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Bellingcat may have tipped off Russian FSB of Paul Whelan’s alleged espionage activity (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 161.

Alex Christoforou

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News agency Interfax has confirmed that Russian authorities have brought espionage charges against an American citizen, Paul Whelan, who faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Russian investigative agencies have indicted U.S. citizen Paul Whelan for spying, an informed source told Interfax on Thursday.

“An indictment has been presented. Whelan dismisses it,” the source said.

It had been reported earlier that Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officials detained Whelan in Moscow on suspicion of spying on December 28.

“The FSB’s Investigative Directorate opened a criminal case against the U.S. citizen under Russian Criminal Code Article 276 (espionage),” the FSB told Interfax on December 31.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris go over the explosive story of espionage in Moscow, and the reasons why Paul Whelan may indeed be a spy, and how Russian authorities may have been tipped off of espionage activities courtesy of Atlantic Council-funded site Bellingcat.

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Via The New York Times

Mr. Whelan’s lawyer, Vladimir A. Zherebenkov, who said he spent much of Wednesday with Mr. Whelan, said he had found his client in an upbeat mood despite the long legal road that he faces.

“I was surprised to see him being so confident,” said Mr. Zherebenkov, a high-profile criminal defense lawyer.

Mr. Whelan, 48, the head of global security for the Michigan auto parts maker BorgWarner and a Marine Corps veteran, was arrested last Friday and is being held in solitary confinement in Moscow’s notorious Lefortovo Prison. Russia’s domestic security agency, the F.S.B., issued a brief statement on Monday saying that Mr. Whelan had been caught in “an act of espionage” but provided no other details.

Mr. Zherebenkov said that he had not seen all the evidence, but that he suspected that the American had been under surveillance for some time.

“I presume that he is innocent, because for now I haven’t seen any evidence against him that would prove otherwise,” said Mr. Zherebenkov, who said that Mr. Whelan would petition the court for bail.

Rosbalt, a Russian news agency close to the security services, quoted an unidentified intelligence source on Wednesday as saying that Mr. Whelan had been apprehended during a meeting with a Russian citizen in his room at the Metropol Hotel in Moscow. He is accused of trying to recruit this person to obtain classified information about staff members at various Russian agencies, the account said.

Mr. Whelan was arrested five minutes after receiving a USB stick containing a list of all the employees at a classified security agency, the report said.

Unusually for an occasional visitor to Russia, Mr. Whelan had an account on Vkontakte, the Russian version of Facebook, for about a decade. The account showed that he was last active at 4:55 p.m. on Dec. 28, the day the F.S.B. said he was arrested.

Rosbalt quoted its security source as saying it was considered odd that Mr. Whelan did not use the social media site to try to meet women. Rather, he sought to ingratiate himself into the lives of his contacts on the site.

Most of those contacts seemed to be men with some sort of connection to academies run by the Russian Navy, the Ministry of Defense or the Civil Aviation Authority.

Mr. Whelan’s family said that he had been in Russia to attend the wedding of a friend from the Marine Corps who was marrying a Russian woman at the storied Metropol Hotel. Mr. Whelan knew his way around Moscow, they said, and offered to help wedding guests navigate the city.

Russians who knew him via social media sites over the past decade said he seemed to pop up every six months or so and enjoyed traveling around Russia, especially by train. Not all of them met him in person, however, so it remained unclear just how often he had visited. One contact said that on this trip, Mr. Whelan had written that he had planned to stay in Moscow through the New Year and then head for St. Petersburg.

Via Zerohedge


After he was purportedly arrested while “carrying out an act of espionage”, Russia has formally indicted US citizen Paul Whelan, a 48-year-old US Marine and head of global security at autoparts maker BorgWarner, for being a spy, according to a report in Russian news agency Interfax being cited by US media. 

Whelan was arrested by Russia’s security services Dec. 28 while in Moscow on a personal trip. Whelan’s Russian lawyer Vladimir Zherebenkov, who was appointed to represent him, said earlier Thursday that the American will remain in custody in Moscow until the end of February.

