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All U.S. Gov’t. Accusations Against Russia’s Gov’t. Are Lies

Because of what the U.S. regime did to Ukraine, Ukraine now has vastly higher debt, and also significantly reduced GDP from which to pay it. Nothing about this operation was at all democratic.

Eric Zuesse

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By Eric Zuesse (originally posted at The Saker)…


THE FIRST ACCUSATION, which is the source of the Magnitsky Act sanctions against Russia, was in 2012 under U.S. President Barack Obama, and it alleged that Sergei Magnitsky had been a whistleblower in Russia who was a lawyer who uncovered corruption in Russia’s Government and was imprisoned for that and beaten to death there for that. Magnitsky was, in fact, no whistleblower, and no lawyer, but the accountant of American billionaire Bill Browder, who had been charged by the Russian Government (and who then fled Russia) as having tax-defrauded the Russian Government of $230 million. And, Magnitsky’s death in prison was due to inadequate medical care of his pancreatitis by the medical personnel there, not (as Browder alleged) to any “beating.”

THE SECOND ACCUSATION, in 2014, is that “Russia stole Crimea.” This charge is the source of additional (and more severe) sanctions against Russis, and also of NATO’s massing of troops and weapons on and near Russia’s border, which are massed there allegedly to ‘protect’ European nations against ‘Russian aggression’ (such as ‘seizing Crimea’). It’s all founded on basic lies regarding Crimea and Ukraine. A fuller presentation of that case is here. But what constitutes the most remarkable evidence of all in this entire matter are two crucial phone-conversations. The first is the 27 January 2014 phone-conversation whereby the chief agent, Victoria Nuland, whom Obama had assigned to organize the coup to overthrow Ukraine’s democratically elected President Victor Yanukovych, gave the order as to whom Yanukovych’s replacement would be. This call is grossly misrepresented if not entirely ignored by the U.S. regime’s ‘journalists’ and ‘historians’. Nuland famously said there “Fuck the EU” (for the EU’s wanting a more moderate and less-nazi alternative to be selected). That much of the call was reported in the Western press (though with virtually no context as to what it meant and why she had said it), but the rest — the historically crucial part of it — wasn’t. This historically mega-important phone-call, which was posted to the internet a week later, on February 4th — three weeks before the man whom she named there received (just as she had instructed) the appointment to lead the post-coup Ukraine — isn’t even being denied by Washington. Instead, it’s either ignored by them, or else totally misrepresented, in the ‘historical’ accounts by the agents of the U.S. regime.

Especially remarkable about this phone-conversation, to select Ukraine’s new leader, is that it wasn’t between Ukrainians, but was instead between two Americans, selecting the person who would soon be appointed by the U.S. regime to rule Ukrainians; it actually obliterated Ukrainian national sovereignty. Nuland told Pyatt not to appoint the moderate Vitally Klitschko, the EU’s favorite, to become Ukraine’s new leader, but instead to appoint the rabidly anti-Russian Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Here, then, is the most crucial part of this historically crucial phone-conversation, the instruction she gave there that set “the New Cold War” — the movement toward World War III — overtly into motion (after its covert start on the night of 24 February 1990):

Nuland: … Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience the governing experience; he’s the… what he needs is Klitsch [the leading moderate] and Tiahnybok [an admirer of Hitler] on the outside; he [Yats] needs to be talking to them four times a week you know. I just think Klitch going in, he’s going to be, at that level, working for Yatsenyuk; it’s just not going to work.

Pyatt: Yeah [you’re right], no [I was wrong to think that Klitschko should become the new ruler], I think that’s right. Ok. Good.

Then, she referred, in the call, to her agent (just like she was Obama’s agent), Jeff Feltman, who had been assigned to persuade the U.N.’s Ban ki-Moon and his envoy handling Ukraine — who was Holland’s former Ambassador to Ukraine, the anti-Russian and pro-American Robert Serry — to go along with the U.S., in this context:

I talked to Jeff Feltman this morning; he had a new name for the UN guy Robert Serry; did I write you that this morning?

Pyatt: Yeah I saw that.

Nuland: Ok. He’s now gotten both Serry and Ban ki-Moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday. That would be great, I think, to help glue this thing, and to have the UN help glue it, and, you know, fuck the EU.

