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Was Trump really this honest?

What did Trump get right and what did he get wrong?

Eric Zuesse

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After all of the trumpeting against Donald Trump by the ‘news’ media and by all Democratic politicians and many Republican politicians, about his utter untrustworthiness; and after the loads of exposés that have been published, over decades, documenting Trump’s psychopathic behaviors and business scams; what do we now have, adding to this unsavory if not criminal record by Mr. Trump, in the first criminal indictment, published on October 27th, by the Special Prosecutor, Robert Mueller, who is tasked to nail Trump to some prison cell for crimes committed during his Presidential campaign, after Trump’s having previously racked up already such a lifetime record of alleged (and even some documented) outrages perpetrated by him?

The indictments, of Paul Manafort II and of Richard W. Gates III, make serious charges against these two men, for their allegedly laundering $75 million of income to mainly Manafort during the period from 2006 to 2015. The charges are basically tax-evasion and “a series of false and misleading statements” by them to the U.S. Department of Justice during and after the men’s subsequent work for Trump’s Presidential campaign.

This income had been derived during 2006 to 2015 from what was then the leading political Party in Ukraine, and Paragraph 10 of the Indictment states that this Party, “The Party of Regions was a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine.” Is that legally relevant? Is it criminal in America for a politician in a nation that borders Russia to be “pro-Russia”? (Should it be criminal in Russia for a politician in a nation that borders America to be pro-American?)

It wasn’t criminal in that neighboring country, Ukraine, to be pro-Russian, but is it criminal in America? Did a legal basis exist, during 2005 through 2014, and up till the U.S. coup that overthrew this Partyin 2014, for the U.S. to outlaw this Ukrainian Party, retrospectively, after the U.S. Government had replaced their rule by the rule of one far-right Party, led by Yulia Tymoshenko, and two racist-fascist or ideologically nazi Parties — the Right Sector, and the former Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine — all three of which Parties rabidly hate Russians?

The Party of Regions had been elected to power in Ukraine’s final democratic election (2010) in which the residents in all parts of Ukraine were permitted to vote for or against candidates for Ukrainian national office. That’s what its having been called “The Party of Regions” meant: acceptance, as being part of Ukraine, of the residents in all regions of Ukraine, not discriminating against any, and not blocking any from being able to vote for President and for other national elective offices. What was illegal, anywhere (even in the United States), about that? If nothing, then why does Mueller even mention it, except in order to prejudice jurors?

The Indictment states that this Party “retained MANAFORT, through DMP and then DMI, to advance its interests in Ukraine, including the election of its slate of candidates. In 2010, its candidate for President, Yanukovych, was elected President of Ukraine.” Is that criminal, or is it instead merely prejudicial against the defendants (Manafort and Gates)? Is this Indictment designed to appeal to Americans’ prejudices, or to America’s laws?

Paragraph 11 states: “The European Centre for a Modem Ukraine (the Centre) was created in or about 2012 in Belgium as a mouthpiece for Yanukovych and the Party of Regions. The Centre was used by MANAFORT, GATES, and others in order to lobby and conduct a public relations campaign in the United States and Europe on behalf of the existing Ukraine regime. The Centre effectively ceased to operate upon the downfall of Yanukovych in 2014.”

The last Ukrainian election in which the people in the parts of the country where the main language that was spoken was Russian were allowed to live in peace and to vote in Ukrainian national elections, had produced, according to Mueller, what was, until the coup “the existing regime” — not “the existing Government.” Is the presumption here that the coup-government is “the Ukrainian Government,” but that the democratically elected Government which had preceded the coup-government was instead “the existing Ukraine regime”? It contradicts the history — it contradicts the solidly documented record of what had happened there.

Then follow, until Paragraph 25, specific alleged documents that will be produced at trial in order to prove the money-laundering and the lying aimed to hide it. Paragraph 25 states that, “In November 2016 and February 2017, MANAFORT, GATES, and DMI caused false and misleading letters to be submitted to the Department of Justice, which mirrored the false cover story set out above.”

