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Trump Quietly Orders Elimination of Assange

The destruction of Assange has clearly been arranged for, at the highest levels of the U.S. Government, just as the destruction of Jamal Khashoggi was by Saudi Arabia’s Government.

Eric Zuesse

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On June 28th, the Washington Examiner headlined “Pence pressed Ecuadorian president on country’s protection of Julian Assange” and reported that “Vice President Mike Pence discussed the asylum status of Julian Assange during a meeting with Ecuador’s leader on Thursday, following pressure from Senate Democrats who have voiced concerns over the country’s protection of the WikiLeaks founder.” Pence had been given this assignment by U.S. President Donald Trump. The following day, the Examiner bannered “Mike Pence raises Julian Assange case with Ecuadorean president, White House confirms” and reported that the White House had told the newspaper, “They agreed to remain in close coordination on potential next steps going forward.”

On August 24th, a court-filing by Kellen S. Dwyer, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Alexandria Division of the Eastern District of Virginia, stated: “Due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure [than sealing the case, hiding it from the public] is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged. … This motion and the proposed order would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter.” That filing was discovered by Seamus Hughes, a terrorism expert at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. On November 15th, he posted an excerpt of it on Twitter, just hours after the Wall Street Journal had reported on the same day that the Justice Department was preparing to prosecute Assange. However, now that we know “the fact that Assange has been charged” and that the U.S. Government is simply waiting “until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter,” it is clear and public that the arrangements which were secretly made between Trump’s agent Pence and the current President of Ecuador are expected to deliver Assange into U.S. custody for criminal prosecution, if Assange doesn’t die at the Ecuadorean Embassy first.

On November 3rd (which, of course, preceded the disclosures on November 15th), Julian Assange’s mother, Christine Ann Hawkins, described in detail what has happened to her son since the time of Pence’s meeting with Ecuador’s President. She said:

He is, right now, alone, sick, in pain, silenced in solitary confinement, cut off from all contact, and being tortured in the heart of London. … He has been detained nearly eight years, without trial, without charge. For the past six years, the UK Government has refused his requests to exit for basic health needs, … [even for] vitamin D. … As a result, his health has seriously deteriorated. … A slow and cruel assassination is taking place before our very eyes. … They will stop at nothing. … When U.S. Vice President Mike Pence recently visited Ecuador, a deal was done to hand Julian over to the U.S. He said that because the political cost of expelling Julian from the Embassy was too high, the plan was to break him down mentally…   to such a point that he will break and be forced to leave. … The extradition warrant is held in secret, four prosecutors but no defense, and no judge, … without a prima-facie case. [Under the U.S. system, the result nonetheless can be] indefinite detention without trial. Julian could be held in Guantanamo Bay and tortured, sentenced to 45 years in a maximum security prison, or face the death penalty,” for “espionage,” in such secret proceedings.

Her phrase, “because the political cost of expelling Julian from the Embassy was too high” refers to the worry that this new President of Ecuador has, of his cooperating with the U.S. regime’s demands and thereby basically ceding sovereignty to those foreigners (the rulers of the U.S.), regarding the Ecuadorian citizen, Assange.

This conservative new President of Ecuador, who has replaced the progressive President who had granted Assange protection, is obviously doing all that he can to comply with U.S. President Trump and the U.S. Congress’s demand for Assange either to die soon inside the Embassy or else be transferred to the U.S. and basically just disappear, at Guantanamo or elsewhere. Ecuador’s President wants to do this in such a way that Ecuador’s voters won’t blame him for it, and that he’ll thus be able to be re-elected. This is the type of deal he apparently has reached with Trump’s agent, Pence. It’s all secret, but the evidence on this much of what was secretly agreed-to seems clear. There are likely other details of the agreement that cannot, as yet, be conclusively inferred from the subsequent events, but this much can.

