Deep State Conditions Public for War

News flash: It’s America, not Russia, that is the real danger to world peace.

By Paul Craig Roberts

The Russian embassy in Washington has prepared an accurate 121-page report, “The Russiagate Hysteria: A Case of Severe Russophobia.” Everyone should read this report. It documents the fake news, lies, violations of diplomatic standards and international law, and gratuitous aggressive actions taken against Russia during the period beginning May 18, 2016 and continuing through the issuance of the Mueller report.

Without explicitly saying so, the report shows that neither the U.S. government nor the American media has a nanoparticle of integrity. Both are criminal organizations that are willing to risk war with Russia in their pursuit of narrow politicized agendas.

This is important information for Americans and the rest of the world to have. Every person, every government, and every private organization that supports Washington’s Russophobic policies is contributing to the growing threat of nuclear war.

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One hopes also that the entirety of the Russian government, media, and population also read the report, as it has equally powerful messages for Russia. The messages are no doubt unintended, but they nevertheless emerge from the embassy’s report.

The Russian government should marvel at its naivete in trusting Washington, U.S. institutions such as Citibank, and U.S. adherence to international law. For 121 pages the report lists transgression against Russia followed by transgression and lie followed by lie, yet the Russian government continues to send diplomatic notes that are never answered, requests for meetings that are never answered, requests for evidence that are never answered. One would think that month after month of abuse would have caused the Russian government to wonder, where was the intelligence, “cooperative spirit,” reason, and “common interest in global security” that Russia’s responses to Washington assumed were present in Russia’s “partner”?

The Russian government’s naive and gullible response to Washington played into Washington’s hands. By responding to Washington’s orchestrated Russophobia as if it were some kind of mistake based on bad information, the Russian government allowed Washington to keep the process of demonization alive and thereby contributed to the ongoing demonization of Russia. If, instead, the Russian government had denounced the demonization of Russia as Washington’s act of preparing Americans for war with Russia and had taken a belligerent rather than a complaining stance, the realization that Washington’s policy had serious cost would have spread throughout the U.S. and Europe, and voices would have arisen against Washington’s dangerous and reckless policy. Today, in place of the uniformity of voice against Russia, there would be dissent opposing Washington’s irresponsible provocations.

The danger of Russian self-delusion is not over. The embassy’s report expresses the hope that now that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of President Donald Trump and his campaign has concluded that the much-heralded collusion has no basis in fact, relations between Washington and Russia can be normalized and cooperation achieved.

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There is no such possibility. The Democrats are screaming “coverup” and demanding the resignation of Attorney General Barr and Trump’s impeachment. The presstitutes are claiming that the Mueller report vindicates their reporting.

In addition, Trump continues to use U.S. foreign policy to commit criminal acts. He has declared that the president of Venezuela is the person he picked, not the one Venezuelans elected. He has given to Israel part of Syria as if Syrian territory is his to give. He threatens Iran with war as Israel requires. In other words, American arrogance rises to ever higher heights.

At some point the Russian government and Russian people are going to have to accept the fact that to reach an understanding with Washington Russia must either surrender her sovereignty or become as belligerent as Washington and replace Russia’s useless refutations of Washington’s accusations with accusations of her own. Otherwise, Washington is going to keep pushing until war is the only possible outcome.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury under President Ronald Reagan and was associate editor and columnist at The Wall Street Journal. He has been a professor of economics in six universities and is the author of numerous books available at AFP’s Online Store.




Russian Presence Feared in Mideast

Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz warns that the Russians are back—and looking to threaten Israel.

By Richard Walker

A warning that Russia has returned to the Middle East to threaten Israel is just one of many alarming claims coming from Israel and from figures in the U.S. military who have added China to the mix.

Mor Altshuler in Israeli’s leading newspaper, Ha’aretz, has warned that Russia is back after 45 years specifically to threaten Israel, and that its expanding Russian naval presence could interrupt Israel’s energy plans in the eastern Mediterranean and hold them hostage. She also questioned the Trump administration’s commitment to Israel: “Are all the players on our side playing with clean hands? Frankly, I must say that soon I might start missing Barack Obama.”

Her warning was very much in keeping with a growing fear within the Israeli political and military establishment that there is a changing strategic environment in the eastern Mediterranean where Israel has a small coastline with the Mediterranean Sea, compared to countries it considers enemies, such as Turkey, Lebanon, and Syria.

Some believe that the Trump administration has become too isolationist, yet Israel believes it should be able to project its power into the eastern Mediterranean region, both militarily and in pursuit of claiming rights to gas fields under the sea. It is the prospect of energy riches, as much as exerting a strong military footprint that shapes Israeli opinion. However, without a strong U.S. naval presence in the region to rely on, Israel has begun to feel vulnerable, and more so since Russia has a large Mediterranean fleet based on the Syrian port city of Tartus. In comparison, Israel possesses a small naval force.

According to NATO sources, on a recent trip to Tel Aviv, National Security Advisor John Bolton got an earful from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the threat posed to Israel by Russia and by China’s big spending to buy friends and influence in the eastern Mediterranean. Netanyahu complained that the U.S. no longer has any of its fleets based in the region and that Israel was being closed in by its enemies.

The eastern Mediterranean has taken on greater significance for Israel and for other nations in the region, especially Turkey, since the discovery of large gas deposits off the island of Cyprus, which is equally controlled by Greece and Turkey. Israel and Egypt quickly signed a deal with the Greek Cypriots and Egypt to pipe gas to Arab nations and to Europe via Greece, thereby bypassing Turkish and Russian pipelines. The Turks weren’t long in deciding that they had rights to drill for energy in the waters around Cyprus, and they announced that they even had plans for a large naval base in the north of the island. The announcement panicked the Greeks, who controlled most of Cyprus, and the Israelis. Turkey, with perhaps the largest coastline in the eastern Mediterranean, was in effect saying to Israel, “Not so fast.” It was a warning that did not go down well in Tel Aviv. The prospect of future naval clashes between Israel and Turkey quickly dampened the enthusiasm of the big U.S. and French oil giants, who were anxious to get their hands on a share of the riches by handling exploration and the building of pipelines.

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While the energy issue is undoubtedly important in explaining Israel’s growing unease, there are bigger issues at play that define why Israel feels it faces an existential threat. Neocons have for some time added to Israel’s fear by claiming that the Trump administration is failing in its duty by not ordering Turkey to abandon building a large naval base on Cyprus. In fact, the Trump administration has preferred a hands-off policy. Turkey is, after all, a NATO member, and it has a right to build a base if it wishes. There is no indication that the Trump White House has any desire to intervene no matter how much Israel is pressing for action.

The critical issue driving Israeli fears is that it cannot manipulate Russia. It therefore sees the alignment of Russia with Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran a serious threat to its power. But that aside, there is also the agenda of some in the ranks of the U.S. military who feel that Russia and China have an agreed strategy across the Middle East. Commander Tony Chavez, a member of the globalist group Chicago Council on Global Affairs, argues that Russia is determined to control the region, as evidenced by the fact that in September 2018 it held the largest Mediterranean naval exercise since the Cold War. He also points to China’s growing use of ports across the eastern Mediterranean as part of a new policy to confront U.S. power.

While Israel and its neocon backers in Washington press for a return of a powerful U.S. naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean, it seems that, for now, that is not going to happen.

Richard Walker is the pen name of a former N.Y. news producer.




Israel Running Risks in Trying to Exploit U.S. Exit from Syria

With the U.S. withdrawal of its forces from Syria will Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s recklessness lead to confrontation with Russia? 

By Richard Walker

In an effort to exploit the planned exit of U.S. special forces and mercenaries from Syria, Israeli officials are promising to continue bombing that country in violation of international law.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted as saying it would be business as usual, but he might want to consider the fact that Russia will not allow him free rein to bomb Syria as he likes. Russian President Vladimir Putin has made it clear to him that there are some lines he should not cross. One is killing or targeting Russian military personnel in Syria. Another is Russian personnel becoming collateral damage of Israeli attacks on other targets.

In the past three years, Israel has bombed Syria several hundred times in a clear breach of international law. It claims that its bombing of a sovereign state is justified by its need for defense. Of course, this is a false legal argument.

