Connect with us

Latest

Analysis

‘Collusion’ claims BACKFIRE on Democrats threefold, but Russia is more evil than ever

For months America and the rest of the world have been bombarded with hysterical claims from sore-loser Democrats, GOP Never-Trumpers, and their media shills that Donald Trump only won the 2016 election thanks to the hidden hand of that Mephistopheles of contemporary geopolitics, Vladimir Putin.

Jim Jatras

Published

on

2,539 Views

Never mind that no evidence of any collusion between the Russians and anyone on the Trump team has been found, despite millions of dollars spent by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and several Congressional committees.

With the growing sense that there’s no collusion to be found, the narrative lately had shifted towards a new story: maybe what the Russians were really doing was planting discord among Americans to exacerbate our social problems and destroy our faith in our democratic institutions.

So, for a measly few hundred thousand dollars’ worth of social media ads (many of them appearing after the election) on Facebook, Twitter, etc., Russian interests (we are never told who, exactly) aimed to “sow chaos and create divisions among Americans” – evidently in general, without any link to Trump or even particularly to help him. Among the favorite topics for socially divisive ads were left-leaning memes about Black Lives Matter and the environmental hazards of fracking, as well “a range of right-wing causes associated with Donald Trump’s campaign,” such as gun rights and illegal immigration. (Regarding the latter, let’s not forget that, while remaining an unreconstructed KGB commie, Putin is also a tiki-torch wielding Grand Dragon of the global Alt-Right white nationalist movement. He’s another Stalin and “literally Hitler” at the same time.) If not for dastardly Russian meddling, we would have no social problems at all, and everybody would be holding hands singing Kumabaya.

But now, with astonishing speed, just this week three stories have popped out that toss the whole Russian collusion tangle right back in face of Hillary Clinton and her party:

1. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid for a defamatory “dossier” against Trump allegedly based on Russian sources:

‘An explosive and salacious dossier alleging links between President Donald Trump and Russia was in part financed by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, according to a report Thursday.

‘Marc E. Elias, a lawyer who represented Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, retained Fusion GPS, an intelligence firm that commissioned the former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele to produce the dossier, The Washington Post reported. . . . It has previously been reported that the dossier was financed by anti-Trump Republicans during the 2016 primary before Democrats picked up the tab. [ . . . ]

‘The revelation comes amid increasing attempts by some Republicans on Capitol Hill to get Fusion GPS to reveal who financed the dossier. Last week, two Fusion GPS partners appeared before the House Intelligence Committee following a subpoena by the panel’s Republican Chairman Devin Nunes. However, the firm’s officials invoked their constitutional privilege not to answer any questions. [ . . . ]

The dossier, first published by BuzzFeed News in January, garnered widespread attention in part to a particularly salacious allegation. It claimed that the Russian FSB spy agency possessed a compromising video of Trump getting Russian prostitutes to urinate on a Moscow hotel room bed once slept on by Obama and his wife, Michelle.’ [Newsweek, October 24: “TRUMP-RUSSIA ‘PEE TAPE’ DOSSIER WAS PAID FOR BY HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN: REPORT”]

2. Russian investors are said to have paid millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation and a half-million dollar speaking fee to Bill Clinton while Hillary, as Secretary of State, was considering approval of a controversial acquisition of a uranium-mining company:

‘Multiple congressional committees are investigating an Obama-era deal that resulted in a Russian company purchasing American uranium mines.

‘Lawmakers are also asking the Department of Justice to lift a reported gag order on a confidential informant who is expected to have more information about the agreement that allowed Russia to control about one-fifth of the uranium mining in the US – and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s involvement in it. [JGJ Note:The gag order was lifted shortly after this story was posted.]