Basically, Trump has arranged for Assange to be eliminated either by illness that’s imposed by his Ecuadorean agent, or else by Assange’s own suicide resulting from that “torture,” or else by America’s own criminal-justice system. If this elimination happens inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, then that would be optimal for America’s President and Congress; but, if it instead happens on U.S. soil, then that would be optimal for Ecuador’s President. Apparently, America’s President thinks that his subjects, the American people, will become sufficiently hostile toward Assange so that even if Assange disappears or is executed inside the United States, this President will be able to retain his supporters. Trump, of course, needs his supporters, but this is a gamble that he has now clearly taken. This much is clear, even though the rest of the secret agreement that was reached between Pence and Ecuador’s President is not.

Scooter Libby, who had arranged for the smearing of Valerie Plame who had tried to prevent the illegal and deceit-based 2003 invasion of Iraq, was sentenced to 30 months but never spent even a day in prison, and U.S. President Trump finally went so far as to grant him a complete pardon, on 13 April 2018. (The carefully researched docudrama “Fair Game” covered well the Plame-incident.) Libby had overseen the career-destruction of a courageous CIA agent, Plame, who had done the right thing and gotten fired for it; and Trump pardoned Libby, thus retroactively endorsing the lie-based invasion of Iraq in 2003. By contrast, Trump is determined to get Julian Assange killed or otherwise eliminated, and even Democrats in Congress are pushing for him to get that done. The new President of Ecuador is doing their bidding. Without pressure from the U.S. Government, Assange would already be a free man. Thus, either Assange will die (be murdered) soon inside the Embassy, or else he will disappear and be smeared in the press under U.S. control. And, of course, this is being done in such a way that no one will be prosecuted for the murder or false-imprisonment. Trump had promised to “clean the swamp,” but as soon as he was elected, he abandoned that pretense; and, as President, he has been bipartisan on that matter, to hide the crimes of the bipartisan U.S. Government, and he is remarkably similar in policy to his immediate predecessors, whom he had severely criticized while he was running for the Presidency.

In any event, the destruction of Assange has clearly been arranged for, at the highest levels of the U.S. Government, just as the destruction of Jamal Khashoggi was by Saudi Arabia’s Government; and, just like in Khashoggi’s case, the nation’s ruler controls the prosecutors and can therefore do whatever he chooses to do that the rest of the nation’s aristocracy consider to be acceptable.

The assault against truth isn’t only against Assange, but it is instead also closing down many of the best, most courageous, independent news sites, such as washingtonsblog. However, in Assange’s case, the penalty for having a firm commitment to truth has been especially excruciating and will almost certainly end in his premature death. This is simply the reality. Because of the system under which we live, a 100% commitment to truth is now a clear pathway to oblivion. Assange is experiencing this reality to the fullest. That’s what’s happening here.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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JPH
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JPH

Typical of “Western Values” don’t cross the “elite” powers that be.

Vera Gottlieb
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Vera Gottlieb

And these Western ‘values’ are…1)….2)….3)…

john vieira
Guest

Only Western??? Truth, the world over, comes with a death sentence!!!

Dee Smith
Guest
Dee Smith

That has been true in the past in many cases but NOT with Trump. The article is wrong about him. He isn’t a ruthless killer like Obama was. He is an honest caring and compassionate man. Don’t be fooled by mainstream media, including FOX news. Turn backwards what ever they say if you want to know the truth. Trump loves the country and her people and he’s also a very brilliant man. His IQ is only 4 points below the level of Einsteins IQ.

Chris
Guest
Chris

Yes i don’t believe a word of this reporting, Seems more like a pre-hit piece for Clinton to have Julian whacked and blame Trump.

john mason
Guest
john mason

Julian made a fatal mistake seeking asylum in the UK considering that he had privy to information that would have strongly suggested to stay away from the UK and seek another state like Russia, Iran or Syria, at least they wouldn’t extradite him.

