Netanyahu Follows Trump’s Footsteps: Political Downfall, Internal Crisis, and Attempt to Bridge the Gap

11-06-2021

Netanyahu Follows Trump’s Footsteps: Political Downfall, Internal Crisis, and Attempt to Bridge the Gap

By Ali Abadi

The recent developments in the Zionist entity reopen the discussion regarding the extent to which this entity is influenced by the US policy as well as the changes inside the United States.

Since Trump’s failure in the US Presidential Elections, the countdown to Benjamin Netanyahu’s downfall has started -who represents the ‘Israeli’ version of Trump’s personality- even though the former was able to reproduce his leadership via three consecutive elections, and prepared to a fourth round to fortify his position against probes in cases of corruption, and to fight the possibility of moving him away from the political scene through a rival party coalition. However, Netanyahu’s ploys didn’t survive in front of the results of the recent war with Gaza, which turned the political atmosphere inside the occupation entity to the extent that Netanyahu’s government was found responsible or losing the deterrence with Gaza, not to mention his weakness to handle the resistance and its growing might.

Herein, we should notice the relative comparison between the American and the ‘Israeli’ arenas:

On the one hand, the extravagance of America’s right wing led to dangerous division that caused an intense desire among all of Trump’s opponents [including some of the Republican party members] to get rid of him via ballot boxes, so they voted majorly against the far-right policies [represented by Trump] more than to support his rival Biden and his electoral program. And in the ‘Israeli’ arena, the right policies led to attractions from within the Zionist society, not between the left and the right, but within the right itself. A dominant agreement emerged that Netanyahu is sticking to power at any price, even if it led to a ‘civil war’, and that he is using Zionist religious parties that exchange with him the electoral services and well as the governmental benefits.

On the other hand, it happened previously that the personalities of Trump and Netanyahu have been linked to each other, in the course of unprecedented similarity in political tendencies of both sides regarding several issues. Trump’s failure in the US has motivated many ‘Israeli’ politicians to think about a way to get rid of his closest ally, Netanyahu. However, they didn’t possess the required energy to unite. Then came the recent confrontation with the Palestinians to uncover the weak structure of the entity as well as the policies of Netanyahu’s government. The decision was among several political parties to scapegoat him based on the rule of preserving the rightist policies that are threatened with the strong Palestinian uprising on the one hand, and the harmony with the American policies as much as possible on the other hand. Hence, the Zionist right settlement scheme would be saved, while Netanyahu’s attempts to shake the alliance with the US due to his objection of its return to the nuclear deal with Iran would fail.

Separation

Both American and ‘Israeli’ societies suffer from not yet hidden political, ideological, and ethnic divisions. Both societies need to absorb the tension from time to time via changing the top of the pyramid. This is one issue. Another remarkable one is that ‘Israel’ didn’t succeed for long in staying away from the requirements of the American interests in the region. And without harboring hopes on a major separation between the two sides, we witness a sort of coldness in relations due to three main points over the past three decades.

First: With launching the Madrid Conference for settlement in the region in the beginning of the 1990s after the US-led war in Kuwait, when Isaac Shamir [Likud] government objected to the principle of establishing an independent Palestinian state, but the Zionist entity’s need for the US financial support to contain the Jewish migration from the Soviet Union and other places pushed ‘Israel’ to reduce its objections and conditions. Washington was able, through guaranteed loans worth billions of dollars, to tame the ‘Israeli’ policy in favor of its wider interests. Then, Shamir was displaced from the ‘Israeli’ scene, and was succeeded by Isaac Rabin [Labor Party] to lead the Oslo track which happened to become later the Palestinian Authority in Gaza and Ariha. However, after the assassination of Rabin in 1995, the abilities of the most harmonized Zionist parties with the US policy declined on the level of their potential to attract, and the base of the far-right parties, which reject the issue of ‘Two-state-solution’ or freezing the settlement activity grew, especially in the aftermaths of the major migration from the previously-known Soviet Union and other places. This led to a change inside the Zionist society, in addition to the structure of its successive governments.

Second: Netanyahu’s impediment of Barack Obama’s attempts to revive negotiations with the Palestinian Authority based on freezing the settlement activity in the West Bank, and then the US signing of a nuclear deal with Iran in 2015. Netanyahu objected to it publicly and inside the US congress in a famous speech. Meanwhile, the dispersion within Netanyahu’s rival ‘Israeli’ parties didn’t allow the formation of a change that suits the US regional policy.  Trump came to power in 2016 to revive Netanyahu’s hopes about change that he didn’t dream about from the part of the American orientation on other levels [such as moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to al-Quds, recognizing the ‘Israeli’ sovereignty in the Golan, supporting the settlement activity in the West Bank, cutting funds of the Palestinian refugees’ UNRWA agency, shutting the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington, and encouraging the ‘Israeli’ normalization with Arab states regardless to the Palestinians.] A parallel US shift took place when Trump left the nuclear deal with Iran.

Third: Biden’s rising to power in Washington, which modified the ‘Israeli’ expectations. This is not limited to some differences regarding the traditional support of ‘Israel’ between America’s Republican and Democratic parties. The truth is that a change started to be witnessed in the public American mood in which a new political generation in the US, and inside the Democratic party is more liberal than its predecessors and doesn’t grant ‘Israel’ an ultimate support. It also cannot digest the rightist ‘Israeli’ thinking to ban the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the Palestinian people’s right to live on their land within internationally recognized borders. The ‘Israeli’ narrative, which has dominated the minds of the US elite over several decades regarding the right of Jews alone to establish their national Jewish state, has turned less tempting to many Americans. Additionally, the pro-Palestinian activism on social media platforms managed to breach the pro-‘Israel’ traditional media, in which Facebook and Twitter’s restrictions couldn’t curb this activism that was crystal-clear during the latest round of ‘Israeli’ aggression. It also scored important attractions in English and other foreign language.

Moreover, the Biden administration prioritizing of returning to the nuclear deal with Iran formed a separation from Netanyahu government’s orientations. He has started hinting to moving without an agreement from Washington, a matter that is not only underestimated in the US, but also among ‘Israeli’ milieus that are worried about losing the strategic alliance with the US.

Back to the house of obedience

After this third stop, ‘Israel’ returns to the so-called American ‘house of obedience’ or to adapting with the major US interests. This return is based upon avoiding confrontation with the US policies and their regional requirements to deal with the nuclear Iran in particular, reducing tension and difference with the American administration when dealing with the flaming Palestinian issue nowadays. However, it is not necessarily at the expense of the rightist tendencies regarding the settlement scheme that is the core of the Zionist project. The official US interest intersected with the internal ‘Israeli’ parties’ interests to remove Netanyahu from the scene. The US administration will take advantage of this shift in an attempt to revive negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and the occupation’s government to delegitimize the Palestinian resistance and the Axis that supports it in the region. Washington is to offer significant motivations to the future Zionist right government, led by Naftali Bennett, to allow progress in negotiations. Hereby, new obstacles will emerge from the side of Netanyahu’s successors who publicly adopt a hardline track regarding the rights of the Palestinian people, especially regarding the evacuation of some occupied land, freezing settlement, or establishing the Palestinian state. This will later turn things to the previous empty circle on the level of negotiations.

It is worth noting that Biden’s administration is not totally free to dictate its policies on ‘Israel’, especially amid the contradictions within the US political environment and inside the democratic party itself. However, ‘Israel’s’ dire need to the US support is an existential need to bear the pressures and preserve the qualitative military superiority. This will push the next ‘Israeli’ government to reduce the public contact with the US to overcome the challenges posed in this phase.

Finally, it is important to examine the extent to which the future Zionist government would succeed in:

– Managing the internal chaos along with threats of physical killing among the right affiliates

– Managing the military confrontation with the Gaza Strip

– Managing the variations with the US administration regarding the Palestinian issue and the Iran nuclear deal

On the American level, it is important to note the US administration’s ability to:

– Pass the nuclear deal with Iran without shockwaves inside the US congress and the circles of the conservatives who are more sticking to the ‘Israeli’ interests

– Dealing with the critical Palestinian issue, militarily and politically, based on the results of the recent confrontation that raised the voice of the Palestinian resistance

Good News and Bad News: Biden Punts on Russia and Takes Some Heat on Afghanistan

See the source image
Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.

Philip Giraldi

May 27, 2021

The Establishment Foreign Policy has long advocated a policy of staying in Afghanistan until a political reliable government is established there.

Possibly the best news to come out of the past week has been the announcement of a possibly Egyptian mediated cease fire between Israel and Gaza late last Thursday. The fighting killed 243 Palestinians, including 66 children, versus twelve Israelis including two children and also did major damage to schools, medical facilities and other infrastructure in Gaza. It is being widely presumed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulled the plug on the “Guardians of the Walls” offensive because of concerns that Israeli Army brutality was inflicting serious damage on the hitherto favorable perception of the Jewish state in the United States. As U.S. support of Israeli initiatives for both the money and political cover that Washington provides is essential to the Netanyahu long term plan to annex nearly all of the West Bank, it would have seemed prudent to take one’s foot off the pedal until the expected next round of fighting.

Though it has not been confirmed, it seems reasonable to assume that President Joe Biden might have offered a considerable sweetener to Netanyahu to nudge the Israeli leader towards the cease fire. It appears to have come in the form of an offer to help pay for and assist the reconstruction of Gaza with one apparent condition, that Hamas effectively completely disarm by getting rid of all its missiles. Presumably U.S. or United Nations inspectors would make sure the job were done right, would share what they learn about Gaza’s tunnel system with Israeli intelligence, and the IDF in turn would find it much easier going the next time it chooses to attack. As usual, the American taxpayer would be victimized to undo the damage in paying for a significant part of the multi-billion dollar reconstruction tab.

But in terms of benefiting actual American interests, there has also been the Biden Administration decision to lift the sanctions imposed by Donald Trump on the contractors who have been working on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline which will deliver Russian gas to Germany. The Trump Administration, driven by its gaggle of neocon advisers, had declared that the pipeline was a “national security threat” and initiated sanctions on all parties involved, including Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, while also appointing a special envoy to put pressure on the German government to renege on the deal. The pipeline was and is good business for Moscow and also for Berlin since the Russian gas is cheaper than other available supplies. It will cost $11 billion to complete, is over 95% finished and will reportedly create at least 10,000 jobs.

It initially looked as if Biden would continue the Trump policy. As recently as mid-March Secretary of State Tony Blinken stated that it was a bad deal because “this pipeline is a Russian geopolitical project intended to divide Europe and weaken European energy security.” He said he would do “whatever he can to stop [its] completion” and also warned that companies working on the pipeline must cease work immediately or face more “harsh” U.S. sanctions. Most of the companies were and are Western European and nominally NATO allies of the U.S. and Nord Stream 2 and while it appeared likely that the project would be completed for good economic reasons, the German government was reportedly undecided, afraid to confront Biden.

Washington was angered, at least in part, because it wanted to sell more expensive American gas to the Germans. Biden surprisingly has decided to abandon the bad Trump policy, which, inter alia also has given fuel to European anti-U.S. sentiment while serving unnecessarily to increase tension with Russia. The move was welcomed both in Germany and in Russia. The German Foreign Minister noted that it was a sign that Washington is now willing to work with its “partners.” It is an all too rare “win” for American foreign policy.

Now for the bad news. President Joe Biden has recently received an unexpected gift in the form of a letter signed by 126 retired admirals and generals stating that he is not qualified to hold office because of his health and because the 2020 election process was flawed. It also raises a number of specific foreign and national security policy issues, including the threat from China, the border crisis and increased censorship. One might expect that the letter originated in a circle of disgruntled Trump supporters and could therefore be ignored, but many of signatories are not known to be Republican Party supporters. Given that, the agenda just might be more complicated and its timing suggests that it might be linked to the United States proceeding with its withdrawal from Afghanistan.

What might be referred to as the Establishment Foreign Policy as opposed to what sometimes goes on in the State Department and White House has long advocated a policy of staying in Afghanistan until the establishment of a stable and political reliable government in Kabul is completed. And to be sure there are many dissidents in Congress who see leaving Kabul as yet another avoidable defeat for the United States. Given all of that, several previous attempts by Donald Trump to withdraw the U.S. troops were successfully undermined by critics and eventually abandoned. Biden, however, appears to be sticking to his pledge to depart fully by September 11th and many tons of military equipment are currently being removed from the country.

This has produced multiple attacks on the intention to leave Afghanistan effectively in the hands of the Taliban. A humanitarian pitch has included stories on how women will suffer, being deprived of schooling and opportunity if and when the Taliban return to power. That claim is unfortunately true but the continued presence of a couple of thousand American soldiers at bases in a country as large and infrastructure deficient as Afghanistan will not reverse attitudes that are as much cultural and religious as political.

And the pressure on Biden to reverse the decision is growing. On May 25th, for example, the Center on National Security at Fordham Law in New York hosted a discussion panel looking into “Departure from Afghanistan: Envisioning a Responsible Withdrawal.” The panel’s conclusions were to say the least mixed and have already been used by critics of the Biden decision.

Pressure is also coming from Congress, even from lawmakers who would normally support the White House. “This has some eerie resemblances” [to Vietnam], Representative Gerald E. Connolly, a Virginia Democrat, said pointedly at a “heated” hearing last week at the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He recalled the unexpectedly rapid collapse of security in Saigon in 1975 as U.S. forces evacuated the last of the personnel from the American embassy, lifting employees from the roof of the building with helicopters. He added that “It seems the American game is to cut its losses and leave and hope for the best — not our problem. The problem is because of this engagement, just like Vietnam, we’re leaving behind hundreds of thousands of Afghans who relied on us, trusted us, for security.”

And if more resistance to the plan were needed, it came last week from George W. Bush, best noted for his disastrous invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq. Bush had no end game to extricate the U.S. from either intervention and the results of the improvised policies that have continued now for nearly twenty years are clearly evident. Bush said in a Fox News interview “I’ve always warned that no U.S. presence in Afghanistan will create a vacuum, and into that vacuum is likely to come people who treat women as second class citizens… One of the great successes of the liberation of Afghanistan and the removal of al-Qaeda’s safe haven was that women and girls began to flourish in the country… We all benefit when women and girls are empowered to realize their full potential and become contributing members of society. And Laura and I will always stand behind them… I’m also deeply concerned about the sacrifices of our soldiers, and our intelligence community, will be forgotten…”

Bush also said that Iran is very dangerous for “world peace” because it is targeting Israel, revealing yet again that he, like the Bourbon kings of France, has not learned anything since leaving office. In any event, the comments by Bush, the pushback in Congress, the holding of academic conferences on leaving Afghanistan as well as the letter from retired senior military officers just might be part of the same plan to force Biden into extending the timetable or even revoking the orders for U.S. departure from Kabul. And it just might succeed. That would be very bad news indeed.

Also by this author

Feds Finally Confirm That Trump Campaign Data Ended Up in Russian Intel Hands

By VT Editors -April 15, 2021

Daily Beast: The U.S. will escalate sanctions against the Russian government for hacking American government networks during the 2016 election, the Treasury Department said Thursday. But, in announcing the sanctions, the government went even further than Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe in connecting the dots between the Trump campaign and Russian intel agencies.

The statement outlined the pipeline as this: President Trump hired Paul Manafort to run his campaign, who then asked Rick Gates to come aboard. The pair then provided an old colleague, Konstantin Kilimnik, with internal campaign polling and strategy information. Kilimnik then handed it to Russian intelligence officials.

“Additionally, Kilimnik sought to promote the narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election,” the statement said.

It took a long time to connect the dots because Kilimnik was not interviewed by Mueller, and Manafort lied about the affair, The Washington Post reports. It’s still unclear whether Trump knew about the sharing of information, and what Russia did with the information.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/feds-finally-say-manafort-and-gates-gave-trump-campaign-info-to-konstantin-kilimnik-who-gave-to-russian-intel?ref=home

Trump Can Now Be Prosecuted As Government Confirms His Campaign Worked With Russia

For the first time, the US Treasury Department has confirmed that the Trump campaign shared strategy and polling data with Russia in 2016.

Via: The US Treasury Department:

Konstantin Kilimnik (Kilimnik) is a Russian and Ukrainian political consultant and known Russian Intelligence Services agent implementing influence operations on their behalf. During the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, Kilimnik provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy. Additionally, Kilimnik sought to promote the narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

In 2018, Kilimnik was indicted on charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice regarding unregistered lobbying work. Kilimnik has also sought to assist designated former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych. At Yanukovych’s direction, Kilimnik sought to institute a plan that would return Yanukovych to power in Ukraine.

It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign government in an election. Trump and his campaign broke many laws in 2016. A candidate that accepts anything worth more than $2,000 is committing a misdemeanor, and it is a felony to accept anything valued at more than $25,000.

The Russians spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on Facebook and Twitter ads to help Trump in 2016.

The missing piece to the Trump/Russia puzzle has always been how the Russians knew where to target their efforts to help Trump. The Russians knew which voters to target because Trump told them. The Trump campaign was a joint effort by Trump and Russia to cheat to win an election.

The truth is out, and nothing is stopping Trump from being prosecuted.

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Executive Order on Blocking Property with Respect to Specified Harmful Foreign Activities of the Government of the Russian Federation

Executive Order on Blocking Property with Respect to Specified Harmful Foreign Activities of the Government of the Russian Federation

April 15, 2021

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) (NEA), section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (8 U.S.C. 1182(f)), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,
I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, find that specified harmful foreign activities of the Government of the Russian Federation — in particular, efforts to undermine the conduct of free and fair democratic elections and democratic institutions in the United States and its allies and partners; to engage in and facilitate malicious cyber-enabled activities against the United States and its allies and partners; to foster and use transnational corruption to influence foreign governments; to pursue extraterritorial activities targeting dissidents or journalists; to undermine security in countries and regions important to United States national security; and to violate well-established principles of international law, including respect for the territorial integrity of states — constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.  I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.
Accordingly, I hereby order:
Section 1.  All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in:
(a)  any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, and, with respect to subsection (a)(ii) of this section, in consultation with the Attorney General, or by the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, and, with respect to subsection (a)(ii) of this section, in consultation with the Attorney General:
(i)    to operate or have operated in the technology sector or the defense and related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy, or any other sector of the Russian Federation economy as may be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State;
(ii)   to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have directly or indirectly engaged or attempted to engage in, any of the following for or on behalf of, or for the benefit of, directly or indirectly, the Government of the Russian Federation:
(A)  malicious cyber-enabled activities;
(B)  interference in a United States or other foreign government election;
(C)  actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in the United States or abroad;
(D)  transnational corruption;
(E)  assassination, murder, or other unlawful killing of, or infliction of other bodily harm against, a United States person or a citizen or national of a United States ally or partner;
(F)  activities that undermine the peace, security, political stability, or territorial integrity of the United States, its allies, or its partners; or
(G)  deceptive or structured transactions or dealings to circumvent any United States sanctions, including through the use of digital currencies or assets or the use of physical assets;
(iii)  to be or have been a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors of:
(A)  the Government of the Russian Federation;
(B)  an entity that has, or whose members have, engaged in any activity described in subsection (a)(ii) of this section; or
(C)  an entity whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order;
(iv)   to be a political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of the Government of the Russian Federation;
(v)    to be a spouse or adult child of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to subsection (a)(ii) or (iii) of this section;
(vi)   to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of:
(A)  any activity described in subsection (a)(ii) of this section; or
(B)  any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or
(vii)  to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Government of the Russian Federation or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.
(b)  any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, a government whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to chapter V of title 31 of the Code of Federal Regulations or another Executive Order, and to be:
(i)    a citizen or national of the Russian Federation;
(ii)   an entity organized under the laws of the Russian Federation or any jurisdiction within the Russian Federation (including foreign branches); or
(iii)  a person ordinarily resident in the Russian Federation.
(c)  any person determined by the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have directly or indirectly engaged in or attempted to engage in, cutting or disrupting gas or energy supplies to Europe, the Caucasus, or Asia, and to be:
(i)   an individual who is a citizen or national of the Russian Federation; or
(ii)  an entity organized under the laws of the Russian Federation or any jurisdiction within the Russian Federation (including foreign branches).
(d)  The prohibitions in subsections (a), (b), and (c) of this section apply except to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted before the date of this order.
Sec. 2.  The prohibitions in section 1 of this order include:
(a)  the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; and
(b)  the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.
Sec. 3.  (a)  The unrestricted immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of noncitizens determined to meet one or more of the criteria in section 1 of this order would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and the entry of such persons into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, is hereby suspended, except when the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security, as appropriate, determines that the person’s entry would not be contrary to the interests of the United States, including when the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security, as appropriate, so determines, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General, that the person’s entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives.
(b)  The Secretary of State shall implement this authority as it applies to visas pursuant to such procedures as the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, may establish.
(c)  The Secretary of Homeland Security shall implement this order as it applies to the entry of noncitizens pursuant to such procedures as the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, may establish.
(d)  Such persons shall be treated by this section in the same manner as persons covered by section 1 of Proclamation 8693 of July 24, 2011 (Suspension of Entry of Aliens Subject to United Nations Security Council Travel Bans and International Emergency Economic Powers Act Sanctions).
Sec. 4.  (a)  Any transaction that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
(b)  Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
Sec. 5.  I hereby determine that the making of donations of the types of articles specified in section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order would seriously impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in this order, and I hereby prohibit such donations as provided by section 1 of this order.
Sec. 6.  For the purposes of this order:
(a)  the term “entity” means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization;
(b)  the term “Government of the Russian Federation” means the Government of the Russian Federation, any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, and any person owned, controlled, or directed by, or acting for or on behalf of, the Government of the Russian Federation;
(c)  the term “noncitizen” means any person who is not a citizen or noncitizen national of the United States;
(d)  the term “person” means an individual or entity; and
(e)  the term “United States person” means any United States citizen, lawful permanent resident, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States.
Sec. 7.  For those persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render those measures ineffectual.  I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in this order, there need be no prior notice of a listing or determination made pursuant to section 1 of this order.
Sec. 8.  The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA, as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order.  The Secretary of the Treasury may, consistent with applicable law, redelegate any of these functions within the Department of the Treasury.  All departments and agencies of the United States shall take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order.
Sec. 9.  Nothing in this order shall prohibit transactions for the conduct of the official business of the Federal Government or the United Nations (including its specialized agencies, programs, funds, and related organizations) by employees, grantees, and contractors thereof.
Sec. 10.  The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to submit recurring and final reports to the Congress on the national emergency declared in this order, consistent with section 401(c) of the NEA (50 U.S.C. 1641(c)) and section 204(c) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1703(c)).
Sec. 11.  (a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

THE WHITE HOUSE,
April 15, 2021.


US, Israel, EU election farces or ‘Allies of sovereignty’ – Iran, China, Russia?

Friday, 26 March 2021 2:02 PM  [ Last Update: Friday, 26 March 2021 2:02 PM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US, Israel & EU election farces or the ‘Allies of Sovereignty’ – Iran, China & Russia?
(Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.)

By Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with PressTV

Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV.

Too bad the elections for European Parliament aren’t this year – we could have enjoyed all three tones of the chord of “liberal (aristocratic) democracy”.

The United States, the European Union and Israel – the triumvirate which dominates half the world and thinks it has the moral and intellectual right to rule the other half – obviously have incredibly flawed, domestically-denigrated and politically feckless elections. As time goes on the world can only be increasingly attracted to innovative alternative political models because this trio is so endemically dysfunctional.

In Israel voters just chose between the war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu or those who claim to be the colonizers who are the “sane” alternative. This election sham will likely need to be repeated for the fifth time in two years, but only a few thick Westerners ever claimed Israel is a democracy, anyway.

Thirty years after the United States penned the structures of the European Union – in a rush of Cold War euphoria and arrogance – there may not be elections which are as meaningless and uninteresting to the actual voting public as those for EU Parliament.

The United States’ recent election was as bad as anyone could have expected, and Americans themselves expected the worst more often than anyone. So I don’t know why France-raised US Secretary of State Antony Blinken thought the last months and years of American carnage and discontent would go unnoticed abroad?

When Blinken assumed a Parisian pose of oblivious nonchalance at the first China-US summit and tried to shame China for not being Western enough, China was ready: his counterpart, Yang Jiechi, delivered an impromptu, blistering, 17-minute critique of America which was redolent of Mao’s era.

In short, Yang’s rebuttal contained well-known and totally accurate critiques of America’s capitalist-imperialist and liberal democratic structures. From “massacring the people of other countries” to the obvious “slaughtering” of African-Americans and beyond, Yang listed a poisonous cornucopia of the inevitable social evils which arise from such outdated social structures.

China’s standing up to the new administration in Washington – and at the very first opportunity – will mark a sea change in geopolitical affairs. China knew it was going to be targeted – as a welcoming gift Biden placed sanctions on two dozen Chinese officials just prior to the landing of their diplomats – and they eagerly responded with, “Let’s fight – ideologically – because it’s clear you don’t have a solid leg to stand on anymore.”

Out with the ‘Axis of Evil’ and in with the ‘Allies of Sovereignty’

Yang’s speech clearly ends the era of the “Axis of Evil”, declared by George W. Bush in his 2002 state of the union address, which put Iran, Iraq and North Korea at the top of the list for allegedly being sponsors of terrorism. However, the actual policy of America was: whoever was not “with us” was an evil entity for being “against us”, and thus Bush II essentially declared at the point of a spear that it was now a unipolar world.

In a new column titled “Welcome to shocked & awed 21st century geopolitics” indispensable global journalist Pepe Escobar agreed that China’s hour-long diplomatic give-and-take meant that “21st century geopolitics will never be the same again”. He also noted that the unified, unbowed response to Yang’s speech by Iran, China and Russia amounted to an open “triple slap on the (US) hegemon” with a dueling glove.

So what is it which unifies this Asian triumvirate?

It’s a group whose essential demand is something which resonates universally, and which was the only logical and inevitable retort to those (the US, EU & Israel) who insist on a unipolar world: it’s an “alliance of sovereignty”, i.e. the right to resist a unipolar world where domestic affairs cannot be decided locally. The fundamental basis of this stance is anti-imperialism.

Sovereignty is what France denies to Africa, what the Monroe Doctrine still denies to Latin America, what Israel denies to the Middle East and what – it’s often poorly understood – Brussels denies to the southern and eastern members of its own bloc. Sovereignty is an essential demand in a world full of nations but it’s an illegitimate demand and even seditious blasphemy to assert, as Yang did, that, “Neither the United States itself nor the Western world represent international public opinion.”

Let the US and Israel continue to wave the bloody flag of World War II and perhaps dub Iran, Russia and China the “Axis of Evil II” all they want: As the Yellow Vests, Brexit and Trump illustrate, many of their own subjects are already painfully aware that national sovereignty is a human right which has become unbearably stifled in favor of 1%-er capitalist globalization.

The roles of the ‘Allies of Sovereignty’ get more and more openly declared

Obviously, once China gets involved militarily then it’s all over – there will be a global victory for sovereignty.

Russia got involved militarily in Syria — the US lacked the diplomatic credibility for a repeat of the Iraq & Afghanistan invasions, and they lacked the military supremacy, and they also blinked because they have lost faith in their own cause — and they were able to assure the sovereignty of Syria.

Iran is the most involved militarily: they take the most risks and remain the most at risk of assaults – this is perhaps the price to be paid for earning the partnership of those two much larger regions, both of which are big enough to be continents. Revolutionary Iran has won many regional countries if not outright sovereignty then at least temporary reprieves, measures of peace and, that most essential ingredient, hope. Iran deranges the West the most: there is no logical reason for Iran to be included with these two much larger powers except for the fact that Iran obviously punches way above its weight solely via decades of advanced political modernity, social merit and intelligent redistribution of its natural economic resources.

China and Russia are in a conundrum which was made clear in both Yang’s remarks and by Russia’s official response, which said that Moscow’s relationship with the EU, “has been destroyed by unilateral decisions made from Brussels”: China and Russia are trying to uphold a rights-based system of international law with a triumvirate who has no respect for it.

The United Nations – the fulcrum of this system – is totally irrelevant to Americans. Given the “you’re either with us or against us” worldview they openly declared – with all the subsequent violations of international law via illegal sanctions, via Guantanamo Bay, via pulling out of treaties like the JCPOA, etc. – Moscow and Beijing should have realized that “only unilateral decisions” has been the Western worldview for many years. The West will never say what China and Russia apparently want to hear: “You’re either with the United Nations or against us.”

