Category Archives: Politics

Getting Julian Assange: The Untold Story, by John Pilger

Sweden for many years used baseless rape charges to get Julian Assange. From John Pilger at lewrockwell.com:

Julian Assange has been vindicated because the Swedish case against him was corrupt. The prosecutor, Marianne Ny, obstructed justice and should be prosecuted. Her obsession with Assange not only embarrassed her colleagues and the judiciary but exposed the Swedish state’s collusion with the United States in its crimes of war and “rendition”.

Had Assange not sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, he would have been on his way to the kind of American torture pit Chelsea Manning had to endure.

This prospect was obscured by the grim farce played out in Sweden. “It’s a laughing stock,” said James Catlin, one of Assange’s Australian lawyers. “It is as if they make it up as they go along”.

It may have seemed that way, but there was always serious purpose. In 2008, a secret Pentagon document prepared by the “Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch” foretold a detailed plan to discredit WikiLeaks and smear Assange personally.

The “mission” was to destroy the “trust” that was WikiLeaks’ “centre of gravity”. This would be achieved with threats of “exposure [and] criminal prosecution”. Silencing and criminalising such an unpredictable source of truth-telling was the aim.

Perhaps this was understandable. WikiLeaks has exposed the way America dominates much of human affairs, including its epic crimes, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq: the wholesale, often homicidal killing of civilians and the contempt for sovereignty and international law.

These disclosures are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution. As a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama, a professor of constitutional law, lauded whistle blowers as “part of a healthy democracy [and they] must be protected from reprisal”.

In 2012, the Obama campaign boasted on its website that Obama had prosecuted more whistleblowers in his first term than all other US presidents combined. Before Chelsea Manning had even received a trial, Obama had publicly pronounced her guilty.

Few serious observers doubt that should the US get their hands on Assange, a similar fate awaits him. According to documents released by Edward Snowden, he is on a “Manhunt target list”. Threats of his kidnapping and assassination became almost political and media currency in the US following then Vice-President Joe Biden’s preposterous slur that the WikiLeaks founder was a “cyber-terrorist”.

To continue reading: Getting Julian Assange: The Untold Story

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Israel Lobby Pays the Political Piper, by Jonathan Marshall

There are two open secrets about Israel that both journalists and people in government are reticent to talk about. Israel has a substantial nuclear arsenal, and it has a highly effective lobby in Washinton. Fealty to Israel has become almost a requirement for Republican politicians, but the Democrats have their share of kowtowers, too. From Jonathan Marshall at consortiumnews.com:

Exclusive: The Israel Lobby is so powerful that for years it insisted it didn’t exist – and Official Washington went along with the lie. Today, President Trump scrambles to secure the lobby’s blessings, Jonathan Marshall observes.

In this age of rancorous hyper-partisanship, getting members of Congress to agree on anything beyond the naming of a post office is a challenge. Yet in late April, all 100 members of the U.S. Senate signed a tough letter to the U.N. Secretary General, demanding that the organization end its “unwarranted attacks” on Israel’s human rights record.

Three months earlier, members of the House voted overwhelmingly to condemn a U.N. Security Council resolution critical of Israel’s relentless expansion of settlements on occupied lands. Like dozens of other Democrats, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland blasted President Obama for abstaining from the U.N. vote, saying it “sent the wrong signal to our ally Israel.” In the Senate, leading progressives like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders offered no support for President Obama, either.

Their votes and rhetoric did not simply reflect public opinion. Although Americans sympathize with Israel far more than the Palestinians, two-thirds of adults surveyed in in 2015 said the United States should not take sides in the Middle East conflict. Fewer than half say they consider Israel an ally.

Those congressional actions instead illustrated the power of the pro-Israel Lobby, a highly organized and well-funded coalition that works to give Israeli leaders freedom to operate with unquestioned U.S. diplomatic, economic and military support. Its influence helps account for the quarter trillion dollars in aid (adjusted for inflation) that the United States has given Israel since 1948.

When it comes to influencing American politics, Russia runs far behind highly motivated supporters of Israel. President Obama experienced that first hand when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, representing a state of just 8.6 million people, received rousing, bipartisan acclaim in no fewer than three addresses before Congress and nearly blocked approval of the Iran nuclear deal, perhaps the signature foreign policy initiative of Obama’s administration.

To continue reading: Israel Lobby Pays the Political Piper

 

America’s Civil War II, by Finian Cunningham

The Deep State and the other powers that be refuse to accept the results of the last election, and in a number of hamhanded ways are tryint to overturn it. From Finian Cunningham at lewrockwell.com:

Civil wars are perhaps the most tragic and bitter, when a country goes to war on itself – and it’s brother against brother, homesteads destroyed by other compatriots.

Today, the United States of America seems to be at war with itself again. Not yet an all-out bloodletting as in the Civil War of 1861-65, but nevertheless the nation seems to be plunging into an internecine process of shredding itself, pulling down the very edifice of the state.

There’s even reports of married couples splitting in divorce because of the growing political divisions.

The governing business of running the country is held hostage by incessant political scrapping; the institutions of governance appear in meltdown from eroding authority.

This time around, it’s not northern states versus the south, or over industrialists wanting to usurp landowners, or moral questions of race and slavery. The current war is due to powerful factions within the political class not willing to accept the election of Donald Trump.

Trump was not supposed to win the presidential election in November 2016, as far as ruling class elements were concerned. His Democrat rival Hillary Clinton was the favored candidate owing to her deep connections to the foreign policy establishment and corporate news media.

Trump’s avowed stance to normalize relations with Russia was the number-one bugbear for the US establishment which preferred Clinton’s more hawkish outlook as part of extending its global hegemonic ambitions.