ManintheMoon
Guest
ManintheMoon

Assange had no choice. He did not seek extradition in the UK, he happened to be there when the CIA arranged for him to be charged in Sweden on a trumped up rape accusation. Ecuador offered asylum and he thought it would buy him time. No one anticipated the sheer vindictiveness of the deep state. My guess is that Trump has been blackmailed by these people into compliance. I will not speculate how as I have no inside knowledge. Given the situation, I suspect that Assange is hoping that Corbyn takes power and releases him. I fear it’s a folorn… Read more »

Paco Taco
Guest
Paco Taco

I thought Assange was a national hero? Now they have made him into an international hero.

Margarita
Guest
Margarita

Apparently, Vice President Pence was urged by Democrat Senators (specifically, Sen. Bob Menendez) to discuss the Assange case with Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno. According to the Washington Examiner article, Menendez convinced Pence that, “WikiLeaks continues its efforts to undermine democratic processes globally,” and therefore Assange should be held accountable. If it’s the Democrats who wanted Assange gone, why would Pence take it upon himself to take the matter up with Moreno, and what’s more – to relay the Democrat’s suggestion to President Trump that Assange “be eliminated?” I can’t believe Trump would do that, given it’s the Democrats who wanted… Read more »

Dee Smith
Guest
Dee Smith

Assange exposed tons of Democrat corruption. For example he exposed emails between Hillary and a reporter to say Trump grabbed women’s private parts when in fact what Trump said was women chase him to such extremes that he believed he could do it without complaint. And that disgusted Trump. Assange IS thought to be an American hero for exposing Hillary and Podesto as child abusers and more. BUT Assange also released planned US military maneuvers against the enemy in Afghanistan so he did himself no favors there.

regolo gellini
Guest

He has done his job as a journalist and should not be treated as a “traitor” because he is australian, not amerikkkan.
How many operatives were killed because Libby’s revelations on Valerie Plame .
And yet, a true traitor goes scotfree and an international hero will die at the hands of a nation of cowards and hypocrites, Amerikkka, that claims to be part of the forces of good ; Effing liars, all of them on the left and on the right .

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

There is a lot of truth to the saying…birds of a feather flock together. US, Saudi Arabia and a few other ‘birds’. How many more suitcases needed to transport the human chopped-up remains?

MGS
Guest
MGS

How terribly misinformed and indoctrinated with TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) is this author…Julian Assange has been and is being persecuted at the behest of the American left; the clintonistas…as is the ‘closing down of many courageous news sites’ by the fascists at google, fakebook, apple and amazon in order to interfere with the mid-term (and all future) elections…President Trump is attempting to halt this assault…

Maxine Chiu
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Maxine Chiu

Are you saying that the clintonistas are part of the “American left”?….When it comes to war and corporatism, they are as Right-Wing as most Republicans….Nevertheless, I certainly agree that they are part of the same witch hunt against our hero, Julian Assange.

Anthony Wicher
Guest
Anthony Wicher

Exactly. Assange is a non-partisan truth teller. Honest people from all over the political spectrum support him. Those who target him are criminals who don’t want their deeds exposed. But Pompeo has called Wikileaks a “hostile intelligence service” and it is not clear what Trump’s intentions are at this point.

Dee Smith
Guest
Dee Smith

The Clinton crime family is as evil as you can imagine a family could be! The Clinton’s despise him as much as they hate the right wing party nd our wonderful President Trump in America. They are drug smugglers murderers, extortionists, treasonists and every other criminal you can think of.

MGS
Guest
MGS

Please inform the clintons that are “as Right-Wing as any Republicans” I’m pretty sure they didn’t get that message yet.!!:-))..they are as Right-Wing as Stalin and Hitler were…that is to say they will exploit capitalism and Republicanism to further their fascist/communist agenda and swell their bank accounts…but are dyed in the wool totalitarians.

Margarita
Guest
Margarita

I agree.

Dee Smith
Guest
Dee Smith

America’s right supports Assange while the left hates him and Trump. I believe Trump is trying to protect Assange as h would be useful in indicting the globalists in America. Trump promised to drain the swamp full of criminals and he’s doing that.

