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Here’s how ABC’s slip exposes how Deep State sabotaged President elect Trump’s policy of rapprochement with Russia

Flynn’s attempt to carry out Trump’s instructions after the election to achieve rapprochement with Russia were what caused his downfall

Alexander Mercouris

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Around the time of the announcement of Michael Flynn’s indictment and guilty plea for lying to the FBI, the US television network ABC carried a sensational story that it had been told by an insider that Flynn had disclosed to Special Counsel Mueller’s inquiry that he had received instructions from Presidential candidate Donald Trump to establish contact with Russia.

The story caused a furore and a brief crash on the US Stock Market.  However within hours ABC had ‘clarified‘ it.

ABC now says that the insider is no longer saying that Michael Flynn told Special Counsel Mueller’s inquiry that he had received instructions from Presidential candidate Donald Trump to establish contact with Russia during the election.

What Flynn has actually told Special Counsel Mueller’s inquiry is that he received instructions from Presidential elect Donald Trump to establish contact with Russia after the election during the transition period.

In other words – assuming that the story is true, which it almost certainly is – Trump’s instructions to Flynn were given after the election and not before or during it.

This is absolutely crucial since the whole Russiagate case rests on the claim that there was illegal collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the election.  By definition instructions to open contacts with Russia after the election can have no bearing on it.

The fact that ABC ran with this story for several hours is very revealing, and shows the way the true believers in the Russiagate conspiracy theory – unable to find any evidence of illegal collusion during the election – are now conflating the election period with the entirely different transition period.

ABC is far from being alone in this.  Here for example is how the Guardian – one of the most fervid supporters of the Russiagate conspiracy theory, whose former Russia correspondent Luke Harding has just published a lurid book about it – reports the story

Those conversations [between Kislyak and Flynn – AM] not only give the lie to repeated statements by the president that his team had no contact with the Russians, but they also raise the possibility of serious criminal exposure among members of Trump’s inner circle for breaking laws banning communications with foreign entities that undercut US policy…..

But if Trump and his family’s past denials of campaign contacts with Russians fell short of the truth – or if similar denials by Sessions fell short of the truth – Flynn could be in a position to highlight that. He might also be able to describe when the Trump campaign first became aware that Russians had what they called “dirt” on Hillary Clinton – and what the campaign did or did not do with that knowledge.

(bold italics added)

To my knowledge what Donald Trump has denied is that there was collusion between his campaign and Russia during the election.  He has not denied that his transition team had contacts with Russia after the election, and realistically it would make no sense for him to do so given that news of Flynn’s telephone conversations with Kislyak became public knowledge in January.

The Guardian is however conflating the election period and the transition period in order to say that Trump has lied about contacts with the Russians when he has not.  Moreover the rest of the article shows that the Guardian is fully aware of the difference between the Trump campaign and the Trump transition team, which casts a further strange light on its assertion that Trump lied when he quite plainly did not.

As it happens contact between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the election would not have been inappropriate or wrong, and it did take place though on a very small scale.

What would have been wrong would have been the Trump campaign engaging in a conspiracy with the Russians to swing the election to Donald Trump by engaging in wrong or illegal activity to discredit Hillary Clinton eg. by getting the Russians to steal and publish the DNC’s and John Podesta’s emails.

That is the allegation which has been made in the Russiagate case, of which no evidence in support has so far been found.

The ABC story is interesting because it actually confirms that Flynn is not providing Mueller’s team with that evidence.  Instead what Flynn is saying is that he received instructions from Trump to open communications with the Russians only after the election had taken place.

In other words Flynn’s information to Mueller’s team not only does not support the Russiagate collusion allegations; it actually refutes them.

This of course is consistent with Flynn’s statement released yesterday (discussed by me here) in which Flynn specifically denies the accusations of “treason” and “outrageous behaviour” which have been made against him.

Needless to say – since Flynn’s information to Mueller’s inquiry has failed to substantiate the collusion allegations – there are already attempts to claim instead that Trump’s instructions to Flynn and Flynn’s and Kushner’s dealings with the Russians were somehow inappropriate and illegal because they allegedly violate the Logan Act.

This is desperate.

