Saturday, December 16, 2017

Today's Links

1--Washington lies to Moscow, then moves Nato troops eastward towards Russia

All western powers and statesmen assured the Russians that NATO would not take advantage of the Soviet retreat and that a new era of amity and cooperation would dawn in post-Cold War Europe. US Secretary of State Jim Baker offered ‘ironclad guarantees’ there would be no NATO expansion. Lies, all lies....

Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush quickly began moving NATO into Eastern Europe, violating all the pledges made to Moscow.
The Poles, Hungarians and Czechs were brought into NATO, then Romania and Bulgaria, the Baltic States, Albania, and Montenegro. Washington tried to get the former Soviet Republics of Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. The Moscow-aligned government of Ukraine was overthrown in a US-engineered coup. The road to Moscow was open.
All the bankrupt, confused Russians could do was denounce these eastward moves by the US and NATO. The best response NATO and Washington could come up with was, ‘well, there was no official written promise.’ This is worthy of a street peddler selling counterfeit watches. The leaders of the US, Britain, France, Belgium and Italy all lied....

ow, with NATO forces on its western borders, Russia’s deepest fears have been realized.
Today, US military aircraft based on the coasts of Romania and Bulgaria, former Warsaw Pact members, probe Russian airspace over the Black Sea and the vital strategic port of Sevastopol. Washington talks about arming chaotic Ukraine. US and NATO troops are in the Baltic, on Russia’s northwestern borders. Polish right-wingers are beating the war drums against Russia.
In 1990, KGB and CIA agreed to the principal of ‘not one inch’ eastward for NATO. Former US ambassador to Moscow, Jack Matlock, confirms the same agreement....

Is it any wonder after this bait and switch diplomacy that Russia has no trust in the Western powers? Moscow watches US-run NATO oozing ever eastwards. Today, Russia’s leaders firmly believe Washington’s ultimate plan is to tear apart Russia and reduce it to an impotent, pauper nation. Two former Western leaders, Napoleon and Hitler, had similar plans.

2--FBI Edits To Clinton Exoneration Go Far Beyond What Was Previously Known; Comey, McCabe, Strzok Implicated


3--Scheme To Pay Off Trump Accusers Emerges, One Woman Was Offered $750,000


 4--Iran Joins EAEU - 45 Years Of US Foreign Policy Down The Drain


5--Weapons Went From The CIA To ISIS In Less Than Two Months


6--Elite Commandos Deployed to 149 Countries in 2017--Donald Trump’s First Year Sets Record for US Special Operations


7--More evidence surfaces showing FBI colluded to get Hillary Clinton off the hook for email server (Video


8--US secretary of state issues new ultimatum to North Korea


Just days after declaring the US was willing to talk to North Korea without preconditions, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivered a fresh ultimatum to Pyongyang. He ruled out any meeting unless it was preceded by a “sustained cessation of North Korea’s threatening behaviour.”
Speaking at the UN Security Council on Friday, Tillerson declared: “North Korea must earn its way back to the [negotiating] table. The pressure campaign must, and will, continue until denuclearization is achieved.” Pyongyang had a choice, he stated, either give up its nuclear weapons programs, “or it can continue to condemn its people to poverty and isolation.....

Tillerson told the Atlantic Council on Tuesday that it was “not realistic to say we’re only going to talk if you come to the table ready to give up your [nuclear] program.” He offered to hold a first meeting with North Korean officials to talk about anything, including “the weather if you want,” in order to break the ice.
Tillerson was quickly pulled into line by the White House, which declared that Trump’s position had not changed, fueling further speculation that the president might remove the secretary of state...

At the UN, Tillerson called on China and Russia to effectively strangle North Korea economically. Faced with the threat of a major US-led war on their doorstep, both countries have already agreed to punitive UN sanctions that ban virtually all North Korean exports and restrict energy imports....

