The same people, Republicans and Democrats, who lied through their teeth for an invasion of Iraq in 2003, are doing it again for an invasion of Russia, sometime soon, so as to ‘defend’ ‘democracy’. The US has by now swallowed up virtually all lands surrounding Russia, at least in Europe, the latest being Ukraine, and is placing its missiles now on and near Russia’s borders, which is to Russians like would be to Americans if Russia had swallowed up Canada and were placing its missiles there. But the lying holier-than-thou US Establishment accuses Russia of being ‘aggressive’ when Russia holds war-games on and near its borders in order to prepare for a US-NATO invasion, which actually looks increasingly likely to them every day — and not because of ‘Russian propaganda’, but because of the US Government’s actions.
The mainstream media took no notice of a federal court filing that exposes a $84 million money-laundering conspiracy Democrats executed during the 2016 presidential election.
The press continues to feed the dying Russia collusion conspiracy theory, spending Friday’s news cycle regurgitating Democrat talking points from the just-filed Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act lawsuit against the Trump campaign, WikiLeaks, and Russia.
Yet the mainstream media took no notice of last week’s federal court filing that exposes an $84 million money-laundering conspiracy the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign executed during the 2016 presidential election in violation of federal campaign-finance law.
That lawsuit, filed last week in a DC district court, summarizes the DNC-Clinton conspiracy and provides detailed evidence from Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings confirming the complaint’s allegations that Democrats undertook an extensive scheme to violate federal campaign limits.
From Bundling To Money Laundering
Dan Backer, a campaign-finance lawyer and attorney-of-record in the lawsuit, explained the underlying law in an article for Investor’s Business Daily: Under federal law, “an individual donor can contribute $2,700 to any candidate, $10,000 to any state party committee, and (during the 2016 cycle) $33,400 to a national party’s main account. These groups can all get together and take a single check from a donor for the sum of those contribution limits—it’s legal because the donor cannot exceed the base limit for any one recipient. And state parties can make unlimited transfer to their national party.”
This legal loophole allows “bundlers” to raise large sums of money from wealthy donors—more than $400,000 at a time—filtering the funds to the national committees. Democrats and Republicans alike exploit this tactic. But once the money reaches the national committees, other limits apply.
Suspecting the DNC had exceeded those limits, a client of Backer’s, the Committee to Defend the President, began reviewing FEC filings to determine whether there was excessive coordination between the DNC and Clinton. What Backer discovered, as he explained in an interview, was much worse. There was “extensive evidence in the Democrats’ own FEC reports, when coupled with their own public statements that demonstrated massive straw man contributions papered through the state parties, to the DNC, and then directly to Clinton’s campaign—in clear violation of federal campaign-finance law.”
On behalf of his clients, on December 15, 2017 Backer filed an 86-page complaint with the FEC, asking the FEC to commence enforcement proceedings against Hillary Clinton, her campaign and its treasurer, the DNC and its treasurer, and the participating state Democratic committees. The complaint, and an attached exhibit consisting of nearly 20 pages of Excel spreadsheets, detailed the misconduct and provided concrete evidence supporting the allegations. In short, here’s what happened and what the evidence establishes.
Think Of It Like A Shell Game With Millions Of Dollars
During the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, the DNC, and participating state Democratic committees established the Hillary Victory Fund (HVF) as a joint fundraising committee to accept contributions from large donors, some exceeding $400,000. So far, so good. To comply with campaign finance law, the HVF needed to transfer the donations to the specified recipients, whether the Clinton campaign, down-ticket Democrats, the DNC, or state committees.
FEC records, however, show several large contributions reported as received by the HVF and the same amount on the same day (or occasionally the following day) recorded as received by the DNC from a state Democratic committee, but without the state Democratic committee ever reporting the contribution.
For instance, the HVF reported transferring $19,500 to the Mississippi Democratic Party on November 2, 2015, and the Democratic National Committee reported receiving $19,500 from the Mississippi Democratic Party on November 2, 2015. But the Mississippi Democratic Party never recorded the receipt or the disbursement of the $19,500, and without the Mississippi Democratic Party controlling the funds, the HVF’s contribution to the DNC violated campaign finance law.
