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NATO’s Summit in Warsaw and US Aggressiveness

NATO’s aggressive actions at the Warsaw Summit continue a pattern of US aggressive behaviour towards Russia.

Eric Zuesse

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Submitted by Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org

All NATO leaders are meeting together at a crucial July 8th-9th Summit meeting in Warsaw, to agree regarding what to do to Russia, about which U.S. General Philip Breedlove, then the Supreme Commander of NATO, said earlier this year

“Russia has chosen to be an adversary and poses a long-term existential threat to the United States and to our European allies and partners.”

The main purpose of this meeting will be to achieve unity on the Russian problem. It will be difficult to do. The 28 member nations are not, and have not been, unified on the matter. The U.S. is seeking a more aggressive stand.

Did you know that in 2004, the U.S. itself had already crossed the nuclear red line against Russia, by nuclear missiles right on Russia’s border, even worse than, in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet dictatorship had threatened to cross America’s nuclear red line, by the Soviets’ plan at that time to place nuclear missiles there 90 miles from the U.S. border? And did you know that, finally, in 2016, Russia is being surrounded so hostilely by the U.S., that their President Vladimir Putin is now issuing vague threats that Russia will strike before the U.S.? (The second side to launch its missiles will likely receive the lesser amount of damage in the resulting nuclear exchange — who strikes first will largely determine the ‘winner’ of any World War III.)

Instead of the U.S. government’s and press’s “Duck and cover!” and build-your-bombshelters campaigns in 1962, the people who are terrified this time around are actually the Russians; but, would you know about this widespread fear in Russia, from the ‘reporting’ in the U.S. ’news’ media? It’s not being reported. And it won’t be the topic at NATO, because NATO is the alliance against Russia, not against America.

The international aristocracy, which own more than half of the world’s wealth, own especially the newsmedia, and so the facts that they’re the most inclined to hide from their public (besides how untrustworthy they are), are the facts that are the most important to hide by the international corporations (including corporations such as Lockheed Martin), which also are owned by them, and which advertise the most in the newsmedia. Thus, foreign affairs is the topic that receives the most-distorted, the most propagandistic, ‘news’ coverage of all, in fake ‘democracies’ such as today’s U.S.

America’s hyper-aggressive foreign policy is not actually designed to protect the American public (such as the ‘Defense’ Department and its millions of military contractors say), but to further enrich America’s billionaires, by conquering the world’s most-resource-rich nation, Russia (starting by ousting foreign leaders who are friendly toward Russia, such as Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddaffi, Viktor Yanukovych, and Bashar al-Assad), as a consequence of which ‘domino-war’ against Russia, the only international poll that was ever done on the question of “Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?” produced the remarkable and little-publicized finding, that overwhelmingly the nation which is considered worldwide to be the most dangerous of all, is the United States. This was an open-ended question, and the 67,806 global respondents who answered it, named many different countries as being the “greatest threat,” but the clear #1 there was the U.S., named by 24%; #2 was Pakistan, named by 8%; #3 was China, named by 6% — and the nation that U.S. President Barack Obama identifies as being the world’s most dangerous country, Russia, was #12 on that list, with only 2% of global respondents naming it. Is this because the foreign press are underplaying how aggressive Russia is? Or is it instead because the U.S. press are overplaying how peaceful the U.S. is, and are also overplaying how aggressive Russia is?

Back in early 1990, when the last President of the Soviet Union and the first President of the post-Soviet independent nation of Russia, Mikhail Gorbachev, was negotiating, with the representatives of U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush, the terms for the USSR and its military alliance of the Warsaw Pact to come to an end (the supposed end of the Cold War, which ended only on Russia’s side, but actually continued on and has now become a hot war against Russia on the U.S. side), Gorbachev was assured that NATO would not move “one inch to the east”, and so Gorbachev thought that the U.S. was satisfied that communism and the Warsaw Pact would be terminating, and that the U.S. would therefore henceforth cease its “Cold War” against the now-rump, remaining, post-Soviet nation, Russia, and there would really be peace between the two countries, at last. That’s why Gorbachev agreed to do it — to end the Cold War. But as soon as he committed himself, Bush told his people not to follow through on the promise that they all had just made on Bush’s behalf. Bringing his agents together privately at Camp David on 24-25 February 1990, Bush told his people, “To hell with that! We prevailed, they didn’t.” They followed through on that instruction from him, even though it made liars of them all.

