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Here’s why the whole Russiagate scenario set out in Trump Dossier is totally absurd

The Trump Dossier upon which the whole Russiagate scandal rests describes a process of decision making within the Russian government that bears no relation to reality, thereby proving itself a fake.

Alexander Mercouris

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It has become increasingly clear over the last two weeks that the amateur sleuths who are driving Russiagate are taking the Trump Dossier prepared by the British ex-MI6 officer Christopher Steele as their starting point.

This is despite the fact that the Trump Dossier is still “uncorroborated”, and has been trashed by seasoned intelligence professionals like former CIA Acting Assistant Director Michael Morell.

Right from the first moment the Trump Dossier was first published I speculated that it might be the original source of the ‘Russiagate’ story.  Here is what I wrote about it on 11th January 2017, immediately after it was published

The big question is not whether the facts in this dossier are true or not; it is the extent to which the paranoid claims made in the dossier have shaped and might even have been the origin for the whole Russian hacking scandal.

I say this because media reports confirm that the dossier or extracts from it have circulated amongst US politicians (including Hillary Clinton and John McCain), US intelligence agencies, and within the media for weeks if not months.  The earliest reports in the dossier are dated to July, which suggests that some of its claims – which include circumstantial details of who supposedly within the Russian government was behind the Clinton leaks – were already circulating early in the summer.  That is a very early point in the Russian hacking story, making it at least possible that the dossier at least influenced the thinking of some of the people in the US intelligence community and in the media who have been pushing the Russian hacking scandal most aggressively.

Many have remarked on the absence of evidence in the ONDI report which was published last Friday.  Even Masha Gessen – one of President Putin’s most relentless critics – has pointed this out.

Publication of this dossier looks like an attempt to provide “evidence” which the ODNI report failed to do.  If so then that at least gives rise to the possibility that the dossier is the “evidence” – or more correctly a part of the evidence – that formed the background to the ONDI report but which the ODNI report omitted.

Whatever the truth of this, the fact that an obviously concocted dossier like this has circulated for weeks if not months with its source apparently still considered “unimpeachable” and “reliable” by the West’s intelligence agencies shows how wildly paranoid and ignorant about Russia the West’s intelligence agencies and its politicians and journalists have become.

Fantasy has replaced truth, and it seems that a clever fabricator out to make money has successfully cashed in on it, quite possibly doing serious harm along the way.

The US investigative reporter Robert Parry is now saying the same thing: that the Trump Dossier is the document which provides the frame narrative for the whole Russiagate story, and this was also confirmed by the BBC article I discussed yesterday, which says the following

The roadmap for the investigation, publicly acknowledged now for the first time, comes from Christopher Steele, once of Britain’s secret intelligence service MI6.

As it happens I am far from sure that the actual investigation being carried out into the Russiagate claims by the FBI is using the Trump Dossier as its ‘roadmap’.  Contrary to what the BBC says I have never seen this “publicly acknowledged” anywhere.  However what is now indisputable is that the Democrats on the Senate and House Intelligence Committees are doing so, and that much of the media is following them.

This is extraordinary because even a cursory knowledge of how the Russian government operates ought to make it obvious that the scenario described in the Trump Dossier makes no sense, and is completely fantastic.

Briefly, the Trump Dossier’s story is that a furious Putin, who supposedly hates Hillary Clinton, was persuaded by his press secretary Dmitry Peskov and his Chief of Staff Sergey Ivanov to order an elaborate campaign to interfere in the US election in order to swing the election to Donald Trump over whom the Russians supposedly possess various forms of leverage, including blackmail film of his cavorting with prostitutes.

The Russian intelligence officials supposedly carrying out Putin’s orders are then supposed to have closely coordinated their actions with Trump’s campaign.  They are also supposed to have discussed it with each other and with all sorts of other people who passed on information about these conversations to the Trump Dossier’s compiler, Christopher Steele.