Over a 13-month period, FEC records show some 30 separate occasions when the HVF transferred contributions totaling more than $10 million to the DNC without any corresponding record of the receipt or disbursement from the state parties, thus illegally leap-frogging the state Democratic parties.
On the other hand, of the contributions state parties reported as received from the HVF, 99 percent wound up at the DNC. They were transferred immediately or within a day or two, raising questions of whether the state Democratic committees truly exercised control over the money—something necessary under campaign finance law to allow a later-legal transfer to the DNC.
Again, the evidence is damning. According to Politico, “[w]hile state party officials were made aware that Clinton’s campaign would control the movement of the funds between participating committees, one operative who has relationships with multiple state parties said that some of their officials have complained that they weren’t notified of the transfers into and out of their accounts until after the fact.”
‘Using The Party As A Fundraising Clearinghouse’
But the Clinton campaign’s control of the contributions did not end once the funds reached the DNC, as the complaint filed with the FEC detailed. Rather, public statements by former DNC chairwoman Donna Brazile acknowledged that “[a]s Hillary’s campaign gained momentum, she resolved the party’s debt and put it on a starvation diet. It had become dependent on her campaign for survival, for which she expected to wield control of its operations.”
Gary Gensler, the chief financial officer of the Clinton campaign, which operated as Hillary For America “HFA,” out of Brooklyn, New York, likewise stated that the Democratic Party was “fully under the control of the Clinton campaign . . . . The campaign had the DNC on life support, giving it money every month to meet its basic expenses, while the campaign was using the party as a fund-raising clearinghouse.”
By excercising control over the DNC’s funds, including funds transferred from the HVF through the state parties, the contributions qualified as donations to the Clinton campaign for purposes of federal campaign finance law, and when properly accounted for exceeded the legal contribution limits.
The Supreme Court Made It Clear This Is Illegal
The illegality of this scheme isn’t a matter of debate. The Supreme Court made clear in 2014 in McCutcheon v. FEC that this exact scenario would violate the law. Here’s how the court laid it out: “[A] donor gives a $500,000 check to a joint fundraising committee composed of a candidate, a national party committee, and most of the party’s state party committees. The committees divide up the money so that each one receives the maximum contribution permissible under the base limits, but then each transfers its allocated portion to the same single committee. That committee uses the money for coordinated expenditures on behalf of a particular candidate.”
The Supreme Court then declared: “Lest there be any confusion, a joint fundraising committee is simply a mechanism for individual committees to raise funds collectively, not to circumvent base limits or earmarking rules. Under no circumstances may a contribution to a joint fundraising committee result in an allocation that exceeds the contribution limits applicable to its constituent parts; the committee is in fact required to return any excess funds to the contributor.” And “the earmarking provision prohibits an individual from directing funds ‘through an intermediary or conduit to a particular candidate.”
This “scenario could not succeed,” the Supreme Court explained, “without assuming that nearly 50 separate party committees would engage in a transparent violation of the earmarking rules (and that they would not be caught if they did).” Caught Clinton was. Yet the FEC failed to act on Backer’s complaint, even though federal law authorizes any person to file “a complaint with the FEC alleging a violation of federal campaign finance law.”
FEC Declines To Follow The Law
Upon receipt of Backer’s complaint, the FEC was required to notify those accused of violating federal law of the charges. Then the commissioners were required to determine whether there was “reason to believe” a violation occurred. Following a finding by four FEC commissioners that there was “reason to believe” a violation has occurred, the FEC must investigate the complaint.
What the FBI/FISA Memo Really Tells Us About Our Government
The release of the House Intelligence Committee’s memo on the FBI’s abuse of the FISA process set off a partisan firestorm. The Democrats warned us beforehand that declassifying the memo would be the end the world as we know it. It was reckless to allow Americans to see this classified material, they said. Agents in the field could be harmed, sources and methods would be compromised, they claimed.
Republicans who had seen the memo claimed that it was far worse than Watergate. They said that mass firings would begin immediately after it became public. They said that the criminality of US government agencies exposed by the memo would shock Americans.
