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CONFIRMED LEAK: ‘Governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been funding ISIS,’ says Julian Assange (VIDEO)

Julian Assange tells of Hillary Clinton’s deep connections with the ISIS funding states of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. He confirms that Russia is not behind the leaks and offers his views on his own dire situation.

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Julian Assange’s landmark interview with the great John Pilger did not reveal any startling new truths. Instead, it confirmed the conclusions many had drawn from reading Wikileaks and perhaps most importantly, it has vindicated much of what Donald Trump has been saying all along.

Here are the most important points:

  1. The Saudi and Qatari governments funnelled millions into the Clinton Foundation whilst directly funding ISIS.

Assange stated:

“Here’s an early 2014 email from Hillary Clinton, so not so long after she left [her job as] Secretary of State, to her campaign manager John Podesta. That email, it states that ISIL, ISIS is funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar – the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Now, this is a… I actually think this is the most significant email in the whole collection… And perhaps because Saudi and Qatari money is spread all over the place, including into many media institutions, all serious analysts know, even the US government has mentioned or agreed with that some Saudi figures have been supporting ISIS, funding ISIS. But the dodge has always been, that’s… what… it’s just some rogue princes using their cut of the oil money to do what they like but actually the government disapproves. But that email says that no, it is the governments of Saudi and the government of Qatar that have been funding ISIS.”

Assange continued:

“Under Hillary Clinton, and Clinton emails reveal significant discussion about it, the largest ever arms deal in the world was made with Saudi Arabia – more than $80 billion. In fact, during her tenure as Secretary of State, total arms exports from United States in terms of the dollar value doubled.”

Assange agrees with me that this is the most important exposé of the many revelations Wikileaks has brought the world throughout the long course of the campaign. It also vindicates Donald Trump who once called Hillary and Obama the ‘founders’ of ISIS. One cannot be trusted to fight ISIS when they are taking money from and are politically in bed with the evil regimes that are the kingpins of the ISIS mafia. The fact that these unconscionable deals have received so little attention from western mainstream media is worrying. It means that whilst western journalists will write about terrorism to sell papers, they have little genuine concern for world safety or the security of their fellow citizens.

  1. The FBI is facing internal civil war whilst openly declaring war on the arrogance of Hillary Clinton.

Assange spoke of the FBI’s historical role as ‘political policeman’ in the following way:

“If you go to the history of the FBI, it has become effectively America’s political police. And the FBI demonstrated with taking down the former head of the CIA over classified information given to his mistress [that] almost no one was untouchable. The FBI is always trying to demonstrate that, “No one can resist us.” But Hillary Clinton very conspicuously resisted the FBI’s investigation. So, there is anger within the FBI because it made the FBI look weak.”

This very much vindicates my initial hypothesis upon the news that the FBI were re-opening their investigation into Hillary Clinton, insofar as Assange concludes that the FBI are engaged in a traditional power play rather than fighting for a cause they ultimately believe to be just.

This seems to be the case, even though given the circumstances, the overriding result may be the same; big trouble for Hillary, up to and including an indictment.

  1. Libya Was Hillary Clinton’s Pet Project From Hell

Whilst Obama was tepid, the Pentagon ill-prepared and Britain and France acting as the internal cover for the war, the war itself was Hillary’s invention, her dream, her unique child of death. Again, Trump’s criticisms of Hillary Clinton’s war on Libya seem incredibly apposite.

Assange says of Libya:

“Libya more than anyone else’s war was Hillary Clinton’s war. Barack Obama initially opposed it. Who was the person who was championing it? Hillary Clinton. That’s documented throughout her emails. She had… She put her favoured agent in effect, Sidney Blumenthal, onto that. There’s more than 1,700 emails out of the 33 thousand of Hillary Clinton’s emails we published just about Libya. It’s not about that Libya has cheap oil. She perceived the removal of Gaddafi and the overthrow of the Libyan state something that she would use to run in the general election for president. So late 2011, there’s an internal document called the “Libya Tick Tock” that is produced for Hillary Clinton, and it’s all the… it’s a chronological description of how Hillary Clinton was the central figure in the destruction of the Libyan state. As a result, there are around 40,000 deaths within Libya. Jihadists moved in, ISIS moved in. That led to the European refugee and migrant crisis, because not only did you have people fleeing Libya, people then fleeing Syria, destabilisation of other African countries as a result of arms flows. The Libyan state itself was no longer able to control movement of people through it. So, Libya faces on to the Mediterranean. So, it had been effectively the cork in the bottle of Africa. So, all problems, all economic problems, the civil war in Africa… Previously, the people fleeing those problems didn’t end up in Europe because Libya policed the Mediterranean. And that was said explicitly at the time, back in 2011, by Gaddafi: what do these Europeans think they are doing, trying to bomb and destroy the Libyan state? There’s going to be floods of migrants out of Africa, and jihadists into Europe. And that is exactly what happened.”