Dee Smith
Guest
Dee Smith

The site won’t let me vote up here. No surprise there.

regolo gellini
Guest

I can’t see any difference in the criminals that have been running the US for the last fifty years both from left or right.
The only honest president that I can remember was a warrior named “IKE”, an honest man that warned his fellow citizens of the danger of fascism if MIC, msm and wall street joined forces. It has happened, deal with it !

Dave3200
Guest
Dave3200

If this is true, then Trump will lose much of his support that got him elected.

wiggins
Guest
wiggins

Very sad…

Richard Steven Hack
Guest
Richard Steven Hack

Trump is an idiot. The only person who can definitively refute the “Russiagate” basic event that started the issue – i.e., the alleged Russian “hack” of the DNC, which is at least fifty percent of the basis for “Russiagate” – is Assange. The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked Assange to testify on what he knows about the leak to Wikileaks of the DNC emails. He can prove that Russia had nothing to do with it. This would be enormously beneficial to Trump. This is why the neocons around Trump are pressing to get Assange evicted from the Ecuadorian Embassy and… Read more »

Anthony Wicher
Guest
Anthony Wicher

Trump is not an idiot, and he has many advisers who can tell him this, including Roger Stone and Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.

Richard Steven Hack
Guest
Richard Steven Hack

So why is he doing the opposite of what they tell him?

Margarita
Guest
Margarita

The author of this article is the idiot.

Dee Smith
Guest
Dee Smith

Not at all. Trump is brilliant. While Democrats play checkers, Trump plays 4 dimensional Chess. His IQ is only 4 points below Einsteins IQ. I believe Trump wants to save Assange on the pretense of indicting him. If the Democrats believe he is going to be executed, they will lower their guard then Assange can lower the boom on the criminal Democrats.

Dee Smith
Guest
Dee Smith

Trump is cleaning up our country, indicting criminals. 65,000 sealed indictments are being opened in recent days. It’s very exciting. From school boards to ex presidents, he is draining the USA swamp.

Richard Steven Hack
Guest
Richard Steven Hack

This is what I call “Pro-Trump Derangement Syndrome”. Save Assange by indicting him and sending him to Guantanamo? Seriously?

MGS
Guest
MGS

Trump is not an idiot…the author of this article – an obviously partisan never-Trumper – is totally wrong in his guesstimates…for the reasons you describe. It is the clintons, the ohbummers and the rest of the democrat sewer that want to eliminate Assange…again, for the reasons you stated.

Flying Gabriel
Guest
Flying Gabriel

Speculation not facts. And not even close.

john vieira
Guest

If he did “order Assange’s elimination”…hope he is ready for the backlash from ALL his non US supporters and many at home also that are aware of what this man stands for…”the truth”….

William Manning
Guest
William Manning

I can’t believe Assange doesn’t have backup insurance.

Cap
Guest
Cap

Nothing will stop the vultures from getting their prey, Assange.

Anthony Wicher
Guest
Anthony Wicher

Assange is a non-partisan truth teller.

Shaun Ramewe
Guest
Shaun Ramewe

Swamp-Chump should be the one on death row for all his recent sick crimes against humanity.

MGS
Guest
MGS

‘sick’…you sound a tad mentally defective your own self…
‘crimes against humanity’? You need help in the worst way…

Louis Robert
Guest
Louis Robert

Literally, a crime against humanity, i.e. a genocide, has long been under way in YEMEN, encouraged and supported to this day by the Empire. It is still being committed as I write…

Shaun Ramewe
Guest
Shaun Ramewe

Exactly ~ and the ongoing sick crimes against humanity in sovereign Syria and Palestine (and Afghanistan) that Zio-liar Swamp-Chump is still slyly supporting.

Shaun Ramewe
Guest
Shaun Ramewe

If you cannot give a reasonable answer – write nothing. Get help yourself – seriously.