Contrarily, Iran has far fewer expectations that the UN is an impartial body. Going back to the chemical weapons atrocities by Iraq more than three decades ago, Iran sees it is quite necessary to take risks because the “international community” – dominated by Western interests and democracy-gutting vetoes – so often don’t come to save the innocent until after the bullets have flown.

What is the “international community”? To many – like the US – it is nothing. To others – like China, Russia and France – it is worth saving and using, and largely because they can get enough of what they want. To many others – like Iran and countless other nations – it is not useful without major reforms first. But these analyses are all moot:

The concept of national “sovereignty” can and must exist before, during and after any discussion of how, what, who, where or when this “international community” is formally arranged – refusal to recognize this necessarily implies some sort of one-state/unipolar world. 

“Sovereignty” needs allies today, but the situation of “sovereignty” is not as dire as it was in 2002, (although a Yellow Vest will certainly disagree). In case the new Biden administration was wondering they now know: Beijing is not about to side with the Western triumvirate (or, more accurately, their 1% class) over their own sovereignty.

If pushed like Russia was in Syria, Beijing may even fight to protect the sovereignty of certain other nations, such as Iran. 

Geopolitics moves much slower than the average person may think, but for a plethora of enormous reasons which go far beyond a debate in Alaska – four years of the curtain-lifting outsider Donald Trump, the “no strings attached for bankers” fiscal policy disasters of QE and ZIRP, an unregulated private high finance sector, the disputed election of Joe Biden, the atrocious Great Lockdown decisions of the West, etc. – the unilateral world ordered by the West has wilted. What we now have is two camps which contain half the world.

What’s key to grasp is that what is truly “up for grabs” is the other half: Latin America and Africa. For centuries they have had no sovereignty – and the plunder of their wealth is what led to the West’s current success – and restoring it is the inevitable goal of the “Allies of Sovereignty”.

Were the Western triumvirate (and we can include a fourth note to that chord: many of the key members of the 54-nation English Commonwealth) not so bloody capitalist-imperialist they would be working to maintain the current status quo between China and the West which has been, ultimately, mutually-beneficial for both groups for several decades.

However, Beijing said the new administration of Joe Biden came to the first Sino-US summit to emit “a strong smell of gunpowder and drama” – China was clearly unimpressed, and they clearly know who their real allies are.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

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Washington Has Resurrected the Specter of Nuclear Armageddon

Paul Craig Roberts - Official Homepage

March 17, 2021

Truth Is An Endangered Species:  Support It

Washington Has Resurrected the Specter of Nuclear Armageddon

Paul Craig Roberts

During the 20th century Cold War with the Soviet Union, there were US Soviet experts who were concerned that the Cold War was partly contrived and, therefore, needlessly dangerous. Stephen Cohn at Princeton University, for example, believed that exaggerating the threat was as dangerous as underestimating it.  On the other hand, Richard Pipes at Harvard believed that the CIA dangerously underestimated Soviet military power and failed to grasp Soviet strategic intentions.

In 1976 President Gerald Ford and CIA Director George H.W. Bush commissioned an outside panel of experts to evaluate the CIA’s National Intelligence Estimates. This group was known as Team B.  Under Pipes’ leadership Team B created the perception that the US faced a dangerous “window of vulnerability.”

In conventional wisdom, in order to close this window of vulnerability President Reagan began an American arms buildup.  On this point conventional wisdom is wrong. The Reagan military buildup was as much hype as reality.  Its purpose was to bring the Soviets to the negotiating table and end the Cold War in order to remove the threat of nuclear war.  Reagan’s supply-side policy had fixed the problem of worsening trade-offs between employment and inflation, thus making an arms buildup possible.  In contrast, Reagan regarded the Soviet economy as broken and unfixable.  He reasoned that a new arms race was more than the Soviets could afford, and that the threat of one would bring the Soviets to the table to negotiate the end of the Cold War.

The Soviet Union collapsed when hardline communists, convinced that Gorbachev was endangering the Soviet Union by giving up too much too quickly before American intentions were known, placed President Gorbachev under house arrest.  The Yeltsin years (1991-1999) brought the dismemberment of the Soviet Empire and was a decade of Russian subservience to the United States.  

Putin came to power as the American neoconservatives were girding up to establish US and Israeli hegemony in the Middle East. As General Wesley Clark told us, seven countries were to be overthrown in 5 years. The American preoccupation with the Middle East permitted Putin to throw off American overlordship and reestablish Russian sovereignty.  Once Washington realized this, the American establishment turned on Putin with a vengence.  

Stephen Cohen, Jack Matlock (Reagan’s ambassador to the Soviet Union), myself and a few others warned that Washington’s refusal to accept Russian independence would reignite the Cold War, thus erasing the accomplishment of ending it and resurrecting the specter of nuclear war. But Washington didn’t listen.  Instead, Cohen and I were put on a list of “Russian agents/dupes,” and the process of trying to destabalize Putin began.  In other words, once an American colony always an American colony, and Putin became the most demonized person on earth.

Today (March 17) we had the extraordinary spectacle of President Biden saying on ABC News that President Putin is a killer, and “he will pay a price.”  This is a new low point in diplomacy.  It does not serve American interests or peace.  

Yesterday a CIA-Homeland Security report was declassified. The “report” is blatant propaganda. It alleges that Russia interfered in the 2020 election with the purposes of “denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the US.” “Russiagate” is still with us despite the failure of the three-year Mueller investigation to find a scrap of evidence.

We desperately need a new Team B like the one the CIA commissioned in 1976 to check on itself.  But in those days discussion and debate was possible.  Today they are not.  We live in a world in which only propaganda is permitted.  There is an agenda. The agenda is regime change in Russia.  No facts are relevant.  There will be no Team B to evaluate whether the Putin threat is exaggerated.

The anti-Russian craze that has been orchestrated in the US and throughout the Western world leaves the US in an extremely dangerous situation.  Americans and Europeans perceive reality only through the light of American propaganda.  American diplomacy, military policy, news reporting, and public undersranding are the fantasy creations of propaganda.

The Kremlin has shown amazing forbearance of Washington’s inanities and insults.  It was the Democrat Hillary Clinton who called President Putin the “new Hitler,”  and now Democrat Biden calls Putin “a killer.”  American presidents and presidential candidates did not speak of Soviet leaders in these terms. They would have been regarded by the American population as far too deranged to have access to the nuclear button.

Sooner or later the Kremlin will understand that it is pointless to respond to demonization with denials.  Yes, the Russians are correct. The accusations are groundless, and no facts or evidence is ever provided in support of the accusations.  Sooner or later the Kremlin will realize that the purpose of demonizing a country is to prepare one’s people and allies for war against it.

Washington pays no attention to Maria Zakharova and Dmitry Peskov’s objections to unsubstaniated accusations.

When “sooner or later” is, I do not know, but the Russians haven’t reached that point.  The Kremlin reads the latest allegations as an excuse for more sanctions against Russian companies and individuals. This reading is mistaken.  Washington’s purpose is to demonize Russia and its leadership in order to set Russia up for regime change and, failing that, for military attack.

In the United States Russian Studies has degenerated into propaganda.  Recently, two members of the Atlantic Council think tank, Emma Ashford and Matthew Burrows, suggested that American foreign policy could benefit from a less hostile approach to Russia. Instantly, 22 members of the think tank denounced the article by Ashford and Burrows.

This response is far outside the boundaries of the 20th century Cold War.  It precludes any rational or intelligent approach to American foreign policy.  Sooner or later the Kremlin will comprehend that it is confronted by a gangster outfit of the criminally insane.  Then what happens?

New US admin stands for same grotesque & brutal policies against Venezuela, shows just how little they actually CARE for people

moi

Eva Bartlett

Mar 4, 2021, RT.com

Venezuelan non-president, Juan Guaido, is back in headlines after the new US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called him to discuss America’s favorite talking points: “a return to democracy” via “free and fair elections.”

I’m sure the irony will not be lost on those who question the legitimacy of the US election that saw Biden take power.

Anyway, you would have to have been offline or in a coma for the past couple of years to not be aware of some key facts about ‘interim president’ Guaido and US “concern” for Venezuelans.

Venezuelans didn’t vote for Guaido to be president, he hasn’t even stood for president. Venezuelans voted for Maduro. America can huff and puff and whine, but that won’t change the reality.

Guaido named himself ‘interim president’, to the support of only roughly 50 countries – leaving a glaring nearly 150 countries not recognizing this Western-groomed stooge as Venezuela’s leader.

Further, Guaido not only isn’t president of the country, he is no longer president of the National Assembly. As a result, recently, even the EU dropped its recognition of Guaido as interim president. He is a Western-groomed thug who fully backs America’s aggression and sanctions against his own country.

Venezuela’s election process has been recognized as transparent and effective, with former US President Jimmy Carter in 2012 calling it “the best in the world.” On the other hand, Venezuelan opposition, as well as Western nations, have interfered with and attempted to sabotage elections.

As for America’s grave “concern” for Venezuelans, the US in February 2019 staged a “humanitarian aid” delivery via Colombia (“aid” which contained nails and wire, likely meant for opposition barricades), blaming Maduro for “burning food & medicine,” when in fact the trucks were burned by “opposition” supporters. That same month, President Trump threatened military intervention against Venezuela.

The US allegedly sabotaged Venezuela’s power grid in March 2019 (and then blamed the Maduro government for the power failure).

And two former US Special Forces soldiers were in May 2020 arrested in a failed invasion (with the goal of capturing Maduro) which allegedly the Trump administration and Guaido himself were involved in.

President Maduro blamed the August 2018 drone assassination attempt on Colombia and elements in the US. The US was also linked to the kidnapping and coup against former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

But aside from those and many other provocations against Venezuela, it is the brutal sanctions against the country that is a clear indicator of just how little America cares for the people.

As many have already surmised, the Biden administration is a continuation of the previous admin’s policies, and Blinken is the new Pompeo. They even sound the same.

  • Blinken to Ukraine’s foreign minister: “unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” “Russian aggression...”
  • Pompeo to the same“support for #Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is ironclad,” “Russia and its proxies’ intransigence, aggressive actions...”
  • Blinken on Crimea: “Russia’s invasion and seizure,” “we call on Russia to end its occupation,” “#CrimeaisUkraine” (newsflash: it’s not, and there was no invasion).
  • Pompeo on the same: “#Crimea is #Ukraine,” “We call on Russia to end its occupation of Crimea.

And of course, their American speak on Guaido is also the same, with both Blinken and Pompeo feigning concern for the lives of the Venezuelan people.

Flogging a dead horse named Guaido

The guy just isn’t popular in Venezuela, not now, not back in early 2019 when America & allies tried to foist him onto Venezuelans.

When I traveled to Venezuela in March 2019, aside from documenting the lack of chaos that Western pundits and media insisted was ongoing at the time, I also tried to find evidence of the massive support the same pundits and media claimed Guaido had.

I had seen on various occasions massive demonstrations of solidarity with President Maduro, the man who average Venezuelans support, particularly impoverished indigenous and Afro-Venezuelans who are conveniently ignored by Western media.

On March 30, I spent a good chunk of the day riding around on motorcycle taxi trying to find pro-Guaido protests which had been advertised, instead at designated sites and times finding none, a trickle, or pro-Maduro protesters instead.

Later the same day, I saw another massive pro-Maduro demonstration.

In encounters with Venezuelans during my few weeks in Caracas, I met people who made clear they didn’t support Guaido and what they were fighting for.

In a hilltop community, one such man told me:

We are poor people, but we are proud, we have dignity. We are fighting against Imperialism, against rich people that want our country, that want us as slaves, that want our oil, our water. But we will win.

The governments of the United States and other nations want to tell everybody that we are starving, we are dying in the streets, we are being oppressed by our government. But we’ve never been more free than now, in spite of all the problems we do have.”

He and others spoke of the extreme racism and discrimination Afro-Venezuelans and indigenous Venezuelans faced before Chavez came to power.

Before, we were treated like nothing, we were treated only as workers, that was it. Say to your governments, this isn’t a fight against Maduro, this is a fight against the people that are trying to be free.”

I won’t even repeat some of the unbelievable racist slurs they were subject to.

Some months later, back in Ontario, I met Ronald Abache, an Afro-Venezuelan who attended a lecture I gave. During the question period, he was so articulate about racism in Venezuela, “very alive, but hidden under class status,” that I asked to record his words.

In 1999, for the first time ever in any country in South America, a law was passed to not discriminate against people of color. People that never had a voice now have one and will never give it up again. You can go to the remotest area in my country and everybody can read. Everybody knows their rights and knows that their voice counts.”

He also challenged the opposition to answer one question:

What would they do different? What is their plan? If they’re planning to go back to those great old days (sarcasm), the people are not having it. Two million militias, old people, young people, everybody knows what the United States is doing. My mother is 70, she’s about to join the militia!

These are just some of the people marginalized by Western media and politicians. The ones who claim concern for Venezuela.

As Mr. Abache noted, Venezuelans themselves aren’t going to accept US hegemony, not only the leadership. I got a powerful sense of that in the demonstrations I observed and from the people I spoke with.

The new Biden administration may want to pressure Venezuela into compliance, but the people won’t accept that.

RELATED:

US is manufacturing a crisis in Venezuela so that there is chaos and ‘needed’ intervention 

Venezuela playlist

USA Sitrep – President’s Day in a Divided Nation

USA Sitrep – President’s Day in a Divided Nation

February 15, 2021

by John Lockwood for the Saker Blog

February 15th is Presidents’ Day.

America has two Presidents on this day, besides Washington and Lincoln.
One half of the country believes Trump rightfully won.

Yet the events of Jan. 6th still hang like a cloud over Washington.
Critics fault his claims of a stolen election for provoking the protests.

But what if the Democrats really did steal the election? Wouldn’t the fault be theirs?
And how can we know whether they really stole it?
Claims of “Massive fraud” on one side vs. “No sign of fraud” on the other — who is right?

One thing is crystal clear:
Unconstitutional, illegal changes to voting laws generated millions of irregular ballots — a hundred times greater than the margin between the candidates, in some swing states. If the balloting is illegal, there is no way the count can be correct.

An unconstitutional vote can only produce an unconstitutional result. Everything that followed — the certification of the popular vote, the electoral college vote, and the inauguration — none of these steps had any legal foundation.
Bad data makes bad decisions. Since Nov. 3, our machinery of government has been spinning off course on erroneous, unlawful inputs.

The only solution in such cases is to correct the error.
Until runoff elections are held in conformity with the law, we will still have two Presidents.
Only one of them can be the rightful one.

The Atlantic: The Secret Service Is Bracing for Dangerous Times “ذي أتلانتيك”: جهاز الأمن الرئاسي يستعد لأوقات خطيرة

Source

The Secret Service Is Bracing for Dangerous Times

Any chance of a normal security environment for the president-elect evaporated during the Capitol siege.

MARC AMBINDER

JANUARY 19, 2021

Secret service agents confer during a rally for Vice President Joe Biden at West York Area High School in York, Pennsylvania on September 2, 2012.
MARK MAKELA / GETTY

For the first time in modern American history, the possibility of a peaceful transfer of power is in doubt. Extremists swarmed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, and at least some of them intended to hunt down and kill elected officials. During their riot, they left bloodstains on the inauguration grandstands.

Now, in the final hours of the Trump presidency, security forces have turned Washington, D.C., into a fortified encampment in an attempt to prevent further violence. The transformation of the U.S. Capitol into a Baghdad-style Green Zone is unlike anything Washington has seen since 9/11. Joe Biden, already physically isolated by COVID-19, will be further distanced from the American people, who have traditionally crowded onto the National Mall by the hundreds of thousands to witness a presidential swearing-in.

The Secret Service is facing a challenge the likes of which it has never experienced.

More than 130 staffers tested positive for COVID-19 after agents on its protective details were forced to attend Trump rallies and put themselves in the splash zone of a highly infectious president. During the Capitol siege, Secret Service officers rushed Pence—the target of would-be assassins, according to prosecutors—to his office near the Senate floor, just steps ahead of the mob. Now the service must adjust to a world where white-supremacist or restorationist violence is expected, where mobs can suddenly breach perimeters, where drone technology is cheap and therefore easily available, and where members of the military and law enforcement are potential insider threats.

Any possibility of normalcy evaporated during the Capitol siege. “That went out the window, based on the current threat environment,” Chuck Marino, a former Secret Service supervisory special agent who retired in 2015, told me. “The domestic threat, violent extremism, and what we saw on [January 6]—you’re seeing, in this case, the Secret Service adapt.” he said. The agency could do more to make sure that extremism in its ranks is detected and neutralized, six former members of presidential protective details told me. (The Secret Service did not respond to a request for comment.)

One of the things the Secret Service is adapting to is the previously unimaginable fact that the president of the United States is the one inciting political violence. “You do need to take the president into the threat environment,” Marino said.  “It’s not normal that we need to take the language of a commander in chief into account in the threat assessment. But here you needed to.”

On the day insurgents attacked the Capitol, Donald J. Mihalek, a former Secret Service agent and the executive director of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, worried about his brother, Daniel, assigned to guard one of the doors to the complex for the Capitol Police. After learning that Daniel was safe, he wrote on LinkedIn that “a reckoning [for] these radical extremist[s] must occur.”

This is a touchy subject. The Secret Service, which guards foreign dictators with the same vigilance as it guards U.S. presidents, maintains that its nonpolitical stance is a rigorously enforced foundational value. “Violence is violence,” Stephen P. Monteiro, a member of President Bill Clinton’s detail, told me. “There is violence on the left and violence on the right. We don’t differentiate between the origins of violence.”

Some violent movements tend to differentiate themselves, as some are more salient than others: The U.S. does not now face a threat from, for example, anarchists (a radical named Leon Czolgosz killed President William McKinley in 1901) or Puerto Rican nationalists (several launched an assault on President Harry Truman in 1950).  

Getting into the service requires intensive panel interviews and a polygraph. Usually, agents are reexamined for character deficiencies or suspect affiliations once every five to seven years. But radicalization, especially online, can happen far more quickly than that. A “continuous evaluation process” is required, J. J. Hensley, who worked in the agency’s personnel-and-recruitment and protective-intelligence divisions, told me. “A lot can happen in five years,” he said. Social-media posts have already landed at least one officer in the uniformed division under investigation since the siege; according to The Washington Post, the officer urged “patriots” to go on the “offense” to secure victory for Donald Trump.

Protective advance trips need to change, too. The Hollywood version of Secret Service advance work shows agents looking at a watchlist and keeping tabs on people known to have threatened a protectee. In real life, Hensley said, preparing a city for a protectee’s visit is far more challenging—and will become even harder in the future. “You go there maybe a week … ahead of the president or vice president. Now you’re going to be looking at social media and seeing what’s out there on open source. You have to rely on local counterparts because maybe they may have a lot more information than you do just coming off the plane, especially coming out of Washington, D.C., and you land in Joplin, Missouri—you’re not going to know everything about it.”

“They still have the old threats, and now they have the new threats: We’re worried about everything from a switchblade to a drone, which could have explosives on it.”

Vic Erevia was the special agent in charge of President Barack Obama’s detail from 2011 through 2013. He oversaw the hundreds of people involved in the president’s security operation during his second inauguration and white-knuckle foreign trips to Indonesia, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Israel and the West Bank. Erevia was also in charge of the detail when more than a dozen agents were sent home because they’d patronized prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia. None was a member of the presidential protective detail itself, and Obama’s personal security was never compromised, but that was small comfort. The service had deeply embarrassed the president.

I asked Erevia about how the agency was responding to COVID-19, Trump, and the insurrection.

“The culture is rigidly hierarchical and unforgiving, with every aspect of an agent’s performance scrutinized with no margin for error,” he said. “I worry, frankly … how the last four years may have impacted that culture. My hope is that that has not changed. This current period feels distinctly more dangerous than at any time during my lifetime. I believe the challenges it presents will persist. Travel will bring new tests for the protective details as they deal with emboldened actors armed to the teeth. You can’t launch the National Guard every time the president goes somewhere, and this will result in greater demands on local partners.”  

A security plan, Erevia and several other agents told me, is only as strong as its outermost perimeter. And although local police have been sufficient in the past, they might not be today. “You didn’t have the emotional content in the environment that you do now,”  Erevia said.  

“Distance is your friend in security,” he said, meaning it’s best to stay far away from threats. “One of the most immediate things I can envision happening is I can see the travel of the president potentially limited more than what we’ve seen in the past.”

Monteiro predicted a change in the “push and pull” balance between presidential staffers on the one side, who want to make sure the president sees and touches—and is seen seeing and touching—as many people as possible and the service on the other side, which would envelop the president in an armored-glass box if it could. That balance, he said, will likely tip in favor of caution. “Now I don’t think you’re going to see the staff even want to do any of this … They’ve seen our political leaders accosted. So I think it’s going to be a natural occurrence where we’re going to be pulling back from the type of exposure [to risk] that we’ve had in this country.”

Monteiro was on Clinton’s detail in 1996, when Lew Merletti, then the special agent in charge, got into a shouting match with the president about rerouting a motorcade in Manila, in the Philippines, according to author Lewis Gormley. The National Security Agency’s embassy-based surveillance had picked up chatter about a bomb plot, but Clinton did not want to change his plans. Merletti won the argument and the day: Police later found explosives underneath a bridge on the original motorcade route. In 2005, President George W. Bush was nearly killed in Tbilisi, Georgia, because he insisted on attending an event where the outer perimeter had been breached. A would-be assassin smuggled a grenade into the crowd and threw it at the platform Bush was on. It landed close enough to potentially kill the president, but it did not detonate.

Trust between Biden and the agents protecting him should be easy to come by. His detail leaders are familiar to him, according to a report in The Washington Post, and the new special agent in charge, David Cho, is highly regarded in the Secret Service. Former agents believe that the current director, James Murray, will retire once the transfer of power is complete. The leading candidate to replace him is Leonza “Leon” Newsome III, who was Biden’s detail chief during the Obama administration.

During “National Special Security Events” such as inaugurations and State of the Union addresses, the Secret Service sets up a multi-agency command center in downtown Washington. I visited the MACC during an international nuclear-security summit when Obama was president. In a room I could not access, detailees from the CIA, the FBI, and the NSA processed intelligence streams in real time. I visited the tactical-operations center and looked at a map showing the location of dozens of armed tactical teams staged around the city. The smallest incident—such as when a lapel pin identifying a security agent goes missing — is cause for alarm and analysis.

During peacetime, there are numerous command centers in Washington—for the Secret Service, the FBI, the Capitol Police, and the Metropolitan Police Department. But the federal law-enforcement forces are largely siloed. Commanders and senior officers from different agencies can talk with one another, but the flow of intelligence and situational awareness is not constant. Erevia suggests that a single command center, operating 24/7, with a mission of preventing and responding to events across the region, might solve some of the communication problems that hampered the response to the Capitol siege. “The only way you’re able to really manage this stuff is if everybody’s on the same sheet of music,” he told me, “and that really only happens when everyone is in the same place.”

The MACC offers a blueprint for how this could work. However, it is temporary, and once an event is over, it becomes a regular conference room again. After the inauguration ceremony tomorrow, federal law enforcement will return to its traditional posture: Individual agencies will vet information they receive and then determine whether it should be distributed, and to whom. “There are dozens of law-enforcement agencies in and around the immediate vicinity of the capital region. We have to be sure they all have the same intelligence and standing agreements of mutual support that can be activated with a single phone call,” Erevia said.

The White House complex has been fortified considerably since the 9/11 attacks. An integrated air-defense system tracks airborne threats, and the Secret Service’s Special Operations Division is experimenting  with a variety of anti-drone lasers. As of 2019, multiple batteries were set up around the area, one of which was armed with Stinger missiles. During Obama’s presidency, the General Services Administration began work on a new shelter-in-place facility close to the West Wing. Its existence is a barely concealed secret, but at a cost of more than $350 million, it is designed to withstand a lengthy siege and accommodate the president, his family, other protectees, and numerous senior White House officials. Counterassault teams carry a variety of weapons, including a device that can shoot multiple electrified darts at would-be attackers simultaneously. If a mob tried to vault over the improved White House fence— a response to intrusions in 2014—it would be met by numerous tactical units, vicious Belgian Malinois K9s, snipers with permission to kill, and, within a short while, SWAT teams from the FBI and other police agencies. The service completed a costly radio upgrade, allowing agents and officers to be in instant and secure communication with other agencies in the region. Motorcade vehicles have been up-armored, and the electronic countermeasure trucks that trail the presidential limousine are soon to be upgraded with technology that creates a virtual fence around presidential trip sites.

The agents I spoke with insist with pride, and some history to back them up, that if the Secret Service had been in charge at the Capitol on January 6, the insurrection would have been stopped much more quickly.  The verification of the Electoral College vote should have been a National Special Security Event, Marino told me.

After the inauguration, the fortress of Washington will open up again, and the National Guard troops who have descended on the city will return to their home states. Biden has not yet said when or where he will travel next.MARC AMBINDER is a senior fellow at the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy.

“ذي أتلانتيك”: جهاز الأمن الرئاسي يستعد لأوقات خطيرة

الكاتب: مارك أمبيندر

المصدر: ذي أتلانتيك

20 كانون الثاني 15:58

تبخرت كل فرصة لبيئة أمنية عادية للرئيس المنتخب بعد حصار الكابيتول ووجود تهديدات من داخل أجهزة الأمن.

يتم فحص أفراد الخدمة السرية الذين يتولون حماية الرئيس الأميركي بشكل دوري.

كتب مارك أمبيندر مقالة في مجلة “ذي أتلانتيك” الأميركية تناول فيها التهديدات الأمنية للرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن ونائبته وأعضاء الكونغرس بعد هجوم المتطرفين اليمينيين على مبنى الكونغرس في 6 كانون الثاني / يناير الجاري.

وقال الكاتب: لأول مرة في التاريخ الأميركي الحديث، أصبحت إمكانية الانتقال السلمي للسلطة موضع شك، بعدما اجتاح المتطرفون مبنى الكونغرس الأميركي في 6 كانون الثاني / يناير، وكان البعض منهم على الأقل يعتزم تعقب وقتل المسؤولين المنتخبين. وخلال أعمال الشغب، تركوا بقع الدماء على منصات التنصيب.

الآن، في الساعات الأخيرة من ولاية الرئيس دونالد ترامب، حولت قوات الأمن واشنطن العاصمة إلى معسكر محصن في محاولة لمنع المزيد من العنف. إن تحول مبنى الكابيتول إلى منطقة خضراء، أي معزولة أمنياً، على غرار المنطقة الخضراء في بغداد لا يشبه أي شيء شهدته واشنطن منذ هجمات 11 أيلول / سبتمبر 2001. سيكون جو بايدن، المعزول جسدياً بالفعل بسبب وباء كورونا، بعيداً عن الشعب الأميركي، الذي احتشد تقليديًا بمئات الآلاف في النصب التذكاري ليشهدوا أداء اليمين الرئاسي.

تواجه الخدمة السرية تحدياً لم تشهده من قبل. فقد ثبتت إصابة أكثر من 130 موظفاً بـفيروس “كوفيد -19” بعد أن أُجبر العملاء على تفاصيل الحماية الخاصة به على حضور تجمعات ترامب ووضع أنفسهم في المقدمة لرئيس شديد العدوى. أثناء حصار الكابيتول، هرع ضباط الخدمة السرية لنائب الرئيس مايك بنس الذي كان هدفاً للقتلة المحتملين، وفقًا للمدعين – إلى مكتبه بالقرب من طابق مجلس الشيوخ، على بعد خطوات فقط من الغوغاء. الآن يجب أن تتكيف الخدمة مع عالم يُتوقع فيه عنف التفوق الأبيض، حيث يمكن للغوغاء فجأة اختراق المحيط، حيث تكون تكنولوجيا الطائرات بدون طيار رخيصة وبالتالي متاحة بسهولة، وحيث يشكل بعض أفراد الجيش وقوات إنفاذ القانون تهديدات محتملة من الداخل.