Then it was released and the world did not end. FBI agents have thus far not been fired. Seeing “classified” material did not terrify us, but rather it demonstrated clearly that information is kept from us by claiming it is “classified.”
In the end, both sides got it wrong. Here’s what the memo really shows us:
First,the memo demonstrates that there is a “deep state” that does not want things like elections to threaten its existence. Candidate Trump’s repeated promises to get along with Russia and to re-assess NATO so many years after the end of the Cold War were threatening to a Washington that depends on creating enemies to sustain the fear needed to justify a trillion dollar yearly military budget.
Imagine if candidate Trump had kept his campaign promises when he became President. Without the “Russia threat” and without the “China threat” and without the need to dump billions into NATO, we might actually have reaped a “peace dividend” more than a quarter century after the end of the Cold War. That would have starved the war-promoting military-industrial complex and its network of pro-war “think tanks” that populate the Washington Beltway area.
Second, the memo shows us that neither Republicans nor Democrats really care that much about surveillance abuse when average Americans are the victims. It is clear that the FISA abuse detailed in the memo was well known to Republicans like House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes before the memo was actually released. It was likely also well known by Democrats in the House. But both parties suppressed this evidence of FBI abuse of the FISA process until after the FISA Amendments Act could be re-authorized. They didn’t want Americans to know how corrupt the surveillance system really is and how the US has become far too much like East Germany. That might cause more Americans to call up their Representatives and demand that the FISA mass surveillance amendment be allowed to sunset.
The new 55-page “America First” National Security Strategy (NSS), drafted over the course of 2017, defines Russia and China as “revisionist” powers, “rivals”, and for all practical purposes strategic competitors of the United States.
The NSS stops short of defining Russia and China as enemies, allowing for an “attempt to build a great partnership with those and other countries”. Still, Beijing qualified it as “reckless” and “irrational.” The Kremlin noted its “imperialist character” and “disregard for a multipolar world”. Iran, predictably, is described by the NSS as “the world’s most significant state sponsor of terrorism.”
Russia, China and Iran happen to be the three key movers and shakers in the ongoing geopolitical and geoeconomic process of Eurasia integration.
The NSS can certainly be regarded as a response to what happened at the BRICS summit in Xiamen last September. Then, Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted on “the BRIC countries’ concerns over the unfairness of the global financial and economic architecture which does not give due regard to the growing weight of the emerging economies”, and stressed the need to “overcome the excessive domination of a limited number of reserve currencies”.
That was a clear reference to the US dollar, which accounts for nearly two thirds of total reserve currency around the world and remains the benchmark determining the price of energy and strategic raw materials.
And that brings us to the unnamed secret at the heart of the NSS; the Russia-China “threat” to the US dollar.
The CIPS/SWIFT face-off
The website of the China Foreign Exchange Trade System (CFETS) recently announced the establishment of a yuan-ruble payment system, hinting that similar systems regarding other currencies participating in the New Silk Roads, a.k.a. Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will also be in place in the near future.
Crucially, this is not about reducing currency risk; after all Russia and China have increasingly traded bilaterally in their own currencies since the 2014 US-imposed sanctions on Russia. This is about the implementation of a huge, new alternative reserve currency zone, bypassing the US dollar.
The decision follows the establishment by Beijing, in October 2015, of the China International Payments System (CIPS). CIPS has a cooperation agreement with the private, Belgium-based SWIFT international bank clearing system, through which virtually every global transaction must transit.
What matters in this case is that Beijing – as well as Moscow – clearly read the writing on the wall when, in 2012, Washington applied pressure on SWIFT; blocked international clearing for every Iranian bank; and froze $100 billion in Iranian assets overseas as well as Tehran’s potential to export oil. In the event Washington might decide to slap sanctions on China, bank clearing though CIPS works as a de facto sanctions-evading mechanism.
Last March, Russia’s central bank opened its first office in Beijing. Moscow is launching its first $1 billion yuan-denominated government bond sale. Moscow has made it very clear it is committed to a long term strategy to stop using the US dollar as their primary currency in global trade, moving alongside Beijing towards what could be dubbed a post-Bretton Woods exchange system.