While many US security analysts have speculated that Whelan might be used as a bargaining chip by Moscow to secure the return of Maria Butina, who pleaded guilty to trying to acting on behalf of the Kremlin to infiltrate the NRA to “establish unofficial lines of communication” with Washington, others have pointed out that the charges suggest that Whelan was probably genuinely suspected of espionage.

Here are seven reasons why the allegations against Whelan might be true:

He was in Iraq in 2004 and 2006, started visiting Russia for business and pleasure immediately after (according to his brother) in 2007 which was a year before he was convicted in court martial on charges related to larceny.

He was in Russia to attend a wedding of a former marine to a Russian girl. He arrived on December 22nd and was scheduled to depart on January 6th… a totally normal amount of time to be in town for a wedding.

He joined the marines in 1994 and served until his discharge in 2008. Yet his brother says he has been going there since 07 for business and pleasure.

The U.S. ambassador already visited him in prison, normal citizens do not get that treatment. The US governments response has been consistent with past incidences of spy’s being caught.

The FSB has said little but claims he was caught red handed, which, in past cases of US spies being caught has implied he was caught in the act. There’s thousands of Americans in Russia and thousands of Russians in America. Even if they wanted a bargaining chip for Maria Butina they wouldn’t take a random private citizen, they’d want an equal bargaining chip for a swap. Similar to when Skripal and 3 others got swapped for a group of Russian spies caught in the US. It’s bad PR to try and swap a tourist for your spy that got caught.

“Paul Whelan, his brother said, has been visiting Russia for business and pleasure since 2007, working in corporate security, with automotive industry components firm BorgWarner his most recent employer.” Highly unlikely a 24 year marine who fought in Iraq and was not known to be an intel officer in the marines, or a know background in Russian would be traveling to Russia for work in every job he’s had, while also regularly visiting for pleasure since the moment he left the military.

Bill Browder the US/UK citizen behind the magnitsky act, who Putin’s been trying to arrest/kill for years was always charged on tax evasion, neither the US nor Russia uses spy charges on private citizens/tourist. It’s extremely unlikely you could do something that would be mistakenly interpreted by a foreign government as an act of espionage.

While the exact circumstances surrounding his arrest aren’t yet known, one Russian news agency cited by the NYTquoted an unidentified intelligence source on Wednesday who said that Whelan had been arrested during a meeting with a Russian citizen in his room at the Metropol Hotel in Moscow.

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Olivia Kroth
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Whelan has US and British passports. What do you make of that?

Olivia Kroth
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The New York Times reports:
WASHINGTON — The American man being held on espionage charges in Moscow also has British, Canadian and Irish citizenship, officials said on Friday, a status that is certain to put more pressure from the West on Russia.
Now this story gets more and more interesting, doesn’ it???

Guy
Member
Guy

Given what we know about the intelligence agencies in the UK ,that alone raises the bar considerably about his guilt.LOL

Olivia Kroth
Guest

LONDON, January 4. /TASS/. The UK is extremely worried about the fate of Paul Whelan, a dual US/UK citizen, who was detained in Russia, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Friday.

“We are extremely worried about Paul Whelan, we have offered consular assistance,” Reuters quotes him as saying.

More:
http://tass.com/world/1038960

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

They never allowed Yulia Skripal, the Russian citizen, consular access. So why should Russia allow this man consular access, from the numerous nations he is connected with? UK, Eire, US, Canada and rising.

Taras 77
Guest
Taras 77

Also Maria Butina, who was kept in solitary for weeks, sleep deprived, one hour daily for supervised walk in yard, etc, all for failing to register as a foreign agent, an alleged offense which has almost no prosecutions in the past.

Hi AM Hants-hope you are well!

Taras 77
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Taras 77

Nailed it but i would say lowers the bar to almost 100% guarantee that he is guilty.

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

Not forgetting Irish and Canadian passports, so far.

Guy
Member
Guy

Would be interesting to know who was in the room with him and how that fits with the spying charge .Wonder if the Russian in the room at the time of the arrest was also arrested on the same charges.We will find out more as this case develops .

