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Russia: moderate Islam’s new ally against an unstable West

Russia has a new role both as the ally of moderate Islam against Western aggression, and as a factor for reconciliation between Islam and the West

Shihan Sazid

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How will a future historian will define this present era of human civilisation?

Even though it is unusual to begin an article with a question, the present state of international affairs obliges it.

The occupation of Palestine and Kashmir, the endless war in the Middle East, the refugee crisis, the crisis of the fraudulent world monetary system, the unequal distribution of wealth, widespread poverty and malnutrition, the monster carbon footprint of the world’s developed economies, right wing extremism and the extremism of the far left, and last but not the least terrorism – will these be the topics that give titles to the chapters of the history of our present era ?

The West’s Democracy God

The post colonial world gave rise to republican states.  In the name of securing sovereignty and national security artificial borders were imposed, originally drawn up by the ex-colonial powers.

Developing and under developed nations are continuously pressured to meet the criteria of standard Western development. In the political arena the West assesses and defines the world according to its ideas of human rights, feminism, globalisation and most importantly democracy.   

On the one hand the West dictates to the world the parables of Western values – which it insists the world must adopt – whilst on the other hand they use war and economic sanctions to punish any deviation from any of these ‘values’.

Among all the values which the West is imposing, democracy has come to serve the purpose of God.

This God is a jealous God, who takes no partner. This new God only appears in suit and tie and dictates his revelations in English. The theology of this God has “enriched”  rituals of capitalism and of the free market economy. 

Which of course leads inexorably to the next step: in the name of this sacralised capitalism and free market economy big Western corporations exploit the national recourses of under developed and developing nations.

Nations who oppose this Western democracy commit blasphemy and must therefore sponsor terror.

The punishment for blasphemy against this new God is severe: bombing, sanctions, ‘nation building’ and ‘democracy promotion’.

So the result in the end of this Western superiority complex is the West’s constant threatening of the East and the invention of the idea of the ‘Clash of Civilisations’, leading to East and West being eternally divided from each other. 

In other words the end result of any US and Western dominated unipolar world is the division of humanity amidst ‘Clash of Civilisations’ rhetoric.

In reality any true democracy should make space for both true conservatives and true leftists.  That way genuine extremism can be avoided and replaced by valid and purposeful argument.

That of course is not the sort of democracy the West ‘promotes’ any more. 

The result is that in the West today, instead of the historic division between true conservatives and true leftists, there is dominance of neo-conservatism and radical neo-liberals.

The clash between what are in reality simply two extreme forms of the same political ideology has closed the space for moderate voices.  The result is the destruction of basic ideals of morality within the Western political establishment.

The role of the West in the Syrian war is a good example of what comes from this moral quagmire. In the name of arming the so called “moderates” the West has actually been arming and funding the throat and head cutting fanatics of ISIS/Daesh.    

Today however the global dominance of the United States is being challenged by the re-emergence of Russia.

The New Russia

This is not the first time that Russia has set out an alternative vision for the world.

After the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453 Russia became the centre of Orthodox Christianity, which helped Russia to develop its own identity as a separate civilisation different from the West.

Whilst the Vatican sponsored relentless wars in a crusade against the Muslim world to seize tiny pieces of land on the east Mediterranean coast, Russia preached the value of a completely different pacific non-crusading Christianity.  From east to west, the vast territory of the Russian empire welcomed people from all walks of life and all types of belief.

Russia’s identify was lost following the Bolshevik revolution in 1917. In the name of establishing the rule of the proletariat Russians were forced to reject the core of their own civilisation: Orthodox Christianity.  That gave rise to the Soviet Union, which however fought two world wars, saving Europe from its own hubris of colonial and self destructive racial pride, and facilitated the struggle of the colonially oppressed peoples for freedom and nationhood.

The current re-emergence of Russia as a superpower has finally come to the notice of the world community as a result of the Syrian War.  Russia’s bold stand in defence of the legitimate government of Syria challenged the entire system of chaos which the West’s unipolar world order has created.

But what is this Russian superpower which is now re-emerging?   This is obviously a vital question of huge importance in determining the shape of the modern world.

The answer to this question in my opinion highlights the sources of Russian strength, showing why the new re-emerging Russian superpower has been able to face down the US hyperpower, and why it will also succeed in sustaining itself.