Starting with Paragraph 37 are the “Statutory Allegations” and the numbered criminal “Counts.” All pertain to the alleged money-laundering and the alleged lies in order to cover it up. Then Paragraph 52 states that upon conviction, the men “shall forfeit to the United States any property, real or personal, involved in such offense, and any property traceable to such property,” etc.

Among the cited U.S. criminal laws, and their punishments, which were referenced, were:

18 U.S.C. § 1956(h) (“shall be sentenced to a fine of not more than $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater, or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both”)

31 U.S.C. § 5322(b) (“shall be fined not more than $500,000, imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both”)

22 U.S.C. § 618(a)(2) (“a fine of not more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for not more than five years, or both”)

So, the expectation is that, if neither Manafort nor Gates will testify that Trump colluded with Russia in order to win the U.S. Presidency, then both Manafort and Gates will face perhaps 35 years in prison, or else be pardoned by Trump — which latter pardoning might assist his becoming replaced by either a different Republican in primaries, or else by the Democratic nominee, in 2020 — if Trump’s Presidency even lasts that long.

An editorial at the Strategic Culture Foundation on November 1st was headlined “First Indictment in Russiagate: Special Counsel Not Up to the Task”, and noted that, “Surprising or not, the indictment does not mention neither Trump nor Russia! The story is about Ukraine. Paul Manafort had ties with Ukraine’s Party of Regions, which was considered as a ‘pro-Moscow’ political force. That’s the only ‘Russia connection.’ Everything related to Manafort pertains to the period before he started to work for Donald Trump. And Rick Gates has never had any relation to the incumbent president or his team.”

It goes on to note that: “Manafort’s indictment (Item 22, page 15) states very seriously that Yulia Tymoshenko had served as Ukraine’s President prior to Yanukovych! It takes a few seconds to have a look at the list of Ukraine’s presidents to find out that Yulia Timoshenko has never been the holder of the highest office.” That was actually referencing Paragraph 22 on page 16, but the point being made is accurate: The former FBI chief and now the prestigious Special Counsel chosen in order to replace Trump by Pence, is so incompetent that he permits a historical falsehood that’s documentable even merely by reference to a Wikipedia article, to appear in Mueller’s piece of propaganda for the appointment of the rabid Russia-hater and current Vice President, Mike Pence, to complete Trump’s term-of-office.

Is this the ‘Justice’ system in a democracy, or is it now just a two-bit dictatorship that’s the fading ghost of anything that the United States of America formerly was?

It’s certainly a scandal, at the very top, and, obviously, only fools would believe that a government such as this is a democracy, at all.

So: Was Trump really this honest? Was he so honest, so that the only way he can even be framed enough for him to be forced out of office, is to unleash against him an ‘expert lawyer’ such as Mueller, who obviously isn’t even a competent piranha? In the U.S., as Alan Dershowitz has said, “A grand jury will indict a ham sandwich if the prosecutor wants them to”. But almost all Americans believe that an indictment is itself evidence of a person’s ‘guilt’. That’s the remarkable trust the people in a dictatorship have when the dictatorship is so total that the public trust even an indictment to be the result of some kind of authentic democratic process proving something, instead of the result of an extremely effective system of public mind-control, which it is.

Mueller wasn’t hired because he’s some kind of legal whiz, but because he looks and sounds like a person who isn’t a lawyer but “who plays one on TV” — he’s the caricature of the part. And, in a dictatorship, that’s the type of person who fills the bill, especially for an assignment like this one.

The minority-leader in the U.S. Senate, Democrat Charles Schumer, said when Mueller was appointed, “Former Director Mueller is exactly the right kind of individual for this job. I now have significantly greater confidence that the investigation will follow the facts wherever they lead.” If they ‘lead’ to Trump, and to Russia, it will apparently be by way of Manafort, Gates, and the last democratically elected government that Ukraine had, which the U.S. Government overthrew by means of a bloody coup, which produced an ongoing ethnic-cleansing campaign (‘civil war’) to get rid of the voters who had enabled the ousted democratically elected President of Ukraine to have been elected.

