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China slams US policy on North Korea; calls it “an abysmal failure”

During tense call between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping China rejects US demands for oil embargo on North Korea

Alexander Mercouris

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US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke to each other over the telephone on Wednesday 29th November 2017 following North Korea’s ICBM test.

China’s official news agency Xinhua has provided an account of the call, which reads as follows:

Chinese President Xi Jinping told his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, in a telephone conversation late Wednesday that denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, maintaining international nuclear-nonproliferation regime, and preserving peace and stability in Northeast Asia are China’s unswerving goal.

He said China would like to keep up communications with the United States and all other related parties, and jointly push the nuclear issue towards the direction of peaceful settlement via dialogues and negotiations.

In response, Trump said the United States has serious concerns over the launch of a ballistic missile by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The DPRK’s Korean Central Television reported that the country successfully test-fired a newly developed Intercontinental Ballistic Missile early Wednesday morning, a move that has drawn condemnation from the international community.

Pyongyang said “The development and advancement of the strategic weapon of DPRK are to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country from the U.S. imperialists’ nuclear blackmail policy and nuclear threat, and to ensure the peaceful life of the people.”

It is the first launch since Sept. 15, when the DPRK fired a ballistic missile over northern Japan into the Pacific Ocean.

Trump said Washington highly values China’s important role in solving the nuclear issue, and is willing to enhance communications and coordinations with China in search for solutions to the issue.

Also in their phone talks, the Chinese leader said that during Trump’s visit to China earlier this month the two heads of state have exchanged in-depth views on key issues of common concerns and reached important consensuses on multiple fronts, which bears important significance for maintaining sound and stable bilateral ties.

Xi called on the two sides to carry out these consensuses, make good plans for high-level bilateral exchanges, as well as at other levels, ensure the second round talks under all four high-level China-U.S. dialogue mechanisms a success, and implement cooperation agreements and projects between the two countries.

He also urged the two sides to maintain close communications and coordination on important international and regional affairs.

To help soothe the Korean Peninsula situation, China has proposed a dual-track approach, seeking to advance denuclearization and establish a peace mechanism in parallel. Beijing, in its “suspension for suspension” initiative, calls on Pyongyang to pause its missile and nuclear activities, and calls on Washington to put its joint military drills with South Korea on hold.

In response to the DPRK’s missile launch, the United Nations Security Council will hold an urgent meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

Since November last year, the Security Council has imposed export bans on coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood, restricted joint ventures and blacklisted a number of DPRK’s entities in response to the country’s missile and nuclear tests.

It has also banned the hiring of DPRK’s guest workers and capped oil exports.

Under UN resolutions, DPRK is barred from developing missiles and a nuclear weapons capability, but Pyongyang argues that the arsenal is needed for self-defense against the “hostile” United States.

This official summary of the telephone conversation is a classic example of how China officially reports conversations by its President.  As such it requires careful reading to get a proper sense of what actually happened.

Firstly, the Xinhua report makes no reference to the longstanding US demand – repeated by Nikki Haley to the UN Security Council on Wednesday – that China impose an oil embargo on North Korea.

As it is inconceivable that President Trump did not bring up the subject of the oil embargo during the call, that can only mean that President Xi Jinping rejected it.

The Xinhua report suggests that in response to Trump’s demand for an oil embargo Xi Jinping reminded Trump of the extensive sanctions the UN Security Council has already imposed with China’s agreement on North Korea.  Note the careful way Xinhua lists them

Since November last year, the Security Council has imposed export bans on coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood, restricted joint ventures and blacklisted a number of DPRK’s entities in response to the country’s missile and nuclear tests.

It has also banned the hiring of DPRK’s guest workers and capped oil exports.

The Xinhua report also suggests that Xi Jinping reminded Donald Trump of North Korea’s security concerns – concerns which China recognises as fully legitimate (see below) – whilst reiterating to Trump that the North Korean ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programme is clearly – as North Korea says – defensive.  Note how carefully Xinhua reports North Korea’s statement following the ICBM test that North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons test is intended purely for self-defence

Pyongyang said “The development and advancement of the strategic weapon of DPRK are to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country from the U.S. imperialists’ nuclear blackmail policy and nuclear threat, and to ensure the peaceful life of the people.”….