UN Charter 51 states specifically that a UN mandate is required by any country wishing to launch a war against another, and if self-defense is used as justification, the country launching a war must have been attacked. Syria has never attacked Israel, but as with so much of Israel’s foreign policy, it has been willing to flout international law, because Israelis know there will be no repercussions for its lawlessness. There are few countries in the region that have not been the target of Israel’s air force or of its assassination squads.

President Donald Trump’s decision to fulfill his electoral promise to take troops out of Syria has angered Israel because it has consistently used U.S. involvement in the Syrian conflict as a cover for launching hundreds of air and ground strikes into Syria and Lebanon. With the White House announcement of the pullout, Netanyahu and members of his hard-right cabinet announced that attacks on Syria would continue unabated and might be increased.

Israel’s strategy has been to exploit the Syrian conflict to target Iranian military advisers and Iranian-backed militias who have been fighting ISIS, al Qaeda, and the al-Nusra Front alongside Syrian and Russian military forces. In contrast, ISIS has never been Israel’s priority. In fact, Israel has armed, trained, and provided medical care to al-Nusra fighters. It has been focused on killing Iranians, hoping to goad Iran and Hezbollah into a full-blown conflict that would draw in the U.S. military and Netanyahu’s new allies, the Saudis. In that respect, Netanyahu likely has a backer in National Security Adviser John Bolton, who has made it clear he would like to bomb Iran. Netanyahu, nevertheless, has been accused by Israelis of bombing Syria and hyping an Iran threat from there to deflect from corruption charges he faces at home as new elections get closer.

With the U.S. pullout, Israeli military planners are facing a new and potentially deadly issue, namely the continued presence of Russian forces and their S-400 missile batteries. Those, and the S-300 batteries Moscow gave the Syrian government, have already had a limiting effect on Israeli air incursions into Syrian airspace. Russia’s military has warned Israel that there will be serious consequences if it targets Russian forces or if Russian military personnel are casualties of an attack on Syria or Iranian targets.

There is no love lost between Putin and Netanyahu following the shooting down of an Ilyushin IL-20M Russian surveillance plane over Syria in 2018. The downing of the plane resulted in the deaths of 15 Russian personnel on board.

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The propeller plane, a flying command post, was shot down by missiles fired from older Russian S-200 anti-aircraft batteries operated at the time by the Syrian military. Russian military investigators, however, quickly determined that blame lay with Israel. According to Russian experts, two of four Israeli jets that entered Syria to carry out attacks used the cover of the larger II-20M. An S-200 missile fired at the jets locked instead on the larger Russian plane. Israel, as it always does, blamed the Syrian military, but operators of highly advanced S-400 batteries protecting the Russian Kheimim Air Base in Syria had recorded everything.

According to reports, Putin was so angry with Netanyahu’s and Israel’s denials that he immediately upgraded Syria’s S-200 batteries to the S-300.

The U.S. exodus will reduce American military traffic in the region, allowing Russian and Syrian missile operators to concentrate on all Israeli military fighter aircraft exiting Israel en route to Syria.

Gideon Levy, a leading columnist with Ha’aretz, one of Israel’s prominent news outlets, was alarmed after the downing of the Russian plane. He warned Israel that its actions in Syria were “reckless” and would “come with a price.” His views were not given an airing by the U.S. mainstream media, more than likely because they were highly critical of Israel’s Syria interventions.

With the U.S. withdrawal, Netanyahu’s tendency to recklessness could well lead to a confrontation with Russia over the skies of the Middle East.

Richard Walker is the pen name of a former N.Y. news producer.




Deep State Ignores Culpability of Obama, Hillary in “Russiagate”

Trump campaign collusion with Russia to prevent Hillary Clinton’s election is a fantasy, says Donald Jeffries. Yet the corporate media continues to push the discredited theory as fact.

By Donald Jeffries

The mainstream media and high-profile Democratic Party politicians continue to push the fantasy that Russia colluded with the Trump presidential campaign in order to deny Deep State favorite Hillary Clinton the Oval Office. As Princeton professor Stephen F. Cohen noted in a recent article in The Nation, this has served to “all but shackle Donald Trump as a crisis-negotiator with Russian President Vladimir Putin.” This past July, Trump was widely blasted by the establishment for committing “treason” simply by meeting with Putin in Helsinki.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been investigating alleged connections between the Trump campaign and Russian officials since May 2017. However, recently even a source as unfriendly to Trump as National Public Radio had to admit that Mueller’s case “looks weaker than ever.” And journalist Michael Isikoff, author of the fanciful book Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump, admitted that many of the allegations in the so-called “Steele dossier,” which claimed that Russia possessed incriminating material about Trump, “will never be proven and are likely false.”

Trump quickly took to Twitter in the wake of Isikoff’s comments, and declared, “Michael Isikoff was the first to report dossier allegations and now seriously doubts the dossier claims. The whole Russian collusion thing was a hoax.”

While the mainstream media and its late-night sycophantic talk show hosts continue to harp on “Russiagate” fantasies, much more credible evidence linking the previous Obama administration to efforts at disseminating material designed to link Trump to Russian officials has been routinely ignored by them.

In late December, Judicial Watch released two different batches of State Department documents, which were heavily redacted in customary U.S. government manner. The documents revealed that classified information was sent to several members of the Senate, just prior to Trump’s inauguration. These documents demonstrate how the Obama State Department was frantically handing out this information to Democratic senators like Ben Cardin of Maryland and Mark Warner of Virginia, as well as friendly Republicans like Tennessee’s Robert Corker.

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A chain of emails in early January 2017 revealed that Obama Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland was attempting to send documents supposedly linking Trump and the Russians to Warner. In one email later that month, the herculean effort was acknowledged with comments, literally only hours before Trump was inaugurated, like, “We made the deadline!” and, “Thank you everyone for what was truly a department-wide effort!”

“These documents show remarkable evidence of the non-stop, unethical effort in the Obama State Department to gather and send its own dossier of classified information on Russia in an effort to discredit the incoming Trump administration,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton stated.

As far back as Feb. 13, even The Washington Post could declare, in an op-ed headline, “The Media is Ignoring Ties Between the Clinton Campaign and Russians.” The article pointed out the fact that Christopher Steele, author of the notorious dossier, was paid with money from the Clinton campaign. Steele was known to be closely allied with Bill Clinton aide Sidney “Sid Vicious” Blumenthal and Jonathan Winer, a former staffer to John Kerry. These alliances received scant attention in the mainstream media, when compared to the press given to Donald Trump Jr. meeting once with a Russian lawyer, or the highly dubious allegations of “collusion” against Trump supporters like Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, and Jerome Corsi. To quote from the story, “. . . when the Democrats and their allies in the media insist that we need to know what the Russians did to influence the election and interfere in the democratic process, it is fair to ask which Russians are they talking about? Are they talking about the Russians who were solicited by Steele and his Democrat paymasters? What were the Russians’ interests and were any of them paying Steele?”

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In 2015, the establishment’s newspaper of record, The New York Times, reported that Uranium One, a Canadian company that had been acquired by the Russian atomic energy agency Rosatom in a merger approved by a consortium of government agencies, including Hillary Clinton’s State Department, had donated over $2 million to the Clinton Foundation, which was not publicly disclosed by the Clintons. In another instance, a Russian bank with ties to the Kremlin, which was promoting Uranium One stock, paid Bill Clinton $500,000 for a speech in Moscow. As Trump himself noted, “Hillary Clinton gave them 20% of our uranium, gave Russia, for a big payment.”

It shouldn’t be a crime to talk with private citizens, or even public officials, from another country. That used to be called diplomacy. And mainstream inferences of impropriety or illegality in this regard have been inconsistent, to say the least.

Donald Jeffries is a highly respected author and researcher whose work on the JFK, RFK and MLK assassinations and other high crimes of the Deep State has been read by millions of people across the world. Jeffries is also the author of two books currently being sold at the AFP Online Store.




2018 Could Be 2016 All Over Again

With media predicting an “easy win” for Democrats and loss of control by Republicans, Phil Giraldi points out that “On issues that really matter the Democrats are still clueless.” If they lose again this time, who will they blame? Certainly, they aren’t apt to accept any responsibility for being completely out of touch with most Americans. With Election Day tomorrow, we’ll find out soon enough.