Louis Robert
Guest
Louis Robert

This is war, total war, a long merciless war to the finish, against Julian Assange, by the most criminal Empire in History, conducted from Washington to Canberra via Sweden and London. “A slow and cruel assassination is taking place before our very eyes in the embassy in London”, the doctor says. In this Orwellian world, Julian Assange is guilty of exposing the dehumanized Empire’s innumerable, horrendous crimes against friends, foes and its own citizens alike. For said Empire corrupt to the core, Assange’s crime of speaking up in face of the unbearably barbaric is both irredeemable and unforgivable: Assange must… Read more »

Dee Smith
Guest
Dee Smith

Fake news. Scooter Libby did not expose the identity of an under cover agent (Plame). She was no longer working under cover and I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump is secretly attempting to save Assange. We’ll see

Susan Harms
Guest
Susan Harms

your article is full of outright distortions of the truth. SC smeared Valerie Plame? Really. I think we all know that is not the truth.

Stephanie Gould
Guest
Stephanie Gould

This is BS.

There are any number of scenarios that could occur regarding JA, and this one seems fake, false and a mere piece of propaganda.

citizeofnextworld
Guest
citizeofnextworld

It is simple to figure out, because you/they/no one can argue with truth, truth is divine, eternal and immortal —the truth is so precious, that it needs a bodyguard of lies to guard it!

HelenB
Guest
HelenB

Ordered by Pence is not necessarily ordered by Trump.

Justin Taua
Guest
Justin Taua

The US State wants to eliminate Julian Assange; for the same reason it ordered the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. In both cases, the gains are for the expediency of US interests. The US attempt to link the Khashoggi murder to MBS, had all the hallmarks of “Regime change.” When King Salman visited Moscow in October 2017; it was in fact an attempt to get out from under the foot of the US. To date, the US and the West have solely been responsible for; forcing Saudi Arabia to prosecute the war in Yemen and take the barrage of Western criticism… Read more »

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Macron pisses off Merkel as he tries to sabotage Nord Stream 2 pipeline (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 177.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss an EU compromise for Nord Stream 2 where EU member states, the EU Parliament, and its Commission will give the bloc more oversight on gas pipelines, with one caveat…the Nord Stream 2 project with Russia will not be threatened by the new regulations in the agreement.

Macron pushed hard to have the new regulations include (and derail) Nord Stream 2, an action which annoyed Angela Merkel, who eventually got her way and delivered another blow to Macron’s failing French presidency.

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Via The Express UK

Angela Merkel hit back at Emmanuel Macron over Russia and Germany’s pipeline project, declaring it would “not be a one-sided dependency”. The German Chancellor explained that Germany will expand its gas terminals with “liquified gas”. Speaking at a press conference, Ms Merkel declared: “Do we become dependent on Russia because of this second gas pipeline? I say no, if we diversify. Germany will expand its gas terminals with liquefied gas.

“This means that we do not want to depend only on Russia, but Russia was a source of gas in the Cold War and will remain one.

“But it would not be one-sided dependency.”

Via DW

The EU parliament and its Council are set to adopt new regulations on gas pipelines connecting the bloc members with non-EU countries, the EU Commission announced early on Wednesday.

The upcoming directive is based on a compromise between EU member states and EU officials in Brussels. The bloc leaders agreed to tighten Brussels’ oversight of gas delivery and expand its rules to all pipelines plugging into the EU’s gas distribution network.

“The new rules ensure that… everyone interested in selling gas to Europe must respect European energy law,” EU Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said in a statement.

For example, owners of pipelines linking EU and non-EU countries would also be required to allow access for their competitors. Brussels would also have more power regarding transparency and tariff regulations.

Russian ambassador slams US

Brussels has repeatedly expressed concern over the controversial Nord Stream 2 project which would deliver Russian gas directly to Germany through a pipeline under the Baltic Sea. Many EU states oppose the mammoth project, and the US claims it would allow Moscow to tighten its grip on the EU’s energy policy.

Berlin has insisted that the pipeline is a “purely economic” issue.

Speaking to Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung daily, Russian ambassador to Berlin, Sergey Nechayev, slammed the US’ opposition as an attempt to “push its competition aside” and clear the way for American suppliers of liquefied gas.

