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Trump Quietly Orders Elimination of Assange

The destruction of Assange has clearly been arranged for, at the highest levels of the U.S. Government, just as the destruction of Jamal Khashoggi was by Saudi Arabia’s Government.

Eric Zuesse

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On June 28th, the Washington Examiner headlined “Pence pressed Ecuadorian president on country’s protection of Julian Assange” and reported that “Vice President Mike Pence discussed the asylum status of Julian Assange during a meeting with Ecuador’s leader on Thursday, following pressure from Senate Democrats who have voiced concerns over the country’s protection of the WikiLeaks founder.” Pence had been given this assignment by U.S. President Donald Trump. The following day, the Examiner bannered “Mike Pence raises Julian Assange case with Ecuadorean president, White House confirms” and reported that the White House had told the newspaper, “They agreed to remain in close coordination on potential next steps going forward.”

On August 24th, a court-filing by Kellen S. Dwyer, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Alexandria Division of the Eastern District of Virginia, stated: “Due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure [than sealing the case, hiding it from the public] is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged. … This motion and the proposed order would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter.” That filing was discovered by Seamus Hughes, a terrorism expert at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. On November 15th, he posted an excerpt of it on Twitter, just hours after the Wall Street Journal had reported on the same day that the Justice Department was preparing to prosecute Assange. However, now that we know “the fact that Assange has been charged” and that the U.S. Government is simply waiting “until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter,” it is clear and public that the arrangements which were secretly made between Trump’s agent Pence and the current President of Ecuador are expected to deliver Assange into U.S. custody for criminal prosecution, if Assange doesn’t die at the Ecuadorean Embassy first.

On November 3rd (which, of course, preceded the disclosures on November 15th), Julian Assange’s mother, Christine Ann Hawkins, described in detail what has happened to her son since the time of Pence’s meeting with Ecuador’s President. She said:

He is, right now, alone, sick, in pain, silenced in solitary confinement, cut off from all contact, and being tortured in the heart of London. … He has been detained nearly eight years, without trial, without charge. For the past six years, the UK Government has refused his requests to exit for basic health needs, … [even for] vitamin D. … As a result, his health has seriously deteriorated. … A slow and cruel assassination is taking place before our very eyes. … They will stop at nothing. … When U.S. Vice President Mike Pence recently visited Ecuador, a deal was done to hand Julian over to the U.S. He said that because the political cost of expelling Julian from the Embassy was too high, the plan was to break him down mentally…   to such a point that he will break and be forced to leave. … The extradition warrant is held in secret, four prosecutors but no defense, and no judge, … without a prima-facie case. [Under the U.S. system, the result nonetheless can be] indefinite detention without trial. Julian could be held in Guantanamo Bay and tortured, sentenced to 45 years in a maximum security prison, or face the death penalty,” for “espionage,” in such secret proceedings.

Her phrase, “because the political cost of expelling Julian from the Embassy was too high” refers to the worry that this new President of Ecuador has, of his cooperating with the U.S. regime’s demands and thereby basically ceding sovereignty to those foreigners (the rulers of the U.S.), regarding the Ecuadorian citizen, Assange.

This conservative new President of Ecuador, who has replaced the progressive President who had granted Assange protection, is obviously doing all that he can to comply with U.S. President Trump and the U.S. Congress’s demand for Assange either to die soon inside the Embassy or else be transferred to the U.S. and basically just disappear, at Guantanamo or elsewhere. Ecuador’s President wants to do this in such a way that Ecuador’s voters won’t blame him for it, and that he’ll thus be able to be re-elected. This is the type of deal he apparently has reached with Trump’s agent, Pence. It’s all secret, but the evidence on this much of what was secretly agreed-to seems clear. There are likely other details of the agreement that cannot, as yet, be conclusively inferred from the subsequent events, but this much can.

Basically, Trump has arranged for Assange to be eliminated either by illness that’s imposed by his Ecuadorean agent, or else by Assange’s own suicide resulting from that “torture,” or else by America’s own criminal-justice system. If this elimination happens inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, then that would be optimal for America’s President and Congress; but, if it instead happens on U.S. soil, then that would be optimal for Ecuador’s President. Apparently, America’s President thinks that his subjects, the American people, will become sufficiently hostile toward Assange so that even if Assange disappears or is executed inside the United States, this President will be able to retain his supporters. Trump, of course, needs his supporters, but this is a gamble that he has now clearly taken. This much is clear, even though the rest of the secret agreement that was reached between Pence and Ecuador’s President is not.

