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Meet the Pentagon employee who exposed CIA spy inside Trump campaign (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 97.

Alex Christoforou

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A former Pentagon employee uncovered a long history of questionable behavior by an FBI informant deeply tied into the Trump-Russia collusion hoax.

The FBI informant was Stefan Halper, who was also a CIA spy charged with infiltrating the Trump campaign while working as a professor in the UK…and who was also getting paid one million dollars to write foreign policy papers for the US Department of Defense.

Those must have beed some valuable foreign policy papers to be worth a cool $1 mil.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss an explosive report from journalist Sara Carter, which exposes the deep state’s secret weapon, Stefan Halper, and a whistleblower in the Pentagon who threatened to expose the truth about the Trump-Russia collusion narrative being plotted…it was all a set-up to frame Trump.

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Via Sara Carter

Adam Lovinger, a former Defense Department analyst, never expected that what he stumbled on during his final months at the Pentagon would expose an integral player in the FBI’s handling of President Donald Trump’s campaign and alleged Russia collusion.

Lovinger, a whistleblower, is now battling to save his career. The Pentagon suspended his top-secret security clearance May 1, 2017, when he exposed through an internal review that Stefan Halper, who was then an emeritus Cambridge professor, had received roughly $1 million in tax-payer funded money to write Defense Department foreign policy reports, his attorney Sean Bigley said. Before Lovinger’s clearance was suspended he had taken a detail to the National Security Council as senior director for strategy. He was only there for five months before he was recalled to the Pentagon, stripped of his prestigious White House detail, and ordered to perform bureaucratic make-work in a Pentagon annex Bigley calls “the land of misfit toys.” His security clearance was eventually revoked in March 2018, despite the Pentagon “refusing to turn over a single page of its purported evidence of Lovinger’s wrongdoing,” Bigley stated. Conservative watchdog group, Judicial Watch, recently filed a federal lawsuit against the Defense Department to obtain the withheld records.

Lovinger also raised concerns about Halper’s role in conducting what appeared to be diplomatic meetings with foreigners on behalf of the U.S. government because his role as contractor forbids him from doing so, according to U.S. federal law.

An investigation by SaraACarter.com reveals that the documents and information Lovinger stumbled on and other documents obtained by this news site, raise troubling questions about Halper, who was believed to have worked with the CIA and part of the matrix of players in the bureau’s ‘CrossFire Hurricane’ investigation into Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Halper, who assisted the FBI in the Russia investigation, appears to also have significant ties to the Russian government, as well as sources connected directly to President Vladimir Putin.

Halper did not respond to requests for comment.

“When Mr. Lovinger raised concerns about DoD’s misuse of Stefan Halper in 2016, he did so without any political designs or knowledge of Mr. Halper’s spying activities,” Bigley told SaraACarter.com. “Instead, Mr. Lovinger simply did what all Americans should expect of our civil servants: he reported violations of law and a gross waste of public funds to his superiors.”

And for that, Bigley said, Lovinger has paid the ultimate price in his 12-year career as a strategist in the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment. According to Bigley, shortly after Lovinger began reporting and asking questions about suspicious contracts given to Halper and others, including one person closely associated Chelsea Clinton, his security clearance was suspended. Later, on April 3, 2018, the DoD’s Washington Headquarters Services Director Barbara Westgate sent a letter to Lovinger indefinitely suspending him from duty and pay status after his clearance was removed in March. The letter stated, “The purpose of this memorandum is to notify you that I am proposing to indefinitely suspend you from duty and pay status in your position as a Foreign Affairs Specialist.”

Lovinger, who is married with three children and is the family’s primary breadwinner, has been living off the generosity of family members since his pay was removed.

The retaliation for whistleblowing was something Bigley expected. “So, we weren’t surprised when DoD bureaucrats moved shortly thereafter to strip Mr. Lovinger of both his security clearance and his detail to the National Security Council, where he had been Senior Director for Strategy as a by-name request of the incoming Trump Administration,” said the attorney.

“Yet, we were puzzled by the unprecedented ferocity of efforts to discredit Mr. Lovinger, including leaks from DoD of false and defamatory information to the press,” he said. “Our assumption was that the other contractor about whom Mr. Lovinger explicitly raised concerns – a close confidante of Hillary Clinton – was the reason for the sustained assault on Mr. Lovinger, and that certainly may have played a role.”