“It’s hard to believe that a country that is destroying the rules of free and fair trade, that is imposing import tariffs on its competition, that is flying slogans like ‘America First’ on its flags and often threatens biggest European concerns with illegal sanctions, is now really concerned about European interests,” the Russian envoy said in remarks published in German on Wednesday.

Last week, France unexpectedly rebelled against the project, but Berlin and Paris soon reached a compromise. Thanks to their agreement, the latest deal is not expected to impede the ongoing construction of Nord Stream 2.

Citing sources from negotiators’ circles, German public broadcaster ARD reported that the deal left room for Germany to approve exceptions from the EU-wide rules.

According to the EU Commission, however, exceptions are “only possible under strict procedures in which the Commission plays a decisive role.”

The Gazprom-backed pipeline is set to be completed by the end of the year.

 

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UK Defence Secretary looking for a fight with both China and Russia (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 87.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson’s idea to deploy hard power against China and Russia, starting with plans to send Britain’s new aircraft carrier to the tense sea routes in the South China Sea.

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“Britain’s Gavin Williamson places Russia & China on notice, I’m not joking,” authored by John Wight, via RT

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson is itching for conflict with Russia and China. He’s not mad. Not even slightly. But he is stupid. Very.

Unlike former fireplace salesman Gavin Williamson, I am no military expert. But then you do not need to be one to understand that while Britain going to war with Russia and China might work as a video game, the real thing would be an exceedingly bad idea.

So why then in a speech delivered to the Royal United Services Institute in London, did Mr Williamson’s argument on the feasibility of the real thing elicit applause rather than the shrieks of horror and demands he be sacked forthwith it should have? This is a serious question, by the way. It is one that cuts through British establishment verbiage to reveal a country ruled not by the sober and doughty political heavyweights of years gone by, but by foaming fanatics in expensive suits

Placing to one side for a moment the insanity of the very concept of Britain deploying hard power against Russia and/or China, the prospect of fighting a war against two designated enemies at the same time is a recipe for disaster. Not satisfied with that, though, Mr Williamson is actually contemplating a conflict with three different enemies at the same time – i.e. against Russia, China, and the millions of people in Britain his government is currently waging war against under the rubric of austerity.

“Today, Russia is resurgent,” Mr Williamson said, “rebuilding its military arsenal and seeking to bring the independent countries of the former Soviet Union, like Georgia and Ukraine, back into its orbit.”

For Mr Williamson and his ilk a resurgent Russia is a bad thing. Much better in their eyes if Russia, after the Soviet era in the 1990s, had remained on its knees as a free market desert; its state institutions in a state of near collapse and tens of millions of its citizens in the grip of immiseration. Yes, because in that scenario Western ideologues like him would have had free rein to rampage around the world as they saw fit, setting fire to country after country on the perverse grounds of ‘saving them’ for democracy.

As it is, he and his still managed to squeeze in a considerable amount of carnage and chaos in the years it did take Russia to recover. The indictment reads as follows: Yugoslavia destroyed; Afghanistan turned upside down; Iraq pushed into the abyss; Libya sent to hell.

By the time they turned their attention to Syria, intent on exploiting an Arab Spring that NATO in Libya transformed into an Arab Winter, Russia had recovered and was able to intervene. It did so in concert with the Syrian Arab Army, Iran and Hezbollah to save the day – much to the evident chagrin of those who, like Gavin Williamson, prefer to see countries in ashes rather than independent of Western hegemony.

As to the facile nonsense about Russia trying to bring Georgia and Ukraine back into its orbit, both countries happen to share a border with Russia and both countries, in recent years, have been used by the UK and its allies as cat’s paws with the eastward expansion of NATO in mind.

It gets worse though: “The Alliance must develop its ability to handle the kind of provocations that Russia is throwing at us. Such action from Russia must come at a cost.”

