Connect with us
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Latest

Here’s what happened in Baku between Russia, Iran, and Azerbaijan

The summit meeting in Baku suggests a mending of relations between Azerbaijan and Iran and Russia and a further consolidation of integration processes in Central Asia and in southern Eurasia.

Alexander Mercouris

Published

on

As Vladimir Putin meets Recep Tayyip Erdogan in St. Petersburg and prepares for a meeting with Sargsyan of Armenia tomorrow, he has just completed another key meeting, this time in Baku in Azerbaijan with the Presidents of Iran and Azerbaijan, Rouhani and Aliyev.

Before discussing this meeting it is important to remember that Rouhani though Iran’s President is not Iran’s leader.  Iran’s Supreme Leader is Ayatollah Khamenei who scarcely ever leaves Iran but who Putin met during his own most recent visit to Iran in November last year.  Rouhani’s status is not therefore exactly analogous to Putin’s or Aliyev’s.  Rouhani does however have Khamenei’s confidence and there is no reason to think that at the meeting in Baku he was not speaking with the full authority and backing of the whole Iranian leadership.

Turning to the meeting itself, the most important single fact about it was the venue: Baku in Azerbaijan.  Azerbaijan is a former Soviet republic with which Moscow has not always had an easy relationship. 

Since before the dissolution of the USSR Azerbaijan has been locked in conflict with Armenia over the territory of Nagorno Karabakh, which is populated overwhelmingly by Armenians but which the Soviets had placed within Azerbaijan’s administrative jurisdiction.  In the late 1980s, before the USSR fell, Nagorno Karabakh seceded from Azerbaijan and became self-governing, though with very strong economic and political links to Armenia.  Azerbaijan however continues to claim Nagorno Karabakh as part of its national territory, leading to a bitter dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia, with Azerbaijan always reserving the right to settle the dispute by conquering Nagorno Karabakh by force.

Officially Moscow is neutral in the dispute and has indeed sought to act as a mediator.  In practice before the USSR broke up the Soviet authorities in Moscow backed Azerbaijan but since the USSR broke up the Russians have forged close and very friendly ties with Armenia, which they support economically and where they have established an important airforce base.  Armenia for its part looks to Russia for protection and is actively involved in the Russian-led process of Eurasian integration having joined the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation making it the only Caucasian state to do so. 

This repeats the historic pattern of friendship between Armenians and Russia, with Christian Armenians traditionally looking to Christian Russia as their protector from the Muslim people of the Caucasus and above all from Turkey. 

In the Nagorno Karabakh there is an extra dimension to the relationship between Russia and Armenia in that Turkey, which is closely allied to Azerbaijan, has together with Azerbaijan placed Armenia under economic blockade, making Armenia economically more dependent on Moscow. Azerbaijan has also used the profits of its very considerable Caspian Sea oil and gas wealth to finance a very substantial military build-up, which the Armenians have sought to counter by strengthening their military ties to Moscow.

The tense nature of the relationship between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and Moscow’s role in the conflict, was underlined by bitter clashes between Azerbaijan’s military and Nagorno Karabakh’s defence forces which took place as recently as April this year.  Though Armenia was not directly involved in the fighting an Azerbaijanian offensive resulted in heavy loss of life, though with insignificant territorial changes to show, provoking fears of an all-out war between Armenia and Azerbaijan.  Though in the event that did not happen, the Russians are known to have taken urgent diplomatic action to try to prevent it. 

No-one should be under any doubt that in the event of an all-out war between Azerbaijan and Armenia the Russians will act decisively to protect Armenia.  Though the Russians absolutely do not want to be put into this position, Armenia’s importance to Russia for geopolitical reasons – to secure Russia’s position in the Transcaucasus and for the success of the whole Eurasian integration project – means that Russia simply cannot afford to sacrifice Armenia, which is a full member of both the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union and of the Russian-led military alliance, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation.  The Russians almost certainly made this fact clear to Azerbaijan’s leadership during the April fighting, just as they will have quietly reminded Azerbaijan’s leadership of  Russia’s overwhelming military dominance in the Caucasus and Caspian Sea region, which means that in any conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in which Russia sided with Armenia Azerbaijan would lose.