And, Bush’s successor Bill Clinton followed through likewise on that double-cross of Gorbachev, by ending Clinton’s own Presidency with admitting Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland, into NATO, in 1999 (at around the same time as he was ending FDR’s AFDC protections of poor children, and FDR’s Glass-Steagall protections of the public taxpayers so they wouldn’t be charged to reimburse Wall Street gambling-losses in the event of an economic crash (such as did occur in 2008) — Clinton became the anti-FDR ‘Democratic’ President). But that NATO act of Clinton didn’t cross Russia’s nuclear red line, it only caused then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s military to draft a policy saying that if the Baltic republics — Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, right on Russia’s border and under ten minutes missile-striking time away from Moscow — were ever to become admitted into NATO, Russia should launch its missiles (not wait for the U.S. to do so first, from so nearby, which would eliminate Russia’s missiles faster than Russia’s missiles could even be launched at all).

On 29 March 2004, U.S. President George W. Bush crossed the Russian military’s nuclear red line, by admitting into NATO: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Bush the son was at that time crossing Russia’s red line — and then some.

Here is an account (translated from the Russian) that a highly respected Russian journalist, Aleksandr Lyasko, provided, regarding what Russian President Yeltsin’s military, in the Fall of 1995 (after Clinton started the process of admitting his three nations into NATO), had advised Yeltsin to be established as Russia’s nuclear red line that must not be crossed by NATO (the U.S.):

“The military department’s next sensational idea involves dramatic action in connection with NATO’s expansion. As regards Poland and the other countries of Eastern Europe, Russia is currently unable to stop this process by force. However, the plan [“I learned from reliable sources that some time ago the General Staff completed its formulation of a version of Russia’s new defense doctrine”] presupposes that if NATO agrees to admit the Baltic Republics [right on Russia’s border: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania], Russian Federation armed forces will immediately be moved into Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Any attempt by NATO to stop this will be viewed by Russia as the prelude to a nuclear world catastrophe. …

According to the high-ranking General Staff officer, the preliminary outlines of the defense doctrine formulated by General Grachev’s department have been cautiously approved by the minister himself and his first deputy and constitute the military’s response to the lack of any consistent policy by the Foreign Ministry and presidential structures on questions of military security. According to some of Grachev’s statements following his talks with Yeltsin in Sochi, the army is ready to begin erecting a nuclear shield over the besieged fortress, which is how it sees Russia. … The authors of the draft by no means lack allies in the Duma and within the Kremlin Walls.”

That report had the additional imprimatur of its having been cited as an authority on Russian policy, by Zbigniew Brzezinski, a key (and passionately anti-Russian) foreign-policy advisor to U.S. Presidents Carter, Clinton, and Obama. (Brzezinski’s family, when he was a boy, were Polish nobility who became dispossessed by the Russians, and he hated Russians ever after.)

However, Vladimir Putin was now the Russian President who needed to make the final decision as to whether to launch World War III. He decided not to. That’s why we’re all here today, even reading this. But NATO says that Russia is the problem.

U.S. President Barack Obama came into office in 2009 with no clear indication that he was intending to intensify Russia’s isolation, by removing from office even more of the few remaining Russia-friendly leaders of nations. Just like Clinton had waited till his second term before making clear his actual conservatism, Obama had gone so far as to mock his 2012 re-election opponent Mitt Romney for having said, during the 2012 campaign

“Russia, this is, without question, our number one geopolitical foe. They – they fight every cause for the world’s worst actors. … Russia is the – the geopolitical foe.”