  1. Putin Didn’t Do It:

Whilst Wikileaks have a policy of never revealing their sources, circumstance has compelled Julian Assange to say unequivocally that the Russian government is not a source for the leaks. This of course is in line with the findings of the FBI, former British Ambassador Craig Murray, Donald Trump, the hacker Guccifer 2.0 and thousands of independent experts.

  1. Hillary Clinton is the political captain of globalist finance, wicked foreign regimes and a corrupt anti-democratic establishment.

Assange said:

“…she represents a whole network of people, and a network of relationships also with particular states. The question is, how does Hillary Clinton fit in this broader network? She’s this centralizing cog, so that you’ve got a lot of different gears in operation from the big banks like Goldman Sachs, and major elements of Wall Street, and intelligence, and people in the State Department, and the Saudis, and so on. She’s is the, if you like, the centralizer that interconnects all these different cogs. She’s smooth central representation of all that, and all that is more or less what is in power now in the United States. It’s what you call the establishment, or the DC consensus, and its influences. In fact, one of the most significant Podesta emails that we released was about how the Obama cabinet was formed – and half the Obama cabinet was basically nominated by a representative from Citibank. It is quite amazing… If you were following the Obama campaign back then closely, you could see it had become very close to banking interests. It wasn’t so close to oil interests but it was very close to banking interests… So, I think you can’t properly understand Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy without understanding Saudi Arabia. The connections with Saudi Arabia are so intimate.”

  1. The Establishment Will Do Anything To Stop Trump

Assange believes that due to the fact that the political, economic and military-industrial establishment are fully lined-up against Trump, that Trump ‘will not be permitted to win’. Two weeks ago I may have well agreed, but given the severity of the troubles with which the Clinton campaign faces, my prediction is that unless the rigging issues are totally insurmountable, Trump will in fact win.

Assange, however, went on to describe Trump’s campaign in a very insightful way:

“Donald Trump – what does he represent in the American mind and in the European mind? He represents American “white trash,” deplorable and irredeemable. Basically, the same thing. It means, from a… establishment or educated, cosmopolitan, urbane perspective, these people are, you know, like the rednecks, and you can’t… like, they are just… you can never deal with them. And because he so clearly – through his words and actions and the type of people that turns up at his rallies – represents the people who are not the upper-middle-class-educated, there is a fear of seeming to be associated in any way with that, a social fear that lowers the class status of anyone who can be accused of somehow assisting in any way Trump, including criticising Clinton. And if you look at how the middle class gains its economic and social power, it makes absolute sense.”

  1. The war against Wikileaks and his own lack of freedom.

Here Assange demonstrated that behind his status as a heroic crusader for justice, he is after all, a human being and one who has sacrificed his own life to help the world. When Pilger asked what would happen were Assange to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Assange said the following:

“So, I would be immediately arrested by the British police, and I would then be extradited, either immediately to the United States, or to Sweden. In Sweden, I am not charged, I’ve already been previously cleared, etc. So, we’re not certain exactly what would happen there, but then we know that the Swedish government has refused to say that they will not extradite me to the United States. And they have extradited 100 percent of people that the US has requested since at least 2000. So, over the last 15 years, every single person that the US has tried to extradite from Sweden has been extradited. And they refuse to provide the guarantees. So, it’s… yeah.”