By Philip Giraldi

Am I the only one who thinks the 2018 midterm election smells an awful lot like the 2016 presidential election? In both cases the punditry and media have been promising an easy win for the Democrats, in many cases predicting that the GOP will lose control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. One might argue that those who are praising the Democrats are themselves committed establishment progressives who hate Trump and would hardly do otherwise, but winning will require selling something to voters that is more than that hatred combined with negative vibes for some women coming out of the Kavanaugh hearings.

On issues that really matter the Democrats are still clueless and continue to be a party that reactively plays both a “blame the Russians” and a “diversity” card to confuse, divide, and conquer rather than presenting any programs that would actually resonate positively with voters.

Opinion polling suggests that there are two issues that really are of concern to voters. Top of the list is healthcare. The Democrats rightly excoriate clowns like Paul Ryan—currently on his way to reap his lobbying rewards from a grateful K Street—who has often cited entitlements as the big federal spending problem. He conveniently ignores runaway defense spending and massive tax cuts for the rich, which he promoted while in office, meaning that the budget will always be unbalanced.

But, Paul Ryan aside, anyone who actually pays for health insurance out of his or her own pocket will no doubt observe how healthcare costs have skyrocketed under Obamacare to the point where insurance is available but unaffordable, with premiums that in many cases have trebled per month over the past four years. Those on Medicare and Medicaid might rightfully fear more GOP mischief, but the real damage has already been done by the Democrats, and those who are personally paying for insurance know that.

Trump and the Republicans want to replace Obamacare with something better, though there has been no clarity on what that might mean. But it is an admission that Obamacare is seriously flawed, a viewpoint that many voters would appear to share. So the choice is between something that is very bad for users versus something as yet defined that might just turn out to be better. The Republicans win on that one.

The second biggest issue for voters is immigration, both legal exploiting existing loopholes in the system and illegal. The legal immigration problem consists of those who are allowed to get green cards legally and then proceed to bring their entire families over including cousins. That was not the intent of the 1965 legislation. In fact, chain immigration was dismissed as a possible consequence of the law, with President Lyndon Johnson and Democratic congressmen including Senator Ted Kennedy assuring the public that it would not occur. Of course, they were wrong. Or they were lying.

Illegal immigration is the more visible issue and the Democratic solution to the problem is, apparently, to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) giving the United States open borders. I have a great deal of sympathy for those who argue that the horrible mess in Central America is the result of U.S. meddling in their countries for the past 100 years, but that does not necessarily mean the solution is an open-doors policy that will drastically change America. Bringing in thousands or even millions of uneducated and unskilled migrants who do not speak English and then requiring local governments to educate, house, and feed them is a recipe for disaster. Indeed, it has already proven to be a disaster for many communities, with standards declining and neighborhoods in decay.

Most Americans have sympathy for the poor would-be immigrants, even if their mass migration is currently being funded by George Soros to coincide with an election, but they also long for a return to the time when communities were safe places where everyone knew their neighbors and worked hard to get along. Today the social justice warriors have made a sense of community a crime, because it does not invite enough diversity.

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So, comparing how the two parties stand on immigration, the Republicans win hands down, as they are pledged to stop the illegals and have also spoken out against chain immigration. It is a major issue, and the Democrats are predictably on the wrong side of it, just as they are with healthcare.

My big issue is, of course, foreign and national security policy, but it ranks low in voter concerns, even though it is a cluster of related policies that are corrupt and ripe for exploitation if there were anyone out there bold enough to challenge the status quo. Donald Trump appears to be, with the exception of Iran, disinclined to continue America’s warfare state policies, but the punditry appears to think that he is being consistently outmaneuvered by his hawkish cabinet to come down hard on Russia and China while also remaining in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq.

Recent elections suggest that there is something like a “peace consensus” in the United States, citizens who are tired of warfare and of the constant discovery of new enemies to fight. I think it is true that Barack Obama’s margin of difference consisted of voters who thought that he would not exercise the military option as frequently as his predecessor George W. Bush. In any event, Obama was worse than Bush, going hard after whistleblowers, assassinating American citizens, and destroying the Libyan government to leave behind chaos, a hotbed for terrorists and even for slave traders.

I also believe that Trump, like Obama, won because of the support of “peace” voters, being far less bellicose sounding than Hillary Clinton, and committed to détente with Russia and retrenchment in the Middle East. I know many voters like myself selected him because of those views, and he received considerable support because of them in the traditional conservative and libertarian media. Unfortunately, he has failed to deliver, but it is possible that the good instincts are still there. They are absent in the Democratic Party, which, because of its crusade against Russia, is far more hawkish and dangerous than the Republicans.

And then there are the intangibles: Having the Clintons and Obama out campaigning for Democratic candidates is like waving a red flag in front of conservatives, who will all make sure they get out and vote. And the economy is growing faster than under Obama. So, on balance, I think the GOP will do well this week with issues-focused voters and will retain its advantage in both houses of Congress. If that is so, the recriminations from the Democrats will start immediately. Will their failure be blamed on the Russians again this time or possibly on the Chinese?

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review.




Coup in Venezuela Invites Possible Global Cold War

Russia and China have a huge financial stake in Venezuela because both sell the country weapons, meaning U.S. threats of supporting a military coup in Venezuela could create a Latin American Cold War.

By Richard Walker

Should President Donald Trump and prominent members of Congress continue to advocate for a military coup in Venezuela, it could see a return to a Cold War in Latin America, a region in which countries have always shared divided loyalties to East and West.

According to foreign policy expert Brian Fonseca, should the U.S. continue to push for overthrowing the Venezuelan government, the West could see a bigger Chinese and Russian footprint in Latin America. These two superpowers have close ties to the Venezuelan military and sell it weapons. They would be thrilled if Venezuela’s relations with Washington reached a point of no return because Moscow and Beijing would pursue an opportunity to purchase majority stakes in Venezuela’s oil reserves that are among the world’s largest.

Venezuela also has large deposits of natural resources that China would be keen to develop, in keeping with China’s growing economic role in the world. China has been busy for the past two decades establishing relations with nations across Latin America and Africa, especially those that have massive energy and fossil fuel reserves. A classic example is that, in 2015, in the out-of-the-way country Mozambique, China began cutting large tracts of forest for the timber it desperately needs for its ever-expanding infrastructure. When it discovered that the same area held large deposits of gemstones, it bought mining rights and began exploiting them, too.

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Fonseca has warned Washington figures that flirting with the prospect of backing the overthrow of the government of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela is playing with fire, endangering America’s foreign policy in its own backyard. It could even result in a major national security blunder.

Big oil companies Chevron and Halliburton that have stakes in Venezuela’s oil industry have privately appealed to the White House to avoid plunging Venezuela into total chaos by pursuing tougher financial sanctions against the government. They have also cautioned that intervention in support of a military coup could be disastrous for Washington’s relations throughout the region.

Those warnings have not deterred Trump from floating the possibility of supporting a coup by the Venezuelan military. He received backing for his views from U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

There is also evidence that some former Venezuelan military figures have met members of the Trump administration.

The promotion of regime change in Congress and the White House is a dangerous trend that ignores the failed history of U.S.-led coups. After 1947, with the emergence of the CIA, Washington decided it now had the ideal tool to change regimes it did not like or that American corporations felt threatened their energy domination. The first coup the CIA launched was in Iran in 1953 when U.S. agents overthrew a democratically elected government because Iran was seeking to stop exploitation by foreign oil corporations, mostly British, by nationalizing Iran’s oil for the benefit of its people. Other coups followed in the Congo and South Vietnam, but Latin America became the major target of nine coup-led interventions by the CIA. The Agency used tactics that became all too familiar of arming and training insurgents. It encouraged assassinations, bombings, kidnapping, and the secret torture and elimination of perceived enemies.

George Bush and Dick Cheney meddled in Venezuela and in other Latin American nations, and so, too, did Barack Obama who pursued what became known as the soft power strategy. Obama advocated using less CIA paramilitary input in favor of exploiting and financing opposition groups by funneling money to them, using Washington-run aid organizations. Bribes were also paid to political figures and disgruntled military officers. At the same time, fake stories were fed into the media of the target nation.

