Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Today's links

1--Russia--friend or Foe??

 

It’s disturbing that people in this country should accept a narrative of relentless Russian expansion in the wake of repeated U.S. assaults on and occupations of countries in this century...

 

Most disturbing is the tendency of liberal Democrats to—alongside their Republican fellow opportunists—embrace this Russophobia. It’s like they’re saying: Ok, I part from the right on social issues. I’m good because I’m against against racism, sexism, religious intolerance, growing income inequality, and Trump in general but I agree that Russia is an adversary...

 

Russia announced its embrace of a western-advised transition to full-blown capitalism (with horrible effects) before recovering under Putin. People who know little about the trajectory of Russian history in the last 25 years are snarling about how this country is our enemy. I disagree. I agree with Trump that it would be good to improve relations with Russia.


2--Don't use the "C" word....Coup


“We may now have proof the investigation was weaponized to destroy [Trump's] presidency for partisan political purposes and to disenfranchise millions of American voters,” Watters said on "Watters' World."

 “Now if that is true, we have a coup on our hands in America,” he added.

 

3--The Coming Collapse

 

The Trump administration did not rise, prima facie, like Venus on a half shell from the sea. Donald Trump is the result of a long process of political, cultural and social decay. He is a product of our failed democracy. The longer we perpetuate the fiction that we live in a functioning democracy, that Trump and the political mutations around him are somehow an aberrant deviation that can be vanquished in the next election, the more we will hurtle toward tyranny. The problem is not Trump. It is a political system, dominated by corporate power and the mandarins of the two major political parties, in which we don’t count. We will wrest back political control by dismantling the corporate state, and this means massive and sustained civil disobedience, like that demonstrated by teachers around the country this year. If we do not stand up we will enter a new dark age

 

  (the Dems) play to the margins, especially in election seasons, refusing to address substantive political and social problems and instead focusing on narrow cultural issues like gay rights, abortion and gun control in our peculiar species of anti-politics....

 

Trump has tapped into the hatred that huge segments of the American public have for a political and economic system that has betrayed them. He may be inept, degenerate, dishonest and a narcissist, but he adeptly ridicules the system they despise. His cruel and demeaning taunts directed at government agencies, laws and the established elites resonate with people for whom these agencies, laws and elites have become hostile forces. And for many who see no shift in the political landscape to alleviate their suffering, Trump’s cruelty and invective are at least cathartic....

 

All this will soon be compounded by financial collapse. Wall Street banks have been handed $16 trillion in bailouts and other subsidies by the Federal Reserve and Congress at nearly zero percent interest since the 2008 financial collapse. They have used this money, as well as the money saved through the huge tax cuts imposed last year, to buy back their own stock, raising the compensation and bonuses of their managers and thrusting the society deeper into untenable debt peonage. Sheldon Adelson’s casino operations alone got a $670 million tax break under the 2017 legislation. The ratio of CEO to worker pay now averages 339 to 1, with the highest gap approaching 5,000 to 1. This circular use of money to make and hoard money is what Karl Marx called “fictitious capital.” The steady increase in public debt, corporate debt, credit card debt and student loan debt will ultimately lead, as Nomi Prins writes, to “a tipping point—when money coming in to furnish that debt, or available to borrow, simply won’t cover the interest payments. Then debt bubbles will pop, beginning with higher yielding bonds.”

 

4--US leaves Iran nukes deal

 

"US diplomacy sham is merely a regression to old habits: imprisoned by delusions & failed policies – dictated by corrupt Special Interest – it repeats the same wrong choices and will thus reap the same ill rewards. Iran, meanwhile, is working with partners for post-US JCPOA solutions,"

 

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that Washington will increase the financial pressure on Iran by imposing the "strongest sanctions in history" on the Islamic Republic if Tehran refuses to change the course of its foreign and domestic policy....

 

The Kremlin, Tehran and the European countries involved have reaffirmed their commitment to the JCPOA for Iran’s nuclear program."

He added that Russia and the European countries "have many times expressed hope that Tehran will remain within the agreement."

5--Back to the Future? Bolton, Trump, and Iranian Regime Change

 

6---Defanging the Empire-- Ditch the $$ and SWIFT banking system

The Trump administration will cause some economic pain. It will also make the U.S. and Europe weaker and Russia and China stronger. The threat of secondary sanctions will eventually lead to the creation of a sanction-secure parallel global economy. The SWIFT banking information exchange which routes international payments between banks can be replaced by country to country systems that do not depend an sanctionable institutions. The U.S. dollar as a universal exchange medium can be avoided by using other currencies or barter. The nonsensical use of economic and financial sanction will end up destroying the U.S. ability to use them as a tool of foreign policy.

 

7--NYTs continues its propaganda campaign even while the Russiagate fairy-tale collapses

 

First the facts: There was a sophisticated, multiyear conspiracy by Russian government officials and agents, working under direct orders from President Vladimir Putin, to interfere in the 2016 presidential election in support of Donald Trump. The American law enforcement and intelligence communities warned the Trump campaign and asked it to report anything suspicious. The campaign didn’t do this. To the contrary, at least seven Trump campaign officials met with Russians or people linked to Russia, and several seemed eager to accept their help. As the F.B.I. became aware of these contacts, it began to investigate. And yet the bureau went to great lengths to shield this investigation from becoming public before the election, even as James Comey, then the F.B.I. director, spoke openly about the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

These facts aren’t disputed. The intelligence community confirmed Russia’s efforts on Mr. Trump’s behalf in January 2017, and last week Richard Burr, the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he saw “no reason to dispute” those findings.
Do these sound like the actions of government officials intent on bringing down a presidential candidate?...

One doesn’t have to agree with the particulars of every investigation to see the fundamental difference here: The members of our law enforcement and intelligence communities are trying to protect the country. Donald Trump and his supporters are simply trying to protect Donald Trump.

8--Where's Muellers hacking indictment?


Russia’s alleged involvement in the hacking first came to public attention nearly two years ago, when CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity firm hired by the DNC, identified two separate Russian-affiliated breaches of the DNC networks in 2015 and2016...

The January 2017 intelligence community assessment offered a more complete picture of the Russian activity. It described an influence operation that married covert cyber operations with disinformation to undermine confidence in U.S. democracy, damage Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and help Trump win.
It also said that Russian intelligence gained access to DNC networks in July 2015 and maintained it until at least June 2016, noting that the GRU, Russia’s main intelligence agency, “had exfiltrated large volumes of data from the DNC” by May 2016.