Bigley suspects it was more than the Clinton-connected contracts adding, “Mr. Lovinger unwittingly shined a spotlight on the deep state’s secret weapon – Stefan Halper – and threatened to expose the truth about the Trump-Russia collusion narrative than being plotted: that it was all a set-up.”

Halper has had a long career and worked in government with several GOP administrations. At 73, the elusive professor spent a career developing top-level government connections–not just through academia but also through his work with members of the intelligence apparatus.

Those contacts and the information Halper collected along the way would eventually, through apparent circumstance, become utilized by the FBI against the Trump campaign. But, it was during his time hosting the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar at the University of Cambridge where Halper shifted from a professor and former government consultant to FBI informant on the Trump campaign.

In 2016, Halper was an integral part of the FBI’s investigation into short-term Trump campaign volunteer, Carter Page. Halper first made contact with Page at his seminar in July 2016. Page, who was already on the FBI’s radar, was accused of being sympathetic to Russia and sought better relations between the U.S. and Russian officials. Halper stayed in contact with Page until September 2017.

During that time, the FBI sought and obtained a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to spy on Page and used Halper to collect information on him, according to sources. The House Intelligence Committee Russia report and documents obtained by this outlet revealed that the bulk of the warrant against Page relied heavily on an unverified dossier compiled by Former British Spy Christopher Steele and the matter is still under congressional investigation. Steele, who was a former MI6 agent, also had ties to many of the same people, like former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove, who were part of the seminar.

Halper, along with Dearlove, left the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar in December 2016, saying they were concerned about Russian influence. Halper had told reporters at the time that it was due to “unacceptable Russian influence.”

Ironically, documents obtained by SaraACarter.com suggest that Halper also had invited senior Russian intelligence officials to co-teach his course on several occasions and, according to news reports, also accepted money to finance the course from a top Russian oligarch with ties to Putin.

Several course syllabi from 2012 and 2015 obtained by this outlet reveal Hapler had invited and co-taught his course on intelligence with the former Director of Russian Intelligence Gen. Vladimir I. Trubnikov.

On May 4, 2012, the course syllabus states, “Ambassador Vladimir I. Trubnikov will comment on the challenges faced while directing the Foreign Intelligence Service, his tenure as Ambassador to India, President Putin and the likely course of Russia’s relations with Britain and the U.S.”

In May 2015, Trubnikov returned to teach with Halper at his seminar in Cambridge on “current relations between the Russian Federation and the West.” Other notable intelligence experts attended the event in 2015, including Major Gen.Peter Williams, a former British commander of the mission to the Soviet Forces in Germany.

Halper’s partner in the seminar, Cambridge Professor Neil Kent has also espoused better relations with Russia and Putin in his writings and told Russia Today in a 2014 interview that “everyone is attacking and demonizing Russia.” According to Kent’s biography, he was a professor from 2002 to 2012 at Russia’s St. Petersburg State Academic Institute.

Even more interesting are reports from the British Media outlet, The Financial Times, that state Halper received funds for the Cambridge seminar from Russian billionaire Andrey Cheglakov, who has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Cheglakov also funded Veruscript in 2016, which raised the suspicion of Dearlove and those connected to the seminar. Veruscript, a publisher for a Russian academic journal, was suspected by MI6 of being a front for Russian intelligence. Kent also happened to be the editor and chief of the journal. He published the inaugural article in the journal “The Journal of Intelligence and Terrorism”  blaming the West for the Russian invasion into Crimea but the journal closed down due to their suspicions.

Dearlove was also concerned “that Russia may be seeking to use the seminar as an impeccably credentialed platform to covertly steer debate and opinion on high-level sensitive defense and security topics,” according to the Financial Times sources.

A former senior intelligence official told this news outlet, “It’s all smoke and mirrors. Halper was well aware when he was bringing in Trubnikov in 2012 that the Russian’s were already there at his invitation. The FBI uses Halper to get more information on Trump aides but it’s Halper who has the real connection to Russia.”

Lovinger raised concerns with top officials at the Pentagon in 2016 and noted that Halper went far beyond his work as a contractor after he discovered that the amount of money the professor was being paid for his research did not make sense. Lovinger stressed his concern that Halper was not just being utilized as a contractor, but that he was also conducting diplomatic work for the Pentagon “in violation of federal law,” according to Bigley.

In one email from Stephan Halper to Andrew May, the second highest ranking official in Lovinger’s office, Halper writes about a planned trip to conduct meetings in India.

