Monday, April 22, 2019

Today's Links

The central conspiracy theory that dominated political & media discourse for 3 years - that Trump & his associates election-conspired with Russia & many of them are Russian agents - was rejected, not affirmed, by the Mueller Report. The media's self-celebration is bizarre. glenn greenwald


Russiagaters: "Bernie supporters were wittingly or unwittingly brainwashed & weaponized by Russian active measures to help Putin's Manchurian Candidate Trump win. Bernie bros are the Kremlin fifth column, the enemy within" marc ames (got that?)



1--Why I’m voting Brexit in the European elections – George Galloway

Farage is not a fascist, he’s a populist, more Huey Long than Hermann Goering. He’s against the automatic right of free movement of EU labor, to be sure, but the EU is the whitest trading bloc in the world. The EU labor which has come to Britain is overwhelmingly white, European, just like the majority of us. So the charge of racism doesn’t add up either, not least because he wants to prefer Commonwealth immigration where the British economy requires it and the Commonwealth is overwhelmingly black.

In the many conversations I have had with him on and off air, he has never betrayed a sliver of racist thinking and my antenna is sharp. I have represented more black and minority ethnic voters in parliament than any MP in history, and in three great cities. My wife is Indonesian and I have four mixed-race children. I have spent my life fighting for freedom around the world and defending it at home. I know what fascism is and Nigel Farage is no fascist.

In any case, being opposed to mass immigration is not (necessarily) racist. There is nothing left-wing about mass immigration. Poor people having to abandon their families and countries to find better-paid work is not a left-wing thing. Poor countries losing their youngest, fittest, and best workers to richer countries is not a left-wing thing. And workers in the richer countries seeing their labor supply multiplying instinctively know that more labor supply means less wages for them. Everybody knows this really – only Trotskyites and globalized capitalists really believe in “open borders

Farage, incidentally, opposed the war on Iraq, and Libya, and Syria – unlike the great majority of Labour MPs.

2--Mueller's done, and Dems should be too

The walls were not coming down. They were not closing in. There was, at the end of the day, no evidence whatsoever of any collusion — and there was nothing but a president frustrated at being wrongly accused and wrongly investigated over a very effective hoax.....

There never was a crime, and what seemed far-fetched was simply that — this time, a duly elected president was investigated for a crime that never even existed. In fact, evidence is mounting that the investigation itself was launched on phony grounds.And so, the screaming partisan antics of Democrats in the House are likely to set the Democratic Party back a decade if they do not get a grip on themselves.

3--Trump exonerated but Russia allegations persist

the Mueller report left unscathed the central-but-unproven allegation that the Russian government hacked into the DNC and Podesta emails, gave them to WikiLeaks to publish, and helped you win the election. The thrust will be the same; namely, even if there is a lack of evidence that you colluded with Russian President Vladimir Putin, you have him to thank for becoming president. And that melody will linger on for the rest of your presidency, unless you seize the moment.

4--Political rebellion in Turkey

Ahmet Davutoglu, who was once Erdogan’s handpicked successor at the helm of the ruling AK Party, said it “must face the reality of decreasing public support” due to “arrogant” policies. The former prime minister’s written statement on Monday avoided any personal criticism of Erdogan, though ripped into policies under the president from the management of economy to curbing of basic liberties and the pressure on free speech.

“We can’t manage the economic crisis that’s in play by denying its existence,” said Davutoglu, who is still an AKP member, though no longer in parliament. “A governance crisis lies at the root of the economic crisis that we are living.”
The broadside underscores the turmoil in Turkey as Erdogan tries to keep control of the political narrative and smother any sign of opposition

5 --archive  Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence


Reviewing the lies that were told...This is just one of thousands of similar propaganda pieces

Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.
The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation.

6--Vladivostok university preparing to host Kim-Putin summit, photos confirm

North Korean and Russian flags already set up in one building as security heightened on campus


 7--Baghdad summit brings together friends, neighbors and rivals

The Baghdad summit of parliaments of neighbouring countries of Iraq on Saturday concluded with a final declaration stressing the stability of the country.
Turkey’s parliament speaker Mustafa Sentop also attended the Baghdad summit which brought together parliament speakers of Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey, Jordan and Syria.
The summit was headed by Speaker of Iraq’s Council of Representatives, Mohammed al-Halbusi.
The summit of legislative chiefs in Baghdad highlighted the importance of the stability of Iraq and the preservation of its territorial integrity and its social fabric, after its great victory over the terrorists of Daesh.