It is a fact that Venezuela, like many Latin American nations, has existed for decades with serious levels of corruption. But of much more significance is the reality that its economy has relied for too long on oil exports. Knowing this, in 2014, the Saudis, under pressure from Israel and Washington, flooded the international oil markets with cheap oil, crushing the price of oil to the detriment of the Venezuelan economy. The effects were devastating and long term. Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Washington saw it as punishment for Venezuela’s closeness to Iran and its attacks on Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. It may well be that some oil corporations were also pushing for the Saudi move, hoping it would lead to Venezuela’s collapse, giving them control of its energy resources.

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Venezuela is now collapsing financially, and U.S. sanctions could push it over the edge into the arms of Beijing and Moscow. It is generally not reported that 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled the country in the past three years.

Too many figures in Congress promote regime change, ignorant of the terrible effects of failed CIA-led coups in the past. Even those regimes in Latin America that do not support the Venezuelan leadership have raw memories of past U.S. interventions in countries like Chile and the failed 2002 CIA-led coup against Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. In that coup tens of millions of dollars were secretly funneled to opposition groups and disaffected members of the country’s military. That is probably what has been happening again in the past couple of years.

Richard Walker is the pen name of a former N.Y. news producer.


RELATED, FROM RON PAUL . . .

D.C.’s Hypocritical Attack on Maduro

If our leaders really cared about the people of Venezuela, they would lift the sanctions.

By Dr. Ron Paul

Last week we witnessed the horrible spectacle of Nikki Haley, President Donald Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, joining a protest outside the UN building and calling for the people of Venezuela to overthrow their government.

“We are going to fight for Venezuela,” she shouted through a megaphone. “We are going to continue doing it until [Venezuelan President Nicolas] Maduro is gone.”

This is the neocon mindset: that somehow the U.S. has the authority to tell the rest of the world how to live and who may hold political power regardless of elections.

After more than a year of Washington being crippled by evidence-free claims that the Russians have influenced our elections, we have a senior U.S. administration official openly calling for the overturning of elections overseas.

Imagine if President Vladimir Putin’s national security advisor had grabbed a megaphone in New York and called for the people of the United States to overthrow their government by force.

At the UN, Maduro accused the Western media of hyping up the crisis in his country to push the cause for another “humanitarian intervention.”

Some may laugh at such a claim, but recent history shows that interventionists lie to push regime change, and the media goes right along with the lies.

Remember the lies about Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi giving Viagra to his troops to help them rape their way through Libya? Remember the “babies thrown from incubators” and “mobile chemical labs” in Iraq? Judging from past practice, there is probably some truth in Maduro’s claims.

We know socialism does not work. It is an economic system based on the use of force rather than economic freedom of choice. But while many Americans seem to be in a panic over the failures of socialism in Venezuela, they don’t seem all that concerned that right here at home Trump just signed a massive $1.3 trillion spending bill that delivers socialism on a scale that Venezuelans couldn’t even imagine. In fact, this one spending bill is three times Venezuela’s entire gross domestic product.

Did I miss all the Americans protesting this warfare-welfare state socialism?

Why all the neocon and humanitarian-interventionist “concern” for the people of Venezuela? One clue might be the fact that Venezuela happens to be sitting on the world’s largest oil reserves. More even than Saudi Arabia. There are plenty of countries pursuing dumb economic policies that result in plenty of suffering, but Nikki and the neocons are nowhere to be found when it comes to “concern” for these people. Might it be a bit about this oil?

Don’t believe this feigned interest in helping the Venezuelan people. If Washington really cared about Venezuelans they would not be plotting regime change for the country, considering that each such “liberation” elsewhere has ended with the people being worse off than before.

No, if Washington—and the rest of us—really cared about Venezuelans we would demand an end to the terrible U.S. economic sanctions on the country—which only make a bad situation worse—and would push for far more engagement and trade.

And maybe we’d even lead by example, by opposing the real, existing socialism here at home before seeking socialist monsters to slay abroad.

Ron Paul, a former U.S. representative from Texas and medical doctor, continues to write his weekly column for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, online at www.ronpaulinstitute.org.




World Teeters on Brink of War

Russia responded to recent Israeli attacks on Syria by accusing Israel of responsibility for the loss of 15 Russian servicemen. Philip Giraldi cautions, “The downing of the Russian plane through Israeli contrivance created a situation that could easily have escalated into a war involving Moscow and Washington.”

By John Friend

The Russian Ministry of Defense has publicly accused Israel of being culpable for the downing of a Russian military aircraft in Syria on the evening of Monday, Sept. 17, resulting in the death of 15 Russian service members. The tragic international incident has received scant media coverage in the West but has many serious observers of Middle Eastern affairs wondering if Israel—blindly supported and financed by the United States—is on the verge of provoking WWIII with its blatant military aggression, utter disdain for international law, and outrageous arrogance.

The downed Russian aircraft, a Soviet-era Ilyushin IL-20 surveillance and control plane, was on a reconnaissance mission near the Idlib de-escalation zone in Syria on the evening of Sept. 17, when four Israeli F-16 fighter jets—compliments of the Pentagon—left Israeli airspace and flew over the Mediterranean Sea to carry out an unprovoked attack on various Syrian targets, essentially using the larger Russian aircraft as cover for their assault.

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In yet another blatant and criminal act of military aggression against her neighbors in the region, the Israeli F-16s launched several precision-guided missiles at a number of industrial and military targets in the western Syrian province of Latakia, warning their Russian counterparts less than one minute prior to launching the illegal and extremely risky attack. Russian military commanders immediately ordered the IL-20 back to the Khmeimim air base, but Syrian air defense systems mistakenly targeted the Russian aircraft and its 15 crew members, which the Russians have argued the Israelis were using as cover for their attack on Syrian targets.

“The Israeli jets saw the Russian Ilyushin IL-20 and used it as a shield against the anti-aircraft missiles, while they carried on maneuvering in the region,” Major General Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Defense, stated in the aftermath of the incident.

“We believe that the blame for the Russian IL-20 aircraft tragedy lies entirely with the Israeli Air Force,” Konashenkov continued. “The military leadership of Israel either has no appreciation for the level of relations with Russia or has no control over individual commands or commanding officers who understood that their actions would lead to tragedy.”

Ultimately the “misleading information” provided just moments before the attack on Syrian targets by the Israeli F-16s “did not allow the Russian IL-20 airplane to move timely to a safe area,” the Russians concluded.

“This is an extremely ungrateful response to all that has been done by the Russian Federation for Israel and the Israeli people recently,” Konashenkov lamented.

The incident has soured relations between Israel and Russia and has prompted the Russian government to provide upgrades to the Syrian air defense system, further strengthening military and political ties between the embattled Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, a major nemesis in the eyes of the Israelis and their sympathizers in Washington, D.C., and Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

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Earlier this week, Russia announced it had transferred new anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, including four S-300 launchers, a sophisticated anti-aircraft missile system that will “significantly increase the Syrian army’s capabilities,” according to the Russian military. In a telephone conversation late last month with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized that “the actions of the Israeli Air Force were the main cause” of the downing of the Russian aircraft, and that “Russia’s decisions to bolster the combat capabilities of Syrian air defenses are appropriate at this juncture and primarily intended to thwart any potential threat to the lives of the Russian military service members fulfilling the tasks of combating international terrorism,” the Kremlin stated.

In the wake of the tragic incident, many are concerned about a potential escalation of conflict in the region and the possibility of a broader war involving major superpowers—Russia and the United States—breaking out due to the risky and criminal actions of the Israelis.

“Israel does risky things like attacking its neighbors because it knows it will pay no price due to Washington’s support,” Philip Giraldi, executive director of the Council for the National Interest, recently argued in an op-ed released just after the tragedy. “The downing of the Russian plane through Israeli contrivance created a situation that could easily have escalated into a war involving Moscow and Washington.”

John Friend is a freelance author based in California.




Israel, Saudis Continue Slaughter

Bloodthirsty Saudi leader Mohammad bin Salman matches Israel for arrogance and disregard for life, as his regime kills 25 Iranians and Israel kills 15 Russians. Both blame everyone but themselves.

By Dr. Kevin Barrett

In the second half of September 2018, two closely allied Middle Eastern nations—Israel and Saudi Arabia—committed thinly veiled mass slaughters . . . and dug their own graves.

