controversial four-day visit by Gabbard to Syria in early January 2017, during which she met with Assad. While Gabbard’s performance during the debate was stellar (her name was the most searched of all the Democratic candidates), Harris’s jab regarding Assad seemed like all the mainstream media wanted to talk about.

“When sitting down with someone like Bashar al-Assad in Syria,” MSNBC’s Yasmin Vossoughian asked Gabbard, “do you confront him directly and say why do you order chemical attacks on your own people? Why do you cause the killings of over half a million people in your country?”

Following six months of strenuous pre-deployment training, Tulsi Gabbard deployed to Iraq in early 2005 as part of the 29th Brigade Combat Team, an all-National Guard/Reserve unit. She and the rest of the 29th Support Battalion were deployed to Camp Anaconda, a sprawling U.S. facility situated on the grounds of Balad Air Base, north of Baghdad. At the time, Camp Anaconda was under such frequent attack by insurgent mortar fire that it had acquired the nickname “Mortaritaville,” a play on a Jimmy Buffet song of a similar title.

Mortar and rocket attacks became an ever-present reality for the young Hawaiian soldier.

“Sometimes,” Gabbard told the Honolulu Advertiser, “we can go for days with no alarm siren going off, no attacks, and sometimes there can be many in one day…sometimes the attacks are so far away you can’t hear the explosion; other times so close that the ground and sky just seem to shake from the impact.” The feeling of helplessness was palpable: “all you can really do,” Gabbard said, “is say a silent prayer that you and your buddies are unharmed.”

While Charlie Med, as her unit was known, came through the deployment unscathed, 18 members of the 29th Brigade Combat Team were killed in Iraq, and scores more were wounded.

“Every single day,” Tulsi Gabbard reminded her fellow Americans during the second Democratic debate in July, “I saw the high cost of war.”

The 29th Brigade Combat Team was deployed in Iraq at a time when Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, was engaged in an all-out war with U.S. forces. The casualties that Gabbard and her comrades endured were a result of “the fight that is ongoing every day in Iraq against these insurgent terrorists”; these losses, she noted, “we have felt in Hawai’i.” War for Tulsi Gabbard and her fellow soldiers wasn’t an abstraction, but an ever-present, horrible reality.

Gabbard returned from her year-long deployment a decorated combat veteran, having earned commendations and the coveted Combat Medic Badge for her service. Gabbard went on to graduate from Officer Candidate School and was trained as a Military Police Officer. Later she completed a second tour of duty in the Iraq theater, commanding a Military Police Company stationed in Kuwait.

For Gabbard, the road to Damascus began with her initial deployment to Iraq and continued through her 2009 deployment to Kuwait. Having enlisted in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Gabbard instead found herself engaged in a “regime change” war in Iraq predicated on the lie of weapons of mass destruction. It then continued through the halls of Congress, following Gabbard’s successful bid for office in 2011. From her position as a member of the Armed Services Committee, she watched as the al-Qaeda enemy she’d fought in Iraq morphed into ISIS and spread its influence into Syria.

Over the next few years, Gabbard saw how the Obama administration began, in her words,

“funneling weapons and money through Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and others who provide direct and indirect support to groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda” in an effort to overthrow the Assad regime. “If you or I gave money, weapons or support to al-Qaeda or ISIS,” Gabbard declared via Twitter, “we would be thrown in jail. Why does our gov get a free pass on this?”

For someone who watched her fellow soldiers die fighting al-Qaeda in 2005, the Obama policy of supporting terrorists, whether directly or indirectly, as part of a new regime change war against Syria was a betrayal of that sacrifice.

A vocal supporter of Senator Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential election, Gabbard opposed Hillary Clinton’s more hawkish policies on Syria. Following Clinton’s defeat at the hands of Donald Trump, she continued to flaunt the rules of political expediency, taking a meeting with the president-elect in order to discuss Syria and the fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda. “I felt it important to take the opportunity to meet with the president-elect now,” Gabbard noted at the time, “before the drumbeats of war that neocons have been beating drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government.”

In January 2017, Tulsi embarked on her fateful visit to Syria. As she told CNN’s Jake Tapper during an interview after her return, she hadn’t planned on meeting with the Syrian president. When the opportunity presented itself, however, Gabbard stated that she went

“because I felt it’s important that if we profess to truly care about the Syrian people, about their suffering, then we’ve got to be able to meet with anyone that we need to if there is a possibility that we could achieve peace, and that’s exactly what we talked about.”