Recent reports have offered a tantalizing glimpse into Mueller’s findings. The Wall Street Journal reported last November that the Justice Department had identified more than six Russian government officials involved in the DNC hack and was weighing whether to indict them.
In March, the Daily Beast reported that federal prosecutors have evidence showing that Guccifer 2.0, the hacking persona who claimed responsibility for the DNC breach, was a member of the GRU

Monday, May 21, 2018

Today's Links

Bigger story here... There was a coordinated effort to Blame Nunes with MSM/DOJ/Democrats.Go back an review comments . Issue is Nunes didn't even take meeting a& is still blamed. There was an OP run against Nunes that included the outing of a CIA contact in order to discredit him Mollie Hemingway

 

 

1-- Is the ruling class out of control? video

Must See video--The spying was going on before july 2016 which means that the spying was taking place before they had invented the Russia-did-it pretext


2-- Long-time CIA asset named as FBI’s spy on Trump campaign

 

Democrats have rallied behind the FBI’s defiance of congressional oversight. Leading Democrats have rushed to the defense of the intelligence agencies, denouncing Trump and Nunes for allegedly placing US security at risk....

 

The protracted campaign on this issue by the Democrats and the media, together with the Mueller investigation, now in its second year, has produced no evidence to substantiate that Russian government “meddling” played any role in tilting the US elections to Trump. The most widely cited “proof” of Russian interference is the alleged purchase by unidentified Russians of $100,000 worth of Facebook ads, less than a drop in the bucket in a $4 billion presidential campaign.

The revelation of Halper’s role in spying on the Trump campaign has exposed the previous explanation for the origin of the FBI investigation into alleged Russian ties to the Trump campaign as a lie. As the New York Times reported last week, in a lengthy article based on unnamed government sources, the probe was purportedly launched after the Australian ambassador to Great Britain, Alexander Downer, contacted US authorities to recount a conversation with George Papadopoulos, a Trump foreign policy adviser, who told him about efforts to obtain “dirt” on Hillary Clinton from Russian sources.

It is now clear, however, that Halper was sent to spy on the Trump campaign before any contact from the Australian ambassador. He reportedly met, beginning in early July 2016, with at least three Trump campaign advisors. Two of them, Papadopoulos and former national security advisor Gen. Michael Flynn, have since pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI investigators about their contacts with Russian individuals. The third, Carter Page, was the subject of an FBI surveillance warrant....

The choice of Halper for this spying operation has ominous implications. His deep ties to the US intelligence apparatus date back decades. His father-in-law was Ray Cline, who headed the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence at the height of the Cold War. Halper served as an aide to Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Alexander Haig in the Nixon and Ford administrations....

The revelations of the role played by Halper point to an intervention in the 2016 elections by the US intelligence agencies that far eclipsed anything one could even imagine the Kremlin attempting.

3--  Byron York: When did Trump-Russia probe begin? Investigators focus on mystery months

 

4-- 10 Key Takeaways From The New York Times’ Error-Ridden Defense Of FBI Spying On Trump Campaign

 

FBI Officials Admit They Spied On Trump Campaign

 The New York Times‘ story, headlined “Code Name Crossfire Hurricane: The Secret Origins of the Trump Investigation,” is a dry and gentle account of the FBI’s launch of extensive surveillance of affiliates of the Trump campaign. Whereas FBI officials and media enablers had previously downplayed claims that the Trump campaign had been surveiled, in this story we learn that it was more widespread than previously acknowledged:

The F.B.I. investigated four unidentified Trump campaign aides in those early months, congressional investigators revealed in February. The four men were Michael T. Flynn, Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said…
The F.B.I. obtained phone records and other documents using national security letters — a secret type of subpoena — officials said. And at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said.
This is a stunning admission for those Americans worried that federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies might use their powers to surveil, leak against, and target Americans simply for their political views or affiliations. As Sean Davis wrote, “The most amazing aspect about this article is how blasé it is about the fact that the Obama admin was actively spying on four affiliates of a rival political campaign weeks before an election.”
The story says the FBI was worried that if it came out they were spying on Trump campaign it would “only reinforce his claims that the election was being rigged against him.” It is easy to understand how learning that the FBI was spying on one’s presidential campaign might reinforce claims of election-rigging.

5--Trump campaign surveillance scandal grows--video

 

"The corruption at the top was so extreme that they thought they could get away with everything."

 

6--Stopping Robert Mueller to protect us all

 

The “deep state” is in a deep state of desperation. With little time left before the Justice Department inspector general’s report becomes public, and with special counsel Robert Mueller having failed to bring down Donald Trump after a year of trying, they know a reckoning is coming.

At this point, there is little doubt that the highest echelons of the FBI and the Justice Department broke their own rules to end the Hillary Clinton “matter,” but we can expect the inspector general to document what was done or, more pointedly, not done. It is hard to see how a yearlong investigation of this won’t come down hard on former FBI Director James Comey and perhaps even former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who definitely wasn’t playing mahjong in a secret “no aides allowed” meeting with former President Clinton on a Phoenix airport tarmac

With this report on the way and congressional investigators beginning to zero in on the lack of hard, verified evidence for starting the Trump probe, current and former intelligence and Justice Department officials are dumping everything they can think of to save their reputations.
But it is backfiring. They started by telling the story of Alexander Downer, an Australian diplomat, as having remembered a bar conversation with George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. But how did the FBI know they should talk to him? That’s left out of their narrative. Downer’s signature appears on a $25 million contribution to the Clinton Foundation. You don’t need much imagination to figure that he was close with Clinton Foundation operatives who relayed information to the State Department, which then called the FBI to complete the loop. This wasn’t intelligence. It was likely opposition research from the start.

In no way would a fourth-hand report from a Maltese professor justify wholesale targeting of four or five members of the Trump campaign. It took Christopher Steele, with his funding concealed through false campaign filings, to be incredibly successful at creating a vast echo chamber around his unverified, fanciful dossier, bouncing it back and forth between the press and the FBI so it appeared that there were multiple sources all coming to the same conclusion.

Time and time again, investigators came up empty. Even several sting operations with an FBI spy we just learned about failed to produce a DeLorean-like video with cash on the table. But rather than close the probe, the deep state just expanded it. All they had were a few isolated contacts with Russians and absolutely nothing related to Trump himself, yet they pressed forward. Egged on by Steele, they simply believed Trump and his team must be dirty. They just needed to dig deep enough.

Perhaps the murkiest event in the timeline is Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s appointment of a special counsel after he personally recommended Comey’s firing in blistering terms. With Attorney General Jeff Sessions shoved out of the way, Rosenstein and Mueller then ignored their own conflicts and took charge anyway. Rosenstein is a fact witness, and Mueller is a friend of Comey, disqualifying them both.

Flush with 16 prosecutors, including a former lawyer for the Clinton Foundation, and an undisclosed budget, the Mueller investigation has been a scorched-earth effort to investigate the entirety of the Trump campaign, Trump business dealings, the entire administration and now, if it was not Russia, maybe it’s some other country.

