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CONFIRMED: Mikheil Saakashvili resigns as Odessa’s Governor, positions himself as leader of opposition to Kiev’s government

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s resignation as Governor of Odessa in Ukraine brings an unhappy experiment to an end.

Alexander Mercouris

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News of former Georgian Mikheil Saakashvili’s resignation today from his position as Governor of Odessa in Ukraine brings to an end a bizarre and unhappy experiment, whose failure became obvious long ago.

Saakashvili was appointed Governor of Odessa by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in May 2015. 

The purported intention behind Saakashvili’s appointment was to bring in a supposedly clean outsider to sweep away the supposedly corrupt politics of Ukraine’s premier seaport and third biggest city. 

Unofficially there have been constant rumours that Saakashvili was actually brought in because as an outsider he was trusted to hold the ring and keep a balance between the fiercely competing interests of the various Ukrainian oligarchs who have interests in Odessa.  A Ukrainian supposedly could not be trusted in the same way, since he or she would supposedly be bound eventually to be bought one oligarch or another.

Undoubtedly another reason for Saakashvili’s appointment is the disturbed and politically fraught mood in the city.  Odessa, as a creation of Catherine the Great’s, though a culturally very diverse city, has always historically identified itself with Russia, and Russian is the prevalent language there.  Odessa voted for Yanukovych in the 2010 Presidential election, and in May 2014, shortly after the Maidan coup, protests broke out against the coup in the city, during which protesters raised the Russian flag.

This led to clashes with Maidan supporters in the city, culminating in a massacre on 2nd May 2014 in Odessa’s trade union building, which was set on fire after it was occupied by anti Maidan protesters.  As a result 42 anti-Maidan protesters were killed (this is according to official tallies – unofficial reports put the death toll much higher).  Official investigations into what happened have continued to this day, but seem to be going nowhere.

In light of this situation Poroshenko seems to have concluded that he needed a strong “big name” figure to step in to restore the Maidan government’s reputation and authority in the city.

Saakashvili’s appointment took place at a time when appointment of foreigners to senior positions in Ukraine’s power structure were very common and had in fact become something of a fashion. Possibly the most famous example – other than the appointment of Saakashvili himself – was the appointment 9 months after the Maidan coup of the US born investment banker Natalie Jaresko to be Ukraine’s Minister of Finance.

Poroshenko may also have seen in Saakashvili’s appointment something of a propaganda coup.  Saakashvili’s strident anti-Russian and anti-Putin politics whilst President of Georgia, culminating in a short war between Russia and Georgia in August 2008 in which Georgia was comprehensively defeated, made Saakashvili into something of a hero for anti-Putin activists throughout the former USSR, including in Russia.  

Bringing Saakashvili to Ukraine and giving him a senior position there must have seemed to Poroshenko a good way to win the support of these people, consolidating Ukraine’s claim within the territory of the former USSR to be the leader of the struggle against “Putinism”, and winning thereby for Ukraine more anti-Putin friends in the West.

As for Saakashvili, the offer of an important position in Ukraine must have looked to him like a good way of restarting his otherwise moribund political career, which appeared to have ended after his flight from Georgia on criminal charges following his unexpected electoral defeat in the Presidential elections of October 2012.

Saakashvili actually has longstanding connections to Ukraine.  Whilst he was President of Georgia he forged a close alliance with Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine’s strongly anti-Russian Orange President, who in 2006 became the godfather of Saakashvili’s son.  Before his appointment Saakashvili took a close interest in the country, and was an outspoken supporter of the Maidan movement before the Maidan coup.  It is therefore easy to see how accepting an important job in Ukraine – like that of Governor of Odessa – may have seemed to Saakashvili a good way of getting his political career restarted.

In the event the appointment quickly became for Poroshenko and Ukraine a public relations disaster, with Poroshenko and Saakashvili rapidly falling out, and with Saakashvili quickly emerging as a relentless critic of Poroshenko’s government. 

The speed and extent to which Saakashvili had become completely alienated from the Ukrainian leadership became starkly apparent a year ago in December 2015 – just 8 months after Saakashvili was appointed to his post – when Saakashvili and Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov had a furious public row on national television during a Ukrainian government meeting.