“Obviously,” Tapper stated in response, “Bashar al-Assad is responsible for thousands of deaths and millions of people being displaced during this five-year long civil war. Did you have any compunctions about meeting with somebody like that, giving him any sort of enhanced credibility because a member of the United States Congress would meet with someone like that?”

“Whatever you think about President Assad,” Tulsi replied, “the fact is that he is the president of Syria. In order for any peace agreement, in order for any possibility of a viable peace agreement to occur, there has to be a conversation with him.”

In the aftermath of President Trump’s three meetings with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, Tulsi’s observations don’t seem quite as controversial. But at the time she was lambasted by her colleagues in Congress for ostensibly giving credence to Assad, whom they labeled a “brutal dictator.”

If the U.S. succeeded in overthrowing Assad, Tulsi knew, the very terrorists she’d fought against in Iraq would end up ruling Syria. Meeting with Assad to discuss the prospects of defeating a common enemy was the most meaningful way she could honor the service and sacrifice of her fellow soldiers. That the mainstream media and detractors like Kamala Harris don’t get this only underscores the deep divide between those like Tulsi Gabbard, who have served in combat, and those who have not.

Gabbard’s performances in the first two Democratic debates were strong, but it remains an open question as to whether she will qualify for the third debate in September. At a time when she should be campaigning hard to secure a spot on that debate stage, however, she’s instead taking a two-week break to fulfill her annual training requirement as an officer in the Hawaii National Guard.

Kamala Harris and the other Democratic candidates would do well to take note of the following reality—if the U.S. goes to war in Syria, Iran, North Korea, or elsewhere, Tulsi alone among her colleagues could be called upon to serve on the front line.

“The Congresswoman [Gabbard] is the most qualified and prepared candidate to serve as Commander in Chief, which I believe is the most important responsibility of the President,” Senator Mike Gravel, a Democrat who represented Alaska in the Senate from 1969 through 1981, noted in his letter endorsing Tulsi for president. Gravel, an Army veteran, is perhaps most famous for placing the Pentagon Papers in the public record in 1971. A popular progressive voice for peace, his endorsement should not be taken lightly. Kamala Harris should take

“The Congresswoman [Gabbard] is the most qualified and prepared candidate to serve as Commander in Chief, which I believe is the most important responsibility of the President,” Senator Mike Gravel, a Democrat who represented Alaska in the Senate from 1969 through 1981, noted in his letter endorsing Tulsi for president. Gravel, an Army veteran, is perhaps most famous for placing the Pentagon Papers in the public record in 1971. A popular progressive voice for peace, his endorsement should not be taken lightly. Kamala Harris should take note.

theamericanconservative.com

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

The U.S. has the best Congress and White House that money can buy

Philip Giraldi
August 8, 2019

Think tanks sprout like weeds in Washington. The latest is the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, which is engaged in a pre-launch launch and is attracting some media coverage all across the political spectrum. The Institute is named after the sixth US President John Quincy Adams, who famously made a speech while Secretary of State in which he cautioned that while the United States of America would always be sympathetic to the attempts of other countries to fight against dominance by the imperial European powers, “she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.”

The Quincy Institute self-defines as a foundation dedicated to a responsible and restrained foreign policy with the stated intention of “mov[ing] US foreign policy away from endless war and toward vigorous diplomacy in the pursuit of international peace.” It is seeking to fund an annual budget of $5-6 million, enough to employ twenty or more staffers.

The Quincy Institute claims correctly that many of the other organizations dealing with national security and international affairs inside the Beltway are either agenda driven or neoconservative dominated, often meaning that they in practice support serial interventionism, sometimes including broad tolerance or even encouragement of war as a first option when dealing with adversaries. These are policies that are currently playing out unsuccessfully vis-à-vis Venezuela, Iran, Syria and North Korea.

The Quincies promise to be different in an attempt to change the Washington foreign policy consensus, which some have referred to as the Blob, and they have indeed collected a very respectable group of genuine “realist” experts and thoughtful pundits, including Professor Andrew Bacevich, National Iranian American Council founder Trita Parsi and investigative journalist Jim Lobe. But the truly interesting aspect of their organization is its funding. Its most prominent contributors are left of center George Soros and right of center and libertarian leaning Charles Koch. That is what is attracting the attention coming from media outlets like The Nation on the progressive side and Foreign Policy from the conservatives. That donors will demand their pound of flesh is precisely the problem with the Quincy vision as money drives the political process in the United States while also fueling the Establishment’s military-industrial-congressional complex that dominates the national security/foreign policy discussion.

