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UK gov. funded ‘think tanks’ to smear Jeremy Corbyn and spread anti-Russian propaganda (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 48.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the shady and secretive UK propaganda outfits dubbed ‘The Integrity Initiative’ and ‘the Institute for Statecraft’, which have been working underground and out fo sight, to smear Jeremy Corbyn and spread anti-Russian, pro-war propaganda through an massive “network of networks” consisting of journalists, politicians and society influencers.

The information war of lies driven by these clandestine UK ‘think tanks’ is funded by the UK government, as well as by prominent neocon donors, NATO, and even Facebook.

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“Inside The Temple Of Covert Propaganda: The Integrity Initiative & UK’s Scandalous Information War”, Authored by Mohamed Elmaazi and Max Blumenthal via GrayZoneProject.com:


The Grayzone entered the carefully concealed offices of a covert, British government-backed propaganda mill that is at the center of an international scandal the mainstream media refuses to touch.

Recent hacked documents have revealed an international network of politicians, journalists, academics, researchers and military officers, all engaged in highly deceptive covert propaganda campaigns funded by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), NATO, Facebook and hardline national security institutions.

This “network of networks”, as one document refers to them, centers around an ironically named outfit called the Integrity Initiative. And it is all overseen by a previously unknown England-based think tank registered in Scotland, the Institute for Statecraft, which has operated under a veil of secrecy.

The whole operation appears to be run by, and in conjunction with, members of British military intelligence.

According to David Miller, professor of political sociology in the school of policy studies at the University of Bristol and the director of the Organization for Propaganda Studies, the Integrity Initiative “appears to be a military directed push.”

“The most senior government people are professional propagandists and spooks,” Miller explained.

“The ‘charity’ lead on this [Chris Donnelly] was also appointed as a colonel in military intelligence at the beginning of the project — a truly amazing fact that suggests this is a military intelligence cut out.”

A minister for the UK FCO has officially confirmed that it has been funding the Integrity Network.

In addition to conducting diplomacy, the FCO oversees both the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) the UK equivalent to the National Security Agency, and the Secret Intelligence Services (SIS) commonly known as MI6.

SOURCE: National Intelligence Machinery, UK government briefing November 2010.

The think tank that oversees the Integrity Initiative, the Institute for Statecraft, has also received funding from the British Army and Ministry of Defense.

The entire extremely shady enterprise, as Miller explained, is an elaborate front for the British military-intelligence apparatus. Its covert coordination with friendly politicians and mainstream journalists recalls the Cold War-era intrigue known as Operation Mockingbird.

That scandal involved the unmasking of “more than 400 American journalists who…in the past twenty-five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency,” as Carl Bernstein revealed in a 1977 Rolling Stone report.

The exposing of the Integrity Initiative has just scratched the surface of what appears to be a much more sophisticated, insidious, and extremely online version of Operation Mockingbird. With new internal documents appearing each week through a hacker’s organization called Anonymous Europe, the revelations are yielding one of the most potentially explosive national security scandals in recent times.

But even as members of Britain’s parliament thunder with demands for official accountability, the UK and US mainstream media still strangely refuses to touch the story.

Smearing left-wing political figures in NATO member states

The Integrity Initiative claims that it is “counter[ing] Russian disinformation and malign influence,” and indeed, the main players behind it appear intent on hyping the Russian threat to justify ramped up military budgets and a long-term war footing.

Above: An Institute for Statecraft memo emphasizes the need for “ramping up” anti-Russian messaging.

But the Integrity Initiative has also trained its fire on perceived subversives inside NATO member states, including the UK.

An article attacking left-wing activists that was listed in the “Recent Posts” section of the Integrity Initiative website

The Integrity Initiative waged a successful covert campaign to destroy the appointment of Pedro Baños to Director of Spain’s National Security Department on the bogus grounds that he was “pro-Kremlin,” thus interfering in the affairs of a fellow EU and NATO member. It carried out the hit job through a hand-picked “cluster” of Spanish politicians and operatives to flood social media and sympathetic outlets with messages demonizing Baños.