Feltman chose Serry to become officially appointed on 5 March 2014 by Ban ki-Moon to “mediate the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.” (Whether Russia’s President Vladimir Putin ever knew that the U.N.’s  ‘mediator’ had been chosen by Obama’s people, is unknown; presumably, he knew of the Nuland-Pyatt phone-conversation; but certainly Russia’s U.N. Ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, wasn’t comfortable about Serry’s representing the U.N. on this matter; and Crimeans also were outright hostile toward Serry.)

In other words: this was a set-up deal, set up in Washington, to create — and with the U.N.’s acceptance — a rabidly anti-Russian government, right on Russia’s doorstep, in adjoining Ukraine. Would the U.N. have accepted Russia’s replacing Mexico’s Government in a bloody coup and installing a rabidly anti-U.S. regime there? Did the U.S. in 1962 accept Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba, which is 100 miles away from the U.S.? Of course not. Why should Russia do that, in 2014 — or ever?

Then, in a phone-call on February 26th, occurred the second important item of evidence. The foreign-affairs chief of the European Union, Catherine Ashton, was confidentially informed by her investigator, Urmas Paet, that the new Government in Ukraine was not actually the result of what the democratically elected Government had done, but was instead a coup by “the new coalition” government that had just succeeded at overthrowing the elected Government. This is from the transcript:

What was quite disturbing, the same oligarch [Poroshenko — and so when he then became Ukraine’s President three months later, he already knew this] told that well, all the evidence shows that the people who were killed by snipers, from both sides, among policemen and people from the streets, [this will shock Ashton, who thought that Yanukovych had masterminded the killings] that they were the same snipers, killing people from both sides [so, Poroshenko himself knows that his regime is based on a false-flag U.S.-controlled coup d’etat against his predecessor, Yanukovych — and he even said as much]

Well, that’s yes, …

So that and then she [Dr. Olga Bolgomets] also showed me some photos, she said that as medical doctor, she can, you know, say that it’s the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition that they don’t want to investigate, what exactly happened; so that now there is stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition. 

Notice here that Paet had tactfully avoided saying that Ashton’s assumption that it had been Yanukovych was false; instead, he totally ignored her having suggested that, and he here simply said that the evidence went totally in the opposite direction, the direction that Poroshenko himself knew to be true, that the guilty party was “the new coalition,” which Paet said nothing about, and Ashton asked him no questions about it or about what country had actually organized it. Ashton responded:

I think that we do want to investigate. 

That sentiment on her part lasted, however, only about one second.

I mean I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh? 

Ashton here seemed to have felt outright embarrassed, and she thus ended in a “Gosh” that was almost inaudible, as if a question, and then she immediately proceeded simply to ignore this crucial matter entirely. All of the evidence suggests that she was exceedingly reluctant to believe that in the overthrow, the bad guys had actually been on the anti-Yanukovych side. The overthrow of Yanukovych has since been called “the most blatant coup in history”.

On the day when the coup peaked, 20 February 2014, there was an event which turned the residents of Crimea even more against the overthrow-Yanukovych demonstrators than Crimeans already were (and Crimea had voted over 75% for Yanukovych, so they were strongly against this overthrow): it was “The Anti-Crimean Pogrom that Sparked Crimea’s Breakaway”.

Almost immediately after Yatsenyuk became the leader of Ukraine, he sacked the existing three Deputy Defense Ministers, on March 5th, and replaced them with three rabidly anti-Russian neo-Nazis, who were committed to his bombing-policy, to eliminate enough Yanukovych-voters so that the new Government, in future elections, would be able to be a continuation of Yatsenyuk’s instead of a restoration of the one that had preceded Yatsenyuk’s. The person who was made the Minister of Defense, Mikhail Koval, announced his intention to ethnically cleanse from southeastern Ukraine the “subhumans” who voted for Yanukovych, who will “be resettled in other regions,” meaning either Russia (if Russia accepts these Ukrainian refugees) or else concentration-camps inside Ukraine (and then perhaps death). “There will be a thorough filtration of people.” (That English translation has since been taken down; so, instead, try this and this.) Their property will be confiscated, and “Land parcels will be given out for free to the servicemen of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and other military formations, as well as to the employees of Interior Ministry and the Security Service of Ukraine that are defending territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country in eastern and southeastern regions of Ukraine.” That’s the euphemism for the ethnic cleansing, and mass-theft, which followed. And here is more of that, and more, and more, of this U.S.-imposed nazism. In other words, Obama’s rulers of Ukraine were rewarding ethnic-cleansing, and were offering their soldiers the opportunity to grab legally the property of their victims.

