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Hillary Clinton and CIA are staging a coup against Donald Trump

The CIA’s latest report implicating Russia in the DNC and Podesta leaks is not founded on any evidence. Coming a few weeks before Donald Trump’s inauguration it is more dangerous meddling by the US intelligence community in the US political process.

Alexander Mercouris

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In light of the CIA’s allegations today, which are being assiduously spread by Obama administration officials speaking anonymously to the news media, that Russia materially assisted Donald Trump to win the US Presidential election, I will repeat here something I wrote on 31st October 2016.

Note that this was written a week before the US Presidential election, and that the title of the article in which it was written was “Hillary Clinton just planted a bomb under American Democracy”

“By far the most irresponsible and dangerous Hillary Clinton has done is however to accuse a foreign power – Russia – of meddling in the election in order to prevent her winning, and to impose Donald Trump on the American people.

This is dangerous and irresponsible at so many levels that it is difficult to know where to start.

Firstly, it is not true.  There is no evidence Donald Trump is a Russian agent or has any connection to Russia, or that Russia backs him.   All the ‘evidence’ cited to prove he is and that it does – down to the misquotation of a single comment of Putin’s and the claims about Trump’s supposed Russian business connections – has proved to be so unconvincing that even Hillary Clinton has stopped talking about it.

Secondly, it is polluting the US political system by using agencies of the US government to spread this false story.

I have previously put on record my own strong doubts that Russia is behind the DNC and Podesta leaks.  Now Craig Murray – a former British ambassador who (unlike me) is a personal friend of Julian Assange – has come forward to say that he knows 100% as fact that Russia is not behind the leaks (see here).

Craig Murray is a man of proven integrity who as a former senior diplomat has handled classified intelligence material and who therefore knows how to separate fact from fiction.  If he says he knows 100% for sure that Russia is not responsible for the DNC and Podesta leaks, then given the sources he has that is good enough for me, as it should be for all reasonable people.

What that must means is that the recent statement by US intelligence that Russia is behind the leaks is untrue.  I have previously discussed the deeply manipulative language used in this statement, which in fact proves that US intelligence does not have the evidence to back up what it says.

I have also pointed out that it is actually unprecedented for US intelligence to interfere in a US election in this way.

Now that we have Craig Murray’s confirmation that the claim of Russian responsibility for the leaks made in the statement is untrue, we can judge even more clearly what a deeply dishonest document this statement is.

The big question is what persuaded US intelligence to make this statement?  Based on everything we know, the suspicion has to be that Hillary Clinton and her campaign, almost certainly with the help of senior officials in the Obama administration, somehow persuaded US intelligence to put out this statement in order to swing the election in her favour.

If so then it should be said clearly that using the nation’s intelligence services to spread a false story in order to defeat a political opponent in a democratic election is a far worse thing than anything Richard Nixon ever did, whether during the 1972 election campaign or at any other point in his career.

Thirdly, these false claims about Russia are corrupting public debate, making a proper discussion of the US’s vital relationship with Russia – a nuclear superpower – all but impossible. 

The result is that the ‘realist’ positions that are now becoming associated with Donald Trump – which have a long and respectable history in US foreign policy (they were the policies of John F. Kennedy in the months immediately before he was assassinated, of Lyndon Johnson, of Nixon and Kissinger, of Ronald Reagan in his second term, and of George H.W. Bush) – are no longer being taken seriously, since they are being associated with a man who has all but been called a traitor.

Fourthly, these false claims complicate relations with Russia almost beyond reason.

How can either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton now negotiate with Putin when the first has been publicly all but accused of being Putin’s agent and the other is being presented as the President that Putin tried to stop?  How – if Hillary Clinton becomes President and tries to make a deal with Putin – does she explain it to her supporters after all the things she has said about him?

Fifthly, and most dangerous of all, making this completely false claim is planting a bomb under the legitimacy of whoever is going to be the next President of the United States.

If that person is Donald Trump, then he will have to contend with the fact that he is the candidate Hillary Clinton, her campaign, most of the political establishment, nearly all the media, and the US intelligence community, have publicly claimed Russia is helping to win.