لقد تبخرت أي إمكانية لعودة الحياة الطبيعية خلال حصار الكابيتول. قال تشاك مارينو، العميل الخاص المشرف السابق في الخدمة السرية والذي تقاعد في عام 2015، “بناءً على بيئة التهديد الحالية، فإن التهديد الداخلي، والتطرف العنيف، وما رأيناه في [6 كانون الثاني / يناير] – في هذه الحالة، جهاز الخدمة السرية يتكيف”. 

ويمكن للوكالة أن تفعل المزيد للتأكد من الكشف عن التطرف في صفوفها وتحييده، كما أخبر الكاتب ستة أعضاء سابقين في الحماية الرئاسية. (لم ترد الخدمة السرية على طلب للتعليق للمجلة).

أحد الأشياء التي تتكيف معها الخدمة السرية هي الحقيقة التي لم يكن من الممكن تصورها سابقاً وهي أن رئيس الولايات المتحدة هو الشخص الذي يحرّض على العنف السياسي. قال مارينو: “أنت بحاجة إلى أخذ الرئيس إلى بيئة التهديد. ليس من الطبيعي أن نحتاج إلى أخذ لغة القائد الأعلى في الاعتبار في تقييم التهديد. ولكن هنا تحتاج إلى ذلك”.

في اليوم الذي هاجم فيه المتمردون مبنى الكابيتول، كان دونالد جيه ميهالك، وهو عميل سابق في الخدمة السرية والمدير التنفيذي لجمعية ضباط إنفاذ القانون الفيدرالية، قلقاً بشأن شقيقه، دانيال، المكلف بحراسة أحد أبواب مجمع مبنى الكابيتول. بعد أن علم أن دانيال كان آمناً، كتب على موقع “لينكد إن” LinkedIn أنه “يجب أن يحساب [هؤلاء] المتطرفون”.

هذا موضوع حساس. تؤكد الخدمة السرية، التي تحرس رؤساء الولايات المتحدة، أن موقفها غير السياسي يمثل قيمة تأسيسية مطبقة بصرامة. وقال ستيفن ب. مونتيرو، أحد أعضاء حماية الرئيس السابق بيل كلينتون: “العنف هو عنف. هناك عنف على اليسار وعنف على اليمين. نحن لا نفرق بين أصول العنف”.

تميل بعض الحركات العنيفة إلى تمييز نفسها، لأن بعضها أكثر بروزاً من البعض الآخر: لا تواجه الولايات المتحدة الآن تهديداً، على سبيل المثال، من الفوضويين (متطرف يدعى ليون كولغوش قتل الرئيس ويليام ماكينلي في عام 1901) أو القوميين البورتوريكيين (هاجم العديد منهم الرئيس هاري ترومان عام 1950).

يتطلب الدخول في الخدمة السرية مقابلات مكثفة مع لجنة واختبار كشف الكذب. عادة، يتم إعادة فحص العملاء بحثاً عن أوجه قصور في الشخصية أو الانتماءات المشبوهة مرة كل خمس إلى سبع سنوات. لكن التطرف، وخاصة عبر الإنترنت، يمكن أن يحدث بسرعة أكبر من ذلك بكثير. 

قال جيه جيه هينسلي، الذي عمل في قسم الأفراد والتجنيد والاستخبارات الوقائية، إن “عملية التقييم المستمر” مطلوبة. وأوضح: “يمكن أن يحدث الكثير في غضون خمس سنوات”. 

ونشرت منشورات على مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي بالفعل أظهرت ضابطاً واحداً على الأقل في الفرقة النظامية قيد التحقيق؛ وفقاً لصحيفة “واشنطن بوست”، إذ حض الضابط المشاغبين المتطرفين على الاستمرار في “الهجوم” على الكونغرس لضمان انتصار دونالد ترامب.

يجب تغيير الرحلات الوقائية المسبقة أيضاً. قال هينسلي إنه في الحياة الواقعية، يعد تحضير مدينة لزيارة أحد الرؤساء أمراً أكثر صعوبة وسيصبح أكثر صعوبة في المستقبل. “تذهب إلى هناك ربما أسبوع … قبل الرئيس أو نائب الرئيس. أنت الآن بصدد إلقاء نظرة على وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي ورؤية ما هو موجود على المصدر المفتوح. عليك الاعتماد على النظراء المحليين لأنه ربما يكون لديهم الكثير من المعلومات أكثر مما تفعله بمجرد نزولك من الطائرة، خاصة عند الخروج من واشنطن العاصمة، وهبطت في جوبلين، ميسوري – لن تعرف كل شيء عن ذلك”. وأضاف: “لا تزال لديهم التهديدات القديمة، والآن لديهم التهديدات الجديدة: نحن قلقون بشأن كل شيء من صاعق كهربائي إلى طائرة بدون طيار، والتي يمكن أن تحتوي على متفجرات”.

كان فيك إريفيا، العميل الخاص المسؤول عن حماية الرئيس باراك أوباما من عام 2011 حتى عام 2013. وقد أشرف على مئات الأشخاص المشاركين في العملية الأمنية للرئيس خلال حفل تنصيبه الثاني ورحلاته الخارجية إلى إندونيسيا وأفغانستان وميانمار و”إسرائيل”. كان إيريفيا كذلك مسؤولاً عن الحماية عندما تم إرسال أكثر من عشرة عملاء إلى بلادهم لأنهم كانوا يترددون على العاهرات في كارتاخينا، كولومبيا. لم يكن أي منهم عضواً في جهاز الحماية الرئاسي نفسه، ولم يتم المساس بأمن أوباما الشخصي أبداً، لكن ذلك كان بمثابة راحة صغيرة، وقد أحرجوا الرئيس بشدة.

وعن كيفية استجابة الوكالة لـلوباء وترامب والتمرد، قال إريفيا: “إن الثقافة هرمية بشكل صارم ولا ترحم، مع فحص كل جانب من جوانب أداء العميل من دون هامش للخطأ. بصراحة أشعر بالقلق … كيف أثّرت السنوات الأربع الماضية على تلك الثقافة. آمل أن هذا لم يتغير. تبدو هذه الفترة الحالية أكثر خطورة بشكل واضح من أي وقت خلال حياتي. أعتقد أن التحديات التي تطرحها ستستمر. سيجري اختبارات جديدة لمفرزة الحماية.. لا يمكنك إطلاق الحرس الوطني في كل مرة يذهب فيها الرئيس إلى مكان ما، وهذا سيؤدي إلى مطالب أكبر من الشركاء المحليين”.

أخبر إريفيا وعدد من العملاء الآخرين الكاتب أن الشرطة المحلية كانت كافية في الماضي، لكنها قد لا تكون كذلك اليوم. وقال: “لم يكن لديك المحتوى العاطفي في البيئة كما هو الحال الآن. المسافة صديقك في الأمن”، مما يعني أنه من الأفضل الابتعاد عن التهديدات. وأضاف: “أحد الأشياء الأكثر إلحاحاً التي يمكنني تصور حدوثها هو أنني أرى أن سفر الرئيس من المحتمل أن يكون محدوداً أكثر مما رأيناه في الماضي”.

كان مونتيرو على علم بمفرزة حماية كلينتون في عام 1996، عندما دخل لو ميرليتي، العميل الخاص المسؤول آنذاك، في صراخ مع الرئيس حول تغيير مسار موكب في مانيلا بالفلبين، وفقاً للمؤلف لويس جورملي. التقطت أجهزة المراقبة التابعة لوكالة الأمن القومي في السفارة الأحاديث حول مؤامرة تفجير، لكن كلينتون لم يرغب في تغيير خططه. فاز ميرليتي بالجدل وعثرت الشرطة في وقت لاحق على متفجرات تحت جسر على طريق موكب السيارات الأصلي. 

في عام 2005، كاد الرئيس جورج دبليو بوش أن يُقتل في تبليسي، جورجيا، لأنه أصر على حضور حدث تم فيه اختراق المحيط الخارجي. قام قاتل محتمل بتهريب قنبلة يدوية إلى الحشد وألقى بها على المنصة التي كان بوش عليها. لقد هبطت على مقربة كافية لقتل الرئيس، لكنها لم تنفجر.

يجب أن يكون من السهل الحصول على الثقة بين بايدن والعملاء الذين يقومون بحمايته. فقادة الحماية الخاصة به مألوفون له، وفقاً لتقرير نشر في صحيفة “واشنطن بوست”، ويحظى العميل الخاص الجديد المسؤول، ديفيد تشو، بتقدير كبير في الخدمة السرية. 

ويعتقد العملاء السابقون أن المسؤول الأمني الحالي، جيمس موراي، سيتقاعد بمجرد اكتمال نقل السلطة، والمرشح الرئيسي ليحل محله هو ليونزا “ليون” نيوسوم الثالث، الذي كان رئيس حماية بايدن خلال إدارة أوباما.

وخلال “الأحداث الأمنية الوطنية الخاصة” مثل خطابات حالة الاتحاد، تنشئ الخدمة السرية مركز قيادة متعدد الوكالات في وسط مدينة واشنطن. وقد زار الكاتب مركز تنسيق مكافحة غسل الأموال خلال قمة دولية للأمن النووي عندما كان أوباما رئيساً. في غرفة خاصة، عالج أفراد من وكالة الاستخبارات المركزية ومكتب التحقيقات الفيدرالي ووكالة الأمن القومي تدفقات استخباراتية في الوقت الفعلي. كما زار الكاتب مركز العمليات التكتيكية وأطلع على خريطة توضح مواقع العشرات من الفرق التكتيكية المسلحة المنتشرة حول المدينة. فأصغر حادثة – على سبيل المثال عندما يختفي دبوس السترة الذي يحدد عميل الأمن – هي سبب للقلق والتحليل.

خلال أوقات السلم، هناك العديد من مراكز القيادة في واشنطن: الخدمة السرية، ومكتب التحقيقات الفيدرالي، وشرطة الكابيتول، وإدارة شرطة العاصمة. لكن قوات إنفاذ القانون الفيدرالية معزولة إلى حد كبير. يمكن للقادة وكبار الضباط من مختلف الأجهزة التحدث مع بعضهم البعض، لكن تدفق المعلومات الاستخبارية والوعي بالموقف ليس ثابتاً. يقترح إيريفيا أن إنشاء مركز قيادة واحد، يعمل على مدار الساعة طوال أيام الأسبوع، مع مهمة منع الأحداث والاستجابة لها في جميع أنحاء المنطقة، قد يحل بعض مشكلات الاتصال التي أعاقت الاستجابة لحصار الكابيتول. وقال للكاتب: “الطريقة الوحيدة التي يمكنك من خلالها إدارة هذه الأشياء حقاً هي إذا كان الجميع على نفس النوتة الموسيقية، وهذا يحدث حقاً فقط عندما يكون الجميع في نفس المكان”.

ترجمة بتصرف: هيثم مزاحم

ماذا يعني انتقال السلطة في واشنطن في ظلّ حراب الجيش الأميركي؟

حسن حردان

تجري اليوم، 20 كانون الثاني 2021، عملية انتقال السلطة في الولايات المتحدة إلى الرئيس الفائز في الانتخابات جو بايدن، في ظلّ حراب الجيش الأميركي، الذي حول، انتشاره الكثيف، العاصمة الأميركية واشنطن إلى ثكنة عسكرية، في قلبها البيت الأبيض والكونغرس، رمزاً السلطة بشقيها التنفيذي والتشريعي…

ماذا يعني ذلك وما هي دلالاته؟

أولا، للمرة الأولى منذ انتهاء الحرب الأهلية الأميركية وتحقيق الاستقرار وسيادة النظام الديمقراطي في عملية تداول السلطة عبر الانتخابات، يحصل مثل هذا الاهتزاز في العملية الديمقراطية… والذي تجسّد في اقتحام الكونغرس من قبل أنصار الرئيس الخاسر في الانتخابات دونالد ترامب، في محاولة يائسة وفاشلة لقلب نتيجة الانتخابات ومنع تسليم السلطة لـ بايدن، بدعوة انّ عمليات تزوير شابت الانتخابات، سرقت الفوز من ترامب.. الذي امتنع عن حضور حفل تسليم السلطة للرئيس الفائز، في تأكيد على رفضه الاعتراف بفوزه، وبشرعيته، وهذه سابقة تحصل للمرة الأولى في الولايات المتحدة..

ثانياً، من الواضح أنّ نشر أكثر من 25 ألف جندي من الحرس الوطني لتأمين حفل تنصيب بايدن، يكشف حجم القلق من إمكانية حصول عمليات عنف من قبل جماعات متطرفة مسلحة مؤيدة لـ ترامب، ما يؤشر إلى سيادة شعور لدى المسؤولين العسكريين والأمنيين بالقلق من حصول اضطرابات تعطل عملية تسليم السلطة، وتؤدّي إلى انتشار الفوضى وإقدام الجماعات اليمينية المتطرفة على اقتحام واحتلال المباني والمؤسسات الحكومية والبرلمانية في العديد من الولايات وبالتالي دخول أميركا في مسار من الحرب الأهلية…

ثالثاً، هذا المشهد يكشف إلى أيّ مدى تشهد الإمبراطورية الأميركية حالة من الانقسام والتصدّع في الداخل تهدّد وجودها بالتفكّك والدخول في صراعات داخلية تودي بوحدتها، دولة ومجتمعاً.

رابعاً، يظهر انتقال السلطة وسط احتدام الصراعات السياسية والعرقية، انكشاف أكذوبة الحديث عن النظام الأميركي كنموذج متقدّم في الديمقراطية واحترام حقوق الإنسان والمساواة بين المواطنين، يجب أن يُحتذى.. إنّ ما يجري يؤكد انّ هذا النظام إنما كان مطلياً بمساحيق التجميل الخادعة عن صورة الحلم الأميركي، الذي روّج له على مدى العقود الماضية، لا سيما بعد خروج أميركا من الحرب العالمية أقوى دولة اقتصادية وعسكرية، تتربّع على عرش العالم، وتحتكر المعرفة والتقنية.. لكن انتهاء عقود الازدهار الاقتصادي والرخاء والرفاه الذي نعمت به أميركا والطبقة الوسطى فيها، كشف زيف هذا الحلم، وأذاب مساحيق التجميل، وأظهر للرأي العام الطبيعة الوحشية للنظام الرأسمالي الأميركي الإمبريالي، القائم على التمييز العنصري، وتحكّم الأثرياء بالثروة، مقابل الحرمان والفقر الذي يرزح تحته عشرات الملايين من الأميركيين…

خامساً، يكشف تفجّر أزمة النظام الأميركي، انّ الأزمة التي تشهدها الإمبراطورية إنما هي أزمة بنيوية واجهت جميع الإمبراطوريات عبر التاريخ، والتي أدّت إلى اضمحلالها وتلاشيها أو تحجيم قوتها وحضورها ودورها العالمي، كما هو حال الإمبراطورية البريطانية اليوم… وهذه الأزمة مردّها غرق أميركا في الأزمات الاقتصادية والمالية، وعجزها عن حلّ هذه الأزمات عبر شنّ الحروب الاستعمارية الفاشلة التي عمّقت أزماتها بدلاً من حلها.. حيث تضاعف الدين العام إلى ما يفوق الـ 23 تريليون دولار، وتراجعت معدلات النمو الاقتصادي، مما أدّى تراجع المداخيل والعائدات المالية، في مقابل استمرار الإنفاق الهائل للحفاظ على نفوذ الإمبراطورية..

انطلاقاً مما تقدّم فإنّ ما هو متوقع ان يستمرّ الصراع ويحتدم بعد انتهاء حفل النصيب اليوم.. وهذا الصراع يتغذّى من الأزمات الاقتصادية والمالية والاجتماعية، والانقسام السياسي والشعبي، واستناد ترامب إلى تأييد كتلة شعبية يمينية متطرفة ستقف معه في مواجهة إصرار الحزب الديمقراطي، الذي بات مسيطراً في مجلسي النواب والشيوخ، على محاكمة ترامب بتهم التحريض على التمرّد واقتحام الكونغرس وإساءة استخدام السلطة والفساد.. وهو الأمر الذي سيؤدّي إلى زيادة الانقسام داخل الحزب الجمهوري بين رافض لمحاكمة ترامب، وبين مؤيد لها…

هذا يعني انّ إدارة بايدن ستكون من اليوم الأول لتسلمها السلطة في مواجهة تحديات كبيرة داخلياً، الى جانب تحدّي السعي الى ترميم الدور الأميركي العالمي وإصلاح الأضرار التي أصابته، وتسبّبت بها سياسات ترامب…

Welcome to the “New Woke USA”: Twerk on Washington!

Welcome to the “New Woke USA”: Twerk on Washington!

January 19, 2021

The following exhibition is supposed to be, quote, “Twerk on Washington is a declaration of freedom and healing”.

I want to sincerely congratulate all the Apostles for Diversity who made this possible: thank you for showing us your idea of the future of the USA!

The Saker

Baghdad on the Potomac: Welcome to the Blue Zone

Via The Saker

Baghdad on the Potomac: Welcome to the Blue Zone

January 19, 2021

The star of the Joe and Kammy Regime Change Show

The season opening of the Joe and Kammy Regime Change Show could not be a more appropriate roomful of mirrors reflecting the self-described US “political elite”.

During the 2000s, I came face to face with Baghdad’s Green Zone multiple times. I always stayed, and worked, in the hyper-volatile Red Zone – as you may check in my 2007 book Red Zone Blues.

We knew then that blowback would be inevitable.

But still, we could never have imagined such a graphic simulacrum: the Green Zone fully replicated in the heart of imperial D.C. – complete with walls, barbed wire, multiple checkpoints, heavily armed guards.

That is even more significant because it ends a full “new world order” geopolitical cycle: the empire started bombing – and cluster bombing – Iraq 30 years ago. Desert Storm was launched in January 17, 1991.

The Blue Zone is now “protected” by a massive 26,000 plus troop surge – way more than Afghanistan and Iraq combined. The Forever Wars – which you may now relieve through my archives – have come back full circle.

Just like an ordinary Iraqi was not allowed inside the Green Zone, no ordinary American is allowed inside the Blue Zone.

Just like the Green Zone, those inside the Blue Zone represent none other than themselves.

The D.C. Blue Zone map

And just like the Green Zone, those inside the Blue Zone are viewed by half of the population in the Red Zone as an occupying force.

Only satire is capable of doing poetic justice to what is, de facto, the Potemkin inauguration of a hologram. So welcome to the most popular president in history inaugurated in secret, and fearful of his own, fake, Praetorian Guard. The Global South has seen this grisly show before – in endless reruns. But never as a homegrown Hollywood flick.

When in doubt, blame China

Meanwhile, trapped inside the Blue Zone, the White House has been busy compiling an interminable list of accomplishments.

Multitudes will go berserk relieving the appalling foreign policy disasters, courtesy of American Psycho Mike Pompeo; debunking the official narrative partially or as a whole; and even agreeing with the odd “accomplishment”.

Yet close attention should be paid to a key item: “Colossal Rebuilding of the Military”.

This is what is going to play a key role beyond January 20 – as Gen Flynn has been extremely busy showing evidence to the military, at all levels, of how “compromised” is the new Hologram-in-Chief.

And then there’s the rolling, never-ending November 3 drama. Blame should be duly apportioned. Impeachment, digital witch hunts, rounding up “domestic terrorists”, that is not enough. “Foreign interference” is a must.

Enter Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Ratcliffe, adamantly stating that “the People’s Republic of China sought to influence the 2020 U.S. federal elections.”

Ratcliffe was referring to a report sent to Congress on January 7 by the DNI’s Chief of the Solutions Division, or analytic ombudsman Barry Zulauf, side by side with an assessment about “foreign interference”.

A legitimate question is why it took them so long to finish this report. And it gets wackier: the full intel on the report about foreign interference was scotched by none other than CIA higher-ups.

The ombudsman states that the groups of analysts working on Russian and Chinese interference used different standards. Russia, of course, was guilty from the start: a categorical imperative. China had the benefit of the doubt.

Ratcliffe actually states that some analysts refused to blame Beijing for election interference because they were – what else – Never Trumpers.

So Langley, we’ve got a problem. Pompeus “We Lie, We Cheat, We Steal” Minimus is CIA. He qualifies the Chinese Communist Party as the greatest evil in the history of mankind. How would he not influence his minions to produce, by any means necessary, any instance of Chinese election interference?

At the same time, for the Dem Deep State faction, Russia is perpetually guilty of…whatever.

This rift inside the Deep State roomful of mirrors delightfully reverberates the Blue Zone/Red Zone schism.

Needless to add, in both the ombudsman’s report and Ratcliffe’s letter, there is absolutely no hard evidence of Chinese interference.

As for Russia, apart from election interference – once again, no evidence – the Dem Deep State Dementia apparatus is still busy trying to blame Moscow also for 1/6. The latest gambit centers on a MAGA chick who may have stolen Pelosi’s laptop from her office at the Capitol to sell it to the SVR, Russian foreign intel.

The whole Global South – Baghdad’s Green Zone included – just can’t get enough of the greatest show on earth. Do they sell bananas in the Blue Zone?

What is to be Done?

What is to be Done?

January 19, 2021

By Sushi for the Saker Blog

Above is the sole extant image which conveys the attendance at the Save America rally held in President’s Park on January 6th, 2021. It appears to have been taken from a position high in the Mayflower Hotel. No American news media were troubled to attend. No official estimates of crowd size have been published. If it were not for one curious journalist affiliated with an Asian publication, no one would ever know the Save America rally had ever taken place.

A people ignored by their government have legitimate grounds for complaint. That is true of the Revolution of Dignity which arose in the Maidan Nezalezhnosti; It is equally true of Republic Square, Tahrir Square, Tiananmen Square, ثورة الكرامة (Thawrat al-Karāmah), Wenceslas Square, Place de la Bastille, and the Old South Meeting House. If there is any thread of truth to be found running through the fabric of human history, it is this: A government committing Intolerable Acts against its own people may expect to reap the ripe fruits of its ignorance.

Ignoring the plaint of your citizens is one such intolerable act.

It was precisely this plaint that caused between 150,000 and 300,000 (other ground imagery shows the crowd to extend out the bottom of the frame and to left and right out of frame with large numbers to the left in the area between the Washington Monument and 15th St. NW) American citizens to assemble in President’s Park in support of their elected president and his attempt, to the best of his ability, to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. This multitude acted as representatives of the 78 million other Americans who will have no elected representatives after January 20th, 2021.

Let there exist no doubt in the minds of the freedom loving peoples of the world. America stands on the cusp of an historic moment, one equal in magnitude and effect to December 7th, 1941, to the events of 3 p.m. Friday July 3rd, 1863, or the early minutes of April 19th, 1775 as the sun rose slowly into the dawn sky. Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is “Ich bin ein Berliner!” Kein Amerikaner.

To know what is to be done, we must examine the present. What do we find? A succinct impeachment of the state may be found in the essay “I am Done” an essay far more eloquent than anything I might hope to write.

The one man who heard this plaint, understood it, and sought to act on it, will be removed from office on January 20th, 2021 and then, as a private citizen, he will be impeached for the sole purpose of ensuring he is prevented from holding future office. Such state action against a private citizen does itself constitute high crime and misdemeanor. This is particularly true given the President was, on January 6th, 2021, the sole office holder of the US government acting to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. (see On Democracy for the detailed argument).

When Trump departs office, one half the American electorate will cease to have legitimate representation. The other half will have equally illegitimate representation. The elites of America take delight in this fact. A sleepy and indifferent elite, as dully incompetent as the powdered and bewigged members of the Ancien Régime, numb to the distress of their fellow citizens, unbelieving of the clamp of the lunette, of the sound of the déclic, until they catch one final momentary glimpse of a rotating heaven and earth as their heads roll away from their bodies.

The competence of the American elite may be judged by their inability to comprehend the preamble to the Declaration of Independence. It may also be judged by their equal inability to understand the requirements imposed upon them by the Constitution.

There is much contemporary talk of a “deep state.” The elite deny its existence and laugh at the witless déplorables for their authentic peasant belief in such a mythic fairy tale. Like the fish unable to see the water in which it swims, the elites look around for the deep state and are unable to anywhere find its workings. For the elite, life is a well-crafted, smoothly operating mechanism which delivers to them their just rewards; they know this is true for they have accumulated an abundance of wealth and they cherish the belief that such accumulation is a marker of superior intellect, a reward for their station in life, their great achievement. Their just desert for doing God’s work. The author of “I am Done” voiced an alternate opinion but no one cared to listen. Except for the one man publicly scorned as the orange ass-clown.

Any person with a smidgeon of history knows the “deep state” exists. The nation’s founders were keenly aware of its shackles. They confronted it daily in its most malevolent form: great Imperial tentacles which not only sought to bind them in subservience, but also demanded the witless, uneducated, colonial peasants pay the cost of their own chains. It was precisely this experience of the deep state, and the pernicious effects it wrought upon the welfare of the polity, that caused the Framers to exert great care and deliberation in writing the key documents intended to govern the independent colonies. The Framers were aware of the pernicious elixir to be found in raw power, to have command over other men, to place them in service. They knew the great temptations of status and rank and its capacity to overcome even those of the best character. Knowing the foibles of all men, the Framers sought to craft and impose a new set of chains, bonds that served only the interests of a free people, united and equal before God.

The strictures they enacted were such that any person who inspects the mechanism of American power will discover it is hopelessly weak, a mode of governance that has puzzled the world ever since. For the American system of governance was designed to hamper and occlude, to ensure that every party was equally weak and balanced by the weight of the other. They succeeded in their attempt to the degree that no outside observer can understand how, or why, it works. The outsider can only marvel at its effects over the past 245 years. Let the strongest man come into office and he will be chained down and held like Gulliver in Lilliput. Allow a free people to engage in free enterprise and they will generate an endless cornucopia.

American governance is like a game of chess or, better yet, go. The rules are simple, the pieces are few, but the level of complexity is extremely high. Success in American politics requires years of learning and a subtle and cunning intellect. And then the unsubtle Mr. Trump came to Washington and overthrew the entire donkey cart, left the place in a shambles, and threatened to break a great many rice bowls. How did he do it, this orange buffoon? How did a bombastic péquenaud from Queens upstage the power elite of the nation? Simple. He spoke to the author of I am Done and every similarly afflicted citizen of America, all 78 million of them. He was able to speak to them because he listened to them. Because he understood them. Because he committed to represent them. Committed to create a voice for them in the steamy swamplands of the capital. To make their case heard. To defend their plaint.

Spend 49 years cooking in the steamy bottomlands of the Potomac and your ears fill with mud, your skin toughens from the endless leach and mosquito bites, and your eyes sting if not shielded from the bright disinfectant of sunlight. You become a creature of the Animal Farm that is the swamp, and the revolution is betrayed.

Sometimes the simplest of things are the hardest to observe and understand. It may take years to unravel the motive and intent of the orange man. His purpose arose from these three words: “We the People.” The author of “I am Done” has been excluded from America, so alienated that she has elected to divorce America entirely. Seventy-Eight million others may do the same thing. They no longer believe themselves encompassed by the phrase “We the people.” They find themselves cast adrift. Abandoned. Outcast. Left in desperate straits they may decide the revolution has been betrayed and seek succor in the words of the Declaration of Independence and the protections of the Second Amendment. It has been forever thus throughout human history. Even among peoples who lack the security of words on parchment.

A great communicator once said “Almost all the world’s constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are. Our Constitution is a document in which “We the People” tell the Government what it is allowed to do.”

That is promise of the Constitution. The betrayal of this promise caused the 45th President of the United States to convene the Save America rally. The identical betrayal caused free citizens of America, the rejected deplorables, the outcasts written off as “Insurrectionists,” and “Domestic Traitors,” to travel to President’s Park to support not Trump, but to support a great idea, an idea that will never die because it lives on the breath of every living human being, it rings out with each heartbeat, an idea that was scratched on parchment 245 years ago, an idea that inspired the march on the Capitol of January 6th, 2021.

The great communicator knew that ideas, great ideas, never die. Because he understood this, the great communicator never died. Each day at dawn he looks from of his bedroom out toward President’s Park, past the Jefferson Memorial, to the misted waters of the Potomac on which floats a small wooden boat sculled by a freedom man. And then he raises his eyes and looks beyond that small wooden boat, past the mists of the Potomac, toward a shining city on the hill.