Tillerson sought to assure the UN Security Council that the US was not about to launch a war on North Korea. “We have been clear that all options remain on the table in the defense of our nation, but we do not seek, nor do we want, war with North Korea,” he said.

9-- Jens Stoltenberg and Angelina Jolie call for NATO intervention to promote “gender equality

In fact, from its foundation in April 1949 until the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in July 1991, NATO’s role was dictated by confrontation with the Soviet Union. To this end, it not only fomented a nuclear arms race but was involved in numerous conflicts and interventions from the Korean War to Cuba.
With the juridical liquidation of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO’s aggressive stance became more overt as it mounted direct military operations in the Balkans, Afghanistan and, more recently, Libya and Syria aimed ultimately at encircling, and dismembering Russia and China.

Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives as a result and millions more have been injured and displaced. These wars, moreover, have been accompanied by the evisceration of all pretence at maintaining democratic norms—including extraordinary rendition and targeted assassinations by drone strikes, not to speak of the gutting of civil liberties “at home.”

This has been the case irrespective of the lofty claims of “humanitarian intervention” and the citing of a “Responsibility to Protect” that accompanied these wars. It is a matter of fact that wherever NATO goes, abject misery and horror follows.

Stoltenberg/Jolie couldn’t care less. They are not out to prevent conflict, but are seeking a pretext to create it. Thus, in a modern day-twist to the “white man’s burden”, they advocate the fight for “cultural change” and “gender equality” through the barrel of a gun.

The article appeared against the backdrop of a vicious, anti-democratic campaign over sexual harassment piloted in Hollywood—America’s “Scarlet Letter” moment. As the World Socialist Web Site has explained, the “Me Too” movement represents an effort by an affluent section of the middle class to achieve a greater share of privileges and wealth.
Stoltenberg/Jolie are now attempting to utilise the same type of self-absorption and indifference to social inequality amongst this constituency to build support for militarism and war.
Their appeal is a weaponisation of feminism in the service of NATO and of imperialist reaction. This is especially necessary when the imperialist alliance is preparing even greater crimes that threaten humanity with a new world war, fought with nuclear weapons....

It is to conceal its predatory aims that Stoltenberg/Jolie attempt to recast NATO as a tool of female emancipation.
NATO will integrate “gender issues into its strategic thinking”, reinforce a “culture of integration of women throughout the organisation, including in leadership positions”, promote “the role of women in the military”, and deploy “gender advisers to local communities”, where “NATO’s female soldiers are able to reach and engage with local communities,” they write.
Without a trace of shame, the op-ed targets Ukraine and Syria as in particular need of NATO’s gender crusade. This on behalf of an organisation that supported fascists in the first conflict, and worked with Islamic extremists, such as the Al Nusra front in the other.
So much for women’s rights! Their white-wash of NATO, this imperialist thieves’ kitchen, should be treated with the contempt it deserves

10--WSJ drops truth bomb! FBI collusion as agency “interfered in an American presidential election”


Democrats and the media are accusing anyone who criticizes special counsel Robert Mueller as Trumpian conspirators trying to undermine his probe. But who needs critics when Mr. Mueller’s team is doing so much to undermine its own credibility?


Wednesday’s revelations—they’re coming almost daily—include the Justice Department’s release of 2016 text messages to and from Peter Strzok, the FBI counterintelligence agent whom Mr. Mueller demoted this summer. The texts, which he exchanged with senior FBI lawyer Lisa Page, contain expletive-laced tirades against Mr. Trump. Such Trump hatred is no surprise and not by itself disqualifying. More troubling are texts that suggest that some FBI officials may have gone beyond antipathy to anti-Trump plotting.