Romney said this after having heard from Wolf Blitzer on CNN, that Obama had just then privately told Putin’s agent Dmitry Medvedev, “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.” Obama told Putin (via Medvedev) this in the context of Putin’s objections against the continued expansions of NATO, and against the threat, by several recent U.S. Presidents, to position in those NATO nations a U.S. missile system that would be able to neutralize or eliminate Russia’s ability to strike back against a blitz nuclear attack from the U.S.: it’s called the anti ballistic missile or ballistic missile defense (ABM or BMD) system. Obama was privately telling Putin: Don’t worry, we’re not trying to conquer Russia.

Obama fooled everyone (not only his voters). Actually, at that very moment, Obama was already well into his plan to remove from power the Russia-allied leader of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, and was very soon to organize, starting by no later than 1 March 2013 in the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, the overthrow of Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych — whose country has the longest border with Russia of any European country (and which country has been called by Brzezinski the most important steppingstone to defeating Russia).

And then, when Obama carried out his Ukrainian coup in February 2014 (almost a year after his starting to organize the coup in the U.S. Embassy there), Putin responded to that by allowing the people of Crimea — who had voted nearly 80% for the man Obama had just overthrown — to re-enter as being part of Russia, of which Crimea had been a part until the Soviet dictator in 1954 transferred Crimea from Russia to Ukraine.

For Putin’s doing this, Obama slapped economic sanctions against Russia, and then sicced the NATO dogs against Russia, by quadrupling U.S. weapons and soldiers on Russia’s borders, in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania, and by starting the installation of the “Aegis Ashore” ABM/BMD system, which Putin had warned Obama not to install.

Now, after the coup in Ukraine, the approval-rating of the post-coup President is even lower than the approval-rating of the pre-coup one was (and even lower than that if the separatist regions, Crimea and Donbass — both of which had voted heavily for the President whom Obama overthrew — had been included in the polling: those regions would have given Obama’s Ukrainian government a near-0% approval-rating).

The global poll that had asked people “Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?” and that found 24% of people worldwide were saying the U.S. was, had been taken only months before the coup in Ukraine; and, in Ukraine, 33% said “U.S.” and only 5% said “Russia.” The massive bloodshed there after Obama’s coup can only be confirming Ukrainians’ opinion. But America’s ‘news’ media blame it on Russia.

And that’s the Russian problem, which NATO will be meeting to resolve.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  Christ’s Ventriloquists: The Event that Created Christianity.

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Rise of the Western Dissidents

The only reason Assange is being targeted is that he tangled with the highest levels of the western establishment. He is far from alone.

The Duran

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Authored by Allum Bokhari via Breitbart:


We’re used to Russian dissidents, Chinese dissidents, Iranian dissidents, and Saudi Arabian dissidents. But those who rightly believe the west is superior to authoritarian regimes must now contend with a troubling trend — the rise of the western dissident.

Chief among them is Julian Assange, who for a half-decade has been forced to live in the tiny Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has claimed political asylum since 2011. Assange claimed that he would be extradited to the U.S. to face charges over his work at WikiLeaks if he left the embassy, and was routinely mocked as paranoid for doing so.

This week, we learned that Assange was right and his critics were wrong. Thanks to a clerical error by the U.S. attorney’s office in Alexandria, Virginia, reporters were able to confirm the existence of sealed criminal charges against the WikiLeaks founder.

Because the charges are sealed and the evidence is unknown, it’s impossible to say if the case has merit. But it likely relates to WikiLeaks’ release of unredacted diplomatic cables in 2011, which forced the U.S. to relocate several of its foreign sources.

Some allegations are more serious. While he was alive, neoconservative Senator John McCain maintained that leaks provided to WikiLeaks by Chelsea Manning, which included the diplomatic cables, caused U.S sources to be murdered.

Those who see Assange as a villain will end the story here. What is typically left out is that WikiLeaks originally released the diplomatic cables in piecemeal form, with names redacted to prevent loss of life and minimize harm.

It was only after a Guardian journalist’s error led to the full unredacted cables leaking to third parties on the web that WikiLeaks published them as well — and not before Assange attempted to warn the office of Hillary Clinton, then U.S. Secretary of State.