The key to Russian strength is its return to moderate values.  As the Russians regain their faith a true conservatism now balances the former one sided extreme leftism of the Soviet Union.

As a result whilst the West has adopted a flawed neo-conservative/neo-liberalism model of fake democracy as its religion, Russia has become the beacon of true religion and true democracy for moderate faithful religious people everywhere.

The result is that the Western sponsored war in Syria has created a new window of opportunity for unity between two different world systems: Islam and Russia. 

The state of the Muslim World

Let us now turn to look at the Muslim world.

Divisions between Muslims are uncountable today.  The endless war in the Middle East gives grounds for feelings of hopelessness.  Muslims are betrayed by their own leaders in these most difficult times.  The plutocratic states of the Gulf and the House of Saud are in the pocket of the Western ruling elite. The extreme ideology of Wahhabism and Salafism wants to destroy every other sect of Islam.

These conditions create opportunities for the West to create more chaos, which ultimately results in even more wars.

The Syrian War

On the other hand, following the fall of the Soviet Union and Russia’s re-embrace of its Orthodox Christian roots, the political establishment in Russia has successfully reconciled moderate conservatism with the country’s leftist tradition.  We can see the positive impact of this reconciliation and adaption of the Russian nation’s two values in the rational and balanced method of contemporary Russian governance and policy making.

In the Syrian war we have observed for the first time in the history of Islam a Sunni majority population stand in support of a Shi’a led government to defeat a Western intervention.

Here it is important to stress the wisdom of the Syrian Arab Army, which grasped what the results would be if the Assad government were to fall as a result of the attack orchestrated upon it by the Western powers.   Perhaps the Syrian Arab Army learnt the lesson from the mistake the Iraqi Army when it abandoned Saddam Hussein during the US led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

There are some independent Western think tanks, which remain “relatively” free from the influence of the mainstream ‘warhawks’, but which still demand the removal of President Assad for various debatable reasons in order to achieve a political settlement in Syria.   However there are two fundamental problems with this approach.

Firstly, in light of the war going on in Syria, any effort to change the government of Syria at a time of existential crisis for the country would create a power vacuum, just as previously happened in Iraq and as is now the case in Libya.  Given the conditions on the ground in Syria, that would be bound to turn Syria into a safe haven for terrorist groups like ISIS/Daesh and Jabhat al-Nusra.

Secondly, no matter what happens in Syria, it should be a fundamental principle that only the Syrian people have the right choose their government.  In the chaotic and violent environment which now exists, there is no chance of the Syrian people being able to express their view through nationwide election.

Russia’s intervention in Syria

Russia’s involvement in the Syrian war is strategically unique, and has been very effective in terms of achieving quickly a positive outcome.

President Putin extended Russia’s hand by providing Syria with military help in response to an official request from the Syrian government. Politically and diplomatically the fact that Russia was responding to a formal request for help from the legitimate government of Syria helped Russia counter Western propaganda that might have sought to portray Russian intervention in Syria as an invasion of Syria.

Russia also took the completely correct decision of not putting ‘boots on the ground’ in Syria.

If Russia had sent infantry brigades to Syria, then it would have created opportunities for the West to intensify the war into a broad regional conflict so as to trap the Russians into a never ending war; just as the US is trapped in precisely such a war in Afghanistan today.

So Russia maintained a controlled approach to help the Syrian Arab Army that kept the door open for Russia to withdraw.

Of course both the Russian military and the Syrian Arab Army must be given credit for the successful use they made of this controlled approach.  Accurate intelligence sharing between the Syrian Arab Army and the Russian Air force played the key role in achieving success, ensuring that the aerial bombing by the Russian Air force was effective, thereby creating the opportunities for the Syrian Arab Army to go onto the offensive and regain territory from ISIS/Daesh and Jabhat al-Nusra.

The role of Iran

This controlled approach also created space for regional players like Iran to involve themselves in the conflict on the side of the Syrian government and share in the successful outcome of the war.

The Syrian Arab Army’s victory also makes the position of Iran stronger diplomatically and politically.  The result is that the West, especially US, can no longer ignore or overlook the role of Iran if they genuinely seek an end to the conflict.

The US along with its Western allies has already been forced to compromise with Iran in the recent Nuclear Deal. Now the West is being forced to compromise with Iran in Iraq and Syria because of Iran’s growing local influence as the regional superpower. 