TheCelotajs
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TheCelotajs

The FSB does not go after anyone not unless they have all their ducks lined up and have an air tight case.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

I hope the FSB did not forget to collect and confiscate all of the man’s passports: US, GB, Irish, Canadian! This looks like a farce. Is there anything that man hasn’t got?

Isabella
Guest
Isabella

Tuttut, Mr Mercouris, You may well have read Russian History and Law, but you clearly can never have read a word about the JFK murder, nor seen Oliver Stone’s excellent movie, nor even watched many of the videos presenting the evidence, or even have talked directly to any ex Army snipers!! The evidence that L.H.Oswald could have had anything to do with it is overwhelming and way beyond being anything but evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt. Either you have never read a word, or read without understanding [and you’re an intelligent man, I doubt that] or are happy… Read more »

Olivia Kroth
Guest

Whoever killed JFK had his motives. Some rumours say that his own wife, Jackie Bouvier-Kennedy killed him herself, when they drove around in that open car in Dallas, Texas. Her motive: She was sick of his continuous philandering and wanted to marry Ari Onassis in Greece, whom she had met several years before. Some also say that Jackie was a CIA asset. That would not surprise me at all.

Isabella
Guest
Isabella

Clearly “some reports” come straight from the mad house!!! Given they were filmed the entire time [see the Zapruder film for example] how she managed to shoot him in the forehead, the Governor in the front seat in the arm and not be seen doing it is mystery beyond belief 🙂 😉

Olivia Kroth
Guest

Well Isabella, of course Jackie might not have been the only one involved in the shooting, since it was a CIA operation with various shooters involved. She certainly did not shoot the governor in the front seat in the arm, she had no reasons for doing that. She sat in the back seat, right beside her husband. It was easy to shoot him in the temple with a small revolver, which would not have been seen on Zapruder’s film. Moreover, some people say that this film was re-edited several times later (probably to fit in with the CIA narrative of… Read more »

warmingmyth
Guest
warmingmyth

Isabella totally agree! but advise editing your post from “The evidence that L.H.Oswald could have had anything to do with it is overwhelming and way beyond being anything but evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt” to “The evidence that L.H.Oswald could NOT have had anything to do with it is overwhelming and way beyond being anything but evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt.”

ruca
Guest
ruca

Olivia Kroth
Guest

This man is like a Russian multiple Matriyoshka doll. You open the first, out pops the second. You open this one, and out pops the next, etc. APR reports: Multiple Embassies Working To Help Paul Whelan, Accused Of Spying In Russia Embassies of several countries are trying to assist ex-U.S. Marine Paul Whelan as he remains in a Moscow prison over allegations of espionage. Whelan was born in Canada and has since gained citizenship in the U.S., Britain and Ireland. “British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was extremely worried about Whelan and that the United Kingdom needed to see… Read more »

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

Hasn’t he got citizenship associated with UK, Canada, US plus Eire? How do you manage that?

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

Interesting if the Belingcat leaks led to this, if it turns out to be true. Karma can be so sweet.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

And here comes the tit-for-tat! The US never wait long to take their revenge. THE MOSCOW TIMES reports: The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday the United States had detained a Russian citizen, days after Moscow arrested the former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan on suspicion of spying. The ministry said the United States detained Russian citizen Dmitry Makarenko in the Northern Mariana Islands on Dec. 29 and had moved him to Florida. “… Makarenko, born in 1979, has arrived on Saipan Island with his wife, underage children and elderly parents. He was detained by FBI personnel at the airport right… Read more »

Olivia Kroth
Guest

And now the Russians should catch two more US spies in Moscow: one for Victor Bout, one for Dmitry Makarenko. If the US again does tit for tat, all the better. It will show and teach Russians not to travel to the USA. What are they doing there? Russians, stay home, do your business in Russia, China, Iran and other befriended countries! Go on vacation within the Russian Federation, there are many beautiful spas and holiday spots! Keep away from the USA! Do not give them your money! Do not buy their products!

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Is the Violent Dismemberment of Russia Official US Policy?