Gold is essential in this strategy. Russia, China, India, Brazil & South Africa are all either large producers or consumers of gold – or both. Following what has been extensively discussed in their summits since the early 2010s, the BRICS are bound to focus on trading physical gold.
Markets such as COMEX actually trade derivatives on gold, and are backed by an insignificant amount of physical gold. Major BRICS gold producers – especially the Russia-China partnership – plan to be able to exercise extra influence in setting up global gold prices.
The ultimate politically charged dossier
Intractable questions referring to the US dollar as top reserve currency have been discussed at the highest levels of JP Morgan for at least five years now. There cannot be a more politically charged dossier. The NSS duly sidestepped it.
The current state of play is still all about the petrodollar system; since last year what used to be a key, “secret” informal deal between the US and the House of Saud is firmly in the public domain.
Even warriors in the Hindu Kush may now be aware of how oil and virtually all commodities must be traded in US dollars, and how these petrodollars are recycled into US Treasuries. Through this mechanism Washington has accumulated an astonishing $20 trillion in debt – and counting.
Vast populations all across MENA (Middle East-Northern Africa) also learned what happened when Iraq’s Saddam Hussein decided to sell oil in euros, or when Muammar Gaddafi planned to issue a pan-African gold dinar.
But now it’s China who’s entering the fray, following on plans set up way back in 2012. And the name of the game is oil-futures trading priced in yuan, with the yuan fully convertible into gold on the Shanghai and Hong Kong foreign exchange markets.
The Shanghai Futures Exchange and its subsidiary, the Shanghai International Energy Exchange (INE) have already run four production environment tests for crude oil futures. Operations were supposed to start at the end of 2017; but even if they start sometime in early 2018 the fundamentals are clear; this triple win (oil/yuan/gold) completely bypasses the US dollar. The era of the petro-yuan is at hand.
Of course there are questions on how Beijing will technically manage to set up a rival mark to Brent and WTI, or whether China’s capital controls will influence it. Beijing has been quite discreet on the triple win; the petro-yuan was not even mentioned in National Development and Reform Commission documents following the 19th CCP Congress last October.
What’s certain is that the BRICS supported the petro-yuan move at their summit in Xiamen, as diplomats confirmed to Asia Times. Venezuela is also on board. It’s crucial to remember that Russia is number two and Venezuela is number seven among the world’s Top Ten oil producers. Considering the pull of China’s economy, they may soon be joined by other producers.
Yao Wei, chief China economist at Societe Generale in Paris, goes straight to the point, remarking how “this contract has the potential to greatly help China’s push for yuan internationalization.”
The hidden riches of “belt” and “road”
An extensive report by DBS in Singapore hits most of the right notes linking the internationalization of the yuan with the expansion of BRI.
In 2018, six major BRI projects will be on overdrive; the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway, the China-Laos railway, the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway, the Hungary-Serbia railway, the Melaka Gateway project in Malaysia, and the upgrading of Gwadar port in Pakistan.
HSBC estimates that BRI as a whole will generate no less than an additional, game-changing $2.5 trillion worth of new trade a year.
It’s important to keep in mind that the “belt” in BRI should be seen as a series of corridors connecting Eastern China with oil/gas rich regions in Central Asia and the Middle East, while the “roads” soon to be plied by high-speed rail traverse regions filled with – what else – un-mined gold.
A key determinant of the future of the petro-yuan is what the House of Saud will do about it. Should Crown Prince – and inevitable future king – MBS opt to follow Russia’s lead, to dub it as a paradigm shift would be the understatement of the century.
Yuan-denominated gold contracts will be traded not only in Shanghai and Hong Kong but also in Dubai. Saudi Arabia is also considering to issue so-called Panda bonds, after the Emirate of Sharjah is set to take the lead in the Middle East for Chinese interbank bonds.
Of course the prelude to D-Day will be when the House of Saud officially announces it accepts yuan for at least part of its exports to China. A follower of the Austrian school of economics correctly asserts that for oil-producing nations, higher oil price in US dollars is not as important as market share; “They are increasingly able to choose in which currencies they want to trade.”
What’s clear is that the House of Saud simply cannot alienate China as one of its top customers; it’s Beijing who will dictate future terms. That may include extra pressure for Chinese participation in Aramco’s IPO. In parallel, Washington would see Riyadh embracing the petro-yuan as the ultimate red line.