If one is to believe the Trump Dossier, the campaign to meddle in the election was also the subject of furious argument and recrimination within the Kremlin itself, with people like Ivanov, Peskov, Medvedev and Rosneft CEO Sechin complaining about it to each other and to various intimates, so that word of their arguments also found its way to Christopher Steele.

The Trump Dossier provides a phantasmagoric description of cloak and dagger meetings between Russian intelligence officials and Trump campaign associates in Moscow, Prague and other places, and of discussions of senior Russian officials with each other and of the recriminations which supposedly passed between them as the extent of Russian meddling in the US election supposedly became public.

There is so much wrong with this whole scenario that it is difficult know where to start, but a good point might be to question the whole starting thesis that President Putin “hates” Hillary Clinton.

There is virtually no evidence of this.  The origins of this claim appear to be a comment of Putin’s made at the time of the election protests in Russia in December 2011.  Putin as reported by Reuters said the following

She (Hillary Clinton – AM) set the tone for some opposition activists, gave them a signal, they heard this signal and started active work

What a politician says during an election is not usually taken too seriously, and this comment scarcely seems to confirm the thesis that Putin “hates” Hillary Clinton.  By the standards of what Western leaders regularly say about Putin it comes across as rather temperate.  Compare it for example with Hillary Clinton’s comparison in March 2014 of Putin with Hitler.

The claim that Putin “hates” Hillary Clinton is anyway at odds with a far more recent and much more thought through comment Putin made about her at the SPIEF conference in St. Petersburg last June, which because it hardly supports the claim Putin “hates” Hillary Clinton has gone almost completely unreported

I worked with Bill Clinton, although for a very short time, and we had a very good relationship. I can even say that I am grateful to him for certain moments as I was entering the big stage in politics. On several occasions, he showed signs of attention, respect for me personally, as well as for Russia. I remember this and I am grateful to him.

About Ms Clinton. Perhaps she has her own view on the development of Russian-US relations. You know, there is something I would like to draw [your] attention to, which has nothing to do with Russian-US relations or with national politics. It is related, rather, to personnel policy.

In my experience, I have often seen what happens with people before they take on a certain job and afterward. Often, you cannot recognise them, because once they reach a new level of responsibility they begin to talk and think differently, they even look different. We act on the assumption that the sense of responsibility of the US head of state, the head of the country on which a great deal in the world depends today, that this sense of responsibility will encourage the newly elected president to cooperate with Russia and, I would like to repeat, build a more secure world.

These remarks do not suggest any hatred for Hillary Clinton.  Spoken at a time when the universal assumption was that Hillary Clinton would win the US Presidential election, they suggest on the contrary a willingness to work with her, a readiness to disregard her harsh anti-Russian election rhetoric, and a hope that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, would exercise a restraining influence over her.

Putting aside the fact that there is no real evidence that Putin “hates” Hillary Clinton, Putin at the time of the US election had been continuously at the top of the Russian power structure for 17 years, ever since Boris Yeltsin appointed him Russia’s Prime Minister on 9th August 1999.  Over that long period Putin has gained immense experience and knowledge of politics, including of US politics.  No one moreover seriously doubts that Putin is also highly intelligent and well-informed, and is able to put this experience and knowledge to good use.

It beggars belief that such an experienced and knowledgeable person as Putin was in 2016 would seriously believe that Russia could influence a US Presidential election so as to effect its outcome.  That by the way is something which no outside power has ever previously managed to do.  Putin would surely know such a thing was impossible, and that it would be completely counter-productive and extremely dangerous to try it.

Let us assume however that Putin acted completely contrary to what we know of his background and character, and nonetheless ordered Russia’s intelligence agencies to meddle in the US election in order to act out some feud he has against Hillary Clinton.

It beggars belief that Russia’s intelligence agencies would agree.  Their chiefs – Patrushev, Ivanov, Fradkov and Bortnikov, all experienced intelligence professionals and like Putin all members of Russia’s Security Council, together with General Shoigu, who is not only a member of Russia’s Security Council but who as Russia’s Defence Minister has overall charge of the Russian military’s main intelligence agency the GRU – would undoubtedly have told Putin it couldn’t be done, and that it would be extremely dangerous to try.

