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VENEZUELA: Open letter to President Nicolas Maduro

Dear Mr. President Maduro, You have the overwhelming support of the peoples of the world.

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On 25 August President Trump signed an executive order slapping Venezuela with the most sweeping economic sanctions ever. They practically paralyze Venezuela, threaten to plunge her into famine. It’s an economic coup of the worst kind. It’s outright financial warfare. For all those western nations for which such unilateral actions by the Zionist-led Washington regime has become the new normal – it is one of the highest criminal assaults a nation can impose on another nation.

To be sure, this is an act of highest treason of international law. It is a war crime, as it endangers and threatens the lives of the Venezuelan people. Furthermore, Donald Trump, has the impunity to threaten Venezuela with an overt US military invasion. ‘Overt’ – because military and secret services, i.e. CIA personnel and their proxies, trained, funded and armed, are already for years fomenting unrest and death in the streets of Caracas and elsewhere in the country.

Justifying the measures, the White House said, “[they] are carefully calibrated to deny the Maduro dictatorship a critical source of financing to maintain its illegitimate rule.” The subsequent statement by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin explains literally that these sanctions are aiming at ‘choking’ Venezuela into submission; however, that “exceptions will be made for a 30-day phase-in period and for certain transactions between the US and Venezuela, including petroleum exports and imports involving Citgo, PDVSA’s American unit, as well as financing for humanitarian efforts.”

How ‘human’ can Mr. Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs partner – still be called? How human is the entire Trump military entourage? How much humanity do such people have left? Three generals are calling the shots on Trump’s presidency. How more proof is needed for the world to see that Washington is run by the Pentagon – is a pure military-police state, with the populace stripped of 95% of their civil and human rights – by ever enhanced successive versions of the Patriot Act and related legislation? Humanity at its worst.

The venom and evil of our western society never stops to amaze me. How did we get here? The beginning may date back some 5000 years. But that’s a different story. We are living now, and have to eradicate this egocentric, blood-thirsty pathological greed society, greed economy, NOW – meaning now to spare as many lives as possible.

Trump’s stated reason for slamming Venezuela with sanctions – of course a lie, like everything coming out of Washington – is the recent popular vote for a National Constituent Assembly – ANC – Asamblea Nacional Constituyente (http://www.globalresearch.ca/venezuela-the-national-constituent-assembly-is-in-place-but-the-fight-for-sovereignty-isnt-over/5602402 ). It’s the utmost form of democracy – a National Assembly voted by the people. The opposition which vigorously boycotted the July 30, 2017 vote, are now complaining of having no seats on the ANC. Of course not. They presented no candidates.

According to both Jimmy Carter, former US President and head of the Carter Institute on monitoring international elections, as well as Noam Chomsky, MIT Professor of Linguistics and reputed scholar of geopolitics, Venezuela has the most thorough democracy in the Americas and arguably in the world. Obviously, this does not please the world’s Dictator – cum – Assassin-in-chief, the United States of America.

The largest tyrant in the world calls for atrocious ‘suffocating’ killer sanctions on a sovereign, oil- and gas rich nation in “Washington’s backyard”, under the pretext that it has gone from democracy to dictatorship which the tyranny of the north cannot tolerate, but in a gesture of generosity it grants Venezuela temporary ‘humanitarian’ relieve. What a sham!

The Trump administration, or any of his predecessors, couldn’t give a hoot about democracy and human rights in any of the countries they want to dominate. Quite to the contrary, what they want is installing chaos to be able to exploit the country’s natural resources; and that is what they consistently do. In the case of Venezuela – the world’s richest nation in hydrocarbon reserves – the objective is to retake the riches and put them back to where they were before President Chavez took over in 1998, namely under firm control of US petrol giants.

Venezuela will never tolerate this.

Curiously, it looks like Trump has been dictated to adopt a new doctrine of ‘the loots of war’. His recent declaration of increasing troops in Afghanistan – without time limit – clearly has to do with the mineral riches of that central Asian country, copper, cobalt, iron, barite, sulfur, lithium, lead, silver, zinc, niobium, and an estimated 1.4 million metric tons of rare-earth elements (REEs). The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) estimates the total resources in the Afghan grounds in excess of US$ 1 trillion. Never mind that the US has already spent between US$ 1 and 2 trillion in the 16 years of illegal war in Afghanistan, resulting in massive killings, in tens of thousands of deaths.

In the case of North Korea, it’s iron ore, the US wants, plus, of course, strategic access to China and Russia. In Syria, it’s the infamous Qatari pipeline that would allow western petro-giants shipping trillions worth of oil and gas to Europe to the detriment of Russian’s European gas contracts. Bashar al Assad has refused the pipeline ever since the CIA approached him in 2008, and so did
his father already in the early 2000s. This refusal sealed Syria’s fate. In Venezuela, the intended theft is, of course, oil and gas.