The key point however about the Xinhua report is that it strongly implies that Trump threatened Xi Jinping with unilateral sanctions against Chinese companies if China did not comply with US demands for an oil embargo on North Korea.

The Xinhua report also says that Xi Jinping reminded Trump of the agreements for cooperation between the US and China which were reached during Trump’s visit to Beijing just a few weeks ago.  It seems that Xi Jinping pointedly reminded Trump that his threats of unilateral sanctions against Chinese companies were in total contradiction to these agreements

Also in their phone talks, the Chinese leader said that during Trump’s visit to China earlier this month the two heads of state have exchanged in-depth views on key issues of common concerns and reached important consensuses on multiple fronts, which bears important significance for maintaining sound and stable bilateral ties.

Xi called on the two sides to carry out these consensuses, make good plans for high-level bilateral exchanges, as well as at other levels, ensure the second round talks under all four high-level China-U.S. dialogue mechanisms a success, and implement cooperation agreements and projects between the two countries.

Lastly, it is clear from the Xinhua report that Xi Jinping warned Trump against unilateral US actions – whether against Chinese companies or against North Korea – reminded Trump of China’s proposal for a double-freeze (a halt to North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear tests in return for a halt to US military exercises and military deployments in and around the Korean Peninsula) and warned Trump that any and all steps taken by the US to resolve the North Korean issue should be agreed in advance with China.

Chinese President Xi Jinping told his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, in a telephone conversation late Wednesday that denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, maintaining international nuclear-nonproliferation regime, and preserving peace and stability in Northeast Asia are China’s unswerving goal.

He said China would like to keep up communications with the United States and all other related parties, and jointly push the nuclear issue towards the direction of peaceful settlement via dialogues and negotiations……

He also urged the two sides to maintain close communications and coordination on important international and regional affairs.

To help soothe the Korean Peninsula situation, China has proposed a dual-track approach, seeking to advance denuclearization and establish a peace mechanism in parallel. Beijing, in its “suspension for suspension” initiative, calls on Pyongyang to pause its missile and nuclear activities, and calls on Washington to put its joint military drills with South Korea on hold.

That this was a tense and difficult conversation, with Xi Jinping rejecting Donald Trump’s demand for an oil embargo on North Korea and Donald Trump in response threatening Xi Jinping with US sanctions against Chinese companies, is all but confirmed by an uncharacteristically furious editorial which was published shortly after by China’s semi-official English language newspaper Global Times.

This editorial lays the entire blame for the North Korean ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programme and for the whole crisis in the Korean Peninsula squarely on US intransigence and short-sightedness

Over the years Washington has repeatedly issued statements on how they will not hesitate to deploy measures necessary to end North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. Pyongyang’s contrarian responses have only accelerated their progress as achievements have been made along the way. Overall, North Korea’s progress has superseded Washington expectations.

It must be acknowledged that US foreign policy on North Korea has been nothing but an abysmal failure. When Washington first took the initiative to negotiate, they ignored Pyongyang security demands, essentially blowing an opportunity urging them to discontinue their nuclear weapons program. And right now, the Trump administration actually believes it can influence Pyongyang’s weapons program by applying greater pressure on the country. And as if that wasn’t enough, Washington is counting on China to support a new round of Trump administration pressure tactics.

(bold italics added)

These words essentially confirm that Donald Trump demanded from Xi Jinping that China impose an oil embargo on North Korea and threatened Xi Jinping with unilateral US sanctions against Chinese companies unless it did so.

As to that demand – and the threat which came with it – Global Times confirms that Xi Jinping rejected it

Washington has placed China in a precarious situation by asking for more than what was originally expected by the UN Security Council regarding the previous round of North Korea sanctions. China has always carried out UN Security measures, however, it will refuse extra responsibilities stemming from both sides.

It is time the US realized that increasing and tightening sanctions already in place will not have the desired effect. Since yesterday, Pyongyang has never been this confident. Condemnations from the UN Security Council and the new sanctions that may follow will solve nothing.

