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CONFIRMED: Trump Dossier is basis of RussiaGate

Former Trump campaign official Carter Page confirms FBI relying on Trump Dossier to conduct Russiagate investigation

Alexander Mercouris

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Back in March 2017 a series of articles appeared in the media which alleged that the ‘frame’ for the Russiagate investigation was provided by the Trump Dossier: the sleazy concoction of smear and gossip compiled by the British ex-spy Christopher Steele.

In an article 31st March 2017 I expressed some skepticism about this.  The scenario outlined in the Trump Dossier seemed to me quite simply too absurd and its unverifiable claims altogether too sensational for me to believe the supposedly mighty US intelligence community could take it seriously.

However by June 2017 indirect confirmation was starting to appear in the US media that not only did the US intelligence community take the Trump Dossier seriously but that it was in fact the starting point of the whole Russiagate scandal.

Here is what I said about this in an article I wrote on 24th Jun3 2017

On 11th January 2017, shortly after publication of the now notorious Trump Dossier, I speculated that this obviously fictitious document might have been the cause of the whole Russiagate scandal.

After carefully explaining why the document is certainly a fiction I made the following point

The big question is not whether the facts in this dossier are true or not; it is the extent to which the paranoid claims made in the dossier have shaped and might even have been the origin for the whole Russian hacking scandal.

I say this because media reports confirm that the dossier or extracts from it have circulated amongst US politicians (including Hillary Clinton and John McCain), US intelligence agencies, and within the media for weeks if not months.
The earliest reports in the dossier are dated to July, which suggests that some of its claims – which include circumstantial details of who supposedly within the Russian government was behind the Clinton leaks – were already circulating early in the summer. That is a very early point in the Russian hacking story, making it at least possible that the dossier at least influenced the thinking of some of the people in the US intelligence community and in the media who have been pushing the Russian hacking scandal most aggressively.

Many have remarked on the absence of evidence in the ONDI report which was published last Friday. Even Masha Gessen – one of President Putin’s most relentless critics – has pointed this out.

Publication of this dossier looks like an attempt to provide “evidence” which the ODNI report failed to do. If so then that at least gives rise to the possibility that the dossier is the “evidence” – or more correctly a part of the evidence – that formed the background to the ONDI report but which the ODNI report omitted.

Whatever the truth of this, the fact that an obviously concocted dossier like this has circulated for weeks if not months with its source apparently still considered “unimpeachable” and “reliable” by the West’s intelligence agencies shows how wildly paranoid and ignorant about Russia the West’s intelligence agencies and its politicians and journalists have become.

An Important Message from the Editor of The Duran

Fantasy has replaced truth, and it seems that a clever fabricator out to make money has successfully cashed in on it, quite possibly doing serious harm along the way.

My speculation that the Trump Dossier is the original cause of the whole Russiagate scandal has now received dramatic confirmation from a massive article in the Washington Post about the Russiagate scandal, which though it never specifically refers to the Trump Dossier, makes it quite clear that the Russiagate scandal is based on it.

According to the Washington Post article in August 2016 the CIA received secret but supposedly conclusive intelligence that Russian President Putin was seeking to swing the US Presidential election to Donald Trump.  CIA Director Brennan was supposedly so concerned that he immediately sent a secret memorandum advising President Obama of this.

This is how the Washington Post describes it

Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried “eyes only” instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides.

Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race.

But it went further. The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump…..

The CIA breakthrough came at a stage of the presidential campaign when Trump had secured the GOP nomination but was still regarded as a distant long shot. Clinton held comfortable leads in major polls, and Obama expected that he would be transferring power to someone who had served in his Cabinet.

The intelligence on Putin was extraordinary on multiple levels, including as a feat of espionage.

For spy agencies, gaining insights into the intentions of foreign leaders is among the highest priorities. But Putin is a remarkably elusive target. A former KGB officer, he takes extreme precautions to guard against surveillance, rarely communicating by phone or computer, always running sensitive state business from deep within the confines of the Kremlin

(bold italics added)

That this refers to the Trump Dossier is clear from the highlighted words.

The Trump Dossier purports to be a “report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the US Presidential race”, which is exactly what the report mentioned in the article is said to be.

The timing is right, with the early parts of the Trump Dossier dated to June 2016 and Brennan sending out his memorandum to Obama in August 2016.

No other report other than the Trump Dossier fitting the description of the report in the Washington Post article is known to exist, and the Washington Post article says that “Putin is a remarkably elusive target”, which makes it all but certain that no other such report exists.

Moreover the Washington Post article slips out these further very interesting comments about the report mentioned in the article

Despite the intelligence the CIA had produced, other agencies were slower to endorse a conclusion that Putin was personally directing the operation and wanted to help Trump. “It was definitely compelling, but it was not definitive,” said one senior administration official. “We needed more.”

Some of the most critical technical intelligence on Russia came from another country, officials said. Because of the source of the material, the NSA was reluctant to view it with high confidence.