Syria’s – not Russia’s – ‘Mission to Accomplish’       

Lastly Russia’s timing in scaling down its massive but successful bombing campaign was also strategically unique. 

The most important thing the Russians have never done in Syria is declare “Mission Accomplished”.  Accomplishment of the mission has to come from the Syrian government and the Syrian Arab Army, not from Russia, because it is the Syrian people who are the ones who are principally fighting this war, for their own and for Syria’s survival against Western backed terrorists.

The real accomplishment of the mission will anyway not be achieved after the end of the fighting because though it obviously has to include a military victory such a victory can only be firmly consolidated by a political and diplomatic settlement.

The battlefield victories of the Syrian Arab Army have created the opportunity to bring the other side to the table at the talks underway in the Kazakh capital of Astana. Right now in Astana the opposition has no option but to talk with the Syrian government directly, something it has always resisted doing until now. 

The role of Turkey

The positive role Turkey is playing in favour of a peaceful settlement is also a major development. Turkey is a major military power in this region and is Syria’s largest and most powerful neighbour.  The Turkish government can therefore be expected to play a decisive role in influencing the outcome of the negotiations which will bring an eventual end to the war.

The most important point to emphasise here is that the negotiations in Astana is the result of a joint Turkish-Russian diplomatic initiative.  Russia had to make a major political and diplomatic effort to achieve this.

When Turkey shot down the Russian SU24 bomber near the Turkish border in November 2015 Russia could have retaliated against Turkey in kind.  However that would have merely escalated the situation, bringing relations between Russia and Turkey to the point of crisis.

Instead President Putin showed great forbearance and patience, refusing to provide the West with a chance to trap Russia into a direct confrontation with Turkey which might have involved NATO and which might have threatened to turn the Syrian war into a global war for which Russia is unprepared and in which it would have been at a severe disadvantage.

President Putin also showed clarity and strength in decision making during the military coup in Turkey, giving support to the Erdogan government whilst the attempted coup was still underway.

For his part, after securing his government’s survival by defeating the coup, Turkish President Erdogan wasted no time visiting Moscow, where he gave the signal for a revision of Turkish foreign policy towards Russia.

This has had important consequences.  Despite being a member of NATO Turkey is refusing to participate in the recent military buildup by NATO around Russia’s eastern border.  Moreover the new Turkish-Russian relationship is becoming even stronger through the establishment of  joint economic projects like the Turk Stream pipeline, growing Russian investments in Turkey, and Russia’s phased withdrawal of the economic sanctions it had previously imposed on Turkey. 

Conclusion: the emerging alliance of Russia and Islam

Now let us review all these developments from a civilisational perspective.

In these dark times of internal division in the world of Islam,  the Syrian people – Shi’a, and Sunni, together with all the other sects of Islam living in Syria – united together to defend their country against foreign aggression.  They found their ally in moderate Russia.

The Muslim world is in fact edging closer to an alliance with Russia precisely because of its betrayal by its own self-appointed rich Gulf “leaders”, who have been trying to dominate the Muslim community through their version of pseudo Islam, which is destroying the image of Islam as a religion of peace, and which is destroying the voice of the moderate Islamic establishment.

The good news is that this alliance between Muslims and Russians is getting bigger and stronger.  The new role Turkey has adopted can only have a positive impact on the development of this new alliance.

Moreover the only nuclear powered Muslim nation, Pakistan, is also getting closer to this alliance.

In November 2016 Russia and Pakistan conducted their first ever joint military exercise despite huge objections from India. Further building up Pakistan’s confidence is the fact that Russia and China at the recent BRICS summit jointly rejected India’s effort to have Pakistan declared a terrorist state.

A possible rebirth for the West?

What impact will this new emerging alliance have on the West?

After fighting two world wars the West is still in crisis, having failed to develop a political philosophy that can embrace new emerging nations from the east as equal partners.  As a result the chances of new global conflicts are increasing in a way which could be suicidal for the whole of humanity.

Russia’s role in its new emerging alliance with the Muslim world will be not to fight this global conflict.  It will be to prevent it and by doing so to help the West in its quest to find a political soul that reflects humanity first, and which decisively rejects war, because in war there are no winners, war being first and foremost about the destruction of the human spirit.

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Mueller indictment of Russian GRUs 100 percent political theater (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 56.