On 15 November 2017, two of the foreign mercenaries who had served as snipers in the Ukrainian coup confessed on Italian television and described how they had come to be hired for the job, by Mikheil Saakashvili (who is a U.S. Deep State asset).

The result of the U.S. regime’s takeover of Ukraine’s Government is this. And a generation of young Ukrainians are now being taught nazism, right on the border of Russia — Russia being the one country that in World War II had done the most to conquer the Nazis. The U.S. Government has flipped to pro-nazi. And time after time after time, the U.S. leads the three-or-fewer nations that vote at the U.N. against condemning nazism. That’s right: America, which under President FDR had fought against the Nazis and the other fascist regimes, now was and is itself the world’s leading racist-fascist, or ideologically nazi (but this time mainly against Russians, instead of mainly against Jews), regime, itself. (In fact, today’s America is allied with the ideologically racist-fascist, or nazi, anti-Palestinian, Israeli regime. And, it’s allied also with the nazi — but anti-Shiite — Saud regime, which was founded in 1744 on the basis of hating Shiites.)

Ukraine’s economy was destroyed by the U.S.-imposed Ukrainian regime. Until around 2013, Ukraine’s economy was fairly stable, but then the coup-operation, which had begun in Washington in 2011, for regime-change in both Ukraine and Syria, culminated successfully in Ukraine in February 2014. Ukraine’s national debt then nearly quadrupled, between 2013 and 2017, while Ukraine’s GDP simultaneously declined 39%:

https://www.statista.com/

Ukraine: National debt from 2012 to 2017 (in billion U.S. dollars)

2012=20.14

2013=22.67

2014=42.61

2015=60.24

2016=73.94

2017=83.96

https://www.statista.com/

Ukraine: GDP from 2012 to 2017

2012=175.71

2013=179.57

2014=132.34

2015=90.94

2016=93.26

2017=109.32

Because of what the U.S. regime did to Ukraine, Ukraine now has vastly higher debt, and also significantly reduced GDP from which to pay it. Nothing about this operation was at all democratic. The opposition to this operation was democratic. That’s not to say the crowd who had campaigned at the Maidan Square against Ukraine’s endemic corruption were anti-democratic, but that their leaders were — and so Ukraine is even more corrupt now than it was under Yanukovych. Four days before the Nuland-anointed Yatsenyuk left Ukraine’s Government, he tweeted on 10 April 2016, “I thank the colleagues who’ve acted honestly and selflessly. The last 2 Govs [his and Poroshenkos] were unique. They were the first manifestations of New Ukraine.” Look at the heap of contempt which his former followersheaped there upon that tweet. The pro-U.S.-regime site Euractive noted on that same day, that “his party’s approval rating has slumped to just two percent” and blamed it not on his ethnic-cleansing campaign and his sinking his country into hock to foreign investors in order to fund that war against the regions that had voted 90% for Yanukovych, but instead mainly “because of the painful transition away from a state-sustained economy” — not enough privatization, not enough graft for insider-investors to have been able to suck Ukrainians even drier than they’ve done.

All indications are that, right after the February 2014 coup, over 90% of Crimeans wanted to become Russians again, and that over 90% are happy today to be Russians again (which Crimea had been until 1954 when the Soviet dictator arbitrarily transferred Crimea from Russia to Ukraine). But the U.S. regime and its allies demand that Crimeans be taken over by the nazi racist anti-Russian and anti-Crimean regime the U.S. installed in Ukraine. The right of self-determination of peoples is honored (at least verbally) in The West for Spain’s Catalonians and for UK’s Scotts, but not at all for Crimeans, whom The West is instead determined to, essentially, destroy, by diktat (which is what the U.S.-imposed Ukrainian regime wants to do to Crimeans).

Instead of “Putin seized Crimea,” the reality is: Obama seized Ukraine. Crimeans rejected his seizure. “Putin seized Crimea” is lie #2.