“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office—that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected—but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” Mr. Strzok wrote Ms. Page in an Aug. 15, 2016 text. He added: “It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”
What “policy” would that be? The “Andy” in question is Andrew McCabe, the deputy FBI director. FBI officials are allowed to have political opinions, but what kind of action were they discussing that would amount to anti-Trump “insurance”?
In another exchange that month, Ms. Page forwarded a Trump-related article and wrote:
“Maybe you’re meant to stay where you are because you’re meant to protect the country from that menace.”
He thanked her and assured: “Of course I’ll try and approach it that way.”

Mr. Strzok, recall, is the man who changed the words “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless” in James Comey’s July 2016 public exoneration of Hillary Clinton’s emails.
The McCabe meeting came on the heels of the FBI’s launch of its counterintelligence probe into Trump-Russia ties. July is also when former British spook Christopher Steele briefed the FBI on his Clinton-financed dossier of salacious allegations against Mr. Trump. The texts explain why Mr. Mueller would remove Mr. Strzok, though a straight shooter wouldn’t typically resist turning those messages over to Congress for as long as Mr. Mueller did.

Public confidence isn’t helped by the continuing Justice and FBI refusal to cooperate with Congress. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who supervises Mr. Mueller, toed the Mueller-FBI line on Wednesday before the House Oversight Committee. He repeated FBI Director Christopher Wray’s preposterous excuse that he can’t answer questions because of an Inspector General probe. And he wouldn’t elaborate on the news that Nellie Ohr, the wife of senior Justice official Bruce Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS, which hired Mr. Steele to gin up his dossier.
The man who should be most disturbed by all this is Mr. Mueller, who wants his evidence and conclusions to be credible with the public. Evidence is building instead that some officials at the FBI—who have worked for him—may have interfered in an American presidential election. Congress needs to insist on its rights as a co-equal branch of government to discover the truth.

11-- Newly Declassified Documents: Gorbachev WAS PROMISED Numerous Times NATO Wouldn't Move Past East German Border


Vladimir Putin have complained bitterly about the expansion of NATO towards their borders despite what they had believed were assurances to the contrary. “What happened to the assurances our western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today?” Putin said at the Munich Conference on Security Policy in 2007.

“No one even remembers them. But I will allow myself to remind this audience what was said. I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary Mr. Woerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990. He said at the time that: ‘the fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee.’ Where are these guarantees?”

12--Ron Chernow’s Grant: An able and compelling new biography


In his memoirs, Grant recalled his opposition to the Mexican War. “For myself, I was bitterly opposed to the measure, and to this day regard the war which resulted as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation.” He later argued that it led to the expansion of slave-holding territory in the United States and was a direct cause of the Civil War.
“The Southern rebellion was largely the outgrowth of the Mexican War,” he wrote. “Nations, like individuals, are punished for their transgressions. We got our punishment in the most sanguinary and expensive war of modern times.
he shocking extent of Klan violence in the post-Civil War period is rarely taught in schools. As Chernow writes, “Americans today know little about the terrorism that engulfed the South during Grant’s presidency. It has been suppressed by a strange national amnesia. The Klan’s ruthless reign is a dark, buried chapter in American history. The Civil War is far better known than its brutal aftermath.”

Once Reconstruction collapsed, it left southern blacks for eighty years at the mercy of Jim Crow segregation, lynchings, poll taxes, literacy tests, and other tactics designed to segregate them from whites and deny them the vote. Black sharecroppers would be degraded to the level of debt-ridden serfs, bound to their former plantation owners. After 1877, the black community in the South steadily lost ground until a rigid apartheid separated the races completely, a terrible state of affairs that would not be fixed until the rise of the civil rights movement after World War II.
At the same time, historians of the “lost cause” school engaged in apologias for the South’s conduct in the Civil War. They argued that the cause of the war was “states’ rights,” not slavery, built up Robert E. Lee to superhuman status and heaped scorn on Grant as a “drunken butcher.” These lies were embraced even in the North and remain a major influence in history textbooks to this day....