Alex Christoforou

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United States Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein admitted there was no collusion between these supposed Russian GRU agents and any Americans.  That is momentous.  It means that even Robert Mueller and Rod Rosenstein are admitting that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians to leak the DNC/Podesta emails.

Mueller claims that Wikileaks got the DNC/Podesta emails from Guccifer 2.0 (the online persona supposedly created by the 12 GRU officers Mueller has indicted) but says nothing about Wikileaks having any knowledge that Guccifer 2.0 had anything to do with Russia.

Of course this indictment will never be tested in Court. For all we know Mueller has combined information about how the DNC/Podesta computers were hacked with names of certain officers known to work for certain departments of the GRU to give the impression of a much stronger case against them than he really has.

The key point is that even on his indictment it is now clear that there was NO collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians to leak the DNC/Podesta emails, which calls into question why this investigation is continuing.

Remember that the key bite behind this indictment is the collusion allegation.  With this indictment and with Rosenstein’s words at his news conference, Mueller and Rosenstein have come closer than ever before to admitting that no collusion took place.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris summarize the real motivation an meaning behind Robert Mueller’s Russian GRU indictment. Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Meanwhile during the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki, Russian President Vladimir Putin sat down with Deep State shill, Fox News’ Chris Wallace for an exclusive interview, where Wallace theatrically proceeded to confront the Russian President with a copy of Robert Mueller’s ridiculous indictment of Russian military officials for the hack of the DNC.

Putin rightly brushed off the silly indictment.

Via Business Insider

“Mr. President, one of the issues that is standing in the way of more progress, as you know, are the allegations of Russian interference in the US election,” Wallace said to Putin. “You have repeatedly said, and you said again today, that this was not the action of the Russian state, that if it was anything it was patriotic Russian individuals.”

Wallace referred to Mueller’s indictment of Russian intelligence officers on Friday, in which his team named 12 members of the military intelligence unit GRU for conspiring to infiltrate computers that contained election-related software.

Wallace held the stack of papers in full view of Putin: “I have here the indictment that was presented on Friday from the special counsel, Robert Mueller,” Wallace said.

As Wallace continued explaining the contents of the indictment, Putin let out a laugh.

“And they talk specifically about Units 26165 and 74455, they say — you smiled,” Wallace said. “Let me finish.”

Wallace gestured towards Putin with the indictment and asked if he wanted to read its contents: “May I give this to you to look at, sir?”

After a brief pause, Putin gestured for Wallace to drop the documents on a nearby table. The Russian president then went on to deny all of the allegations made by Mueller and the US intelligence community.

“Russia, as a state, has never interfered with the internal affairs of the United States, let alone its elections,” Putin said. “Do you really believe that someone acting from the Russian territory could have influenced the United States and influenced the choice of millions of Americans?”

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Vladimir Putin just made an unexpected offer to Robert Mueller

Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump responded to Mueller’s Russiagate indictments.

Eric Zuesse

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In the July 16th joint press conference between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the question arose of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s recent indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officials for allegedly having engineered the theft of computer files from the Democratic National Committee and from John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.

Here is that part of the press conference, in a question that was addressed to both Presidents (and I boldface here the key end part of Putin’s presentation, and then I proceed to link to two articles which link to the evidence — the actual documents — that Putin is referring to in his response):

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REPORTER (Jeff Mason from Reuters): For President Putin if I could follow up as well. Why should Americans and why should President Trump believe your statement that Russia did not intervene in the 2016 election given the evidence that US Intelligence agencies have provided? Will you consider extraditing the 12 Russian officials that were indicted last week by a US Grand jury.

TRUMP: Well I’m going to let the president [meaning Putin] answer the second part of that question.

As you know, the concept of that came up perhaps a little before, but it came out as a reason why the Democrats lost an election, which frankly, they should have been able to win, because the electoral college is much more advantageous for Democrats, as you know, than it is to Republicans. [That allegation from Trump is unsupported, and could well be false.] We won the electoral college by a lot. 306 to 223, I believe. [It was actually 304 to 227.] That was a well-fought battle. We did a great job.