Speaking more directly about the legal realities and untruths he is facing, Assange said:

“The UN has looked into this whole situation. They spent 18 months in formal adversarial litigation: me, at the UN, versus Sweden and the UK – who is right? The UN made a conclusion – I’m being arbitrarily detained, illegally, deprived of my freedom. What has been… occurred, has not occurred within the laws that the United Kingdom and Sweden must obey. It is an illegal abuse. I mean, the United Nations formally asking what’s going on here, what’s your legal explanation for this. He says you should be… you should recognize his asylum. Sweden formally writing back to United Nations, says “No, we’re not going to,” leaving open their ability to extradite. I just find it absolutely amazing that the narrative about this situation is not put out publicly and in the press. Because it doesn’t suit the Western establishment narrative that, “Yes, the West has political prisoners.” It’s a reality. It’s not just me, there’s a bunch of other people as well. The West has political prisoners. No state accepts to call the people it is imprisoning or detaining for political reasons “political prisoners.” They don’t call them political prisoners in China, they don’t call them political prisoners in Azerbaijan, and they don’t call them political prisoners in the United States, the UK or Sweden. It’s absolutely intolerable to have that kind of self-perception. But here we have a case. Talking about the Swedish case, where I have never been charged with a crime, where I have already been cleared and found to be innocent, where the woman herself said that the police made it up, where the United Nations formally said the whole thing is illegal, where the state of Ecuador also investigated and found that I should be given asylum. Those are the facts. But what is the rhetoric?”

Assange continued:

“The rhetoric is pretending, constantly pretending that I have been charged with a crime, never mentioning that I have been already previously cleared, never mentioning that the woman herself says that the police made it up, trying to avoid that the UN formally found that the whole thing is illegal. Never even mentioning that Ecuador made a formal assessment through its formal processes and found that yes, I am subject to persecution by the United States.”

No matter who wins the US election, Julian Assange and Wikileaks have been the true super-stars of the entire process. They have shown light upon lies, exposed the grave crimes that the global political establishment commits against the collective morality of ordinary people and against national and international laws. large part in forcing the hand of the FBI to say ‘enough is enough’ and re-open the book on Hillary Clinton.

Crucially unlike almost every other major journalistic outlet in the world, Wikileaks has not once been forced to retract any of its statements.  Assange has revealed the unfairness and corruption of the political process and I believe his revelations played a

If Assange were running for any political office in the world, he would certainly have my vote.

Here is Julian Assange’s full interview with John Pilger:

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Airline wars heat up, as industry undergoes massive disruption (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 145.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine the global commercial airline industry, which is undergoing massive changes, as competition creeps in from Russia and China.

Reuters reports that Boeing Co’s legal troubles grew as a new lawsuit accused the company of defrauding shareholders by concealing safety deficiencies in its 737 MAX planes before two fatal crashes led to their worldwide grounding.

The proposed class action filed in Chicago federal court seeks damages for alleged securities fraud violations, after Boeing’s market value tumbled by $34 billion within two weeks of the March 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX.

*****

According to the complaint, Boeing “effectively put profitability and growth ahead of airplane safety and honesty” by rushing the 737 MAX to market to compete with Airbus SE, while leaving out “extra” or “optional” features designed to prevent the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes.

It also said Boeing’s statements about its growth prospects and the 737 MAX were undermined by its alleged conflict of interest from retaining broad authority from federal regulators to assess the plane’s safety.

*****

Boeing said on Tuesday that aircraft orders in the first quarter fell to 95 from 180 a year earlier, with no orders for the 737 MAX following the worldwide grounding.

On April 5, it said it planned to cut monthly 737 production to 42 planes from 52, and was making progress on a 737 MAX software update to prevent further accidents.

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Via Zerohedge…

Step aside (fading) trade war with China: there is a new aggressor – at least according to the US Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer – in town.

In a statement on the USTR’s website published late on Monday, the US fair trade agency announced that under Section 301 of the Trade Act, it was proposing a list of EU products to be covered by additional duties. And as justification for the incremental import taxes, the USTR said that it was in response to EU aircraft subsidies, specifically to Europea’s aerospace giant, Airbus, which “have caused adverse effects to the United States” and which the USTR estimates cause $11 billion in harm to the US each year

One can’t help but notice that the latest shot across the bow in the simmering trade war with Europe comes as i) Trump is reportedly preparing to fold in his trade war with China, punting enforcement to whoever is president in 2025, and ii) comes just as Boeing has found itself scrambling to preserve orders as the world has put its orderbook for Boeing 737 MAX airplanes on hold, which prompted Boeing to cut 737 production by 20% on Friday.

While the first may be purely a coincidence, the second – which is expected to not only slam Boeing’s financials for Q1 and Q2, but may also adversely impact US GDP – had at least some impact on the decision to proceed with these tariffs at this moment.