How  in that case, if Trump does win, would he as President be able to command the respect and loyalty of the foreign policy bureaucracy, of the intelligence community, of the military, of the media, and of Congress, when they have all been told that he is the preferred candidate and quite possibly the agent of a foreign power?  Would they not see it as their duty to obstruct and disobey him at every turn, so as to stop him selling out the country to his foreign puppet-masters?

How does Trump contend with the insinuation, which will be hanging over his Presidency from the first day if he is elected, that it was only because of Russian help (right down to the hacking of voting machines) that he won, and that he is not therefore the true choice of the American people?  Would not Trump have to fear possible impeachment proceedings in the event that he made the smallest mistake, with many Americans feeling that any steps were justified to remove a President who they had been told was the agent of a hostile power?”

The latest story circulated about the CIA report into Russia’s role in the election confirms every point that I made. 

To be clear the CIA is saying nothing new.  It is not claiming that Russia hacked voting machines and manipulated the voting because despite Jill Stein’s and the Hillary Clinton Campaign’s efforts to find evidence of this through the vote recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, evidence of that there is none.

The whole case still rests on entirely on the allegation that Russia was behind the DNC and Podesta leaks.  No more evidence of that has however been provided than was provided before, for the simple reason that no such evidence exists. 

I previously pointed out that the manipulative language in the statement made during the election by the US intelligence community accusing Russia of leaking the DNC and Podesta emails in fact confirmed that no evidence against Russia existed. 

I also asked what the FBI – the agency with competence to determine this question – thought about the “evidence” the US intelligence community was relying on and whether it had been shown it.  It subsequently turned out that the FBI had been shown the “evidence” and that it refused to co-author the statement.

It now turns that the CIA in fact has no evidence against Russia, that the entire case against Russia is inferential, and that some sections of the US intelligence community are now starting to have doubts.  That all this is so is confirmed by the following passage in the Washington Post report of the CIA’s report

“The CIA presentation to senators about Russia’s intentions fell short of a formal U.S. assessment produced by all 17 intelligence agencies. A senior U.S. official said there were minor disagreements among intelligence officials about the agency’s assessment, in part because some questions remain unanswered.

For example, intelligence agencies do not have specific intelligence showing officials in the Kremlin “directing” the identified individuals to pass the Democratic emails to WikiLeaks, a second senior U.S. official said. Those actors, according to the official, were “one step” removed from the Russian government, rather than government employees. Moscow has in the past used middlemen to participate in sensitive intelligence operations so it has plausible deniability.

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has said in a television interview that the “Russian government is not the source.””

(bold italics added)

The “identified individuals” – who are not officials of the Russian government – are of course not identified, though the careful placing of Julian Assange’s name at the end of this passage appears to be intended to suggest that he is one of them.  If so, then even to hint that Julian Assange may be ““one step” removed from the Russian government” is an outrageous and untrue slur. 

Regardless this passage confirms that the “identified individuals” – whoever they are – are not officials of the Russian government and – since they are referred to as “middlemen” – that they have no confirmed connection to it.  Indeed the wording suggests they may not even be Russians.

Putting all this aside, Donald Trump obviously did not win the election because of help from Russia, and the CIA’s report actually falls short of saying he did. 

As I have discussed previously, Donald Trump won because Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate and because a great many Americans believe he will make their lives better.

The CIA statement however shows what Donald Trump is up against.

Already the Hillary Clinton Campaign has been actively lobbying electors on the Electoral College to switch support to Hillary Clinton from Donald Trump.  Though this campaign is apparently meeting with little success, the CIA and the media are now assisting it, just as before the election the US intelligence community was trying to help Hillary Clinton win.

In both cases the method used is the same: the spreading of false stories and paranoia about Russia.   The implication is that Donald Trump is in some way the agent of Russia, making any step to prevent him becoming President a patriotic duty.

I need hardly say that this is playing with fire.  Never before in US history has there been an orchestrated campaign against an individual elected President in order to prevent him from being inaugurated.  Never before has the US intelligence community involved itself in such a campaign. 

Though I expect this attempt to fail, no-one should be in any doubt as to the huge anger of the tens of millions who voted for Donald Trump were it to succeed.

Though I expect this attempt to fail and Donald Trump to be inaugurated President on 20th January 2017, there is no doubt the campaign to destabilise him by painting him a Russian agent will continue after he is inaugurated. 