Frankly, I’m going to let the president speak to the second part of your question. But, just to say it one time again and I say it all the time, there was no collusion. I didn’t know the president. There was nobody to collude with. There was no collusion with the campaign. Every time you hear all of these 12 and 14 — it’s stuff that has nothing to do — and frankly, they admit, these are not people involved in the campaign. But to the average reader out there, they are saying, well maybe that does. It doesn’t. Even the people involved, some perhaps told mis-stories. In one case the FBI said there was no lie. There was no lie. Somebody else said there was. We ran a brilliant campaign. And that’s why I’m president. Thank you.

PUTIN: As to who is to be believed, who is not to be believed: you can trust no one. Where did you get this idea that President Trump trusts me or I trust him? He defends the interests of the United States of America and I do defend the interests of the Russian Federation. We do have interests that are common. We are looking for points of contact.

There are issues where our postures diverge and we are looking for ways to reconcile our differences, how to make our effort more meaningful. We should not proceed from the immediate political interests that guide certain political powers in our countries. We should be guided by facts. Could you name a single fact that would definitively prove the collusion? This is utter nonsense — just like the president recently mentioned. Yes, the public at large in the United States had a certain perceived opinion of the candidates during the campaign. But there’s nothing particularly extraordinary about it. That’s the normal thing.

President Trump, when he was a candidate, he mentioned the need to restore the Russia/US relationship, and it’s clear that certain parts of American society felt sympathetic about it and different people could express their sympathy in different ways. Isn’t that natural? Isn’t it natural to be sympathetic towards a person who is willing to restore the relationship with our country, who wants to work with us?

We heard the accusations about it. As far as I know, this company hired American lawyers and the accusations doesn’t have a fighting chance in the American courts. There’s no evidence when it comes to the actual facts. So we have to be guided by facts, not by rumors.

Now, let’s get back to the issue of this 12 alleged intelligence officers of Russia. I don’t know the full extent of the situation. But President Trump mentioned this issue. I will look into it.

So far, I can say the following. Things that are off the top of my head. We have an existing agreement between the United States of America and the Russian Federation, an existing treaty that dates back to 1999. The mutual assistance on criminal cases. This treaty is in full effect. It works quite efficiently. On average, we initiate about 100, 150 criminal cases upon request from foreign states.

For instance, the last year, there was one extradition case upon the request sent by the United States. This treaty has specific legal procedures we can offer. The appropriate commission headed by Special Attorney Mueller, he can use this treaty as a solid foundation and send a formal, official request to us so that we could interrogate, hold questioning of these individuals who he believes are privy to some crimes. Our enforcement are perfectly able to do this questioning and send the appropriate materials to the United States. Moreover, we can meet you halfway. We can make another step. We can actually permit representatives of the United States, including the members of this very commission headed by Mr. Mueller, we can let them into the country. They can be present at questioning.

In this case, there’s another condition. This kind of effort should be mutual one. Then we would expect that the Americans would reciprocate. They would question officials, including the officers of law enforcement and intelligence services of the United States whom we believe have something to do with illegal actions on the territory of Russia. And we have to request the presence of our law enforcement.

For instance, we can bring up Mr. Browder in this particular case. Business associates of Mr. Browder have earned over $1.5 billion in Russia. They never paid any taxes. Neither in Russia nor in the United States. Yet, the money escapes the country. They were transferred to the United States. They sent huge amount of money, $400 million as a contribution to the campaign of Hillary Clinton. [He presents no evidence to back up that $400 million claim.] Well, that’s their personal case. It might have been legal, the contribution itself. But the way the money was earned was illegal. We have solid reason to believe that some intelligence officers guided these transactions. [This allegation, too, is merely an unsupported assertion here.] So we have an interest of questioning them. That could be a first step. We can also extend it. There are many options. They all can be found in an appropriate legal framework.

REPORTER (Jeff Mason from Reuters): Did you direct any of your officials to help him [Trump] do that [find those ‘options’]?

PUTIN: Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the US/Russia relationship back to normal.

The evidence regarding that entire matter, of Bill Browder and the Magnitsky Act, can be seen in the links and the other evidences that are presented in two articles that I published on that very subject, earlier this year. One, titled “Private Investigations Find America’s Magnitsky Act to Be Based on Frauds”, summarizes the independently done private investigations into the evidence that is publicly available online regarding Bill Browder and the Magnitsky Act. The Magnitsky Act was the basis for the first set of economic sanctions against Russia, and were instituted in 2012; so, this concerns the start of the restoration of the Cold War (without the communism etc. that were allegedly the basis of Cold War I).