We now await Europe’s angry response to what is Trump’s latest salvo in what is once again a global trade war. And, paradoxically, we also expect this news to send stocks blasting higher as, taking a page from the US-China trade book, every day algos will price in imminent “US-European trade deal optimism.”

Below the full statement from the USTR (link):

USTR Proposes Products for Tariff Countermeasures in Response to Harm Caused by EU Aircraft Subsidies

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has found repeatedly that European Union (EU) subsidies to Airbus have caused adverse effects to the United States.  Today, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) begins its process under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to identify products of the EU to which additional duties may be applied until the EU removes those subsidies.

USTR is releasing for public comment a preliminary list of EU products to be covered by additional duties.  USTR estimates the harm from the EU subsidies as $11 billion in trade each year.  The amount is subject to an arbitration at the WTO, the result of which is expected to be issued this summer.

“This case has been in litigation for 14 years, and the time has come for action. The Administration is preparing to respond immediately when the WTO issues its finding on the value of U.S. countermeasures,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.  “Our ultimate goal is to reach an agreement with the EU to end all WTO-inconsistent subsidies to large civil aircraft.  When the EU ends these harmful subsidies, the additional U.S. duties imposed in response can be lifted.”

In line with U.S. law, the preliminary list contains a number of products in the civil aviation sector, including Airbus aircraft.  Once the WTO arbitrator issues its report on the value of countermeasures, USTR will announce a final product list covering a level of trade commensurate with the adverse effects determined to exist.

Background

After many years of seeking unsuccessfully to convince the EU and four of its member States (France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom) to cease their subsidization of Airbus, the United States brought a WTO challenge to EU subsidies in 2004. In 2011, the WTO found that the EU provided Airbus $18 billion in subsidized financing from 1968 to 2006.  In particular, the WTO found that European “launch aid” subsidies were instrumental in permitting Airbus to launch every model of its large civil aircraft, causing Boeing to lose sales of more than 300 aircraft and market share throughout the world.

In response, the EU removed two minor subsidies, but left most of them unchanged.  The EU also granted Airbus more than $5 billion in new subsidized “launch aid” financing for the A350 XWB.  The United States requested establishment of a compliance panel in March 2012 to address the EU’s failure to remove its old subsidies, as well as the new subsidies and their adverse effects.  That process came to a close with the issuance of an appellate report in May 2018 finding that EU subsidies to high-value, twin-aisle aircraft have caused serious prejudice to U.S. interests.  The report found that billions of dollars in launch aid to the A350 XWB and A380 cause significant lost sales to Boeing 787 and 747 aircraft, as well as lost market share for Boeing very large aircraft in the EU, Australia, China, Korea, Singapore, and UAE markets.

Based on the appellate report, the United States requested authority to impose countermeasures worth $11.2 billion per year, commensurate with the adverse effects caused by EU subsidies.  The EU challenged that estimate, and a WTO arbitrator is currently evaluating those claims

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Mueller report takes ‘Russian meddling’ for granted, offers no actual evidence

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Special counsel Robert Mueller’s ‘Russiagate’ report has cleared Donald Trump of ‘collusion’ charges but maintains that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election. Yet concrete evidence of that is nowhere to be seen.

The report by Mueller and his team, made public on Thursday by the US Department of Justice, exonerates not just Trump but all Americans of any “collusion” with Russia, “obliterating” the Russiagate conspiracy theory, as journalist Glenn Greenwald put it.

However, it asserts that Russian “interference” in the election did happen, and says it consisted of a campaign on social media as well as Russian military intelligence (repeatedly referred to by its old, Soviet-era name, GRU) “hacking” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the DNC, and the private email account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta.

As evidence of this, the report basically offers nothing but Mueller’s indictment of “GRU agents,” delivered on the eve of the Helsinki Summit between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in what was surely a cosmic coincidence.

Indictments are not evidence, however, but allegations. Any time it looks like the report might be bringing up proof, it ends up being redacted, ostensibly to protect sources and methods, and out of concern it might cause “harm to an ongoing matter.”

‘Active measures’ on social media

Mueller’s report leads with the claim that the Internet Research Agency (IRA) ran an “active measures” campaign of social media influence. Citing Facebook and Twitter estimates, the report says this consisted of 470 Facebook accounts that made 80,000 posts that may have been seen by up to 126 million people, between January 2015 and August 2017 (almost a year after the election), and 3,814 Twitter accounts that “may have been” in contact with about 1.4 million people.

