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Post-Brexit EU: Between Regional Breakdown and Full-Blown Dictatorship

If the US cannot prevent EU disintegration it will aim to control Europe by dividing it into various micro blocs.

Andrew Korybko

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The people of the UK took the world by surprise when the majority of them democratically voted to ask their government to leave the EU. In the aftermath, a plethora of forecasts have been thrown around about the future of the CIA’s continental integrative project, with most analysts agreeing with one of two polar opposite predictions, namely that the EU must either enact wide-scale “democratic” reform or fully collapse.  Interestingly, the same assessment can also be levelled against the UK itself, thereby suggesting that two dissolution processes might be simultaneously underway.

The future state of affairs gets even more suspenseful when the views of international conspirator George Soros are taken into account. According to the multibillion-dollar financier of worldwide Colour Revolutions and close public asset of the US’ “deep state” apparatus (the permanent military-diplomatic-intelligence bureaucracies), “the disintegration of the EU (is) practically irreversible” unless “all of us who believe in the values and principles that the EU was designed to uphold…band together to save it by thoroughly reconstructing it”, with Soros being “convinced” that “more and more people” will support the latter scenario.

Doubling Down On The Dictatorship

Taking into consideration his eponymous foundation’s history of financing and organising serious domestic disturbances in targeted states, it can’t be discounted that Soros and his “deep state” backers will try to repeat this blueprint in Germany, France, and perhaps even the UK as well in a last-ditch effort to salvage their decades-long investment. The Eurocratic elites have already announced a plan to create an “EU Army”, which would serve the effect of fully trampling on the remnants of “national sovereignty” still present in the continental bloc, and it can be expected that any resistance that this plan comes up against from the patriotic citizenry will be confronted by pro-Brussels Colour Revolutions in whatever the given state(s) may be.

The resultant outcome would be the immediate creation of low-intensity Hybrid War tension within the most important EU states, a goal that the US has been working towards ever since it manufactured the Immigrant Crisis as a means of indefinitely perpetuating the viability of this post-modern asymmetrical regime change model. The practical effect of American-directed disorder in key EU countries would be to pressure any recalcitrant governments and/or influential politicians that are still remotely accountable to their electorate into submitting to the US’ anti-democratic will in pushing through a full-blown dictatorship to safeguard Washington’s treasured geopolitical construction.

From Dictatorship To Breakdown

The only structure-saving “reform” that the EU could realistically undertake at the moment is the doubling down of its authoritarian model in order to stamp out any remaining internal dissent that could one day (soon) transform into a series of member-wide exit referenda that emulate the Brexit results. While this appears to be the US’ preferred plan, it can’t be discounted that it will fail and that the EU’s dissolution in one way or another is inevitable with time. Should that come to pass, it’s unlikely that the consequences will be as geopolitically dramatic as some are saying they could be, such as a return to 28 separate and equally sovereign states. Instead, it’s much more probable that the US will adapt its strategy to hijack the disintegrative processes within the EU after it’s convinced that they’re irreversible, thus repeating the characteristic and regularly evidenced pattern of the American intelligence community attempting to exploit creatively every setback that it comes across.

Regionally Regrouping The Broken Bloc

Proceeding along the scenario branch that the EU is irrevocably broken and in the process of internal collapse, it’s foreseeable that it could fracture along very geographically distinct lines that partially overlap with what the author has previously identified to be some of NATO’s regional groupings. To modify the previous research for the present circumstances and to link emerging military configurations with ‘natural’ economic spaces, the following post-decentralization/dissolution EU regions are proposed:

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 6.44.04 PM

* Blue – The Viking Bloc: Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia

* Red – The Neo-Commonwealth: Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine

* Pink – The Central Core: Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Czech Republic

* Yellow – Western/Southern Europe; France, Spain, Portugal, Italy

* Brown – (Disorganized) Balkan Space: Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Serbia, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria

Furthermore, the following countries have the potential to fall into one or another grouping:

* Hungary/Slovakia – It’s uncertain at this time whether these two states would be aligned with the Central Core or Neo-Commonwealth, though there’s also the chance that Budapest could become its own regional leadership pole in attempting to geostrategically reconfigure the Imperial Hungarian lands from the Dual Monarchy period.