Probably the only way he can stop it is if he publicly renounces his policy of rapprochement towards Russia, as some are already demanding.

Regardless of what eventually happens, it is both sinister and unprecedented for US intelligence to interfere in the US political process in this way. 

As I said at the end of my 31st October 2016 article, the American Republican is living through dark times.  Perhaps given that the political situation in Washington is starting to bear the hallmarks of what in other countries would be called a pre-coup environment, it is not so surprising if Donald Trump is choosing to surround himself with generals.

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It’s Official: ‘Britain’s Democracy Now At Risk’

It’s not just campaigners saying it any more: democracy is officially at risk, according to parliament’s own digital, culture, media and sport committee.

The Duran

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Via True Publica, authored by Jessica Garland – Electoral Reform Society:


Britain’s main campaign rules were drawn up in the late 1990s, before social media and online campaigning really existed. This has left the door wide open to disinformation, dodgy donations and foreign interference in elections.

There is a real need to close the loopholes when it comes to the online Wild West.

Yet in this year’s elections, it was legitimate voters who were asked to identify themselves, not those funnelling millions into political campaigns through trusts, or those spreading fake news.

The government trialled mandatory voter ID in five council areas in May. In these five pilot areas alone about 350 people were turned away from polling stations for not having their papers with them — and they didn’t return. In other words, they were denied their vote.

Yet last year, out of more than 45 million votes cast across the country, there were just 28 allegations of personation (pretending to be someone else at the polling station), the type of fraud voter ID is meant to tackle.

Despite the loss of 350 votes, the pilots were branded a success by the government. Yet the 28 allegations of fraud (and just one conviction) are considered such a dire threat that the government is willing to risk disenfranchising many more legitimate voters to try to address it. The numbers simply don’t add up.

Indeed, the fact-checking website FullFact noted that in the Gosport pilot, 0.4 per cent of voters did not vote because of ID issues. That’s a greater percentage than the winning margin in at least 14 constituencies in the last election. Putting up barriers to democratic engagement can have a big impact. In fact, it can swing an election.

In the run-up to the pilots, the Electoral Reform Society and other campaigners warned that the policy risked disenfranchising the most marginalised groups in society.

The Windrush scandal highlights exactly the sort of problems that introducing stricter forms of identity could cause: millions of people lack the required documentation. It’s one of the reasons why organisations such as the Runnymede Trust are concerned about these plans.

The Electoral Commission has now published a report on the ID trials, which concludes that “there is not yet enough evidence to fully address concerns” on this front.

The small number of pilots, and a lack of diversity, meant that sample sizes were too small to conclude anything about how the scheme would affect various demographic groups. Nor can the pilots tell us about the likely impact of voter ID in a general election, where the strain on polling staff would be far greater and a much broader cross-section of electors turns out to vote.

The Electoral Reform Society, alongside 22 organisations, campaigners and academics, has now called on the constitution minister to halt moves to impose this policy. The signatories span a huge cross-section of society, including representatives of groups that could be disproportionately impacted by voter ID, from Age UK to Liberty and from the British Youth Council to the Salvation Army and the LGBT Foundation.

Voters know what our democratic priorities should be: ensuring that elections are free from the influence of big donors. Having a secure electoral register. Providing balanced media coverage. Transparency online.

We may be little wiser as a result of the government’s voter ID trials. Yet we do know where the real dangers lie in our politics.

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Corrupt Robert Mueller’s despicable Paul Manafort trial nears end (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 79.

Alex Christoforou

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Paul Manafort’s legal team rested its case on Tuesday without calling a single witness. This sets the stage for closing arguments before the judge hands the case to jurors for a verdict.

Manafort’s defense opted to call no witnesses, choosing instead to rely on the team’s cross-examination of government witnesses including a very devious Rick Gates, Manafort’s longtime deputy, and several accountants, bookkeepers and bankers who had financial dealings with Manafort.

Closing arguments are expected on Wednesday. Jurors may begin deliberating shortly after receiving their final instructions from judge Ellis.