(bold italics added)

Interestingly, and in a sign of the close coordination between Beijing and Moscow on the North Korean issue, Global Times also repeats a recent Russian claim that the US threw away an opportunity to negotiate with North Korea during the two months prior to the ICBM launch when there were no North Korean ballistic missile or nuclear tests

During the previous two months, North Korea’s nuclear ambitions were practically dormant. The reason for such quiet might have been related to the necessary preparation for their recent launch. Or it could have been a message intended for the US designed to ease tension between the two countries.

Unfortunately, Washington chose not to adjust its course. On November 20, Trump redesignated North Korea as a state-sponsor of terror and imposed new sanctions on the country. If the only thing the US achieved was to ignite the wrath of Kim Jong-un.

Both sides need to see each other clearly. Washington should have learned by now that relying solely on pressure will not subdue North Korea.  Also, the US might want to take North Korea’s national security requests seriously from here on out.

(bold italics added)

These identical comments from Beijing and Moscow suggest that the Chinese and the Russians know a great deal more than they are saying.

I suspect that over the course of the recent talks in Moscow the North Koreans told the Russians that preparations for the next North Korean ICBM test were two months away, and that if the US was genuinely interested in compromise it should use this period to signal clearly that it was looking for a compromise.

If the North Koreans did say this to the Russians then the Russians would have passed it on to the Chinese and to the US.  However Washington ignored it, instead increasing the pressure on North Korea by declaring it a ‘terrorist state’ and imposing more sanctions on it, with the results that we now see.

As to what those results are, Global Times spells them out

Foreign experts analyzed data from the Hwasong-15 and found that a standard launch could see the missile travel 13,000 km (8,000 miles). This means North Korea now has a missile that can clear the entire US (Pyongyang to New York City is 6,672 miles).

The impression made by the Hwasong-15 test has been a confidence booster for Pyongyang. They have finally proven to themselves and to the world they now have the weapons capability to strike anywhere in the US.  Initial reports from the ICBM launch sent shockwaves through DC and US society….

Advances in nuclear weapons will never subside. Initially, the most important component of an intercontinental ballistic missile was how far it could travel. Now, the next stage will require advanced development in areas pertaining to mobility and protection.

In other words, by throwing away the opportunity to negotiate a compromise during the two months when the North Korean ballistic missile and nuclear weapons testing programme was dormant, the US has put itself in a weaker position and North Korea in a stronger position than they were in before.

That the conversation between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping was tense and fraught, and is the cause of great anger in Beijing, is further indicated by certain comments coming out of Moscow, which is clearly in constant touch with Beijing on this issue.  Here is how the official Russian news agency TASS reports these comments by Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov

…..”Washington’s recent steps seem to be deliberately aimed at provoking Pyongyang to take some tough actions,” [Lavrov] noted. The US should openly say if its provocative actions are aimed at destroying North Korea, he said.

He pointed out that Washington “announced that large-scale unscheduled drills would held in December.” “It seems, they have done everything on purpose, to make [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un lose control and make another desperate move,” he said. “The Americans need to explain to us all what they are actually up to. If they seek a pretext to destroy North Korea, they should openly say so and the US leadership should confirm it. Then we would decide how to respond,” the Russian top diplomat added.

Russia is against US proposals for an economic blockade of North Korea and believes the sanctions pressure has exhausted itself, he said.

“Our attitude (to the US proposals – TASS) is negative. We have said more than once that the sanctions pressure has in fact exhausted itself,” he said.

At the same time, Lavrov confirmed that Moscow did not support Washington’s initiatives concerning the economic blockade of North Korea and believed that the potential of sanctions had been exhausted. “Our attitude [towards the US initiatives – TASS] is negative. We have stressed many times that the potential of sanctions has actually been exhausted,” Lavrov said.

He pointed out that “all the resolutions imposing sanctions also demand that the political process and talks be resumed.” “But the US has been ignoring this demand. I think it is a huge mistake,” the Russian top diplomat noted.

(bold italics added)

These comments of Lavrov’s – especially the highlighted words – are very interesting, not just because they place the blame on the US for the whole crisis and because they clearly rule out an oil embargo, but because they hint that the US’s real intention towards North Korea is not to bring its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programme to an end but rather to achieve regime change in Pyongyang.

Back in August an editorial in Global Times warned that if the US attacked North Korea China would act by military means if necessary to defend North Korea.  Lavrov’s words about Russia effectively associate Russia with this Chinese warning.

The route to compromise over the North Korean ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programme is not closed.