* Estonia/Latvia – While predicted to be part of the Viking Bloc (“Greater Scandinavia”), they might eventually come under Polish-led influence if the Neo-Commonwealth is ambitious enough and succeeds in besting the Swedes.

* Czech Republic – A similar situation also holds true for Prague, which while more structurally integrated with Germany (aside from the Visegrad Group), could also possibly come under Warsaw’s sway if Poland plays its cards right.

* Moldova/Romania – There’s no telling whether Chisinau will end up with the Neo-Commonwealth or if Romania (which could also join the grouping, but at the expense of Warsaw weakening its centralized grip on it) integrates with or outright annexes its culturally affiliated neighbor, thereby placing it under the (disorganized) Balkan Space or an expanded Polish-led zone.

* Greece – The final relevant state that has yet to be categorised is Greece, which is pretty much a wild card between Western/Southern Europe and the (disorganised) Balkan Space.

Lead From Behind

Each of the geographically distinct European groupings can operate with relative strategic autonomy in their political, economic, and military affairs, all of which are expected to be influenced to a large extent by a Brexit-adapted US intelligence community. The age-old maxim of “divide and rule” is veritably appropriate in this prospective construction, where each of the regional blocs still retains a loosely decentralised link with one another, though their members primarily gravitate around the indisputable core states that glue their neighbours together (with the exception being a massively expanded Neo-Commonwealth that sub-divides leadership between Poland-Romania-Hungary).

To put it in more actionable terms, the five post-Brexit regional blocs that could develop in a non-reformed, decentralized EU would likely remain connected by economic and political links (whether their members formally remain part of the EU or not), but their military relations will be more attuned to their local situations and less focused on the continent as a whole. American-controlled NATO would manage each of these relatively disconnected military formations and serve as the coordinating mechanism between them.

The US can then offset whatever grand strategic losses it theoretically stands to incur from an EU “collapse” by reformatting its continental control scheme from managing the super-regional EU to multitasking between a handful of sub-regional successors. As per the US’ recent reliance on regional leaders to “outsource” its unipolar ‘responsibilities’, the post-Brexit “Lead From Behind” stratagem in these examined circumstances will utilise Washington’s close relations with each of the following states:

* Sweden (Viking Bloc)

* Poland (Neo-Commonwealth)

* Germany (Central Core)

* France (Western-Southern Europe)

The Balkan Black Hole

The only discussed region without any clear leader, let alone one capable of exercising hegemony over the entire given space on behalf of the US’ Lead From Behind interests, is the Balkans. There’s a chance that Romania might exclude itself from this broad regional construction through a disinterested policy of “self-isolation” in favour of focusing more strongly on looking eastward by integrating with or outright annexing Moldova and/or being the US’ chief naval proxy in the Western Black Sea region. Greece, for its part, has never been too involved in Balkan affairs, and aside from its shared Orthodox heritage with most of the region, stands out as somewhat of a cultural-historical anomaly that’s linked to its northern neighbours mostly through its shared peninsular geography.

Having addressed these two Balkan “outliers”, it’s now time to critically turn the research’s attention to the remaining regional states. Serbia is the only one with the most recent history of leadership, but for a variety of reasons that include its American-pressured ‘voluntary’ de-militarisation after the Bulldozer Revolution to the sub-optimal relations that it has with most of its neighbours, Belgrade is no longer capable of exercising its historical role. In a sense, without a regional leader such as the US’ other proxy counterparts elsewhere throughout Europe, one could say that the Balkans would remain a “disorganised space” in the event of a continental-wide decentralisation along the lines of the prospective one that’s being presently discussed, though that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any other countries that aspire for regional leadership, however partial it may be.