It is not however Russia’s wish or in Russia’s interests for it to burn its bridges with Azerbaijan.  Azerbaijan because of its oil and gas wealth is the richest of the three Caucasian states (the two others are Armenia and Georgia) and is a key state both in the Caucasus and on the Caspian Sea.  Russia needs no enemies in in this region, which is crucial to Russia.  Moreover Azerbaijan’s oil and gas wealth makes Azerbaijan a constant object of Western plans to break the supposed stranglehold the Russians are supposed to have over the EU’s gas supplies.  Though there is no evidence the Russians have ever sought to prevent the realisation of any of these projects (which like the Nabucco gas pipeline have always proved ephemeral) they obviously have no wish to give Azerbaijan an added incentive to involve itself in them.

Beyond these factors there is the further factor that the Russians undoubtedly see Azerbaijan as a major prize to be won for the process of Eurasian integration.  If Azerbaijan can eventually be drawn into this process it will not only secure a valuable country with its great oil and gas wealth to the Eurasian project, but it will also finally and conclusively secure Russia’s position in the Caucasus, isolating Georgia as the only pro-Western holdout in the area.   For some Russians there would also be something fitting in another country that was formerly a part of the USSR reintegrating itself via Eurasia with Russia.

For all these reasons the Russians have striven to maintain a relationship with Azerbaijan, difficult though that has sometimes been.  To the great anger of many people in Armenia they continue to sell weapons to Azerbaijan, and have maintained economic and political links with the country.  They have also, as discussed previously, declined to side openly with Armenia over the Nagorno Karabakh issue but have sought instead to act as mediators in it.

As for Azerbaijan, it too has its reasons to maintain its links with Moscow even if it has from time to time flirted with some of the transparently anti-Russian US and EU oil and gas pipeline projects such as Nabucco, and even if it has also participated in some of the US sponsored anti-Russian groupings within former Soviet territory such as the now essentially defunct GUAM project, in which however Azerbaijan was always the weakest link. 

The leadership of Azerbaijan is acutely aware of Russia’s overwhelming strategic dominance in its region, and has no wish to make Russia into an open enemy, which might cause Russia to side openly with Armenia, losing Nagorno Karabakh for Azerbaijan conclusively and forever. Azerbaijan’s failure to achieve a decisive breakthrough in the April fighting and Russia’s warnings to Azerbaijan during the fighting will have simply underlined the point.

Beyond that the leadership of Azerbaijan has good reason to doubt the West’s reliability as an ally.  Not only does Azerbaijan routinely get criticised in the West for being a dictatorship, something President Aliyev and his government must find infuriating, but Western NGOs in Azerbaijan have at times openly backed anti-government opposition leaders in ways that must make Azerbaijan’s government wonder whether it is a target for a Western backed colour revolution.  Following the collapse of oil prices, which has caused major economic problems in Azerbaijan, it is understandable why that might have made its leadership nervous and might make it want to insure its position by drawing closer to Russia.

As for the possibility of a conflict with Russia over Nagorno Karabakh, Azerbaijan was given a lesson of how ineffective Western support in this region would be during Russia’s comprehensive defeat of Georgia during the 2008 South Ossetia war.  As it happens President Aliyev is known to have had an angry row with US Vice-President Dick Cheney during that war, when he spurned Cheney’s request for Azerbaijan to side openly with the US and Georgia against Russia.

If Russia and Azerbaijan have had a complicated relationship but also have good reasons to draw closer to each other, the same is also true of Azerbaijan and Iran. 