The president’s earlier legal team was naive in believing that, when Mueller found nothing, he would just end it. Instead, the less investigators found, the more determined and expansive they became. This president and his team now are on a better road to put appropriate limits on all this.
This process must now be stopped, preferably long before a vote in the Senate. Rather than a fair, limited and impartial investigation, the Mueller investigation became a partisan, open-ended inquisition that, by its precedent, is a threat to all those who ever want to participate in a national campaign or an administration again.

Its prosecutions have all been principally to pressure witnesses with unrelated charges and threats to family, or just for a public relations effect, like the indictment of Russian internet trolls. Unfortunately, just like the Doomsday Machine in “Dr. Strangelove” that was supposed to save the world but instead destroys it, the Mueller investigation comes with no “off” switch: You can’t fire Mueller. He needs to be defeated, like Ken Starr, the independent counsel who investigated President Clinton.
Finding the “off” switch will not be easy. Step one here is for the Justice Department inspector general report to knock Comey out of the witness box. Next, the full origins of the investigation and its lack of any real intelligence needs to come out in the open. The attorney general, himself the target of a secret investigation, needs to take back his Justice Department. Sessions needs to act quickly, along with U.S. Attorney John Huber, appointed to conduct an internal review of the FBI, on the Comey and McCabe matters following the inspector general report, and then announce an expanded probe into other abuses of power.

The president’s lawyers need to extend their new aggressiveness from words to action, filing complaints with the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility on the failure of Mueller and Rosenstein to recuse themselves and going into court to question the tactics of the special counsel, from selective prosecutions on unrelated matters, illegally seizing Government Services Administration emails, covering up the phone texts of FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, and operating without a scope approved by the attorney general. (The regulations call for the attorney general to recuse himself from the investigation but appear to still leave him responsible for the scope.)

The final stopper may be the president himself, offering two hours of testimony, perhaps even televised live from the White House. The last time America became obsessed with Russian influence in America was the McCarthy hearings in the 1950s. Those ended only when Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.) attacked an associate of the U.S. Army counsel, Joseph Welch, and Welch famously responded: “Sir, have you no decency?” In this case, virtually every associate and family member of the president has been subject to smears conveniently leaked to the press.

Stopping Mueller isn’t about one president or one party. It’s about all presidents and all parties. It’s about cleaning out and reforming the deep state so that our intelligence operations are never used against opposing campaigns without the firmest of evidence. It’s about letting people work for campaigns and administrations without needing legal defense funds. It’s about relying on our elections to decide our differences.




 


 



 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Today's Links

1--A Second special counsel?

Now, journalist Paul Sperry reports that "IG Horowitz has found "reasonable grounds" for believing there has been a violation of federal criminal law in the FBI/DOJ's handling of the Clinton investigation/s and has referred his findings of potential criminal misconduct to Huber for possible criminal prosecution."

Sperry also noted on Twitter that the FBI and DOJ had been targeting former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn before his December 2016 phone call with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, stemming from photos of Flynn at a December 2015 Moscow event with Vladimir Putin (and Jill Stein).

As we reported in March, Attorney General Jeff Sessions appointed John Huber - Utah's top federal prosecutor, to be paired with IG Horowitz to investigate the multitude of accusations of FBI misconduct surrounding the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The announcement came one day after Inspector General Michael Horowitz confirmed that he will also be investigating allegations of FBI FISA abuse.

While Huber's appointment fell short of the second special counsel demanded by Congressional investigators and concerned citizens alike, his appointment and subsequent pairing with Horowitz is notable - as many have pointed out that the Inspector General is significantly limited in his abilities to investigate. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) noted in March "the IG's office does not have authority to compel witness interviews, including from past employees, so its investigation will be limited in scope in comparison to a Special Counsel investigation,"

Sessions' pairing of Horowitz with Huber keeps the investigation under the DOJ's roof and out of the hands of an independent investigator....

On July 27, 2017 the House Judiciary Committee called on the DOJ to appoint a Special Counsel, detailing their concerns in 14 questions pertaining to "actions taken by previously public figures like Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton."

The questions range from Loretta Lynch directing Mr. Comey to mislead the American people on the nature of the Clinton investigation, Secretary Clinton's mishandling of classified information and the (mis)handling of her email investigation by the FBI, the DOJ's failure to empanel a grand jury to investigate Clinton, and questions about the Clinton Foundation, Uranium One, and whether the FBI relied on the "Trump-Russia" dossier created by Fusion GPS. 


n September 26, 2017, The House Judiciary Committee repeated their call to the DOJ for a special counsel, pointing out that former FBI Director James Comey lied to Congress when he said that he decided not to recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton until after she was interviewed, when in fact Comey had drafted her exoneration before said interview. 


And now, the OIG report can tie all of this together - as it will solidify requests by Congressional committees, while also satisfying a legal requirement for the Department of Justice to impartially appoint a Special Counsel.

2-- Should John Brennan be tried for Treason?


DEVELOPING: A major new front is opening in the political espionage scandal. In summer 2016, Brennan with his FBI liaison Strzok, along with help from Kerry @ State, were trying to set Russian espionage traps for minor players in the Trump campaign through cultivated intel assets

It’s becoming more and more clear John Brennan ran a Russian false flag operation against the Trump campaign, using elements associated with the DOJ, the DNC, and MI6

  • We know that Hillary Clinton was illegally exonerated
  • We know that there was a substantial effort to frame the current President of the United States with crimes by infiltrating his campaign and then his administration with spies that the FBI had set upon them
  • We have learned that the crimes were committed by the FBI, senior members of the Department of Justice, John Brennan, Mr. Clapper, Mr. Comey, and others associated with the Democratic party
  • Donald Trump and his associates committed no crimes
  •  
  • When asked to explain the mechanics of the setup, diGenova tells Carlson that the FBI "purposely sent people into the Trump campaign to plant false information, then forced that information to be forwarded back to CIA and then funneled to the FBI, to be used as false information in FISA applications."

    "Everybody involved in that process who knowingly participated committed a crime," diGenova added. The lawyer then offered Brennan some legal advice:
    Tucker: So why aren't they being held to account?

    diGenova: As of today, I understand that a referral for criminal prosecution has been made by Mr. Horowitz to Mr. Huber, who is investigating the FISA leaks, the unmasking, the leaks of the unmasking and everything we described tonight. Criminal referrals have already been made, and I suggest that Mr. Brennan - who loves to make comments about the process, get himself a good lawyer. Not a good writer. 

    Tucker: Wait, John Brennan the NBC news paid consultant?

    diGenova: Yes, NBC News' consultant, the former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the most partisan hack leader of the CIA in history, needs a very very good lawyer. 
    Tucker: Criminal lawyer?
    diGenova: Yes, criminal lawyer - oh yes, he doesn't need a slip-and-fall lawyer, although he's going to slip and fall. He's going to be in front of a grand jury shortly.