Above: an Integrity Initiative document detailing how the group’s clusters destroyed a Spanish national security appointee.

The Integrity Initiative appears to have employed the same tactics to smear left-wing journalists and political figures across the West, including the leader of the UK’s Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn.

Member of Parliament Chris Williamson – a close ally of Corbyn – is now openly and indignantly calling for “a public inquiry into the Integrity Initiative and similar information war efforts being funded by our government.”

It is not necessarily illegal for the FCO to direct propaganda towards its own citizenry, according to Miller of the Organization for Propaganda Studies. However, he said that “it is not legal for ministers to effectively direct a charity. Thus, if the MoD through military intelligence are effectively running a charity, that would be contrary to law.”

An abandoned mill in Scotland covers for an active office in London’s “Temple”

To conceal its potentially illegal activities, the Institute for Statecraft has employed a web of deceptions. Not only did they hide their government funding, the outfit listed a fake location as its address.

Mohammed Elmaazi, a co-author of this piece, discovered the elaborately hidden location of the Institute for Statecraft inside a posh warren of barristers’ offices in London. Elmaazi’s swift ejection from the premises confirmed the lengths that this shadowy organization continues to go to to avoid public scrutiny.

The Institute for Statecraft, is a registered charity in Scotland, whose registered office is listed as being an old mill in Fife Scotland involved in the “manufacture of wood and other products.” David Scott of UK Column news, visited the registered office in Fife only to find a “an empty, semi-derelict, partly demolished, building.”

The partially demolished address at Gateside Mills. Photo: David Scott

While the address in Fife, Scotland appears to be a derelict building, the London address listed in the hacked documents is fully operational, so far as Elmaazi could tell.

He located the offices belonging to The Institute for Statecraft at the Embankment at Two Temple Place in London. It shares offices in the basement of a “spectacular neo-gothic mansion” which is owned or leased by The Bulldog Trust, an organization dedicated to “promoting culture and philanthropy”. This area, known as “the Temple,” is filled with barristers’ chambers and used to serve as the precinct for the Knights of Templar.

A Christmas themed projection lights up the walls of 2 Temple Place. Photo: Mohamed Elmaazi.

Elmaazi found the offices on December 6, having nearly given up and becoming convinced that he would discover nothing more than was found at the derelict house in Fife. When he arrived at the location, preparations were underway for some sort of Christmas-themed event to be held in the main building on the ground floor. But upon discovering the signs pointing downstairs to the basement, Elmaazi found himself staring at a door with a sign that read, “The Institute for Statecraft / The Fore.”

Photo: Mohamed Elmaazi

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Elmaazi rang the Institute for Statecraft’s doorbell and was eventually let in by a well-dressed elderly gentleman in a beige overcoat. The man claimed that he worked neither at The Institute nor at The Fore but at “another organization.” He then called out for “Charles.”  Having walked in, Elmaazi could see a few smaller offices to the side, with a larger planned office with tables and computers around the corner.

A man whom Elmaazi presumed was “Charles” came around the corner and called out, “Yes?” He seemed somewhat confused by the journalist’s presence, understandably so as he was there without an appointment. When “Charles” confirmed that he worked with the Institute for Statecraft, Elmaazi identified himself as a journalist and asked if he would be willing to be interviewed. The request was met with a curt refusal.

“Charles” then guided Elmaazi sternly with his hand back to the entrance. When the journalist repeated his request, he was met with stone silence. And that was that.

A “Charles Hart” is listed as the chairman of the Institute for Statecraft, but no photo is available to confirm that Hart was the same “Charles” that Elmaazi met.

The neocon connection

Two buildings away from the Institute for Statecraft, separated only by the home of British American Tobacco, lies the offices of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). This think tank is key organ of the Western foreign policy establishment, pushing military interventionism and promoting the Saudi-backed Syrian opposition-in-exile.