Azerbaijan was formerly a province of Iran before it was conquered by Russia and incorporated by Russia into the Russian empire.  Southern Azerbaijan continues to be part of Iran to this day.  Though the people of Azerbaijan are Turkic and speak a language close to Turkish, unlike the Turks of Turkey because of their historic connection to Iran they are mainly Shia rather than Sunni.

Despite these strong connections to Iran, Azerbaijan has since the Soviet breakup been much closer to Turkey than to Iran, with Turkey giving Azerbaijan strong support in the Nagorno Karabakh dispute.  Moreover just as Azerbaijan became a centre of US and EU oil and gas projects targeted at Russia, so also it came under US pressure to become involved in the various US led projects targeted at Iran.  There have been rumours of US troops and even of US secret bases in Azerbaijan targeted at Iran, and there has even been some talk of secret US incursions into Iran from Azerbaijan’s territory.  It is widely believed that some of the plans for US attacks on Iran which are known to have been considered in Washington during the Bush II administration also involved Azerbaijan.

Understandably enough all this put a significant strain on relations between Azerbaijan and Iran, despite the two countries having no obvious points of conflict with each other and despite the common interest of both countries in having friendly relations with each other.

The Iran Nuclear Agreement has however, if only for the time being, caused tensions between the US and Iran to diminish, with US plans for attacks on Iran at least for the moment off the agenda.  That has given Azerbaijan the political space to mend its fences with Iran. 

This has come at a time when relations between Russia and Iran, and between Russia and Azerbaijan’s ally Turkey, have both been getting significantly stronger. 

The way has therefore been opened for Azerbaijan to strengthen its relations with both Iran and Russia, and to do so moreover as part of a tripartite arrangement that enables Azerbaijan to achieve a balance in its relations with each of these powers. 

That provides the background to the summit meeting between Putin, Rouhani and Aliyev which has just taken place in Baku.

All three of these states – Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan –  stand to achieve something from their common rapprochement.  The Russians are drawing Azerbaijan further away from the West whilst securing their positions in the Caspian Sea area and in the Caucasus.  They must also be hoping  to draw Azerbaijan further into the Eurasian integration processes.  The Iranians have ended the potential threat to themselves from Azerbaijan’s territory and have strengthened their relations with a rich and important country that was formerly an Iranian province.  As for Azerbaijan, it has managed to improve its relations with both its two great neighbours in a way that enables it to preserve a balance between the two of them.

Beyond this there is now optimistic talk of creating a free trade area involving the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union, Iran and Azerbaijan.  Negotiating such arrangements is a hugely complex affair and one should not make the mistake of thinking that because the three countries have now publicly committed themselves to it that it will necessarily happen.  At the very least the process will take years. 

The logic and the economic benefits for all three countries of a free trade area are however obvious.  Not only would such an arrangement bring together three highly compatible economies and consolidate economic and trade links in Central Asia and in southern Eurasia, but it would also quietly allow Azerbaijan to resume trade links with Armenia (which is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union) thereby hopefully facilitating a settlement of the currently frozen Nagorno Karabakh conflict. 

However whether any of this actually happens, and how sustained the present rapprochement between Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan will be, will depend on many factors, not least the maintenance of political stability in all three of these countries, especially in Azerbaijan.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Advertisement //pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of

Latest

VIPS Fault Mueller Probe, Criticize Refusal to Interview Assange

The bug in Mueller’s report released on Thursday is that he accepts that the Russian government interfered in the election. Trump should challenge that, says VIPS.

Consortium News

Published

on

Via ConsortiumNews.com:


MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: The Fly in the Mueller Ointment

April 16, 2019

Mr. President:

The song has ended but the melody lingers on. The release Thursday of the redacted text of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s “Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election” nudged the American people a tad closer to the truth on so-called “Russiagate.”

But the Mueller report left unscathed the central-but-unproven allegation that the Russian government hacked into the DNC and Podesta emails, gave them to WikiLeaks to publish, and helped you win the election. The thrust will be the same; namely, even if there is a lack of evidence that you colluded with Russian President Vladimir Putin, you have him to thank for becoming president. And that melody will linger on for the rest of your presidency, unless you seize the moment.