    Brennan also appears to have perjured himself during Congressional testimony about the Steele Dossier - and is being investigated by House Intelligence Committee Chairman, Devin Nunes. As Paul Sperry wrote in February:
    In his May 2017 testimony before the intelligence panel, Brennan emphatically denied the dossier factored into the intelligence community’s publicly released conclusion last year that Russia meddled in the 2016 election “to help Trump’s chances of victory.”
    Brennan also swore that he did not know who commissioned the anti-Trump research document (excerpt here), even though senior national security and counterintelligence officials at the Justice Department and FBI knew the previous year that the dossier was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign. -RealClear Investigations
    Except, Brennan was feeding President Obama unverified dossier information according to Sperry - directly contradicting his testimony, while former NSA Director Michael Rogers told Congressional investigators that the dossier was in fact part of the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) in the Russia investigation.

    In a March 5, 2018, letter to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, Adm. Rogers informed the committee that a two-page summary of the dossier — described as “the Christopher Steele information” — was “added” as an “appendix to the ICA draft,” and that consideration of that appendix was “part of the overall ICA review/approval process.”
    ...
    Brennan put some of the dossier material into the PDB [presidential daily briefing] for Obama and described it as coming from a ‘credible source,’ which is how they viewed Steele,” said the source familiar with the House investigation. "But they never corroborated his sources.” -RCI

    So, if Sperry's tweet is correct, Brennan, the Obama State department, the CIA and the FBI conspired to set "Russian espionage traps" for minor players in the Trump campaign, planted a mole (or several) within the Trump campaign, and then used a phony Clinton-funded dossier created by a former British spy to bolster their flimsy claims as part of the ICA. 

    Indeed, it appears the whole house of cards is about to collapse.
    Brennan keeps flying off the handle...

    As various aspects of the alleged plot have unraveled, Brennan - who insisted on being sworn in under Obama on an original draft of the constitution (without the Bill of Rights and all those inconvenient amendments), spied on members of Congressendorsed torture, and ran Obama's covert drone warhas become progressively unhinged. 

    When former Deputy FBI Director Andy McCabe was fired in March for lying under oath about leaks to the media, Brennan fired off an angry screed over Twitter in response to a celebratory tweet by President Trump, writing "When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America...America will triumph over you."

    Several weeks later after Trump tweeted "Clapper lied about (fraudulent) Dossier leaks to CNN ... He is a lying machine who now works for Fake News CNN," Brennan - who now works for MSNBC, fired back "Mr. Trump: Your hypocrisy knows no bounds. Jim Clapper is a man of integrity, honesty, ethics, & morality. You are not."

    Clapper notably leaked information about the Steele Dossier to CNN's Jake Tapper and appears to have lied to Congress about it under oath.
    The revelation that Clapper was responsible for leaking details of both the dossier and briefings to two presidents on the matter is significant, because former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director James Comey wrote in one of four memos that he leaked that the briefing of Trump on salacious and unverified allegations from the dossier was necessary because “CNN had them and were looking for a news hook.” -The Federalist
    Integrity, Honesty, Ethics, Morality & Leaking like a sieve
    Speaking of leaks, Former Assistant FBI Director James Kallstrom told Fox's Maria Bartiromo in March that there was a plot among "high-ranking" people throughout government - "not just the FBI," who coordinated in a scheme to help Hillary Clinton avoid indictment.

  • While discussing Brennan's pithy tweet in response to McCabe's firing, Kallstrom dropped a bombshell: that Brennan had projected extreme animosity towards Trump, and was directly involved in leaks to the press.
    Kallstrom: My sources tell me that he was leaking almost weekly and daily. He was taking that bunch of phony crap supposedly from Russia, and peddling that through the Congress, all his buddies in the media, he was one of the active people. I've known him a long time.
    Bartiromo: You think he's involved?
    Kallstrom: Oh I think he's involved, absolutely. And I think it goes right to the top Maria.


    In reality, the U.S. and UK have allied for decades with extremists for short-term political gain. As documented in “Devil’s Game: How the U.S. Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam,”by Robert Dreyfuss, Britain and the U.S. promoted a violent and sectarian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood to undermine the nationalist and socialist policies of Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt. Starting in 1979, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia promoted the founders of what became Al Qaeda to attack the socialist-leaning government of Afghanistan. 

    This policy has continued to the present. In the summer of 2012, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency outlined their strategy in a secret document : “THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR).”The U.S. looked favorably on what the document predicts will be the creation of the “Islamic State”: “THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME…”.

    Then, in a leaked audio conversation with Syrian opposition figures in September 2016, then Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S., rather than seriously fight Islamic State in Syria, was ready to use the growing strength of the jihadists to pressure Assad to resign, just as outlined in the DIA document.

    We know that this was growing, we were watching, we saw that Daesh [a derisive name for Islamic State] was growing in strength, and we thought Assad was threatened,” Kerry said. “We thought however we could probably manage that Assad might then negotiate, but instead of negotiating he got Putin to support him.”

    The Biggest Sponsors
    The true “state sponsor of terrorism” is not Iran; it is the West and their allies.
  •  
  •  
  • 4--The US political police and the 2016 elections The Times fake history of the Russia investigation Major CYA to protect deep state scoundrels 


    The Times claims that the FBI investigation was triggered by the Australian ambassador to Great Britain, Alexander Downer, who, after consulting with his government in Canberra, contacted US authorities to discuss his conversation with George Papadopoulos, a Trump foreign policy adviser, about efforts to obtain “dirt” on Hillary Clinton from Russian sources.
    It is worth noting that the newspaper has a very different attitude to such Australian

    “meddling” than to the alleged efforts by Russia. There was no hyperventilating over an attack on American democracy, or suggestions that Australia was instigating an FBI investigation into Trump to “rig” the election on behalf of its preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton.

    In any case, this single tip about Papadopoulos, described by the Times as “the young and inexperienced campaign aide whose wine-fueled conversation with the Australian ambassador set off the investigation,” became the basis for the mobilization of massive resources, sending a team of FBI agents to London, reassigning “the same core of agents and analysts who had investigated Mrs. Clinton” to probe the supposed connection between Russia and the Trump campaign. The team issued “national security” letters to obtain documents and get a wiretap on a former Trump adviser.

    Giving a boost to this initial FBI probe was the intervention by the CIA. As the Times reports it, “The F.B.I.’s thinking crystallized by mid-August, after the C.I.A. director at the time, John O. Brennan, shared intelligence with Mr. Comey showing that the Russian government was behind an attack on the 2016 presidential election. Intelligence agencies began collaborating to investigate that operation
     
     
    In rambling answers to journalists in Washington yesterday, US President Donald Trump responded to North Korea’s warning on Monday that its leader Kim Jong-un could pull out of the planned June 12 summit between them. Echoing his threats last year to “totally destroy” North Korea, Trump implied that the country would face “total decimation” if no agreement is reached to end its nuclear weapons program.