(bold italics added)

The Trump Dossier is not a US confection but was compiled by Christopher Steele, who is British, and who is a former agent of the British intelligence agency MI6.  The fact that the Washington Post story says that “the most critical technical intelligence on Russia came from another country” therefore again clearly points to the Trump Dossier, which originated not in the US but in Britain.

In light of these comments I do not think there is any doubt that it is the early sections of the Trump Dossier that are being referred to, and which were what caused Brennan to send his memorandum to the White House in August.

Final and conclusive confirmation that the Trump Dossier is indeed the key document behind the whole Russiagate investigation has now been provided by Carter Page, the Trump campaign foreign policy adviser who is repeatedly named in the Trump Dossier and who is at the centre of the Russiagate investigation.

Here is what Carter Page had to say about this in Congressional testimony as reported by the Washington Times

The congressional testimony of Trump-Russia figure Carter Page shows that a Democratic-financed dossier can dominate how FBI agents question witnesses.

Mr. Page testified Nov. 2 before the House intelligence committee, which released a transcript Monday evening.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Republican, was particularly interested in how the FBI is conducting its probe of supposed Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

 “So what were the questions the FBI had for you?” Mr. Gowdy said.

“It was an extensive series of many meetings, but they, you know, the core foundation, I would say, in terms of the overall structure in March 2017, was related to those false allegations from the ‘dodgy’ dossier,” Mr. Page said, using his moniker for the anti-Trump document……

Asked at the Nov. 2 hearing how many times he sat down with the FBIMr. Page said, “Approximately four. They came up — you know, typically when the FBI has reached out to me previously, they give me a call. This time, in early March 2017, they just showed up. I was in the lobby near Lincoln Center in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and they just walked up to me.”

When Mr. Gowdy asked if all the FBI questions pertained to the dossier, Mr. Page said, “Not all of [them], but I would say that that was a central foundation, and again, it would sort of branch out from there.”

The Washington Times also reports Carter Page strongly denied in his testimony the allegations about him which appear in the Trump Dossier

Mr. Steele accuses him (Carter Page – AM) of several felonies, such as meeting with sanctioned Kremlin figures while in Moscow in July 2016 to address the New Economic School. Mr. Steele said Mr. Carter promised to work to end U.S. sanctions against Russia in exchange for a brokerage commission. The dossier also said he and former Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort orchestrated the Russian interference to include hacking Democratic Party computers.

Mr. Page, a Trump campaign volunteer on national security, says that all of those charges are fiction. He never met the two Kremlin operatives and has never met Mr. Manafort……

“They are all untrue,” Mr. Page said. “Every word in that about me is completely false. The core allegations of that document were certainly all false.”….

Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California, the House intelligence committee’s top Democrat, has shown no qualms about citing opposition research from Kremlin sources. He has expressed admiration for Mr. Steele, and has quoted at length from the dossier, including the unproven charges against Mr. Page.

Mr. Schiff used the hearing to ask Mr. Page about every Russian he met during his July trip to Moscow. He also tried to link him to George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign volunteer who lived in London at the time.

Mr. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to an FBI agent about when he actually started working for the campaign as he reached out to Russia-connected people.

“Just to be very clear, every meeting I ever had in Russia was completely benign,” Mr. Page said. “It was nothing, you know, nothing I would be ashamed of having broadcast on national television because, again, I’ve never done anything wrong, not only in those two years but throughout my life.”

Mr. Schiff referred repeatedly to the dossier, especially the part that said Mr. Page met with Igor Sechin, the CEO of giant oil firm Rosneft. Mr. Steele said the two met to discuss removing U.S. sanctions.

Mr. Page said he has never met Mr. Sechin.

In a separate article the Washington Times – one of the very few newspapers in the US to express skepticism about the Russiagate allegations – has provided an interesting account of the notorious 6th January 2017 meeting between the then President elect Donald Trump and President Obama’s intelligence chiefs including James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and FBI Director James Comey.

The article all but confirms my theory that Trump was shown the not yet publicly released Trump Dossier during this meeting in an attempt by the intelligence chiefs to blackmail him into accepting their otherwise unsubstantiated claims that it was the Russians who hacked the DNC’s and John Podesta’s computers and who provided the emails stolen from those computers to Wikileaks.

The Washington Times article speaks of the bafflement and anger of the intelligence chiefs as Trump rejected their findings

The atmosphere was not amicable. Simply put, the president-elect and President Obama’s intelligence chiefs “hated each other,” said a former official who worked with both camps…..

To the Obama-era intelligence chiefs, figures at the top of the Washington establishment who, despite being political appointees considered themselves above partisanship, Mr. Trump’s questioning of their conclusions and his overall hatred of Washington were unfathomable.

In interviews, current and former intelligence officials who have worked for both Republican and Democratic administrations said they were astounded that America had elected for the first time in its 240-year history a president with no government or military experience.