Let us nonetheless go on to assume – ever more farfetched though these assumptions become – that Putin acted even further against his known background and character, and decided to ignore their advice, and ordered them to conduct the operation regardless.

it beggars belief that they would not in that case have insisted on having his order formally debated by Russia’s Security Council, Russia’s most important policy making body, which significantly finds no mention in the Trump Dossier at all.  They would have been bound to do this if only to safeguard their positions when the operation went wrong – as it was bound to do – by putting it on formal record during the Security Council meeting that they opposed the order.

The Security Council is in theory an advisory body, and Putin could in theory have refused to convene it and have his order debated there.  However that would almost certainly have provoked a crisis at the heart of the Russian government, and there is no evidence that ever happened.  In practice it is inconceivable that an order of such magnitude would not have been discussed by the Security Council.

At that point Putin would have encountered the collective opposition of the entire Security Council, which includes people like Prime Minister Medvedev and Foreign Minister Lavrov who speak English and who know the US well, and who would also have told him what he wanted couldn’t be done, and that it would be extremely dangerous to try

Putin has been Russia’s leader for as long as he has precisely because he heeds the advice and warnings of his experts, and is careful to ensure the prior backing of the rest of Russia’s political leadership for his decisions.  It is precisely because Putin acts in this way that he has a loyal and disciplined government behind him.

Conceivably Putin could have cast all this aside and in a fit of madness struck out on his own, ignoring what would almost certainly have been the collective opposition of the country’s entire political and national security leadership in order to carry out a quixotic quest to stop Hillary Clinton from being elected.  However had he done such a thing he would have risked a government crisis and furious recriminations when it all went wrong, which would almost certainly have spilled over into public argument as does occasionally happen in Russia.  That there is no evidence of anything like this happening is the surest sign it didn’t happen at all.

As it happens this focus on Putin is anyway completely misplaced.  If the the Russians did carry out hacks of the computers of the DNC and of John Podesta then the whole Trump Dossier/Russiagate story becomes even more surreal, since there is actually no need to introduce Putin to explain the hacks.

Russian intelligence would not have needed an order from Putin to hack John Podesta or the DNC.  At a time of extreme tension in US-Russian relations, with the militaries of the two countries cranking up towards a potentially disastrous face-off in Syria, the entirety of Russia’s mighty foreign policy and intelligence establishment would have been working overtime trying to find out what the policies of the US after the election would be.  Ambassador Kislyak together with the diplomats and spies in his embassy would have been trying hard to build as many contacts with both the Hillary Clinton and the Donald Trump camps as they could, and Russian intelligence would have been pulling out all the stops to gather all the intelligence on Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and their associates that it could.

Quite possibly this would have included reading the DNC’s and John Podesta’s emails.  Since both had obvious relevance to an information gathering effort intended to ascertain the future policies of a Hillary Clinton administration, it is easy to see why Russian intelligence might have wanted to read them, and it would not have needed an order from Putin for it to try to do so.

Conceivably the evidence of hacking by Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear discovered by CrowdStrike is evidence of this, though the crude way in which those hacks were done suggests they may actually have been the work of someone else.  Russian intelligence would hardly have been the only intelligence service trying to find out as much information about Hillary Clinton (and Donald Trump) as possible, and besides there is reason to think the Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear hacks were the work of private individuals.

In saying all this I wish to make it clear that I do not know for a fact that Russian intelligence did obtain the DNC’s and John Podesta’s emails.  My point is that they would not have needed an order from Putin to try to do so, since trying to obtain those emails would have been a normal part of their work, and there is no reason to introduce an angry and vengeful Putin to explain them doing it.

As for the question of whether Russian intelligence might have leaked the emails, the only possible scenario where they might have done so would have been if they had found in the emails – obtained as a result of an entirely conventional intelligence gathering operation almost certainly not ordered by Putin himself – things that were so damaging to Hillary Clinton that their effect on the election if they were published could be absolutely guaranteed.