Scooter Libby, who had arranged for the smearing of Valerie Plame who had tried to prevent the illegal and deceit-based 2003 invasion of Iraq, was sentenced to 30 months but never spent even a day in prison, and U.S. President Trump finally went so far as to grant him a complete pardon, on 13 April 2018. (The carefully researched docudrama “Fair Game” covered well the Plame-incident.) Libby had overseen the career-destruction of a courageous CIA agent, Plame, who had done the right thing and gotten fired for it; and Trump pardoned Libby, thus retroactively endorsing the lie-based invasion of Iraq in 2003. By contrast, Trump is determined to get Julian Assange killed or otherwise eliminated, and even Democrats in Congress are pushing for him to get that done. The new President of Ecuador is doing their bidding. Without pressure from the U.S. Government, Assange would already be a free man. Thus, either Assange will die (be murdered) soon inside the Embassy, or else he will disappear and be smeared in the press under U.S. control. And, of course, this is being done in such a way that no one will be prosecuted for the murder or false-imprisonment. Trump had promised to “clean the swamp,” but as soon as he was elected, he abandoned that pretense; and, as President, he has been bipartisan on that matter, to hide the crimes of the bipartisan U.S. Government, and he is remarkably similar in policy to his immediate predecessors, whom he had severely criticized while he was running for the Presidency.

In any event, the destruction of Assange has clearly been arranged for, at the highest levels of the U.S. Government, just as the destruction of Jamal Khashoggi was by Saudi Arabia’s Government; and, just like in Khashoggi’s case, the nation’s ruler controls the prosecutors and can therefore do whatever he chooses to do that the rest of the nation’s aristocracy consider to be acceptable.

The assault against truth isn’t only against Assange, but it is instead also closing down many of the best, most courageous, independent news sites, such as washingtonsblog. However, in Assange’s case, the penalty for having a firm commitment to truth has been especially excruciating and will almost certainly end in his premature death. This is simply the reality. Because of the system under which we live, a 100% commitment to truth is now a clear pathway to oblivion. Assange is experiencing this reality to the fullest. That’s what’s happening here.

—————

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

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JPH
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JPH

Typical of “Western Values” don’t cross the “elite” powers that be.

Vera Gottlieb
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Vera Gottlieb

And these Western ‘values’ are…1)….2)….3)…

john vieira
Guest

Only Western??? Truth, the world over, comes with a death sentence!!!

Dee Smith
Guest
Dee Smith

That has been true in the past in many cases but NOT with Trump. The article is wrong about him. He isn’t a ruthless killer like Obama was. He is an honest caring and compassionate man. Don’t be fooled by mainstream media, including FOX news. Turn backwards what ever they say if you want to know the truth. Trump loves the country and her people and he’s also a very brilliant man. His IQ is only 4 points below the level of Einsteins IQ.

Chris
Guest
Chris

Yes i don’t believe a word of this reporting, Seems more like a pre-hit piece for Clinton to have Julian whacked and blame Trump.

john mason
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john mason

Julian made a fatal mistake seeking asylum in the UK considering that he had privy to information that would have strongly suggested to stay away from the UK and seek another state like Russia, Iran or Syria, at least they wouldn’t extradite him.

ManintheMoon
Guest
ManintheMoon

Assange had no choice. He did not seek extradition in the UK, he happened to be there when the CIA arranged for him to be charged in Sweden on a trumped up rape accusation. Ecuador offered asylum and he thought it would buy him time. No one anticipated the sheer vindictiveness of the deep state. My guess is that Trump has been blackmailed by these people into compliance. I will not speculate how as I have no inside knowledge. Given the situation, I suspect that Assange is hoping that Corbyn takes power and releases him. I fear it’s a folorn… Read more »

Paco Taco
Guest
Paco Taco

I thought Assange was a national hero? Now they have made him into an international hero.