Among the funders of IISS is the Smith Richardson Foundation.

This foundation also happens to be a supporter of the Integrity Initiative, providing it with £45,000 (about $56,600 USD) for covert propaganda activities in Europe and the US.

The Smith Richardson Foundation was founded by billionaire heir to the Vicks fortune, H. Smith Richardson, in 1935. In 1973, the founder’s son, Randolph Richardson – a free market fundamentalist and long-time patron of neoconservative ideologue Irving Kristol – inherited the organization.

Kristol’s son, William Kristol, is a co-founder of the Project for a New American Century which openly called for the US to assert itself as the single global hegemon following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Recipients of funding from the Smith Richardson Foundation include a who’s who of neoconservative and militaristic right-wing institutions. The foundation has bankrolled neoconservative outfits like the American Enterprise Institute (to the tune of nearly $10 million since 1998), the Hudson Institute, the Institute for the Study of War, Freedom House, the Hoover Institution, the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, along with Democratic Party-aligned think tanks like the Center for New American Security and the Center for American Progress.

“To say the [Smith Richardson] foundation was involved at every level in the lobbying for and crafting of the so-called global war on terror after 9/11 would be an understatement,” wrote Kelley Vlahos in a profile of Nadia Schadlow, a former Trump administration deputy national security advisor who previously worked as the senior program director for Smith Richardson.

Smith Richardson complements a roster of international funders backing the Integrity Initiative’s parent organization:

  1. HQ NATO Public Diplomacy, £12,000 for each inaugural workshop = £168,000
  2. Partner institutions £5,000 for each inaugural workshop = £70,000
  3. NATO HQ for educational video films – free provision of camera team
  4. Lithuanian MOD to provide free all costs for their stratcom team for a monthly trip to support a new hub/cluster creation and to educate cluster leaders and key people in Vilnius in infowar techniques = £20,000
  5. US State Dept, for research and dissemination activities (excluding any activity in USA) = £250,000
  6. Smith Richardson Foundation, £45,000 for cluster activities in Europe and USA
  7. Facebook, £100,000 for research and education activities
  8. German business community, £25,000 for research and dissemination in EU countries

A covert asset in the Bernie campaign?

Elmaazi, the co-author of this piece, was not the only reporter to gain momentary access to the Institute for Statecraft’s hidden location at 2 Temple Place. On December 11, five days after Elmaazi’s visit, Kit Klarenberg of Sputnik Radio entered the covert propaganda mill’s neo-gothic offices. As soon as he identified himself as a journalist, he was angrily ejected by an Institute for Statecraft staffer named Simon Bracey-Lane.

“You need to leave right now!” Bracey-Lane barked at Klarenberg. “You haven’t arranged to see us! Go! Right now! Please leave immediately! Leave!”

Bracey-Lane is a 20-something British citizen with no publicly acknowledged experience in intelligence work. But as Klarenberg noted, there are some unusual details in the young staffer’s bio.

In 2016, Bracey-Lane appeared out of nowhere to work in Iowa as a field organizer for the Bernie Sanders campaign for president.

Simon Bracey-Lane being interviewed in Bernie Sanders’ Iowa field office on January 27, 2016

“I spent a year working, saving all my money, just thought I was gonna go on a two month road trip from Seattle to New York and I thought, you know what? I’m gonna stay and work for the Bernie Sanders campaign,” Bracey-Lane told a reporter for AFP on January 27, 2016.

He said that after he decided to work for Bernie, he first went to England to “get a visa and get everything legal,” then came back to join the campaign in earnest.

Bracey-Lane also claimed to AFP, “I’m not sure there’s a place for me in British politics… I’ve never been struck by an urge to work in my own political system.”