Mueller has accepted that central-but-unproven allegation as gospel truth, apparently in the lack of any disinterested, independent forensic work. Following the odd example of his erstwhile colleague, former FBI Director James Comey, Mueller apparently has relied for forensics on a discredited, DNC-hired firm named CrowdStrike, whose credibility is on a par with “pee-tape dossier” compiler Christopher Steele. Like Steele, CrowdStrike was hired and paid by the DNC (through a cutout).

We brought the lack of independent forensics to the attention of Attorney General William Barr on March 13 in a Memorandum entitled “Mueller’s Forensic-Free Findings”, but received no reply or acknowledgement. In that Memorandum we described the results of our own independent, agenda-free forensic investigation led by two former Technical Directors of the NSA, who avoid squishy “assessments,” preferring to base their findings on fundamental principles of science and the scientific method. Our findings remain unchallenged; they reveal gaping holes in CrowdStrike’s conclusions.

We do not know if Barr shared our March 13 Memorandum with you. As for taking a public position on the forensics issue, we suspect he is being circumspect in choosing his battles carefully, perhaps deferring until later a rigorous examination of the dubious technical work upon which Mueller seems to have relied.

Barr’s Notification to Congress

As you know, the big attention-getter came on March 24 when Attorney General William Barr included in his four-page summary a quote from Mueller’s report: “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” Understandably, that grabbed headlines — the more so, since most Americans had been convinced earlier by the media that the opposite was true.

There remains, however, a huge fly in the ointment. The Mueller report makes it clear that Mueller accepts as a given — an evidence-impoverished given — that the Russian government interfered in the election on two tracks:

Track 1 involves what Barr, echoing Mueller, claims “a Russian organization, the Internet Research Agency (IRA)” did in using social media “to sow social discord, eventually with the aim of interfering with the election.” A careful look at this allegation shows it to be without merit, despite Herculean efforts by The New York Times, for example, to put lipstick on this particular pig.  After some rudimentary research, award winning investigative reporter Gareth Porter promptly put that pig out of its misery and brought home the bacon. We do not believe “Track 1” merits further commentary.

Track 2 does need informed commentary, since it is more technical and — to most Americans — arcane. In Barr’s words: “The Special Counsel found that Russian government actors successfully hacked into computers and obtained emails from persons affiliated with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations, and publicly disseminated those materials through various intermediaries, including WikiLeaks. Based on these activities, the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian military officers for conspiring to hack into computers in the United States for purposes of influencing the election.”

We are eager to see if Mueller’s report contains more persuasive forensic evidence than that which VIPS has already debunked. In Barr’s summary, the only mention of forensics refers to “forensic accountants” — a far cry from the kind of forensic investigators needed to provide convincing proof of “hacking” by the Russian government.

But They Were Indicted!

Circular reasoning is not likely to work for very long, even with a U.S. populace used to being brainwashed by the media. Many Americans had mistakenly assumed that Mueller’s indictment of Russians — whether they be posting on FaceBook or acting like intelligence officers — was proof of guilt. But, as lawyers regularly point out, “one can easily indict a ham sandwich” — easier still these days, if it comes with Russian dressing.

Chances have now increased that the gullible folks who had been assured that Mueller would find collusion between you and Putin may now be a bit more circumspect — skeptical even — regarding the rest of the story-line of the “Russian hack,” and that will be even more likely among those with some technical background. Such specialists will have a field day, IF — and it is a capital “IF” — by some miracle, word of VIPS’ forensic findings gets into the media this time around.

The evidence-impoverished, misleadingly labeled “Intelligence Community Assessment” of January 6, 2017 had one saving grace. The authors noted: “The nature of cyberspace makes attribution of cyber operations difficult but not impossible. Every kind of cyber operation — malicious or not — leaves a trail.” Forensic investigators can follow a trail of metadata and other technical properties. VIPS has done that.