    (Trump holds China responsible for NK's reaction)

    Trump repeatedly blamed China and its president, Xi Jinping, for the renewed tensions with North Korea. He asserted: “I have a feeling… for various reasons, maybe including trade… it could be very well that he’s influencing Kim Jong-un. We’ll see what happens… The president of China, President Xi, could be influencing Kim Jong-un.”...

    Trump stated yesterday: “Nothing has changed on North Korea that we know of. We have not been told anything… But we’ll see what happens. If the meeting happens, it happens. And if it doesn’t, we go on to the next step.”

    A “deal” with North Korea, he claimed, would be different. “It would be with Kim Jong-un. Something where he’d be there, he’d be in his country, he’d be running his country. His country would be very rich… this would be, really, a South Korean model in terms of their industry.”...

    Trump concluded with a chilling threat of what would happen if the North Korean regime rejects the offer that his administration and the South Korean ruling class has put on the table. “If you look at the model with Gaddafi,” he blustered, “that was total decimation. We went in there to beat him. Now that model would take place if we don’t make a deal most likely [with North Korea]. But if we make a deal, I think Kim Jong-un is going to be very, very happy.” [emphasis added]

    The Chinese regime is without any question seeking to cajole North Korea, with which it has a formal military alliance, not to “flip” into the US sphere of influence at its geostrategic expense. Two summits have been held between Xi Jinping and Kim Jong-un over the past month, along with other high-level talks. China has ample capacity to offer Pyongyang economic benefits, while also making threats of intervention if its interests are compromised.

    China has substantial influence within the North Korean regime and military apparatus. A real possibility is that Pyongyang’s suspension of talks with South Korea this week reflects sharp divisions within its ruling clique, and an implicit threat to Kim Jong-un and his inner circle of a Chinese-backed coup if they proceed towards a rapprochement with Washington.

    The North Korean rhetoric suggests that the June 12 summit will not take place unless the Trump administration waters down its own rhetoric over denuclearisation

    6-- Drop Russia sanctions immediately, Italy’s M5S & Lega Nord urge in landmark govt pact


    While calling the US a “privileged ally,” the document pledges re-engagement with Russia that “should not be perceived as a threat but as an economic and business partner.” Therefore, the pact says, “it is appropriate to put an immediate stop to the sanctions imposed on Russia so it can resume its role of strategic mediator to solve regional crises (in Syria, Libya, Yemen).

    Going further, the coalition calls Russia “a potential partner for NATO and for the EU,” and underlines that there are other, more acute threats emerging at Europe’s “southern front,” namely “Islamic extremism, uncontrolled migration, and consequent tensions that arise between regional powers.”
    Therefore, Italy, whose foreign policy will be centered around national interests, “should deepen its cooperation with other countries committed to counter terrorism,” the program assert

     

    7--NATOs Drive to the East


    Though US Secretary of State James Baker assured the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not expand “not one inch eastward” if Germany reunified, the alliance did just that. Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic were officially admitted into NATO even as alliance warplanes were bombing Yugoslavia in April 1999.

    Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia joined in 2002. The last former Warsaw Pact country, Albania, joined in 2009. The alliance has also expanded to include the former Yugoslav republics of Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro, as well as the former Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, bringing NATO to Russia’s doorstep.

    As if that wasn’t enough, NATO pushed further, into Georgia and Ukraine. Believing NATO had his back, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili attacked Russian peacekeepers in the disputed region of South Ossetia in 2008. His NATO-trained military was disarmed in six days. NATO has continued to flirt with Georgia since, though the current government in Tbilisi doesn’t appear eager for another war with Russia.

    8--Uh, about those B-52s...


    It's worth noting, however, it wasn't Trump that "folded" in this case, but rather his South Korean colleague:
    But the South Koreans asked not to participate in what was intended to be a three-nation air drill involving the U.S., South Korea and Japan, the U.S. officials said. The U.S., which has sought to maintain political solidarity with Seoul during a turbulent period of diplomacy with North Korea, has not commented publicly on the South Korean decision.
    “The B-52s are currently executing their continuous bomber presence mission in the theater, which sometimes includes joint or allied interactions,” said an official at the U.S. Pacific Command, without providing further details.
    .....

    the South Korean government was concerned about upsetting the atmosphere for the summit and told the U.S. it did not want to participate in the exercise with the bombers, the officials said. After Mr. Song met earlier this week with Gen. Vincent Brooks, the U.S. commander in Korea, the B-52 training mission was adjusted to avoid South Korean airspace and to involve only the Japanese, these officials said. Neither the South Korean Defense Ministry nor the Pentagon have commented on Seoul’s decision to drop out of the training mission with the B-52s, which was supposed to take place at the same time as a separate air exercise in South Korea, dubbed Max Thunder

     
     




     


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Today's links

1-- Did John Brennan lie about the Trump-Russia dossier?

 

 Mike Rogers and James Clapper now confirm that the Dossier DID influence the Intelligence Community Assessment.. Four top officials in the Trump campaign were spied on

 

2--  President Trump offers Kim Jong Un 'protections' in exchange for giving up nukes 3

 

 “He will get protections that are very strong,” President Trump said from the Oval Office in an apparent attempt to lure the North Korean leader to the negotiating table after reports that Pyongyang is threatening to withdraw from a planned summit in June.


The president offered direct assurances that the U.S. would not seek to overthrow Kim if a deal is hatched and further promised that a potential deal would include major economic sweeteners for Kim and his country.

Addressing the so-called Libya model, Trump contradicted his National Security Adviser, John Bolton, who invoked it over the weekend and has since been cited by North Korea as a reason why it might withdraw from the planned Trump-Kim summit scheduled for June 12, Trump said it “isn't a model that we have at all.”

“The Libyan model was a much different model,” Trump said. “We decimated that country. We never said to Gadhafi: 'Oh, we're going to give you protection, we're going to give you military strength, we're going to give you all of these things; we went in and decimated him.”

3-- North Korea pointed to the “Max Thunder” air force drills between the US and the South as the reason for the cancellation of the talks.

 

Pyongyang also denounced US national security advisor John Bolton for suggesting in late April that there was a “Libyan model” for the North’s denuclearization. In threatening to cancel the June 12 summit with Trump, Pyongyang also stated that the world “knows too well that our country is neither Libya nor Iraq which met miserable fates.”

 

North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs are aimed at avoiding the same “miserable” ends that befell the regimes of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, which it has regularly pointed to over the years while requesting a formal peace treaty with the US.