Margarita
Guest
Margarita

Apparently, Vice President Pence was urged by Democrat Senators (specifically, Sen. Bob Menendez) to discuss the Assange case with Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno. According to the Washington Examiner article, Menendez convinced Pence that, “WikiLeaks continues its efforts to undermine democratic processes globally,” and therefore Assange should be held accountable. If it’s the Democrats who wanted Assange gone, why would Pence take it upon himself to take the matter up with Moreno, and what’s more – to relay the Democrat’s suggestion to President Trump that Assange “be eliminated?” I can’t believe Trump would do that, given it’s the Democrats who wanted… Read more »

Dee Smith
Guest
Dee Smith

Assange exposed tons of Democrat corruption. For example he exposed emails between Hillary and a reporter to say Trump grabbed women’s private parts when in fact what Trump said was women chase him to such extremes that he believed he could do it without complaint. And that disgusted Trump. Assange IS thought to be an American hero for exposing Hillary and Podesto as child abusers and more. BUT Assange also released planned US military maneuvers against the enemy in Afghanistan so he did himself no favors there.

regolo gellini
Guest

He has done his job as a journalist and should not be treated as a “traitor” because he is australian, not amerikkkan.
How many operatives were killed because Libby’s revelations on Valerie Plame .
And yet, a true traitor goes scotfree and an international hero will die at the hands of a nation of cowards and hypocrites, Amerikkka, that claims to be part of the forces of good ; Effing liars, all of them on the left and on the right .

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

There is a lot of truth to the saying…birds of a feather flock together. US, Saudi Arabia and a few other ‘birds’. How many more suitcases needed to transport the human chopped-up remains?

MGS
Guest
MGS

How terribly misinformed and indoctrinated with TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) is this author…Julian Assange has been and is being persecuted at the behest of the American left; the clintonistas…as is the ‘closing down of many courageous news sites’ by the fascists at google, fakebook, apple and amazon in order to interfere with the mid-term (and all future) elections…President Trump is attempting to halt this assault…

Maxine Chiu
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Maxine Chiu

Are you saying that the clintonistas are part of the “American left”?….When it comes to war and corporatism, they are as Right-Wing as most Republicans….Nevertheless, I certainly agree that they are part of the same witch hunt against our hero, Julian Assange.

Anthony Wicher
Guest
Anthony Wicher

Exactly. Assange is a non-partisan truth teller. Honest people from all over the political spectrum support him. Those who target him are criminals who don’t want their deeds exposed. But Pompeo has called Wikileaks a “hostile intelligence service” and it is not clear what Trump’s intentions are at this point.

Dee Smith
Guest
Dee Smith

The Clinton crime family is as evil as you can imagine a family could be! The Clinton’s despise him as much as they hate the right wing party nd our wonderful President Trump in America. They are drug smugglers murderers, extortionists, treasonists and every other criminal you can think of.

MGS
Guest
MGS

Please inform the clintons that are “as Right-Wing as any Republicans” I’m pretty sure they didn’t get that message yet.!!:-))..they are as Right-Wing as Stalin and Hitler were…that is to say they will exploit capitalism and Republicanism to further their fascist/communist agenda and swell their bank accounts…but are dyed in the wool totalitarians.

Margarita
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Margarita

I agree.

Dee Smith
Guest
Dee Smith

America’s right supports Assange while the left hates him and Trump. I believe Trump is trying to protect Assange as h would be useful in indicting the globalists in America. Trump promised to drain the swamp full of criminals and he’s doing that.

Dee Smith
Guest
Dee Smith

The site won’t let me vote up here. No surprise there.

regolo gellini
Guest

I can’t see any difference in the criminals that have been running the US for the last fifty years both from left or right.
The only honest president that I can remember was a warrior named “IKE”, an honest man that warned his fellow citizens of the danger of fascism if MIC, msm and wall street joined forces. It has happened, deal with it !

Dave3200
Guest
Dave3200

If this is true, then Trump will lose much of his support that got him elected.

wiggins
Guest
wiggins

Very sad…

Richard Steven Hack
Guest
Richard Steven Hack

Trump is an idiot. The only person who can definitively refute the “Russiagate” basic event that started the issue – i.e., the alleged Russian “hack” of the DNC, which is at least fifty percent of the basis for “Russiagate” – is Assange. The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked Assange to testify on what he knows about the leak to Wikileaks of the DNC emails. He can prove that Russia had nothing to do with it. This would be enormously beneficial to Trump. This is why the neocons around Trump are pressing to get Assange evicted from the Ecuadorian Embassy and… Read more »

Anthony Wicher
Guest
Anthony Wicher

Trump is not an idiot, and he has many advisers who can tell him this, including Roger Stone and Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.

Richard Steven Hack
Guest
Richard Steven Hack

So why is he doing the opposite of what they tell him?

Margarita
Guest
Margarita

The author of this article is the idiot.

Dee Smith
Guest
Dee Smith

Not at all. Trump is brilliant. While Democrats play checkers, Trump plays 4 dimensional Chess. His IQ is only 4 points below Einsteins IQ. I believe Trump wants to save Assange on the pretense of indicting him. If the Democrats believe he is going to be executed, they will lower their guard then Assange can lower the boom on the criminal Democrats.