In truth Saakashvili’s appointment demonstrates the underlying amateurism of Ukraine’s Maidan government. 

It ought to have been obvious that an outsider like Saakashvili was not the right person to navigate the complex shoals of Ukrainian politics, especially in a proud city like Odessa, and especially at a time of national crisis, whilst Saakashvili’s outspoken and domineering personality, and his record as President of Georgia, ought to have made it obvious that he would not be a loyal or compliant subordinate. 

At the time of Saakashvili’s appointment even many Western commentators favourable to Ukraine thought it was a mistake, and events have proved them right.  

In the event not only has Saakashvili resigned, but so apparently has Odessa’s police chief whom he appointed, whilst all the other people he brought with him to Odessa as his team – including the Russian liberal politician Maria Gaidar (daughter of Boris Yeltsin’s liberal prime minister Yegor Gaidar) – have either already left Ukraine or are under investigation by Ukraine’s government.

Saakashvili now apparently plans to lead a political movement in Ukraine in opposition to the Maidan government.   Apparently its pitch will be “the revolution betrayed”. 

As Ukrainians struggle to make ends meet in difficult economic conditions and with winter closing in, and as the gross corruption of their leaders becomes increasingly obvious, there is no doubt that such a pitch could gain traction.  However it is most unlikely that a foreigner and outsider like Saakashvili  is the person to make it successfully.

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Deep State insurrection defying POTUS Trump’s order to release unredacted FISA docs (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 113.

Alex Christoforou

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Deep State officials like ex-CIA chief John Brennan are in panic mode.

Deep State DOJ tool Rod Rosenstein refuses to comply with Trump’s executive order as afforded him by the US Constitution.

Establishment Democrats are all over the mainstream media channels calling the act of releasing documents criminal.

The US President wants every American citizen to see the full, unredacted version of the FISA documents used to spy on Carter Page. Trump is simply asking for full transparency, in what has become a two year, multi-million dollar witch hunt, to find collusion where there is none.

This is all you need to know about the hoax that was and is Trump-Russia collusion and the Robert Mueller special counsel investigation.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the insurrection taking place at the US Department of Justice, as Democrats, ex-Obama officials, and DOJ directors are doing everything in their power to make sure the truth, about how the FISA warrant to spy on Carter Page was obtained, remains hidden from the eyes of the American public.

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Via Zerohedge


Despite President Trump’s Monday order for the “immediate declassification” of sensitive materials related to the Russia investigation, “without redaction,” the agencies involved are planning to do so anyway, according to Bloomberg, citing three people familiar with the matter.

The Justice Department, FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence are going through a methodical review and can’t offer a timeline for finishing, said the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the sensitive matter. –Bloomberg

Trump ordered the DOJ to release the text messages of former FBI Director James Comey, his deputy Andrew McCabe, now-fired special agent Peter Strzok, former FBI attorney Lisa Page and twice-demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr.

Also ordered released are specific pages from the FBI’s FISA surveillance warrant application on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, as well as interviews with Ohr.

The DOJ and the FBI are expected to submit proposed redactions to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence – which will prepare a package for Trump to sign off on.

“When the president issues such an order, it triggers a declassification review process that is conducted by various agencies within the intelligence community, in conjunction with the White House counsel, to seek to ensure the safety of America’s national security interests,” a Justice Department spokesman said in a statement. “The department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are already working with the Director of National Intelligence to comply with the president’s order.”

The agencies are likely to cite national security concerns over revealing classified “sources and methods” pertaining to the Russia investigation – which will put them in direct conflict with Trump’s order. Trump, as president, has the power to override the agencies and declassify material on his own.

Trump’s order to release the documents comes after months of requests from GOP lawmakers, while the DOJ has repeatedly denied their requests for more transparency.

The FBI’s spy…

According to Bloomberg, the DOJ is interpreting Trump’s request to include information about the use of confidential informant (spy) Stephan Halper during the early stages of the Trump-Russia investigation. After taking in over $400,000 from the Obama Pentagon under the auspices of a research contract, Halper befriended and spied on members of the Trump campaign, including aides Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.