The other article, “Russiagate-Trump Gets Solved by Giant of American Investigative Journalism”, provides further details in the evidence, and connects both the Magnitsky Act and Bill Browder to the reason why, on 9 June 2016, the Russian lawyer Nataliya Veselnitskaya, met privately at Trump Tower, with Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner — the reason was specifically in order to inform them about the documentation on this case, so that Trump, if elected, would be aware of the contents of those documents. She had used the promise of dirt on Hillary so as to enable Trump, who effectively became the Republican nominee on 26 May 2016, to learn about the actual documents in this crucial case.

The Russian government has been legally pursuing Mr. Browder, for years, on charges that he evaded paying $232 million taxes that were due to the Russian government. These private investigations into this matter — regarding whether or not the Magnitsky Act was based on fraudulent grounds — have all found that Mr. Browder has clearly falsified and misrepresented the actual documents, which are linked to in those two articles I wrote. These might be the very same documents that she was presenting on June 9th.

So: this is a matter of importance not only to the validity (or not) of the Magnitsky Act economic sanctions against Russia, but to the Russiagate accusations regarding U.S. President Donald Trump. In my two articles, the general public can click right through to the evidence on the Magnitsky case.

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US media losing its mind over Trump-Putin summit

The media’s mania over Trump’s Helsinki performance and the so-called Russia-gate scandal reached new depths on Monday

Joe Lauria

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The media’s mania over Trump’s Helsinki performance and the so-called Russia-gate scandal reached new depths on Monday

This article was first published by Consortium News and is republished with their permission.

The reaction of the U.S. establishment media and several political leaders to President Donald Trump’s press conference after his summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday has been stunning.

Writing in The Atlantic, James Fallows said:

“There are exactly two possible explanations for the shameful performance the world witnessed on Monday, from a serving American president.

Either Donald Trump is flat-out an agent of Russian interests—maybe witting, maybe unwitting, from fear of blackmail, in hope of future deals, out of manly respect for Vladimir Putin, out of gratitude for Russia’s help during the election, out of pathetic inability to see beyond his 306 electoral votes. Whatever the exact mixture of motives might be, it doesn’t really matter.

Or he is so profoundly ignorant, insecure, and narcissistic that he did not  realize that, at every step, he was advancing the line that Putin hoped he would advance, and the line that the American intelligence, defense, and law-enforcement agencies most dreaded.

Conscious tool. Useful idiot. Those are the choices, though both are possibly true, so that the main question is the proportions … never before have I seen an American president consistently, repeatedly, publicly, and shockingly advance the interests of another country over those of his own government and people.”

As soon as the press conference ended CNN cut to its panel with these words from TV personality Anderson Cooper: “You have been watching perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader, surely, that I’ve ever seen.”

David Gergen, who for years has gotten away with portraying himself on TV as an impartial political sage, then told CNN viewers:

“I’ve never heard an American President talk that way buy I think it is especially true that when he’s with someone like Putin, who is a thug, a world-class thug, that he sides with him again and again against his own country’s interests of his own institutions that he runs, that he’s in charge of the federal government , he’s in charge of these intelligence agencies, and he basically dismisses them and retreats into this, we’ve heard it before, but on the international stage to talk about Hillary Clinton’s computer server …”

“It’s embarrassing,” interjected Cooper.

“It’s embarrassing,” agreed Gergen.

Cooper: “Most disgraceful performance by a US president.”

White House correspondent Jim Acosta, ostensibly an objective reporter, then gave his opinion: “I think that sums it up nicely. This is the president of the United States essentially taking the word of the Russian president…over his own intelligence community. It was astonishing, just astonishing to be in the room with the U.S. president and the Russian president on this critical question of election interference, and to retreat back to these talking points about DNC servers and Hillary Clinton’s emails when he had a chance right there in front of the world to tell Vladimir Putin to stay the HELL out of American democracy, and he didn’t do it.”

In other words Trump should just shut up and not question a questionable indictment, which Acosta, like nearly all the media, treat as a conviction.

The Media’s Handlers

The media’s handlers were even worse than their assets. Former CIA director John Brennan tweeted: “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors,.’ It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???”

Here’s where the Republican Patriots are, Brennan: “That’s how a press conference sounds when an Asset stands next to his Handler,” former RNC Chairman Michael Steele tweeted.

