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Donald Trump’s team views Iran, not Russia, as major threat to US

All four of the persons selected by U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump for the top U.S. national-security posts are committed to replacing the outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama’s #1 military target, Russia, by a different #1 military target, Iran.

Eric Zuesse

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Published with the permission of the author. First appeared on strategic-culture.org

Saudi Arabia dominates above all other nations as a supplier of suicide bombers, and its royal family dominates as the world’s top financial backer of Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups, but incoming President Donald Trump has chosen to lead his national-security team, only people who blame Iran and not Saudi Arabia, as being the main source of international terrorism.

Iran has long been the #1 military target in the view of Michael Flynn, the chosen Trump National Security Advisor; and of James Mattis, the chosen Trump Secretary of Defense; and of Dan Coats, the chosen Trump Director of National Intelligence; and of Mike Pompeo, the chosen CIA Director.

Coats’s appointment to become the DNI in Trump’s Administration is a clear indication that Trump intends to refocus American foreign policy away from Russia as being America’s #1 enemy, to Iran as being that.

Like Lt. General Michael Flynn, who will be Trump’s National Security Advisor; and like Marine General James Mattis, who has been selected to be the head of the Defense Department; and like the next CIA Director, Mike Pompeo; Dan Coats views Shiite Iran, and not ‘America’s ally’ (the rabidly anti-Iranian) Sunni Saudi Arabia, as being the source of 9/11 and other terrorist acts against the U.S. and Europe.

However, in fact, Al Qaeda is funded mainly by the Sunni-fundamentalist Saudi royal family. Al Qaeda is a fundamentalist Sunni armed force, and it condemns Shiites; it is hostile toward Iran, not in any way an extension of Iran. ISIS, too, is Sunni-fundamentalist, and kills Shia. And all four men have said that America should, at least at the start, try to work with Russia against such ‘terrorists’ (meaning mainly against Iran, which actually produces vastly fewer terrorists than America’s Sunni-fundamentalist ‘allies’ do).

Russia has long been allied with Iran, and could provide the U.S. government crucial help to conquer Iran. The idea is to persuade Russia to sell-out Iran, instead of for Trump’s foreign policy to start off by continuing to treat Russia as being America’s number-one enemy (such as U.S. President Barack Obama did despite Obama’s having famously mocked Romney’s «Russia, this is, without question, America’s number one geopolitical foe»).

This means that President Trump intends to make a deal with Russia’s President Putin, for Russia to separate from and isolate, and so allow America’s (and/or Israel’s) military to defeat, Iran. (Invasions, after all, can be extremely profitable, for some people.) Also, for Marine General James Mattis and the entire Marine Corps, who have long craved revenge against the Iranian-backed suicide-bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983, conquering Iran would be a long-delayed sweet victory.

That terrorist act was against America’s support for Israel against Palestinians, which was one of the very few anti-Western jihadist acts that were Shiite-fundamentalist instead of Sunni-fundamentalist.

This foreign policy is based upon false assumptions, especially that terrorists are fundamentalist Shiites instead of fundamentalist Sunnis — such as they actually are. All of the 9/11 hijackers were fundamentalist Sunnis, and 15 of the 19 were Saudis. Virtually all Islamic terrorists except against Israel, are fundamentalist Sunnis. That’s just a fact — but one that the American aristocracy refuse to acknowledge publicly, because America’s aristocracy is allied with the Saudis and other Arabic, fundamentalist-Sunni, royal families: America’s ‘allies’ finance Al Qaeda and other such groups.

So, this is not a foreign policy that’s actually designed to overcome the terrorist threat against the United States (since jihadism doesn’t come from Iran but does come from America’s Arab ‘allies’), but it is a foreign policy that’s designed to continue the pretext for America’s overspending on the military (very profitable for the U.S. aristocracy). That, more than anything else, is what the U.S. aristocracy (who control the ‘defense’ firms such as Raytheon etc.) demand from their agents in the U.S. Congress and White House.

Even conquering Russia (in order to take its oil and gas etc.) isn’t as important to them as keeping the ‘defense’ (i.e., aggression) budget astronomically high. Obama’s method of meeting the aristocracy’s requirement was to boost strategic nuclear forces against Russia and to claim that he was doing it mainly against Iran and held no hostility against Russia. He lied in order to hide his plan — a plan in cooperation with the Gulf Arab countries and America’s vassal-states in Europe — to conquer Russia.