In addition to the October 27th indictments of Manafort and Gates, there was on October 5th a signed guilty plea by an unpaid but self-inflated volunteer for the Trump campaign, who had solicited from, allegedly, the Russian Government, via a third party, “dirt” that the third party alleged to have somehow acquired against candidate Hillary Clinton, and the “Statement of the Offense” to which he signed included no “dirt” against Donald Trump, and no cooperation with the defendant on the part of Trump’s campaign, other than that the campaign, on one occasion in candidate Trump’s presence, heard this “advisor to the campaign” state in general terms what the third-party informer was seeking to deliver to the campaign.

The defendant, George Papadopoulos, confessed there to having lied to the FBI. What, if anything, the ‘Justice’ Department had agreed to (the other side of this plea-deal) in order to extract these admissions from Papadopoulos, is not known. The confession didn’t allege that the Trump campaign authorized, nor ever accepted, the alleged offer, which Papadopoulos had allegedly midwifed, but which, apparently, aborted, never delivered.

On October 30th, Vanity Fair magazine headlined “MUELLER’S RUSSIAN COLLUSION CASE COMES INTO FOCUS”, and Abigail Tracy reported and linked to the “Statement of the Offense.” Then, on November 1st, that magazine’s Gabriel Sherman bannered “‘YOU CAN’T GO ANY LOWER’: INSIDE THE WEST WING, TRUMP IS APOPLECTIC AS ALLIES FEAR IMPEACHMENT”, and reported that Sherman’s sources inside the White House were panicking (which hardly makes sense) and that “Trump blamed Jared Kushner for his role in decisions, specifically the firings of Mike Flynn and James Comey, that led to Mueller’s appointment, according to a source briefed on the call.” Sherman reported that, “For the first time since the investigation began, the prospect of impeachment is being considered as a realistic outcome and not just a liberal fever dream.” No explanation was provided for that allegedly “realistic outcome” to result from either the Manafort-Gates indictments or the Papadopoulos plea-deal.

Mueller has indicted his two ham-sandwiches, regarding their allegedly hiding and lying about their income from the pre-coup leading political Party in Ukraine, and has gotten an unpaid Trump-campaign volunteer to admit only to his own lying to the FBI about what he himself had done. There is still no testimony against Trump, nor against anyone in his Administration. Is Trump really so honest, that this piranha, Mueller, can’t yet bite even close to this President? Not a big bite — not any bite at all? Really? And the Trump White House now considers impeachment “a realistic outcome” — from this? Maybe some reasonable explanation exists, other than: Trump’s team want to keep their ‘lows’ as low as possible until, late in his term, the shoddiness of the campaign against him becomes undeniable, and so sets him up for a stunning re-election, as the least-disgusting of the Presidential options, from amongst which, the American electorate will be allowed to choose, in 2020.

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BuzzFeed pushes fake Michael Cohen news, as real news breaks on HUGE conspiracy against Trump at FBI and DOJ (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 169.

Alex Christoforou

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According to Zerohedge, in an almost unprecedented event – having rarely commented on stories related to the special counsel’s investigation – Robert S. Mueller III’s office put out a statement firmly disputing the reporting of the news site BuzzFeed reported that the president instructed his personal attorney to lie to Congress about his push for a Moscow real estate project

BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate,” the special counsel’s office said.

As The Hill reports, BuzzFeed had released a statement earlier Friday defending the reporters behind the story and saying that it “stands by this story 100%,” and for his part, Cohen adviser Lanny Davis refused to confirm or deny the report during an interview with MSNBC on Friday afternoon.

President Trump retweeted a few social media reactions…

And then made his own views clear:

Meanwhile the real election collusion bombshell had nothing to do with Russia, Moscow hotels, or Michael Cohen, and everything to do with bullet proof evidence that DOJ official, Bruce Ohr, warned all the higher-ups at the FBI and DOJ (Comey, Rosenstein, McCabe, etc…) that the Steele dossier was connected to Hillary Clinton, and was extremely biased against Donald Trump.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how BuzzFeed pushed out a clear, fake propaganda story on Trump, Cohen, and more stupidity about Moscow hotel deals, as real reporter, John Solomon broke a massive story, with solid evidence and facts, that show the FBI and DOJ knew that the Steele dossier was a complete work of fiction, and knowingly hide that fact from FISA courts.