“I am in Cambridge en route to India – arriving Saturday. So far 14 meetings have been scheduled with various parts of the political-military community. On Monday, a meeting is planned with the Delhi Policy Group where I will meet with Brigadier Seghal who is, apparently working with ONA (Office of Net Assessment) Can you tell me anything about him,” according to the document obtained by SaraACarter.com.

Halper was not only spying on Page for the FBI in 2016, but he had also made contact in September 2016 with another Trump campaign volunteer, George Papadopoulos. He invited Papadopoulos to London that September, luring him with a  $3,000 paycheck to work on a research paper under contract.  By this time the young Trump campaign volunteer had already been in contact London-based professor, Josef Mifsud, who had basically informed him that the Russians had damaging material about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Misfud’s role has also come into question by Congress.

Eventually, Papadopoulos was swept into Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation and pled guilty to one count of lying to the FBI. His wife, Simona Papadopoulos, who’s been a vocal advocate for her husband, told SaraACarter.com that essentially he was forced to plead guilty because of threats from Mueller’s team and lack of financial resources.

 

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RobertX5
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RobertX5

Read the article by Sara Carter as well. Good stuff on Mr Lovinger (although I would have liked more on the payments to Clinton confidantes) and if the article had ended there it would have been short and to the point. But she then seems to try a create a sinister subplot, where the Russians are up to their nefarious tricks through the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar and Veruscript to confuse and divide the West (which is now the officially authorised and permitted explanation for everything that has happened) Perhaps to Halper and Dearlove’s surprise the reason for Russian influence growing… Read more »

bluewater
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meet the good young woman who exposed THE BANKERS,CIA,VATICAN and guess who is PROTECTING HER FROM THE EVIL CABAL who OWN THE CRIMINAL MEDIA,MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX….TRUMP …”Sister Keri Burnor spent many years as a nun serving peacefully within the Catholic Church; that is, until she was sexually assaulted by Church Clergy. After that experience, her search for justice and truth put her face to face with some of the highest powers in the world today, but not necessarily in a good way. Her intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the Roman Catholic Church and the evils that are hidden… Read more »

intp1
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intp1

Just a quick search on Halper and my guts asks how in hell is this person hired as a professor in our most respected University? First appointment by Nixon- say no more A published Neocon Father-in-law part of the CIA bay of pigs team advising Kennedy to invade Cuba The same CIA faction that facilitated Dallas in 63, where that was not GHW Bush photographed outside the Book Depository. Worked for GHW Bush Part of a underhand CIA project that captured Carter’s Presidential debate prep for then candidate Ronald Reagan While GHW Bush was definitely not in Tehran organizing to… Read more »

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Airline wars heat up, as industry undergoes massive disruption (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 145.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine the global commercial airline industry, which is undergoing massive changes, as competition creeps in from Russia and China.

Reuters reports that Boeing Co’s legal troubles grew as a new lawsuit accused the company of defrauding shareholders by concealing safety deficiencies in its 737 MAX planes before two fatal crashes led to their worldwide grounding.

The proposed class action filed in Chicago federal court seeks damages for alleged securities fraud violations, after Boeing’s market value tumbled by $34 billion within two weeks of the March 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX.

*****

According to the complaint, Boeing “effectively put profitability and growth ahead of airplane safety and honesty” by rushing the 737 MAX to market to compete with Airbus SE, while leaving out “extra” or “optional” features designed to prevent the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes.

It also said Boeing’s statements about its growth prospects and the 737 MAX were undermined by its alleged conflict of interest from retaining broad authority from federal regulators to assess the plane’s safety.

*****

Boeing said on Tuesday that aircraft orders in the first quarter fell to 95 from 180 a year earlier, with no orders for the 737 MAX following the worldwide grounding.

On April 5, it said it planned to cut monthly 737 production to 42 planes from 52, and was making progress on a 737 MAX software update to prevent further accidents.

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Via Zerohedge…

Step aside (fading) trade war with China: there is a new aggressor – at least according to the US Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer – in town.

In a statement on the USTR’s website published late on Monday, the US fair trade agency announced that under Section 301 of the Trade Act, it was proposing a list of EU products to be covered by additional duties. And as justification for the incremental import taxes, the USTR said that it was in response to EU aircraft subsidies, specifically to Europea’s aerospace giant, Airbus, which “have caused adverse effects to the United States” and which the USTR estimates cause $11 billion in harm to the US each year

One can’t help but notice that the latest shot across the bow in the simmering trade war with Europe comes as i) Trump is reportedly preparing to fold in his trade war with China, punting enforcement to whoever is president in 2025, and ii) comes just as Boeing has found itself scrambling to preserve orders as the world has put its orderbook for Boeing 737 MAX airplanes on hold, which prompted Boeing to cut 737 production by 20% on Friday.