‘President Trump called the Uranium One deal “the real Russia story” as federal investigators continue to probe Russia’s alleged involvement in the 2016 election. And The Hill recently reported that Russian officials engaged in a “racketeering scheme” to further its energy goals in the US

‘In 2013, Russian company Rosatom acquired a Canadian uranium mining company, now called Uranium One, which has assets in the US Uranium is key to making nuclear weapons. Through the deal, Russia is able to own about 20 percent of US uranium production capacity. [ . . . ]

‘The agreement was approved by nine government agencies with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an inter-agency group that reviews how certain foreign investments can impact national security. Clinton’s State Department was one of those agencies, though the former secretary of state told WMUR-TV in 2015 that she was not “personally involved” in the agreement. [ . . . ]

‘Republicans have largely decried the deal, especially as some investors reportedly donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation. Former President Bill Clinton also received a $500,000 speaking fee in Russia and reportedly met with Vladimir Putin around the time of the deal.

‘The FBI had looked into the agreement and uncovered that some Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in nefarious dealings, which included extortion, bribery and kickbacks, The Hill reported. Evidence of wrongdoing by Vadim Mikerin, the Russian official overseeing Putin’s nuclear expansion in the US who was eventually sentenced to prison, was discovered by the FBI before the deal was approved, according to The Hill.’ [Fox News, October 25: “Obama-era Russian Uranium One deal: What to know”]

3. A firm linked to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta, is reportedly under investigation by Mueller for influence-peddling on behalf of Russian interests:

‘Tony Podesta [John’s brother] and the Podesta Group are now the subjects of a federal investigation being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, three sources with knowledge of the matter told NBC News.

‘The probe of Podesta and his Democratic-leaning lobbying firm grew out of Mueller’s inquiry into the finances of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, according to the sources. As special counsel, Mueller has been tasked with investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

‘Manafort had organized a public relations campaign for a non-profit called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU)… The ECMU was reportedly backed by the Party of Regions, the pro-Russian and oligarch-funded Ukrainian political party for which Manafort worked as a consultant, and which paid his firm millions.’ [NBC News, October 24:“Mueller Now Investigating Democratic Lobbyist Tony Podesta”]

At this point no one knows what impact these developments will have or how they relate to one another. But two things are certain. First, at least for a while Trump supporters and much of the Republican party, plus media like Fox News, will be dancing with glee, whooping it up that the Democrats have now been caught in their own “RussiaGate” snare. How much real change there will be in the political landscape, either in getting rid of the collusion cloud over Trump’s head or dragging down Hillary, the Podestas, and their cronies, remains to be seen.

Second, it’s already clear that Trump’s defenders are at least as thrilled to play the anti-Russian card as the Democrats have been:

  • What does Democratic funding of the Christopher Steele dossier mean? The Democrats were implementing a Russian “Chekist provokatsiya” to smear Trump! (Never mind that there’s no evidence the Russians had anything at all to do with what may well be a total fabrication by Steele and his pals in the shadowy world of British intelligence. (Let’s not forget the possible role of GCHQ in monitoring then-candidate Trump.) Or maybe it’s the fruit of the warped imagination of the yet-to-be identified Republican who funded Steele. Or maybe the FBI, which also paid Steele.)
  • Why did the Russians bribe Bill and Hillary with speaking fees? To get their filthy paws on American uranium and “corner the market” on “the foundational material for nuclear weapons”! (Never mind that no less than the United States, Russia – which sits right next to friendly Kazakhstan, the world’s top uranium producer – can make as many warheads as desired; access to sufficient uranium isn’t an issue. As for the bribes, why should it be a surprise that some Russians would play the same game as the Saudis, Emiratis, Qataris, Ukrainians, and others who “contributed” the coffers of the likely next, and highly corrupt, president of the United States?)
  • What were the Podesta Group and Manafort doing working for an NGO supported by Ukraine’s Party of Regions? Peddling influence for Putin! (Just try to explain to anyone in Washington that working for Yanukovych and “Putin lobbying” weren’t necessarily the same thing.)

In short, whatever the fallout in terms US internal politics, the root of all evil, for Republicans and Democrats alike, will remain the vast Russian conspiracy and its demon mastermind in the Kremlin.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of

Latest

US-China trade war heats up as surplus hits record $34 Billion (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 136.