Here [with my comments in brackets] is from a speech that Senator Coats, the newly appointed DNI, delivered in the Senate on 17 November 2015:

* * *

We, the United States, need to show the world that threats to our principal freedoms are entirely unacceptable. Unfortunately, President Obama continues to fail to provide the American people with the leadership we so desperately need…

President Obama, in a shockingly dismissive tone, doubled down on his so-called strategy to deal with this global threat. What has his strategy to date accomplished? Well, ISIS [the most-fundamentalist of all Sunni sects] has expanded into more than half a dozen countries…

Time after time, the President has shown he simply doesn’t get it. In 2012, he boasted Al-Qaeda was on the path to defeat. In 2014, he dismissed the Islamic State as the «JV team», saying that ISIS «is not a direct threat to us nor something that we have to wade into». Last Thursday he said, «I don’t think [the Islamic State] is gaining strength» and saying «we have contained them». What will it take for this President to wake up and see what is happening around the world as a result of the ever-expanding threat of ISIS terrorism?..

I called for a diplomatic effort to persuade Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar [all three of which were actually allied with the U.S. in supporting Al Qaeda in Syria to overthrow and replace the Russia-allied Syria’s legitimate government, which is headed by the non-sectarian Shiite Bashar al-Assad], and other regions [all being Sunni] to join with us to resist more forcefully ISIS aggression.

Last year I called for much greater security assistance for our potential partners in the fight against ISIS… I said we also needed to find effective ways to support and directly arm the reliable, vetted Sunni tribes and Sunni leaders in Iraq who are essential partners in combatting ISIS extremism that ultimately are Sunni Islam’s greatest threat. 

[This is analogous to asserting that Dominionist fundamentalist Christians are ‘Christianity’s greatest threat’ — the greatest threat to Christianity. One might as well say that Orthodox or fundamentalist Jews are the greatest threat to Judaism. But Coats is himself a Dominionist fundamentalist Christian — a member of the super-secret «The Family» group of Washington insiders who aspire for the U.S. to take over the world for Christians. And he’s not saying that such Dominionist fundamentalist Christians are «Christianity’s greatest threat».] …

We need their engagement. They are in the crosshairs of ISIS. Why haven’t they stepped up? [The reason why is that the Saudis hire jihadists to attack and overthrow only other governments, not their own; same for the Thanis who control Qatar, and for all the other Arabic royal families: to overthrow only foreign governments, not their own.]… As I said, we also need to find effective ways to support the Sunni tribes and Sunni leaders. 

[He wants only Sunni Muslims as allies; no Shiites — this means that the leadership in both Iran and Syria need to be overthrown, not worked with.]… I have called for increased specialized military action by our own Armed Forces — intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and special forces — not a massive invasion. [This is exactly Obama’s approach.] …

Our bombing campaign — this strategy of bombing against ISIS targets — has been far from adequate. [He wants the Obama approach but more intense.]… Contrast this anemic bombing campaign with the bombing campaign before the first Gulf War, which was several thousand sorties a day.[He wants to get those American bomb-factories humming again at full capacity.] …

My bill would… recognize the reality that exists here in terms of abuse of the Visa Waiver Program or the possibility of abuse and inserting terrorists into the United States… When introducing this, I remember the response: Oh, that is too tough. Nothing is too tough these days to keep Americans safe. …

We need a comprehensive, realistic, articulate plan if we are going to destroy ISIS, and NATO action should be part of that plan…

Admiral Stavridis also suggests the possibility of forming some type of a coalition with Russia. We are seeing a strong Russian response today — last evening — once it was determined and proven the Russian airliner was brought down by a bomb and by ISIS. [He deceives there: Russia has consistently opposed jihadists and fundamentalist Islam itself; only the U.S. and its allies have supported jihadism, when it serves to defeat Russia or any government that’s friendly toward Russia. Coats knows this.] 

ISIS has taken credit for it, and ISIS will receive the wrath of the Russian military as a result [again repeating that lie about Russia], in direct contrast to what we have done for attempts on our own people. I am not a big fan of Putin. I am not a big fan of the current Russia government.

I spoke out strongly about Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea, and have strongly advocated for Russia’s diplomatic isolation. In fact, I so strongly advocated for it that Russia put me on a list of seven people who are banned from entering Russia for life. Well, I have been to Russia, and I don’t need to go back. So it is no big deal. Apparently it was a big deal to them. But now we are facing an emergency situation.