Upon Grant’s death, Frederick Douglass eulogized, “In him the Negro found a protector, the Indian a friend, a vanquished foe a brother, an imperiled nation a savior

13--World’s richest one percent capture twice as much income growth as the bottom half

14--Corbyn's manifesto


15----Opposition mounts to sexual harassment witch-hunt


“The issue of sexual misconduct has emerged as a centerpiece of Democratic strategy for taking on President Trump and the Republican Party,” Edsall writes. “For Democrats, who have struggled to find traction in their battles with the administration, the explosion of allegations has created an opening to put the focus on Trump—a development greatly enhanced by the Moore debacle.” The latter is a reference to the defeat of the fascistic Republican Roy Moore by right-wing Democrat Doug Jones in this week’s election to the US Senate in Alabama.
Earlier this month, leading Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, opposed a motion to impeach Trump that was based on his fascistic and racist policies. Now, however, according to a separate article in the Times, “Ms. Pelosi has strongly endorsed the push for new hearings on the sexual misconduct complaints against the president....

All of this is being ignored in the campaign over sexual harassment. Class divisions are covered up beneath the claim that all women, regardless of their income, share the same “experience” of being oppressed by men, who, particularly if they are white, enjoy the benefits of the “privileged.”
The sexual harassment campaign is right-wing, antidemocratic and politically reactionary. It has nothing to do with the interests of the workers, men or women....

Politically, the Democratic Party has severed its previous association with social reform. It is a party of Wall Street, the military/intelligence apparatus and the upper-middle class, based on identity politics. This culminated in the Clinton campaign, which sought to divert mass opposition to social inequality and war through the promotion of such issues as the law-and-order demand for harsher sentencing surrounding the case of Stanford University student Brock Turner. This was coupled with the slander that workers who did not support the Democratic Party campaign were expressing white and male “privilege.” The reactionary strategy of that campaign is now being resurrected in the context of the Trump administration

Under the blanket category of “sexual harassment,” an extremely broad range of activity, including that which falls under the framework of normal interpersonal relations, is effectively being criminalized and associated with the horrific crime of rape. The effect is to create a situation where virtually anyone can be singled out and smeared with the charge of being a “sexual predator.”...

This means that misinterpreted word or gesture can result in being fired and blacklisted. This goes a long way in drastically undermining the First Amendment protection of free speech.
From the beginning of the Trump presidency, the Democrats have sought to channel popular opposition to the administration behind a right-wing agenda based on the demands of powerful factions of the military-intelligence apparatus. Hence the campaign over “fake news,” Russian hacking, and now sexual harassment.
Thomas Edsall, in a column published this week (“The Politics of #HimToo”), acknowledges that the campaign is largely driven by political considerations. The column is all the more significant given that it appears in the New York Times, the leading voice in pursuing the sexual witch hunt.

Most urgently we must work with other countries to advance the cause of human rights, to confront the four greatest and interconnected threats facing our common humanity.
First, the growing concentration of unaccountable wealth and power in the hands of a tiny corporate elite, a system many call neoliberalism, which has sharply increased inequality, marginalisation, insecurity and anger across the world.

Second, climate change, which is creating instability, fuelling conflict across the world and threatening all our futures.
Third, the unprecedented numbers of people fleeing conflict, persecution, human rights abuses, social breakdown and climate disasters.
And finally, the use of unilateral military action and intervention, rather than diplomacy and negotiation, to resolve disputes and change governments.



 NOTES & Links:

Years late to the party, mainstream media outlets like USA Today, Reuters, and Buzzfeed are just out with "breaking" and "exclusive" stories detailing how a vast arsenal of weapons sent to Syria by the CIA in cooperation with US allies fuelled the rapid growth of ISIS. Buzzfeed's story entitled, Blowback: ISIS Got A Powerful Missile The CIA Secretly Bought In Bulgaria, begins by referencing "a new report on how ISIS built its arsenal highlights how the US purchased munitions, intended for Syrian rebels, that ended up in the hands of the terrorist grou



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