Negotiations continue.  There was a big Russian delegation in Pyongyang at the time of the ICBM launch, undoubtedly as a follow up to the earlier meetings between Russian and North Korean diplomats in Moscow.

China also continues to pursue diplomacy with South Korea, and there is now no doubt that the Chinese and the Russians are working together.

However the latest words from Beijing and Moscow show that the Chinese and the Russians no longer see the primary obstacle to a compromise in Pyongyang.  Rather they see it in Washington, and they are adjusting their diplomacy accordingly.

What that means is that the US is becoming even more sidelined as the Chinese and the Russians search for a diplomatic solution by direct diplomacy with the two Koreas, which no longer involves the US.

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Understanding the Holodomor and why Russia says nothing

A descendant of Holodomor victims takes the rest of us to school as to whether or not Russia needs to shoulder the blame.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the charges that nationalist Ukrainians often lodge against their Russian neighbors is that the Russian government has never acknowledged or formally apologized to Ukraine for the “Holodomor” that took place in Ukraine in 1932-1933. This was a man-made famine that killed an estimated seven to 10 million Ukrainians , though higher estimates claim 12.5 million and lower ones now claim 3.3 million.

No matter what the total was, it amounts to a lot of people that starved to death. The charge that modern-day Russia ought to apologize for this event is usually met with silence, which further enrages those Ukrainians that believe that this issue must be resolved by the Russian acknowledgement of responsibility for it. Indeed, the prime charge of these Ukrainians is that the Russians committed a genocide against the Ukrainian people. This is a claim Russia denies.

To the outside observer who does not know this history of Russia and Ukraine’s relationship, and who does not know or understand the characteristics of the Soviet Union, this charge seems as simple and laid out as that of the Native Americans or the blacks demanding some sort of recompense or restitution for the damages inflicted on these societies through conquest and / or slavery. But we discovered someone who had family connections involved in the Holodomor, and who offers her own perspective, which is instructive in why perhaps the Russian Federation does not say anything about this situation.

Scene in Kharkiv with dead from the famine 1932-33 lying along the street.

The speaker is Anna Vinogradova, a Russian Israeli-American, who answered the question through Quora of “Why doesn’t Russia recognize the Holodomor as a genocide?” She openly admits that she speaks only for herself, but her answer is still instructive. We offer it here, with some corrections for the sake of smooth and understandable English:

I can’t speak for Russia and what it does and doesn’t recognize. I can speak for myself.

I am a great-granddaughter of a “Kulak” (кулак), or well-to-do peasant, who lived close to the Russia/Ukraine border.

The word “кулак” means “fist” in Russian, and it wasn’t a good thing for a person to be called by this label. A кулак was an exploiter of peasants and a class enemy of the new state of workers and poor peasants. In other words, while under Communism, to be called a кулак was to bring a death sentence upon yourself.

At some point, every rural class enemy, every peasant who wasn’t a member of a collective farm was eliminated one way or another.

Because Ukraine has very fertile land and the Ukrainian style of agriculture often favors individual farms as opposed to villages, there is no question that many, many Ukrainian peasants were considered class enemies like my great grandfather, and eliminated in class warfare.

I have no doubt that class warfare included starvation, among other things.

The catch? My great grandfather was an ethnic Russian living in Russia. What nationality were the communists who persecuted and eventually shot him? They were of every nationality there was (in the Soviet Union), and they were led by a Ukrainian, who was taking orders from a Georgian.

Now, tell me, why I, a descendant of an unjustly killed Russian peasant, need to apologize to the descendants of the Ukrainians who killed him on the orders of a Georgian?

What about the Russian, Kazakh golodomor (Russian rendering of the same famine)? What about the butchers, who came from all ethnicities? Can someone explain why it’s only okay to talk about Ukrainian victims and Russian persecutors? Why do we need to rewrite history decades later to convert that brutal class war into an ethnic war that it wasn’t?

Ethnic warfare did not start in Russia until after WWII, when some ethnicities were accused of collaboration with the Nazis and brutal group punishments were implemented. It was all based on class up to that time.

The communists of those years were fanatically internationalist. “Working people of all countries, unite!” was their slogan and they were fanatical about it.