While the first may be purely a coincidence, the second – which is expected to not only slam Boeing’s financials for Q1 and Q2, but may also adversely impact US GDP – had at least some impact on the decision to proceed with these tariffs at this moment.

We now await Europe’s angry response to what is Trump’s latest salvo in what is once again a global trade war. And, paradoxically, we also expect this news to send stocks blasting higher as, taking a page from the US-China trade book, every day algos will price in imminent “US-European trade deal optimism.”

Below the full statement from the USTR (link):

USTR Proposes Products for Tariff Countermeasures in Response to Harm Caused by EU Aircraft Subsidies

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has found repeatedly that European Union (EU) subsidies to Airbus have caused adverse effects to the United States.  Today, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) begins its process under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to identify products of the EU to which additional duties may be applied until the EU removes those subsidies.

USTR is releasing for public comment a preliminary list of EU products to be covered by additional duties.  USTR estimates the harm from the EU subsidies as $11 billion in trade each year.  The amount is subject to an arbitration at the WTO, the result of which is expected to be issued this summer.

“This case has been in litigation for 14 years, and the time has come for action. The Administration is preparing to respond immediately when the WTO issues its finding on the value of U.S. countermeasures,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.  “Our ultimate goal is to reach an agreement with the EU to end all WTO-inconsistent subsidies to large civil aircraft.  When the EU ends these harmful subsidies, the additional U.S. duties imposed in response can be lifted.”

In line with U.S. law, the preliminary list contains a number of products in the civil aviation sector, including Airbus aircraft.  Once the WTO arbitrator issues its report on the value of countermeasures, USTR will announce a final product list covering a level of trade commensurate with the adverse effects determined to exist.

Background

After many years of seeking unsuccessfully to convince the EU and four of its member States (France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom) to cease their subsidization of Airbus, the United States brought a WTO challenge to EU subsidies in 2004. In 2011, the WTO found that the EU provided Airbus $18 billion in subsidized financing from 1968 to 2006.  In particular, the WTO found that European “launch aid” subsidies were instrumental in permitting Airbus to launch every model of its large civil aircraft, causing Boeing to lose sales of more than 300 aircraft and market share throughout the world.

In response, the EU removed two minor subsidies, but left most of them unchanged.  The EU also granted Airbus more than $5 billion in new subsidized “launch aid” financing for the A350 XWB.  The United States requested establishment of a compliance panel in March 2012 to address the EU’s failure to remove its old subsidies, as well as the new subsidies and their adverse effects.  That process came to a close with the issuance of an appellate report in May 2018 finding that EU subsidies to high-value, twin-aisle aircraft have caused serious prejudice to U.S. interests.  The report found that billions of dollars in launch aid to the A350 XWB and A380 cause significant lost sales to Boeing 787 and 747 aircraft, as well as lost market share for Boeing very large aircraft in the EU, Australia, China, Korea, Singapore, and UAE markets.

Based on the appellate report, the United States requested authority to impose countermeasures worth $11.2 billion per year, commensurate with the adverse effects caused by EU subsidies.  The EU challenged that estimate, and a WTO arbitrator is currently evaluating those claims

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Mueller report takes ‘Russian meddling’ for granted, offers no actual evidence

RT

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Via RT…


Special counsel Robert Mueller’s ‘Russiagate’ report has cleared Donald Trump of ‘collusion’ charges but maintains that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election. Yet concrete evidence of that is nowhere to be seen.

The report by Mueller and his team, made public on Thursday by the US Department of Justice, exonerates not just Trump but all Americans of any “collusion” with Russia, “obliterating” the Russiagate conspiracy theory, as journalist Glenn Greenwald put it.

However, it asserts that Russian “interference” in the election did happen, and says it consisted of a campaign on social media as well as Russian military intelligence (repeatedly referred to by its old, Soviet-era name, GRU) “hacking” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the DNC, and the private email account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta.

As evidence of this, the report basically offers nothing but Mueller’s indictment of “GRU agents,” delivered on the eve of the Helsinki Summit between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in what was surely a cosmic coincidence.

Indictments are not evidence, however, but allegations. Any time it looks like the report might be bringing up proof, it ends up being redacted, ostensibly to protect sources and methods, and out of concern it might cause “harm to an ongoing matter.”