On Sept. 17, Israel, through reckless negligence or worse, knocked a Russian Il-20 out of the sky. Violating their “advance notification” agreement with Russia, Israeli F-16s attacked Syria, drew anti-aircraft fire while scurrying to hide behind the unsuspecting Il-20, then escaped unscathed as 15 Russians met their deaths.

The following week, 25 people were killed and more than 60 wounded in a terrorist attack in Ahvaz, Iran. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif blamed the carnage on “a foreign regime backed by the United States.” He was referring to Saudi Arabia, a close Israeli ally.

Both Israel and Saudi Arabia arrogantly refused to accept responsibility for their bloodthirsty acts. Israel blamed its murder of 15 Russians on Syria’s air defenses. Putin called Israel’s bluff by saying: Okay, you’re right. Syria needs better air defenses, so we’re going to sell them our S-300 system and deny you the ability to continue to operate in Syrian airspace.

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Saudi Arabia likewise disavowed responsibility for the terror attack on Ahvaz. This is the same Saudi Arabia whose absolute dictator, Mohammad bin Salman, threatened last year to “take the fight inside Iran,” meaning increase its sponsorship of terror groups like those that carried out the Ahvaz massacre.

The arrogant, murderous liars in Tel Aviv and Riyadh will be getting their comeuppance. Israel is facing strategic disaster thanks to its idiotic murder of the 15 Russian airmen and its even more idiotic refusal to apologize. As Russia installs its S-300 system in Syria, Israel will no longer be able to strike at Hezbollah and Iranian forces in that beleaguered nation.

Today, Hezbollah is already armed with a missile force orders of magnitude beyond what it defeated Israel with in 2006. Hezbollah’s missiles are increasing in quantity (around 130,000) and quality (bigger payload, accuracy, and ability to evade air defenses). They may already be capable of leveling Tel Aviv and the Dimona nuclear facility.

Iraq & Politics of Oil, VoglerBy alienating Russia and giving Hezbollah and Iran free rein in Syria, Israel has shot itself in the foot. All the Zionists had to do was feign sincerity and apologize profusely for causing the deaths of the 15 Russians. Putin would have accepted the apology and taken relatively mild retaliatory measures. But the arrogant Zionists simply cannot accept moral responsibility for their actions—ever. Everything they do, every crime they commit, always has to somehow be somebody else’s fault.

The Saudis are as arrogant as the Zionists and even more inept. The megalomaniacal bin Salman is madly abusing key sectors of Saudi society. He has kidnapped, tortured, and robbed his billionaire cousins. He has imprisoned, brutalized, or bullied much of the Saudi religious establishment. He has also imprisoned and abused the female activists who won Saudi women the right to drive. The crown prince has even planned the beheadings of peaceful activist women. When Canada’s foreign ministry protested, bin Salman’s spokesmen threatened to hit Canada with a 9/11-style attack.

It is one thing to threaten to send planes into Canadian skyscrapers. It is quite another to commit actual mass murders. But that is what the Saudis have done in Ahvaz.

Like the Israelis, the Saudis are going out of their way to make enemies—very angry enemies. Take Iran, a huge nation three times the size of Iraq with advanced homegrown technology, a formidable military, and a population including tens of millions who are eager to lay down their lives for their country if it comes under attack.

The Saudis have also made an arch-enemy of gas-rich, media-savvy Qatar. By blockading and plotting to invade and occupy Qatar—a plan that was blocked when Turkey quickly built a military base there—the Saudis suddenly had two enemies for the price of one.

Lewis Foundation Legal NoticeTurkey, of course, has never thought highly of the British decision to break off the Arabian Peninsula from the Ottoman Empire and hand it to the Ibn Saud crime family, so an intensified Turkish dislike of “Saudi” Arabia could eventually have existential consequences for that artificial and malignant entity.

The Saudis even managed to alienate their handful of bought-and-paid-for Lebanese stooges when they briefly kidnapped Lebanese Prime  Minister Hariri. The kidnapping failed abysmally, like everything else bin Salman does.

And then there is the biggest debacle of all: the Saudi genocide of Yemen, an atrocity comparable to the slow-motion genocide of Palestine.

The Saudis, like the Israelis, are courting catastrophe. When it comes, they will blame everyone but themselves.

Kevin Barrett, Ph.D., is an Arabist-Islamologist scholar and one of America’s best-known critics of the War on Terror.His book, Truth Jihad: My Epic Struggle Against the 9/11 Big Lie, is on sale now at the AFP Online Store. From 1991 through 2006, Dr. Barrett taught at colleges and universities in San Francisco, Paris, and Wisconsin. In 2006, however, he was attacked by Republican state legislators who called for him to be fired from his job at the University of Wisconsin-Madison due to his political opinions. Since 2007, Dr. Barrett has been informally blacklisted from teaching in American colleges and universities. He currently works as a nonprofit organizer, public speaker, author, and talk radio host. He lives in rural western Wisconsin. 




FBI Mole Cried About Russia Collusion in the Past

And the beat goes on. . . . As special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation continues, so does the stream of questionable “evidence” and lack of significant indictments. 

By AFP Staff

Stephen Halper, the Cambridge University professor who was recently outed as a paid federal informant in the Trump presidential campaign, has made accusations in the past about Russians infiltrating the university, reports online news and commentary website “The Daily Caller.” According to the report, the targets of Halper’s charges responded to the claims, saying his allegations were “absurd.”

Several years before Halper had infiltrated the Trump campaign and met with some of Donald Trump’s top advisors, Halper claimed that a female Russian academic attending a seminar in 2014 was actually a spy and that the event sponsor, Cambridge Intelligence Seminar (CIS), was influenced by Russia.

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Interviewed by The Financial Times in 2016, Christopher Andrew, the official historian for MI5 and head of CIS, told the newspaper that Halper’s charges were without merit.

Last week it was reported that Halper was a paid FBI informant when he approached top Trump campaign advisors Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, and Sam Clovis.

At this time, no one knows what Halper has told Robert Mueller, the special counsel tasked with investigating possible Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, but it has been disclosed that Halper met with Page several times over the course of 14 months through September 2017. Halper and Papadopoulos met “several times in mid-September 2016,” according to “The Daily Caller.” Halper and Clovis reportedly met only once, on Sept. 1, 2016.

Mueller has issued 23 indictments since the creation of his office a year ago this month. These include four former Trump advisers, 13 Russian nationals, three Russian companies, one California man, and one London-based lawyer. It is worth noting that not one of the Trump officials has been charged with illegally colluding with Russians. Most have centered on lying to federal law enforcement officials, money laundering, and failure to register as a lobbyist.

Most of the Russians have ignored the indictments, but two Russian companies have hired attorneys to contest the charges. It was reported on May 24 that one of the Russian companies has requested a speedy trial date be set so that the company’s name can be cleared. Mueller’s attorneys have sought to delay the request, but a judge ruled against them, saying the trial should commence within 70 days as per law.




Trump’s Foreign Policy Scorecard

While President Trump’s “strategy of tension,” as described by French President Emmanuel Macron, appears to be effective with North Korea, though calling it a strategy at all, says Phil Giraldi, is questionable given the administration dysfunction. On other fronts, including Iran, Syria and Afghanistan, Trump is failing miserably on his foreign policy scorecard.

By Philip Giraldi

As Donald Trump is currently embarking on a 90-day agenda that has major foreign policy implications for the Koreas and Iran in particular, it is perhaps a good time to reflect on what has been accomplished, or otherwise, in his first 15 months in office.

French President Emmanuel Macron, having recently completed a state visit to Washington, reportedly has described the Trump program as “a strategy of tension,” which seeks to make adversaries uncertain of what the next step by the United States will be in an effort to obtain concessions that might not otherwise be likely.

It might be argued that the “strategy of tension” has worked with regard to North Korea, which might be considering détente with Seoul as an alternative to an attack by the United States. And Trump might even be right when he declares that previous U.S. presidents failed in their duty to strike a deal with Pyongyang. North Korea has long sought an end to the Korean War, which is still in armistice status, but its “unacceptable” condition has been that it should include a pledge of non-aggression from Washington, which successive administrations have refused to agree to lest their hands be tied if the North were to again become aggressive. And it would be conditional on the U.S. withdrawing its forces from the peninsula, knowing that once they are gone they will never return, so some might regard the North Korean overtures as little more than a trick to force the United States to depart before resuming business as usual by the hardline communist state.