THE THIRD ACCUSATION is that Russia’s Government, if not Putin himself, surreptitiously disclosed through “hacks” supplied to Wikileaks, Hillary Clinton’s and her campaign’s emails, and that Russia otherwise also campaigned, via Facebook ads, to make Donald Trump win against Hillary Clinton. Wikileaks said that the emails actually arrived via leaks not hacks, and that the leaks were from inside the Democratic Party, not from anyone outside the United States. Regarding the Facebook ads, the New York Times on 20 September 2018, bannered a 9,700-word article, “The Plot to Subvert an Election: Unraveling the Russia Story So Far”, and buried 92% of the way through it, as merely a clause in a sentence, the crucial fact that “no public evidence has emerged showing that his [Trump’s] campaign conspired with Russia in the election interference or accepted Russian money.”  This startlingly anomalous declaration by their reporters was publicly noted to be anomalous, on the very same day as the article was published, when the “Moon of Alabama” blogger headlined “NYT Admits That Its ‘Mountain of Evidence’ For Russian Collusion Is Smaller Than A Molehill”. Then, on October 1st appeared, from the “Alternative Insight” blogger, “The New York Times Plots the 2016 Election”, opening:

The article starts with

ON AN OCTOBER AFTERNOON BEFORE THE 2016 ELECTION, a huge banner was unfurled from the Manhattan Bridge in New York City: Vladimir V. Putin against a Russian-flag background…”

The paragraph ends with

In November, shortly after Donald J. Trump eked out a victory that Moscow had worked to assist, an even bigger banner appeared.”

Note that before any facts are presented, the reader is confronted with a conclusion “Moscow had worked to assist” in Trump’s victory.

Police never identified who had hung the banners, but there were clues. The earliest promoters of the images on Twitter were American-sounding accounts, including @LeroyLovesUSA, later exposed as Russian fakes operated from St. Petersburg to influence American voters.”

Although described “as Russian fakes operated from St. Petersburg to influence American voters,” the banners had nothing to do with the election, and the second banner was unfurled after the election. Why conclude they are Russian fakes? Could not these individuals be operating similar to many persons who have Facebook accounts, hiding their real names when commenting on controversial issues?
These lines are followed by leaps into fantasy.
“The Kremlin, it appeared, had reached onto United States soil in New York and Washington. The banners may well have been intended as visual victory laps for the most effective foreign interference in an American election in history.”

How do a few unknown persons, supposedly living in St. Petersburg, suddenly morph into “The Kremlin?” How could, “The banners be intended as visual victory laps?” How is this, “the most effective foreign interference in an American election in history?” A succeeding paragraph proves the article is a bundle of unproven statements. Before presenting any facts, and using conjecture, other conclusions are impressed into the readers’ minds.

But to travel back to 2016 and trace the major plotlines of the Russian attack is to underscore what we now know with certainty: The Russians carried out a landmark intervention that will be examined for decades to come Acting on the personal animus of Mr. Putin, public and private instruments of Russian power moved with daring and skill to harness the currents of American politics. Well-connected Russians worked aggressively to recruit or influence people inside the Trump campaign.”

What are “the major plotlines,” of what “Russian attack,” that makes it certain that “The Russians carried out a landmark (ED: Why landmark?) intervention?”
Where has there been any evidence of “Acting on the personal animus of Mr. Putin?”

And, then, on November 2nd, appeared, from Gareth Porter, at Consortium News, a total mathematical disproof of the Times’s central allegation — of “The Times‘ claim last month that Russian Facebook posts reached nearly as many Americans as actually voted in the 2016 election.” He headlined “33 Trillion More Reasons Why The New York Times Gets it Wrong on Russia-gate” and displayed the mathematical impossibility of what the Facebook-ads hypothesis (which was accepted unquestioningly by the Times) asserts. He also exposed that the Facebook-ads hypothesis is based on misrepresenting what Facebook had actually asserted:

The newspaper said: “Even by the vertiginous standards of social media, the reach of their effort was impressive: 2,700 fake Facebook accounts, 80,000 posts, many of them elaborate images with catchy slogans, and an eventual audience of 126 million Americans on Facebook alone.” The paper argued that 126 million was “not far short of the 137 million people who would vote in the 2016 presidential election.” …

The newspaper failed to tell their readers that Facebook account holders in the United States had been “served” 33 trillion Facebook posts during that same period — 413 million times more than the 80,000 posts from the Russian company.

What Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 31, 2017 is a far cry from what the Times claims. “Our best estimate is that approximately 126,000 million people may have been served one of these [private Russian company, Internet Research Agency, ‘IRA’-generated] stories at some time during the two year period,” Stretch said.

Stretch was expressing a theoretical possibility rather than an established fact. He said an estimated 126 million Facebook members might have gotten at least one story from the IRA –- not over the ten week election period, but over 194 weeks during the two years 2015 through 2017—including a full year after the election.