However, a February 1, 2016 profile of Bracey-Lane by Buzzfeed’s Jim Waterson said the Brit-for-Bernie “was inspired to rejoin the Labour party in September [2015] when Corbyn was elected leader. But by that point, he was already in the US on holiday.”

It is clearly odd for Bracey-Lane to tell one reporter that he had never had any interest in British politics, while claiming to another that he had been eager to support Corbyn before he joined the Bernie campaign. What’s more, as Klarenberg reported, Bracey-Lane went on to establish a get-out-the-vote effort for various progressive politicians and parties in Britain’s 2017 general election, gaining inside access to a wide array of campaigns.

The contradiction in Bracey-Lane’s narrative raises serious questions about his real role on the Bernie campaign, as does his suddenly transition from progressive politics to a staff position at a military-backed propaganda farm that waged a covert information war on Corbyn and other left-leaning politicians across the West.

An Institute for Statecraft document on “roles and relevant experience” of the outfit’s “expert team” notes that Bracey-Lane conducted a “special study of Russian interference in the US electoral process.” The document does not make clear when that study was conducted, however, it is listed directly next to its author’s history of work with the Bernie campaign.

“At Thanksgiving, I was asked, why are you meddling?” Bracey-Lane remarked to Reuters, referring to his work for Bernie Sanders. “Which is an interesting way to phrase it, but I was happy to answer: it needs meddling with.”

Those comments take on an entirely different meaning now that the former Bernie field worker has been outed as part of a British military-intelligence influence operation.

In the coming days, the Grayzone will take a closer look at the Integrity Initiative’s activity inside the US, and whether it is interfering in American politics as it has done in other NATO member states.

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John2o2oam hantsrmmOlivia Kroth Recent comment authors
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Olivia Kroth
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A very good analysis, thank you. May I add that the same type of covert action is smearing Marine Le Pen, the leader of Rassemblement National in France. This smear and slander campaign seems to come from the same sources as the campaign in Britain: NATO, western think tanks, the current government and the mainstream press. I find it very dangerous that these things are happening in almost every European country where there is a strong faction that wants to get out of the EU and/or NATO. It functions like a straight jacket. If you read the French mainstream press… Read more »

rmm
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rmm

Bracey-Lane “inspired to re-joing the Labour party”, to “work with the Bernie campaign”…
This same pattern is found in Macron’s current special advisor and co-founder of “En Marche!”, Ismael Lamelien (age 31): he too was “inspired” to work with Maduro’s campaign in 2013, as an employee of Euro RSCG/Havas Worldwide (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ismaël_Emelien)
Another campaign that “needed meddling with.”
But this particular target proved uncooperative: “he was not a true reformer” – i.e., he wouldn’t toe the imperial line, thereby signing his and Venezuela’s persecution warrant.
There are plenty of opportunities around the world for these young wolves – the attack dogs of the neocon empire.

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

This article from Sputnik, supports the above.
Integrity Initiative: How Media Promote Military Intelligence Propagandist Nimmo… https://sputniknews.com/europe/201901031071174759-nimmo-integrity-initiative-propagandist/

John2o2o
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John2o2o

Superb analysis, Alex and Alexander. One of the best summaries of this scandal that I have heard to date.

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Is the Violent Dismemberment of Russia Official US Policy?

Neocons make the case that the West should not only seek to contain “Moscow’s imperial ambitions” but to actively seek the dismemberment of Russia as a whole.

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Authored by Erik D’Amato via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity:


If there’s one thing everyone in today’s Washington can agree on, it’s that whenever an official or someone being paid by the government says something truly outrageous or dangerous, there should be consequences, if only a fleeting moment of media fury.

With one notable exception: Arguing that the US should be quietly working to promote the violent disintegration and carving up of the largest country on Earth.

Because so much of the discussion around US-Russian affairs is marked by hysteria and hyperbole, you are forgiven for assuming this is an exaggeration. Unfortunately it isn’t. Published in the Hill under the dispassionate title “Managing Russia’s dissolution,” author Janusz Bugajski makes the case that the West should not only seek to contain “Moscow’s imperial ambitions” but to actively seek the dismemberment of Russia as a whole.