There will be inevitably considerable ideological space between people who are progressive-antiwar and those who call themselves “realists” that will have to be carefully bridged lest the group begin to break down in squabbling over “principles.” Some progressives of the Barack Obama variety will almost certainly push for the inclusion of Samantha Power R2P types who will use abuses in foreign countries to argue for the US continuing to play a “policeman for the world” role on humanitarian grounds. And there will inevitably be major issues that Quincy will be afraid to confront, including the significant role played by Israel and its friends in driving America’s interventionist foreign policy.

Nevertheless, the Quincy Institute is certainly correct in its assessment that there is significant war-weariness among the American public, particularly among returning veterans, and there is considerable sentiment supporting a White House change of course in its national security policy. But it errs in thinking that America’s corrupted legislators will respond at any point prior to their beginning to fail in reelection bids based on that issue, which has to be considered unlikely. Witness the current Democratic Party debates in which Tulsi Gabbard is the only candidate who is even daring to talk about America’s disastrous and endless wars, suggesting that the Blob assessment that the issue is relatively unimportant may be correct.

Money talks. Where else in the developed world but the United States can a multi-billionaire like Sheldon Adelson legally and in the open spend a few tens of millions of dollars, which is for him pocket change, to effectively buy an entire political party on behalf of a foreign nation? What will the Quincies do when George Soros, notorious for his sometimes disastrous support of so-called humanitarian “regime change” intervention to expand “democracy movements” as part his vision of a liberal world order, calls up the Executive Director and suggests that he would like to see a little more pushing of whatever is needed to build democracy in Belarus? Soros, who has doubled his spending for political action in this election cycle, is not doing so for altruistic reasons. And he might reasonably argue that one of the four major projects planned by the Quincy Institute, headed by investigative journalist Eli Clifton, is called “Democratizing Foreign Policy.”

Why are US militarism and interventionism important issues? They are beyond important – and would be better described as potentially life or death both for the United States and for the many nations with which it interacts. And there is also the price to pay by every American domestically, with the terrible and unnecessary waste of national resources as well human capital driving American ever deeper into a hole that it might never be able to emerge from.

As Quincy is the newcomer on K Street, it is important to recognize what the plethora of foundations and institutes in Washington actually do in any given week. To be sure, they produce a steady stream of white papers, press releases, and op-eds that normally only their partisan supporters bother to read or consider. They buttonhole and talk to congressmen or staffers whenever they can, most often the staffers. And the only ones really listening among legislators are the ones who are finding what they hear congenial and useful for establishing a credible framework for policy decisions that have nothing to do with the strengths of the arguments being made or “realism.” The only realism for a congress-critter in the heartland is having a defense plant providing jobs in his district.

And, to be sure, the institutes and foundations also have a more visible public presence. Every day somewhere in Washington there are numerous panel discussions and meetings debating the issues deemed to be of critical importance. The gatherings are attended primarily by the already converted, are rarely reported in any of the mainstream media, and they exist not to explain or resolve issues but rather to make sure their constituents continue to regard the participants as respectable, responsible and effective so as not to interrupt the flow of donor money.

US foreign policy largely operates within narrow limits that are essentially defined by powerful and very well-funded interest groups like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the Hudson Institute, the Brookings Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), but the real lobbying of Congress and the White House on those issues takes place out of sight, not in public gatherings, and it is backed up by money. AIPAC, for example, alone spends more than $80 million dollars per year and has 200 employees.

So, the Quincy Institute intention to broaden the discussion of the current foreign policy to include opponents and critics of interventionism should be welcomed with some caveats. It is a wonderful idea already explored by others but nevertheless pretty much yet another shot in the dark that will accomplish little or nothing beyond providing jobs for some college kids and feel good moments for the anointed inner circle. And the shot itself is aimed in the wrong direction. The real issue is not foreign policy per se at all. It is getting the corrupting force of enormous quantities of PAC money completely removed from American politics. America has the best Congress and White House that anyone’s money can buy. The Quincy Institute’s call for restraint in foreign policy, for all its earnestness, will not change that bit of “realism” one bit.

Pompeo ‘Happy’ to Pontificate in Tehran, Revealing US Tyranny of Arrogance

Finian Cunningham
August 3, 2019
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Imagine the spectacle. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sitting in Tehran and telling the Iranian people via a state media interview how “evil” their government is. No wonder tensions with Iran are reaching a flashpoint when Washington is so arrogant and delusional.

Last week, Pompeo told US media he was willing to go to Iran despite the Americans having no diplomatic relations with Tehran. Pompeo was not intending to suddenly meet with Iranian officials. Instead he wants a putative visit to Tehran to be an occasion to get on state media and address the Iranian people “directly”.