 

Yet, as Pyongyang seeks security guarantees that its ruling elite will not be removed from power, Tokyo and Washington continue to raise the bar the North must jump over, if it wishes to avoid risking a return to Trump’s threats of North Korea’s complete destruction

 

4--North Korea denounces US “provocation” and threatens to cancel talks with Trump

 

the KCNA announced that Pyongyang was “suspending” top-level talks with South Korean officials scheduled for today. It warned that Washington “will have to carefully contemplate” the fate of the planned June 12 summit between its leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump. Pyongyang would “closely watch the ensuing behaviour of the US and the South Korean authorities.”...

 

Of primary concern to China is the deployment by the US and Japan of advanced anti-missile systems, including the installation of the American THAAD system in South Korea last year that can spy deep into Chinese territory.

While portrayed as a defensive reaction to the purported threat posed by North Korea, the regional anti-missile shield is part of the US preparations for a potential nuclear “first strike” against China in the event of war. US nuclear strategy is to destroy as many of China’s weapons as possible before they can be launched, and shoot down, with the anti-missile batteries, any that are fired in retaliation.

 

The 2018 US National Defense Strategy openly labelled China as the US’s greatest “strategic competitor” and declared the Pentagon had to “prioritise preparedness for war” by further expanding its already vast nuclear arsenal...

 

There is little doubt that Beijing is exerting immense pressure on North Korea, including by holding out the possibility of substantial economic assistance, not to make any agreement with Washington that compromises Chinese interests. It would expect Pyongyang to at least insist on the withdrawal of the THAAD system, on Chinese and Russian involvement in any process of “verifying” denuclearisation and on a guarantee that American and South Korean forces will not move north of the existing border.

 

5--IG Horowitz Finds FBI, DOJ Broke Law In Clinton Probe, Refers To Prosecutor For Criminal Charges

 

6-- Code Name Crossfire Hurricane: The Secret Origins of the Trump Investigation

 

The facts, had they surfaced, might have devastated the Trump campaign: Mr. Trump’s future national security adviser was under investigation, as was his campaign chairman.

 

7--Obama officials set for Senate grilling on Russia, as Comey stands up committee

 

8-- Big Trouble for John Brennan


Former CIA Director John Brennan’s insistence that the salacious and unverified Steele dossier was not part of the official Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 election is being contradicted by two top former officials.

 

Recently retired National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers stated in a classified letter to Congress that the Clinton campaign-funded memos did factor into the ICA. And James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence under President Obama, conceded in a recent CNN interview that the assessment was based on “some of the substantive content of the dossier.” Without elaborating, he maintained that “we were able to corroborate” certain allegations.

 

These accounts are at odds with Brennan’s May 2017 testimony before the House Intelligence Committee that the Steele dossier  was "not in any way used as the basis for the intelligence community's assessment" that Russia interfered in the election to help elect Donald Trump. Brennan has repeated this claim numerous times, including in February on “Meet the Press.”

Two Colleagues Contradict Brennan's Denial of Reliance on Dossier

 

Friday, May 11, 2018

Today's Special Supplement--IRAN

Trump’s Ten Lies: A Response to the Iran Nuclear Agreement Speech 

Lie #1

"The Iranian regime is the leading state sponsor of terror"

The United States has long known that its ally, Saudi Arabia, and not its enemy, Iran, is the leading state sponsor of terror. All recent attempts to link Iran to terrorism have failed. Even America’s own reports on terrorism don’t list Iran as the leading state sponsor of terrorism. The State Department’s Patterns of Global Terrorisms “rarely identifies a terrorist incident as an act by or on behalf of Iran.” 

As The U.S. well knows, Saudi Arabia is the leading state sponsor of terror. As early as 2009, the State Department had already declared that “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban . . . and other terrorist groups.” A widely circulated 2012 classified Defense Intelligence Agency Information Intelligence Report identified the "supporting powers" of ISIS to be "Western countries, the Gulf States and Turkey."

Lie #2
"The Iranian regime . . . supports . . . the Taliban and Al Qaeda"

Lie #3
"Over the years, Iran and its proxies have bombed American Embassies and military installations, murdered hundreds of American service members, and kidnapped, imprisoned, and tortured American citizens."

Lie #4 (The BIGGEST Lie of all)
"No action taken by the regime has been more dangerous than its pursuit of nuclear weapons – and the means of delivering them.

Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said repeatedly that "We have never pursued or sought a nuclear bomb, and we are not going to do so". Both Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and his predecessor, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, have insisted that Iran would never pursue nuclear weapons because nuclear weapons are against the precepts of Islam. Khamenei has insisted that "from an ideological and fiqhi [Islamic jurisprudence] perspective, we consider developing nuclear weapons as unlawful. We consider using such weapons as a big sin."

And no one really believes otherwise: not US intelligence and not Israeli intelligence.
Former CIA director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta asked, “Are they [Iran] trying to develop a nuclear weapon?” and succinctly and pointedly answered: “No”. The 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), representing the collective conclusions of all of America’s many intelligence agencies, said with “high confidence” that Iran was not building a nuclear weapon. The 2011 NIE said that “the bottom-line assessments of the [2007] N.I.E. still hold true. We have not seen indications that the government has made the decision to move ahead with the program”.

Yuval Diskin, the man who headed Shin Bet, the Israeli domestic intelligence agency, for six years, accused Prime Minister Netanyahu of “misleading the public on the Iran issue.” And Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz, then Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, insisted that Iran has not “made the decision” to pursue a nuclear weapons program. Then Defense Minister Ehud Barak, clearly stated that “it is not the case” that “Iran is determined to . . . attempt to obtain nuclear weapons . . . as quickly as possible.” He added rhetorically, “To do that, Iran would have to announce it is leaving the inspection regime . . .. Why haven’t they done that?”

Former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed ElBaradei told investigative journalist Seymour Hersh that “[d]uring my time at the agency, we haven’t seen a shred of evidence that Iran has been weaponizing”.

The bottom line is that no one – not the United States, not Israel, not the International Atomic Energy Agency – ever really believed Iran was developing nuclear weapons.

Lie #5
"The deal lifted crippling economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for very weak limits on the regime’s nuclear activity"

Lie #6
"The deal lifted crippling economic sanctions on Iran . . .. at the point when the United States had maximum leverage"

Lie #7
Today, we have definitive proof that this Iranian promise was a lie. Last week, Israel published intelligence documents – long concealed by Iran – conclusively showing the Iranian regime and its history of pursuing nuclear weapons.

Netanyahu’s “significant new revelations” were not new at all. The binders and discs contained nothing that the IAEA hadn’t seen and dismissed the first time around. Those old attempts to discredit Iran have been carefully discredited by many experts, including Gareth Porter in Manufactured Crisis. The IAEA was finished with them by December of 2015.


Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy said that, based on first reports of Netanyahu’s presentation, it “has not put into question Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA.” Mogherini said that the final word had to go to the IAEA. The day after Netanyahu’s presentation, the IAEA said that there was “no credible indications” of Iran working on a nuclear weapons program for several years before the JCPOA.