Engagement, criticism and limited sanctions have simply reinforced Kremlin perceptions that the West is weak and predictable. To curtail Moscow’s neo-imperialism a new strategy is needed, one that nourishes Russia’s decline and manages the international consequences of its dissolution.

Like many contemporary cold warriors, Bugajski toggles back and forth between overhyping Russia’s might and its weaknesses, notably a lack of economic dynamism and a rise in ethnic and regional fragmentation.But his primary argument is unambiguous: That the West should actively stoke longstanding regional and ethnic tensions with the ultimate aim of a dissolution of the Russian Federation, which Bugajski dismisses as an “imperial construct.”

The rationale for dissolution should be logically framed: In order to survive, Russia needs a federal democracy and a robust economy; with no democratization on the horizon and economic conditions deteriorating, the federal structure will become increasingly ungovernable…

To manage the process of dissolution and lessen the likelihood of conflict that spills over state borders, the West needs to establish links with Russia’s diverse regions and promote their peaceful transition toward statehood.

Even more alarming is Bugajski’s argument that the goal should not be self-determination for breakaway Russian territories, but the annexing of these lands to other countries. “Some regions could join countries such as Finland, Ukraine, China and Japan, from whom Moscow has forcefully appropriated territories in the past.”

It is, needless to say, impossible to imagine anything like this happening without sparking a series of conflicts that could mirror the Yugoslav Wars. Except in this version the US would directly culpable in the ignition of the hostilities, and in range of 6,800 Serbian nuclear warheads.

So who is Janusz Bugajski, and who is he speaking for?

The author bio on the Hill’s piece identifies him as a senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, a Washington, D.C. think-tank. But CEPA is no ordinary talk shop: Instead of the usual foundations and well-heeled individuals, its financial backers seem to be mostly arms of the US government, including the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the US Mission to NATO, the US-government-sponsored National Endowment for Democracy, as well as as veritable who’s who of defense contractors, including Raytheon, Bell Helicopter, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and Textron. Meanwhile, Bugajski chairs the South-Central Europe area studies program at the Foreign Service Institute of the US Department of State.

To put it in perspective, it is akin to a Russian with deep ties to the Kremlin and arms-makers arguing that the Kremlin needed to find ways to break up the United States and, if possible, have these breakaway regions absorbed by Mexico and Canada. (A scenario which alas is not as far-fetched as it might have been a few years ago; many thousands in California now openly talk of a “Calexit,” and many more in Mexico of a reconquista.)

Meanwhile, it’s hard to imagine a quasi-official voice like Bugajski’s coming out in favor of a similar policy vis-a-vis China, which has its own restive regions, and which in geopolitical terms is no more or less of a threat to the US than Russia. One reason may be that China would consider an American call for secession by the Tibetans or Uyghurs to be a serious intrusion into their internal affairs, unlike Russia, which doesn’t appear to have noticed or been ruffled by Bugajski’s immodest proposal.

Indeed, just as the real scandal in Washington is what’s legal rather than illegal, the real outrage in this case is that few or none in DC finds Bugajski’s virtual declaration of war notable.

But it is. It is the sort of provocation that international incidents are made of, and if you are a US taxpayer, it is being made in your name, and it should be among your outrages of the month.

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Vladimir Putin visits Serbia, as NATO encircles the country it attacked in 1999 (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 171.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Russian President Vladimir Putin’s official visit to Serbia.

Putin met with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to further develop bilateral trade and economic relations, as well as discuss pressing regional issues including the possibility of extending the Turkish Stream gas pipeline into Serbia, and the dangerous situation around Kosovo.

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Via RT


Russian President Vladimir Putin got a hero’s welcome in Belgrade. The one-day visit to the last holdout against NATO’s ambitions in the Balkans may have been somewhat short on substance, but was certainly loaded with symbolism.