An independent European report points to what may be the Chinese trump card; “an authorization to issue treasury bills in yuan by Saudi Arabia”; the creation of a Saudi investment fund; and the acquisition of a 5% share of Aramco.
Nations under US sanctions such as Russia, Iran and Venezuela will be among the first to embrace the petro-yuan. Smaller producers such as Angola and Nigeria are already selling oil/gas to China in yuan.
And if you don’t export oil but is part of BRI, such as Pakistan, the least you can do is replace the US dollar in bilateral trade, as Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal is currently evaluating.
A key feature of the geoconomic heart of the world moving from the West to Asia is that by the start of the next decade the petro-yuan and trade bypassing the US dollar will be certified facts on the ground across Eurasia.
The NSS for its part promises to preserve “peace through strength”. As Washington currently deploys no less than 291,000 troops in 183 countries and has sent Special Ops to no less than 149 nations in 2017 alone, it’s hard to argue the US is at “peace” – especially when the NSS seeks to channel even more resources to the industrial-military complex.
“Revisionist” Russia-China have committed an unpardonable sin; they have concluded that pumping the US military budget by buying US bonds that allow the US Treasury to finance a multi-trillion dollar deficit without raising interest rates is an unsustainable proposition for the Global South. Their “threat” – under the framework of the BRICS as well as the SCO, which includes prospective members Iran and Turkey – is to increasingly settle bilateral and multilateral trade bypassing the US dollar.
It ain’t over till the fat (golden) lady sings. When the beginning of the end of the petrodollar system – established by Kissinger in tandem with the House of Saud way back in 1974 – becomes a fact on the ground, all eyes will be focused on the NSS counterpunch.
Special Report: As the U.S. government doles out tens of millions of dollars to “combat Russian propaganda,” one result is a slew of new “studies” by “scholars” and “researchers” auditioning for the loot, reports Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
The “Field of Dreams” slogan for America’s NGOs should be: “If you pay for it, we will come.” And right now, tens of millions of dollars are flowing to non-governmental organizations if they will buttress the thesis of Russian “meddling” in the U.S. democratic process no matter how sloppy the “research” or how absurd the “findings.”
And, if you think the pillars of the U.S. mainstream media – The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN and others – will apply some quality controls, you haven’t been paying attention for the past year or so. The MSM is just as unethical as the NGOs are.
So, we are now in a phase of Russia-gate in which NGO “scholars” produce deeply biased reports and their nonsense is treated as front-page news and items for serious discussion across the MSM.
Yet, there’s even an implicit confession about how pathetic some of this “scholarship” is in the hazy phrasing that gets applied to the “findings,” although the weasel words will slip past most unsuspecting Americans and will be dropped for more definitive language when the narrative is summarized in the next day’s newspaper or in a cable-news “crawl.”
For example, a Times front-page story on Thursday reported that “a network of Twitter accounts suspected of links to Russia seized on both sides of the [NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem] issue with hashtags, such as #boycottnfl, #standforouranthem and #takeaknee.”
The story, which fits neatly into the current U.S. propaganda meme that the Russian government somehow is undermining American democracy by stirring up dissent inside the U.S., quickly spread to other news outlets and became the latest “proof” of a Russian “war” against America.
However, before we empty the nuclear silos and exterminate life on the planet, we might take a second to look at the Times phrasing: “a network of Twitter accounts suspected of links to Russia.”
The vague wording doesn’t even say the Russian government was involved but rather presents an unsupported claim that some Twitter accounts are “suspected” of being part of some “network” and that this “network” may have some ill-defined connection – or “links” – to “Russia,” a country of 144 million people.
‘Six Degrees from Kevin Bacon’
It’s like the old game of “six degrees of separation” from Kevin Bacon. Yes, perhaps we are all “linked” to Kevin Bacon somehow but that doesn’t prove that we know Kevin Bacon or are part of a Kevin Bacon “network” that is executing a grand conspiracy to sow discontent by taking opposite sides of issues and then tweeting.