Lie #8
The agreement was so poorly negotiated that even if Iran fully complies, the regime can still be on the verge of a nuclear breakout in just a short period of time. The deal’s sunset provisions are totally unacceptable.

The most commonly called upon criticism by those hostile to the JCPOA, the "sunset" objection is a chimera. And not just because most non-proliferation agreements have the same fifteen year term this one has. The objection is disingenuous because it is based on a misreading of the agreement, or, perhaps, on not having read it at all. Many of the key restrictions referred to last much more than fifteen years. The text of the agreement specifies that Iran agreed to allow the IAEA to monitor its entire uranium supply chain for twenty-five years and all centrifuge production facilities for twenty. More importantly, though, Trita Parsi points out that “the most important restrictions and inspections instruments are permanent, according to the Additional Protocol to the Nonproliferation Treaty.” Iran commits in the JCPOA to a schedule for ratifying the Additional Protocol.

Lie #9
"Making matters worse, the deal’s inspection provisions lack adequate mechanisms to prevent, detect, and punish cheating and don’t even have the unqualified right to inspect many important locations, including military facilities."
 
The JCPOA clearly states that inspectors can get access to military sites if the IAEA has credible evidence that suspicious activity is occurring on the site. The IAEA says that there has been no credible evidence of suspicious activity and that “Washington has not provided such indications to back up its pressure on the IAEA to make such a request.”
IAEA chief Amano Yukiya defended the inspections as the world’s “most robust nuclear verification regime.
Lie #10
Not only does the deal fail to halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but it also fails to address the regime’s development of ballistic missiles that could deliver nuclear warheads.

The deal was never meant to address Iran’s ballistic missiles, and their ballistic missiles are incapable of delivering nuclear warheads.
Resolution 2231, approved in support of the JCPOA, “calls upon” Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons” for a defined period of time. Iran insists they are in compliance with this requirement because the missiles are defensive and are designed to carry a conventional payload: the missiles are not capable of being nuclear armed. Iran expert Gareth Porter says that Iran’s “ballistic missiles were not designed for nuclear weapons.” Porter cites experts who say that “Iran’s medium-range missiles have been designed for conventional deterrence,” and that “Iran would have to redesign at least the internal components of the missile to adapt it to carrying nuclear weapons.”











Thursday, May 10, 2018

Today's Links

“We are seriously concerned about the decision of the US administration to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), thereby committing a significant violation of Security Council resolution 2231." Sergie Lavrov 

 

While the Committee found no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian government, the investigation did find poor judgment and ill-considered actions by the Trump and Clinton campaigns,” the report states. 

 

Washington, DC – “I don’t think there is an implicit obligation for the United States to follow like a stupid mule whatever the Israelis do,” said Zbigniew Brzezinski. “If they decide to start a war, simply on the assumption that we’ll automatically be drawn into it, I think it is the obligation of friendship to say, ‘you’re not going to be making national decision for us.’ I think that the United States has the right to have its own national security policy.”
Speaking before a conference sponsored jointly by the Arms Control Association and the National Iranian American Council, Brzezinski effectively ruled out a U.S. or Israel attack on Iran as “an act of utter irresponsibility” that would mean “the region would literally be set aflame.” He warned that a policy based on such unrealistic options ultimately undermined U.S. credibility.

 

Predictably, we are back to the late Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski’s book, The Grand Chessboard.
“…Potentially the most dangerous scenario would be an ‘anti-hegemonic’ coalition united not by ideology but by complementary grievances … a grand coalition of China, Russia, perhaps Iran … reminiscent in scale and scope of the challenge posed by the Sino-Soviet bloc, though this time, China would likely be the leader and Russia the follower,” he wrote. “Averting this contingency … will require US geostrategic skill on the western, eastern, and southern perimeters of Eurasia simultaneously. pepe escobar

 

 

1--America First, or Israel First?



Let’s drop the pretenses and tell it like it really is: this is being done for the benefit of Bibi Netanyahu and his amen corner in the United States. For all the brouhaha about foreign influence in American politics, the pundits are eerily silent as the Israel lobby succeeds in an all out effort to drag us into their conflict with Iran. The “special relationship” has gotten much more special in recent months, according to reports. Trump recently sent Ivanka and Jared to Israel to inaugurate the opening of the Jerusalem embassy, with casino billionaire and pro-Israel fanatic Sheldon Adelson in tow. Adelson gave millions to the Trump campaign  and the GOP. While Trump rose to power as a critic of the Iraq war, and, by implication, George W. Bush’s Israel-centric foreign policy, he has now positioned himself to replicate Dubya’s mistakes – times ten.

2--Which Path to Persia?  Brookings (regime change manual)


3--Trump-Kim talks move ahead


A particular concern of China is the THAAD missile defence systems that the US has deployed in Japan and South Korea on the pretext of providing protection against North Korean attacks. In reality, the THAAD batteries are part of the US preparations for a potential nuclear war with China. In the event of a US “first strike,” the anti-missile systems are intended to shoot down any nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) launched in retaliation by the Chinese military.
There is little doubt that Beijing will have sought to pressure Pyongyang to make the removal of the THAAD system one of the conditions for any agreement over “denuclearisation.”


North Korea been brought to the brink of economic collapse by sanctions, above all because China, for its own reasons, has assisted the US to enforce them. The Pyongyang regime is signalling that it is prepared to submit to Washington’s demands in exchange for guarantees that its corrupt ruling clique remains in power and its wealth is protected. It is indicating, however, that it will propose a timeframe for so-called denuclearisation that stretches out over a protracted period, even decades.

North Korea also wants a formal peace treaty with the United States and some form of guarantee that it will not be subjected to future aggression. The ruling clique in Pyongyang will most likely ask for substantial financial pay-offs from South Korea in exchange for opening up North Korea to investment and offering up the North Korean working class as a brutally repressed source of cheap labour for transnational corporations.

Beijing is stepping up its diplomatic efforts to pressure Pyongyang not to make any concessions to Washington that undermine Chinese interests. While formally endorsing the proposed talks, it recognises that behind the moves by US imperialism toward a rapprochement with North Korea is its broader strategy of preventing China from developing as a rival centre of global economic and military power.

The day before meeting with Pompeo, Kim Jong-un was flown to the northern Chinese city of Dalian for talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping—his second meeting with Xi in two months

4--Putin prioritizes economic breakthrough, quality of life in swearing-in speech 

 

It is the harmonious unity of a free citizen, a responsible civil society and a powerful and responsible democratic state in which I see the solid foundation for Russia’s future development,” the president said.
Our main goal that Russia, the country of opportunities for its people, allows for self-realization of every person” Putin said, adding that he personally saw a deep connection between the major nationwide objectives and the tasks that ordinary people set before themselves on a daily basis

 

 5-- North Korean leader meets Chinese President for the first time since historic Korean talks 

http://theduran.com/assessing-chances-of-peace-in-the-korean-peninsula/

 

6--Seoul proposes audacious inter-Korean trade initiative with China and Russia

 

Then comes the clear statement of what the red lines are, and what in the event of armed conflict China will do
China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten US soil first and the US retaliates, China will stay neutral.If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.