Neocons make the case that the West should not only seek to contain “Moscow’s imperial ambitions” but to actively seek the dismemberment of Russia as a whole.

The Duran

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Authored by Erik D’Amato via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity:


If there’s one thing everyone in today’s Washington can agree on, it’s that whenever an official or someone being paid by the government says something truly outrageous or dangerous, there should be consequences, if only a fleeting moment of media fury.

With one notable exception: Arguing that the US should be quietly working to promote the violent disintegration and carving up of the largest country on Earth.

Because so much of the discussion around US-Russian affairs is marked by hysteria and hyperbole, you are forgiven for assuming this is an exaggeration. Unfortunately it isn’t. Published in the Hill under the dispassionate title “Managing Russia’s dissolution,” author Janusz Bugajski makes the case that the West should not only seek to contain “Moscow’s imperial ambitions” but to actively seek the dismemberment of Russia as a whole.

Engagement, criticism and limited sanctions have simply reinforced Kremlin perceptions that the West is weak and predictable. To curtail Moscow’s neo-imperialism a new strategy is needed, one that nourishes Russia’s decline and manages the international consequences of its dissolution.

Like many contemporary cold warriors, Bugajski toggles back and forth between overhyping Russia’s might and its weaknesses, notably a lack of economic dynamism and a rise in ethnic and regional fragmentation.But his primary argument is unambiguous: That the West should actively stoke longstanding regional and ethnic tensions with the ultimate aim of a dissolution of the Russian Federation, which Bugajski dismisses as an “imperial construct.”

The rationale for dissolution should be logically framed: In order to survive, Russia needs a federal democracy and a robust economy; with no democratization on the horizon and economic conditions deteriorating, the federal structure will become increasingly ungovernable…

To manage the process of dissolution and lessen the likelihood of conflict that spills over state borders, the West needs to establish links with Russia’s diverse regions and promote their peaceful transition toward statehood.

Even more alarming is Bugajski’s argument that the goal should not be self-determination for breakaway Russian territories, but the annexing of these lands to other countries. “Some regions could join countries such as Finland, Ukraine, China and Japan, from whom Moscow has forcefully appropriated territories in the past.”

It is, needless to say, impossible to imagine anything like this happening without sparking a series of conflicts that could mirror the Yugoslav Wars. Except in this version the US would directly culpable in the ignition of the hostilities, and in range of 6,800 Serbian nuclear warheads.

So who is Janusz Bugajski, and who is he speaking for?

The author bio on the Hill’s piece identifies him as a senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, a Washington, D.C. think-tank. But CEPA is no ordinary talk shop: Instead of the usual foundations and well-heeled individuals, its financial backers seem to be mostly arms of the US government, including the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the US Mission to NATO, the US-government-sponsored National Endowment for Democracy, as well as as veritable who’s who of defense contractors, including Raytheon, Bell Helicopter, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and Textron. Meanwhile, Bugajski chairs the South-Central Europe area studies program at the Foreign Service Institute of the US Department of State.

To put it in perspective, it is akin to a Russian with deep ties to the Kremlin and arms-makers arguing that the Kremlin needed to find ways to break up the United States and, if possible, have these breakaway regions absorbed by Mexico and Canada. (A scenario which alas is not as far-fetched as it might have been a few years ago; many thousands in California now openly talk of a “Calexit,” and many more in Mexico of a reconquista.)

Meanwhile, it’s hard to imagine a quasi-official voice like Bugajski’s coming out in favor of a similar policy vis-a-vis China, which has its own restive regions, and which in geopolitical terms is no more or less of a threat to the US than Russia. One reason may be that China would consider an American call for secession by the Tibetans or Uyghurs to be a serious intrusion into their internal affairs, unlike Russia, which doesn’t appear to have noticed or been ruffled by Bugajski’s immodest proposal.

Indeed, just as the real scandal in Washington is what’s legal rather than illegal, the real outrage in this case is that few or none in DC finds Bugajski’s virtual declaration of war notable.

But it is. It is the sort of provocation that international incidents are made of, and if you are a US taxpayer, it is being made in your name, and it should be among your outrages of the month.