Yet that is the underlying absurdity of the Times article by Daisuke Wakabayashi and Scott Shane. Still, as silly as the article may be that doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. The Times’ high-profile treatment of these gauzy allegations represents a grave danger to the world by fueling a growing hysteria inside the United States about being “at war” with nuclear-armed Russia. At some point, someone might begin to take this alarmist rhetoric seriously.
Yes, I understand that lots of people hate President Trump and see Russia-gate as the golden ticket to his impeachment. But that doesn’t justify making serious allegations with next to no proof, especially when the outcome could be thermonuclear war.
However, with all those millions of dollars sloshing around the NGO world and Western academia – all looking for some “study” to fund that makes Russia look bad – you are sure to get plenty of takers. And, we should now expect that new “findings” like these will fill in for the so-far evidence-free suspicions about Russia and Trump colluding to steal the presidency from Hillary Clinton.
If you read more deeply into the Times story, you get a taste of where Russia-gate is headed next and a clue as to who is behind it:
“Since last month, researchers at the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a bipartisan initiative of the German Marshall Fund, a public policy research group in Washington, have been publicly tracking 600 Twitter accounts — human users and suspected bots alike — they have linked to Russian influence operations. Those were the accounts pushing the opposing messages on the N.F.L. and the national anthem.
“Of 80 news stories promoted last week by those accounts, more than 25 percent ‘had a primary theme of anti-Americanism,’ the researchers found. About 15 percent were critical of Hillary Clinton, falsely accusing her of funding left-wing antifa — short for anti-fascist — protesters, tying her to the lethal terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012 and discussing her daughter Chelsea’s use of Twitter. Eleven percent focused on wiretapping in the federal investigation into Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, with most of them treated the news as a vindication for President Trump’s earlier wiretapping claims.”
The Neocons, Again!
So, let’s stop and unpack this Times’ reporting. First, this Alliance for Securing Democracy is not some neutral truth-seeking organization but a neoconservative-dominated outfit that includes on its advisory board such neocon luminaries as Mike Chertoff, Bill Kristol and former Freedom House president David Kramer along with other anti-Russia hardliners such as former deputy CIA director Michael Morell and former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers.
How many of these guys, do you think, were assuring us that Iraq was hiding WMDs back in 2003?
This group clearly has an ax to grind, a record of deception, and plenty of patrons in the Military-Industrial Complex who stand to make billions of dollars from the New Cold War.
The neocons also have been targeting Russia for regime change for years because they see Russian President Vladimir Putin as the chief obstacle to their goal of helping Israel achieve its desire for “regime change” in Syria and a chance to bomb-bomb-bomb Iran. Russia-gate has served the neocons well as a very convenient way to pull Democrats, liberals and even progressives into the neocon agenda because Russia-gate is sold as a powerful weapon for the anti-Trump Resistance.
The Times article also might have mentioned that Twitter has 974 million accounts. So, this alarm over 600 accounts is a bit disproportionate for a front-page story in the Times, don’t you think?
And, there’s the definitional problem of what constitutes “anti-Americanism” in a news article. And what does it mean to be “linked to Russian influence operations”? Does that include Americans who may not march in lockstep to the one-sided State Department narratives on the crises in Ukraine and Syria? Any deviation from Official Washington’s groupthink makes you a “Moscow stooge.”
And, is it a crime to be “critical” of Hillary Clinton or to note that the U.S. mainstream media was dismissive of Trump’s claims about being wiretapped only for us to find out later that the FBI apparently was wiretapping his campaign manager?
However, such questions aren’t going to be asked amid what has become a massive Russia-gate groupthink, dominating not just Official Washington, but across much of America’s political landscape and throughout the European Union.
Why the Bias?
Beyond the obvious political motivations for this bias, we also have had the introduction of vast sums of money pouring in from the U.S. government, NATO and European institutions to support the business of “combatting Russian propaganda.”
For example, last December, President Obama signed into law a $160 million funding mechanism entitled the “Combating Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act.” But that amounts to only a drop in the bucket considering already existing Western propaganda projects targeting Russia.
So, a scramble is on to develop seemingly academic models to “prove” what Western authorities want proven: that Russia is at fault for pretty much every bad thing that happens in the world, particularly the alienation of many working-class people from the Washington-Brussels elites.