Representative Liz Cheney, the daughter of the former vice president, said on Twitter: “As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I am deeply troubled by President Trump’s defense of Putin against the intelligence agencies of the U.S. & his suggestion of moral equivalence between the U.S. and Russia. Russia poses a grave threat to our national security.”

All these were reactions to Trump expressing skepticism about the U.S. indictment on Friday of 12 Russian intelligence agents for allegedly interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election while he was standing next to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the press conference following their summit meeting in Helsinki.

“I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be” Russia, Trump said. “I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

The indictments, which are only unproven accusations, formally accused 12 members of the GRU, Russian military intelligence, of stealing Democratic Party emails in a hacking operation and giving the materials to WikiLeaks to publish in order to damage the candidacy of Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton. The indictments were announced on Friday, three days before the summit, with the clear intention of getting Trump to cancel it. He ignored cries from the media and Congress to do so.

Over the weekend Michael Smerconish on CNN actually said the indictments proved that Russia had committed a “terrorist attack” against the United States. This is in line with many pundits who are comparing this indictment, that will most likely never produce any evidence, to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor. The danger inherent in that thinking is clear.

Putin said the allegations are “utter nonsense, just like [Trump] recently mentioned.” He added: “The final conclusion in this kind of dispute can only be delivered by a trial, by the court. Not by the executive, by the law enforcement.” He could have added not by the media.

Trump reasonably questioned why the FBI never examined the computer servers of the Democratic National Committee to see whether there was a hack and who may have done it. Instead a private company, CrowdStrike, hired by the Democratic Party studied the server and within a day blamed Russia on very dubious grounds.

“Why haven’t they taken the server?” Trump asked. “Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the Democratic National Committee? I’ve been wondering that. I’ve been asking that for months and months and I’ve been tweeting it out and calling it out on social media. Where is the server? I want to know, where is the server and what is the server saying?”

But being a poor communicator, Trump then mentioned Clinton’s missing emails, allowing the media to conflate the two different servers, and be easily dismissed as Gergen did.

At the press conference, Putin offered to allow American investigators from the team of special counsel Robert Mueller, who put the indictment together, to travel to Russia and take part in interviews with the 12 accused Russian agents. He also offered to set up a joint cyber-security group to examine the evidence and asked that in return Russia be allowed to question persons of interest to Moscow in the United States.

“Let’s discuss the specific issues and not use the Russia and U.S. relationship as a loose change for this internal political struggle,” Putin said.

On CNN, Christiane Amanpour called Putin’s clear offer “obfuscation.”

Even if Trump agreed to this reasonable proposal it seems highly unlikely that his Justice Department will go along with it. Examination of whatever evidence they have to back up the indictment is not what the DOJ is after. As I wrote about the indictments in detail on Friday:

“The extremely remote possibility of convictions were not what Mueller was apparently after, but rather the public perception of Russia’s guilt resulting from fevered media coverage of what are after all only accusations, presented as though it is established fact. Once that impression is settled into the public consciousness, Mueller’s mission would appear to be accomplished.”

Still No ‘Collusion’

The summit begins. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

The indictments did not include any members of Trump’s campaign team for “colluding” with the alleged Russian hacking effort, which has been a core allegation throughout the two years of the so-called Russia-gate scandal. Those allegations are routinely reported in U.S. media as established fact, though there is still no evidence of collusion.

Trump emphasised that point in the press conference. “There was no collusion at all,” he said forcefully. “Everybody knows it.”

On this point corporate media has been more deluded than normal as they clutch for straws to prove the collusion theory. As one example of many across the media with the same theme, a New York Times story on Friday, headlined, “Trump Invited the Russians to Hack Clinton. Were They Listening?,” said Russia may have absurdly responded to Trump’s call at 10:30 a.m. on July 27, 2016 to hack Clinton’s private email server because it was “on or about” that day that Russia allegedly first made an attempt to hack Clinton’s personal emails, according to the indictment, which makes no connection between the two events.

If Russia is indeed guilty of remotely hacking the emails it would have had no evident need of assistance from anyone on the Trump team, let alone a public call from Trump on national TV to commence the operation.