A “High-Class Entity?”

If, as we strongly suspect, Mueller is relying for forensics solely on CrowdStrike, the discredited firm hired by the DNC in the spring of 2016, he is acting more in the mold of Inspector Clouseau than the crackerjack investigator he is reputed to be. It simply does not suffice for Mueller’s former colleague James Comey to tell Congress that CrowdStrike is a “high-class entity.” It is nothing of the sort and, in addition to its documented incompetence, it is riddled with conflicts of interest. Comey needs to explain why he kept the FBI away from the DNC computers after they were said to have been “hacked.”

And former National Intelligence Director James Clapper needs to explain his claim last November that “the forensic evidence was overwhelming about what the Russians had done.” What forensic evidence? From CrowdStrike? We at VIPS, in contrast, are finding more and more forensic evidence that the DNC emails were leaked, not hacked by the Russians or anyone else — and that “Guccifer 2.0” is an out-and-out fraud. Yes, we can prove that from forensics too.

But the Talking Heads Say …

Again, if Mueller’s incomplete investigation is allowed to assume the status of Holy Writ, most Americans will continue to believe that — whether you colluded the Russians or not — Putin came through for you big time. In short, absent President Putin’s help, you would not be president.

Far too many Americans will still believe this because of the mainstream-media fodder — half-cooked by intelligence leaks — that they have been fed for two and a half years. The media have been playingthe central role in the effort of the MICIMATT (the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank) complex to stymie any improvement in relations with Russia. We in VIPS have repeatedly demonstrated that the core charges of Russian interference in the 2016 election are built on a house of cards. But, despite our record of accuracy on this issue — not to mention our pre-Iraq-war warnings about the fraudulent intelligence served up by our former colleagues — we have gotten no play in mainstream media.

Most of us have chalked up decades in the intelligence business and many have extensive academic and government experience focusing on Russia. We consider the issue of “Russian interference” of overriding significance not only because the allegation is mischievously bogus and easily disproven. More important, it has brought tension with nuclear-armed Russia to the kind of dangerous fever pitch not seen since the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, when the Russian provocation was real — authentic, not synthetic.

Sober minds resolved that crisis more than a half-century ago, and we all got to live another day. These days sober minds seem few and far between and a great deal is at stake. On the intelligence/forensics side, we have proved that the evidence adduced to “prove” that the Russians hacked into the DNC and Podesta emails and gave them to WikiLeaks is spurious. For example, we have examined metadata from one key document attributed to Russian hacking and shown that it was synthetically tainted with “Russian fingerprints.”

Who Left the Bread Crumbs?

So, if it wasn’t the Russians, who left the “Russian” bread-crumb “fingerprints?” We do not know for sure; on this question we cannot draw a conclusion based on the principles of science — at least not yet. We suspect, however, that cyber warriors closer to home were responsible for inserting the “tell-tale signs” necessary to attribute “hacks” to Russia. We tacked on our more speculative views regarding this intriguing issue onto the end of our July 24, 2017 Memorandum to you entitled “Intelligence Veterans Challenge Russia Hack Evidence.”

We recall that you were apprised of that Memorandum’s key findings because you ordered then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo to talk to William Binney, one of our two former NSA Technical Directors and one of the principal authors of that Memorandum. On October 24, 2017, Pompeo began an hour-long meeting with Binney by explaining the genesis of the odd invitation to CIA Headquarters: “You are here because the president told me that if I really wanted to know about Russian hacking I needed to talk to you.”