A day before heading to Trump Tower in early January, Mr. Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee that policymakers, and especially “Policymaker No. 1,” should have healthy skepticism toward the intelligence community……

That their findings were however unsubstantiated the Washington Times reports that even US intelligence veterans have confirmed

In interviews The Washington Times conducted with more than a dozen U.S. intelligence and national security sources at the highest levels as well as foreign diplomats, the overlooked and disturbing question about the lack of evidence has emerged repeatedly.

“I actually called them both the day after it came out and asked, ‘Why was it so thin?’” said the source close to Mr. Clapper and Mr. Brennan. “The answer I got was simple: There was a serious counterintelligence operation going on.”

In the absence of any evidence to back their claims the US intelligence chiefs were forced to resort to blackmail to try to get Trump to accept their conclusions

One of the intelligence community’s specialties is the use of psychological tactics to negotiate and interrogate in classic “good cop/bad cop” fashion. But Mr. Trump’s reaction to the news they brought him on Jan. 6 astonished them…..

A source who knows Mr. Comey, Mr. Clapper and Mr. Brennan told The Times that all three were perplexed during the aftermath of the meeting at Trump Tower, where Mr. Trump had dismissed their premise outright and declared to them, “We don’t have a Russia problem; we have a cyber problem.”

It’s still unclear whether the intelligence chiefs were using the briefing to examine, as they saw it, what the president-elect may have known of Russia’s meddling on his behalf.

After the initial meeting with Mr. Trump broke up, Mr. Comey remained behind to brief the president-elect further.

The FBI director, who at 6 feet 8 inches tall towered over Mr. Trump by 6 inches, has since revealed how he stayed for a private discussion with the president-elect to review some “personally sensitive” information that the intelligence chiefs hadn’t included in the public version of the Russian meddling assessment.

Mr. Comey told lawmakers in June that the “sensitive” material in question consisted of portions of what would later become known as the Trump-Russia dossier, financed in part by the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party and compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.

Full of unverified claims, the dossier, among other things, maintained that Russian intelligence had schemed to get Mr. Trump elected and that Kremlin spies had compiled sexual blackmail material on him during a 2013 trip he made to Moscow for the Miss Universe beauty pageant.

In his June testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Mr. Comey maintained that Mr. Clapper had asked him to be alone with Mr. Trump to “personally do this portion of the briefing” for two reasons.

The first was that among those in the Obama-era intelligence inner circle who were present at Trump Tower that day, Mr. Comey was the one who would be staying on at his position and would have dealings with the new president, given the nominal 10-year term FBI directors are given.

The second, according to Mr. Comey’s testimony, was because “the material implicated the FBI’s counterintelligence responsibilities.”

“It is important to understand that FBI counterintelligence investigations are different than the more commonly known criminal investigative work,” said the former FBI director, implying that the entire meeting at Trump Tower that day was actually part of a high-stakes espionage operation.

Mr. Comey’s comments — vague as they may have sounded in Senate testimony — turned heads in the back hallways of America’s spy agencies.

What exactly was he getting at? Was he publicly revealing that there were serious concerns at the highest levels of U.S. intelligence that the president-elect may truly have been compromised by the Russians and could be vulnerable to Kremlin blackmail?

Note the careful use of the word “blackmail” in the very last paragraph of the above extract from an article put together – as the Washington Times claims – from discussions with “a dozen US intelligence and national security sources” one of whom the Washington Times was apparently sufficiently close to Clapper and Brannon to question them about the lack of the evidence in the January ODNI report the day after it was published.

In the event – as I discussed at the time – the blackmail attempt failed.

Since then – having launched the Russiagate investigate and carried out surveillance of members of the Trump campaign on the strength of the Trump Dossier, and having tried and failed to blackmail Trump by showing it to him – the US intelligence community – first and foremost the FBI – have been working overtime to try to prove it true.  Needless to say ten months later its efforts have proved fruitless for the simple reason that what this “Democrat funded document” says is not true.

In the meantime innocent people like Carter Page are being put through the grinder.

By his own account Carter Page has been interrogated by the FBI four times and has had his documents seized in illegal searches.  He has been forced to give evidence to the House Intelligence Committee, his business has collapsed, and by his own account he is receiving death threats.

Carter Page inflated his own importance in the Trump campaign in order to wangle invitations from the Russians and to secure himself an invitation to Moscow’s New Economic School where he gave a speech.

He is not however the first person to do this and there is no evidence he either intended or did any harm.

As in the very similar case of George Papadopoulos – charged and bullied into into a guilty plea because he downplayed the extent of his perfectly innocent meetings with the staff members of a Moscow-based NGO, and because he mixed up the dates of his first meeting with a ‘London based professor’ – the treatment of Carter Page is grossly disproportionately and frankly cruel.

It is disturbing that no-one in authority in the US seems to care about that.

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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.

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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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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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