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Vladimir Putin visits Serbia, as NATO encircles the country it attacked in 1999 (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 171.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Russian President Vladimir Putin’s official visit to Serbia.

Putin met with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to further develop bilateral trade and economic relations, as well as discuss pressing regional issues including the possibility of extending the Turkish Stream gas pipeline into Serbia, and the dangerous situation around Kosovo.

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Via RT


Russian President Vladimir Putin got a hero’s welcome in Belgrade. The one-day visit to the last holdout against NATO’s ambitions in the Balkans may have been somewhat short on substance, but was certainly loaded with symbolism.

Even before he landed, the Russian leader was given an honor guard by Serbian air force MiGs, a 2017 gift from Moscow to replace those destroyed by NATO during the 1999 air campaign that ended with the occupation of Serbia’s province of Kosovo. Russia has refused to recognize Kosovo’s US-backed declaration of independence, while the US and EU have insisted on it.

Upon landing, Putin began his first official trip of 2019 by paying respects to the Soviet soldiers who died liberating Belgrade from Nazi occupation in 1944. While most Serbians haven’t forgotten their historical brotherhood in arms with Russia, it did not hurt to remind the West just who did the bulk of the fighting against Nazi Germany back in World War II.

After official talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Putin visited the Church of St. Sava, the grand Orthodox basilica set on the spot where the Ottoman Turks torched the remains of the first Serbian archbishop back in 1594, in an effort to maintain power.

Sava, whose brother Stefan became the “first-crowned” king of medieval Serbia, was responsible for setting up the autocephalous Serbian Orthodox Church exactly eight centuries ago this year. For all its own troubles, the Serbian Church has sided with Moscow in the current Orthodox schism over Ukraine.

Russian artisans have been working on the grand mosaic inside the basilica, and asked Putin to complete the design by placing the last three pieces, in the colors of the Russian flag.

Whether by sheer coincidence or by design, Putin also weighed in on Serbia’s culture war, giving interviews ahead of his visit to two daily newspapers that still publish in Serbian Cyrillic – while the majority of the press, whether controlled by the West or by Vucic, prefers the Latin variant imported from Croatia.

Western media usually refer to Serbia as a “Russian ally.” While this is true in a historical and cultural sense, there is no formal military alliance between Moscow and Belgrade. Serbia officially follows the policy of military neutrality, with its armed forces taking part in exercises alongside both Russian and NATO troops.

This is a major source of irritation for NATO, which seeks dominion over the entire Balkans region. Most recently, the alliance extended membership to Montenegro in 2017 without putting the question to a referendum. It is widely expected that “Northern Macedonia” would get an invitation to NATO as soon as its name change process is complete – and that was arranged by a deal both Macedonia and Greece seem to have been pressured into by Washington.

That would leave only Serbia outside the alliance – partly, anyway, since NATO has a massive military base in the disputed province of Kosovo, and basically enjoys special status in that quasi-state. Yet despite Belgrade’s repeated declarations of Serbia wanting to join the EU, Brussels and Washington have set recognition of Kosovo as the key precondition – and no Serbian leader has been able to deliver on that just yet, though Vucic has certainly tried.

Putin’s repeated condemnations of NATO’s 1999 attack, and Russian support for Serbia’s territorial integrity guaranteed by the UN Security Council Resolution 1244, have made him genuinely popular among the Serbs, more so than Vucic himself. Tens of thousands of people showed up in Belgrade to greet the Russian president.

While Vucic’s critics have alleged that many of them were bused in by the government – which may well be true, complete with signs showing both Vucic and Putin – there is no denying the strong pro-Russian sentiment in Serbia, no matter how hard Integrity Initiative operatives have tried.

One of the signs spotted in Belgrade reportedly said “one of 300 million,” referring to the old Serbian joke about there being “300 million of us – and Russians.” However, it is also a send-up of the slogan used by current street protesters against Vucic. For the past six weeks, every Saturday, thousands of people have marched through Belgrade, declaring themselves “1 of 5 million” after Vucic said he wouldn’t give in to their demands even if “five million showed up.”