On the chance Pompeo has given you no report on his meeting with Binney, we can tell you that Binney, a plain-spoken, widely respected scientist, began by telling Pompeo that his (CIA) people were lying to him about Russian hacking and that he (Binney) could prove it. Pompeo reacted with disbelief, but then talked of following up with the FBI and NSA. We have no sign, though, that he followed through. And there is good reason to believe that Pompeo himself may have been reluctant to follow up with his subordinates in the Directorate of Digital Innovation created by CIA Director John Brennan in 2015. CIA malware and hacking tools are built by the Engineering Development Group, part of that relatively new Directorate.

Obfuscation’

A leak from within the CIA, published on March 31, 2017 by WikiLeaks as part of the so-called “Vault 7” disclosures, exposed a cyber tool called “Marble,” which was used during 2016 for “obfuscation” (CIA’s word). This tool can be used to conduct a forensic attribution double game (aka a false-flag operation); it included test samples in Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Korean, and Russian. Washington Post reporter Ellen Nakashima, to her credit, immediately penned an informative article on the Marble cyber-tool, under the catching (and accurate) headline “WikiLeaks’ latest release of CIA cyber-tools could blow the cover on agency hacking operations.” That was apparently before Nakashima “got the memo.” Mainstream media have otherwise avoided like the plague any mention of Marble.

Mr. President, we do not know if CIA’s Marble, or tools like it, played some kind of role in the campaign to blame Russia for hacking the DNC. Nor do we know how candid the denizens of CIA’s Directorate of Digital Innovation have been with the White House — or with former Director Pompeo — on this touchy issue. Since it is still quite relevant, we will repeat below a paragraph included in our July 2017 Memorandum to you under the sub-heading “Putin and the Technology:”

“We also do not know if you have discussed cyber issues in any detail with President Putin. In his interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, he seemed quite willing – perhaps even eager – to address issues related to the kind of cyber tools revealed in the Vault 7 disclosures, if only to indicate he has been briefed on them. Putin pointed out that today’s technology enables hacking to be “masked and camouflaged to an extent that no one can understand the origin” [of the hack] … And, vice versa, it is possible to set up any entity or any individual that everyone will think that they are the exact source of that attack. Hackers may be anywhere,” he said. “There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia. Can’t you imagine such a scenario? … I can.”

As we told Attorney General Barr five weeks ago, we consider Mueller’s findings fundamentally flawed on the forensics side and ipso facto incomplete. We also criticized Mueller for failing to interview willing witnesses with direct knowledge, like WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange.

Political Enemies & Mainstream Media (Forgive the Redundancy)

You may be unaware that in March 2017 lawyers for Assange and the Justice Department (acting on behalf of the CIA) reportedly were very close to an agreement under which Assange would agree to discuss “technical evidence ruling out certain parties” in the leak of the DNC emails and agree to redact some classified CIA information, in exchange for limited immunity. According to the investigative reporter John Solomon of The Hill, Sen. Mark Warner, (D-VA) vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, learned of the incipient deal and told then-FBI Director Comey, who ordered an abrupt“stand down” and an end to the discussions with Assange.

Why did Comey and Warner put the kibosh on receiving “technical evidence ruling out certain parties” [read Russia]? We won’t insult you with the obvious answer. Assange is now in prison, to the delight of so many — including Mrs. Clinton who has said Assange must now “answer for what he has done.”

But is it too late to follow up somehow on Assange’s offer? Might he or his associates be still willing to provide “technical evidence” showing, at least, who was not the culprit?

You, Mr. President, could cause that to happen. You would have to buck strong resistance at every turn, and there all manner of ways that those with vested interests and a lot of practice in sabotage can try to thwart you — with the full cooperation of most media pundits. By now, you know all too well how that works.

But you are the president. And there may be no better time than now to face them down, show the spurious nature of the concocted “evidence” attempting to put you in “Putin’s pocket,” and — not least — lift the cloud that has prevented you from pursuing a more decent relationship with Russia.

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Bogdan Dzakovic, former Team Leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator

James George Jatras, former U.S. diplomat and former foreign policy adviser to Senate leadership (Associate VIPS)

Larry Johnson, former CIA Intelligence Officer & former State Department Counter-Terrorism Official, (ret.)