Were he to have been in his house on January 6th, 2021, the great communicator would have gone downstairs and walked over to President’s Park to help save America. Thomas Jefferson would have left his memorial and strolled across the mall to join him, accompanied by the Committee of Five. Lincoln, with his lanky legs, would have quickly joined them and Washington would have descended his monument to lead the group onto The Ellipse.

There they would have been joined by John Jay, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, the fifty-five Framers and a multitude of others including a sorry group of wet and bedraggled young men who looked as if they had just pulled themselves from the sands of Bloody Omaha, some older men arisen from the cornfields of Antietam, still others from the bright sands of Tarawa and the misery of the Bois de la Brigade de Marine.

All these freedom men will attend a Save America rally to be held on January 20th, 2021. At some point on that day the entire congregation will march from President’s Park along the route of the deplorables toward the Capitol and the sounds of inauguration. And once arrived in the vicinity of a Capitol still scented with spicy bromoacetone, the group will be halted before great walls and barricades guarded by armed troops, weapons at the ready.

Observing this defensive complex, the group will be unsure if it has been built to keep the elites in, or to keep the citizens out. As they puzzle over the prison camp architecture surrounding the peoples house, the great communicator will walk up until he is face to face with the massive barrier. There he will halt for a moment, head bowed, as if he is uncertain as to what his eyes are telling him. After a long moment of silence, he will lift his head and solemnly command: “Mr. Biden. Tear down these walls.”

This essay is titled What is to be Done? To those persons who voted for Donald Trump, I have three suggestions.

The first thing to be done is to recognize that while injustice may darken the nation, it will never prevail. That is another key lesson to be drawn from the warp and woof of human history.

Persons who are alienated and cast out, those who feel they have nothing more to lose, frequently act out of despair. Should they do so, they may cause great harm to themselves, and to others.

The truth of January 6th, 2021 is that what the media claim was a putsch was not led by Trump supporters but by the violent affiliates of other organizations. The affidavits, and charge sheets, against them make this fact clear. They expressed motive and intent to debase President Trump and his supporters. Details of this are to be included in the third essay of this series.

Despite the revelations found in any indictment, the alleged perpetrators remain innocent until proven guilty. Such an outcome will take time. We must have patience and allow the truth to emerge. Time is on our side.

The Trump supporters who marched on the Capitol had no malign intent. They had legitimate grievance. That too will be demonstrated in this series of essays. Citizens engaged in the lawful exercise of their First Amendment rights are being painted by the Bidenists as guilty of serious crimes. The Bidenists have also abused their powers and falsely accused the President. The media celebrate this injustice.

The best response you can make at this point is to distribute this essay as far and wide as possible. The Bidenists and the deep state are real. They are powerful. They will stop at nothing. They seek to crush you to dust, rewrite the Constitution, and remake America as a permanent one-party blue state. They will not achieve their goals. This you must know. You should communicate this fact to any person contemplating an act of violence today, or on any other day. The Bidenists seek to destroy America. The best means to avoid that outcome is to refuse them the ammunition with which to destroy us.

The second thing to be done is to talk to your neighbors. It is entirely possible your neighbor is the author of “I am Done.” It is possible your neighbor experiences an even greater sense of injustice and alienation. Speak with them. Powerful corporate entities have acted to terminate the freedom of speech of the President. If they can do that to the President, then what about you, me, or your neighbor? Ask your neighbor about this. How do they feel? What are their views? Where do they sit on the political spectrum? You may be surprised to find they also voted for Trump. You may even learn they are registered Democrats who can no longer stomach the party of which they once were a part. This topic is further addressed in a future essay.

The third thing to be done is to contact your elected representative. If she or he is a Republican advise him or her that you support President Trump and you will continue to support President Trump even if your representative does not. As Trump stated in one of his pre-election rallies, “I will always speak for you.” This is the precise reason the Bidenists seek to destroy him. The Bidenists also want to co-opt and undermine any resistance.

If you wish, give your representative a copy of this essay, or send the link by email. A few thousand such emails will cause any turncoat to contemplate their political future. Let your representative know President Trump may have had the wind taken out of his sails, but he has not yet begun to fight. He is not defeated. He grew up Queens. They build them tough over there.

While President Trump is not defeated, I suspect he may be disheartened by his recent experience. It will help him bounce back if he knows you stand with him. If we stand together, we remain a powerful force for good. One that can never be defeated.


Part 1 – http://thesaker.is/on-democracy/

Part 3 of this series is in draft and will appear first on The Saker blog site.

The Rule of Law Over Fraud: Biden Election May Be Illegal, as Four Basic Legal Principles Ignored

The Rule of Law Over Fraud: Biden Election May Be Illegal, as Four Basic Legal Principles Ignored

January 18, 2021

A Citizen Against Fraudulent Elections for the Saker Blog

Biden Election May Be Illegal, as Four Basic Legal Principles Ignored

1, The People’s Right to Fair Elections.

2, The Law and the State Cannot Condone Fraud.
3, Civil vs. Criminal law.

4, Checks and Balances, Due Process.

5, Difficulties and Solutions. General Discussion. Highlights Discussion. Conclusions and Proposals. Pence’s Letter.

by Citizens Against Fraudulent Elections, 2020-21

Highlights

1. The Right to Fair Elections.

– The People have an inalienable right to a fair and true election, and this right overrides legal formalities.

– If this right is denied them in the first instance, they have the right to demand it in a repeat election.

– Scientific certainty is based on repeatable results, not on opinion and hearsay back and forth.

– Runoffs with anti-fraud safeguards are the only clear way to eliminate fraud beyond a reasonable doubt.

– Allegations of major irregularities and counter-arguments are conjectures without conclusive proof either way.

– A disputed election, resolved by a runoff, is similar to a mistrial, which is remedied by a retrial.

– The decisions on January 6th to certify doubtful results are likewise to be viewed as mistakes to be corrected.

– When a thing is broken, the remedy is to fix it, not just discuss it or let it be.

– The Trump campaign should have done more to emphasize the need for repeat elections, to show their good faith, confidence in the mandate of the people, and support for citizen democracy.

– Runoff elections are the only constitutionally valid solution; see 4, Checks and Balances below.

2, It is an impossibility for the law, and an offense for an individual or an institution, to condone fraud.

– Neither civil nor criminal law may give protection for crimes, such as fraud.

– Every citizen who has knowledge of crimes has the right and the duty to expose and oppose them.

– By assenting to or facilitating fraud, one becomes an accomplice thereto.

– Vice President Pence clearly stated to Congress his concerns about irregularities, illegalities and integrity of the election.

– Yet he then gave the election into the hands of Congress, which is controlled by the party suspected of fraud.

– Thus — if there was indeed fraud — Pence knowingly facilitated its completion.

– This self-contradiction cannot have the color of law.

– His proper course was an estoppel — to refuse to move forward until the disputed electoral results were cleared, and brought from the realm of suspected criminal matters to bona fide civil ones.

3, The Distinction between Civil and Criminal Law.

– A fraudulent matter must first be made whole before it can be the subject of the normal civil procedure.

– Civil laws apply to bona fide matters. Crimes such as fraud fall outside this scope.

– Civil laws, such as the Constitution, are not expected to specify procedures for criminal matters, much as in a contract for payment for goods in cash, it is understood that the notes may not be counterfeit.

– The Supreme Court improperly dismissed the fraud complaint by the State of Texas; standing is a principle in civil matters, while fraud is a criminal matter which it is everyone’s duty to report. By its dismissal, the Court failed in its fundamental duty to oppose fraud on a constitutional scale.

4, Checks and Balances, Due Process

– The two-party system has no place in the Constitution; “faction” was seen as a great evil by the Framers.

– Because of the party system, the Constitutional rules for handling objections to electoral votes tend to result in a violation of due process:

– The decision to accept the vote was given to the Democratic party that controls Congress, while it was also the object of the fraud allegations – making it judge, jury and defendant all in one.

– With the Republicans as plaintiffs and the Democrats as defendants, Congress was cast in the multiple roles of plaintiff, defendant, judge and jury, and could not justly be an arbiter for the people. It had to recuse itself.

– Such gross violations of due process are the antithesis of the Constitutional principle of checks and balances, and cannot be the intent of the framers of the Constitution.

– Amendment IX states, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” This certainly includes the people’s right to due process and fair elections!

– Moreover, as noted in (2), no law can be legitimately applied to facilitate fraud. The written law cannot override natural law, nor be applied in contradiction to the intent of the law, nor to perpetrate an injustice.

– Congressional approval of the electoral results on January 6th was invalidated by these violations of due process and of Constitutional checks and balances.

– For VP Pence to reject the disputed votes and throw the election to the 12th Amendment would have also been invalid, by making the Republicans both plaintiff and judge.

– The appointment of the President of the Senate (the Vice President) to count the electoral college votes is not a mere formality, but is a check or brake against fraud. To count or to halt the count is essential to his function. To hold the count in abeyance pending verification is his legitimate duty.

– If it is argued that the Vice President of the Senate should have little power, then should he have the power to allow a violation of due process?

– In a fraudulent or disputed election, the system breaks down at the state and county level, yet this threatens the integrity of the highest federal office, the Presidency. The party system is embedded at all levels.

– The 12th Amendment provides a check against a faction within individual states overriding the will of the majority of states.

5, Difficulties to Overcome and Possible Solutions.

– Fraud Allegations Far in Excess of the Reported Margin of Victory

– Practical and Political Difficulties of Post-election Forensics: Where are the Impartial Experts and Judges?

– The Evils of Faction: Partisanship at all Levels of Government, and in the Media

– Powers of the Supreme Court: SCOTUS Frequently Rules on State Electoral Procedures

– Mandate Hand Ballot Runoffs in Districts with Improbably High Voter Participation before Proceeding to Statewide Runoffs.

– Looking Ahead: Self Auditing Tallies, an Effective Remedy against Electoral Fraud

General Discussion

When there are serious allegations of fraud, there need to be repeat elections, and until then, there is a duty not to certify doubtful results.

Efforts to question the count in court were inconclusive, and could be viewed as an end-run. It needed to go back to the people first.

The 12th Amendment provides for checks and balances between the power of the States and of Congress in selecting the President.

It’s an awful feeling for a team to lose. It’s also a time to review what mistakes were made.

What the Republicans had to do starting in November was to campaign strongly for a rerun of the presidential race in the contested states. Popular opinion could have supported that, because it’s only fair play and the fair way to handle any disputed contest.

If the states refused, then the House would have the necessary justification to invoke the 12th Amendment, where the Vice President rejects the tally of the Electoral College and the House decides the outcome, by each state delegation casting one vote. This provision is one of the checks and balances in the Constitution. The Republic is a confederation of sovereign states, which elect a President, and the 12th Amendment is a protection against a faction gaining control of the vote in a few large states, overriding the will of a majority of the states. As America splits into urban and rural regions, we may need to start taking this Amendment seriously.

Nonetheless, the VP and the Republican state delegations found it difficult to invoke the 12th, because it would look too much like a coup — one fraud against another. It needed to be underpinned by showing eagerness to buttress the fraud allegations by putting the vote to the test again. It is also politically risky to depend on seldom-used provisions. A winning strategy needs to be robust and popularly seen to be rightful.

Trump and Pence had to persistently ask for a new vote with anti-fraud provisions, one without mail-in ballots, also due to time constraints. Too great a delay affects our national security — can we afford a prolonged constitutional crisis? The President and can’t force states to hold runoff elections, of course, the states should do it themselves. It’s all about political legitimacy.

There was a lot of speculation about what the Constitution says, but even the highest laws only apply to bona fide results, not to protect fraud. And there is no way one could prove the true result beyond a reasonable doubt by audits or investigations or lawsuits, especially with voting machines. It was too close, the allegations too great. The only way to ascertain the will of the people in those States is to let them vote again, with proper safeguards, such as proposed by the Carter-Baker Commission and by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. With millions of votes to audit, fraud is not easy to prove or punish after the fact. Ordinary auditing methods are not at all suited to discovering fraud.

On January 6, VP Pence said it should be decided by the people’s representatives (of which he is one), instead of asking it to be put first to a fair and fraud-free vote by the people themselves.

Here is what he could have announced to Congress instead:

1. The protection of the laws does not apply to fraud. Underlying every law there is a presumption of bona fides — a basic legal principle.

2. That he as VP cannot accept those electoral votes in dispute until there are secure and trustworthy run-off elections, because this is the only way to prove the validity of the outcomes beyond a reasonable doubt.

3. The presidential election result is postponed until action is taken by a sufficient number of states to verify 270 indisputable electoral votes.

4. The runoff should be with hand ballots only, on presentation of official photo identification. No voting machines and no mail-ins. Because any significant variance between hand ballots and mail ballots will again be suspect, mail-in ballots can only confuse the effort to confirm the true will of the people.

5. Pence could have suggested forming a bipartisan Electoral Commission to organize the runoff elections. Runoff elections were the only way. You can’t discover the truth of the matter when you start from bad data.

This option was little discussed. Michael Flynn called for it, in overly military style, when he suggested that Trump could declare martial law, and force a rerun of elections in swing states, but this was seen as undemocratic and unconstitutional. More diplomatically, by insistently calling for runoffs, Trump would be seen as the defender of democracy and the Constitution, forcing the states to show that they feared the outcome, while he was confident of victory. Thus the Republicans might have acquired the moral authority to invoke the 12th Amendment, or at the very least, postpone the certification of the electors, until the runoff issue was decided.

This is not the last time we’ll see attempts to steal elections in our Republic. Let this be a lesson for learning how to eliminate electoral fraud.

Discussion of Highlights

1, The People’s Right to Fair Elections.

In the 2005 report of the Commission on Federal Election Reform, Chairmen Jimmy Carter and James Baker called for safeguards to make sure every real vote counts — and only every real vote. Strict voter ID requirements, restrictions on mail-in voting, maintaining accurate voter registration lists, allowing election observers to monitor the count, and ensuring the accuracy of voting machines were among the 87 recommendations.

According to FrontPageMag.com, “Beginning more than a year ago, Democrats filed nearly 300 lawsuits in dozens of states[7] — most notably all of the key battleground states — in an effort to change election laws and regulations in ways that would benefit Democrat candidates. For example, they sought to: (a) extend the statutory deadlines by which mail-in ballots could be submitted, postmarked, or received by election authorities; (b) permit people to vote earlier than ever before, in some cases as many as 50 days prior to Election Day; (c) eliminate signature, signature-verification, and witness requirements for mail-in ballots; (d) void state laws that disallowed ballot harvesting by third parties; (e) terminate photo-ID requirements for in-person voting; (f) introduce provisions that would allow for the “curing” of mail-in ballots that contained errors or omissions; and (g) require state election officials to send unsolicited mail-in ballots to every person listed as a registered voter, even though such lists have long been notoriously inaccurate.[8] … Though the Democrats did not get everything that they wanted, they got most of it.”

The article, “Yes, It Was a Stolen Election — You’d have to be blind not to see it,” also lists many of the fraud allegations, and statistical indicators that raise doubts about the results. Have these claims been debunked? Reuters tackled the report on vote spikes that switched the vote on election night, for example, it notes that this happened in Wisconsin when Milwaukee County “reported its 170,000 absentee votes, which were overwhelmingly Democrat” – not too reassuring. Their verdict is inconclusive and speculative. FactCheck.org published “Nine Election Fraud Claims, None Credible,” saying the alleged anomalies in counting practices are normal. They also refuted a report that Dominion voting machines are designed to allow fraud.

Yet the evidence on ballot-harvesting and paid vote-buying is irrefutable. How widespread was it? A Texan named Raquel Rodriguez was just arrested for vote-buying after she told Project Veritas all about it on video. And according to Judicial Watch, “In 378 U.S. counties, voter registration rates exceed 100% of the adult population.”

We do not have the hard numbers we need to confirm such close results. Scientific knowledge relies on empirical, observable evidence from repeatable experiments or trials, and this is what we propose.

What to do if there are unfounded claims of fraud? There is skepticism in many quarters about the allegations of fraud made in the 2020 election. Certainly there needs to be a check against frivolous claims of fraud, and this should not be hard to do. First of all runoff elections are already required in many states when the vote is close, although not usually with added fraud safeguards. Secondly, it is possible to focus high-integrity runoff voting tests first on one or more counties, districts or precincts that display the greatest irregularities, to assess the likelihood that fraud may have tipped the statewide outcome. More on this in (5) below.

2, The Law and the State Cannot Condone Fraud.

In his January 6th opinion on his constitutional duty, Pence did note serious concerns about election fraud, but seemed to have no idea what to do about it, or was afraid to tackle it.

It is the duty of every official, indeed every citizen, to assist in exposing fraud, and not to aid and abet it. The law does not give protection to fraud, nor can it be used to do so.

These are basic and fundamental principles, which need not be repeated explicitly in each piece of legislation.

Some legal scholars might overlook the fact that all laws, including the Constitution, are written to govern normal, bona fide matters, and do not digress upon the special case of fraud. There is no need to try and tease out any special provision for fraud from the Constitution, as it is a charter of civil law. One must simply apply common law and common sense principles to fill the “gap” which is no gap in the law: it is a space for us to take action needed to restore the matter to a bona fide basis.

According to theconversation.com, Pence faced “a choice between fidelity to the Constitution and fidelity to Trump.” Stating a problem as a dilemma is a perfect way to exclude other, better choices. There is also fidelity to truth, and fidelity to the people. There is a third way between rejecting and accepting the doubtful electoral votes. It is finding the truth about the real will of the voters.

Pence should have delayed certification until such time as the Supreme Court or the States took action to ensure the election was fair. The 12th Amendment foresees the process of certification lasting as long as March 4th.

Having noted fraud concerns, Pence mistakenly excused himself from any right or duty to do anything about them. He acted improperly by abdicating responsibility and turning over the count to the Congress, which was certain to reject all objections, since it requires a majority of both houses to sustain them, and the Democrats could and did vote them down.

Pence’s references to the election of 1876 cited a very bad precedent, one that showed the need for run-off elections, and the fact that Congress and even Supreme Court justices will vote on party lines. (See the Endnote on the Election of 1876, and the Appendix, Pence’s Letter to Congress of January 6th, 2021.)

3, The Distinction between Civil and Criminal Law.

In the civil law of contracts, for instance, there is no need to state that when payment is in cash, counterfeit bills are not honored. This is understood. Counterfeiting is a crime governed by the criminal code, which is separate from the civil code. The Constitution is essentially a civil code. We cannot expect it to provide procedures for dealing with fraud. This rests with the citizens, representatives and officers who have a fundamental responsibility to take the necessary measures to prevent the success of a fraudulent election. Yet when the representatives are themselves suspected beneficiaries of fraud, they are not competent to rule on the matter.

The Supreme Court improperly dismissed the electoral fraud complaint by the state of Texas. The Court ruled that Texas had no standing, but standing is a criterion of civil litigation. Fraud is a crime, and in criminal law, to report wrongdoing to the authorities is not only a universal right, it is every citizen’s duty. To condone the cover-up of a crime is to facilitate it, making one effectively an accessory. The Supreme Court should reverse its decision on the Texas complaint and consider it together with that of President Trump.

4, Checks and Balances, Due Process.

Since one party controls both houses of Congress, and many statehouses as well, there needs to be certainty, or at least bipartisan agreement, that the vote was fair before Congress can exercise its prerogative of denying objections and approving electoral results. The framers of the Constitution regarded “Faction” as an evil, and were opposed to any role at all for political parties, which tend to be corrupt cartels for the control of political power.

Is Trump being punished as an outsider to a corrupt two-in-one party system? He supposedly lost while increasing his total vote over 2016, yet the Republican Party did quite well. “May the best cheater win” — is that the motto?

In the fraud allegations, the plaintiff was the Republican Donald Trump, and the defendant or suspected perpetrator was in essence the Democratic Party. Since the Democrats controlled the House, letting them dismiss the accusations against themselves was a gross violation of due process. For Pence merely to decertify state results would likewise have violated due process, because it would go to a Republican judge (the House delegations with one vote per state) finding for the Republican plaintiff. This lack of due process would violate the principle of checks and balances. It would allow any party that controlled the office of Vice-President and a majority of house delegations to overturn elections, even by unsubstantiated allegations of fraud.

If, however, the contested states refused to remove the cause for complaint in good faith and beyond a reasonable doubt, by holding repeat elections with anti-fraud safeguards — this would be akin to contempt of court. The Vice President would then be justified in rejecting their votes, or the Supreme Court could order compliance.

5, Difficulties to Overcome and Possible Solutions.

Although the conduct of elections at the state level is a power reserved to the states, the Supreme Court has frequently ruled on these matters, and might order the states in dispute to guarantee fair repeat elections, along the lines recommended by the Commission on Federal Election Reform. In the past, SCOTUS rulings on state conduct of elections have mostly expanded the vote. This has gone too far, when ghosts can outvote the citizenry. For a fair election, one must consider quality and accuracy, as well as quantity.

There is a fairly simple way to ensure that votes are not switched during the count. Each ballot is numbered and the voter receives a stub with the number on it. Text files of all the ballot numbers and the way each ballot was voted can be posted online, with totals by precinct and district. Anyone will be able to check online that their ballot was counted as cast: a simple, open-source, self-auditing vote tally system. This system can be combined with Tulsi Gabbard’s bill H.R.1946 requiring paper receipts for voting machines.

An open-source tally by ballot number will protect against authentic votes being changed, but not against ghost voting. The only way to ensure voters exist is for them to physically present and identify themselves at the poll station. Because of Covid19, the Carter Center suggested in 2020 that “where safeguards for ballot integrity are in place,” such as prohibitions on ballot harvesting, mail-in votes could be relatively fraud-free, but we need a higher degree of probity now. https://www.cartercenter.org/news/pr/2020/united-states-050620.html

We can anticipate that a mandate for a runoff election with hand ballots only will be attacked, among other things, as a risk of spreading Covid 19. Yet essential services and stores are open, and what could be more essential than electoral integrity? The risk can be mitigated in various ways, such as appointment scheduling, social distancing for walk ins, and staying open more than one day if needed.

The fake vote question can be addressed by sampling: hand-ballot runoffs in a few areas with the abnormally highest ratio of votes to the number of registered voters. If the new results under these controlled conditions are very close to the original tally, both in total numbers and the voting preference, then fraud is unlikely — especially if the percentage spread between candidates in the sample does not change much, or not enough to reverse the margin of victory in the original vote.

Was there significant fraud? It depends who you ask, and the opinions follow party lines. Pence thought there was. Trey Trainor, the chairman of the Federal Election Commission, thought so too. The mainstream media and social media giants ridicule the idea.

There are practical problems with a remedy in the courts. The volume of data involved — millions of votes — makes it difficult to apply forensic methods, and also to convince people of the outcome. The best remedy for a botched performance is to do it right the second time. If the new, fraud-proof tally still gives Biden victory, then the fears of fraud will be unsubstantiated. We will also have established an important new precedent for reliably testing electoral integrity. If the new tally changes the outcome, then it may be time to overturn the election result, and to investigate and press charges against those responsible for fraud, even treason.

Conclusions and Proposals.

The certification of the election on January 6th was unconstitutional, because it followed procedures that apply only to bona fide election results. The protections of the laws do not extend to fraud. There must first be reasonable assurance that the results are free of any significant fraud.

The certification also violated due process, since it gave the decision into the hands of the party suspected of fraud.

Thus the election certification was a mistrial. If fraud took place on the scale alleged, then the election was also a mistrial. The remedy in both cases is a retrial.

The Ninth Amendment is an escape clause stipulating that the provisions of the Constitution shall not be construed to deny the rights retained by the people — such as the right to due process and fair elections.

The people and the federal government are principals, who have delegated the election of their officials to the states, who are their agents. The principal always has the right to have the work done to the standards of probity. What must prevail is the realization that if work has been done wrong, it must be put right.

Three branches of government have evidently failed to ensure our right to fair elections: the Congress, certain states, and even the Executive, in the person of the Vice-President.

The branch that can repair the loss now is the Supreme Court judiciary. It can mandate new elections in cases where there are major allegations of fraud and a narrow apparent margin of victory.

It may do this on its own, or by a number of its justices joining a bipartisan Electoral Commission together with Congress, as was done in 1876, but with one major difference. Rather than trying to adjudicate the outcome itself, the Commission should identify precincts or states that are most in need of repeat voting.

For this purpose, the Federal Election Commission should publish a tabulation by precinct for the contested swing states, comparing the results between 2016 and 2020, giving percentages of voter turnout, and of votes for each party and presidential candidate, broken down by in-person, mail-in and absentee ballots, in order to confirm or allay the suspicions raised, and to identify which precincts are most in need of repeat voting.

To expedite matters, it is best to use hand ballots only. Extra measures are needed against vote buying and for monitoring and secrecy of voting, especially in the trial precincts.

Going forward, Congress should pass the anti-fraud measures recommended by Tulsi Gabbard, the Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform, and for the open-source, self-auditing vote tally system proposed here.

Endnote on 1876

It is hard to imagine a worse precedent than the election of 1876 to support Pence’s plea for the primacy of “the people’s representatives” in interpreting the will of the people themselves, without any delay for fraud investigations. In 1876, Democrat Samuel Tilden won the popular vote with a lead of 3%, but with allegations of fraud on both sides, it was impossible to tell who had really won in the Electoral College. The two parties made a backroom deal, giving the Presidency to the Republican Rutherford Hayes, in exchange for concessions like removing the last remaining Federal troops from the South.

A 15-member bipartisan Electoral Commission of 10 members of Congress and 5 Supreme Court Justices was set up to adjudicate the returns from the four contested states. In a series of 8-7 decisions, voting strictly on party lines, they gave all four states to Hayes, handing him a one-vote margin in the Electoral College. The Republican Justice Bradley on the Commission cast the deciding votes. His opinion on the matter is thus hardly impartial. Pence quotes Bradley as saying the role of President of the Senate is only “ministerial.” A minister is an important office, certainly enough for a duty which every citizen has, that is to prevent fraud. Indeed, the President pro tempore of the Senate presided over the Electoral Commission that Bradley sat on in 1876. By precedent, Pence could have presided over a commission working to resolve the disputes of the election of 2020.

As a precedent also, the election debacle of 1876 supports our thesis here: that Congress cannot be entrusted with the adjudication of an election under a two-party system; that attempts to correct the count through investigations into fraud generally prove frustrating and futile; and that runoffs in states with a very close vote should have been instituted as the solution then and there. We can do it now.

Appendix. Text of VP Pence’s Statement to Congress, January 6th, 2021

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THE VICE PRESIDENT WASHINGTON

January 6, 2021

Dear Colleague:

Today, for the 59th time in our Nation’s history, Congress will convene in Joint Session to count the electoral votes for President of the United States. Under our Constitution, it will be my duty as Vice President and as President of the Senate to serve as the presiding officer.

After an election with significant allegations of voting irregularities and numerous instances of officials setting aside state election law, I share the concerns of millions of Americans about the integrity of this election. The American people choose the American President, and have every right under the law to demand free and fair elections and a full investigation of electoral misconduct. As presiding officer, I will do my duty to ensure that these concerns receive a fair and open hearing in the Congress of the United States. Objections will be heard, evidence will be presented, and the elected representatives of the American people will make their decision.

Our Founders created the Electoral College in 1787, and it first convened in 1789. With the advent of political parties, the Electoral College was amended in 1804 to provide that Electors vote separately for President and Vice President. Following a contentious election in 1876, with widespread allegations of fraud and malfeasance, Congress spent a decade establishing rules and procedures to govern the counting of electoral votes and the resolution of any objections.

During the 130 years since the Electoral Count Act was passed, Congress has, without exception, used these formal procedures to count the electoral votes every four years.

Given the controversy surrounding this year’s election, some approach this year’s quadrennial tradition with great expectation, and others with dismissive disdain. Some believe that as Vice President, I should be able to accept or reject electoral votes unilaterally. Others believe that electoral votes should never be challenged in a Joint Session of Congress.

After a careful study of our Constitution, our laws, and our history, I believe neither view is correct.

The President is the chief executive officer of the Federal Government under our Constitution, possessing immense power to impact the lives of the American people. The Presidency belongs to the American people, and to them alone. When disputes concerning a presidential election arise, under Federal law, it is the people’s representatives who review the evidence and resolve disputes through a democratic process.

Our Founders were deeply skeptical of concentrations of power and created a Republic based on separation of powers and checks and balances under the Constitution of the United States.