That means only an estimated 29 million FB users may have gotten at least one story in their feed in two years. The 126 million figure is based only on an assumption that they shared it with others, according to Stretch.

Facebook didn’t even claim most of those 80,000 IRA posts were election–related. It offered no data on what proportion of the feeds to those 29 million people were.

In addition, Facebook’s Vice President for News Feed, Adam Moseri, acknowledged in 2016 that FB subscribers actually read only about 10 percent of the stories Facebook puts in their News Feed every day. The means that very few of the IRA stories that actually make it into a subscriber’s news feed on any given day are actually read.

And now, according to the further research, the odds that Americans saw any of these IRA ads—let alone were influenced by them—are even more astronomical. In his Oct. 2017 testimony, Stretch said that from 2015 to 2017, “Americans using Facebook were exposed to, or ‘served,’ a total of over 33 trillion stories in their News Feeds.”

To put the 33 trillion figure over two years in perspective, the 80,000 Russian-origin Facebook posts represented just .0000000024 of total Facebook content in that time.

Shane and Mazzetti did not report the 33 trillion number even though The New York Times’ own coverage of that 2017 Stretch testimony explicitly stated, “Facebook cautioned that the Russia-linked posts represented a minuscule amount of content compared with the billions of posts that flow through users’ News Feeds everyday.”

The Times‘ touting of the bogus 126 million out 137 million voters, while not reporting the 33 trillion figure, should vie in the annals of journalism as one of the most spectacularly misleading uses of statistics of all time.

The U.S. Government routinely interferes in elections all over the world, but builds mountains out of molehills of ‘evidence’ to charge that Russia’s Government is the global threat to democracy, and especially to America’s (fake) ‘democracy’. And that’s lie #3.

And, of course, the U.S. regime also had lied its way into invading Iraq in 2003, and lies today to allege that “Iran is the top state-sponsor of terrorism” and so much else; so that anyone who still trusts what the U.S. regime says, would have to be a fool. The New York Times (which participated so prominently in stenographically spreading the U.S. regime’s lies about Iraq in 2002 and 2003) is, no less now than it was then, an ongoing insult to the intelligence of its subscribers, but this time spreading lies especially against Russia. The newspaper’s subscribers didn’t cancel their subscriptions in revolt; that newspaper remains very successful, as if routinely lying to ‘justify’ invasion is okay.

The U.S. public believe the same ‘news’-media which had lied America into earlier invasions and mass-murders — wars and coups. it’s all of the U.S. major ‘news’-media, and most even of the ‘alternative’ ones (but certainly not the one you’re reading here). That’s why, when Trump’s U.N. Ambassador, Nikki Haley, on 5 April 2018, addressed students at Duke University, and said (at 46:50 in the video) “Russia’s never going to be our friend,” she wasn’t booed by anybody. And she continued, “You haven’t seen the end of what this administration will do to Russia.” In other words: she preached that hostility toward “Russia” is ‘good’. The students and the faculty seemed totally supportive of her nationalistic holier-than-thou lying pontifications. All of the questions, which were asked of her, presumed to be true all of the lies that she had stated against Russia, and against Bashar al-Assad and so much else. She easily fooled these people, because all of the major media already had fooled them, just like had been done about Iraq in 2002 and 2003. Fools never really learn, because they always already ‘know’ (the lies).

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

 

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Tom Welsh
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Tom Welsh

“Because of what the U.S. regime did to Ukraine, Ukraine now has vastly higher debt, and also significantly reduced GDP from which to pay it. Nothing about this operation was at all democratic”. All straight down the middle from the US foreign policy playbook. The purpose of landing other countries with vastly higher debt, while reducing their ability to pay, is obviously to get an opportunity to buy up those countries at fire-sale prices – or even completely free. As documented by Michael Hudson in a series of books (going back to “Superimperialism”). As for democracy, the US elite has… Read more »

Tom Welsh
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Tom Welsh

If Magnitsky’s death in prison was due to inadequate medical care, would that be something like this, then?

https://www.rt.com/russia/444727-us-jailed-russian-pilot/

Tom Welsh
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Tom Welsh

‘How is this, “the most effective foreign interference in an American election in history?”’

Of course, as everyone knows all too well, “the most effective foreign interference in an American election in history” has been by Israel, which has more or less controlled the US government since (at least) the 1960s.