In response to a question about whether he was prepared to go to Tehran, the American top diplomat said:

“Sure. If that’s the call, I’d happily go there… I would welcome the chance to speak directly to the Iranian people.”

“I’d like a chance to go [to Tehran], not do propaganda but speak the truth to the Iranian people about what it is their leadership has done and how it has harmed Iran,” he added.

That’s not diplomatic outreach. It is simply about seeking the chance to pontificate in Tehran. Despite claiming he would “not do propaganda”, the talking points that Pompeo would regurgitate on Iranian media would be the usual baseless slander that has become Washington’s standard depiction of Iran. A depiction that Pompeo as well as President Donald Trump have personally propagated.

Iran, according to Washington dogma, is an evil terrorist-sponsoring regime that ruthlessly represses its 80 million people, fueling conflict all over the Middle East, and secretly building nuclear weapons. Typically, the Americans never provide any evidence to substantiate their caricature of Iran. It’s merely a “truth” solidified by relentless repetition of hollow allegations. In short, propaganda.

And Pompeo wants to insult the intelligence of Iranians by being given a pulpit on Iranian state media.

By saying he wants to “speak directly” to the Iranian people, Pompeo is adverting to the real US agenda of fomenting regime change.

America’s official arrogance and hypocrisy are boundless. Every malign activity that Washington accuses Iran of can be thrown straight back at the US with manifold more accuracy of facts. The US has destroyed the Middle East with numerous criminal wars and covert regime-change operations, has sponsored terrorists as its proxies, and has fueled the danger of nuclear war by illegally arming Israel with hundreds of weapons of mass destruction.

President Trump has sinisterly alluded to potentially using WMD against Iran in recent weeks, threatening to deploy overwhelming force “to end the regime”.

Admittedly, the American president has at times said he is open to talks with the Iranian government. His “offer” is unconvincing of an intention for genuine dialogue. Trump expects Iran to come to the negotiating table in an act of surrender and self-debasement to accept his terms of “disarmament”. All the while using the threat of annihilation as a bargaining tool.

Moreover, Pompeo expressed his entitlement to lecture the Iranians and urge them to liberate themselves from a “theocratic tyranny

” because, he said, the Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javid Zarif is allowed “the freedoms of the United States to come here and spread malign propaganda”.

Pompeo was referring to an official visit to the US earlier this month by Zarif who was attending the United Nations in New York City for a diplomatic conference. All foreign diplomats have a sovereign right to attend the UN. Pompeo’s remarks indicate a presumption that the US government has dominion over the UN and international law.

The alleged “malign propaganda” that Pompeo accused Zarif of spreading was an interview he conducted with the NBC news channel at the Iranian ambassador’s residence. During that interview, Zarif did not unload on the litany of factually verifiable war crimes that the US is culpable of.

What Zarif said was a model of restraint and diplomacy. He said that if the US lifted crippling sanctions off Iran, then the “door is wide open” for future negotiations.

Calling for the avoidance of war, the Iranian diplomat pointed out that it was the United States, not Iran, that had undermined diplomacy by walking away from the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers, reported NBC.

“It is the United States that left the bargaining table. And they’re always welcome to return,” Zarif added.

What Pompeo calls “malign propaganda” many other people would view as an accurate, if restrained, telling by the Iranian diplomat of how it really is.

Given the unlawful aggression that the Trump administration is wielding against Iran in terms of economic warfare on the country’s vital oil trade and in terms of military force buildup in the Persian Gulf, including nuclear-capable B-52 bombers, what Iran is demonstrating is an immense discipline to maintain regional and world peace.

Iran’s conditions for possible negotiations are eminently reasonable. They include being respected as a sovereign nation and entering into dialogue as a mutual party where discussions can be held on the basis of facts and international law.

Pompeo’s supreme arrogance about America’s presumed exceptional entitlements and superiority are, unfortunately, a sign that Washington is incapable of being a normal state. The real “theocratic tyranny” is in Washington where it has the perverse belief that it has divine right to destroy other nations if they don’t grovel sufficiently at its feet. But those feet are made of the proverbial clay signifying a doomed power, as Iran’s dignity and defiance is revealing.

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No, Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Is Not “Assad Apologist”

Media and politicians deliberately confuse non-interventionist, anti-war views with being a supporter of “brutal dictators” and “regimes”

Global Research, August 02, 2019

With nearly two dozen declared candidates competing for the 2020 Democratic Presidential primary field and the opportunity to run against Donald Trump in the general election, it’s no surprise that candidates are trying their best to “destroy” their opponents during the debates.