The truth cannot be that establishment policies have led to massive income inequality and left the working class struggling to survive and thus are to blame for ugly political manifestations – from Trump to Brexit to the surprising support for Germany’s far-right AfD party. No, it must be Russia! Russia! Russia! And there’s a lot of money on the bed to prove that point.
There’s also the fact that the major Western news media is deeply invested in bashing Russia as well as in the related contempt for Trump and his followers. Those twin prejudices have annihilated all professional standards that would normally be applied to news judgments regarding these flawed “studies.”
On Thursday, The Washington Post ran its own banner-headlined story drawn from the same loose accusations made by that neocon-led Alliance for Securing Democracy, but instead the Post sourced the claims to Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma. The headline read: “Russian trolls are stoking NFL controversy, senator says.”
The “evidence” cited by Lankford’s office was one “Twitter account calling itself Boston Antifa that gives its geolocation as Vladivostok, Russia,” the Post reported.
By Thursday, Twitter had suspended the Boston Antifa account, so I couldn’t send it a question, but earlier this month, Dan Glaun, a reporter for Masslive.com, reported that the people behind Boston Antifa were “a pair of anti-leftist pranksters from Oregon who started Boston Antifa as a parody of actual anti-fascist groups.”
In an email to me on Thursday, Glaun cited an interview that the Boston Antifa pranksters had done with right-wing radio talk show host Gavin McInnes last April.
And, by the way, there are apps that let you manipulate your geolocation data on Twitter. Or, you can choose to believe that the highly professional Russian intelligence agencies didn’t notice that they were telegraphing their location as Vladivostok.
Mindless Russia Bashing
Another example of this mindless Russia bashing appeared just below the Post’s story on Lankford’s remarks. The Post sidebar cited a “study” from researchers at Oxford University’s Project on Computational Propaganda asserting that “junk news” on Twitter “flowed more heavily in a dozen [U.S.] battleground states than in the nation overall in the days immediately before and after the 2016 presidential election, suggesting that a coordinated effort targeted the most pivotal voters.” Cue the spooky Boris and Natasha music!
Washington (GPA) – Earlier this week notorious war hawk US Senator John McCain (R-Az) was diagnosed with brain cancer. While the liberal and conservative establishments are sending their regards, Geopolitics Alert instead compiled a list of reasons why we don’t care about McCain.
The list is, of course, a history of all the instances McCain has called for US-led intervention around the world. There’s obviously a long history here, so Geopolitics Alert has compiled the largest examples from Europe to Asia. We’ll start with the obvious wars first.
Afghanistan and Iraq
Obviously every US Senator (besides California’s Barbara Lee) voted to give President George W. Bush the power to invade Afghanistan following the events of September 11th. However, McCain wasn’t happy with just moving to invade Afghanistan. No, he had other targets on his mind as early as the day after the towers fell.
Despite McCain’s claim in 2014 that “the Iraq war probably wouldn’t have happened” if he had won the 2000 Republican primary and the general election, this assertion seems ridiculous. On September 12th, 2001, McCain appeared on MSNBC presenting an extensive list of countries he felt were providing a “safe harbor” to groups like al Qaeda. This list, of course, included Iraq and several other nations that appear later on this list.
Another country on that 2001 list (of course) was Syria. Now, the Bush regime may have never gotten a chance to continue toppling Mideast countries (thanks to the failure in Iraq and the exposure of that war being sold on lies). But McCain seemingly never lost sight of his hatred for Bashar Al-Assad.
Shortly after the Arab Spring “broke out” in Syria, McCain – and his constant partner in war crimes Sen. Lindsey Graham – quickly found communication channels with the “Syrian opposition.” Just a few short months after the US endorsed protests in Syria (even having their ambassador attend), McCain and Graham began calling for arms to start flowing to the Free Syrian Army and other “rebel” groups.
McCain’s plans for Syria never quite worked the way he wanted, but he probably should’ve known they would never yield a positive result. If McCain didn’t want to look at Iraq to prove that point, he had another more recent example he could’ve used: the NATO intervention in Libya.