Those numbers may seem substantial but, as investigative journalist Gareth Porter pointed out in November 2018, they should be regarded against the background of 33 trillion Facebook posts made during the same period.

According to Mueller, the IRA mind-controlled the American electorate by spending “approximately $100,000” on Facebook ads, hiring someone to walk around New York City “dressed up as Santa Claus with a Trump mask,” and getting Trump campaign affiliates to promote “dozens of tweets, posts, and other political content created by the IRA.” Dozens!

Meanwhile, the key evidence against IRA’s alleged boss Evgeny Prigozhin is that he “appeared together in public photographs” with Putin.

Alleged hacking & release

The report claims that the GRU hacked their way into 29 DCCC computers and another 30 DNC computers, and downloaded data using software called “X-Tunnel.” It is unclear how Mueller’s investigators claim to know this, as the report makes no mention of them or FBI actually examining DNC or DCCC computers. Presumably they took the word of CrowdStrike, the Democrats’ private contractor, for it.

However obtained, the documents were published first through DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 – which the report claims are “fictitious online personas” created by the GRU – and later through WikiLeaks. What is Mueller’s proof that these two entities were “GRU” cutouts? In a word, this:

That the Guccifer 2.0 persona provided reporters access to a restricted portion of the DCLeaks website tends to indicate that both personas were operated by the same or a closely-related group of people.(p. 43)

However, the report acknowledges that the “first known contact” between Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks was on September 15, 2016 – months after the DNC and DCCC documents were published! Here we do get actual evidence: direct messages on Twitter obtained by investigators. Behold, these “spies” are so good, they don’t even talk – and when they do, they use unsecured channels.

Mueller notably claims “it is clear that the stolen DNC and Podesta documents were transferred from the GRU to WikiLeaks” (the rest of that sentence is redacted), but the report clearly implies the investigators do not actually know how. On page 47, the report says Mueller “cannot rule out that stolen documents were transferred to WikiLeaks through intermediaries who visited during the summer of 2016.”

Strangely, the report accuses WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange of making “public statements apparently designed to obscure the source” of the materials (p.48), notably the offer of a reward for finding the murderer of DNC staffer Seth Rich – even though this can be read as corroborating the intermediaries theory, and Assange never actually said Rich was his source.

The rest of Mueller’s report goes on to discuss the Trump campaign’s contacts with anyone even remotely Russian and to create torturous constructions that the president had “obstructed” justice by basically defending himself from charges of being a Russian agent – neither of which resulted in any indictments, however. But the central premise that the 22-month investigation, breathless media coverage, and the 448-page report are based on – that Russia somehow meddled in the 2016 election – remains unproven.

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Rumors of War: Washington Is Looking for a Fight

The bill stands up for NATO and prevents the President from pulling the US out of the Alliance without a Senate vote.

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Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


It is depressing to observe how the United States of America has become the evil empire. Having served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War and in the Central Intelligence Agency for the second half of the Cold War, I had an insider’s viewpoint of how an essentially pragmatic national security policy was being transformed bit by bit into a bipartisan doctrine that featured as a sine qua non global dominance for Washington. Unfortunately, when the Soviet Union collapsed the opportunity to end once and for all the bipolar nuclear confrontation that threatened global annihilation was squandered as President Bill Clinton chose instead to humiliate and use NATO to contain an already demoralized and effectively leaderless Russia.

American Exceptionalism became the battle cry for an increasingly clueless federal government as well as for a media-deluded public. When 9/11 arrived, the country was ready to lash out at the rest of the world. President George W. Bush growled that “There’s a new sheriff in town and you are either with us or against us.” Afghanistan followed, then Iraq, and, in a spirit of bipartisanship, the Democrats came up with Libya and the first serious engagement in Syria. In its current manifestation, one finds a United States that threatens Iran on a nearly weekly basis and tears up arms control agreements with Russia while also maintaining deployments of US forces in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and places like Mali. Scattered across the globe are 800 American military bases while Washington’s principal enemies du jour Russia and China have, respectively, only one and none.