As always, the American ruling class is variegated. No doubt there are powerful Wall Street and corporate factions among American capital that are indifferent about the actual election result, or perhaps even rather pleased by it. Trump, so far, seems to be rather disposed to pandering to corporate America with generous tax-breaks for the wealthy, so there is no problem there for many among the American ruling class.

To continue reading: America’s Civil War II

 

Does Google Have a Liberal Bias? Search Results for Roger Ailes Speak Volumes, by Ian Miles Chong

It almost seems self-evident that the company whose Executive Chairman headed up Hillary Clinton’s technology effort has a liberal bias. From Ian Miles Chong at heatst.com:

The former Chairman and CEO of Fox News, Roger Ailes, has passed. He was arguably one of the most consequential individuals in media and politics in the last century, and he leaves behind a loving wife and son. He also leaves behind a cadre of loyal former employees who love and respect him.

But if you run a Google search on him, you’ll find that the top results consist almost entirely of articles from several liberal publications savaging his reputation as a person. The search results — both on mobile and desktop platforms — begin with entries that are strikingly cruel and meanspirited — and raise new questions about Google’s objectivity.

The top results on “Roger Ailes” include a piece by leftist activist Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone declaring Ailes “one of the worst Americans ever,” an article by NBC’s Joy Reid on Time stating that Ailes “built a kingdom on exploited bias,” and a Bret Stephens op-ed in the New York Times, that calls him “the man who wrecked conservatism.” An op-ed on The Guardian by Arwa Mahdawi condemning Ailes for helping to “create this nightmare world” shows up alongside the other articles savaging him, way above obituaries or any neutral pieces about the man.

To continue reading: Does Google Have a Liberal Bias? Search Results for Roger Ailes Speak Volumes

The Gaping Holes of Russia-gate, by William Binney and Ray McGovern

Two ex-intelligence officials shred the Russiagate allegations. From William Binney and Ray McGovern at consortiumnews.com:

Between Russia-gate and President Trump’s potential impeachment, Washington is blending the thrill of McCarthyism and the excitement of Watergate, as ex-U.S. intelligence officials Ray McGovern and William Binney explain.

Official Washington got to relive the excitement of Watergate in a “gotcha” moment after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. There were fond recollections of how righteous the major newspapers felt when condemning President Nixon over his “Saturday Night Massacre” firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox.

But the overriding question from “this Russia thing, with Trump and Russia” — as President Trump calls it — is whether there is any there there. The President labeled it a “made-up story” and, by all appearances from what is known at this time, he is mostly correct.

A few days before Comey’s firing, the FBI Director reportedly had asked for still more resources to hunt the Russian bear for supposedly “interfering” with last year’s election to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump. And so the firing allowed the Watergate-recalling news outlets to trot out the old trope that “the cover-up is worse than the crime.”

But can that argument bear close scrutiny, or is it the “phony narrative” that Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn of Texas claims it to be? Cornyn quipped that, if impeding the investigation was Trump’s aim, “This strikes me as a lousy way to do it. All it does is heighten the attention given to the issue.”

Truth is, President Trump had ample reason to be fed up with Comey, in part for his lack of enthusiasm toward investigating actual, provable crimes related to “Russia-gate” — like the flood of sensitive national security leaks, such as the highly sensitive intercepted communications used to precipitate the demise of Trump aide Michael Flynn.

The retired Army lieutenant general was “caught” talking with Russia’s ambassador last December, a normal undertaking for a person designated as the incoming National Security Adviser. But Obama administration holdovers twisted that into a supposed violation of the archaic 1799 Logan Act and then used a transcript of the phone call to trip up Flynn because he didn’t have perfect recollection of the conversation.

So, a trumped-up federal case was used to help get Flynn fired, but an apparent criminal act – the Flynn leak among many other leaks – was apparently ignored. We suspect that one reason for Comey’s disinterest was that he already knows who was responsible.

To continue reading: The Gaping Holes of Russia-gate

If Hillary Had Won, from Western Rifle Shooters Association

https://www.theburningplatform.com/2017/05/17/if-hillary-had-won/

Are They Really Out to Get Trump? Sometimes paranoia is justified, by Philip Giraldi

The answer to the title question keeps edging closer to yes (see Let’s Connect the Dots). From Philip Giraldi at lewrockwell.com:

President Donald Trump is not exactly known for his self-restraint. The recent firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey was not handled with any delicacy and has unleashed a firestorm of criticism coming from across the political spectrum. And since Comey’s abrupt dismissal the backstabbing has become even worse, with many coming around to the view that Trump is actually crudely threatening Comey over the issue of what might or might not have been said at dinners and meetings between the two men.

What exactly drove the firing at this time remains somewhat of a mystery though the media has been quick to link it directly to Trump’s reported anger at the seemingly endless investigation into his Administration’s possible ties to Russia, an investigation that nominally Comey headed as FBI Director. But that explanation somehow makes no sense as even a white-hot Trump would have realized that getting rid of Comey would only make the Russiagate problem worse as everyone would assume cover-up and would come after the White House with even greater intensity, which is precisely what has happened. Was Trump dumb enough to dig himself into a deeper hole? Possibly, but it seems unlikely.

What is real, however, is that constant innuendo means that anti-Russian hysteria has been mounting, including completely speculative pieces wondering whether the entourage of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had sought to sneak a recording device into the White House during last week’s visit.

And what if there really is a conspiracy against Donald Trump being orchestrated within the various national security agencies that are part of the United States government? The president has been complaining for months about damaging leaks emanating from the intelligence community and the failure of Congress to pay any attention to the illegal dissemination of classified information. It is quite possible that Trump has become aware that there is actually something going on and that something just might be a conspiracy to delegitimize and somehow remove him from office.

To continue reading: Are They Really Out to Get Trump? Sometimes paranoia is justified