Michael S. Kearns, Captain, USAF (ret.); ex-Master SERE Instructor for Strategic Reconnaissance Operations (NSA/DIA) and Special Mission Units (JSOC)

John Kiriakou, former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former Senior Investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Karen Kwiatkowski, former Lt. Col., US Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003

Clement J. Laniewski, LTC, U.S. Army (ret.)

Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.)

Edward Loomis, NSA Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)

David MacMichael, former Senior Estimates Officer, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA presidential briefer (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East & CIA political analyst (ret.)

Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)

Peter Van Buren,U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Robert Wing, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (former) (associate VIPS)

Ann Wright, U.S. Army Reserve Colonel (ret) and former U.S. Diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq War

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

Latest

Ukraine’s president-in-waiting Zelensky vows to end conflict in Donbass with ‘POWERFUL INFOWAR’

Zelensky vowed to “act within the Normandy format,” referring to the French-German-Russian-Ukrainian talks on war in Donbass, saying that “we will continue the Minsk process, we will restart it.”

RT

Published

on

By

Via RT…


Comedian-turned-politician Volodymyr Zelensky, set for a landslide win in Ukraine’s presidential vote, stayed true to character at his first press conference, dropping some flashy promises but refusing to go into boring detail.

Shortly after claiming electoral victory, Zelensky held a Q&A session with reporters at his campaign HQ in a Kiev business center. While the official results of the elections have yet to be announced, multiple exit polls suggest he secured more than 72 percent of votes.

Zelensky addressed the media in an easy-going manner. He spoke in a mix of Ukrainian and Russian, switching between the two languages, sometimes in one sentence. He also talked English a bit. But if the press hoped to shed light on the policies of the incoming president and his team, the conference actually generated more questions than answers.

Bringing the civil war in eastern Ukraine to an end appears to be one of the top priorities for Zelensky.

Promising to announce some kind of a plan shortly, he asked the reporters for help in the upcoming “infowar” that he says would help end the conflict, which, since 2014, has been raging between Kiev’s troops and the rebel self-proclaimed republics.

We will launch a very powerful information war to end the war in Donbass.

He then vowed to “act within the Normandy format,” referring to the French-German-Russian-Ukrainian talks on war in Donbass, saying that “we will continue the Minsk process, we will restart it.”

Next up, Zelensky did not rule out – even if half-jokingly – that the outvoted president Petro Poroshenko could gain a government post if the public “asks so.”

Do you want me to appoint him? Then I will ask society… If they tell me that they want to see Petro Poroshenko in one post or another – maybe, I don’t know.

Zelensky added, though, that he would like to try “new people” first. But the very team of the soon-to-be president still remains a mystery, as he’s refusing to provide any names, be it the new administration, the judiciary, or the country’s military.

“We have very serious acting generals who have authority in the army, you will definitely see them. I have no right to give the names of these people now, as there is an agreement with the generals,” Zelensky said cryptically, likewise not revealing his candidate for prosecutor general.

For now, Zelensky and his Servant of the People party – notably named after his own comedy show where he played a schoolteacher-turned-president – are promising to introduce the team “in the near future.”

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

Latest

The Triumph of Evil

What is going on is that American oil companies want to recover their control over the revenue streams from Venezuela’s vast oil reserves.

Paul Craig Roberts

Published

on

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts:


Today (April 17) I heard a NPR “news” report that described the democratically elected president of Venezuela as “the Venezuelan dictator Maduro.” By repeating over and over that a democratically elected president is a dictator, the presstitutes create that image of Maduro in the minds of vast numbers of peoples who know nothing about Venezuela and had never heard of Maduro until he is dropped on them as “dictator.”