Vesting the Vice President with unilateral authority to decide presidential contests would be entirely antithetical to that design. As a student of history who loves the Constitution and reveres its Framers, I do not believe that the Founders of our country intended to invest the Vice President with unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted during the Joint Session of Congress, and no Vice President in American history has ever asserted such authority. Instead, Vice Presidents presiding over Joint Sessions have uniformly followed the Electoral Count Act, conducting the proceedings in an orderly manner even where the count resulted in the defeat of their party or their own candidacy.

As Supreme Court Justice Joseph Bradley wrote following the contentious election of 1876, “the powers of the President of the Senate are merely ministerial… He is not invested with any authority for making any investigation outside of the Joint Meeting of the two Houses… [I]f any examination at all is to be gone into, or any judgment exercised in relation to the votes received, it must be performed and exercised by the two Houses.” More recently, as the former U.S. Court of Appeals Judge J. Michael Luttig observed, “[t]he only responsibility and power of the Vice President under the Constitution is to faithfully count the Electoral College votes as they have been cast,” adding “[t]he Constitution does not empower the Vice President to alter in any way the votes that have been cast, either by rejecting certain votes or otherwise.”

It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.

While my role as presiding officer is largely ceremonial, the role of the Congress is much different, and the Electoral Count Act of 1887 establishes a clear procedure to address election controversies when they arise during the count of the vote of the Electoral College. Given the voting irregularities that took place in our November elections and the disregard of state election statutes by some officials, I welcome the efforts of Senate and House members who have stepped forward to use their authority under the law to raise objections and present evidence.

As presiding officer, I will ensure that any objections that are sponsored by both a Representative and a Senator are given proper consideration, and that all facts supporting those objections are brought before the Congress and the American people. Those who suggest that raising objections under the Electoral Count Act is improper or undemocratic ignore more than 130 years of history, and fail to acknowledge that Democrats raised objections in Congress each of the last three times that a Republican candidate for President prevailed.

Today it will be my duty to preside when the Congress convenes in Joint Session to count the votes of the Electoral College, and I will do so to the best of my ability. I ask only that Representatives and Senators who will assemble before me approach this moment with the same sense of duty and an open mind, setting politics and personal interests aside, and do our part to faithfully discharge our duties under the Constitution. I also pray that we will do so with humility and faith, remembering the words of John Quincy Adams, who said, “Duty is ours; results are God’s.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov – annual Q&A press conference in Moscow

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov – annual Q&A press conference in Moscow

January 18, 2021

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s annual press conference in Moscow, summing up the results of Russian diplomacy and foreign policy during 2020.

Please forward the video to time marker 19:40.  Transcript now being loaded up below as it becomes available:

Ladies and gentlemen, colleagues,

This is our traditional news conference on the foreign policy outcomes of 2020. It is traditional, but remote. We opted for a format that was widely used over the past year due to the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions imposed in almost all countries, including Russia.

Despite the pandemic, our Ministry kept in close contact with you and your colleagues at all levels. I myself had the pleasure of speaking to you following talks, which did take place several times in Moscow, and will continue to do so. I also spoke to you in a video format. My deputies regularly talk with agencies. The Ministry’s official spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, conducts regular weekly briefings and, in between them, interacts with most of you. I am sure you are aware of the facts and information about what Russian foreign policy is currently promoting in the international arena.

The pandemic has dealt a severe blow to all forms of communication, particularly contacts between people in culture, research, sports and tourism. This caused major shifts in public consciousness in many countries. We know this from daily reports coming from European and other countries. In Russia, we are also trying to minimise the inconveniences caused by objective sanitary restrictions on everyday life. However, certain and not too positive changes are still being felt. You are probably following the discussion focusing on Russia’s epidemiological policy, including the Sputnik V vaccine, EpiVacCorona and the third vaccine, which is on its way.

We reiterate what President of Russia Vladimir Putin said in August 2020 when announcing the registration of the world’s first coronavirus vaccine: we are wide open to cooperation in these matters. We had a positive response to the proposals that the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) had made to its foreign partners with regard to organising licensed production. This topic is being discussed with our colleagues in Asia, the Arab East, Africa and Latin America. Not long ago, President Putin and Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel also briefly discussed the prospects for Russian-German and Russian-European cooperation in producing and improving vaccines. I think this is the right path to take based on the desire to consolidate our efforts and the solidarity of humankind. Unfortunately, not everywhere and not always has this quest for solidarity and joint work manifested itself during the pandemic. Some of our Western colleagues, primarily the United States and its closest allies, tried to take advantage of the situation and to ratchet up pressure, blackmail, ultimatums and illegitimate actions while introducing unilateral restrictions and other forms of interference in the internal affairs of many countries, including our closest neighbour Belarus.

The West unanimously ignored the calls by the UN Secretary General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to suspend, at least for the duration of the pandemic, unilateral and illegitimate sanctions regarding the supply of medications, food and equipment needed to fight the virus while Russia was ready to back up this approach. President Putin put forward a parallel initiative during the G20 summit to create green corridors in the economy that are free from sanctions and other artificial barriers. Unfortunately, these sensible appeals – both ours and those of the UN leaders – were left hanging in the air.

Last year we observed the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII, the birth of the United Nations and the entry into force of its Charter. Against the backdrop of these anniversaries, we are very concerned about the continuous arrogant actions of the United States and most of its Western allies, which are aimed at undermining international security, which is based on the UN, its Charter and its agencies and replacing the traditional norms and standards of international law with a “rules-based international order.”

Some exclusive mechanisms – groups of so-called co-thinkers began to be set up in this context outside the UN and its universal agencies. These narrow groups are trying to impose their decisions on all members of the international community. One of the manifestations of these rules on which the West would like to establish a new international order is the concept of multilateralism, which our German and French colleagues have started promoting in the past two years. The descriptions of this concept in the public statements of the German and French foreign ministers make it very clear that the EU wants to present itself and everything it does as a foreign policy ideal. The EU views the establishment of specific rules as its exclusive right in the belief that all others must follow these standards. Examples are many.

The EU has held special events on cybersecurity, freedom of the media and international humanitarian law outside UN agencies. These events have been attended by several dozen countries. Holding them outside the UN framework is very indicative. It is based on the understanding that in the UN the advocates of this concept will have to meet people with somewhat different views on ensuring cybersecurity, freedom of the media, especially in today’s world, and on how to ensure the equal application of the standards of international humanitarian law. In my opinion, unless I am convinced of the opposite, these are apprehensions of competition and the understanding that in today’s world the West can no longer dictate its own orders to others as it has over the last five centuries. History is moving forward, it is developing. This has nothing to do with ideology. This is just a statement of fact. It is necessary to consider the views of the countries that now have a much greater weight in the world arena (completely incomparable with that of the colonial era) and the countries that want to preserve their civilisational  identity and that do not see in the West the ideals for their societies. Tolerance of diversity is another characteristic that the West is losing very quickly.

There are situations where half a dozen people that have created their own technological empires do not even want to know what rights they have in their own states. They determine their rights themselves proceeding from so-called corporate standards and completely ignore the constitutions of their states. We have seen this clearly in the US and this is a source of deep concern. Much has been said about this recently in television reports and special analytical materials. We are not pleased by the attempts of the Western elites to find external enemies to resolve their internal political problems. They find these enemies in Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela. The list of these countries is well known.

We all see the response to the news of Alexey Navalny’s return to the Russian Federation. Carbon-copy comments on this event are coming in one after another. They are full of joy because they allow Western politicians to think that in this way they can divert public attention away from the deepest crisis of the liberal development model.

I am convinced that it is necessary not to seek outside excuses to justify one’s own actions or sidetrack attention from one’s deepest problems and crises. On the contrary, it is essential to play an honest game and look for opportunities to resolve domestic problems via fair and equitable international cooperation. No one can expect to resolve its own problems outside multilateral formats any longer.

Russia strives to act as constructively as possible in the international arena. We are convinced that we must sit down and discuss all existing grievances rather than wrangle with each other. We have always been ready to do so: back when Russia was accused of “interference” in the US elections, in Barcelona, ​​during Brexit, the Skripal case, the Malaysian Boeing, which was shot down over Ukraine in July 2014, and with regard to Alexey Navalny. I can later cite in more detail the arguments that you are well aware of. In every above case and in other cases where we were accused of something specific, we have never been given evidence that would corroborate these unfounded accusations. We’ve only heard “highly likely,” “no one else has these motives” or “only you have such capabilities, so you are guilty, so we don’t need to prove anything.” They just don’t provide the facts, which is what decent people always do in order to justify their discussions.

We are interested in addressing problems through a dialogue. However, “forcing a closed door” that the West keeps “under lock and key” is beneath our dignity. Your governments are well aware of our proposals that we have made repeatedly, starting with the dialogue on strategic offensive arms, arms control and nonproliferation to interaction on cybersecurity and non-deployment of weapons in space. There are many such areas. For each of them, Russia has proposals for establishing honest cooperation on key threats that are common to all countries around the world instead of using these threats to achieve unilateral geopolitical advantages by means of unscrupulous competition. President Putin’s initiative to hold a summit of the five UN Security Council permanent members is a manifestation of such a desire to start a dialogue. All other leaders of the Group of Five responded positively to this proposal. Unfortunately, the pandemic made holding such a meeting impossible. We are convinced that the leaders must meet in person. We hope this summit will take place the epidemic situation permitting.

With regard to promoting a positive agenda, we invite our Western partners to return to common sense and to consider under the UN umbrella their ideas on cyber security, freedom of the media and many other problems that they are trying to resolve among themselves.

We will introduce similar approaches in other organisations of which Russia is a member, including the SCO, BRICS, the CSTO, the CIS and the EAEU.

President Putin’s initiative, which we are promoting, is to form the Greater Eurasian Partnership that is open to all Eurasian countries without exception by way of an equal collective dialogue. This covers the EU countries along with the EAEU, the SCO and ASEAN members. Generally speaking, it covers countries that are not part of any regional organisations, but are located in Eurasia. I would like to note the importance of the G20, an association that unites the Western G7, which is no longer able to overcome global challenges all by itself. The G20 also brings together the BRICS countries and the like-minded nations which share our common philosophy: to say no to confrontation and to address existing problems on a balance of interests.

Today we will discuss ongoing conflicts as well. We are working with other countries to advance a settlement in Syria, to break the deadlock of the intra-Libyan conflict that erupted after NATO countries’ aggression had undermined the Libyan statehood almost 10 years ago.

We will also talk about other hot spots in the Middle East and North Africa, primarily the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which they are undeservedly trying to put on the back burner.

Quite recently, we released a multi-page document on the main foreign policy results of 2020. It contains a lot of hard facts. I hope you have had a chance to read it.

Today, we will focus on challenges facing the world which quickly change our daily lives.

Question: In what direction are relations between Russia and Italy developing, especially in the coronavirus pandemic year?

Sergey Lavrov: Relations between Russia and Italy are good.  Italy is one of those EU countries that follow the discipline and principles of solidarity in the EU, but that still do not consider it appropriate to take an aggressive position against the Russian Federation. Conscientiously, in joining the consensus on certain sanctions, Italy does not consider them to be effective tools for influencing anyone, in this case the Russian Federation. Not without objections from Brussels, Italy insists on its right to develop bilateral relations with Russia and does so sincerely. This policy reflects a correct understanding of the national interests of the Italian Republic, the interests of its business and its citizens seeking to continue humanitarian, sport, cultural and other contacts between people.

We have a good tradition with Italy with our cross cultural years. They are dedicated to topics that interest citizens of both countries, primarily in areas of culture, language, literature and regional contacts. This is a very good tradition. It actually helps respond to the needs of people and businesses, which is important.

Russia and Italy have a 2+2 mechanism where the defence and foreign ministers of the two countries meet and review the key issues in the world, in the Euro-Atlantic area and other regions where both Italy and the Russian Federation have interests.

Information on the specific events we held last year and what are scheduled for the future is available in the Results of Foreign Policy Activities in 2020. All this is described in detail there.

Question: I am one of the seven journalists in Latvia who were detained in December by local security service officers for cooperation with Sputnik Latvia and the Baltnews agency. In December, they carried out a search of our office and took away our office equipment, computers and dictaphones, bringing criminal charges against us over the violation of international sanctions. During the six weeks that have passed since then we have not heard of any reaction from international human right organisations to this out of the ordinary event, to put it mildly, including from the leaders who yesterday vehemently reacted to the detention of Alexey Navalny only five minutes after it happened.

Why do you think international officials say nothing about this outrageous, in my view, incident – the detention of seven journalists in Latvia? Can the Russian Foreign Ministry throw its weight behind the journalists representing Russian media abroad?

Sergey Lavrov: We are doing our best. I do not use these words to give you the runaround. We are really taking important measures. We discuss this issue at the meetings I hold weekly with my deputies and Foreign Ministry Collegium members. Not only must we voice our disapproval of a flagrant violation of the national law and international commitments like this, but we must also resort to international mechanisms. We spoke about this incident at the UN, the OSCE and the Council of Europe. We will continue this work.

Whenever we have incontestable and hard facts that freedom of the media has been flagrantly violated coupled with threats to bring criminal charges, the mechanisms existing in the UN human rights formats – and there are plenty of speakers there reporting on various aspects of human rights violations; they have the Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media – cannot justify what they are doing to you. Quite a few incidents like this happen now and then in the neighbouring Baltic States. Usually, they write letters to us. But we want to use mechanisms provided for in relevant conventions that require that a country in question rectify this type of violation. These mechanisms must – pardon me for the parlance that is not altogether diplomatic – put a squeeze on the violator until things are put right. Our colleagues at multilateral institutions show much less zeal seeking to establish the truth when it comes to a Russian-language media outlet. Although in the case of Latvia, Russian is a native tongue, as about half of the population in this country – no less than 40 percent – think in Russian and use this language in their daily life. One should have a very specific political orientation to want to show complete disrespect to one’s own compatriots in this way.

We will continue to seek reasonable actions from international agencies, but at the same time we want to involve NGOs in these efforts. They have every reason to appeal to the courts, but a denial in a court allows them to address the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). It has dealt a few times with the subject of the media. Such precedents did not exist before but they have been created in connection with Western reproaches concerning the Russian media. So at this point the ECHR has to consider a situation that does not allow for any dual interpretation. It is so obvious, and I don’t think the court should take a long time to pass a ruling.

At the same time, we are working and will continue working with international lawyers. We will also use the Russian Fund for the Support and Protection of the Rights of Compatriots Living Abroad that is willing to help journalists among others.

I confirm our support for Sputnik and not just because it’s a Russian media outlet. Citizens of any country, including Latvia, have the right to alternative information sources. Access to information is provided for by the numerous decisions of the OSCE. It is guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This principle of access to information was recently trampled underfoot in the United States to the accompaniment of perplexed silence or indistinct comments by US allies. Now attempts are being made to hush it all up by saying that Donald Trump’s Facebook account has been restored (but not his Tweeter account). But this is not about Trump but about the big failure of the state to comply with its commitments to ensure access to information. They said it was not the US Government that has shut out all those that were recognised by these platforms as sources of unreliable information. After all, corporations have not signed any pacts. All this comes “straight from the devil.” The Pacts and top-level decisions of the OSCE, which the West never tires of quoting (at least this was the case until recently), oblige the state to ensure free access to information for every person on its territory. So, Sputnik enjoys our full support. I know it is also popular with my Western colleagues. They consider media like Sputnik and RT important because their views differ from the common opinion that is being imposed by the Western media at every more or less important instance.

Question: Antony Blinken will probably become the next Secretary of State and Victoria Nuland, whom we all know, will be his deputy. What can you say regarding these candidates? What are your expectations with respect to working with them further in the future?

Sergey Lavrov: I try not to have any expectations on any subject. As for what to expect from the new US Administration, so much has already been said about it that I don’t want to take up your time with that.

We know these people. On the one hand, this makes it possible, given their reciprocal wish, to respond to many of our proposals on the Russian-US agenda, which are still on the table, and start talks without a large pause and preparations. On the other hand, we can easily imagine what line will the “new old” members of the incoming US Administration’s foreign policy team take; moreover they do not conceal their intentions and plans. From regular interviews, articles and advice given by US think tanks, including NATO’s North Atlantic Council and other entities, we can see that the line will continue to pursue the goals of US state and way of life, without understanding other countries’ patterns of life. The containment of Russia and China will undoubtedly be present on the foreign policy agenda. They are already discussing how to prevent Russia and the PRC from joining forces to such a degree that they could become more powerful than America. There are proposals of playing on the confrontation between Russia and China. All of this has long been a part of US policy.

Possibly, their manners will be more polite with respect to Russia, but the essence of their policy will hardly be different. When the Americans find it beneficial, when they realise that they cannot achieve anything without Russia and China, then they will have to be ready for agreements. This concerns combatting infections (by all appearances, it is a long-term topic); climate change, which also implies specific and practical interaction between many countries, including Russia and China; fighting terrorism and other forms of organised crime – drug trafficking and human trafficking. Most importantly, they should deal with the situation in arms control which is absolutely abnormal. We have heard about the intention of Joe Biden’s Administration to resume the dialogue with us on this subject, including trying to agree on the extension of the New START  treaty before it expires on February 5. We will wait for their proposals. Our position is known very well and remains in force.

We have heard about the plans to revise the decisions of the outgoing US administration to withdraw from quite a number of other multilateral agreements and organisations, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNESCO, and the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

We harbour no illusions. We are realists. We have our proposals on all agenda items that are important for all humankind, and a number of them are being implemented. I would mention the UN work on international information security and curbing cybercrime, which our Western colleagues do not want to continue in a universal format, but rather to concentrate it within a close circle of likeminded parties and work out the rules, and then demand that everyone observes them.

In brief – we do not expect any radical changes. However, the methods of promoting US “leadership” will be somewhat different.

Question: What move by the Biden Administration do you think could indicate its readiness to reset relations with Russia? What is Russia ready to do to display a desire to improve relations with the United States?

Sergey Lavrov: We do not have to do anything to indicate our desire to have good relations with the United States, relations that would reflect the responsibility of the world’s two largest nuclear powers for security at the global, regional and any other level. We have put forth proposals to this effect, and the Biden Administration is well aware of them.

When Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Joe Biden on his victory in the presidential election, he reaffirmed our commitment to cooperation with the United States on all issues of mutual interest and importance for the world. This can be interpreted as invitation to dialogue.

The most important thing is that our proposals on cybersecurity and on investigations into our alleged interference in US affairs, as well as on space projects and arms control, are on the table. As recently as in September 2020, President Putin publicly invited the United States – not President Trump or anyone else, but the United States as a power which, we hope, has retained at least a degree of respect for continuity and compliance with foreign policy agreements – to reboot our relations in the sphere of cybersecurity and non-intervention into internal affairs of each other. He proposed exchanging guarantees of such non-intervention and restoring a regular full-scale bilateral dialogue on all aspects of the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) related to the military-political security of states and the possible use of cyberspace by all kinds of criminals, including terrorists, paedophiles and human traffickers. We have not received any response to that proposal, just as to our initiative put forth two years ago for reaffirming the statement made by Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan to the effect that a nuclear war is unacceptable, cannot be won and so must never be fought.

I don’t know how the new US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control will formulate President Biden’s position, but Marshall Billingslea, who will leave the post in two days, cannot let up but continues to give interviews and write for the media. He said openly in one of his statements that the new administration must not fall into the Russian trap by making a statement on the inadmissibility of a nuclear war. This is not a whim of Mr Billingslea or any other American official, who consider it unacceptable for the United States to agree that a nuclear war must never be fought. This position reflects the US doctrinal provisions on the use of military force and nuclear weapons. Lowering the yield of nuclear charges so that they can be used on the battlefield, and refusal to formalise a provision on the no-first use of nuclear weapons – these nuances of the US doctrines speak volumes. We would like to know who will ultimately determine the US position on strategic offensive armaments (not only nuclear ones) and how this will be done.

New technologies can be used to boost the US Prompt Global Strike project designed to create powerful conventional precision weapons that can deliver an airstrike anywhere in the world within one hour.

We called on the outgoing US administration to consider formulating a new arms control document, to extend the New START treaty so that we have at least one effective arms control document, and in the meantime to coordinate a new document that would cover all types of weapons, including not just those mentioned in New START but also strategic armaments that could be considered a threat to our national territories. I believe that this is an understandable consideration, and a much more important one than the idea of recounting all warheads of any type, which we are being encouraged to accept, while our US partners reject our proposal to focus on the current and very probable threats.

Let’s wait and see. Joseph Biden is an expert on disarmament and arms control. I think he would rather have a team of professionals than propagandists.

Question: Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi has said recently that China and Russia would continue to provide an example of the development of neighbourly and friendly relations between world powers, boost the revitalisation of the global economy and maintain global strategic stability. What possibilities do you envision for the further development of ties between our two countries? What can Russia and China do to hinder foreign interference and attempts to drive a wedge between their cooperation?

Sergey Lavrov: We have very close strategic relations with the People’s Republic of China. Our leaders are good friends who maintain regular trust-based communication. Their personal contacts were complicated last year, yet they managed to have at least five detailed telephone conversations and videoconferences. We have held a regular, 25th meeting of our heads of government, contacts between the five subcommissions set up under the guidance of our prime ministers, and a meeting of the Russian-Chinese Inter-Parliamentary Commission. We held joint celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII. A Chinese delegation led by Defence Minister Wei Fenghe and a Chinese Honour Guard company attended the parade held on Red Square on June 24, 2020. We appreciate this.

We are now implementing a major project, the Year of Russian-Chinese Scientific, Technical and Innovative Cooperation. It is currently the most important matter designed to give a second lease of life and a new quality to our trade and economic interaction. Unlike many other countries, we managed to prevent our mutual trade from decreasing during the pandemic. It is developing quite sustainably. We are implementing major infrastructure, industrial, agrarian, energy and investment projects.

We have been collaborating closely to stop the spread of the COVID-19 infection and to overcome its impacts since the start of the pandemic. When our Chinese friends identified the problem at Wuhan, they collaborated closely and effectively with us to help repatriate Russian citizens. We are working together to provide humanitarian assistance to each other. There are such examples on both sides. We are working on the vaccines at present. I have no doubt that we will succeed.

We are cooperating within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and BRICS. The People’s Republic of China and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) have signed a cooperation agreement. We are aligning integration within the EAEU and China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Last December, we signed a protocol on extending the agreement on notification of the launch of ballistic missiles and space carrier rockets for another 10 years. Also in December 2020, the Chinese Air Force and the Russian Aerospace Forces conducted the second joint patrol mission over the Sea of Japan and East China Sea. This is evidence of the trust-based and forward-looking nature of Russian-Chinese relations and our mutual commitment to maintaining stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

Some of our other colleagues, for example, the United States, have been trying to build up tension by conducting military activities that are openly spearheaded against China and are aimed at isolating Russia, as well as within the framework of practical US plans to deploy the components of the US ballistic missile defence system in Asia Pacific. These components have the capacity to reach the territory of both China and Russia.

A lot more can be said about Russian-Chinese cooperation. It is ongoing in a wide range of spheres, in fact, in nearly all spheres of human and state endeavour. I would like to mention our close coordination at the UN on many practical matters. It is based on Russia’s and China’s commitment to protecting international law and preventing the erosion of universal structures and the replacement of the UN with extraneous formats and partnerships, which Western countries are using to formulate rules suiting their own purposes  and subsequently force them on the rest of the world. Russia and China firmly stand for protecting the achievements set out in the UN Charter, which are based on the principles of equality, respect for the sovereignty of states, non-interference in their internal affairs and a peaceful settlement of disputes.

This year we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Russian-Chinese Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation. We have huge plans for celebrating this memorable occasion.

Question: Several days ago now, the entire world was amazed by how easily, virtually with a snap of a finger, corporations banned Donald Trump from social networks. In your opinion, how does this “digital GULAG,” that is holding captive politicians and their supporters, journalists and ordinary people all over the world, align with the concept of American democracy? Is it possible that in the future, such selective blocking of accounts becomes a fundamental of international policy and common practice?

Sergey Lavrov: Everybody is talking about it on all the television channels and social networks. I heard that Telegram was threatened with blocking their services. It will be rather interesting.

I have already mentioned the topic of states’ obligations and now want to remind you about them. The US is a member of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Interestingly (however, this issue is often omitted) there have been two international treaties, one for civil and political rights, and the other the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Having signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (it was in the 1960s), the US flatly refused to sign the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

This is a refusal to take any responsibilities related to providing adequate quality of life to its population and solving social and economic problems. But the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is an obligatory document for the US. The Helsinki Final Act and an entire series of OSCE documents (the Charter of Paris for a New Europe, the Charter for European Security adopted in Istanbul in 1999) say that every person has the right to freely express their opinion. This right includes the freedom to search, receive and distribute various kinds of information and ideas regardless of state borders, by mouth, in writing, using the press, creative forms of expression or other means. “Other means” meant the visionary prediction that social networks would appear. There is no exception to this. It is said that each person has the right to access information. The state signed under it. So, claiming that Google, Facebook, YouTube and other corporations have no responsibilities is childish nonsense. The state has to assume responsibly for them, and if they misbehave, the state must bring them to order and to its legal obligations.

I do not know what will happen next. There have been many different forecasts. There is a state, private capitalism. Who will be changing the rules of the game now? Many recalled Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin and other analysts of capitalism and imperialism as its last stage. I do not know. The only thing I am sure about is that if the US fails to make the violators comply with the freedom of speech and its own Constitution (let alone international covenants), the US will present itself to the world as something other than a champion for democracy.

Speaking of the freedom of speech. Every year, the UN General Assembly at our initiative adopts a resolution on inadmissibility of glorification of Nazism and other forms of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia, and the US votes against it saying that the voting for prohibiting neo-Nazi movements is a violation of the First Amendment. They state this openly. By the way, only one country, Ukraine, votes against this resolution alongside the US. And for obvious reasons: neo-Nazis freely march there and hold torchlight processions and in addition to all that really influence the practical policy of this, so to speak, state. In the US, the situation is slightly different, but they also do not want to violate the First Amendment.

Let us hope that American society will not allow the elites in their fight against each other to use blatant censorship in violation of the Constitution and international obligations. But this is their problem. If the American society fails to cope with it, we cannot do anything about it. But then everybody should be ready for the ramifications of this failure of the American state. And these ramifications will be grave on the global stage. I think everybody understands this. It is no coincidence that Europe is preparing EU documents about how to start a dialogue that takes into account all possible scenarios immediately following Joe Biden’s inauguration.

I would suggest paying attention to how the US has found itself in a position that bears risks to undermine the American state if it fails to bring private corporations that are fewer than 12 to order so that they would comply with the state mechanisms, legislation, and first of all, its own Constitution.

Question: A politician and Russian citizen has alleged that Russian security services attempted to poison him. Alexey Navalny has provided facts which nobody has reliably invalidated so far. He has decided to return to his home country, where no criminal case of his poisoning had been opened. The plane he boarded was diverted to another airport. The people who came to welcome him home, including journalists, and Navalny himself have been detained. How does this make Russia look? Don’t we care about our image any longer?

Sergey Lavrov: Of course, one should care for one’s image, but we are not a young girl preparing for a ball. We must first of all do our job, which is to implement Russia’s foreign policy. A foreign policy aspect has been added to the Navalny case artificially and without any justification. Everything associated with his return and detainment is the competence of the law enforcement authorities. There is a detailed statement by the Federal Penitentiary Service, which provides facts and violations and explains why the complaints have been put forth. This is not something that can be placed on the Foreign Ministry’s doorstep. The matter concerns compliance with Russian laws. As we pointed out, if some countries regard respect for their own laws to be of secondary importance compared to their geopolitical goals, that is their problem. In our case, the law enforcement agencies have clearly formulated their position. And they spent a long time doing this, since August, several days after the blogger left the Omsk hospital.

Alexey Navalny has said that he is returning home with a clear conscience, because he had not left Russia of his own free will. He inferred that he was well-nigh forced to leave. In fact, he was unconscious; it was a dramatic life-or-death situation. It was his wife who insisted that he must be allowed to leave Russia and who was responsible for putting him on a German plane, as well as the German authorities, who demanded quite aggressively that we hand him over without delay. We did so.