In other words, WikiLeaks behaved precisely as any responsible publisher handling sensitive material should, redacting information that could cause harm. The redactions only stopped when they became pointless. Assange is unlikely to have won more than a dozen journalism awards if he were completely reckless in his publications.

The Pentagon later admitted under oath that they could not find any instances of individuals being killed as a result of being named in Manning’s leaks to WikiLeaks, contradicting Sen. McCain’s allegations.

At worst, Assange and WikiLeaks can be accused of negligence, not deliberate recklessness, in the way it handled sensitive material. But as Breitbart Tech reporter Lucas Nolan points out, a far stronger case can be made against Hillary Clinton for the way she handled State Department emails — yet we see no criminal charges against her.

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that the only reason Assange is being targeted is that he tangled with the highest levels of the western establishment. In that, he is far from alone.

In the late 2000s to early 2010s, western governments targeted all manner of individuals associated with Assange and the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, including Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda, and The Guardian newspaper.

This was the early growth period of the internet, when the web had become a truly popular medium but had yet to be censored by pliant social media corporations. It was a time of profound unease at the power of the internet to undermine authority, both through the dissemination of information as in the case of WikiLeaks and Snowden, and in the new mobilization of political forces, as in the case of Occupy Wall Street and the SOPA/PIPA protests. Heavy-handed crackdowns against individuals and groups that were seen, rightly or wrongly, as symbols of the web’s early anarchic tendencies, like Kim DotcomAaron SwartzAnonymous, and LulzSec, were not uncommon.

These days, however, a new class of western dissident has emerged — the populist dissident.

Populist Dissidents

Who would have thought that the highest court in Europe, home of the enlightenment, would uphold a case in which a woman was prosecuted for blasphemy against Islam?

Who would have thought that Britain, the birthplace of liberalism and the free press, would ban an independent journalist from its shores for satirizing the same religion?

Who would have thought that Germany, whose living memory of the totalitarian Stasi is just three decades old, would put its largest opposition party under surveillance?

Just a few years ago, all three would sound far-fetched. But cases like these have become common as elites in virtually every western country mount a panicked attempt to contain the rise of populism (the goal, in the words of a Google executive, is to render it a “hiccup”in history’s march towards progress).

Look at the case of Tommy Robinson, the British critic of Islam who was dragged through Britain’s courts on fuzzy contempt-of-court charges. Sentenced to an astonishing thirteen-month imprisonment, Robinson was eventually freed after a successful appeal and now awaits a final trial before Britain’s Attorney General. Shaky charges that have been successfully appealed were exploited to persecute a British citizen who was inconvenient to the establishment. And there’s still a further trial to come.

Then again, Britain is a country that routinely bans foreign politicians and media figures from the country for being too right-wing. Michael SavageGeert WildersLauren SouthernPamela Geller, and Robert Spencer all enjoy this dubious distinction. Theresa May, who was responsible for internal affairs and immigration when Spencer and Geller were banned, is now the Prime Minister.

But it’s not just Britain. Not only has Trump’s White House, supposedly an ally of populists, failed to publicly intervene on behalf of the American citizens banned from the U.K. for expressing populist viewpoints, but it hasn’t even investigated allegations that far-left Antifa activists were able to stop conservative Rebel Media personality Jack Buckbyfrom entering the country by spreading false criminal allegations.

Julian Assange, a left-libertarian may share little ideological ground with right-wing critics of Islam. But they all share at least one thing: persecution by western states coupled with anti-establishment political speech or activities. They are also targets of the security establishment — Assange because of leaks that have exposed their secrets, and the populists because they refuse to censor themselves to avoid angering Muslims. (The UK justified its attempted ban of Geert Wilders by arguing that his presence in the country could lead to “inter-faith violence.”)