Russian forces are deployed in Syria. Russian efforts need to be coordinated with NATO efforts, if we go the NATO route. We are already coordinating in terms of some of our flights. As we learned in 1941, national emergencies can create strange bedfellows…

In conclusion, let me say this. In 2014, the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, said:

Our last message is to the Americans: Soon we will be in direct confrontation, and the sons of Islam have prepared for such a day. So watch, for we are with you, watching.

This is the enemy we are dealing with. This is not some vague threat; this is a direct threat. We have seen how they carry out their direct threats, and we stand in the crosshairs.

* * *

There is no evidence whatsoever that either the Iranian regime, or any other Shia Muslims, participated in, or knowingly assisted, the 9/11 attacks. The 9/11 attackers were 100% Sunni and almost entirely Saudi — and the 9/11 Commission Report devoted only two of its 585 pages (240-241) to the topic, «Assistance from Hezbollah and Iran to al Qaeda» and was unable to find anything against Iran other than the Iranian regime’s attempts pre-9/11 to have cordial relations with both Al Qaeda and the Saudis.

The U.S. government never sought cordial relations with Iran, except when America’s coup-imposed stooge, the brutal Shah, infamous for torturing all opponents, headed Iran. Those attempts at rapprochement with the Saudis and their agents, bore no fruit. To the contrary, the Saudis, during Obama’s regime in the U.S., increased their hostility against Iran.

After 9/11, Iran sided with the U.S. even against Al Qaeda, but the U.S. government has even blamed Iran for 9/11, while covering-up the massive evidence that the Saudis had actually financed the 9/11 attacks. The U.S., under Obama, even sided with Hitler against Russia and Russians — and even against Jews. Obama was every bit as depraved a liar as was George W. Bush, but depended upon votes from the opposite Party of suckers of the U.S. aristocracy.

Regarding Mike Flynn, his international-affairs viewpoint is well summarized by the anti-Russian, but even more anti-Iranian, conservative commentator, Michael J. Totten, writing in the neoconservative World Affairs journal, headlining «How Trump’s General Mike Flynn Sees the World», and it’s remarkably similar to the views that were propounded there by Dan Coats. This is more an anti-Iranian neoconservatism, than an anti-Russian neoconservatism (which was backing Hillary Clinton).

Flynn is openly anti-Muslim, but that’s only because he erroneously equates what is actually fundamentalist-Sunni Islam, with Islam itself; and then he misattributes Shia Islam — and especially Iran — with that (alleged ‘Muslim’ threat), and he assumes that the jihadists who endanger Americans, the actually fundamentalist Sunnis who are financed actually by the U.S. aristocracy’s allies the Saudis and other fundamentalist-Sunni royal Arabic families, will somehow be able to become destroyed by an alliance between the U.S. government and those actual funders of jihadists (plus perhaps Russia, if Putin will agree to join Trump’s war against IRAN — not against the Saud family etc.).

It’s stupid, but apparently it’s sincere — not intended merely to advance Flynn’s career serving the U.S. oligarchy (who are even more obsessed to conquer Russia, like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were hoping to achieve, than they are to conquer Russia). Thus the U.S. aristocracy hate Trump’s guts even though he himself is a member of America’s aristocracy.

Marine General James Mattis, whom Trump has chosen to head the ‘Defense’ Department, is similarly focused against Iran and Shia Islam (including Hezbollah) as the main source of jihadism, and as being America’s number-one enemy. Consequently, on 4 December 2016, Mark Perry at Politico headlined «James Mattis’ 33-Year Grudge Against Iran», and he attributed Mattis’s obsessive hatred of Iran to the 23 October 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, by an Iranian, during the Lebanese civil war — an event that had turned the Marine Corps (the entire institution) rabid against Iran.

Perry wrote that «It was also this Iran obsession that led Obama to force Mattis’ retirement back in January 2013». Referring to Obama’s National Military Strategy, Perry wrote: «The gravest threat to America, according to the document, is not ‘Iran, Iran, Iran’ [as Mattis insisted], but ‘Russia, Russia, Russia’». Obama would not keep any general who failed to share his hatred of Russia.

At the far-right Heritage Foundation, on 13 May 2015, Mattis delivered a lecture in which he stated that jihadists are mainly Iranian or Shia (actually they’re almost 100% fundamentalist Sunnis, not Shia, and that’s one of several historical falsehoods in Mattis’s lecture). The only other major source of it that he even identified there was «the Muslim brothers in Cairo for a year» — by which he referred to the temporary Muslim Brotherhood rule of Egypt, from 30 June 2013 to 3 July 2013.