Euronews broadcast a story today. Correspondent Galina Polonskaya, who was on the plane with Alexey Navalny, said that according to Charité doctors Navalny had been poisoned with a chemical warfare agent, which the OPCW later confirmed. She added that the Russian authorities repeatedly denied the allegation. According to the initial information provided by Germany, doctors at the civilian Charité hospital, just like their colleagues in Omsk, had not found any traces of warfare agents in Navalny’s samples. They were later found at the Bundeswehr hospital. First Germany refused to provide test results to us, claiming that this would enable us to learn about Bundeswehr technologies for identifying chemical weapons. How do you like that? Actually, they should not supposedly have such technology at all, because after the alleged poisoning of the Skripals with Novichok the West claimed that it did not have the relevant knowledge or technology.

However, in the case of Navalny it took the Bundeswehr barely a few days to determine that he had allegedly been poisoned with Novichok or a similar agent (we don’t know for sure to this day, because they have not provided any materials to us). The French and even Swedes have reaffirmed that it was a Novichok-class agent even though it was not on the list of substances prohibited by the OPCW. In accordance with their numerous commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), both bilateral and European ones, we requested to see the results of these tests. First they told us that it was a multilateral matter and that all materials had been sent to the OPCW. OPCW Director-General Fernando Arias refused to answer our questions, but later he admitted that they had taken samples from Navalny but could not provide them to us because they “belong” to Berlin.  It was Berlin that requested the analysis, so we should ask Berlin for its results. Berlin told us that it was not a bilateral matter and redirected us back to the multilateral organisation. I believe this is sheer mockery. There is no question about the OPCW, which has long been privatised by the West. It has been trying to do the same with other organisations, but it has been especially successful in the case of the OPCW. Only after a long time, during which we were directed from Berlin to The Hague and back, were we told that there was another reason for their refusal to give us the test results: Alexey Navalny does not want Russia to have this information.

Several days ago, Germany happily announced that it had answered the four requests it received from the Prosecutor General’s Office of Russia. The reply consisted only of answers they had received from Navalny and his wife. That is all we got. No factual evidence, nothing about water bottles with traces of poison, copies of toxicology results, biological samples or test results. Navalny claims that he has been poisoned by the Russian state and by President Putin personally. The West accepts this without asking any questions. The Western countries only provide facts as they had been presented by Navalny himself during his interviews with the law enforcement authorities. I regard this as total contempt for the procedure.

The German parliamentary party Alternative for Germany (AfD), which is widely seen as being cultivated by Russia, has officially requested relevant information from the German government. They have not received any reply. They asked concrete questions: Who had the water bottle during the flight from Omsk to Berlin? Was it known before the flight that its organisers allowed the bottle to be taken? The answer was that the German government had no information regarding this. How can this be? There were not only doctors but also representatives of German special services on board the plane that delivered Navalny from Omsk. Everyone knows this. If they don’t know who took the bottles on board the plane, this is on their conscience.

First it was said that Navalny had tea at Tomsk airport; this version had been planted in the public space at the very beginning. Later it was removed. It turned out that a close associate poured tea for Navalny. Then they presented the version with the water bottle. It fizzled out as well. The next version concerned clothes, and then they revived the bottle version again. It has been said recently, several months after it all happened, that attempts to poison Navalny had been made before that, but as a result it was Yulia Navalny who was poisoned. When increasingly more surprising news is made public, we as a foreign policy agency have a question for our German, French and Swedish colleagues: Ladies and gentlemen, please act on your international obligations and present the results of the tests which, as you claim, contain an unidentified toxic substance that is not on the OPCW lists. We have not received any replies in the case of Alexander Litvinenko, which was kept secret, or in the alleged poisoning of the Skripals. Those who expelled Russian diplomats at Britain’s request said they would provide the facts later. They have not provided a single fact, any information one can get is in the public sphere. “Highly likely” and that is it. Those who trusted the British may be sorry now, but they will never admit this out of a misguided sense of solidarity.

Neither do they say anything about interference in the US elections now. Former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has refused to provide the “irrefutable proof” he had said publicly they have. They will not provide any proof, full stop. The same is true about the Navalny case. If you want to know the truth, just be polite and respect the law, honour your obligations and do not resort to diplomatic insolence by saying that you would not give anything to Russia, which is a poisoner by default. That is no way to talk to us. This is the foreign policy dimension for which the Foreign Ministry has been responsible throughout its history. This is not how our partners should behave.

Question: Will Russia send another request to Germany regarding the case of Alexey Navalny, since Moscow wasn’t happy with the previous answer they got? Did I understand correctly from your previous answer that without Navalny’s permission Russia will not get access to his test results from Germany and no criminal case will be opened?

Sergey Lavrov: Regarding the Prosecutor General’s Office’s inquiry, this is its prerogative. I think that an additional request must be sent so that our German colleagues do not feel like they have already performed their functions. It was a perfunctory reply, which is unworthy of a department in charge of the law enforcement cases’ legal aspects.

Doctors in Omsk, who saved Mr Navalny’s life before he was literally ripped away from their hands unconscious, asked his spouse to sign a paper to the effect that she insists on taking him away. They made their findings and test results available to German doctors, who also gave a receipt thereof. In August, the Charite Clinic reported that nothing had been found. This is a civil clinic, just like the one in Omsk. The samples were made available to a Bundeswehr clinic, which detected traces of a chemical agent. Since nothing was found in Mr Navalny’s tests in Russia which would indicate poisoning with warfare agents, there’s no reason, under our legislation, to initiate a criminal case, no matter what someone may tell us.

If there’s something that makes someone suspicious, the matter could have been settled long ago as follows. The Germans say that this is no longer a bilateral, but a multilateral issue, and sent it to the OPCW. We suggested that the OPCW Director-General use the CWC article, which provides for according assistance by its Technical Secretariat to the participating country. They were offered to come to Russia. They have samples of Navalny’s biomaterials. We also have them. They are being kept in the Omsk hospital (maybe they have already been transported to the corresponding laboratory). There’s an OPCW-certified lab in Russia. Their and our doctors first examine one set of samples, then another, or vice versa. They will perform these tests together so as to be able to establish mutual trust. The lab is adequately equipped to conduct such tests. If they believe they need innovative sophisticated equipment, they can bring it in, we have no objections. The only condition is to do it together. After a number of episodes involving the alleged use of chemical agents in Syria, and after the Secretariat’s reports, we said outright that we have no trust in that. So, we want to use Ronald Reagan’s paraphrased principle “trust but verify.”

For a very long time they tried to avoid providing a direct answer. They said they were internationally recognised and asked for our samples, saying that “they will let us know afterwards.” This will not happen again. There will no longer be a one-way street approach. There will be no trust in the Bundeswehr clinic, the French or Swedish clinics, or the one that the OPCW may choose for its internal purposes without our participation until we are convinced that these people are honest researchers and specialists. I don’t see how anything can be done until we see the requested materials, or until they carry out the experiment that we asked for. They chickened out, probably, meaning that their conscience is not clear. It is not for nothing that the organisation, which the Germans mentioned saying that they now own it, is saying that it is Berlin’s property. The circle is complete. As Vladimir Putin said, don’t try to make retards out of us.

Question: The future of prisoners in Baku is what concerns Armenia’s public opinion most. As we understand it, this matter remains unresolved. Azerbaijan is manipulating the prisoner issue. Armenia is hoping that Russia will help. What is being done to get the prisoners of war back home? Is there an understanding of the time frame within which a positive decision on this matter can be made? Armenia has released all the prisoners of war, but its move was not reciprocated. Processes are underway that do not quite fit into the framework of the declarations signed on November 9, 2020 and January 11, 2021. Are there any classified attachments to these declarations that we are unaware of? Is there any progress in determining the status of Nagorno-Karabakh? How delayed is it? There are rumours in Karabakh that since Russia has helped it out so much in this situation, perhaps it may become part of Russia? Is this option on the table?

Sergey Lavrov: The issue of prisoners of war was indeed discussed. It is part of the agreements signed in the early hours of November 10, 2020. It was further discussed during telephone conversations between President Vladimir Putin and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, and in my conversations with Foreign Minister Ara Ayvazyan and Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov. It was also part of rather lengthy discussions during the visit of the leaders of the two countries to Moscow on January 11.

Summing up the developments, indeed, the Armenians had more problems initially. First of all, both countries needed to get together lists of the missing people who they want to rescue from captivity. Azerbaijan provided such lists, which were fairly short. Not right away, but everyone mentioned on the Azerbaijani lists were released. There were no more questions to Azerbaijan about missing, captive or involuntarily held persons. The lists provided by Armenia were incomplete and overdue.

Subsequently, there were exchanges of the participants in the events that ended on November 9, 2020. Now, the focus is on the issue that arose already in early December 2020. In late November 2020, a group of 62 Armenian servicemen was sent to the Hadrut region and captured within a week. Azerbaijan then stated that since they came to the area after the ceasefire had been announced and the hostilities had ended, they should be considered separately, rather than falling under the Declaration of November 9, 2020. Nevertheless, during our contacts with our colleagues, President Putin and I promoted the need to continue to consider this matter in order to bring it to a closure based on the “all for all” principle. I spoke with Mr Ayvazyan in an effort to clarify the final lists of those missing. It turned out that there are many more than 62 of them.

In a collaborative effort with their colleagues from Armenia and Azerbaijan, our military are checking the lists person by person in order to locate these people’s whereabouts. Of course, the issue is there. If it were not for the Russian peacekeepers, the matter would probably be even more complicated. Commander of the peacekeeping contingent Lieutenant General Rustam Muradov maintains direct contact with his Armenian and Azerbaijani colleagues.

I did not quite understand the assertion that the processes “on the ground” do not quite follow the agreements of November 9, 2020 and January 11, and whether there are any secret protocols or annexes in this regard. Where specifically do events “on the ground” “not follow” the agreement? I believe that the Declaration of November 9, 2020 is being implemented quite effectively. This is what both Ilham Aliyev and Nikol Pashinyan are telling us. That is, with the exception of the POW issue, which remains unresolved for reasons I already mentioned and which, in its current form, arose in early December 2020, a month after the signing of the agreements. The issue concerning the peacekeepers’ mandate is in the process of being settled. It should be the subject of a trilateral agreement as discussed in Moscow on January 11. There are no secret annexes. I don’t understand what topics might be classified.

Regarding the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, it is not mentioned in the agreements of November 9, 2020. This was done deliberately. The territory where the Russian peacekeepers are deployed is the area of responsibility of the Russian peacekeeping contingent. We operate on this premise in our contacts with Yerevan and Baku. The nuances and details related to organising transport routes, delivering supplies to the peacekeepers’ area of responsibility and providing humanitarian aid to returnees (50,000 already) are being worked through. The International Committee of the Red Cross has been working there for a long time now in coordination with the Russian peacekeepers. International organisations, including UNESCO, the United Nations Office for Refugees and Humanitarian Affairs, are now coordinating the format of their assessment mission with Baku and Yerevan. There are issues primarily related to differences concerning the status. Exactly because the problem of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh is controversial, if we take the positions of Yerevan and Baku, the three leaders decided to leave it be for future consideration.

The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs should also be involved in this. They have renewed their contacts with the parties and are going to visit the region again. The faster Baku and Yerevan comply “on the ground” with their assurances that the most important thing is to improve the daily life of the ethnic and religious communities that coexisted in Karabakh and to restore peaceful and neighbourly life, the sooner the status issues will be resolved.

As for the exotic proposal to make Nagorno-Karabakh part of Russia, as far as I understand it, the independence of Karabakh is not recognised by anyone, including the Republic of Armenia. We are not even close to having thoughts like that. We believe that all matters in this region must be resolved between the countries of the region, primarily, Armenia and Azerbaijan. We are ready to help look for and find solutions which will ensure peace and stability in this region. The safety of the people who have always lived here and should live in the future is of paramount importance.

Question: Azerbaijan protested against the visit of Armenian officials to Nagorno-Karabakh. Why are Armenian officials unable to obtain Azerbaijan’s permission while visiting Nagorno-Karabakh? How will the Russian peacekeepers resolve this issue? Have you taken note of Azerbaijan’s protest on this matter?

Sergey Lavrov: All agreements, especially those made on November 9, 2020, stipulate the parties’ agreement that Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh will communicate via the Lachin corridor, which will be controlled by Russian peacekeepers. No one has ever denied ties between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. During the decades of talks, there has never been any discussion of cutting off Nagorno-Karabakh from Armenia. This is why no one has rejected the Lachin corridor as a concept. The parties still agree on this matter, and this includes the consent of our Azerbaijani neighbours. In addition to the Lachin corridor, which will be run along a new route, reliable and permanent lines of communications will be established between western districts of Azerbaijan’s main territory and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. The leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia have formalised this agreement. Everyone agrees that Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh and those in Armenia should maintain communications, and I see no reason for hampering contacts at this level.

Armenian officials are involved in providing humanitarian assistance to Nagorno-Karabakh, and this has not caused any negative reaction in Baku. It would be strange if things were different. Certain Armenian officials make sufficiently politicised statements in Nagorno-Karabakh, and this causes tensions. I believe that it would be better to avoid this. Prior to the 44-day war, we saw how emotional statements from Nagorno-Karabakh or about the region and dealing with a new war and new territories became a reality. Words become a material force. In this event, words from different sides became a highly negative material force. Consequently, we pay so much attention to establishing contacts between the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia and creating an atmosphere of trust. This became yet another important essence of the Moscow meeting between President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia. I hope that these emotions will now be relegated to the background.

Now is not the best time to prioritise Nagorno-Karabakh’s status. This subject will be discussed in the future. I guarantee that the zone of Russian peacekeepers’ responsibility (and this is how this status is defined in practical terms) will guarantee the interests of both Azerbaijan and Armenia. We will review this matter later on. There are co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group; but, most importantly, future discussions between Armenia and Azerbaijan on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh should be specific and calm, and they must be based on law and on neighbourly relations that all of us together should restore in the region.

Question: Your Greek counterpart, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias has recently singled out Russia as the only power recognising Greece’s right to extend its territorial waters to 12 miles. Despite such positive aspects, I would say that Russian-Hellenic relations are developing painfully. For the first time in many years, opinions are being expressed in Greece and Cyprus that Russia is pursuing destabilising activities in the Mediterranean region. This is what American diplomats openly say. Others say that Moscow is abandoning its historical partners and changing its policy for an alliance with Turkey alone. Is this true? Is cooperation possible between Greece, Cyprus and Russia in today’s conditions? Or do we have diverging interests?

Sergey Lavrov: You have said that in Greece and Cyprus they say more often that Russia is playing a destabilising role in the region and then you added that it was American diplomats who were saying this. If American diplomats are saying this in Greece and Cyprus, they also say it in every other country. So don’t be surprised about this. In any country an American diplomat would openly, against all rules and traditions, take a microphone and say that the state where they serve as ambassadors should stop communicating with Russia. Sometimes China is also added, for example when US State Secretary Mike Pompeo was touring Africa, he demanded Africans stop trading with Russia and China, because the Russians and the Chinese had some “hidden agenda” while the US would trade with Africa selflessly. Fairly primitive, but this is the diplomatic way today.

I have recently visited Greece and Cyprus. Moreover, I have recently talked with Foreign Minister of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides by telephone. I can see no reason why these countries should be persuaded that Russia is an enemy of theirs or has carried out an unfriendly policy towards them. Someone is trying to convince them, but politicians with common sense can see the whole truth: that they are only trying to make an enemy out of the Russian Federation and saying that our presence in the Balkans prevents these countries from moving into NATO, hinders their Euro-Atlantic integration.

There is no diplomacy here, only crude public leverage. Not everyone in such countries as Cyprus and Greece can publicly respond to such battle cries because they are scared to offend “Big Brother.” There is no underlying enmity between anyone in Russia, Greece and Cyprus.

We have very warm and close relations, a spiritual connection. Our American colleagues are actively trying to undermine this spiritual connection: they made Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew follow the path of schism, undermining centuries-old traditions of Orthodox Christianity, the path called Popery. It has always been rejected by the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is a reason that there is no analogue of the Pope in the Orthodox world. There is the Ecumenical Patriarch, who until recently was revered as the first among equals. Under the gross and open pressure from Washington, he chose schism in Ukraine creating a puppet Orthodox Church of Ukraine and deceived the Church by cutting off the rights promised to it. Now, together with the Americans, he is trying to work on other Orthodox churches, including the Greek Orthodox Church and the Primate of the Cypriot Orthodox Church, in order to continue deepening these subversive anti-canonical actions against Eastern Orthodoxy. The Pandora’s Box Bartholomew opened has already led to a split in the Cypriot Orthodox Church and unrest in other Orthodox churches. The mission the Americans have assigned to him (they do not even hide that they are actively working with him under the slogan of “freedom of religion and confession”) is to bury Orthodoxy’s influence in today’s world. I can see no other explanation for his actions.

As for the disputes that you indirectly mentioned asking if Russia recognises the 12 nautical mile zone of Greece’s territorial waters. It is not Russia who recognises it, it follows from the universal 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The convention, which everyone (except the United States) signed, states that a country has the right to establish territorial waters of 12 nautical miles.

When Greece announced that, we said the same thing I have said now: this is an absolutely legitimate solution. It is a different thing when territorial waters chosen by a state challenge the interests of a neighbouring state. If these interests are identified as legitimate, considering the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, it is necessary to search for a solution through dialogue and a balance of interests. We call for all the problems related to the exclusive economic zones of both Greece and Cyprus to be addressed via a dialogue.

I hear that my colleague, Foreign Minister of Greece Nikos Dendias has agreed to have a meeting with Foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu in late January. I believe this is the right format for discussing and finding solutions to such issues. Of course, no one wants the use of any kind of force in the Eastern Mediterranean. As for Russia, it is ready to use its good relations with counties involved in these disputes if it might be helpful. We will be ready if we receive any such request.

Question: You spoke about the strategic partnership and great relationship between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. How do you see the evolution of India-Russia ties in the changing geopolitics, particularly in the context of the threat of sanctions from some countries on India-Russia defence trade, including the S-400 missile system?

Sergey Lavrov: The partnership between Russia and India is called slightly differently. You called it a strategic partnership. This was the original title. Some years later, the Indian side proposed to call it a privileged strategic partnership. And a few years ago, when Prime Minister Modi became the head of the Indian government, we changed it to a specially privileged strategic partnership.

I believe there is room for further improvement, but the current terminology indicates a special kind of relationship. India is our very close, very strategic and very privileged partner. Take the economy, take innovations, high technology or military and technical cooperation, India is one of our closest partners in all these areas. We have close political coordination in the United Nations and within BRICS. We did a lot to make sure that India and Pakistan join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation where, I think, we now have a configuration which is very representative, to promote constructive, positive and stabilising ideas both for the Eurasian region and, in broader terms, for the Asia-Pacific.

We discussed with our Indian friends, at the level of the president and the prime minister, at the level of ministers, experts and consultants, we discussed, in a very open way, both practical things and conceptual issues, including issues emanating from the new concept which is called the Indo-Pacific Strategy. We do not believe that this is just a terminological change. Because if you take it literally from the geographical point of view, then “Indo” means the entire Indian Ocean, all littoral states of the Indian Ocean. But East Africa, we were told, is not included in the Indo-Pacific Strategy. The Persian Gulf, which is part of the Indian Ocean, is not included. What is included? As the American sponsors of this concept say, the US, Australia, Japan and India, which is the backbone of, as US State Secretary Mike Pompeo recently said, the free and open Indo-Pacific Region. We have reasons to believe that when the Australians, the Japanese and the Americans promote this format and, well, they almost openly say that this is important to ensure stability in the South China Sea and this is important to contain China. We discussed this with my good friend, Foreign Minister of India Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, and our Indian colleagues fully understand that some countries would like to use the Indo-Pacific Strategy in a manner that is not inclusive and that is confrontational. ASEAN, by the way, feels the same way. They are concerned that this aggressive promotion of the Indo-Pacific concept will undermine the central role of ASEAN in the Indo-Pacific Region, the East Asian Summits (EAS) and other formats, the center of which has been ASEAN for many years.

I know that in India this issue is very actively discussed. And I know that India is not going to move this Indo-Pacific cooperation in a way that would be not positive and not constructive. I say so in much detail because some of my previous statements on this issue have been widely discussed in the Indian media which I belieive is not very friendly towards the Indian government, but we don’t want any misunderstanding with our friends, the Indian people: we are friends with India. We are doing our utmost to make sure that India and China, our two great friends and brothers, live in peace with one another.

This is our policy which we promote not only in the context of the SCO or BRICS. We have a special trilateral format, a “troika” or RIC – Russia, India and China. It was established in the late 1990s, and it is still functioning. The last meeting at the level of ministers took place in Moscow in September 2020. We adopted a joint communiqué recognising the role of the three countries in promoting peace, stability and security in Asia and the world and confirming the cooperation between our countries.

I am glad that, besides the political dialogue between the three countries, we have plenty of formats that involve people-to-people contacts, including academic formats, youth formats and many others. We all are wise enough to see that if a  strategy is indeed intended to be not inclusive but rather divisive, then the wisdom of our countries will certainly prevail. And in no way will our closest cooperation and partnership with India be affected. The most sincere and honest dialogue, even on the issues where we do not one hundred percent see eye to eye, is the key to the further development of our partnership.

Question: The next question has to do with the situation in Northeast Asia. Japan is seriously concerned about the nuclear build-up in North Korea, which has forced it to strengthen its security, or more precisely, buy a missile defence system. Russia does not seem to share our concern, but regards our efforts to protect our security as a threat. The problem has been complicated with the US intention to deploy its medium-range missiles in Asia Pacific. Several media outlets have reported that Russia and China are considering joint countermeasures if the United States does deploy its missiles. Is this true? It appears that two military blocs are being created in the region, one comprising the United States, Japan and South Korea, and the other made up of Russia and China. I believe that current relations between Japan and Russia are relatively good and neighbourly. What should be done to prevent their deterioration or even a confrontation, in light of the current situation in the region? Do you think we can maintain our positive ties amid the deteriorating Russia-US relationship?

Sergey Lavrov: Tension between the United States and North Korea and between the two Korean states has persisted during the past 18 months. We hope that the parties will refrain from taking any dramatic moves in the military sphere that could aggravate tension around the Korean Peninsula. The parties have not abandoned their previous commitments. At the beginning of last year, North Korea, followed by South Korea, reaffirmed their readiness to honour the agreements reached between the leaders of the two Korean states in 2018. A military parade held in North Korea to mark its anniversary attracted considerable attention. In general, no actions that could lead to the development of a material basis for escalation have been taken so far.

Let’s wait and see what policy the Biden administration adopts in this sphere. We would like to see stable peace on the peninsula. Together with our Chinese colleagues we prepared a roadmap of our common vision of movement towards peace back in 2017. We discussed it with the other members of the six-party talks, that is, with Japan and the United States, as well as with North Korea and South Korea. Based on our common views and that roadmap, we and our Chinese partners prepared an action plan, which we are ready to submit for discussion as soon as contacts are resumed. I would like to once again express our sincere desire to promote the achievement of a lasting peace and agreement in the region.

As for our relations with Japan, we regard them as positive. The Russian President and his Japanese colleagues, the prime ministers, have always maintained friendly ties based on personal sympathy. I am sure that such personal contacts will be established with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga as well.

Touching upon the military situation in the region, it is true that Russia and China are working together, including in the form of military exercises. Russian-Chinese military exercises are nothing new at all. We have held several army exercises within the framework of the SCO and at the bilateral level. We have held joint exercises of our aerospace forces. They are not spearheaded at Japan but are held to check the combat readiness of our air forces, which are guarding the safety of Russian and Chinese borders. What is threatening them? There are quite a few threats, including the one you have mentioned, the US plans to deploy ballistic missile defence systems and ground-launched medium and shorter-range missiles, which were prohibited by a treaty from which Washington has withdrawn, in Japan and South Korea.

We have forwarded to Tokyo a list of our practical security concerns, which are directly related to the possibility of continuing constructive talks on a peace treaty. We are still waiting for a reply. The deployment of a US BMD system and the potential deployment of US ground-launched medium- and shorter-range missiles in Japan are among our concerns. When it comes to BMD systems, our Japanese colleagues assure us that they would control the Aegis Ashore systems they would buy, and that the Americans would have no connection to their management. With all our respect for our Japanese friends, this is impossible. They will be unable to prevent the Americans from controlling these systems. As for medium- and shorter-range missiles, the Japanese government is not happy with this US idea, as far as I am aware, and it has attempted to turn the talks around from ground-launched to sea-launched missiles. But this will hardly change the essence of the matter, because medium- and shorter-range missiles, even if deployed on warships in the Sea of Japan, will be able to target a substantial part of the Russian territory.

We are ready to continue dialogue, but first of all we would like to receive answers to our security concerns about which the Japanese partners are well aware. In addition to the material aspect of the planned weapons deployment in Japan in one format or another, there is also a military-political dimension, that is, Japan’s union with the United States, in accordance with which the United States may deploy its weapons in any part of Japan. As far as we know, Tokyo has reaffirmed its full commitment to this military union on numerous occasions, including last year, describing the Americans as its main allies. This is taking place at a time when the United States describes Russia as its main adversary and even enemy, as Mike Pompeo noted recently. When our Japanese friends reaffirm and promote their union with a country that considers Russia an enemy, we see this as a specific situation that should be clarified.

Question (retranslated from Spanish): I am a journalist from a public television channel in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This is an important subject for our Latin American region and particularly for the Argentine Republic. I am referring to the sovereignty over the Islas Malvinas. I would like to ask you about the Russian Federation’s position on this score and on changes following the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union?

Sergey Lavrov: We support all resolutions of the UN General Assembly on the Islas Malvinas. We have been voting for them ever since the UN started reviewing this subject, and we will continue to demand that these resolutions be fulfilled. There is such a notion as double standards. The problem of the Islas Malvinas came into being a long time ago. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland insisted very sternly that the residents of the Islas Malvinas (that London calls the Falkland Islands) have a right to self-determination. We reminded the UK’s representatives about this when they became overexcited about the March 2014 referendum in Crimea. We asked them whether the Islas Malvinas, located 10,000 miles away from the UK, had the right to self-determination, and whether the people of Crimea who have been part of this country all their life were denied this right. The answer was very simple; they replied that these were two different matters. Let this rest with their conscience. We are convinced that it is necessary to settle the dispute through dialogue, as stipulated by the UN General Assembly’s resolution.

Question: On January 12, 2021, Berlin hosted this year’s first meeting of the advisers of the Normandy Four leaders. As Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office, Dmitry Kozak, said they failed to come to terms on a single issue. What do you see as a way out of the deadlock in the Ukraine crisis?

Sergey Lavrov: In our opinion, the only way out is to implement the Minsk agreements. What were the advisers of the Normandy Four leaders doing at this meeting? They were trying, once again, to put together a roadmap for moving towards this goal. Our participation in compiling or trying to compile this roadmap is a serious concession on our part. A concession was also made by Donetsk and Lugansk with whom we closely coordinate our position before every meeting in the Normandy Four format.

The Normandy format merely accompanies the main work that is being conducted by what the Ukrainians call the trilateral group. We call it a contact group. But it can be called a trilateral group since there are three sides— Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk, while Russia and the OSCE are the mediators. The roadmap that the Germans and French suggested drafting three or four years ago has now reappeared. At that time, the idea was to synchronise movement along the security track: the disengagement of forces, withdrawal of heavy weaponry, and usable checkpoints for civilians. It was also necessary to move towards a political settlement by making progress on the status of the regions in question, preparing for an election, announcing amnesty, etc. However, at that time these goals were not achieved because Ukraine adamantly rejected this parallel progress and insisted that security issues must be resolved first and political problems settled later. At one point, the election issue faced a similar stumbling block.

According to the Minsk agreements (if they are not politicised or viewed through the prism of ideology), it is first necessary to ensure the special status of Donbass and then hold an election on this basis. But Ukraine had a different position: “Let’s first hold the election and if we like those who are elected, we will give it special status. If not, we won’t give them this status.” At that time, the sides reached a compromise with the participation of President Vladimir Putin and the leaders of France, Germany and Ukraine – the so-called Steinmeier formula that synchronised the election and the granting of the special status to the region. All this was confirmed at the summit in Paris in December 2019. President Vladimir Zelensky committed himself to introducing this formula into legislation.

