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From Britain with Confusion: the UK’s tentative opening to Russia

Though obviously in Britain’s interest, a rapprochement with Russia faces formidable obstacles.

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A recent phone call between Boris Johnson (new UK Foreign Secretary) and Sergei Lavrov has inspired cautious hope that Anglo-Russian relations, which plunged to awful depths under Tony Blair’s government and continued to do so under that of David Cameron, might be repaired.

Ideally this ought to happen as Britain and Russia have no critical strategic points of confrontation. All that has kept Britain and Russia from acting as cordial allies is the fiery political rhetoric from previous British governments about a vague Russian threat to democracy, a threat no one in British politics seemed particularly good at articulating. 

First of all, it must be said that Boris Johnson is not quite the buffoon he acts. Behind the façade of a nonchalant clown, whose policy is to make the world laugh, lies a man who over the years has written some insightful articles on world affairs that would put much of Britain’s current political class to shame.

One often wonders if there is a method behind Johnson’s concealing of his intellect, preferring for example to say ‘the French buy our cakes’ rather than pontificating over the long and winding road that has been over a thousand years of Anglo-French relations. But even if Johnson is quietly hoping to make amends with Russia, many forces external to Britain may well prevent this from happening.

First of all there is the EU of which Britain is technically still a member. The EU, under pressure from both its Eastern European members and the United States, has adopted a stridently anti-Russian policy. If a British government wanted to sign a free trade agreement with Russia, it would be prevented from doing so due to EU imposed sanctions.

As part of Britain’s stalled and ambiguous Brexit negotiations, Britain may have to rely on some of the most deeply anti-Russian states in the world. The so called A8 members of the EU (those who joined in 2004) are primarily eastern European states, some of whom have Russophobia ingrained in their national consciousness and their political policy.

These countries have been British allies within the EU, insofar as they have buttressed British calls to reform a stagnant political and often economically outdated model pursued by the Franco-Benelux-Germanic axis that has been the power base of EU institutions since the inception of the Common Market in 1957. Like Britain, the A8 countries tend to favour a looser confederation rather than a United States of Europe favoured by older western and central European states. But amongst the A8 group are countries like Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania for whom the idea of better relations with Russia would appear a betrayal, though Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic are exceptions as they have, especially in recent years, called for more calm in EU/Russian relations.  It is however difficult to say if the A8 countries have the ability to help Britain’s negotiated exit from the EU as the untested process remains totally undefined and political debates regarding Brexit have over the summer primarily been about short term financial impacts and long term immigration issues rather than a more concerted focus on a medium term political settlement.

Irrespective of any of this, it is important to remember that it does not appear that Boris Johnson will be directly responsible for the Brexit negotiations as the so-called Brexit minister is the arch-Eurosceptic and frequent Tory rebel David Davis.

Secondly, there is the question of NATO. On the whole, in terms of policy making, the US is NATO and NATO is the US. Britain has traditionally been the first to support any US foreign policies as part of the bloc. Only Turkey seems to get away with being a member of the bloc whilst pursuing an independent, if confused, foreign policy.

Therefore, Britain’s would-be reconciliation with Russia is more dependent on the forthcoming US election than on any other factor.

Interestingly, a Trump victory would at least on paper, appear to be better for both Russia and Britain. Trump has said that good relations with Russia would be ideal, whilst Clinton wants to heat up Obama’s cold war. Likewise Clinton continues to see NATO as an anti-Russian bloc whilst Trump has suggested it would be better to use the bloc to fight ISIS style terrorist groups, whilst also questioning the ‘free ride’ many EU member states allegedly get as members of the bloc.  Similarly, whilst Obama came to Britain and told voters that the US wants to make deals with the EU rather than Brexit Britain, Trump predicted Brexit and came to Scotland the day after it happened to glory in it. He made it clear that Brexit would not affect traditional good transatlantic relations, although to be fair the Obama administration quietly toned down the anti-Brexit rhetoric in the aftermath of people in Britain voting to leave the EU. 

So Britain is caught between a rock and a hard place. If Britain wants to use countries like Poland to stand up to decades of Franco-Benelux-Germanic federalism, then Britain will have to at least pay lip service to calming Polish fears of an ‘imminent Russian invasion’. Secondly, if Hillary Clinton wins the Presidential election, nothing substantive will happen to improve relations between Russia and Britain. Only three times since 1945 has Britan’s foreign policy acted independently of Washington:  during the Suez Crisis of 1956, during the Vietnam war, which Harold Wilson’s government refused despite US pressure to become involved in, and during a minor spat in the long love affair between Reagan and Thatcher over the US invasion of Grenada in 1983.

