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Hillary Clinton plans for war in Syria, Donald Trump and Russia a dangerous distraction

As Hillary Clinton’s advisers plan for war in Syria, the media and political class talk about Trump’s non-existent Russian links.

Alexander Mercouris

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To an outsider, US elections can seem like surreal affairs. As Hillary Clinton’s supporters openly plan war in Syria the media and political class froths over a mythical connection between Donald Trump and Russia.

Over the last week the big foreign policy story in the US election has been Donald Trump’s supposed connection to Russia, and Russia’s supposed role in the DNC emails leak. This is absurd. There is no evidence Donald Trump has any important connection to Russia or is in any way a Russian agent.  As an international businessman he has obviously had the odd dealings with Russian businessmen but on any objective assessment his financial involvement in Russia has been slight.  He has no big investments there, owns no big properties in Moscow, has built no “Trump Towers” in Moscow or St. Petersburg, and owns no large hotels there. 

Far too much is being made of the fact that some Russian and Ukrainian money may have found its way into Trump’s businesses.  The reality is that investment by business people with backgrounds in Russia and Ukraine in the New York property market in which Trump is a major player has been huge.  By way of example the billionaire tycoon Leonid Blavatnik owns a $77 million apartment in the ultra-elite apartment building at 834 Fifth Avenue.  The penthouse in the same building was formerly owned by Trump’s prime media tormentor Rupert Murdoch (it now belongs to Murdoch’s ex-wife Wendi Deng). 

Blavatnik also owns a string of other properties in New York, including the city’s widest mansion on East 63rd Street (pricetag: $31.25M), a palatial apartment at 998 Fifth Avenue ($27M), and Edgar Bronfman’s East 64th Street townhouse ($51M). Given that Trump is a major player on the New York property market it is inevitable that some of this tidal wave of money that originates with people or businesses with Russian or Ukrainian connections has found its way into his businesses.  There is however no evidence that he has actively solicited it, or that he is dependent on it, or that it has in any way influenced his views about Putin or about Russia.

As for the DNC emails leak, as I have written previously there is no evidence Putin or the Russians were behind it and on the facts it seems very unlikely that they were. Furthermore, who are these ‘experts’ Clinton campaign manager Robby Moo refers to below?

I would say in passing that to an observer of Russian politics the extraordinary concern US politicians and media are showing about Russia’s almost certainly non-existent involvement in the US election contrasts very oddly with the intense and open involvement of the US in Russian domestic and electoral politics during the 1990s, when Hillary Clinton’s husband Bill was US President. 

Not only did the US under President Bill Clinton openly back Boris Yeltsin and his team of “young reformers” during this period, but it supported Yeltsin’s unconstitutional and violent dissolution of Russia’s democratically elected parliament in 1993, and winked at the blatant electoral fraud in the two Russian constitutional referendums of 1993, in the parliamentary elections of 1993, 1995 and 1999, and – most grotesque of all – in the preposterously corrupt and fraudulent Russian Presidential election of 1996.  If the Russians really are meddling in this year’s US Presidential election in order to hurt Hillary Clinton – as is almost certainly not the case – then some Russians could be forgiven for thinking it was simply pay back for what her husband Bill did to Russia in the 1990s.

Putting all that to one side, the big foreign policy story of this election in any rational world ought surely to be not Trump’s non-existent links to Russia but the openly declared intentions of some of Hillary Clinton’s supporters to involve the US in another war in Syria as part of a US project to achieve regime change there under the pretense of attacking the Islamic State. 

The one thing that is blindingly obvious to anyone who follows US politics is that the American people would fiercely oppose this policy if it were ever spelled out to them, especially if they were told that it risks involving the US in an armed clash with Russia, which is a nuclear power. In any truly democratic and open election it would be this profoundly dangerous and unpopular policy – not Trump’s non-existent Russian links – that was the centre of attention, with Hillary Clinton pressed to explain the policy and to say why she thinks it serves US national interests and world peace. 