The opposition Democrats accuse him of corruption, nepotism, mismanagement, cronyism – all the sins they themselves have plenty of experience with during their 12-year reign following Serbia’s color revolution. Yet they’ve had to struggle for control of the marches with the nationalists, who accuse Vucic of preparing to betray Kosovo and want “him to go away, but [Democrats] not come back.”

There is plenty of genuine discontent in Serbia with Vucic, who first came to power in 2012 on a nationalist-populist platform but quickly began to rule as a pro-NATO liberal. It later emerged that western PR firms had a key role in his party’s “makeover” from Radicals to Progressives. Yet his subsequent balancing act between NATO and Russia has infuriated both the NGOs and politicians in Serbia beholden to Western interests, and US diplomats charged with keeping the Balkans conquered.

Washington is busy with its own troubles these days, so there was no official comment to Putin’s visit from the State Department – only a somewhat pitiful and tone-deaf tweet by Ambassador Kyle Scott, bemoaning the lack of punishment for $1 million in damages to the US Embassy during a 2008 protest against Kosovo “independence.” Yet as far as Western media outlets are concerned, why Moscow seems to be vastly more popular than Washington on the streets of Belgrade nonetheless remains a mystery.

By Nebojsa Malic

 

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Curious Bedfellows: The Neocon And Progressive Alliance To Destroy Donald Trump

The neocon metamorphosis is nearly complete as many of the neocons, who started out as Democrats, have returned home, where they are being welcomed for their hardline foreign policy viewpoint.

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Authored by Philip Giraldi via OffGuardian.com:


The Roman poet Ovid’s masterful epic The Metamorphoses includes the memorable opening line regarding the poem’s central theme of transformation. He wrote In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas corpora, which has been translated as “Of shapes transformed to bodies strange, I purpose to entreat…”

Ovid framed his narrative around gods, heroes and quasi-historical events but if he were around today, he would no doubt be fascinated by the many transformations of the group that has defined itself as neoconservative.The movement began in a cafeteria in City College of New York in the 1930s, where a group of radical Jewish students would meet to discuss politics and developments in Europe. Many of the founders were from the far left, communists of the Trotskyite persuasion, which meant that they believed in permanent global revolution led by a vanguard party. The transformation into conservatives of a neo-persuasion took place when they were reportedly “mugged by reality” into accepting that the standard leftist formulae were not working to transform the world rapidly enough. As liberal hawks, they then hitched their wagon to the power of the United States to bring about transformation by force if necessary and began to infiltrate institutions like the Pentagon to give themselves the tools to achieve their objectives, which included promotion of regime change wars, full spectrum global dominance and unconditional support for Israel.

The neocons initially found a home with Democratic Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, but they moved on in the 1970s and 1980s to prosper under Ronald Reagan as well as under Democrat Bill Clinton. Their ability to shape policy peaked under George W. Bush, when they virtually ran the Pentagon and were heavily represented in both the national security apparatus and in the White House. They became adept at selling their mantra of “strong national defense” to whomever was buying, including to President Obama, even while simultaneously complaining about his administration’s “weakness.”

The neoconservatives lined up behind Hillary Clinton in 2016, appalled by Donald Trump’s condemnation of their centerpiece war in Iraq and even more so by his pledge to end the wars in Asia and nation-building projects while also improving relations with the Russians. They worked actively against the Republican candidate both before he was nominated and elected and did everything they could to stop him, including libeling him as a Russian agent.

When Trump was elected, it, therefore, seemed that the reign of the neocons had ended, but chameleonlike, they have changed shape and are now ensconced both in some conservative as well as in an increasing number of progressive circles in Washington and in the media. Against all odds, they have even captured key posts in the White House itself with the naming of John Bolton as National Security Adviser and Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. Bolton’s Chief of Staff is Fred Fleitz, a leading neocon and Islamophobe while last week Trump added Iran hawk Richard Goldberg to the National Security Council as director for countering Iranian weapons of mass destruction. Goldberg is an alumnus of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which is the leading neocon think tank calling incessantly for war with Iran.