Whilst many in Russia remain rightly skeptical of Trump, almost all acknowledge that Hillary Clinton would be a disaster. Likewise whilst Trump’s personal popularity in Britain is very low, Trump has indicated that he’d be more favourable to Brexit Britain than his opponent.

Strange times call for strange bedfellows, or perhaps it would be better put to say that Russia is a country of immense resources, human talent and cultural sophistication. Who wouldn’t benefit from better relations such a country?  However the decision is not ultimately in Britain’s hands.

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“Foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails (Video)

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx): Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails was hacked by foreign actor, and it was not Russia.

Alex Christoforou

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A stunning revelation that hardly anyone in the mainstream media is covering.

Fox News gave Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) the opportunity to explain what was going on during his questioning of Peter Strzok, when the the Texas Congressman stated that a “foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Aside from this segment on Fox News, this story is not getting any coverage, and we know why. It destroys the entire ‘Russia hacked Hillary’ narrative.

Gohmert states that this evidence is irrefutable and shows that a foreign actor, not connected to Russia in any way, intercepted and distributed Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails.

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Via Zerohedge

As we sift through the ashes of Thursday’s dumpster-fire Congressional hearing with still employed FBI agent Peter Strzok, Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller plucked out a key exchange between Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) and Strzok which revealed a yet-unknown bombshell about the Clinton email case.

Nearly all of Hillary Clinton’s emails on her homebrew server went to a foreign entity that isn’t Russia. When this was discovered by the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), IG Chuck McCullough sent his investigator Frank Ruckner and an attorney to notify Strzok along with three other people about the “anomaly.”

Four separate attempts were also made to notify DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to brief him on the massive security breach, however Horowitz “never returned the call.” Recall that Horowitz concluded last month that despite Strzok’s extreme bias towards Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump – none of it translated to Strzok’s work at the FBI.

In other words; Strzok, while investigating Clinton’s email server, completely ignored the fact that most of Clinton’s emails were sent to a foreign entity – while IG Horowitz simply didn’t want to know about it.

Daily Caller reports…

The Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) found an “anomaly on Hillary Clinton’s emails going through their private server, and when they had done the forensic analysis, they found that her emails, every single one except four, over 30,000, were going to an address that was not on the distribution list,” Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said during a hearing with FBI official Peter Strzok.

Gohmert continued..

“It was going to an unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia.”

Strzok admitted to meeting with Ruckner but said he couldn’t remember the “specific” content of their discussion.

“The forensic examination was done by the ICIG and they can document that,” Gohmert said, “but you were given that information and you did nothing with it.”

According to Zerohedge “Mr. Horowitz got a call four times from someone wanting to brief him about this, and he never returned the call,” Gohmert said – and Horowitz wouldn’t return the call.

And while Peter Strzok couldn’t remember the specifics of his meeting with the IG about the giant “foreign entity” bombshell, he texted this to his mistress Lisa Page when the IG discovered the “(C)” classification on several of Clinton’s emails – something the FBI overlooked:

“Holy cow … if the FBI missed this, what else was missed? … Remind me to tell you to flag for Andy [redacted] emails we (actually ICIG) found that have portion marks (C) on a couple of paras. DoJ was Very Concerned about this.”

Via Zerohedge

In November of 2017, IG McCullough – an Obama appointee – revealed to Fox News that he received pushback when he tried to tell former DNI James Clapper about the foreign entity which had Clinton’s emails and other anomalies.

Instead of being embraced for trying to expose an illegal act, seven senators including Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca) wrote a letter accusing him of politicizing the issue.

“It’s absolutely irrelevant whether something is marked classified, it is the character of the information,” he said. Fox News reports…

McCullough said that from that point forward, he received only criticism and an “adversarial posture” from Congress when he tried to rectify the situation.

“I expected to be embraced and protected,” he said, adding that a Hill staffer “chided” him for failing to consider the “political consequences” of the information he was blowing the whistle on.

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Donald Trump plays good cop and bad cop with a weak Theresa May (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 55.

Alex Christoforou

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US President Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK was momentous, not for its substance, but rather for its sheer entertainment value.

Trump started his trip to the United Kingdom blasting Theresa May for her inability to negotiate a proper Brexit deal with the EU.  Trump ended his visit holding hands with the UK Prime Minister during a press conference where the most ‘special relationship’ between the two allies was once again reaffirmed.