Three of the US’ closest European allies salivate at the chance of restoring their fascist-era fiefdoms, and it’s forecast that they’ll use one means or another (whether military tactics, strategic subversion, and/or economic enticement) to recreate the zones of control that they had last occupied under the Nazis’ blessing. These disruptor states and their targets of focus are:

* Croatia in the Muslim-Croat portion of Bosnia and perhaps even one day in Vojvodina;

* Bulgaria in the eastern half of the Republic of Macedonia;

* and Albania in a sliver of Montenegro, the Serbian civilisational cradle of Kosovo, and the western half of the Republic of Macedonia.

The specific scenarios that could be advanced in any of these cases are thoroughly explored in the Balkan series of the author’s “Law Of Hybrid War” research at Oriental Review, and the reader is warmly welcomed to familiarise themselves with this work if they’re interested in the means by which the US could disrupt this region. At this time, however, it’s more topical to move on to the final part of the present analysis in examining the interests that the unipolar and multipolar worlds have in the EU’s internal reorganisation or collapse.

Back-To-Back: Unipolar vs Multipolar Interests

Contrary to the prevailing assessment offered by many commentators, the US is not guaranteed to find itself in a strategically impossible situation if the EU regionally decentralizes or dissolves, nor are Russia and China automatically bound to reap a host of strategic dividends from this scenario, either. Let’s take a look at what each side stands to both gain and lose if this development transpires:

US:

Washington’s chief interest in Europe is to keep the continent under its control, with the US employing NATO as a military occupation force and the TTIP as its economic equivalent. The latter is particularly important nowadays since its successful conclusion would wed Washington and Brussels at the hip, making it impossible for one or the other to independently negotiate any future free trade agreements without its partner. This is strategically pertinent in preventing the EU from signing such a deal with Russia and/or China (perhaps as part of the Grand Eurasian Free Trade Area, GEFTA) and thereby one day replacing unipolar Atlanticist economic influence with its multipolar Continentalist counterpart.

It’s infinitely easier for the US to use a single piece of trade legislation to control its subservient bloc as opposed to reaching upwards of 28 separate agreements for the same purpose, and such an integrated multilateral entity as the EU is much easier to incorporate into NATO in constructing a full-spectrum military-political-economic Lead From Behind superstructure. On the other hand, if a unified Europe was successful in casting off its unipolar chains of hegemony (perhaps through the unprecedented historical opportunity that Russia and China’s Balkan Megaprojects could provide), then it would rapidly transform into one of the US’ chief economic competitors and present an unparalleled threat to the unipolar world order.

For reasons of “strategic insurance”, the US establishment might gradually become comfortable with accepting a decentralised or outright disbanded EU if it felt that this was either inevitable or preferable to a multipolar-leaning transatlantic “partner”. While the US would have difficulty retaining the continental-wide “unity” of its NATO pet project and integrating its military proxy into its economic-political one, it might find it circumstantially suitable to just abandon this ambitious project and focus instead on optimising the regional blocs that (it helps) sprout up in the EU’s wake instead. If managed properly, they could provide a much leaner, adaptable, and locally focused point of unipolar power projection for the US than the clumsily large and notoriously inefficient EU-NATO hybrid proxy.

Moreover, as was predicted by the author in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, the UK has a chance to return to its historical divide-and-rule “balancing” role vis-à-vis Continental Europe, but this time on the US’ behalf. It could synergise its geostrategic and prospectively pro-EuroCautionary approaches with the US’ Fifth Generational Warfare weaponization of historical memory, the latter of which could be used to masterfully exploit the historical tensions/rivalries between some of the regional blocs and their respective cores in order to disrupt potential multipolar strategic advances in some of them and preempt the reconsolidation of a newly pro-Eurasian EU.

Russia and China:

Looking at everything from the other perspective, Russia and China’s interests in a unified Europe are similar to the US’, albeit for different reasons. While the US favours an integrated EU in order to facilitate reaching the restrictive TTIP “trade” agreement as a means of ‘locking out’ Russia and China, these two multipolar leaders similarly find it preferable to deal with one single negotiating partner instead of 28 separate ones but as a way of advancing GEFTA. The only circumstance in which either of them would strategically stand to gain from the EU’s regional decentralisation or outright dissolution in this regard would be if the entity was on the brink of clinching TTIP, and this was the only alternative to safeguarding their market access to the bloc and retaining hope of reaching GEFTA-like agreements with its quasi-independent regional remnants.