Alex Christoforou

Published

on

According to a report by the AFP, China’s trade surplus with the United States ballooned to a record $34.1 billion in September, despite a raft of US tariffs, official data showed Friday, adding fuel to the fire of a worsening trade war.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have soured sharply this year, with US President Donald Trump vowing on Thursday to inflict economic pain on China if it does not blink.
The two countries imposed new tariffs on a massive amount of each other’s goods mid-September, with the US targeting $200 billion in Chinese imports and Beijing firing back at $60 billion worth of US goods.

“China-US trade friction has caused trouble and pounded our foreign trade development,” customs spokesman Li Kuiwen told reporters Friday.

But China’s trade surplus with the US grew 10 percent in September from a record $31 billion in August, according to China’s customs administration. It was a 22 percent jump from the same month last year.

China’s exports to the US rose to $46.7 billion while imports slumped to $12.6 billion.

China’s overall trade — what it buys and sells with all countries including the US — logged a $31.7 billion surplus, as exports rose faster than imports.

Exports jumped 14.5 percent for September on-year, beating forecasts from analysts polled by Bloomberg News, while imports rose 14.3 percent on-year.

While the data showed China’s trade remained strong for the month, analysts forecast the trade war will start to hurt in coming months.

China’s export jump for the month suggests exporters were shipping goods early to beat the latest tariffs, said ANZ’s China economist Betty Wang, citing the bounce in electrical machinery exports, much of which faced the looming duties.

“We will watch for downside risks to China’s exports” in the fourth quarter, Wang said.

Analysts say a sharp depreciation of the yuan has also helped China weather the tariffs by making its exports cheaper.

“The big picture is the Chinese exports have so far held up well in the face of escalating trade tensions and cooling global growth, most likely thanks to the competitiveness boost provided by a weaker renminbi (yuan),” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics.

“With global growth likely to cool further in the coming quarters and US tariffs set to become more punishing, the recent resilience of exports is unlikely to be sustained,” he said.

According to Bloomberg US President Donald Trump’s new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement isn’t that different from the North American Free Trade Agreement that it replaced. But hidden in the bowels of the new trade deal is a clause, Article 32.10, that could have a far-reaching impact. The new agreement requires member states to get approval from the other members if they initiate trade negotiations with a so-called non-market economy. In practice, “non-market” almost certainly means China. If, for example, Canada begins trade talks with China, it has to show the full text of the proposed agreement to the U.S. and Mexico — and if either the U.S. or Mexico doesn’t like what it sees, it can unilaterally kick Canada out of the USMCA.

Although it seems unlikely that the clause would be invoked, it will almost certainly exert a chilling effect on Canada and Mexico’s trade relations with China. Forced to choose between a gargantuan economy across the Pacific and another one next door, both of the U.S.’s neighbors are almost certain to pick the latter.

This is just another part of Trump’s general trade waragainst China. It’s a good sign that Trump realizes that unilateral U.S. efforts alone won’t be enough to force China to make concessions on issues like currency valuation, intellectual-property protection and industrial subsidies. China’s export markets are much too diverse:

If Trump cuts the U.S. off from trade with China, the likeliest outcome is that China simply steps up its exports to other markets. That would bind the rest of the world more closely to China and weaken the global influence of the U.S. China’s economy would take a small but temporary hit, while the U.S. would see its position as the economic center of the world slip into memory.

Instead, to take on China, Trump needs a gang. And that gang has to be much bigger than just North America. But most countries in Europe and East Asia probably can’t be bullied into choosing between the U.S. and China. — their ties to the U.S. are not as strong as those of Mexico and Canada. Countries such as South Korea, Germany, India and Japan will need carrots as well as sticks if they’re going to join a U.S.-led united trade front against China.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the escalating trade war between the United States and China, and the record trade surplus that positions China with a bit more leverage than Trump anticipated.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Follow The Duran Audio Podcast on Soundcloud.