We also see attacks on free speech, with governments and politicians across the west pressuring Silicon Valley to suppress its critics. An unaccountable, unelected elite can sweep away a person’s livelihood in minutes, and cut their political message off from millions of American citizens. As I wrote in my column two weeks ago, the overarching trend is the gradual destruction or delegitimization of every tool, digital or otherwise, that non-elites use to express their preferences. Does that sound like a free society, or a controlled one?

You don’t have to agree with any of the individuals or groups listed above to see that surveilling political parties, blocking journalists from entering countries, jailing critics of religion, upholding blasphemy laws and censoring the net is the behavior of authoritarian nations, not liberal democracies. Yet this is the disturbing pattern we now see in the west.

Worse, foreign authoritarian regimes now provide safe harbor for western dissidents, in the same way that the west does for foreign dissidents. Edward Snowden, accused of violating the U.S. Espionage Act of 1917 for blowing the whistle on the NSA’s mass surveillance of Americans, has for years resided safely in Russia, a country that persecutes and even kills its own journalists. Before that, he sought refuge in Hong Kong, a “Special Administrative Region” of the People’s Republic of China, an even more terrifyingly totalitarian state.

Will there now be a quid pro quo, with Russia and other authoritarian regimes protecting our dissidents while the west protects theirs? Or will western countries remain true to their liberal traditions, and stop its alarming attempts to surveil, suppress, and persecute a growing number of its own citizens? On present trends, a dark and dystopian future seems to loom on the horizon.

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. You can follow him on TwitterGab.ai and add him on Facebook. Email tips and suggestions to [email protected].

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Zuckerberg’s “War Face” Has Driven Key Executives Away, Stoked Tension With Sandberg

About a dozen senior or highly visible executives disclosed their resignations or left Facebook in 2018.

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Via Zerohedge


Earlier this year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gathered around 50 of his key executives and told them that the company was at war – more specifically, under siege from lawmakers, investors and angry users over the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal and Russian influence on the platform.

Zuckerberg, according to the Wall Street Journal, told his top lieutenants during that June meeting that while executives can move more slowly and methodically on key decisions during “peacetime,” he would be acting more decisively going forward, said people familiar with the remarks.

The result? Tension which has boiled over to the point where several key executives have left the country – as well as friction between Zuckerberg and longtime COO, Sheryl Sandberg.

The 34-year-old CEO believes Facebook didn’t move quickly enough at key moments this year and increasingly is pressing senior executives to “make progress faster” on resolving problems such as slowing user growth and securing the platform, said people familiar with the matter. Mr. Zuckerberg also at times has expressed frustration at how the company managed the waves of criticism it faced this year.

On Friday, that tension was on display when, during a question-and-answer session with employees at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., he blasted a fresh round of critical news coverage as “bullshit,” according to the people familiar with the remarks. –WSJ

One Facebook employee at the Friday session asked if the company could mitigate leaks by publishing internal reports on how frequently offenders are found and fired. While Zuckerberg said that Facebook does fire leakers, the root cause is “bad morale” thanks to negative press coverage.

And while the WSJ notes Zuckerberg has taken on ambitious annual goals, such as learning Mandarin and reading 25 books, this year his biggest challenge is fixing Facebook through his tougher management style, according to a person familiar with his thinking (so says the WSJ). Perhaps the Facebook CEO hired a drill sergeant to coach him on bringing out his inner-Alpha?

According to the Journal, Zuckerberg and Sandberg have had confrontations over his new management style, after she had long been afforded considerable autonomy over the company’s teams which handle communications and policy.

This spring, Mr. Zuckerberg told Ms. Sandberg, 49, that he blamed her and her teams for the public fallout over Cambridge Analytica, the research firm that inappropriately accessed private data on Facebook users and used it for political research, according to people familiar with the exchange.

Ms. Sandberg later confided in friends that the exchange rattled her, and she wondered if she should be worried about her job.

Mr. Zuckerberg also has told Ms. Sandberg she should have been more aggressive in allocating resources to review troublesome content on the site, said one person familiar with the matter, a problem that the company still struggles to fix. –WSJ

Meanwhile, Zuckerberg seems to be pleased of late with internal improvements, telling reporters last week that Sandberg is a “very important partner to me, and continues to be, and will continue to be.”