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Even giving Trump credit for positive developments in Korea, however, it is far from clear that it was part of some kind of strategy, as the White House team has been largely dysfunctional while the president’s grasp of the niceties of international interrelations appears to be minimal.

Iran is another clear case where “tension” is being applied to compel the Iranians to give up their ballistic missile developments to supplement their participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to downgrade their nuclear energy program. The decision on whether the United States will withdraw from the agreement will likely be made in the next 10 days [this article was originally published in last week’s AFP Issue 19 & 20, before Trump’s decision on Iran was announced–Ed.], and the signs coming out of White House meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Macron are unfavorable regarding continued U.S. participation. Iran will likely dig in its heels, and there is a real possibility that it will consider a nuclear weapons program plus a functional delivery system to defend itself against the U.S. and nuclear armed Israel. There will be no coercion of Iran, which will actually fight hard using all its resources to resist an American effort at regime change.

And then there are Afghanistan and Syria. Afghanistan consists of doubling down on the mistakes made in that country since 2001, in the unfortunate belief that they can be corrected. Afghanistan will require some kind of settlement with the Taliban, which currently de facto controls more than half of the country, and which will have to become a partner in government like it or not. As the country is not a vital interest to the United States, extrication of U.S. forces after arranging for some kind of governing formula is the appropriate solution. Taking whatever steps are necessary to escape from a quagmire is acceptable.

Syria is Trump’s reversion to the same bad policies that resulted in Iraq, leading to the creation of ISIS among other consequences, not to mention a cost estimated to be $5 trillion. Syria, like Iraq, is a neocon exercise in delusion. Israel wanted Iraq to become a weakened state divided into ethnic and religious groups, a situation that still prevails in a country that is Shi’a dominated yet contains powerful Sunni and Kurdish regions that challenge the reinstatement of a national identity. Israel also wants the same for Syria, and the United States is complying by trying to create separate security zones that will not only include a large part of the country to the east along the Euphrates River and also to the north, but will also incorporate Syria’s oil production region, sharply diminishing the central government’s income. The formula will not work even though Israel and many in Washington are pushing hard for it.

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The fundamental problem is that the United States under Trump persists in believing, as did the former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, that the U.S. is the “essential nation” that is able to “see far” and provide leadership for the rest of the world. This kind of thinking is bollocks, as the British are accustomed to saying. The United States foreign policy is driven by special interests, the most prominent of which is Israel and its supporters, in its attempt to remake the Middle East. Can anyone doubt at this point that the world, as well as the United States itself, would be far better off now if it had not invaded in Afghanistan and decided to stay there to fix it, if the U.S. had not invaded Iraq in 2003, and if the Bush and Obama administrations had not been driven by hubris to continue the process in Syria, a drama without any end in sight?

So on balance, Trump might actually deserve an “A” on North Korea, if it turns out that his form of intervention actually brought about some kind of resolution to a problem that has been festering for 65 years. But he deserves a “D” on Afghanistan, which is a classic case of democracy-building gone crazy and an “F” for both Syria and Iran, which are reflective of Israeli desires rather than actual American interests.

There is still time to fix what is going wrong, but it depends on an understanding of what “America first” should actually mean, which is that the demands of hegemonistic foreign clients should no longer guide U.S. policy. Israel should be told that if it wants to attack Iran it should go right ahead, but it should not expect the United States of America to be joining in the effort.

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review.




Iranians Have Kept Up Their End of the Nuclear Bargain

By all accounts, Iran has kept up its end of the JCPOA bargain, and most of the world is imploring Donald Trump to leave it alone, and not withdraw from the plan. The president knows “that such a move could lead to Iran resuming its earlier efforts to build a nuclear bomb, thereby destabilizing the Middle East and inviting a major war. Such a war would be applauded by Israeli hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his allies in the Saudi Royal Family, and Zionist elements on Capitol Hill.” Indeed, much is at stake. . . . 

By Richard Walker

According to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors, Iran has honored its commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the JCPOA, but a stroke of President Donald Trump’s pen could signal its end or lead to a unilateral U.S. withdrawal from it.

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Such an outcome was first promised by Trump as an election pledge, even though he knew that such a move could lead to Iran resuming its earlier efforts to build a nuclear bomb, thereby destabilizing the Middle East and inviting a major war. Such a war would be applauded by Israeli hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his allies in the Saudi Royal Family, and Zionist elements on Capitol Hill.

On the other hand, Russia, China, Germany, Britain, and France, which also signed the JCPOA to end Iran’s nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions, might well choose to stick with the deal and encourage Iran to do so, too. The EU has called on all sides to ensure the deal is protected. EU chief Federica Mogherini has pleaded with Washington to preserve it for the sake of security, arguing that it is working as planned. Her view is supported by most experts who believe the deal, which took two years to negotiate, represents a major diplomatic achievement. The White House disagrees, claiming it has been a disaster and that the Iranians have been cheating. IAEA inspectors who have conducted strict inspections of Iran’s nuclear sites have shown that claims of cheating have been bogus. The inspections have been the most thorough and strict ever undertaken by the IAEA.

Forgotten in the media coverage of ongoing threats by Trump to scrap the deal is the fact that it was supported in 2015 by a UN Security Council vote of 15-0. That confirms those determined to jettison it would have to overturn a majority UN Security Council vote. China and Russia will not let that happen.

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On April 27, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced that it was encouraging all signatories to the JCPOA to “honor and safeguard it.” That followed a similar commitment from the Kremlin with a spokesman pointing out that the deal was a product of “meticulous and intense diplomacy,” and there is no alternative to it. One of the interesting elements of the Kremlin statement was its insistence that Iran’s “stance” on the JCPOA was critical in any consideration of it. In other words, those like Trump or France’s Macron who mused about negotiating a new arrangement could not do so without Iranian approval. Such an approval will not be forthcoming. Iran’s leaders have said they will not allow a word of the nuclear deal to be altered.

Lost in much of the media speculation about the future of the deal is that Iran has kept its commitments even though it has not benefited that much financially, given all the hype in the West about what the deal would do for its economy. That can be explained in part by Trump’s public threats to wreck the deal, a move that has dissuaded international banks and companies from doing business with Tehran.

From the day it was negotiated, the deal was threatened by Netanyahu and his backers on Capitol Hill. It was also vehemently opposed by the Saudis, who have Trump’s ear. Some Israeli intelligence chiefs, however, have disagreed with Netanyahu, pointing out that the Iranians have honored their side of the bargain, thereby making it impossible for them to build a nuclear weapon for at least 20 years.

In a move not mentioned in Congress or in the mainstream media, The Jerusalem Post recently lambasted Trump for his stance on the deal in language that was startling.

“This reality is clear, even to former critics of the deal. Trump’s bombastic rhetoric is not backed up with fact: There is no case in which unilateral withdrawal serves U.S. interests,” reported the Post.

Those familiar with Middle East politics know that White House opposition to the nuclear pact is ultimately aimed at weakening Iran’s influence in the region. It is a strategy applauded by Israel and the Saudis. Russia, Iran’s ally, is watching events carefully and has been negotiating secretly with Iran to boost its missile defenses.

North Korea will no doubt have been studying the Iran issue, wondering if it could ever trust Washington to be a reliable broker in a nuclear deal. However, if North Korea were to give up its nukes, it would continue to pose a major threat to its neighbors because of its massive arsenal of short-range missiles that could obliterate South Korea and strike Japan. The issue of that arsenal does not appear to have been on Washington’s agenda.

Richard Walker is the nom de plume of a former New York mainstream news producer who grew tired of seeing his articles censored by his bosses.




Time to Investigate ‘Israelgate’

If the FBI director wants to uncover foreign meddling in U.S. elections, says Phil Giraldi, he ought to look at Israel, and specifically, NSA-designee Michael Flynn’s call, at Benjamin Netanyahu’s request via Jared Kushner, to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on Dec. 22, 2016.