He didn’t mention there, for example, as being the main Sunni source of jihad, Al Qaeda, or ISIS — he gave as the main Sunni example of what he referred to as America’s number-one enemy, or «political Islam», the one example in which it was democratically elected into power (which jihadist groups never are).

He treated that «political Islam» which he identified as America’s top enemy, as being a threat that comes from the masses of Muslims (the Sunni public for example who voted Mohamed Morsi into Egypt’s Presidency) and not at all from the the Sunni elite (the royal families who own the Arabic nations that are allied with the U.S. aristocracy). He mentioned Sunni leaders only as being allies of America. Mattis is targeting only Iran’s aristocracy and public, and their supporters abroad.

As regards the next CIA Director, House Republican Mike Pompeo, Ryan Costello of the National Iranian American Council, bannered on 23 November 2016, «Trump CIA Pick Hyped Facts On Iran, Downplayed Costs Of War», and he wrote: «Pompeo has been a fierce ideological opponent of the Iran nuclear accord and gone out of his way to work to roll back the multilateral agreement. Perhaps most disconcertingly, Pompeo has downplayed the costs of bombing Iran», and «fought tooth and nail to prevent the deal from being struck».

Pompeo’s record is clear that he wants the U.S. to invade Iran. Furthermore, «Pompeo’s last tweet prior to his selection as Trump’s future CIA Director stated ‘I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism’». This common neoconservative allegation — that Iran, instead of the Saudi royal family, is ‘the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism’ — contradicts the massive and compelling evidence, but now the U.S. CIA will be tasked to go full-bore ‘documenting’ this vicious, and bloody dangerous, lie.

Even Donald Trump’s opponent, the hater of Russia Hillary Clinton, said in her private communications:

«We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region».

and, «Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide».

She never mentioned that those «donors» — as Glenn Greenwald noted on 25 August 2016 — happened to have «donated between $10 million and $25 million to the Clinton Foundation, with donations coming as late as 2014, as she prepared her presidential run. A group called ‘Friends of Saudi Arabia,’ co-founded ‘by a Saudi Prince,’ gave an additional amount between $1 million and $5 million».

Those same people who funded the Clintons and Bushes had funded also Osama bin Laden. And, the Saud family own Saudi Arabia: the Saud family and the government of Saudi Arabia are the same entity. Like bin Laden’s former bagman said, «Without the money of the — of the Saudi you will have nothing». The Saud family are enemies of the American people, but to both Democratic and Republican Administrations, the Saud family, the Saudi government, are America’s ‘allies’.

Consequently, Donald Trump, like his predecessor, Obama, blames Iran, not Saudi Arabia — not the royal Saudis, who own Saudi Arabia — for Islamic terrorism. Trump, apparently, shares President Obama’s 100% backing of immunity for the dictatorial Saudi royal family’s financing the 9/11 attacks and for their continuing to finance Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups.

Obama had said that if the leaders of Saudi Arabia wouldn’t be immune for perpetrating 9/11, then American Presidents could similarly be prosecuted by other nations, perhaps (for example) like for Obama’s bloody coup overthrowing Ukraine’s democratically elected and Moscow-friendly President in 2014.

America’s mainstream news media supported him on that immunity for all international leaders, and even Britain’s liberal Guardian also reported favorably on Obama’s support for sovereign immunity (which puts The West now against — for example — the Nuremberg Tribunals, as merely victors’ ‘justice’ in the eyes of The West’s aristocracies today). (Hitler would be pleased.) Obama’s blaming Iran for such jihadists, will thus almost certainly be continued by President Donald Trump, and there will be no ‘draining of the swamp’ accountability, such as Trump had campaigned on.

Even the American public approve of President Obama’s Presidency; so, they’re not bothered by his having constantly lied to them. The 9/11 victim-families are thus chillingly ignored by both the American public, and the American aristocracy (who actually control the government). Trump need not worry, so long as his words feed the standard (aristocracy-created) myths, which both Trump and Obama do very effectively.

Maybe the only good thing that one can reasonably say about Donald Trump as U.S. President is that, unlike his electoral opponent Hillary Clinton, he’s not heavily committed to forcing World War III. In fact, unlike her (and President Obama), he’s not (at least not yet) at all committed to conquering Russia. But still, America’s aristocracy rules; only now they’re aiming to conquer Iran, instead of to conquer Russia. They’ve chosen a less dangerous, more vulnerable, target, for the time being.