How else could Israel have got the US President, Lyndon Johnson, to order a recall of the fighters that had already been scrambled to go and help the crew of the USS “Liberty”?

Shaun Ramewe
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Shaun Ramewe

Screw the ZioYanks’ pathetic and endless lies.

Gary Wells
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Gary Wells

“One way or another this darkness has got to give” – Robert Hunter
Excellent article.

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FBI recommended Michael Flynn not have lawyer present during interview, did not warn of false statement consequences

Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 18.

Washington Examiner

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Via The Washington Examiner…


Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who arranged the bureau’s interview with then-national security adviser Michael Flynn at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017 — the interview that ultimately led to Flynn’s guilty plea on one count of making false statements — suggested Flynn not have a lawyer present at the session, according to newly-filed court documents. In addition, FBI officials, along with the two agents who interviewed Flynn, decided specifically not to warn him that there would be penalties for making false statements because the agents wanted to ensure that Flynn was “relaxed” during the session.

The new information, drawn from McCabe’s account of events plus the FBI agents’ writeup of the interview — the so-called 302 report — is contained in a sentencing memo filed Tuesday by Flynn’s defense team.

Citing McCabe’s account, the sentencing memo says that shortly after noon on Jan. 24 — the fourth day of the new Trump administration — McCabe called Flynn on a secure phone in Flynn’s West Wing office. The two men discussed business briefly and then McCabe said that he “felt that we needed to have two of our agents sit down” with Flynn to discuss Flynn’s talks with Russian officials during the presidential transition.

McCabe, by his own account, urged Flynn to talk to the agents alone, without a lawyer present. “I explained that I thought the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between [Flynn] and the agents only,” McCabe wrote. “I further stated that if LTG Flynn wished to include anyone else in the meeting, like the White House counsel for instance, that I would need to involve the Department of Justice. [Flynn] stated that this would not be necessary and agreed to meet with the agents without any additional participants.”

Within two hours, the agents were in Flynn’s office. According to the 302 report quoted in the Flynn sentencing document, the agents said Flynn was “relaxed and jocular” and offered the agents “a little tour” of his part of the White House.

“The agents did not provide Gen. Flynn with a warning of the penalties for making a false statement under 18 U.S.C. 1001 before, during, or after the interview,” the Flynn memo says. According to the 302, before the interview, McCabe and other FBI officials “decided the agents would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed, and they were concerned that giving the warnings might adversely affect the rapport.”

The agents had, of course, seen transcripts of Flynn’s wiretapped conversations with Russian then-ambassador Sergey Kislyak. “Before the interview, FBI officials had also decided that if ‘Flynn said he did not remember something they knew he said, they would use the exact words Flynn used … to try to refresh his recollection. If Flynn still would not confirm what he said … they would not confront him or talk him through it,'” the Flynn memo says, citing the FBI 302.

“One of the agents reported that Gen. Flynn was ‘unguarded’ during the interview and ‘clearly saw the FBI agents as allies,'” the Flynn memo says, again citing the 302.

Later in the memo, Flynn’s lawyers argue that the FBI treated Flynn differently from two other Trump-Russia figures who have pleaded guilty to and been sentenced for making false statements. One of them, Alexander Van der Zwaan, “was represented by counsel during the interview; he was interviewed at a time when there was a publicly disclosed, full-bore investigation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election; and he was given a warning that it is a federal crime to lie during the interview,” according to the memo. The other, George Papadopoulos, “was specifically notified of the seriousness of the investigation…was warned that lying to investigators was a ‘federal offense’…had time to reflect on his answers…and met with the FBI the following month for a further set of interviews, accompanied by his counsel, and did not correct his false statements.”

The message of the sentencing memo is clear: Flynn, his lawyers suggest, was surprised, rushed, not warned of the context or seriousness of the questioning, and discouraged from having a lawyer present.

That is all the sentencing document contains about the interview itself. In a footnote, Flynn’s lawyers noted that the government did not object to the quotations from the FBI 302 report.

In one striking detail, footnotes in the Flynn memo say the 302 report cited was dated Aug. 22, 2017 — nearly seven months after the Flynn interview. It is not clear why the report would be written so long after the interview itself.

The brief excerpts from the 302 used in the Flynn defense memo will likely spur more requests from Congress to see the original FBI documents. Both House and Senate investigating committees have demanded that the Justice Department allow them to see the Flynn 302, but have so far been refused.