The declaration also drew attention that the support of neighbouring countries was needed for the process of building, reconstruction and development in Iraq, and to encourage investment opportunities in various fields in order to enable displaced people to return to their cities.
It was also underlined that the participating countries should support the political process and democracy in Iraq.

8--Landslide victory for Zelensky over Poroshenko in Ukrainian presidential election

By Jason Melanovski
22 April 2019
In the second round of Ukraine’s presidential election on Sunday, comedian Volodomyr Zelensky won a landslide victory over the incumbent president, Petro Poroshenko, who was brought to power in an imperialist-backed far-right coup in February 2014.
Exit polls showed Zelensky winning 73.06 percent of the vote (almost 10 million votes), compared to just 24.61 percent for Poroshenko (less than 3.4 million votes). In the face of the overwhelming vote for Zelensky, Poroshenko quickly conceded defeat, stating that while he was “leaving office,” he was not “leaving politics.” With the exception of a small province in western Ukraine, the entire country voted overwhelmingly for Zelensky....

The election results reflect, above all, the enormous popular hostility toward the right-wing nationalist and militarist policies of the Poroshenko regime, which was installed in 2014 by the imperialist powers as a puppet regime to spearhead their war preparations against Russia.
Since then, Poroshenko has subjected the Ukrainian working class to far-reaching austerity measures, the continuation of the war in the east of the country and extreme nationalism and xenophobia. His presidency has relied heavily on the promotion of far-right forces. His government banned references to communism and the victory of the Red Army aganst Nazism in World War II, and made the glorification of the Nazi collaborators of Stepan Bandera’s Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists-B (OUN-B) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) official state policy.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

in an interview with RBK Ukraine given shortly before Sunday’s election, Zelenskiy called Russia an “aggressor” in Donbass and Putin an “enemy.” He expressed his support for the banning of Russian-language press and artists, and called World War II Ukrainian war criminal Stepan Bandera, who worked with the Nazis to persecute the Jews, a “hero,” who “defended the freedom of Ukraine.”

He proclaimed that he did not plan to deviate from the proposed entry of Ukraine into NATO and promised to hold a referendum on the issue, pledging to “win over” skeptical Ukrainians in the east of the country. Zelensky is also a long-standing supporter of Ukrainian membership in the European Union. The entry of Ukraine into both the EU and NATO would signify a major provocation and escalation of tensions with Russia.

Throughout the campaign, Zelensky was careful to not reveal anything concrete about his economic agenda, but in his interview with RBK Ukraine, he admitted to being a supporter of all types of “deregulation”—in other words, the elimination of what remains of Ukraine’s social services.
He has won the support of several prominent free market “reformers” within Ukraine, including ex-Finance Minister Oleksandr Danylyuk and former Economy Minister Aivaras Abromavicius. Abromavicius is notorious for his attempts to push through the wide scale privatization and sale of Ukraine’s remaining state-owned industries

Both Zelensky and Abromavicius are dedicated to carrying out the orders of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and have stated that Ukraine will remain in the IMF loan program for as long as necessary. Zelensky has also proposed to end a moratorium on the selling of farmland, per IMF order, and has equivocated on the IMF-ordered hiking of natural gas prices, which plunged many Ukrainians into the cold the past winter.
Regarding education, one of Zelensky’s advisors, Serhiy Babak, suggested that a massive privatization of public education was in the cards, stating, “We will open the market for educational services for private initiatives and for foreign educational institutions, and we will develop a state partnership [with private educational organizations].

9--Special Counsel Mueller--Disingenuous and Dishonest by Larry C Johnson

  A careful reading of the report reveals that Mueller has issued findings that are both disingenuous and dishonest. The report is a failed hatchet job. Part of the failure can be attributed to the amount of material that Attorney General Barr allowed to be released. It appears that Bill Barr's light editing may have been intended to expose the bias and sloppiness of Mueller and his team....

Then there is reality. The impetus, the encouragement for the Moscow project came from one man--Felix Sater
In the late summer of2015, (when it became clear that Russia would intervene in syria) the Trump Organization received a new inquiry about pursuing a Trump Tower project in Moscow. In approximately September 2015, Felix Sater . . . contacted Cohen on behalf of I.C. Expert Investment Company (I.C. Expert), a Russian real-estate development corporation controlled by Andrei Vladimirovich Rozov.J07...