Nicolas Maduro Moros was elected president of Venezuela in 2013 and again in 2018. Previously he served as vice president and foreign minister, and he was elected to the National Assembly in 2000. Despite Washington’s propaganda campaign against him and Washington’s attempt to instigate violent street protests and Maduro’s overthrow by the Venezuelan military, whose leaders have been offered large sums of money, Maduro has the overwhelming support of the people, and the military has not moved against him.

What is going on is that American oil companies want to recover their control over the revenue streams from Venezuela’s vast oil reserves. Under the Bolivarian Revolution of Chavez, continued by Maduro, the oil revenues instead of departing the country have been used to reduce poverty and raise literacy inside Venezuela.

The opposition to Maduro inside Venezuela comes from the elites who have been traditionally allied with Washington in the looting of the country. These corrupt elites, with the CIA’s help, temporarily overthrew Chavez, but the people and the Venezuelan military secured his release and return to the presidency.

Washington has a long record of refusing to accept any reformist governments in Latin America. Reformers get in the way of North America’s exploitation of Latin American countries and are overthrown.

With the exceptions of Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, and Nicaragua, Latin America consists of Washington’s vassal states. In recent years Washington destroyed reform governments in Honduras, Argentina and Brazil and put gangsters in charge.

According to US national security adviser John Bolton, a neoconservative war monger, the governments in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua will soon be overthrown. New sanctions have now been placed on the three countries. Washington in the typical display of its pettiness targeted sanctions against the son of the Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega. https://www.rt.com/news/456841-bolton-russia-venezuela-threat/

Ortega has been the leader of Nicaragua since for 40 years. He was president 1985-1990 and has been elected and reelected as president since 2006.

Ortega was the opponent of Somoza, Washington’s dictator in Nicaragua. Consequently he and his movement were attacked by the neoconservative operation known as Iran-Contra during the Reagan years. Ortega was a reformer. His government focused on literacy, land reform, and nationalization, which was at the expense of the wealthy ruling class. He was labeled a “Marxist-Leninist,” and Washington attempted to discredit his reforms as controversial leftist policies.

Somehow Castro and Ortega survived Washington’s plots against them. By the skin of his teeth so did Chavez unless you believe it was the CIA that gave him cancer. Castro and Chavez are dead. Ortega is 74. Maduro is in trouble, because Washington has stolen Venezuela’s bank deposits and cut Venezuela off the international financial system, and the British have stolen Venezuela’s gold. This makes it hard for Venezuela to pay its debts.

The Trump regime has branded the democratically twice-elected Maduro an “illegitimate” president. Washington has found a willing puppet, Juan Guaido, to take Maduro’s place and has announced that the puppet is now the president of Venezuela. No one among the Western presstitutes or among the vassals of Washington’s empire finds it strange that an elected president is illegitimate but one picked by Washington is not.

Russia and China have given Maduro diplomatic support. Both have substantial investments in Venezuela that would be lost if Washington seizes the country. Russia’s support for Maduro was declared by Bolton today to be a provocation that is a threat to international peace and security. Bolton said his sanctions should be seen by Russia as a warning against providing any help for the Venezuelan government.

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo and vice president Pence have added their big mouths to the propaganda against the few independent governments in Latin America. Where is the shame when the highest American government officials stand up in front of the world and openly proclaim that it is official US government policy to overthrow democratically elected governments simply because those governments don’t let Americans plunder their countries?

How is it possible that Pompeo can announce that the “days are numbered” of the elected president of Nicaragua, who has been elected president 3 or 4 times, and the world not see the US as a rogue state that must be isolated and shunned? How can Pompeo describe Washington’s overthrow of an elected government as “setting the Nicaraguan people free?”

The top officials of the US government have announced that they intend to overthrow the governments of 3 countries and this is not seen as “a threat to international peace and security?”

How much peace and security did Washington’s overthrow of governments in Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, and the attempted overthrow of Syria bring?

Washington is once again openly violating international law and the rest of the world has nothing to say?

There is only one way to describe this: The Triumph of Evil.

“The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” — William Butler Yeats

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

Videos

Trending