During yesterday’s second night of the second Democratic DebateCongresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, brought up California Senator Kamala Harris’s record as prosecutor. She said,

“I’m concerned about this record of Senator Harris. She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana”.

Gabbard also said

“She kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor of the state of California,” and added “The bottom line is, Senator Harris, when you were in a position to make a difference and an impact in these people’s lives, you did not,”. Gabbard ended with “The people who suffered under your reign as prosecutor, you owe them an apology.”

After the debate in Detroit, while talking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Harris resorted to name calling and belittling Gabbard by saying she was an “apologist” for Assad “who has murdered the people of his country like cockroaches.” She also said that because she is “obviously a top-tiered candidate” that she was prepared to take some hits especially from people who were polling at close to zero percent.

It’s interesting how the majority of the criticism that Gabbard faces is from her own party, whereas Republicans and progressives actually like her. She’s even sided with Republicans on the whole Russian collusion fiasco, some have even accused her of being hired by Russia to take down Kamala. Therefore, it’s no surprise that once #KamalaHarrisDestroyed started trending on Twitter people started accusing Russian bots and MAGA supporters of fueling it.

Let’s get back to why Gabbard is not an “Assad apologist.”

In January 2017, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard visited Syria on a fact-finding mission, and met with President Bashar Al Assad in Damascus, but few know that she met with the opposition as well, among others. She has said that she is willing to meet with any leader, “because the only alternative to having those meetings is war”.

Gabbard’s skepticism of how the media was portraying the Syrian president grew and the more openly she spoke about the need for proof before assigning blame for alleged chemical weapons attacks, the harsher the criticism against her became, from the media and her own party.

Gabbard has been accused of being an “Assad apologist” by many but the name calling doesn’t end there. The Washington Post called her “Assad’s Mouthpiece”, The Daily Beast said she was “Bashar Assad’s Favorite Democrat”.

What all of these people are missing is that she has on many occasions called Assad “a brutal dictator” or has folded under pressure like she did earlier this year on The View and the latest example is last night when Anderson Cooper badgered her repeatedly about whether she thinks Assad is a murderer, and yet again she caved.

Her weakness when faced with high pressure situations is a flaw that some of her supporters and critics have noticed and pointed out. It’s not a good look and some will try to defend it and say that it’s just “political talk” to get her elected, but folding and backtracking are signs of weakness and could cost her.

It also seems apparent that many are confusing her non-interventionist, anti-war views with being a supporter of “brutal dictators” and “regimes”.  Her opposition in 2013 to Obama’s proposed military strikes in Syria resulted in her introducing legislation to block CIA activities in Syria and military actions against Assad. In 2016 she was only one of three members of Congress that voted against House resolution 121, “Syria war bill” which condemned the Syrian government and other parties for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

She has opposed overthrowing the Syrian government under the false pretense of “humanitarianism”. That same year she even met with President Trump to try to convince him of her views. The following year she stated that the US’s “regime change” involvement in Syria caused the Syrian refugee crisis. That same year she visited Syria, met with President Assad and spoke with Syrian civilians. In 2017 she also supported the Stop Arming Terrorists Act. However, she also supports separatist Kurdish militia’s in Syria.

Gabbard has questioned whether or not Assad ordered chemical weapon attacks against Syrian civilians, she called for an investigation by the U.N. In 2018 she spoke during interviews about the US and their allies providing support to terrorist organizations like AlQaeda. Then, in 2019 while on The View she said there was no disputing the fact that (Assad) is a brutal dictator that has used chemical weapons against his people. Without any evidence, and while playing the role of judge and jury, she caved and said what the hosts wanted to hear.

Even after kowtowing mainstream media’s narrative about Assad being a “brutal dictator” and “murderer” who “uses chemical weapons on his own people”, Democrats insist Gabbard is sympathetic to Syria’s Assad.

Gabbard never was, nor is she now an Assad “apologist”. President Assad has the support of the majority of his people and has been fighting foreign and domestic terrorism in Syria for over eight years, he surely doesn’t need anyone to apologize for him.

Whoever wins the next US election should let Syrians determine their own fate and stay out of their internal political affairs. Ending “regime change” wars and bringing back US troops from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and the rest of the world should be a top priority on their agenda.

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This article was originally published on InfoRos.

Sarah Abed is an independent journalist and political commentator. For media inquiries please email sarah@sarahabed.com

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