little Felix Sater keeps coming back to the well. In January 2016,

(Very important)  Why was Felix Sater the one repeatedly identified pushing to arrange deals with the Russians and yet did not face any subsequent charges by the Mueller team? Sater had been working as part of the Trump team since 2003. Why is it that the proposed deals and travel to Moscow came predominantly from Felix Sater? As I noted in my previous piece--The FBI Tried and Failed to Entrap Trump--Sater was an active FBI undercover informant. He had been working with the FBI since 1998. When he agreed to start working as an undercover informant aka cooperator in December 1998 guess who signed off on the deal? Andrew Weissman. You can see the deal here. It was signed 10 December 1998.
An honest prosecutor would have and should have disclosed this fact. He, Sater, was the one encouraging the Trump team to cozy up to Russia. Mueller does not disclose one single instance of Trump or Cohen or any of the Trump kids calling Sater on the carpet and chewing his ass for not bringing them deals and not opening doors in Russia. Omitting this key fact goes beyond simple disingenuity. It is a conscious lie.
The circumstantial evidence indicates that Sater was doing this at the behest of FBI handlers. We do not yet know who they are....
How does a guy like Vorkretsov/Greenberg, with an extensive criminal record and circumstantial ties to the Russian mob gain entrance into the United States? Very simple answer. He too was an FBI informant:
In an affidavit, Vostretsov explained to an immigration judge he worked for the FBI for 17 years throughout the world, including in the US, Iran and North Korea. He explained in the same paperwork the FBI granted him several temporary visas to visit the US in exchange for information about criminal activities.
This is more than an odd coincidence. This is a pattern. The FBI was targeting the Trump campaign and personnel in a deliberate effort to implicate them in wanting to work with Russians. 
And there is more. George Papodopoulus was entrapped by individuals linked to British MI-6 and the CIA with offers to provide meetings with Russians and Putin. The Mueller account is a lie:
...This is not a meer matter of Mueller and his team "failing" to disclose some important facts.  If they were operating honestly they should have investigated Mifsud, Greenberg and Sater. But they did not. Two of the three--Sater and Greenber--alleged Russian stooges have ties to the FBI. And Mifsud has been living and working in the belly of the intelligence community.

When you put these facts together it is clear that there is real meat on the bone for Barr's upcoming investigation of the "spying" that was being done on the Trump campaign by law enforcement and intelligence. These facts must become a part of the public consciousness. The foreign country that worked feverishly to meddle in the 2016 Presidential election and the subsequent rule of Donald Trump is the United Kingdom. Russia is the patsy.

 10--Amazing reporting and analysis--The FBI Tried and Failed to Entrap Trump by Larry C Johnson

The Mueller Report is damning of the FBI and reveals circumstantial evidence that the FBI was engaged actively as early as September 2015 in trying to entrap Donald Trump in a web of Russian conspiracy. Let's go to the report and you can read the evidence yourself....

Please pay attention. It was not Trump that directed Felix Sater to go get a deal in Russia. IT WAS SATER BRINGING THE DEAL (or trying to) to Donald Trump. A key fact not included in this paragraph was the fact--yes, established fact--that Sater was a fully signed up FBI informant. He helped the FBI make multiple cases against the Russian mob and Russian spies. Please go back and re-read the pieces I wrote on Sater:

One of the many critical questions that need to be asked is who at the FBI directed Felix Sater to try to bait the Trump team with the Putin/Moscow opportunity. Felix Sater, given his long track record with the FBI, did not come up with this idea on his own. He was put into play as part of a fishing expedition to hook Trump into a Russian collusion narrative. Fortunately for Trump, he did not take the bait.
This certainly appears to be part of a broader, orchestrated effort to ensnare Trump. As I noted with respect to the Steele Dossier, the theme of Russian Real Estate deals appeared early on:
The Kremlin's cultivation operation on TRUMP also had comprised offering him various lucrative real estate development business deals in Russia, especially in relation to the ongoing 2018 World Cup soccer tournament. However, so far, for reasons unknown, TRUMP had not taken up any of these.
Thanks to Mueller, we now know that the cultivation operation did not originate in Moscow nor the Kremlin. It came via Felix Sater who was working for the FBI. Do you think that is a mere coincidence?

11--The Mueller Report Vindicates Bill Barr


Barr’s brief account could not have been a false summary because he never undertook to summarize the report. He simply communicated Mueller’s bottom line — yes, Russia meddled; no, Trump was not complicit in a criminal conspiracy; and hand-wringing on obstruction, leaving it to Barr to make the final call....

Barr maintained that it would violate federal law if he provided grand-jury material to Congress, so he would have to withhold it. Democrats went ballistic . . . but within days, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that grand-jury materials must be kept secret unless they fall under an exception prescribed in Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e) — which does not have an exception for disclosure to Congress.