There is as I understand it some uncertainty about whether the Logan Act – which has resulted in no convictions and only two prosecutions in the two hundred years of its existence – is even any longer applicable law.

However putting that aside, the overwhelming problem with prosecutions under the Logan Act is that the moment the American people elected Donald Trump their President he became the President elect, entitled to full secret service protection, and therefore ceased to be a private citizen.

His team at that point also ceased to be a group of private persons forming the team of a Presidential candidate but became instead the Trump administration  – ie. the government of the United States – in waiting.

To suppose that members of the President elect’s transition team are therefore somehow prohibited from having contacts or engaging in discussions with the envoys of foreign powers during the transition period is therefore ridiculous, and is wholly contrary to the historical practice of previous transition teams during previous transition periods ever since the US became a world power at the end of the Second World War.

What of the argument that Trump, Kushner and Flynn were somehow undermining existing US policy through their contacts with Kislyak?

This argument seems to me frankly also ridiculous, and even rather sinister.

Donald Trump from almost the first moment that he declared himself a candidate made known that if elected he would seek a rapprochement with Russia.  When the American people elected him constitutionally their President they did so on the basis of that policy.

I would add that there is no doubt that most American voters by the time of the election were fully aware that it was Donald Trump’s policy to seek a rapprochement with Russia because Hillary Clinton, the Democrats, the US media, and the US intelligence community never missed an opportunity to remind them of it.

To say therefore that the President elect was acting illegally or wrongly because following his election he gave his most senior foreign policy advisers instructions to put into effect the policy he was elected to carry out is not merely absurd; it is frankly undemocratic.

Here it is worth setting out ABC’s ‘clarification’ of its story in full

A clarification tonight on something one of Flynn’s confidants told us and we reported earlier today. He said the President had asked Flynn to contact Russia during the campaign. He’s now clarifying that, saying according to Flynn, candidate Trump asked him during the campaign to find ways to repair relations with Russia and other hot spots, and then after the election, the President-elect asked him, told him to contact Russia on issues, including working together to fight ISIS

(bold italics added)

The proposal that the US and Russia fight ISIS together is one which has been made repeatedly and which Donald Trump is known to have been attracted to.

The Obama administration itself made a very similar proposal to the Russians in July last year, floating the possibility of the US and Russia fighting Al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria together, though it came to nothing because the Obama administration demanded that the Russians agree to regime change in Syria in return (see my discussions of this proposal here and here).

Why was it therefore wrong for President elect Trump to instruct Michael Flynn, his soon-to-be National Security Adviser, to explore with the Russians the possibility of re-floating this proposal?

As it happens the ABC story reveals something else.

One of the puzzles about Russiagate is that the US intelligence agencies’ surveillance of members of the Trump campaign, which to be clear began during the election, appears to have actually escalated after it.

The reason for this is now clear: instead of helping the President elect to prepare himself and his team to carry out his policies – which is what the transition period between administrations is supposed to be about – the outgoing Obama administration and the US’s national security bureaucracy actively sabotaged them, stepping up surveillance of the members of the new incoming administration and orchestrating a media campaign against them in order to sabotage the President elect’s policies.

That almost certainly explains the secrecy with which Trump, Flynn and Kushner went about their actions.

Whereas what the situation actually called for was a trip by Flynn to Moscow to hold talks with the Russian leaders, he and Kushner instead felt obliged to communicate with the Russians in a hole-in-the-corner way, with Kushner even feeling obliged to ask that communications between Flynn and the Russian military about Syria should take place through a Russian channel.

It was doubtless this oppressive feeling of being watched, and the culture of secrecy which came with it, which caused Flynn to lie about what he had been doing to the FBI.

The depressing reality revealed by the Flynn affair is of a well-meaning but bungled attempt to re-establish a civil relationship with Russia, which was actively sabotaged by the outgoing Obama administration and by elements of the US national security bureaucracy in alliance with the media and the Democratic Party.

In the process the policy upon which the US President was constitutionally elected by the American people has been set aside.

It turns out that not only does the US most definitely have a Deep State, but that it is willing to use its power to sabotage the policy of the President who the people have elected.

Truly democracy in America is in peril and the great American Republic is going through dark times.