Manafort case has nothing to do with Mueller’s ‘Trump-Russia collusion witch-hunt’ as the former DC lobbyist is accused of defrauding banks to secure loans and hiding overseas bank accounts and income from U.S. tax authorities.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III denied a defense motion to acquit Manafort on the charges because prosecutors hadn’t proved their case.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the circus trial of Trump’s former Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, and how crooked cop Robert Mueller is using all his power to lean on Manafort, so as to conjure up something illegal against US President Donald Trump.

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Via Zerohedge

Prosecutors allege he dodged taxes on millions of dollars made from his work for a Ukrainian political party, then lied to obtain bank loans when cash stopped flowing from the project.

The courtroom was sealed for around two hours Tuesday morning for an unknown reason, reopening around 11:30 a.m. with Manafort arriving around 10 minutes later.

The decision to rest their case without calling any witnesses follows a denial by Judge T.S. Ellis III to acquit Manafort after his lawyers tried to argue that the special counsel had failed to prove its case at the federal trial.

The court session began at approximately 11:45 a.m.:

“Good afternoon,” began defense attorney Richard Westling, who corrected himself and said, “Good morning.”

“I’m as surprised as you are,” Judge Ellis responded.

Ellis then heard brief argument from both sides on the defense’s motion for acquittal, focusing primarily on four counts related to Federal Savings Bank.

Federal Savings Bank was aware of the status of Paul Manafort’s finances,” Westling argued. “They came to the loans with an intent of doing business with Mr. Manafort.”

Prosecutor Uzo Asonye fired back, saying that that even if bank chairman Steve Calk overlooked Manafort’s financial woes, it would still be a crime to submit fraudulent documents to obtain the loans.

“Steve Calk is not the bank,” Asonye argued, adding that while Caulk may have “had a different motive” — a job with the Trump administration — “I’m not really sure there’s evidence he knew the documents were false.”

Ellis sided with prosecutors.

The defense makes a significant argument about materiality, but in the end, I think materiality is an issue for the jury,” he said, adding. “That is true for all the other counts… those are all jury issues.”

Once that exchange was over, Manafort’s team was afforded the opportunity to present their case, to which lead attorney Kevin Downing replied “The defense rests.

Ellis then began to question Manafort to ensure he was aware of the ramifications of that decision, to which the former Trump aide confirmed that he did not wish to take the witness stand.

Manafort, in a dark suit and white shirt, stood at the lectern from which his attorneys have questioned witnesses, staring up at the judge. Ellis told Manafort he had a right to testify, though if he chose not to, the judge would tell jurors to draw no inference from that. – WaPo

Ellis asked Manafort four questions – his amplified voice booming through the courtroom:

Had Manafort discussed the decision with his attorney?

“I have, your honor,” Manafort responded, his voice clear.

Was he satisfied with their advice?

“I am, your honor,” Manafort replied.

Had he decided whether he would testify?

“I have decided,” Manafort said.

“Do you wish to testify?” Ellis finally asked.

“No, sir,” Manafort responded.

And with that, Manafort returned to his seat.

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One more step toward COMPLETE de-dollarization

Over the past several months, sitting here in Moscow, it has become increasingly obvious that while the US Dollar is unquestionably the world’s leading and liquid reserve currency, it comes with an ever increasing high price (of sovereignty and FX) if you are not the USA.

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I have opined and written about the trend towards de-dollarization before, but with the latest US –Turkish spat it has hit the wallets, mattresses and markets of a number of countries, be they aligned with Washington or not. One thing they all have in common was that in this recent era of low cost available money, many happily fed at the US dollar trough.

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This serves as a further albeit loud example to many nations for the need to diversify to an extent away from the greenback, or risk being caught up in its volatile, sudden and unpredictably risky increasingly politicized directions.

The Dollar and the geopolitical winds from Washington are today as never before openly being used as policy, which can be called the “carrot and stick”, a distinctly Pavlovian approach. Sadly, few if any can make out where or what the carrot is in this recent US worldview branding.

Tariffs, sanctions, pressured exchange rates, the Federal Reserve loosening or tightening, trade agreements and laws ignored or simply trashed… there is a lot going on which seems to democratically affect America’s allies as well as those on Washington’s politically popular and dramatic “poo-poo” list.