Showdown?

Top Congressional Democrats Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Adam Schiff and Mark Warner penned a joint letter to ODNI Director Dan Coates, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray demanding that the agencies defy President Trump.

In the letter, the lawmakers “express profound alarm” at the decision to “intervene in an ongoing law enforcement investigation that may implicate the President himself or those around him.”

“Any decision by your offices to share this material with the President or his lawyers will violate longstanding Department of Justice polices, as well as assurances you have provided to us.”

The letter then demands that the agencies brief the Gang of Eight before releasing the materials “to anyone at the White House.”

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Trump Weighs In On The Single Worst Mistake In American History

Trump hits Bush: Invading Iraq ‘the single worst decision ever made’.

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Via Zerohedge


In a wide ranging interview with The Hill on Tuesday conducted in the Oval Office, President Trump was asked to give his take on the biggest mistake in American history.

Considering just how open-ended a question that is, it’s perhaps surprising that he merely went back less than a couple decades into the Bush presidency, though Trump’s base will certainly welcome it as it hearkens back to his “America First” foreign policy vision of the campaign trail.

“The worst single mistake ever made in the history of our country: going into the Middle East, by President Bush,” the president during his interview with Hill.TV.

“Obama may have gotten them (U.S. soldiers) out wrong, but going in is to me the biggest single mistake made in the history of our country,” he said.

Trump explained the reasoning behind this choice, and why it wasn’t something like the civil war or another defining and devastating event reaching far into American History.

“Because we spent $7 trillion in the Middle East. Now if you wanna fix a window some place they say, ‘oh gee, let’s not do it. Seven trillion, and millions of lives — you know, ‘cause I like to count both sides. Millions of lives,” the president explained.

Some scholars and humanitarian groups estimate that over one million Iraqis were killed in the US invasion and occupation of Iraq starting in 2003. A 2008 Opinion Research Business (ORB) poll, for example, found that approximately 1.03 million people had died as a result of the war.

“To me it’s the worst single mistake made in the history of our country. Civil war you can understand. Civil war, civil war. That’s different. For us to have gone into the Middle East, and that was just, that was a bad day for this country, I will tell you.”

Various estimates on the Iraq war’s cost have put the total taxpayer bill as low as near $2 trillion, but none dispute that it is in the multiple trillions, and estimates will vary widely depending on if veteran care is factored into it.

The comments echo things Trump said on the campaign trail in 2016. For example during one of his first major foreign policy speeches then candidate Trump said, “I will never send our finest into battle unless necessary, and I mean absolutely necessary, and will only do so if we have a plan for victory with a capital V.” And referencing the famous quote of John Quincy Adams, he said during the same speech, “The world must know that we do not go abroad in search of enemies.”

He had previously shocked pundits for being the first Republican nominee for president to trash George W. Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq, and has more recently likened it to “throwing a big fat brick into a hornet’s nest”.

All of this is a hopeful sign considering the extremely heightened and dangerous tensions over Syria this week, and given Trump seems to have vacillated between “bringing the troops home” and getting more involved. On Monday Trump hinted that a decision on the U.S. role in Syria is coming soon.

Commenting on the over 2,000 troops now in Syria ostensibly as part of the “anti-ISIL” coalition campaign, Trump indicated this mission could end soon: “We’re very close to being finished with that job,” he said. He followed with: “And then we’re going to make a determination as to what we’re going to do.”

We consider it a hopeful and a good sign that Trump is possibly revisiting his “America First” foreign policy pledges by identifying the Iraq War as the worst mistake in US history.

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Brett Kavanaugh eleventh hour smear begins to fall apart (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 112.

Alex Christoforou

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US President Trump is urging the woman accusing Brett Kavanaugh to testify and be heard.

Trump said he wants to hear from Christine Blasey Ford, noting that it would be “unfortunate” if she does not testify before a Senate committee. Trump told reporters Wednesday as he left the White House to view hurricane damage in North Carolina…

“If she doesn’t show up, that would be unfortunate.”