At that point Russian intelligence might conceivably have reported this finding to Putin and Russia’s Security Council, and have asked for permission to publish the emails.  However given Russia’s longstanding policy of not interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, and the extremely high political risks for Russia of publishing the emails, it would still even in those circumstances have been highly unlikely that Putin or the Security Council would have granted Russian intelligence permission to publish the emails.

Which in turn brings us to the contents of the emails themselves.  The actual content of the DNC and Podesta emails hardly fits the criteria of something so damaging that it would be guaranteed to effect the outcome of the election if it were published.  Putin himself made this very point in an interview he gave to Bloomberg on 5th September 2016

I could never even imagine that such information would be of interest to the American public or that the campaign headquarters of one of the candidates – in this case, Mrs. Clinton – apparently worked for her, rather than for all the Democratic Party candidates in an equal manner. I could never assume that anybody would find it interesting. Thus, in view of what I have said, we could not officially hack it. You know, it would require certain intuition and knowledge of the U.S. domestic policy peculiarities. I am not sure that even our experts from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have such intuition.

Putin is absolutely right.  Not only would it have required profound knowledge of US politics – knowledge which the Russians almost certainly don’t have – to see why the contents of the DNC and Podesta emails might be damaging to Hillary Clinton, but it is actually doubtful that the contents of the emails were in fact especially damaging to Hillary Clinton.  Certainly no polling evidence I have seen has proved conclusively that they were.

Given this uncertainty, it is very difficult to believe that the Russians would have taken on themselves the immense risk of meddling in the election by publishing the emails, and of course the people who actually did publish the emails – Julian Assange and Wikileaks, together with ambassador Craig Murray – categorically deny that they did.

The BBC article I discussed yesterday reports former Obama administration officials complaining that the FBI is “fumbling” its inquiry because “The FBI doesn’t know about Russia” and cannot “see, let alone understand, the bigger picture”.

On the contrary it is the “bigger picture” the Trump Dossier gets hopelessly wrong, and which immediately exposes it as a fake.

The Trump Dossier’s baroque picture of the Russian decision making process bears some resemblance to the chaotic way the Russian government operated back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when sinister figures like the oligarch Boris Berezovsky and Boris Yeltsin’s bodyguard General Korzhakov wielded vast power outside Russia’s formal state structures.  That of course was the period when Christopher Steele, the Trump Dossier’s compiler, was working in Moscow for MI6, and when he formed his ideas about Russia.

However the Trump Dossier bears no resemblance to the way Russia’s government operates today.  Anyone who follows Russian affairs at all closely and whose opinions are not blinded by prejudice can see that immediately.  Unfortunately it seems that such people in the West are in short supply.

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The real reason Western media & CIA turned against Saudi MBS

The problem with MBS isn’t that he is a mass murdering war criminal, it is that he is too “independent” for the United States’ liking.

RT

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Via RT…


Forces are aligning against Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, lead by elements within the CIA and strong players in the mainstream media. But what is really behind this deterioration in relationship, and what are its implications?

Following the brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, western media and various entities, including the CIA, appear to have turned their back on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS). In response to the scandal, the Guardian released a video which its celebutante, Owen Jones, captioned“Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest threats on Earth. Time to stop propping up its repulsive regime.”

The Guardian was not alone in its condemnation. “It’s high time to end Saudi impunity,” wrote Hana Al-Khamri in Al-Jazeera. “It’s time for Saudi Arabia to tell the truth on Jamal Khashoggi,” the Washington Post’s Editorial Board argued. Politico called it “the tragedy of Jamal Khashoggi.”

Even shadowy think-tanks like the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Atlantic Council released articles criticising Saudi Arabia in the wake of Khashoggi’s death.