Even before he landed, the Russian leader was given an honor guard by Serbian air force MiGs, a 2017 gift from Moscow to replace those destroyed by NATO during the 1999 air campaign that ended with the occupation of Serbia’s province of Kosovo. Russia has refused to recognize Kosovo’s US-backed declaration of independence, while the US and EU have insisted on it.

Upon landing, Putin began his first official trip of 2019 by paying respects to the Soviet soldiers who died liberating Belgrade from Nazi occupation in 1944. While most Serbians haven’t forgotten their historical brotherhood in arms with Russia, it did not hurt to remind the West just who did the bulk of the fighting against Nazi Germany back in World War II.

After official talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Putin visited the Church of St. Sava, the grand Orthodox basilica set on the spot where the Ottoman Turks torched the remains of the first Serbian archbishop back in 1594, in an effort to maintain power.

Sava, whose brother Stefan became the “first-crowned” king of medieval Serbia, was responsible for setting up the autocephalous Serbian Orthodox Church exactly eight centuries ago this year. For all its own troubles, the Serbian Church has sided with Moscow in the current Orthodox schism over Ukraine.

Russian artisans have been working on the grand mosaic inside the basilica, and asked Putin to complete the design by placing the last three pieces, in the colors of the Russian flag.

Whether by sheer coincidence or by design, Putin also weighed in on Serbia’s culture war, giving interviews ahead of his visit to two daily newspapers that still publish in Serbian Cyrillic – while the majority of the press, whether controlled by the West or by Vucic, prefers the Latin variant imported from Croatia.

Western media usually refer to Serbia as a “Russian ally.” While this is true in a historical and cultural sense, there is no formal military alliance between Moscow and Belgrade. Serbia officially follows the policy of military neutrality, with its armed forces taking part in exercises alongside both Russian and NATO troops.

This is a major source of irritation for NATO, which seeks dominion over the entire Balkans region. Most recently, the alliance extended membership to Montenegro in 2017 without putting the question to a referendum. It is widely expected that “Northern Macedonia” would get an invitation to NATO as soon as its name change process is complete – and that was arranged by a deal both Macedonia and Greece seem to have been pressured into by Washington.

That would leave only Serbia outside the alliance – partly, anyway, since NATO has a massive military base in the disputed province of Kosovo, and basically enjoys special status in that quasi-state. Yet despite Belgrade’s repeated declarations of Serbia wanting to join the EU, Brussels and Washington have set recognition of Kosovo as the key precondition – and no Serbian leader has been able to deliver on that just yet, though Vucic has certainly tried.

Putin’s repeated condemnations of NATO’s 1999 attack, and Russian support for Serbia’s territorial integrity guaranteed by the UN Security Council Resolution 1244, have made him genuinely popular among the Serbs, more so than Vucic himself. Tens of thousands of people showed up in Belgrade to greet the Russian president.

While Vucic’s critics have alleged that many of them were bused in by the government – which may well be true, complete with signs showing both Vucic and Putin – there is no denying the strong pro-Russian sentiment in Serbia, no matter how hard Integrity Initiative operatives have tried.

One of the signs spotted in Belgrade reportedly said “one of 300 million,” referring to the old Serbian joke about there being “300 million of us – and Russians.” However, it is also a send-up of the slogan used by current street protesters against Vucic. For the past six weeks, every Saturday, thousands of people have marched through Belgrade, declaring themselves “1 of 5 million” after Vucic said he wouldn’t give in to their demands even if “five million showed up.”

The opposition Democrats accuse him of corruption, nepotism, mismanagement, cronyism – all the sins they themselves have plenty of experience with during their 12-year reign following Serbia’s color revolution. Yet they’ve had to struggle for control of the marches with the nationalists, who accuse Vucic of preparing to betray Kosovo and want “him to go away, but [Democrats] not come back.”