“If she shows up and makes a credible showing, that would be very interesting.”

From Trump’s lips to God’s ear…Blasey Ford came out to issue a statement essentially saying that she will not testify to Congress, either in an open or closed door session.

Furthermore it appears that Ford will not even allow Senate investigators to fly to California and obtain her statement from the comfort of her own home (as Senator Grassley has offered to do).

Ford is demanding an FBI investigation into an allegation with no date, time or place attached to it. 

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss the dangerous game of identity politics being played by the establishment, Democrat left, and their mainstream media minions.

The premise that a four decades old accusation is all that is needed to destroy a person’s entire life, threatens to tear down the most basic foundational values adhered to from within the US Constitution, and propel the United States of America towards a fascist state where censorship, citizen surveillance, and evidence free accusations are used to keep the establishment left in power and the American population cowered in fear.

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According to Zerohedge, Democrats’ Hail Mary play to stymie the confirmation of Trump SCOTUS pick Brett Kavanaugh is beginning to fizzle out. As angry Dems demanded that a Monday hearing on the allegations against Kavanaugh be delayed until the FBI has a chance to investigate, turncoat Republicans (on whom the Dems had been depending for votes) instead withdrew their support and fell in line after Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley declared that he would not honor Democrats’ request. Grassley revealed his intention to stand firm late Tuesday after lawyers for Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey, who is claiming that Kavanaugh attempted to sexually assault her 35 years ago when the two were 17-year-old high school students, said their client wouldn’t be wiling to appear at Monday’s hearing.

According to the HillGrassley said Tuesday that there was “no reason” to delay the hearing now that Republicans have invited both Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, his accuser, to testify publicly. However, while Ford’s attorneys have insisted that their client has taken a polygraph test and “deserves to be heard”, Ford has bizarrely insisted that the FBI should have an opportunity to investigate her claims before she appears before the committee in order to spare her the “trauma” of confronting her alleged assailant.

Ford’s lawyers conveyed her request in the form of a letter sent to the committee, a copy of which was obtained by CNN.

Senator Grassley said he would refuse this request as several Republicans who had appeared to be on the cusp of defecting said they wouldn’t support further delays should Ford prove unwilling to testify.

Via the Hill…

“Republicans extended a hand in good faith. If we don’t hear from both sides on Monday, let’s vote,” said GOP Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.), who was one of the first Republicans to call for the Judiciary Committee to hit pause on Kavanaugh’s nomination on Sunday.

GOP Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) told reporters earlier Tuesday that Ford’s lack of response to the committee about testifying was “puzzling.”

And GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, who had threatened to vote against Kavanaugh if Ford wasn’t given the chance to be heard, told CNN that he expected the committee to move on if she doesn’t appear.

“I think we’ll have to move to the markup,” he told CNN. “I hope she does (appear). I think she needs to be heard.”

Via Zerohedge…

Kavanaugh has denied Ford’s allegations and insisted he didn’t attend the party where the physical assault allegedly took place. Patrick Smyth, a fellow former Georgetown Prep student whom Ford alleges was also in attendance during the party issued a statement via his lawyer standing up for Kavanaugh. And in a separate letter to Grassley and Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, not only does Smyth repudiate Ford’s allegations, but he adds that he doesn’t remember this party even taking place.

Of course, Feinstein – who admitted last night that she couldn’t say for certain that Ford’s story is entirely truthful – sat on Ford’s allegations for three months before referring them to the FBI and sharing them with other lawmakers (who purportedly “leaked” it to the press). President Trump on Tuesday said that he “feels sorry” for Kavanaugh, adding that he doesn’t want to “play into [Democrats] hands”, presumably by giving them more time to drag out the confirmation process.

“They should have done this a long time ago, three months ago, not now. But they did it now. So I don’t want to play into their hands,” Trump said.

Without the support of their Republican allies, Democrats will lack the votes on the committee to hold up the nomination past Monday. Though bizarrely, Kavanaugh himself hasn’t said yet whether he would or wouldn’t testify, which begs the question: If neither Kavanaugh nor Ford appear at the hearing, what exactly will lawmakers discuss?

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