But as regards destroying jihadists, that’s still not their top foreign-policy, national ‘security’, objective. Conquest is. It’s still a neoconservative regime, just a less dangerous variety of that.

The American people have already been conquered by the American aristocracy. It has been done by lies, and by the public’s tolerance of being lied-to.

So, the people in Iran have sound reason now to be very worried.

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BuzzFeed pushes fake Michael Cohen news, as real news breaks on HUGE conspiracy against Trump at FBI and DOJ (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 169.

Alex Christoforou

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According to Zerohedge, in an almost unprecedented event – having rarely commented on stories related to the special counsel’s investigation – Robert S. Mueller III’s office put out a statement firmly disputing the reporting of the news site BuzzFeed reported that the president instructed his personal attorney to lie to Congress about his push for a Moscow real estate project

BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate,” the special counsel’s office said.

As The Hill reports, BuzzFeed had released a statement earlier Friday defending the reporters behind the story and saying that it “stands by this story 100%,” and for his part, Cohen adviser Lanny Davis refused to confirm or deny the report during an interview with MSNBC on Friday afternoon.

President Trump retweeted a few social media reactions…

And then made his own views clear:

Meanwhile the real election collusion bombshell had nothing to do with Russia, Moscow hotels, or Michael Cohen, and everything to do with bullet proof evidence that DOJ official, Bruce Ohr, warned all the higher-ups at the FBI and DOJ (Comey, Rosenstein, McCabe, etc…) that the Steele dossier was connected to Hillary Clinton, and was extremely biased against Donald Trump.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how BuzzFeed pushed out a clear, fake propaganda story on Trump, Cohen, and more stupidity about Moscow hotel deals, as real reporter, John Solomon broke a massive story, with solid evidence and facts, that show the FBI and DOJ knew that the Steele dossier was a complete work of fiction, and knowingly hide that fact from FISA courts.

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Authored by John Solomon, via The Hill

When the annals of mistakes and abuses in the FBI’s Russia investigation are finally written, Bruce Ohr almost certainly will be the No. 1 witness, according to my sources.

The then-senior Department of Justice (DOJ) official briefed both senior FBI and DOJ officials in summer 2016 about Christopher Steele’s Russia dossier, explicitly cautioning that the British intelligence operative’s work was opposition research connected to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and might be biased.

Ohr’s briefings, in July and August 2016, included the deputy director of the FBI, a top lawyer for then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and a Justice official who later would become the top deputy to special counsel Robert Mueller.

At the time, Ohr was the associate deputy attorney general. Yet his warnings about political bias were pointedly omitted weeks later from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant that the FBI obtainedfrom a federal court, granting it permission to spy on whether the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia to hijack the 2016 presidential election.

Ohr’s activities, chronicled in handwritten notes and congressional testimony I gleaned from sources, provide the most damning evidence to date that FBI and DOJ officials may have misled federal judges in October 2016 in their zeal to obtain the warrant targeting Trump adviser Carter Page just weeks before Election Day.

They also contradict a key argument that House Democrats have made in their formal intelligence conclusions about the Russia case.

Since it was disclosed last year that Steele’s dossier formed a central piece of evidence supporting the FISA warrant, Justice and FBI officials have been vague about exactly when they learned that Steele’s work was paid for by the law firm representing the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

A redacted version of the FISA application released last year shows the FBI did not mention any connection to the DNC or Clinton. Rather, it referred to Steele as a reliable source in past criminal investigations who was hired by a person working for a U.S. law firm to conduct research on Trump and Russia.

The FBI claimed it was “unaware of any derogatory information” about Steele, that Steele was “never advised … as to the motivation behind the research” but that the FBI  “speculates” that those who hired Steele were “likely looking for information to discredit” Trump’s campaign.

Yet, in testimony last summer to congressional investigators, Ohr revealed the FBI and Justice lawyers had no need to speculate: He explicitly warned them in a series of contacts, beginning July 31, 2016, that Steele expressed biased against Trump and was working on a project connected to the Clinton campaign.

Ohr had firsthand knowledge about the motive and the client: He had just met with Steele on July 30, 2016, and Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS, the same firm employing Steele.

“I certainly told the FBI that Fusion GPS was working with, doing opposition research on Donald Trump,” Ohr told congressional investigators, adding that he warned the FBI that Steele expressed bias during their conversations.

“I provided information to the FBI when I thought Christopher Steele was, as I said, desperate that Trump not be elected,” he added. “So, yes, of course I provided that to the FBI.”