A number of companies began backing away from Saudi money after the journalist’s death, including the world’s largest media companies such as the New York Times, the Economist’s editor-in-chief Zanny Minton Beddoes, Arianna Huffington, CNN, CNBC, the Financial Times, Bloomberg, Google Cloud CEO, just to name a few.

The CIA concluded that MBS personally ordered Khashoggi’s death, and was reportedly quite open in its provision of this assessment. Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the UN, also took time out of his schedule to express concern over Saudi Arabia’s confirmation of the killing.

At the time of the scandal, former CIA director John Brennan went on MSNBC to state that the Khashoggi’s death would be the downfall of MBS. Furthermore, the US Senate just voted in favour of ending American involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen (a somewhat symbolic victory, though this is a topic for another article), but nonetheless was a clear stab at MBS personally.

The only person who appeared to continue to uphold America’s unfaltering support for MBS, even after all the publicly made evidence against MBS, was the US president himself. So after years of bombarding Yemen, sponsoring terror groups across the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific and beyond, why is it only now that there has been mounting opposition to Saudi Arabia’s leadership? Let’s just bear in mind that western media had spent years investing in a heavy PR campaign to paint MBS as a “reformer.”

Former national security adviser under Barack Obama’s second term, Susan Rice, wrote an article in the New York Times, in which she called MBS a “partner we can’t depend on.” Rice concludes that MBS is “not and can no longer be viewed as a reliable partner of the United States and our allies.” But why is this? Is it because MBS is responsible for some of the most egregious human rights abuses inside his own kingdom as well as in Yemen? Is it because of MBS’ support for groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda? No, according to Rice, we “should not rupture our important relationship with the kingdom, but we must make it clear it cannot be business as usual so long as Prince Mohammad continues to wield unlimited power.”

One will observe that the latter segment of Rice’s article almost mirrors former CIA director Brennan’s word on MSNBC word for word who stated that:

“I think ultimately this is going to come out. And it’s very important for us to maintain the relations with Saudi Arabia. And if it’s Mohammed bin Salman who’s the cancer here, well, we need to be able to find ways to eliminate the cancer and to move forward with this relationship that is critical to regional stability and our national interests.”

In reality, this is probably the issue that western media and government advisors have taken up with MBS. Aside from the fact he allegedly held a huge hand in the brutal murder of one of their own establishment journalists (Saudi Arabia reportedly tortured and killed another journalist not long after Khashoggi, but western media was eerily silent on this incident) MBS is not opposed for his reckless disregard for human rights. With insight into Rice’s mindset, we actually learn that if the US were to punish MBS, he would be likely to “behave more irresponsibly to demonstrate his independence and exact retribution against his erstwhile Western partners.”

You see, the problem with MBS isn’t that he is a mass murdering war criminal, it is that he is too “independent” for the United States’ liking.

Last week, Saudi Arabia and the other major oil producers met in Vienna at the year’s final big OPEC meeting of the year. As Foreign Policy notes, Saudi Arabia remains the largest oil producer inside OPEC but has to contend with the US and Russia who are “pumping oil at record levels.” Together, the three countries are the world’s biggest oil producers, meaning any coordinated decision made between these three nations can be somewhat monumental.

However, it appears that one of these three nations will end up drawing the short end of the stick as the other two begin forming a closer alliance. As Foreign Policy explains:

“But Saudi Arabia has bigger game in mind at Vienna than just stabilizing oil prices. Recognizing that it can’t shape the global oil market by itself anymore but rather needs the cooperation of Russia, Saudi Arabia is hoping to formalize an ad hoc agreement between OPEC and Moscow that began in 2016, a time when dirt-cheap oil also posed a threat to oil-dependent regimes. That informal agreement expires at the end of the year, but the Saudis would like to make Russia’s participation with the cartel more permanent.”

Russian officials have been signalling their intention to formalise this agreement for quite some time now. Given the hysteria in western media about any and all things Russian, it is not too much of a stretch to suggest that this is the kind of news that is not sitting too well with the powers-that-be.

