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Russia’s scathing response to ‘Trumpleak’ story

Russians pour ridicule on ‘Trumpleak’ allegation. Say it is an attempt to pressure Trump.

Alexander Mercouris

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Russian officials have given a withering response over the course of the day to the Washington Post’s story that US President Donald Trump leaked “highly classified information” to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during their recent meeting in the Oval Office.

I have discussed this story and explained why it is a cynical attempt to spin a standard diplomatic exchange into something sinister here.

First off was Russian President Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who is reported to have said this

This is not a theme for us. It’s nonsense.  We do not want to have anything to do with this nonsense. This is utter nonsense. It is not something to either confirm or deny.

The more cogent comment was however made by the Russian Foreign Ministry’s redoubtable spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in an interview with the Kommersant FM radio station

It is part of the campaign which began before the US presidential election and has been going on since then.  This is another attempt to exert pressure on the new US administration and make deals related to various political appointments and lobbying.

We can’t even say now that the media are biased because they are openly fulfilling a political order. The article mentions no evidence, it is based on information received from some sources. Actually, there is a typical pattern concerning the way that such articles come out and the response that they get

(bold italics added)

In saying that this is an attempt to put pressure on the new administration Zakharova is absolutely right.  However – as she surely knows – the purpose is not “to make deals related to various political appointments and lobbying”.  It is the much more sinister purpose of discrediting Donald Trump personally and of pressuring him into ending his attempts to forge a better relationship with Russia.  Here is what I have written about that

the real agenda behind this story: to discredit Trump in any way possible, and to make impossible any meaningful dialogue between the US and Russian governments which might lead to a possible rapprochement between the US and Russia.

Those who give credence to this story or pretend to are either being manipulated or share this agenda.

I have no doubt the Russians understand this perfectly.

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Rod Rosenstein resigns from his post before President Trump can fire him

Rosenstein’s comments about secretly recording the President backfire, and resignation may throw the Mueller Russiagate probe into question.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The Washington Times broke the story that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein resigned from his post. He submitted his resignation to Chief of Staff John Kelly.  At present the breaking story says the following:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is out at the Department of Justice.

Axios reported that Mr. Rosenstein verbally resigned to White House Chief Of Staff John Kelly, but CNN said that he is expecting to be fired.

Sarah Isgur Flores, a Department of Justice spokeswoman, declined to comment on the reports.

Mr. Rosenstein’s departure immediately throws Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian collusion probe into chaos.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation, leaving Mr. Rosenstein in charge.

President Trump mulled firing the No. 2 at the Department of Justice over the weekend.

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This report came after Fox News reported that the Deputy AG was summoned to the White House. Fox reported a little more detail:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is heading to the White House expecting to be fired, sources tell Fox News, in the wake of a report that he suggested wearing a wire against President Trump and invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office last year.

This is a developing story, however one major factor that comes under consideration is the fate of Robert Mueller and his Russiagate investigation, which was authorized by Rosenstein. CNBC had this to say in their piece:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is resigning Monday, according to Axios, which cited a source familiar with the matter.

NBC News’ Pete Williams, however, reported that Rosenstein would not resign of his own accord, and that he will only depart if the White House fired him. He will refuse to resign if asked to do so, Williams added.

Rosenstein was at the White House when Williams reported this on the air. However, President Donald Trump is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

Bloomberg later reported that the White House accepted Rosenstein’s resignation, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Rosenstein’s expected resignation will immediately raise questions about the fate of the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump.

Rosenstein’s job security was called into question after The New York Times reported last week that the No. 2 DOJ official had discussed invoking the 25th amendment to remove Trump, and had also talked about surreptitiously recording the president.

Rosenstein oversees the special counsel investigation, and has appointed Mueller to run the Russia probe last year, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the case.

The special counsel’s office declined to comment on the report.

The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Axios’ report. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to CNBC’s inquiry.

Trump has repeatedly blasted Mueller’s inquiry, which also is focused on possible collusion with Russia by members of the Trump campaign.

He has called the investigation a “witch hunt,” and has repeatedly vented frustration about Sessions’ recusal, which directly led to Mueller’s appointment by Rosenstein.

Rosenstein’s expected departure comes on the heels of a guilty plea by Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort to conspiracy charges related to his consulting work in Ukraine, which predates his role on the campaign.

As part of the investigation, Mueller’s team has been locked in an ongoing back-and-forth with Trump’s legal team over an in-person interview with the president.

Trump’s lawyers, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, have signaled that Trump is unwilling to sit for an interview, calling it a “perjury trap” and setting up a potential challenge for Mueller to subpoena the president.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

 

 

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‘Steps everyone will notice’ – Syria to get powerful Russian S-300 system

New defense systems are expected to be in Syria within two weeks, suggesting that the Russians seriously mean what they say.

Seraphim Hanisch

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On September 22, Robert Bridge wrote about how an Israeli incursion into Syria that ended with the downing of a Russian IL-20 plane and fifteen crewmen was an incident that the Russian Federation’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said: “The actions of the Israeli military were not in keeping with the spirit of the Russian-Israeli partnership, so we reserve the right to respond.”

And the Israelis are concerned, as they should be. After what they did, and their subsequent blame game, trying to pin the responsibility for this incident on the Syrian forces (which are backed by Russia), now the payback has arrived.

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TASS reported September 24th that Russia decided to install advanced S-300 anti-missile and anti-aircraft batteries in Syria. The older S-200 systems could not differentiate between friendly and unfriendly targets, which was how the Israeli fighters managed to not get shot down. They “framed” an IL-20, and the missiles intended to stop the incursion instead took out a Russian plane.