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Authored by John Solomon, via The Hill

When the annals of mistakes and abuses in the FBI’s Russia investigation are finally written, Bruce Ohr almost certainly will be the No. 1 witness, according to my sources.

The then-senior Department of Justice (DOJ) official briefed both senior FBI and DOJ officials in summer 2016 about Christopher Steele’s Russia dossier, explicitly cautioning that the British intelligence operative’s work was opposition research connected to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and might be biased.

Ohr’s briefings, in July and August 2016, included the deputy director of the FBI, a top lawyer for then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and a Justice official who later would become the top deputy to special counsel Robert Mueller.

At the time, Ohr was the associate deputy attorney general. Yet his warnings about political bias were pointedly omitted weeks later from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant that the FBI obtainedfrom a federal court, granting it permission to spy on whether the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia to hijack the 2016 presidential election.

Ohr’s activities, chronicled in handwritten notes and congressional testimony I gleaned from sources, provide the most damning evidence to date that FBI and DOJ officials may have misled federal judges in October 2016 in their zeal to obtain the warrant targeting Trump adviser Carter Page just weeks before Election Day.

They also contradict a key argument that House Democrats have made in their formal intelligence conclusions about the Russia case.

Since it was disclosed last year that Steele’s dossier formed a central piece of evidence supporting the FISA warrant, Justice and FBI officials have been vague about exactly when they learned that Steele’s work was paid for by the law firm representing the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

A redacted version of the FISA application released last year shows the FBI did not mention any connection to the DNC or Clinton. Rather, it referred to Steele as a reliable source in past criminal investigations who was hired by a person working for a U.S. law firm to conduct research on Trump and Russia.

The FBI claimed it was “unaware of any derogatory information” about Steele, that Steele was “never advised … as to the motivation behind the research” but that the FBI  “speculates” that those who hired Steele were “likely looking for information to discredit” Trump’s campaign.

Yet, in testimony last summer to congressional investigators, Ohr revealed the FBI and Justice lawyers had no need to speculate: He explicitly warned them in a series of contacts, beginning July 31, 2016, that Steele expressed biased against Trump and was working on a project connected to the Clinton campaign.

Ohr had firsthand knowledge about the motive and the client: He had just met with Steele on July 30, 2016, and Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS, the same firm employing Steele.

“I certainly told the FBI that Fusion GPS was working with, doing opposition research on Donald Trump,” Ohr told congressional investigators, adding that he warned the FBI that Steele expressed bias during their conversations.

“I provided information to the FBI when I thought Christopher Steele was, as I said, desperate that Trump not be elected,” he added. “So, yes, of course I provided that to the FBI.”

When pressed why he would offer that information to the FBI, Ohr answered: “In case there might be any kind of bias or anything like that.” He added later, “So when I provided it to the FBI, I tried to be clear that this is source information, I don’t know how reliable it is. You’re going to have to check it out and be aware.”

Ohr went further, saying he disclosed to FBI agents that his wife and Steele were working for the same firm and that it was conducting the Trump-Russia research project at the behest of Trump’s Democratic rival, the Clinton campaign.

“These guys were hired by somebody relating to, who’s related to the Clinton campaign and be aware,” Ohr told Congress, explaining what he warned the bureau.

Perkins Coie, the law firm that represented both the DNC and the Clinton campaign during the 2016 election, belatedly admitted it paid Fusion GPS for Steele’s work on behalf of the candidate and party and disguised the payments as legal bills when, in fact, it was opposition research.

When asked if he knew of any connection between the Steele dossier and the DNC, Ohr responded that he believed the project was really connected to the Clinton campaign.

“I didn’t know they were employed by the DNC but I certainly said yes that they were working for, you know, they were somehow working, associated with the Clinton campaign,” he answered.