When pressed why he would offer that information to the FBI, Ohr answered: “In case there might be any kind of bias or anything like that.” He added later, “So when I provided it to the FBI, I tried to be clear that this is source information, I don’t know how reliable it is. You’re going to have to check it out and be aware.”

Ohr went further, saying he disclosed to FBI agents that his wife and Steele were working for the same firm and that it was conducting the Trump-Russia research project at the behest of Trump’s Democratic rival, the Clinton campaign.

“These guys were hired by somebody relating to, who’s related to the Clinton campaign and be aware,” Ohr told Congress, explaining what he warned the bureau.

Perkins Coie, the law firm that represented both the DNC and the Clinton campaign during the 2016 election, belatedly admitted it paid Fusion GPS for Steele’s work on behalf of the candidate and party and disguised the payments as legal bills when, in fact, it was opposition research.

When asked if he knew of any connection between the Steele dossier and the DNC, Ohr responded that he believed the project was really connected to the Clinton campaign.

“I didn’t know they were employed by the DNC but I certainly said yes that they were working for, you know, they were somehow working, associated with the Clinton campaign,” he answered.

“I also told the FBI that my wife worked for Fusion GPS or was a contractor for GPS, Fusion GPS.”

Ohr divulged his first contact with the FBI was on July 31, 2016, when he reached out to then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and FBI attorney Lisa Page. He then was referred to the agents working Russia counterintelligence, including Peter Strzok, the now-fired agent who played a central role in starting the Trump collusion probe.

But Ohr’s contacts about the Steele dossier weren’t limited to the FBI. He said in August 2016 — nearly two months before the FISA warrant was issued — that he was asked to conduct a briefing for senior Justice officials.

Those he briefed included Andrew Weissmann, then the head of DOJ’s fraud section; Bruce Swartz, longtime head of DOJ’s international operations, and Zainab Ahmad, an accomplished terrorism prosecutor who, at the time, was assigned to work with Lynch as a senior counselor.

Ahmad and Weissmann would go on to work for Mueller, the special prosecutor overseeing the Russia probe.

Ohr’s extensive testimony also undercuts one argument that House Democrats sought to make last year.

When Republicans, in early 2018, first questioned Ohr’s connections to Steele, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee sought to minimize the connection, insisting he only worked as an informer for the FBI after Steele was fired by the FBI in November 2016.

The memo from Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-Calif.) team claimed that Ohr’s contacts with the FBI only began “weeks after the election and more than a month after the Court approved the initial FISA application.”

But Ohr’s testimony now debunks that claim, making clear he started talking to FBI and DOJ officials well before the FISA warrant or election had occurred.

And his detailed answers provide a damning rebuttal to the FBI’s portrayal of the Steele material.

In fact, the FBI did have derogatory information on Steele: Ohr explicitly told the FBI that Steele was desperate to defeat the man he was investigating and was biased.

And the FBI knew the motive of the client and did not have to speculate: Ohr told agents the Democratic nominee’s campaign was connected to the research designed to harm Trump’s election chances.

Such omissions are, by definition, an abuse of the FISA system.

Don’t take my word for it. Fired FBI Director James Comey acknowledged it himself when he testified last month that the FISA court relies on an honor system, in which the FBI is expected to divulge exculpatory evidence to the judges.

“We certainly consider it our obligation, because of our trust relationship with federal judges, to present evidence that would paint a materially different picture of what we’re presenting,” Comey testified on Dec. 7, 2018. “You want to present to the judge reviewing your application a complete picture of the evidence, both its flaws and its strengths.”

Comey claims he didn’t know about Ohr’s contacts with Steele, even though his top deputy, McCabe, got the first contact.

But none of that absolves his FBI, or the DOJ for that matter, from failing to divulge essential and exculpatory information from Ohr to the FISA court.

John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He is The Hill’s executive vice president for video.

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At Age 70, Time To Rethink NATO

The architect of Cold War containment, Dr. George Kennan, warned that moving NATO into Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics would prove a “fateful error.”

Patrick J. Buchanan

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Authored by Patrick Buchanan via The Unz Review:


“Treaties are like roses and young girls. They last while they last.”

So said President Charles De Gaulle, who in 1966 ordered NATO to vacate its Paris headquarters and get out of France.

NATO this year celebrates a major birthday. The young girl of 1966 is no longer young. The alliance is 70 years old.

