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Leaked memo shows how George Soros planned to overthrow Vladimir Putin and destabilise Russia

DC Leaks documents detail how dangerous the Open Society and George Soros were to the preservation of the Russian Federation.

Alex Christoforou

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The recent DC Leaks, of over 2,500 documents from George Soros NGOs, has shed a bright light on how the billionaire uses his vast wealth to create global chaos in an never ending push to deliver his neo-liberal euphoria to the peasant classes.

While Soros has managed to thoroughly destabilise the European Union by promoting mass immigration and open borders, divided the United States by actively funding Black Lives Matters and corrupting the very corruptible US political class, and destroyed Ukraine by pushing for an illegal coup of a democratically elected government using neo-nazi strong men…one country that Soros has not bee able to crack has been The Russian Federation.

Russia’s political pragmatism and humanist value system rooted in a traditional, “nation-state” culture most likely infuriates Soros.

Russia is Soros’ white whale…a creature he has been trying to capture and kill-off for nearly a decade.

Unfortunately for Soros (and fortunately for the entire planet) the Russian government realised the cancerous nature of Soros backed NGOs, and took the proper preventative measures…which in hindsight, and after reviewing the DC Leaks memos, proved to be a very wise move.

On November 30th 2015, Zerohedge reported,

Russian Prosecutor General’s Office issued a statement in which it recognized George Soros’s Open Society Institute and another affiliated organization as “undesirable groups”, banning Russian citizens and organizations from participation in any of their projects.

–prosecutors said the activities of the Open Society Institute and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation were a threat to the foundations of Russia’s Constitutional order and national security. They added that the Justice Ministry would be duly informed about these conclusions and would add the two groups to Russia’s list of undesirable foreign organizations.

According to RT, prosecutors launched a probe into the activities of the two organizations – both sponsored by the well-known US financier George Soros – in July this year, after Russian senators approved the so-called “patriotic stop-list” of 12 groups that required immediate attention over their supposed anti-Russian activities.

The Law on Undesirable Foreign Organizations came into force in early June this year. It requires the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Foreign Ministry to draw up an official list of undesirable foreign organizations and outlaw their activities. Once a group is recognized as undesirable, its assets in Russia must be frozen, its offices closed and the distribution of any of its materials must be banned. That said, it is doubtful that Soros still has any active assets in Russia – his foundation, which emerged in Russia in its early post-USSR years in the mid-1990s, wrapped up active operations in 2003 when Putin cemented his control on power.

The huge document tranche released by DC Leaks shows how dangerous the Open Society and George Soros were to the well being and preservation of the Russian Federation and the Russian culture.

In a document from November 2012 entitled, “OSF [Open Society Foundation] Russia Strategic Planning Meeting Notes”, Participants:

Leonard Benardo, Iva Dobichina, Elizabeth Eagen, Jeff Goldstein, Minna Jarvenpaa, Ralf Jürgens, Elena Kovalevskaya, Vicki Litvinov, Tanya Margolin, Amy McDonough, Sara Rhodin, Yervand Shirinyan, Becky Tolson

Discuss how to …

Identify joint priorities for OSF’s Russia activities in the coming year. How can we most effectively collaborate, considering the deteriorating political environment for our partners?

The main revelation of the document minutes comes from the hope that Medvedev’s years as president would provide the NGOs the “opening” they would need to finally break the Russian bear.

That all evaporated in 2012, when Vladimir Putin returned to the President’s office.

The OSF, clearly distraught and disappointed, begins to lay down the groundwork for how to challenge the Putin administration, in light of his very different approach to dealing with NGOs like the Open Society Foundation.

The human rights context has greatly changed from 2006 to 2012: the Medvedev period allowed for a number of improvements and significant openings for NGOs. Amendments to the NGO law in 2006 led to campaigning on behalf of NGOs; many of our grantees benefited during this period. Surkov established ties with many groups that were willing to cooperate with the state and our partners served as experts in key processes like police reform. A space was created for modernization and for the inclusion of civil society during Medvedev’s term. However, pressure has come back very quickly in the short time that Putin has been back in power.

A major turning point for NGO operation in Russia came with the botched Russian “Maidan like” protests, which were promptly dismantled before any damage could be inflicted.

The Russian protests deeply affected the life of NGOs. The state had been providing money for self-organization, thinking this would defuse the possibility of large-scale opposition. But by encouraging self-organization, they had opened up a Pandora’s Box. People became active and began to feel that it was possible to change something; the door was opened for self-mobilization.

The state has responded with repression and political prisoners, in order to instill fear in the population. The state is also working to undermine social support for the protests. Its support of socially-oriented (“good”) NGOs is a way to divide the community, while the foreign agents law frames the protests as foreign money undermining Russia.

Why the fascination with Russia? Why is it important for OSF to focus on Russia? With Russia comes immense wealth and tremendous geo-political power.