Earlier this year, Russia and Saudi Arabia announced that it would “institutionalize” the two-year-old bilateral agreement to coordinate oil production targets in order to maintain an edge on the global market.

While US president Trump has been supportive and incredibly defensive of MBS during this “crisis”, the truth is that the US only has itself to blame. It was not all too long ago that Trump announced that he had told Saudi King Salman that his kingdom would not last two weeks without US support.

Saudi Arabia is learning for themselves quite quickly that, ultimately, it may pay not to have all its eggs in one geopolitical superpower basket.

Saudi Arabia has been increasingly interested in Moscow since King Salman made a historic visit to Moscow in October 2017. While Trump has openly bragged about his record-breaking arms deals with the Saudis, the blunt truth is that the $110 billion arms agreements were reportedly only ever letters of interest or intent, but not actual contracts. As such, the US-Saudi arms deal is still yet to be locked in, all the while Saudi Arabia is negotiating with Russia for its S-400 air defence system. This is, as the Washington Post notes, despite repeated US requests to Saudi Arabia for it disavow its interest in Russia’s arms.

The economic threat that an “independent” Saudi Arabia under MBS’ leadership poses to Washington runs deeper than meets the eye and may indeed have a domino effect. According to CNN, Russia and Saudi Arabia “are engaged in an intense battle over who will be the top supplier to China, a major energy importer with an insatiable appetite for crude.”

The unveiling of China’s petro-yuan poses a major headache for Washington and its control over Saudi Arabia as well.According to Carl Weinberg, chief economist and managing director at High-Frequency Economics, China will “compel”Saudi Arabia to trade oil in Chinese yuan instead of US dollars. One must bear in mind that China has now surpassed the US as the “biggest oil importer on the planet,” these direct attacks on the US dollar will have huge implications for its current world reserve status.

If Saudi Arabia jumps on board China’s petro-yuan, the rest of OPEC will eventually follow, and the US might be left with no choice but to declare all of these countries in need of some vital freedom and democracy.

Therefore, ousting MBS and replacing him with a Crown Prince who doesn’t stray too far from the tree that is US imperialism may put a dent in pending relationships with Saudi Arabia and Washington’s adversaries, Russia and China.

Once we get over the certainty that the US media and the CIA are not against MBS for his long-list of human rights abuses, the question then becomes: why – why now, and in this manner, have they decided to put the spotlight on MBS and expose him exactly for what he is.

Clearly, the driving force behind this media outrage is a bit more complex than first meets the eye.

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The Indiscreet Charm of the Gilets Jaunes

Nothing scares the Identity Politics Left quite like an actual working class uprising.

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Authored (satirically) by CJ Hopkins via The Unz Review:


So it appears the privatization of France isn’t going quite as smoothly as planned. As I assume you are aware, for over a month now, the gilets jaunes (or “yellow vests”), a multiplicitous, leaderless, extremely pissed off, confederation of working class persons, have been conducting a series of lively protests in cities and towns throughout the country to express their displeasure with Emmanuel Macron and his efforts to transform their society into an American-style neo-feudal dystopia. Highways have been blocked, toll booths commandeered, luxury automobiles set on fire, and shopping on the Champs-Élysées disrupted. What began as a suburban tax revolt has morphed into a bona fide working class uprising.

It took a while for “the Golden Boy of Europe” to fully appreciate what was happening. In the tradition of his predecessor, Louis XVI, Macron initially responded to the gilets jaunes by inviting a delegation of Le Monde reporters to laud his renovation of the Elysée Palace, making the occasional condescending comment, and otherwise completely ignoring them. That was back in late November. Last Saturday, he locked down central Paris, mobilized a literal army of riot cops, “preventatively arrested” hundreds of citizens, including suspected “extremist students,” and sent in the armored military vehicles.

The English-language corporate media, after doing their best not to cover these protests (and, instead, to keep the American and British publics focused on imaginary Russians), have been forced to now begin the delicate process of delegitimizing the gilets jaunes without infuriating the the entire population of France and inciting the British and American proletariats to go out and start setting cars on fire. They got off to a bit of an awkward start.