Via Zerohedge Trump Threatens China With More Tariffs, Does Not Seek Economic “Depression”

US equity futures dipped in the red after President Trump threatened to impose a third round of tariffs on China and warned that Chinese meddling in U.S. politics was a “bigger problem” than Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

During the same interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes”, in which Trump threatened to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia if the Saudis are found to have killed WaPo reported Khashoggi, and which sent Saudi stock plunging, Trump said he “might,” impose a new round of tariffs on China, adding that while he has “great chemistry” with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and noting that Xi “wants to negotiate”, he doesn’t “know that that’s necessarily going to continue.” Asked if American products have become more expensive due to tariffs on China, Trump said that “so far, that hasn’t turned out to be the case.”

“They can retaliate, but they can’t, they don’t have enough ammunition to retaliate,” Trump says, “We do $100 billion with them. They do $531 billion with us.”

Trump was also asked if he wants to push China’s economy into a depression to which the US president said “no” before comparing the country’s stock-market losses since the tariffs first launched to those in 1929, the start of the Great Depression in the U.S.

“I want them to negotiate a fair deal with us. I want them to open their markets like our markets are open,” Trump said in the interview that aired Sunday. So far, the U.S. has imposed three rounds of tariffs on Chinese imports totaling $250 billion, prompting China to retaliate against U.S. products. The president previously has threatened to hit virtually all Chinese imports with duties.

Asked about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin’s alleged efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, Trump quickly turned back to China. “They meddled,” he said of Russia, “but I think China meddled too.”

“I think China meddled also. And I think, frankly, China … is a bigger problem,” Trump said, as interviewer Lesley Stahl interrupted him for “diverting” from a discussion of Russia.

Shortly before an audacious speech by Mike Pence last weekend, in which the US vice president effectively declared a new cold war on Beijing (see “Russell Napier: Mike Pence Announces Cold War II”), Trump made similar accusations during a speech at the United Nations last month, which his aides substantiated by pointing to long-term Chinese influence campaigns and an advertising section in the Des Moines Register warning farmers about the potential effects of Trump’s tariffs.

Meanwhile, in a rare U.S. television appearance, China’s ambassador to the U.S. said Beijing has no choice but to respond to what he described as a trade war started by the U.S.

“We never wanted a trade war, but if somebody started a trade war against us, we have to respond and defend our own interests,” said China’s Ambassador Cui Tiankai.

Cui also dismissed as “groundless” the abovementioned suggestion by Vice President Mike Pence that China has orchestrated an effort to meddle in U.S. domestic affairs. Pence escalated the rhetoric in a speech Oct. 4, saying Beijing has created a “a whole-of-government approach” to sway American public opinion, including spies, tariffs, coercive measures and a propaganda campaign.

Pence’s comments were some of the most critical about China by a high-ranking U.S. official in recent memory. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo got a lecture when he visited Beijing days later, about U.S. actions that were termed “completely out of line.” The tough words followed months of increases tit-for-tat tariffs imposed by Washington and Beijing that have ballooned to cover hundreds of billions of dollars in bilateral trade.

During a recent interview with National Public Radio, Cui said the U.S. has “not sufficiently” dealt in good faith with the Chinese on trade matters, saying “the U.S. position keeps changing all the time so we don’t know exactly what the U.S. would want as priorities.”

Meanwhile, White House economic director Larry Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday” that President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will “probably meet” at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires in late November. “There’s plans and discussions and agendas” being discussed, he said. So far, talks with China on trade have been “unsatisfactory,” Kudlow said. “We’ve made our asks” on allegations of intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers, he added. “We have to have reciprocity.”

Addressing the upcoming meeting, Cui said he was present at two previous meetings of Xi and Trump, and that top-level communication “played a key role, an irreplaceable role, in guiding the relationship forward.” Despite current tensions the two have a “good working relationship,” he said.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

BREAKING: Explosion in Crimea, Russia kills many, injuring dozens, terrorism suspected

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

The Duran

Published

on

“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

10 percent of American F-22 fighter jets damaged by Hurricane Michael

Part of the reason the F-22’s were left in the path of the storm is that they were broken and too expensive to fix or fly.