Key open society themes and issues are highly relevant in Russia
– Transparency and accountability (anticorruption)
– Rights and justice (i.e., criminal justice, policing, rule of law, LGBT, women’s rights)
– Migration
– Inclusive education (disability, Roma)
– Media freedom, access to information
– Health (access to medicines, HIV, harm reduction)

Copy-cat problem: Russian tactics are picked up by Central Asia (ie, anti-extremism law in Kazakhstan)

Russia’s influence in UN Human Rights Council – pushing resolution that says human rights should take into consideration traditional values of country in question – very few HR orgs that are following the council saw this coming – has large implications beyond Russia

Participation in global international regimes (G20, ICC, WTO) – a more open Russia creates changes in international governing bodies

European Court litigation

The document details in an extensive bullet point list, “what must be done” to destabilize Russia, focusing on many recurrent neo-liberal themes that Soros uses to infect host nations and overturn governments…

– Political prisoners (Bolotnaya, etc.)
– Media censorship and control (pressure in independent media – work w/ NMP)
– Surveillance
– LGBT (push against propaganda laws, which are driven by local officials, not by the federal gov’t)
– Women’s rights
– Disability rights and inclusive education

Prisons
– Lots of funding is going to monitoring; where is our money best placed?
– ONKs don’t have sufficient $ for travel and legal representation

Policing and police violence (Public Verdict, Man and Law, etc.)
Migrants

Transparency and accountability
– State spending – monitoring, analysis
– Tracking cross-border transactions and business purchases
– Connections between accountability, human rights, and ordinary citizens’ interests

The complete PDF document can be found here:
-Russia-russia strategic planning 2012-meeting notes-russia strategic planning meeting notes 11 16 12.pdf


Following the 2012 document, and the apparent disappointment expressed by OSF members at Russia’s resistance to the neo-liberal way of life, DC Leaks provides a follow up memo entitled, “Russia Project Strategy, 2014-2017”. 

The document summary…

Russia today faces a regrettable backsliding into authoritarian practice. Confronted with serious domestic challenges, the regime has become more insular and isolationist, seeking to solidify its base. The progressively draconian laws promulgated since Putin’s return to the presidency have placed all foreign- funded organizations under threat of isolation and disrepute. Despite these decidedly challenging conditions, it is essential that we continue to engage Russia, both to preserve its extant democratic spaces, and to ensure that Russian voices do not go dark on the broader global stage.

The destabilization of Russia, now aptly named, “the Russia Project” goes on to identify three cornerstone concepts…

Amid the grim landscape, there nonetheless remain apertures for the Russia Project’s intervention. Exploiting all available opportunities, we will undertake the following three concepts, which we deem vital in the current climate:

1)  We will mitigate the negative impact of new laws via domestic and international advocacy. Key allies in this regard are the growing numbers of diverse Russian citizens opposing the country’s regression, along with the sizeable community of Russian legal experts with an in-depth knowledge of NGO law and a strong motivation to help the sector continue its activities.

2)  We will integrate Russian voices into the global exchange of ideas. Given that Russian intellectuals, practitioners and activists are increasingly sidelined domestically, and academics are often isolated from the international community, we will support venues for inserting diverse, critical Russian thinking into the global discourse. Such opportunities allow Russian actors to enter into mutually beneficial collaborations on topics ranging from migration to digital activism, thus maintaining their relevance and reducing their provincialization.

3)  We aim to mainstream the rights and dignity of one of Russia’s most marginalized populations: LGBT individuals. The RP’s diverse network of partners provides an opportunity to build a broader base of civil society allies at a time when the LGBT community is under profound threat. We hope to see a more balanced discourse on LGBT rights among the Russian public, as well as a strong cohort of mainstream independent organizations actively incorporating LGBT interests into their work.

Social mobilisation and the funding of alternative media networks, to promote social discourse and dissatisfaction, are common tactics that Soros NGOs uses to build up towards a revolution.

Along with these initiatives, we remain committed to supporting three primary fields: (a) access to justice and legal empowerment of marginalized groups, (b) access to independent information and alternative media, and (c) platforms for critical debate, discussion, and social mobilization. The RP plans to provide core support to our trusted partners in each of these fields, investing in their growth and development, and remaining flexible about the funding arrangements necessary to allow them to continue their essential work. We also seek to strengthen their legitimacy and financial sustainability, in order to build a more transparent, effective, and organizationally efficient third sector.

Russia is currently in a gradual, arbitrary, and haphazard process of becoming more closed. Amid this background, the RP’s cardinal role is to create a dense and wide-ranging field of independent civil society actors, who can in the best case help set the agenda for a more open and democratic future in Russia, and in the worst case survive the effects of new draconian legislation.

Engaging with Russian diaspora who oppose the current government, and mobilising the LGBT community through mass media propaganda, are recurrent themes in the Soros document.

The media focus on LGBT rights in the run up to the Sochi winter olympics was an opportunity not to be missed by Soros.

In the short to mid-term, the RP aims to engender broader civil society support for this highly marginalized group. Even though the “propaganda of homosexuality” law has gained unprecedented international attention in the lead-up to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the voices of Russian activists are barely being heard over larger international LGBT organizations. We want to make sure that our Russian partners have a leading role in shaping the strategy of the international movement, that planned campaigns have a domestic rather than just an international focus, and that the momentum gathering around Sochi does not dissipate immediately after the Olympics end.

Our comparative advantage lies in the deep and wide networks that we have fostered these past years. A strategic use of these networks will maximize the long-term impact of the work that LGBT rights organizations are doing. LGBT rights groups in Russia are professional and effective, yet they lack the capacity to reach far beyond their immediate communities and galvanize other civil society players necessary for their long-term success.

Destabilisation of a country the size of Russia does not come without a significant price tag, for which George Soros seems more than ready to pony up…

Given the large number of grants in the RP portfolio, we see a need for additional staffing in order to implement our strategic priorities and effectively monitor our activities. However, as a number of programs in the Eurasia region are being restructured, we are awaiting the results of this transition before making any substantive recommendations.

Their can be no doubt that the 2014-2017 plan outlined by Soros NGOs, which even envisioned staff growth and Eurasian region restructuring, has hit a major speed bump with the 2015 law that saw these divisive forces operating within Russian finally get booted out of the country.

The complete PDF document can be found here:
-Russia-Russia Project Revised 2014 2017 Strategy.pdf

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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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