‘Active measures’ on social media

Mueller’s report leads with the claim that the Internet Research Agency (IRA) ran an “active measures” campaign of social media influence. Citing Facebook and Twitter estimates, the report says this consisted of 470 Facebook accounts that made 80,000 posts that may have been seen by up to 126 million people, between January 2015 and August 2017 (almost a year after the election), and 3,814 Twitter accounts that “may have been” in contact with about 1.4 million people.

Those numbers may seem substantial but, as investigative journalist Gareth Porter pointed out in November 2018, they should be regarded against the background of 33 trillion Facebook posts made during the same period.

According to Mueller, the IRA mind-controlled the American electorate by spending “approximately $100,000” on Facebook ads, hiring someone to walk around New York City “dressed up as Santa Claus with a Trump mask,” and getting Trump campaign affiliates to promote “dozens of tweets, posts, and other political content created by the IRA.” Dozens!

Meanwhile, the key evidence against IRA’s alleged boss Evgeny Prigozhin is that he “appeared together in public photographs” with Putin.

Alleged hacking & release

The report claims that the GRU hacked their way into 29 DCCC computers and another 30 DNC computers, and downloaded data using software called “X-Tunnel.” It is unclear how Mueller’s investigators claim to know this, as the report makes no mention of them or FBI actually examining DNC or DCCC computers. Presumably they took the word of CrowdStrike, the Democrats’ private contractor, for it.

However obtained, the documents were published first through DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 – which the report claims are “fictitious online personas” created by the GRU – and later through WikiLeaks. What is Mueller’s proof that these two entities were “GRU” cutouts? In a word, this:

That the Guccifer 2.0 persona provided reporters access to a restricted portion of the DCLeaks website tends to indicate that both personas were operated by the same or a closely-related group of people.(p. 43)

However, the report acknowledges that the “first known contact” between Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks was on September 15, 2016 – months after the DNC and DCCC documents were published! Here we do get actual evidence: direct messages on Twitter obtained by investigators. Behold, these “spies” are so good, they don’t even talk – and when they do, they use unsecured channels.

Mueller notably claims “it is clear that the stolen DNC and Podesta documents were transferred from the GRU to WikiLeaks” (the rest of that sentence is redacted), but the report clearly implies the investigators do not actually know how. On page 47, the report says Mueller “cannot rule out that stolen documents were transferred to WikiLeaks through intermediaries who visited during the summer of 2016.”

Strangely, the report accuses WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange of making “public statements apparently designed to obscure the source” of the materials (p.48), notably the offer of a reward for finding the murderer of DNC staffer Seth Rich – even though this can be read as corroborating the intermediaries theory, and Assange never actually said Rich was his source.

The rest of Mueller’s report goes on to discuss the Trump campaign’s contacts with anyone even remotely Russian and to create torturous constructions that the president had “obstructed” justice by basically defending himself from charges of being a Russian agent – neither of which resulted in any indictments, however. But the central premise that the 22-month investigation, breathless media coverage, and the 448-page report are based on – that Russia somehow meddled in the 2016 election – remains unproven.

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Rumors of War: Washington Is Looking for a Fight

The bill stands up for NATO and prevents the President from pulling the US out of the Alliance without a Senate vote.

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Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


It is depressing to observe how the United States of America has become the evil empire. Having served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War and in the Central Intelligence Agency for the second half of the Cold War, I had an insider’s viewpoint of how an essentially pragmatic national security policy was being transformed bit by bit into a bipartisan doctrine that featured as a sine qua non global dominance for Washington. Unfortunately, when the Soviet Union collapsed the opportunity to end once and for all the bipolar nuclear confrontation that threatened global annihilation was squandered as President Bill Clinton chose instead to humiliate and use NATO to contain an already demoralized and effectively leaderless Russia.

American Exceptionalism became the battle cry for an increasingly clueless federal government as well as for a media-deluded public. When 9/11 arrived, the country was ready to lash out at the rest of the world. President George W. Bush growled that “There’s a new sheriff in town and you are either with us or against us.” Afghanistan followed, then Iraq, and, in a spirit of bipartisanship, the Democrats came up with Libya and the first serious engagement in Syria. In its current manifestation, one finds a United States that threatens Iran on a nearly weekly basis and tears up arms control agreements with Russia while also maintaining deployments of US forces in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and places like Mali. Scattered across the globe are 800 American military bases while Washington’s principal enemies du jour Russia and China have, respectively, only one and none.