And under this aging NATO today, the U.S. is committed to treat an attack on any one of 28 nations from Estonia to Montenegro to Romania to Albania as an attack on the United States.

The time is ripe for a strategic review of these war guarantees to fight a nuclear-armed Russia in defense of countries across the length of Europe that few could find on a map.

Apparently, President Donald Trump, on trips to Europe, raised questions as to whether these war guarantees comport with vital U.S. interests and whether they could pass a rigorous cost-benefit analysis.

The shock of our establishment that Trump even raised this issue in front of Europeans suggests that the establishment, frozen in the realities of yesterday, ought to be made to justify these sweeping war guarantees.

Celebrated as “the most successful alliance in history,” NATO has had two histories. Some of us can yet recall its beginnings.

In 1948, Soviet troops, occupying eastern Germany all the way to the Elbe and surrounding Berlin, imposed a blockade on the city.

The regime in Prague was overthrown in a Communist coup. Foreign minister Jan Masaryk fell, or was thrown, from a third-story window to his death. In 1949, Stalin exploded an atomic bomb.

As the U.S. Army had gone home after V-E Day, the U.S. formed a new alliance to protect the crucial European powers — West Germany, France, Britain, Italy. Twelve nations agreed that an attack on one would be treated as an attack on them all.

Cross the Elbe and you are at war with us, including the U.S. with its nuclear arsenal, Stalin was, in effect, told. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops returned to Europe to send the message that America was serious.

Crucial to the alliance was the Yalta line dividing Europe agreed to by Stalin, FDR and Churchill at the 1945 Crimean summit on the Black Sea.

U.S. presidents, even when monstrous outrages were committed in Soviet-occupied Europe, did not cross this line into the Soviet sphere.

Truman did not send armored units up the highway to Berlin. He launched an airlift to break the Berlin blockade. Ike did not intervene to save the Hungarian rebels in 1956. JFK confined his rage at the building of the Berlin Wall to the rhetorical: “Ich bin ein Berliner.”

LBJ did nothing to help the Czechs when, before the Democratic convention in 1968, Leonid Brezhnev sent Warsaw Pact tank armies to crush the Prague Spring.

When the Solidarity movement of Lech Walesa was crushed in Gdansk, Reagan sent copy and printing machines. At the Berlin Wall in 1988, he called on Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”

Reagan never threatened to tear it down himself.

But beginning in 1989, the Wall was torn down, Germany was united, the Red Army went home, the Warsaw Pact dissolved, the USSR broke apart into 15 nations, and Leninism expired in its birthplace.

As the threat that had led to NATO disappeared, many argued that the alliance created to deal with that threat should be allowed to fade away, and a free and prosperous Europe should now provide for its own defense.

It was not to be. The architect of Cold War containment, Dr. George Kennan, warned that moving NATO into Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics would prove a “fateful error.”

This, said Kennan, would “inflame the nationalistic and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion” and “restore the atmosphere of the cold war in East-West relations.” Kennan was proven right.

America is now burdened with the duty to defend Europe from the Atlantic to the Baltic, even as we face a far greater threat in China, with an economy and population 10 times that of Russia.

And we must do this with a defense budget that is not half the share of the federal budget or the GDP that Eisenhower and Kennedy had.

Trump is president today because the American people concluded that our foreign policy elite, with their endless interventions where no vital U.S. interest was imperiled, had bled and virtually bankrupted us, while kicking away all of the fruits of our Cold War victory.

Halfway into Trump’s term, the question is whether he is going to just talk about halting Cold War II with Russia, about demanding that Europe pay for its own defense, and about bringing the troops home — or whether he is going to act upon his convictions.

Our foreign policy establishment is determined to prevent Trump from carrying out his mandate. And if he means to carry out his agenda, he had best get on with it.

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The ISIS attack in Syria appears to have failed in its real mission

ISIS probably tried to get Mr. Trump to keep troops in Syria, but in reality this attack shows no compelling reason to remain there.

Seraphim Hanisch

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ISIS is one of the bloodiest, most brutal organizations to ever exist in modern history. During its meteoric rise, the “Caliphate” struck with death and fear across the deserts of Iraq and the wastes of Syria, seducing a seemingly increasing number of recruits from the West, developing its own currency and financing abilities, all the while remaining a death cult, in the conviction that their eventual destruction would trigger a far greater Islamic uprising.

But something changed for them starting in about 2013. While ISIS got quietly aided and abetted by President Obama’s (perhaps not unwitting) support through neglect and then even quieter collaboration (Obama thought ISIS could be “managed” in the effort to oust Bashar Al-Assad from Syria), its power and reach extended through much of Syria.