There is plenty of genuine discontent in Serbia with Vucic, who first came to power in 2012 on a nationalist-populist platform but quickly began to rule as a pro-NATO liberal. It later emerged that western PR firms had a key role in his party’s “makeover” from Radicals to Progressives. Yet his subsequent balancing act between NATO and Russia has infuriated both the NGOs and politicians in Serbia beholden to Western interests, and US diplomats charged with keeping the Balkans conquered.

Washington is busy with its own troubles these days, so there was no official comment to Putin’s visit from the State Department – only a somewhat pitiful and tone-deaf tweet by Ambassador Kyle Scott, bemoaning the lack of punishment for $1 million in damages to the US Embassy during a 2008 protest against Kosovo “independence.” Yet as far as Western media outlets are concerned, why Moscow seems to be vastly more popular than Washington on the streets of Belgrade nonetheless remains a mystery.

By Nebojsa Malic

 

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Curious Bedfellows: The Neocon And Progressive Alliance To Destroy Donald Trump

The neocon metamorphosis is nearly complete as many of the neocons, who started out as Democrats, have returned home, where they are being welcomed for their hardline foreign policy viewpoint.

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Authored by Philip Giraldi via OffGuardian.com:


The Roman poet Ovid’s masterful epic The Metamorphoses includes the memorable opening line regarding the poem’s central theme of transformation. He wrote In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas corpora, which has been translated as “Of shapes transformed to bodies strange, I purpose to entreat…”

Ovid framed his narrative around gods, heroes and quasi-historical events but if he were around today, he would no doubt be fascinated by the many transformations of the group that has defined itself as neoconservative.The movement began in a cafeteria in City College of New York in the 1930s, where a group of radical Jewish students would meet to discuss politics and developments in Europe. Many of the founders were from the far left, communists of the Trotskyite persuasion, which meant that they believed in permanent global revolution led by a vanguard party. The transformation into conservatives of a neo-persuasion took place when they were reportedly “mugged by reality” into accepting that the standard leftist formulae were not working to transform the world rapidly enough. As liberal hawks, they then hitched their wagon to the power of the United States to bring about transformation by force if necessary and began to infiltrate institutions like the Pentagon to give themselves the tools to achieve their objectives, which included promotion of regime change wars, full spectrum global dominance and unconditional support for Israel.

The neocons initially found a home with Democratic Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, but they moved on in the 1970s and 1980s to prosper under Ronald Reagan as well as under Democrat Bill Clinton. Their ability to shape policy peaked under George W. Bush, when they virtually ran the Pentagon and were heavily represented in both the national security apparatus and in the White House. They became adept at selling their mantra of “strong national defense” to whomever was buying, including to President Obama, even while simultaneously complaining about his administration’s “weakness.”

The neoconservatives lined up behind Hillary Clinton in 2016, appalled by Donald Trump’s condemnation of their centerpiece war in Iraq and even more so by his pledge to end the wars in Asia and nation-building projects while also improving relations with the Russians. They worked actively against the Republican candidate both before he was nominated and elected and did everything they could to stop him, including libeling him as a Russian agent.

When Trump was elected, it, therefore, seemed that the reign of the neocons had ended, but chameleonlike, they have changed shape and are now ensconced both in some conservative as well as in an increasing number of progressive circles in Washington and in the media. Against all odds, they have even captured key posts in the White House itself with the naming of John Bolton as National Security Adviser and Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. Bolton’s Chief of Staff is Fred Fleitz, a leading neocon and Islamophobe while last week Trump added Iran hawk Richard Goldberg to the National Security Council as director for countering Iranian weapons of mass destruction. Goldberg is an alumnus of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which is the leading neocon think tank calling incessantly for war with Iran.