Never before in my lifetime has the United States been so belligerent, and that in spite of the fact that there is no single enemy or combination of enemies that actually threaten either the geographical United States or a vital interest. Venezuela is being threatened with invasion primarily because it is in the western hemisphere and therefore subject to Washington’s claimed proconsular authority. Last Wednesday Vice President Mike Pence told the United Nations Security Council that the White House will remove Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro from power, preferably using diplomacy and sanctions, but “all options are on the table.” Pence warned that Russia and other friends of Maduro need to leave now or face the consequences.

The development of the United States as a hostile and somewhat unpredictable force has not gone unnoticed. Russia has accepted that war is coming no matter what it does in dealing with Trump and is upgrading its forces. By some estimates, its army is better equipped and more combat ready than is that of the United States, which spends nearly ten times as much on “defense.”

Iran is also upgrading its defensive capabilities, which are formidable. Now that Washington has withdrawn from the nuclear agreement with Iran, has placed a series of increasingly punitive sanctions on the country, and, most recently, has declared a part of the Iranian military to be a “foreign terrorist organization” and therefore subject to attack by US forces at any time, it is clear that war will be the next step. In three weeks, the United States will seek to enforce a global ban on any purchases of Iranian oil. A number of countries, including US nominal ally Turkey, have said they will ignore the ban and it will be interesting to see what the US Navy intends to do to enforce it. Or what Iran will do to break the blockade.

But even given all of the horrific decisions being made in the White House, there is one organization that is far crazier and possibly even more dangerous. That is the United States Congress, which is, not surprisingly, a legislative body that is viewed positively by only 18 per cent of the American people.

A current bill originally entitled the “Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA) of 2019,” is numbered S-1189. It has been introduced in the Senate which will “…require the Secretary of State to determine whether the Russian Federation should be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism and whether Russian-sponsored armed entities in Ukraine should be designated as foreign terrorist organizations.” The bill is sponsored by Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado and is co-sponsored by Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey.

The current version of the bill was introduced on April 11th and it is by no means clear what kind of support it might actually have, but the fact that it actually has surfaced at all should be disturbing to anyone who believes it is in the world’s best interest to avoid direct military confrontation between the United States and Russia.

In a a press release by Gardner, who has long been pushing to have Russia listed as a state sponsor of terrorism, a February version of the bill is described as “…comprehensive legislation [that] seeks to increase economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on the Russian Federation in response to Russia’s interference in democratic processes abroad, malign influence in Syria, and aggression against Ukraine, including in the Kerch Strait. The legislation establishes a comprehensive policy response to better position the US government to address Kremlin aggression by creating new policy offices on cyber defenses and sanctions coordination. The bill stands up for NATO and prevents the President from pulling the US out of the Alliance without a Senate vote. It also increases sanctions pressure on Moscow for its interference in democratic processes abroad and continued aggression against Ukraine.”

The February version of the bill included Menendez, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina as co-sponsors, suggesting that provoking war is truly bipartisan in today’s Washington.

Each Senator co-sponsor contributed a personal comment to the press release. Gardner observed that “Putin’s Russia is an outlaw regime that is hell-bent on undermining international law and destroying the US-led liberal global order.” Menendez noted that “President Trump’s willful paralysis in the face of Kremlin aggression has reached a boiling point in Congress” while Graham added that “Our goal is to change the status quo and impose meaningful sanctions and measures against Putin’s Russia. He should cease and desist meddling in the US electoral process, halt cyberattacks on American infrastructure, remove Russia from Ukraine, and stop efforts to create chaos in Syria.” Cardin contributed “Congress continues to take the lead in defending US national security against continuing Russian aggression against democratic institutions at home and abroad” and Shaheen observed that “This legislation builds on previous efforts in Congress to hold Russia accountable for its bellicose behavior against the United States and its determination to destabilize our global world order.”

The Senatorial commentary is, of course, greatly exaggerated and sometimes completely false regarding what is going on in the world, but it is revealing of how ignorant American legislators can be and often are. The Senators also ignore the fact that the designation of presumed Kremlin surrogate forces as “foreign terrorist organizations” is equivalent to a declaration of war against them by the US military, while hypocritically calling Russia a state sponsor of terrorism is bad enough, as it is demonstrably untrue. But the real damage comes from the existence of the bill itself. It will solidify support for hardliners on both sides, guaranteeing that there will be no rapprochement between Washington and Moscow for the foreseeable future, a development that is bad for everyone involved. Whether it can be characterized as an unintended consequence of unwise decision making or perhaps something more sinister involving a deeply corrupted congress and administration remains to be determined.

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