“Provocations,” the man said. Since British troops have been taking part in exercises on Russia’s doorstep, not the other way round, one wonders if Gavin Williamson wrote this speech while inebriated.

It is Russia that has been on the receiving end of repeated provocations from NATO member states such as the UK in recent times, and it is Russia that has been forced to respond to protect its own security and that of its people where necessary. Furthermore, not only in Russia but everywhere, including the UK, people understand that when you have political leaders intoxicated by their own national myths and propaganda to such an extent as Britain’s Defence Secretary, danger ensues.

The most enduring of those national myths where London is concerned is that the British Empire was a force for good rather than a vast criminal enterprise, that Britain and America won the Second World War together alone, that Iraq had WMDs, and that international law and international brigandage really are one and the same thing.

Perhaps the most preposterous section of the speech came when Mr Williamson tried to fashion a connection between Brexit and Britain’s military strength: “Brexit has brought us to a moment. A great moment in our history. A moment when we must strengthen our global presence, enhance our lethality, and increase our mass.”

Reading this, you can almost hear Churchill turning in his grave. Britain’s wartime prime minister had such as Gavin Williamson in mind when he famously said, “He has all the virtues I dislike, and none of the vices I admire.”

Mr Williamson obviously misread the memo talking up not the opportunity for increased conflict with China after Brexit but trade.

This was not a speech it was a linguistic car crash, one that will forever command an honoured place in compendiums of the worst political speeches ever made. As for Gavin Williamson, just as no responsible parent would ever dream of putting an 10-year old behind the wheel of car to drive unsupervised, no responsible British government would ever appoint a man like him as its Defence Secretary.

In years past, he would have struggled to find employment polishing the brass plate outside the building.

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The Birth Of A Monster

The banking establishment welcomed the Fed with open arms. What gives?

The Duran

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Authored by David Howden via The Mises Institute:


The Federal Reserve’s doors have been open for “business” for one hundred years. In explaining the creation of this money-making machine (pun intended – the Fed remits nearly $100 bn. in profits each year to Congress) most people fall into one of two camps.

Those inclined to view the Fed as a helpful institution, fostering financial stability in a world of error-prone capitalists, explain the creation of the Fed as a natural and healthy outgrowth of the troubled National Banking System. How helpful the Fed has been is questionable at best, and in a recent book edited by Joe Salerno and me — The Fed at One Hundred — various contributors outline many (though by no means all) of the Fed’s shortcomings over the past century.

Others, mostly those with a skeptical view of the Fed, treat its creation as an exercise in secretive government meddling (as in G. Edward Griffin’s The Creature from Jekyll Island) or crony capitalism run amok (as in Murray Rothbard’s The Case Against the Fed).

In my own chapter in The Fed at One Hundred I find sympathies with both groups (you can download the chapter pdf here). The actual creation of the Fed is a tragically beautiful case study in closed-door Congressional deals and big banking’s ultimate victory over the American public. Neither of these facts emerged from nowhere, however. The fateful events that transpired in 1910 on Jekyll Island were the evolutionary outcome of over fifty years of government meddling in money. As such, the Fed is a natural (though terribly unfortunate) outgrowth of an ever more flawed and repressive monetary system.

Before the Fed

Allow me to give a brief reverse biographical sketch of the events leading up to the creation of a monster in 1914.

Unlike many controversial laws and policies of the American government — such as the Affordable Care Act, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or the War on Terror — the Federal Reserve Act passed with very little public outcry. Also strange for an industry effectively cartelized, the banking establishment welcomed the Fed with open arms. What gives?

By the early twentieth century, America’s banking system was in a shambles. Fractional-reserve banks faced with “runs” (which didn’t have to be runs with the pandemonium that usually accompanies them, but rather just banks having insufficient cash to meet daily withdrawal requests) frequently suspended cash redemptions or issued claims to “clearinghouse certificates.” These certificates were a money substitute making use of the whole banking system’s reserves held by large clearinghouses.