Dee Smith
Guest
Dee Smith

Trump is cleaning up our country, indicting criminals. 65,000 sealed indictments are being opened in recent days. It’s very exciting. From school boards to ex presidents, he is draining the USA swamp.

Richard Steven Hack
Guest
Richard Steven Hack

This is what I call “Pro-Trump Derangement Syndrome”. Save Assange by indicting him and sending him to Guantanamo? Seriously?

MGS
Guest
MGS

Trump is not an idiot…the author of this article – an obviously partisan never-Trumper – is totally wrong in his guesstimates…for the reasons you describe. It is the clintons, the ohbummers and the rest of the democrat sewer that want to eliminate Assange…again, for the reasons you stated.

Flying Gabriel
Guest
Flying Gabriel

Speculation not facts. And not even close.

john vieira
Guest

If he did “order Assange’s elimination”…hope he is ready for the backlash from ALL his non US supporters and many at home also that are aware of what this man stands for…”the truth”….

William Manning
Guest
William Manning

I can’t believe Assange doesn’t have backup insurance.

Cap
Guest
Cap

Nothing will stop the vultures from getting their prey, Assange.

Anthony Wicher
Guest
Anthony Wicher

Assange is a non-partisan truth teller.

Shaun Ramewe
Guest
Shaun Ramewe

Swamp-Chump should be the one on death row for all his recent sick crimes against humanity.

MGS
Guest
MGS

‘sick’…you sound a tad mentally defective your own self…
‘crimes against humanity’? You need help in the worst way…

Louis Robert
Guest
Louis Robert

Literally, a crime against humanity, i.e. a genocide, has long been under way in YEMEN, encouraged and supported to this day by the Empire. It is still being committed as I write…

Shaun Ramewe
Guest
Shaun Ramewe

Exactly ~ and the ongoing sick crimes against humanity in sovereign Syria and Palestine (and Afghanistan) that Zio-liar Swamp-Chump is still slyly supporting.

Shaun Ramewe
Guest
Shaun Ramewe

If you cannot give a reasonable answer – write nothing. Get help yourself – seriously.

Louis Robert
Guest
Louis Robert

This is war, total war, a long merciless war to the finish, against Julian Assange, by the most criminal Empire in History, conducted from Washington to Canberra via Sweden and London. “A slow and cruel assassination is taking place before our very eyes in the embassy in London”, the doctor says. In this Orwellian world, Julian Assange is guilty of exposing the dehumanized Empire’s innumerable, horrendous crimes against friends, foes and its own citizens alike. For said Empire corrupt to the core, Assange’s crime of speaking up in face of the unbearably barbaric is both irredeemable and unforgivable: Assange must… Read more »

Dee Smith
Guest
Dee Smith

Fake news. Scooter Libby did not expose the identity of an under cover agent (Plame). She was no longer working under cover and I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump is secretly attempting to save Assange. We’ll see

Susan Harms
Guest
Susan Harms

your article is full of outright distortions of the truth. SC smeared Valerie Plame? Really. I think we all know that is not the truth.

Stephanie Gould
Guest
Stephanie Gould

This is BS.

There are any number of scenarios that could occur regarding JA, and this one seems fake, false and a mere piece of propaganda.

citizeofnextworld
Guest
citizeofnextworld

It is simple to figure out, because you/they/no one can argue with truth, truth is divine, eternal and immortal —the truth is so precious, that it needs a bodyguard of lies to guard it!

HelenB
Guest
HelenB

Ordered by Pence is not necessarily ordered by Trump.

Justin Taua
Guest
Justin Taua

The US State wants to eliminate Julian Assange; for the same reason it ordered the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. In both cases, the gains are for the expediency of US interests. The US attempt to link the Khashoggi murder to MBS, had all the hallmarks of “Regime change.” When King Salman visited Moscow in October 2017; it was in fact an attempt to get out from under the foot of the US. To date, the US and the West have solely been responsible for; forcing Saudi Arabia to prosecute the war in Yemen and take the barrage of Western criticism… Read more »

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

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 145.

Alex Christoforou

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

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

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

*****

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

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

*****

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

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

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Via Zerohedge…

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

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

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

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

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

Below the full statement from the USTR (link):

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

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

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

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

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

Background

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

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

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

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

RT

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Via RT…


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

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

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

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

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

‘Active measures’ on social media

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

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

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

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

Alleged hacking & release

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rumors of War: Washington Is Looking for a Fight

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

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Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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