Likewise, a disunited EU is much more difficult to comprehensively integrate into NATO in forming the US’ envisioned Lead From Behind superstructure, but it also makes it more challenging for Russia to capitalise off of its diplomatic-economic advances with the Central Core and Western-Southern European states and leaders (Germany, France, Italy) in exercising an advantage over the rest of the bloc. The same obstacle can also be identified when it comes to China doing the same with the Neo-Commonwealth and Balkan Space states that it has recently upped its multilateral engagement with via the CEE framework. Without an integrated EU, it’s hard for the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership to apply its members’ advantages in the Western and Eastern reaches of the continent, respectively, in promoting a comprehensive multipolar policy towards Europe.

That’s not to say that there aren’t any benefits in seeing the EU fall apart, however, since to return to what was mentioned at the beginning of the preceding paragraph, there’s a lot that can be gained in delinking NATO from any economic-political (governance) organisations, though only so long as the two (NATO and the regional leadership blocs) can be kept apart as long as possible. It might be impossible in the near-term to completely delink the two, but the best that can happen is that their relations do not intensify so as to reproduce several “mini-superstructures” (as in integrated Lead From Behind military-economic-political units) that optimise the US’ hostile unipolar agenda against Russia and China’s peaceful multipolar interests.

If NATO and the regional blocs don’t succeed in fully consolidating into a patchwork of highly efficient pro-American proxies, then it’ll be comparatively easier for these multipolar anchors to use their own “Lead From Behind” partners for streamlining constructive multilateral cooperation between themselves and the regional blocs, with Russia and China covering one another’s situational disadvantages (Russia in the Eastern Europe, China with Western Europe) with their respective strengths (the inverse of the aforementioned). This optimistic vision isn’t entirely certain, though, since it’s wholly contingent on whether or not the US instigates a significantly destabilising conflict in the Balkans, which in that case would totally offset the two multipolar mega-projects in the region and severely inhibit Russia and China’s engagement with the continent.

Concluding Thoughts

The Brexit sent shockwaves throughout the world and will likely go down in history as one of the most globally influential democratic votes ever held in modern times. In a single stroke, and proving that the pen is more powerful than the pencil, patriotic and pragmatic-minded citizens changed the course of European history by catalysing the long-overdue fundamental revision of the EU. With its first-ever ‘defection’, and having occurred amidst what persuasively looks to be a series of existential crises, the EU is venturing into uncharted territory and is bound to undergo massive changes in the near future.

As of now, and most clearly signalled by George Soros’ intimations about a “thorough reconstructing” of the EU that the Colour Revolution puppeteer is “convinced” that “more and more people” will support, it looks like the Eurocratic elite and their American “deep state” backers’ “Plan A” is to press for a full-blown dictatorship that permanently eliminates the possibility of any forthcoming exit referenda. Failing that, and faced with the otherwise imminent decentralisation or dissolution of the EU, it’s expected that the US will find a way to adapt to these processes by taking partial or full control of them for its own benefit, realistically leading to the formation of a network of regional Lead From Behind blocs that could function as the US’ “Plan B” in a post-Brexit European strategic environment.

It’s far too early to say which of these two scenarios will eventually transpire, or whether whatever happens will end up being to the ultimate benefit of the unipolar or multipolar worlds, but it can be confidently analysed that the EU is undergoing a series of major changes that will redefine its essence for the coming decades. Amidst each of these developments, and no matter which way they proceed, it can also be just as confidently stated that the US will feverishly try to find a way to maximise its own self-interests. This in turn means that while the decentralisation and/or collapse of the EU might be popularly applauded by all of those who genuinely favour democracy and the multipolar world, one mustn’t let their strategic guard down in believing this.

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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.

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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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