By Philip Giraldi

Recently there was a slight misunderstanding between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu claimed that the Trump administration had been discussing with him a plan for annexing the large Israeli settlements—illegal under international law—on the Palestinian West Bank. He told a Likud Party gathering that “on the subject of applying sovereignty, I can say that I have been talking to the Americans about it for some time.” White House spokesman Josh Raffel responded testily for the president, saying that “reports that the United States discussed with Israel an annexation plan for the West Bank are false. The United States and Israel have never discussed such a proposal. . . .”

Was it just another misunderstanding between two friends who also happen to be heads of state? Hardly. Netanyahu expected the White House to rubber stamp whatever he decided to do. That has been the way it has worked with Trump up until now and the assumption by Netanyahu was that it would continue to operate in the same fashion.

Score one for Trump, who also dropped a bomb on Netanyahu by opining that Israel might not be truly interested in making peace with the Palestinians. It was not a brilliant observation, but it was welcome nevertheless.

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The sideshow that is Israel’s manipulation of the United States government has recently played out largely behind the scenes while much bigger dramas were surfacing relating to the various investigations surrounding the 2016 elections. A major revelation was provided by the so-called “Nunes memo,” prepared by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, which maintained that the salacious and largely fabricated Democratic National Committee-commissioned “Steele dossier” had been used as a primary source by the FBI in obtaining a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant to investigate a Trump staffer over suspicion that he was acting as an agent of Russia. This was followed by a letter from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), which filled in some of the blanks in the Nunes memo by providing convincing detail on the activity of former British spy Christopher Steele in making the case against Trump with the apparent collaboration of the FBI and others in the intelligence community.

And the most recent bombshell is that the Robert Mueller commission investigating the Trump campaign has finally issued an indictment in its seemingly endless investigation, naming 13 Russians and three Russian entities as being involved in conspiracy and identity theft relating to the election.

But somehow lost in the shuffle is the Israeli connection, which all started when Trump National Security Adviser designate Michael Flynn called Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, on Dec. 22, 2016. The call was made at the direction of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, who, in turn, had been approached by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu had learned that the Obama administration was going to abstain on a United Nations vote condemning the Israeli settlements policy, meaning that for the first time in years a UN resolution critical of Israel would pass without drawing a U.S. veto. Kushner, acting for Netanyahu, asked Flynn to contact each delegate from the various countries on the Security Council to delay or kill the resolution. Flynn agreed to do so, which included the call to the Russians. Kislyak took the call but did not agree to veto Security Council Resolution 2334, which passed unanimously on December 23.

What exactly did Kushner seek from Flynn? He asked the soon-to-be national security adviser to get the Russians to undermine and subvert what was being done by the still-in-power American government in Washington headed by President Barack Obama. In legal terms this does not quite equate to the Constitution’s definition of treason since Israel is not technically an enemy, but it most certainly could be construed as covered by the “conspiracy against the United States” statute that the Mueller investigation has exploited against former Trump associate Paul Manafort and also in the recent Russian indictments.

Mueller’s indictment, which was publicized on Feb. 16, claims that the Russians created false U.S. personas while also stealing the identities of real U.S. people in order to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. The indictment states that the goal of the entities and people identified was to both influence and disrupt the election, with some defendants posing as “U.S. people” communicating with “individuals associated with the Trump campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities.”

The “defendants’ operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Trump and disparaging Hillary Clinton,” the indictment reads, but it does not maintain that they had “any effect on the outcome of the election.” Purchases were made “to carry out those activities, including buying [$100,000 worth of] political advertisements on social media in the names of U.S. persons and entities.” The accused Russians are being charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

In the case of the Kislyak phone call, initiated by Kushner acting for Israel, Russia is being accused of involvement in activity that Israel engages in all the time and in the open. Israel has always been involved in U.S. elections down to the local level, most notably in promoting Mitt Romney over Barack Obama in 2012, and it has an enormous and well-funded lobby in AIPAC that interferes aggressively in American foreign and domestic policy formulation through “coordinating political activities” to benefit Israel. And the Israeli government’s propaganda arm uses its hasbara to go around the Internet with false identities to confuse and deflect stories that are critical of the Netanyahu government. They do so routinely and do not even try to hide what they are doing. Part of their agenda is to smear critics and elect politicians favorable to them.

So when will Mueller and the several congressional committees that are investigating the Russians move on to the topic of Israel to find out what a really effective foreign influencing operation looks like? Given Israel’s power over Congress, probably never.

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review.




Fatal Delusions of Western Man

Regarding trade imports from China, Buchanan says, “We fed the tiger, and created a monster.” Elites of both parties are responsible for this “epochal blunder,” and he says the import of millions of immigrants will lead to a similar outcome.

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“We got China wrong. Now what?” ran the headline over the column in The Washington Post.

“Remember how American engagement with China was going to make that communist backwater more like the democratic, capitalist West?” asked Charles Lane in his opening sentence.

America’s elites believed that economic engagement and the opening of U.S. markets would cause the People’s Republic to coexist benignly with its neighbors and the West.

We deluded ourselves. It did not happen.

Xi Jinping just changed China’s constitution to allow him to be dictator for life. He continues to thieve intellectual property from U.S. companies and to occupy and fortify islets in the South China Sea, which Beijing now claims as entirely its own.

Meanwhile, China sustains North Korea as Chinese warplanes and warships circumnavigate Taiwan threatening its independence.

We today confront a Chinese Communist dictatorship and superpower that seeks to displace America as first power on earth, and to drive the U.S. military back across the Pacific.

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Who is responsible for this epochal blunder?

The elites of both parties. Bush Republicans from the 1990s granted China most-favored-nation status and threw open America’s market.

Result: China has run up $4 trillion in trade surpluses with the United States. Her $375 billion trade surplus with us in 2017 far exceeded the entire Chinese defense budget.

We fed the tiger, and created a monster.

Why? What is in the mind of Western man that our leaders continue to adopt policies rooted in hopes unjustified by reality?

Recall. Stalin was a murderous tyrant unrivaled in history whose victims in 1939 were 1,000 times those of Adolf Hitler, with whom he eagerly partnered in return for the freedom to rape the Baltic States and bite off half of Poland.

When Hitler turned on Stalin, the Bolshevik butcher rushed to the West for aid. Churchill and FDR hailed him in encomiums that would have made Pericles blush. At Yalta, Churchill rose to toast the butcher:

“I walk through this world with greater courage and hope when I find myself in a relation of friendship and intimacy with this great man, whose fame has gone out not only over all Russia, but the world. … We regard Marshal Stalin’s life as most precious to the hopes and hearts of all of us.”

Returning home, Churchill assured a skeptical Parliament, “I know of no Government which stands to its obligations, even in its own despite, more solidly than the Russian Soviet Government.”

George W. Bush, with the U.S. establishment united behind him, invaded Iraq with the goal of creating a Vermont in the Middle East that would be a beacon of democracy to the Arab and Islamic world.

Ex-Director of the NSA Gen. William Odom correctly called the U.S. invasion the greatest strategic blunder in American history. But Bush, un-chastened, went on to preach a crusade for democracy with the goal of “ending tyranny in our world.”

What is the root of these astounding beliefs — that Stalin would be a partner for peace, that if we built up Mao’s China she would become benign and benevolent, that we could reshape Islamic nations into replicas of Western democracies, that we could eradicate tyranny?

Today, we are replicating these historic follies.

After our victory in the Cold War, we not only plunged into the Middle East to remake it in our image, we issued war guarantees to every ex-member state of the Warsaw Pact, and threatened Russia with war if she ever intervened again in the Baltic Republics.

No Cold War president would have dreamed of issuing such an in-your-face challenge to a great nuclear power like Russia.

If Putin’s Russia does not become the pacifist nation it has never been, these guarantees will one day be called. And America will either back down — or face a nuclear confrontation.

Why would we risk something like this?

Consider this crazed ideology of free trade globalism with its roots in the scribblings of 19th-century idiot savants, not one of whom ever built a great nation.

Adhering religiously to free trade dogma, we have run up $12 trillion in trade deficits since Bush I. Our cities have been gutted by the loss of plants and factories. Workers’ wages have stagnated. The economic independence Hamilton sought and Republican presidents from Lincoln to McKinley achieved is history.

But the greatest risk we are taking, based on utopianism, is the annual importation of well over a million legal and illegal immigrants, many from the failed states of the Third World, in the belief we can create a united, peaceful and harmonious land of 400 million, composed of every race, religion, ethnicity, tribe, creed, culture and language on earth.