That this is not what is happening is the true scandal of this election.  If in a few months time, after Hillary Clinton is elected, the US is looking at another foreign policy debacle in the Middle East, then the extent to which the US media and political class has failed the American people will become only too obvious.

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Trump’s speech in Miami plays up anti-socialism, as Bolton focuses on Venezuela regime change (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 180.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Trump’s recent speech in Miami, Florida, where the US President condemned Venezuela’s socialist government and called on military command within the Latin American country to defect over to the Juan Guaido camp.

Venezuela’a elected president Maduro dismissed Trump’s remarks as an “almost Nazi-style” speech.

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Via Washington Times

Venezuela’s embattled president, Nicolas Maduro, is rejecting President Donald Trump’s call for a new day in Venezuela and comparing the tone of the American president’s speech in Miami to that of a Nazi.

Trump said Monday that the U.S. stands behind opposition leader Juan Guaido and condemns Maduro and his government’s socialist policies. Trump pleaded with Venezuela’s military to support Guaido and warned of dire consequences for standing with Maduro.

Maduro responded to Trump in comments broadcast on state television. He accused the U.S. president of speaking in an “almost Nazi-style” and lashed out at Trump for thinking he can deliver orders to Venezuela’s military.

Maduro said, “Who is the commander of the armed forces, Donald Trump from Miami?” and added, “They think they’re the owners of the country.”

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First Venezuela, now Nicaragua? Bolton says Ortega’s days ‘numbered’ & people ‘will soon be free’

The Central American nation has been rocked by unrest since April last year, with protesters demanding the resignation of Sandinista party leader Ortega.

RT

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Via RT…


US President Donald Trump’s top foreign policy advisor John Bolton appears dead set on resuming his decades-long stand-off with Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega, hinting that Washington-backed regime change may be in the offing.

“The Ortega regime has sentenced three farm leaders to 550 years in prison for their roles in protests in 2018, where Ortega’s police forces reportedly killed 300 activists. As President Trump said Monday, Ortega’s days are numbered and the Nicaraguan people will soon be free,” the national security advisor to the US president tweeted on Wednesday.

The leaders of anti-Ortega protests were given jail terms this week, after they were implicated in the deaths of four policemen and a teacher during a shootout last July.

The Central American nation has been rocked by unrest since April last year, with protesters demanding the resignation of Sandinista party leader Ortega, who has been president since 2007, and convincingly won another five-year term in 2016.

The US has repeatedly backed the uprising against the left-wing government, and last November Bolton made a keynote speech calling for the “crumbling” of what he called the “Troika of Tyranny” – Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba – saying the states represented a “a sordid cradle of communism in the Western hemisphere.”

On Monday, Trump name-checked the same three countries, saying their “great potential” would be unlocked with the collapse of socialism. To expedite the process, Congress last year imposed financial measures that would make it difficult for the economically-stricken Nicaragua to obtain international loans, as well as slapping sanctions on top officials in Managua.

Revenge served ice-cold

Bolton’s history with Ortega goes back to the 1980s. Just as now, Ortega was the leader of Nicaragua, first as he spearheaded the revolution in 1979, and when he was elected president in 1985.

The Ronald Reagan administration spent significant financial resources backing the right-wing Contra rebels during the civil war, which lasted nearly the entire decade.

Bolton, at that time a legal specialist, held a number of senior positions in the Reagan White House, and was more than a witness to its shadowy CIA-aided schemes to bypass a Democrat-run Congress ban on helping the opposition militants.

He reportedly played a crucial part in hobbling both the scope of the Iran-Contra investigation and an inquiry into drug- and gun-running militants, who were enabled by Washington.

 

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After he returned to prominence under George W. Bush in yet another chapter of an unsinkable career, Bolton failed to dislodge Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, the Sandinistas, or Cuba’s Fidel Castro (at one point, he accused Havana of developing biological weapons, without solid evidence). But as a man who with permission from Donald Trump now seems to be steering US foreign policy on dozens of key issues, Bolton has more resources than ever before to settle his lifelong ideological grudges.