Seraphim Hanisch

Published

on

Note to the wise: When a hurricane comes, move your planes out of the way. Especially your really expensive F-22 fighter planes. After all, those babies are $339 mil apiece. Got the message?

Apparently the US Air Force didn’t get this message. Or, did they find themselves unable to follow the message?

CLICK HERE to Support The Duran >>

The Washington Times reported Tuesday that between 17 and 20 of these top-of-the-line fighter jets were damaged, some beyond the point of repair, when Hurricane Michael slammed ashore on Mexico Beach, Florida, not far from the Tyndall Air Force Base in the same state. The Times reports that more than a dozen of the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the extremely fierce storm:

President Trump’s tour Monday of devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael took him close to Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base, where more than a dozen F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the powerful storm.

The pricey fighter jets — some possibly damaged beyond repair — were caught in the widespread destruction that took at least 18 lives, flattened homes, downed trees and buckled roads from Florida to Virginia.

The decision to leave roughly $7.5 billion in aircraft in the path of a hurricane raised eyebrows, including among defense analysts who say the Pentagon’s entire high-tech strategy continues to make its fighter jets vulnerable to weather and other mishaps when they are grounded for repairs.

“This becomes sort of a self-defeating cycle where we have $400 million aircraft that can’t fly precisely because they are $400 million aircraft,” said Dan Grazier, a defense fellow at Project on Government Oversight. “If we were buying simpler aircraft then it would be a whole lot easier for the base commander to get these aircraft up and in working order, at least more of them.”

This is quite a statement. The F-22 is held to be the tip of the American air defense sword. A superb airplane (when it works), it can do things no other plane in the world can do. It boasts a radar profile the size of a marble, making it virtually undetectable by enemy radars. It is highly maneuverable with thrust-vectoring built into its engines.

However, to see a report like this is simply stunning. After all, one would expect that the best military equipment ought to be the most reliable as well. 

It appears that Hurricane Michael figuratively and physically blew the lid off any efforts to conceal a problem with these planes, and indeed with the hyper-technological basis for the US air fighting forcesThe Times continues:

Reports on the number of aircraft damaged ranged from 17 to 22 or about 10 percent of the Air Force’s F-22 fleet of 187.

The Air Force stopped buying F-22s, considered the world’s most advanced fighter jets, in 2012. The aircraft is being replaced by the F-35, another high-tech but slightly less-expensive aircraft.

Later in the tour, at an emergency command center in Georgia, Mr. Trump said the damage to the F-22s couldn’t be avoided because the aircraft were grounded and the storm moved quickly.

“We’re going to have a full report. There was some damage, not nearly as bad as we first heard,” he said when asked about the F-22s, which cost about $339 million each.

“I’m always concerned about cost. I don’t like it,” Mr. Trump said.

Still, the president remains a fan of the high-tech fighter jet.

“The F-22 is one of my all-time favorites. It is the most beautiful fighter jet in the world. One of the best,” he said.

The Air Force managed to fly 33 of the F-22s to safety, but maintenance and repair issues kept 22 of the notoriously finicky aircraft on the ground when the powerful storm hit the base.

About 49 percent of the F-22s are out of action at any given time, according to an Air Force report this year.

This is a stunning statistic. This means that of the 187 planes in existence, 90 of them are not working. At their cost, that means that over thirty billion dollars worth of military equipment is sitting around, broken, just in airplanes alone.

As a point of comparison, the entire Russian military budget for 2017 was $61 billion, with that budget producing hypersonic missiles, superb fighter aircraft and tanks. Russian fighter planes are known for being able to take harsh landing and take-off conditions that would cripple the most modern American flying machines.

It would seem that Hurricane Michael exposed a serious problem with the state of readiness of American armed forces. Thankfully that problem did not arise in combat, but it is no less serious.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

JOIN OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Advertisement

Advertisement

Quick Donate

The Duran
EURO
DONATE
Donate a quick 10 spot!
Advertisement
Advertisement

Advertisement

The Duran Newsletter

Trending