Protests saw giant Trump “baby balloons” fly over London’s city center, as Trump played was his own good cop and bad cop to the UK PM, outside London at the Chequers…often times leaving May’s head spinning.

Even as Trump has left London, he remains front and center in the mind of Theresa May, who has now stated that Trump advised her to “sue” the European Union to resolve the tense negotiations over Brexit.

Trump had mentioned to reporters on Friday at a joint press conference with Theresa May that he had given the British leader a suggestion that she found too “brutal.”

Asked Sunday on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show what that suggestion was, May: “He told me I should sue the EU. Not go into negotiation, sue them.” May added…

“What the president also said at that press conference was `Don’t walk away. Don’t walk away from the negotiations. Then you’re stuck.”‘

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris summarize what was a state visit like no other, as Trump trolled the UK PM from beginning to end, and left London knowing that he got the better of a weakened British Prime Minister, who may not survive in office past next week.

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Via CNBC

It wasn’t exactly clear what Trump meant. The revelation came after explosive and undiplomatic remarks Trump made this week about May’s leadership — especially her handling of the Brexit negotiations — as he made his first official visit to Britain.

In an interview with The Sun newspaper published Thursday — just as May was hosting Trump at a lavish black-tie dinner — Trump said the British leader’s approach likely “killed” chances of a free-trade deal with the United States. He said he had told May how to conduct Brexit negotiations, “but she didn’t listen to me.”

He also praised May’s rival, Boris Johnson, who quit last week as foreign secretary to protest May’s Brexit plans. Trump claimed Johnson would make a “great prime minister.”

The comments shocked many in Britain — even May’s opponents — and threatened to undermine May’s already fragile hold on power. Her Conservative government is deeply split between supporters of a clean break with the EU and those who want to keep close ties with the bloc, Britain’s biggest trading partner.

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Deep State poster boy Peter Strzok gives bizarre testimony that goes viral (Video)

The face of the Deep State.

Alex Christoforou

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If you were not convinced that the Deep State exists, then look no further than Peter Strzok’s bizarre, yet revealing, congressional testimony, showcasing the arrogance and smugness of a powerful FBI agent who worked diligently to push a fake Trump-Russia narrative onto the American public.

Via Zerohedge

While Peter Strzok’s marathon Congressional testimony was full of bickering, chaos and drama – mostly between members of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees – a clip of the disgraced FBI agent’s seemingly giddy reaction after answering a question is creeping people out.

Some have suggested that Strzok’s reaction was “Duper’s delight” – a hidden smirk that slips out at an inappropriate moment when a liar celebrates a successful manipulation.

Watching Peter Strzok, its hard, if not impossible to believe that this man is not a psychopath, who hated Trump so much that he was willing to forward a collusion story that has cost American taxpayers millions, and torn American society apart.

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The video clip even had Donald Trump Jr retweeting it, as he labeled Strzok “the creepiest person in America.”

Via RT

One particular moment from Peter Strzok’s raucous congressional hearing left Twitter users confounded and disturbed, even prompting Donald Trump Jr to label the FBI agent “the creepiest person in America.”

Strzok faced the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees on Thursday to answer questions about his conduct during the 2016 investigations into Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

The lengthy hearing quickly descended into a partisan shouting match, as Republicans and Democrats interrupted each other’s questions, heckling or applauding Strzok.

Strzok’s peculiar reaction to one question caught the eye of viewers and many took to Twitter to confirm that their eyes weren’t deceiving them.

Strzok’s facial expressions were also noticed by the congressmen in the room and prompted one of the most dramatic moments of the hearing when Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) accused Strzok of outright lying.

“I can’t help but wonder when I see you looking there with a little smirk; how many times did you look so innocent into your wife’s eyes and lie to her about Lisa Page,” Gohmert told Strzok, referring to the agent’s extramarital affair with his former colleague Lisa Page, with whom he exchanged anti-Trump text messages. Gohmert’s comment sparked vociferous objections from Democrats.

The hearing evoked a significant reaction, with many describing it as a farce. Former New York mayor and current attorney to US President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, labelled it a “disgrace” and said it “taints the entire Mueller witch hunt.”

“President Trump is being investigated by people who possess pathological hatred for him. All the results of the investigation are ‘fruit of the poison tree’ and should be dismissed,” he added.

Democrats seemed to agree with that sentiment, as California Congressman Ted Lieu said it was “a stupid and ridiculous hearing.”

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