China and North Korea have a defence treaty which they agreed with each other in 1961 and which is still active.  Article 2 of the treaty reads as follows
The Contracting Parties undertake jointly to adopt all measures to prevent aggression against either of the Contracting Parties by any state. In the event of one of the Contracting Parties being subjected to the armed attack by any state or several states jointly and thus being involved in a state of war, the other Contracting Party shall immediately render military and other assistance by all means at its disposal.

7-- Korean-Russian Regional Cooperation Forum

https://sputniknews.com/asia/201803301063071305-trans-korea-gas-project-russia-revived/

 


7---China and n Korea now on the same page


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wants to talk to President Trump about “phased and synchronous measures” to deal with their nuclear standoff, Chinese state media reported Tuesday after Kim made his second visit to China in as many months. 

This wording, coupled with Kim’s desire to “eventually achieve denuclearization and lasting peace on the peninsula,” will ring alarm bells in Washington as it reinforces suspicions that the North Korean leader will ask Trump to take simultaneous steps to reduce tensions.
Kim is expected to meet Trump some time in the next month for what would be the first meeting between a sitting American president and a North Korean leader. ...


Trump has said that Kim’s sudden interest in talking is the direct result of the United States’ “maximum pressure” policy on the North Korean regime.
Many analysts agree that this is as least part of the reason for Kim’s sudden about-face. But they say it is also because the 34-year-old North Korean leader, having achieved his goal of developing a credible nuclear weapons program, is now turning his attention to the economy.
Kim announced a “simultaneous push” policy in 2013 of developing the nuclear program and the economy at the same time...

.” South Korea has repeatedly said that the North is willing to discuss its nuclear program in talks with the United States, although “denuclearization” has not been defined. The language in the April 27 agreement has many American analysts worried that Kim will insist on U.S. military drawdowns from South Korea as part of any deal...

“I do think North Korea would have a very strong interest to pivot to economic development,” Zhao said. “In this regard it would have a strong motivation to build much stronger economic ties with China, South Korea and Russia.” 
The South Korean government is exploring ways to increase economic cooperation with North Korea without breaching international sanctions or earning the ire of Trump. Reports from the Chinese-North Korean border suggest that Chinese authorities have already lost much of their enthusiasm for enforcing existing sanctions.

But Xie of Gavekal Dragonomics said that, deep down, Kim knows Washington and Seoul are unlikely to lift sanctions anytime soon and that he has to rely on China to provide economic relief. 
By receiving Kim twice in such a short span of time and flaunting the bilateral ‘traditional friendship,’ Beijing is demonstrating that the two countries’ positions are now fully aligned and discord is a thing of the past,” she said.

8--Pipeline diplomacThe normalization of the North Korean crisis may pave the way for resuming the project involving the construction of a gas pipeline that would connect Russia and the two Koreas, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said on Friday.

 

9--Judge says Special Counsel Mueller seeks to oust Trump

 

10--Iran nukes and the politics of Eurasian integration

 

Key hub

The geopolitical consequences are massive. To start with, strategically, Washington is isolated. The only actors applauding the decision to rip up the deal are Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
As Iran is a key hub of the ongoing Eurasia integration process, the trade-investment partnership with both Moscow and Beijing will be even stronger as Asia Times has reported.
On the military front, nothing will prevent Russia from supplying Iran with S-400 missile systems or China with its “carrier-killers.”...

The real US objective – way beyond the JCPOA’s technicalities – was always geopolitical. And that meant stopping to Iran from becoming the leading power in Southwest Asia.
That still applies as seen by the United States Central Command’s recent drive “to neutralize, counterbalance and shape the destabilizing impact Iran has across the region…” Or, in Trump terminology, to curtail Iran’s “malign activities.”

CENTCOM commander, Gen. Joseph Votel, went straight to the heart of the matter when he told the US House Armed Services Committee in February that “both Russia and China are cultivating multidimensional ties to Iran … Lifting UN sanctions under the joint comprehensive plan of action opens [the] path for Iran to resume application to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.”
In a nutshell, this betrays the entire project which is to thwart the Eurasia integration process, which features Russia and China as peer competitors aligning with Iran along the New Silk Roads.

Predictably, we are back to the late Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski’s book, The Grand Chessboard.
“…Potentially the most dangerous scenario would be an ‘anti-hegemonic’ coalition united not by ideology but by complementary grievances … a grand coalition of China, Russia, perhaps Iran … reminiscent in scale and scope of the challenge posed by the Sino-Soviet bloc, though this time, China would likely be the leader and Russia the follower,” he wrote. “Averting this contingency … will require US geostrategic skill on the western, eastern, and southern perimeters of Eurasia simultaneously.

 

11-- Denuclearization?


South Korea has no choice or say in the matter. The US, since the original 1950 UN Security Council Resolution authorizing a UN force to combat the North, has been the designated leader of the UN expeditionary forces in South Korea. As such, the Pentagon has retained control over the South Korean military and has a UN-sanctioned right to have troops occupying South Korean territory (with immunity from South Korean law). That’s why Trump was able to order the placing of highly controversial Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile batteries in South Korea over the objections of both the South Korean people and the government of Moon Jae-in — missiles that would be of little or no use against any North Korean attack, but which actually threaten and target China, much like the anti-missile batteries that the US has installed in Eastern European countries which it continues to insist publicly are to defend against non-existent Iranian missiles, but which actually pose a deadly threat of a potential first strike against Russia.


12--Majority of Americans see special counsel investigation as politically motivated: Poll

 

A new survey out Tuesday shows that over half of Americans see the special counsel’s investigation into collusion claims as politically motivated.
The poll from CBS News shows 53 percent believe politics are behind the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, while 44 percent say the investigation is justified.

A majority also say, however, that Mr. Trump should cooperate with Mr. Mueller, but by a slightly smaller percentage than earlier this year. In January, 84 percent of people said Mr. Trump should cooperate, while the latest poll shows that number down to 76 percent.
The shift is largely among Republican voters. In January, 73 percent said Mr. Trump should cooperate, but that number has shifted to 53 percent

 

ADDITIONAL LINKS  --

https://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2017/09/unwinding-qe

https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/02/19/387265766/irans-jews-its-our-home-and-we-plan-to-stay

https://www.counterpunch.org/2010/08/18/why-iran-s-jews-are-better-off-than-gaza-s-palestinians/

https://www.rt.com/politics/426048-putin-prioritizes-economic-breakthrough/

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/425471-neocons-yalta-crimea-economy/