“I also told the FBI that my wife worked for Fusion GPS or was a contractor for GPS, Fusion GPS.”

Ohr divulged his first contact with the FBI was on July 31, 2016, when he reached out to then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and FBI attorney Lisa Page. He then was referred to the agents working Russia counterintelligence, including Peter Strzok, the now-fired agent who played a central role in starting the Trump collusion probe.

But Ohr’s contacts about the Steele dossier weren’t limited to the FBI. He said in August 2016 — nearly two months before the FISA warrant was issued — that he was asked to conduct a briefing for senior Justice officials.

Those he briefed included Andrew Weissmann, then the head of DOJ’s fraud section; Bruce Swartz, longtime head of DOJ’s international operations, and Zainab Ahmad, an accomplished terrorism prosecutor who, at the time, was assigned to work with Lynch as a senior counselor.

Ahmad and Weissmann would go on to work for Mueller, the special prosecutor overseeing the Russia probe.

Ohr’s extensive testimony also undercuts one argument that House Democrats sought to make last year.

When Republicans, in early 2018, first questioned Ohr’s connections to Steele, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee sought to minimize the connection, insisting he only worked as an informer for the FBI after Steele was fired by the FBI in November 2016.

The memo from Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-Calif.) team claimed that Ohr’s contacts with the FBI only began “weeks after the election and more than a month after the Court approved the initial FISA application.”

But Ohr’s testimony now debunks that claim, making clear he started talking to FBI and DOJ officials well before the FISA warrant or election had occurred.

And his detailed answers provide a damning rebuttal to the FBI’s portrayal of the Steele material.

In fact, the FBI did have derogatory information on Steele: Ohr explicitly told the FBI that Steele was desperate to defeat the man he was investigating and was biased.

And the FBI knew the motive of the client and did not have to speculate: Ohr told agents the Democratic nominee’s campaign was connected to the research designed to harm Trump’s election chances.

Such omissions are, by definition, an abuse of the FISA system.

Don’t take my word for it. Fired FBI Director James Comey acknowledged it himself when he testified last month that the FISA court relies on an honor system, in which the FBI is expected to divulge exculpatory evidence to the judges.

“We certainly consider it our obligation, because of our trust relationship with federal judges, to present evidence that would paint a materially different picture of what we’re presenting,” Comey testified on Dec. 7, 2018. “You want to present to the judge reviewing your application a complete picture of the evidence, both its flaws and its strengths.”

Comey claims he didn’t know about Ohr’s contacts with Steele, even though his top deputy, McCabe, got the first contact.

But none of that absolves his FBI, or the DOJ for that matter, from failing to divulge essential and exculpatory information from Ohr to the FISA court.

John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He is The Hill’s executive vice president for video.

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At Age 70, Time To Rethink NATO

The architect of Cold War containment, Dr. George Kennan, warned that moving NATO into Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics would prove a “fateful error.”

Patrick J. Buchanan

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Authored by Patrick Buchanan via The Unz Review:


“Treaties are like roses and young girls. They last while they last.”

So said President Charles De Gaulle, who in 1966 ordered NATO to vacate its Paris headquarters and get out of France.

NATO this year celebrates a major birthday. The young girl of 1966 is no longer young. The alliance is 70 years old.

And under this aging NATO today, the U.S. is committed to treat an attack on any one of 28 nations from Estonia to Montenegro to Romania to Albania as an attack on the United States.

The time is ripe for a strategic review of these war guarantees to fight a nuclear-armed Russia in defense of countries across the length of Europe that few could find on a map.

Apparently, President Donald Trump, on trips to Europe, raised questions as to whether these war guarantees comport with vital U.S. interests and whether they could pass a rigorous cost-benefit analysis.

The shock of our establishment that Trump even raised this issue in front of Europeans suggests that the establishment, frozen in the realities of yesterday, ought to be made to justify these sweeping war guarantees.

Celebrated as “the most successful alliance in history,” NATO has had two histories. Some of us can yet recall its beginnings.

In 1948, Soviet troops, occupying eastern Germany all the way to the Elbe and surrounding Berlin, imposed a blockade on the city.