And cover-up? While it is pretty obvious that intelligence about Russia (unrelated to Trump) was blocked out, no effort was made to scrub from the report behavior by the president that is dishonest, conniving, and — in the view of Special Counsel Mueller — on the cusp of criminal obstruction.

Moreover, the most unsavory evidence of presidential misconduct came from the president’s own White House counsel — meaning it could have been withheld not just from Congress and the public but also from Mueller on executive-privilege and attorney–client-privilege grounds.

Democrats claim Barr’s determination on obstruction was the equivalent of acting as Trump’s defense lawyer. But the only way for any prosecutor to assess the question of whether a suspect had corrupt intent is to catalogue the evidence that cuts against it — since, if corrupt intent cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, there can be no criminal case. Barr did not claim that Trump had conducted himself admirably; he said that proving corrupt intent would have been difficult, if not impossible, thanks to (a) the president’s extensive cooperation with the investigation (making White House witnesses available, disclosing over a million documents, asserting no claim of privilege) and (b) the non-corrupt thinking that fueled the president’s frustration (i.e., his belief that his presidency was being destroyed by a bogus collusion allegation). That Democrats do not like this outcome does not make it wrong.

12-- Why the Effort to Demonize Attorney General Barr?

Soon Mr. Barr will be tasked with collating and adjudicating criminal referrals and arguments for indictments coming variously from Inspector General Michael Horowitz, possibly special counsel John Huber, Devin Nunes the ranking Republican and former chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and perhaps later even from Lindsey Graham, Chair of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, along with any conclusions arising from federal attorneys within the Justice Department itself.

In toto, these sources variously may present evidence to Barr on matters of lying to federal investigators, perjury, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, and abuse of government surveillance — and the charges could, in ironic fashion, involve top-ranking former administrative state investigators during the Obama administration, who for the last two years have been quite prominent as cable news analysts and, in their memoirs at least, as self-described ethicists. Add that there will be a completely different sort of news cycle as it intensifies in approach of the 2020 election. In such investigations, no one has any idea what possible defendants may do or say to federal prosecutors in efforts to lessen their own criminal exposure.

13--US delivers equipment to YPG terrorists near Turkish border in Syria


Washington's support for the PKK-affiliated terrorists in Syria continues with the latest delivery of 200 truckloads of construction materials and heavy equipment amid Ankara's concerns about national security.

According to information obtained by Anadolu Agency (AA) from local sources, the trucks were transported through the Semalka Gate at the Iraq-Syria border to areas controlled by the PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG). The sources added that the trucks have reached an oil field, which has been used as a distribution center for different YPG-held locations.
The YPG has been receiving U.S. backing under the pretext of fighting Daesh, although Ankara has been objecting to Washington's stance, saying that using one terror group to fight another makes no sense.

With increasing U.S. weapon and material support, the YPG terrorists have tightened their grip on northern and eastern Syrian territories, which ultimately aims to establish an autonomous region in northern Syria by connecting the northwestern Afrin canton to the Ayn al-Arab (also referred as Kobani) and Jazeera cantons in the northeast, posing a threat to Turkey's border security. Ankara has so far answered this threat with two cross-border military operations to put an end to the group's autonomy plans, which Turkey calls a "terror corridor."

Speaking on the delivery, the sources also emphasized that the equipment may be used in the construction of tunnels near the Turkish-Syrian border, which were reportedly started long ago as part of long-running preparations against a possible cross-border operation. Turkish officials say Ankara will not remain silent with the presence of PKK-affiliated militants near the Turkish border.

Recent AA footage revealed that YPG militants continue to dig ditches and tunnels in provinces near the Turkish-Syrian border, including in Tal Abyad, Ras al-Ayn, Qamishli and al-Malikiyah. The militants also opened new tunnels and extended existing ones in the cities of Manbij and Ayn al-Arab.
Last December, AA obtained similar drone footage showing the terrorists digging trenches and tunnels, presumably to hinder Turkish armored vehicles from crossing the border for an operation east of the Euphrates. They were also using cement to fortify tunnels and trenches spanning 2 meters high by 1 meter wide in order to connect their positions near the border. The footage also showed buildings thought to be local police stations with photos of terrorists on their walls....

So far, thousands truckloads of weapons were delivered by Washington to the terrorist group. Despite Washington promising to retrieve the weapons provided to YPG earlier, later remarks coming from the White House have changed and began to suggest that they cannot retrieve all of the weapons, which, according to Ankara, may be eventually transferred to the PKK to be used in its terror campaign against Turkey, which has already nearly 40,000 lives.



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