Both of these “solutions” to the common bank run were illegal as they allowed a bank to redefine the terms of the original deposit contract. This fact notwithstanding, the US government turned a blind eye as the alternative (widespread bank failures) was perceived to be far worse.

The creation of the Fed, the ensuing centralization of reserves, and the creation of a more elastic money supply was welcomed by the government as a way to eliminate those pesky and illegal (yet permitted) banking activities of redemption suspensions and the issuance of clearinghouse certificates. The Fed returned legitimacy to the laws of the land. That is, it addressed the government’s fear that non-enforcement of a law would raise broader questions about the general rule of law.

The Fed provided a quick fix to depositors by reducing cases of suspensions of their accounts. And the banking industry saw the Fed as a way to serve clients better without incurring a cost (fewer bank runs) and at the same time coordinate their activities to expand credit in unison and maximize their own profits.

In short, the Federal Reserve Act had a solution for everyone.

Taking a central role in this story are the private clearinghouses which provided for many of the Fed’s roles before 1914. Indeed, America’s private clearinghouses were viewed as having as many powers as European central banks of the day, and the creation of the Fed was really just an effort to make the illegal practices of the clearinghouses legal by government institutionalization.

Why Did Clearinghouses Have So Much Power?

Throughout the late nineteenth century, clearinghouses used each new banking crisis to introduce a new type of policy, bringing them ever closer in appearance to a central bank. I wouldn’t go so far as to say these are examples of power grabs by the clearinghouses, but rather rational responses to fundamental problems in a troubled American banking system.

When bank runs occurred, the clearinghouse certificate came into use, first in 1857, but confined to the interbank market to economize on reserves. Transactions could be cleared in specie, but lacking sufficient reserves, a troubled bank could make use of the certificates. These certificates were jointly guaranteed by all banks in the clearinghouse system through their pooled reserves. This joint guarantee was welcomed by unstable banks with poor reserve positions, and imposed a cost on more prudently managed banks (as is the case today with deposit insurance). A prudent bank could complain, but if it wanted to use a clearinghouse’s services and reap the cost advantages it had to comply with the reserve-pooling policy.

As the magnitude of the banking crisis intensified, clearinghouses started permitting banks to issue the certificates directly to the public (starting with the Panic of 1873) to further stymie reserve drains. (These issues to the general public amounted to illegal money substitutes, though they were tolerated, as noted above.)

Fractional-Reserve Free Banking and Bust

The year 1857 is a somewhat strange one for these clearinghouse certificates to make their first appearance. It was, after all, a full twenty years into America’s experiment with fractional-reserve free banking. This banking system was able to function stably, especially compared to more regulated periods or central banking regimes. However, the dislocation between deposit and lending activities set in motion a credit-fueled boom that culminated in the Panic of 1857.

This boom and panic has all the makings of an Austrian business cycle. Banks overextended themselves to finance the booming industries during America’s westward advance, primarily the railways. Land speculation was rampant. As realized profits came in under expectations, investors got skittish and withdrew money from banks. Troubled banks turned to the recently established New York Clearing House to promote stability. Certain rights were voluntarily abrogated in return for a guarantee on their solvency.

The original sin of the free-banking period was its fractional-reserve foundation. Without the ability to fund lending activity with their deposit base, banks never would have financed the boom to the extent that it became a destabilizing factor. Westward expansion and investment would still have occurred, though it would have occurred in a sustainable way funded through equity investments and loans. (These types of financing were used, though as is the case today, this occurred less than would be the case given the fractional-reserve banking system’s essentially cost-free funding source: the deposit base.)

In conclusion, the Fed was not birthed from nothing in 1913. The monster was the natural outgrowth of an increasingly troubled banking system. In searching for the original problem that set in motion the events culminating in the creation of the Fed, one must draw attention to the Panic of 1857 as the spark that set in motion ever more destabilizing policies. The Panic itself is a textbook example of an Austrian business cycle, caused by the lending activities of fractional-reserve banks. This original sin of the banking system concluded with the birth of a monster in 1914: The Federal Reserve.

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