Where is the historic evidence for the success of this experiment, the failure of which could mean the end of America as one nation and one people?

Pat Buchanan is a writer, political commentator and presidential candidate. He is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever and previous titles including The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority. Both are available from the AFP Online Store.

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What the FBI/FISA Memo Really Tells Us About Our Government

When the “biggest cheerleader” for maintaining the secretive FISA court knew just how abused the process really is, why would he and the rest of Congress want to keep it a secret from the citizens? And how much do they actually care about surveillance abuse of Americans?

By Rep. Ron Paul

The release of the House Intelligence Committee’s memo on the FBI’s abuse of the FISA process set off a partisan firestorm. The Democrats warned us beforehand that declassifying the memo would be the end the world as we know it. It was reckless to allow Americans to see this classified material, they said. Agents in the field could be harmed, sources and methods would be compromised, they claimed.

Republicans who had seen the memo claimed that it was far worse than Watergate. They said that mass firings would begin immediately after it became public. They said that the criminality of U.S. government agencies exposed by the memo would shock Americans.

Then it was released, and the world did not end. FBI agents have thus far not been fired. Seeing “classified” material did not terrify us, but rather it demonstrated clearly that information is kept from us by claiming it is “classified.”

In the end, both sides got it wrong. Here’s what the memo really shows us:

Plot to Scapegoat Russia
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First, the memo demonstrates that there is a “deep state” that does not want things like elections to threaten its existence. Candidate Trump’s repeated promises to get along with Russia and to re-assess NATO so many years after the end of the Cold War were threatening to a Washington that depends on creating enemies to sustain the fear needed to justify a trillion-dollar yearly military budget.

Imagine if candidate Trump had kept his campaign promises when he became president. Without the “Russia threat” and without the “China threat” and without the need to dump billions into NATO, we might actually have reaped a “peace dividend” more than a quarter-century after the end of the Cold War. That would have starved the war-promoting military-industrial complex and its network of pro-war “think tanks” that populate the Washington Beltway area.

Second, the memo shows us that neither Republicans nor Democrats really care that much about surveillance abuse when average Americans are the victims. It is clear that the FISA abuse detailed in the memo was well known to Republicans like House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes before the memo was actually released. It was likely also well known by Democrats in the House. But both parties suppressed this evidence of FBI abuse of the FISA process until after the FISA Amendments Act could be re-authorized. They didn’t want Americans to know how corrupt the surveillance system really is and how the U.S. has become far too much like East Germany. That might cause more Americans to call up their representatives and demand that the FISA mass surveillance amendment be allowed to sunset.

Ironically, Chairman Nunes was the biggest cheerleader for the extension of the FISA Amendments even as he knew how terribly the FISA process had been abused!

Finally, hawks on both sides of the aisle in Congress used “Russia-gate” as an excuse to build animosity toward Russia among average Americans. They knew from the classified information that there was no basis for their claims that the Trump Administration was put into office with Moscow’s assistance, but they played along because it served their real goal of keeping the U.S. on war footing and keeping the gravy train rolling.

But don’t worry: The neocons in both parties will soon find another excuse to keep us terrified and ready to flush away a trillion dollars a year on military spending and continue our arguments and new “Cold War” with Russia.

In the meantime, be skeptical of both parties. With few exceptions they are not protecting liberty but promoting its opposite.

Ron Paul, a former U.S. representative from Texas and medical doctor, continues to write his weekly column for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, online at www.ronpaulinstitute.org.

© 2018 RonPaulInstitute



Is Flynn’s Defection a Death Blow?

The media is “slavering like Pavlov’s dogs” over the revelation that Gen. Mike Flynn lied to the FBI about a conversation with Russia. But if the establishment succeeds in taking down President Trump, the question is, says Patrick Buchanan: Who’s next in today’s “us-versus-them” America?

By Patrick Buchanan

Why did Gen. Mike Flynn lie to the FBI about his December 2016 conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak?

Why did he not tell the FBI the truth?

As national security adviser to the president-elect, Flynn had called the ambassador. Message: Tell President Putin not to overreact to President Obama’s expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats. Trump will be president in three weeks, and we are committed to a new relationship.

Not only was this initiative defensible, it proved successful.

Putin accepted the loss of his diplomats and country houses on Long lsland and the Eastern Shore. Rather than expel U.S. diplomats in retaliation, he invited them and their families to the Kremlin’s New Year’s parties.

“Great move . . . (by V. Putin),” tweeted Trump. “I always knew he was very smart.”

This columnist concurred:

“Among our Russophobes, one can hear the gnashing of teeth.

“Clearly, Putin believes the Trump presidency offers Russia the prospect of a better relationship with the United States. He appears to want this, and most Americans seem to want the same. After all, Hillary Clinton, who accused Trump of being ‘Putin’s puppet,’ lost.”

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Flynn, it now appears, was not freelancing, but following instructions. His deputy, K. T. McFarland, sent an email to six Trump advisers saying that Obama, by expelling the Russians, was trying to “box Trump in diplomatically.”

“If there is a tit-for-tat escalation,” warned McFarland, “Trump will have difficulty improving relations with Russia.” Exactly.

Flynn was trying to prevent Russian retaliation. Yet, as the ex-director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, he had to know his call to Kislyak was being monitored and recorded.

So, again, why would he lie to the FBI about a conversation, the contents of which were surely known to the people who sent the FBI to question him?

The other charge of lying about a call with Kislyak was Flynn’s request for Russian help in getting postponed or canceled a Security Council vote on a resolution denouncing Israeli settlements on the West Bank.

Obama’s White House was backing the anti-Israel resolution. And Bibi Netanyahu had asked Trump to weigh in to block the vote.

Bottom line: Flynn, acting on instructions, tried to prevent a U.N. condemnation of Israel, and to dissuade Russia from a mass expulsion of U.S. diplomats, lest this poison the well against a rapprochement for which the American people had voted.

In the court of public opinion, Flynn’s actions would find broad support. Rather than deny knowledge of them, Trump should have taken credit for them.

Why the general would lie to the FBI about conversations he had to know U.S. intelligence had recorded is a puzzling question, but now also an irrelevant one, water over the dam.

For Trump’s general is now the newly conscripted collaborator of the media-Mueller-Democrat-Deep State conspiracy to overturn the election of 2016 and bring down the Trump presidency.

Remarkable.

After 18 months, we have no evidence Trump colluded with Russia in hacking the emails of the DNC or John Podesta, which is what the FBI investigation was supposedly about.

There is no conclusive evidence Flynn committed a crime when, as national security adviser-designate, he tried to prevent Obama from sabotaging the policies Trump had run on—and won on.

Yet there is evidence Russian intelligence agents colluded with a British spy in the pay of the oppo research arm of the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign—to find dirt on Donald Trump.

And there is evidence James Comey’s FBI wanted to hire the British spy who appeared to have access to the Russian agents who appeared to possess all that wonderful dirt on The Donald.

It is hard to see how this ends well.

This weekend, after Flynn’s admission he lied to the FBI, Beltway media were slavering like Pavlov’s dogs at anticipated indictments and plea bargains by present and former White House aides, Trump family members, and perhaps Trump himself.

The joy on the TV talk shows was transparent.

Yet the media have already been badly damaged; first, by the relentless Trump attacks and the cheering for those attacks by a huge slice of the country; second, by their reflexive reaction. The media have behaved exactly like the “enemy” Trump said they were.

In this us-versus-them country, the media now seem to relish the role of “them.” The old, proud journalistic boast to be objective and neutral reporters, observers, and commentators is gone.

We are all partisans now.

As last Friday’s sudden 300-point drop in the Dow reveals, if Trump’s enemies bring him down, they will almost surely crash the markets and abort the recovery that took hold in Trump’s first year.

And if the establishment, repudiated by Trump’s victory, thinks it will be restored to the nation’s good graces if they destroy Trump, they are whistling past the graveyard.

When Caesar falls, the cheering for Brutus and Cassius tends to die down rather quickly. Then their turn comes.

Pat Buchanan is a writer, political commentator and presidential candidate. He is the author of a new book, Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever and previous titles including The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority. Both are available from the AFP Bookstore

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