Just now from a press conference in Turkey, I watched Russia’s foreign minister Lavrov say that through the actions shown by the US, the role of the US dollar as a secure global reserve currency for free trade will diminish as more countries switch to national currencies for international trade.

He clearly spoke for many nations when he said; “It will make more and more countries that are not even affected by US sanctions go away from the dollar and rely on more reliable, contractual partners in terms of currency use.” Putting the situation in a nutshell he went on to say “I have already said this about sanctions: they are illegal, they undermine all principles of global trade and principles approved by UN decisions, under which unilateral measures of economic duress are unlawful.”

Turkey, a long-standing NATO ally and a key line of western defense during the long cold war years fully agreed with his Russian counterpart. The Turkish foreign minister Mr. Cavosoglu openly warned that US sanctions or trade embargoes can and are being unilaterally imposed against any country at any time if they do not toe DC’s political line.

He said at the same press conference; “Today, sanctions are imposed on Turkey, and tomorrow they can be used against any other European state. If the United States wants to maintain respect in the international arena, then it is necessary for it to be respectful of the interests of other countries.”

What is happening in Turkey is symptomatic of the developed and emerging markets globally. When trillions of dollars of newly issued lucre was up for grabs, thanks to several developed country central banks, it was comparatively easy for governments and companies just like Turkey’s to borrow funds denominated in dollars and not their national currencies.

Turkey has relied on foreign-currency debt more than most EM’s. Corporate, financial and other debt denominated mostly in dollars, approximates close to 70% of it’s economy. Therefore as the Turkish lira plunges, it is very costly for those companies to repay their dollar-denominated loans, and even now it is patently clear many will not.

The concern rattling around the underbelly of the global markets is what can be reasonably expected for assets and economies that were inflated by cheap debt, the United States included. All this points not so much to a banking crisis as has happened eight years ago, but a systemic financial market crisis.

This is a new one, and I doubt if any QE, QT, NIRPs, or ZIRPs will make much of a difference, despite the rocket-high equity markets the US has been displaying.

One financial trader I spoke to, whom I have known since the early 1980’s (and I thought him ancient then) muttered to me “we’re gettin’ into the ecstasy stage, nothing but the high matters, everything else including the VIX is seen as boring denial, and not the warning tool it is. Better start loading up on gold.”

Meanwhile, de-dollarization is ongoing in Russia and is carefully studied by a host of countries, especially as the Russian government has not yet finished selling off US debt; it still has just a few billion to go. The Russian Finance Minister A. Siluanov said this past Sunday that Russia would continue decreasing holdings of Treasuries in response to sanctions.

The finance minister went on to say that, Russia is also considering distancing itself from using the US dollar for international trade, calling it an unreliable, conditional and hence risky tool for payments.

Between March and May this year, Russia’s US debt holdings were sold down by $81 billion, which is 84% of its total US debt holdings, and while I don’t know the current figure it is certain to be even less.

The latest round of tightening sanctions screws against Russia were imposed by the State Department under a chemical and biological warfare law and should be going into effect on August 22. This in spite of the fact that no proof was ever shown, not under any established national or international law, or with any of several global biochemical conventions, not even in the ever entertaining court of public opinion.

Whatever Russia may continue to do in its relationship with US debt or the dollar, the fact of the matter is that Russia is not a heavyweight in this particular financial arena, and the direct effects of Russia’s responses are negligible. However, the indirect effects are huge as they reflect what many countries (allied or unallied with the US) see as Washington’s overbearing and more than slightly unipolar trade and geopolitical advantage quests, be they Mexico, Canada, the EU, or anyone else on any hemisphere of this globe.

Some of the potential indirect effects over time may be a similar sell-off or even gradual reduction of US debt exposure from China or any one of several dozens of countries deciding to reduce their exposure to US debt by reducing their purchases and waiting for existing Treasuries to mature. In either case, the trend is there and is not going away anytime soon.

When Russia clears its books of US dollarized debt, then who will be next in actively diversifying their US debt risk? Then what might be the fate of the US Dollar, and what value then will be the international infusions to finance America’s continually growing debt, or fuel the funds needed for further market growth? Value and the energy of money has no politics, it ultimately trends towards areas where there is a secure business dynamic. That being said, looks like we are now and will be living through the most interesting of disruptive times.

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