Privately, Zuckerberg has told executives that some of the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal was just “hysteria,” to which Facebook simply didn’t mount an effective response.

Clash of the tech titans

Zuckerberg famously has butted heads with the co-founders of photo-sharing app Instagram, over his desire to share user location data on the main Facebook platform in order to help better target ads. The now-resigned Instagram founders strongly opposed the idea, and abruptly left the company in September.

The founders of WhatsApp similarly bailed on Facebook after disagreements over how to best extract revenue from the messaging service, according to people familiar with the matter.

And most recently, was the departure of Oculus VR co-founder Brendan Iribe, who was forced out by Zuckerberg in part due to a disagreement over the future of the virtual-reality handset, the people said. The decision to leave was reportedly “mutual.”

All told, about a dozen senior or highly visible executives disclosed their resignations or left Facebook in 2018. In May, Facebook announced a major reshuffling of top product executives in a way that helped free up Mr. Zuckerberg to oversee a broader portfolio within the company.

This turmoil at the top of Facebook has made it difficult for the company to execute on some product decisions and shore up employee morale, which has been sinking over the last year along with the stock price, which has fallen 36% since its peak. Many employees are frustrated by the bad press and constant reorganizations, including of the security team, which can disrupt their work, according to current and former employees. –WSJ

Doing whatever it takes

Facebook has come under fire recently – most notably after a New York Times report that the company used GOP operatives to smear the company’s detractors and promote negative news about competitors Google and Apple.

When the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal broke – the resultant rebukes from Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google executives sent Zuckerberg ballistic. The Facebook CEO “later ordered his management team to use only Android phones —arguing that the operating system had far more users than Apple’s,” according to the Times.

Facebook then went on the offensive against the fellow tech giants.

On the advice of Joel Kaplan – a well-connected Republican friend, Bush administration official, and former Harvard classmate of Sandberg, Facebook began to go after Google and Apple.

Mr. Kaplan prevailed on Ms. Sandberg to promote Kevin Martin, a former Federal Communications Commission chairman and fellow Bush administration veteran, to lead the company’s American lobbying efforts. Facebook also expanded its work with Definers.

On a conservative news site called the NTK Network, dozens of articles blasted Google and Apple for unsavory business practices. One story called Mr. Cook hypocritical for chiding Facebook over privacy, noting that Apple also collects reams of data from users. Another played down the impact of the Russians’ use of Facebook.

The rash of news coverage was no accident: NTK is an affiliate of Definers, sharing offices and staff with the public relations firm in Arlington, Va. Many NTK Network stories are written by staff members at Definers or America Rising, the company’s political opposition-research arm, to attack their clients’ enemies. –NYT

Facebook has responded, initially saying they didn’t put out “fake news” against their competitors, and they had no idea what their marketing department was doing. On Friday, however, Sandberg said she took full responsibility for the actions of the communications team.

Facebook has tried to move forward following its various scandals; spearheading efforts to reign in data harvesting, and looking for someone to oversee its corporate, external and legal affairs.

Hopefully whoever is ultimately in charge of oversight won’t be scared away by Zuckerberg’s war face.

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The “Resistance” Struggles To Justify Support For Trump’s Prosecution Of Assange

When you find yourself supporting conflicting principles, it’s a sure sign that you were never guided by principle to begin with.

The Duran

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Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com:


Ever since suspicions were confirmed that the Trump administration is indeed working to prosecute and imprison WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for publishing authentic documents, the so-called “Resistance” has been struggling to explain exactly why it is so enthusiastically supportive of that agenda. And when I say struggling, I am being very, very generous.

When news broke that a court document copy-paste error had inadvertently exposed the fact that the Trump administration is pursuing an agenda which experts of diverse political persuasions agree would have devastating effects on the freedom of the press, #Resistance pundit and DC think tank operative Neera Tanden responded by tweeting, “Never mess with karma”. As of this writing if you do a Twitter search for the words “Assange” and “karma” together, you will come up with countless Democratic Party loyalists using that concept to justify their support for a Trump administration assault on the press that is infinitely more dangerous than the president being mean to Jim Acosta.