For example, this piece by Angelique Chrisafis, The Guardian‘s Paris Bureau Chief, and her Twitter feed from the protests last Saturday. Somehow (probably a cock-up at headquarters), The Guardian honchos allowed Chrisafis to do some actual propaganda-free reporting (and some interviews with actual protesters) before they caught themselves and replaced her with Kim Willsher, who resumed The Guardian‘s usual neoliberal establishment-friendly narrative, which, in this case, entailed dividing the protesters into “real” gilets jaunes and “fake” gilet jaunes, and referring to the latter fictional group as “thuggish, extremist political agitators.”

By Sunday, the corporate media were insinuating that diabolical Russian Facebook bots had brainwashed the French into running amok, because who else could possibly be responsible? Certainly not the French people themselves! The French, as every American knows, are by nature a cowardly, cheese-eating people, who have never overthrown their rightful rulers, or publicly beheaded the aristocracy. No, the French were just sitting there, smoking like chimneys, and otherwise enjoying their debt-enslavement and the privatization of their social democracy, until they unsuspectingly logged onto Facebook and … BLAMMO, the Russian hackers got them!

Bloomberg is reporting that French authorities have opened a probe into Russian interference (in the middle of which report, for no apparent reason, a gigantic photo of Le Pen is featured, presumably just to give it that “Nazi” flavor). According to “analysis seen by The Times,” Russia-linked social media accounts have been “amplifying” the “chaos” and “violence” by tweeting photos of gilets jaunes who the French police have savagely beaten or gratuitiously shot with “less-than-lethal projectiles.” “Are nationalists infiltrating the yellow vests?” the BBC Newsnight producers are wondering. According to Buzzfeed’s Ryan Broderick, “a beast born almost entirely from Facebook” is slouching toward … well, I’m not quite sure, the UK or even, God help us, America! And then there’s Max Boot, who is convinced he is being personally persecuted by Russian agents like Katie Hopkins, James Woods, Glenn Greenwald, and other high-ranking members of a worldwide conspiracy Boot refers to as the “Illiberal International” (but which regular readers of my column will recognize as the “Putin-Nazis“).

And, see, this is the problem the corporate media (and other staunch defenders of global neoliberalism) are facing with these gilets jaunes protests. They can’t get away with simply claiming that what is happening is not a working class uprising, so they have been forced to resort to these blatant absurdities. They know they need to delegitimize the gilets jaunes as soon as possible — the movement is already starting to spread — but the “Putin-Nazi” narrative they’ve been using on Trump, Corbyn, and other “populists” is just not working.

No one believes the Russians are behind this, not even the hacks who are paid to pretend they do. And the “fascism” hysteria is also bombing. Attempts to portray the gilets jaunes as Le Pen-sponsored fascists blew up in their faces. Obviously, the far-Right are part of these protests, as they would be in any broad working class uprising, but there are far too many socialists and anarchists (and just regular pissed-off working class people) involved for the media to paint them all as “Nazis.”

Which is not to say that the corporate media and prominent public intellectuals like Bernard-Henri Lévy will not continue to hammer away at the “fascism” hysteria, and demand that the “good” and “real” gilets jaunes suspend their protests against Macron until they have completely purged their movement of “fascists,” and “extremists,” and other dangerous elements, and have splintered it into a number of smaller, antagonistic ideological factions that can be more easily neutralized by the French authorities … because that’s what establishment intellectuals do.

We can expect to hear this line of reasoning, not just from establishment intellectuals like Lévy, but also from members of the Identity Politics Left, who are determined to prevent the working classes from rising up against global neoliberalism until they have cleansed their ranks of every last vestige of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, transphobia, and so on. These leftist gatekeepers have been struggling a bit to come up with a response to the gilets jaunes … a response that doesn’t make them sound like hypocrites. See, as leftists, they kind of need to express their support for a bona fide working class uprising. At the same time, they need to delegitimize it, because their primary adversaries are fascism, racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and assorted other isms and phobias, not the neoliberal ruling classes.