Meanwhile, the neocon metamorphosis is nearly complete as many of the neocons, who started out as Democrats, have returned home, where they are being welcomed for their hardline foreign policy viewpoint. Glenn Greenwald reports that, based on polling of party supporters, the Democrats have gone full-Hillary and are now by far more hawkish than the Republicans, unwilling to leave either Syria or Afghanistan.

The neocon survival and rejuvenation is particularly astonishing in that they have been wrong about virtually everything, most notably the catastrophic Iraq War. They have never been held accountable for anything, though one should note that accountability is not a prominent American trait, at least since Vietnam. What is important is that neocon views have been perceived by the media and punditry as being part of the Establishment consensus, which provides them with access to programming all across the political spectrum. That is why neocon standard-bearers like Bill Kristol and Max Boot have been able to move effortlessly from Fox News to MSNBC where they are fêted by the likes of Rachel Maddow. They applauded the Iraq War when the Establishment was firmly behind it and are now trying to destroy Donald Trump’s presidency because America’s elite is behind that effort.

Indeed, the largely successful swing by the neocons from right to left has in some ways become more surreal, as an increasing number of progressive spokesmen and institutions have lined up behind their perpetual warfare banner. The ease with which the transformation took place reveals, interestingly, that the neocons have no real political constituency apart from voters who feel threatened and respond by supporting perpetual war, but they do share many common interests with the so-called liberal interventionists. Neocons see a global crisis for the United States defined in terms of power while the liberals see the struggle as a moral imperative, but the end result is the same: intervention by the United States. This fusion is clearly visible in Washington, where the Clintons’ Center for American Progress (CAP) is now working on position papers with the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

One of the most active groups attacking President Trump is “Republicans for the Rule of Law,” founded by Bill Kristol in January 2018, as a component of Defending Democracy Together(DDT), a 501(c)4 lobbying group that also incorporates projects called The Russia Tweets and Republicans Against Putin. Republicans Against Putin promotes the view that President Trump is not “stand[ing] up to [Vladimir] Putin” and calls for more aggressive investigation of the Russian role in the 2016 election.

DDT is a prime example of how the neoconservatives and traditional liberal interventionists have come together as it is in part funded by Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire co-founder of eBay who has provided DDT with $600,000 in two grants through his Democracy Fund Voice, also a 501(c)4. Omidyar is a political liberal who has given millions of dollars to progressive organizations and individuals since 1999. Indeed, he is regarded as a top funder of liberal causesin the United States and even globally together with Michael Bloomberg and George Soros. His Democracy Fund awarded $9 million in grants in 2015 alone.

Last week, the Omidyar-Kristol connection may have deepened with an announcement regarding the launch of the launch of a new webzine The Bulwark, which would clearly be at least somewhat intended to take the place of the recently deceased Weekly Standard. It is promoting itself as the center of the “Never Trump Resistance” and it is being assumed that at least some of the Omidyar money is behind it.

Iranian-born Omidyar’s relationship with Kristol is clearly based on the hatred that the two share regarding Donald Trump.

Omidyar has stated that Trump is a “dangerous authoritarian demagogue… endorsing Donald Trump immediately disqualifies you from any position of public trust.”

He has tweeted that Trump suffers from “failing mental capacity” and is both “corrupt and incapacitated.”

Omidyar is what he is – a hardcore social justice warrior who supports traditional big government and globalist liberal causes, most of which are antithetical to genuine conservatives. But what is interesting about the relationship with Kristol is that it also reveals what the neoconservatives are all about. Kristol and company have never been actual conservatives on social issues, a topic that they studiously avoid, and their foreign policy is based on two principles: creating a state of perpetual war based on fearmongering about foreign enemies while also providing unlimited support for Israel. Kristol hates Trump because he threatens the war agenda while Omidyar despises the president for traditional progressive reasons. That hatred is the tie that binds and it is why Bill Kristol, a man possessing no character and values whatsoever, is willing to take Pierre Omidyar’s money while Pierre is quite happy to provide it to destroy a common enemy, the President of the United States of America.

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