The trouble with that of course is that “karma”, as far as observable reality is concerned, is not an actual thing. It’s a Hindu religious concept that is supported by no more factual evidence than the Roman Catholic claim that a priest literally turns bread and wine into the body and blood of a Nazarene carpenter who died thousands of years ago. A Democratic pundit using the concept of “karma” to justify enthusiastic support for Trump’s fascistic attack on press freedoms is exactly the same as a Republican pundit using “God wills it” to justify the existence of poverty, and it is just as intellectually honest.

But it’s also the best argument these people have got.

I mean, think about it. There’s really no other way you can justify supporting a Trump administration agenda — an administration you claim to oppose — in a prosecution with legal implications that are severely detrimental to the free press, which you claim to support.

The only way to justify it is with some vague, abstract notion that Assange is just “getting what he deserves” since the 2016 WikiLeaks publications of Democratic Party likely contributed to Trump’s electoral victory over Hillary Clinton, and the only way to reify that vague, abstract notion is with an appeal to some imaginary metaphysical principle, i.e. karma.

But, again, that is not a thing. There is no invisible eight-armed deity floating around behind the scenes arbitrating and distributing the consequences of WikiLeaks drops, and there is no rational argument that the Trump administration prosecuting Assange is desirable because Assange “deserves” it. The fact of the matter is that these people are supporting Trump’s fascism in the most toxic ways possible, they are utterly incapable of defending that support with any intellectual honesty, and the self-proclaimed “Resistance” would be more aptly named “the Assistance”.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald described this phenomenon as follows:

But the grand irony is that many Democrats will side with the Trump DOJ over the Obama DOJ. Their emotional, personal contempt for Assange  – due to their belief that he helped defeat Hillary Clinton: the gravest crime  –  easily outweighs any concerns about the threats posed to press freedoms by the Trump administration’s attempts to criminalize the publication of documents.

This reflects the broader irony of the Trump era for Democrats. While they claim out of one side of their mouth to find the Trump administration’s authoritarianism and press freedom attacks so repellent, they use the other side of their mouth to parrot the authoritarian mentality of Jeff Sessions and Mike Pompeo that anyone who published documents harmful to Hillary or which have been deemed “classified” by the U.S. Government ought to go to prison.

…It is this utterly craven and authoritarian mentality that is about to put Democrats of all sorts in bed with the most extremist and dangerous of the Trump faction as they unite to create precedents under which the publication of information — long held sacrosanct by anyone caring about press freedoms — can now be legally punished.

And indeed this is exactly what has been happening. Check out the joyous celebrations in online comments sections from when the news broke that the Trump administration has brought sealed charges upon Assange (herehere, or here for example) for a taste of where the “blue wave” zeitgeist is at right now. Their hatred for Assange has overpowered not only their hatred for Trump, but the most important ways in which they are meant to be resisting him.

When you find yourself supporting conflicting principles, it’s a sure sign that you were never guided by principle to begin with.

And this is really the lesson we can take from all this. The noxious strain of American liberalism which promotes Russia conspiracy theories, supports the prosecution of government transparency advocates, and only attacks Trump as an idea rather than actually resisting his actual policies was never about any principle of any kind. There were preexisting agendas against Russia, alternative media, WikiLeaks, and government transparency long before Trump took office, and all of those agendas have been systematically advanced by the powerful using the “us vs them” herd mentality of the McResistance. These people aren’t supporting the prosecution of a leak publisher because of their ideological values, they are supporting it because that’s what powerful manipulators want them to do.

Trump’s despicable prosecution of Assange, and corporate liberalism’s full-throated support for it, has fully discredited all of mainstream US politics on both sides of the aisle. Nobody in that hot mess stands for anything. If you’re still looking to Trump or the Democrats to protect you from the rising tide of fascism, the time to make your exit is now.

*  *  *

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