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‘Hell on Earth’: MSF doctor tells RT of rape, violence, inhumane conditions in Lesbos refugee camp

One toilet for over 70 people, rape, and mental health issues – a doctor from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and an aid worker told RT about the dire conditions in the overcrowded Moria refugee camp in Greece.

Alex Christoforou

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Via RT


One toilet for over 70 people, rape, and mental health issues – a doctor from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and an aid worker told RT about the dire conditions in the overcrowded Moria refugee camp in Greece.

The overcrowded camp on the island of Lesbos, built to accommodate 3,100, houses around 9,000 people. “It’s a kind of hell on Earth in Europe,” Dr. Alessandro Barberio, an MSF clinical psychiatrist, said, adding that people in the camp suffer from lack of water and medical care. “It is impossible to stay there,” he said.

According to Barberio, asylum seekers are subjected to violence “during night and day.””There is also sexual violence”which leads to “mental health issues,” he said, adding that all categories of people at the camp may be subjected to it. “There is rape against men, women and children,” and the victims of sexual violence in the camp often have nightmares and hallucinations, Barberio told RT.

Asylum seekers in Moria “are in constant fear of violence,” and these fears are not groundless, the psychiatrist said. “Such cases [of violence] take place every week.”

There is “one toilet for 72 people, one shower for 84 people. The sanitation is bad. People are suffering from bad conditions,” Michael Raeber, an aid worker at the camp, told RT. They suffer from mental health problems because they are kept for a long time in the camp, according to Raeber.

“There is no perspective, they don’t know how their case will go on, when they will ever be able to leave the island.” The camp is a “place where there is no rule of law,” with rampant violence and drug addiction among the inhabitants, Raeber said.

In its latest report, MSF, which has been working near Moria since late 2017, criticized the unprecedented health crisis in the camp – one of the biggest in Greece. About a third of the camp population consists of children, and many of them have harmed themselves, and have thought about or attempted suicide, according to the group.

Barberio was behind an MSF open letter on the state of emergency in Moria, released on Monday, in which he writes that he has never “witnessed such overwhelming numbers of people suffering from serious mental health conditions.”

Calling the camp an “island prison,” he insisted that many of his patients in the camp are unable to perform basic everyday functions, “such as sleeping, eating well, maintaining personal hygiene, and communicating.”

A number of human rights groups have strongly criticized the conditions at the camp and Greece’s “containment policy”regarding asylum seekers.

Christina Kalogirou, the regional governor of the North Aegean, which includes Lesbos, has repeatedly threatened to shut down the facility unless the government improves the conditions. On Tuesday, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said that Greece will move 2,000 asylum seekers out of the severely overcrowded camp and send them to the mainland by the end of September.

Greece, like other EU states, is experiencing the worst refugee crisis since WWII. According to International Organization for Migration estimates, 22,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Greece since the start of this year alone.

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Erdogan accepts Syria DMZ off-ramp, in deal with Putin (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 111.

Alex Christoforou

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The deal struck in Sochi averts a large scale Syria’s offensive on Idlib, as Turkey gives it guarantee to monitor what will effectively become a demilitarized zone.

According to the agreement, troops from Russia and Turkey will enforce a new demilitarized zone (DMZ) in Idlib, from which ISIS/Al Qaeda rebels will be required to withdraw by the middle of next month.

Speaking alongside Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the 15 to 20 km-wide zone would be established by October 15th. The DMZ would require a complete “withdrawal of all radical fighters” from Idlib, including the rebranded Al-Qaeda affiliated Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).

Putin also noted that heavy weapons would be withdrawn from the DMZ by all opposition forces by October 10th, which is a move supported by the Syrian government.

The Russian President described the agreement as a “serious result” further saying that “Russia and Turkey have confirmed their determination to counter terrorism in Syria in all its forms”.

Erdogan said both his country and Russia would carry out coordinated patrols in the demilitarized zone:

“We decided on the establishment of a region that is cleaned of weapons between the areas which are under the control of the opposition and the regime.”

“In return, we will ensure that radical groups, which we will designate together with Russia, won’t be active in the relevant area.”

According to Al Jazeera Iran’s foreign minister has hailed an agreement between Turkey and Russia to avert an assault on the Syrian rebel-held Idlib province, as an example of “responsible diplomacy”.