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Hungary Prime Minister Attacks Juncker and Soros in Billboard Ad

Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orbán attacked EC President Jean Claude Jucker and George Soros in a billboard ad.

The Duran

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Via MishTalk:


The EU has never seen anything quite like this. Orbán has a billboard campaign that claims European Commission president Juncker and and George Soros are “Endangering Hungary’s Safety”.

Opening a new front against Brussels a few months before European [parliament] elections, the poster shows the European commission president alongside the Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros, a familiar target in Hungary.

“You have the right to know what Brussels is planning to do,” the poster says. On its official Facebook page, the Hungarian government says the poster is part of an information campaign to tell the public about Brussels’ migration plans, which it claims “fundamentally endangered Hungary’s safety”.

Although the government has previously run a “Stop Brussels” campaign, the decision to use an image of Junker is an escalation in the Orbán government’s public relations war with the EU’s most senior leaders.

It also exposes the rift in the centre-right European People’s party in the European parliament, which counts Juncker and Orbán, as members.

Orbán was re-elected for a third straight term last April, after a campaign dominated by immigration. A long-term critic of the EU, Orbán has accused NGOs and critical media of being part of a plot orchestrated by Soros to send millions of people to Hungary.

In recent weeks, Orbán has spoken of his hopes that the next European parliament will be dominated by anti-immigration parties.

Birds of a Feather Not

​Juncker once met Orbán with the jokey greeting “hello, dictator” and playfully tapped his face.

Today, Juncker responded Orban Should Leave Europe’s Centre-Right.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has said Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban’s ruling Fidesz party should leave the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) group in the European Parliament (EP).

“Against lies there’s not much you can do,” Juncker was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency, adding that he had called for Fidesz’s expulsion from the EPP.

​”They didn’t vote for me in the European Parliament,” he said in Stuttgart, Germany, in a speech. “The far right didn’t either. I remember Ms. Le Pen, she said: ‘I’m not voting for you.’ I said: ‘I don’t want your vote.’ There are certain votes you just don’t want,” Juncker said, referring to the French far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

Eurointelligence Comments

Looking at Orbán’s previous record, and noting that one cannot of be sure, we continue doubt that Hungary’s Prime Minister has changed his European strategy and is now working to provoke the exclusion of his party from the EPP. Rather, Orbán seems to be doing one his classic hit-and-runs.

There is little doubt that the new smear campaign will make life on the campaign trail much more difficult for Manfred Weber, the CSU MEP and EPP spitzenkandidat. Juncker himself has now declared more forcefully than ever before that the EPP values are not consistent with keeping Fidesz in.

But we note that the CSU leadership in Munich has in the past consistently worked to maintain close and even warm ties with Orban.

Spitzenkandidat

US readers no doubt need an explanation of Spitzenkandidat. The following video explains.

In short, the term refers to an election process instead of an appointment process to determine the head of the European Commission.

63% of Europeans want the commission president determined by vote. Those in power still support the behind closed doors process for obvious reasons.

Orbán’s mission

Orbán’s mission is to weaken the EU from within. Italy has the same mission, for different reasons, as does President Trump.

EU Splintering

Two days ago I reported a Commerce Study Deems “European Cars a Threat to US National Security”. That’s nonsensical, of course. But Trump’s mission is easy to spot. He is doing his best to bust up the EU.

And now Trump has a lot of help on the inside: Marine Le Pen in France, Victor Orbán in Hungary, and Matteo Salvini in Italy.

I response to Trump, I noted, EU Pokes Trump Again, This Time Over Huawei’ s 5G Technology.

In the UK, Seven UK MPs Split from Labour Party Over Brexit. More MPs joined that parade today.

The splintering of the EU continues with escalating infighting at unprecedented levels.

It is illogical for the UK to want to part of this mess. Yet, the UK Remainers want to stay in.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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