Few decisions from the Paris summit were carried out. The disengagement of forces and weapons took place in some sections, and a small exchange of prisoners and other detainees was carried out. Attempts to come to terms on another exchange of prisoners, which were going on all these months, ended in failure due to Ukraine’s position of introducing more and more contrived demands.

The DPR and the LPR announced, with our support, that they planned to unilaterally transfer to Ukraine some of its citizens that were detained on their territory as a goodwill gesture. Let the Ukrainian authorities at least feel ashamed that an “all for all” exchange, as agreed on earlier, was delayed for reasons that had nothing to do with humanitarian considerations. Now, at the recent meeting, the leaders’ advisers made another attempt to compile a roadmap. If the Minsk agreements are presented as the accords of indirect action, let’s specify each and every step they envisage. As for Ukraine, its position is completely obstructionist.

Here’s one example. The Minsk agreements read: forces and weapons must be withdrawn to a certain distance from the contact line. Thus must be done all along this line. On the eve of the December 2019 summit, the negotiators harmonised a final statement from the leaders that contained an item on the disengagement of forces and arms all along the contact line by a certain deadline. The statement was signed by the negotiators, ministers and advisers. President Zelensky said he could not do this but was only willing to agree to the proposed disengagement at three new check points. The German and French leaders were taken aback. Ukraine was saying at every instance that its priority is to achieve security on the ground. All of a sudden, the president that inspired so many hopes for progress to peace, and made the goal of peace in Donbass the main slogan of his election campaign, said “no” to the disengagement of forces and weapons except in three villages. This makes you think twice. It is possible to lament this approach but the bottom line is the inability or reluctance of Berlin and Paris to compel their protégés in Kiev to stop undermining the Minsk agreements.

According to President Zelensky, Ukraine needs the Minsk agreements to maintain the sanctions against Russia. Otherwise, he would have withdrawn from them. Paris and Berlin remain completely silent. The Kiev representative in the contact group, former President Leonid Kravchuk, declared that the Minsk agreements were the main obstacle to settling the Donbass problem. This means only one thing: these agreements stand in the way of Kiev’s attempts to impose its own rules. Another member of the Kiev delegation in the trilateral group, Alexey Reznikov claims that the Minsk agreements are not so bad, but they are not legally binding and simply amount to a political wish… This is total lack of competence. The Minsk agreements have been approved by the UN Security Council’s unanimous resolution and have therefore become part of international law. He also said “it is possible to change the priority of some measures; the main goal is to first introduce Ukrainian border guards to occupy the entire border with the Russian Federation, thereby surrounding the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics; then the Ukrainian defence and law enforcement agencies will encircle them and in this case the election will become unnecessary.” They will appoint their own governors-general and imprison the leaders of these republics because they will be labelled terrorists.

Now, the main task for me is to understand what the French and Germans think about themselves. In response to our numerous appeals, including my own letters, to bring Kiev’s representatives to reason at the talks with Donbass, they are simply retreating into the shadows and refraining from public statements. If there is an instruction not to offend the country (or Ukraine’s leaders, to be more precise) in order to realise a desire to deter Russia, let them be straight about this. In this case, we will have a different policy in this area.

Question: Here is a question from SANA news agency and the people of Syria who have been suffering from Israel’s aggressive actions all this time. Israel continues to bomb our cities, our villages, and it has now considerably expanded the territory of its operations in Syria. At the same time, the people of Syria are suffering from aggressive sanctions, imposed on them by the United States and its allies. The people of Syria are experiencing hard times. Tell me, please, what can you say about this situation?

Sergey Lavrov:  We have repeatedly expressed our assessments of the developments in Syria. Everyone signed the unanimously approved UN Security Council Resolution 2254 that calls for respecting the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the Syrian Arab Republic. US actions in Syria blatantly violate this resolution. Washington’s line to block humanitarian relief aid distribution to Syria in any way they can, including blackmail and ultimatums, also crudely violate this resolution. UNSC Resolution 2254 calls for providing humanitarian relief assistance to the people of Syria. The United States is doing everything it can to prevent this from happening. It has declared extremely tough sanctions, the so-called Caesar Act. It has also forbidden international organisations and other parties to take part in the November 2020 Damascus conference for repatriating Syrian refugees and temporarily displaced persons. Nevertheless, the conference gathered about 20 countries, including five Arab states that did not fear the domineering United States.

At the same time, while forbidding everyone to even send humanitarian goods to Syria, the United States occupied substantial territories on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River. It ruthlessly exploits Syrian hydrocarbon deposits, Syrian national wealth, plundering and selling it and using the money to support its proxies, including Kurdish separatists, and to persuade the Kurds not to hold a dialogue with Damascus while encouraging a separatist atmosphere. This is also causing problems in Turkey. But the main thing is that all this is happening in the Syrian Arab Republic, and no one invited the United States or its Western allies there.

We, including the President of the Russian Federation, have repeatedly expressed our position on this. Yes, we maintain contacts between the military with the United States but we are not doing this because we recognise the legitimacy of their presence there but simply because the United States must act within certain boundaries. We cannot expel it, and we will not clash with US forces. Now that US forces are deployed there, we are conducting a dialogue with US representatives on so-called deconfliction. During this dialogue, we demand compliance with certain rules, and also sternly note the unacceptability of using force against Syrian state facilities.

Regarding Israel, we maintain close contact with Tel Aviv. President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly discussed this subject with Benjamin Netanyahu. We strongly noted the need to honour UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and the resolution on Lebanon. Israel also violates this while using Syrian air space to hit facilities in Lebanon. This is a serious aspect of our relations. Israel insists that it is forced to respond to national security threats emanating from Syrian territory. We have repeatedly told our Israeli colleagues: “Please give us the relevant information if you see these threats.” We absolutely don’t want Syrian territory to be used against Israel or as an arena for an Iranian-Israeli confrontation, as many people would like. To our Israeli colleagues: please notify us immediately of any facts that a threat to your state emanates from some part of Syrian territory. We will act to neutralise this threat. So far, we have received no specific reply to this appeal, but we continue to press the point.

Question: If possible, I would like to go back to the developments in the United States. They were quite dramatic, especially in Washington. All of us remember the footage of the Capitol and the violence we saw happening there. But the subsequent events, the reaction to these events are notable as well. Many people in the United States are now using the old rhetoric we remember from our own history. They are talking about purging the Republican Party of extreme Trumpists, which actually amounts to a cleansing campaign. You have mentioned that some people, including the US President, have been deprived of access to social media platforms. Mr Lavrov, isn’t this reminiscent of anything to you personally? Also, do you expect new political and information attacks against Russia considering that many people in America continue to believe that Donald Trump came to power four years ago with the help of Russia? Thank you.

Sergey Lavrov: We have already spoken, in part, about this subject. As for whether this is reminiscent of anything to me, I will not answer this question, because this may be reminiscent of different things to different people. There have been different periods and forms of persecution in different periods of human history. I don’t think people can easily forget this. Although people tend to have a short memory, we have history textbooks and we must teach historical truth to our young people. Otherwise, future generations may decide that there has never been anything apart from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other platforms, which have a monopoly on the truth. Like all other normal people, I take no pleasure in watching problems come to a head in the United States.

Some people could be tempted to say, “The Americans have been lecturing the world, and have tried to lecture us, driving us into all kinds of corners, and now they are on the receiving end.” The United States is a huge country, and we cannot steer clear of it, because whatever happens there is bound to have global consequences, if only because the so-called digital giants are global corporations. Unlike the global corporations of the past, when Ford and other industrialists moved production to developing countries, these new corporations are producing ideas. As the classic saying goes, “A thought expressed becomes a lie.” This explains the risks we are facing.

If we look back on history, customs and manners of US foreign policy activities, it is always “America is Number One,” “America must prevail, “American democracy is an example to be emulated by others” and “democracy must be spread everywhere.” They have tried and continue trying to spread American democracy in the Middle East contrary to the region’s civilisation, traditions and culture. They have tried doing this in Afghanistan and Iraq and are trying to do this in Libya with complete disregard for the traditions, history, and ethnic and religious aspects of the countries concerned. They have changed the government in a European country, Ukraine. In which of the countries I have mentioned, or any other country where the Americans have tried to spread democracy has life become better for people?  There are no such countries.

During the past few years President Donald Trump has been saying that there would be no wars during his term. No new wars have been launched indeed. But US interference in the internal affairs of others went on very energetically. The physical methods of interference are giving way to interference through social media. Reliance on NGOs and the nursing of opposition forces loyal to the West are complemented with a dramatic increase in the power of social media and their capabilities. The American state is now facing the issue of whether they should be taken under control or left with regulation “standards” based on the liberal ideology and world outlook.  No restrictions are being placed on the US’s freedom of expression, freedom that has been set out in corporate standards that gives the Americans the right to restrict the others’ freedom of expression. This is a serious problem, and I sincerely hope that the Americans will settle it. After all, it is their country where they will have to live.

This shows once again how important it is to take multilateral decisions. I hope that those who have tried for years and even decades to hinder discussions on making internet governance more democratic, and those who have been putting spokes in the wheels of the Russian initiative set out in the UN General Assembly resolution on advancing responsible state behaviour in cyberspace and in the draft Convention on Cooperation in Combating Cybercrime will see the problem in a different light, especially when it comes to more democratic internet governance. This subject has been under discussion for years at a specialised UN body, the International Telecommunication Union. Nearly all countries are willing to coordinate universally acceptable forms, but the Americans are categorically against this.

Touching upon the events that have led to this situation, it would be worth recalling – a lot has been said about this – how the social media reported on voting during the US presidential election and how they worked to form a lop-sided public opinion of the developments in the United States and across the world.

Many people are talking now about the things that were obvious from the very beginning but have been glossed over. Two months before the actual election day, ballot papers were mailed to voters in several states for casting postal votes. They mailed 95 million ballots. Two-thirds of them turned out to be filled in prior to the election day. One-third of the ballots were not completed despite aggressive encouragement. This campaign of forcing people to cast their ballots by postal vote did not fit in with the US election standards. When both candidates got more than 40 percent of the vote, postal voting became a serious problem. As I have already said, those who received ballots by mail could send them back, take their ballots to the polling stations or cast them in some other way. This went on for weeks and was reported on social media as a normal practice and accepted by those who had criticised our voting on constitutional amendments. Curbside voting is child’s play compared to what has been done to the voting mechanism in the United States. Social media played the decisive role in covering the process. They openly supported one of the two parties and did not make any secret of their desire to have a system of government based on one ruling party. American society’s problem is their own election system and the way they hold political debates. This is a war on dissent, something which our Western colleagues have always claimed to be against. But they have taken up this banner now and are unlikely to cede it to anyone in the near future.

Question: Thank you, Maria and thank you, Mr Minister, for taking my question. I need some clarification on Alexey Navalny, on what you are saying about the findings because the Germans have said that they have given you the blood and tissue and clothing samples, that you would need to carry out a proper criminal investigation. I am not entirely clear on what would hold you back?

We are also at the police station where he currently is and he said there is a hastily convened court hearing which is not part of the standard legal procedure. Why is he not receiving normal recourse through Russian law like a normal citizen would?

Sergey Lavrov: I don’t know where you received the information that the Germans have given us tissue samples and other bio materials. This is not true.  The reply that the German authorities sent us three days ago, obviously preparing for Navalny’s return on January 17, only quotes the information provided by Navalny himself and his wife Yulia. To say nothing about bio materials or the bottles involved in this case, we don’t even have the results of his tests or a toxicological conclusion! We don’t have any of these. If you were told we were given his clothes, bottles and biomaterials, you were misled.

As for the legal procedure, let me repeat that biomaterials were taken and tests made at the Omsk clinic (a civilian clinic). Nothing like a chemical warfare agent was discovered in them. The Charite Clinic (also a civilian clinic, as the Germans reported) has not identified anything like a toxic chemical agent. The Omsk and Charite clinics are civilian clinics. The Germans, as they said themselves, transferred Navalny’s samples, taken at the Charite Clinic, to a Bundeswehr clinic. Its military staff who evidently possess the required knowledge discovered a prohibited chemical warfare agent, but of some new modification. Where did the Bundeswehr and the Germans in general receive this information? This is an interesting question. We asked this in the queries sent by the Russian Prosecutor-General’s Office to the German Ministry of Justice. It is necessary to find this out.

Recently they told us almost in unison in Germany, and in Britain after the Skripal case, that they did not conduct any research on the so-called Novichok. Hence, researchers in Germany, France and Sweden couldn’t have the relevant markers and technology for identifying Novichok, albeit of a new version, in a matter of three to five days.

To initiate a criminal case in our judicial practice, we must have justification in the form of evidence that a crime was committed or an attempt to commit it was made. Since no chemical warfare agent was detected in Navalny’s samples taken by our doctors, we have asked for the OPCW tests made in Germany, France and Sweden. I hope you heard that I described in detail our proposal to this organisation to conduct a joint investigation. I find it hard to believe that our Western colleagues are so high-handed and arrogant that they deem it possible to demand explanations from Russia without presenting us any evidence. You (I mean the West) say you have evidence that he was poisoned and this is beyond doubt. But when we are told that we won’t be given this evidence, allow us to at least remain skeptical as regards to what happens with Navalny.

If you have nothing to hide, if you are not afraid to put the truth on the table and submit these facts to us, why aren’t you doing so? As soon as we see this, and if the attempt to poison him with chemical warfare agents is confirmed, we will start criminal proceedings. The pre-trial investigation conducted here in conformity with Criminal Procedure Rules has not revealed any grounds for opening a criminal case. I understand that you do many things on the sly. I have mentioned that the investigators in the Alexander Litvinenko poisoning in Britain have suddenly decided to classify this case and many details remain classified. We have received no information on the Skripals. Nothing has been disclosed to Britain’s allies in NATO or the EU. The case with the Malaysia Airlines crash (flight MH-17) is the same.

In accusing us, the Dutch have organised a trial with 13 witnesses, of which 12 are anonymous. They are refusing to reveal the names of 12 out of 13 witnesses. First, bother British and other European law-enforcement bodies and ask them why they are playing in the dark, what they are concealing and what they are afraid of. Then I will be ready to answer your questions if you receive sensible answers from them.

To be continued…

JOE BIDEN’S WAR

South Front

Joe Biden’s War

Writtne by J.Hawk exclusively for SouthFront

The 2000 presidential race being done and over, except for the tens of millions of Americans who believe the election was stolen and a general cloud of illegitimacy that will hang over the Biden presidency for the entirety of his term, Joe Biden finds himself in the place of a dog who was chasing a car—and caught it. Given the magnitude of America’s problem, one would have to be a spectacularly vain and/or power-hungry individual to want the job of President, but then again, who if not Joe Biden is that guy? And now that he has the job, he will have to address a broad range of domestic and international issues in a way that somehow prevents the increasingly intractable problems from causing a system-wide crack-up of US politics. The occupation of the US Capitol with the participation of great many active and retired police officers and members of the military, to the point of prompting US Joint Chiefs to issue an unprecedented proclamation to their troops to shut up and follow orders, means that the temptation to seal the deepening chasms dividing the US society through some sort of desperate foreign adventure intended to secure new markets and resources for US corporations, and therefore US workers and farmers, will increase. That expansion is to be accomplished at the expense of China and Russia, replacing their own homegrown corporations and state monopolies with US-based ones, on the model of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states, and even European countries that are heavily penetrated by US financial and information technology firms to the point of having sacrificed a great deal of their sovereignty. Russia and China have preserved themselves from becoming US “semi-periphery”, in both economic and political sense, which makes them obvious targets for Biden’s own “maximum pressure” campaigns to subjugate them, of the sort that Iran and Cuba, for example, have been bearing for decades. But while it’s clear that US will be openly hostile to both China and Russia, seeking to delegitimize their political institutions and promote destabilization and regime change, it does not appear the Biden administration foreign policy team has a clear plan on how to prioritize between these to biggest targets.

The Indirect Road to China

It is evident from a variety of sources, including quasi-private think tanks like the Atlantic Council and the pronouncements of senior US military officers like Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Milley that the US establishment regards China as a rising power and Russia as a declining one. The latter assessment appears to be based on a simple lack of understanding of processes occurring within the Russian Federation in the last two decades, combined with the Western propensity to regard course of history in linear rather than cyclical terms. US power has grown since 1776, therefore it will always continue to grow. Russia’s power declined after the collapse of USSR, therefore it is bound to continue to decline. But regardless of the source of the misconception, in practical terms it means that while China is viewed as the bigger threat, the Main Enemy, as it were, Russia is seen as a more vulnerable and therefore more attractive target. Judging by the changes in the US policies toward Russia, it appears that the goal of US foreign policy became first regime change in Russia, followed by economic isolation of China that would be much easier to achieve once both the Middle East and the Russian Federation, potential or actual sources of vast quantities of raw materials China’s manufacturing and population require, became US satellites in the same way Australia, for example, already is.

This development would place China in a position identical to Japan’s in the late 1930s, a country that proved highly vulnerable to steadily escalating US economic warfare and which moreover could not capitalize on its Non-Aggression Pact with USSR due to its rather ill-conceived alliance with Nazi Germany. Once isolated by US pressure, Japan gambled everything on a three-theater war against China, the British Empire, and the United States which it ultimately lost. Moreover, should Russia become a US satellite state, its military forces could be committed to a land campaign against China, in the name of “democracy promotion”, mirroring USSR’s decision to join the war against Japan that was solicited by Western powers unwilling to sustain the heavy losses an invasion of Japan would inevitably cause.

The Russian Bear Refuses to Play

The “Free Russia” component of US strategy went into high gear in 2014, when it was expected that the Kiev Maidan would be swiftly followed by one in Moscow, particularly after Western economic sanctions that were imposed as “punishment” for the reunification of Crimea. Were that strategy implemented two decades later, it would have likely enjoyed quick success. Instead it merely validated Prime Minister Witte’s “if you give Russia 20 years of peace, you won’t recognize her”. Instead of becoming a US client state, Russia became more independent and assertive internationally, demonstrating this not only in Ukraine but also in Syria. In spite of the US dominance in the Middle East, the small Russian military contingent in Syria proved impossible to dislodge through the usual US means of supplying and directing proxy non-state actors against the Russian presence.

It does not appear that Western powers-that-be have fully grasped the import of the 2014 “stab in the back” to the Russia-West relations for contrary to the usual Western propaganda, the Russian Federation in 2014 was very much a West-oriented country, seeking greater membership and involvement in Western economic and political institutions. The betrayal of these aspirations by Western actions means that Western leaders are now viewed as utterly untrustworthy, which means that greater exposure to and interdependence with Western economies and institutions is seen as a source of mortal danger to the Russian state. Since both nature and geopolitics abhor a vacuum, the West’s rejection of Russia meant better and more extensive relations with China, motivated by both countries’ shared interest in countering aggressive policies aimed at each of the two. In practical terms it means that it is not in China’s self-interest to see Russia succumb to Western pressure, just as it is not in Russia’s interest to see China fall either. That convergence of Russian and Chinese interests means that Obama-Harris foreign policy will have to reassess the Obama-Biden strategy of “Russia first, China second”.

Escalation or a Two-Front War?

Simply continuing the Obama-Biden strategy will be tempting but tricky. For starters, US sanctions against Russia have already greatly escalated during the Donald “Kremlin Asset” Trump presidency, whose initial outreach toward Russia which triggered #RussiaGate was likely nothing more than an attempt to interest Moscow in an alliance against Beijing, followed by economic warfare when it turned out Moscow was not about to sacrifice its stable relationship with Beijing for the sake of courting favor of fickle and unreliable United States and other Western countries. OFAC’s admission that there is hardly anything more that can be sanctioned in Russia suggests that all the “painless” options have been exhausted. Further expansion of sanctions, by leveling them against Russia’s sovereign debt or cutting Russia off from SWIFT, for example, would also have serious consequences for the United States and Europe. There is a reason these lines have not been crossed yet, and it remains to be seen whether the Biden Administration will be desperate enough to cross them. Further escalation of sanctions would also damage US-EU relations that Biden claims he wants to restore, and it is telling that Biden is framing the restoration of these alliances in terms of opposing China. Germany’s opposition to Trump-era sanctions against North Stream 2 means that the United States is limited where Europe’s vital interests are concerned.

Joe Biden’s War

Moreover, it does seem that the US “Deep State” is frustrated by Russia’s resistance and is getting impatient to finally grapple with China. It has already made many moves in that direction during the Trump administration, including the crackdown on Huawei, the effort to ban or seize Tik-Tok, last-minute moves to expand US contacts with Taiwan in violation of the “One China” policy, and most notably by the growing importance of naval and air power in Pentagon thinking. When Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Mark Milley of the U.S. Army says that the Army will need to have its spending cut in order to bolster the U.S. Navy budget, this is no longer some Trumpian whim, but rather an expression of broad-based consensus preferences. Something that violates the long-standing if unwritten rule that each of the three major services, Army, Navy, Air Force, gets an equal share of the defense budget, cannot be anything other than an indicator of a major shift of focus.

Because while a US naval build-up would have consequences for Russia, since USN warships carry long-range land-attack missiles that are to be supplemented by hypersonic weapons and possess anti-ballistic missile defense capabilities, they are hardly suitable for the task of “defending the Suwalki Gap” and other NATO missions in Eastern Europe. Even the US Marine Corps, which during the Cold War had a major European NATO mission in Norway, is shedding its tanks and artillery to reshape itself as a force for littoral combat in the many archipelagoes of western Pacific. So, if anything, it looks like the United States military is actually sacrificing its ability to put boots, and tanks and guns, on the ground in continental Europe for the sake of putting ships and planes into and over the East China Sea and possibly the Arctic Ocean.

Biden’s team could try to reverse all that, but doing so would carry high political costs. Hunter Biden’s China ties are a liability that will be exploited should Joe “show weakness” toward China. The “Uyghur genocide” rhetoric will only intensify in the coming years, there is nothing that Biden can do to stem that, not anymore than Trump could tamp down on the “Russian collusion” theories that proliferated over the years. China’s success at tackling COVID-19 has only raised the sense of urgency about the “China threat” among the US supremacists. And finally there are the domestic US constituencies, often consisting of traditional Democratic Party voters, who backed Trump because the confrontation with China meant the possibility of manufacturing jobs of coming back to the US.

Oceania vs. Eurasia

All in all, it does not appear possible that Biden will have the luxury of picking and choosing theaters of Cold War, which sets us up for the spectacle of the United States that could not defeat the Taliban attempt to tackle two Eurasian major powers all at once. As in the previous iteration of “Cold War”, the battlefield will be the peripheral countries that are torn between the United States and the Eurasian powers. These include the European Union, whose economic interests are not served by US-led escalation toward either Russia or China, but also Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Australia, Philippines, and even India which collectively represent a geopolitical “no-man’s land” since their alliance commitments to the US are balanced by economic ties to America’s “designated enemies”.

Whether the United States is up to the task of handling this kind of a challenge is an open question. China’s, Russia’s economic systems are far more viable than they were during the Cold War, and are also healthier than Western economies that are struggling under massive debt burdens and require constant monetary stimulus policies by their respective central banks. US internal problems and divisions will likewise drain attention and budget funding away from international adventures. Should Biden focus on implementing this extreme foreign policy agenda at the expense of domestic priorities, the next round of isolationist backlash in the US will be even stronger than the previous one. So the situation in many ways resembles that facing the Nixon Administration in the late 1960s. However, is anyone in the Biden Administration willing to pursue détente policies?

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

US post-Capitol: Armed, hysterical, depressed & yet out for blood

US post-Capitol: Armed, hysterical, depressed & yet out for blood

January 14, 2021

by Ramin Mazaheri (@RaminMazaheri2) for the Saker Blog

The FBI says armed protests are being planned in all 50 states from January 16 until Joe Biden’s inauguration day on January 20.

It’s a living nightmare in the US right now – what else can be said?

“Hysteria” is the one word which described the United States in 2020, but in 2021 we are witnessing what happens when a hysterical sprinter just can’t stop sprinting – it is ugly.

I can objectively report that since the Electoral College decided the presidency – following the end of the Capitol Hill protest – seemingly everybody here is depressed and unhappy. The US cannot handle what is going on and everyone feels things are spinning out of control. What’s worse is that they cannot even help themselves from contributing to the spinning: The solution of those who opposed the armed protests is to antagonise the potential armed protesters?

It is ugly.

This is a pretty ambitious column, if “ambitious column” isn’t a journalistic oxymoron: I think all of the upcoming paragraphs can be turned into stand-alone columns because the US is, sadly, in such a hideously twisted shape.

It’s totally absurd to compare 9/11 to “1/6”, but that is what The New York Times did today – it only shows how inoculated modern Americans are from war on their own soil. Do Americans realise that the Capitol Hill protests are exactly what Washington has encouraged in Hong Kong, Venezuela, Syria, Ukraine, Iran, etc.? And that’s just in your recent memory banks – go back to World War II and the’ve done this in half the world. I can report absolutely nobody in the Mainstream Media here is making that connection. Well, America, the sight of a bloody and brewing civil war is pretty terrible, isn’t it? Like I wrote this is a whole column, but the US has hit what is a comparatively tiny bump in the road – when compared to what they have so gleefully fomented for so very long and with such self-righteousness – and Americans are absolutely falling to pieces.

Do Americans realise that the worst thing to do right now is to spend much time consulting their corporate-dominated media? The Capitol Hill protest was spectacular for ratings, and this country – which totally lacks a sizeable, patriotic and neutral government media – wants to make big bucks until at least inauguration day by hyping what should not be hyped. Do not tune into the news during this time of hysteria – you will thank me for it.

I also have encouraged people to not tune into social media. It’s not that the average person doesn’t know what he or she is talking about – I always insist that the “person on the street” interviews I do often provide me with better insights than interviews with degreed experts – it’s that there simply is no filter. Trump is toxic on his social media because that’s what American social media is – toxic. Western, uncensored social media is seemingly designed to provide a direct counterweight to the Asian cultural model of “saving” and “giving” face. I would guess that the overwhelming majority of Americans – after this roughly 15-year experiment with it – would say that social media has been a societal and personal disappointment.

On the macro level of social media: the US has created a monster, as there simply is no way to regulate Big Tech. They are clearly a monopoly power which can shut down political speech, like with the app Parler, and yet it is their “legal right” to do so because they are a business and not a press – i.e., they have no social responsibilities, but do have all the human rights America insanely grants to corporations. This, of course, enrages an American populace which (falsely) believes their country is a global leader in defending the human right to free press. Facebook took down PressTV’s page for a few hours – of course: If they will ban President Trump on Twitter why would they hesitate much longer for Iran? We are only just comprehending what “social media” can really do to a society, but the negative case study is: the US 2020 election.

Joe Biden is being tasked with healing the whole country even though he also spent the last four years demonising half the country. That is perhaps the best way to gauge what the upcoming chances are for “reconciliation” in America. I just don’t find the idea that the United States will rally around a hugely discredited and wilfully, remorselessly divisive Democratic Party even remotely credible.

Biden has just picked his head of the CIA – it was a person who was also a top candidate for the Secretary of State (foreign minister) post. That the nation’s top spy and top diplomat are interchangeable – and that this goes uncommented upon – says a lot about the United States. Washington does not try to persuade anyone – they just apply pressure, spy on them and make sure the national needs of their allies are subverted to the national needs of the US. Angela Merkel denounced Trump’s Twitter ban, just as she denounced Obama spying on her calls. The US has no allies, and while they will blame Trump for losing all their “international standing” the reality is they had none and want none.

Today’s impeachment of Trump is a spectacularly foolish errand: they will never get the Senate supermajority to actually impeach Trump; he’s leaving in seven days; Trump is correct that it will – of course – cause “tremendous anger”; it is clearly designed to sabotage Trump’s 2024 election chances, at whatever cost to national unity; 40% of the country already feels like their presidential vote was disenfranchised – now you want to impeach their leader (which comes after the censorship of him and before the prosecution of him)? It’s just useless theatre – the US election circus continues.

Is it possible that I was wrong to say that a violent right-wing movement – something comparable in determination (though not at all comparable in aims) to what the US saw last summer in response to never-ending police brutality – cannot ever grow strong enough in the US to “Occupy Capitol Hill”, or something similar? I still don’t think I am wrong and that once this final week passes so will these protests. American conservatives are too status-quo loving, too law and order-worshipping and too jingoistic to really try and change America.