An agreement to halt plans for an offensive on the last major rebel-held stronghold was announced in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Monday after a meeting between the Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

On his Twitter account, Zarif wrote: “Intensive responsible diplomacy over the last few weeks-pursued in my visits to Ankara & Damascus, followed by the Iran-Russia-Turkey Summit in Tehran and the meeting (in) Sochi-is succeeding to avert war in #Idlib with a firm commitment to fight extremist terror. Diplomacy works.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the agreement reached in Sochi, which for now avoids full scale conflict in Idlib, Syria. Who won, who lost, and which interests were met with the DMZ agreement?

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Via Xinhuanet

An anticipated Syrian military offensive on the northwestern province of Idlib is on hold after Turkey and Russia reached a deal following Ankara’s guarantee on behalf of the rebel groups, experts said.

The deal was reached Monday by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia, as the two sides agreed to create a demilitarized buffer zone in Idlib, the last rebel stronghold.

This agreement brings Turkey to a position of giving a guarantee on behalf of the rebel groups, the experts said.

“Moscow is convinced that it would not be able to handle the burden of a humanitarian tragedy in case of a military offensive in Idlib,” said Metin Gurcan, a Turkish security analyst with the Istanbul Policy Center of Sabanci University.

Russia has also secured its airbases in northern Syria, including its airbase in Hmeymim as a guarantee by Turkey under the Sochi agreement, he said.

Gurcan recalled a trilateral summit of Turkey, Iran and Russia held in Iranian capital Tehran early September, which ended without agreement as Erdogan’s call for a ceasefire in Idlib was rejected by Moscow and Tehran.

Erdogan’s proposal for a ceasefire by all parties in Idlib was rejected by Putin on the grounds that those groups were not represented at the table there, he said.

“Now Turkey has given a guarantee on behalf of radical groups which Putin earlier said that ceasefire cannot be discussed because they were not represented at Tehran meeting,” Gurcan said.

Now everyone is curious how Turkey has given guarantee to Moscow and how will those radical groups accept a proposal for demilitarization by surrendering heavy weapons and withdrawing from the demilitarized zone, Gurcan noted.

“Ankara has given this promise relying on its military power on the ground and on its capacity to convince armed opposition groups,” he said.

Turkish army has reinforced its presence in Idlib in the past few months, and Turkey has 12 military outposts with 1,200-1,300 troops on the border line of the province separating the rebel stronghold from the pro-Iran militia-controlled South of Aleppo and the government-controlled southeast, Gurcan said.

Rebel groups, including the Free Syrian Army, in the region are gathered with Turkish backing under the banner of the “National Front for Liberation.”

Putin and Erdogan agreed on Monday in Sochi to create a 15-20 km buffer zone along the line of contact between rebels and regime troops by Oct. 15.

The agreement entails the “withdrawal of all radical fighters” from Idlib as well as “heavy weaponry from this zone,” Putin said at the joint press conference after signing the deal with Erdogan.

By the end of the year, transportation routes between the key port of Latakia and Aleppo as well as the city of Hama must be restored, Putin added.

The Russian leader also said all heavy weapons had to be withdrawn from the zone by Oct. 10, according to Erdogan’s proposal.

Ankara has been warning against any military offensive by Russia-backed Syrian regime forces in Idlib, warning that it would lead to a humanitarian crisis and refugee influx to the Turkish border.

Turkey and Russia, along with Iran, are guarantors of the Astana deal which declared ceasefire in four de-escalation zones in Syria, including Idlib.

Turkey will deploy more troops in Idlib province after the Sochi deal, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday.

“We will need extra troop reinforcements. Turkey and Russia will patrol on the border areas. Civilians and moderate (opposition) will stay here,” Cavusoglu said.

Another outcome of the Sochi deal is that Turkey and Russia prevented a possible attack by the United States in Idlib, Naim Baburoglu from Aydin University said.

He recalled that the U.S. was giving signals that it wanted to intervene in the situation in Idlib, if Syrian government troops launch an assault on the rebel stronghold.

Washington recently threatened to take swift and decisive actions against any use of chemical weapons in Idlib.