It was less than a year before McCain wanted to arm Syrian takfiris that he had supported with the bombing and no fly zones in Libya. McCain even wanted tougher actions against the country. Which has now become an anarchic Wild West that’s home to all sorts of horrors from the Islamic State to a new slave trade.
West and Central Africa
McCain is also a champion of the “war on terror” in other parts of Africa. While McCain hasn’t directly supported terrorists in some countries in Africa, he still has called for more US intervention across the continent.
This list includes countries dealing with Islamic insurgencies, such as Mali. McCain has also called for plans like “deploying Special Forces” to rescue girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria and intervention in Sudan, where McCain and his wife have invested money for some time.
Another country on the list of hated nations initially put forth by Bush undersecretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz, and also another long time target of McCain is of course Iran.
Although McCain has always said “he prays” there will never be at war with Iran, the man incessantly calls for it and even jokes about bombing the country when he feels the mood is right. The truth of the matter is, McCain’s positions towards Iran are so hostile that even flagship neoconservative institutions like the Cato Institute think he is too hawkish.
Bosnia and Kosovo
But McCain isn’t satisfied with just backing Salafi jihadists in the traditional Middle East and North African theaters. He’s also backed violent radicals across the fringes of Europe. This trend actually started in the mid-1990’s when McCain was a vocal supporter of then president Bill Clinton’s war in Bosnia.
Many of the Muslims traveling to Bosnia joining the mujahideen there have joined groups like IS in recent years. And IS flags can occasionally be seen in the Sunni areas of Bosnia now. McCain was still backing potential Takfiri movements, recently accusing Russia of interfering in local affairs, and calling for more US intervention in the country.
This, of course, started in 2014, but McCain has continued to pledge support for Kiev’s crimes in the Donbass region to this day. This is all par for the course in McCain’s larger theme of challenging Russia– the country he believes controls the separatists in eastern Ukraine.
The story of McCain’s hatred of Russia spans back to the Cold War. We won’t get into McCain’s fear of communism that’s evolved into just general Russophobia. But we will say he didn’t have many excuses to focus on making threats towards Moscow for a good 15-20 year stretch.
This changed in 2008, with the war in South Ossetia between Georgia and Russia. During this conflict, McCain was the loudest voice saying the US “should immediately call a meeting of the North Atlantic Council to assess Georgia’s security and review measures NATO can take to contribute to stabilizing this very dangerous situation.”
This same situation repeated in Ukraine in 2014 but McCain’s worst comments came this year. As soon as the US Intelligence Community’s accused Russia of interference in the 2016 US elections– and without any evidence– McCain was first to say the event was an “act of war.”
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DRPK/North Korea) was also an early target of McCain’s making his September 12th wish list. More recently though, the restyled “Trump opponent” McCain was all-in on the new regime’s saber rattling. Calling on Trump to strike the nuclear-armed country.
China is kind of in its own class with McCain, who’s made strange, vague threats towards the country in the past. Such as “the Arab spring is coming to China,” whatever that means. China may be a target on the periphery for McCain, but he does still encourage antagonizing the country to this day. Calling for things like more “freedom of navigation drills” and other naval exercises in the South China Sea.
So, in summation, next time someone asks why you don’t care about John McCain’s clock running out, show them this article. McCain has encouraged the spread of death worldwide. The day he leaves congress will be a victory for the human race.
If there were any actual crimes committed during the 2016 presidential election, then the origin of those crimes can be traced back to a single piece of hardware sitting at the DNC which housed the emails that were stolen and subsequently shared with WikiLeaks. Ironically, despite the fact that they’re apparently sitting on perhaps the most critical evidence available to prove that Russia “hacked the election,” an allegation that has been hammered 24/7 on CNN for the better part of a year now despite a lack of actual tangible evidence to support the allegation, the DNC has completely refused to cooperate with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and/or Robert Mueller’s independent investigation. Which begs one very simple question, why?
As the Washington Times points out, a cybersecurity firm called CrowdStrike, is the only organization that has been allowed by the DNC to inspect their email server…an inspection which quickly resulted in the very ‘convenient’ conclusion that Russia was the culprit of the hack…even though minimal details supporting that conclusion were ever revealed to authorities.