I think the Capitol Hill protest was a one-time act of civil disobedience which spontaneously grew beyond the intentions of the mass majority of protesters – I have seen that happen countless times in person as a journalist. It obviously never morphed into an “Occupy Capitol Hill” multi-day protest because it was obviously never intended to (and for the same reason above). The people at the front lines of such protests are always a different breed; always run the range of political views from right to left; always have a range of motivations, from being mere adrenaline-seekers to genuine political integrity. I have also seen the video footage – captured by a left-wing Black Lives Matter member (because there is always this range of values) – of a Capitol cop, whose life was not threatened, shoot and kill female protester Ashlii Babbitt. I’m appalled there’s not more MSM discussion about that, because the footage is so clear that this was police brutality, but any such discussion radically changes how the protest has to be covered by the MSM: it means taking a break from demonising the protesters, and the US corporate media does not want that.

It was totally clear in the week since Capitol Hill: It’s not enough that Biden won – the US anti-Trump elite wants blood. They want Twitter and Facebook to ban Trump, so they can censor and others (as they just did with Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei and Iranian state media PressTV). They want to imprison the Capitol Hill protesters, so they can prevent any anti-Biden political protests in the next four years. They want to impeach and jail Trump, so they can prevent Trumpism from growing beyond their idiotic, “how did I get here” leader into something which could upend the world’s oldest duopoly.

These are all columns because they are all huge issues which cannot be resolved in a few sentences – only summed up. I’m only stopping because I have word limits – feel free to point out which issues weren’t included.

The bottom line on the Democrat side is: Many Americans have spent four years hysterically demonising Trump supporters – they can’t turn it off: Winning the Electoral College obviously wasn’t enough. They want animals put in cages whom they can go poke; they want to fabricate a moral high ground which they believe is so high that it exonerates them from open debate; they want compound interest on the four years they wasted on the perennial US political circus.

The other bottom line on the Republican side is: Trump supporters are in shock that they lost – every one I talked with was so very certain of his victory. Then many of them were certain the Donald would pull it out, but what the Donald did was pass up every opportunity to take a courageous stand and to essentially say, “I’ve been using you supporters all this time.” Trump supporters now see this atrocious past week as if the US elite is presenting them with only two choices: either return to being mainstream Republicans or leave politics altogether. Many will choose the latter. Many Americans will not miss them. They will still be here, I point out to the victors.

I also point out to the victors: Trump losing the election did not solve all this country’s problems, as it was long promised. America in 2021 has way too many problems for such a simple solution.

*************************************************************

Dispatches from the United States after the presidential election

Results are in: Americans lose, duopoly wins, Trumpism not merely a cult (1/2) – November 5, 2020

Results are in: Americans lose, duopoly wins, Trumpism not merely a cult (2/2) – November 6, 2020

4 years of anti-Trumpism shaping MSM vote coverage, but expect long fight – November 7, 2020

US partitioned by 2 presidents: worst-case election scenario realized – November 9, 2020

A 2nd term is his if he really wants it, but how deep is Trump’s ‘Trumpism’? – November 10, 2020

CNN’s Jake Tapper: The overseer keeping all journalists in line (1/2) – November 13, 2020

‘Bidenism’ domestically: no free press, no lawyer, one-party state? (2/2) – November 15, 2020

Where’s Donald? When 40% of voters cry ‘fraud’ you’ve got a big problem – November 17, 2020

The 4-year (neoliberal) radicalisation of US media & Bidenites’ ‘unradical radicalism’ – November 22, 2020

80% of US partisan losers think the last 2 elections were stolen – December 3, 2020

Trump declares civil war for voter integrity in breaking (or broken) USA – December 5, 2020

Mess with Texas via mail-in ballot? States secede from presidential vote – December 8, 2020

Biden won? 2016-2020 showed what the US does to even mild reformers – Dec 18, 2020

Alleged Nashville bomber not Muslim: Western media disappointed – January 2, 2020

This week in the US: The ‘model nation’ for no nation anymore – January 7, 2020

Biggest threat to global leftism returns to power: US fake-leftism (1/2) – January 8, 2021

Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

On Democracy

On Democracy


January 14, 2021

A large crowd of people holding flagsDescription automatically generated with low confidence
“It’s untidy, and freedom’s untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things,” Rumsfeld said. “They’re also free to live their lives and do wonderful things, and that’s what’s going to happen here.”

I suspect most people, and the majority of Trumpists, would agree Trump is an imperfect political vehicle and that Trumpism, as political movement, is under-defined, inconclusive, and inchoate. The best that can be said about Trumpism is that it does not represent the tenets of contemporary Republicanism, or Democratic Bidenism. Trumpism is a startling new ism. That America, a staid state known to reject all forms of novelty and innovation, should seek to exorcise an unknown cancerous ism making sudden appearance within the body politic is perfectly understandable. But what exactly is being rejected, cast out, exorcized? What is the modus operandi of Trumpism? How do we know it?

As best as can be determined, there has been no clear articulation of Trumpism apart from the fact it includes the wearing of a red baseball cap. Donning such an accoutrement today will likely result in the wearer being placed on a no-fly list, suspected of political crimes, disciplined by loss of employment, denied the protections of the First Amendment, refused counsel, labelled as a deplorable, racist, riotous, misogynist, insurrectionist, white supremacist, fascist, terrorist, being actively shunned as one among 78 million other outcasts, publicly derided before being immediately convicted in advance of indictment and then punished to the full extent of the law. America will never tolerate mob rule.

During the entirety of the January 6th, 2021 two- and one-half hour “seizure” of the Capitol no reported fires were set. Unlike the Washington events of June 2020, neither the Capitol, nor the capital, were so much as singed. There was no declaration of independence, no assertion of the Capitol as a satellite province of CHAZ, no manifesto calling for the abolition of the police, the armed forces, and prisons, no demand for full legal immunity, no spray painting of slogans, epithets, or any other attempt at violent redecoration, no attempt to raise a foreign flag, or to alter existing accepted forms governance. There was no degree of looting apart from one lectern. The participants, apart from a half-naked vegetarian dressed in furs and horns and carrying a spear adorned with the stars and stripes, looked much like your average deplorable. There were no signs of rebellion derived from a Monty Python sketch; Monty Python was entirely absent. There were no reports of a dead parrot.

On June 23rd, 2020 President Trump declared “There will never be an ‘Autonomous Zone’ in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President. If they try, they will be met with serious force!” This declaration was deleted by Twitter on the grounds it violated the company’s policy against abusive behavior: “specifically the presence of a threat of harm against an identifiable group.” Twitter did not identify this group and Trump did not elaborate.

I am no lawyer. But I think there exists an outside chance the 70 odd Trumpists presently facing criminal sanction for their conduct between 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. on January 6th, 2021 may eventually have their day in court. Before they are shipped to the Gulag for re-education, their counsel may wish to plead the following:

That in the months preceding January 6th, 2021 America experienced an outburst of mob violence, a destructive pyromania which levelled entire city blocks. This was coupled with extensive looting, multiple shootings and unlawful deaths, the destruction of $1 to 2 billion in insured property nationally—the highest recorded damage from civil disorder in U.S. history—and clear evidence of insurrection as is to be found in declarations of political independence and demands to abolish the police, the armed forces, and the prisons.

Counsel will likely seek to demonstrate that despite this violent unrest occurring in a number of major cities, minimal legal action was taken, and that the violence, intimidation, insurrection, looting, burning, and associated billions in property damage, was publicly reported as being a benign “peaceful demonstration.” Counsel will then ask how their clients can now be found guilty of what Biden labelled as “Insurrectionists. Domestic terrorists” when on January 6th, 2021 there was no looting (the lectern excepted), no arson, no use of lethal weapons, no coherent political demand or manifesto, and no attempt to subvert or replace the existing political order. Evidence to be presented will show the defendants walked into a public building known as the “people’s house,” (both the Rotunda and Statuary Hall are acknowledged public spaces), entered through open doors, that the police removed barricades and ushered them forward, that the defendants took selfies with obliging police officers, and that defendants were standing in the company of police officers when an unidentified agent of the state executed one of their number with a single shot to the head, with no form of warning, for the misdemeanor of trespass. When at 4 p.m. everyone began to get an emergency text message from D.C. Mayor Bowser saying a curfew would be in effect from 6:00pm, the crowd proceeded to vacate the premises.

At this point in the proceedings, Counsel will state that his clients were present in the Capitol for the sole express purpose of affirming the Constitution of the United States of America.

Counsel will then draw the attention of the jury to Article II Section 1 clause 2 of the Constitution which states as follows:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

Counsel will demonstrate that this Constitutional document was formally ratified and therefore has present application to each state in the union without limit or exception to include the states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Georgia.

That the public record demonstrates that in each of these states the executive bypassed the legislature and, over the objections of the legislature, did unilaterally act to usurp the legislature’s sole prerogative to “direct” the manner in which the state shall appoint its allotted electors and in so doing did act in express violation of the provisions found in Article II Section 1 clause 2 of the Constitution of the United States of America.

Each of the enumerated states therefore acted without lawful authority with the express intent to manipulate and ignore statute law duly enacted by the state legislature which statutes explicitly directed the manner of voting required to lawfully appoint that states electors.

In each of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Georgia, the executive acted in defiance of the will of the elected representatives of the citizens. In plain language, the executive violated both state law and the Federal constitution. They acted out of arbitrary self-interest. Such conduct may represent an element “of the most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American politics.”

That the state executive was under Democratic control, and the objecting state legislature was under Republican control, does not excuse such abridgement of the Constitutional rights afforded the citizens. You have either a written constitution and an applied, well respected body of law, or you have mob rule. When it comes to the law you cannot be half pregnant.

Further, Counsel for the defense is likely to produce for the jury the protections found in the First Amendment notably the right to assembly and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievance.

Counsel will then suggest that any citizen of a federation bound by the Constitution who gains knowledge that members of that same federation have knowingly acted in violation of the law to further their own political ends, that such knowledge constitutes significant ground for public grievance. The citizen is potentially disenfranchised by such Constitutional violations.

This public grievance is exacerbated by the fact Biden arranged for a “massive ‘election protection program,’ which includes former Attorney General Eric Holder and hundreds of other lawyers” One wants to think a former Attorney General has some understanding of the Constitution and its various provisions. (FOX News October 25th, 2020).

On October 29th, 2020 the organization factcheck.org spoke with T.J. Ducklo, the National Press Secretary, Biden for President, who stated “The President of the United States has already demonstrated he’s willing to lie and manipulate our country’s democratic process to help himself politically, which is why we have assembled the most robust and sophisticated team in presidential campaign history to confront voter suppression and fight voter fraud however it may present itself. The American people will decide the outcome of this election on November 3rd through a free and fair election, as they always have” (factcheck.org October 29th, 2020)

Given a demonstrated concern over the manipulation of the democratic process leading to the creation of the “most robust and sophisticated team in presidential campaign history to confront voter suppression and fight voter fraud however it may present itself,” it seems reasonable to assume that this “robust and sophisticated team” would be sensitive to the enumerated violations of the Constitution. If you choose to believe FOX News and T.J. Ducklo, Biden had the assistance of a former A.G. and “hundreds of other lawyers” to achieve this worthy goal. With that amount of legal horsepower, it is difficult to understand how they overlooked such egregious violations of Constitutional law “however it may present itself.”

It will be argued the persons attending the Mall and the Capitol on January 6th, 2021, participated in an assembly joined for the express right to petition the Government for a redress of grievance. This assertion is proved by the fact that immediately before entering upon the grounds of the Capitol the grievers did attend a rally convened by the 45th President of the United States. That the President of the United States is bound by an oath which demands:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

That the President of the United States, one Donald J. Trump was, on January 6th, 2021, lawfully executing his responsibility to preserve, protect, and defend, the U.S. Constitution.

That the President has been regularly described in the media as a traitor and ass-clown, as a bombastic narcissistic psychopathic tool of Putin, and as a bedwetter. Regardless of this concerted public disrespect, on January 6th, 2021 the President was faithfully executing his duty to the best of his ability despite public scorn and rejection by the nation, the vicious slander and disapprobation of the press, abandonment by the courts, the repellent attacks of the Bidenists, and the cowardice of elected members of the Republican party.

The orange ass-clown was, on January 6th, 2021, the sole office holder of the US government acting to protect, and defend, the Constitution of the United States of America.

Counsel will then seek to introduce Title 18 U.S. Code § 2385 – Advocating overthrow of Government which states that:

Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government; or

Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so; or

Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society, group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes thereof—

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.

Counsel will then seek to address the definition of “force” and raise the question “Does the unlawful sanction and persecution of citizens of the United States of America for the lawful attempt to seek redress for grievance constitute the use of “force?” Does the denial of First Amendment rights by corporate entities domiciled in the United States of America constitute “force?” Does the termination of employment, or the threat of termination of employment for political speech, or the exercise of First Amendment rights, constitute “force?” Does placing persons on a no-fly list and denying them common carrier services for the fact of their political views constitute “force?” Does the conduct of the Speaker of the House acting to impeach a sitting President of the United States of America for the lawful exercise of his duties to the best of his ability constitute “force?” Does incitement on the part of the President elect to sanction citizens for their political speech, or views, constitute “force?” Does the summary execution of a U.S. citizen veteran by an anonymous agent of the state, without notice or warning, for the exercise of her First Amendment rights constitute “force?” The jury will be asked to render a decision on these questions.

Democrats Launch Their Assault on Red State America – Civil War Heats Up

Paul Craig Roberts - Official Homepage

January 12, 2021

Paul Craig Roberts

The opening salvo against red state America is the article of impeachment against President Trump introduced on January 11 by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrat Representatives David Cicilline, Ted Lieu, and Jamie Raskin.  So much for Biden’s promise to “unify the country.”  

What is the intent of this article of impeachment?  It cannot possibly be to remove Trump from office.  Trump will have left office before the Senate could vote on impeachment. There is no such thing as impeaching a person who is not in office. Clearly impeachment has nothing to do with getting Trump out of office.

How does it unify the country to follow up an election believed by half of the US voting population to have been stolen with impeaching the president who is regarded as the victim of a stolen election? Adding insult to injury will only further enrage 75 million or more Trump voters,  and many honest Democrats, who regard the election as stolen.  If the Establishment and its Democrat, Republican, and media allies truly believe the election not to have been stolen, why wasn’t the evidence permitted to be examined so that the controversy could be settled instead of ignored?  Ignoring the evidence deepens the suspicion as does labeling those who challenged the election “enemies of democracy.”  Democrats are now trying to censure Republican members of the House and Senate who supported having the evidence presented to Congress.  Why censure someone who wants evidence to be examined?

What many Americans and people abroad do not comprehend is that in the 2020 election Trump  officially got 74,222,958 votes.  This is the official number, which is understated by the 10 million vote suppression used against him.  In “losing,”  Trump’s 74,222,958 official votes are more votes than any elected president has ever received with the exception of Biden whose vote count was raised by 10 million fraudulent ballots. How is the country unified by demonizing half of it?  Are the Democrats’ threats and reprisals against Trump and his supporters unifying?  

I watched the presentations by independent experts to three state legislatures of the detailed evidence showing evidence that the election was stolen in the swing states. Some of the experts explaining the election’s theft were people of color as were many of those who signed affidavits under penalty of perjury of the electoral fraud that they witnessed.  This information has never been presened by the media to the public, nor has any media, election officials, Department of Justice, or Congress examined the evidence.  It is overwhelming evidence ignored.

Whether of not you believe that Biden—the most uninspiring presidential candidate in American history—got 81 million votes (the largest in American history), why do Pelosi and the Democrats want to make themselves even more hated and distrusted by half of the country by impeaching the president whose reelection they stole?  

This is rubbing salt in the wound.  Half of the country already regards Biden as an illegitimate president and regards the Democrats as power-mad totalitarians hostile to democracy.  What does Pelosi achieve by furthering this image of Democrats? She is damning her party and herself. Why?

The answer is to generate fear in Republicans and Trump supporters.  

The Democrats are using open unabashed retribution to scare Republicans and Trump supporters into compliance. Everywhere you look Republican members of Congress both House and Senate, Trump’s present and former cabinet members, and present and former members of the White House staff are denouncing Trump and putting distance between Trump and themselves. The latest is Fiona Hill, formerly of Trump’s National Security Council. She denounces Trump for having “put us on the brink of civil war.” Note that for Republican Fiona Hill, it is not a stolen election that puts “us on the brink of civil war,” but the protest against the election theft. This is the position of the Republican Party.  In other words, the Republicans have surrendered.  They are useless to the people.

As a large number of videos made available online by people who attended the rally show, the Capitol police allowed protestors into the Capitol.  The Trump supporters were not smart enough not to take the bait. Once inside, the Democrats had their “insurrection” and “storming of the Capitol.”  

It achieved its purpose. It stopped presentation of the evidence showing Congress a stolen election. Scared by the presstitutes one voice proclamation of an attempted coup, the Republicans wilted and ran for their political lives knowing that they would be blamed for “aiding and abetting Trump’s insurrection.” 

The Democrats intend to keep them running, and that is what the impeachment is about.

Trump supporters are in for it as well.  The FBI, which has been hand-in-hand with Democrats throughout the Russiagate and impeachment hoaxes, is now hunting down those who attended the Trump rally.  Those for whom the FBI cannot invent grounds for arrest have their names turned over to the presstitutes who agitate for their firing from their jobs. Already policemen, corporate employees and executives, including a chief financial officer, have been fired for attending the Trump rally, and recording artists dropped because they attended the rally. Dumbshit indoctrinated school children have impoverished their own families by ratting out their parents for attending the rally and causing them to be fired.

Children squealing on their parents to the media is the worst part of the Democrats’ assault on America, because it shows that the liberal propaganda that passes for education in the schools has destroyed solidarity and loyalty in the family.  Without the family, there is no society.  Essentially, without family there is no country.

In so many ways Americans are now people without a country. 

As the blatently public theft of a presidential election shows, democracy is a dead value among elites and institutions in the United States.  The word will continue to be used as cover for oligarchic rule in the interest of the few. All who find the courage to challenge rule by the few will be demonized as “enemies of democracy.”  We are already seeing it.  President Trump and his “deplorables” are already declared “enemies of democracy.”

Whether or not Americans believe Trump and his supporters are enemies of democracy, many will be caused by fear to go along with it.  Otherwise, they will be the next to be outed, fired, and prosecuted.

I am not optimistic.  One reason for my lack of optimism is the age of disinformation in which we live. Disinformation is used by the Establishment to conform the public to its agendas. Disinformation is used to reconstruct white society. Disinformation is even used by Trump supporters in efforts to keep alive hope that the stolen election will be overturned or that Trump will win reelection in four years.

Another reason I am not optimistic is that I read comment sections of websites that host courageous and insightful commentators in hope of encountering intelligence and a rising awareness that could result in effective resistance.  But what do I find?  Inability to comprehend what they have read. Narcissists  hiding behind fake names. Nit-picking in place of weighing a well-stated presentation. And the ever-present trolls demeaning the authors with ad hominum accusations that are spread into social media.  

I am also not optimistic when I see that Trump, who has experienced the evil power of the Establishment, has not come to the realization that the last blow he can strike against the Establishment is the pardon of Assange and Snowden, two who are persecuted for telling the truth. Perhaps the reason is that many of Trump’s patriotic supporters have fallen for the Establishment’s line that Assange and Snowden are Russian agents who acted against America.

In the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, and all of Western Europe, telling the truth is being criminalized.  The result will be the destruction of the truth-teller. This is true as well within the universities.  Identity politics and Establishment agendas rule.  If you cross them, you are out.

Objective truth has been redefined as a “white construct” that serves “systemic racism” and misogynists. White people, especially heterosexual white males, have been assigned the role that Karl Marx gave capitalists. They are hateful, exploitative creatures that must be destroyed by demonization and indoctrination. The process has been going on for some time in the schools and in work place “sensitivity training” sessions.

This is the ideology of the Democrat Party. Imposed ideologies wear down facts. 

As the Native American tells the elderly woman in the Clint Eastwood film, The Outlaw Josey Wales, “Hell is coming to breakfast.” White people can expect hell.  To see this, all you have to do is to look at Biden’s Department of Justice appointments.

Americans are only now beginning to realize that the expensive educations they have paid for their children have resulted in their children being stolen from them. A friend told me recently that his son and son’s girlfriend had left their brutally lockdowned Democrat state to come to him in a Republican state where life still went on not too far from normal.  Having heard their conversations with him and among themselves, he has concluded that they regret that they were born white.  

To his dismay, he understands that their regret at having white skin is not because of employment and promotion quotas that limit their success as white people, or the demeaning racial training sessions they have to endue as “systemic white racists.” Their regret is due to their successful indoctrination that, as white racists, they are responsible for the lack of success of black Americans.  Perplexed, he asked me, “how can we resist the tyranny that is being imposed on us when the younger generation believes we are quilty and cannot be trusted with our freedoms.

Yes, good question.  How?

Note that the outpouring of support for Trump in the Washington Rally, which Democrats easily turned into a liability for Trump, consists largely of older adults.  Where were the young people?  They stayed home and ratted out their parents.

America’s young were not born into a free society. They have never experienced a free society. They are not socialized into a free society. They have no idea what one is beyond access to the Internet. 

It was two decades ago that the Bush regime orchestrated  the PATRIOT Act.  It was two decades ago that the Republican President of the United States threw habeas corpus out the window and claimed executive authority to detain American citizens indefinitely without presenting evidence before a court.  No bar association, no university law faculty, no court, no Congress, and certainly no presstitute media demanded Bush’s impeachment for unilaterally exercising unconstitutional executive authority.

During the subsequent Obama regime, America’s First Black President, who got less votes than Trump did in 2020, executed American citizens without due process of law.  No one demanded Obama’s impeachment for his unconstitutional and illegal murder of American citizens.

If cancelling the Bill of Rights isn’t insurrection, what is?

In contrast, President Trump who challenged the media monopoly for its censorship, who challenged the military/security complex for its orchestration of Russia as an enemy, who challenged various “trade agreements” for sending Americans’ middle class jobs abroad—in other words, a rare president who represented the American people—this President was destroyed by the Establishment and its media and intellectual whores.

The  corrupt and evil Establishment, acting through the Democrat Party with the backing of the monopoly over all communications and the monetary and power interests of the military/security complex and Wall Street, and strengthened by the Identity Politics hatreds, which extend into the universities, public schools, bar associations, corporations, and judiciary, and the indoctrination seminars that white males are forced to undergo, has achieved more power than Stalin and Hitler could imagine.  

Today the United States is not only a threat to its citizens but also a threat to the world.  The American Establishment’s belief in its hegemony makes the United States  the greatest threat that the world has ever experienced.  

The forces in control of the United States deny the existence of objective truth. As the Establishment defines truth, truth is what serves the agendas of the ruling elite.  

There is no other truth.  

Among other terrors, this means that an accused person can mount no defense.  As the trial of the surviving brother of the alleged Boston Marathon Bombing demonstrated, the proof of his innocence according to the FBI’s own evidence was not allowed to be introduced into the trial, only the fabricated “evidence” of his guilt.  When this happened, it was clear that the United States government regarded the rule of law as dispensable whenever it interferred with its agenda.

As journalist Ekaterina Blinova instantly recognized, the effect of the stolen election is to create one-party rule in the United States. Of course, the Democrats won’t rule. Rule will be by the interest groups for whom the Democrats will front. As the Republcans abandoned the American people and joined in the denunciation of the “insurrectionist Trump,” there are few voters left who will vote Republican. By its cowardice, the Republican Party has destroyed itself.

What can be done.  I am open to answers.  If you think about it, you wonder if Americans have the intelligence and awareness to survive.  Consider Parler, a social media alternative that does not censor.  Why did Parler think it could be independent when it was dependent on Apple, Amazon, and Google?  It must be a new high water mark of American insouciance that Parler executives thought the ruling Establishment would allow them free speech. https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/09/tech/parler-suspended-apple-app-store/index.html 

America is in collapse on all fronts—morally, economically, socially, politically, and militarily.  Every American institution is corrupted. America’s collapse will be a large collapse, and it will affect the entire world.

The Worst of Days for Trump & Trumpists

Image courtesy of Voice for America 
Patrick J. Buchanan (@PatrickBuchanan) | Twitter
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.” To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at http://www.creators.com.

By Patrick J. Buchanan
Source: Creators

January 8, 2021 

President Donald Trump, it turns out, was being quite literal when he told us Jan. 6 would be “wild.”

And so Wednesday was, but it was also disastrous for the party and the movement Trump has led for the last five years.

Wednesday, the defeats of Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in Georgia’s runoff elections were confirmed. This translates into the GOP losing the Senate for the next two years.

Chuck Schumer now replaces Mitch McConnell as majority leader.

And the new 50-50 split will put Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, the president of the Senate on Jan. 20, in position to cast the deciding vote on every major issue where the two parties are evenly divided.

Wednesday, there also came the acceptance by both houses of Congress of Joe Biden’s 306-232 electoral vote victory over Trump. The last potential hurdle to Biden’s inauguration as 46th president of the United States has been removed.

But the worst of the day’s events for Trump came when a segment of a friendly crowd of 50,000 he just addressed concluded its march down the mall to the U.S. Capitol by smashing its way into the building and invading and occupying the Senate and House chambers.

Members of Congress were forced to flee and hide. A protester, an Air Force veteran, was shot to death by a Capitol cop. Vice President Mike Pence, who was chairing the joint session, was taken into protective custody by his Secret Service detail. Doors were broken open. Windows were smashed, and the building was trashed.

All this was seen on national television from mid afternoon through nightfall. The East and West fronts of the Capitol were occupied for hours by pro-Trump protesters, whom the president, his son Don Jr., and Rudy Giuliani had stirred up in the hours before the march down the mall.

What Americans watched was a mob occupation and desecration of the temple of the American Republic. And the event will be forever exploited to discredit not only Trump but the movement he led and the achievements of his presidency. He will be demonized as no one else in our history since Richard Nixon or Joe McCarthy.

Yet, just two months ago, Trump rolled up the highest vote total ever by an incumbent president, 74 million. And, according to four major polls, his approval remains where it has been for four years, between 40 and 50%.

What took place Wednesday was a disgrace and a debacle. But it was not, as some have wildly contended, comparable to 9/11 or to the British burning of the Capitol in 1814 during the War of 1812. That is malicious hyperbole, establishment propaganda.

On Sept. 11, 2001, more than 3,000 Americans died horribly when Manhattan’s World Trade Center twin towers came crashing down and the Pentagon was hit by a hijacked airliner. And there have been far more serious events in the lifetimes of many of us than this four-hour occupation of the Capitol.

In May 1970, after Nixon ordered an invasion of Cambodia to clean out Communist sanctuaries, National Guard troops, in panic, shot and killed four students at Kent State University in Ohio.

Hundreds of campuses exploded; hundreds of universities shut down for the semester. Scores of thousands of demonstrators poured into D.C. Buses, end-to-end, circled the White House. U.S. troops were moved into the basement of the Executive Office Building.

Today, there is absurd media talk of removing the president through impeachment or invocation of the 25th Amendment.

If the House votes impeachment, is the Senate going to hold a trial in 12 days to put Pence in the Oval Office? As for removing Trump through the 25th Amendment, this would require a declaration by Vice President Pence and half of the Cabinet that Trump is unfit to finish out a term that ends in two weeks. Not going to happen.

But undeniably, the events of Wednesday are going to split the Republican Party. And what does the future of that party now look like?

After Trump leaves the presidency, he will not be coming back. The opposition to him inside the GOP would prevent his nomination or would defect to prevent his reelection were he nominated again.

Yet, the size and strength of Trump’s movement is such that no Republican candidate he declares persona non grata could win the nomination and the presidency.

Trump’s supporters are today being smeared and castigated by the same media who lionized the BLM and antifa “peaceful protesters” who spent their summer rioting, looting, burning and pillaging Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Portland, Kenosha, Louisville and scores of other cities.

The Trumpists have been demonized before. They are used to this. And whatever their sins, disloyalty and ingratitude to the man they put in the presidency is not one of them.

Wednesday was a bad day for America, but it was not the Reichstag fire.

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