It is of little importance that Trump is contradicting himself royally. His adamant and firm pre-election promises – no longer interference in far-away countries, no longer creating ‘democracies’ US style; in the future, the US will respect other countries’ lifestyle. “We will no longer use our force in foreign lands – these days are now over”.

Wonderful. Maybe he meant it. Like perhaps he really meant making peace with Russia. This is most likely the reason why he was elected. But, would Trump be so naïve, not to know that the military industrial complex wants – no, NEEDS war? This diabolical lot wants natural resources for eternal wars.

The vast majority of people want peace not war. They want to respect Venezuela’s sovereign democracy – not interfere with it. It’s their fascist puppet leaders (sic-sic) and those who make up the Latin American regional organizations that feel obliged to submit to the demands of the naked emperor.

The extractive industry, hydrocarbons, minerals has skyrocketed exponentially since the ascent of neoliberalism in the eighties like never before in modern history. The reasons are wars and conflicts. It is estimated that today almost two thirds of the plunders of worldwide extractive industries – an unspeakable calamity to human health, local communities and the environment – goes to the international military industrial complex, with the forerunner, the US of A.

———–

The new sanctions on Venezuela have become “common staple”, for all those vassals around the western globe, who for some obscure reason – for fear or for earning kudos? – bend over backwards to lick President Trump’s boots. Donald Trump, the megalo-psychopath, is a mere caricature of the American electorate. Trump’s opinion and policies dance in the wind as only an immature master can muster. Hence, the world is kept confused and on her toes, never quite sure when another bomb shell will be dropped.

Dear Mr. Maduro, this act of war can only be committed by the United States of America, because it commands our western dollar-based totally fraudulent, privately run, debt and usury based, monetary system – for profit of the FED and Wall Street banksters. Period. The western world is still enslaved to it – though on a steadily declining scale, but still not free. The east, Russia, China and the entire Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is rapidly detaching themselves from the dollar hegemony.

Venezuela – in my humble opinion – has to do likewise, as soon as possible. There is no time to ponder: detach from the dollar, with whatever implications of asset and monetary loss this may have; and it will, but it will whether you do or whether you don’t. The rabid dog of Washington never lets loose, it bites to the end, and it will never release confiscated assets. Proof is time and again all through the world, just look at Iran.

Venezuela may want to cut her losses and starting from scratch, linking closely with the economies of Russia and China, as she is already doing – but may need to move on a more rigorous and radical basis. No more deals in dollars. Stop all dollar / bolívar manipulations from Miami. The dollar has to become a banned currency for the public in Venezuela, strictly enforced by law, only to be used by government authorities. This is still the casein in Cuba, and Cuba has survived 60 years – and counting. No euros either. The euro is in the same league with the dollar. It has been created as the foster child of the dollar – fiat currency, no backing whatsoever.

New transactions are to take place only in local currencies and / or the currencies of Russia and China – through respective Central Bank swaps – and international payment systems, outside of the privately-run FED, Wall Street, BIS (Bank for International Settlement) and SWIFT, for example through the Chinese International Payment System (CIPS). Russia is about to launch a similar scheme, detached from the western-dominated financial transaction modes, like SWIFT. Once the new Russian international transfer system is in place, together with the Chinese CIPS, the western monopoly on international payments – and sanctions – will be completely upset. International trade will be reset to function outside the dollar hegemony. Russia’s, as well as China’s economies are fully backed by gold.
——–

Under these massive and sweeping financial sanctions, imposed on Venezuela thanks to the western monetary system, Venezuela is basically barred from any international financial transactions. There is a total banking blockade directed against the Venezuelan national oil and gas company, PDVSA- Petróleos de Venezuela SA, making direct hydrocarbon transactions impossible.

It is a stranglehold on Venezuelan’s economy – a recipe for starving a country and its population into submission, weakening it to be taken over – for plundering its resources. Venezuela will NEVER allow this to happen. Citgo, PDVSA’s US subsidiary, can no longer send back dividends to Venezuela – another blow to Venezuela’s foreign exchange earnings. There is a tacit threat, Citgo’s profits in the US may be confiscated – what else than highest treason of international law is this?

Venezuela has never done any harm to another nation. To the contrary, Venezuela has stood by other countries, helping them out with low cost credits and loans, with hydrocarbon at favorable prices, when the ‘market’ was abusive with artificially driven high prices, i.e. US$ 120 / barrel and higher, with the purpose to bleed developing countries into submission. Today, crude has dropped to US$ 47 / barrel, less than half of what it was 2 years ago. The same speculators are behind this drastic drop, another willful, ill-intended manipulation. Yes, by the Saudi vassals, but even more so by Wall Street and its chief executive mobster – Goldman Sachs, to hurt especially Venezuela, Iran and Russia.

This, Mr. Maduro, is an Economic Coup. It is outright financial warfare. It is criminal, illegal and punishable according to war crimes, if there was any international court in the world not yet ‘prostituted’ by the United States and its Deep Dark Zionist handlers. Blocking bank transactions with Venezuela / debt and equity swaps with creditors / debtors is a crime. Blocking Venezuela national oil company from selling hydrocarbon abroad is a crime.