In the memo, Flynn’s lawyers say that he made a “serious error in judgment” in the interview. Citing Flynn’s distinguished 30-plus year record of service in the U.S. Army, they ask the judge to go along with special counsel Robert Mueller’s recommendation that Flynn be spared any time in prison.

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Macron offers crumbs to protestors in bid to save his globalist agenda (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 36.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at French President Macron’s pathetic display of leadership as he offers protestors little in the way of concessions while at the same time promising to crack down hard on any and all citizens who resort to violence.

Meanwhile France’s economy is set for a deep recession as French output and production grinds to a halt.

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Via Zerohedge


As if Brussels didn’t have its hands full already with Italy and the UK, the European Union will soon be forced to rationalize why one of its favorite core members is allowed to pursue populist measures to blow out its budget deficit to ease domestic unrest while another is threatened with fines potentially amounting to billions of euros.

When blaming Russia failed to quell the widespread anger elicited by his policies, French President Emmanuel Macron tried to appease the increasingly violent “yellow vests” protesters who have sacked his capital city by offering massive tax cuts that could blow the French budget out beyond the 3% budget threshold outlined in the bloc’s fiscal rules.

Given the concessions recently offered by Italy’s populists, Macron’s couldn’t have picked a worse time to challenge the bloc’s fiscal conventions. As Bloomberg pointed out, these rules will almost certainly set the Continent’s second largest economy on a collision course with Brussels. To be clear, Macron’s offered cuts come with a price tag of about €11 billion according to Les Echos, and will leave the country with a budget gap of 3.5% of GDP in 2019, with one government official said the deficit may be higher than 3.6%.

By comparison, Italy’s initial projections put its deficit target at 2.4%, a number which Europe has repeatedly refused to consider.

Macron’s promises of fiscal stimulus – which come on top of his government’s decision to delay the planned gas-tax hikes that helped inspire the protests – were part of a broader ‘mea culpa’ offered by Macron in a speech Monday night, where he also planned to hike France’s minimum wage.

Of course, when Brussels inevitably objects, perhaps Macron could just show them this video of French police tossing a wheelchair-bound protester to the ground.

Already, the Italians are complaining.  Speaking on Tuesday, Italian cabinet undersecretary Giancarlo Giorgetti said Italy hasn’t breached the EU deficit limit. “I repeat that from the Italian government there is a reasonable approach, if there is one also from the EU a solution will be found.”

“France has several times breached the 3% deficit. Italy hasn’t done it. They are different situations. There are many indicators to assess.”

Still, as one Guardian columnist pointed out in an op-ed published Tuesday morning, the fact that the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) organizers managed to pressure Macron to cave and grant concessions after just 4 weeks of protests will only embolden them to push for even more radical demands: The collapse of the government of the supremely unpopular Macron.

Then again, with Brussels now facing certain accusations of hypocrisy, the fact that Macron was pressured into the exact same populist measures for which Italy has been slammed, the French fiasco raises the odds that Rome can pass any deficit measure it wants with the EU now forced to quietly look away even as it jawbones all the way from the bank (i.e., the German taxpayers).

“Macron’s spending will encourage Salvini and Di Maio,” said Giovanni Orsina, head of the School of Government at Rome’s Luiss-Guido Carli University. “Macron was supposed to be the spearhead of pro-European forces, if he himself is forced to challenge EU rules, Salvini and Di Maio will jump on that to push their contention that those rules are wrong.”

While we look forward to how Brussels will square this circle, markets are less excited.

Exhausted from lurching from one extreme to another following conflicting headlines, traders are already asking if “France is the new Italy.” The reason: the French OAT curve has bear steepened this morning with 10Y yields rising as much as ~6bp, with the Bund/OAT spread reaching the widest since May 2017 and the French presidential election. Though well below the peaks of last year, further widening would push the gap into levels reserved for heightened political risk.

As Bloomberg macro analyst Michael Read notes this morning, it’s hard to see a specific near-term trigger blowing out the Bund/OAT spread but the trend looks likely to slowly drift higher.

While Macron has to fight on both domestic and European fronts, he’ll need to keep peace at home to stay on top. Remember that we saw the 10Y spread widen to ~80bps around the May ’17 elections as concerns of a move toward the political fringe played out in the markets, and the French President’s popularity ratings already look far from rosy.

And just like that France may have solved the Italian crisis.