The regime in Prague was overthrown in a Communist coup. Foreign minister Jan Masaryk fell, or was thrown, from a third-story window to his death. In 1949, Stalin exploded an atomic bomb.

As the U.S. Army had gone home after V-E Day, the U.S. formed a new alliance to protect the crucial European powers — West Germany, France, Britain, Italy. Twelve nations agreed that an attack on one would be treated as an attack on them all.

Cross the Elbe and you are at war with us, including the U.S. with its nuclear arsenal, Stalin was, in effect, told. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops returned to Europe to send the message that America was serious.

Crucial to the alliance was the Yalta line dividing Europe agreed to by Stalin, FDR and Churchill at the 1945 Crimean summit on the Black Sea.

U.S. presidents, even when monstrous outrages were committed in Soviet-occupied Europe, did not cross this line into the Soviet sphere.

Truman did not send armored units up the highway to Berlin. He launched an airlift to break the Berlin blockade. Ike did not intervene to save the Hungarian rebels in 1956. JFK confined his rage at the building of the Berlin Wall to the rhetorical: “Ich bin ein Berliner.”

LBJ did nothing to help the Czechs when, before the Democratic convention in 1968, Leonid Brezhnev sent Warsaw Pact tank armies to crush the Prague Spring.

When the Solidarity movement of Lech Walesa was crushed in Gdansk, Reagan sent copy and printing machines. At the Berlin Wall in 1988, he called on Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”

Reagan never threatened to tear it down himself.

But beginning in 1989, the Wall was torn down, Germany was united, the Red Army went home, the Warsaw Pact dissolved, the USSR broke apart into 15 nations, and Leninism expired in its birthplace.

As the threat that had led to NATO disappeared, many argued that the alliance created to deal with that threat should be allowed to fade away, and a free and prosperous Europe should now provide for its own defense.

It was not to be. The architect of Cold War containment, Dr. George Kennan, warned that moving NATO into Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics would prove a “fateful error.”

This, said Kennan, would “inflame the nationalistic and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion” and “restore the atmosphere of the cold war in East-West relations.” Kennan was proven right.

America is now burdened with the duty to defend Europe from the Atlantic to the Baltic, even as we face a far greater threat in China, with an economy and population 10 times that of Russia.

And we must do this with a defense budget that is not half the share of the federal budget or the GDP that Eisenhower and Kennedy had.

Trump is president today because the American people concluded that our foreign policy elite, with their endless interventions where no vital U.S. interest was imperiled, had bled and virtually bankrupted us, while kicking away all of the fruits of our Cold War victory.

Halfway into Trump’s term, the question is whether he is going to just talk about halting Cold War II with Russia, about demanding that Europe pay for its own defense, and about bringing the troops home — or whether he is going to act upon his convictions.

Our foreign policy establishment is determined to prevent Trump from carrying out his mandate. And if he means to carry out his agenda, he had best get on with it.

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The ISIS attack in Syria appears to have failed in its real mission

ISIS probably tried to get Mr. Trump to keep troops in Syria, but in reality this attack shows no compelling reason to remain there.

Seraphim Hanisch

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ISIS is one of the bloodiest, most brutal organizations to ever exist in modern history. During its meteoric rise, the “Caliphate” struck with death and fear across the deserts of Iraq and the wastes of Syria, seducing a seemingly increasing number of recruits from the West, developing its own currency and financing abilities, all the while remaining a death cult, in the conviction that their eventual destruction would trigger a far greater Islamic uprising.

But something changed for them starting in about 2013. While ISIS got quietly aided and abetted by President Obama’s (perhaps not unwitting) support through neglect and then even quieter collaboration (Obama thought ISIS could be “managed” in the effort to oust Bashar Al-Assad from Syria), its power and reach extended through much of Syria.