As for the crimes of Communism, Russia has been healing this wound for decades, and Russia’s government has made its anticommunist position very clear.

This testimony is most instructive. First, it points out information that the charge of the Holodomor as “genocide!” neatly leaves out. In identifying the internationalist aspects of the Soviet Union, Ukraine further was not a country identified as somehow worthy of genocidal actions. Such a thought makes no sense, especially given the great importance of Ukraine as the “breadbasket” of the Soviet Union, which it was.

Secondly, it shows a very western-style of “divide to conquer” with a conveniently incendiary single-word propaganda tool that is no doubt able to excite any Ukrainian who may be neutral to slightly disaffected about Russia, and then after that, all Ukrainians are now victims of the mighty evil overlords in Moscow.

How convenient is this when the evil overlords in Kyiv don’t want their citizens to know what they are doing?

We saw this on Saturday – taken to a very high peak when President Petro Poroshenko announced the new leading “Hierarch” of the “Ukrainian National Church” and said not one single word about Christ, but only:

“This day will go down in history as the day of the creation of an autocephalous Orthodox church in Ukraine… This is the day of the creation of the church as an independent structure… What is this church? It is a church without Putin. It is a church without Kirill, without prayer for the Russian authorities and the Russian army.”

But as long as Russia is made the “problem”, millions of scandalized Ukrainians will not care what this new Church actually does or teaches, which means it is likely to teach just about anything.

Russia had its own Holodomor. The history of the event shows that this was a result of several factors – imposed socialist economics on a deeply individualized form of agrarian capitalism (bad for morale and worse for food production), really inane centralized planning of cropland use, and a governmental structure that really did not exist to serve the governed, but to impose an ideology on people who really were not all that interested in it.

Personal blame might well lay with Stalin, a Georgian, but the biggest source of the famine lay in the structures imposed under communism as a way of economic strategy. This is not Russia’s fault. It is the economic model that failed.

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Mueller Finally Releases Heavily Redacted Key Flynn Memo On Eve Of Sentencing

Alex Christoforou

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Via Zerohedge


Having initially snubbed Judge Emmet Sullivan’s order to release the original 302 report from the Michael Flynn interrogation in January 2017, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has finally produced the heavily redacted document, just hours before sentencing is due to be handed down.

The memo  – in full below – details then-national security adviser Michael Flynn’s interview with FBI agents Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka, and shows Flynn was repeatedly asked about his contacts with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and in each instance, Flynn denied (or did not recall) any such conversations.

The agents had transcripts of Flynn’s phone calls to Russian Ambassador Kislyak, thus showing Flynn to be lying.

Flynn pleaded guilty guilty last December to lying to the FBI agents about those conversations with Kislyak.

The redactions in the document seem oddly placed but otherwise, there is nothing remarkable about the content…

Aside from perhaps Flynn’s incredulity at the media attention…

Flynn is set to be sentenced in that federal court on Tuesday.

Of course, as Christina Laila notes, the real crime is that Flynn was unmasked during his phone calls to Kislyak and his calls were illegally leaked by a senior Obama official to the Washington Post.

*  *  *

Full document below…

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Don’t Laugh : It’s Giving Putin What He Wants

The fact of the matter is that humorous lampooning of western establishment Russia narratives writes itself.

Caitlin Johnstone

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Authored by Caitlin Johnstone:


The BBC has published an article titled “How Putin’s Russia turned humour into a weapon” about the Kremlin’s latest addition to its horrifying deadly hybrid warfare arsenal: comedy.

The article is authored by Olga Robinson, whom the BBC, unhindered by any trace of self-awareness, has titled “Senior Journalist (Disinformation)”. Robinson demonstrates the qualifications and acumen which earned her that title by warning the BBC’s audience that the Kremlin has been using humor to dismiss and ridicule accusations that have been leveled against it by western governments, a “form of trolling” that she reports is designed to “deliberately lower the level of discussion”.

“Russia’s move towards using humour to influence its campaigns is a relatively recent phenomenon,” Robinson explains, without speculating as to why Russians might have suddenly begun laughing at their western accusers. She gives no consideration to the possibility that the tightly knit alliance of western nations who suddenly began hysterically shrieking about Russia two years ago have simply gotten much more ridiculous and easier to make fun of during that time.

Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the emergence of a demented media environment wherein everything around the world from French protests to American culture wars to British discontent with the European Union gets blamed on Russia without any facts or evidence. Wherein BBC reporters now correct guests and caution them against voicing skepticism of anti-Russia narratives because the UK is in “an information war” with that nation. Wherein the same cable news Russiagate pundit can claim that both Rex Tillerson’s hiring and his later firing were the result of a Russian conspiracy to benefit the Kremlin. Wherein mainstream outlets can circulate blatantly false information about Julian Assange and unnamed “Russians” and then blame the falseness of that reporting on Russian disinformation. Wherein Pokemon Go, cutesy Facebook memes and $4,700 in Google ads are sincerely cited as methods by which Hillary Clinton’s $1.2 billion presidential campaign was outdone. Wherein conspiracy theories that Putin has infiltrated the highest levels of the US government have been blaring on mainstream headline news for two years with absolutely nothing to show for it to this day.

Nope, the only possibility is that the Kremlin suddenly figured out that humor is a thing.

The fact of the matter is that humorous lampooning of western establishment Russia narratives writes itself. The hypocrisy is so cartoonish, the emotions are so breathlessly over-the-top, the stories so riddled with plot holes and the agendas underlying them so glaringly obvious that they translate very easily into laughs. I myself recently authored a satire piece that a lot of people loved and which got picked up by numerous alternative media outlets, and all I did was write down all the various escalations this administration has made against Russia as though they were commands being given to Trump by Putin. It was extremely easy to write, and it was pretty damn funny if I do say so myself. And it didn’t take any Kremlin rubles or dezinformatsiya from St Petersburg to figure out how to write it.

“Ben Nimmo, an Atlantic Council researcher on Russian disinformation, told the BBC that attempts to create funny memes were part of the strategy as ‘disinformation for the information age’,” the article warns. Nimmo, ironically, is himself intimately involved with the British domestic disinformation firm Integrity Initiative, whose shady government-sponsored psyops against the Labour Party have sparked a national scandal that is likely far from reaching peak intensity.

“Most comedy programmes on Russian state television these days are anodyne affairs which either do not touch on political topics, or direct humour at the Kremlin’s perceived enemies abroad,” Robinson writes, which I found funny since I’d just recently read an excellent essay by Michael Tracey titled “Why has late night swapped laughs for lusting after Mueller?”

“If the late night ‘comedy’ of the Trump era has something resembling a ‘message,’ it’s that large segments of the nation’s liberal TV viewership are nervously tracking every Russia development with a passion that cannot be conducive to mental health – or for that matter, political efficacy,” Tracey writes, documenting numerous examples of the ways late night comedy now has audiences cheering for a US intelligence insider and Bush appointee instead of challenging power-serving media orthodoxies as programs like The Daily Show once did.

If you wanted the opposite of “anodyne affairs”, it would be comedians ridiculing the way all the establishment talking heads are manipulating their audiences into supporting the US intelligence community and FBI insiders. It would be excoriating the media environment in which unfathomably powerful world-dominating government agencies are subject to less scrutiny and criticism than a man trapped in an embassy who published inconvenient facts about those agencies. It certainly wouldn’t be the cast of Saturday Night Live singing “All I Want for Christmas Is You” to a framed portrait if Robert Mueller wearing a Santa hat. It doesn’t get much more anodyne than that.

Russia makes fun of western establishment narratives about it because those narratives are so incredibly easy to make fun of that they are essentially asking for it, and the nerdy way empire loyalists are suddenly crying victim about it is itself more comedy. When Guardian writer Carole Cadwalladr began insinuating that RT covering standard newsworthy people like Julian Assange and Nigel Farage was a conspiracy to “boost” those people for the advancement of Russian agendas instead of a news outlet doing the thing that news reporting is, RT rightly made fun of her for it. Cadwalladr reacted to RT’s mockery with a claim that she was a victim of “attacks”, instead of the recipient of perfectly justified ridicule for circulating an intensely moronic conspiracy theory.

Ah well. People are nuts and we’re hurtling toward a direct confrontation with a nuclear superpower. Sometimes there’s nothing else to do but laugh. As Wavy Gravy said, “Keep your sense of humor, my friend; if you don’t have a sense of humor it just isn’t funny anymore.”

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