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Watch: Democrat Chuck Schumer shows his East Coast elitism on live TV

Amazing moment in which the President exhibits “transparency in government” and shows the world who the Democrat leaders really are.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the reasons Donald Trump was elected to the Presidency was because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – against Democrat policy decisions and “stupid government” in general.

One of the reasons President Donald Trump is reviled is because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – in the American political scene.

In other words, there are two reactions to the same characteristic. On Tuesday, the President did something that probably cheered and delighted a great many Americans who witnessed this.

The Democrats have been unanimous in taking any chance to roast the President, or to call for his impeachment, or to incite violence against him. But Tuesday was President Trump’s turn. He invited the two Democrat leaders, presumptive incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and then, he turned the cameras on:

As Tucker Carlson notes, the body language from Schumer was fury. The old (something)-eating grin covered up humiliation, embarrassment and probably no small amount of fear, as this whole incident was filmed and broadcast openly and transparently to the American public. Nancy Pelosi was similarly agitated, and she expressed it later after this humiliation on camera, saying, “It’s like a manhood thing for him… As if manhood could ever be associated with him.”

She didn’t stop there. According to a report from the New York Daily News, the Queen Bee took the rhetoric a step below even her sense of dignity:

Pelosi stressed she made clear to Trump there isn’t enough support in Congress for a wall and speculated the President is refusing to back down because he’s scared to run away with his tail between his legs.

“I was trying to be the mom. I can’t explain it to you. It was so wild,” Pelosi said of the Oval Office meet, which was also attended by Vice President Pence and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “It goes to show you: you get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”

This represented the first salvo in a major spin-job for the ultra-liberal San Francisco Democrat. The rhetoric spun by Mrs. Pelosi and Chuck Schumer was desperate as they tried to deflect their humiliation and place it back on the President:

With reporters still present, Trump boasted during the Oval meeting he would be “proud” to shutdown the government if Congress doesn’t earmark cash for his wall before a Dec. 21 spending deadline.

Pelosi told Democrats that Trump’s boisterousness will be beneficial for them.

“The fact is we did get him to say, to fully own that the shutdown was his,” Pelosi said. “That was an accomplishment.”

The press tried to characterize this as a “Trump Tantrum”, saying things like this lede:

While “discussing” a budgetary agreement for the government, President Donald Trump crossed his arms and declared: “we will shut down the government if there is no wall.”

While the Democrats and the mainstream media in the US are sure to largely buy these interpretations of the event, the fact that this matter was televised live shows that the matter was entirely different, and this will be discomfiting to all but those Democrats and Trump-dislikers that will not look at reality.

There appears to be a twofold accomplishment for the President in this confrontation:

  1. The President revealed to his support base the real nature of the conversation with the Democrat leadership, because anyone watching this broadcast (and later, video clip) saw it unedited with their own eyes. They witnessed the pettiness of both Democrats and they witnessed a President completely comfortable and confident about the situation.
  2. President Trump probably made many of his supporters cheer with the commitment to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his border wall funding. This cheering is for both the strength shown about getting the wall finished and the promise to shut the government down, and further, Mr. Trump’s assertion that he would be “proud” to shut the government down, taking complete ownership willingly, reflects a sentiment that many of his supporters share.

The usual pattern is for the media, Democrats and even some Republicans to create a “scare” narrative about government shutdowns, about how doing this is a sure-fire path to chaos and suffering for the United States.

But the educated understanding of how shutdowns work reveals something completely different. Vital services never close. However, National Parks can close partly or completely, and some non-essential government agencies are shuttered. While this is an inconvenience for the employees furloughed during the shutdown, they eventually are re-compensated for the time lost, and are likely to receive help during the shutdown period if they need it. The impact on the nation is minimal, aside from the fact that the government stops spending money at the same frenetic pace as usual.

President Trump’s expression of willingness to do this action and his singling out of the Dem leadership gives the Democrats a real problem. Now the entire country sees their nature. As President Trump is a populist, this visceral display of Democrat opposition and pettiness will make at least some impact on the population, even that group of people who are not Trump fans.

The media reaction and that of the Democrats here show, amazingly, that after three years-plus of Donald Trump being a thorn in their side, they still do not understand how he works, and they also cannot match it against their expected “norms” of establishment behavior.

This may be a brilliant masterstroke, and it also may be followed up by more. The President relishes head-to-head conflict. The reactions of these congress members showed who they really are.

Let the games begin.

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