Never before in my lifetime has the United States been so belligerent, and that in spite of the fact that there is no single enemy or combination of enemies that actually threaten either the geographical United States or a vital interest. Venezuela is being threatened with invasion primarily because it is in the western hemisphere and therefore subject to Washington’s claimed proconsular authority. Last Wednesday Vice President Mike Pence told the United Nations Security Council that the White House will remove Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro from power, preferably using diplomacy and sanctions, but “all options are on the table.” Pence warned that Russia and other friends of Maduro need to leave now or face the consequences.

The development of the United States as a hostile and somewhat unpredictable force has not gone unnoticed. Russia has accepted that war is coming no matter what it does in dealing with Trump and is upgrading its forces. By some estimates, its army is better equipped and more combat ready than is that of the United States, which spends nearly ten times as much on “defense.”

Iran is also upgrading its defensive capabilities, which are formidable. Now that Washington has withdrawn from the nuclear agreement with Iran, has placed a series of increasingly punitive sanctions on the country, and, most recently, has declared a part of the Iranian military to be a “foreign terrorist organization” and therefore subject to attack by US forces at any time, it is clear that war will be the next step. In three weeks, the United States will seek to enforce a global ban on any purchases of Iranian oil. A number of countries, including US nominal ally Turkey, have said they will ignore the ban and it will be interesting to see what the US Navy intends to do to enforce it. Or what Iran will do to break the blockade.

But even given all of the horrific decisions being made in the White House, there is one organization that is far crazier and possibly even more dangerous. That is the United States Congress, which is, not surprisingly, a legislative body that is viewed positively by only 18 per cent of the American people.

A current bill originally entitled the “Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA) of 2019,” is numbered S-1189. It has been introduced in the Senate which will “…require the Secretary of State to determine whether the Russian Federation should be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism and whether Russian-sponsored armed entities in Ukraine should be designated as foreign terrorist organizations.” The bill is sponsored by Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado and is co-sponsored by Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey.

The current version of the bill was introduced on April 11th and it is by no means clear what kind of support it might actually have, but the fact that it actually has surfaced at all should be disturbing to anyone who believes it is in the world’s best interest to avoid direct military confrontation between the United States and Russia.

In a a press release by Gardner, who has long been pushing to have Russia listed as a state sponsor of terrorism, a February version of the bill is described as “…comprehensive legislation [that] seeks to increase economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on the Russian Federation in response to Russia’s interference in democratic processes abroad, malign influence in Syria, and aggression against Ukraine, including in the Kerch Strait. The legislation establishes a comprehensive policy response to better position the US government to address Kremlin aggression by creating new policy offices on cyber defenses and sanctions coordination. The bill stands up for NATO and prevents the President from pulling the US out of the Alliance without a Senate vote. It also increases sanctions pressure on Moscow for its interference in democratic processes abroad and continued aggression against Ukraine.”

The February version of the bill included Menendez, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina as co-sponsors, suggesting that provoking war is truly bipartisan in today’s Washington.

Each Senator co-sponsor contributed a personal comment to the press release. Gardner observed that “Putin’s Russia is an outlaw regime that is hell-bent on undermining international law and destroying the US-led liberal global order.” Menendez noted that “President Trump’s willful paralysis in the face of Kremlin aggression has reached a boiling point in Congress” while Graham added that “Our goal is to change the status quo and impose meaningful sanctions and measures against Putin’s Russia. He should cease and desist meddling in the US electoral process, halt cyberattacks on American infrastructure, remove Russia from Ukraine, and stop efforts to create chaos in Syria.” Cardin contributed “Congress continues to take the lead in defending US national security against continuing Russian aggression against democratic institutions at home and abroad” and Shaheen observed that “This legislation builds on previous efforts in Congress to hold Russia accountable for its bellicose behavior against the United States and its determination to destabilize our global world order.”

The Senatorial commentary is, of course, greatly exaggerated and sometimes completely false regarding what is going on in the world, but it is revealing of how ignorant American legislators can be and often are. The Senators also ignore the fact that the designation of presumed Kremlin surrogate forces as “foreign terrorist organizations” is equivalent to a declaration of war against them by the US military, while hypocritically calling Russia a state sponsor of terrorism is bad enough, as it is demonstrably untrue. But the real damage comes from the existence of the bill itself. It will solidify support for hardliners on both sides, guaranteeing that there will be no rapprochement between Washington and Moscow for the foreseeable future, a development that is bad for everyone involved. Whether it can be characterized as an unintended consequence of unwise decision making or perhaps something more sinister involving a deeply corrupted congress and administration remains to be determined.

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