More importantly, as Twitter handle “Representative Press” pointed out: “Trump’s July 27, 2016 call to find the missing 30,000 emails could not be a ‘call to hack Clinton’s server’ because at that point it was no longer online. Long before Trump’s statement, Clinton had already turned over her email server to the U.S. Department of Justice.” Either the indictment was talking about different servers or it is being intentionally misleading when it says “on or about July 27, 2016, the Conspirators attempted after hours to spearphish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a third party provider and used by Clinton’s personal office.”

This crucial fact alone, that Clinton had turned over the server in 2015 so that no hack was possible, makes it impossible that Trump’s TV call could be seen as collusion. Only a desperate person would see it otherwise.

But there is a simple explanation why establishment journalists are in unison in their dominant Russian narrative: it is career suicide to question it.

As Samuel Johnson said as far back as 1745: “The greatest part of mankind have no other reason for their opinions than that they are in fashion …since vanity and credulity cooperate in its favour.”

Importance of US-Russia Relations

Trump said the unproven allegation of collusion “as had a negative impact upon the relationship of the two largest nuclear powers in the world. We have 90 percent of nuclear power between the two countries. It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous what’s going on with the probe.”

The American president said the U.S. has been “foolish” not to attempt dialogue with Russia before, to cooperate on a range of issues.

“As president, I cannot make decisions on foreign policy in a futile effort to appease partisan critics or the media or Democrats who want to do nothing but resist and obstruct,” Trump said. “Constructive dialogue between the United States and Russia forwards the opportunity to open new pathways toward peace and stability in our world. I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics.”

This main reason for summits between Russian and American leaders was also ignored: to use diplomacy to reduce dangerous tensions. “I really think the world wants to see us get along,” Trump said. “We are the two great nuclear powers. We have 90 percent of the nuclear. And that’s not a good thing, it’s a bad thing.”

Preventing good relations between the two countries appears to be the heart of the matter for U.S. intelligence and their media assets. So Trump was vilified for even trying.

Ignoring the Rest of the Story

Obsessed as they are with the “interference” story, the media virtually ignored the other crucial issues that came up at the summit, such as the Middle East.

Trump sort of thanked Russia for its efforts to defeat ISIS. “When you look at all of the progress that’s been made in certain sections with the eradication of ISIS, about 98 percent, 99 percent there, and other things that have taken place that we have done and that, frankly, Russia has helped us with in certain respects,” he said.

Trump here is falsely taking credit, as he has before, for defeating ISIS with only some “help” from Russia. In Iraq the U.S. led the way against ISIS coordinating the Iraqi and Kurdish security forces. But in the separate war against ISIS in Syria, Russia, the Syrian Arab Army, Kurdish forces, Iranian troops and Hizbullah militias were almost entirely responsible for ISIS’ defeat.

A grand deal? (Photo: Sputnik)

Also on Syria, Trump appeared to endorse what is being reported as a deal between Russia and Israel in which Israel would accept Bashar al-Assad remaining as Syrian president, while Russia would work on Iran to get it to remove its forces away from the northern Golan Heights, which Israel illegally considers its border with Syria.

After a meeting in Moscow last week with Putin, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he accepted Assad remaining in power.

“President Putin also is helping Israel,” Trump said at the press conference. “We both spoke with Bibi Netanyahu. They would like to do certain things with respect to Syria, having to do with the safety of Israel. In that respect, we absolutely would like to work in order to help Israel. Israel will be working with us. So both countries would work jointly.”

Trump also said that the U.S. and Russian militaries were coordinating in Syria, but he did not go as far as saying that they had agreed to fight together there, which has been a longstanding proposal of Putin’s dating back to September 2015, just before Moscow intervened militarily in the country.

“Our militaries have gotten along probably better than our political leaders for years,” Trump said. “Our militaries do get along very well. They do coordinate in Syria and other places.”

Trump said Russia and the U.S. should cooperate in humanitarian assistance in Syria.

“If we can do something to help the people of Syria get back into some form of shelter and on a humanitarian basis…that’s what the word was, a humanitarian basis,” he said. “I think both of us would be very interested in doing that.”

Putin said he had agreed on Sunday with French President Emmanuel Macron on a joint effort with Europe to deliver humanitarian aid. “On our behalf, we will provide military cargo aircraft to deliver humanitarian cargo. Today, I brought up this issue with President Trump. I think there’s plenty of things to look into,” Putin said.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston GlobeSunday Times of London and numerous other newspapers. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe .

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