Nothing scares the Identity Politics Left quite like an actual working class uprising. Witnessing the furious unwashed masses operating out there on their own, with no decent human restraint whatsoever, Identity Politics Leftists feel a sudden overwhelming urge to analyze, categorize, organize, sanitize, and otherwise correct and control them.

They can’t accept the fact that the actual, living, breathing working classes are messy, multiplicitous, inconsistent, and irreducible to any one ideology. Some of them are racists. Some are fascists. Others are communists, socialists, and anarchists. Many have no idea what they are, and don’t particularly care for any of these labels.This is what the actual working classes are … a big, contradictory collection of people who, in spite of all their differences, share one thing in common, that they are being screwed over by the ruling classes. I don’t know about you, but I consider myself one of them.

Where we go from here is anyone’s guess. According to The Guardian, as I am sitting here writing this, the whole of Europe is holding its breath in anticipation of the gilets jaunes’ response to Macron’s most recent attempt to appease them, this time with an extra hundred Euros a month, some minor tax concessions, and a Christmas bonus.

Something tells me it’s not going to work, but even if it does, and the gilets jaunes uprising ends, this messy, Western “populist” insurgency against global neoliberalism has clearly entered a new phase. Count on the global capitalist ruling classes to intensify their ongoing War on Dissent and their demonization of anyone opposing them (or contradicting their official narrative) as an “extremist,” a “fascist,” a “Russian agent,” and so on. I’m certainly looking forward to that, personally.

Oh… yeah, and I almost forgot, if you were wondering what you could get me for Christmas, I did some checking, and there appears to be a wide selection of yellow safety vests online for just a couple Euros.

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Washington Is Changing The World Order Against Its Own Interests

Any country sufficiently stupid to ally with the US is allied with a dead man walking.

Paul Craig Roberts

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Authored by Paul Craig Roberts:


The hubris and arrogance of Washington have been at work since the Clinton regime to destroy the power and relevance of the United States.

This website has an international audience. The most asked question from this audience is the world order. There is a realization that Washington’s control might weaken, a development people abroad see as hopeful. They ask me for verification of their hope.

Here is my answer:

The world order has already changed.  China has a larger and more powerful industrial and manufacturing based economy than the US, and China’s potential domestic consumer market is four times larger than that of the US. As economies are consumer based, China’s potential is an economy four times larger than that of the US.

Russia has a far more capable military with weapon systems unmatched by the US. The US is drowning in debt, and the illegal and irresponsible sanctions that Washington tries to impose on others are driving the world’s largest countries away from the use of the US dollar as world reserve currency and away from Western clearance systems such as SWIFT.  The United States already has one foot in the grave.  Any country sufficiently stupid to ally with the US is allied with a dead man walking.

President Eisenhower, a five-star general, warned Americans 57 years ago to no effect that the military/security complex was already a threat to the American people’s ability to control their government. Today the military/security complex is the Government. As Udo Ulfkotte documented in his book, Journalists for Hire: How the CIA buys the News—no you can’t buy a copy unless you can find a used copy in German in a German book store, the CIA has seen to that—journalism independent of official explanations no longer exists in the Western world.

Much of the world does not understand this. Aside from the material interests of Russian and Chinese capitalists, a portion of the youth of both superpowers, and also even in Iran, have succumbed to brainwashing by American propaganda. Gullible beyond belief, they are more loyal to America than they are to their own countries.

The United States itself is extremely unsuccessful, but its propaganda still rules the world. The consequence is that, based on its propagandistic success, Washington thinks it still holds the balance of economic and military power. This is a delusion that is leading Washington to nuclear war.

Considering the hypersonic speed, trajectory changeability and massive power of Russian nuclear weapons, war with Russia will result in nothing whatsoever being left of the US and its vassals, who sold out European peoples for Washington’s money.

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