Russia’s Rosneft bought a US$ 6 billion stake in in the Venezuelan PDVSA and acquired 49.9% collateral share in its US-based CITCO. This corresponds to about a 13% of Venezuela’s total production, almost the entire contingent is resold mainly in Latin America by Russia to Venezuela’s customers, despite US ‘sanctions’.

Venezuela might want to consider negotiating concession agreements or outright sales of larger portions of PDVSA to Rosneft and other Russian and Chinese petrol giants, to be repurchased once the crisis is over. Sweden has made such arrangements, nationalizing the banking sector to overcome their banking crisis in the 1990s; an elegant alternative to bailouts. It worked. Banks were later re-privatized. Russia might sell Venezuelan petrol throughout the world, with focus on honoring contracts with Venezuelan customers. No sanctions to be expected from the White House. Who could be sanctioned if transactions took place outside of the dollar economy?

Notwithstanding Trump’s threat of a direct military intervention in Venezuela, there is also a strong possibility of a US naval blockade of Venezuela’s ports. However, today, the US is no longer the sole master of the universe. Russia and China may be invited to form a counter-blockade and even to bring troops into Venezuela.

Russia’s intervention in Syria, at the behest of President Bashar Al-Assad has worked wonders; in fact, it has liberated Syria from the siege of NATO, the US, France, UK, Germany. All criminal nations, dancing to the tune of the dying emperor. Russia’s recent air force parade over the Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Japan, the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea, with nuclear-capable Tupolev-95MS bombers in the midst of the massive and provocative US-Japan-South Korea military exercises off the coast of the Korean Peninsula, has prompted Japan and South Korea to scramble jets to escort Russia’s Tupolevs. The Russian demonstration has had an impressive impact of respect. – Why would it not be a deterrent for a US navy blockade? Or to forego Trump’s threat of direct military intervention?

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 4th Media (China), TeleSUR, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.

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Franz Kafka
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Franz Kafka

Good letter Peter. It is shocking that the insane threats and dictums from the Anglo-Zionist, Talmudo-Satanist rogue state do not result in howls of censure from the media and calls for lynching by We the Pimple. More and more I want to promote a new global response to the USA and its tail, Israel – Quarantine. They deserve much worse but their two ocean-sized moats preclude any possibility of just revenge by the millions they have wronged and their surviving relatives. Quarantine will bring that about by other means.

Gonzogal
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Gonzogal

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christianblood
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christianblood

(…Russia’s intervention in Syria, at the behest of President Bashar
Al-Assad has worked wonders; in fact, it has liberated Syria from the
siege of NATO, the US, France, UK, Germany. All criminal nations…)

Nato and U$ organizations are Satanic criminal entities in league with the Devilish ISIS and they must defeated everywhere. Nato is Hollywoodized Evil which is corrupting the world!
They must be defeated!

Gary Wells
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Gary Wells

There were good ideas in this letter. I truly hope that Venezuela is able to maintain its independence and sovereignty. Perhaps, Venezuela could conduct a defensive military exercise and invite Russian/Chinese participation. Might seem a provocative, but any move they make except capitulation will be considered provocative. The US is one ugly beast.

Suzanne Giraud
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Suzanne Giraud

Love this recipe to bits. Thank you, Peter Koenig.

IF there were any other government heads with an ounce of self-respect and love of their country and fellowmen, they could take his same recipe for breaking free of the fiat dollar ‘hegemony’, Yes?

DarkEyes
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DarkEyes

Russian Federation with President Putin maybe?

Vera Gottlieb
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Vera Gottlieb

I wish his articles would be shorter…too long.

Great Expectations
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Great Expectations

Good letter. Am I right in thinking that I couldn’t find the name Rothschild anywhere, from start to finish? Because, without it, it’s not really giving the full picture.

Until enough people in the world have heard of and know the history and motives of the Rothschild funded Anglo American empire, nothing will change.

Tommy Jensen
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Tommy Jensen

Here you have it:
comment image

Omar
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Omar

Are you guys serious? First, a delusional letter that feeds on the absurd romanticism of the “Bolivarian Revolution”…and then a bunch of people in the comment section acclaiming it. This is disgusting. There is one thing all of you have in common: NONE of you seem to be Venezuelan. How many of you have seen your friends or family browsing piles of garbage looking for food?? Do you really think that Trump and the US are the one to blame after almost 20 years of chavista regime? Really? You guys will never know the fear of being pointed with a… Read more »

Bolivar
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Bolivar

Long live Chavez, Maduro, & the Bolivariana Revolution…Omar is obviously a paid troll..

Tommy Jensen
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Tommy Jensen

You have a point. The socialism is not always the emotional dream written. The question is whether the conditions will be better under US overrule and as American lapdog.

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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

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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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