TASS writes:

Within two weeks, the Syrian army will get from Russia S-300 air-defense missiles to strengthen its combat capabilities following the downing of a Russian Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft in Syria, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Monday.

“A modern S-300 air defense missile system will be supplied to the Syrian Armed Forces within two weeks. It is capable of intercepting air assault weapons at a distance of more than 250 kilometers and hit simultaneously several air targets,” the minister said.

Shoigu said S-300 missiles will strongly strengthen combat capabilities of the Syrian air defense due to their jamming invulnerability and firing speed.

“I will underscore – at the request of the Israeli side, in 2013 we suspended the delivery of S-300 systems that were ready for the dispatch, while the Syrian military had undergone training. Now the situation has changed, and we are not to blame,” the defense minister said.

Command posts of the Syrian air defense will also be equipped with Russian automated systems, which guarantee the identification of Russian aircraft, the defense chief stated.

“The command posts of Syrian air defense forces and units will be equipped with automated control systems only supplied to the Russian armed forces. This will facilitate centralized control over all forces and resources of the Syrian air defense, monitor the situation in the air, and ensure operative issuance of orders. Most importantly, we will guarantee the identification of all Russian aircraft by the Syrian air defense systems,” Shoigu said.

A Russian electronic surveillance Il-20 plane was downed over the Mediterranean Sea late on September 17 when it was flying back to the Russian airbase at Syria’s Hmeymim. According to the Russian defense ministry, the plane was shot down by a missile from a Syrian S-200 air defense complex when it was firing at four Israeli F-16 aircraft attacking targets in the Latakia Governorate. The Israeli pilots actually used the Russian aircraft as a cover, exposing it to Syrian missiles, the ministry stressed.

Looking at a map of military forces and theatres of conflict in Syria is all but incomprehensible at first glance. The nation is strategically located and is the stress point of at least two major powers – Russia and the United States / NATO. The Israelis showed their rather characteristic propensity to mislead and what is surprising is the rather gutsy way they appear to have tried to do this with the Russians. Again, Israel took upon itself the “right” to conduct raids in Syria. The only major power with internationally accepted authority to be there is Russia.

With ISIS effectively defeated, the real nature of the Syrian conflict as a proxy war becomes more evident. President Putin’s handling was masterful, but one can probably expect the level of tension in this region to be especially high now.

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Twitter buckles to elitist madness, BANS Alex Jones and InfoWars

Four weeks after Twitter tried to act fair, it banned Jones, using an argument he had with a CNN reporter and Jack Dorsey himself as an alibi.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Four weeks ago, Twitter came under fire for not banning Alex Jones from its social network as a wave of bans against the strongly conservative newsman swept across other prominent media outlets like Facebook, Apple and YouTube. But now, it appears that Jack Dorsey has caved into the pressure.

Alex Jones and InfoWars are now banned from Twitter as well. CNBC reports:

Twitter has permanently banned the accounts of right-wing conspiracy theorist and radio host Alex Jones and InfoWars for violating the company’s abusive behavior policies, the company said Thursday.

The ban appears to be related to a heated exchange between Jones and a CNN reporter Wednesday, which Jones live streamed on the Twitter-owned video service Periscope. Jones ranted at the reporter, as well as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, following back-to-back congressional hearings where Dorsey addressed online election meddling, as well as accusations of political bias and conservative censorship on the platform.

“We took this action based on new reports of Tweets and videos posted yesterday that violate our abusive behavior policy, in addition to the accounts’ past violations,” the company said in a series of tweets. “We wanted to be open about this action given the broad interest in this case.”

The ban comes weeks after Jones’ accounts were removed or suspended by other major tech companies like Apple, Facebook and YouTube. Twitter had initially declined to take disciplinary action against Jones, saying the accounts had not violated community guidelines, but later suspended him for a period of seven days.

Accounts for Jones and Infowars were also banned from Periscope. Jones will not be able to recreate his presence on the sites under another account.

Freedom of speech is a Constitutional right to every American citizen under the First Amendment. This means that the government cannot curtail a citizen’s right to speak against the government, and indeed, to speak about anything one desires to say. The text of the amendment is here below:

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Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

However, while Congress cannot curtail free speech, private industry can, and it is here that the elements of the American and global left have directed their efforts to curtail political free speech. Since YouTube is a worldwide platform, and since Apple is similarly large, and of course, Facebook, the elimination of Alex Jones’ broadcasts and posts on and through these media outlets places a burden on Mr. Jones to find ways to get his message out, according to his Constitutional freedom to do so.

In a sense this move by Twitter help slam the door even further on conservative dissent against the liberal and globalist agenda as it applies to the United States. While the assault on free speech rights (for conservatives) has been on for decades, in the present Trump years, the movement to silence conservative dissent against a mostly monolithic media narrative got much more focused and much stronger.

While Alex Jones still has his own website and is still almost as accessible as he ever was, the large social networks greatly eased his network’s efforts to get its point of view out to the world. Apparently the ban hit while he was trending at #1 on Twitter. This in itself is quite interesting that the pundit was canned while he was surging in popularity on Twitter.

A few hours after the ban was announced, Alex Jones gave this statement through his site, Infowars.com: (A VPN may be required as this website is blocked or partially blocked in some countries.)

I was taken down not because we lie, but because we tell the truth, and because we were popular. And because we dared go to that Committee hearing, and stand up to Rubio, and stand up to the lies of the mainstream media, and speak the truth. And then we ran into Oliver Darcy, who is the secret police captain, who admits he goes around and gets people like InfoWars taken off other platforms. Because we confronted that monster, that has abused us, and lied about us, and taken our speech… Yeah, because of that, they took us down…

InfoWars – and Alex Jones – are truly caught up in an Information War.

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