Meanwhile, the neocon metamorphosis is nearly complete as many of the neocons, who started out as Democrats, have returned home, where they are being welcomed for their hardline foreign policy viewpoint. Glenn Greenwald reports that, based on polling of party supporters, the Democrats have gone full-Hillary and are now by far more hawkish than the Republicans, unwilling to leave either Syria or Afghanistan.

The neocon survival and rejuvenation is particularly astonishing in that they have been wrong about virtually everything, most notably the catastrophic Iraq War. They have never been held accountable for anything, though one should note that accountability is not a prominent American trait, at least since Vietnam. What is important is that neocon views have been perceived by the media and punditry as being part of the Establishment consensus, which provides them with access to programming all across the political spectrum. That is why neocon standard-bearers like Bill Kristol and Max Boot have been able to move effortlessly from Fox News to MSNBC where they are fêted by the likes of Rachel Maddow. They applauded the Iraq War when the Establishment was firmly behind it and are now trying to destroy Donald Trump’s presidency because America’s elite is behind that effort.

Indeed, the largely successful swing by the neocons from right to left has in some ways become more surreal, as an increasing number of progressive spokesmen and institutions have lined up behind their perpetual warfare banner. The ease with which the transformation took place reveals, interestingly, that the neocons have no real political constituency apart from voters who feel threatened and respond by supporting perpetual war, but they do share many common interests with the so-called liberal interventionists. Neocons see a global crisis for the United States defined in terms of power while the liberals see the struggle as a moral imperative, but the end result is the same: intervention by the United States. This fusion is clearly visible in Washington, where the Clintons’ Center for American Progress (CAP) is now working on position papers with the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

One of the most active groups attacking President Trump is “Republicans for the Rule of Law,” founded by Bill Kristol in January 2018, as a component of Defending Democracy Together(DDT), a 501(c)4 lobbying group that also incorporates projects called The Russia Tweets and Republicans Against Putin. Republicans Against Putin promotes the view that President Trump is not “stand[ing] up to [Vladimir] Putin” and calls for more aggressive investigation of the Russian role in the 2016 election.

DDT is a prime example of how the neoconservatives and traditional liberal interventionists have come together as it is in part funded by Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire co-founder of eBay who has provided DDT with $600,000 in two grants through his Democracy Fund Voice, also a 501(c)4. Omidyar is a political liberal who has given millions of dollars to progressive organizations and individuals since 1999. Indeed, he is regarded as a top funder of liberal causesin the United States and even globally together with Michael Bloomberg and George Soros. His Democracy Fund awarded $9 million in grants in 2015 alone.

Last week, the Omidyar-Kristol connection may have deepened with an announcement regarding the launch of the launch of a new webzine The Bulwark, which would clearly be at least somewhat intended to take the place of the recently deceased Weekly Standard. It is promoting itself as the center of the “Never Trump Resistance” and it is being assumed that at least some of the Omidyar money is behind it.

Iranian-born Omidyar’s relationship with Kristol is clearly based on the hatred that the two share regarding Donald Trump.

Omidyar has stated that Trump is a “dangerous authoritarian demagogue… endorsing Donald Trump immediately disqualifies you from any position of public trust.”

He has tweeted that Trump suffers from “failing mental capacity” and is both “corrupt and incapacitated.”

Omidyar is what he is – a hardcore social justice warrior who supports traditional big government and globalist liberal causes, most of which are antithetical to genuine conservatives. But what is interesting about the relationship with Kristol is that it also reveals what the neoconservatives are all about. Kristol and company have never been actual conservatives on social issues, a topic that they studiously avoid, and their foreign policy is based on two principles: creating a state of perpetual war based on fearmongering about foreign enemies while also providing unlimited support for Israel. Kristol hates Trump because he threatens the war agenda while Omidyar despises the president for traditional progressive reasons. That hatred is the tie that binds and it is why Bill Kristol, a man possessing no character and values whatsoever, is willing to take Pierre Omidyar’s money while Pierre is quite happy to provide it to destroy a common enemy, the President of the United States of America.

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