But then came Russia. Russia didn’t think ISIS should be managed. Russia determined that ISIS should be destroyed. And in 2015, invited by Syria, the Russians came and went to work. They did most of the heavy lifting in terms of driving ISIS back, while (inconveniently for the US and West) also carefully taking back Syrian territory from antigovernment groups that were supported by the US and its coalition of forces operating in the country, including Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, and all the names it took on afterwards. This was quietly carried out because the Americans also had face to save, owing to Obama’s clumsy decision to send American forces into the country, which gradually grew and metastasized into a significantly sized fighting force.

With an extremely complicated group of alliances and enemies, the American forces were forced to quietly abandon their mission of removing Bashar al-Assad from power and to pivot to actually destroying ISIS. President Trump does deserve some credit for his part in helping this to happen. He also deserves a lot of credit for his recent decision to pull American troops out of Syria.

This move was severely condemned by the US hawks, resulting in the resignation / firing / retirement of former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and, in an amusing show of hypocrisy, the pundits from the Anti-Trump crowd at CNN and other news outlets characterized this decision as the US President proving once and for all that he is a Putin operative, a real-life Manchurian President.

ISIS evidently wanted the US not to leave either, so it conducted an attack on Wednesday, January 16th, tragically killing 19 people, with four Americans among the dead. The New York Times was lightning-fast to jump into the fray to carry out what was probably ISIS’ real mission with this attack: to sow seeds of doubt among the US authorities, and to keep American forces in the region (emphasis added).

Four Americans were among 19 people killed in Syria on Wednesday in a suicide bombing that was claimed by the Islamic State, just weeks after President Trump ordered the withdrawal of United States forces and declared that the extremist group had been defeated.

The attack targeted an American military convoy in the northern city of Manbij while troops were inside the Palace of the Princes, a restaurant where they often stopped to eat during patrols, residents said. While the Americans were inside, a nearby suicide attacker wearing an explosive vest blew himself up.

The bombing raised new questions about Mr. Trump’s surprise decision last month to end the American ground war in Syria. Critics of the president’s plans, including members of his own party, said Mr. Trump’s claim of victory over the Islamic State may have emboldened its fighters and encouraged Wednesday’s strike… Mr. Trump’s withdrawal announcement, made over the objections of his top national security officials, “set in motion enthusiasm by the enemy we’re fighting,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a prominent Trump ally who has nonetheless criticized the military drawdown.

“I saw this in Iraq. And I’m now seeing it in Syria,” Mr. Graham said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday.

The rest of the article, of course, had the Trump Administration defending itself, with Vice President Mike Pence as the spokesman of that defense.

However, already only two days later, the noise about this seems to have faded. There is no ongoing media fury about the President’s decision to remove troops. In fact, aside from the ongoing investigation to confirm that ISIS indeed did carry out this attack, there is no indication of a change in the troop withdrawal process.

If this situation remains as it is, it is a very good sign for these reasons:

  1. President Trump is showing his resolve and confidence in a decision he knows to be right (to withdraw) and not to accede to the War Party wishes.
  2. ISIS is losing its reputation as a significant fighting force as far as the US population is concerned, as it probably should. With the US gone, Russia can prosecute this war full force without risk of creating more serious incidents with the Americans.
  3. The possibility exists that this attack, already heinous in what we know, could have been a false flag, designed specifically to provoke the US troop withdrawal to stop and be reversed.

This last scenario has oddly not been visibly mentioned, but it should be, because it probably happened in April 2018 and earlier. The Duran covered this quite extensively, and while the “official” (Western) investigation has come up curiously silent on the alleged chemical weapons attack last April in Ghouta, the overwhelming body of reports from the region suggested that the “gas” attack was nothing at all but drama to keep the US ensnared in the region. Remember, President Trump at that time also expressed the intention of withdrawing US troops from the area, and this event caused a reversal for a time.

ISIS tried to become a nation. It operates on terror and theater, but it considers itself free to kill people along the way as it creates its pageantry. For the souls of all those innocent people who perished in this attack, we must pray and not forget.

But ISIS is substantially done, and what is left will be dealt with by Russian and Syrian forces.

For once, the definition of “American courage” might be not to fight. President Trump’s decision to remove the troops remains one of the most significant achievements of his presidency, and one of the most important in terms of restoring balance to the United States that it deserves to have.

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