But then came Russia. Russia didn’t think ISIS should be managed. Russia determined that ISIS should be destroyed. And in 2015, invited by Syria, the Russians came and went to work. They did most of the heavy lifting in terms of driving ISIS back, while (inconveniently for the US and West) also carefully taking back Syrian territory from antigovernment groups that were supported by the US and its coalition of forces operating in the country, including Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, and all the names it took on afterwards. This was quietly carried out because the Americans also had face to save, owing to Obama’s clumsy decision to send American forces into the country, which gradually grew and metastasized into a significantly sized fighting force.

With an extremely complicated group of alliances and enemies, the American forces were forced to quietly abandon their mission of removing Bashar al-Assad from power and to pivot to actually destroying ISIS. President Trump does deserve some credit for his part in helping this to happen. He also deserves a lot of credit for his recent decision to pull American troops out of Syria.

This move was severely condemned by the US hawks, resulting in the resignation / firing / retirement of former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and, in an amusing show of hypocrisy, the pundits from the Anti-Trump crowd at CNN and other news outlets characterized this decision as the US President proving once and for all that he is a Putin operative, a real-life Manchurian President.

ISIS evidently wanted the US not to leave either, so it conducted an attack on Wednesday, January 16th, tragically killing 19 people, with four Americans among the dead. The New York Times was lightning-fast to jump into the fray to carry out what was probably ISIS’ real mission with this attack: to sow seeds of doubt among the US authorities, and to keep American forces in the region (emphasis added).

Four Americans were among 19 people killed in Syria on Wednesday in a suicide bombing that was claimed by the Islamic State, just weeks after President Trump ordered the withdrawal of United States forces and declared that the extremist group had been defeated.

The attack targeted an American military convoy in the northern city of Manbij while troops were inside the Palace of the Princes, a restaurant where they often stopped to eat during patrols, residents said. While the Americans were inside, a nearby suicide attacker wearing an explosive vest blew himself up.

The bombing raised new questions about Mr. Trump’s surprise decision last month to end the American ground war in Syria. Critics of the president’s plans, including members of his own party, said Mr. Trump’s claim of victory over the Islamic State may have emboldened its fighters and encouraged Wednesday’s strike… Mr. Trump’s withdrawal announcement, made over the objections of his top national security officials, “set in motion enthusiasm by the enemy we’re fighting,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a prominent Trump ally who has nonetheless criticized the military drawdown.

“I saw this in Iraq. And I’m now seeing it in Syria,” Mr. Graham said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday.

The rest of the article, of course, had the Trump Administration defending itself, with Vice President Mike Pence as the spokesman of that defense.

However, already only two days later, the noise about this seems to have faded. There is no ongoing media fury about the President’s decision to remove troops. In fact, aside from the ongoing investigation to confirm that ISIS indeed did carry out this attack, there is no indication of a change in the troop withdrawal process.

If this situation remains as it is, it is a very good sign for these reasons:

  1. President Trump is showing his resolve and confidence in a decision he knows to be right (to withdraw) and not to accede to the War Party wishes.
  2. ISIS is losing its reputation as a significant fighting force as far as the US population is concerned, as it probably should. With the US gone, Russia can prosecute this war full force without risk of creating more serious incidents with the Americans.
  3. The possibility exists that this attack, already heinous in what we know, could have been a false flag, designed specifically to provoke the US troop withdrawal to stop and be reversed.

This last scenario has oddly not been visibly mentioned, but it should be, because it probably happened in April 2018 and earlier. The Duran covered this quite extensively, and while the “official” (Western) investigation has come up curiously silent on the alleged chemical weapons attack last April in Ghouta, the overwhelming body of reports from the region suggested that the “gas” attack was nothing at all but drama to keep the US ensnared in the region. Remember, President Trump at that time also expressed the intention of withdrawing US troops from the area, and this event caused a reversal for a time.

ISIS tried to become a nation. It operates on terror and theater, but it considers itself free to kill people along the way as it creates its pageantry. For the souls of all those innocent people who perished in this attack, we must pray and not forget.

But ISIS is substantially done, and what is left will be dealt with by Russian and Syrian forces.

For once, the definition of “American courage” might be not to fight. President Trump’s decision to remove the troops remains one of the most significant achievements of his presidency, and one of the most important in terms of restoring balance to the United States that it deserves to have.

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