“This agreement showed that the U.S. has room for maneuver only in the east of Euphrates and Manbij region,” Baburoglu said.

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Pat Buchanan: “The Late Hit” On Judge Kavanaugh

Wha exactly is professor Ford’s case against Judge Kavanaugh?

Patrick J. Buchanan

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Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org:


Upon the memory and truthfulness of Christine Blasey Ford hangs the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, his reputation and possibly his career on the nation’s second-highest court.

And much more. If Kavanaugh is voted down or forced to withdraw, the Republican Party and conservative movement could lose their last best hope for recapturing the high court for constitutionalism.

No new nominee could be vetted and approved in six weeks. And the November election could bring in a Democratic Senate, an insuperable obstacle to the elevation of a new strict constructionist like Kavanaugh.

The stakes are thus historic and huge.

And what is professor Ford’s case against Judge Kavanaugh?

When she was 15 in the summer of ’82, she went to a beer party with four boys in Montgomery County, Maryland, in a home where the parents were away.

She says she was dragged into a bedroom by Brett Kavanaugh, a 17-year-old at Georgetown Prep, who jumped her, groped her, tried to tear off her clothes and cupped her mouth with his hand to stop her screams.

Only when Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge, laughing “maniacally,” piled on and they all tumbled off the bed, did she escape and lock herself in a bathroom as the “stumbling drunks” went downstairs. She fled the house and told no one of the alleged rape attempt.

Not until 30 years later in 2012 did Ford, now a clinical psychologist in California, relate, in a couples therapy session with her husband, what happened. She says she named Kavanaugh as her assailant, but the therapist’s notes of the session make no mention of Kavanaugh.

During the assault, says Ford, she was traumatized. “I thought he might inadvertently kill me.”

Here the story grows vague. She does not remember who drove her to the party. She does not say how much she drank. She does not remember whose house it was. She does not recall who, if anyone, drove her home. She does not recall what day it was.

She did not tell her parents, Ford says, as she did not want them to know she had been drinking. She did not tell any friend or family member of this traumatic event that has so adversely affected her life.

Said Kavanaugh in response, “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”

Mark Judge says it never happened.

Given the seriousness of the charges, Ford must be heard out. But she also needs to be cross-examined and have her story and character probed as Kavanaugh’s has been by FBI investigators as an attorney for the Ken Starr impeachment investigation of Bill Clinton, a White House aide to George Bush, a U.S. appellate judge and a Supreme Court nominee.

During the many investigations of Kavanaugh’s background, nothing was unearthed to suggest something like this was in character.

Some 65 women who grew up in the Chevy Chase and Bethesda area and knew Kavanaugh in his high school days have come out and spoken highly of his treatment of girls and women.

Moreover, the way in which all of this arose, at five minutes to midnight in the long confirmation process, suggests that this is political hardball, if not dirt ball.

When Ford, a Democrat, sent a letter detailing her accusations against Kavanaugh to her California congresswoman, Anna Eshoo, Ford insisted that her name not be revealed as the accuser.

She seemingly sought to damage or destroy the judge’s career behind a cloak of anonymity. Eshoo sent the letter on to Sen. Diane Feinstein, who held it for two months.

Excising Ford’s name, Feinstein then sent it to the FBI, who sent it to the White House, who sent it on to the Senate to be included in the background material on the judge.

Thus, Ford’s explosive charge, along with her name, did not surface until this weekend.

What is being done here stinks. It is a transparently late hit, a kill shot to assassinate a nominee who, before the weekend, was all but certain to be confirmed and whose elevation to the Supreme Court is a result of victories in free elections by President Trump and the Republican Party.

Palpable here is the desperation of the left to derail Kavanaugh, lest his elevation to the high court imperil their agenda and the social revolution that the Warren Court and its progeny have been able to impose upon the nation.

If Kavanaugh is elevated, the judicial dictatorship of decades past, going back to the salad days of Earl Warren, William Brennan, Hugo Black and “Wild Bill” Douglas, will have reached its end. A new era will have begun.

That is what is at stake.

The Republican Senate should continue with its calendar to confirm Kavanaugh before Oct. 1, while giving Ford some way to be heard, and then Kavanaugh the right to refute. Then let the senators decide.

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